Monday, January 31, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Stuffed Strawberries

Here is an easy treat that is made with another wonderful flavor combination:strawberries,chocolate & cheesecake!!!These strawberries are filled with cheesecake and dipped into chocolate!Is your mouth watering yet?The best part?It is essentially a no-bake recipe.You use your favorite store-bought cheesecake!Fun & easy...we all need days like that don't we?
1 pound of strawberries
your favorite cheesecake,slightly softened
melting chocolate
assorted toppings
   After washing and letting dry,slice each berry down the middle without going all the way through(we do not want 2 pieces,we want the berry to remain together at the top).
  Scoop about 1 tsp. of your favorite cheescake and stuff into the center of the berry.Squeeze together slightly.Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
   Remove the berries from the refrigerator.Melt the chocolate.I used both white chocolate and milk chocolate here.Carefully dip each berry into the desired chocolate and place on a parchment paper baking sheet.Sprinkle the desired topping on while the chocolate is still wet.Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to set until ready to serve.Because the strawberries are cut,these are best served on the day they are made.
   Oh, and let's not forget our football fans!These berries are dipped into milk chocolate and then I piped on the details with white chocolate.Fun!
**Save some cheesecake for tomorrow's idea!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mousse Filled Crepes With White Chocolate Sauce

Yesterday,we made chocolate mousse,and I suggested you save some...this is why! This is one of my favorite desserts,and the beauty of it is that all of the components can be made a few days ahead,and just need to be assembled before serving.The lucky person you serve this to will love you for it!If you do not want to make the crepes(but you should,because they are so easy) you can find ready made crepes at your local market.
  For the mousse recipe,see Mini Chocolate Mousse Cups on yesterday's blog.Now for the crepes:
1-1/4c milk
1c. flour
1 egg
1 tsp. vegetable oil
butter

Mix all of the ingredients together to make a thin batter.Melt 1 tbsp. butter in a non-stick skillet.Place approximately 1/4 c. batter in th center of the pan and swirl to form a circle(it does not have to be perfect)!Cook over medium heat for about 1 minute,then turn over and cook for another 30 seconds.Repeat with all of the batter.This makes 12 crepes.
Now for the white chocolate sauce:
8 oz. of good quality white chocolate,chopped
2c. cream
1 tsp.vanilla
Pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil.Remove from the heat.Place the white chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and pour the hot cream over it.Cover the bowl(not touching the chocolate mixture),with plastic wrap and let sit 5 minutes.After the 5 minutes,whisk the mixture to make sure the chocolate is melted & smooth. Cover with wrap again and place the stainless steel bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice & cold water,and let sit for 15 minutes.Remove the plastic & stir in the vanilla.At this point,the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days.
  To assemble,place one crepe on a flat surface.Spoon the chocolate mousse down the center and roll up.The amount is up to you,but I usually use about 2-3 tbsps..it depends on the size of your crepes.On the serving dish ,spoon enough white chocolate sauce to cover the bottom of the plate.Place the filled crepe on top of the sauce.Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar,and garnish wotha strawberry or raspberries.Enjoy!!
**Crepes can be made ahead ,and frozen until needed.Just put a piece of parchment of wax paper between each crepe,and place in a freezer bag.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mini Chocolate Mousse Cups

Remember the chocolate cups we made the other day,and I mentioned that I had also made some mini chocolate cups to save for later?Well,here they are,and they are filled with chocolate mousse.I made them small,because this is a very rich dessert.
2c.cream
3/4c. sugar
3 oz. of unsweetened chocolate,finely chopped
   In the bowl of your mixer,whip the cream & sugar until stiff peaks form.In a double boiler,melt the chocolate,and stir until smooth & glossy.If you do not have a double boiler,simply place the chocolate in a glass heat proof bowl,and set on top of a small saucepan that is filled with about 1 1/2 inches of water.Make sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.Simmer until chocolate melts.
   After the chocolate has cooled,and is no longer hot ,quickly whisk about 2 cups of the cream mixture into the chocolate.If you do this step while the chocolate is still hot,it will just form into big chunks in the cream,and that is not what we want for this recipe.After mixing carefully,pour the chocolate mixture back into the remaining whipped cream.Gently mix with a rubber spatula until all of the chocolate in incorporated into the cream.
   I then placed the mousse into a decorating bag and piped it into the chocolate cups....if you do not have a decorating bag,just spoon the mousse into the cups.Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
**This mousse can be made up to one day ahead.
**If you have mousse leftover,save it!I have another idea for it that I will be sharing with you in a few days!

