I meant to post this awhile ago but I am nothing if not a mah-jah slacker.  I mean, Glee has started up again!  And, uh, I like to watch it over and over.  So that sucks up all my time and that’s why I can’t post awesome cooking tips.  For reals.

So this is something I made for a barbecue.  Lauren requested a fruit dish.  Martin said I should just make fruit salad but I don’t like fruit salad.  Bad memories of yucky fruit salad with too many grapes and brown apple cubes, I think.  No thanks, fruit salad.  I think I’ll go with something else.

Instead, I decided to do fruit skewers.  I even had grand plans of mixing it up and dipping some of the pineapple and strawberries in chocolate.  Then I ran out of time.  So I decided to make chocolate whipped cream instead.  It came out really nice, a lot of people commented that it had a mousse consistency.  I think it ended up being a better pairing than dipping it in chocolate.

Rose Levy Beranbaum, who wrote The Cake Bible, suggests this tip to make a stable whipped cream that doesn’t become watery and lose its volume, no matter how long its in the refrigerator.  Basically, you make sure to dissolve everything in the heavy cream beforehand and refrigerate your mixer whisk and bowl and your whipped cream will achieve maximum volume and never deflate.  I didn’t actually chill my bowl or whisk, but I did dissolve it in advance and I can attest to its volume survival.  It stayed fluffy for the next three days!!  I kind of wonder if its the powdered chocolate that also does that, as I noticed the same effect in making chocolate versus regular meringue.

And that’s the tip!  Easy peasy, give the chocolate and sugar time to dissolve in the whipping cream.  If not for the volumizing effect, at least to save yourself from making a big mess if your cocoa powder goes flying (it gets all over your mixer and it NEVER comes out.  Trust me, I know).

Here’s a picture of the final product.  I bought these thick skewers that are sort of in the shape of pickets and they suck.  They look nice, but destroy the fruit unless the piece is nice and thick.  Just don’t do it, I say.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1-1/2 tbsp. Dutch processed cocoa powder

1-  Combine all ingredients together and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.

2-  With a whisk attachment on a hand or stand mixer, beat on high until stiff peaks form.  If you pull the whisk out of the whipped cream, the peak should stay in place.  If it falls over (a soft peak), keep beating for a couple more minutes or so.

Makes a whole lotta whipped cream.

And here’s something else I couldn’t wait to share – my first batch of macarons made solo!  It’s vanilla bean with a chocolate ganache.  I am extremely happy with the results.  They taste like a macaron should, have a firm outside and a soft chewy inside and that signature pied.  I think I am now obsessed with making these little suckers!  So if you suddenly start seeing me bringing these to things, you’ll know why …

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