Saturday, February 28, 2009

For the Love of Chocolate....

It's that time again.... Daring Bakers!!!

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

In trying to stay true to my Low Carb dieting... Trust me... I over did it plenty when making my valentines day treats. There's something addictive about those ickle little cupcakikins... ;o)

So for my challenge, I was pleased to find that this recipe was easily adaptable into something that would fit within my plan... here is my adapted recipe - my changes are off to the side....

Chocolate Valentino

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped ( 16 oz Hershey's sugar free chocolate chips)

½ cup Plus 2 TBSP of unsalted butter

5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F

9. Bake for 25 minutes until the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

The second part of this challenge was to make ice cream. I was excited to attempt this as I do not have an ice cream maker. So above, is the cream mixture before going into the freezer and below is a picture I took of it mid freezing. I'm not sure if it took so long to freeze because I used Agave Nectar as my sweetner or if it was my idiotic freezer, but it certainly took a few hours... I'd do it again though and stop before total frozen... milkshake texture would have been nice. How awesome would that be to make homemade milkshakes and never have to turn on the blender?

Again... the recipe, my changes are off to the side....

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style

Recipe Preparation Time: 5 minutes

2 cups of half and half

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar (1/3 cup Agave Nectar - mine was vanilla flavored)

Dash of salt

1 tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

Without ice cream maker, put your bowl in freezer and stir it every 45 minutes until ice cream has been formed.

And then the cake was done....

For serving, I decided to serve it with Raspberry sauce... the chocolate even though sugar free was bound to be a bit much for me.
All I did was take a few frozen cubes of raspberry puree... crushed and frozen last summer at the height of their season... yummo! And drizzled them with a little agave nectar for sweetness and let them thaw out completely. This plating was the one I did when I was too anxious to wait any longer.
One of my friends sent me the placemat for a Valentine's present... Thanks Sweetie!!! I love them.

The cake is ready for it's close up... See - the ice cream wasn't quite frozen enough to not be a pool of cream... still very yummy though.

Then, I did a plating the following day... when the ice cream was able to hold the shape of the scoop...

It was fun... I've had my eye on a flourless cake for a while. Can't wait til next month!! ooh, which is tomorrow already. LOL

Friday, February 27, 2009

Valentines Day Treats

Ah yes... February is such a short short month!!! It made me realize I hadn't shared my desserts that I took to work yet. By popular request, I had to make these sweet little cupcake bites ~ Bakerella ROCKS! ~ I have become like the most popular person at work when it comes to party day because I make these little guys. (Of course it helps that I found the sweetest little teeny tiny heart sprinkles. They were perfect on the little guys...)
I used Chocolate cake with deep fudge icing and Cherry Chip Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. The chocolate ones... well, some of them were in a 'peanut butter' candy melt cup and topped with 1/2 of a cherry jelly belly. I also used cotton candy and bubble gum jelly bellies for a fun themed color scheme. The cherry chip ones were mostly topped in white and in red or purple cups.

Here's the assembled tray. I realized afterwards that the only ones that were dipped in a colored top were the chocolate ones. But that's okay because the few that were white topped were showing the flavor underneath.

And then for comparison, I made 6 cupcakes of each flavor and decorated them in a similar styling to the mini ones. With bigger heart sprinkles and a whole jelly bean on top. These were frosted with a Whipped Cream Icing - it's pretty good... Betty Crocker does lovely things with frosting. LOL

I had to show off my cupcake stand... one of the girls at work got it for me at Christmas in our secret santa gift exchange and this was the first chance I had to use it. I somehow missed taking pictures of them but I also did up a couple boxes of pillsbury valentines cookies and rolled the edges of about a dozen in the mini heart sprinkles before baking and then frosted the rest with the left over frosting and decorated with cinnamon hearts and sprinkles...

Monday, February 9, 2009

my most favorite salad ever...

Okay... so maybe not my favorite salad ever...

Just at least my favorite since I started trying to be low carb.

Isn't it gorgeous?


So... it's a steak salad...

Start in your pan with some diced celery and sliced onion... browning to caramelize them, add a little butter towards the end before you put in enough sliced steak for your serving...
Brown to your preferred doneness level...

this is about 2 cups of shredded lettuce... I love using the Fresh Express Shredds... it makes salad making go much quicker.

Put the celery, onions and steak on the lettuce.

Sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles

And the final topping... which doubles as your dressing is the horseradish sauce.
Horseradish sauce:
1/4 C Sour Cream
2-3 tsp Horseradish - to taste
Black Pepper
Lemon or Lime Juice
Stir Horseradish and pepper into sour cream and add the juice of your choice until it thins out to your desired texture. It keeps in the fridge fairly well and is easily thinned again if it thickens.