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Blog

Filtering by Category: chocolate

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream

Patricia Reitz

During my last post I taught you how to make Russian Buttercream with a Mexican Twist (in the form of dulce de leche), and now I’m going to add a little French je ne sais quoi to the buttercream by giving it a salted caramel flavor profile, which pairs perfectly with Chocolate, or should I say Chocolat. Ooh-la-la!

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Start by making delicious chewy chocolate cookies, which are perfectly divine on their own, and sandwich two together with a layer of salted caramel Russian Buttercream in the middle. It’s a heavenly combination.

Seriously, try not to eat all the chocolate cookies before you turn them into sandwich cookies!

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You can serve these cookies at room temperature, but I think they’re even better slightly chilled (10-15 minutes in the fridge). Enjoy!


Chocolate Sandwich Cookies w/Salted Caramel Russian Buttercream

makes 12 sandwich cookies

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons dutch processed cocoa, sifted (use really good quality)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • extra granulated sugar to coat roll cookies in before baking (or use vanilla sugar)

Filling:

  • 1/4 pound (113g) unsalted butter at room temperature (70F)

  • 1/4 pound (113g) canned dulce de leche, chilled

  • fine table salt to taste

Directions

To make the cookies:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; set aside until needed.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater or BeaterBlade attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed for about 2 minutes until it lightens in color.

  3. Add egg and vanilla; continue to mix until no traces of egg remain.

  4. Turn mixer speed down to low; add cocoa mixture and combine until no traces of dry flour or cocoa remain, scraping bowl if needed.

  5. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

  6. Preheat oven to 350F, place rack in center of oven, and line 2 half sheet pans with silpat liners.

  7. Using a #50 scoop (about 1 tablespoon), roll level scoops of chilled cookie dough in the palm of your hand to form a ball; coat with granulated sugar and space evenly on sheet pan, 12 per pan.

  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes; remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the filling:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter using a hand mixer for 2-3 mites, until light in color and very fluffy.

  2. Add chilled dulce de leche and continue beating with a hand mixer for 1 minute.

  3. Taste the buttercream carefully and add just enough salt to achieve the level of salted caramel flavor you desire, beating well so the salt is evenly distributed.

Keto Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Patricia Reitz

It seems like just about everyone is trying to reduce their carb intake these days, which can put a damper on eating some of your favorite foods, like ice cream.  But today you're in luck because I've come up with an awesome chocolate ice cream recipe that has only 5 net carbs per 1/2-cup serving (leading national brands have 17 to 25 grams).  When I served it to my oldest daughter, she said she would never have guessed it was low-carb.  That makes this recipe a winner in my book!  Plan ahead - the base should be made the day before you plan to serve and the mixture should be processed in your ice cream maker 30-90 minutes before serving (see below).

IMPORTANT:  Because this ice cream contains no sugar (which helps to keeps the texture soft and scoopable), it's best served either soft-serve style right out of the machine, or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.  If allowed to freeze longer than 1 hour, it will freeze solid like ice, which actually would be fine if you want to pour the mixture into freezer pop molds (just omit the dark chocolate baking chips from the recipe).

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Start by whisking together the milk, half and half, egg yolks, and sifted cocoa powder.  Those things that look like lumps of cocoa are actually cocoa powder covered bubbles - keep whisking.

Soon the mixture will look like this.  Heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until it boils.

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Boil mixture for 1 minute, being careful not to allow the mixture to overflow.

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Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered erythritol (Swerve).

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Strain the mixture through sieve.

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Chill mixture overnight.

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Approximately 30-90 minutes before serving, pour mixture into ice cream machine and process according to manufacturer's instructions.  This recipe is best served "soft-serve style" right away or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.

For longer storage, freeze mixture in ice pop molds.

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Enjoy! 

Items used to make this recipe:


Keto Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

makes twelve 1/2-cup servings (5 net carbs per serving)

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a 3-quart, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium high heat, combine milk, half and half, cocoa powder, and egg yolks, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil; continue stirring and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to let the mixture boil over.

  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered erythritol and pure vanilla extract.

  3. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve; cover well and chill overnight.

  4. Process in your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's instructions.

  5. When ice cream is done churning, serve immediately or transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture.

Nutritional stats per 1/2-cup serving: 120 calories, 10g fat, 5g net carbs, 4g protein.

Notes: 

  • You can make your own powdered erythritol (swerve confectioners) by grinding granulated erythritol in an electric coffee grinder, a small food processor, or a nutribullet.

  • Because this ice cream contains no sugar (which helps to keeps the texture scoopable), it's best served either soft-serve style right out of the machine, or freeze for 1 hour for a slightly firmer texture. For longer storage, omit dark chocolate baking chips and freeze in ice pop molds.

Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

Patricia Reitz

One of my favorite ways to feature fresh, juicy raspberries is to use them to top decadent individually-sized chocolate tarts.  Such an impressive presentation, but so very easy to pull off.  Let me show you how easy they are to make.

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First, start with a batch of pate sucree (sweet dough) that's been chilling for about 30 minutes.  Press the pate sucree into mini tart pans (these are the ones I have).  I love individually sized desserts, and these are small enough to enjoy all by yourself, but they're not too small to share with someone special.

Now it's time to "bake them blind", which may sound really weird to someone not familiar with the technique, but basically it's partially baking the pie crust.  We do this by lining the tart crust with crumpled parchment paper (crumpling helps it easily fit the contours of the tart), then fill it with a variety of things that will 1) conduct heat, which will allow the crust to bake, and 2) keep the walls of the tart from slumping during the baking process.  

You can purchase metal or ceramic pie weights made specifically for the purpose of blind baking, but there are several substitutions you can use - dried beans, uncooked rice, or even granulated sugar.  Dried beans that have been used for this purpose can no longer be cooked for consumption, but they can be reused again and again so I let them cool completely, then store them in a jar in the pantry for next time.  Rice and sugar will toast slightly, but can be used for other recipes - they'll get slightly toasted in the oven, which imparts a lovely flavor.

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See how the crumpled parchment is able to hug the contours of the tart?  Much easier than trying to do the same thing with a piece of flat parchment, believe me!

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Fill with beans (or rice, sugar, pie weights, etc).  Chill well while the oven preheats.  Chilling the pate sucree before baking helps to keep it from shrinking during the baking process.

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After 10-15 minutes, the sides of the tart will be set and you can remove the parchment and its contents.  You can see how the sides have lost their shine, but the bottom of the tarts need more time in the oven so return them for another 10 minutes or so.

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You'll know they're done when they look dry and are firm to the touch.  Set aside to cool while you make the ganache filling.  

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To make the ganache, heat cream until just before it begins to boil.

Pour over your chopped chocolate and let it sit, undisturbed, for a few minutes.  Then whisk together until smooth.

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Pour the ganache into the baked tart shells.

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Chill for at least 15 minutes before adding the raspberries so they don't sink into the chocolate. 

When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the berries with a little confectioner's sugar and remove the sides of the tart pan.

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Place the tart on something elevated, yet small enough for the sides of the tart pan to fit over.  Here I'm using an egg cup.  Using gentle pressure, push the sides of the pan down.  

Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Individual Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

makes 6 mini tarts (or one 9-inch tart)

Ingredients

Pate Sucree Crust:

Filling:

Garnish:

  • 3 pints fresh raspberries

  • confectioners sugar

  • mint sprigs

Directions

To Make Pate Sucree:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade or flat paddle attachment, combine the ingredients until fully combined and no traces of dry ingredients remain.

  2. Wrap will with plastic and chill for 30-60 minutes.

  3. Divide dough equally between 6 individual tart pans with removable bottoms and press evenly across bottom and up sides; chill for at least 15 minutes (or up to several days if wrapped well with plastic).

  4. Preheat oven to 325F and line chilled tart shells with parchment paper filled with beans, rice, sugar, or pie weights.

  5. Place filled tart shells on silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the sides of the tarts are set; remove parchment and return empty shells to oven to continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the bottom crust is set.

  6. Allow tart shells to cool until while you make the filling.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before it reaches the boiling point (small bubbles will form around the edges).

  3. Remove cream/butter mixture from the heat and pour over chocolate.

  4. Let the chocolate and cream steep together for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add the espresso powder and pure vanilla extract; whisk gently until smooth and shiny.

  6. Divide filling between tart shells, leaving 1/4-inch space at the top of each shell; chill for at least 15 minutes before adding berries.

To Serve:

  1. Top with fresh raspberries and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

  2. Carefully remove sides of tart pan as shown above, and garnish with fresh mint.

Simple Heart Cookies

Patricia Reitz

You don't need the skills of a pastry chef to make these adorable cookies - with just a few simple tools, you can make them too!  Follow me into the kitchen and I'll show you how it's done. 

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To begin, you'll need waxed paper, a rolling pin, rolling guides (1/8-inch and 1/16-inch thicknesses to make these cookies)....

How to make professional looking heart / Valentine's Day cookies with no skills! Recipe and how-to photos.

And fondant plunger cutters.  The large heart cutter is available in this set, and the small one came from this set.  If you want a large heart that can be personalized to say anything, check out this set.

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You'll also need some good quality fondant.  Some of the brands available in my area that I like are satin ice, fondarific, duff goldman, and fat daddios.  I do not care for wilton. 

