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Monday, June 2, 2014

Chocolate Bouchon

The first time I had a chocolate bouchon was when we visited Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery in Yountville around ten years ago. The little brownie-like cake was such a delight. Soon after the trip, I purchased Keller's Bouchon cookbook, which included the recipe for the bouchon. I always thought about making the bouchon but somehow never did. Maybe I was deterred by the 3 sticks of butter (2 tablespoons per bouchon) that's required in the recipe. Actually it was just as well that I didn't since the recipe in the first printing of the Bouchon cookbook had the wrong amount of sugar: 3/4 cup instead of 1-1/2 cup.

Two years later, Keller opened a branch of Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center in New York City, which meant I could just buy a chocolate bouchon when I needed a fix. Alas, when I moved to Taipei, bouchon, along with many other things, is no longer available. Therefore, if I want a bouchon I need to make it myself.

Recently I finally decided to take the plunge. I even bought a silicone mold from Williams-Sonoma that's specifically designed for the bouchon. I figure if I am going to do it I might as well go all the way. The recipe I use for the bouchon is from Keller's latest book, Bouchon Bakery, instead of the old book. Keller made significant changes to the recipe for a dozen bouchons – sugar is reduced from 1-1/2 cup to 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon and butter is reduced from 12 ounces to 5. It is interesting to note that the amount of sugar is now closer to the previously incorrect number in the Bouchon cookbook. Besides the reductions in fat and sugar, the new recipes have the ingredients by weight, which I much prefer over the measurements.

The bouchons are actually not too difficult to make. Melt the butter (141g) and in a separate bowl sift flour(50g) with cocoa powder(50g) and a little salt(.4g); combine eggs(75g), sugar(162g) and vanilla paste(1.5g) in a stand mixer and whisk on medium-low speed; add butter and flour mixture in six alternating turns; remove from the mixer and fold in chocolate chips(112g); let the mixture rest in a cool spot for around 2 hours; transfer the mixture into a piping bag and pipe into the molds (I find using the piping bag to be easier and cleaner than using spoons); bake for around 12 minutes in a convection oven of 350 degrees Fahrenheit; remove from the oven and let the bouchons rest in the mold for 10 minutes before unmolding (the resting time is required for the cake to set); dust with powder sugar before eating.

The bouchons are just delicious and definitely plenty rich in taste. It is hard to imagine how the bouchons would be if I had made it with the old recipe. Now when I make the bouchons they are mostly for an afternoon snack or as petit fours for a dinner party. However, when I eat a bouchon I am still reminded of the take-out lunches I had at Time Warner Center; I would order a sandwich with a bouchon as the dessert. It is always nice to have a little sweetness in life.

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