Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme - Chocolate With Francois

Here I am again, at the last minute, baking Chocolate With Francois. We've been in our house 6 weeks, so I can't play the moving card. We did just return from spending Thanksgiving in Los Angeles with my son Justin, so I am going to say I am baking at the last minute because of traveling. Really I am baking at the last minute because I procrastinated before we left for LA.

I love all things chocolate which must be why I chose to start Chocolate With Francois. One of my favorite chocolate desserts is a simple Pots De Creme. When I saw this recipe for Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme, I was intrigued and chose it for this months recipe.

I halved the recipe and ended up with four 5 ounce ramekins. A little hesitant about using too much pepper, I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon. I think I would increase the amount slightly next time. I loved these silky, chocolate desserts. This recipe is a keeper, so many possibilities for adding different flavors to the base recipe.

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme
3 1/3 cups heavy cream
7 ounces 72% chocolate (I used dark chocolate)
1/2 teaspoon pimete d'espelette* (I used red pepper flakes, finely ground)
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons of sugar

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 300.

Combine the cream and chocolate in a large saucepan over medium low heat and heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted. Stir in the piment d'espelette.

Whisk together the egg, egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk the mixture into the chocolate cream. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher or a bowl.

Pour the liquid into six 6 ounce ramekins. Place the dishes on a rimmed baking sheet and pout about 1/2 inch of hot water into the bottom. Cover the dishes with a large sheet of aluminum foil and bake for about 1 hour, until the custards are very lightly set.

Remove from the oven and let cool, without removing the foil. Once cool, transfer the dishes to the refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

These can be made ahead and kept, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

*Piment d'espelette is a type of pepper used in Basque cuisine. Payard says it has a distinct, yet delicate, heat which is perfect for dessert. You can substitute finely ground red pepper flakes.

I am linking this to Full Plate Thursday and Foodie Friday.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nutella Banana Bread

I am late getting on the baking with Nutella bandwagon. There's so many recipes out on the blogsphere. I imagine I have a dozen or more in my bookmarks to try. We don't seem to have bananas left for baking very often, so when we do I quickly take advantage of them.

It's hard to decide whether or not to make my favorite banana bread recipe or a new one. I decided to substitute Nutella for Peanut Butter in this recipe. Unfortunately the flavor of the bananas overpowered the Nutella. The bread was still delicious. I think next time, I will use less bananas and more Nutella.

Nutella Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F . Grease and flour a large or two smaller loaf pans.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Stir in nutella, bananas, flour and baking soda until blended. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday, Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Buckeyes - Club Baked

I am really enjoying baking and cooking in my new kitchen. Although I didn't set them up this way intentionally, the layout of my cabinets just seems conducive to baking. As I was reading over the recipe for the Buckeyes, I was reminded of these Peanut Butter Balls.

I halved the recipe and ended up with 26 buckeyes. Because it was what I had on hand, I used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate. My buckeyes have their eyes closed. I am anxious to read the other Club Baked members secrets for dipping these. The first three or four, I dipped were a just a mess. I decided to continue, like I do with the peanut butter balls, and cover the entire surface with chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate, does it get any better than this? Nope not really. While these are delicious, I can't get past the grittiness of the graham cracker crumbs.

You can find the recipe at Karen's Cookies and More and the links to the other Club Baked bakers here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eggs en Cocotte - Secret Recipe Club

This is my fourth month participating in Secret Recipe Club. It's a fun group. Each month our hostess, Tina, assigns us all a blog. We get to pick from our bloggers recipe collection and post about it on reveal day! If you'd like to join, you can find the details here!

This month, I had the pleasure of choosing a recipe from Searching for Spice. Each month when I receive my assignment, I can't wait to check out my assigned blogger. It's hard to decide which recipe to make. I was torn between this soup and the eggs. We're still trying to get everything done around the new house. Sunday morning when I realized I hadn't made the recipe yet and needed something for breakfast, Eggs en Cocotte or Baked Eggs it is. I've never made Baked Eggs before. I decided to add mushrooms, Parmesan Cheese and Bacon to the eggs. I didn't have any cream, so I substituted skim milk. I wouldn't recommend skim milk, although the eggs were still good, they were a little runny. This recipe is a keeper and would make a great breakfast for company.

Eggs en Cocotte

Ingredients – makes 2

2 slices of bread (I omitted this and served toast on the side)

2 eggs

8 tsp cream


Black Pepper

Option 1

2 tsp grated parmesan

A few leaves of rocket (argula)

Option 2

2 tsp grated cheddar

1 mushroom

I used Bacon and Sauteed Mushrooms

How to Make Eggs en Cocotte

1. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin.

