Mocha Mousse Pie

‘Tis the season for lots of sweet treats!  My husband requested a chocolate dessert for Thanksgiving. This naturally gluten-free pie fit the bill. Perhaps you’ll find a place for this on your holiday table.

I took this recipe from The Pioneer Woman. The only adjustment I made was to decrease the amount of sugar and still I think it’s plenty sweet. This pie is fluffy, yet rich, and incredibly delicious with notes of chocolate and coffee shining through. I love the nut crust on this, but you could just as easily use a crushed cookie crust, regular pre-baked pie crust, or even just serve the filling in cups without any sort of crust. As a disclaimer, this pie does contain raw eggs.

MOCHA MOUSSE PIE
(very slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
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Crust
1 cup Pecans, Finely Chopped
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 ounces, weight Semi Sweet Chocolate Grated
2 Tablespoons Kahlua
Dash Of Salt

Filling
2 sticks Butter, room temperature
1-1 1/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Instant Coffee Granules
1 teaspoon Kahlua
3 ounces, weight Semi-sweet (or Bittersweet) Chocolate
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 whole Large Eggs

To make the crust, combine chopped pecans (which you can chop in the food processor, if desired), brown sugar, grated chocolate, and salt. Stir with a fork to combine, and then drizzle in Kahlua, stirring until combined. Press mixture into a pie pan, bringing it up the sides a bit. Set aside (do not bake) or refrigerate until needed.

In small microwave safe bowl, melt 3 ounces of unsweetened baking chocolate until smooth and completely melted (about 45 seconds on high). Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter, sugar, 2 teaspoons instant coffee, and 1 teaspoon Kahlua until fluffy, about 1 1/2 minutes. When melted chocolate is cooled, drizzle it into the butter/sugar mixture as it beats on medium speed; use a rubber spatula to get it all out. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined, scraping the sides if necessary.

On medium speed, add the four eggs, one at a time, over a period of 20 minutes; leave about 5 minutes between each egg addition (allowing the mixer to run for 5 minutes with each egg addition). Scrape sides of bowl halfway through this process. The filling will gradually lighten in color and become fluffier. Pour filling into the pie crust.

Smooth out the pie filling and place pie in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Serve with whipped cream and more grated chocolate, optional.

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Baker’s Delight: Cherry Chocolate Almond Oatmeal Cookies

Do they have a long enough name? 🙂 These are from the wonderful Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook. I adapted them based on the ingredients I had but they were delicious! I’m going to go ahead an include the recipe as written in the book because I would totally make them exactly as written.

Cookies are one of my favorite desserts – they are perfect for picnics and pitch-ins, most of them freeze very well, and they are usually fairly easy to put together. They are also one of my favorite things to bake!

CHERRY-CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES
Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook
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1 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. plus 2 Tb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. (packed) dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 c. old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. dried tart cherries
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

Position racks in center and top third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Mix in egg and both extracts. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips, cherries and almonds.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies 12 minutes. Switch and rotate baking sheets. Bake cookies until golden, about 6 minutes longer. Cool cookies on baking sheets (cookies will firm as they cool). (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Baker’s Delight: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

We are pleased to welcome back Sarah Pulliam Bailey with this guest post! These would be great for you weekend and summer picnicking!

Chocolate chip cookies provide the ultimate comfort food. If you’re serving chocoholics, consider baking double chocolate chip cookies, which offers a rich, moist, chewy dessert.

The cookies did not turn out terribly even because I was in a hurry and grabbed rounded spoonfuls of dough, which made them puffier. If you prefer more uniform, flattened cookies, you could roll the dough up on parchment paper in a log, refrigerate for two hours, and cut individual cookies. You could also substitute white chocolate chips for peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts. Some of the reviews suggested using 1 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of baking powder, so consider experimenting. The recipe takes about 30 minutes and makes about 3 dozen cookies.

 

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
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1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips or chunks (12 oz. bag)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease cookie sheets. In a large bowl (I used my KitchenAid), cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually stir the mixture into the other bowl. Fold in white chocolate chips. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect in my oven). Allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling. If you have a smaller kitchen, consider investing in a tiered cooling rack.

