Tag Archives: chocolate

Green Beans with Snail Butter + a Tart

Happy Friday! For the last two weeks I have been caught up in the vortex that is Spring Break. Whenever my daughter is on break from school, the routines get disrupted such that I feel like I only accomplish the bare minimum. In fact, I feel quite lucky that this post is getting written at all. It helped that the recipe of the week for Cook the Book Fridays was an easy one.

A large part of Spring Break was spent visiting my family in Seattle. It has become a bit of a Spring Break tradition for my daughter and I to spend some time there. We had a lovely visit and I even squeezed in a CtBF make-up recipe!

First we’ll talk about the recipe for this week, then we’ll discuss the make-up.

Green Beans with Snail Butter

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Green Beans with Snail Butter had a hard time making on to the Cook the Book Fridays schedule. I think people took one look at the title and thought the butter was made from snails, but in reality it is the garlicky butter generally put on snails. Big difference!

This was a great recipe. Steamed green beans are simply tossed with a generous amount of butter, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. It couldn’t be easier and it couldn’t be more delicious. This was a hit with my whole family and may even be my new favorite green bean recipe.

Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart

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I think I have mentioned before that my Mom is cooking though My Paris Kitchen with us behind the scenes. Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Tart is one of the few recipes neither of us had made yet, so we took the opportunity to make it together for a family dinner while I was in Seattle.

We had one problem with this recipe: the chocolate filling was very jiggly when the baking and resting time was finished. I decided to turn the oven back on and bake the tart for an extra ten minutes or so. That did the trick, but it also caused the dulche de leche to bubble up and parts of the chocolate filling to crack. Later, when we sliced the tart, I noticed that the distinct layers shown in the book did not really exist in our tart.

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No worries, the minor problems we experienced did not diminish our enjoyment of this dessert. The tart was delicious! We chilled the leftovers and found that the filling got fudgier. I think I liked it even more the second day than I did the first. Another winner!

Both these recipes can be found in the cookbook, My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz.

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Tuesdays with Dorie Rewind!

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It’s rewind week at Tuesdays with Dorie. That means we can try a make-up recipe, or remake an old favorite. I am choosing to catch up on a couple of recipes I made over the last month but haven’t had a chance to write about yet: Cornmeal and Berry Cakes and Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups.

Cornmeal and Berry Cakes

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During a particularly stressful week early in the month, I decided to take a break and bake Cornmeal and Berry Cakes. It was very therapeutic to get out some flour, sugar, and eggs and bake something! And these sunny little cakes are just the thing to brighten one’s day.

These cakes are are simple olive oil cakes, gussied up a bit with fine cornmeal, lemon juice and zest, and berries. I made two small changes: I made cupcakes rather than the 4 small loaf cakes Dorie suggests, and I used blueberries instead of raspberries.

Cornmeal and Berry Cakes are delicious little snacking cakes. Mine turned out a little heavy, but I think it’s because I did not adjust for altitude at all (I usually do when making cakes). I always enjoy the flavors of lemon and blueberry together. I froze half the cakes for future snacking, and they froze well.

Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups

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When Esquimaux Pops for Grown-Ups showed up on the Tuesdays with Dorie schedule, I knew I would be making them! These are fudgy little ice pops with flecks of dark chocolate. What makes them only for grown-ups? The addition of liqueur!

To make these pops, we first made a chocolate mousse, mixing in tiny bits of chocolate at the end. I used Dorie’s favorite crème de cassis as my choice of liqueur because I had some on hand, but Kahlua would be wonderful as well. The mousse is simply spooned into popsicle molds and frozen until solid.

Yum! My husband and I have been enjoying these adult treats each night after my daughter goes to bed. They are the perfect size: a sweet treat that leaves you wanting just a tiny bit more. I will definitely make these again and it would be fun to experiment with different liqueurs.

If you are interested in trying either of these recipes, you can find them in Dorie Greenspan’s delicious book Baking Chez Moi.

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Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse

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Happy Friday! Well, it was a happy Friday until my day fell apart. It all started off well enough. I got some things done around the house while I waited for a yard guy to come and give me an estimate for some work. The guy came, I liked him, I started working on this blog post. While I was eating my lunch I got a call from my daughter’s teacher. There was a minor situation that required me to run up to the school. I had to reschedule an appointment with another yard guy because he was due to arrive before I would have time to get back. On the way to school, my car started acting up. Shaking and the check engine light flashing. I limped back home, and Google tells me it’s a cylinder mis-firing and that I shouldn’t drive the car until it gets fixed. Why do these things happen on Friday?

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Luckily I have the memory of this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe to keep my spirits up. We made Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse, and boy was it good!

The recipe starts off by having you make caramel. David’s instructions for the caramel were excellent; I knew just when to pull it off the heat. Next the chocolate is whisked into the caramel with a bit of fleur de sel. After cooling to room temperature, the eggs are folded in. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting 8 hours before eating it!

