Showing posts with label microwave fudge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label microwave fudge. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My 5 Kitchen Disasters -- and Recoveries (with recipes) by Cleo Coyle



"Only God gets things right 
the first time." 

~ Stephen King*


* Tweeted by "Advice to Writers," 
a fun twitter follow at this address: 




This quote leads my post today for
good reason. I'm talking about
Kitchen Disasters
(More on that below.)

But first...


------------------------



A shout-out to my fellow bloggers Lucy Burdette and Meg London (aka Peg Cochran), both of whom have new releases today: Death in Four Courses, the 2nd entry in Lucy's Key West Food Critic Mysteries; and Murder Unmentionable, the first in a new series, from Meg. To learn more, visit Lucy's home page here or Meg's page here, and be sure to come back for their blog days this week to learn more from the authors themselves. 

Congrats Lucy and Meg/Peg, 
have a great release week!


------------------------------




Cleo Coyle, who hasn't burned
down her kitchen (yet), is
author of
The Coffeehouse
Mysteries
.
My 5 Kitchen Disasters...
and Recoveries


Anyone who's spent serious time in the kitchen has had their share of gloppy rice, sunken cakes, and, (with apologies to Chef Paul Prudhomme) unintentionally blackened fish. On the other hand, if you click this link, you'll see that Chef Paul actually warns you: 

"If you don't have a commercial hood vent over your stove, this dish will set off every smoke alarm in your neighborhood!"

Which brings to mind my post from last Thanksgiving. That's where my Captain Kirk on fire photo came from, a public service message for those attempting to fry a whole turkey without, oh, say defrosting the bird...or putting the fryer a sufficient distance from flammable objects. 


You can view my post here along with "Eat, Fry, Love," the entertaining little video from Mr. Shatner and State Farm Insurance.

What's my point? Good cooking (like good writing) takes a bit of time: Writers write and re-write. Cooks cook and re-cook. 

A common piece of advice given to culinary students is to go home and practice, calling to mind an adorable scene from the equally adorable movie Julie & Julia. Do you remember it? Julia is determined to get her knife skills up to par in her French cooking class, so she goes home and chops a huge pile of onions in one afternoon. The resulting stench in the house (and sting to the eyes!) sends her husband out of the building for lunch. 


Julia's afternoon of "practice" was far from appealing, but in her cooking class the next day, she triumphed. (A classic set-up/pay-off of dramatic structure, too, thanks to the late, great writer/director Nora Ephron.)

Below are a few of my own stories of Fails that led to...well, better results. To children, we say, "try, try again," and that's the take-away today, I guess, in cooking, in writing, and in life.


~ Cleo


MY FAIL #1 
"Leftover Salsa" Pasta Primavera 


Spying a plastic container of leftover salsa one morning, I thought, "Why not give this a go?" Bad idea. Chef Gordon Ramsay would have spat this experiment of mine into his napkin. My lesson: never use leftover chopped tomatoes for anything but sauce!




RECOVERY 
A Healthier Shrimp Scampi Pasta


This is my my version of Shrimp Scampi, which swaps out the typical 1/2 cup of butter for olive oil with a touch of butter and places it over pasta. I'd like to think Gordon would ask for seconds...

To download my recipe PDF, click here.





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MY FAIL #2 
Zero Fat Muffins 



Behold my "zero fat" muffin. No butter, no oil--even the milk was skim. Pretty to look at, but this thing was low fat to the point of inedible. Hey, willpower's one thing, but ten minutes after eating this muffin, you'd be tearing into a pan of brownies, just to get the flavor and texture out of your mouth! Major fail.




RECOVERY 
Oatmeal Cookie Muffins


A tasty little muffin laced with the flavors of an oatmeal cookie. It has the goodness of oats in it and is also low in fat, using canola oil and low fat buttermilk instead of butter. It does have sugar and I wouldn't recommend eating six in one sitting, but it's a useful alternative to a lot of high-fat recipes or fast food muffins.

For my Oatmeal Cookie Muffin recipe, click here.





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MY FAIL #3 
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars



Oh, geez, don't ask. I have the photo because I was hoping it would work out. But it was such a major fail, I threw it out! (Never firmed up for cutting and the flavor was awful.)





RECOVERY 
Microwave Fudge






Yes, you really can make fudge using just your microwave. It's smooth and tasty and (IMO) nice enough to serve to guests or give as a gift.

For my Microwave Fudge
recipe, click here.












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My FAIL #4 
Key Lime Pie 



Distracted one day, I had miscounted the number of eggs in this pie. Woops. The homemade graham cracker crust was delicious and so was the pie, after I froze it.  But serving it thawed was a total disaster. My lesson: pay attention while cooking!