Gluten-Free Goodness: Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

These tasty little morsels are full of chocolatey goodness and they are made with coconut flour. I don’t have lots of knowledge of or experience baking with coconut flour, but I know that it soaks of moisture, so a little goes a long way! These also contain walnuts, so they are more healthful and protein packed than your average brownie (we could all use a few more “healthy” brownies in our life, right?!).

I made these for a holiday brunch and topped them with a bit of vanilla custard and strawberries. Though they would be delicious with some whipped cream, icing, powdered sugar, or even just plain.

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE WALNUT BROWNIES
(from elanaspantry.com)
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1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (73% cacao)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup agave nectar (maple syrup or honey, if preferred)
1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (73% cacao)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place 1/2 cup chocolate chips in food processor and pulse until the consistency of coarse sand. Pulse in coconut flour, salt, and baking soda until combined. Pulse in eggs, agave, grapeseed oil, and vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased 8×8 pyrex dish. Sprinkle walnuts and remaining chocolate chips over batter. Bake  for 25-30 minutes. Cool and serve.

Optional: Top with fresh strawberries, vanilla custard, whipped cream, homemade icing.

Off The Shelf: May Magazines

Well, our month has not gone quite as planned so this will be a shorter review and it’s later than we intended (my fault completely!). It’s wonderful to see the spring and summer recipes featuring seasonal vegetables and fruits! Perhaps inspiration will once again return to kitchens everywhere.

FOOD NETWORK (Alaina)- This wasn’t my favorite issue of Food Network but still, they have so many recipes and so much variety. The Jumbo Maple Pecan Scone, Poppy Seed Potato Salad, Stawberry Blondies, and Sage Limeade were a few of the recipes that looked interesting and tasty! 

However, my kids are big fans of chocolate milk and it is definitely a treat. So, I decided to make the Salted Chocolate Milk. The homemade chocolate syrup could be used as a sauce for all kinds of desserts. This was rich and delicious! The salt was a wonderful addition that brought out the chocolate goodness. This totally made me feel like a kid again!

SALTED CHOCOLATE MILK
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1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups cold milk
Kosher salt

Make the chocolate syrup: Combine the sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let cool completely.

Spoon about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the chocolate syrup into each glass. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and a generous pinch of salt. Stir until the syrup and salt dissolve.

COOKING LIGHT – (Stephanie) I never know each month whether or not I’ll find many recipes I’m excited to try within the pages of Cooking Light. This month’s issue had several tasty sounding recipes. As I’m trying to learn to enjoy shrimp, I was pleased to find a couple new shrimp recipes: Shrimp Cobb Salad and Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli. There was also a section with assorted muffin recipes–Bacon-Cheddar Corn Muffins, Cherry-Wheat Germ Muffins, Tuscan Lemon Muffins, Pistachio-Chai Muffins–don’t those sound interesting and delicious? I also thought the Ancho Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Avocado Cream sounded yummy.

I decided to try the Strawberry-Avocado Salsa with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips. I love fresh salsas and the flavor combination in this one intrigued me. I enjoyed this, though unfortunately forgot to buy fresh cilantro and jalapenos, so I used dried instead. If you’re looking for a quick, seasonal snack, give this easy recipe a try.

STRAWBERRY-AVOCADO SALSA WITH CINNAMON TORTILLA CHIPS
(from Cooking Light, May 2011)
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2 teaspoon canola oil
6 6-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup finely chopped, peeled ripe avocado (about 2)
1 cup finely chopped strawberries
2 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced seeded jalapeno
2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To prepare chips, brush oil evenly over one side of each tortilla. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over oil-coated sides of tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges; arrange wedges in a single layer on two baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes until crisp.

Combine avocado, strawberries, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and salt; stir gently to combine. Serve with chips. 12 servings.

Weekend Fare: Coconut Lime Chicken

I’ve recently been experimenting with using coconut milk in cooking and baking and I’m excited with the results! (I am referring to the coconut milk in the can, such as Thai Kitchen brand.) In honor of my recent experience with this versatile ingredient, I wanted to share with you two recipes: Coconut Lime Chicken and Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

The chicken is incredibly tender (although the photo shows a whole piece of chicken make sure to cube it because the result is much more tender!) and the almond butter dipping sauce adds a delicious twist. The ice cream is amazing and so simple! It’s unbelievably creamy. I adapted it slightly from a recipe I found online and promptly forgot where I found it. 🙂

Both of these recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free.

