Friday, July 29, 2011

A Virtual Dinner and Dessert with Bertolli

I have just spent the last two hours writing up a beautiful post about the wonders of the Bertolli Meal for Two amazingness that comes from the freezer section only to have Blogger rip it from my proud little hands and delete it. So here I am at 1 in the morning, rewriting it in all of it's glory. My 6 year old is beside me fighting sleep like a champ and I am too. I'm gonna lay it to you straight. When the wonderful and sweet Paula from Bell a'limento called and asked me to participate in this Virtual Dinner and Dessert with Bertolli, I was both honored and a bit hesitant. I am not a big fan of frozen dinners. For the most part, I find them mushy, lacking and not even close to the picture that they have on the box (or bag). But I like Bertolli and I LOVE Paula so I took it as a challenge. The idea behind it is simple. Make a Bertolli frozen meal then make a dessert to compliment. So off to the store's frozen section I marched. First of all....the selection of dinners for two by Bertolli is WIDE! I had a truly hard time deciding what to get! I finally settled on what looked like the perfect summer meal. Grilled chicken with grilled vegetables and Farafalle pasta. Yum! Well the scary frozen meal actually is really good! The pasta was perfectly al dente. The veggies were still crisp and the chicken actually tasted like real grilled chicken! Not all mealy and mushy like so many frozen dinners tend to be. AND it seriously only takes 9 minutes!!! Perfect for busy days!!! For such a meal, I decided the best dessert to compliment would be Zabaglione. I had originally wanted to serve it with fresh strawberries, but then I scored some amazingly fragrant and juicy peaches and I knew they would have to join in the dessert party. OR should I include the awesome Rainier Cherries I scored. OK, both and some super sweet floral raspberries for good measure. PLUS, even though it is difficult to figure out how to pronounce Zabaglione, it is AMAZINGLY easy to prepare. Only 3, count them 3 ingredients. Perfect easy dessert to go with a delicious and super easy meal. (seriously it only takes 9 minutes from cold pan to steaming hot deliciousness!) Limoncello Zabaglione 4 large egg yolks 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup limoncello Instructions: In large, non-reactive bowl whisk together the ingredients. Place over a large pot with about 2 inches of barely simmering water and whisk (I used my electric hand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment) until pale, thick and warm and about triple or quadrupled in volume. Serve immediately with fresh fruit. That's IT! Can you believe it?! And SO good!!! I actually licked my little bowl clean. So good. Did I mention my meal and dessert were so good? No? I didn't? It was all SO good! If you want to see what the other amazing ladies did with THEIR meals, check out Susan from She's Becoming Doughmesstic, and Shari from Tickled Red. I am such a lucky lady to know such amazing women, Paula, Susan and Shari! Such a lucky, lucky woman.

Not One, Not Two, but THREE Fudge Recipes!!!


Most food bloggers provide you with a recipe...yes. Many food bloggers will give you teasers and spread three recipes out over several days (probably the smart choice). I, however, am an instant gratification girl 110%! I can't wait to share and I just couldn't decide which recipe to bestow upon you so I gave in and confirmed that all three was the best way to go. There is a secret to my fudge and as much as I hate to give it away, I feel I must. How could I keep a secret from my foodie family??! 



My secret? Get Suckered Sucker Flavoring. They have a GREAT selection and you can really go wild with your imagination. (thus the Kettle Corn Fudge). So here again, are recipes where you can play. Please don't be afraid to experiment with flavors and ingredients. Baking isn't nearly as scary as it is made out to be! 



So, let's start with the Rocky Road Fudge...shall we?? 
 Rocky Road Fudge 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (about 1/4 inch pieces) 4 regular marshmallows cut into 1/4 inch pieces or 1/3 cup mini marshmallows) 8 ounces dark chocolate chips 4 ounces white chocolate chips 1- 7 ounce jar fluff 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup heavy cream pinch of salt 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (or my favorite....Jack Daniels) 1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds 
Instructions: freeze the chocolate chunks and marshmallow bits until hard. put dark and white chocolate chips and marshmallow fluff into large heat proof bowl and set aside. In a medium pot, combine butter, sugar, heavy cream and salt. bring to a boil over medium heat and whisk like crazy until it reaches 235 degrees F. Immediately pour over the chocolate/marshmallow combination and stir until combined...now take a hand mixer and mix on high until smooth and creamy. fold in the frozen marshmallows, chocolate chunks and almonds Pour into a greased 8x8 inch disposable pan. allow to cool at room temperature at least an hour then in the fridge for at least 3 hours. 





