Caucasian Curry

Caucasian Curry
Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Half Pops" and Bacon Chocolate Cups ...YUM !

crunchy sweet savory
party in your mouth.


have you discovered HALFPOPS yet ?!

these are genius in a bag.  you know that crunchy "half popped" little kernel you search for at the bottom of the bowl of pop corn?...well, someone has discovered a way to package those crunchy little bits.  every tiny niblet in the bag is perfectly half popped to perfection.  i haven't run into a solid kernel yet.  how do they do it ?!

an easy party treat to throw together.  this was actually one of my first chocolates this season and it's also the one that everybody flipped over.  not many people have experienced "HALFPOPS" and i'm surprised how many people still haven't hopped on the CHOCOLATE BACON TRAIN...

put all three together and you have a winner !


1# pound (measurement in the raw) of bacon, cooked extra crispy
1# pound of good dark chocolate..."TEMPERED" is best
1 bag of "HALFPOPS" butter and sea salt flavor
1/4 tsp ground chipotle...optional
smoked salt for a sprinkle on top...optional

more of an idea than a recipe, but here it goes...
IN A NUT SHELL... all you're doing is adding bacon and halfpops to tempered chocolate and spooning it into little candy cups.  you chose the ratio of bacon to halfpops.  i didn't measure, but don't skimp on the bacon.

i would cook the whole pound of bacon, but save about 1/5 (cooked) of it for those last few candy cups at the end.
start with about one cup of the half pops and 4/5 of the bacon...add more in when necessary.  i like a lot of chocolate so i make sure the chocolate is filling the cup with no air pockets.  it makes it easier if you place the paper cups in a mini muffin tin.  when all are filled, give them a tap on the counter to settle the chocolate.  sprinkle with a little smoked salt if you want before the chocolate sets.
i really suggest tempering your chocolate because these will have a better snappy chocolate  crunch and will hold up better if giving as party favors.  click HERE for a post i did with some tips and tricks i've learned so far about "tempered "chocolates.
i added more half pops and bacon towards the have some extra on hand just in case you need to get that last bit of chocolate out of the bowl and into a candy cup...not your mouth!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Reese's and Chocolate Fudge ICE CREAM Cake


NO...not COLD Ice Cream Cake...

this is CAKE MADE with ICE CREAM !

2 ingredients...
ice cream and self rising flour

are the grand-kids, nieces and nephews still here for the holidays?
are you running out of things to do ?
does Nana and Grand need a break ?

well, this is a must try.
this is too weird.  it doesn't seem like it would work...but it DOES !!!

a beautiful bready-cake bakes up from soften ice cream and some self-rising flour.
i didn't believe it so obviously i HAD to try it.

get the kids in the car, go buy some fabulous ice cream, come home and whip up this easy peasy cake.  you'll all have fun, they will be amazed and you'll be the "hero" !

it's a "win win situation"

adapted from Kirbie's Cravings

3 cups ice cream, softened.
2 1/4 cups SELF RISING flour

add fun extras...

for the cake shown here i used 31 Flavors Dark Chocolate Fudge ice cream and Reese's peanut butter cups cut into small pieces.  a "bold" flavored ice cream works best. for instance... plain chocolate would be a bit...well..."plain".

preheat 350F.  and prepare a 9x5 loaf pan with butter or spray.  i always like to make a parchment sling as well for easy removal.
in a large bowl mix the "softened" ice cream and the flour.  my ice cream was just softened, like "soft serve"...not runny melted.  original recipe suggested a wooden spoon.  i used my Kitchen Aid mixer.  mix until no chunks of ice cream or clumps of flour are visible.  mix in Reese's carefully by hand.  pour into prepared loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until tooth pick come out clean

NOTE...choose a sweet bold flavored ice cream and add some candy extras in to make this more of a dessert cake....or whip up a fun flavored frosting.  on it's own it is a good loaf cake...not too sweet, but perfect for a breakfast treat.

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Monday, December 24, 2012

Candy Cane POP ROCKS Mocha Truffles


i can't believe i found CANDY CANE POP ROCKS !!!

what a throw back.  yes...they're still out there.  i snatch them up whenever i come across a bag.  although they usually get eaten up before i can try anything with them, the candy cane ones were hidden in an unassuming brown paper bag......just waiting.

they come in all sorts of fun flavors.  there's so many fabulous ideas for them, but these screamed HOLIDAY and i'm obsessed with truffles for the moment.  so i put the two together for...
 an explosive truffle inside and out.


