Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yogurt-Covered Raisins... Or White Chocolate Yogurt Dip

So, I recently saw a little post on Food52's Instagram with yogurt-covered raisins. There it was, and it included ingredients by name, but there were no measurements or instructions, and no recipe on their website either. 

Now, I would never say yogurt-covered raisins are an all-time favorite, but sometimes they might be what you "need"... as you might tell yourself. 
Although, thinking about them right now, they're sort of a strange food.
At the time I thought they sounded really good- especially imagining them with salted peanuts or tossed in as part of a nutty dried fruit trail mix.

Seeing everything covered in winter white might have been an extra inspiration.  

I can't say I crave white chocolate- mostly because it's overly sweet. Although there are times when it's not such a bad thing. It pairs nicely with buttery macadamia nuts, for instance.  Most of the time, I think that if you have white chocolate in a cookie, also having some dark chocolate helps to balance things out.

That said, yes, I am aware that white chocolate isn't chocolate because it doesn't have the cocoa solids. It's a different animal, and used for different purposes than dark chocolate much of the time.

Well, by no means are yogurt-covered raisins a health food. No way.
If someone chooses them over the chocolate-covered variety thinking they have some sort of an advantage, it's far from the truth. 
It's not only yogurt that covers those raisins. There's quite a bit of sugar, too. And there could be plenty of other stuff. 
(For instance, other recipes that I found included gelatin- not something I'm overly interested in for this particular application.)
The reason one really goes for them is their taste: a bit of yogurt-y tang cutting through some of that over-the-top sweetness.

As with that initial inspirational photo, the ingredients here are white chocolate, yogurt, and a touch of cream. While we could say there's plenty of junk in white chocolate, I would recommend when dealing with any type of "chocolate" (white, milk, or dark), look for something with 5 ingredients or less. Sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla, soy or sunflower lecithin (acting as an emulsifier) plus cocoa solids for the dark and milk for the white (well, milk chocolate has both, so in that case it's technically 6 ingredients). There are bean to bar makers that do not include the emulsifier- but I don't know that I would purchase something like that for cooking unless it was something very special, as the expense could potentially be a deterrent. 

White chocolate blended with yogurt helps to make the chocolate more "healthy" perhaps (while cutting some of the sweetness), and the yogurt more decadent.

Not a raisin fan at all?
Maybe dried cranberries could be dipped, or prunes could get half-coated.

If you're looking for something that would be more of an interactive dessert (a version of fondue?) pretzels or strawberries could possibly find their way into warm dip. 

Off camera, there were strawberries consumed with the white chocolate and yogurt.
And they were good. 
Though as a fresh fruit, I can say I would not recommend waiting for the dip to dry. Refrigeration however may be another story. Just make sure everything is dry before dripping. 
The same goes for pretzels: they'll likely become stale more quickly if you try to store them.

Perhaps add a little extra cream to facilitate pouring the dip as a sauce over a bowl of mixed berries? 

Yogurt-White Chocolate Dip
(covers about 2 cups of raisins)

1/3 c (70 g) Greek yogurt
4 oz (114 g) white chocolate
2 T (30 ml) heavy (whipping) cream
small pinch of salt

*Preliminary step
Place the yogurt in a fine mesh strainer or a piece of cheesecloth, suspended above a bowl in the refrigerator at least 2 hours to rid the yogurt of excess whey. The longer it drains, the shorter the time the raisins will require to dry. However, if you don't plan to use the dip as a dried coating, rather fresh and warm, you could probably skip this step completely.

Remove the yogurt from the refrigerator so it warms a bit before proceeding.
In a bowl over a small pan of gently simmering water (bain marie), place chopped pieces of white chocolate, the cream, and salt. Stir until just melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool slightly, stirring a few times to help the heat dissipate. Add the yogurt and stir until completely incorporated.

If you plan to dip raisins, let the mixture cool a few minutes so that it thickens slightly. If you plan to use the dip with fresh fruit, you can do so at any time. 

To dip raisins:
Place several raisins at a time in the yogurt mixture. Using a fork, scoop the raisins out and remove excess dip by tapping the fork against the side of the bowl. A toothpick also comes in handy to scrape excess chocolate off the bottom of the fork. Place raisins on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, perhaps again using the toothpick to ease them off of the fork.
Let the raisins set and dry, undisturbed. When the tops are no longer tacky, ease the raisins off the paper so that the undersides can dry as well.

From start to finish, the drying time at room temperature took about 20-24 hours (that is, with the minimal 2 hour yogurt draining time). 

Store the dried raisins in an airtight container up to a week.

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