Tag Archive for 'chocolate'

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Snapping Ginger Punklin Pie

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If you are looking for a way to celebrate Thanksgiving with a dessert that has a twist to it and avoids the traditional pumpkin pie concept, this recipe should win you rave reviews. My contribution to this recipe was a bit of tweaking, however Debbie is the genius behind the lovely mix of flavors!

With Thanksgiving immediately around the corner, I am both thankful for this wonderful amalgamation of flavors and to the people at Crosby and Taylor for treating me to this lovely pewter measuring spoon set. Each short handle is styled as a curling grape vine and each pewter bowl is decorated with grapes and leaves. The pewter stand matches the spoons, with grapes and grape-leaf spilling over the base. It is kitchen art at its finest.

Since the arrival of this set it has adorned my kitchen counter and received numerous compliments. In the spirit of giving, one lucky reader that comments will be randomly selected to win a set of their own. Tell me what you are most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday season.Oh and did I mention, that this item is a Paula Deen favorite and was featured in her magazine as well as on TV?

Snapping Ginger Punklin Pie

Note: This recipe should be prepared 8-24 hours in advance to allow time to set-up.

Ingredients

10 oz (2 cups) ginger snaps

1/4 cup sugar

6 TBS unsalted butter

8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup heavy whipping cream

caramel ice cream topping

1 gallon pumpkin ice cream, softened at room temperature for 15 minutes

1 heath bar candy, crushed

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove ice cream from freezer, remove lid and set on counter.

In a food processor, add ginger snaps and pulse until crumbled. Set aside in a medium bowl, add sugar and stir. Melt butter and add to bowl; combine well. Coat a 10-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray, press cookie mixture into pan in a very thin layer, going slightly up the slides. Place in oven and cook for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl and stir every 30-45 seconds. Once melted, add heavy cream, stirring until completely mixed. Spread chocolate ganache over crust then coat with caramel sauce. Place ice cream in pan, and smooth with a bit of texture.

Place heath bar in food processor and pulse until crumbled. Sprinkle over top of pie and then drizzle a little more caramel sauce. Place in freezer and chill for 8-24 hours. Before serving remove from freezer for 10 minutes.

Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

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When you want to get American, go with a gourmet twist on a nostalgic treat, Rice Krispie treats can morph into taste bud magic. Get ready for an easy dessert for picnics or BBQs that will have your guests smiling from ear to ear.

Chunky Krispie Chocolate Cherry Treats

Ingredients

3 TBS salted butter

1 (10 oz) bag of large marshmallows

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

Directions

Line an 8×8-inch square pan with foil, allowing excess foil to to hang over edges to enable easy removal when its time to serve them. Coat foil with cooking spray or butter.

In large pot, over low heat melt butter. Add marshmallows, white chocolate chips and cook, stirring continuously until melted and smooth, approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, add in vanilla and stir until well mixed. Then add in cherries until well incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape mixture into the prepared pan and press into corners and bottom. Let cool for 1 hour.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips until smooth, checking and stirring every 30 seconds. Using a spoon, drizzle melted chocolate chips over krispies and allow to set for 15 minutes. Take hold of foil overhang and lift krispies from pan. Cut into squares and serves.

Approximately 16 squares.

cookie-o-logy

A friendship that can go the distance is worth waiting for. It had been four score and umpteen days since my former Florentine roomie had visited the San Francisco Bay Area. We had seen each other in between, and talked as often as life would permit, but having her here made each morsel taste more flavorful. As is often the case, my memories are provoked by food related stories. This story would start the same, but to the keen eye there are differences. We were two young American brown-eye’d girls living in Florence, and life was just FUN. Our apartment, the nicest I had ever had, was on Piazza D’Azeglio and it was a location that completed the vision of what life in urban Tuscany was like. Funds were often quite limited, so we cooked…and we cooked, and found that we just loved the ritual of shopping, preparing, cooking and eating an array of fresh flavors.

My earliest recipe development takes root in Piazza D’Azeglio. Dishes I still covet today all began in this lovely, tiny, modern kitchen; risotto with mushrooms (Porcini Risotto), pasta with tuna (Pasta al’Tonno), rabbit stew (Coniglio a la Campagnola -I know, how politically incorrect!). But I have digressed, my love for Burley (her given name: Kimberly), grew in Italy, and has never wavered.