8 oz good dark chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla paste(or extract)
1/2-3/4 tsp espresso powder
tempered dark chocolate for dipping

put chocolate in a glass bowl.
add espresso powder to cream and heat to almost boil.
pour hot cream over chocolate.  let sit for a moment.  add vanilla bean paste/extract and start stirring from the middle until the chocolate and cream come together.  i used a whisk and stirred to completely incorporated.  let come to room temp and give it another stir.  put in the fridge, uncovered.  come back to it in an hour and give it another stir.  now cover it.  let  it completely set for at least a few hours or over night.
when your ready...make into 3/4 inch bails.  USE THIN RUBBER GLOVES.
NOTE...some people suggest you put them in the fridge and dip them when they are cold.  i find that they tend to split or seep out of their chocolate shell after "set"at room if possible try to dip room temperature truffles.
this recipe seems to hold it's shape at room temperature and should be fine for dipping.

dip into "TEMPERED" dark chocolate.
check this post for Tips and Tricks on microwave tempered chocolate.  or go to candy
sprinkle with Pop Rocks before the chocolate sets.  you might need to sprinkle more on before serving because, as you can see in the photos, the rocks melt a bit...that's looks like candy cane lava AND


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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Velvety Cream of Asparagus Soup...non dairy

simple, elegant, healthy, satisfying, rich and velvety smooth.
a perfect soup for a chilly night after you've had a big lunch out with the relatives.
soup is always a great make-ahead meal to have on hand for a quick comfort food dinner when you're just too tired to lift a finger...
to whip up an easy pureed soup with just about any favorite vegetable, all you need are a few staples in the kitchen

a few staples for a simple easy pureed soup...

in the freezer at all times...
never throw away a good roasted chicken carcass.  break the carcass down and save in the freezer.  when you have a few throw them in a big pot with water to cover and make up a batch of homemade stock.  just the carcass, skin and bones with some water.  cook it down for a few hours.  the viscosity you get from all those roasted bones and cartilage is the best, hands down.
always tucked in the back of the fridge...
cut the top off, pour some olive oil on cut sides and wrap in foil.  throw it in the toaster oven for 40 minutes on 370 F.  remove cloves from skins and refrigerate in a small container covered with olive oil.  use a few cloves when ever you need that extra "took me all day" flavor.
hiding in the cool dark pantry...
i buy the big container of dried shitaki mushrooms from Costco.  put a good handful in the toaster oven on low for a few minutes to insure they are good and dry.  then put them in a spice grinder and pulverise until it is powder.  store in an airtight container in the pantry.
proudly displayed on the counter top...
not to sound like an infomercial or anything, but i highly recommend the VITAMIX.  i used to use my immersion stick blender for purees, but for this Asparagus Puree i thought i'd try the Vitamix.  i was truly amazed at the difference.  absolutely velvety smooth.  so much creamier than my others.  creamy...with no added cream...BIG difference.


1 pound of blanched asparagus (salted water)
1/2 yellow onion, sauteed in olive oil
2 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp shitaki mushroom powder...see note above
1 tsp fresh tarragon, minced 
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth, depending on how thick you like your soup.

blanch asparagus, saute 1/2 onion, roast garlic, bring broth to a boil.
cut tips off asparagus and save for garnish.
add everything to the Vitamix/blender...or you can use an immersion blender (see note about blender vs. immersion/stick blender above).
puree until very smooth and creamy.  add more stock if too thick.
salt and pepper to taste.
serve with asparagus tips and a sprinkle of very fine chiffonade of tarragon.
after thought...maybe a tiny zest of lemon would work well...

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rosemary Almond Salted Caramel Chocolates

add some smoked salt caramel and roasted almonds?...done deal

just trying to squeeze in as many chocolates as possible before it's too late.  i'm obsessed with tempering chocolate, learning new tricks and trying new flavors.
 although chocolates make great gifts anytime of the year, this one looks and tastes very "winter holiday-ish".
if you temper your chocolate they will keep for quite a while and package up nicely with a little fresh sprig of rosemary...nice aroma burst when opening the bag.  there's no dipping involved and the only pain is going the extra step with the caramel center...but trust me, the oozing caramel is a fabulous hidden surprise.