I always keep white fondant on hand because I can custom color it any way I like, but it's also nice to keep darker colors on hand (red, brown, black) because it's hard to achieve the deep saturation mixing gel colors in manually.

(this isn't a necessary tool, but it sure is handy) 

When I'm working with large quantities of fondant, I keep it in a bread proofing box set at 90F (keeping the fondant sealed in an airtight container the whole time).  When I'm ready to work with the fondant, it's warm enough that I can roll it easily without first having to knead it until it's soft and workable.

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Love my bread proofing box from Brod & Taylor.  It's great for proofing bread dough, of course, but it has a temperature range of 70-120F, so it's good for making yogurt, melting chocolate, and keeping tempered chocolate in temper too.  The newest model has a temperature range of 70-195F.

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Alright, while the fondant is still warm and soft, roll it out between two layers of waxed paper (1/16-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut shapes and imprint designs.  

How to decorate cookies with fondant

Remove scraps and allow fondant shapes to sit at room temperature until needed (they'll firm up as they rest).  Do this step before baking the cookiesbecause you'll want them ready to go when the cookies come out of the oven.

Check out this clever way to use fondant plunger cutters.

For the cookies:  roll cookie dough between two layers of waxed paper (1/8-inch thickness) and use fondant plunger to cut out shapes (no need to imprint the designs here).

Note:  If the cookie dough cutouts get too soft to move without getting distorted, slide the waxed paper onto a sheet pan and pop it in the fridge to firm the dough before transferring the cutouts to a silpat lined half sheet pan to bake as directed (as shown in this graham cracker post I shared a number of years ago).

The easiest way to decorate cookies ever!

Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place the prepared fondant cutouts on top. 

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As the cookies cool, the residual heat will melt the fondant cutouts just enough that they will bond to the cookies.   

Awesome cookie hack

Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


CHOCOLATE CUTOUT COOKIES

makes 40-60 cookies

Ingredients

Directions

To make the cookie dough:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the BeaterBlade attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed for 30 seconds.

  3. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine.

  4. Add flour mixture and beat until incorporated.

  5. Remove dough from mixer bowl and wrap well with plastic wrap; chill for 1-3 hours.

  6. Preheat oven to 375F.

  7. Roll each dough portion to 1/8-inch thickness between 2 layers of wax paper.

  8. Cut out desired shapes with plunger cutters, without plunging the design into the cutout (dust cutter in flour if needed).

  9. Chill dough before transferring cutouts to sheet pan to prevent distorting.

  10. Place cookies 2-inches apart on silpat lined sheet pan.

  11. Bake for 6-8 minutes; remove from oven and top with fondant cutouts (cut to 1/16-inch thick) that have the design pressed into them.

  12. Cool completely before serving. Store in airtight container between with wax paper between layers.

Note:  Recipe makes 40-60 cookies, depending on size.  Plan to use about 1/2 pound fondant (I like to buy white fondant so I can color it any way I like).  Fondant cutouts can be made a day or more in advance if stored on wax or parchment paper in an airtight container.  If the cookies cool before fondant toppers are applied, you can warm the cookies for a few seconds in the microwave (but I recommend applying the fondant to cookies as soon as they come out of the oven).

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Patricia Reitz

I know what you're thinking.  There's no way gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are going to be any good.  Right?  Wrong!!  These cookies are super soft and chewy and incredibly delicious.  Since the recipe contains no flour, it's vitally important to make sure the cookie dough is well chilled before baking.  Let me show you how easy these are to make.

Note:  Depending on your dietary standards concerning eggs and chocolate chips, these cookies may conform to vegetarian and paleo diets.

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In a bowl, combine almond meal, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

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Next you'll need pure vanilla extract (please use the good stuff), almond butter, coconut palm sugar, liquid coconut oil, and an egg.

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Combine those ingredients together well.  I've used my stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade attachment, but you can certainly mix it by hand, just be sure  to mix until any coconut sugar lumps disappear. 

Now add the almond meal mixture.

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Mix to combine.

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Add bittersweet chocolate chips.

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Mix one last time until the chips are evenly distributed through the batter.

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Transfer the batter to a quart-size zipper bag and chill for at least an hour, but you can do this step a day or two in advance. 

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When you're ready to portion the dough, simply rip the bag open and cut the dough into 24 even portions.

Easy!

gluten free almond cookie recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Roll each portion into a ball and place on a sheet pan.

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This step is completely optional, but I like to press a few extra chips on the top of each dough ball.  Now before we bake the cookies, it's really important to chill the dough again - I just pop them back in the fridge while my oven preheats.

