chocolate

Coconut Chocolate Bowls

Coconut Chocolate Bowls

Now this is fun. Coconut almond sorbet served in chocolate bowls. The idea is to make the dessert look like coconuts. It worked out well and tasted great.

The whole dessert is dairy free and vegan as well. Great for people who have issues with dairy. You won’t miss the dairy in this recipe. The sorbet is smooth and creamy.

These are fun to serve for summer parties. You can make everything ahead of time, assemble and keep in the freezer until you want them.

The bowls are made by dipping inflated balloons in melted chocolate. Then you coat them is desiccated coconut to cover the chocolate. Desiccated coconut is dry and unsweetened. It looks like white bread crumbs. You can find it at Asian markets (it is the type of coconut used for coconut shrimp) . It is also found at cake decorating and candy making stores.

Let the bowls set- in fridge or freezer- until the chocolate hardens. Then you just pop the balloons and remove them. You are left with a chocolate bowl. Fill the bowls with the sorbet- you could use vanilla ice cream. I suppose, but the coconut sorbet really is better in this dish.

You can serve them as is- or top with some fresh fruit or chocolate sauce.

So here are the directions for the bowls and the recipe for the sorbet.

 

Chocolate “Coconut” Bowls

 

8 Balloons- blown up to 4-inch diameter

12 oz. Chocolate – I used bittersweet. Chocolate chips would work, too

about 1 cup of desiccated coconut- cake and candy making stores sell it- Asian markets, too.

Coconut Almond Sorbet- recipe follows

 

Blow up balloons and tie the ends. Melt chocolate and stir until smooth. I melt mine in a microwave, being careful not to let the chocolate burn. Allow chocolate to cool down a bit before dipping the balloons. This is really important: if the chocolate is too hot the balloons will explode before the chocolate hardens. Also, don’t get really cheap water balloons- they pop easy. I normally melt my chocolate and then add some unmelted chocolate to the bowl, which cools it down. Place some of the desiccated coconut in a shallow bowl. Dip the bottom of the bowl in the chocolate. Use a small rubber spatula to remove excess chocolate from the bottom. It is supposed to become a bowl, so leave some on the bottom, just not a huge blob. Tip the balloon and sprinkle the coconut all over the chocolate. You can set the balloon in the coconut, too. Set balloons on a small tray, lined with wax paper to set up. This is faster in the fridge or freezer. Once the chocolate is hard- pop the balloon and be sure to remove any of the left over pieces of balloon. Keep bowls in the fridge until ready to fill with sorbet. Makes 8.

When ready to fill them- scoop in some of the sorbet and smooth the top. You can do this ahead of time and store in the freezer until ready to serve.

 

Coconut Almond Sorbet

 

1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk

1½ c. almond milk

¼ c. sugar- or to taste

2 t. vanilla

 

Combine all ingredients in bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved. Place in an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Makes 1 quart.

 

Note: If you don’t have an ice cream machine, you can freeze the sorbet in a shallow tray. Once frozen, remove from freezer and let it soften a few minutes. Break into chunks and process in a food processor to soften. Return to freezer until ready to use.

 

Hidden Treasure Strawberry Pie

Hidden Treasure Strawberry Pie

This pie has it all. Fresh strawberries, glazed and sitting on a flaky crust. But it doesn’t stop there. The crust is topped with chocolate and a layer of sweetened cream cheese. The chocolate and cheese are under the berries. They provide a wonderful surprise when eating the pie. The chocolate is such a natural match for the strawberries. The cream cheese gives a little “cheesecake” feel.  In the end, the combination works perfectly together.

During strawberry season, I enjoy so many different dishes made with fresh berries. Fresh strawberry pie is always going to be a favorite. I try to make different versions and this one was definitely a version I will make again.

