How To Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

June 23, 2014 in Desserts, Recipes

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You could buy a box of candy or make delicious cakes or cookies – but there really is no treat that will equal to fresh, locally grown strawberries that are coated in real chocolate!

And – you can make these ahead of time or have them ready on a short time notice – just a perfect treat!

Directions:

  1. Coarsely chop about 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
  2. Wash and dry 1 lb. of fresh strawberries (that’s about 20 of them and if you use locally grown strawberries, you will definitely notice the difference)
  3. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  4. Dip the strawberries – holding each strawberry by the stem end, dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip of. Repeat with the remaining berries.
  5. Transfer dipped strawberries onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  6. As you set each berry down, slide it about 1/2 inch to the side to prevent the formation of a “chocolate foot”.
  7. Refrigerate the strawberries until the chocolate is firm – at least 30 minutes.
  8. The dipped strawberries will keep up to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
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Crunchy Chocolate Cookies Recipe

May 16, 2014 in Recipes

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Ingredients:

  • 1-18 oz. package of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 bars of milk chocolate (1.5 oz. each) with crisp rice candy, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease cookies sheets.
  3. Let dough stand at room temperature about 15 minutes.
  4. Combine dough, cocoa and egg in large bowl, beat until well blended.
  5. Stir in candy.
  6. Shape dough into 36 (3/4 inch) balls and place them 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until set.
  8. Cool on cookie sheets for about 1 minute.
  9. Remove to wire racks and cool completely

Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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How to Make Chocolate Truffles

February 10, 2014 in Recipes

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I really wanted to do something special in time for Valentines Day this year. Since I bake all the time (pretty much), I decided to give a try to making truffles. I do recall trying it few years back and not really having much success. But this time – with a little bit of patience – they turned out great!

Here is the recipe and step by step directions – it is really easy! All you have to remember is to be patient making them and then get creative with the finishing touches:

Chocolate Truffles:

  • 9 oz. of bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
  • 2/3 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of coca powder

Directions:

I have developed a habit of laying out all required ingredients first – regardless of how many of how few there are. It really makes the task easier.

I used sharp, heavy knife to cut large chocolate pieces into smaller ones first.

Using my Magic Bullet is a great help in the kitchen – it is fast and easy to clean. The finer pieces you chop the chocolate into, the faster it will combine with your cream.

Put your cream into a small pot and bring to just the boiling point – when small bubbles start forming around the edges

Pour the boiling cream over chocolate and whisk until uniformly mixed. Let stand for a while, until the mixture cools to about room temperature.

Cover with plastic wrap and out into your fridge to cool for a minimum of 3 hours. I did this overnight – made the mixture night before I was ready to finish my truffles.

Making sure there are no chunks of cocoa before rolling the truffles in it is important – use a fine sieve to put the cocoa through

Form small balls from the truffle mix (this will be messy so get ready to wash your hands in between rolling the truffles) then roll them in the cocoa. I used little gold candy cups to place them into

Half on my truffles were coated with cocoa – the other half with ground almond. Then I place a slice of almond on the cocoa coated ones and a few chocolate slivers onto the almond coated once.

 

I hope you will try these – making your own handmade truffles and getting creative with the finish can really give you a great sweet gift to share on Valentines Day!

 

 

 

 

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Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

January 2, 2014 in Desserts, Recipes

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GLuten free oatmeal chocolate chip cookiesYou can make these with white or milk chocolate or dried apricots or currants – they will make great substitutes for the dark chocolate. Make sure you use just a level tablespoon of dough for each cookie, that will guarantee you the not-to-thin chewy texture that will make everyone wanting seconds!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup of sweet rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of dark chocolate chips of coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. In large bowl., beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Whisk together all purpose flour, oats, sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Stir into flour mixture.
  5. Stir in chocolate.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  7. Roll by 1 tablespoon into balls, arrange 2 inches apart on 2 parchment paper lined rimless baking sheets.
  8. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 350F oven, switching and rotating pans halfway through, until golden – 10-12 minutes.
  9. Let cool on pans on racks for couple of minutes.
  10. Transfer to rack and let cool completely.

 

Hope you will enjoy these delicious gluten-free cookies! Please send me your comments and suggestions, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars Recipe

October 29, 2013 in Recipes

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Believe me – this dessert is sooooo much better than just a plain pumpkin pie or anything else! And its easy to make – promise you will love it!