 AND NOW....Strawberries and Cream Fudge! 

Strawberries and Cream Fudge roughly 1 ounce freeze dried strawberries 3 Tbsp. heavy cream 12 ounces white chocolate chips 1-7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup heavy cream 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter pinch salt 1 tsp. Get Suckered strawberry flavoring a few drops deep pink food coloring gel (I prefer Americolor) 

 Instructions: In small bowl, combine freeze dried strawberries and 3 Tbsp cream. Set aside In a medium pot, combine butter, sugar, heavy cream and salt. bring to a boil over medium heat and whisk like crazy until it reaches 235 degrees F. Immediately pour over the chocolate/marshmallow combination and stir until combined...now add the flavoring, take a hand mixer and mix on high until smooth and creamy. lightly fold in food coloring to make swirls fold in the reserved strawberries. Pour into a greased 8x8 inch disposable pan. allow to cool at room temperature at least an hour then in the fridge for at least 3 hours. 


 And what you have all been waiting for! (Stacey Joy) Kettle Corn Fudge!!!!!! 

Kettle Corn Fudge 

12 ounces white chocolate chips 1-7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup heavy cream 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter pinch salt 1 tsp. Get Suckered Hot Buttered Popcorn flavoring a few drops lemon yellow food coloring gel generous pinch course sea salt 
 
Instructions: In a medium pot, combine butter, sugar, heavy cream and salt. bring to a boil over medium heat and whisk like crazy until it reaches 235 degrees F. Immediately pour over the chocolate/marshmallow combination and stir until combined...now add the flavoring, take a hand mixer and mix on high until smooth and creamy. lightly fold in food coloring to make swirls Pour into a greased 8x8 inch disposable pan. Sprinkle sea salt over the fudge. allow to cool at room temperature at least an hour then in the fridge for at least 3 hours.  


You all have now been blessed with my super-natural fudgy powers! Live long and prosper and make amazing fudge! Be good sweet readers...but not too good! That's boring!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Father's Day Cupcakes just for Dad Dark Chocolate and Whiskey

Now, keep in mind I made these quite a while ago. However, when ever I hear someone talk or ask about a masculine cupcake or dessert, my mind goes directly to these amazing cupcakes. Dark Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes. They certainly have a kick and are oh so good. There are very few men out there that I have described these to that didn't swoon just a little (in a VERY manly way, of course). In honor of my dad (who enjoys Jack Daniels) I am sharing this recipe with you just a few days before Father's Day so that maybe you can share the joy with YOUR father, or husband, or father friend or just the favorite fathers in your life. They will thank you. As Always, there are three different recipes for this one cupcake. We have the dark chocolate cupcake, the dark chocolate whiskey ganache filling and the dark chocolate whiskey buttercream. Lets start with the cupcake shall we? Chocolate J.D. Cupcakes 2 Cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour 3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) coco powder 2 cups (14.5 ounces) granulated sugar 2 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. kosher salt 2 eggs 1/2 cup super strong coffee 1/2 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey 1 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup vegetable oil Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In separate bowl (I use a 4 or 8 cup measuring vessel) combine the eggs, coffee, whiskey, buttermilk and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Spoon the mixture into prepared cupcake cups...(I use 4 ounce souffle cups also known as nut and portion cups) I only fill half full and they come right up to the top. Bake in preheated oven about 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Cool completely. Dark Chocolate Whiskey Ganache 16 ounces good quality dark chocolate 65-72 %, chopped into small pieces 1/4 inch or less. 3/4 cup heavy cream 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey Instructions: place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set aside. heat heavy cream until just boiling. Pour over chocolate. Cover chocolate and cream for 2 minutes to allow chocolate to soften. Uncover and stir with whisk until smooth and silky. stir in butter until fully incorporated. stir in whiskey until fully incorporated, cool completely. Dark Chocolate Whiskey Buttercream 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened 1- 3 ounce package white chocolate, vanilla or cheesecake instant pudding mix 2 cups Dark Chocolate Whiskey ganache 1/2 cup sifted dark cocoa powder 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup powdered sugar more whiskey to taste Instructions: In stand mixer beat the butter and pudding mix together on medium high speed for 5 minutes or so. Turn off, add the ganache, cocoa powder and heavy cream. Beat for another 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar a little bit at a time, tasting as you go until it is sweet enough for you then beat on medium high for at least 5 more minutes. If it isn't a strong enough whiskey taste for you add Tablespoon by Tablespoon of whiskey until it is to your liking. So go share with your favorite Daddies my sweet readers. I hope you all find beauty in your day. Be good sweet readers, but not too good...that's boring ;)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge....it's AMAZING