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When the oven has preheated, space 12 dough balls evenly on a silpat lined sheet pan and bake for exactly 10 minutes, then allow the cookies to cool completely before removing them from the pan.

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Enjoy!! 

Items used to make this recipe:


Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 24 cookies

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together almond meal, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  2. Using a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade attachment, combine the coconut palm sugar, coconut oil (melt gently in microwave to liquify if necessary), egg, almond butter, and pure vanilla extract on medium speed for 30 seconds.

  3. Add reserved almond meal and mix on medium for 30 seconds; add chocolate chips and mix just until combined.

  4. Transfer cookie dough to a quart size storage bag and seal well, pressing the dough into an even layer; chill for at least 1 hour.

  5. To bake cookies, preheat oven to 350F, place rack in center of oven, and line two half sheet pans with silpat liners.

  6. Divide chilled dough into 24 equal pieces and roll into balls; return to refrigerator to chill for 5 minutes or longer.

  7. Place 12 chilled dough balls each on two silicone lined half sheet pans and immediately bake for 10 minutes (one pan at a time, chilling the remaining dough until ready to bake); remove from oven and allow cookies to cool completely before removing from the pan; repeat with the 2nd pan of cookie dough.

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

Patricia Reitz

So today is the first day of the new year and most food blogs will be posting lighter, healthier recipes, but not me... I give you CAKE! 

But wait a minute... if you think about it, this is a single layer cake made with greek yogurt and shredded zucchini, and the frosting is just a thin layer of ganache... so basically, this really is a lighter, healthier recipe!!  Glad to do my part - you're welcome.

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Start with shredded zucchini (or half and half, shredded zucchini and shredded yellow squash).  Thankfully, good zucchini is available throughout the year.

Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and fine salt together in a large mixing bowl.  Note - sugar is usually considered a "wet" ingredients, but this is a casual cake that is easily mixed together by simply stirring, so no biggie.  You could even throw all the ingredients in one bowl and call it a day if you wanted to.

But I like to mix the wet and dry stuff separately and then combine them, but I digress.

Here are the wet ingredients - eggs, canola oil, greek yogurt, and pure vanilla extract.

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Whisk to combine.

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Pour the wet ingredients into the dry.

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Stir to combine.

Lastly, stir in the shredded zucchini (and shredded squash if using).

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Before you pour the cake batter in the pan, be sure to coat the pan with baking spray - the kind that contains flour and oil.  This stuff is the bomb and I never bake a cake without it - helps your cakes release from the pan every single time!!  Great stuff.

And here's another tip that's completely unnecessary, but wow does it make a difference.  Wrap your pan with insulated baking strips so they rise evenly and don't develop a hump in the middle while baking.  Seriously, I use them for every layer cake I bake.  From simple snack cakes to large wedding cakes.  I never have to trim the tops of my layer cakes.

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Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI SNACK CAKE

makes one 8x8-inch cake (can be doubled and baked in a 9x13-inch pan)

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted (darkest you can find, like this black cocoa)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 6 tablespoons plain greek yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee (or hot water)

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (or substitute up to half yellow summer squash)

Ganache:

  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • 4 ounces heavy cream

Directions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, spray metal cake pan with Baker's Joy, and wrap pan with insulated baking strips (optional, but they keep the cake from forming a hump in the middle).

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, greek yogurt, oil, coffee, and pure vanilla extract.

  4. Pour wet mixture into bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix well; add shredded zucchini and stir until combined.

  5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  6. Remove from oven and cool completely before topping with ganache.

To make the ganache:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, heat cream until just before it reaches the boiling point (small bubbles will form around the edges).

  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate.

  4. Let the chocolate and cream steep together for 2 minutes, then whisk gently until the two combine and become shiny, dark, and glossy.

  5. When cake is completely cool, pour ganache over cake; use an offset spatula to spread evenly.

  6. Chill cake until service. Store in an airtight container.

English Toffee

Patricia Reitz

Seriously, is there anything better than caramelized sugar?  Ok, maybe caramelized sugar, a stick of butter, lightly toasted almonds, and a glorious robe of melted chocolate.  Heaven help me, this stuff is amazing!  

Before beginning, have ready a half sheet pan lined with a silpat liner.

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Also, make sure you have chopped chocolate ready to go.  I'm a huge dark chocolate fan, but you can certainly use milk chocolate if that's your thing.

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And another thing you need before you start is toasted, sliced almonds.  I place the almonds on an unlined half sheet pan and pop them into a cold oven.  Then I turn the oven on to 350F and slowly toast them until golden brown and fragrant.  

Allow the almonds to cool completely, then chop them into smaller bits in a food processor, being careful not to chop them too much.  You still want to recognize they are sliced almonds.

