I wouldn’t say I was a hoarding type of person, but when my shelves are falling down with cookbooks and I just can’t finish the cocoa nibs – there’s got to be some squirreling away tendencies there.
Going on my Amazon wishlist makes things worse, as it’s simply full of new cookbooks on whatever phase of cuisine has taken my interest at the time. So right now, as you can guess, it’s bulging with manuals on French pastry.
Some of my recent buys have been pretty good value for money. My copy of Ottolenghi’s first cookbook is well worn already, and I still have a great deal of affection for the Hummingbird Bakery’s first opus – which introduced me to the bejewelled American style cupcake, giant cheesecakes, and the alien world of pumpkin and key lime pies (still haven’t made either).
The great thing about the internet, and food blogs is apart from encouraging you to buy and hoard cookbooks and ingredients – they also come up with ingenious ways of using up your bounty. I’ve been trying to make chocolate extract with some of the cocoa nibs, stewed in vodka, much the same way I make vanilla extract, which should add a nice extra chocolatey flavour to any future baking. David Lebovitz mentions on his blog that he uses chocolate extract, so I am holding out hope.
So if you are interested, here’s how to make your own chocolate extract, although I’ll have to wait a few months to see how it turns out!
- 1 clean jam jar with lid
- handful of cocoa nibs
- cheap vodka
Toast the cocoa nibs, and let them cool completely. Crush them roughly, and tip into the jam jar. Fill the jar almost to the brim with vodka. Screw the lid on tightly and shake. Put somewhere dark and cool for several months to mature.
On a completely unrelated note, there has been loads of excitement about caramelised white chocolate, with a lot of food bloggers raving about the results. I tried a bar of the new Valrhona blond chocolate, which set me back £5 poorer. It was alright. Nice and sweet, a bit biscuity and caramel-y ….nothing life altering.