COCONUT LIME CHICKEN
(from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)
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2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
coconut oil, for sauteing

Marinade:
2 Tablespoons coconut milk
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons wheat-free tamari (or soy sauce)

Almond Lime Dipping Sauce:
6 Tablespoons almond butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce)
1 Tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

Place the chicken breast pieces into a bowl and cover with the ingredients for the marinade. Stir together to coat evenly. Let chicken marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat a 10-inch skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add about one Tablespoon of coconut oil. Then add chicken pieces. Saute, stirring frequently, for about 3-5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Place the dipping sauce ingredients into a bowl and whisk together until mixture is thickened and well combines. Alternatively, sauce can also be warmed on the stove in a small pot over low heat.

To serve, divide dipping sauce into four small bowls and serve alongside chicken. (Brown rice and stir-fried veggies make a great side!) Serves 4.

CHOCOLATE COCONUT MILK ICE CREAM
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1-14 ounce can coconut milk (not light)
1/3 cup sugar or agave nectar (I used coconut sugar)
2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Pour into the bowl of an ice cream freezer and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serves 2.

Baker’s Delight: Vanilla Cupcakes

This week, I set out on a mission to find  a vanilla cupcake recipe for my oldest son’s birthday. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Reviews on nearly every vanilla (or white) cake recipe are mixed – some love it, some hate it, some think it’s light, some think it’s dense…you get the idea. And let’s be honest, not everyone is a competent baker, so it’s hard to know which reviews to trust!

Finally, I deicided to just jump in and try a recipe. Bobby Flay had one which I adapted to work for me. The texture was lovely and the flavor was quite good. The chocolate frosting he included was delicious as well – a frosting recipe unlike any I have ever made. These definitely got the seal of approval from my family and the birthday boy loved them! They would also make a beautiful Easter or spring dessert.

VANILLA CUPCAKES
(adapted from Bobby Flay’s Mini Vanilla Bean Cupcakes)
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2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1Tablespoon vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 large egg whites, room temperature
Creamy Chocolate Frosting, recipe follows
Sprinkles for decorating, if desired

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Fill muffin tins with liners .

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks in a medium bowl.

In a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. With the machine running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; continue to beat until stiff peaks just form, 30 to 60 seconds Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl and dry.

Add the flour mixture to the now-empty mixing bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running at low speed, gradually pour in the butter mixture and mix until almost incorporated (a few streaks of dry flour will remain), about 15 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the whisk and sides of the bowl. Return the mixer to medium-low speed and beat until smooth and fully incorporated, 10 to 15 seconds.

Using a rubber spatula, stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter to lighten, and then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain.

Fill the cupcake molds 3/4 full and bake until just firm, about 18-22 minutes. Let cool and frost with Creamy Chocolate Frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

CREAMY CHOCOLATE FROSTING
(Adapted from Bobby Flay at FoodNetwork.com – adaptations noted)

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (I used dark chocolate cocoa powder)
 Pinchof fine sea salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I omitted this since I was making them for kids but it would have been a fantastic addition!)

In a food processor (or using a mixer), process the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and then add the melted chocolate and espresso and pulse until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds.

Off the Shelf: March Magazine Reviews

Cooking Light (Stephanie): Usually I either love Cooking Light, or I’m disappointed by it. This month, though, I felt so-so about it. A few recipes jumped off the pages for me: Black Bean Hummus, Meyer Lemon Curd Tart, Tropical Sherbet, Chicken Souvlaki Pitas with Tahini Sauce. But most of the other recipes were just kind of forgettable.

I decided to try the Vegetable Korma as Jeremy likes Indian food and I haven’t been very proactive about making it in my own kitchen. The dish was good, but not quite as flavorful as either of us expected. The dish definitely needed some salt and maybe if I’d added a little curry powder, it might have packed more punch. I used chickpeas in place of the edamame, mostly because if we’re eating a meatless meal, chickpeas rank high on Jeremy’s preferred protein list. It was good and something I might make again, but with a little tweaking.

