Did Somebody Say...Chocolate Pickles?

Chocolate pickles... They're extreme, baby!

Today, class, we'll be talking about chocolate pickles. In this world, there are two kinds: those made of solid chocolate formed in pickle-shaped molds (a crass imitation of the real thing), and the real thing itself -- crunchy brine-soaked cucumbers covered in chocolate. Mmmmm.

If you're extreme enough to risk chocolate sauerkraut cake, chocolate covered pickles ought to be a shoo-in. Sauerkraut's just pickled cabbage, after all. So...let's consider the Zen of pickles and chocolate, shall we? They're not as bad as they sound, and you don't have to be pregnant to crave 'em.

Availability

Chocolate pickles may not be the ├╝ber-popular taste sensation that, say, chocolate covered cheese slices are, but you really can find them commercially if you look hard enough. They come in varieties both dill and sweet, and you may have to pay as much as $20 for a pound or so.

If that's a little too extreme for your blood, well, there's always the opportunity to make your own chocolate-covered gherkin snacks. No, we're serious. It's not even that difficult. Stop laughing, and we'll be happy to provide you with our own favorite recipe.

And Away We Go

Okay, we know this is weird, but the interesting mix of tastes and textures makes chocolate pickles worth trying. If it makes you feel better about fixing them, just call them by their French name: Couverts cornichons au chocolat. Everything sounds so much better when you give it the Le Cordon Bleu treatment, oui?

This is an easy recipe, because there are just two ingredients. You'll need to decide the type of pickle you want, of course -- sweet or dill. The latter makes for a greater flavor contrast, naturally. (Again, by "pickles" we mean pickled cucumbers, not beets or onions or pig feet, though you're welcome to try those).

Whatever pickles you choose to use, be sure they're as dry as possible before dipping them in the chocolate. Addition of moisture can make melted chocolate "break," ruining the crystallization process. So pat the pickles as dry as you can with a paper towel before you start the process.

Temper, temper

Once the dried pickles are in hand, you'll need to melt the chocolate so you can dip them. This is a case where the old fondue pot simply will not do. In order to get the best flavor and presentation, you'll need to use rich couverture chocolate and temper it appropriately.

Once the chocolate is melted and tempered, you have very little time to coat the pickles before it firms up. Your best bet is to us a small set of tongs to dip the pickles in the melt, or go whole-hog and pour the chocolate over the gherkins. Once coated, refrigerate them for an hour, et voila -- genuine chocolate pickles!

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