Just Desserts

May 10, 2008

One of my favorite bloggers, Evil Chef Mom has declared this day a day to paaaaarty! That means all of us out in this lovely world of blogging are preparing incredible dishes for our virtual pot luck!

Three guesses what I made…..yup, you guessed it, CHOCOLATE! It’s a little early for dessert, of course, but who says you have to save the chocolate till after dinner? hehe

Aaaand to make things even better for all of you out there joining our party, I came home to a wonderful treat last night. You see, Blake, of Blake Makes does wonderful food givaways for his faithful followers, and this last one gave every single one of us…yup, you guessed it…CHOCOLATE! Free Amano chocolate 🙂

I cannot tell you how great this chocolate is. I used the Ocumare for this recipe, but I had to of course eat some of it straight. For that I chose the Cuyagua, a limited edition chocolate and I gotta tell you, this stuff is amazing. It has such full flavor and body, like a fine wine. You should really check out the site and order some yourself.

But enough of that for now, you guys want the good stuff don’t you? Well how does this sound? Pudding, Chocolate Whipped Cream and Brownie crumbs, all with a little (okay, a LOT) of godiva dark chocolate liqueur? Hehe.

This stuff is perfect for any party, because not only is it easy and tasty, but it’s really easy to make it pretty, too 🙂

Triple Chocolate Pudding Parfait
Adapted from recipe on Epicurious

pudding
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetended cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
4 oz chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
generous splash of chocolate liqueur

whipped cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chocolate liqueur

about 1 cup of brownies, crumbled
more chocolate liqueur

Mix all of the ingredients for the whipped cream in a bowl, but do not whip yet. Put in the fridge with your beaters/whisk to chill.

Whisk cornstarch, sugar, cocoa and salt in a saucepan, then gradually whisk in milk.

Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Allow to boil until it’s nice and thick. Do not stop whisking while it’s cooking. Remove from heath and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter until melted.

Transfer pudding to a metal bowl and quick-chill by setting in an ice bath, stirring constantly. Allow to sit until you’re ready.

Take out the bowl with the whipped cream ingredients and beat until stiff peaks form.

Now comes the fun part. Sprinkle some of the brownie crumbs into the glasses/serving bowl/ dish you wish to use. drizzle on some of the liqueur, then layer the pudding and whipped cream. Repeat as many times as you can. Garnish as desired. Enjoy 🙂

I really had fun making this. If you’re gonna be sharing with kids you can take out the chocolate liqueur completely, and just replace it with vanilla for the whipped cream.  The Amano chocolate really made a difference with this. I have one more bar left, and already have a great idea for it 🙂

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Even Treats Grow Up Sometimes

April 12, 2008

 

So my friend Kim, (the fiancee of my dear friend Dean, whom I have mentioned before) finally turned 21 last month! We were all very excited about it, and of course I just had to make something special for her.

It took me quite a while to come up with a great gift. I thought up, and shot down a few ideas before coming up with something I liked, but I don’t think I wavered once on this treat.

You see, Kim is a chocoholic like me. Which makes it easy to come up with ideas, and to top it off when she and Dean came to my place for a season finale party, she couldn’t resist the brownies I had made. Granted, being such a good friend I kept moving the plate right in front of her, but still, they seemed to make her really happy so I was already leaning that way when I saw a recipe on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody for liqueured brownies!

Yes, my dear friends, brownies, like the hot chocolate I made last month, have finally grown up 🙂

Because I really like the brownie recipe I made back in February, I decided just to take the concept from Peabody and use my own recipes. I’ve used that same brownie recipe here, added a little liqueur (okay, a lot of liqueur) and instead of her buttercream frosting I used a powdered sugar glaze. With liqueur instead of water, of course 🙂

Can you imagine anything better than these after a long hard day? You get tons of rich fudgy chocolate AND just enough alchohol to make the stresses of the day melt away.

Boozy Brownies

source: CookingClub.com

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup creme de cacao

Glaze
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon creme de cacao

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square pan. In large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk in eggs until well-combined.

2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into egg mixture until well-combined. Stir in chocolate chips then spread in pan.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but with some crumbs attached (brownies may sink in center). While brownies are still hot, generously brush liqueur over the top then allow to completely on wire rack.

4. Once cool, cut brownies, place them on wire rack with a little space between them. Mix the ingredients for the glaze, adding a little more liqueur if needed. Pour into a zip lock bag, cut off the tip and drizzle over brownies.

As you can probably tell, adding so much liqueur after they were baked made them a little gooey, almost like they were underbaked (even though they weren’t!) If you try it yourself, you might want to overbaked them a little. Then again, gooey chocolaty, boozy brownies are always good.

I am really happy with how these things turned out. They are rather potent, so make sure little hands don’t stray to the wrong plate, but they really are great.

Update: I sent some of these home with Kim, and brought some into work. Dean dove into the home ones immediately and loved them, and at work they were gone almost instantly, so this is definitely a winner 🙂


Pie Day and My Naked Pie

March 14, 2008

Raise your hand if you know what today is. That’s right! 3.14(159265) and that makes it Pi Day (or pie day).

