Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chocolate Hot Pots

If you love molten chocolate cake but can't see making one at home, than this is for you!! This is a variation I made of a recipe by Nigella Lawson (who I am in love with, by the way) and it has become my go-to recipe for a late-night chocolate attack, when a couple is coming over for dinner, or an anniversary. It's beauty is in the fact that not only is it simple, but you can dress it up or down. It is fun to change up but it is delicious to eat in just its simple form.

Now, I must tell you, that I am a chocolate snob. I personally believe that since the elements of this recipe are so basic, that you need a good chocolate for it. Nestle need not apply. That being said, what works for me, may not for you. I usually use a good dark chocolate bar (Amano is my favorite) for this, especially if I am just serving by itself.

Nigella used a 3/4 cup of sugar in her recipe and I found it much too sweet. I found 1/2 cup to be enough, but if you like it that way, change my 1/2 cups to 3/4. I also added vanilla extract and sometimes, depending on what I serve it with I will substitute that for another extract like almond or raspberry.

I have put minature reese's peanut butter cups in the center half-way through cooking time... YUM! Also, I often will top it with a scoop of ice cream straight on top to get that molten cake feel. Topping it with a good quality fruit preserves is wonderful too. My favorite it to serve with fresh whipped cream (on the side, not on top, since it will melt FAST) and fresh berries. You get the idea....

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, with at least 60 percent cocoa solids
2 eggs
1/2 cup superfine sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Special equipment: 4 (2/3 to 1-cup capacity) ramekins (I use my grandmother's oven-safe cups that she left me.)

Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Butter the ramekins with 1 tablespoon butter.

Either in a microwave or in a bowl suspended over a pan over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and 1 stick butter, then set aside to cool a little.

In another bowl, mix the eggs with the sugar and flour with a hand whisk and beat in the cooled butter and chocolate mixture. Divide the mixture between the 4 buttered ramekins. Bake for about 20 minutes, by which time the tops will be cooked and cracked and the chocolate gooey underneath.

Place each ramekin on a small plate with a teaspoon and serve. Make sure to warn people that these desserts will be HOT!

Enjoy a taste of HEAVEN!!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Favorite Part of Winter!

Literally! This is what I get the most excited about when the weather starts getting cool and apple cider starts lining the shelves of the grocery store. My mother has made it since I can remember and it is one of my favorite things to smell in the house. I have a few friends that don't really enjoy cider and still drink this cup full after cup full! I have a carafe just for this with a basket for the spices and everything, but most people don't and you can still make this in a big pot on the stove. I have done so many variations of this recipe when I didn't have the exact ingredient handy that I will put them in parenthesis next to them "official" ingredient. Throw away those nasty apple cider packet mixes, this is the real thing!


2 quarts of apple cider
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp whole allspice (I have used ground, but it is a little to potent)
1 cinnamon stick (I never have these on hand, so I always put in ground)
dash nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 orange cut into wedges (I have often used orange juice instead)
I combine all the ingredients into a cheesecloth, if I am making it in a pot on the stove so I can lift it all out easily and no one is drinking allspice berries. If you don't have cheesecloth, just ladle out the orange wedges and berries when you are ready to serve. I just let the cider warm over the stove for 15-30 minutes before serving.

Whole Wheat Waffles (ok, 1/2 whole wheat)

This is a tried and true recipe if anything is! We use this ALL THE TIME. These are adapted from a Mark Bittman recipe and they are yummy! I always double this recipe so I can have more the freeze and put into the toaster the next day. So the following recipe is ALREADY doubled. Most of the time I substitute half the the buttermilk for sweet potato puree or carrot puree. If time is an issue you can skip separating the eggs and beating the whites, but I really recommend it since whole wheat flour can make the recipe too heavy and the beaten egg whites fluff up the texture. The flaxseed meal and wheat germ are also not necessary but they are so good for you, why not?


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp baking soda
3 1/2-4 cups buttermilk (or 3 cups sour cream or plain yogurt thinned with milk to make up the rest)
4 eggs, separated
8 TBS (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine dry ingredients. Mix together the buttermilk (puree) and the egg yolks. Stir in the butter and vanilla.
2. Spray waffle iron with PAM. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they hold soft peaks. FOLD them gently into the batter.
3. Put about 1/4 cup of batter in each side of the waffle maker (this depends on your size of waffle maker).

