White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

April 19, 2014

IMG_7442

Whoo – wee! Is it Easter time already?! Hard to believe it, but it is indeed. I have had an entire month off since my St. Patrick’s Day blogapalooza and have still yet barely recovered. And believe you me, my waist line has not yet managed to get back to normal either. Yup… the old britches are fitting a bit tighter these days. Nothing to be done about it I suppose but some diligent exercising and calorie counting….which I will start right after the Easter holidays, I promise  (wink, wink) . Because no, I can’t start now…not since two of my favourite candy treats spring up like weeds in all of the stores around Easter. I’m talking about those crack-like Cadbury Mini Eggs and those adorable speckled Robin Egg malted milk candies. Now I’m usually pretty strong-willed, but faced with the trial of seeing those delicious treats everywhere this time of year, all of my dieting resolve simply crumbles. So I just won’t set myself up for failure and the calorie restriction will simply have to wait for a few days. Last year I gave into temptation and purchased one (or was it two…or maybe three…) bags of those Robin Eggs and made Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats, which were not only quick and easy to make, but also a wonderfully yummy snack. And this year, finding a bag of those mini Robin’s Eggs lurking about on my kitchen counter, I whipped up this gorgeous White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake for our Easter festivities. Talk about temptation! It has so many of my favourite things in it – a crunchy shortbread/cashew crust filled with creamy malted white chocolate mousse which is adorned with Robins Egg malted candies – clearly an irresistible indulgence!

IMG_7395

This festive dessert is very easy to make, you just have to keep in mind that it does need a bit of chill time in the fridge. But no worries. You should pour yourself a glass of wine and have a bit of chill time for yourself while you wait. Your patience will be rewarded many times over when you take your first bite of this sinfully decadent dessert. You may have to spend a bit longer in the confessional (Bless me Father…) but sure you’ll be headed off to Mass anyway…right? Happy Easter Everyone!

IMG_7431

White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

recipe slightly adapted from: A Family Feast

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 6 ounces shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Mousse:

  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons plain malted milk powder
  • Robin’s Egg malted milk candies for garnish (I used the mini Robin Eggs)

Directions:

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the cookies and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb consistency is reached. Add the melted butter and pulse again to combine.

Pour crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and press down to form an even layer over the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown around the edges.

Cool the crust completely in the springform pan on a wire rack.

For the Mousse:

In a small saucepan, combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly, heat until the chocolate fully melts. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Pour the milk into a small, wide microwave-safe bowl. Very slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, allowing the gelatin to begin to absorb the milk before sprinkling more over the top. (To avoid creating lumps of gelatin it is important that you not only have a wide surface area of milk but that you also sprinkle that gelatin ever so slowly, allowing it to absorb before adding the next layer). Allow the gelatin and milk to sit undisturbed (don’t stir) until the gelatin is fully softened – about 3 to 4 minutes.

Microwave the gelatin milk mixture at 50% power until the gelatin completely melts. ( Heat in slow intervals, about 10 seconds at a time, taking care not to scald the milk) Once the gelatin dissolves, stir it into the white chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool, but stir often. It will begin to thicken.

While the chocolate mixture cools, in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, salt and malted milk powder until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the cooled and thickened white chocolate/gelatin mixture, stirring until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture by hand until blended.

Spoon the mousse over the cooled crust, spreading evenly in the pan. Refrigerate until firm – at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan. Decorate with Robins Egg malted candies.

Enjoy!


Bourbon Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

April 16, 2013

IMG_2899

Since I just shared that wonderfully spicy Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya recipe with you, I thought you might like something with a bit of a Creole flavour to serve for dessert. New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding is just such a dessert. Usually this bread pudding would be made with a French baguette or other egg rich bread like brioche or challah.But I had just made a huge batch of Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. Those Buns were deeee-lish!

IMG_2457

The best Hot Cross Buns I have made to date. However, there were quite of few of those gems sitting around here. Even after the husband and I had eaten our fill, and I’d set one aside for its good luck/medicinal value, we still had quite a few and they were rapidly heading towards a very stale state. Perfect for Bread Pudding! Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding!

IMG_2880

Oh and don’t forget that I’m putting some Bourbon in the mix as well. That is always a good thing! I had made Dorie Greenspan’s Bourbon Bread Pudding before and knew it was a winner, so I just made her Bourbon Bread pudding using my Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns for the bread. I decided to make up a bit of Bourbon Syrup to drizzle over the pudding as well. Oh yeah…and we might have added a little scoop of ice cream on the side. Let me tell you, this bread pudding is just da bomb! I hope you won’t wait until next Easter to make it!

IMG_2916

Bourbon Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

Recipe slightly adapted from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces left over Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Demerara sugar to sprinkle over top

For the Bourbon syrup:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon ( I like Knob Creek)

Directions:

Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan ( Pyrex or ceramic will work well. I had so many Buns left over to use, I doubled the recipe and made mine in a 9×13″ pan). Line a roasting pan big enough to hold the loaf pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.

Cut the buns into 1″ cubes and remove the cross from the top of the bun as it tends to have a tough texture. If the bread is stale, put it into the loaf pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with parchments and bake it in a 350° F oven to “stale” it for 10 minutes. Once finished, place the bread in the loaf pan and set the loaf pan in the middle of the roasting pan.

Bring milk and cream just to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. Still whisking slowly drizzle in about one-quarter of the hot milk mixture-this will temper, or warm the eggs so they don’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining milk. Add the bourbon and vanilla and whisk gently to blend. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Cover the pan lightly with wax paper and leave it on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 1 hour.

Center a rack in an oven preheated to 350°F.

Discard the wax paper. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over the top of the pudding. Cover the loaf pan snugly with a piece of aluminum foil. Poke about 5 holes in the foil. Slide the roasting pan/loaf pan into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake the pudding for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the pudding is puffed and golden and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool the pudding until it is just warm, or reaches room temperature.

While pudding is baking make the Bourbon Syrup. Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Bourbon. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

Once you a ready to serve the pudding, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve with a Bourbon syrup drizzle. Or you could go even one step further and serve it along with a scoop of ice cream.

Enjoy!


Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

March 30, 2013

IMG_2533

One a penny, two a penny! Hot Cross Buns! That’s right…it’s time for the Hot Cross Buns to make an appearance. I’m sure you’ve been seeing them everywhere, but I must say, look no further! The best Hot Cross Bun recipe can be found right here. This year I made buns with a bit of a twist from the old traditional ones I usually do and baked Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns. Let me just say, they are dee-lish! They are incredibly moist and bursting with apple and cinnamon flavour, most likely due to a fresh homemade apple cinnamon compote which is added to the dough along with golden raisins, and  bits of dried apple. And if that doesn’t tempt you, as soon as these little buns emerge from the oven, they are drenched in a syrupy apple cinnamon glaze. Do I have your attention now? Yum, yum, YUM!

IMG_2431

On Good Friday I always make Hot Cross Buns. I just have to do it. It’s like I have no choice. I find all of the lore surrounding them fascinating! Hot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday and the cross that adorns them is said to be a symbol of the Crucifixion. However, these little buns may even pre-date Christianity. The cross could possibly have been made in honour of the Saxon Goddess Eostre and in that case would have symbolized the four quarters of the moon. The Buns that are actually baked on Good Friday are said to have quite an array of powers besides their delicious taste. For one thing, these pastrys will never get moldy. I actually have been putting a Good Friday baked bun aside for several years now and I can attest, they do not mold!

Preserved Buns from Easters past!

Preserved Buns from Easters past!

