Summer Memory: Foraged Lavender Chocolate Bonbons

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” Charles M. Schulz

Lavender is a very elegant, fragrant herb. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make medicine. Lavender is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. It is also used for a variety of digestive complaints , loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas and upset stomach. Some people use lavender for painful conditions including migraine, headaches, toothaches, sprains, nerve pain, sores, and joint pain. Lavender is applied to the skin for hair loss  and pain, and to repel mosquitoes and other insects. Some people add lavender to bathwater to treat circulation disorders and improve mental well being. By inhalation, lavender is used as aromatherapy for insomnia, pain, and agitation. In foods and beverages, lavender is used as a flavor component. (Please note: There is some evidence that long term regular use of concentrated lavender can cause hormone imbalance in males. Due to its relaxing properties, not advised to use in conjunction with any medication that also causes relaxation or sleepiness.)

“Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can’t remember what they are.” Matt Lauer

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Ingredients
For the chocolate casing
Tempered chocolate for moulding
Bonbon center
20 g liquid glucose
2-3 tbsp lavender oil (depending on taste) or dried lavender soaked in clear liquor
115 g milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp raw cocoa powder

Drying lavender
The qualities (fragrance, oil content) of lavender is at its best before the flowers reach full bloom in the summer. Collect and cut them for drying. Snip individual flower stalks right at the point where the leaves and stalk meet. Lay the stalks out in bunches of four and gather together at the cut stem end. Tie the bunch tightly at the ends of the stems by securing a length of string around and hang the lavender flower bundles upside down by the string in a warm, dry area away from direct sunlight. The flowers will be dry and ready for use in one to three weeks, depending on the humidity of the hanging location. Dried lavender flowers can be used immediately or stored as it retains its scent for up to one year.

“Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces.” Judith Viorst

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Method
Bonbon center
Mix the lavender oil and glucose together in a small saucepan. Heat until warm, on a medium temperature setting. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the chocolate. Mix until smooth and use while soft.
Chocolate casing
Create lines of different chocolate (milk, white, dark) on the bottom of the mould with a spoon and rest it in the fridge. When set, place a spoonful of the tempered chocolate into the mould and drag it up the sides very carefully. Place in the fridge and leave to set. Spoon or pipe some of the lavender filling into the center of the chocolate mould. Cover with chocolate and leave to set before turning out.
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“Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.” Mariska Hargitay

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