BIG NOTE...if i have left anything out of the recipe or instructions in my mad dash to get this post done before X-mas...or you have any questions, please leave a comment and i will get back ASAP.
my measurments might not be exact...i tend to have all these things on hand during treat making time and sometimes i throw in extra here and there.

makes about 25 depending on size

1 pound good DARK chocolate, tempered
1 cup (have extra on hand) roasted salted almonds, chopped
7-8 oz. Werther's chewy caramels
1 Tbsp cream
1 1/2 tsp fresh oven dried rosemary, minced as fine as possible
smoked salt

do your caramel first.  unwrap caramel pieces and put in a microwave safe glass bowl with 1 Tbsp cream.  melt in small increments and stir in between so as not to over heat...heat and stir until combined and liquid.  pour onto light sprayed parchment paper and sprinkle with a little rosemary, smoked salt and cumin.  put in fridge to set for about 1 hour.
when set...make small balls of caramel.  roll in a little bit of chopped almonds.  make about 30 of these small balls.  you don't want this ball too big because it has to fit in the cup and be covered with another layer of chocolate.  refrigerate caramel balls so they do not spread.  if they DO spread, just ball them up again before placing in chocolate.'s helpful to have the caramel balls separate and ready when the chocolate is ready.

put paper cups in a mini muffin tin...makes them stable and easier to deal with.  set aside.

temper the dark chocolate.  click HERE for "how-to microwave temper and Tips and Tricks information.
mix about 3/4 cup chopped almonds and about  1 tsp. of rosemary into tempered dark chocolate.
spoon a small amount into paper one tray of 12 at a time.  now put a small caramel/almond ball in the cup on top of chocolate.  push in ever so slightly.  cover with another spoonful of chocolate/almond mixture.  tap the tray on your work surface gently a few times.  if any caramel is showing add more chocolate mixture to cover.  you can sprinkle a few almonds and some smoked salt on top or just leave to set.  if your room isn't cold enough, put the chocolates in the fridge for about 15 minutes...then remove from fridge.  if tempered, they will be fine at room temperature.
ANOTHER might want to do a taste tester...make one up and stick it in the freezer for a quick set.  see if you need to add some more rosemary?...salt? might have left over caramel...but i'm sure you'll find a few takers to polish it off.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Dark Chocolate Aztec Truffle Bon Bons

no need for mistletoe this year with...


smoky espresso chocolate, bright sunny orange zest, warm cinnamon and a kick of chipotle.

who doesn't love a few homemade "bon bons" around the holidays ?

idea from by Elisabeth La Bau
makes about 33

8 oz. good dark chocolate
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 Tbsp chipotle in adobo...(see NOTE)
1/2 rounded tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp espresso powder
2 tsp karo syrup...optional
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
zest from 1 small orange...maybe a little less

NOTE about chipotle...use chipotle with adobo in the can.  push 3 chipotle peppers, dripping in adobo sauce, through a medium fine strainer.  you want to end up with almost 2 Tbsp.

in a small sauce pan...add heavy cream, strained chipotle, espresso powder, cinnamon and orange zest.  bring to almost boil.  stir, or whisk to combine while heating.

put chocolate in a medium glass bowl and add vanilla bean paste and Karo syrup.  Karo syrup is optional.  pour cream mixture through a strainer over the chocolate.  press the cream through strainer with a spatula.  let it sit for a minute or 2.  start to stir in the middle.  keep stirring until you see it is well combined and you have a nice shiny ganache.  TASTE TEST.  at this point i added a bit more zest and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  you be the judge.
put in the fridge for and hour or 2...come back and give it a stir.  let sit over night or at least a few more hours to REALLY SET.
when it is quite firm...make into 3/4 inch this with thin rubber gloves if possible.  the warmth of your hands really creates a mess.  refrigerate truffles for about 1 hour.
at this point you can roll a few in cocoa powder for a different look, but the crisp dark chocolate outer layer really lends to the whole chocolate experience and is worth the effort.

before dipping, take them out of the fridge while you are preparing to temper.  i have found dipping near room temperature truffles prevents the seepage that can happen and cause the need to repair and double dip.

