Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without little bowls of sugary temptation to nosh on around every corner. A particular favourite of mine are Misty Mints, the pastel coloured mint chips coated in white nonpareils. Sometimes mowing down on more than a few (cough handfuls cough) can be minty sweet overload, so I threw them into some chocolatey cookies to mix it up. When you bite in, you get a cheerful peek of colour and a delicious hint of mint.

I used a great chocolate cookie recipe that you can find here, but feel free to Misty Mintify your favourite batch. Before scooping out my dough, I added 1 cup of chips and stirred them in slowly. Be careful when you’re mixing because they are a bit more fragile that chocolate chips. If you want a pop of colour on the outside of your cookie, stick a few chips on top of the dough before baking.

These make a great holiday treat, but if you stock pile your mints (boxing day sales anyone?) you can enjoy them all year round. Is it just me, or are these colours screaming Easter? I’m glad I’ve jumped ahead a few holidays. Not to worry though, I still have a few ideas to share before Christmas, so don’t be a stranger. Happy baking!

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under cookies, holidays, super simple

Itty Bitty Figgy Pudding

I have always had a thing for miniatures. I started collecting tiny trinkets when I was a little girl, and when I see an opportunity to shrink something down to dollhouse size, I just can’t help myself. These Itty Bitty Figgy Puddings make adorable table favours, and couldn’t be easier to create.

 

 

Take a dome shaped chocolate, drizzle a bit of royal icing on top, and decorate it with teeny tiny holly sprinkles. I was lucky enough to happen upon these Wilton Holly Mix Sprinkles at HomeSense last year. You can find them at some bulk or craft stores, but if you can’t track them down, design your own topper out of candies or fondant.

For the icing, mix together 1/4 cup of icing sugar, a pinch of cream of tartar, and about a teaspoon of water. Adjust the proportions of water and sugar until you have a nice thick consistency. Dollop a little on top of each chocolate, and press in a pair of holly leaves before the icing sets.

Now, these may not be the most delicious item on your dessert tray (royal icing and chocolate isn’t exactly a winning combo), but it’s what’s on the outside that counts, right? If you want something a little more gourmet, you can experiment with different icings, but I found that for an authentic look, royal icing worked best.

Can’t you just picture your beautiful holiday table with a little figgy pudding waiting for  each of your guests at their seat? And to give you an idea of just how teeny these are, here’s one more photo.

 

4 Comments

Filed under a party, adorability, candy, holidays, super simple

Evergreen Brownies

Holiday party season is fast approaching and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll take any excuse to get creative in the kitchen, but Christmas themed baking really gets me going. Sometimes I go overboard around the holidays and spend more time slaving in the kitchen than catching up with friends and family, so I decided it was time for a treat that screams Christmas without kidnapping me for 3 hours. For these tannenbaum brownies, you’ll need:

  • one batch of your favourite brownies, baked in an 8 inch round pan. I used this recipe here, and skipped the icing. They turned out moist and delicious! A mix works just as well if you’re feeling lazy.
  • 1/2 cup green candy melts (or white chocolate and green food dye)
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles or decorations (my snowflake sprinkles are from bulk barn)
  • 8 small yellow candies like Smarties or Misty Mints

When your brownies are cool, cut them like you would a pie into 8 equal slices. Feel free to make more skinny minny slices if you want.

Put your candy melts into a ziploc bag, and microwave them on high for 30 second bursts until they are melted. Be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll scorch the chocolate. Between each blast, squish them around in the bag to help the melting process.

Lay your brownies out on waxed paper (or something) to avoid mess, and snip a tiny corner off of your ziploc bag. One by one (trust me, I tried to do them as a batch and the chocolate cooled too fast) drizzle your candy melts back and forth across each tree. To get the best results, hold the bag about 6 inches above the brownie, and move quickly. Sprinkle (or strategically place for optimum beauteousness) your decorations right away so they stick before the chocolate cools. Add a yellow “star” to the top of the tree with a dab of extra chocolate. Now, and only now, can you move onto your next brownie. Repeat this process until you’re all done.

If you want to get really spiffy, you can cut yellow stars out of fondant, or pipe them all fancy-like with royal icing, but hey, this recipe is supposed to be about simplicity.

