Morbid Meals – Curse of the Black Pearl Rum Balls

EXAMINATION

Why is the rum gone? I’ll tell ya why, Jack. We be makin’ rum balls this here fine day. I tell ya true, I found this recipe while rummagin’ around ol’ Davy Jones’s locker. He’s a big fan o’rum, so if you’re hittin’ the high seas, bring a batch o’ these rum balls wi’ ya and he might let ya sail on.

ANALYSIS

Servings: about 30

Ingredients

  • 24 Oreo cookies (whole cookies with filling)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 cup black or dark spiced rum
  • 2 Tbsp Tia Maria, Kahlua, or other coffee liqueur
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • Wilton Black Pearl Dust (optional)

Apparatus

  • Food processor with chopping blade
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Plastic wrap
  • Small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or a spoon

Procedure

  1. Into your food processor add cookies, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Pulse on high until well combined.
  2. Add molasses, rum, and coffee liqueur, then pulse again to mix well.
  3. Add chopped nuts and pulse on low until combined. If you want large chunks of nuts, just do a quick pulse. If you want the nuts ground fine, then pulse until you no longer see the nuts.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl with a lid or cover with plastic wrap. Chill in your refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that it can firm up.
  5. Scoop the chilled mixture into balls and roll between your palms to form a smooth, round ball about an inch wide.
  6. Coat each rum ball with black pearl dust. A little bit goes a long way.
  7. Chill the rum balls in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

DISSECTION

If you don’t have Tia Maria or Kahlua, or don’t like coffee liqueur, you can just use more rum instead. I like Tia Maria because the coffee flavor compliments the chocolate. Sometimes when I make these I use only Tia Maria as it has rum as the base, but the coffee flavor can be too much for some folks.

POST-MORTEM

You can absolutely make these without the Black Pearl Dust. It can be hard to find in stores. Furthermore, the dust… gets… everywhere. You will look like a coal miner when you are finished making these with the pearl dust, and your lips and teeth will get a bit yucky, too. On a positive note, they sure are shiny. And tasty!

Why are the Rum Balls gone? I eats them all, that’s why.

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Morbid Meals – Black Blood Truffles

MM06I think it says a lot about me that when I pondered The Lovers tarot card, that I immediately thought of vampires. Add in the fact that KBatz is discussing the movie “Only Lovers Left Alive” for this episode, and this card’s imagery was even more inspired.

So I created a recipe that might embody something vampire fans would enjoy and perhaps something lovers might share. Sticky sweet blood-red chocolate truffles seemed to fit the bill. The name comes from the black cherry and blood orange preserves in the filling.

EXAMINATION

These truffles bring together three flavors: bitter, sweet, and tart. You can go as dark and bitter as you like with the chocolate. If you are like me and prefer something less dark, semi-sweet is the lightest you should go because you don’t want milk solids in the chocolate that you use, since we’ll be adding cream and butter in this recipe.

ANALYSIS

Makes about 18-20 truffles

Ingredients

4 Tbsp blood orange marmalade
3 Tbsp black cherry preserves
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, or finely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp orange liqueur, or vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 Tbsp red sugar sprinkles

Apparatus

  • Small bowl
  • Stick blender (optional)
  • Large bowl
  • Small saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • Baking sheet
  • Parchment paper or wax paper

Procedure

Making the filling
  1. In a small bowl, combine the black cherry jam and blood orange marmalade.
  2. If you have a stick blender, you might like to puree the fruits down to a smoother consistency.
  3. Chill mixture in your freezer for about an hour to firm it up.
Making the ganache
  1. If using a block of chocolate, chop it fine. Place your chocolate into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Into a small saucepan over medium heat, pour your cream and add butter, and heat up until bubbles start to form, but do not allow it to boil.
  3. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds to allow it to melt the chocolate.
  4. Add in the orange liqueur or vanilla extract, if desired.
  5. Gently whisk to incorporate the cream into the melting chocolate.
  6. Cover your bowl of chocolate ganache with plastic cling wrap, and place it in your refrigerator for about an hour.
Filling the truffles
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper and set aside.
  2. Dust your hands with some cocoa powder.
  3. With a teaspoon, scoop out a ball of ganache. Flatten it in the palm of your hand.
  4. With a 1/4 teaspoon, scoop out a small ball of filling and place in the middle of the ganache.
  5. Fold the ganache over the ball of the filling, then roll gently into a ball. Place the candy onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. Redust your hands and repeat with all of the ganache and filling.
  7. Put the tray of truffles into the freezer to chill again for at least 15 minutes to firm up.
Coating the truffles
  1. Pour red sugar sprinkles in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Gently roll each of your chilled truffles in your hand to make them just a little tacky, roll it gently in the sprinkles, and return to the lined baking sheet.
  3. Put the tray of truffles into the refrigerator to chill again for at least 30 minutes. If not eating immediately, place them gently into an air-tight container. They will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or they can be frozen about 3 months.