please click HERE for some "tips and tricks" (post about Spicy Chocolate Bacon) on tempering and making your chocolate  a successful experience. will have left over "tempered chocolate".  be prepared with other goodies to dip, like pretzels, cookies, BACON or throw a bunch of stuff in and make bark.

adapted from Alton Brown's Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses "pure cocoa butter".  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

you'll need 1 pound of "coverture" chocolate.  i use Guittard 61% dark chocolate discs in a 1 pound box.
put 12 oz. of the chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds...STIR.  one more time 30 seconds...STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called "seeding".  i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel...this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the hot blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it's temper.

start dipping.  use a fork or dipping tool to lift out.  lightly tap on the edge of the bowl and let excess chocolate drip off and place on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with smoked salt while the chocolate is still wet.  do about 4-5 balls at a time so you can get your salt on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.
i do not know exactly how many days these will last at room temp.  probably at least a week.  they can be prolonged in the fridge, but they should come to room temp "no condensation" before packaging up for gifts.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Spicy Dark Chocolate Bacon with Roasted Almonds

YES, chocolate bacon has been around for a few years...BUT if you haven't tried it...


if you have tried it and weren't too impressed, i guarantee this is far better than the pathetic scrap you paid big $$$ for at the local fair. will amaze your friends with your chocolate making abilities.  there are still loads of people out there who haven't tried it and are in shock and awe with their new found love of the sweet savory chocolate covered pork belly bits.  when tempered correctly, it makes a fabulous gift and or party treat for any occasion.

the 3 main tricks to fabulous chocolate covered bacon are...

#2...the room should be cold.  wear a sweater, but don't turn the heat or the oven on.
#3...mise en place!  get everything out you will need.
#4...chocolate is a messy job.  cover your work area.
#5...use microwave tempering chance of water being introduced to your expensive chocolate.
#6...use a hair dryer to keep chocolate at working temperature.  again, no water is involved.
#7...use a larger bowl lined with a dish towel to place chocolate bowl in while working...the snuggle effect helps keep it warm.
#9...only put dipped chocolates in the fridge to set if necessary for about 10-20 minutes.  then remove.  you don't want condensation.
#10...have extra dipping stuff on hand because there is always that extra bit left that you don't want to waste.  pretzels, cookies, potato chips, fruit...your finger!
#11...keep finished items airtight in the coolest room of the house..even in the garage if necessary

FINAL TIP...websites i found VERY informative...
ALSO...i must add...i am NOT a professional Chocolatier 


1 12oz package bacon, cooked crispy
1 pound good coverture Dark Chocolate, in discs or chopped
roasted salted almonds, chopped
red pepper flakes
smoked finishing salt
ground cumin and chipotle powder for cooking the bacon.

first get everything ready...put almonds, red pepper flakes, and salt in separate bowls for sprinkling on wet chocolate..  prepare a few cookie sheets with parchment to place dipped bacon.  get a hair dryer out and introduce it to the kitchen... you will use it to rewarm the chocolate if necessary.
think the process through so you are ready when the chocolate is ready.

cook bacon in the oven.  one layer on an aluminum lined cookie sheet.  start in a cold oven at 380 F approx. 25-30 minutes ( i use convection), turning once or twice.  drain off excess fat half way through and sprinkle with chipotle powder and cumin.  then flip all pieces over and proceed to cook until crispy.  drain fat again if necessary.  BACON MUST BE CRISP.  set the slices on paper towels and dab off excess bacon fat.  let cool completely.

adapted from Alton Brown's Microwave Tempering Method found HERE.  he uses "pure cocoa butter".  i find seeding with 1/4 of your chocolate quantity works well.

put 12 oz. of the DARK chocolate in a glass bowl.  set 4 oz aside.
microwave chocolate for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds...STIR.  one more time 30 seconds...STIR.  now microwave for 15 second intervals (should be 2-4 times) stirring between each run until it reaches 100 F.  STIR.  microwave for 10 second intervals (maybe 2-3 times) until it reaches 115 F for dark chocolate.
stir in the other 4 oz. of chocolate.  stir well with spatula, cleaning the sides of the bowl and incorporating the chocolate.  the fresh chocolate will soon melt and will bring the temperature down.  this process is called "seeding" i read that a lot of stirring helps bring back the i stir well.  you are looking for 90 F degrees.  at this point your chocolate is dip-worthy.
at 90 F  place the chocolate bowl in another bowl lined with a dishtowel...this is to help keep your chocolate warm and snugly while working.  STIR chocolate periodically.  if it is getting too thick, take the temp.  give it a shot with the blow dryer and STIR to keep from getting hot spots.  do not reheat the chocolate too fast or too high.  it will lose it's temper.