Alternatively, you can place the almonds in a resealable bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Ok, now that the half sheet pan is prepared, and the chocolate and almonds are ready to go, it's time to start cooking - in a 3 or 4-quart saucepan, heat butter, water, corn syrup, and dark brown sugar over medium-high heat.  

Have an instant read digital thermometer, pure vanilla extract, and baking soda nearby.

The toffee mixture should be stirred occasionally until it reaches the proper temperature.  Note that I used a nonstick pan for easy cleanup.

Stop cooking when the toffee reaches 285F.

English Toffee recipe with lots of how-to photos - ButterYum

Stir in the vanilla and baking soda; stir vigorously to combine.

Pour mixture onto silpat lined half sheet pan.

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Spread mixture with an offset spatula.  I like my toffee on the thin side so I spread mine out more than directed by the recipe. 

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While the toffee is still hot, evenly sprinkle the chocolate bits all over.

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Allow chocolate to rest on the hot toffee for 5 minutes.

Use an offset spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.

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While the chocolate is still warm, sprinkle the toasted almonds evenly all over.

how to make English Toffee from scratch - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Pop the whole tray into the fridge until the toffee and chocolate set.  Break into pieces and enjoy.


English Toffee

makes 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled completely

  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (light or dark), packed

  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

  1. Begin by lining a half sheet pan with a silpat liner (I have 6!) and measure out all the ingredients.

  2. Place toasted almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to break into smaller bits, being careful not to make the pieces too small. Alternatively, you can place the toasted almonds in a resealable bag and crush them with a rolling pin.

  3. In a 3 or 4-quart heavy bottomed, preferably nonstick, saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, corn syrup, butter, and water; heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 285F.

  4. Remove mixture from heat and vigorously stir in the vanilla and baking soda.

  5. Pour the mixture onto a silpat lined half sheet pan; use an offset spatula to spread thinly over the silpat.

  6. While the toffee is still hot, sprinkle the chocolate bits evenly all over; allow chocolate to soften from the residual heat for a few minutes, then use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer (I like to stop just short of the edge of the toffee).

  7. Immediately sprinkle the almond pieces evenly all over the melted chocolate.

  8. Place the toffee in the refrigerator for 10 minutes; remove from fridge and break into serving pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers.

Note: To toast almonds, spread in a single layer on an unlined half sheet pan and place in a cold oven; turn the oven on to 350F and allow the almonds to toast for 8-12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant (watch them carefully).  Cool completely before using.

adapted from The Baking Bible

Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

Patricia Reitz

This dense, rich, fudge cake is not only gluten-free, the batter is mixed together in a blender.  When have you ever heard of such a thing?   This cake takes no time to make at all - the batter is literally ready in a matter of minutes.  You can serve this cake warm or at room temperature, but we like it chilled. 

how to line a springform pan with parchment

Start by lining the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the rest of the pan with Baker's Joy to ensure perfect release.

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In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts.  When the chocolate is completely melted, stir well to make sure butter is completely incorporated.  Set aside until needed.

NOTE:  if your microwave is very powerful, decrease the power to 50%. 

Alternatively, you can melt the butter and chocolate together over a double boiler of simmering water, stirring frequently.

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Additional ingredients needed are almond meal (finely ground almonds), salt, baking soda, baking powder, espresso, and....

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Whole eggs and sweetened condensed milk.

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Now for the fun part - we mix all the ingredients together in the blender (this is the one I love).  Start to combining the eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

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Add the chocolate/butter mixture, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and coffee.  Blend again on low speed until combined. 

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Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes in a preheated oven.

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The cake will come out of the oven puffed up in the center.  

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Allow the cake to cool for 1 hour before chilling for at least 2 additional hours.  The cake will fall in the center as it cools - this is normal so don't be alarmed.

Gluten-free cake recipe with how-to photos

Remove the sides of the springform pan and cut into 16 slices with a hot, sharp knife (long, thin, non-serrated blades work best - like this one).  This cake is very moist so if you want to sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, use the non-melting variety.


Gluten-Free Fudge Cake

makes 16 servings

Ingredients

  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 6 ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate (I used Moser-Roth 85%)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk, plus 1/4 cup

  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

  • 1/4 cup hot espresso (or see note below)

  • Optional: non-melting confectioner's sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in center position.

  2. Line bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray pan with Baker's Joy.

  3. In 30-second bursts the microwave, slowly melt butter and chocolate together, stirring between bursts; set aside until needed. NOTE: if your microwave is very powerful, decrease power to 50%, or you can melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler over simmering water.

  4. In the jar of a blender, combine eggs and sweetened condensed milk on low speed until combined.

  5. Add chocolate/butter mixture; mix on low speed until combined.

  6. Add almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and espresso; mix on low until combined.

  7. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake tests done (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick are ok).