Special Delivery for Me!

Let's face it,who doesn't love to receive a package in the mail?Well,I for one love it.I ordered some baking supplies from a great company,and this is how they arrived.Pretty or what?Love the way they ship their goodies!Here is what was inside.....
   This made me happy today.These sprinkles,and other baking  supplies can be ordered from http://www.fancyflours.com/.  The price is right,the service is great,and the packaging is sure to put a smile on your face!Sweet things do come in small packages.

Who Could Say No To This?

Here's another delcious treat from Godiva that you make at home.It comes with the pre-made chocolate shells and the mousse mix.Just add the fruit or whipped cream!www.godiva.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cinnamon Mocha Tart

A few days ago,I mentioned how chocolate & banana is one of my favorite flavor combinations.Well,nothing brings out the true flavor of chocolate like coffee or cinnamon,and this tart has both!It is a bit decadent,but so good.Again,I have made my own pastry dough,but feel free to use the refrigerated dough you find in the market in a pinch.
Dough:
2 sticks of very cold butter,cubed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
2c. flour
1/4 c. ice water

In the bowl of a food processor ,mix together the flour,sugar & salt.Add the butter and process until butter is about the size of small peas.Add the water and process until the dough comes together(about 1-2 minutes).Divide the dough in half,flatten into disks.Wrap in plastic wrap,and place one in the refrigerator for 30 minutes,and the other in the freezer for future use.
  Now for the filling:
1/2 c. butter
1 tbsp. instant coffee
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
4(1oz.) squares of unsweetened chocolate,finely chopped
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3c. flour
1 tbsp. cinnamon
fresh whipped cream

 In a small saucepan,melt butter.Add coffee,then chocolate.Mix together and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of your mixer,beat the eggs.Slowly add in the sugar.Add the vanilla and then the cooled chocolate mixture.NEVER add hot chocolate to the eggs..they will cook and we don't want scramble eggs.
   Remove dough from the refrigerator.Roll out on a lightly floured surface.Fit into your pan.I am using a square tart pan,if you have a round one,or a shallow pie plate,that is fine.Whatever you choose to bake it in should be on the shallow side,as this dessert does not rise like a cake.Individual tart pans work great as well.Place the tart pan on a baking sheet in case of accidental overflow.We don't want to ruin your oven!Prick a few holes into the bottom of the dough and bake at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes.If your dough tears a little,relax!!Just patch it with extra dough.Noone looks at the bottom of your dessert.(If they do,you might think twice about inviting them over again)!If you look at the picture closely,you will see that I had to do some repair work as well!
  Remove the tart pan from the oven,and pour the filling in.Bake  for another 25 minutes.Remove and let cool.Remove from the tart pan,cut into squares and serve.If using a pie plate,serve directly from the plate.Garnish with fresh whipped cream & cinnamon.

Personalized Valentine Cards/Labels



As I have said before,when I find fun things,I love to share.There are a lot of creative ladies out there and they sell beautiful things..here are a few examples for Valentine's Day.All can be found on http://www.etsy.com/. Even if you aren't shopping ,you are sure to find inspiration.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vegetable Enchiladas

This is a great dish,especially now that we are in the final stretch of football season.Great for a crowd of guys.This is a vegetarian dish,but feel free to add some cooked chicken if you like.
2 medium zucchini,sliced
2-3 medium carrots,peeled & sliced
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 15oz. can black beans(or navy beans),drained & rinsed
2 14oz. cans of diced tomatoes,zesty mild,green chili flavor
1 c. shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese(more if you like)
8 flour tortillas
2 tbsp. olive oil

Over medium heat,saute the carrots, zucchini and chili powder in 2 tbsp. of olive oil for about 10 minutes,until softened,but still slightly crisp.Add in one can of the tomatoes,the beans ,and 1/2c. of the cheese.Place approximately 2-3 tbsp. of the filling in the center of each tortilla.This amount may vary depending on how much filling you would like in each one.Now fold the tortilla....first fold the left & right sides of the tortilla towards the filling.Then fold the bottom up towards the center,and continue to roll up until the tortilla is completely covering the filling.Place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.Continue until all of the filling has been used.