start dipping.  let excess chocolate drip off and place slices on prepared parchment.  sprinkle with red pepper flakes and almonds while the chocolate is still wet....then a little finishing salt.  do about 4-5 slices at a time so you can get your toppings on before the chocolate sets.  stick in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes if necessary.  then let come to room temp before putting them in an air tight container.  do not close them up with condensation on them.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Moroccan Cherry Preserves


YES..they're expensive.  they aren't quite as dark, plump and sweet as they are when they are in perfect season, but they are worth it for jam and preserves.  Fabulous add to your Holiday breakfasts, brunch, dinners or desserts AND a little jar of this is a much better gift than the last minute scarf or pair of socks.

this recipe lends itself to the sweet AND the savory.  yes, it's delicious on a nice hot scone, but fabulous paired with any main dinner course.  i'm going to serve it along side my Christmas ham.
but for this post i just so happened to be grilling some salmon for a recipe i intended to be about the Beluga Lentils.  when the plate came together for the photo, i thought the preserves were absolutely the star of the show.
it dawned on me...i forgot to post about this fabulous cherry concoction.

so here it is...another jam/preserves recipe.  this one is a winner.
i found the Moroccan spice mixture from a great blog called Anja's Food For Thought.  she has all kinds of healthy interesting goodies, so please visit her site.  Anja used the spices for some delicious looking roasted mushrooms.  my brain was in jam mode, so i quickly bought up a pile of sweet cherries and went to work.  the end result has received rave reviews form my taste tester guinea pigs...i say guinea pigs with love intended.  i don't know what i would do without my faithful (sometimes daring) friends.


2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 chili powder
1/2 sweet paprika
1/2 ground cinnamon
1/4 ground ginger
1/8 ground clove


2.5 pounds TOTAL pitted cherries
1 lb. whole pitted cherries...approx.  3 cups
1 lb. 8 oz. halved pitted cherries...approx. 4 cups
6 slices granny smith apple...approx. 3/4 of apple
juice from 1 lemon and 1 lime
zest from 1/2 lemon and 1 lime
5 cups sugar...4 would be okay
cheesecloth pouch with seeds and membrane of lemon and lime
1 chipotle pepper in adobo with seeds..fine mince pepper seeds
1 tsp dried rosemary, chopped as fine as possible...(might want a little more)
1 Tbsp Moroccan spice...(might need to add more after taste test)..recipe above

if you are canning...get all your mise en place ready.  small plates in freezer, big stock pot on the stove heating for the canning, sterilize your jars and keep them warm.  for more info on the specifics please visit my Tips and Tricks post or check out Pick Your

in a large stock pot add all the pitted cherries, halves and wholes.  add sugar and let sit while you are getting the other stuff done.  they will macerate a little.  zest and squeeze your citrus right into the pot.  make a small cheesecloth pouch with the citrus seeds and membrane (seen here).  cut apple slices and remove seeds.  slices should be at least 1 inch thick.  you will be removing them when jam is ready.  add the chipotle, rosemary and Moroccan spice.  keep some of these last 3 on hand if you need to add some after your taste test when jam is almost done.

start pot on low-ish heat to get things going.  when cherries have released a lot of juices you can turn the heat up to medium high.  don't go far from the pot.  it can start to bubble over.  you should stir a bit every now and then to keep an even heat.  when the jam begins to thicken and it reaches 220 degrees, do a plate test.  DO A TASTE TEST, but beware it is molten HOT!  add extra spices if you see fit.  when the jam looks like it is set to your liking, remove from stove and fill sterilized jars.
proceed with canning process...or seal jars and let come to room temp and refrigerate.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bacon Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolates !

1#pound of bacon...

