Tag Archives: chocolate

“Cake in a Mug” Duo

A few years ago I ran across a wonderful post on Diethood which had links to a collection of microwaved ‘cakes in a mug’. I copied several of the recipes and even made one … a “Strawberries and Cream” version. I served it with some macerated strawberries on top.

It was tasty but, for some reason, I never tried any of the other recipes in the collection I saved. Until this week.

By the way, I heartily recommend checking out Katerina’s blog. She’s a talented home chef, wife and mother of two young girls, and a beautiful person, inside and out.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Add ins: 1 tbsp chocolate chips

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the chocolate chips, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 2 minutes. Good texture (maybe a touch too firm) and taste. I’ll try 1 min 45 sec next time.

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 5 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 3-4 tbsp granulated sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp blueberry yogurt, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add ins: 2 tbsp frozen or fresh blueberries

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the blueberries, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 1 min 45 sec. Texture of the cake was very good, more tender compared to the slightly tougher one of the chocolate and peanut butter one that was cooked longer.

Crumb of the cake

I split open the ‘cake’ to see the distribution of the frozen blueberries. Everything was great UNTIL I tasted it and realized that I had forgotten to add the sugar.

So I poured the rest of the container of blueberry yogurt over the top and dug in. A tablespoon of sweetened whipped cream would have worked too. Or maybe some honey.

Advertisements

Rigo Jancsi … a Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake

Sometimes you just get inspired by a recipe, even when you don’t have enough of the ingredients to make a full recipe. Or the right sized container to assemble it in.

There’s a sad and romantic story about the purported origin of this chocolate mousse cake, involving a gypsy violinist and the unhappily married wife of an impoverished Belgian prince. I just made it because I had a chocolate craving and was bored on a Saturday afternoon. The recipe was found on the blog “Zsuzsa in the Kitchen”, the source of many delicious Hungarian and Canadian recipes.

You may see this cake with a white whipped cream layer between the chocolate mousse and the cake top. It’s a nice visual but not found in the original version, I understand.

I was low on eggs and only had a couple of teaspoons of gelatin for the mousse so I scaled down … everything.

The cake (a half batch) was made in an eight by eight inch glass pan and then cut in half, rather unevenly, as it turned out. Mostly because I was distracted by the lumps of unmixed egg white foam in the chocolate batter. I made one third portions of both the mousse filling and the chocolate glaze for the cake top. The mousse melted in the heat of my kitchen as I incorporated the warm cream containing the gelatin into the cold whipped chocolate cream. And, since I didn’t have a pan of the right size to build the cake and mousse filling in, I piled the mounds of chocolate mousse on the slab of cake in a couple of batches, refrigerating the cake in between.

Diluted and slightly warmed apricot jam spread over the base of the cake. Chocolate mousse piled on top.

The chocolate ganache used to glaze the cake top turned out beautifully. Glossy and just thick enough to set quickly, so I could precut the cake layers before piling them on top of the mousse. Unfortunately, by this point it had set firmly enough that the two didn’t glue themselves together. It was at that point that I realized that I hadn’t trimmed the two cake layers to match.

Oh well … it wasn’t being made to serve to company.

Rushing to get the cake assembled and back into the fridge to set, led me to only cut the mousse cake into six portions, even though I HAD planned for eight. No matter, as I ate two servings, even as wonky  as they turned out, that same day. Midnight chocolate mousse cake is a decadent treat we should all indulge in periodically.

 

Pantry/Freezer Clearout – Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

It’s always fun when you have all the ingredients for something that catches your eye.

I saw these delicious looking biscuits on one of the FB food groups I belong to. When I checked out the link I found that the recipe used whole wheat flour and fine porridge oats and not all purpose flour. I happened to have some leftover finely ground rolled oats, from a previous sourdough bread bake, in my pantry, so it was a win-win situation. Cookies/biscuits AND it used up another item from my pantry. The recipe, as posted by Paul Hollywood, seems to be similar to the McVitie brand of biscuits.

Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Digestive Biscuits

 

  

Review: Just a touch of sweetness. I used a 72% dark cocoa chocolate for the coating but if you want something sweeter, a milk chocolate would be tasty as well.

Sometimes, my cooking choice is designed around using up a specific ingredient. Like  the cream of wheat dumplings (Hungarian grizgaluska) I made with the last 3/4 cup of cream of wheat in my pantry. And the pot of chicken stock made with a chicken carcass, a few chicken backs and about a dozen chicken thigh bones that I ran across, as I was transferring the contents of the upstairs freezer to the basement one. I served the dumplings in the resulting soup.

 

Sweet Potato Buns (and Looking at the Dough NOT the Clock)

I recently saw a post on one of my bread making FB groups about making potato bread/buns … and I was intrigued.

So, this past long weekend, I went down into the basement for the last six Yukon gold potatoes that I had …

… only to have a second thought based on the presence of a LARGE sweet potato in the shoe caddy hanging at the top of the stairs into the basement.

The result was eight HUGE moist and tender buns. (I used “Chef John’s” Sweet Potato Bun recipe from the All-recipes website.)

Crumb of the sweet potato buns

NOTE: On line recipes are sometimes a crap shoot when it comes to the detail of the instructions given, or lack thereof. In this particular case, the proofing times were way off. It took my dough one hour to rise to the top of the bowl NOT the two hours that the recipe claimed. Only the dinner plate covering the top of the bowl prevented a spill over. And my kitchen wasn’t even particularly warm … barely 72 deg F.

Based on that, I watched the final proofing time carefully. It took half an hour for the buns to have doubled in size. Since I had something else in the oven already, I threw the baking tray with the buns into the fridge until I was ready to bake them.

Looks like ‘someone’ was nibbling on that warm buttered bun. 🙂

REVIEW: Soft and tender buns with a bit of sweetness. Beautiful golden colour. The size though … well, when they said LARGE, they meant large. I used 115-120 gm of dough per bun. I’d scale that back to 95-100 gm next time which should give me ten buns and not the eight I ended up with. And I’d definitely make this recipe again.

Here’s another case of a recipe that didn’t QUITE work as expected.

Mocha cookies sounded pretty amazing when I ran across them on a recent web search. And the pictures made my mouth water. I followed the instructions carefully. Butter at room temperature. I even weighed it. Egg at room temperature. And I have a light and consistent hand when measuring flour. My oven is calibrated properly and it was preheated long enough that I knew it was accurate. I was surprised that the recipe said it only made FOURTEEN cookies but used a soup spoon to measure out the dough. The resulting balls were about two inches in diameter so I decided to scale them back to one inch in diameter, made the fourteen cookie balls and prepared to watch the timing so they wouldn’t burn.

SURPRISE

I ended up with little marbles.

They didn’t spread AT ALL even after I gave them an extra couple of minutes of baking time.

I still had a bit over half the cookie dough left so I weighed it, and divided the dough into EIGHT (46 gm) portions. The first batch of cookie balls had all sorts of cracks and imperfections after they baked so I made sure that these cookied balls were perfectly smooth, pre-baking. I took a good look at the dough balls before I put them in the oven and they looked HUGE. Since I didn’t want GIANT marbles, I decided to dip the base of a coffee mug into granulated sugar and flatten the dough balls.

NOTE: For some reason I didn’t think to increase the baking temperature from the 350 deg Fahrenheit in the recipe to 375 deg for this second batch.

The cookies still didn’t spread but the resulting cookies were more ‘cookie-like’ in shape. And like the first batch, they were soft.

REVIEW: The cookies were tasty though I think they were missing … something … taste-wise. I don’t think I’d make this recipe again.

BBQ and Mint Chimichurri

I’ve had a beef/steak craving for a while and picked up a couple of rib steaks (cap off), as well as a tray of pork chops, also on sale this week, with a plan to barbecue. Unfortunately, with Friday and Saturday’s rain and thunderstorms, it took a post-supper lull on Saturday before I could finally throw a few things on the grill.

