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Archive for the ‘Dessert’ Category

68 Days of Gourmet: Day 35

Hot fudge sauce is the perfect desperation dessert. I always have the ingredients in my pantry and it just really takes ice cream to the next level. Brandon was wanting dessert and we really didn’t have anything but ice cream. I whipped this up in about 10 minutes and it totally hit the spot! So chocolately and delicious!

This has been a pretty solid week on the health and fitness front. Here’s a quick fitness overview:
Monday: taught BodyPump AM, 60 minute power mixed yoga class PM
Tuesday: 75 minute hot vinyasa yoga (this class was SERIOUSLY hard!)
Wednesday: 75 minute power mixed yoga class
Thursday: taught BodyPump (launched the new release!!!)
Tomorrow (Friday): 60 minute hot vinyasa

Now…I know you’re wondering where the cardio is. I totally admit that I’ve been on hiatus. And the funny thing is that I feel really good. The yoga has been exactly what I need. I’m looking forward to starting a new half marathon training program on February 1 rested and restored. I’m running the Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon on April 10. I’m following a 10 week training program from Runners World that will hopefully help me improve my time. The training plan is pretty aggressive but I’m excited about it and looking forward to some hard work. Can’t wait to run on some beautiful spring days and for the days to get a little longer!

It’s been a good nutrition week too. For whatever reason, I just haven’t had my normal appetite. This is bad considering the amount of exercise I’ve been doing. I don’t know if it’s the lack of running or something about the yoga but my eating habits are definitely a little off. Also, I’ve been craving healthy food (which I’m not complaining about). I’ve just been all about the fruits, whole grains and veggies this week.

We have a pretty indulgent weekend coming up. It all starts with a pizza party at work tomorrow for lunch. I’m planning on having one slice of veggie and bringing other healthy snacks. Then tomorrow night my in law’s are taking us to BLT Steak for Charlotte Restaurant Week. So excited to try it. It’s the new hot spot in Charlotte. And then Saturday we have reservations as another steak house. I’m planning on hitting up the fish selections and steering clear of the beef!

So go get your workout in and then have a hot fudge sundae! :)

Hot Fudge Sauce
(Recipe source Gourmet, February 2004)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Bring cream, corn syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt and half of chocolate to a boil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and remaining chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth.

Sauce can be made and stored for one week. Just scoop out what you need and heat!

Yield: 2 cups

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 24

This biscotti was the second item in my Operation Baking Gals holiday package. I blogged about Operation Baking Gals and the Pecan Sables I made in my last post. I thought that biscotti would be the perfect thing to make since it’s pretty sturdy and has a longer shelf life than a drop cookie. I decided on the Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti after seeing it in The Gourmet Cookbook. I looked the recipe up online and saw that it was originally printed in 1994 and had received around 250 positive reviews. That sealed the deal on making this recipe.

Despite the double baking, biscotti is pretty simple to make. I love the thick dough and the process of the initial bake and then slicing and baking again. It’s fun to see the actual biscotti take shape!

I didn’t sample the biscotti but Brandon and my grandmother did (I sent her a package of extras). I know I’ve mentioned this before but super chocolaty desserts just aren’t my thing.  They both ate it for breakfast and said it was great – the chocolate flavor is definitely the star here. This would also be a nice snack or dessert anytime of the day!

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, originally printed in Gourmet December 1994)
Printable Recipe: Double Chocolate Biscotti

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I have subbed white chocolate chips for walnuts)
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a large baking sheet.

In a bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well combined. Stir in flour mixture until a stiff dough. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

With floured hands form dough into two slightly flattened logs on the prepared baking sheet. Each log should be about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Bake 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, leaving oven on.

On a cutting board, cut logs diagonally into 3/4-inch slices to form biscotti. Arrange cut sides down on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Biscotti keep in airtight containers 1 week and frozen, 1 month.

Yield: About 30 biscotti

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 23

I made these cookies as part of my holiday package for Operation Baking Gals. This is an organization that I’ve been participating in since the last holiday season. Check out what I baked for the other rounds here and here. Rather than me try to explain the organization, I’ll just give you a blurb from their Web site.

“Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers from around the country who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic military men and women who are currently deployed in a war zone. Our goal is to show our support and send a little bit of home to remind them that we appreciate all that they do for our freedom.”