1#pound of chocolate...

a handful of pretzels 

and a little peanut butter...

hands your mama...
shut the front door...
absolutely one of the BEST BITES i have made all year. 

my newest obsession.

i think this holiday season you might be seeing a lot of chocolates.
i've already made 5 different chocolaty morsels and i can't stop myself from dreaming up new ones.

i'll be posting about the others, but...
this is one of those...stop and take a moment type of unbelievable bites.


what you'll need...

1#pound of good chocolate...61% works well.  couverture chocolate is preferred.
1#pound bacon...cooked, CRISPY...chopped to small bits
NOTE...bacon is 1# before cooking
small pretzels...for this i used the Snyder's peanut butter pretzel sandwiches because they are small and round... twisted in half.
Jiff creamy peanut butter...natural PB is too runny.
smoked finishing salt, like Maldon 
small cupcake papers.
 mini muffin tins just to help hold the cups.
NOTE...i also made a few GLUTEN FREE by using small gluten free pretzels.

for tempering chocolate...
you'll need a medium glass bowl, digital thermometer and a clean no time should ANY moisture touch the chocolate.
i use Alton's method quickly explained below.

put 3/4 of your chocolate in the glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds.  STIR.  microwave again for 30 seconds.  STIR.  do it one more time.  STIR.
microwave 3-5 more times, stirring well between each time until it reads 100 F degrees.  STIR.
now microwave for 10 second intervals stirring between each time until it reaches 115 F degrees.
remove from microwave and stir.  stir in the 1/4 pound of chocolate (this is called "seeding").  if you have some 100% cocoa butter, stir in 5 grams of that as well. Alton uses the 100% cocoa butter method instead of seeding with chocolate.  i used both.
keep stirring until all chocolate is smooth and it reaches 90 F degrees for dark chocolate...88-85 F degrees for milk chocolate.

while your chocolate is coming down to the 90 F degrees (don't forget to stir!), get everything ready.  prepare pretzels with a small dollop of peanut butter...approximately 25-30 pieces.  make sure they will fit in your cupcake papers.  place paper cups in the muffin tins.
add bacon to tempered chocolate.  keep bowl warm by placing it in a larger bowl lined with a cloth towel so it will be snugly and warm while you work.

add a small amount of bacon chocolate to your paper cups...only do 3-5 at a time.  place the pretzel, peanut butter side down, in the cup on the chocolate you just put in.  push it in slightly.  now add another small amount of bacon chocolate to cover the pretzel and fill the sides.  sprinkle a little smoked salt on top before it starts to harden.  proceed with the next 3-5 cups...
when you have finished 1 muffin tin full, gently knock it a few times on the counter to settle everything...then refrigerate for about 10 minutes...they should set by then.  take them out of fridge and keep in a cool dry place.
keep working quickly until you have filled as many as possible.
i got 25 pieces.

NOTE...i am not a professional chocolate person!  please check links given and seek out any other information necessary.  this is how i do it and my chocolates have been good and snappy for over a blooming, no streaks...i don't have the shiny sheen down yet, but i will soon.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forbidden Black Rice Egg Custard


rich with antioxidants, omega-3's and extra protein for great kick-start to all the busy holiday preparations.

forbidden rice ?...often eaten for breakfast in Asian countries.
egg custard ?...often eaten for dessert in the US.

put the two together and you have
dessert for breakfast.

a delicious custard with slight hint of coconut and a nutty black rice texture.  it's healthy, filling and fun.  use real sugar if you're not into sugar substitutes.  you could even try coconut milk if you want to.  i'm not sure how it would set.  i chose to keep the custard American style.  check out the nutritional facts below...quite good for such a decadent looking healthy treat.

note...just got a report from my co-worker and trustworthy friend Nancy.  she LOVED it!
so, i guess it passed the test.  i'm not the only one...whew


2 cups cooked forbidden black rice
4 eggs
1 cup non fat milk
1 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 1/3 scoop vanilla protein powder...i use Jay Robb Vanilla Whey
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute...i like Zsweet
1/4 tsp ginger
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp coconut extract
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

an immersion/stick blender is preferred, but a regular blender will work.
preheat oven to 350 F.
 and prepare a 2 qt. 8x8 glass or ceramic dish with non stick spray.
you will cook in a bain marie, so start a pot of water to boil and choose a vessel for your bain marie and put in the oven while preheating.

