Tag Archive for 'BlogHer Food'

The Scharffen Berger Un-Winner: The Mole Cupcake Revealed

When the propeller on the skull cap starts spinning in the wind, things become crazy in the kitchen. It was the annual Scharffen Berger recipe contest, and despite not having secured a place on the leaderboard, I am proud to have participated. Last year’s submission to the contest was so well received I had to take another whack at it. The contest kicked off at the Second Annual BlogHer Food Conference in San Francisco. Long story short, I was drooling over Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s Scharffen Berger Chocolate Pub Cakes and just couldn’t sit this one out.

{If jotting down your grocery list, please note there are three separate ingredients lists.}

Molten Mole Cupcake Ingredients

8 oz Scharffen Berger semisweet chocolate baking chunks (62% cacao)

8 TBS (1 stick) butter, plus 1 TBS (melted)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 TBS Scharffen Berger unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp cumin

2 tsps chipotle sauce (no seeds)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar** plus extra 1/3 cup for dusting

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 large marshmallows

Mexican Hot Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

1 cup half and half

2 TBS unsalted butter, cut into 1 TBS slices

3 TBS light corn syrup

9 oz Scharffen Berger semisweet chocolate baking chunks (62% cacao)

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla extract

Cilantro Pesto Ingredients

4 TBS cilantro, finely chopped

2 TBS granulated sugar

2 tsp pine nuts

Mole Cupcake Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt 1 TBS butter and using a pastry brush, coat cupcake tins, then dust each tin with remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

Melt the chocolates and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler. Add the flour, cinnamon, cumin, chipotle and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

Fill 6 cupcake cups halfway. Press a marshmallow into the center of the batter in each cup. Spoon remaining batter equally over marshmallows so that each one is completely covered with batter on all sides. Place in the center of oven and bake for 14-16 minutes, until tops are puffed and crackly. While cupcakes bake begin to make glaze and pesto.

Upon removing cupcakes from oven, gently run knife around the edges to loosen. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Remove from pan by slightly inverting and place each cupcake on dessert plate and cover with glaze and pesto.

Serve warm. Yields 6 cupcakes.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Glaze Directions

In a medium saucepan, on low temperature, heat the half and half, butter and corn syrup until cream is hot and the butter has melted. The mixture should start to bubble, and register at 175 degrees on a thermometer; do not let it come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and let it sit in the half and half for 30 seconds to soften. Add the chili powder, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk the sauce until it is smooth and all of the chocolate has melted.

Sauce can be used warm or left at room temperature until it reaches the desired thickness. To store additional sauce, pour cooled sauce into a covered bowl and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, spoon sauce into a saucepan and heat over low heat.

Cilantro Pesto Directions

Mix all together in a food processor. Place dollop on top of each cupcake.

Congratulations to the 2010 Scharffen Berger Winners!

Deliciously Organic Post-Super Bowl Recipe

While attending BlogHer Food ’10, I was invited to a party named La Petite Soirée. Much to my surprise, at the end of the night, there was a gift certificate to receive a copy of ‘Deliciously Organic’ by Carrie Vitt. The cover alone was a draw, well selected words ….simple dishes, vibrant flavors everyone will love. Upon receiving the book I couldn’t wait to take out a pad of Post-It notes to mark the recipes that I “must try”. The list was long, and I am still working through it, but a few nights ago, when I was trying to think of a great new recipe to bring to a Super Bowl party, this recipe caught my eye.

My finished photo of the crisps is tucked away at the very end of this post as it looks nothing like the photograph in Carrie’s book, but I don’t care one bit, because this recipe is full of delicious flavors. Enjoy it!

Brie and Walnut Crisps


4 oz double or triple cream Brie, room temperature, rind removed
1/2 cup (1 cube) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
4 dashes cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground rosemary
2 dashes paprika


In a food processor, pulse together Brie and butter until smooth. Add flour, walnuts, salt, cayenne, and rosemary and process until dough is smooth and just starts to form a ball. Dough will be very soft.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on the counter. Place dough onto the parchment paper and form into a log. Wrap the remaining parchment paper around the dough and then roll dough on the counter until it stretches into a log about 2-inches thick. Refrigerate a minimum of 3 hours.

