orange mocha mousse

Orange Mocha Mousse

Brint: You know what would help you sort through these important issues? 

Derek: What?

Ridiculously Good-Looking Male Models, in unison: ORANGE MOCHA FRAPPUCINO!!!

- quote from Zoolander, one of my favorite movies

Ok, so this isn’t a frappucino, because who needs the brain freeze in this weather? But, maybe Derek, Brint, and the rest of the ridicously good-looking male models were on to something. If you’re pondering a big decision or are conflicted about something, don’t you think having an orange mocha treat would help you think more clearly?  Well, I think this Orange Mocha Mousse definitely would.  Not only because of the yummy combination of flavors, but did I tell you there’s also booze in here?  Well, just a couple of tablespoons of orange liqueur, but  you’re making it, so nobody will know if your hand slips while pouring the booze in and you “accidentally” put more in than the recipe calls for.

Anyway….on to the ridiculously delicious-tasting mousse!

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caffè shakerato

Caffè Shakerato

When I was a little girl, I would lurk around the breakfast table in the mornings, pestering my parents or my aunt to let me dunk my pan de sal (Filipino rolls) in their coffee. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to drink it, which made me want it even more. However, once in a while, my mom would nod her head and allow me to dip my bread in one of the cups and watch it soak up the coffee like a sponge. I would quickly put the soggy bread in my mouth so the coffee wouldn’t drip down my arm and all over the table. I particularly coveted my aunt’s coffee, which was a couple shades lighter in color than my dad’s, as she preferred her coffee with a generous amount of milk (and sugar, for that matter).

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chocolate-almond upside-down cake

Chocolate-Almond Upside-Down Cake

The holidays are over and I’m back from my self-imposed hiatus from blogging.  I knew that with all of the holiday preparations and spending time with family and friends, I wouldn’t have enough to blog, so rather than feeling guilty about it, I decided to just take the time off.  I was feeling burnt out anyway, and the time away from the blog has really helped.  I’m excited to be back and I have lots of simple, easy-to-make recipes to share this coming year, including this Chocolate Almond Upside-Down Cake I adapted from pastry chef Gale Gand.

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rugelach

Rugelach

Rugelach (literally meaning “little twists” in Yiddish) is a cross between a cookie and a pastry. This crescent-shaped cookie is made by rolling a triangular piece of dough around a sweet filling such as preserves, chocolate, dried fruits, nuts, or cinnamon sugar. Rugelach is easy to make and it is a perfect addition to a holiday cookie platter!

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chocolate almond toffee bars

Chocolate Covered Almond Toffee Bark

It seems that I inherited my sweet tooth from my Dad. Like me, he favors quick breads, cookies, and candies, and, like me, he also loves chocolate. When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Almond Toffee Bars, I knew it was the perfect treat to make for him.  I got my opportunity last weekend when we had a family gathering. I made sure there would be some extra pieces for my Dad to take home. What I didn’t expect was that he would have some competition for the leftovers…from my nephew, who proclaimed that all the leftover bars were his. I had to be the peacemaker and divide up the remaining pieces equally. It appears that a sweet tooth runs in my family. Note to self: Make a double batch for Christmas morning so Dad and little nephew could have as much as they want.

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dried cherry brownies with port ganache glaze

I prefer moist, fudgy brownies and this recipe is my new favorite!  Three types of chocolates are used in these decadent brownies — cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate chips in the brownie batter . . . dark chocolate in the ganache.  Dried cherries are added to give the brownies a tart and fruity taste.  Port (a Portuguese fortified wine) is used to macerate the dried cherries and to boost the flavor of the ganache topping. Serve the brownie with a scoop of ice cream for the ultimate indulgence. 

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chocolate peanut butter cheesecakes with caramelized banana

I like algebra, and, in fact, it was one of my favorite subjects in school.  How about you? Do you like algebra? Do you like solving equations? How about solving this simple algebraic equation for me?  Don’t worry, it’s petty easy!