VEGETABLE KORMA
(from Cooking Light March 2011)
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1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 c. chopped onion
1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c. frozen shelled edamame
1 12-oz baking potato, peeled and diced
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp flour
1 13.5-oz can light coconut milk
3 c. cauliflower florets
2 c. hot cooked rice

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 Tbsp ginger and garlic; saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in tomato paste and spices; saute for 1 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in edamame and potato. Combine chicken broth, flour, and milk, stirring until smooth. Add broth mixture to pan , and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 c. cauliflower, and simmer for 9 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appetit (Stephanie): Bon Appetit was filled with lots of great sounding  recipes, many of which I hope to make. Potato and Yam Soup with Bacon and Spinach; Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs in Lettuce Cups; Roasted Pears with Blackberries, Ricotta, and Lavender Sugar; Savoy Cabbage Rolls with Halibut, Browned Butter and Capers Espresso Pound Cake with Cranberries and Pecans. Don’t these sound amazing?!

But my pantry supplies dictated that those recipes would have to wait until a later date. Chocolate Puddings with Orange Whipped Cream won out for my recipe testing. It came together very quickly (besides the 3 hours for cooling in the fridge, of course). Now I don’t have any orange liqueur, but the recipe suggested Kahlua or amaretto as alternatives. So I dolloped Kahlua whipped cream on my chocolate pudding. I think the best chocolate pudding I’ve ever eaten. Delicious!

CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS WITH ORANGE WHIPPED CREAM
(from Bon Appetit March 2011)
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1/2 c. + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 1/2 c. whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 c. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. chilled whipping cream
1 Tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur (or Kahlua or amaretto)
1/4 tsp finely grated orange peel (omit if using a different liqueur)

Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp salt in a saucepan to blend. Add 1/2 cup milk and egg yolks; whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining 2 cups of milk. Bring mixture to a boil over medium/high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove pan from heat; add chocolate chips and butter. Whisk pudding until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Divide pudding evenly among 6 dessert cups. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of each, covering pudding completely. Chill at least 3 hours.

Beat whipping cream, liquer, zest, 1 Tbsp sugar until peaks form. Dollop whipped cream on puddings.

Cook’s Illustrated (Alaina): One magazine I have not reviewed often (or maybe ever?!) is Cook’s Illustrated. It is a fabulous magazine! My gift subscription is just coming to an end and I will be sad for that. The recipes are amazing, the product & brand reviews are excellent, and the articles & technique explanations are incredibly understandable and helpful. The magazine contains fewer recipes than most cooking magazines but the recipes are well chosen and you know they will turn out well.

They included Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread, Boston Cream Pie, and Spaghetti with Mushrom and Tomato Sauce among other delicious-looking recipes. I decided to try the snow peas. There was an article on how to use them and several variations to make a wonderful side dish. They were so good!

SAUTEED SNOW PEAS W/LEMON & PARSLEY
Cook’s Illustrated, March/April 2011
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1 Tb. vegetable oil
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 Tb.)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
1/8 tsp. sugar
3/4 lb. snow peas, tips pulled off and strings removed
1 Tb. minced fresh parsley leaves

Combine 1 tsp oil, shallot, and lemon zest in small bowl. Combine 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, and sugar in second small bowl.

Heat remaining 2 tsp. oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add snow peas, sprinkle with salt mixture, and cook, without stirring, 30 second. Stir and continue to cook, without stirring, 30 seconds longer. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until peas are crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Push peas to sides of skillet; add shallot mixture to clearing and cook, mashing with spatula, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss to combine shallot mixture with vegetables. Transfer peas to bowl and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Food Network (Alaina): This magazine was once again great! I must have looked through it 20 times trying to decide which recipe to try. I had several marked like Rosemary Chips, Chicken, Sausage & Peppers, Tilapia Milanese, Citrus Salad, and Gorgonzola Polenta. It was an Italian themed issue and there were a lot of great pasta recipes, too. And the pull-out of 50 recipes for this month was pesto based recipes – yum. I will be sharing one of the pesto recipes next week – it was so good! 

They had a wonderful section on bruschetta with many variations. So inspiring! I decided to try a couple of the sweet ones and they were fabulous! They would be perfect for a tea, shower, or brunch especially. They were no-too-sweet and so pretty and they had eight different ideas for the sweet bruschetta and six ideas for the savory.

ORANGE CREAM BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
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Segment a blood orange (I used regular) over a bowl: reserve juice. Toss the segments with 1 Tb. superfine sugar (I used regular). Simmer the juice and 1 Tb. of sugar in a saucepan until syrupy. Spread whipped cream on the toast rounds (I used a french baquette and toasted both sides of the bread in the oven); top with an orange segment and shaved chocolate. Drizzle with orange syrup.

