Monday, December 13, 2010
Apparently there is a big event happening in about 2 weeks time that has everyone in a tizzle and it involves a lot of eating and drinking....sounds like it might catch on. I'm in.
I've been making a lot of savory foods the past few weeks, I don't make a lot of desserts for 2 reasons:
1)Most desserts worth eating contain eggs, cream, or both. Not on my eatable list.
2)I will probably eat all of anything I do make, especially if it's chocolate based.
But despite this, every year, Ms P and I get together for our traditional baking/cookie date just before Christmas where we make several things which then get distributed to various friends, co-workers etc as, of course, any true foodie loves giving foodie gifts. We do this as we listen to cheesy Christmas music. It's the essential ingredient, besides love of course, which goes into everything I make.
This year I chose 3 recipes. All chocolate based. No co-incidence. I actually had most of the ingredients handy, except funnily enough, the chocolate. Chocolate generally does not last long in my house. All of the recipes were "no bake" and I had never made any of them before either but they seemed simple and decadent.
Dark Chocolate Cashew Fruit Clusters
(recipe from Thriftyfoods.com Click here for direct link))
350g dark Belgian Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
1 cup dried cranberries
Melt chocolate in a heat proof bowl over simmering water. Stir and heat until just melted. Remove from heat and add cashews and cranberries. Drop heaping tablespoons onto parchment lined baking sheets, ensuring they don't touch, and refrigerate until set. Store in air tight container at room temperature. If stacking, separate layers with parchment paper.
I made a double batch and used 1 cup cashews and 1 cup almonds. You could use milk or white chocolate or try other nuts and dried fruits. Pretty much anything goes.
Oh, and they are delicious and it's pretty hard to stop at one. You've been warned. I am not responsible for any chocolate cluster overdosing that may result from this post.
Spicy Cocoa & Cinnamon Dusted Almonds
(Recipe from GLOW magazine, Holiday 2010 edition)
2 tbsp cocoa, sifted
4 tsp icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional for you softies out there)
170g whole natural almonds
Mix all dry ingredients together ( I did not feel the need to sift them and nothing bad happened). Add almonds and toss to coat. I tasted them at this point and added extra cinnamon and cayenne. Remove to bowl,shaking off excess powder. They will keep well stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Dark Chocolate Truffles
(Click here for link to Canadian Living Website)
8oz oz semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup cup whipping cream
1/4 cup cup butter, cubed
1 tbsp tbsp vanilla
8 oz semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I rolled mine in cocoa powder)
Place chocolate in heatproof bowl. In saucepan, heat cream with butter just until butter melts and bubbles form around edge of pan. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Using melon baller or teaspoon, drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (5 mL) onto 2 waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Gently roll each to round off completely. Freeze until hard, about 1 hour. (Make-ahead: Cover and freeze for up to 1 day.)
Coating: In heatproof bowl set over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt half of the chocolate, stirring. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Remove 1 pan of the truffles from freezer; using 2 forks, dip each into chocolate, tapping forks on edge of bowl to remove excess. Return to waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until coating is hardened, about 2 hours.
In clean bowl, repeat with remaining chocolate and truffles. (Make-ahead: Layer between waxed paper in airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.) Place in paper candy cups.
These are ULTRA decadent. I made mine quite big and found that even 1/2 a truffle was enough. I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I did the melting part and then let it set. Then I made the balls and rolled them in cocoa rather than in the melted chocolate. They are still amazing. I bought some small metallic truffle cases to put them in so they looked all pretty...they are now in the freezer and the only thing I found hard was rolling them into balls as they started to melt. I had to then lick the chocolate off my hands when done. Such hardship I endure for the sake of my foodie art.