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 🙂


Just a Little Snack

April 29, 2008

I don’t really need more forms of bread in my life. A true carbovore, I actually have to ration the amount of bread I eat every day, or I will just eat the entire loaf in one sitting. Seriously 🙂

HOWEVER, when I saw this very easy recipe for homemade crackers I decided right away that I just had to make them. Yes, you read that right. Homemade Crackers. The only hard part (well, besides actually trying to make them last) was what spices to use… rosemary? garlic? parmesan? Italian herbs? something with sugar and cinnamon? mmmmmm

The site I got this from, Straight From the Farm, is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only does she seem to be as smitten with homemade bread as I am, but I think it’s pretty great that all her recipes include something from her farm. Pretty cool, huh?

I figured this would be a good way to start in on my “more spices” resolution. I went back and forth on it for a while before finally deciding on rosemary, garlic and pepper.

I cannot tell you how great this dough smelled while I was kneading it. I just wanted to keep sniffing it the whole time. 🙂

Artisan Herb Crackers
Source: Straight From the Farm

2 ½ c. flour
3 t. dried herbs/seasonings
1 t. salt
4 T. olive oil
¾ c. cold water
coarse salt for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl being sure to get everything well blended.  Add the oil and half of the water and begin mixing.  Add more water as necessary to form a rough dry dough.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until it comes together into a cohesive ball.

Divide dough into even quarters.  On a piece of parchment paper, roll dough as thin as possible.  Cut the dough into squares or other desired shape and use a fork to prick each square two or three times.  Sprinkle with course sea salt. 

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown, turning the sheet once half way through.  While the first batch is baking, roll out another quarter of dough.  Let baked crackers cool before breaking apart.  Store in a ziplock bag. 

These things are great for any day, but considering all the rain we’ve been getting, what could be better than a bowl of soup and some homemade crackers?

I think I added too much pepper, and they definitely needed more garlic, but they were really great and a lot of fun to make. And again this is a recipe that’s only limited by your imagination. I am thinking about trying a cinnamon sugar blend next 😉


Taste & Create VII: (Kahlua) Hot Chocolate

March 23, 2008

 

I realize I’ve already done two other blogging events this month, and even without all of them it’s been a busy one, but this is always fun stuff. Especially this one, which I have really been looking forward to. The Taste & Create Event is a monthly blogging event by our wonderful host of For the Love of Food in which you get paired up with another food blogger, pick a recipe from their posts, make it and blog about it. There were 52 participants this month, and this is my entry.

My partner…actually partners, as it is a blogging couple, have a blog entitled We [Heart] Food. It’s a pretty great blog with healthy recipes, many that are healthy twists on old favorites and playful banter between the two.

There were so many recipes to choose from, and I am sure it will surprise no one that the two I was most drawn to were the (Almost)-Good-For-You Chocolate-Chip Cookies and their Kahlua Hot Chocolate.

I want to slowly easy into using wheat flours, so this time around I chose the hot chocolate. I’ve kept it pretty much the same so it’s just as healthy as they had it, with only a change the type of liqueur as that’s what I happened to have.

I gotta say, it’s hard to believe this thing os so non-fat/low-fat. It’s an easy recipe and perfect to relax with after a stressful day, or simply a cold, rainy spring day. And now it’s mostly guilt free too! 🙂

I actually made it twice, because I wanted to keep it as true to the original recipe as possible for the first time, but I really wanted to try it with white chocolate as well.

(Kahlua) Hot Chocolate
Source: We [Heart] Food

5 ounces dark chocolate, cut into small pieces, plus extra for mug rims
chopped mixed nuts (peanuts and hazelnuts)
3 cups 1% milk
1 cups fat-free half-and-half cream
sugar

1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup Kahlua
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
grated chocolate

To prepare the mugs, heat extra chocolate in a double-boiler until melted and smooth. Dip the rims of each mug into the chocolate, and then roll in chopped nuts. Refrigerate until ready to fill with the hot chocolate.

 

Heat the chocolate, milk and half and half cream over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, stirring until the chocolate has melted.
Whisk until the mixture is hot and frothy. Add in sugar if desired. Add in the Kahlua and vanilla; contine to whisk until the mixture is hot. Remove from heat.

Pour into prepared mugs and top with whipped cream. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

I have a pretty strong sweet tooth, and didn’t think this needed any sugar so you might want to taste it yourself before adding any. For the liqueur I used Dark Chocolate Liqueur for the dark chcolate and creme de cacao with the white chocolate. I imagine you can use anything you want with this and it’ll still come out great. I also used dark chocolate nestle’s crunch for the rims 🙂

Whatever you do with yours, enjoy 🙂


Fresh Bread Any Day

February 13, 2008

Anyone who knows me knows that I love bread in most of its wonderful forms. French bread, soft sandwich bread, rolls, biscuits, bagels. Those crusty rolls that are pillowy soft on the inside and crispy enough on the outside to cut your mouth. mmmmmm

Whether it’s something fancy, or just a slice of buttered bread when I get home from work, I have to have some bread of some sort every day. Unfortunately with work, I can’t make a loaf of fresh bread every day, so naturally it was important that I get a recipe for something bread-like that I could make any day of the week.

What I love most about this recipe is that in its original form, it makes only four biscuits, making it even easier to handle during the week. I played with it, adjusted the numbers and adapted till I had what I consider the perfect biscuits. Beautifully browned, buttery with a hint of sweetness, and of course soft and delicious. Once I achieved the results I wanted I figured out the math and now I can make these in any multiple of four I need. So now I can come home from a long day at work and have hot, fresh biscuits that don’t come from a tube. And they go well with just about anything.

homemade biscuits

Buttery Biscuits

adapted from recipe found on: CookingClub.com

makes 16 biscuits

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
fresh pepper (you be the judge of what’s enough. I never measure it and it’s always great)
12 teaspoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/3 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cover a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.

2. Sift flour into a medium sized bowl and whisk in the sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper.

3. Add the butter and with a pastry blender or two knives, cut it in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs with some pea sized pieces.

4. Pour in the milk a little at a time, mixing as you go until you have a very moist dough. You probably won’t need about a tablespoon of the milk. Put that aside.

5. Cut up the dough and form 16 rough balls. Pat down and place on a cookie sheet then brush the tops with the remaining milk.

6. Place in oven and bake approximately 10-15 minutes until tops are nicely browned.

Serve and enjoy 🙂

biscuits

It’s pretty easy to figure out, but let me know if you want the measurements for making just four of these.