cook black rice and let come to room temperature, set aside.
 in a small bowl combine the dry ingredients, ie. the ginger, cinnamon, sugar sub. or real sugar and protein powder...set aside.
with an immersion blender, blend eggs, cottage cheese, 1 cup of milk.  blend until you can not see any cottage cheese bits.  add remaining cup of milk,coconut  extract and vanilla paste.
add dry to wet slowly so you don't get clumps or lumps.  blend and blend until thoroughly combined and smooth.
NOTE...i use an immersion/stick blender, but i think a normal blender will work  i don't think a stand mixer will do the job.

add the rice to the custard mixture and stir with a spoon or i gently used a hand whisk to separate the's a little sticky.
pour into prepared dish.  try to make sure the rice is even on the bottom.
bake in bain marie/water bath for 40-45 minutes.
NOTE...some rice custard recipes call for you to stir the mixture 1/2 way through the cooking to keep the rice from settling in one solid layer on the i did just 20 minutes i gently stirred.  i think it helped.
when custard looks just set, remove from oven and water bath and let come to room temp.
NOTE...this is a thicker custard because of the cottage cheese and protein powder so it should look set in the middle.

enjoy warm or refrigerate and enjoy throughout the week for a healthy breakfast or guilt-free treat anytime.

nutrition facts 
approx. for 9 servings (with sugar sub.)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Triple Chocolate Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

shortbread is just about the easiest most versatile cookie dough there is.
i found this basic shortbread recipe and "method" a few years ago from Smitten Kitchen and have been using it ever since.  Deb posted a recipe called Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies created by Dorie Greenspan, chef extraordinaire !  it's a simple, easy, must try recipe to get you started.
once you get the basics you can run with all kinds of interesting flavor combos.  i've created a few...Rose Shortbread with White Chocolate, Chocolate Bacon Shorties (to be posted soon), Chocolate Coconut, Haute Chocolate Chili shortbread, Maple Pecan Shortbread Bars and i started with good ol' Chocolate Chip Shortbread Tiles back in 2009 when i fell in love with this recipe.

the best part of this shortbread is the method...
you can get a visual over at Smitten Kitchen's blog or check out Use Real Butter's blog "step by step".
another bonus... as you can see, the dough produces a cookie with sharp crisp edges that will retain the shape you choose, be it square, round or your favorite cut-out-do-dahs.

adapted from Deb at  Smitten Kitchen (fabulous blog!) who in turn was sharing a recipe from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours"

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder
2 Tbsp good cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups AP flour
22 grams cocoa nibs
1 large tsp home dried rosemary, fine mince/chop
dark chocolate for drizzle, optional for "triple chocolate"
and coarse sea salt for a sprinkle

in a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar until very smooth.  beat in the vanilla and rosemary.  turn to low and add the espresso powder and flour in approx. 3 batches until everything is incorporated.  do not over mix.  gently mix in the cocoa nibs in the machine or by hand.  again, not to over mix.
the best part...THE ZIPLOC BAGGIE TRICK.
i learned this from Smitten Kitchens post about these Dorie Greenspan cookies.  please check the link and go to her fabulous blog to see some photo instructions.
but in a nut shell this is what you'll do...transfer the dough into a gallon size Ziploc plastic bag.  flatten the dough out in the bag, first with your hand then with the rolling pin.  flatten until it is solid to the edges of the baggie.  as you are rolling...flip the bag a few times to ensure it's even and there are no wrinkles.  press the air out and seal the zipper.  you will have one big flat baggie of dough about 1/4 inch thick.  refrigerate on a flat surface for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

when ready to bake...remove from fridge and simply slice the baggie on 3 sides and peal it open.  cut the dough with a sharp knife and a straight edge, peel squares off of the plastic and set on parchment lined cookie sheet.  prick each cookie with a fork 2 times.  i like to stick the whole sheet back in the fridge for about 10 minutes to ensure the nice crisp sharp edges after baking.

bake for 18-20 minutes.  don't wait until they darken around the edges...they should just be firm to the touch.  transfer to a wire rack to cool.
melt chocolate of choice, i prefer dark chocolate, and do a little drizzle.  sprinkle sea salt on before chocolate sets.
they are pretty durable so if you are making cookies ahead of time this is a good one to start with...just drizzle chocolate later in case your chocolate might soften or bloom.  they package great if you put parchment in between drizzled cookies.

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