   Spoon the second can of tomatoes over the top of the tortillas.Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.Cover with foil or parchment paper.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.Remove the foil and let bake an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
   ***The filling can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
   ***If you only have dried beans in your pantry,use 1/2 cup,and either soak them overnight,or simmer them for 1 hour prior to making the enchiladas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

One of my favorite flavor combinations is that of banana & chocolate...especially in a warm dessert!These muffins will be a great addition to your Valentine's Day breakfast.I made mine in a heart-shaped
muffin pan to make them a bit more festive.
1 c. mashed banana(2 bananas)
1/2c. unsalted butter,melted & slightly cooled
1/4c. milk
1 egg
1-1/2c.flour
2/3c.sugar
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4c. chocolate chips

Grease a muffin tin,or line with cupcake liners.
 Mix together the bananas,egg,milk & butter.Mix together the flour,sugar,salt & baking powder.Gently stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture.Do not overmix.Stir in the chips.Spoon into a prepared muffin pan.Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

Remember that shortbread dough we used for the linzer tarts?Well it is back again!This time ,we decorate the cookies with an icing made of confectioner's sugar,and we dip some in chocolate.Fun & delicious!
3 sticks of unsalted butter,softened
1 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3-1/2 c.flour
melting chocolate
1-2c.confectioner's sugar
1/4c.milk
assorted decorations(sprinkles,etc.)
Blend together the butter & sugar.Add the vanilla.Add the salt & flour.Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface,and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutter.I have obviously used hearts. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until golden around the edges.Let cool.
For the white icing,place the confectioner's sugar in a bowl.Add the milk,a little at a time,mixing after you add..if it seems too thick & pasty,add a bit more milk.The reason this is done this way is because if you add all of the milk at once,it may be too much,and the icing will be too thin,and will just pour off the cookie.You can always add more milk if you need it,but once you pour it in,you cannot get it out!Using a knife or a spatula,carefully spread the icing on the cooled cookie.If desired,this would be the time to decorate your cookie with sprinkles,etc.Let the cookies set for at least 1 hour.The icing can also be colored using food coloring.
   Another decorating alternative is dipping the cookies in melting chocolate,or dipping a fork in melted chocolate and drizzling the chocolate onto the cookies.Then they can also be decorated with sprinkles if desired.
  Yes,in case you are wondering,there are actually chocolate cookies in todays' picture as well.Stay tuned for that recipe this week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Oatmeal Chip Cookie Drops

Love this cookie,especially warm!!Grab a glass of milk,and start baking!

2 sticks of unsalted butter,room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp.salt
1-1/4 c. flour
1-3/4c. oats
1-3/4c.chocolate chips
In your mixer,blend together the butter & the sugars.Add the eggs and the vanilla.In another bowl,mix together the flour,cocoa,salt & baking soda.Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.Mix in the chips & the oatmeal.
  Roll into small balls and bake at 350 degrees for about 7-9 minutes.Easy,easy!Enjoy!

Truffle Contest Anyone?

Sweet Cream Bakery is having a truffle contest!Feeling lucky?Head on over and enter!www.pizzazzerie.com.

Have You Tried This Yet?

Personally,I'm a Barilla or fresh pasta  lady myself,but my family is really loving this one.Great texture everytime!I get mine at Target.Love it.

How Cute Are These?

