Easy Chocolate Mousse with Chambord

February 8th, 2016

Easy Choc. Mousse 1

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I was looking for an easy dessert featuring chocolate.  It occurred to me that a simple mixture of whipped cream, melted good quality chocolate and raspberry liqueur would be just about as simple and elegant as it could get.  It was easy.  I had it whipped up and in the refrigerator in 30 minutes.

Easy Choc. Mouse 3V

Flecks of chocolate permeate the smooth gently whipped cream.  I used just a teaspoon of Chambord liqueur but next time I will splash a little more into the mix because the flavor was not noticeable.

Easy Choc. Mousse 2

We had this Valentine’s Day treat a little early because we are traveling for the holiday as we do every year.  Our Grandson’s birthday is February 14th.  We will travel to NC with a side trip to Washington DC.  It will be a busy week.  I hope everyone does something special for Valentine’s Day.  We will be stopping in Charleston on our way home for a special dinner at Husk.

husk-exterior-body

EASY CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CHAMBORD

2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate such as Callebaut, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon or more of raspberry liqueur such as Chambord
Raspberries for garnish

Melt chocolate in a bowl over simmering water in a saucepan.  Remove and set aside to cool slightly.  Whip the cream in a stand mixer until starting to thicken.  It helps to have chilled the bowl in the freezer before you begin.  Add the sugar and liqueur to the cream.  Beat briefly.  Add the chocolate and whip the cream until it thickens.  Pour mixture into 4 ramekins and chill for at least 2 hours.  Garnish with raspberries.

Printable Recipe

Onion and Bacon Tart

January 26th, 2016

Onion and Bacon Tart 5

I dare anyone to tell me that they wouldn’t love to eat a combination of buttery flaky pastry with caramelized onions and crispy bacon.  The current contest on the FOOD52 website is to present your favorite appetizer to share with friends.  This is not my recipe.  It belongs to Cathy of the blog Bread-and-Milk.   I didn’t enter the contest, but I did decide to be a recipe tester.  I guess you can figure out why I chose the Onion and Bacon Tart to test. My middle name should be “Tart”, but not in the pejorative sense.  Whether sweet or savory, some of my favorite eats have been tarts.

Onion and Bacon Tart 1When I first read the recipe for this tart, I thought there was way too much filling for the size of the tart pan.  But after the onions were caramelized to a deep golden brown, they had melted to just the right amount.  There is a small amount of egg and cream to bind everything together so that the filling is lusciously rich.  I do need to mention the pastry also.  It has more butter in it than what I would normally use.  But the finished pastry is very sturdy.  That is just the results that work for this appetizer.  You can pick up a small slice and eat it out of hand.

Onion and Bacon Tart 3The slice shown on the plate could easily be divided into two pieces and served on a platter to be passed around.  It would be a neat two bite appetizer.  But I was not hosting a cocktail party, so David and I enjoyed this savory tart with a green salad for dinner.  I love testing other people’s recipes.  It forces me to follow a recipe as written and suspend judgement.  In this case, Cathy knew exactly what she was preparing and I was happy to follow her lead.  Go on over to Food52 to see all of the wonderful appetizer recipes.

ONION AND BACON TART

Dough

  • cups All purpose flour
  • teaspoon Salt
  • cup Unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Ice water

Onion Filling

  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • tablespoons Butter infused olive oil
  • 1/2 pound Thick cut Bacon, diced
  • 1/2cup Heavy cream
  • Egg
  • tablespoon Thyme
  • teaspoon Rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder
    1. Prepare dough, combine flour salt and butter in a food processor. Pulse until small balls form then add water until dough comes together. Roll into a disk and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    2. Prepare Filling, heat olive oil in a nonstick and gently sauté onions until translucent and caramelized. Next sauté bacon, until crisp. Combine onions, bacon, cream, egg and thyme rosemary and garlic powder.
    3. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Roll out dough, 1/8 inch thick and press into a 4 X 13 rectangular tart tin. Dock the dough with a fork. Spoon in the onion mixture and top with salt and pepper bake for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.

Printable Recipe

Moon and Stars Cookies

December 13th, 2015

Moon and Star Cookies 4

The holidays are moving quickly in our house.  We were late arriving in Florida this year because of all of the follow-up Doctor’s appointments that I had.  The leg is healing well and we finally moved back last week.  The tree and wreaths went up quickly, but the Christmas baking has taken some time.  We are also preparing to put the house on the market in January.  Therefore I am trying to simplify the baking tasks.