Basically, the way is works is that someone (usually a blogger) forms a team to host a soldier. Then they recruit people to join their team and bake. I’m so excited to report that there were 47 teams for this round of Operation Baking Gals. That’s seriously amazing! I joined Team Beantown Baker – hosted by fellow blogger, Jen. Check her awesome blog out here.

We baked for Rebecca. She and her husband Brian are stationed in Iraq. She still has about a year left in her 18 month deployment. Rebecca and Brian met in basic training and were married last Valentine’s Day. Our team baked for Rebecca and another team baked for Brian! I hope they’re enjoying all their treats :)

Rebecca and Brian

I decided to go with sturdier cookies for this round. I browsed through The Gourmet Cookbook and looked for recipes that said the cookies would keep for 5 days plus. Pecan Sables sounded nice and holiday-ish and I also picked Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that recipe!

The Pecan Sables were crisp and had a lovely balance between salty and sweet. The ground pecans in the cookie batter provided a nice nutty flavor. These are simple and delicious.

I tried a new packing method for this round. I wrapped the cookies in sets of two in cling wrap, then placed them in sandwich bags and then layered the sandwich bags in plastic containers. I have high hopes that they will arrive in tact and fresh tasting!

I was dreading the trip to the post office today to send off my package. I was shocked to discover that the post office was rocking – they had a system down and were fully staffed. It was a great experience. Once I got through the hustle of getting in and packing up the cookies in the APO flat rate box, I found myself waiting in line fighting back tears. It was such a juxtaposition that I was standing in the post office in the holiday hustle and bustle while Rebecca is serving our country and spending her holidays in Iraq.

I will be hosting an Operation Baking Gals team in 2010. One our friends is being called back into active duty to go to Afghanistan. I encourage you to participate with me. I will share the details when I have them. I will also be helping fellow blogger Tracy with a round in 2010. Her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan as well.

And now for the recipe…

Pecan Sables
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook, published in Gourmet November 2002)
Printable Recipe: Pecan Sables

Ingredients:

3/4 cup pecans (3 ounces), toasted and cooled, plus about 32 pecan halves (3 ounces)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, separated
Special equipment: a 2-inch round cookie cutter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

In a food processor, pulse toasted pecans with 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar until finely ground. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together butter, remaining 2/3 cup confectioners sugar and vanilla on high speed until fluffy and lightened in color. This should take about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and beat well to incorporate. Slowly add flour and pecan mixture on low speed and mix until just combined, about 1 minutes. Dough should be crumbly but hold together when squeezed.

Halve dough and roll out half between 2 sheets of wax paper until 1/4 inch thick, about a 9-inch round. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Arrange 2 inches apart on baking sheets, reserving scraps. Roll out and cut remaining dough in same manner. Gather scraps, then re-roll and cut again.

Beat egg white until frothy and brush tops of cookies lightly. Place a pecan half on top of each round and brush pecan lightly with egg white.

Bake cookies for about 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are lightly golden. Cool cookies on sheets on racks 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Yield: about 32 cookies

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 20

The beautiful thing about 68 Days of Gourmet is that my options are wide open. When a food magazine is in publication for 68 years you can be sure that they probably have a recipe for most anything you’re craving.

We picked up a Christmas tree on Sunday. We planned on decorating it Monday and I thought I’d bake some cookies to be festive and go with our eggnog (and because I love any excuse to bake cookies). One of our favorite cookie combinations is Oatmeal Chocolate Chip. I’ve tried several different recipes in the past and decided to try Gourmet’s recipe since I’m in the middle of 68 Days of Gourmet.

This recipe was super simple. The dough was made and ready to go in the oven in less than 10 minutes. The cookies smelled great cooking and were the perfect treat for holiday decorating! These are great and we’ve enjoyed having them around the house this week.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
(Recipe source Gourmet, March 1994)
Printable Recipe: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and oats in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer) cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and then slowly beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips after flour has been incorporated.

Drop dough in rounded tablespoons onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes (I only baked mind for 9 minutes because we prefer soft and not crisp cookies), or until golden. Cool completely on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Yield: 5-6 dozen (Recipe can easily be cut in half)

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 14

Saturday was my one year blogiversary! On November 28, 2008 I made my blogging debut with my Dad’s chili recipe. To celebrate reaching the one year mark I decided to make the Flourless Chocolate Cake from The Gourmet Cookbook. I thought it would be a nice departure from Thanksgiving desserts and I can’t get over how easy it is to make this cake. It’s a perfect option for an impressive dinner party dessert when you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen.