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

This has become a quick family favorite. I will add some extra flaxseed meal and wheat germ to the dry ingredients for extra nutritional punch. I also love that this recipe is so simple and therefore easy to whip up in the morning, when you want your recipes to be simple!

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups milk, plus more if necessary
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 cup blueberries

1.Sift together flour and baking powder, set aside. Beat together the egg, milk, salt and artificial sweetener in a bowl. Stir in flour until just moistened, add blueberries, and stir to incorporate.
2.Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook until bubbly, about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking until golden brown.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great White Punch

This is another recipe that I often get asked for. It is great for any kind of party or get together because besides it being REALLY good, it is also REALLY cheap. My family and I have made this for wedding receptions, missionary farewells, baby and bridal showers and neighborhood get-togethers and it never gets old. Since the color is very light as well, I have added food coloring to make it blue for a boy baby shower or green for St. Patrick's Day, etc.

Great White Punch

1- 6 oz frozen limeade
11 cups of water
2 cups sugar
2 quarts 7-up or sprite
3-4 limes, sliced

Combine 6 oz frozen limeade, 11 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Pour into gallon Ziploc freezer bags and freeze. Two hours before serving, thaw frozen juice in punch bowl. Mash. You want to make it look a little slushy. Add the sprite and lime slices.

My take: I have tried many ways of freezing the juice and the Ziploc bags work the best since you can massacre them while getting the punch out. I can no longer find the little 6 ounce limeades at the store anymore, so I just double the first part of the recipe and freeze for a later date. Watch out though, once I was trying to get something out of the bottom of the freezer and a huge block of the frozen punch fell on my head and knocked me out for a few seconds. Freaked Logan out, as you can imagine. I should probably just blame all my mental problems on the "Frozen Punch Incident of 2007." Can I get away with that?

Chicken Divan

Here is another recipe I grew up with. My family used to call it Chicken Diane, and maybe that is why I liked it so much. If you are trying to get your kids to try curry, this is a recipe that eases them into it since it only has 1/2 tsp curry powder in the sauce. We had this tonight and Reagan told me "Mommy, I love this!" She ate her serving and Chase's serving (since anything that does not resemble pizza is not worthy of his notice). My mom served this with broccoli cut into large spears and big pieces of chicken on a platter, but since I have smaller children I cut the chicken and broccoli into smaller pieces and assemble it more like a casserole. I serve this with rice, but I have heard some eat Chicken Divan with egg noodles.

Chicken Divan

3-4 chicken breasts
1-2 broccoli heads (depends on size)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
breadcrumbs (optional)

Cook the chicken breasts. Cool and cut into chunks. Cook broccoli until just done. I put the chicken and broccoli together in a 9x9 or 13x9 pan. Stir together the cream of chicken, mayo, lemon juice and curry powder and pour over the chicken and broccoli. Top with the cheese and put into the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

My take: I make dishes a lot that call for pre-cooked, cut-up chicken like this one. I will try to cook a large amount of chicken breasts ahead of time, cut them up and freeze them. Since this is my least favorite part of the recipe, it is nice to have it already done. I cook thawed chicken breasts in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. In this recipe, I steam the broccoli, but I am sure you could microwave it as well. I also sometimes mix in pureed veggies like cauliflower with Chicken Divan, but I find it just doesn't work as well as some other recipes since the sauce is supposed to be thick.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Cupcakes I Dream About at Night....

My friend Rita had a birthday party for her cute little girl Jemma last night and I helped with some of the food. She made these cupcakes with a raspberry cream filling that were delicious. Blake loved them and he usually never eats a dessert that is not chocolate. The best part is that they are so easy!

First, just bake a yellow cake into cupcakes, following the directions on the box. Once they are done and cooled, cut off the tops and put in the following filling. Put the top back on and top with a shake of powdered sugar. YUM! YUM!

Raspberry Filling:

1 16 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (more or less to taste)
1 pkg Frozen Raspberries

Thaw the raspberries and mash thoroughly. Using beaters whip the cream and the powdered sugar together until the cream forms stiff peaks. Then fold the raspberry mash into the whipped cream. That's it!