Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina and attending The College of Charleston, I was spoiled having first class restaurants in my backyard. One of the best group of restaurants in Charleston is Maverick Kitchens, which includes High Cotton, Post House and SNOB (Slightly North Of Broad). I’ve been blessed to be able to dine at two of the three. Always impressive.
When we we moved to Columbia, I was shocked at the lack of great restaurants and I quickly realized how good I had it in Charleston. As you can imagine, I jumped for joy when I heard that we’d be getting a new shopping center right down the road from our house, called Cross Hill Market, which houses a Whole Foods, Basil (which is probably my favorite restaurant ever), Taziki’s, a Charleston Cooks! and many more. The shopping center is basically like a little bit of Charleston in my backyard!
Well, I’m hear to tell you about Charleston Cooks’ cooking classes, specifically the only one that would have me wrapped around its finger, A Chocolate Workshop.
First of all, the kitchen is exquisite. I could literally pack my bags and move in just to use that kitchen every day. It has over $100K worth of Thermador professional appliances, granite and wood countertops, two beautiful sinks, and enough all-clad and swiss diamond cookware to make you drool. So, even getting to use the kitchen is a treat! The instructor, Chef David and his wonderful assistant, Meg, a.k.a. Mama Butta were wonderful, too.
The class began promptly at 10am, putting our aprons on and getting an overview of what we’d be making. We immediately broke out into groups, choosing which recipe we’d like to focus on out of the following:
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Chocolate Almond Torte
- Molten Chocolate Cake
- Chocolate Truffles
Since I’m peanut butter and chocolate obsessed, up first is Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. We learned how to whip up the peanut butter filling and melt the chocolate. A little added bonus was how to fix unexpected problems. Our chocolate began to harden in the double boiler, loosing too much moisture. So, Chef David taught us that you can whisk in some of the simmering water to the chocolate to re-hydrate it. Always good to know how to fix mistakes in the kitchen so you don’t have to start all over again!
The class was all hands-on and for people of all ages. Chef David and Meg bounced to each station quite regularly to make sure everything was working beautifully.
The beauty of the class, too, is that it’s for people of all skill levels.
Next up, chocolate covered strawberries! They were first dipped into semi-sweet chocolate and then drizzled with white chocolate. The contrast of the two chocolates is just beautiful making it gorgeous even with a nice, messy drizzle.
One of the simplest recipes was the chocolate torte. Whisking just a few ingredients together and baking, you’ve got a fabulous chewy and crunchy torte! To add extra flare, Chef David showed us the power of the immersion blender to make chocolate whipped cream. He simply added heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder to a cup and within 20 seconds, we had beautiful chocolate whipped cream!
Probably the most challenging recipe that we prepared were the Molten Chocolate Cakes. A lot of whisking was involved, but I’d say it was a job well done to all the hands that prepared it.
With a quick pour and pop in the oven, we had gooey chocolate cakes warm out of the oven. I’m thinking these are the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day. Don’t you agree? 🙂
Oh, and the quick tip that Chef David shared with us was to spray the ramekins with cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle piece of parchment paper and spray again with cooking spray. The cakes popped out of the ramekins with ease, right out of the oven.
If you’re mouth is watering right now, that’s completely normal. 😉
Last, but not least, are the chocolate truffles. A multi-step process:
- melting the chocolate filling
- shaping into balls
- dipping into chocolate
- covering in toppings
- and eating…the best part.
They are sure to impress. With time being a factor in the chilling process, they didn’t turn out as round as we would have liked, but when we make them at home, I’m sure they will be perfect!
We rolled them in the following toppings:
- chocolate sprinkles
- cocoa powder
As I’m sure you could guess, the chocolate sprinkles were my favorite topping. Chocolate, on chocolate, on chocolate. How can you go wrong?
Once everything was out of the fridge and ovens, we were ready to dive in and taste the ‘chocolate’ of our labor. They provided water and wine to enjoy with our goodies. With the warmth of the sun shining through the huge windows of the kitchen, it made a perfect end to our morning.
Overall, the class was a hit! We made great food and good friends with heart-felt conversation. Chocoholics united as one in a beautiful kitchen. If you have a chance to attend a cooking class at Charleston Cooks! be sure to take the opportunity. It’s great for all skill levels. You won’t be sorry! 😀
I was provided with a complementary Chocolate Workshop class at Charleston Cooks. My opinions are my own.