Chocolate topped ice cream treats

For those of you who love an ice cream treat, but just can’t have a whole bowl, here is a great way to portion out a delicious dessert.  I scoop out Edy’s Vanilla ice cream into eight large cookie balls with my cookie scoop.  Freeze them on a tray and then make a quick ganache topping.  This time I melted 6 ounces of semi sweet chocolate with 4 ounces unsalted butter (or 6 ounces to be able to dip the ice cream balls) and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup in a double boiler on the stove top.  When the ganache is melted and ready, working quickly, pour over the ice cream balls or dip the ice cream into the ganache.

The treats could be topped with sea salt, sprinkles, or chopped nuts.  Return to the freezer immediately until just ready to serve.  They must chill at least 30 minutes to set for presentation.

Chocolate nut candy

After shopping the chocolate shops up North, I decided to try to make my own chocolate candy.  The key to this recipe is buying upscale dark chocolate. I used Ghirardelli chocolate for this recipe.  I used my smaller slow cooker to melt the chocolate, so I would not have to monitor the temperature as closely.  It was a very easy process.

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I used one 16 ounce jar of unsalted dry roasted peanuts, but any type of nut would work with this technique.  I used 24 ounces of Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate baking chips and mixed both together in the cooker.  The mixture cooked on low for 1 1/2 hours. I turned off the cooker and allowed to cool for 20 minutes.  Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.

I allowed the candy to harden for several hours, packed in a covered container separated by waxed paper and stored in the refrigerator until serving time.  Perfect.

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Valentine brownie

Chocolate desserts have to be the ultimate choice for Valentine’s Day.  Sometimes making a favorite recipe in a special serving dish can make the dessert seem extra special.

I have found over the years that I prefer to make my own Valentine’s Dinner.  I control the ingredients and the timing of the meal.  I can set the table with special dishes and even save some money.  I love to cook and by taking the time to make a nice meal for my husband, I show him how much I really care about him.

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And, usually if I set the menu with his favorite dishes, I cannot go wrong. This year, I made a couple of different desserts to celebrate the day.  I did not serve this dessert for our special dinner, but had it for him to enjoy at another time.

This brownie recipe was featured on the blog back in 2013, but is one of my all time favorites by Martha Stewart.  If you have not tried it yet, give it a try.  It can be frosted with your favorite chocolate icing, or simply use powdered sugar or whipped cream to accompany.

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Here is the recipe:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, place a double boiler or glass bowl over boiling water and melt one stick of unsalted butter with six ounces of bittersweet chocolate.  Remove the bowl from the heat and gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups of sugar with an electric mixer.  Then, add three large eggs and 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.  Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 plus 2 tablespoons of flour and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the selected baking dish.  Bake for 35-40 minutes until firm without crumbs.  Test with a cake tester.  Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting or cool completely before icing with chocolate frosting.

double chocolate brownies

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from Martha Stewart comes this recipe for double chocolate brownies made with bittersweet chocolate plus unsweetened cocoa powder. this is another easy recipe and so much better than any store box brownies.  take the time to make these and enjoy a much better product all around.

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  line an 8 by 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the sides hang over for easy removal from the pan.  spray the baking pan with vegetable spray.

next, place a double boiler or glass bowl over boiling water and melt 1 stick of unsalted butter with 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.  remove the bowl from the heat and gradually beat in with an electric mixer, 1 1/2 cups sugar.

add three large eggs and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.  then add, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour.  mix well.

pour into the baking pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until firm without crumbs when testing with a cake tester.  allow to cool about 15 minutes before cutting into squares.  lift from the pan with the parchment flaps and slice into squares.  serve with whipped cream. a dusting of cocoa powder, or ice cream.

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a perfect summer dessert.

chocolate lava cakes

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for that special someone, for that special day, or for that special dinner, think about trying this recipe for chocolate lava cakes.  i found the recipe online and decided to give it a try.  the preparation time is less than twenty minutes, and the baking time is about 20 minutes.  so, this recipe is one that is impressive and quite easy.

it is very important to purchase very good quality chocolate for this recipe.  i would only use the best, such as:  Valrhona, Godiva,  Ghirardelli, or Scharffen Berger.  make sure the chocolate chosen has at least 40 percent cacao.  some of these brands will have 60 percent, and that is terrific, as those chocolates will have less sugar.  the higher quality chocolate will make certain that the lava flow is smooth and delicious.  less quality chocolate will not work to the same degree. the cake will still taste delicious, but the soft center will not be as delicious.

this general principle is true for baking with chocolate.  don’t skimp on the chocolate, as the lesser brands will not give the same rich flavor to your recipes. baking chocolate should be the finest that is affordable.

to make the lava cakes:  heat the oven to 325 degrees.  lightly coat four individual custard cups or ceramic bakers in any shape with butter spray.  i used heart-shaped custard cups.

next, melt 5 ounces of bittersweet chocolate with 2 tablespoons butter in a double boiler over simmering water.  remove from the heat.  then, in another bowl, beat 2 1/2 eggs with 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed until very light and fluffy.  add 1/4 cup of flour, and then 1/8 cup of flour with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and a dash of sea salt.  mix well.

incorporate the chocolate and the dry ingredients together. mix with a wooden spoon until well blended.

divide the batter evenly into four bakers and bake until the cakes have just cooked through, no more than 20 minutes.  depending on the size of the bakers, this may only take 15 minutes.

the recipe may be prepped ahead and baked when dinner is being served.  serve this dessert warm from the oven.  the bakers will easily unmold onto plates.  dust with powdered sugar.  

option:  serve with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream