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Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes,” I thought today, looking at the scale.  The quote, of course, is from my favorite “Anne Of Green Gables”.  The feelings are genuinely mine. I am certain, my love for desserts and baking has absolutely nothing to do with them…

So, today, purely to prove I’m not in denial, we are trying something new, and hope you will jump on board! I suggest we make a parade of skinny desserts.  If you want to participate – the rules are very simple:

  • Make a dessert under 200 calories per serving;
  • Post the recipe and photos in your blog with a link to this entry;
  • Leave a comment here, letting me know you are in.

Next week on Thursday, I will show off your photos with respective links in one blog post.

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And for now, I hope you enjoy my skinny creation.

Cinnamon-Fudge-Walnut Brownies

From While Chasing Kids | Desserts | American

This fudge reminds me of Mexican hot chocolate because of its cinnamon flavor; and the nuts and melted chocolate chunks make it irresistible

01:00
00:15
00:45

cal Calories 170kcal

fat Total Fat 8g

sat fat Saturated Fat 4g

chol Cholesterol 26mg

sodium Sodium 76mg

carbs Total Carbohydrate 25g

Serving size 46g Calories from fat 72kcal Fiber 2g Protein 3g Sugar 18g
20 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 5 tbs butter, melted
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F (175⁰C). Coat a 9-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spread walnuts over ungreased rimmed baking sheet and roast them in the preheated oven for about 7 minutes.
  4. Place milk and ½ cup of chocolate in a small sauce pan. Cook on low heat, stirring until the chocolate melts (about 3 minutes). Set aside. Lightly beat the eggs. Stir in eggs and melted butter with the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir to incorporate. Mix in the remaining ¼ cup of chocolate chunks and walnuts.
  5. Bake at 350⁰F (175⁰C) for about 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick, inserted in the center, comes out with moist crumbs attached to it. Cool on in a pan on a wire rack.

 

SpicyBrownies_WM-3

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The berry season has arrived to California!  Eager to part with everything citrus I’m presenting this simple berry creation.  The chocolate ribbon, even though a bit messy, is super easy to make. 

BerryCake_WM-8

/Chocolate cake recipe adopted from Martha Stewart’s Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake/

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CHOCOLATE BERRY CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

Cake

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • Assorted berries
  • 4 tbs powdered sugar

Chocolate ribbon

  • 200 g of your favorite chocolate, chopped into pea-size chips

 

Yields: 8 small cakes

DIRECTIONS:

Make cakes: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat eight 6-ounce (3.5 inch diameter) ramekins and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.

Stir flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix with a paddle attachment. Add egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Mix on medium speed until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes.

 

Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into a center of a cake comes out clean. Place the ramekins on a wire rack.  Let cool completely before unmolding.  To unmold run a knife around sides of the cakes.

Wrap cooled cakes in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours to 1 day.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place cooled cakes on it.

Make chocolate ribbons.  Measure the circumference and height of the cakes.  Cut out 8 parchment paper ribbons, making sure, their length is about 7 mm (1/4 inch)  longer than the circumference and height is about 2 cm (3/4 inch) higher.

Line a table with a large sheet of parchment paper – this is your working surface.  Have a wet towel handy, as working with melted chocolate could be a messy ordeal.

Microwave the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for about 2 minutes (or until the chocolate starts to melt).  Mix the chips with a spoon to a smooth consistency.  Working with each parchment paper ribbon individually: place a ribbon on your working surface and, using a large spoon, spread a thin layer of chocolate over it, completely covering the ribbon.

Let the chocolate cool to a jelly-like consistency (about 30 seconds). Carefully lift the ribbon, using a knife to help you separate it from the work surface, and wrap it around a prepared cake, chocolate side facing the cake, overlapping the ends.  Make sure the bottom of the ribbon is lined with the bottom of your cake, the ribbon should be taller than the cake (creating a cup for the berries).

Repeat with the rest of the cakes.  Immediately place them in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Assemble: After the chocolate is hardened, carefully peel each paper ribbon off, gently breaking the piece of chocolate where the ribbon overlapped.

Fill the cups with seasonal fruit and sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

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Ah, vacation… We had the best time ever hanging out with the family, riding bikes, enjoying the mountains.  However, I found myself missing the kitchen.  In fact I started having a serious baking withdrawal… Naturally, since we got back, I made 5 sourdough loafs of bread, 2 chocolate cakes, chocolate chip cookies, pitas, and naan… all in less than a week.