BANANA-HAZELNUT BRUSCHETTA
Food Network Magazine, March 2011
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Toss 2 sliced bananas with 1 Tb. melted butter; spread on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and bake at 425 degress until golden, about 10 minutes (mine never really were golden but they were definitely roasted). Spread hazelnut butter (I used a chocolate hazelnut spread) on the toast rounds. Top with the toasted bananas, whipped cream, and chopped hazelnuts (I used toasted almonds).

Baker’s Delight: Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares

Honestly, I just didn’t know what to make for today. It’s been a long couple of weeks filled with illness at our house and my desire to cook and bake has been almost non-existant. And so, I looked at magazines and websites looking for something that would inspire me. I wrote to one of my friends that I was at a loss…and then, I happened to pick up my May 2010 issue of Everyday Food. I turned to the back for the index and instead, I came across this recipe. I had everything on hand and decided to give it a shot.

Oh. My. Goodness. These are amazing. They combine so much yumminess into one cookie that I can hardly stand it! They certainly aren’t on the “healthy list” but they are worth the splurge. The coarse salt is just the perfect flavor addition – makes all of the flavors come alive. I had to walk away from the pan of cookies; in fact, I had to go upstairs so I would not eat more. So, without further ado, here is the amazing and easy recipe!

SALTED TOFFEE-CHOCOLATE SQUARES
(Everyday Food, May 2010)
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13 graham crackers
1 bag (8 ounces) toffee bits
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted natural almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (4 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place graham crackers in a single layer on sheet, edges touching. Sprinkle toffee bits and almonds over graham crackers.

In a small saucepan, bring sugar and butter to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat and cook at a rapid simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over graham crackers. Bake until sugar topping is bubbling, 12 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate and salt over graham crackers. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Let cool completely on sheet on a wire rack. (Store in an airtight container, up to 1 week.)

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Salted Toffee-Chocolate Squares Recipe – Martha Stewart Recipes

Crock Pot Cooking: Dessert

I love my slow cookers (yes, I have two). One of my goals has been to make sure and put dinner in the crock pot at least once a week when I work. The wonderful food fills the house with delicious smells while slowly cooking to perfection. It takes little effort and generally yields great results. Planning ahead also means saving time in the evening and means less temptation to order out thus saving money. We’ve enjoyed various soups, chicken, and roasts.

Yesterday, I used my crock pots for Sunday dinner. It made for a very nice but easy dinner. I decided on a Chicken Rice Soup for the main dish since I had left over chicken already on hand. It was quite good with a basmati/wild rice mix in it. 

When we got home from church, I quickly made pretzel shaped rolls (from my pizza dough recipe) and a salad to accompany it. 

But I also decided to try making a dessert…Hot Fudge Cake to be exact. I saw the recipe in Fix It & Forget It Lightly and was intrigued. This deliciously moist pudding cake creastes it’s own hot fudge sauce underneath. I served it warm with fresh whipped cream but vanilla ice cream would also be good. I decided that some fresh raspberries or a raspberry puree would have made it just about perfect. It was very easy and took a little under two hours on high until it was done. So, it you want a yummy, fudgey, easy dessert, you should definitely give this rich cake a try. If I were to make it again, I would reduce the amount of sugar – it’s quite a lot. But for an occasional dessert treat, I was willing to overlook that. 🙂

SLOW COOKER HOT FUDGE CAKE
Fix It & Forget It Lightly
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1 ¾ c. brown sugar, divided
1 c. flour
3 Tb. plus ¼ c. cocoa powder, divided
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ c. milk
2 Tb. butter, melted
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ¾ c. boiling water

In a mixing bowl, mix together 1 c. brown sugar, flour, 3 Tb. cocoa powder, baking powder, & salt

Stir in milk, butter, and vanilla.

Pour into slow cooker sprayed with non-stick spray.

In a separate bowl, combine ¾ c. brown sugar and ¼ c. cocoa powder. Sprinkle over batter in the slow cooker. Do not stir.

Pour boiling water over mixture. Do not stir.

Cover. Cook on high 1 ½ – 1 ¾ hours, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.