RECOVERY 
No-Bake Key Lime Cheesecake Pie

Another crack at the Key Lime Pie, while actually counting the number of eggs, led to success. But the fail led me to trying the recipe Marc's mom made for him as a kid, most likely from a recipe clipped from a newspaper or cream cheese package. (I tweaked her ratios until I was happy with it, and made it an even easier recipe by using a pre-made crust.)

To download a recipe PDF for the No-Bake Lime Cheesecake Pie, click here.



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#5 Not Quite a Fail, more like a... 
Not yet good enough!





Behold my latest try for my
Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Yes, I am still experimenting, trying to get that perfect balance with cake layers as chocolaty as they can be while still being strong enough to hold up to the pudding filling and frosting of the classic Blackout structure.


The experiments continue
into this week! 



When I get it just right, I'll start uploading it on my Web site. Check later in the week at www.CoffeehouseMystery.com for updates. And I'll be sure to share it with you right here at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, too, so no worries. Until next week...

Try, try again... 
(with joy!)



~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries






Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Make Fab Fudge in your Microwave from author Cleo Coyle




“Oh, chocolate fudge I’ll eat. What I can’t swallow is fudging, as in fudging statistics, fudging results, fudging the truth. Mathematicians call it a fudge factor—putting an extra calculation into an equation just so it will work out as expected. It’s what we law enforcement types call a scam.” 

~ Detective Mike Quinn, Murder by Mocha 


Scamming does indeed play a role in the plotline of my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Murder by Mocha, but there is no fudging in this fudge recipe. The claim that you can make it in a microwave is true, and the results are delicious.

I’m especially confident stating this because my husband is a fudge fiend. While growing up, he gobbled homemade fudge that was continually cooked up by his mom. He enjoys sampling the treat wherever he travels; and every year, for his birthday, I ship handmade fudge to our New York home from the famous fudge makers of Mackinac Island, Michigan.


Cleo Coyle, spouse to a
fudge fiend is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Marc was highly skeptical about this recipe, but after tasting it—and more of it, and even more of it, he declared it to be nearly as good as his mother's. 

Microwave fudge is nothing new, of course. You will find renditions of it all over the Net. This (crunchless) chocolate-hazelnut version is simply my take on the ingredients, ratios, and process. Why do I say crunchless? Because the light note of hazelnut in this treat comes not from actual nuts but Nutella, so the fudge stays smooth, creamy, and dreamy!



I’m sure 99% of you know what Nutella is, but for the 1% who don’t it’s a delicious spread (not unlike peanut butter) that blends chocolate and hazelnuts. If you’ve never bought it, look for it in your grocery where peanut butter is sold. 








Cleo Coyle's
Smooth and Dreamy
Chocolate-Hazelnut
Microwave Fudge

For a free PDF of this recipe that you can save, share, or print, hit the "print friendly" button on the bottom of this post or click here.

Ingredients:

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (12-ounce) package of good quality semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread (room temperature)

Step 1 – Prep pan: Crisscross the bottom of an 8 x 8 square pan with two sheets of parchment paper. The parchment sheets should be long enough to extend, like handles, over the edges of the pan. 

Step 2 – Melt with microwave: Place the milk into a microwave safe bowl. Cut the butter into the milk. Pour in the chocolate chips, and microwave it all for 30 seconds. ONLY 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Nuke it for another 30 and remove to stir again. This should be enough time to melt the chocolate and butter. If not, continue microwaving and stirring in 20 second increments until everything is melted.

NOTE: Do not simply microwave this mixture for 2 solid minutes without stirring. You run the risk of scorching the chocolate and completely ruining the fudge. Once chocolate is burned, there is no saving it. Be sure to melt it slowly, in increments. 



Step 3 – Finish the fudge: Into the melted mixture, sprinkle the salt and measure in the vanilla and Nutella. 


NOTE: Nutella should never be cooked in a microwave (this advice is also written on its label). High heat alters the texture and flavor, which is why I'm careful how I use it in recipes. What I want you to do is simply stir the Nutella into the warm, melted mixture that comes out of the microwave. Be sure to stir from the bottom, lifting and folding to blend everything well.






Step 4 – Chill and cut: Now pour the chocolate mixture into your lined pan. Using a rubber spatula or back of a spoon, smooth the top, leveling it off. Chill the pan in the refrigerator until firm—this will take approximately 3 hours. Remove and cut into small squares. To store, place fudge in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator, and, of course...





Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 






To get more of my recipes, enter to win
free coffee, or learn about my books, including
my bestselling 
Haunted Bookshop series, visit my online coffeehouse: CoffeehouseMystery.com



The Coffeehouse Mysteries are national bestselling
culinary mysteries set in a landmark Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the ten titles includes the 
added bonus of recipes. 
 


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure


Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries
, which Cleo writes
under the name Alice Kimberly
To learn more, click here.