There’s nothing like chimichurri to dress a bbq’d steak or pork chops. I’ve used cilantro, mint and parsley to make it, in the past, but this batch just used mint and parsley. And for a veggie side … steamed artichokes with a chipotle yum yum sauce (leftovers) to dip into. I’ll share the pictures in a separate post

Mint Chimichurri – makes about 2/3 of a cup

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup fresh mint (spearmint) leaves, packed
1 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Kosher or coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
6 tbsp olive oil**

** I used extra virgin olive oil since that’s all I had.

Place garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until finely chopped. Add the mint and parsley leaves and pulse until finely chopped.

In a medium sized bowl, add the vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the mint-parsley mixture and stir until well mixed. Stir in the olive oil.

Transfer to a glass jar, seal and refrigerate. The chimichurri will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Perfect to serve over steak, lamb or even roasted potatoes!

Steak, potatoes and mint chimichurri – I put the chimichurri on the potatoes for visual contrast though it’s generally served on top of your grilled meat.

Dessert was a couple of large cream puffs filled with chocolate Chantilly cream

Mixed bbq grill – Rib steak, Yukon gold potatoes, a package of hot dogs and a couple of pork chops

Old and New Meals, Again

Nothing too exciting happening in the kitchen. I made an attempt at a type of hand shaped pasta, called strascinati rigati, using a sushi rolling mat, but the results were a bit disappointing. Next time, I’d roll the pasta much thinner and cut smaller pieces for shaping. I’d also cook them fresh rather than drying them. Taste wise … well, it’s pasta with a home made marinara sauce. Tasty but nothing to write home about.

The pasta on the left was made only with all purpose flour while the pasta on the right used half fine ground semolina flour as well.

Once again, the freezer is providing the start of some great meals … leftover pork ribs (remember that blueberry bbq sauce) with purchased hash brown patties.

And pulled pork sandwiches with roasted potato wedges.

I had a sirloin steak in the freezer so I thawed it out, seared it in a cast iron frying pan and served it rare. Simple but delicious with mashed potatoes, carrots and salad. There was enough steak leftover for a steak sandwich too.

I had a bit of a chocolate craving so I whipped up some blender chocolate mousse/pot de creme, flavoured with orange liqueur (Cointreau), to pour into a couple of prebaked pastry shells from the freezer. I had visions of something like a chocolate cream pie but since the shells had shrunk so much, not much of the mousse fit into the shells. So, I poured most of the mousse into a couple of ramekins and topped them with a dollop of whipped cream.

I should have let the pies set a bit longer before cutting into them but I couldn’t wait. (Sorry for the poor lighting in the first picture.)

Small Batch No Churn Ice Cream – Deconstructed Ferrero Rocher and Lemon Curd & Limoncello Cheesecake

ETA (07/21/2017): Replaced both the Ferrero Rocher and lemon curd scoop pictures.

For ice cream lovers without an ice cream maker or a large amount of freezer space, and a love for different flavours of ice cream, a small batch of no churn ice cream may be the solution. Especially as this type of ice cream is so VERY rich and a 1/2 cup serving is enough to satisfy most people. I picked two very different flavours of ice cream to cater to different cravings.

For Chocolate Hazelnut/Nutella Lovers – Deconstructed Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream

I wanted to buy some of the actual chocolates, chop them up and stir them into a Nutella flavoured ice cream but they didn’t have any at the grocery store so I was forced to use the elements for a ‘deconstructed’ version.

Deconstructed Ferrero Rocher Ice Cream – makes ~3 cups

3/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
50 gm coarsely chopped hazelnuts (filberts), reserve a teaspoon or so of nuts for decorating the top
1/2 cup Nutella
1 tbsp rye whiskey vanilla extract
1/4 cup (or more) fudge sauce** (or Nutella if you don’t have any fudge or chocolate sauce)

** I used Martha Stewart’s recipe

In a large cold bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

In a second large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk with the Nutella until smooth. Stir in the chopped hazelnuts.