Now back to food, upon her arrival I quickly found myself in the kitchen, with her by my side. We played and fussed with this recipe until it was anything but Italian, but it was all too reminiscent of so many things that comprise our friendship: chocolate chunk cookies (not easy to find in Italy), pinenuts (traditionally found in pesto sauce, we wanted to pair it with a sweet combination), oatmeal (get healthy- it is 21st century), and ginger (well, sailing on the Almafi coast can make you a bit ill and digesting ginger does help). Mix it all together and what have you got? The perfect cookie to take with you when you go sailing and want to feel indulgent- Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies, AKA Race Committee Cookies, concocted by two girls who used to live in Italy. (Did you manage to follow that complex web of cookie-o-logy?)


Ginger, Chocolate Oatmeal & Pinenut Cookies (AKA Race Committee Cookies)

Ingredients

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup oats
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup candied ginger, chopped into pieces
1 cup dark chocolate, chopped (we used Scharffen Berger’s Ben Tre Dark Chocolate for this recipe)
1/2 cup dark chocolate, grated
1 cup pinenuts, toasted (or substitute chopped macadamia nuts)

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan, on medium-low heat toast pine nuts. They will brown quickly so be sure to watch them closely. When light brown in color, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large-size bowl, beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Then add in eggs and vanilla and beat well.

In a small-size bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, shredded chocolate and salt; mix well. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and blend well. Stir in oats, coconut, nuts chocolate chunks; mix well

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Yields 4 ½ dozen (unless you eat too much of the batter, which I am prone to do!)

Note: A great tip is to bake half and freeze half in a log shape in plastic wrap and then foil. Then for quick, hot, fresh baked cookies, cut a few sections off and pop them onto a cookie sheet and place them into a pre-heated oven. They may require a few extra minutes of cook time once frozen, but they will be a delicious TREAT. And for those of you that read my Halloween post earlier this week, consider this post the Treat to my Trick post.


Going Dark & Getting Competitive

Once upon a choc’late time
A long long choc’late time ago,
The Golden Age of Choc’late began.
I know, ‘cos I was there….

…………… choc’late ripples or choc’late tipples,
Choc’late ruffles or choc’late truffles,
Choc’late kisses for sweet young misses,
Soft and creamy, completely dreamy………
(excerpted from the ‘The Golden Age of Chocolate’ – Willy Wonka)


And so it began, a SWEET invitation from the folks at Scharffen Berger® to participate in their Chocolate Adventure Contest. As part of the contest this year, daring cooks – professional and amateur- were invited to develop original and creative recipes with Scharffen Berger products and to incorporate one or more of 16 enticing ‘adventure ingredients’. Adventure ingredients were: fresh mint, fresh or crystallized ginger, pandan leaf, banana leaf, sumac, raw honey, cacao nibs, fresh or whole dried chili pepper, malbe, peanut butter, back-eyed peas, rice flour, papaya, cumin, paprika, smoked sea salt. The key personality behind the competition – Chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake and Orson.

Never having done this type of competition before, I spent a great deal of time developing a list of eligible recipe ideas. I submitted two recipes for consideration in the ‘sweet’ category, and one of those two submissions made it into the top 16 out of over 1,000 entries.

While my ranking was not a prize holding spot, it was truly an honor to be among the likes of this group of contestants. It was a blast to cook under the guise of a new purpose- not just for dinner or a party, but to compete and create a recipe with a competitive directive. The end result — two recipes I am thrilled with ….and the near winner will be shared with you today. It is a seemingly wacky combo of ingredients but one well worth trying if you are willing to move away from those traditional desserts and put forward an eye-popping treat.

Spicy Chacon (Chocolate Bacon) Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup butter
2 -3/4 cup lightly salted, dry roasted peanuts
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla

Peanut Brittle Directions

Prepare 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or butter. Set aside

In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in water and vanilla. Set aside.

In a 4 quart saucepan, heat together sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring until sugar dissolves.

When syrup boils, blend in butter. Stir frequently.

When temperature reaches 280 degrees add peanuts. Stir constantly to hard crack stage (305 degrees). Remove from heat; quickly stir in soda, mixing well.

