Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That, Meditation

A Soak That Smells Like Dessert

Cocoa Butter
Aromatic, to Say the Least

It’s been a long week and a half, with overwhelming amounts of work and visits to three medical practitioners over three consecutive days. I don’t mind the work, but my stamina has a way to go before I can sound the all-clear bell. So, I decided to indulge myself with a scented foot bath yesterday, followed by a foot rub with something moisturizing and creamy. I set up the room, lit a candle, played meditative music through my cell phone and set up the scented water. Ahhhh, nice. I occasionally added warm water to freshen the bath and had added glass pebbles to the tub to massage my feet. It was a lovely, lovely time.

Once I was finished, I dried my feet, dumped out the water and grabbed a new jar of cocoa butter to rub all over my feet. I usually use shea butter but this time decided to try something different. I rubbed and rubbed and enjoyed the cocoa scent. Then I cleaned my hands and put on a new pair of socks. Damn if I didn’t smell like chocolate for the rest of the day! Interesting experience, but a bit overwhelming. I think I may go back to the shea butter and see what other uses I can put the cocoa butter to.

Posted in Uncategorized

Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte

Yum!

I joined my husband for a Passover seder last night, amidst the rising flood-waters. Got a chance to see my two nephews, along with my Albany-based brother and sister-in-law. We had a wonderful evening and a wonderful meal. I was placed in charge of desserts and brought this flour-less Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte. I whipped some cream to go along with it, and cut up some strawberries and let them macerate in a tiny amount of sugar.

Imagine this torte with a dollop of whipped cream and a hearty spoonful of strawberries. Magnifico!

Ingredients

  • Butter or shortening, for the pan
  • 1 cup (5 oz) unblanched or blanched whole or chopped almonds
  • 7 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup sugar, divided in half
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 7 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, beaten to soft peaks

Directions

  1. Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with removable base. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper cut to fit. Butter the pan, or apply shortening.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almonds, chocolate, 1/2 cup of the sugar and the salt. Pulse until the almonds and chocolate are finely chopped but not pulverized or powdered.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the eff whites with cream of tartar until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and conbtinue beating until the whites are stiff but not dry.
  4. With a large metal spoon, fold 1/3 of the nut-chocolate mixture into the whites. Then fold in half the remaining mixture, then the remaining mixture.
  5. Spread the batter in the pan and smooth the top. bake the torte for 25-30 minutes, or until it rises and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a little melted chocolate. Set on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes
  6. Unlatch the spring and lift off the band. Use a wide metal spatula to slide the cake onto a platter, carefully removing the parchment paper. Let the cake cool completely.
  7. Dust with cocoa and serve with whipped cream

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Posted in Uncategorized

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I started my Christmas baking with this recipe. It's fabulous. If you want to check out the original, pick up a copy of the Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies by Irma Rombauer, et al.

Ingredients

  • 14 tbs (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup unsalted shelled peanuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until light.
  3. Add eggs gradually, one at a time.
  4. Add peanut butter and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until just combined.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer. Add chocolate and peanuts by hand and stir until well combined.
  7. Drop rounded teaspoons of dough 3 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake between 15 – 18 minutes, checking after 15 minutes.
  8. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool.

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Oh My! My, My, My!

Hot Chocolate for Consenting Adults

(from the Food Network Website)
Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
0 min
Cook Time:
10 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
4 servings
1 cup half and half
8 ounces best available quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups milk
4 ounces creme de menthe (clear or green)

In a small pot, bring half and half to a boil. Remove from heat and add to chocolate in a bowl. Stir until chocolate has fully melted.
Return chocolate liquid to the pot, or refrigerate until ready for use.
Before serving, add milk. Warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it simmers.
Pour into individual mugs. Stir in 1 ounce of creme de menthe to each mug just before serving.

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Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Almond Macaroons

And just in time for Passover! I've made these for my husband's family for a few years now. They're relatively easy to make (the batter's a little sticky, that's all) and the taste is absolutely out of this world. Since they're flour-less, they're perfect for Passover – assuming you can fit anything in after a Hollman Seder!

  • 5 large egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups blanched almonds (about 12 oz, or 2 cups whole almonds)
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 6 – 7 oz bittersweet or sweet chocolate

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Allow the egg whites to come to room temperature, then beat them with the cream of tartar until they just begin to hold a stiff shape. Add powdered sugar and almond extract and beat again until smooth. Mix in ground almonds, coconut and lemon zest. You'll have a thick, sticky batter.
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop heaping teaspoons of the batter onto the parchment, nudging it into a nice shape with the tip of a spoon or your fingers.
  4. Bake in oven about 40 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. Transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
  5. Melt the chocolate. As it begins to cool, dip the macaroons into it, leaving one side plain and the other side coated with chocolate. Lay them on waxed paper to allow the chocolate to harden.

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Almond Macaroons @ Group Recipes

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