Showing posts with label chocoholic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocoholic. Show all posts

Saturday, February 5, 2011

My not so secret love affair with ...








You may feel that February is the month of roses, soft music, gifts of twinkling jewelry, and all things romantic, but I think of it as the month of chocolate love. There’s nothing wrong with all that other stuff, but chocolate always makes me melt. I particularly adore chocolate at the end of a meal. This affection for chocolate desserts goes back to the days before I could even imagine being able to make such a thing, in fact, before I could pull off anything but the occasional tuna fish sandwich. You see, I came into my marriage with that single ‘culinary’ skill. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, had once cooked for the Queen of England. Ahem. Talk about a challenge. The problem was that I hated cooking.

Lucky for me, I wasn’t alone. I found a cookbook that seemed to have been written for me. The late, great humorist Peg Bracken saved my bacon and possibly my marriage. I fell upon her cheating-in-the-kitchen masterpiece The I Hate to Cook Book, a small but hilarious paperback with fast and easy recipes that could fool some of the people some of the time. I was able to laugh my head off while suffering in the kitchen. Many of the recipes are dated now, but I can still fool some of those same people with variations on the originals. I credit Peg Bracken with letting me fall in love with cooking. The original books have fallen apart over the years, but I still snatch up copies at library and book sales any chance I get.

But back to my story: one of the recipes in The Appendix to the I Hate to Cook Book (yes really) is something called pot-de-chocolat, a rich confection of chocolate, cream, and rum. It was pretty snazzy when I served that after a dinner party back in the day. No one knew it had taken about two minutes to make. I sure didn’t tell them.

In a recent New York Times Magazine, Amanda Hesser did a ‘Recipes Redux’ piece on the chocolate rum mousse, giving a recipe The Times had run in 1966 when rum and chocolate desserts were new and French terms boosted a cook’s status. I prefer Peg’s recipe. I have updated the original by using dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate. It’s very easy. I imagine even on of my hopeless protagonists could make it. With a bit of luck. Here goes:

Pot-de-chocolat (6- 8 servings)

Into your blender bowl put:

1 cup of dark chocolate chips. (I used Hersey’s Chipits Special Dark, but this is me, so there are no rules)

1 ¼ cups scalded* 18 % cream. (I suppose you could fool around with the percentage of cream, but I haven’t yet)

2 egg yolks

3 tablespoons of rum (I experimented with Grand Marnier too, but the rum was better)

* Heat until just below boiling

Turn the blender on at high speed ( I don’t have to tell you to put the lid on) and blend until the racket stops. Pour it into small pretty cups – Japanese tea cups or demi-tasse. It also looks great in small liqueur glasses – all will be pretty on your table or a buffet as well.

Keep the serving dishes small because it’s rich! I even used shooters too just to see how that would turn out. It worked so well we ate those before we got to our party. Oh well.

Don’t forget to chill the desserts for at least three hours. Feel free to fancy them up with a bit of whipped cream or a raspberry or two, but I like them this way. The only decoration I use is a spoon.

May I suggest that if you are all cozied up with someone you love on February 14th, that this will make a nice contribution to the mood. If the someone is a dog or cat, you’ll have to eat the pot-de-chocolat yourself (not good for them!) and hand out dogs treats or fish snacks, whatever. But those will be the subject for another post.

Until then, thank you, Peg Bracken, for laughter, coping skills and some tasty tricks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Death by Chocolate (or what a way to go)!

First, we have a winner! Ellen of Jacksonville, FL
is this week's winner of the $25 Williams-Sonoma
gift card.

Congratulations, Ellen, and thanks for joining us here at Mystery Lover's Kitchen. Now, do not despair those of you who did not win. There are still three more chances to score your own gift card. Just keep those comments and emails coming!

AND NOW: DEATH BY CHOCOLATE

(Or what a way to go)!


There is a motto that has been sent to me at least fifty times through email and amazingly enough I never get tired of it, because these really are words to live by:

LIFE SHOULD NOT BE A JOURNEY TO THE GRAVE WITH THE INTENTION OF ARRIVING SAFELY IN AN ATTRACTIVE AND WELL PRESERVED BODY, BUT RATHER TO SKID IN SIDEWAYS, CHOCOLATE IN ONE HAND, WINE IN THE OTHER, BODY THOROUGHLY USED UP, TOTALLY WORN OUT AND SCREAMING, "WOO HOO, WHAT A RIDE!"


I have no idea who said it or where it came from, but I do believe they were on to
something and I love that this quote usually shows up in my email just when I need it
most!

That being said, I have to confess the line I most appreciate
about that quote is "chocolate in one hand". Personally, I'd
skid in with chocolate in both hands but that's me -- the
chocoholic. If you are one, too, you know what I'm talking
about. There are signs. A bag of chocolate chips in the pantry
will never see a batch of cookie dough, because at night
while everyone is sleeping, you are snitching until you go to

make cookies and the chocolate chip cookies you'd planned
must now be peanut butter cookies because you ate all of the
chips. Or...you have to put leftover Easter jelly beans in your
child's advent calendar because you ate all the chocolate
pieces before December first. And..you have secret stashes of chocolate hidden all over your
house for when you need a "fix". Mine is in my nightstand, oh, and in an old coffee tin, oh and
then there's one...well, never mind. As you can see, I have issues.

Luckily, there are recipes out there to accommodate my endless craving for
chocolate. One of these is for the Death by Chocolate Cupcake that my character
Melanie Cooper whips up in her bakery Fairy Tale Cupcakes. Believe me, I had a
wonderful time perfecting
this recipe and it actually cured my need for chocolate
(after I ate six of them) for five whole minutes!

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE: Dark chocolate ganache on a chocolate with chocolate chip cake.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup milk

1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Add the chocolate chips. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 24.

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

Ingredients:

2 cups dark chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions: Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. Pour the cream into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Once the cream boils, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chips. Let stand for a minute or two, then stir with a whisk until smooth. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla until well blended. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and allow to cool to room temperature. Dip tops of cool cupcakes into mixture and allow to dry.




YUM! And now I have to go move my secret chocolate stashes in case anyone
who knows me reads this and comes to visit!


Jenn McKinlay SPRNKLE WITH MURDER -- March 2010
(aka Lucy Lawrence -- STUCK ON MURDER -- Sept 2009)
For more recipes and information visit: http://www.jennmckinlay.com/