Thursday, February 7, 2013

Cherry Chocolate "Sushi"

Round and Round by Perry Como
The perfect "love" song for these cute little "sushi" wheels!  Perry Como got a whole new generation of admirers when they used this song in the fabulous movie, "Blast From the Past."  Watch this scene and just enjoy it! Seriously!  Click on that link!  Perry's voice has no tricks - no engineered nuance.  His is just a good old-fashioned clear singing voice that you could listen to for hours.  And this song captures that head-over-heels feeling of falling in love.  If you're not grinning ear to ear by the end of this song, you have no heart!  Round and round goes our life and our love.  And round and round goes these dessert sushi rolls - and they're likely to roll right into your heart and stay there!  

I've been thinking alot lately about me and my husband's friendship/courtship.  It was on the unique side.  We'd met in my hometown in Pennsylvania but he lived 2000 miles away in Utah.  So we got to know each other through letters.  

At first these letters were friend to friend.  But I knew something was changing when I realized that I was looking forward to his letters with increased excitement and anticipation.  No matter how rotten my day had been, when I got home and saw that I had a letter from him, my heart just exploded with joy and I raced up to my room to read what he had to say.  I fell in love with him through those letters.  We talked on the phone now and then.  That's back when long distance phone calls were for emergencies or special occasions.  Phone calls are nice - hearing each other's voice.  But letters - you can read them over and over and over again.  Sigh!!!

I've saved all of his letters.  That's them in the photo above.  I store them in this little cedar box.  Some day our children and grandchildren will read these letters and know the foundation of love from which they were born.  It does me good to pull them out and reread them.  I still get that tingly feeling inside and remember the giddiness of that young girl I used to be.

The funny thing is - as much as I loved him back then is nothing compared to how much I love him today.  Our life has gone round and round and round.  We've shared indescribable joys.  We've weathered some serious trials and rough spots.  And we've definitely hit some bumps along the way.  But here we are - still in love - still together.

I asked him last week - a little early, I know - if he'd be my valentine this year.  He said yes!
Be still my heart!

I came up with the idea for today's recipe while brainstorming with my daughter.  I really thought it was an original idea of mine - until I Googled it.  It appeared that my original idea had already been someone else's original idea.  Oh well.  It doesn't mean it wasn't a great idea!  But it's been "rolling" around in my brain for a couple years now as I've battled with my fear of making candy - and fear of failure.

Candy scares me.  It has just always seemed like science lab type of cooking.  And, it is, to a point.  But, after some internet research, and some great instruction from my mother-in-law (my candy guru), I rolled up my sleeves and decided to turn my thoughts into reality!  Dessert "sushi"!  It's a good thing!

I had hoped to be able to turn those cherry fondant centers into a heart shape.  I couldn't get it to work.  If you have an idea of how to do it, please let me know!  Nevertheless, I'm thrilled with the end result.  It's a cherry fondant center inside a chocolate ganache ring inside of a coconut candy ring.  

Nothing about this is difficult so don't be wary of wading in.  It's also a great recipe to do in stages.  You can make the fondant when you have a half an hour and wrap it and set it aside.  Roll the fondant into logs when you have another 20 minutes.  Same with the ganache.  That takes about 20 minutes to make.  Set it aside and it'll keep for you.  Same with the coconut wrapping.  It's just as patient as the others to wait.  It takes about 20 minutes to make as well.

This recipe makes 8 "sushi" rolls.  You get 8 - 10 pieces from each roll.  You can make alot of people happy for Valentine's Day this year with this recipe!  

Cherry Chocolate "Sushi"
makes 8 rolls

1/2 c. cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 t. light corn syrup
pinch of kosher salt
1 T. unsalted butter
1 t. almond flavoring
several drops of red food coloring

Chocolate Ganache:
24 oz. chocolate - I used semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. heavy cream

Coconut "wrap":
2 c. light corn syrup
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 T. unsalted butter
24 oz. shredded coconut

You will need a candy thermometer, some thread (preferably heavy duty), and some powdered sugar.

Fondant -

Grease a large cookie sheet with the tablespoon of butter called for in the recipe and set aside.  You can also use a marble slab or your counter top if its made of a heat resistant material.
Place the cream, sugar, light corn syrup, and salt in a heavy-bottomed 3 qt. pan.  You need room for the liquid to bubble up without bubbling over.  Stir until combined.  Using a pastry brush and water or a wet paper towel, wash the sides of the inside of the pan above the level of the liquid, making sure no sugar crystals remain on the side after stirring.  It's ok if the water drips down into your ingredients.

Once the sugar crystals are washed down, DO NOT STIR AGAIN and place over medium to medium high heat.  Place the candy thermometer in the pan according to its directions.  Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling it until it reaches 238-240 degrees Fahrenheit.    

Pour immediately onto the buttered sheet tray.  Do not scrape out the pan.
Let the fondant cool for a couple of minutes.  Then, using a spatula or bench scraper, start scraping and pulling the mixture into the center.  It will be very fluid at first.  Continue doing this - scraping to the center then spreading out again over the sheet tray - for about 10 minutes.  As you work the fondant, it will begin to become more stiff - then a little crumbly - and, at last, it will pull together into a mass.  At this point, knead it by hand until it is smooth and pliant.  Form it into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap and chill.

