Sunday, November 28, 2010

Double Chocolate Pudding

I know Chocolate Pudding. Who eats chocolate pudding anymore?  I do. Not often, but last week I just had the urge for some deep, thick, homemade, chocolate pudding with a touch of whipped cream. (The urge resulted in my making Chocolate Cream pie for Thanksgiving later, but that's another post)

This pudding is simply so delicious and easy to make. It is rich too, so I would not portion it into big bowls. A little of this pudding goes a long way. 

Ingredients and Method:

1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
Whipped cream

In a measuring cup add 1/2 cup of the cold milk to the cornstarch. Mix thoroughly and pour into medium saucepan. Turn to medium heat and immediately add cocoa powder, sugar, salt, balance of milk, and three beaten egg yolks. Mix well. Stir constantly until the mixture just begins to simmer. Add half and half and vanilla extract and continue to heat until the pudding thickens. Do not boil!  When it has thickened (approximately seven minutes) remove from heat and add chocolate. (The mixture may appear lumpy, that's ok, don't worry it will smooth out just fine)  Stir the chocolate until completely melted and incorporated into the pudding.

Pour into serving dishes, and refrigerate for 2 hours until completely cooled. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Enjoy, and don't say I didn't warn you. This is addictive pudding, I'm tellin' ya. I got a bet for ya. You got a chocolate craving?  You won't after you eat one of these.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

I looked in my cabinet the other day and checked the expiration dates on some semi-sweet chocolate and some peanut butter chips I had, and they were to be out of date in a couple of weeks. I didn't want to waste
them so what to make?  Um, cookies????   Yeah, I think so. So I tinkered with another of my recipes for Chocolate Butterfinger Cookies and made Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies with Peanut Butter Chips and Chocolate Chips, and since I'm totally addicted to salty sweet, dusted them with sea salt. All I know is, they didn't last long when I brought a couple dozen to work.

Ingredients and Method:
4 oz butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt for dusting

In a mixing bowl, cream together the sugars and butter. Add peanut butter and cocoa powder and mix well. 
Add eggs, one at a time and fully incorporate. Then add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and combine. Add vanilla extract.  Add the two chips and mix just long enough to distribute them.

Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with.  On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (if you use parchment paper, it sure makes cleanup easier) drop by tablespoonfuls on the sheet about 2 inches apart. Pick up each scoop and shape it into a ball and then press down on it slightly. (Doing this prevents the cookie from spreading too much and makes them more uniform) Repeat until all dough is used.
Dust with coarse sea salt. A pinch sprinkled over each cookie is perfect.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Do not over bake. They may not look completely done, but they are.

Remove to cooling rack. Then grab a very cold glass of milk, and eat 5 of them when still a bit warm, and don't tell anybody. Your secret is safe with me.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sponge Candy

I've never made candy. Well, I've made fudge, which I guess is a type of candy, but other than that, nothing.

When I was a kid, I used to come across a candy bar in the downtown Walgreen's drugstore that was from Australia. It was in a bright purple wrapper with yellow writing (I don't remember the name of it) but it was a chocolate covered sponge and honeycomb type candy. I loved them. The honeycomb just melted in your mouth as soon as you touched it with your tongue. You didn't chew this candy per se, you savored it slowly. Well, guess what?

I came across a recipe by Christine Cushing on Food Network Canada and it was so simple and straightforward, I decided to try it.  It was easy and so delicious. And it was my SPONGE CANDY I used to love as a child. I also made a batch and added some molasses which was great also.

This would be a real fun item to make with your children, although well supervised, given it calls for boiling hot sugar!  But it's fun to watch it boil up and foam when you add the baking soda, and then harden into a delicious candy....

I think you should give it a try, it's quick, easy and delicious! And although it might not bring back childhood memories like it did for me, ya never know, it might create a memory or two for your child(ren).

Ingredients and Method:

Crisco or vegetable oil for greasing the baking dish
2 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup molasses if you want that flavor of candy

Layer an 13 x 9 baking dish with aluminum foil, and allow the foil to hang over the edges. Spread crisco or
oil over the aluminum foil and set aside.

In a deep heavy saucepan add sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir once to distribute the sugar and water
and syrup. Begin heating over medium heat and monitor temperature with a candy thermometer.

A lot of sugar boiled recipes always talk about if sugar crystals form on the side of the pan to brush them with cold water. I had no such problem. This stuff just boiled and boiled just fine.

Do not stir but do monitor the liquid as it boils. When it reaches approximately 250 degrees add the vanilla, and the molasses if desired. Continue heating until it reaches 300 degrees (Hard Crack stage)

Remove from heat and sift/sprinkle the baking soda all over the sugar mixture. It will begin to vigorously  bubble up and foam. Stir to evenly distribute the baking soda as much as possible.

Pour molten candy into the prepared dish, scraping the sides of the pan. Let the candy cool completely.

Lift out of the pan using the tinfoil and place on cutting board. I used a piece of waxed paper to cover the candy, and gently broke it into pieces using a small wooden tenderizing hammer. In any event, the object is to shatter the candy into bite size pieces.

Enjoy this melt-in-your-mouth treat!