Furthermore, if you hang one in your kitchen, it will not only protect your household from fires but will also work as a charm to ensure all of your bread baking endeavours will be successful. Indeed, a dried bun from the previous year, also has medicinal properties. You can grate a bit of it into the liquid of your choice to make a restorative elixir that will help sick folks regain their health. This powder can also be applied directly to wounds with the same curative results. Amazing!

IMG_2428

Now I must stress that only Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday itself have these powers. So most likely you’re going to have to bake them yourself on the actual day to ensure your buns are filled with these magical properties. Hot Cross Buns are made with yeast, so just keep in mind, there are going to be a couple of rise times involved. You need to plan for it and unless you plan on getting up at o’dark thirty to start working on them, you probably won’t have them available for breakfast that morning. But you could have them ready by elevenses! They are a bit of work, but believe me, these buns are so worth it! And I had the most pleasant surprise. When I finished glazing the Hot Cross Buns I actually had some of the Apple Cinnamon Syrup left over. I set it aside and was quite happy to find that it had actually set up upon cooling, leaving me with a scrumptious jelly! Yup….Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns with Apple Cinnamon Jelly. It just keeps getting better! You’ve gotta make these delicious buns today!

IMG_2457

Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

recipe from: Technicolor Kitchen

yield: 20 Buns

Ingredients:

Apple and lemon compote:

  • 1 ¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (375 ml) water
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
  • 1 cinnamon quill

Dough:

  • 5 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour (I had to add 1 extra cup flour) + 1/3 cup (46 g) extra for the piping mixture
  • 1 cup (155 g) golden raisins
  • 80 g dried apple, diced
  • 14 g (2 sachets/4 ½ teaspoons) dried yeast
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 5 ½ tablespoons (65 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups + 1 tablespoon (375 ml) whole milk
  • 100 g unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 egg

Directions:

Start with the compote: combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan, then squeeze in juice of half the lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 3mm-thick slices, add to saucepan with Granny Smith apples and cinnamon quill. Bring to the simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes). Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple. Remove the cinnamon quill, add it to the syrup and set aside.

Combine flour, raisins, dried apple, yeast, ground cinnamon, allspice, zests, sugar, apple compote and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to flour, stirring to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes) – I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook to knead the dough; gradually added 1 cup flour because the mixture was too wet. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the bowl, so just slowly add flour as you are kneading until you see this.
Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes). Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough in a large rectangle or concentric circles, placing balls side by side onto prepared sheet, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
Preheat oven to 220°C/428°F. Combine the 1/3 cup extra flour and ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.

Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C/400°F and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (10-12 minutes).
Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and cinnamon quill in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer buns to a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy!


Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats

March 26, 2013

IMG_2327

Wow! Time flies! Seems like I just finished my St. Patrick’s Day blogging extravaganza and here it is nearly Easter! Again, my hat is off to all of you daily bloggers out there. I just took a week off to recover from my 17 day stint at it and I still feel a bit wobbly about the whole thing. I thought I’d ease back into the saddle today with a great Easter recipe that is also really easy to make. Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats are just what they sound like, yummy Rice Krispie Treats with extra malt flavouring and one of my favourite Easter candies, Robin Eggs! For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Robin Eggs, they are made by Whoppers and are egg-shaped malted milk balls covered in pastel speckled candy shells. I love Robin Eggs and am so thrilled when they finally show up in the stores. The only Easter candy that lands above Robin Eggs as far as I’m concerned are Cadbury Mini Eggs. Oh my God! Don’t get me going about those little devils. Addictive, like crack. I literally can’t stop once a bag is opened. I haven’t reached that level with the Robin Eggs, though it may not be far off. I did polish off a bag of them the other day while working on taxes (better a bag of candy than a bottle of wine when tax preparation is concerned). I had one more bag left, so I figured I better do something with them pronto. That’s when I remembered seeing Sweet Southern Blue’s post about these Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats, so I got right to work. Not that it’s a lot of work, I must admit. I can get a pan of Krispie Treats done and dishes washed in about 15 minutes flat. And I’ve gotta say, it is pretty awesome that you can make such a classic, delicious, crowd pleasing snack at the drop of a hat!