 Hidden Treasure Strawberry Pie

 

1 9-inch pie crust * recipe follows

1 c. chocolate chips

1 T. butter

1 qt. strawberries (1¼ lbs.), hulled

1 c. sugar

2 T. cornstarch

¼ c. water

1 T. butter

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. powdered sugar

Whipped cream, optional

 

Using a pie pan, roll out your crust and fit it into the pan- trim off any excess. Pre-bake your crust. To do this: The prepared pie crust should be pricked all over with a fork. Cover the surface with foil and then pie weights. I use dry beans for my pie weights. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes. Check to be sure it doesn’t get too brown. Remove weights and foil. Melt chocolate chips and butter together, stirring until smooth. Pour over crust and use a spatula to spread into a thin layer on the bottom and, if you like, up the sides of the crust. Set aside and allow crust to cool and chocolate to set up. Select about 25-30 berries to be placed in pie crust, large side down, and set aside. You might need fewer berries, if they are really big. Puree or crush remaining berries. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and stir until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and gets clear. Simmer about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Set aside. Place cream cheese in a bowl and beat in the powdered sugar. Spread cheese over the chocolate layer. Arrange the reserved berries on the cheese layer, pointy side up. Put the largest berry in the middle and arrange the rest around it decoratively. Spoon the puree over the berries and allow the pie to cool down a little before putting in the fridge. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: other berries can also be used including raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or a combination. This recipe can also be used as a filling for tarts and tartlets.

 

Half and Half Dough*

 

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.

¼ c. butter, room temp

½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard instead

¼ c. sugar

½ t. salt

2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour

1/8 t. baking powder

¼ c. milk

1 t. lemon juice

Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts. You only need half the dough for the strawberry pie.

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

These Chocolate Biscotti are a favorite of mine. They are not too sweet and have plenty of chocolate flavor. If you haven’t made your own biscotti before, you should. These crisp, twice baked cookies, are easy to make. The second bake is where biscotti get their famous crunch. They are baked until they have this lovely crisp texture, meant to be dipped in coffee.

Handy tip: Once biscotti are baked the first time, they are sliced and baked a second time. Most recipes call for you to turn the biscotti over half way through the second bake- to get them crisp/dried evenly. To save time, I just place a cooling rack on my baking sheet before the second bake. I then lay the sliced biscotti on the cooling rack. Now, during baking, air flows under the biscotti and there is no need to turn them over while baking. Saves time.

 

Chocolate Biscotti

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
2 eggs
3/4 c. chocolate syrup
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. chocolate chips (mini, regular or flavored)
1 c. chopped nuts, optional
3 oz. white chocolate

Grease 2 9×5-inch loaf pans and set aside. Beat sugar and butter together than beat in eggs and syrup. Beat in dry ingredients. Dough will be soft. Stir in chips and nuts. Divide batter in prepared pans and use spatula to spread evenly. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 35 minutes. Tester inserted in center should come out clean. Turn loaves onto rack and cool 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300-degrees. Using a serrated knife cut loaves into 3/4 -inch slices. Place cooling rack on a baking sheet. Place biscotti slices cut side down on cooling  rack and bake about 18-19 minutes. Cookies will become harder/crisper as they cool. Cool completely. Melt white chocolate and drizzle over biscotti. Allow to set up. Makes about 2 dozen.

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

These cookies are great for those who like a more adult cookie. Not too sweet they are loaded with flavor. The combination of coffee and chocolate is one of my favorites. Simple to make, too. Just right for dipping in a cup of coffee.

 

 

 

Chocolate Cappuccino Cookies

1 T. instant coffee powder or espresso powder
1 T. hot water
1 egg
3/4 c. sugar plus extra for dipping
1/4 c. oil
2 T. corn syrup*
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt

Dissolve coffee in hot water. In mixing bowl combine coffee mixture with egg, 3/4 cup sugar, oil, syrup and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Combine dry ingredients and add to coffee mixture. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheets spaced about 2 inches apart. Flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the extra sugar, pressing to 1/4 -inch thickness. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Centers should be set. Cool on a rack. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

* If you don’t have corn syrup- or don’t want to use it, here is a sugar syrup you can make and use as a substitute.

Sugar Syrup- corn syrup substitute

3  cups granulated sugar

1 cup Water

1/2  tsp. Cream of Tartar

1/4 t. salt

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cover the pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook to soft-ball stage. Stir frequently.

Soft ball stage occurs at 235-245 degrees. This stage can be determined by dropping a spoonful of hot syrup into a bowl of very cold water. In the water, use your fingers to gather the cooled syrup into a ball. If it has reached soft-ball stage, the syrup easily forms a ball while in the cold water, but flattens once removed from the water.

Remove from heat. Cool and store at room temperature. It will keep well for a month or two.