These will keep in an airtight container for a few days, but I can’t imagine that they will last that long. With all this extra time on your hands, you can rock around the Christmas tree and chug eggnog like you’ve been meaning to all year.

7 Comments

Filed under a party, holidays, super simple

How To: Coping With Harry Potter Withdrawal

Those of you that have been following the Harry Potter series since its release in 1997 may be in for some major withdrawal this week as the final installment of the on-screen version makes its North American debut. As a muggle who has personally experienced the lonesome feeling of closing the back cover of book 7, I sympathize with you and offer condolences in the form of a recipe.

“A recipe?” you ask. Well, not quite a recipe. Project is a more appropriate term, and though it may seem a strange way to fill the impending void in your heart, I firmly believe that candy is the best medicine. This is why I ask you to believe in magic one more time, as we make a chocolate frog together.  You’ll need:

  • A plastic frog candy mold (mine is from Bulk Barn)
  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 12 gold foil wrappers (Bulk Barn again)
  • Royal blue bristol board
  • 12 chocolate frog cards, printed on cardstock
  • 12 gold labels
  • Gold pen
  • Glue gun

Slowly melt your chocolate in a double boiler, and pour a little bit into each frog mold until the chocolate is level with the top of the mold. Set these aside to chill (you can put them in your refrigerator to speed up the process). Repeat if necessary, until you have 12 frogs.

To print your chocolate frog cards, search online until you find a template that is to your liking, and print 12. If you are the fan that you say you are, you will already know that chocolate frog cards are pentagonal. No exceptions. Make sure that your print-outs are large enough to fit behind your chocolate frogs. This website has links to a few choices, of varying quality.

Trace the pentagon shape from your card onto the blue bristol board. Then trace triangles around your pentagon, so you have a star shape. Cut out 12 star shapes, and decorate the backside with gold pen. Decorate each of your gold stickers with a Honeyduke’s logo.

Wrap each of your chocolate frogs in a gold foil wrapper, and place it into a star package with a chocolate frog card underneath. Fold each of the first 4 triangles into the centre of the package, and squirt a dollop of hot glue on top, and squish down the 5th triangle. I realize that my terminology is quite complex, feel free to ask for clarification.

Stick a label onto each chocolate frog package to cover up the messy glue. Now, crawl into bed, and eat all 12 frogs as you watch Youtube montages of Ron and Hermione on your laptop.

If you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms after this exercise, experiment with Cockroach Clusters tomorrow.

Side note: my use of terms coined by J.K. Rowling is in no way intended to violate copyright, and is meant solely as an expression of my admiration for her creativity. A chocolate frog by any other name simply would not smell as sweet.

4 Comments

Filed under adorability, candy, pop culture

Chocolate Drizzled Lavender Shortbread

As you may know, I love to cook with lavender. It is so aromatic, and adds sophistication to otherwise ordinary desserts. Lavender is also a favourite of my mom’s, and so, in honour of mother’s day, I made her these shortbread fingers infused with lavender and drizzled with bittersweet chocolate. The are buttery and subtly sweet, and the lavender flavour shines through, without being overpowering. Whether for mother’s day, or any day, these cookies are perfect for an elegant afternoon tea, a thoughtful hostess gift, or a reward at the end of a long day. Lavender is said to relax the mind, so why not whip up a batch for someone in your life who needs a break from all the hard work they do for you. This recipe will make about 30 1″x4″ fingers. You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp lavender flowers
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 pound room temperature butter
  • 1 1/4 cups super fine sugar (fruit sugar, caster sugar etc.)
  • 1/4 cup high quality bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line your baking pans with parchment paper so that it comes up the sides. I used one 9″x13″ pan, and one loaf pan, but you can use whatever you have around that will fit all of your dough. In a food processor, pulse lavender flowers until they begin to break down. Don’t worry if many of your flowers are still intact, the purpose of the pulsing is mainly to release their aroma.By now, your kitchen should smell like heaven.

In a medium bowl, combine your lavender with both flours and salt. Whisk the ingredients together until they are fully combined.