  8. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 1 hour; cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours.

  9. Remove sides of springform pan and slide cake off of parchment base.

  10. Use a hot knife to cut cake into 16 slices. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: to make espresso, combine 1/4 cup boiling water with 1/2 teaspoon high quality espresso powder .

recipe adapted from Pati Jinich

 

Double Chocolate Muffins

Patricia Reitz

ButterYum - Double Chocolate Muffins

Studded with mini chocolate chips, double chocolate muffins are something I would typically serve with lunch or as an afternoon snack, but we've been known to enjoy them as an indulgent breakfast item from time to time. 

These muffins are best served a day or two after they're baked, but they freeze beautifully in an airtight container for up to a month.  To thaw, keep in airtight container as they thaw overnight in the fridge.  I enjoy these muffins chilled or at room temperature, but my girls enjoy them heated in the microwave for just a few seconds to melt the mini chocolate chips.  If you should happen to find yourself with slightly stale muffins, try this indulgent twist - break a muffin into bits, place the bits in a bowl, and drizzle with heavy cream - heaven!

skinnier chocolate muffin recipe - chocolate applesauce muffin recipe

Ingredients:  eggs, applesauce, flour, unsalted butter, the best dutch-processed cocoa powder you can find (this one is my current fav), sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and mini chocolate chips.

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Cream the butter and sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand-held mixer).

Use the paddle attachment or, even better, a BeaterBlade attachment!  If you love to bake, do yourself a favor on get a BeaterBlade.  It eliminates the pesky task of having to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl.  Love, love, love this thing!

On a side note - I have tried a similar attachment that's made by the company that makes the stand mixer and there's no comparison, the BeaterBlade works much better.  They're available for various makes and models of mixers so have that information handy before you purchase. 

muffins sweetened with applesauce - ButterYum

Back to the recipe - add the eggs, applesauce, and cocoa sifted cocoa powder.  Nothing worse than biting into a dry clump of unsweetened cocoa powder so don't forget to sift that cocoa!! 

easy chocolate muffin recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Mix until incorporated.  Don't worry if the mixture looks a little curdled - it's fine.

Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; mix until no traces of flour remain.

chocolate muffins with mini chocolate chips - recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Stir in the mini chocolate chips.  Did you set aside a few to nibble on?  I did!

recipe for chocolate muffins with mini chocolate chips - ButterYum

Mmmm... time to dish up the batter. 

chocolate breakfast muffins - ButterYum - recipe and how-to potos

I use a rounded #20 scoop to portion the batter into a professional grade muffin pan that is lined with these awesome liners that I've absolutely fallen in love with.  I especially like using them for chocolate muffins and cupcakes - they make my baked goods look so rich and decadent! 

chocolate muffin batter ready to bake - recipe and how-to photos

Using a portion scoop is neat and tidy... and all my muffins are going to turn out the same size.  Win-win!

Items used to make this recipe:


Double Chocolate Muffins

makes 18

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted

  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick baking spray or paper liners.

  3. Cream butter and sugar together until light in color, about 2 minutes.

  4. Add eggs, cocoa powder, and applesauce; mix until smooth.

  5. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined (don't over mix); stir in mini chocolate chips.

  6. Use a heaping #20 portion scoop to fill cups about 3/4 full.

  7. Bake 22-25 minutes or just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a couple crumbs attached.

  8. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan, placing on cooling rack to cool completely.

adapted from The Low GI Cookbook 

 

Galaxy Mirror Glaze Cake(s)

Patricia Reitz

Recently I was asked to demonstrate a mirror glaze cake technique (aka galaxy glaze technique) at a cake show and I thought perhaps all of my readers would enjoy learning about it too.  As you'll see, this technique is sticky and fun and very unpredictable so you never know exactly what you're going to end up with.   Let's get started.

Important:  

This technique starts with a frozen chocolate mousse cake - you can also include fruit and/or actual cake as well (which I'll be showing you).  Plan ahead - there's a lot of freezer time needed for this technique.  

Also, this is going to be a very long post so I'll try condense photos as much as possible.

You can get special silicone half-sphere molds, but for now I'll show you how to use a 9-inch silicone springform pan, and I'll bake an 8-inch layer of cake to go inside the cheesecake pan.  

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If you're in a hurry, you can make smaller individual size servings which will freeze much faster (this is the pan I like to use for individual servings).  When making the individual size servings, I use half of the chocolate mousse and glaze ingredients, and skip the cake layer and white chocolate mousse.

 
how to make a galaxy glaze cake (aka mirror glaze cake) - recipe and how-to photos

Before I show you how I make the chocolate cake layer, I want to tell you that I always coat my baking pans with Baker's Joy (a oil/flour nonstick baking spray), and I line the bottom of the pans with a layer of parchment paper.  Also, to ensure a cake my cakes rise evenly without a big hump in the middle, I always wrap my pans with moistened insulated baking strips.  

