Creamy Chocolate Velvet

I found this gem of a recipe in Curtis Stone’s “Relaxed Cooking”. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off (it looked so fancy!), but it was actually quite easy and unbelievably good.

Let me post some descriptive words from Curtis, since they’re right on the mark:

“Smooth, beautiful, chocolatey– this is so much more delightful than a mousse, which contains a lot of air. This creamy chocolate velvet can be made the day before, and can be cooked in different-size and -shape pots or cups. Use good-quality chocolate; it will really make a difference to the texture and flavour” (Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone, p. 236).

I’m just going to copy the recipe word-for-word, since I had such an easy time with it.

Believe me, you’ll love this.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (70% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 6 large egg yolks

Instructions

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 250 F. Whisk the cream, milk sugar and vanilla in a medium-size heavy saucepan to blend, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until all the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat.

Using a whisk, stir the egg yolks in a large bowl to blend. Then, in a slow, steady stream, add the chocolate-cream mixture, whisking until smooth. Divide the mixture among 6 ramekins or small custard cups (each about 51/2 ounces), and place them in a large high-sided baking dish or roasting pan. Carefully transfer the pan to the centre rack in the oven. Add enough cold water to the baking dish so that it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the custards jiggle slightly in the centre when gently shaken (the custards will thicken as they chill). Let cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until cold.

Serves 6

Advertisements

Skillet Chili Cornbread

The following is a variation on a jalapeno cornbread recipe I saw in the April 2011 issue of Style at Home magazine.
I didn’t have certain ingredients, so I substituted. One thing about cooking is that it’s okay to modify! Don’t get too concerned when you don’t have all the ingredients a recipe calls for– if you have a suitable substitute, try it out!
I’d never made corn bread before this attempt, and I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’d made some changes to the recipe… but my goodness, it was delicious!

The flavours of this bread are rich and addictive; It starts out sweet and scrumptious and finishes with a slightly spicy zing– not overpowering, but definitely welcome.

I also like this recipe since it’s super simple. This would be a fantastic accompaniment to so many meals, especially with soups– squash or root vegetable, perhaps?

New addition to the holiday rotation? I think so!
Plus, the house smells so nice while it’s baking!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk (the original recipe called for buttermilk, but I used almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal (the original recipe called for stone-ground, but I used regular yellow cornmeal)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 dried chili peppers, seeds whole and peppers finely chopped

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch cake pan or cast-iron skillet (I used a springform pan).
  3. Mix all dry ingredients well in medium-sized bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs well. Then beat in the milk and butter (I used a fork, or you can also use a whisk).
  5. Add dry ingredients into the large bowl with the wet ingredients, and mix with a spoon until everything is fully blended.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and gently pat with your hand so that it fills the bottom of the pan.
  7. Bake on centre rack of oven for 30-35 minutes, until bread is set.
  8. Slice into slivers while still warm (to prevent crumbling) and enjoy!

Makes about 12 slices.

Zucchini Bread (Mmm!)

I’d never heard of such a thing before my neighbour shared one that he had made, but I immediately threw out all unfavourable preconceptions upon tasting this unique and addictive concoction.

The name of this dish may not lend itself to overwhelming desire or salivation, but, dear readers, I heartily suggest you try it. It’s sweet, rich, moist, full of wonderful flavour, and a cinch to whip up!

I substituted the recipe’s original call for 1 cup walnuts or raisins, and instead used walnuts AND dried cranberries.

* I  also often substitute the walnuts with white chocolate chips (when baking for folks with nut allergies). You can also substitute the “fillings” with a cup of whatever else you like! *

I liked it so much that I whipped up another batch the next day to share with family and neighbours on Thanksgiving weekend.

This flavour-packed loaf also freezes very well– just thaw out on the counter afterwards and enjoy!

 

Here’s all you do:

Instructions: In a large bowl with a whisk, mix well in order given; pour into 2 lightly greased bread pans (can be disposable). Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour.

(You’ll know it’s ready if a toothpick stuck inside comes out clean. If goopy batter clings to the toothpick, keep the loaf in the oven until that no longer happens.)

Ingredients:

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 1 cup oil
  4. 3 cups zucchini, grated (about 2-3). *You DON’T have to peel them*
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  6. 3 cups flour (all purpose white OR whole wheat)
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. *slightly* over 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  10. 3 teaspoons cinnamon (do not add any more)
  11. 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  12. 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Makes 2 loaves

Hot Brown Sugar Apple Granola over Ice Cream

The air is getting cooler outside and the scent of  burning firewood has begun to linger during recent evenings.

