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Passover: Flourless Chocolate Cherry Nut Cookies

With the hours ticking by, bringing us closer to the Passover Seder, I thought it was fitting to share a recipe for flourless cookies. I must fore-warn you though, these cookies are so good, that when I made them they didn’t last past the day. They are super simple to make and don’t even require a mixer. *GASP* No electronics needed besides the oven? Shocker, I know.

Flourless Chocolate Cherry Nut Cookies:

3 oz. Walnut Halves (toasted & chopped)

3 oz. Pecans (toasted & chopped)

3 oz. Dried Bing Cherries (Roughly Chopped)

3 c. Confectioners’ Sugar

1/2 c. plus 3 TBL Cocoa Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

4 large Egg Whites, room temperature

1 TBL Vanilla Extract

Toast Nuts:

Preheat oven to 350°

Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for approximately 9 minutes, until they turn golden.

Allow nuts to cool and roughly chop them.

Cookies:

Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Set oven to 320°

Line two baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder and salt together.

Add the nuts and cherries.

Add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix with a spoon or spatula until ingredients are fully combined.

Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets leaving 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake 16 to 20 minutes (for larger sized cookies) until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked. Rotate the baking sheets half way through the baking time.

The cookies may seem a bit soft in the middle. Do not over bake. They should be chewy and have softer centers.

Allow cookies to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Adapted from Francois Payard’s Chocolate Epiphany

Dulce De Leche: All you need is a pot!

While in Argentina, I was talking to a local about dessert and asked them how to make Dulce De Leche. They said there are two methods:

1) put a can of condensed milk in a pot of boiling water for 45 minutes

2) put a can of condensed milk in a fire for half an hour

While both of these methods sounded enticing, I decided to do more research once I returned home. And now having spent some time making Dulce de Leche I am so happy I did not try either method! Firstly because I have no way of making a roaring fire to put the can in and secondly, because with either method the can would have burst under the heat and the pressure!

So here are my suggestions for making home-made Dulce de Leche:

All you need is a can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!) and a sauce pan.

1) Take the paper wrapper off of the can and use a can opener to poke 3 holes in the top of the can

2) place the can of condensed milk in the sauce pan and fill the pan with water up to 1/4 inch below the rim of the can

3) Bring the water to a boil and then lower it to a simmer – Keep the water simmering for the next 4 hours (If you want thick, spreadable Dulce de Leche). The can will rattle in the pot as air bubbles release in the water. This is normal.

4) Some of the milk might come out of the holes which is absolutely fine

5) Keep adding water to the saucepan to keep it at 1/4″ below the rim of the can (I did this ever hour)

6) After 4 hours remove the can from the water using tongs and allow to fully cool

7) Once cool, open the can with a can opener and Viola! you have Dulce de Leche

Note: If you want to make a thinner Dulce de Leche to drizzle over desserts, simmer for only 3 hours and when you open the can, mix it well (there will be a watery layer on top of the thick caramel).

¡buen provecho

Antiaging Protein Power Pie (Vegan)

It’s not everyday that a dessert can claim that title! This recipe is an intense chocolate pie that can either be made Vegan or dairy. The only change is using dairy chocolate. The reason this pie recipe is so phenomenal is:

1) it uses no refined sugar

– for the sweetener I use maple syrup and agave. Both are lower on the glycemic index, thereby not  creating a spike in sugar levels and aiding in slower digestion (this means staying fuller longer!)

2) uses tofu instead of butter, cream or dairy in the pie filling

– this gives the protein punch that is usually lacking in dessert

3) a glorious amount of antioxidants

– As part of the Foodbuzz tastemaker’s program, I recieved a box of the he Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidant Cereal to try. It has cinnamon already in it (a great and delicious antioxidant). In addition, the dark chocolate and cocoa as well as the raspberry jelly are all amazing sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are a great way to fight free radicals and the signs of aging.

So now that you’re sold on the benefits of eating this dessert; lets see the recipe!

Crust:

2 c. Kellogg’s FiberPlus Antioxidant Cereal

pinch of salt

2 TBL agave

Filling:

12 oz. Silken Tofu

10 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate

1/3 c. Cocoa Powder

4 TBL Maple Syrup

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 c. Raspberry Jam

1 container fresh Raspberries

Pie Crust:

preheat the over to 375° F

Put the cereal in a food processor and blend until it is fully broken into crumbs

Add the salt and agave and blend until everything is mixed (this only takes a few seconds)

Pour the crust into a 9″ pie pan and press the mixture into the pan and up the sides with your fingers

Bake for 7-10 minutes, until crust is slightly golden. Allow to cool completely.

To make the filling:

Drain the water from the tofu and blend the tofu in the food processor until it’s pureed

Put the chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt over medium heat (alternate option: save time and melt in the microwave)

Sift the cocoa powder into the chocolate and stir until combined

Add the chocolate mixture to the tofu and blend until combined.

Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Blend once more.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and smooth it out.

Microwave the raspberry jelly until it becomes fluid.

Pour the jelly into lines on the pie and use a toothpick or knife to create a swirled pattern.

Line the rim of the pie with fresh raspberries.

Chill the pie for 2 hours minimum.

Enjoy…..guilt free!

Parmisu – The new healthy summer dessert!

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I was quite excited when I arrived home to see a box of Nature’s Pride Hotdog and Hamburger buns on my doorstep!

In this video you will learn how to make a healthy summer dessert using bread!



Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Car Bomb’s are one of my favorite drinks to have when spending a night out on the town. A dear friend of mine who knew I had an affinity for the drink sent me a link to a recipe for an Irish Car Bomb Cupcake. Could there be a more awesome cupcake in existence? I think not.

Here is my adaptation of the recipe:

Read, Bake and Be Merry!

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache Filling
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Irish whiskey

Meringue Frosting
1 cups egg whites, room temperature (about 7 large egg whites)
1 ¾ cups sugar
pinch of salt

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Special equipment: #806 and #824 piping tips, piping bags and chef’s torch

Make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in a large heavy  saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk (mixture may seem to separate – don’t worry it will come back together when all the ingredients are mixed). Cool slightly.

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream until smooth. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean (or until they pop back when you press on them), rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, about 17 minutes. Remove from oven and allow  to cool.

Make the filling: Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute and then whisk until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and then continue whisking.) Add the whiskey and stir until combined.

Fill the cupcakes: Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, using the #806 piping tip or a teaspoon, cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes. You want to remove most of the cupcake’s center but not cut through the bottom — aim for 2/3 of the way. Press down the bottom of the cupcake (inside the hole you’ve made) with your fingers to make more room for the filling. Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top. Alternatively, if you are tight on time, as soon as the ganache is made (while it’s still liquidy) place is in a  paper cup and pinch one edge to create a spout. Then pour the ganache into the cupcake holes. Make sure to stop before the ganache reaches the top of the cupcake to prevent spillage.

Make the frosting: Fill a large saucepan with 2” of water. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the whites, sugar and salt in the stainless steal bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl in the saucepan. Whisk until the whites are hot to the touch (120 degrees F), about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the water and place it on the mixer stand. Whisk on high speed until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks when you lift the beater. Fit a piping bag with a #824 star tip and fill the bag with Meringue. Pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake. Using a chef’s torch lightly brown the Meringue. (Be careful not to set the cupcake papers on fire! If they do catch, just blow the fire out.)

If Meringue seems like to much work, use a standard buttercream recipe for the frosting. Pipe the buttercream in swirls on top of the cupcakes. Or feel free to create any other design. You are the Chef!

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled in the fridge for a day.

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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