The theme for this month’s Five Star Makeover Cooking Group was “cooking with wine.” As most dishes have a tendency to start, I began thinking along the lines of every fancy sounding French dish I could shake an accent at. Carrying a certain appeal now that the fall season has officially made its grand entrance, wine-based stews like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon came to mind. Then, one day in the middle of my food blog browsing while I wasn’t even looking for it, inspiration struck; no doubt, it was weird and far outside of the box, but I liked it—a lot.
Props to Koci at the blog, La Kocinera, and her lovely strawberry paté de fruits. I had never heard of the sugar-dusted jellies before seeing them on her blog, but I was instantly drawn to them. The idea of homemade gel candy really spoke to me because it reminded me of something I love to eat very much: chocolate covered raspberry jelly rings.
If you’ve never had them before, think chocolate covered gummy bear. And if you’ve never had a chocolate covered gummy bear, you need to get on that ASAP. We have a slight obsession with jelly rings in my family—like a go through two boxes in two days kind of slight obsession. And they are usually waiting right at the grocery store counter, so there is no avoiding them. Oh well!
As soon as I saw those lovely paté de fruits I pretty much immediately envisioned them being dipped in chocolate. I thought to myself, “I could make my own jelly rings!” Then, I had a gastronomical flashback of eating a Jacques Torres Grand Cru fine red wine and dark chocolate truffle, and suddenly, I remembered the jar full of coarse pink Himalayan sea salt in my cabinet. Can you tell where this is going, yet? Yep, dark chocolate covered red wine and raspberry jelly candies—with sea salt.
They start out like this: Sugar coated gummies
What I made was not paté de fruits, but something similar: a variation of Lemon Gumdrops as found in The Essential New York Time Cook Book: Classic Recipes for a New Century, by Amanda Hesser. The red wine and dark chocolate combination is so deeply indulgent and the few grains of sea salt on top make it even more so. A tablespoon of seedless raspberry preserves adds a touch of sweetness, but if you prefer a deeper red wine flavor, use two tablespoons of red wine in the gelatin mixture and eliminate the raspberry all together.
The inner gummy texture contrasts with the outer chocolate coating for a fun candy, that is a lot lighter than a truffle would be. Beware, these can be consumed in dangerous amounts—but they are definitively a trip to heaven every single time!
Don't forget to check out all of the other cooking with wine creations done by the group by clicking the 5 Star Makeover link above.
Chocolate Covered Red Wine & Raspberry Jelly Candies:
Yield: about 40 pieces
- 4 packets powdered gelatin
- 1 cup water
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon red wine
- 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry preserves
- 10 ounces dark chocolate
- Coarse sea salt
• Butter an 8-inch square baking dish. Dissolve the gelatin in ½ cup water and let stand for 5 minutes.
• Combine 2 cups sugar and the remaining ½ cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly and washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent crystallization. Add the gelatin and continue boiling and stirring until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes.
• Add the red wine and raspberry preserves and boil for 5 more minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and let set up for about 1 hour. Once set, run a knife around the rim of the gelatin to help release the entire mold from the dish; place on a cutting board dusted with sugar.
• Put the remaining ½ cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut the gel into squares; coat the pieces with sugar to prevent them from sticking as you would flour on dough.
• Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pot with only a ½-inch of water (double boiler). Once the water comes up to a boil, remove the pot from the heat and stir the chocolate until smooth.
• Place the gelatin square on a fork and dip into the chocolate until evenly coated; tap the fork to let any excess chocolate fall through. Line the chocolates on a baking sheet and sprinkle each with a few grains of coarse sea salt. Refrigerate to set the chocolate.