Moon and Stars Cookies 1

No frosted and decorated cookies are in my arsenal this year.  But I had to make my Swedish crescent cookies.  It is the one tradition that can’t be altered.  These buttery melt in your mouth cookies are the best.  To pair with these crescent moon cookies I made Dorie Greenspan’s speculoos.  These crisp spicy Belgium cookies celebrate the name day of Saint Nicholas and are served everywhere in the country at Christmas time.  The cinnamon aroma scents your kitchen while they are baking.

Moom and Stars Cookies 5V

The speculoos are easy, but be aware that the rolled out dough requires a three hour rest in the refrigerator before being cut and baked. Now I am off to wrap presents.  Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner.  If only I had some snow!  Enjoy the Season.

SWEDISH CRESCENT COOKIES

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped or ground almonds or pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup powdered sugar, the butter and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in flour, almonds and salt until dough forms.

With floured hands, shape heaping tablespoons of dough into crescent shapes and place on ungreased baking sheet 1-inch apart.

Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until set but not brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

Place 3/4 cup powdered sugar in small bowl. Roll cookies in powdered sugar. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar again. Cookies can be placed in an airtight container and freeze up to 3 weeks. Before serving, thaw the cookies and reroll them in powdered sugar.

SPECULOOS (Dorie Greenspan)

Be prepared:  The rolled-out dough needs to be chilled for at least 3 hours.

Makes about 70 cookies – I used a 2″ star cutter and got around 35 cookies

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 (packed) cup light brown sugar
1 LARGE EGG, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

Whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and spices together in a bowl.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy.  Add the sugars and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes.  ADD THE EGG AND CONTINUE TO BEAT UNTIL IT, TOO, IS BLENDED INTO THE BUTTER AND SUGARS.  With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until the flour disappears into the soft dough.  You may have some flour at the bottom of the bowl, or the dough may not be entirely smooth, but that’s normal.  Using your hands (always my first choice) or a spatula, reach into the bowl and knead or stir the dough 2 or 3 times, just enough to eliminate any dry spots.

Divide the dough in half.  (The dough is very soft, even after you refrigerate it for several hours, so if your kitchen is hot, you might want to divide the dough into thirds – that way it won’t take you as long to cut out the cookies and the dough won’t soften as much.)  Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap until you have a circle that’s a scant ¼ inch thick.  As you’re rolling, turn the dough over a couple of times and pull away the paper or plastic, so you don’t end up rolling creases into the dough.  Put the rolled-out rounds of dough on a tray or cutting board and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 2 months.)

When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Have a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Choose a cookie cutter – I like to use a scalloped cutter that’s 1 1/4-inches in diameter – and remove 1 circle of dough from the refrigerator.  Peel off the top piece of wax paper or plastic and cut out as many cookies as you can from the dough,carefully lifting the cutouts onto the lined baking sheet.  Collect the scraps and set them aside to combine with the scraps from the second piece of dough.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are lightly golden and just slightly brown around the edges.  Allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool.

Repeat with the second round of dough, making certain the baking sheet is cool before you put the cutouts on it.  To use the scraps, press them together, roll them into a circle, and chill them before cutting and baking.

Serving:  The cookies are just right with coffee, made for espresso and tea and really good nibbled as a snack.

Storing:  The dough can be wrapped airtight and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.  Kept in an airtight container, the cookies will be fine for a week or more.

Printable Recipe Swedish Crescent Cookies 

Printable Recipe Speculoos

Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Diamonds

November 29th, 2015

Pecan triangles 1

We had a festive Thanksgiving celebration with the kids this year.  My DIL Kristen is a creative cook and likes to shake things up a bit.  Instead of a traditional pecan pie, she made these Chewy Pecan and Chocolate Diamonds.  The original recipe came from Epicurious.   The shortbread crust is topped with a caramel pecan topping.  To make it even more delicious, Kristen added chocolate chips to the final baking.

Pecan triangles 2

We loved these bars.  By cutting them into diamond shapes, there are edge scraps left for the cook and other family recipients.  Your guests or gift receivers can have the pretty ones, but the scraps are a treat just for you.  I will be making these as Christmas treats.

Pumpkin Profiterol 2

 

Instead of Pumpkin Pie, we had Pumpkin Custard Profiteroles with Maple Caramel.  Rachel helped her Mom make these amazing cream puffs.Mother and Daughter cooking

Rachel Cooking

It is great to have the kids participate in the meal preparation.  Four year old Cameron also got into the act by helping with the pecan diamonds.