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Bars:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopper candied ginger
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger
  • 1/teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 250 gm brick of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of 35% cream
  • 3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Line 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. letting paper overhang the pan’s edges.
  3. Stir graham crumbs with candied ginger in a medium bowl until evenly moist.
  4. Press over bottom of prepared poan.
  5. Bake in centre of oven until edges are golden – about 10 minutes.
  6. Whisk egg in the same bowl (no need to wash it)
  7. Whisk in puree, sugar, spices and salt.
  8. Cut cream cheese into cubes.
  9. Beat in cheese, with an electric mixer until combined.
  10. Pour mixture over warm crust.
  11. Bake in center oven, until filling is set when pan is jiggled – about 25 minutes.
  12. Cool completely.
  13. Heat cream in small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot – about 2 monutes.
  14. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips.
  15. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  16. Spread over cooled filling.
  17. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm – about 1 hour.
  18. Use parchment paper to lift square out of pan, then slice it into 20 bars.
  19. You can refrigerate this dessert for up to 5 days or freeze it up to a month.

 

Hope you will enjoy this recipe  - please send me your comments, your input is alwasy welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Easy Halloween Treats – Chocolate Licorice Broomsticks

October 28, 2013 in Recipes

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Making your own Halloween treats is a great idea! I would recommend that if you choose to make them and hand them out, include a little card in a package with your name and phone number to let parents know that you are honest and the treats are harmless.

This is a recipe you can easily include your children in making – and have fun doing it!

Chocolate Licorice Broomsticks

Ingredients:

  • About 7 yards of licorice lace
  • 8 licorice sticks
  • 10 oz. of dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Equipment:

  • Tray
  • Baking Paper
  • Scissors
  • Small heatproof bowl
  • Small saucepan
  • Metal Spoon

Directions:

  1. Line tray with baking paper
  2. Use scissors to cut the licorice lace into 8 long lengths of 8 inch and 80 short lengths of 2-1/2 inches
  3. Gather 10 short lengths and hold them in a bundle – this is the “straw” of the broomstick.
  4. Insert  a licorice stick inside the bundle, going about 1-1/4 inches down like a handle
  5. Wrap a long length of licorice tightly around the top of the bundle to secure it to the handle (the licorice should be stocky enough so that you won’t need to tie a knot)
  6. Continue making broomsticks with the remaining licorice lace and sticks.
  7. Place the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir until chocolate melts, then remove from the heat.
  8. Take a broomstick and dip the straw into the melted chocolate, swirling it around to coat the licorice strands all over.
  9. Remove from the chocolate and allow any excess to drip back into the bowl.
  10. Lay on the prepared tray and continue to dip the remaining broomsticks.
  11. Place the tray in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.
  12. The broomsticks can be stores in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.

 

Hope you will enjoy making these special treats – please send me your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes Recipe

August 7, 2013 in Recipes

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lava cakesThese little chocolate cakes are delicious – and the fact that they are gluten free is a bonus! The bater can be prepared ahead of time, but the cakes are best eaten immediately after baking – so don’t put them into the oven until you are ready to serve dessert.

Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes:

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. of kosher pareve bittersweet chocolate or semi sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of kosher pareve margarine, cubed
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup of kosher pareve coca powder (such as Ghiradelli), sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 12 oz. of strawberries, hulled and diced
  • Kosher non–dairy whipped topping (optional)

Directions:

  1. In heatproof bowl or top of double boiler over hot (not biling) water, melt chocolate with margarine, stirring unttil smooth.
  2. Stir in vanilla seeds.
  3. Remove form heat.
  4. Whisk in sugar
  5. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time
  6. Whisk in cocoa powder and salt.
  7. Pour into 12 greased ramekins and place on rimmed baking sheet.
  8. If you are making it ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours, add 5 minutes tto baking time.
  9. Bake at 425F oven, until adges are set and centres are slightly jiggly when tapped – about 15 minutes.
  10. Let cool for 3 minutes.
  11. Run knife around edges and turn out onto plates.
  12. Garnish with strawberries and whipped topping.

 

Hope you will enjoY these delicious little lava cakes – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and much appreciated!

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How to Make Flavoured Coffees

July 8, 2013 in Recipes

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featureI found out that according to research (this one was done at Vanderbilt University in Nashville) the caffeine in coffee speeds up metabolic rate by 5 percent and boosts fat burn during physical activity by 31 percent – and that is good enough for me to keep drinking coffee! But – you don’t always have to have just the regular brew – here are some great recipes for flavoured coffees – enjoy!