In a large bowl, beat butter until it is fluffy. Slowly add in sugar, and continue beating until you have a light, airy mixture. With your hands, slowly add the flour mixture, and toss it together with your fingers until you have a crumbly dough.

Spread the dough between your pans, and press it down until you have a flat, even surface. Your dough should be about 3/4″ thick. Prick holes in your dough with a fork, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove your pans from the oven, and score your dough into rectangles roughly 1″x4″. Scoring the dough while your cookies are still soft will make it easier to cut them when they are finished. Return your pans to the oven, and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

When the surface of your dough is firm to the touch, your cookies are ready. Remove them from the oven, and score them again. Once they have cooled completely, cut them into fingers.

here's my mom, observing the process (and taste testing)

Now it is time to temper your chocolate. Tempering is a process by which chocolate is heated, then cooled, and then reheated to ensure that it crystallizes in the ideal form. To melt your chocolate, place 2/3 of it in a zipper bag, and microwave it for 20 seconds. Remove the bag from the  microwave, and squish the chocolate around. Repeat this process until all of the chocolate has melted. Add the remainder of your chocolate to cool down the melted chocolate and squish it around in the bag. Once it has melted, microwave it for another 15 seconds.

Line up your shortbread fingers, cut a small hole in the corner of your zipper bag, and drizzle chocolate back and forth across your cookies. Don’t go overboard: you still want the lavender to be the star flavour. Let the chocolate cool fully at room temperature, and prepare your cookies to give or serve.

Happy mother’s day to all of the moms out there, particularly mine! I hope you take this day as an opportunity to relax, with or without the aid of lavender shortbread.

2 Comments

Filed under cookies, holidays, new flavours

Chocolate Covered Caramallow Pops

These treats are the ultimate in decadence. They are relatively easy, and make the perfect handheld party food. You’ll need:

  • 20 wooden lollipop sticks
  • parchment paper
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups of white sugar and 3/4 cup heavy cream OR 4 cups of chewy caramels
  • 6 cups of milk chocolate (chunks, chips, or discs)
  • toppings of your choice: sprinkles, skor bits, white chocolate and peanut butter chips

In a deep, thick bottomed skillet heat your sugar over medium until it liquifies and turns a golden caramel brown. Turn the heat to low and add the cream little by little, stirring as you go. If you aren’t comfortable working with sugar, you can melt down chewy caramels instead. Pour the mixture into a small, deep vessel (I used a measuring cup) and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, skewer three marshmallows onto each of your sticks. I found that the marshmallow stuck well to the wooden sticks, but you can use whatever you have around.

Once your caramel has cooled slightly, dip your pops and let any excess drip off. As you use up your caramel you may have to tilt your bowl in order to fully coat the marshmallows. Place the dipped pops on parchment to set. The caramel will not completely harden, but the chocolate will seal in any moisture.

Now you can let your caramel coated pops sit as you melt your chocolate. Follow these easy instructions for tempering chocolate in the microwave to avoid that gross dusty look: http://www.ehow.com/how_2128206_temper-chocolate-using-microwave.html. Repeat the dipping process with your melted chocolate. Make sure to tap off as much excess as you can. I found that as my chocolate cooled, it started to pull away from the caramel, so work quickly.

If you are adding solid toppings, like skor bits, you can sprinkle them on to the chocolate before it cools, and then lay your finished pop on a fresh sheet of parchment to harden.

I also made some pops with melted white chocolate and peanut butter chips drizzled over them. For these, set your pops down on parchment to let the milk chocolate harden while you melt your toppings. Place about 1/2 cup of each topping in a ziploc bag and microwave for 20 seconds. Take the bags out, squish around the chips, and put them back in for another 10 seconds. Continue this until most of the chips are melted, the unmelted chips will melt when you squeeze them around in the bag.

Cut a small hole in the corner of each bag and drizzle the topping back and forth across your pops. Carefully move them to a fresh sheet of parchment to cool.

Once the chocolate has completely hardened, your pops are ready to serve! You can also wrap them up individually for cute little favours. You can keep them in a cool, dry place for a few days until they are eaten.

Leave a comment

Filed under a party, food on a stick