The old chocolate cake has been such a huge success, I decided to try a Russian version found in the winter’s Fine Cooking issue.  The potato adds a bit of moisture and keeps the dough fresh for up to 4 days!    Enjoy!

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SWEET RUSSIAN CHOCOLATE BRAID

INGREDIENTS:

Dough

  • 1 ½ cups plus 3 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 very small potato, peeled, boiled until tender, and forced through a sieve (to yield ¼ cup)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbs cold unsalted butter

Filling

  • 1 cup Pastry Cream (recipe below)
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, beaten

DIRECTIONS:

Make the dough. In a small bowl, mix 3 tbs of flour and yeast and water.  Let sit for about 10 minutes till foamy.  In a stand mixer combine the remaining ingredients, add the yeast mixture and mix until the dough is smooth for about 8 minutes.  It will be very sticky.  Dump the dough on a floured surface and knead with your hands for a couple minutes adding a little bit of flour to make it firmer. Transfer the dough in a large container, seal with plastic wrap, and rise for about 3 hours.

Make ahead.  Instead of letting the dough rise, you can place it in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Pull it out of the fridge and let it stand for 3-4 hours in room temperature before proceeding to the next step.

Make pastry cream (see recipe below) right after the you mix the dough to give it enough time for cooling down.

Shape the braid. Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment.  Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle about 13×16 inches and about 1/8 inch thick.  Apply the chilled pastry cream over the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Roll it into a 16-inch cylinder.  Transfer to the baking sheet.  Cut the cylinder in half lengthwise and arrange both halves parallel to one another with a cut side facing up.  Wrap them around each other starting in the middle, pinching the edges of the braid together. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for another 35-45 minutes.

Bake. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F/175⁰C.  Position the rack in the center of the oven. Brush the beaten egg over the braid. Bake until golden brown for about 40 minutes.  Let cool on a rack for 1 hour before slicing.

As you see on the picture below, we couldn’t wait, so the chocolate is still melting under the knife!Yummm!

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PASTRY CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 large egg yolks

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk vanilla, sugar, flour, salt, and egg yolks. Warm up milk just until a skin forms.  Add milk to the mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly.  Transfer back to heat and cook until the mixture is thick and glue (for about 5 minutes) constantly steering it with a wooden spoon.  Place a plastic wrap on top of the cream and refrigerate until ready to use.

 

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This week I learned that gentleman-like manners are rooted deep inside our little gentlemen, and should be encouraged not just for our (mothers’) unselfish reasons, but for the child’s benefits as well.   

Our 3 year old son has been going to the swimming pool since he was 6 months old and a few months ago started diving all by himself.  I thought the timing was good to start serious lessons.  We signed him up at this Limousine of swimming schools in SF, called La Petit Baleen, where little kids – just like my baby – learn how to work their fins off swimming, jumping, and diving.   

Naturally, as soon as I left Lil’ Jem with his group, the wailing started.  Separation anxiety. Fun!  Here I am, hiding in the dressing room, biting my nails, while my baby is screaming his lungs out (suddenly in English); and all the moms shooting “understanding” (yet somehow torturous) glances my way!  Oh, the joys of parenthood!

This continued for 2 more classes when one of the deck managers made a few suggestions on possible ways to resolve the situation. In a week (after a few practice runs with babushka), Lil’ Jem was proudly presenting a flower to his teacher.  Guess what? It totally worked!  I haven’t heard a peep from him since!  Ohm… 

Now, I wonder where the little gentleman disappears when it comes to sharing toys with his little sister!?

Obviously I thought the little swimmer deserved a treat.

Both of my guys are obsessed with dark chocolate.  Lately I started feeling that our pots and pans were becoming endangered as Endangered Species were taking over the kitchen.  I saw this recipe and AMAZING photos at Relishing it a while ago, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how this loveliness could use up some of our chocolate stashes. My bread didn’t turn out half as beautiful as Laurie’s, but it was absolutely crazy delicious!!!

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YEASTED CHOCOLATE COFFEE CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

BREAD

  • ¼ oz active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup warm milk (110⁰F/43⁰C)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 8 tbs butter, melted and slightly cooled

EGG WASH

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 tbs milk

FILLING:

  • 8 oz bitter chocolate (2 bars)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ tbs ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp salt

TOPPING:

  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Make the bread.In a medium bowl mix the yeast and a pinch of sugar with the milk and let stand for about 5 minutes, or until foamy.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and the egg.  Whisk into the yeast mixture.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, combine the flour and kosher salt.  Add the egg mixture and mix on low speed until almost fully combined, add the butter.  Mix until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 9-10 minutes.  Grease a large bowl.  Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, for about 1 – 1.5 hours.

