Combining unusual flavors with chocolate, especially savory ingredients, is a growing trend. I’ve tasted a few that I really like—curry or wasabi, for example. Others, such as Parmesan cheese, truffle oil, or caramelized garlic, completely undo the pleasure of chocolate for me. Yet part of the fun of making chocolates is dreaming up flavor combinations in your head, then trying to create something that lives up to the taste you imagined.
I’m especially proud of my Cappuccino bonbons, which capture the essence of espresso topped with steamed milk and a dash of cinnamon and cocoa powder. I experimented with various ways of creating a chocolate cappuccino confection, using different ingredients and techniques, before arriving at the perfect combination. My home-roasted espresso beans add a boost of flavor—enough to stand out against the strong taste of dark chocolate, no small challenge. And though I never mix any sugar into my chocolates, a sprinkling of pure Hawaiian cane sugar on the top adds a little sparkle.
Making the cappuccino bonbons requires multiple steps over several days: layering two flavors of ganache, cutting them into pieces, hand-dipping each one, adding a touch of Hawaiian cane sugar and a dusting of cinnamon, and, finally, topping them with handmade molded chocolate coffee beans. Stiil, they are among my favorites to make.
I was also pleasantly surprised by my success with two other flavors: Mojito and Cheesecake. I nearly always opt for red wine over a mixed drink, but I have a weakness for a good mojito on hot summer nights. I somehow managed to create a chocolate ganache infused with the perfect amount of fresh lime zest and mint leaves, spiked with rum. It feels cool and refreshing, with layers of flavor that conjure up a mojito cocktail gift-wrapped in chocolate.
I wish I could offer my Cheesecake Truffles for sale, because they are AMAZING, but in a certified residential kitchen you can only produce foods that don’t require refrigeration. In short, though, they are a (white) chocolate version of the tasty little cheesecake squares my mom made for special occasions. They evoke the softness of cream cheese, the tang of lemon and sour cream, a hint of vanilla, and the crunch of the brown sugar and walnut crust. These are certainly the best use of white chocolate I’ve discovered so far.