IMG_2359

Sweet Southern Blue makes use of her microwave to melt the marshmallows. I’m still an old-fashioned top of the stove gal and prefer to use the mini marshmallows over the big fellas. My husband and I both like to find the occasional whole unmelted mini marshmallow scattered throughout our treats, so I always hold back a handful or two of them to throw into the melted marshmallow butter mix along with the cereal. And I decided to use the mini version of Robin Eggs, also reserving a few whole eggs from being chopped to decorate the top of the treats. Of course the big version of Robin Eggs would work perfectly well, you just might need to do a bit more crushing prior to adding them into the mix. These treats would be great to make with the kids before Easter or a good way to use up Easter candy afterwards. Indeed, this recipe is certainly adaptable to whatever left over candy is on hand (sorry…what exactly is left over candy?!). Not matter what ingredients you choose, before you know it, these adorable treats will be made and your family singing your praises. I mean who doesn’t like a Rice Krispie treat, and with Robin Eggs to boot…what a winner!

IMG_2307

Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats

recipe adapted from: Sweet Southern Blue

Yield: 12 squares

Ingredients:

  • 10.4 oz bag of mini marshmallows or 7oz container of marshmallow cream
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter
  • 4 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
  • 2 cups mini Robin Egg malted milk balls, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup malted milk powder

Directions:

Butter a 8×8″ pan. Set aside.

In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows (remember to hold back a few if you like seeing the occasional whole unmelted marshmallow) and stir until completely melted and smooth.

Remove from heat and add the malted milk powder stirring until combined.

Add the Rice Krispie cereal and chopped Robin Eggs (as well as any reserved marshmallows). Mix until well coated.

Using a buttered spatula, press mixture into prepared pan.

Cool and cut into squares.

Enjoy!


Kulich – Russian Easter Bread

April 6, 2012

I was gearing up to make my usual Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday. However, while prowling around various cooking blogs, I came across a recipe for Kulich on While Chasing Kids. It definitely stopped me in my tracks. It looked fantastic! Kulich is a sweet yeast bread filled with spices, rum drenched raisins and apricots which makes an appearance on many Russian tables for Easter.

Always interested in trying something new, I was completely waylaid from my previous Hot Cross Bun mission and set out to make this enticing Russian Easter treat. The first difficulty I ran into, was finding suitable baking tins. Kulich molds are traditionally very tall cylinders. Apparently many folks who don’t have the actual molds will use an empty 2 lb. coffee tin. Another option is to use Panettone paper molds. I didn’t have either of those on hand. Instead I had a Le Creuset large 2.75 quart stoneware utensil crock and two Le Creuset coffee mugs. I decided that they would have to do in a pinch.

I love spices, so I altered the While Chasing Kids recipe a bit by adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom. I also cut it in half since I didn’t think I would need so many Kulichi since my husband and I will not be getting together with the family this Easter and figured we might be hard pressed to consume 6 Kulichi all on our lonesome.

I changed the frosting a bit as well. I decided to use an egg white/confectioner’s sugar frosting. I prefer the taste of this frosting as well as the cloud like, marshmallowy appearance. I know some folks might be a bit leery of this since it does contain raw egg whites and there is a risk of salmonella. I decided to live on the edge a bit and took the risk. However, I have included another frosting option sans raw egg whites for those who are feeling a bit less adventurous.

I may have gotten a bit carried away with my decorations as well, but once on a roll I couldn’t be stopped! I used sliced almonds to try to create a shingled roof appearance for one of my smaller Kulichi. Sanding sugar  and french dragees were featured on the next loaf. And for the big loaf I chose sanding sugar as well as melted chocolate, which I used to pipe on the traditional “XB” which is the Russian abbreviation for “Christ has risen”.