Fold the stiff cream into the sweetened condensed milk/Nutella/nut mixture.

Spoon half the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe container. Smooth the surface. Dot several half teaspoons of fudge sauce over the surface of the ice cream. Add the rest of the ice cream mixture. Drizzle some more fudge sauce over the ice cream

Sprinkle the reserved nuts over the top.

NOTE: Next time, I won’t line the container with saran wrap as it fell into the ice cream and got all messy. I was TRYING to keep the container neat.

Cover the container tightly with a lid or a sheet of foil and place into freezer for a minimum of 8 hrs or overnight.

For Citrus Lovers – Lemon Curd & Limoncello Cheesecake Ice Cream

I wanted the bright citrus hit of lemons so I used my home made lemon curd to flavour the ice cream. The Limoncello I made a few years ago provided the liqueur in the recipe, and, because it just wasn’t rich and creamy enough with the whipping cream, in an adaptation of an earlier blueberry version, I added cream cheese to make it similar to a cheesecake.

Lemon Curd & Limoncello Cheesecake Ice Cream – makes ~3 1/2-4  cups

3/4 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 oz/85 gm cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 tbsp Limoncello
1/3-1/2 cup lemon curd, divided

In a large cold bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.

In a second large bowl, whip the cream cheese until smooth and then beat in the  sweetened condensed milk and the Limoncello.

Stir in a few tablespoons of the lemon curd.

Fold the stiff cream into the cream cheese/sweetened condensed milk/lemon curd mixture.

Spoon half the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe container. Smooth the surface. Dot several half teaspoons of lemon curd over the surface of the ice cream. With a wooden skewer or chopstick, marble the curd through the ice cream.

Add the rest of the ice cream mixture and flatten the top. Dot some more lemon curd over the top of the ice cream and marble through as before.

Cover the container tightly with a lid or a sheet of foil and place into freezer for a minimum of 8 hrs or overnight.

Brutti Ma Buoni (“Ugly But Good” Cookies) ver. 1 – Cooked Batter

UUUUGLY Cookie Warning!!

REALLY … I’m NOT kidding. These cookies look funky, especially before you bake them, but they DO taste good.

I’ve been meaning to make these cookies for some time but kept putting it off, until now.

There are two basic techniques or versions of “brutti ma buoni”, and of course, I chose the more complicated one which involves cooking the meringue batter to dry it out before it’s spooned out onto a baking sheet and baked. Even though I watched several videos, I overcooked the batter so that the last few cookies ended up dried and crumbly. These cookies had cocoa powder folded into the batter. Hazelnuts seem to be used most commonly in the recipes that I researched but, I used sliced almonds, since I had some in my freezer. Other nuts like pine nuts, pecans or even walnuts, may be used alone or in combination.

Brutti ma buoni al cioccolato (Chocolate “Ugly but Good” Cookies) – makes 10-12 cookies

2 egg whites (~75 gm)
150 gm white sugar
150 gm nuts, toasted and chopped coarsely**
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

** Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove 1 tbsp of the sugar and sift it, together with the cocoa powder, into a small bowl. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually spoon in the sugar and continue whisking until hard peaks form. Fold in the sugar/cocoa mixture, then the nuts.

You can spoon the meringue “batter” onto the baking sheet at this point and bake it OR transfer it into a thick bottomed sauce pan and cook on the stove top at medium-low heat while stirring gently. Cook, scraping the bottom, until the batter has dried out and starts pulling away from the bottom and sides, about 10-12 min. (NOTE: Remember, the batter keeps cooking when you pull the pan off the heat so you might want to under cook it a bit.)

