Monday, February 23, 2015

Chocolate Truffles

I am currently putting off packing. No matter where I am going or how excited I am to be going there, I will forever suck at packing. I put it it off until the day before when I hurriedly smash clothing into a bag. The day is young and I have coffee to drink, I am still a few hours away from chaotic smash-bang packing. Let's talk about chocolate truffles in the meantime.

In the past, I would make a simple 1:1 ganache, scoop it, chill it, and dip it in melted chocolate. BOOM, truffles! That recipe is just fine, but it was missing something. My truffle filling was soft and just... different from the truffles you get in a box on Valentine's Day.

This time around, I borrowed a book all about chocolates from a coworker and the results were pretty damn good. To make these truffles you will need a kitchen scale and a little time. You will also need butter.



This is ganache that has been fortified with a pat of butter, glucose (you can also use corn syrup) and Chambord for raspberry flavor. Don't worry, I set some ganache aside before adding the booze so that me and baby could eat a few candies. Not into raspberry? Use whatever liqueur you like, add a few drops of an extract or simply leave the ganache plain. The truffles will be delicious either way.

The ganache is left alone to set up at room temperature, agitated (by stirring) then portioned out with a tiny cookie scoop. After a quick chill, the truffles get shaped into balls and coated with delicious toppings. I went with cocoa powder and toasted coconut respectively.



Ok, enough about chocolate. My coffee is gone and I think it is time to actually pack. For real. Tomorrow I am heading to France with some coworkers to eat all of the pastries and bread! I will be back next weekend with lots of pictures and, most likely, a slightly bigger baby bump. Or at that point will it be more of a butter bump? I think so.

Basic Chocolate Truffles
adapted from Chococlates & Confections (Greweling)
makes about 2 dozen small truffles

100 grams heavy cream
30 grams corn syrup (or glucose if you have it)
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
5 grams unsalted butter, soft
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
optional: 20 grams of your favorite liqueur (I used Chambord to make raspberry candies)
1- 1 1/2 cup coating of choice: there are many options a few being cocoa powder, sprinkles, chopped nuts, and toasted coconut
- - -
1. Place chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl, set aside
2. Bring cream and corn syrup (or glucose) to a boil in a small saucepan
3. Pour the cream mixture over the chocolate and allow to sit for 1 minute to melt
4. Gently stir chocolate mixture until glossy; add butter, vanilla and liqueur (if using) and stir until melted/combined
5. Cover with plastic wrap (make sure to press it directly to the surface of the chocolate mixture) and allow to set at room temperature until set/pliable in texture (about 1 hour)
6. Using a fork or spoon stir the ganache (this is called agitation and will cause crystallization)
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment; using a small cookie scoop (mine is about 1 1/2 teaspoons) portion out ganache placing each truffle onto the parchment lined baking sheet
8. Refrigerate the truffles for 15-20 minutes
9. Place whatever you are coating your truffles in (cocoa, sprinkles, coconut...) into a small bowl
10. Using your hands, roll the truffles into balls; toss each truffle in the topping until completely coated
11. Enjoy!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Individual Berry Crisp

I have another mini dessert for ya'll. This time, instead of cheesecake, we are having warm berry crisp. With ice cream, forever and always.

 
Get out those cute ramekins, this recipe makes two. I love any dessert that has a crumble/crisp situation and melty vanilla ice cream. This is that, personalized.



Get. After. It.

Individual Berry Crisps
makes 2 ramekins

for the topping:
3 Tablespoons old fashioned oats
2½ Tablespoons AP flour
2½ Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons cold butter, diced into small pieces
3 Tablespoons chopped walnuts

for the filling:
1 1/2 c (heaping) mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1 Tablespoon AP flour
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

 vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional, but recommended)
- - -
pre-heat oven to 375F
1. In a bowl combine the filling ingredients and stir until berries are well coated in flour/sugar mixture
2. In another bowl, combine all the topping ingredients except the chopped nuts (use your fingers to break up the butter until mixture appears coarse/sandy)
3. Add nuts to the topping mixture and stir gently to combine
4. Divide the berry mixture equally between 2- 8 oz ramekins
5. Divide the topping between the two ramekins, sprinkling it on top of the berries
6. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake at 375F for 25-35 minutes (crisps made with frozen berries will take longer than those made with fresh), until filling is bubbly and crisp topping is a golden brown
7. Cool slightly before topping with ice cream and serving!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Hummus

I have always been a snacker, but now that I am pregnant it has gotten a bit ridiculous. I eat like a hobbit. Every hour or two I am hungry. I have had to start bringing a snack bag to work so I don't eat a hunk of bread with jam every time hunger strikes.

Hummus and crackers is one of my absolute favorite snacks. It can also be easily made into a snack-meal by serving it with some veggies, cheese and wine. I miss wine.

Hummus is painfully easy to make. This recipe is super flavorful and comes together in a food processor in about five minutes.