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The flavor and texture of this mousse is just fantastic. The salted caramel adds wonderful complexity to the flavors. It was a big hit with my family, and may become my new go-to chocolate mousse recipe (sorry, Dorie!).

My day is looking up. My husband is bringing his car home so I can drive my daughter to PT, and we have a fun evening and weekend planned. I’ll just ignore my car sitting out there until Monday…

Have a great weekend, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

You can find the recipe for Salted Butter Caramel-Chocolate Mousse on page 258 of David Lebovitz’s book My Paris Kitchen.

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Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches

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I have been participating in Tuesday with Dorie somewhat sporadically. I decided when the Baking Chez Moi project started that I would not try to bake every recipe. Just the ones that sound good to me. This week’s recipe, Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches, is one that I couldn’t resist. Not only is it chocolate, but it is also grain-free, so my grain-free, chocolate-loving husband could enjoy it too.

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Meringues are fun to make. Sweetened egg whites whipped to stiff peaks are transformed to lightweight, crunchy treats in the oven. In this case, cocoa and finely chopped almonds are gently folded into the egg whites before baking. The finishing (decadent) touch is the ganache sandwiched between two meringues.

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One thing I appreciate about Dorie Greenspan’s dessert recipes is that they (for the most part) do not make huge amounts. For the Cocoa Crunch Meringue Sandwiches, this was especially helpful as they really are best eaten the day they are made. The recipe only made 8 sandwiches, with was the perfect amount.

My family enjoyed this little treat!

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TWD: Chocolate Teacup Cakes

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Hello! Welcome to a new installment of Tuesdays with Dorie. Except it’s Wednesday. Yesterday turned out to have more errands than expected, so my post is a day late. But it was worth the wait! (Well, this dessert would be worth the wait anyway…)

The two February recipes from Baking Chez Moi are both chocolaty treats that my cutting-out-grains-and-most-carbs husband will eat. This one, Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes, was served as the grand finale to our Valentine’s Day dinner. Quick confession: This dessert was not completely grain-free. The ingredients did include a tablespoon of cornstarch, but my has husband has OK’d ingredients like that, as long as they are used in small quantities.

Soft-Centered Chocolate Teacup Cakes are Dorie’s take on a chocolate lava cake. A simple chocolate batter is spooned into individual ramekins or teacups, with a secret chunk of milk chocolate placed in the middle. The cakes are baked until the bottoms and sides are set, but with the middle still soft and gooey. Serve the cakes warm, and enjoy the melty chocolate!

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One thing that bothers me about this recipe is that the instructions require you make them from start to finish just before you are ready to serve them. After a nice dinner, the last thing I want to do is head to the kitchen to make dessert. I was wondering if these could be assembled earlier in the day, then baked when ready to serve. So I did an experiment. The night I served these, I sucked it up and made the cakes after dinner (even after my daughter went to bed). But I only baked two of them. I covered the other two and put them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I baked the other two. It worked! But, the refrigerated cakes required quite a bit more baking time. In fact, the cake in these photographs wasn’t quite cooked enough. Conclusion: These cakes can be assembled ahead of time, but expect a longer baking time and considering bringing them to room temperature before baking.

These little cakes were wonderful! Perfectly-sized single portions that were rich and delicious. I will make these again for sure.

I had hoped to have the second chocolate recipe for the month done by now, but instead I will be making it this weekend to celebrate my husband’s birthday. Stay tuned!

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FFWD: The Grand Finale!

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake

Wow. Here we are at the end of French Fridays with Dorie. We finished cooking through Around My French Table last month, and this week concludes the four weeks of celebratory posts.

When I started on this journey over four years ago, I had no idea I would actually cook through every recipe in the book. Though I am pretty stubborn when I set my mind to something! I am proud of myself for finishing, and proud of everyone who finished or came close to finishing. We tried new ingredients, learned new techniques, and made new friends. It was fun cooking the assigned recipe each week knowing my FFWD friends were out there cooking the same recipe, perhaps with their own special twist. My only regret is I haven’t had a chance to meet any of the lovely Doristas in person. I hope to some day!

Chocolate Mousse Cake

For the Grand Finale we were to choose a recipe and adapt it, try a bonne idée, or simply remake the recipe. I chose to remake Michel Rostang’s Double Chocolate Mousse Cake. When we made this the first time I ran into trouble. Since I was pretty sure I knew what went wrong, I have always wanted to try this recipe again. Besides, what’s better for a grand finale than chocolate cake?

I had two problems the first time I made this cake: 1) My pan was too big; and 2) The egg whites deflated when I tried to fold them into the hot chocolate mixture. I bought the correct size pan a few years ago and solved the egg whites problem by using lukewarm coffee instead of hot coffee.

My fixes worked and the cake was delicious! This is a great make-ahead dessert because it really tastes best after a night in the refrigerator. A wonderful way to celebrate the end of the book!

