Chocolate Spaetzle with Butterscotch Sauce and Candied Citrus

This is the final dish that Chef Sarah whipped up for us during our chocolate adventure.     What an über chocolate day it was and this was a perfect ending.   (We are still recovering from chocolate overload!)

Spaetzle is a small German dumpling and the name literally means “little sparrow” because the small noodles resemble tiny birds.    Spaetzle is typically a savory dish, but Chef Sarah used dark Belgian chocolate to turn these noodles  into a scrumptious dessert.    She recommends serving the chocolate spaetzle with fresh citrus, berries, whipped cream or her delicious butterscotch sauce.

Chocolate Spaetzle
From Chef Sara Leavell of The Canebrake

Makes 6-8 servings

1 c. creme fraiche
6 eggs
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped of seeds (reserve the pods for another use)*
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted
3/4 c. cocoa posder
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. salt
5 T. sugar
Olive oil, as needed
Butter, as needed

Place the creme fraiche, eggs and vanilla seeds in a blender and puree.   With the blender running, add the melted chocolate and puree until smooth and combined.

In a large mixing bowl, place the cocoa, flour, salt and sugar and whisk together.   Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid mixture into the center.    Working slowly out towards the sides, whisk the mixture together.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.


This is the type of pan that Chef Sarah used to press the spaetzle through.

Bring a pot of water to an active simmer.    Working in small batches fill a spaetzle maker, potato ricer or colander with the batter and press mixture into the boiling water.   When the spaetzle rises to the surface, cook for one minute and remove the spaetzle from the water with a slotted spoon, draining well.  Repeat until all the batter is cooked.

Toss the spaetzle in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat lightly.

To serve, heat a saute pan with butter, just until it  starts to melt.   Saute the spaetzle until it is barely crisped on the outside.

Serve with desired garnishes like fresh citrus, berries, whipped cream or butterscotch sauce.

*Place vanilla beans in sugar to make vanilla sugar.

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This is a truly horrible picture but hopefully you can see Chef Sarah forcing the spaetzle through the steamer pan.

Chef Sarah extolls the virtues of this sauce:   “Not many things can top homemade butterscotch!   I consider it one of my favorite things in the pastry kitchen right behind melted chocolate.   There are so many fun uses for this easy recipe.   Try it over homemade ice cream, a slice of apple pie or stirred into hot coffee.   This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a month.”

Butterscotch Sauce

Makes 4 cups.

1/2 c. (one stick) unsalted butter
2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 T. vanilla extract
2 t. Kosher salt (or coarse sea salt)

In  a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter.   Add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly moistened.    Cook over medium heat stirring often until the mixture changes from looking like wet sand to molten lava.

Remove from heat and add the heavy cream.   Replace your wooden spoon with a whisk and return the pan to the heat.    Cook over medium heat whisking constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Add the vanilla and salt to the mixture.

Go find a bowl of homemade ice cream and top generously with warm butterscotch sauce and enjoy!

Or, in this case, top some homemade chocolate spaetzle.

But, wait.    That is not all.   Chef Sarah then topped the dish with a candied orange.   The bitterness of the orange was perfect to counterbalance the sweet sauce.2013-02-09 13.15.49

Candied Citrus
From Chef Sara Leavell of The Canebrake

Makes 2 dozen

3 large citrus fruits
2 c. sugar
2 c. water

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside.

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut the fruit into paper-thin slices; discard seeds and ends of rind.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil.   Remove from heat and add the fruit slices.   Stir until softened, about 1 minute.

Drain and immediately plunge slices into ice-water bath.   Drain again.

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium skillet, swirling to dissolve sugar.   When liquid is clear and bubbling, reduce heat to medium-low.   Add the fruit slices, arranging them in one layer with tongs.    Simmer (do not let boil) until rinds are translucent, about 1 hour.

Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.   Let stand until ready to serve.   Store in an airtight container.   Candied citrus will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.

According to Chef Sarah, “Candied citrus can be used to dress up a salad or a dessert.   You can use any citrus fruit such as lemons, oranges, or limes.   The simple syrup left over after candying the citrus can be used to glaze fruit tarts, to sweeten ice tear, or in homemade cocktails.”  (Rhonda, aka The Kitchen Witch, recently posted a recipe for Lemon Ginger Elixir where she did use her leftover candying liquid.)

This was the perfect dish to end a perfect day of all things chocolate.




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