Once we cut into a loaf we were very pleased to find that the bread was absolutely delicious. Sweet, light and fluffy and packed full of moist rum soaked raisins and apricots. Yum! Perhaps we could have actually eaten all 6 Kulichi! I am so happy that Anastasia at While Chasing Kids shared her old family recipe. Even though we’re not Russian, I think this tasty bread will find a place on our Easter table from now on.

Kulich

recipe adapted from: While Chasing Kids

Yield: 1 large Kulich and two smaller Kulichi

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk, lukewarm
  • 12 grams dry yeast
  • 3/4 Cup sugar, divided
  • 500 grams all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 7 grams salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 125 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled to barely warm
  • 75 grams raisins, dried apricots, almonds (whichever you like, or all together. I used 25 grams raisins, 25 gram golden raisins, 25 gram dried apricots)
  • 1/2 Cup Rum

Frosting:

Option #1:

  • 2 egg whites, chilled
  • 125 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

Option #2:

  • 200 gram confectioner’s sugar
  • Orange juice from 1 orange
  • 50 grams hot water

Decorations:

  • sanding sugar, almonds, decorating icing ( as you wish)

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl combine milk, 1/2 tablespoon of the sugar, and dry yeast.  Let ferment for about 10 minutes.  Add 100 grams of flour, mix well.  Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment.  Depending on the temperature around your house, it may take from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for the poolish mixture to start heavy bubbling.

If using raisins, pour rum over them, and let soak while the dough is being prepared.

Butter your chosen Kulich baking tins and set aside.

Add nutmeg, ginger, cardamon and cinnamon to remaining flour. Stir to combine.

When the poolish is ready, with a hand-mixer beat the egg yolks with remaining sugar, salt, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl whisk egg whites so that they form a peak.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, butter, poolish, egg yolks, and whites.

Cover with a plastic wrap, and let rise.  When the dough doubles in size (50 – 90 minutes), add drained raisins and/or other dried fruit and nuts.

Fill the buttered molds with the dough, about 1/3 full. Cover the filled molds with a kitchen towel, and let rise for another 50-90 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, till golden brown.

Remove kulich from the oven, and let chill on a wire rack.

When the kulich is cool, prepare the frosting by whisking all the ingredients together into a smooth mixture.

Apply the frosting on top of your kulich, allowing it to drip.

Decorate your Easter Bread with “XB” and or other patterns, if desired.

Happy Easter!


Quintuple Chocolate Easter Brownies

April 3, 2012

Easter will be here soon! And one of the things I love about Easter is Cadbury mini eggs. I cannot wait until those delicious little morsels show up in the stores. I must admit, I tend to hoard them so that I can indulge in them year round. This year I found both the milk chocolate variety as well as the dark chocolate version and believe me, I was doing my happy, happy dance right there in the store while murmuring “my precious” under my breath! Come to think of it, perhaps it was my dance or that the “my precious” bit wasn’t as much under my breath as I imagined because I did get a few odd glances from the other shoppers. But just like my hero, the Honey Badger, I didn’t care!

So, after arriving back home, I was trying to come up with an Easter recipe in which I could use my Cadbury treasures. Last year I made adorable Chocolate Peanut Butter Bird’s Nests as my Cadbury Mini Egg vehicle.

I considered doing cupcakes, but most of the Easter Cupcakes which featured my beloved eggs, were topped with a nest fashioned of coconut flakes. My husband really dislikes coconut. I probably could eat all of the goodies on my lonesome, (who am I kidding…Cupcakes and Cadbury Mini Eggs…I definitely could!) but figured my waist line would thank me if I were to make a treat that at least the two of us could share. I picked up one of my favourite cookbooks, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours and came across her recipe for Quintuple Chocolate Brownies. Hmmm…quintuple huh? These brownies had unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, milk chocolate chips and were topped with a white chocolate glaze. There was a picture of them as well and they looked stunning, a deep, dark chocolate base covered with that beautifully contrasting stark white chocolate glaze. I thought about replacing the milk chocolate chips with Cadbury mini eggs, but in the end decided to colour the white chocolate to make it look more Easter-y and then decorate with sprinkles, sanding sugar and Cadbury Mini Eggs, so that the brownies would resemble an Easter Egg.