Solve for X in the following equation:
A = peanut butter
B = banana
C = chocolate

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no egg nutella® ice cream with goat’s milk

Until now, all the ice creams I’ve featured here have been made in the French-style, meaning that it is made from a custard base that includes eggs.  This method relies on egg yolks to give richness to the ice cream. However, today’s recipe is a Philadelphia- or American-style ice cream that is made without eggs.  It is an adaptation from Jeni Britton Bauer’s recipe for  The Milkiest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World featured in her book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  Traditionally, Philadephia-style ice cream is made from an uncooked base, but Jeni’s technique requires boiling the liquids to remove as much of the water in the mixture as possible.  This step, as well as adding cornstarch to absorb any remaining water, eliminates ice crystals and keeps the ice cream smooth.  A big thanks to Jeni for figuring this out and for sharing it with all of us!

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andes® crème de menthe chip cookies

If you’re a fan of Andes® Crème de Menthe candies as I am, then you’ll love these cookies.  They are deliciously minty and chocolatey at the same time, perfect with a glass of milk.  For those of you not familiar with these after-dinner treats, they are small rectangular candies consisting of a layer of mint sandwiched between layers of chocolate that come in a distinctive shiny green foil wrapper.  While I rarely think to buy them, it always brings a smile to my face when I get them with the check at the end of a restaurant meal or find one on my pillow when staying at a hotel.  Continue reading

candies and confections – part 2: moulded chocolates

The inspiration for these home-made chocolates came from the caramels I found at Fran’s Chocolates in Seattle.  I discovered Fran Bigelow’s shop when I lived there years ago.  Her Smoked Sea Salt Caramels, soft and chewy caramels covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with smoked sea salt, have been a favorite of mine ever since. Continue reading

banana split with homemade chocolate peanut butter ice cream

The Banana Split is a classic ice cream dessert and one of the most popular in the United States. Traditionally, it consists of three scoops of ice cream, each with its own toppings – vanilla ice cream with crushed pineapple, chocolate ice cream with hot fudge sauce or chocolate syrup, and strawberry ice cream with strawberry sauce – on top of a banana sliced in half lengthwise. The whole concoction is further topped with marshmallows, whipped cream, nuts, and maraschino cherries. This dessert is definitely over-the-top!

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homemade chocolate syrup

 

Don’t you just I love it when something homemade turns out just as good and cheaper than the store-bought kind.  In this case, it’s bye-bye, Hersheys and hello Chris’ homemade chocolate syrup!  This do-it-yourself syrup has a rich chocolate flavor and has a nice smooth texture. It is fat-free and does not contain any high-fructose corn syrup.  It does contain a couple of tablespoons of corn syrup to prevent the crystallization of the sugar.  So not only does it taste great, but it’s also healthier, too!  If only I could think of healthy items to drizzle it on, but I digress…. Continue reading

easy devil’s food chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting

Are you looking for an easy Valentine’s Day treat that your whole family will love?  Then, give this Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcake  with Peanut Butter Frosting a try.  Not only is it quite good, it is also easy to bake since all of the ingredients, except for the egg, are combined directly into the bowl of the stand mixer.  There’s no big mess to clean up and you’ll have cupcakes in no time flat!  I admit I was a little hesitant to just throw all the ingredients together, but the recipe worked, without having to cream the butter first.  The best part is that these cupcakes are moist and light, and thanks to the extra semi-sweet chocolate chips that are folded into the batter, the centers have a little gooey surprise.  The peanut butter frosting recipe gives these cupcakes a devilishly rich and sweet topping.  A little of which goes a long way. Continue reading

the “baked” brownie

Chocolate symbolizes, as does no other food, luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification, and love.

 Karl Petzke and Sara Slavin

Today is my husband’s birthday, and to mark the occasion, I chose to bake something chocolatey.  I came across this recipe that I knew he would love, so move over birthday cake, and make room for birthday brownies!  I wanted to bake a special treat and these certainly are!!  These made-from-scratch brownies are utterly decadent, intensely rich and dense and are best eaten with a glass of ice-cold milk.  I added a little bit of ground cinnamon since I know Chris loves a touch of it with chocolate. Continue reading

microwave mocha “cup” cake

After resisting for so long, I’ve finally succumbed to making  microwave “cup” cakes after watching Iron Chef Michael Symon prepare them on his new Cooking Channel show, Symon’s Suppers.  Over the years, I’ve seen various recipes from food bloggers, many of them with mixed reviews.  The chief complaint I’ve read about microwaved cup cakes is that they can be too dense and dry.  Well not these!  They turned out surprisingly well, considering it only took about 5 minutes and minimal effort on my part.   To top it off, clean up was easy with only one bowl to wash. Continue reading