2. Grease the insides of 2 ramekins

3. Make 4 cuts through the bread starting from the middle of each side, stopping half-way to the centre.

4. Put the slices of bread into the ramekins so the sides that have been cut overlap each other.

5. Put the cheese in the bottom of each ramekin. Put some rocket on top of the parmesan one and some sliced mushroom on top of the cheddar one. Add 2 tsp of cream to each ramekin then add the egg. Top with another 2 tsp of cream, some salt and pepper.

6. Bake in the oven at about 350 for about 25 minutes. If you like a soft egg it will be ready sooner, but I prefer a harder egg.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

From The Good Life - Solar Drive In

A couple of years ago when Tim and I were picking up our convertible from his mom’s garage in Minnesota, we stumbled across the Solar Drive In in Springfield, Minnesota. We enjoyed an ice cream cone. It’s a warm and inviting spot with a fireplace and Food Network on the TV’s. I was immediately smitten. This was my kind of place. I said to Tim we need to come back here sometime to eat!

Saturday afternoon when Tim’s mom suggested we have a frozen pizza for dinner, I knew I had to come up with a better plan. Then it hit me, I said, let’s go try that great little drive in over in Springfield. Knowing we’d been there a couple of years ago, I was so hoping they were still open. I searched and found not only were they still open but they have a website, a blog and are on Face book!

First I checked out the menu and discovered this wasn’t your average drive in. They make all of their breads from scratch and their menu consists of way more than burgers and fries. Totally satisfied and excited about the menu, I explored other areas of the website. Seriously, the Solar Drive In has a blog, gives cooking classes and the owner and her daughter also have a blog! My trip to Darfur had taken on a whole new meaning; I was excited about the culinary adventure before me. Trust me when I say this doesn’t normally happen during our visits to Tim’s home town.

When we pulled up in front of the Solar Drive In, Tim said look they have one of those compost barrels you want and a raised garden! Knowing I planned to blog about this, I snapped a couple of pictures before we went in. Once inside it was decision time, the menu has so many great choices, it was hard to choose. I was torn between one of their burgers and a wrap. After reading the description of their wraps, my decision was made. Who could pass up a wrap where the wrap itself is homemade and not one of those store bought ones. They take their dough and stretch it thin and then bake it in the oven. Tim and Bernie both had Philly’s. The owners are originally from Pennsylvania, so they know a little bit about how to make a good Philly! For a side we chose the sweet potato fries. Yum, a drive in that serves sweet potato fries, it just keeps getting better! The fries were served with a dipping sauce. When I inquired what it was, I was told mayo and ketchup and their secret spices! Tim says it had to have some dry mustard in it; he has a thing about mustard! Regardless, the sauce was delicious and a perfect compliment to the fries!

While we were waiting for our food, I checked out their giant solar ice cream cone, all decorated for the holidays. They encourage you to take a photo. Like I seem to always do, I forgot to take a picture of the cone or my wrap. Once my food arrives, I am all about eating and totally forget the picture taking part. After we got home, I sent an email letting them know how much we’d enjoyed our visit. I asked if they would be so kind as to snap a photo of the cone and a wrap. Francine (the owner’s daughter) responded and provided those pictures I’d neglected to snap!

If your travels ever take you along Highway 14 in Springfield, Minnesota, stop by the Solar Drive In! It’s way more than a Drive In!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Every year during pumpkin season I always ask myself why I only make pumpkin recipes in the Fall. Pumpkin is so versatile, it can be used in savory or sweet recipes.

This cake is actually the first recipe I baked in our new house. When I saw this recipe over at One Crazy Cookie, two things caught my eye......the chocolate chips and the fact that one of the little boys at Tiffanee's preschool thought these were FANTASTIC! Besides the delicious pumpkin and spice flavors, this cake has a cream cheese icing! If you're looking for a deliciously moist pumpkin cake for the holidays, give this one a try!!!

Pumpkin Spice Cake
Recipe courtesy of One Crazy Cookie

1 16 oz. can pumpkin
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat again. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 30-35 minutes. Frost when still slightly warm.

8 oz. cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
Beat cream cheese. butter, vanilla and salt together. Slowly add powdered sugar slowly until fluffy and frosting consistency. Spread over warm cake.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

From The Good Life

Sharing a few pics of our new home.......

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Cupcakes - Club Baked

Two nights in a row I am going to play the moving card. Since we moved two weeks ago, time just hasn't been on my side where baking is concerned. However, this recipe looked delicious and Tim needed treats for work. I knew I didn't have time to make the layer cake and caramel sauce the recipe called for so I made a few changes. I decided to make cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

I cut the recipe in half and ended up with 21 cupcakes. I baked them for about 18 minutes. This recipe totally says fall. The aroma coming from the kitchen while this was baking was heavenly!! These cupcakes are so moist and very delicious. I would have liked a just a little more spice flavor in these!

Thanks to Melissa of Lulu the Baker for choosing this month's recipe. For sure, it's a keeper! You can find the recipe on her blog and links to the other Club Baked bakers creations here!