I was very pleased with my result. Adorable Easter Brownies. Although I must admit, adding the Cadbury Mini Eggs on top was almost like gilding the lily. Nah! I’ll never say no to a Cadbury Mini Egg!

These Quintuple Chocolate Brownies are phenomenal! More fudgy than cake-like, these brownies are a chocolate lovers dream! So rich, so decadent! They will be showing up sans Easter Bonnet decorations throughout the year on my table! You really must give these a try!

Quintuple Chocolate Easter Brownies

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

yield: 16 Brownies

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:

  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons strong coffee
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces premium-quality milk chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 Cup store-bought milk chocolate chips
  • 1 Cup chopped nuts ( I omitted the nuts)

For the Glaze:

  • 6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped, or 1 Cup store-bought white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 Cup heavy cream
  • Various sprinkles, sanding sugar, and Cadbury mini eggs (your artistic choice here)

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Sift together the flour, cocoa and salt.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add, in the following order, the butter, the two chocolates and the coffee. Keeping the pan over low heat, warm just until the butter and chocolates are melted. Stir gently, and when the mixture is smooth, set it aside for 5 minutes.

Using a whisk or rubber spatula, beat the sugar into the chocolate mixture. Don’t beat too vigorously – you don’t want to add air to the batter – and don’t be concerned about any graininess. Next, stir in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. You should have a smooth, glossy batter.

If you’re not already using a rubber spatula, switch to one now and gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated.

Finally, stir in the milk chocolate chips and the nuts. Scrape the batter into the baking pan.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out streaked but not thickly coated. transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the brownies rest undisturbed for at least 30 minutes.

Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the foil and place it under another rack-it will be the drip catcher for the glaze. Invert the brownies onto the rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze: Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Wait 30 seconds, then, using a rubber spatula, gently stir until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. If you are coloring the white chocolate, add the food coloring of your choice at this point.

Hold a long metal icing spatula in one hand and the bowl of glaze int he other. Pour the glaze onto the center of the brownies and use the spatula to nudge it evenly over the surface. Don’t worry if it dribbles over the edges, you can trim the side later (or not). If you are doing any Easter decoration, such as adding sprinkles or Cadbury Mini Eggs, do so at this point. Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes to dry the glaze.

Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2 1/4″ on a side.

Enjoy!



Cadbury Bunny-skivers!

April 24, 2011

Happy Easter! What better way to start off this sugar drenched day but with the Easter breakfast of champions – Ebelskivers stuffed with mini Cadbury Creme Eggs and mini Cadbury Caramel Eggs! O.k. So I’m sure everyone knows what the Cadbury candies are, but you may be wondering “what is an Ebelskiver?” If you missed my previous post on Nutella and Banana stuffed Peanut Butter Ebelskivers, they are round pancakes which originated in Denmark and are perfect for breakfast, appetizers or snacks. You will of coarse need one special piece of equipment to make these goodies – namely the Ebelskiver Pan.

Ebelskiver Pan & Turners

My husband received one for his birthday a couple of years ago. The ebelskiver turners, long, carved wooden sticks, are great to have, but you could possibly get by with chopsticks, wooden skewers or even knitting needles in a pinch. For these treats, I made a vanilla ebelskiver batter. Unwrapped all of my Cadbury Candies.

Mmmmm....Cadbury yummies!