 

Amy’s Strawberry Chocolate Tart

Strawberry Chocolate Tart

Strawberry Chocolate Tart

I had an extra pie crust, some strawberries and a dinner with friends. I had said I’d bring the dessert. Since I made strawberry pie the day before for another friend I wanted to do something a little different. I decided to go with a tart. I also know the host of the dinner is mad for chocolate so I wanted to incorporate chocolate into the dessert. Here is the dessert I ended up with. It was a big hit and I plan on doing something similar with raspberries soon.

Amy’s Strawberry Chocolate Tart

1 pie crust- homemade or store bought*

1 cup chocolate chips- or 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate

2 T. butter

1 qt. fresh strawberries, washed and stem ends sliced off

Strawberry glaze:

1 c. strawberries, chopped

1/2 c. sugar, or to taste

1/4 c. water

1 T. cornstarch

Using a tart pan, roll out your crust and fit it into the pan- trim off any excess. Pre-bake your crust. To do this the prepared pie crust should be pricked all over with a fork. Cover the surface with foil and then pie weights. I use dry beans for my pie weights. Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees. Bake crust for 15-20 minutes. Check to be sure it doesn’t get too brown. Remove weights and foil and cool until ready to use. While crust is baking you can prepare the strawberry glaze. Combine 1 cup berries and sugar in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook five minutes, mashing the berries a little. Strain out the solids and return the liquid to the pan. Combine the water with the cornstarch and add to the strawberry liquid, cooking until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat to cool.  Combine chocolate and butter in microwave- safe dish and microwave on high for 45 seconds to a minute . Stir mixture until smooth- you might need to nuke it a few more seconds. Spread melted chocolate over the bottom of the tart crust. Press the berries into the chocolate- pointed side up. Once the tart is full of berries spoon some of the glaze over the berries and chill at least an hour before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Serves 6.

Half and Half Dough*

This is a great crust for liquid fillings like custard type pies and fresh fruit pies.
¼ c. butter, room temp
½ c. shortening, room temp- you can use lard instead
¼ c. sugar
½ t. salt
2½ c. pastry or all purpose flour
1/8 t. baking powder
¼ c. milk
1 t. lemon juice
Cream together the first 4 ingredients until smooth. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Combine milk with the juice and set aside. Stir ½ c. of the flour into butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Add a little of the milk, stirring until smooth. Add remaining ingredients alternately until finished. Dough will firm up once chilled. Chill at least 4 hours before using. Makes 2 crusts.

Cover crust with melted chocolate

Cover crust with melted chocolate

Arrange berries on top of chocolate

Arrange berries on top of chocolate

Spoon glaze over berries and chill tart before serving

Spoon glaze over berries and chill tart before serving

 

 

Chocolate Crepes

Chocolate Crepe

Chocolate Crepe

After making dessert crepes the other day I decided to make a batch of chocolate crepes, too. I still had strawberries so that is what I used to fill them, along with some whipped cream. Truth is, you can fill them with all sorts of stuff. I had fresh berries so that is what I used. I added some Kahlua to the batter for a little extra flavor and it worked out just great. Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Crepes

1 c. flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
¼ c. cocoa
3 T. sugar
¼ c. Kahlua or other coffee flavored liqueur or ¼ c. strong coffee
1/4 c. butter, melted and cooled

Mix all ingredients in blender (except butter) until smooth, scraping sides often. Add butter and blend well. Let stand for 30 minutes before using, or batter can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Beat again, just before using.
Heat 6 or 7 inch skillet. Brush with butter or oil and pour in about 1 tablespoon of batter, tipping pan to cover bottom of pan completely with batter. Cook until edges start to brown, turn over and cook until lightly browned (about 2 minutes per side.)
Crepes can be made day ahead or even frozen between sheets of waxed paper and frozen. Makes 18.

Strawberry filling: I just sliced a couple of pounds of berries and added a little sugar- about ½ cup- a tablespoon of vanilla and a healthy dash of cinnamon.
When filling the crepes I spooned some berries down the center of the crepe and added some whipped cream. Folded over, topped with a few berries and another bit of whipped cream.

Cooking the crepe

Cooking the crepe

Adding the berries

Adding the berries

Added some whipped cream, too.

Added some whipped cream, too.