Using 2 tablespoons (scrape out the batter from the first with the second) transfer mounds of the batter, onto your lined baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake for 20-25 min. They will be firm to the touch, but soft deep in the centre.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, after which they’ll be easier to remove with a thin spatula.

Let finish cooling on racks.

You can store leftover cookies in an air tight container in a cool dry place. Don’t refrigerate or freeze.

Happy Mother’s Day (2017) … Fudgy Chocolate Cake

In many households, dads barbecue to save mom from having to cook on this, their special day. Which you might think is a very considerate thing to do.

My question is … who does the dishes and cleanup, let alone did the shopping, for what gets bbq’d?

Dad?

I DON’T think so. 🙂

For all the mothers (step-mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers etc) out there, I hope you had a great day surrounded by your loved ones. Who show their appreciation to you for all you do, year round.

I made a fudgy chocolate cake yesterday which many mothers would appreciate. Instead of a cake however, I made a dozen cupcakes and two mini cakes that would serve two people. They were frosted very simply with a ganache (whipping cream and chocolate) and there’s a pretty strawberry sauce to go with it.

Strawberry Sauce – makes about a cup of sauce

3 tbsp water
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 cup thinly sliced strawberries
3 tbsp granulated sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice (it’ll liven up the flavour of the sauce)

Stir together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined.

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, stir together the cornstarch mixture, sliced strawberries, lemon juice and sugar.

Bring mixture to a simmer, whisking frequently and cook for a minute or two. Cool for 5 minutes.

Puree in a food processor.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl.

I bbq’d a sirloin steak, a large pork chop, several pork souvlaki skewers for the rest of the week and some pineapple rings. The steak was served with a baked potato (cooked in the microwave and finished on the bbq), sauteed white mushrooms and a simple salad.

 

Cupcakes and frosting

 

Sweets to the …

… well, ME.

A change up from the endless bread posts.

I tried out a recipe for red velvet cake for the first time by making a half batch and baking cupcakes. Next time … do NOT double the cocoa cause the liquid red food colouring ended up sort of garnet instead of the ‘red’ that the person who posted/rec’d the recipe had. Since the cupcakes went into the freezer, I didn’t make a frosting but the cream cheese/butter combo is probably warranted.

And I made a batch of date oatmeal turnovers using a tried and true recipe. I made a few changes to switch things up like NOT pulsing the oatmeal flakes a bit in the food processor, which was a mistake. There’s a bit too much texture/roughage for my taste. And, I decided to try the egg glaze to see if I liked the shiny look … meh!! (I don’t think the look is worth using up a perfectly good egg especially as I ended up throwing away the rest.) For serving, I’d make up an icing sugar/butter glaze and drizzle it over the turnovers.

A few other things I’ve made include a batch of Nutella panna cotta

ETA (04/12/2017): I decided to add the recipe in case anyone is interested.

Nutella Panna Cotta – makes ~1 3/4 cups, serves 4-6

1 cup/250ml whipping cream (**1/2 cup 2% milk and 1/2 cup whipping cream)
25g/2 tbsp sugar (**reduce to 1 tbsp next time)
1 tsp gelatine (**used 1 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp cold water
1/2 cup Nutella
**pinch of salt (optional)

** Adjustments made

In a small bowl, add the gelatine and sprinkle the water over the top. Allow to bloom.

Scald the cream in a saucepan on the stove, or in a microwave safe bowl, and stir (or whisk) in the sugar and salt. Add a bit of the warmed cream to the gelatine mixture and stir until the gelatine is dissolved. Stir the Nutella into the warm cream until it’s thoroughly dissolved. Add the gelatine mixture and stir. Pour the mixture through a sieve into a measuring cup. Portion the panna cotta mixture evenly into 4-6 containers.

Let set in the fridge for at least 2 hrs. Four is preferable if you can wait that long. There’s no need to turn out the panna cotta. Eating it out of a pretty glass or other serving dish is fine.

.. and a quick sundae with the last of the French vanilla ice cream in my freezer and some sea salt caramel sauce.