Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries

Last night, my friend came over and we made these little bites of delicious. I knew she had made them before, so I asked her to show me the way to this paradise of fruity chocolate. These are strawberries that have had the centers removed and have been filled with chocolate mousse. Now, I'm slightly ashamed to say this, but as a food blogger of about 4 years, I had never made chocolate mousse until last night. I don't know why - it's not particularly hard. Yes, it's annoying to make; you melt chocolate and butter, then you cook egg yolks and sugar, then you beat cream, then you mix it all together and wait for it to chill. But it's so worth it.
What I had the hardest time with was the actual coring - my friend couldn't find her strawberry corer (I had no idea those even existed, but apparently they do) and we had to do it with a knife. You just have to be careful so as not to cut all the way through. We also tried with a melon baller, which didn't work but inspired us to go buy a cantaloupe and ball it... okay, that's a whole other story. These aren't the prettiest, and they can certainly be made prettier for something like a party if you have patience and use a star tip on the piping bag. We had quite a bit of mousse left over, so whatever we didn't eat right out of the piping bag (nobody is allowed to judge teenage girls left alone in a kitchen with bags of chocolate mousse, okay??) we put in to shot glasses with a little strawberry jam on top. Yummy! Enjoy! <3 class="separator" div="div" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> Chocolate Mousse Stuffed Strawberries
(from Mind Over Batter)

1 cup semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces (half a stick) of butter
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons of kirsch or liqueur of choice (I left this out)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8oz) heavy cream
2 lbs. of strawberries, cored from the bottom leaving the stems

Place chocolate and butter in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water stirring occasionally until melted. Once melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Combine the yolks, sugar, liqueur of choice and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer, or a medium sized bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk until very warm and thickened. Once thickened, remove from heat, place in electric mixer and whip until cold and very thick. If you don’t have an electric mixer, just bust out a whip and give it some arm action. Set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand mixer or hand whip, beat 1 cup of heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Set aside.
Working quickly, add the melted chocolate to the thickened yolk mixture and fold thoroughly. Add the heavy cream to the yolk/chocolate mixture and fold quickly, but gently until no white streaks remain.
Place in the freezer to chill for 15-20 minutes.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with chocolate mousse. Pipe chocolate mousse into each cored strawberry. Eat up!

*photo credit goes to my bestie - hey there if you're reading this!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is this not a very pretty cupcake? Yes. Is it also the first time my cupcakes are photographed by an actual photographer / test prep teacher? Also yes. <3

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Raspberry Clafoutis

Sometimes you can try a dessert at a nice restaurant, and think it's so great that you would probably never be able to make it at home. We have a restaurant nearby our house that made amazing raspberry clafoutis, and we all loved it. It was like a thin, soft cake with raspberries, but it had a bit of a custard texture as well. They renovated the restaurant a while ago and stopped making the clafoutis the way it was, so this week I decided I had to try to make it myself.

I went to Food and Wine for the recipe, figuring that they were probably a good a source as any. This is a super simple recipe and is quick for a last-minute dessert. I did adapt this to make it gluten-free, but I think the flour affected the texture and made it a bit too custardy. It was delicious anyway, but I recommend trying it the regular way if you can. I also used slightly less raspberries than listed below, because they were about to overflow in my pie dish! Enjoy! <3

Raspberry Clafoutis
(from Food and Wine)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 pints raspberries (3 cups)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch gratin dish.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add the milk and whisk until light and very smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the gratin dish and top with the raspberries.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD: Lemon Loaf Cake

Happy Tuesday! My trip to New Orleans last week was AMAZING, and I'm not exactly happy to be back... I figured this lemon loaf cake might help a little bit ;)
This recipe is simple (thank you Julia, I really couldn't deal with another all-day one this week). I didn't really follow the directions for making everything room temperature before starting, but I'm not sure it would have made a huge difference. This cake takes a whole lot of lemon zest...

...from 3 large lemons! Surprisingly, the lemon flavor wasn't all that strong. It was a great pound cake - pretty dense, but sweet and something you can snack on all day. My one complaint would be that it was a little bit dry, but this could be due to over baking. I found it needed about 65 minutes in order for a skewer inserted in it to come out clean, but it may have been a bit too long.

Overall, a quick and delicious recipe I hope to repeat (and it's probably great for variations, like a lime loaf cake or a yummy glaze on top). Thanks to Truc of Treats and Michelle of The Beauty of Life for choosing this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. The recipe can be found on their blogs.
Enjoy! <3

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Sorry for the absence! I've been in New Orleans and am now in Texas, but will be back soon. See you hopefully on Tuesday for TWD! Happy Easter :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gluten-Free Molten Lava Cakes

Happy anniversary mom and dad! Well, one day late. I made this for dessert last night to celebrate, because we wanted something chocolatey and delicious. It was perfect. My dad wanted something with berries, so we served it with raspberry ice cream. This cake is super rich, so it definitely needs something creamy and light to balance it.
The baking time for this recipe is just right. The center was liquidy and I felt like I was actually eating a chocolate volcano :) I made it gluten-free by substituting a gluten-free flour mix and adding a little xanthan gum. Recipes like this where there is very little flour to begin with are easy to adapt and always winners in our house.

Gluten-Free Molten Lava Cakes
(adapted from Paula Deen for Food Network)
8 (1-ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange liqueur

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Grease 6 (6-ounce) custard cups.
Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in a double boiler.
Add the flour, xanthan gum and sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in the eggs and yolks until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and orange liqueur. Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups. Place in the oven and bake for 14 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TWD: Pizza Rustica

Thanks to Emily of Capital Region Dining and Raelynn of The Place They Call Home for hosting this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe!It was a great one.
This is a pizza rustica, which is essentially a cheese pie (sort of like a firmer, cheesier quiche) baked in a sweet pie crust. It is supposed to have prosciutto for a salty, savory kick but I made it vegetarian by adding in sauteed mushrooms instead. I also subbed basil for parsley. It worked really well, but because the crust (which I also made gluten-free by using gluten-free all-purpose flour and adding a little xanthan gum)is so sweet, I think something saltier might have worked better. My mom suggested salty olives, which I think could be a good idea.

This was pretty good. We ate most of it on the first night! I had the leftovers for lunch cold the next day, and they weren't as good- I recommend eating it at room temperature. Overall it was a fairly quick recipe - I put it together in under an hour - and a dinner we will go back to again.

The recipe can be found on the hosts' blogs. Enjoy!