DISSECTION

If you can’t find blood orange marmalade, or don’t want to make it yourself, you can use preserves or pie filling of cherry, strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, cranberry, etc. The goal is a deep red and thick filling.

You can also use those candy mold trays, but they are trickier with fillings. Be sure to dust them with cocoa mixture before pouring in ganache, so the truffles do not stick to the mold.

POST-MORTEM

These are soft and smooth and I found them to be very tasty. The gush inside makes them fun to eat. I hope you will share them with someone you love.

Morbid Meals – Chocolate Coconut Oblivion Cake

EXAMINATION

Death by chocolate seems like a great way to go. My favorite recipe comes from a cookbook called A Taste of Murder. This killer culinary collection was edited by Jo Grossman and Robert Weibezahl and contains recipes written by authors of mystery novels.

Their recipe to undertake Death by Chocolate basically makes a devil’s food cake by a mix, and adds a package of instant chocolate fudge pudding, and a whole bag of chocolate chips, with sour cream instead of milk. This makes a luscious, deep dark chocolate cake to be sure. By now I’m sure you noticed that I never do anything instant when it comes to Morbid Meals. (If you do make their original recipe, consider using the Sanguinaccio Dolce from episode #103 instead of the instant pudding.)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a restricted diet. Their recipe may not kill me, but I would definitely suffer. So this time, instead of presenting a mundane recipe and offering GF suggestions, I decided to create a completely grain-free recipe. You might even prefer this to a wheat cake. The secret? Coconut!

ANALYSIS

Makes: a two-layer cake

For the cake batter

1 cup softened butter
1 2/3 cups coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
10 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups coconut flour (9.75 oz / 275 g)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or carob powder)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups canned coconut milk
Extra butter to grease the pans
Extra cocoa powder to dust the pans

For the ganache

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup canned coconut cream

For the frosting

1/2 cup softened butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder (or carob powder)

Apparatus

  • Two 9-inch (or 8-inch) layer cake pans
  • Electric mixer or hand mixer/beater
  • Two mixing bowls

Procedure

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease up both layer cake pans with butter and dust with cocoa powder.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together for about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  3. Set the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time.
  4. Add the vanilla extract then beat at high speed for about 3 minutes.
  5. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Now add the milk and mix thoroughly for about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the wet flour mixture to the egg mixture. Beat together at high speed for about 5 minutes.
  7. Split the cake batter into each cake pan.
  8. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes at 350°F.
  9. Remove the cake pans to a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before removing the cake layers from the pans. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

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Making the ganache

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut cream over high heat until it begins to simmer, but stop before boiling. Remove from heat.
  2. Add the chocolate chips and let the chocolate melt in the cream, stirring occasionally until incorporated completely. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Making the frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar; cream together for about 2 minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  2. Add cocoa powder and beat to combine well. Continue to beat the frosting until it forms high peaks. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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Assembling the cake

  1. On a serving platter or cake stand, lay the first layer down.
  2. Spread the ganache on the top of this layer, as thick as you can. If you want a lighter filling, beat with mixer until fluffy before spreading it on.
  3. Lay the second layer cake gently on top. Spread the frosting on the top and sides of the full cake.

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DISSECTION

Since this recipe is made with coconut flour, substitutions are impractical with other flours; even almond meal doesn’t work out quite the same. So if you don’t like coconut or are allergic, grab a box cake and enjoy with my apologies.

As it happens, it is less expensive and quite easy to make your own coconut milk and coconut flour. Just know that if you do decide to make your own coconut flour, you will need to do that a day before you make the cake, as you must dehydrate the coconut for at least 8 hours.

If you are avoiding dairy, you can definitely substitute coconut/palm shortening for the butter in the cake and frosting. Do not use coconut oil; even solidified it becomes oil too quickly and then will not cream properly.

POST-MORTEM

This cake can be made as described as a double layer cake or as a bundt cake, but in that case simply dust it with some powdered sugar then drizzle the ganache on top and skip the frosting.

This cake is moist, tender, and full of rich chocolately goodness to die for. It can be a little gritty, but the ganache and frosting tends to make up for this. Your grain-free / Paleo friends will thank you.