Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chocolate-Orange Petit Fours

I devised this recipe for a recipe contest sponsored by Green & Black's Chocolate. I gave them awesome chocolate-orange cakes, they gave me the proverbial hand. Now I give YOU the recipe, in the hopes that you will appreciate it more than they did. The rules were that entrants could only use five ingredients, and one of the ingredients had to be (at least 2 oz of) chocolate. The base of these cakes is a fudgy flourless chocolate-orange cake, topped with silky chocolate ganache, then finished with orange-scented whipped cream and orange zest.


  • 7 ounces (two 3.5 oz bars) Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate (or other chocolate)
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided


Preheat your oven to 325. Place 30 1-inch foil candy cups on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Zest one of the oranges and finely chop the zest, placing it in a large glass bowl. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze half of the orange over the glass bowl, producing about two tablespoons of juice.

Chop one 3.5-oz chocolate bar into small even pieces, and place the pieces in the bowl with the orange zest and juice. Microwave the chocolate for forty-five seconds, then remove the bowl from the microwave and stir the chocolate. If the chocolate is not fully melted after stirring, microwave it for another 20-30 seconds or until it is melted. Stir until the chocolate-orange mixture is smooth and well-combined. Set the bowl aside to allow the chocolate to cool slightly.

Crack the egg into a medium-sized bowl. Using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg on medium speed and slowly rain in two tablespoons of sugar. Continue to beat the egg until it is thick, light in color, and forms a ribbon when you lift up the beater, about 5 minutes. Gently fold the egg mixture into the chocolate, stopping just before the egg is fully incorporated.

Pour 1/3 cup of cream into the mixing bowl you used to beat the egg—you don’t even have to clean it first. Exchange the mixer’s beaters for whisk attachments, and whip the cream with the hand-held mixer until it holds soft peaks. Do not overbeat the cream and let it get too stiff. Fold the cream into the chocolate-egg mixture, stopping as soon as the cream is incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the arranged foil candy cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.( For a faster alternative, you can place the batter in a piping bag fitted with a ½” round tip and pipe it into the candy cups.) Cover the top of the entire baking sheet loosely with aluminum foil. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes. The cakes should be soft but just set in the middle. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the cakes to come to room temperature.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the ganache topping. Finely chop the other 3.5-oz bar of chocolate and place it in a small bowl. Place 1/3 cup of cream in a small saucepan and heat it over medium heat until it reaches a simmer and small bubbles appear on the sides of the pan—do not let the cream boil. Once it is simmering, remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Allow it to sit and soften the chocolate for one minute, then whisk it until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Drop a spoonful of ganache over the top of each cooled cake and swirl it in an even layer that comes to the top of the foil cup. Place the cups in the refrigerator for one hour to set the ganache.

To complete the cakes, zest the second orange and finely chop two tablespoons of zest. Whip the remaining 1/3 cream with 1 tablespoon of sugar and the two tablespoons of zest, until the cream forms firm peaks. Spoon a small dab of orange whipped cream onto the top of each cake, or use a pastry bag fitted with a star attachment to pipe a rosette on top of each cake. Garnish the cakes with the remaining orange zest.

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