Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fondue in Honor of Two

This past weekend we threw a baby shower for my sister. I had the idea of having a fondue station on the food table because she likes The Melting Pot and always has nice things to say about that restaurant. I made two different fondues, one cheese and one chocolate. We set out rosemary bread, buttermilk sourdough and vegetables to accompany the cheese fondue. Fruit, shortbread cookies and homemade marshmallows were made for the chocolate fondue. Fondue is super easy to make and is a great party idea. I think the people at the party really enjoyed it.

Chocolate Fondue
16 oz. semi sweet chocolate
2 c. heavy cream

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water or double boiler. Using a wooden spoon, stir chocolate and cream together until smooth. Transfer to fondue pot and set over warming candle.

The marshmallows I made were from Ina Garten's Coconut Marshmallow recipe sans the coconut. I usually make marshmallows from a recipe that involves egg whites but taking a precaution for my pregnant sister I tried this egg-less recipe. I actually like it better than my old stand by!

This recipe received mixed reviews online, the lack of the marshmallow setting in humid climates being the main complaint. I made these at my parents house which sits pretty much on the Gulf of Mexico. It was a rainy, damp day and my mom had the windows open earlier making the house very humid. Nevertheless, I trucked on following the instructions but mixing the marshmallows with a hand mixer for 30 minutes rather than the suggested fifteen. They came out perfectly!

Homemade Marshmallows
adapted from Ina Garten;

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup of cold water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and allow to sit while you make the syrup.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to high and cook until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the dissolved gelatin. Put the mixer on high speed and whip until the mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix thoroughly.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Blind Baking-Misadventures in Molten Chocolate Cake

I have about one month left in this apartment until we move into our glorious new home. This apartment has absolutely no light (natural, indirect, fixtures.) My range light has been out since we've moved in and last night as I was cooking the overhead kitchen light (one of two light fixtures in the whole apartment) went out. So my efforts in making the molten chocolate cake was hindered.

It actually is a quick and very good recipe. If I could have seen the cakes no longer jiggle I would have pulled them out sooner. Needless to say they were not as molten as I would have liked. My chief taste tester (the hubby) liked them and asked how I melted chocolate chips in the middle-so at least someone was impressed with them.

Molten Chocolate Cakes
from: Good Food Fast
serves 4

4 T. butter, plus more for pan
1/3 c. sugar, plus more for pan
3 eggs
1/3 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
8 oz. chocolate, melted
confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  1. Butter 4 cups in a standard muffin tin, dust with granulated sugar tapping out excess
  2. Cream sugar and butter together until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beat until incorporated
  4. Add sifted flour and salt, mix until incorporated
  5. Stir in melted chocolate
  6. Pour into cupcake pan
  7. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes or just until tops of cakes no longer jiggle when the pan is lightly shaken. Remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes
To serves, turn out the cakes and place on serving plates; top sides up. Dust with confectioners sugar and serves with whipped cream, if desired.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Raspberry Bon Bons

There is nothing like a simple dessert, especially one that requires no actual cooking. This is nothing more than melting some chocolate and assembling the finished product. It is so easy that I was brave enough to make it while my 5 month old was sitting on the counter in his bumbo playing with a spoon.

I chose raspberry sorbet because it is my favorite frozen treat.
It is fresh and vibrant and well. . . chocolate and raspberry are a classic romantic duo, just in time for Valentines Day.

The flavor combinations are endless and all you need is a little imagination. You can use strawberry or coconut sorbet (use toasted coconut in place of the almonds). . . Ooohhh! What about a peaches and cream bon bon (peach sorbet w/ melted white chocolate on a vanilla wafer.) And when the chill of winter passes why not welcome spring with a Grasshopper bon bon, mint chocolate chip ice cream with melted chocolate. Yum!

Raspberry Bon Bons

four servings
4 Nabisco Chocolate Wafers
Sliced Almonds, toasted
Raspberry Sorbet
12 oz. Chocolate Chips
1/2-1 t. vegetable shortening
  1. Set a wire rack over a baking pan. Arrange the wafers, top sides down, on rack, spaced evenly apart. Evenly distribute sliced almonds in the center of each wafer. Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, scoop a ball of raspberry sorbet onto each wafer. Transfer pan to freezer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water melt chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat. Let cool slightly.
  3. Remove baking pan from freezer. Generously pour melted chocolate over the bonbons, covering entirely. Return the baking pan to the freezer for 30 minutes more or overnight.