To make the cake, start by combining dutch-processed cocoa powder with boiling hot water.  

Whisk well to eliminate clumps.

Set aside until needed.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, egg, and vanilla.

Whisk whisk, whisk.

Done.

 

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt.

Whisk to combine.

Add the reserved cocoa mixture and mix well.

 

Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. 

Here's another trick that will help ensure an evenly baked cake...

Insert an Ateco heating core (they're great for really wet cake batters like this one, and I always use them for cakes that are over 9 inches in diameter).

 

See how perfectly even that cake rose in the pan?  No hump in the center thanks to the insulated cake strips, and no fallen center thanks to the heating core.  Pure perfection!

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out.  If you prepped your pan with Baker's Joy and parchment paper, it should release without any trouble.  Peel the parchment paper off and pull out the heating core.  Allow the cake to cool completely (I like to pop it in the fridge at this point - it'll cool fast and chilled cake is always easier to handle than warm cake).

 

Time to make white chocolate mousse.  To begin, we'll make white chocolate ganache by pouring scalding hot cream over really good quality white chocolate that's been chopped into small pieces.  Let this mixture sit for several minute, then gently whisk until fully incorporated. 

Yes, you can use high quality chocolate chocolate chips if you like, but chips contain stabilizers that don't melt when heated (this allows the chips to hold their shape when warm).  I find it best to use bar chocolate or white chocolate disks used by pastry chefs (like these or these).

 

Pour the ganache through a sieve to remove any unmelted bits of white chocolate.  Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for several hours (or overnight) to "set" (firm up).  

DO NOT cover the hot mixture with plastic wrap because condensation will form on the plastic and will drip down onto the ganache which can make the chocolate seize (turn grainy).  If you must cover the hot chocolate mixture, use a clean kitchen towel which will absorb the steam given off by the hot ganache.

 

When the white chocolate has "set", whip cold heavy cream until stiff peaks form....

Then fold the whipped cream and white chocolate ganache together until combined.

 

Next, place the chilled cake layer on a silpat lined sheet pan and  wrap well with an adjustable cake ring.

Make sure the adjustable cake ring is tight, then add a layer of fresh raspberries.

 

Pour just enough white chocolate mousse over the berries to cover them.

Freeze for several hours until the white chocolate mousse is frozen enough to remove the adjustable cake ring.

 

Before we transfer the cake/white chocolate mousse to the silicone springform pan, the base of the pan needs to be lined with plastic wrap.  You could also use parchment paper.

YPlace the partially frozen chocolate cake topped with raspberries and white chocolate mousse in the center of the springform pan.  There should be about 1/2-inch space between the cake and the springform pan walls.  We're going to fill that space with chocolate mousse.

 

The chocolate mousse is made the same way as the white chocolate mousse - make the ganache by combining scalding heavy cream with chopped chocolate (use high quality like this or this).  Allow the ganache to cool for several hours to "set" (firm up).  

Then carefully fold it with some whipped cream.

 

Continue folding until the chocolate and cream are completely incorporated (this photo shows that we're not quite there yet). 

I like to use a disposable pastry bag to squeeze the chocolate ganache down into that 1/2-inch space.  Be careful to not allow any air gaps.

 

Once the 1/2-inch gap is filled, pour the remaining ganache on top of the white chocolate layer to fill the pan completely and use a very long spatula to smooth to top flush with the top of the springform pan.  

Freeze until frozen solid (notice how easily the silicone pan releases from the frozen mouse cake pictured on the right).  If you only have a metal springform pan, be sure to line the base with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and line the sides with food-grade acetate (like this) - the acetate will release easily from the frozen mousse (the metal pan will not).

Now for the really fun part - we get to make the galaxy glaze (aka mirror glaze).  Here's how.

 

Gather the ingredients for the glaze:  water, granulated gelatin, superfine sugar, light corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and chopped high quality white chocolate.  

Stir the granulated gelatin and water together and allow the gelatin to hydrate for 10 minutes.

 

In a nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat, cook the superfine sugar, water, and light corn syrup together (I love using this caramel pot anytime I need to heat sugary liquids).  

Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 217F (right around the time it starts to boil).  

 

Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the hydrated gelatin until it dissolves.

DSC_9947.JPG

You'll know the gelatin has dissolved when there are no more granules stuck to the bottom or sides of the pan. 

 

Add the sweetened condensed milk.

How to make galaxy glaze or mirror glaze for cakes.

Stir to combine.