During my random blog surfing last month I stumbled upon Evil Chef Mom’s blog about Pie Day (you can read that blog here). At that point there were already 15 people signed up to bake a pie for this happy day. I personally can’t think of anyone that doesn’t love pie of some sort, and as much as I love puns and plays on words as well, I just had to join in.

I even knew right away what I wanted to contribute to the event. Most people who spend a lot of time in the kitchen have a cache of recipes that they want to try eventually. Not just a pile of cookbooks, but recipes that have actually caught their eye, their imagination, or immediately elicited drool. This one, a tart with a cookie crust, and gooey caramel under a brownie-like layer is understandably something I have been dying to try for quite a while but things kept happening to prevent it.

First, I was planning to do this as a thanksgiving treat for myself but at that time my money was too tight to buy the ingredients I needed. Then I realized I didn’t have the right pan and had to budget for that, and so on, and so forth. You get the picture. Well finally the pan had arrived so I was just waiting for a good opportunity to make it.

Then came Pie Day! And as it is right before I meet up with my friends for a big convention, I can now finally bake my topless pie. Such a yummy naked contribution. 🙂

bite or pie

I am really happy I finally did this. It came out beautiful and is just as tasty as it sounds. The brownie top layer was chewy and super fudgy and the caramel was so warm and sweet and creamy, I would have crawled into it if I could have.

caramel pie

Double Chocolate Caramel Brownie Tart
adapted from recipe found on Cookingclub.com

Dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut up
1 egg, beaten

Filling
20 caramels
1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (6-oz.) pkg. semisweet chocolate chips, melted

1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa and baking powder in large bowl; whisk well to blend. Add butter and cut with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces. Add 1 egg; beat 30 seconds or until dough just begins to form. Form dough into flat round; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. (Dough can be made up to 2 days ahead.)

2. On floured surface, knead dough to soften slightly. Roll dough into 12-inch round 1/8 inch thick; place in 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Run rolling pin over top of pan to trim dough. Refrigerate 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line crust with foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges begin to set. Remove foil and weights; cool on wire rack while preparing filling.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Place caramels and 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk in small saucepan; heat over medium-low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Pour over crust and spread evenly.

5. In medium bowl, stir together remaining sweetened condensed milk, 1 egg and melted butter. Add melted chocolate chips; stir to combine. Pour over caramel.

 chocolate pie

6. Bake 35 minutes or until top is dry and center is set. Cool on wire rack 30 minutes; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I wasn’t quite happy with the crust the first time I tried it (yes, I have made this twice in the last week lol) so I added two teaspoons of sugar and two tablespoons of butter the second time around. The dough was much easier to deal with but I haven’t tasted it yet. Up to you if you want to try it the original way or my way. It has a crisp, cookie-like texture and plenty of chocolate either way, but it was a little hard to work with because it was a little crumbly even before it was baked and my major sweet tooth thought it needed a touch of sugar.

chocolate caramel tart

Other than my little change to the crust this thing is great. As soon as we cut into the second one I’ll let you know how the revised crust turned out. In the meantime, enjoy, and Happy Pie Day 🙂


Anti-Valentines Day Brownies

February 11, 2008

Any chocoholic knows what it’s like when you get a craving. More often than not a piece of chocolate will do, but sometimes you need something truly thick and rich with chocolate; and that craving will stick with you till you satisfy it.

I got one of those cravings recently, and since I was also hoping to bribe a friend to come visit before he leaves town for a week I thought I would make some brownies. The perfect answer to both bribe and craving. Unfortunately schedule problems prevented the brownies from working as a bribe, so now their job is to ward off the Valentines Day Blues.

Most of my homemade not-from-a-box brownies only come out okay, so I thought I would try this recipe for a change. Rather than using melted chocolate like most of the ones I have tried, this one uses cocoa. It is supposed to be “deep dish” as well, but since I don’t have the pan yet (stupid amazon is slow with the shipping!) I just used my casserole dish as usual, but if you have an 8 inch square pan you should definitely try it in that cause there isn’t much better than a thick, fudgy brownie.

brownies and milk

 Even with the bigger dish these came out damn thick and chewy so I am pretty happy.

Deep Dish Brownies

source: CookingClub.com

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 8-inch square pan. In large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk in eggs until well-combined.

2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Gradually stir flour mixture into egg mixture until well-combined. Spread in pan.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean but with some crumbs attached (brownies may sink in center). Do not overbake. Cool completely on wire rack.

plate 'o brownies

I added some milk-chocolate chips and they came out great. They are a little buttery, so you might want to experiment using some water/milk instead of some of the butter, but even with that they equal chocolatey goodness. It’s hard to think about (or even care about) being alone on this so-called holiday with something this good.

 Update: The next day the excessive buttery just made these things even better so the recipe doesn’t need to be adjusted. Just top it with hot fudge or caramel and serve with milk 🙂