After about an hour, unwrap and flatten out.  Add the almond flavoring and food coloring and knead together.  Keep a bowl of powdered sugar nearby and use it as you knead to help it keep from sticking. When the food coloring is evenly distributed, wrap and chill again.

When you're ready to form the fondant, unwrap and divide the fondant into 8 equal pieces - about 1 1/2 oz. each.  Again - using powdered sugar to keep things from getting sticky, roll each piece into a 6 inch long rope.  Place on a lined tray, wrap and chill.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving some extending beyond the ends to act as a handle.  Very lightly spray with cooking spray and set aside.

Place the chocolate pieces into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to chop into small pieces.
Heat the heavy cream in a sauce pan just until it starts to simmer.  With the food processor running, carefully and slowly pour the heated cream through the chute into the chocolate.  You will hear when it's done as it suddenly gets very quiet and all you can hear is the whirr of the processor.  Remove the lid and observe that there are no chunks left and it is velvety smooth.  This is the easiest way to make ganache.  If you don't have a food processor, simply place the chocolate pieces in a large bowl, pour the warm cream over and let sit for about 4 minutes.  Then, start folding the mixture, bringing the bottom ingredients to the top over and over again until all is melted and smooth.

Pour the ganache into the lined sheet tray and spread out evenly.
Wrap and chill.

Coconut "wrap":
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving some extending beyond the edge to act as handles.  Very lightly mist with cooking spray and set aside.

Place the shredded coconut into a large heat-proof bowl and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed 3 qt. sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer, place the corn syrup, sugar, salt, and butter and stir to combine.  Heat over medium to medium high heat.  Bring to a boil and continue to boil until it reaches 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

Immediately pour over the coconut and stir with a large spoon to evenly coat the coconut.
Spread the mixture out into the prepared cookie sheet until evenly distributed.  You can wet your hands and use your bare hands to help work it into the corners, if needed.  Wrap and chill.

Final Assembly:

Remove the chilled ganache from the sheet tray using the overhang handles and place on a cutting board.  Using a pizza cutter, score the chilled ganache into 3" x 6" pieces.  Using kitchen scissors, cut each section along the lines, leaving paper attached to the back of each section.
If you make a mistake and score it the wrong size, don't fret!  It's very forgiving - as you can see I found out myself!  I scored for 2" x 6"!  Ganache is highly malleable.  I kind of ignored my erroneous score lines and cut them out in 1 1/2 section pieces to make the 3" x 6" I needed.

Wrap the ganache sections around the cherry fondant log centers, gently pressing to ease the ganache around the outside, bringing the edges together.  When the ganache is fully wrapped, simply peel the parchment paper off and give the log a light roll to mold the two together, using powdered sugar, if needed, to keep from being too sticky.  Wrap and chill.
Now - if you're not a coconut fan, you can stop right here.  Believe me - if you slice these up and serve them as is, they will be a delight in themselves!  Velvety ganache around a creamy cherry fondant center.  What's not to love?!  But if you're in for the full "sushi" experience, read on!

Remove the chilled coconut from the sheet tray using the paper overhang handles and place on a cutting board.  Score into 4" x 6" sections and then slice using a pizza cutter.
Peel each coconut wrap off the parchment paper and, if needed, gently spread out with fingers.  You'll  notice that there's a smooth glossy side and a rough side.
The rough side is the outside and should be showing when the roll is finished.

Place the fondant/ganache rolls on the center of the smooth and glossy side of a coconut wrap.
Gently bring the sides of the coconut wrap up and around the fondant/ganache log until they meet.  Give the completed roll a gentle roll to secure the seam.  Place completed rolls on a lined sheet tray.
Wrap and chill.

You can gift them as a complete roll, if you like, and let the receiver slice as they desire.  Just trim up those ends a bit and it's an impressive presentation.  But, if you're wanting to serve or give these as candy pieces, read on!

When ready to slice, place a sushi roll on a cutting board and cut a piece of heavy-duty thread about 24" long.  If you prefer, make some indentations on the roll to designate where you want to slice.  Ideally, each piece should be about 1/2" wide.  The rolls slice best when slightly chilled.  Place the thread under the roll in line with where you want the first cut to be.  Bring the ends of the thread up and over the top, crossing them as if you're going to tie a knot.  Don't knot but cross them and pull them through and down through the sushi roll and repeat until the roll is completely sliced.
Gift wrap or display with pretty paper!


  1. Those look so tasty! I'm certainly not a fishy sushi kinda person but wouldn't pass up these chocolatey ones any day.

    1. Melanie - these are yummmm! And I had lots of fun making them!

  2. Look yummy to me! I love coconut!
    Try rolling your pink, indent top and pinch bottom to make heart!
    Aunt Linda

    1. I tried that! And it just wouldn't work! It was too soft. Even if I got the fondant super cold first. It warmed up so quickly! I had another friend suggest just getting a heart embossing stamp and make a heart impression in the center. That would be cute, too!