 

Pour the hot mixture over the chopped chocolate and let it rest for a couple of minutes.

Then whisk to combine.

 

Use an immersion blender to carefully blend the mixture for two full minutes...

Being careful not to incorporate much air (see short video clip).

Allow the mixture to cool to between 85-95F.

 
DSC_9996.JPG

Use food coloring suitable for chocolate (I used this brand - the most important color being white.

In the photo above, you can see the glaze on the left has no white coloring added - it's kind of translucent and has a yellow tone which will affect other colors added.  The glaze on the right has white coloring added, which turns the mixture opaque and bright white so any additional colors added will be true.  

 

Divvy up the glaze and color as you like.  

I think a mix of 3 or 4 colors gives the best results.

Customize colors to coordinate with sports teams, holidays, party themes, etc.

 

Have fun drizzling that glaze all over the frozen mousse cake(s).  There's no right or wrong way to do it, just be sure to cover all exposed areas.  

disco dust on galaxy mirror glaze - ButterYum

For an extra special finishing touch, sprinkle a little edible "disco dust" on the wet glaze.  It will add a sparkly iridescence that looks amazing.  

Oooo!

And here's a quick view of a large cake I covered with a pastel colored glazed  - I love how the layers of chocolate cake, raspberries, and white and regular chocolate mousse look together.  Chill frozen mousse cake in refrigerator until it thaws enough that it can be cut easily.  Serve very thin slices - this cake is very rich.   Enjoy! 

Items used and/or needed to make this recipe:


Note:  For individual size servings, use half of the chocolate mousse and glaze ingredients, and omit the cake layer and white chocolate mousse.

Chocolate Cake Layer

makes one 8-inch cake layer

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted

  • 2/3 cup boiling water

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and place rack in center oven position.

  2. Spray 8-inch cake pan with baking spray (such as Baker's Joy) and wrap pan with insulated baking strip.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and boiling water until no clumps remain; set aside.

  4. In another small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla; add the contents from both of the previous bowls and mix well to combine.

  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in center of oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  7. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before turning cake out onto a rack to cool completely.

 

Chocolate Mousse

makes 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (700 grams)

  • 4 2/3 cups heavy cream, divided (2 2/3c, 2 c)

Directions

  1. Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Heat 2 2/3 cups heavy cream in the microwave or on the stovetop until boiling and pour over chocolate and rest for 2 minutes; gently whisk to combine fully and allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes (or longer).

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat remaining 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture until no streaks of cream remain; pour into mold(s) and freeze.

 

White Chocolate Mousse

makes 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cup chopped white chocolate (350 grams)

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided (1 1/3c, 2/3 c)

Directions

  1. Place chocolate in a large mixing bowl.

  2. Heat 1 1/3 cups heavy cream in the microwave or on the stovetop until boiling and pour over chocolate and rest for 2 minutes; gently whisk to combine fully and allow to cool completely and thicken a bit, 2-3 hours.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat remaining 2/3 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture until no streaks of cream remain; pour into mold(s) and freeze.

 

Galaxy Mirror Glaze

makes about 4 cups (enough to coat a 9-inch cake)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unflavored granulated gelatin

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 1/4 cup super fine sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 3/4 cups chopped white chocolate (306 grams)

  • white gel food color

  • other gel food colors

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine gelatin and 1/2 cup water (be sure no dry clumps remain); set aside for 10 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom (hydrate).

  2. In a heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, combine corn syrup, sugar, and remaining 1/2 cup water; stirring until sugar dissolves; bring to 217F.

  3. Remove saucepan from heat and add bloomed gelatin; stir until gelatin melts and no granules remain; add sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine.

  4. Pour mixture over white chocolate and rest for several minutes; gently whisk until all the white chocolate melts and mixture is fully incorporated, being careful to not incorporate air bubbles.

  5. Use a stick blender to blend for 1-2 minutes to make the mixture completely smooth (add gel food coloring if desired).

  6. Allow glaze to cool to between 85 and 95F, then pour over frozen dessert. Leftover glaze can be refrigerated for several days - just reheat gently in the microwave, using 10-15 second intervals, stirring each time, until temp it reaches the proper pouring temperature.

 

Notes:

  • mousse must be frozen solid before covering with glaze.

  • after glazing, place cake(s) in refrigerator to allow glaze to set and allow the frozen mousse to soften before serving.

  • if you're unsure if your food colors are compatible with chocolate, test color a small batch first (stir very well and make sure the glaze remains pourable - if it thickens or gets clumpy, try a different brand of coloring).

  • frozen mousse will release easily from silicone, but not metal so if you have a metal springform pan, line the bottom well with parchment and line the sides with food-grade acetate (like this).