Ibarra choc. recipes
I just received a bunch of Ibarra mexican chocolate (2lbs) and am looking for some suggestions & recipes. Thanks.
The only specific recipe I can recommend is my own, for Ibarra chocolate chip cookies; it is contained in the Chowhound cookie primer found at this URL:
I've had very good responses to this recipe both from eaters and from several chowhounds who have made them.
In terms of other ideas, the first thing to consider is the specific qualities of Ibarra. Unlike European-style chocolate, it has a less-refined, grainy texture. Therefore, there are just two ways to use it in recipes, as far as I can tell. One is in pieces, as in chocolate chip cookies (note that it needs to be chopped by hand, or it will turn to powder). The other is in recipes in which you dissolve it in milk or cream before incorporating it into the dish. Its composition means that it cannot be acceptably melted on its own, but obviously, it is made to dissolve in milk. So things like custards (flans, pots de creme, creme brulee, and so on) or souffles might be good bets, or a ganache. Finally, remember that Ibarra is quite sweet, so if you're using it as the main flavor in a dessert, you might want to balance it out with some bittersweet chocolate (which might balance the texture as well).
Please share the results of any experiments; I'd love to hear how they turn out.
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re: Caitlin McGrath
I tried this recipe last night (found it in the archives) and was surprised by the results. The sugar in the chocolate did not dissolve, giving the cookies a very strange, gritty texture. Is this supposed to be the case? I chopped the chocolate into what seemed to be appropriate cookie-sized chunks (ranging from 1/4-1/2 inch in diameter)--should they have been smaller?
would be much obliged if you could shed any light on the situation.
When you say that the cookies had a "strange, gritty rexture," are you referring to the cookies themselves or just the chocolate chunks? I can't say about the former, but as for the latter, you must expect the chocolate chunks to have the characterisatics of undisolved Ibarra. It is grainy in texture, much less refined and smooth than European or American chocolate, and once the cookies cool, the chocolate will harden up again, not stay soft like choclate chips in cookies. I usually make the chunks 1/4-1/3" in size, so I doubt that was a problem. Perhaps you just don't care for the texture of Mexican chocolate.
Here is a recipe (my own) that I used to make when I was the pastry chef at Nicola in Los Angeles. The "not a brulee" was supposed to be a joke, added to the title by Larry Nicola, the owner, because it was like a creme brulee but without the crispy top. But of course nobody else ever got the joke. The Mexican chocolate referred to in the recipe is Ibarra.
Mexican Chocolate Creme
Not a Brulee
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 T butter
1 cup cream
4 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 tablets Mexican chocolate
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 stick cinnamon
1 1/4 cup egg yolks
Set 10 small custard cups in a roasting pan.
Caramel: Combine the sugar and water in saucepan; bring to boil over medium heat, washing down sides of pan with a brush dipped in water, until sugar completely dissolves. Continue to cook without stirring until syrup turns an even, deep amber color, about 8 minutes. Stir in the butter, then the cream.
Custard: Pour cream into large saucepan. Add the chopped chocolate, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and set aside to steep for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Slowly beat in the hot cream mixture. Strain and pour into the custard cups.
Pour hot tap water into roasting pan halfway up sides of custard cups. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes (they will still be slightly wobbly in middle).
Refrigerate. When cool, spoon some of the caramel over the top of each cream.
I say the best way to eat Ibarra is to make it into hot chocolate with a molinillo or blender. I believe some people just make it with water to be authentic, but I haven't tried it that way.