Placed a bit of butter in each well of my pan. Once this butter started to bubble, I placed 1 tablespoon of the batter in the pan and then placed my mini Cadbury Egg in the center of the batter.

mini Cadbury Egg filling in place

Then you place 1 more tablespoon of the batter on top to cover the filling.Turning the treats takes a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Once it is time to turn them, place your turners on opposite sides of the pancakes and slide them down between the wall of the well and the cooked edges.Gently lift and rotate. Rather than flip mine over all at once, I quickly move around the pan rotating them 1/4 turn at a time until they are completely turned over. Once these Easter-skivers were done cooking, I dusted a bit of confectioners sugar over top and Voila!

I’m not sure whether I prefer the traditional creme filled egg ebelskivers or the caramel filled egg variety.

They were both quite decadent! As you can see, I couldn’t resist dressing one up as a bunny.

I’m afraid we ate the others too quickly before they had a chance to get into their bunny suits! If you have any mini Cadbury Eggs left over from your Easter baskets (I’m not sure how that could possibly happen…) give these a try. You’ll love ‘em!

 Cadbury Bunny-skivers

Makes batter for 20 Ebelskivers

Ingredients

1 Cup (5 oz/155g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1 Cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) milk

2 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

20 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs or mini Caramel Eggs – your choice, or a mix of both as I did

Confectioners’ Sugar for dusting

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk, 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and the vanilla extract until smooth. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. Don’t worry-the batter will be lumpy.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.

Add butter to the wells of the ebelskiver pan. This can be done with a pastry brush, or I often just put about 1/8 tsp. in each well. Place the pan over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add 1 tablespoon of the batter to each well. Working quickly, carefully place one Cadbury mini egg into the center of each pancake. Top each with another 1 tablespoon of the batter.

Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Use your ebelskiver turners or whatever you have, turn all of the pancakes and cook until browned on the second side-about 3 minutes longer.

Remove the pancakes from the pan. Dust them with confectioners’ sugar.  Serve immeadiatly.

Recipe for Vanilla Ebelskiver Batter from Ebelskivers by Kevin Crafts


Bird’s Nests

April 23, 2011

This is a fantastic Easter treat! I saw several versions of these whimsical Bird’s Nests around on various food blogs. I really liked the one featured on the Curvy Carrot blog and followed that recipe. The treats were very easy to make and chock full of ingredients that I love – chocolate, butterscotch and peanut butter…YUM! Even better, these little nests were filled with mini Cadbury Eggs.

Now, I really, really love them. (to the point that I often refer to them as “Crack-bury Eggs”…soooo delicious and addictive!) I can hardly restrain myself when they make their appearance in the stores around Easter. Yup, I”m doing the “Cadbury Happy Dance” through the grocery store aisles! This year I managed to score not only the traditional milk chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs, but I also found the dark chocolate version. Be still my heart!

Another favourite Easter candy of mine is Robin’s Eggs. For those of you who don’t know what they are, they’re malted milk balls essentially dressed up for Easter! I decided that some of my nests would hold the mini version of them as well.

What can I say? These goodies taste phenomenally good and look just as great! They were a big hit at a party I went to just last night. Make some today and fill them with your Easter candy favourites!

Birds’ Nests

Recipe from the Curvy Carrot

Servings: 12

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, for greasing the muffin pan

6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

6 ounces of butterscotch chips

1 cup creamy peanut butter

6 ounces of chow mein noodles

mini Cadbury Eggs

mini Robin’s Eggs

marshmallow fluff

Instructions

1. Generously grease the wells of a muffin pan with the butter (this will help later when you are taking out the chilled nests).

2. In a large microwave-proof bowl, heat the chocolate and butterscotch chips in 30 second intervals until thoroughly melted, stirring after each increment.

3. Once melted, add the peanut butter to the chocolate/butterscotch mixture, mixing well until smooth and completely combined.

4. Carefully add the chow mein noodles, stirring with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until completely coated.

5. Using a large spoon, mold the mixture into the wells of your muffin tin, indenting the tops slightly with the back of the spoon.