Pour onto baking sheets.

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Ingredients

½ lb bacon, cooked
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate (4 oz Scharffen Berger 62% dark chocolate and 2 oz milk chocolate)
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp Hungarian paprika
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sumac

Spicy Chocolate Glaze Directions

Prepare bacon, cooking on medium-low heat until dry and crispy but not blackened. Set aside on towel to drain and cool. Once cool crumble into medium size pieces.

Melt chocolate and mix in all other ingredients until well blended.

Spread on brittle and then sprinkle with bacon.

Loosen from pan when candy hardens. Break into pieces.
Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

Thank you to the group at TuttiFoodie and Scharffen Berger for the opportunity to compete. I look forward to the next competition!

The video of the final competition judging can be seen at The Scharffen Berger Chocolate Adventure Contest.

The alternative to the white sugar cookie

While I love to cook and give away my treats, I adore receiving them. When my friend Yasemin Krause @yaseminck presented me with a gift box of these cookies I immediately asked her for the recipe. Graciously, she shared her recipe for these adorable and delicious cookies which seem like the perfect Spring-time indulgence. Aside from being delicious, these cookies would make a wonderful hostess gift or party favor. If you decide to decorate them with frosting I would recommend a combination of white, dark pink and/or royal blue as these colors look great against the dark chocolate coloring of the cookie.

CHOCOLATE SUGAR COOKIES

Cookie Ingredients

2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking power
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsps vanilla

Icing Ingredients

2 large egg whites
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
Optional: Food coloring

Cookie Directions

In a large-size bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder. Mix well.

In a separate small-size bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg is added. Add vanilla and beat all together. Then add to the flour mixture. Using a large spoon mix until smooth.

Divide dough in half and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for approximately 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut cookies in shapes of your choice and place on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the outsides of the cookies look crisp.

Cool for 10-20 minutes. Serve as is, with powdered sugar or decorate with frosting.

Icing Directions

In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice.

Add the powered sugar and mix until smooth.

Optional: If using food coloring, add in as much as desired until you get the color of your choice.

Use the icing immediately to prevent the icing becoming too hard to use.

The Ultimate Cappuccino Brownie


My triumvirate post in honor of BlogHer Food09 – I am excited for the festivities and the conference and to finally meet my friends behind the icons- fellow Foodies. Since I have yet to make my own champagne (or as we say in the Napa Valley ‘sparkling wine’ — since the laws in Europe and other countries reserve the word Champagne for a specific type of wine with significant levels of carbon dioxide in it making it fizzy from the Champagne region of France) I went for the next best celebratory item for the palate – dessert. This concoction is ridiculous – brownie, espresso, butter bliss. Take a good long gander at the drool-some photo and then wash those digits, roll up your sleeves and get ready to lick your fingers as each sugary bite reveals its flavors. I DO want to know when you make it and I am betting against you. I think once you read this over, even the kitchen weary will jump in to make this dream a reality.

Hold onto your taste buds, it’s an explosion!

(Note: Be sure to read over the entire recipe as there are three ingredients lists and three sets of directions.)

The Brownie

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
1 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 square baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour, espresso powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix and set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and butter. It is important not to burn the chocolate chips – I recommend setting the microwave on medium power in 30-40 second intervals and stirring in between until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Mixture should be warm.

Add in sugars and vanilla until completely combined. The mixture should be room temperature. Add in the eggs one, one at a time, whisking lightly after each addition.

Using a spatula, fold the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture until combined. Do not over beat!
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake in the center of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on rack.

Frosting

Ingredients

2 1/2 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
1 – 2 TBS milk or cream
2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup butter, softened

Directions

In a bowl, combine espresso powder and 1 TBS of milk or cream, stirring to dissolve.

Add in butter and sugar.

Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed to blend then on medium speed until creamy, adding more milk, if necessary to make a smooth, spreadable consistency. Spread evenly over the brownie.

Chill to harden, about 1 hour.

Glaze

Ingredients

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup whipping cream

Directions

Put the chocolate chips in a medium size bowl and melt on medium heat in 30 second internals stirring regularly. When melted, add in heavy whip cream. Stir until well combined.

Let cool to lukewarm.

Spread over frosting.

Chill until chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Cut into bars or squares.