Thanksgiving 2015 with Cam

As the casseroles came out of the oven, Michael carved the turkey and we sat down to our delicious meal. I am thankful for my family and for all of you who follow my blog.

To get you into the Christmas spirit watch this video of Rachel.  She is a new member of a competitive jump roping team and shows lots of talent.  https://youtu.be/ly-yG94eqBU   Here is another one https://youtu.be/QQJBbWjG-F4  Our dog, Daisy seems to be enjoying the show.  Rachel’s team will be performing at Disney World and possibly at next year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

CHEWY PECAN AND CHOCOLATE DIAMONDS

INGREDIENTS

  1. Crust
    • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  2. topping
    • 1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
    • 4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (about 14 1/2 ounces)
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

PREPARATION

  1. for crust:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving 1-inch overhang on all sides. Butter foil. Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in processor. Add butter and process until mixture begins to clump together. Press dough evenly onto bottom of foil-lined pan. Bake crust until set and light golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand while preparing topping. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  2. for topping:
    1. Stir brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils; boil 1 minute. Add pecans and cream; boil until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour hot topping over warm crust.
    2. Bake nut-topped crust until caramel is darker and bubbles thickly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Cool completely in pan (topping will harden).
    3. Lift foil out of pan onto cutting board. Using heavy sharp knife, cut crust with nut topping into 1 1/2×1-inch diamonds. (Can be made 1 week ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.)

For variation, add 1 cup of chocolate chips sprinkled over the top near the end of baking time.

Printable Recipe

Thanksgiving Tried and True Side Dishes

November 16th, 2015

Sugar-Spiced-Nuts-2

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to share a few dishes that have been on my table and on my blog in the past years.  These are recipes that have worked well for me and I am sure they will add a special punch to your usual menu.  Notice that I am not including a recipe for turkey.  I would not presume to tell you how to cook your turkey.  Everyone has their personal idea of the best way to do that.  Let’s start with appetizers.  Because there is a huge meal waiting in the kitchen, appetizers should be light.  These Candied Spiced Almonds require a little attention upfront, but can be made way in advance.

Chipoltle-Cheddar-Wafers-1

I always love homemade savory shortbread crackers and the addition of dried cranberries to these appetizer rounds make them perfect for the holidays.  The recipe for these Chipotle Cheddar Cranberry Nut Wafers can be found here.

Sweet-Potato-Soup-1

If you prefer your sweet potatoes as a first course, this Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is sure to be a hit. It is easy too.  The sweet potatoes are cooked in the microwave and the mixture comes together smoothly with an immersion blender, although you could puree it in a blender or food processor.

Leek-Bread-Pudding-1

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding makes a great dressing if you do not stuff your bird.  It is an Ina Garten recipe and you can make it ahead of time.  Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta or you can leave it out all together if you have vegetarians at the table.

Cranberry-Lime ChutneyThis Cranberry-Lime Chutney is definitely a new take on cranberry sauce.  It is a combination of fresh cranberries, lime, apples, onion, raisins, pecans, and lots of spices.  It is best made ahead of time.

Green-Beans-Gremolata-3

Instead of a green bean casserole, try these Green Beans Gremolata.  This dish is best made with the thin French Haricot Vert.  They have been readily available in several supermarkets that I visit.  They are usually found in a cellophane bag. The beans are cooked quickly and then tossed in a mixture of garlic, parsley, parmesan and pine nuts.

Acorn-Squash-4

This Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Apple and Sage could almost be a meal on its own.  But it would certainly look pretty on the Thanksgiving table.

Apple-Bundt-Cake-11

Instead of an apple pie you could make an Apple Bundt Cake.  This spice cake with a caramel frosting is a snap to make and there is a good tip on how to turn your cake out of the bundt pan easily.

Pumpkin-Dump-Cake-1

If you are in a hurry you could make this Pumpkin Dump Cake.  For a while this cake was on my DIL’s family Thanksgiving table every year.  I first made it for Kristen for her birthday and she loved it so much that she shared it with her family.  They adopted it for Thanksgiving.

Apple Crostada 2

Instead of that apple pie you could make this free form Apple Crostata.  This is one of my favorite desserts.

Enjoy the preparations and fun of the Thanksgiving holiday.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.