When Autumn calls, hot apple pie topped with ice cream is always a welcome dessert. Don’t have the time to make one? Not a problem! This dessert incorporates a few of the delicious flavours of that favourite Fall staple and can be quickly whipped up for all to enjoy.

Here’s all you need:

  • Ice Cream (I used Pralines N’ Cream, but French Vanilla would work)
  • 2 Apples (peeled, sliced)
  • Brown Sugar (I used about 3 tablespoons)
  • Vanilla Extract (about a teaspoon)
  • Pre-Made Granola Cereal (I love Quaker Harvest Crunch “Original”)

Here’s what you do:

  1. In a lid-covered pan with raised sides (or pot with lid), heat apples over medium heat until softened to your liking.
  2. Add Brown Sugar. Mix to coat.
  3. Add Vanilla. Mix to Coat.
  4. Turn off stove and remove from heat. Cover.
  5. Get your ice cream scooped into bowls.
  6. Add granola into the apple mixture, stir gently, spoon over ice cream. (Wait until you’re ready to serve to put in granola so it stays crunchy and doesn’t get soggy.)
  7. Dig in!

The combination of smooth and crunchy textures, along with the varied temperatures and rich flavours make this dessert so delectable to eat.

Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffinos

What the heck’s a “muffino”, you ask? Why, it’s a bambino (baby) muffin!

I like muffin tops the most, and I always seem to have to force myself to eat the bottoms. So, the shallow holes in the small-muffin tray eliminate that problem for me. Plus, eating mini muffins is fun.

These muffins were made using an awesome Oatmeal Chocolate Chip mix from Quaker. I blended a ripe banana and added it in.

For more info on the mix, check out the “Awesome Finds” page (to the right).

Bananas on FoodistaBananas

Easy Chocolate Truffles

These truffles were super simple to make and the textures were perfect: chewy centre, crunchy coating and, of course, a smooth and delicious chocolate exterior. Heaven. This was my first time making them, but I realize you can totally change the recipe up by using different ingredients for each step. And, you can sprinkle stuff onto each ball (nuts, icing sugar, candied fruit…), drizzle a different kind of chocolate on top.. whatever your truffle-loving heart desires.

I can’t remember where I found this recipe, but here it is from memory (it’s that easy).

Easy Chocolate Truffles

1 bag white chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup vanilla-flavoured rice krispies
about 1 box baker’s semi-sweet chocolate

Melt white chocolate chips and butter together in bowl set in water in a pot, (or just in the microwave).
Mix until smooth. Let cool for approx 30 mins.
Roll white-chocolate mixture into balls, and roll those into the rice krispies (so that the outside is pretty much coated). Re-shape balls if necessary.
Refrigerate for approx. 30 mins so they can firm up (and not melt when dipped into chocolate later).
On a pan, plate, whatever surface you like, stretch out some waxed paper.
Melt the semi-sweet chocolate, mix until smooth.
Dip each ball into the chocolate, making sure completely coated, and set onto the waxed paper. (If the chocolate’s too hot for your fingers, take each truffle out with a fork.)
Wait until the inside of truffles have softened and the outside has hardened to eat. (Keep at room temperature until then. Refrigerate later to help them last longer.)

You’ll get nothing but compliments about them!

Scrumptious Shortbread Cookies

My little brother Peter wanted to make shortbread cookies but wasn’t sure how. So, we did a quick google search and skimmed through a few recipes. Though there are some REALLY simple shortbread recipes, we liked this one most because it sounded like it had the best flavour. The inclusion of cornstarch in the recipe apparently helps them take on a more melt-in-your-mouth texture, and the vanilla adds another element of yum. Though we had to wait for the dough to cool in the fridge for an hour, it was overall quite easy and the result was, well, scrumptious!

We cut the cookies really small (about one and a quarter inches in diameter) and dipped most of them in some melted chocolate– amazing! You can decide how large you want to cut yours, and the number yielded will depend on that. (We probably ended up making about 50. The recipe said it would yield about 20 average-sized cookies.)

Scrumptious Shortbread Cookies

* 7.5 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/2 cup cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) good quality (AA) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup powdered (confectioner’s or icing) sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch & salt together.
Electric mix butter until smooth (approx. 1 minute). Add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in vanilla extract.
Gently stir in flour mixture until incorporated.
Flatten dough into disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, chill about an hour in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350F and set up middle oven rack.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
When chilled, roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4″ (or .5 cm) thick. *note: you may have to wait for the dough to soften a bit if it’s difficult to roll out.
Cut shapes, put on baking sheets. Any excess dough from cutting can be re-rolled and cut into shapes.
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until gently browned.

If you like, melt some of your favourite chocolate and dip the cookies in it! Just make sure you allow enough time for the chocolate to harden.