I know it's a bit early to be thinking about Easter,but in this cold weather all I can think about is spring!!!These bunnies are made out of gourds,and are so beautiful.They can be found at http://www.meadowbrookegourds.com/. They make beautiful gourds for every season of the year!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vegetable Tortellini Soup

Here is the perfect soup for these cold,winter evenings.Simple to make,and tastes delicious!The beauty of this soup is that you really can use whatever vegetables you have at home.In a pinch,frozen mixed vegetables work just as well.I have also been know to throw in yellow squash,or shelled edamame.Also,although most days I use homemade chicken stock,Swanson's works just as well.It is all about using what is in your cupboard & freezer to stay warm!
1 pkg. of fresh tortellini
2 medium zucchini
3 carrots,peeled & sliced
1 bunch of broccoli
1 small bunch of cauliflower
1/2 pkg. frozen peas
1 tsp. dried basil
a clove of garlic,minced
2 tbsp.olive oil
10-12 cups of chicken stock
grated parmesan(the real stuff!)
  In a stockpot,saute the minced garlic & basil in the olive oil for one minute.Do not let the garlic burn.Add the chicken stock.Add all of the vegetables you are using and the tortellini.Bring to a boil,then lower to a simmer.Let simmer for 30-40 minutes.Ladle into a bowl and sprinkle parmesan on top.
****When using real parmesan,always save the rind.In a soup like this,or a minestrone soup,throw the rind into the soup while it is cooking,and it adds great flavor & thickens the soup slightly.Parmesan rinds can be stored in freezer bags and kept frozen until needed.Once used,discard.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Game Day-Artichoke Bruschetta

Okay,there are a  few big games this weekend,so let's make something for those get-togethers going on across the country.This is a great appetizer,and can be partially made in advance,so it is great for entertaining.
1 baguette
1 14oz. can of artichoke hearts
3/4 c.mayonnaise
1 c. parmesan,grated(the good stuff,not the stuff in the green conainer!)
1 clove of garlic,minced
1/8 tsp.tabasco
1/4 tsp.worcestershire sauce

   Slice the baguette into 1 inch slices and place on a baking sheet.I like to brush the slices with a little olive oil,but this is not required.Bake the slices at 350 degrees for about two minutes.Remove from the oven.
Drain the artichokes and discard the liquid.Chop them into smaller pieces.Mix artichokes together with all of the remaining ingredients.Place about 1 tbsp. of the artichoke mixture on top of each baguette slice.Sprinkle a bit more parmesan on top.Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes.They should be lightly browned on top.
   If you prefer,the artichoke mixture may be placed in a baking dish and baked alone at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes,then served with toasted baguette slices or crackers on the side.I do it as shown above to avoid those pesky double-dippers!!!
***I use parmigiano reggiano,because it is the best.
***To make ahead,toast the bread slices one day ahead,and store in an airtight container.Make the artichoke mixture 1-2 days ahead and keep wrapped tightly in the refrigerator.Assemble & bake right before serving.

Friday, January 21, 2011

GIVEAWAY!!!!

Thanks to all of you who have been following the blog!When we reach 100 followers,I will be sharing a delicious giveaway with one lucky follower,well,okay,maybe two!Check in for more details!I hope you are enjoying our daily time together!

Baked Fudge

I came across this dessert many years ago,in the early 90's as a matter of fact.There used to be a great show on called Home & Family,and that is where this recipe originated.Okay,I know what you are thinking....what is this mess on a plate?Well,it is one of the closest things to chocolate heaven ever!If you are a fan of the molten lava cake,then this is the dessert for you.It looks like a brownie,the top is crispy,but oozes gooey,chocolate deliciousness.Add a scoop of vanilla ice-cream,and you will be a very happy person.
4 eggs,beaten
2c.sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1c. melted butter,slightly cooled
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts
  Mix the sugar,salt,flour & cocoa together.Stir in the butter & eggs and mix for two minutes.Add the vanilla and walnuts.Spread into an 8x8  butered baking pan.Place in a water bath(that simply means place this pan into a larger pan ,place in the oven,and add hot water into the larger pan.The water will be surrounding the pan with the fudge.The water should come up at least halfway up the pan.) Bake at 325 degrees for 60-65 minutes.Be careful when you remove it from the oven,as the water will be extremely hot.Let cool slightly,and scoop out with a spoon.Place on a plate,and add vanilla ice-cream if you like...the difference in textures & temperatures is an amazing treat!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Books We Are Reading in our House This Month..






When you sit down with one of the sweet treats  you found here,you may want to do some reading with the kiddies.Here are some fun winter stories we are reading this month.....Happy Reading!