Make the filling.  In the food processor with large blade attachment grind chocolate and butter.  Add salt, cinnamon, and sugar to the mixture.

“Once the dough has doubled in size, place it on a flour work surface.  Let rest for 5 minutes and then roll it out into an 18-inch square.  Sprinkle all but ½ cup of the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.  Brush the edges with the egg wash.  Tightly roll the dough from one end to the other.  Pinch the seams to seal.  Fold in half and form a “U” shape.  Twist 2 or 3 into a braid.  Make sure to pinch the ends of braid together.  Grease a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan, line with parchment, leaving 1-inch overhangs; then grease the parchment paper.  Place the dough in the pan and brush with egg wash.”

Make the topping. In a small bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, flour, butter, and the reserved filling.  Sprinkle it over the bread.  It’s ok, if the filling falls down the edges.

Preheat the oven to 350⁰F/175⁰C. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Please bread pan on a sheet and position it on the center rack in the oven.  Bake for about 55 minutes.  Reduce temperature to 325⁰F/160⁰C, and bake for another 15 minutes till golden brown.

Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack before removing it.

Make ahead: the bread could be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thank you for sharing the recipe, Laurie!

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Mashenka in Russian is a sweet nickname, derived from Maria.  

My aunt shared this simple torte recipe.  It’s a perfect addition to your family table and goes wonderfully with black tea

 

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TORTE “MASHENKA”

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbs vinegar or lemon juice

Cream:

  • 300 g sour cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup liquor (I like Kahlua)

 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 F, grease a deep baking dish.

Mix the first 4 ingredients till smooth.  Pour vinegar over the baking soda.  The reaction will produce foam.  Mix the foam into the batter.

Pour the mixture in the dish, and bake for 35-40 min or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean and dry.

Remove from the dish and let cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the cream, blend sour cream and sugar with a hand mixer till the mixture starts thickening.  Add the liquor and let blend in.

Grind chocolate on a mid-small grinder.

 

After the cake is cool, carefully cut the sides off and cut the cake into ~ 1/2 inch layers.

Spoon a little bit of sour cream mixture on the bottom of a cake stand.  Place the first layer on it.  Generously layer sour cream mixture on top of the cake.   Place another cake layer on top, repeat with the remaining layers.  Sprinkle the top layer with the chocolate flakes.  Cover the cake and let stand in the fridge overnight for the flavors to blend .

Done!

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The hardest part about today’s dessert, profiteroles with ice-cream, was the ice-cream.  Oh no, don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t making it, I was buying it!  The thing is, I am not an ice-cream snob – I love most of it!  Even the low-calorie kinds!  Some people (like my husband) are super picky about their vanilla, while I go by the rule – the more rum they put in those raisins– the better!

So, the kids and I went to San Francisco’s favorite – Mitchell’s Ice Cream.  The thing about this place –rain or shine – they always have a line.  Yes, there are plenty of other creameries in town, but apparently Mitchell’s is the IT!  So, I’m just standing in the line, looking at these other people waiting, wondering if they know something I don’t know, or if they are like me, lured by The Line…

Well, nevertheless, the result, in my opinion, is absolute deliciousness.  I’m sure some name dropping will make this recipe taste even better!  

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PROFITEROLES WITH ICE-CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 113 g unsalted butter
  • 200 ml water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 100 g flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark chocolate sauce
  • 1/2 pint Vanilla ice-cream

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I love my unbleached kind).  In a heavy saucepan, combine the water, salt, and butter and place over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a full boil.  Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.  Keep stirring until the mixture has formed a smooth mass and pulls away from teh sides of the pan and some of the moisture has evaporated for about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Start adding eggs one at a time and mix on medium-high speed waiting until each egg incorporates.  After all the eggs are added, the mixture will be thick and smooth.

Transfer the choux paste to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch (no. 6 or 7) plain tip.  Pipe out balls about 1 inch in diameter spacing them 2 inches apart.

If you end up with a bulge or a tail, it could be smoothed with a dump fingertip after you are done with the piping.

Bake until golden for 15-20 minutes.

Remove and let cool on a wire rack.

After the pastry is cool, heat the dark chocolate sauce, mixing with a spoon, until liquid.

Cut the pastries open and spoon ice-cream inside.  Top with chocolate sauce and serve.


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