Monday, December 21, 2009

Double Fudge Brownies

These homemade chocolate fudge brownies are so easy to make, look perfect and they taste delicious! They are bound to be a hit with your family as they are with mine.

This is our last post for the year; we will resume posting early next year. Have a safe and happy Christmas and New Years!

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2/3 cup Butter
1/4 cup Water
2 cup Chocolate chips 1 12oz pkg semi-sweet
2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Eggs
1 cup Nuts chopped (optional)

PREPARATION:
In a small saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup of butter, and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to the boil and no more. Remove saucepan from heat and add 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips & 2 teaspoons vanilla. Stir until the chocolate melts. Transfer this chocolate mixture to a large bowl. Beat in four eggs, one at a time. Then in a small bowl combine the soda, flour and salt. Gradually add flour to chocolate batter. Blend in 1 cup chopped nuts if desired. Pour into greased 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 325 for 50 minutes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Pudding Truffles

These chocolate truffles are deliciously Christmasy, in both flavour and appearance. The joy of truffle recipes is mixing and matching bits and bobs to your preference, so if you prefer to omit the alcohol, go right ahead. Conversely, you don't need to stick with rum, feel free to substitute any liquor you may prefer. A chocolate liquor in this recipe is also an excellent choice.

INGREDIENTS:
100g plain chocolate
75 ml double Cream
2 tbsp rum
150g fruit cake
25g glace cherries
White chocolate / icing to decorate

PREPARATION:
Melt the chocolate and cream together. Remove from the heat
Crumble cake into fine crumbs and chop cherries finely. Stir the cake crumbs, rum and cherries into the melted chocolate. Chill for 30 minutes

With a teaspoon, divide the mixture into about 16 pieces. Use clean hands to roll mixture into balls and place in small paper cases. Chill for 30 minutes. Decorate the tops of the each truffle with the white chocolate or icing.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Eggnog Truffles

Cream, nutmeg and brandy give these simple truffles the flavours of Christmas, embodied in a gorgeous little truffle. Make this recipe up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container in the fridge. Makes 32

INGREDIENTS:
2 x 180g pkts good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
1 tbs brandy
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 x 375g pkt white chocolate melts
Ground nutmeg, extra, to dust
Freshly brewed espresso coffee, to serve

PREPARATION:
Place the chocolate, cream, brandy and nutmeg in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a teaspoon to scoop out 2 teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.

Meanwhile, place chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use 2 forks to dip a truffle into the melted chocolate to coat. Remove truffle, tapping the fork handle gently on the edge of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining truffles and melted chocolate. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Sprinkle truffles with extra nutmeg and serve with coffee.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Truffles - Chocolate Rum & Raisin

Truffles are probably our favourite Christmas dessert, both in eating and giving as gifts! We have given truffles to our friends for the last few years now, and they are always very well received. Rum and Raisin is perhaps the most classic truffle of them all. Couverture Chocolate is a very high quality chocolate that contains extra cocoa butter (32-39%). Makes About 50.

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups chopped Raisins
2 tbs Dark Rum
2 x 200g pkts Nestle Chocolate Couverture
1 x 395g can Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 x 100g pkts Macadamia Nuts, toasted, chopped
Chocolate sprinkles
Cocoa
200g Dark Chocolate, melted
200g White Chocolate, melted

PREPARATION:
Place raisins and rum in a bowl, combine well and stand for 10 minutes.

Melt Nestle Chocolate Couverture according to packet directions. Combine in a large bowl with condensed milk and mix well. Stir in raisin mixture. Cover and place in the fridge until firm.

Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Roll teaspoonfuls of truffle mixture into balls. To decorate, roll balls in macadamias, sprinkles or cocoa, or dip in melted Dark Melts then drizzle with melted White Melts. Place on prepared tray and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until firm.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

These brownies are absolutely delicious. Each creamy, espresso-spiked, chocolaty, brownie bite gets better and better as consumption continues! You can't freeze them, because of the sour cream topping. So when you make them, your only option really is to eat them. Its a pretty simple decision. This cheesecake makes makes about 16 servings.

INGREDIENTS:

For the brownie batter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the cheesecake batter

1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

For the topping

1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

PREPARATION:

Preheat the oven to 350. To prepare the brownie batter, in a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl, add butter and chocolate - heat at 50% power just until the butter has melted and the chocolate has softened. Stir the mixture and if any lumps of chocolate remain, reheat briefly, stopping every 30 seconds or so to stir.

Whisk sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each. Whisk in vanilla. Add dry ingredients and stir just until combined - set aside.

Next, prepare the cheesecake batter. In a small bowl, stir together espresso powder and boiling water - set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until completely smooth. Add sugar and beat until well combined, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and espresso mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined after each. Mix in the sour cream. Add flour and stir until combined.

Stir brownie batter and pour three quarters of it into a 9" baking pan coated with nonstick spray. Pour cheesecake batter on top of the brownie batter. Drop dollops of the remaining brownie batter on top and gently swirl the dark batter into the cheesecake batter, making sure not to push the knife down into the bottom brownie layer.

Place into the oven and bake until the cheesecake layer is beige in the center and lightly browned around the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. Place cooled pan into the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours.

Finally, prepare the topping. In a small saucepan, add sour cream and confectioners' sugar - warm over very low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour evenly over the cold cheesecake layer.

Place the pan back into the refrigerator and chill until the topping is thoroughly cold, at least 1 hour before serving.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rhubarb Crumble Pie

This rhubarb pie is topped with a buttery spiced oat crumb mixture. Serve with a scoop of ice cream for a perfect summer dessert.

INGREDIENTS:
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar

Topping:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

PREPARATION:
Heat oven to 350°. Prepare pie shell or thaw a frozen pie shell.

Trim and rinse the rhubarb stalks. Slice large stalks in half lengthwise. Slice rhubarb stalks crosswise in 1/2 to 1-inch lengths. Combine sliced rhubarb and water in a medium saucepan.

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons flour and 3/4 cup sugar, stirring until well blended; add to the rhubarb mixture. Stir well and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover but leave the cover ajar to let steam escape and continue simmering for about 5 minutes, or just until tender. If desired, add a little red food coloring to make the filling more colorful. Spoon filling into the prepared pie shell.

With a pastry blender or fingers, combine the topping ingredients until blended and crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until topping is browned and the filling is bubbly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Coffee Cupcakes with Mocha Ganache and Mascarpone Cream

I came across this delicious coffee-inspired recipe at LaBelle Cuisine. It creates a cupcake dessert that looks like an little espresso drink! You can substitute 6 tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder & 1/4 tsp baking soda for 6 tbsp dutch-process cocoa powder. This recipe makes 30 cupcakes, however you could halve the quantities to make fewer and bake in espresso cups as we have done here to make a stunning dessert!

INGREDIENTS:

Chocolate coffee cupcakes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup instant coffee powder
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Mocha ganache
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup coffee beans, crushed
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

Mascarpone cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

PREPARATION:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 30 standard muffin cups with paper liner. Combine the milk, cocoa, coffee and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, constantly whisking, until the cocoa and coffee have dissolved. Let cool and pour into a liquid measure.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk mixture in three batches, ending with the liquid.

Fill each muffin cup halfway with the batter. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, to make mocha ganache, combine the heavy cream and coffee beans in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and bring back to a boil. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over it, stirring slowly, until the ganache is smooth. Spoon enough ganache over each cupcake to fill the liners to the rim.

To make mascarpone cream, using a whisk or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Spoon the mascarpone cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip and pipe the cream on top of the ganache in a circle.