Disclaimer: I'm about to complain. If you want to skip ahead the next few paragraphs and just look at pretty pictures of chocolate, I understand. No hard feelings.
This year has been. Interesting?
I have the greatest family, the best friends, I live in Paris, my life is super.
However, I'm a person that needs to be challenged - mentally, physically, academically... which is one of the reasons I WANTED to do a masters in economics (who am I?). Thus, two years ago I was super stoked when I got into Sorbonne. The first year was p.a.i.n.f.u.l. Like, adjusting to a new (hectic and impersonal) city (ahem, with my all-so-awesome level of French), on top of the most insanely difficult economics course ever wasn't too easy. Then. THEN. There was this year. This year was ridiculous.
The program I was in (despite being full of awesome peers), was cray-cray ludicrous.
The professors lacked any motivation to actually teach (with a few notable exceptions - those guys are awesome), but then still decided to be complete ruffians with respect to their (totally unrelated and ill-designed) exams. On top of this, professors actually told people different directions for exams to different students. So, like, yeah: some people were given false directions while others were given correct ones. That's normal? Apparently it is... If you like to fail people for fun.
Most days ended with the phrases: "How?, but, honestly... how?"; "Who are these people?"; "I can't believe I am still shocked when stuff like this happens..."; and, my personal favourite, "You wanna get wine?"
This nonsense allowed me (happily) to focus a lot on baking, running, and exploring Paris, but at the same time it really bummed me out mentally. Again - I wanted to learn stuff about economics... and I definitely learned a lot about myself, which is cool, but my brain is seriously disappointed.
Alas, I promise you I could go on (ask my group of friends or my mom... they know), but en bref: 2013 hasn't been the coolest year of my life so far.
And now, AND NOW, IT. IS. DONE!!! Well, exams are done... and one minor paper plus a dissertation later, I will be finished. This is a cause for celebration, my dear friends. A celebration full of chocolate, wine, sunshine, and laughter.
My masters program had a lovely little Canal St. Martin shindig to celebrate this glorious conclusion to our year, and per-usual, I can't leave my house to go anywhere without bringing some homemade treat along with me. I'm still on my lemon fix (it is SPRINGTIME!), and I've always wanted to try and make chocolates!
First off, these are called "bites", but, umm, I did indeed make them in a silicon muffin pan, so I would say that you could consider them to be slightly bigger than a bite... perhaps a tri-bite. Yes, lemony-coconutty cashew chocolate tri-bites. Despite this being a completely reasonable serving size to me, everyone else thought they were huge.
(Insert favourite phrase number 2: "Who are these people?") ... Make them in a smaller chocolate mould if you please : D.
Lemony-Coconutty Cashew Chocolate "Bites" - What you need:
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for 6 to 8 hours in a sealed container in the fridge
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup
- zest of one lemon
- tiny pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
- 300 grams of chocolate (10.5 ounces), chopped finely - I used dark chocolate.
Lemony-Coconutty Cashew Chocolate "Bites" - What you do:
Over the top of a double boiler in a heat proof bowl, melt 100 grams (3.5 grams) of the chocolate, stirring as it melts.
Using a chocolate mould (or in my case: a silicon muffin pan), paint the sides and bottom of the mould completely. If you want a thicker chocolate bottom, add a touch more chocolate to the bottom of the mould. Set aside to set (or, alternatively refrigerate for 15 minutes).
To prepare the filling:
Rinse the cashews in a colander, and shake off the excess water.
Add all of the ingredients: the cashews, lemon juice, coconut oil, agave syrup, salt, and coconut - into a food processor and blend extremely well, for about 5 minutes. Occasionally scrape down the sides to make sure that everything gets blended.
Place about one heaping teaspoon into each mould.
Restart your double boiler, by placing the heatproof bowl (I didn't clean mine out, the leftover chocolate melted with the new chocolate and it was fine) with the remaining 200 grams (7 ounces) of chopped chocolate over a saucepan with lightly simmering water.
Again, melt the chocolate completely.
Top off each confection with around two teaspoons of melted chocolate. Smooth the tops.
Allow to cool slightly before refrigerating.
I don't have a freezer, but I feel that these guys would do better if they were frozen overnight. However - I refrigerated mine overnight (or, if you make them earlier on in the day, I would recommend 6 to 8 hours in the fridge), and they were just fine!
I was worried about them not popping out of the silicon mould, but minus one small crack, they came out fine!
(Close up view.)
(Top view/bottom view.)
Baking soundtrack - Tunes to inspire your inner baker:
Now it is time to party!
I can barely walk after running, walking, AND dancing yesterday... but I think this song should give everyone a little bit of boogie inspiration.
I love me some disco. <3