I am not the biggest chocolate dessert fan (I know, I’m crazy) but Brandon gave this cake two thumbs up and I consider him a chocolate dessert aficionado. He is known for always ordering the most chocolaty and rich dessert on the menu at restaurants! The texture is almost brownie-like (fudgy) but the taste is similar to a very dark chocolate cake. Brandon requested his with a scoop of ice cream but it’s also nice served with fresh whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa powder and fresh berries.

If you’re having a chocolate craving or looking for an easy dessert to impress guests give this Flourless Chocolate Cake a try!

Flourless Chocolate Cake
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

8 ounces good quality bittersweet (not semi-sweet) chocolate, roughly chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9 or 10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with wax or parchment paper (cut into a circle to fit bottom of pan). Make sure to grease the liner as well.

In a double broiler or in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water, add chocolate and butter. Stir constantly until melted. Remove bowl from heat and whisk in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Last, sift cocoa powder into mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with moist crumbs and top should have a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove sides of pan. Invert cake on a plate and then back onto the rack to fully cool before serving.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 10

I just finished sampling a slice of this cheesecake. I love cheesecake and I love pumpkin and this combination didn’t disappoint. Brandon’s first comment was, “I can’t believe how much it tastes like pumpkin pie.” I think what I like best about it is that it’s not too sweet. The balance of flavors is perfect and the texture is nice.

This cheesecake was published in Gourmet in November 2000. It’s received over 300 reviews and maintains a 4-fork rating. It’s definitely a winner if you’re looking for a holiday dessert. This cheesecake is a nice change from the traditional pumpkin pie. But don’t save it only for Thanksgiving, it’s a great dessert to serve throughout the fall and holiday season.

I substituted ginger snaps for the graham crackers in the crust because I love holiday cheesecakes with ginger snap crust. Also, you can omit the bourbon if you’d like but the bourbon flavor is not very strong.

If you’re a cheesecake and pumpkin lover this dessert is for you!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 1990)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CRUST
3/4 cup graham cracker or ginger snap crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

FOR THE TOPPING
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)

Directions:

FOR THE CRUST
Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the crumbs, pecans and sugars in a bowl. Stir in melted butter and press mixture into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of springform pan. Chill crust for 1 hour.

FOR THE FILLING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and brown sugar in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese and granulated sugar for about 3 minutes. Add in cream, cornstarch, vanilla and bourbon and mix until incorporated. Add in pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.

Pour filling into chilled crust and bake the cheesecake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the center is just set. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes (leaving the oven on).

MAKE THE TOPPING
Whisk together sour cream, sugar and bourbon in a bowl.

Spread sour cream mixture evenly over top of the cheesecake. Bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan on a rack for at least an hour. Place in refrigerator and chill covered overnight.

Release cheesecake from pan and serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

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rockyroadbrownies

I can’t think of a better way to kick-off 68 Days of Gourmet than with these Rocky Road Brownies. Last week I was really craving a sweet treat for dessert and more specifically, something that would taste great topped with ice cream. I thought brownies would meet my requirements perfectly. I was going to make a basic fudge brownie recipe but then I spotted these Rocky Road Brownies and abandoned my plans for simplicity.

The base layer really is similar to your basic fudge brownie but the topping is what really packs a punch. I personally love marshmallows so these were fabulous to me. Very chocolately and indulgent – especially topped with a scoop of ice cream!

rockyroadbrownie250(2)

Rocky Road Brownies
(Recipe source Gourmet, December 1996)

Ingredients:

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped and divided
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup miniature marshmallows

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a heavy 1 1/2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt butter, unsweetened chocolate and 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Stir constantly until smooth. Remove pan from heat and cool mixture for about 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and then add eggs 1 at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. The mixture should look glossy and smooth. Add in flour and salt and stir until just combined.

Reserve 1/2 cup of the batter in a separate bowl. Spread remaining batter evenly in pan and bake on middle rack of oven for 20 minutes.

While bottom layer is baking, stir walnuts, marshmallows and remaining 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate into reserved batter. Remove pan from oven and spoon walnut-marshmallow mixture evenly over partially baked layer. Bake for an additional 7-10 minutes, or until marshmallows are golden. Cool completely in pan on a rack before cutting.

Layer brownies between sheets of wax paper in Tupperware and store at room temperature. They will stay fresh for several days.

Yield: 16 brownies

rockyroadbrownies250

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