Sometimes I have a hard time starting posts because I don’t have a story to tell about the recipe. Normally I might just stumble upon a recipe a thought it looked good or wanted to experiment with a new bread. Well, that isn’t the case today. These chocolate cigars were inspired by one of my favorite memories of my Grandpa from when he visited us one summer about 10 years ago.
After lunch at a deli one day we went over to the dessert/pastry case and my mom let us each eagerly pick out our own sweet treats. He picked out a chocolate cigar that was far and away the biggest thing in the case (hey, he was on vacation!). It was this colossal heap of puff pastry, chocolate, nuts, and powdered sugar. You know, something light to cleanse the palette.
We got home and he sat down at the kitchen table and my mom brought it to him on a plate it could barely fit on. He proceeded to cut himself a piece of this normally forbidden fruit and promptly polished it off with a chorus of ‘Mmm’s and ‘Aaah’s.
He didn’t let a single crumb go to waste and it was clear the complete and total enjoyment he was getting from it, savoring each bite. And when he finished he glanced at the leftover half sitting on the plate before him, and you could see the wheels turning, him thinking, ‘Yeah, I’m gonna eat this whole thing’. And sure enough he did, piece by piece, over the next few minutes, until it was gone. Each time he’d cut off a tiny bit, wolf it down, and then say, ‘You know, I think I’ll have just one more’, as if he were Charlie Bucket buying candy. I still have trouble pinpointing exactly what it was about the whole situation that has made it such a vivid memory, but it continues to stick with me.
These aren’t quite the same as what he had but they were still great. I used phyllo dough instead of puff pastry which resulted in a crisper outside. I made a chocolate almond filling but had infinitely more phyllo dough than filling. If you do buy sheets of phyllo dough like I did be prepared to have a TON left over. It freezes well and we have made mini quiches and a few other things with them since.
When the chocolate ran out I improvised an apple cinnamon filling by finely dicing an apple and mixing it with a teaspoon of sugar. Just to make sure they were sweet enough, I melted a bit more chocolate and drizzled it over the finished product. Enjoy!
Chocolate Cigars (Makes about 2 dozen)
- 3 + 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and divided
- 1/2 C heavy cream (regular milk can substitute)
- 1/4 C ground almonds or walnuts
- 1/4 C powdered sugar
- 1 T cornstarch
- 1 egg
- 4 T butter, melted
- Phyllo pastry, cut into 6 inch squares
Place 3 ounces of the chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Add in nuts, sugar, cornstarch, and egg. Mix well until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick mats.
Very lightly brush the edges of a piece of phyllo dough with butter and place a spoonful of filling at the edge of one side. Spread it out a bit so that it runs almost the length of the dough. Roll over the filling, then fold in the sides towards the center. Then keep rolling until it is sealed up. Place the rolled cigar on your baking surface and repeat until you run out of filling.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cigars are lightly browned. While they are baking melt the final 2 T of chocolate. Drizzle over the baked cigars as they are cooling.
Recipe adapted from Joy of Kosher.