Ah yes, here we are at Valentine’s Day, once again. Back when I was younger, I remember February 14th as being either a day of great excitement or a total downer (a.k.a Singles Awareness Day). Now that I’m older and somewhat wiser, I’m glad to have developed an enlightened perspective: it’s simply the day that helps florists stay in business before Mother’s Day finally arrives! Gotta love the wisdom that comes with age.
I’ve told my hubby this year that all he needs to do to make me a happy gal is to give me a hand-written love note. No flowers, no baubles, just the a note that I can look back at someday and smile. In return, I’ll present him with these Glazed Chocolate Petit Fours, a gift that we both can benefit from. That’s the thing about V-Day…even if there’s no handsome prince or lovely lady in the picture, you’ve gotta find a way to treat yourself right!
These Glazed Chocolate Petit Fours may look complicated to make, but I take a huge short cut by starting with store-bought pound cake. Pound cake is ideal for making petit fours since the crumb is tight and the vanilla base easily pairs with so many gorgeous flavors, from fruit jams to best-quality cocoa powder to infused booze (framboise and hazelnut liquor are my favorites!).Since I hate running into problems with tempering chocolate, I like to either use a ganache or chocolate glaze to coat my petit fours. If you like a less-sweet petit four that’s still rich in chocolate taste, I’d definitely suggest going for the second option of a gelatin-based chocolate glaze. As you can see, it dries super glossy and smooth. It’s also easier to work with than regular chocolate is.
Another tip for making petit fours is to make sure you have some mini cupcake liners to serve them in. Creating these little cakes can be a messy affair, especially since the excess coating has to drip off. Cupcake liners help to hide a rough bottom edge so that the cakes look as elegant as possible.
A tart, ruby-red cup of hibiscus tea is my drink of choice when it comes to these Glazed Chocolate Petit Fours. You can also turn up the romance with Wedgwood’s 1870 Golden Rose or T-Project’s I’ll Take You There tea blends. And with that I’d like to wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s hoping that it’s one filled with substance, heart, and a healthy dose of chocolate!
Glazed Chocolate Petit Fours
Makes 20 petit fours.
1 standard pound cake loaf, store-bought is fine
1/4 cup framboise
1/4 cup raspberry jam, seedless and sieved to remove chunky bits
3.5 oz. marzipan
cornstarch, for rolling marzipan
1/3 cup water
1 Tbsp+ 2 tsp unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup best-quality cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
dipping or regular fork
1 small ladle
large sheet pan fitted with parchment paper
small sharp knife or thin cookie spatula
20 mini cupcake liners
1.) Prepare the Pound Cake. On a work surface using a serrated knife, cut the pound cake loaf into horizontal, large slices, about 8 1/2 ” x 4 1/2″ x 3/8″ thick. Now, use the oval petit four cutter to cut out as many ovals as possible from the flat, even cake slices (save the topmost, golden crust of the pound cake for snacking on later). You should be able to punch out 60 ovals from one standard pound cake loaf.
2.) Flavor and Layer the Cake Slices. Brush each cake oval with a light and even dab of framboise or flavoring liquor. You want the cake to be moist without drenching it. After all the cake ovals are moistened, use a spreading knife to apply a thin, even layer of jam on each oval. Stack the cake ovals up, neatly, 3 to a stack. Place the 20 cake stacks on a large plate and put them in fridge to chill for about 10 minutes.
3.) Roll and Attach the Marzipan. While the cake stacks are chilling, roll the marzipan to 1/16″, about the thickness of a quarter. If the marzipan is sticky, you can use some cornstarch to dust the work surface and your rolling-pin. Punch out 20 ovals of marzipan with the same oval petit four cutter. Take the cakes out of the fridge, then lay one marzipan piece on each cake stack. Place the cakes back in the fridge to chill.
4.) Prepare the Chocolate Glaze. In a small bowl, bloom the gelatin powder with the 1/3 cup of water. In a medium pot, heat the sugar, cream, and cocoa powder over low heat. Stir the mixture until it starts to simmer. Shut the heat off, then add the bloomed gelatin and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until the glaze is thick and glossy, without any gelatin lumps.
5.) First Coating. Take the cakes out of the fridge. Holding a fork over the pot with your left hand, use your right hand to place one cake on the dipping fork. Again, use your right hand to use the small ladle to pour the glaze on over the cake so that it becomes entirely enrobed in the glaze. Let the excess glaze drip off the cake, then transfer it to a cooling rack placed over a large baking sheet fitted with parchment. Repeat this process for the rest of the petit fours.
6.) Second Coating and Decoration. For best looks and taste, coat each petit four a second time in the glaze using the same fork and ladle method in Step 5. Immediately after each transferring each petit four to the cooling rack, use kitchen tweezers to carefully place the heart-shaped sprinkle and 3 dots on the cakes. The cakes cool fast so if you do not decorate after each coating the sprinkles will not adhere. If the pot of glaze starts to cool and gets too thick, simply put it back on low heat to thin it out again.
7.) Finish the Petit Fours. After all the petit fours have been double-coated and decorated, let them cool for about 20 minutes before using a sharp knife or thin cookie spatula to release them from the cooling rack. Place them in mini cupcake liners for easy serving. The cakes should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container.