I don’t quite know how to end this post, except to say that this has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to keeping up with my fellow Doristas as we embark on our next adventures!

Happy cooking!

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FFWD: The Play-It-Again-Dorie Recipe

Happy French Friday! It’s our 3rd of 4 “celebration weeks” for French Fridays with Dorie. This week we are to share the recipe from the book we have made the most often.

First, a confession: I haven’t actually repeated many of the recipes from
Around My French Table. I have been so focused on completing all the recipes that I forgot to use the book for everyday cooking. Besides, I have all those other cookbooks on my shelves that needed some love, too. After poring through the book during these celebration weeks, I have a long list of recipes I want to make again. Now I just have to remember to actually use this wonderful book!

Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

The Chicken for Lazy People I discussed a couple of weeks ago is one of the few recipes I have made several times. Another is Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse.

The Chocolate Mousse won our hearts when I first made it during the recipe’s assigned week. My husband declared it his favorite recipe yet, and I think he would still place it at the top of his list. I love it because it is delicious. But also because it is quick and easy to make (you can whip it up after dinner!) and doesn’t make a large amount. Perfect for when the two adults in this household want an indulgent treat!

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TWD: Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Happy Tuesday! My daughter is on Spring Break this week, so she helped me make this Tuesdays with Dorie treat. We made Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars.

The base of these bars is a simple, buttery brown sugar-based dough. It is spread in an 8″x8″ pan and baked until it turns golden brown.  I had the benefit of making these a week late, and learned that many people found their base over-cooked when following the baking times specified in the recipe.  I baked mine for 15 minutes and then checked it.  It was bubbling and golden brown, so I took it out early.

Crispy-Topped Brown Sugar Bars

Next, we sprinkled chocolate chips on top of the cookie base.  My daughter helped with this step, and only ate two of the chocolate chips! After the chocolate melted, I spread it evenly over the bars.

Next, the Caramelized Rice Krispies. Oh, those Caramelized Rice Krispies! You could make just the rice krispies and be perfectly happy.  I think Dorie knew what she was doing when she had us use only half the Caramelized Rice Krispies recipe. You wouldn’t have enough to cover the bars otherwise, because the cook would eat too many of the rice krispies before they made it onto the top of the bars!

Yummy Bar

These bars are really good!  My daughter had a little trouble eating these with the crispy topping, but once I picked the crisps off, she was was perfectly happy eating the chocolatey, buttery bar. Dorie suggests other toppings for these instead of the rice krispies, and I think coconut would be especially good.

So far I have loved everything I have made from Baking Chez Moi. If you haven’t bought it yet, go run out and get it!

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TWD: Marquise au Chocolat

Marquise au Chocolat

My husband and I don’t generally do much for Valentine’s Day. We consider it a made-up, commercial holiday, and we don’t need a special day of the year to express our love for each other. However, this year my two Dorie groups presented the perfect excuse to make a fancy dinner to “celebrate” the holiday. I will tell you about the main dish on Friday.  Today we will discuss the dessert I made: Marquise au Chocolat. This was the Tuesdays with Dorie dessert for last week (I’m posting a week late since I saved it for Valentine’s Day).

Marquise au Chocolat can be described in three words: frozen chocolate mousse. It truly is chocolate mousse packed into a loaf pan and frozen.  It is sliced just before serving.  The end result is a dense, almost fudgy, chocolatey treat.

Marquise au Chocolat

I loved pretty much everything about Marquise au Chocolat.  The flavor and texture are wonderful.  I love that you can make it ahead – perfect for a dinner party.

This dessert was a big hit with my husband.  All of his favorite desserts include the words “chocolate” and “mousse”, so I think this will go down as being one of his favorites from Baking Chez Moi.

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Top-Secret Chocolate Mousse

My husband loves chocolate.  Really loves it.  He doesn’t consider something a real dessert if it doesn’t feature chocolate.  So when I told him that this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Chocolate Mousse he said, “Finally!”.

Chocolate mousse is the quintessential French dessert.  The “top-secret” part of this recipe is that it took Dorie years to discover that the wonderful chocolate mousse all her friends made came from a recipe on the back of a Nestle chocolate bar.  The French equivalent to Nestle Toll House Cookies?

This mousse is really quick to “whip” together.  Start to finish in maybe 20 minutes (as long as the eggs are room temperature).  Dorie suggests adding a flavor while mixing in the egg yolks, and I chose to add vanilla.

We loved this chocolate mousse.  I served it with lightly sweetened whipped cream, and we felt it was essential to the dish.

My husband declared this his favorite French Fridays recipe.  When I reminded him of all the other dishes he has really liked, he said that if they were all lined up in front of him, he would eat the chocolate mousse first.  I made the mistake of telling him how quick and easy it was to make, and he requested it again the next night (unfortunately for him, we did not have all the ingredients on hand, though he offered to go get them).  I have a feeling I will be making this one often!

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