One of my husbands favorite candies is Chocolate Covered Cherries. I have never been a big fan. Not sure why, but that's just the way it goes. Now that he is overseas, I have been craving any part of him I can bring into my life. Since I have been on a fudge kick lately...(and I must admit...I am GOOD!) I decided to shape a fudge flavor around his favorite candy. The challenge was deciding whether to make a layered fudge, cherry one layer and chocolate another layer. Mmmmmmaybe too sweet. Cherry fudge covered in dark chocolate however? NICE! THEN there was the problem of not having anyone to make it for. Le Sigh. When I found out that Jessie (THE CakeSpy) was going to be in the New England area I KNEW I had a perfect recipient! The fudge....it is AMAZING! CakeSpy...AMAZING (as if you wouldn't have known that already!) Well, it was so good, I decided to share the recipe with you. I have a few online stores I like to use for my baking needs and I just discovered a new one that I really like. Their name is Nuts Online. The best name for an online food company....maybe not but great customer service and product. That is where I got the freeze dried Cherries. ( I LOVE THEM!) My boys certainly enjoyed it! So here's the recipe. I would love to know what you think!! Chocolate Covered Cherry Fudge 1/3 cup freeze dried cherries 1/4 cup unsweetened black cherry vodka 12 ounces white chocolate 7 ounces marshmallow fluff 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1 Cup sugar 2/3 cup heavy cream pinch salt 1 tsp. Wild cherry candy flavoring red food coloring (I use Americolor gel) 12 ounces dark chocolate chopped small 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil Spray the inside of a disposable 8x8 pan (or line an 8x8 pan with tin foil and spray) with Pam or other flavorless spray oil. Crush the cherries a few times to make some smaller chunks (I only hit mine 3 times lightly), place into small bowl and pour vodka over it and set aside. Place white chocolate and marshmallow fluff in a large bowl and set aside. Combine butter, sugar, cream and salt in medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Set over medium heat and whisk vigorously until it reaches 235 degrees. Immediately pour mixture over the chocolate and fluff. With hand mixer combine until it comes together all silky smooth like. Add the candy flavoring and food coloring and mix until combined. Strain the cherries and fold into the fudge then pour into the prepared 8x8 pan. Allow to set for about an hour until cooled, then let it firm up in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Cut your fudge into squares...as big or as little as you like Mmmmmm....Cherry fudge. Slap those suckers into the freezer for a few hours or until frozen through. While they are freezing start melting the chocolate In double boiler or glass bowl over simmering water, combine chocolate and oil. Stir until melted then remove from heat. Now DIP! As you can see, I used a fork. Be sure to tap the fork on the side of the bowl several times to get all the excess chocolate then place on parchment paper set on a cookie sheet You might want to place them in the fridge for a few minutes to help the chocolate firm up. So So So good! Enjoy! And be good sweet readers....but not too good! (that's boring)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Cookie Dough Fudge Print RecipePrint Recipe Pin ItPin Ingredients: Egg-free cookie dough: 1/2 c. butter, softened 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar 1/4 c. granulated sugar 2 Tbsp. milk 1tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 t. salt 1c. all-purpose flour 3/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips Fudge: 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips 1 cup milk chocolate chips 1 (15 oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk. Instructions Egg-free Cookie Dough: Combine first 5 ingredients in a mixing bowl and cream together. Add flour and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. You will need 1 1/2 cups approx of dough. You might have some leftover. You can freeze any leftovers for later. Form your cookie dough into marble sized balls. Place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for at least 15 minutes. The longer the better, so it doesn’t melt when you add it to the fudge. Fudge: Butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8 pan. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the sweetened condensed milk and chips together. Stirring continuously. When chocolate is melted remove from heat. Remove your cookie dough from the freezer and carefully fold into your fudge. Spread immediately in the pan. Chill for at least an hour. Cut into squares and serve