Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chocolate Diamonds

“Kissing your hand may make you feel very good, but a diamond lasts forever.”
-Anita Loos, author of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

  I love diamonds. Not your  less ordinary small chips you find at Walmart. I am talking BLING of EPIC proportions. Royal family, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and Oprah sized .

 Diamonds are a girls best friend, any time of the year . However, with the price of beauty can carry a curse. Here are a few of the most beautiful, rare and notorious diamonds in the world.

 The Hortensia Diamond

Our next notorious diamond also has a Napoleonic connection: it was named for Hortense, the daughter of Napoleon’s stepchild, the Empress Josephine. The Hortensia is twenty carats in size, with a pale coral cast. This diamond also disappeared, along with other French Crown Jewels, during the theft that took place in 1792. It was later recovered, along with the others, only to be stolen again in 1830. After the theft, the diamond was rapidly located and returned to its rightful owner. This diamond has a crack along its pavilion, unlike the other diamonds on our list. However, it is so steeped in French history and Napoleonic legend, that it retains its pricelessness despite the flaw. The stone now rests in the Louvre, a glittering symbol of France and of the courage of Napoleon, with whom it will always be linked.

 The Star of Africa Diamond

This diamond is the largest on our list, with an almost unbelievable carat size of 530.20 carats. The stone is also know as the Cullinan I, and it was cut from the original Cullinan diamond, which was over 3000 carats in weight. It is rumored that the diamond was studied in detail for almost 12 months before the cutter felt prepared to facet the stone, which was crafted into a teardrop shape with 74 facets. The Star of Africa gains its notoriety from its inclusion in the Royal Scepter of the British Crown Jewels, which rest under heavy guard at the Tower of London.

 The Darya-ye Noor Diamond

This diamond has some other romantic names: it is also referred to as the River or Light, or the Ocean of Light. This pale-rose colored diamond has a carat weight of 182, and it is an important addition to the Crown Jewels of Iran. This diamond was discovered in India, and it has remained there, in the ownership of mughal emperors. As it was passed down from generation to generation, it was eventually adopted as an armband decoration by the reigning Nasser-Al Din Shah Qajar. Various members of Indian royalty would adopt the gem to adorn their headpieces or clothing over the years: when not in use, it remained carefully hidden in the Golestan Palace.

 The Eureka Diamond

This diamond was the first ever discovered in South Africa, one of the world’s most prolific sources of diamonds. The diamond was found by a young boy, while he worked as a shepherd, along the shores of Hopetown’s Orange River. This diamond weighed in at 231 carats before being faceted. The Eureka diamond eventually traveled to England for the inspection of Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. This famous diamond, like many on our list, was destined to change owners many time, before being purchased by the diamond conglomerate, De Beers, in 1967; it is now on permanent display at the Kimberly Museum in South Africa, where it remains a symbol of one of South Africa’s most lucrative national resources.

The Dresden Green - my favorite!

This extraordinary and rare pear-shaped stone weighs in at 40.7- carats, and is named for the capital of Saxony: its unique, deep-green color sets it apart. The Dresden Green came from India, and it was sold to Frederick Augustus II, son of the ruler of Saxony, Frederick Augustus I. Known as Augustus the Strong, Frederick’s father commissioned the construction of many fine buildings in Dresden, and filled them with all manner of glorious art treasures he collected from around the world. Although Frederick Augustus I admired the diamond for years beforehand, Frederick Augustus II was the first to actually own it. The Dresden continued to be passed through royal ownership and admired for its flawless, emerald-green hue. It currently rests in the Albertinium Museum in Dresden: it was once displayed alongside the Hope Diamond at the Smithsonian Museum, at the request of noted jeweler Harry Winston, who felt that the Dresden was the only other stone in the world that could hold a candle to the Hope Diamond.

  A girl can dream ..Can't she? 
Now for some edible ones.....

adapted from Jacques Torres' A Year in Chocolate
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) plus 3 1/2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature ( I omitted the Tablespoons-pure laziness)
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Place the butter and 2 1/2 cups of the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle. Cut the vanilla bean crosswise into thirds. Split one-third in half lengthwise and, using the edge of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds into the butter and sugar. Reserve the remaining 2 pieces.
  2. Begin beating the mixture on low speed, then raise the speed to medium-high as the sugar begins to incorporate into the butter. Continue beating for about 4 minutes, or until the mixture is very pale in colour and fluffy.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and divide the mixture in half. Transfer one-half of the mixture to another bowl.
  4. To the half remaining in the mixer bowl, add a scant 3 cups of the flour, the cocoa powder, and the seeds of 1 of the remaining pieces of vanilla bean. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Scrape the dough from the bowl into a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Wipe the bowl clean with a paper towel.
  5. Transfer the other half of the dough to the cleaned mixer bowl. Add the remaining 3 cups flour, the cinnamon, and the seeds of the remaining piece of vanilla bean. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Scrape the dough from the mixer bowl into a clean bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment
  7. Remove both doughs from the refrigerator. Transfer the cinnamon dough to a clean, flat work surface and, using the palms of your hands, form it into a rope about 3/4 inch in diameter.
  8. Lightly flour a clean, flat work surface. Place the chocolate dough in the centre of the floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough about 2 inches wide and the same length as the cinnamon rope. Using a paring knife, trim one of the long sides of the chocolate dough to make a neat, straight edge. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the top surface of the chocolate dough with water to help the two doughs stick together. Place the cinnamon rope on the trimmed edge of the chocolate dough and begin rolling the chocolate dough up and over the cinnamon rope to enclose it completely. Trim the other long side to make a neat, straight edge to finish the roll, and press together to seal securely. If necessary, brush a little water on the seam edge to ensure that it stays closed. If the dough is very soft, place the roll in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  9. Place the remaining 1 cup sugar on a clean surface. Lightly brush the entire exterior of the roll with water. Lay the roll in the sugar and then roll it back and forth to coat it generously. If necessary, add more sugar, as you want a thick coating.
  10. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the roll crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place the cookies, cut side down, on the prepared cookie sheets, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart.
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until just lightly coloured. Remove from the oven, transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely.
  12. Store, in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

 my chocolate diamond earrings and ring

These are light and festive, made with cake flour. A nice alternative from all purpose. These can be mixed and flavored to your pleasure. I have a few in mind :)

TIP: Store your rolled cookies in a paper towel tube. This makes it easier to cut them in equal thickness, and eliminates a flat side that can occur when first stored in the fridge.

Love on the rocks!

    1 comment:

    1. Here is another stone for you from my country: