Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Getting Saucy

6 Mocha Moons
Oh my. OH My… Coffee and Chocolate in one inspired dessert. Oh and did I mention the Haagen Dazs? And cashews? This one is worth it. So very worth it. In case you are wondering, these are all recipes from my collection, tried and true. This one comes from the Houston Chronicle, back in 1995.
Serves 4 (and you’ll have sauce left over)
3/4 c. chopped cashews
1 pint Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream
Remove the lid and cut the carton away from the ice cream. Roll the cylinder in the chopped nuts. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. To serve: Slice cylinder lengthwise and then cut each piece into 4 semi-circles. Put two semi-circles on a plate and top with sauce. (Or, get all fancy-schmancy and put the sauce on the plate first.)
Mocha Sauce
2/3 c. chocolate chips
1 t. instant espresso powder
1/2 c. whipping cream
2 T. light corn syrup
2 T. Kahlua
In a 4 c. measuring cup, microwave all ingredients except liqueur for 2 minutes. Stir until blended. Add liqueur and cool for at least 15 minutes before pouring over ice cream.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Take Me Home, Rocky Roads

Can we ever have too many brownie recipes? Of course not! This one was clipped from a copy of Bon App├ętit magazine, ages and ages ago.
Rocky Road Brownies
4 1-oz. squares bittersweet chocolate
1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs, room temp
1 c. flour
1 t. vanilla
2 c. mini marshmallows
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. chopped pecans
Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate squares and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, blending well. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour and vanilla. Add marshmallows, chips, and nuts and mix thoroughly. Turn mixture into pan. Bake until almost set, about 40 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and cut into squares. Makes about 24.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Strong Women Bake Brownies

Best Brownies
These are not for wimps. What I mean is that if you haven’t been doing your strength training, you won’t be able to lift the dish! I don’t know what the secret is behind these squares of deliciousness, but I suspect it is the sheer size of them.
In a mixing bowl combine:
1 ¼ c. flour
1 ¼ c. cocoa
½ t. salt
In a saucepan melt:
3 sticks butter
Stir in 3 c. sugar, followed by 7 eggs (1 at a time)
Add to the mixing bowl along with
2 t. vanilla
4 ½ c. pecan pieces  (No this is not a typo.)
Line a 9x13 pan with buttered foil. Pour in brownie batter and bake for 50-60 minutes at 350.
Don’t over bake. Cool enough to turn brownies onto a large baking sheet. Chill and remove foil. Cut into large squares.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Chip, Chip, Hooray!

This one is simple and straightforward. It assumes you don’t want to get into scientific discussions about water baths, optimal cooking/cooling and no-crack temp. Just buy the Oreos and Eagle brand and get started already!
Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
18 Oreos, finely crushed
¼ c. butter, melted
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 can Eagle Brand milk
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla
1 c. miniature chocolate chips
1 t. flour
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press into bottom of 9” springform pan. Beat cheese until fluffy and add milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix well. In a small bowl, toss ½ c. chocolate chips and flour to coat. Stir into cheese mixture and pour into pan. Sprinkle remaining chips on top. Bake 1 hour. Cool to room temp. Remove sides of pan.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Month of Chocolate: Warm Hearts, Frozen Mousse

Because sometimes you just need to go all out! This impressive showstopper can actually be prepared up to 3 days ahead of time. No quibbling over whether white chocolate is “real” chocolate. This is red and white for Valentine’s Day so it counts. When I make this for Christmas I love the way the bright green pistachios look sprinkled over the top. If green and red is "so two months ago", then feel free to substitute macadamia nuts.

Frozen White Chocolate Mousse Cake with Raspberry Sauce
1 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
3 T. melted unsalted butter
6 oz. plus 2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
4 large egg whites
1/8 t. cream of tartar
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled
1 T. Grand Marnier
1 t. vanilla
3 T. chopped pistachios
Raspberry Sauce:
2 c. fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. Grand Marnier
Crust: Combine crumbs and butter (don't use food processor or you'll end up with glue.) Press into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Refrigerate.
Mousse: In a glass measuring cup, melt 6 oz. white chocolate. Cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Continue to boil, without stirring, until sugar reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage). Gradually beat hot sugar syrup into egg whites. Continue beating until whites are stiff and glossy, about 3 minutes. Fold in warm chocolate. Refrigerate until cool, but not set, about 5 minutes.
Whip cream, Grand Marnier, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining 2 oz. white chocolate. Pour into prepared springform pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with pistachios. Freeze until firm (about 6 hours), cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer.
Sauce: Puree berries, strain to remove seeds. Add sugar and Grand Marnier. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
To serve: Remove cake from freezer. Spoon sauce onto individual plates and top with a slice of cake. Serves 12.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It’s February and That Means One Thing!

Valentine’s Day nears. I never did care for chalky, pasty, medicinal conversation hearts, but chocolate – now that’s another story! Sure I’ll take flowers and cards (Hi Honey!) but when it comes to the sweet stuff, I’d rather make my own. Of course I’m happy to share, thanks for asking! My goal is to post one chocolate recipe per day for the rest of the month. Here we go…
(FYI – I’m not a photographer and have no skills, but if my iPhone and I can manage, I’ll share pics as I can.)

Cowboy Cookies
This is an adaptation from a favorite church cookbook. (When it comes to recipes, I never could leave well enough alone.) If you don’t have any margarine on hand, by all means use all butter! These are chewy, crunchy, and of course….chocolaty!
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
2 eggs
1 c. each brown sugar and white sugar
1 T. vanilla
Mix above ingredients in a standing mixer. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients thoroughly:
2 c. flour
1/2 t. each baking powder and salt
3/4 t. baking soda
Add to mixing bowl, along with 2 c. oatmeal (not quick oats), 2 c. chocolate chips, 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans (I break them by hand. You don’t want finely chopped.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, put 12 scoops of dough on pan and bake at 350 for 12 minutes. You want them to just barely begin to brown when you take them out. Let them cool on the pan for a few more minutes until firm enough to remove to a rack.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Year, New Start: Day 31

Pat yourself on the back! I hope our adventure together has rewarded you with a fresh perspective for this new year. Just as we have a creator God who delights in beauty, so too we can delight in homes, yards, kitchens, and tables that reflect His goodness to us. I pray that our little “home improvement” project has encouraged you.

Thank you for stopping by my blog this month. What a joy it has been to make new friends! The challenge of one post per day was in fact doable, so.... if you'd like a taste of February, just think about this blog's title for a minute. You'll figure it out!

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not men.” Colossians 3:23