Here’s what the final dessert plate looks like (the plate is just under 6” high):
Starting on the left and moving clockwise, the plate includes the following items.
Brownie with Salted Caramel
This has become one of my most requested items. It’s a rich, fudgy brownie, made with Guittard cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate. I make a homemade salted caramel sauce, and I put a layer of caramel in the middle of the brownie, together with a nice dollop of caramel and salt on top. It’s really sinful.
Espresso Marshmallow Dipped in Chocolate and Topped with Crushed Peppermint
Espresso marshmallows are my favorite flavor of marshmallow. The texture of the marshmallow is dense and chewy, and the flavor is a strong espresso, where the bitterness of the coffee flavor mitigates the sweetness of the marshmallow.
The chocolate coating is a tempered, 72% dark chocolate, which adds an intense chocolate flavor and a hard, crunchy texture.
The peppermint is crushed candy canes, and it adds a nice crunch, together with a cool peppermint flavor.
I was inspired to add peppermint to the espresso-chocolate combination by one of the workers in the coffee shop for which I provide goodies. He said that adding peppermint would turn my espresso-chocolate combination into a peppermint mocha, just like the holiday coffee drink. It turned out to be a brilliant combination!
Chocolate Covered Chocolate Cake Balls
My chocolate cake recipe yields a rich, incredibly moist cake. The cake is moist enough that I don’t need a filler to mix with the cake to form it into balls. That means I don’t have to dilute the rich chocolate flavor, the dense, cakey texture, or add any additional sugar (e.g., frosting).
I coated the cake balls in tempered, 72% dark chocolate, which, again, adds an intense chocolate flavor and a hard, crunchy texture. And I topped off the cake balls with roasted hazelnuts, for an added crunch.
Candied Fruit Dipped in Chocolate
The dessert sampler include two relatively unique selections of candied fruit: blood oranges and kumquats.
The blood oranges have a distinct tartness that’s missing from regular oranges. I dipped the blood orange slices in tempered, 72% dark chocolate. The final product provides a fantastic tart, sweet, chewy, bitter-crunchy taste combination.
Since kumquats are so small anyway, the kumquat slices are really tiny. But that tiny, chocolate-dipped slice provides a really powerful and unique taste explosion.
Chocolate Shortbread with Cocoa Nibs
The last item on the plate is a small, two-bite-sized cookie (well, two bites for most gals, but one bite for most guys). The Guittard cocoa powder produces a rich, chocolate shortbread, and the cocoa nibs add a nice, nutty crunch.