6.  Chill the nests until hardened, about 1 hour or so.

7.  Once chilled, remove the nests from the muffin tin. Gently prying them loose with a butter knife worked well.

8.  Place mini eggs, or treats of your choice in each nest, securing them to the nest with a bit of marshmallow fluff.


Hot Cross Buns

April 22, 2011
“Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns!”

It’s Good Friday today and that means you are sure to find some of these yeasty cinnamon, fruit buns around. The cross on top of the bun is said to be a symbol of the Crucifixion. It is also said that these buns may pre-date Christianity as buns adorned with a cross, which symbolized the four quarters of the moon, were made in honour of the Saxon Goddess Eostre. Indeed, there are quite a few legends surrounding this Easter treat. For instance, it is said – probably by those old wives – you know how they love to tell tales – that Hot Cross Buns baked on Good Friday will never get moldy. If you keep one hanging in your kitchen to dry out, not only will it protect your household from fire and aid all of further bread baking endeavours, but once thoroughly dry it has the medicinal uses. You take the powder from the dry bun and mix it into a glass of water, ale or milk and give it to the person who is sickly and it is a curative. This amazing powder can also be applied directly to a wound. Caution now! This will only work with buns actually baked on Good Friday, so if you’re not baking these yourself today,  you’ll have to check with you bakery on the date their buns were made to see if their magic curative charm is intact.
There is a pub in England named the Widow’s Son which has an interesting Good Friday Hot Cross Bun tradition. It seems that long ago their was a widow who lived in a cottage where the current pub now sits. She had one son who was a sailor. He was due home from sea in time for Easter. On Good Friday, she baked him a batch of Hot Cross Buns for him, as they were one of his favourite treats.Sadly he never returned home. However, she continued to set one bun aside for him every year for as long as she lived. She passed away in 1848 and her cottage was turned into a pub. The new owners christened it “The Widow’s Son” in memory of her grief and continued to set aside a bun for her long lost son every Good Friday. To this day, this pub upholds this tradition. On Good Friday, a sailor from the Royal Navy is invited to the Widow’s Son Pub. He brings along a fresh Hot Cross Bun to add to their collection-over 200- which hangs from the ceiling. Many of these buns are well over 100 years old!
Well I did actually make mine today on Good Friday so they are sure to be powerful. I’m going to try to set one aside. I make no promises though. These buns are really tasty….
Hot Cross Buns
recipe adapted from Epicurious
makes 24 buns
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
  • two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons milk
Directions:

In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Place raisins and currants in bowl. Cover with hot water and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain fruit and pat dry.

Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg with egg yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants, raisins, and zests. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Butter 2 large baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.

On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

While buns are rising, lightly beat remaining egg with superfine sugar to make an egg glaze.

Brush buns with egg glaze.

Bake buns in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.

Combine water, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and mix until smooth. If it seems too thin, add more powdered sugar until it reached piping consistency. Place icing mixture in icing bag and pipe crosses onto the top of each bun.

Buns may be made 1 week ahead and frozen, wrapped in foil and put in a sealable plastic bag. Thaw buns and reheat before serving. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.


Happy Easter!

April 5, 2010

I know most of you were hiding eggs and eating lots of yummy candy. I decided to dress my cats up as bunnies in honor of the holiday. Arwen, generally being a pretty good sport, took to it fairly well. Mistletoe….well…..I’ll let you decide what she is actually thinking in the photo below, but I don’t think it was “Happy Easter” :

Once I finished tormenting my cats, Jay, his parents, John and I went to Ireland’s Four Provinces in Falls Church for their Easter Brunch. It was really fantastic! I loved the scones with strawberries and fresh cream. Jay’s favorite may have been the macaroni and cheese. They really had so many yummy things it was hard to choose. They actually have a brunch every weekend. Its not as elaborate as the Easter brunch, though nearly -so check it out if you get a chance.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,628 other followers