Adjust the rack in the oven to the middle position and then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Unwrap dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place each round on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1/2 an inch in between each because they will expand slightly when baking. Bake your crackers at 350 degrees for 22 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Allow your crackers to cool on the cookie sheet and serve at room temperature.

Note: These crackers are delicious on their own or would be paired nicely with some fresh fruit such as a thin slice of pear with a touch of honey drizzled on top. Once cooked, the crisps are very delicate, take care when moving off of the cookie sheet.

Makes 25 crisps.

As a compensated Foodily Brand Ambassador, you can also find this recipe at www.foodily.com.

Take-In Italian (flavor benefits with out the fuss)

This past week I reconnected with my Bertolli friends that I met at BlogHer Food. The end result was a fun meal prepared for my foodie family that got rave reviews and triple servings. An hour before I wanted to serve dinner I hit the kitchen grabbed a few bags of Bertolli’s Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells out of the freezer and quickly read the directions on the bag.

It was as simple as 1-2-3. Once the pasta was in the oven baking, I shifted my attention to an asparagus and mushroom recipe adapted from Chef Rocco DiSpirito – Asparagus with Mixed Mushrooms and Fresh Parmesan Cheese. As you can see from the photos, it all looked great and the tastes were on par with the looks of the dish. The nice thing about this veggie dish is that it can be done ahead of time- I did make the mushroom marinade earlier in the day to give the flavors the maxim chance to set-up. The verdict– five empty plates and lots of smiles.

While the pasta cooked for an hour, it took but five minutes to assemble at the start and then five minutes at the end to top with cheese that needed to melt. It was like a night off without the hassle of cooking a rich dish with all of the flavor benefits.

While I really enjoyed Rocco’s vegetable accompaniment, I’ve changed it up a bit while keeping some of the core elements — asparagus and mushrooms! That said, if you wanted to keep it super simple you could pair the Bertolli pasta with a salad and call it done!

Asparagus with Mixed Mushrooms and Fresh Parmesan Cheese

1/2 cup olive oil
2 TBS garlic, finely chopped
1 TBS chives
1 TBS Italian parsley
zest of 1 Meyer lemon
1/4 lb mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1/4 lb oyster mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1/2 lb baby portobello mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
16 spears asparagus (1 bunch) or 28 medium spears
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 oz Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together oil, shallots, herbs and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and thyme sprigs and mix well. Let the mushrooms marinate at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

Bring soup pot filled with water to a boil and add 2 TBS salt. While water comes to a boil, prepare the asparagus. Trim them by gently breaking the stalks where they naturally snap a few inches from the base. (If using jumbo asparagus, peel them to about 1/2 inch below the tip.) Bundle spears with kitchen twine and cook in the boiling water until they are tender when piecred with a knife, approximately 6 minutes. Discard twine once asparagus has been removed from water.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Take the mushrooms out of the marinade and place them in the pan, forming a single layer of mushrooms. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan — as Julia Child would tell you, if you do they will not cook properly. Season with salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

When all of the mushrooms have been removed from the pan, add 2 TBS vinegar. Scrape and dissolve any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to make a sauce; pour the sauce over the mushrooms.

Arrange on a serving platter. Top with the mushrooms, juices and shaved Parmesan. (To nicely shave the cheese use a vegetable peeler). Drizzle with a dash of additional olive oil and ground pepper.

E buon appetito!

If you think you would be inspired to learn more about Bertolli you can follow them on Twitter @Bertolli or learn more about Into the Heart of Italy (www.IntoTheHeartOfItaly.com). There was an article that really appealed to my tech-side that hit this week in the New York Times, which referenced this Bertolli/Unilever promotion in regards to how old and new media can work together — if you’ve got a few minutes it is a good read.

For those Twitter-a-holics who just can’t get enough, you can also follow Chef Rocco DiSpirito at @roccodiSpirito.

Mille Grazie a Bertolli for their wine aerator and gift card to purchase a Bertolli Frozen Meal!