You could get creative and add in other flavors you like (some roasted red peppers, extra garlic, sundried tomatoes...) This recipe is a (delicious) starting point. Happy snacking!

Hummus
makes about 2 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans); liquid removed and rinsed
1/4 c tahini paste
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 olive oil, plus more for finishing
2 lemons, juiced
1 Tablespoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt & pepper, to taste
1/4-1/2 c water (depending how thick you like your hummus)
- - -
1. Place all ingredients except water into a food processor
2. Mix on low 2 minutes; scrape down sides
3. Mix on high until smooth and creamy (3-5 minutes)
4. With food processor on low, stream in water until hummus is the consistency you like
5. Transfer hummus to a bowl, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with paprika before serving

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks

It's official, I can't sleep in anymore. I get up for work around 4am so on my days off, even though there is no reason for it, I find myself waking up around that same time. Mostly I wake up because our little girl (have I mentioned we are having a girl? We are!!) is kicking me. It is her not so subtle way of telling me to get my ass out of bed and get her a snack. I love her already.

I really love these mornings, mornings that I can wrap myself in a sweatshirt and a blanket and drink my (decaf) coffee. I usually write or read. I know pretty soon mornings like these will be few and far between so I am trying to enjoy them as much as possible!

In other news, I made these cookies. They are big and full of brown butter and chocolate. I put some oats in there too because balance. Oats mean they are basically a granola bar.


Butter is used in two ways here, creamed with sugar and browned until toasty... one for texture the other flavor.



These cookies are best enjoyed with coffee at around 4:30am while listening to the Amos Lee Pandora station. Just take my word for it.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks
adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
makes 1 dozen large cookies

1 3/4 c AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons molasses
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, room temperature & divided
3/4 c old fashioned oats
1 c chocolate chips/chunks
- - -
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, brown 1 stick butter; remove from heat and cool slightly
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream remaining stick of butter with sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes)
3. Scrape the bowl down and add eggs, vanilla and molasses; mix until combined
4. Stream in cooled browned butter; mix until fully incorporated
5. In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; add dry ingredients all at once to the butter mixer; mix on low until combined
6. Add oats and chocolate and mix on low to evenly distribute (don't over-mix... 10-20 seconds should do it.)
7. Cover dough with plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes
8. Pre-heat oven to 375F and line two baking sheets with parchment
9. Using a large cookie scoop, portion dough out into 12 cookies** (6 per sheet); bake at 375F for 13-15 minutes (edges will begin to brown and centers may looked slightly underbaked)
10. Cool slightly before enjoying!

** This recipe makes 12 large cookies, if you want smaller cookies adjust baking time accordingly as smaller cookies will take less time in the oven!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Individual Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecakes

It is no secret that I love desserts both large and small. While there is something satisfying about making and frosting a big ass cake, miniature desserts have my heart. Show me a palm sized hand pie and I will automatically squeal and say how cute it is. Smaller desserts are just cute. Plus they are... smaller, which means I can eat one or three in a single sitting. Right?

I made some mini cheesecakes for ya'll. This recipe makes six cupcake sized cheesecakes. It is perfect if you want to have cheesecake but don't relish the idea of having half a cheesecake sitting in your fridge (something that often happens in a house with just two people.) I combined one of Jeff's loves (cheesecake) with my love for Reese's peanut butter cups.

In this recipe we'll use cookies for the crust. No melted butter necessary.


The peanut butter batter bakes for just fifteen minutes. The less time between me and my dessert, the better.



Once the cheesecakes are completely cooled, they get topped with chocolate that has been melted together with a bit of coconut oil to create a shell similar to that of my coveted Reese's cups.



These are rich, glossy, portable and most importantly... cute.

Individual Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cheesecakes (small batch)
makes 6 cupcake sized cheesecakes
adapted from www.dessertfortwo.com

9 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 c (heaping) creamy peanut butter
6 chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos or something similar... or any cookie you want!); filling removed
1/2 c chocolate chips + 1 teaspoon coconut oil, for topping
- - -
pre-heat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with 6 liners (leave the remaining wells empty)
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain
2. Add in vanilla and eggs; mixing on low until just incorporated
3. Add peanut butter and mix until fully combined
4. In the bottom of each lined muffin cup, place one sandwich cookie (I removed the filling of my Oreos but you definitely don't have to)
5. Divide the cheesecake batter equally among the 6 lined muffin cups (I use a large cookie scoop to make sure each cheesecake has the same amount of filling)
6. Bake at 375F for 15 minutes
7. Remove from the oven and allow cheesecakes to cool completely; refrigerate for at least two hours
8. In a microwave (in 30 second intervals) or over a double broiler, melt down chocolate chips and coconut oil until smooth and glossy
9. Spoon melted chocolate mixture over each cooled cheesecake and use the back of the spoon to make sure the entire top of each cheesecake is coated
10. Refrigerate cheesecakes until chocolate shell hardens (about 20 minutes) before enjoying