Monday, January 18, 2010

La Provence Patisserie & Cafe

I went to visit my sister in Los Angeles this past weekend and we stopped by La Provence bakery in Brentwood for brunch Saturday morning. The cafe overlooked the rooftops of the surrounding shops and homes and offered a Parisian ambience. The pastries were delicious and the breakfast items were mouthwatering. We started with a lavender and a cherry amaretto macaron and some coffee and juice. Yum!

The vegetarian eggs benedict were served atop a housemade croissant.
Lindsay couldn't resist a side of pomme frittes and they came served up in traditional newspaper. With a sudoku puzzle no less!
The pink hued sea salt was a big hit at our table. Everything about this patisserie was so well thought out and made for such a perfect morning.
I highly recommend La Provence Patisserie & Cafe if you find yourself in the area.
Bon apetit!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Lavender Truffles

I am having two very special people over for dinner tomorrow night and had to have something fun to serve for dessert. Since it's still early in the year and most everyone made a new year's resolution to eat healthier I decided to make truffles. One or two dark chocolate truffles are always enough to satisfy me and won't leave you feeling too guilty. These decadent treats are a perfect way to end a meal and pair nicely with champagne!

Truffles are great because they are so easy to make. When stored properly, they last for months. Just keep them in a tightly sealed container and away from extreme heat or cold.

To add an extra element to the truffles, I first infused the cream with lavender. The result is a mild floral accent to the rich depth of the dark chocolate. Definitely worth a try if you are up for it. If not, simply eliminate the lavender.

Lavender Truffles

1/2 # dark chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
cocoa powder

1. Place the cream and lavender in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn of heat and cover. Allow to steep for at least one hour.
2. Strain cream to remove lavender buds. Remeasure cream, adding more if necessary to make one cup. Return to saucepan along with corn syrup. Bring to a boil.
3. Pour boiling cream over chocolate and stir to combine. Place chocolate in fridge and remove every 5 minutes to stir. After about 20-30 minutes, chocolate mixture will begin to set.
4. At this point, pipe small rounds onto sheet pan. Allow to set, uncovered for several hours, or overnight.
5. Once chocolate is set, pick up each individual round and roll into ball with your hands. Place the truffle in a bowl of cocoa powder to coat.
6. Cover and store away from heat and cold. Enjoy!
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