 

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate Waffles

These are fun because they can be for breakfast, brunch or even dessert.  I like to make a batch and keep them in the freezer. That way I can pop them in the toaster when I need dessert  in a pinch. Topped with a scoop of ice cream and fresh strawberries they make a great dessert for a last minute dinner with friends.

Chocolate Waffles

 2 eggs, room temperature

1/2 stick butter, melted and cooled

1 t. vanilla

1 c. buttermilk

1 c. flour

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

1 t. cinnamon

1/2 each baking powder and baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. nutmeg

Beat first three ingredients until light and foamy, about 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Beat in dry ingredients just until blended.  Bake until waffles are cooked through. Makes 4 cups batter. Serve with whipped butter or sour cream and fresh fruit. I like them just dusted with powdered sugar, too.

Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnuts

Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnuts

Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnuts

These are a cake type doughnut- using baking powder as leavening instead of yeast. These doughnuts have a soft texture inside with a slight crispiness to the outside. We made them yesterday using a doughnut cutter so we got both rings and doughnut holes. I am happy just serving them with a dusting of powdered sugar. With the help of some creative kids we ended up with chocolate doughnuts glazed, sugared and decorated with sprinkles. So pretty and so tasty. Here is the recipe.

Chocolate Buttermilk Doughnuts

3 1/4 cups flour

1/3  c. cocoa

1 T. baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. salt

2 beaten eggs

1 c. sugar

1 t. vanilla

2/3 c. buttermilk

1/2 c. butter, melted

oil for deep frying- I used coconut oil

assorted topping such as cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, powdered sugar glaze, sprinkles, chocolate glaze

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla. Combine the buttermilk with the melted butter. Add half the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just blended. Beat in half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Cover  and chill dough for at least a couple of hours before using. When ready to make doughnuts heat oil in a pan until it reaches about 375 degrees. While oil is heating, on floured surface, roll dough 1/2 -inch thick and cut out with a doughnut cutter. Fry doughnuts about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels. If rolling in sugar do so while they are still warm. They can be frosted and decorated with sprinkles when warm or at room temperature. Makes 20-25  doughnuts.

Decorating the doughnuts

Decorating the doughnuts

Dipped in glaze and rolled in sprinkles

Dipped in glaze and rolled in sprinkles

Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake

Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake

Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake

If you are still looking for a special dessert for Valentine’s Day this cake might just be what you are looking for. It is easy to make and impressive to serve. I decorated it with powdered sugar and chocolate whipped cream.

Flourless Chocolate Mousse Cake

½ c. each sugar and water

1 stick butter

12 oz. semi sweet chocolate

6 eggs

¼ dark rum or other liqueur

Butter an eight inch cake pan and line with parchment. In saucepan heat together water and sugar until they boil. Stir in butter and bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Beat in eggs until smooth and stir in rum. Pour batter into prepared pan and place pan in a roasting pan. Pour boiling water into roaster to come up sides of pan 1 inch. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 minutes. Cool, invert onto plate.

Serve cake topped with whipped cream and decorate with raspberries, other fresh fruit or even toasted nuts. Dense and rich this cake serves 8-10. Leftovers can be frozen.

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Chocolate Whipped Cream

1/2 c. whipping cream

1/4 c. powdered sugar

2 T. cocoa

Combine powdered sugar and cocoa and set aside. Whip cream until soft peaks form and then beat in the powdered sugar mixture. Pipe onto desserts.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Coconut Snowballs

Coconut Snowballs

Coconut Snowballs

We made these in a chocolate cooking class last night. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching I thought I’d share the recipe with you. While the recipe calls for baking a cake and cutting it into squares I prefer to bake cupcakes. That way they can be called snowballs. All too appropriate this time of year. Whether you bake a cake and cut it into squares or make the cupcakes they do need to be frozen before dipping in the chocolate sauce.

Coconut Cake Squares aka Snowballs

1 white cake, prepared and frozen solid

1 c. cocoa

1 1/4 c. sugar

2 c. water

1 t. vanilla

½ c. desiccated coconut (available at cake supply stores and some health food stores)

Cut frozen cake into small squares, or cake can be baked in regular or mini cupcake tins. Keep cake frozen until ready to use. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients, except coconut in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Using toothpicks or fondue forks, dip cake in sauce let drain a few seconds, then roll in the coconut. Can be used right away or frozen again for later use.

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