Café Almond Delight:

almond

  1. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, heat 1-1/2 cups of milk for about 2 minutes, or until the milk just reaches boil.
  2. Using whisk or electric mixer, mix vigorously to form foam.
  3. Divide milk and foam evenly between 2 glasses.
  4. In liquid measuring cup, combine 3/4 cup of brewed espresso, 1/4 cup of amaretto liqueur and 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup.
  5. Slowly pour 1/2 the mixture over back of spoon into each glass.
  6. Stir before drinking.

Caramel Mocha Coffee:

1

  1. In glass, combine 1 cup of strong brewed caramel coffee, 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup and a pinch of salt.
  2. Top with whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder and chopped chocolate.

Hazelnut Latte Coffee:

2

  1. In bowl, microwave 3/4 cup of milk for about 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk to form foam.
  3. Stir in 2 teaspoons of chopped chocolate and pour into a glass.
  4. In liquid measuring cup, combine 1/4 cup of brewed espresso and 2 tablespoon of each sugar and hazelnut syrup.
  5. Pour over back of spoon into glass.
  6. Stir to drink.

Java A La Mode:

3

  1. In glass, combine 3/4 cup of hot or cold strong brewed French vanilla coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  2. Add 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.
  3. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Hope you enjoy these recipes – please send me your comments – your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Double Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

June 25, 2013 in Recipes

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dOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE 001There are days you just feel like treating yourself – and others of course – to a special dessert. For that occasion, try this Double Chocolate Cheesecake and you will not be sorry! Topped with fresh berries or real whipping cream – or both – it is truly a sweet experience!

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 18 cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 packages (8 oz each) of Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 8 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of blueberries (or berries of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar

 Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and butter, press mixture into bottom of 9-inch of spring from pan
  3. Bake for about 10 minutes
  4. Beat cream cheese. Sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended
  5. Add melted chocolate, mix well
  6. Add eggs, one at a time , mixing on a low speed after each addition just until blended
  7. Pour over crust
  8. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour until centre is almost set
  9. Run knife around rim of the pan to loosen cake, cool before removing rim
  10. Refrigerate for 4 hours
  11. Top with berries just before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar

Enjoy and please send in your comments anytime!

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Chocolate Beer Cake Recipe

January 27, 2012 in Cooking with Beer, Recipes

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Just in time for Valentines day  – ladies, you can totally surprise your loved one with a delicious, homemade chocolate beer cake! Yes – you are reading this right – this cake is made with beer. I made it last night and got rave reviews not only from my husband, but also from a friend who stopped by for a visit. And you don’t have to worry – you , or anyone else will not taste the beer – it blends beautifully with the cocoa and all other ingredients. I have cut my cake in a half, filled it with sliced bananas and iced it with some leftover cream cheese icing. You can leave it uncut and just ice it like you would any other cake. My original thought was to fill it with strawberries and I am sure that would be really good as well.

For beer, I used Waterloo Dark, made by our local Brick Brewery. I have found that the Brick Brewery beers work well for me and as I mentioned before, I use products that are grown or made locally as much as possible.

So – you can get creative – just bake the cake and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 3/4 cups of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of beer (preferably dark)

Directions:

1. As always – I recommend getting all ingredients ready – it really does make the preparation easier and you will not miss anything!

2. Preheat over to 350F and prepare your baking pan. I used 10 x 10 pan but 9×13 will work just as well. Spray with a non-stick baking spray or grease and flour to make sure cake doesn’t stick. I used the spray – chocolate cakes have a tendency to pick up some of the flour used for dusting the pan and then they don’t look so nice)

3. Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda in a medium size bowl. The one thing to watch here for is that the cocoa is completely powdered – little pieces can stick together so take care and mix this well.

4. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Then beat in the vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

5.Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350F for 35 – 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. cool for a few minutes and then remove from baking pan by turning it upside down onto a board or a tray.

7. I sliced my cake in a half and filled it with thinly sliced bananas

8. Icing with was easy for me, since I had some cream cheese icing left over in a fridge. You can use white icing, whipping cream or any other icing you like to use for a chocolate cake. If you need a recipe for great icing, try this one:

Rich Butter  Icing Recipe

I usually decorate my cake more elaborately – this time, I just used a fork to create a bit of a lattice effect.

Hope you try this recipe – and please send me your comments and pictures if you at all can – your input is very welcomed and much appreciated!

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