Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Taste Test: The Barefoot Contessa Outrageous Brownies


Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite people to watch on the Food Network, not only for her recipes but for the views of her fabulous house, barn and garden. Her cookbooks are also a favorite, for the beautiful photography, and delicious recipes.

This recipe is one of the most popular of the Barefoot Contessa, which was Ina's shop in the Hampton's. As I have mentioned on this blog in the past, this recipe is delicious and outrageous because the recipe makes enough brownies for an army, 20 huge brownies or 40 regular size.

Outrageous brownies
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 pound butter
1 pound plus 12 oz of semisweet chips
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 extra large eggs
3 tablespoons of coffee granules
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup sugar
11/4 cup of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

3 cups of walnuts optional



Eggs, sugar, vanilla, coffee

Egg mixture, melted chocolate mixture and flour

All ingredients, mixed and waiting for a pan

Raw batter

Too Hot to Handle!

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Butter and flour a 12x18x1 inch baking sheet

3. Melt butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.

4.Set aside to cool.

5. In a large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, coffee, vanilla. Do not beat. Set aside.

6. Stir slightly cooled chocolate into egg/sugar mixture, cool to room temperature.

7. In medium bowl, sift salt,flour and baking powder.

8. Add flour mixture to cooling chocolate mixture. Pour into baking sheet.

9. Bake 20 minutes, then tap pan on oven rack to release air bubbles. Bake another 15 minutes, test with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean, do not over bake. Allow to cool.

I hope you enjoy these! They are delicious and a favorite of all the brownie lovers in my life!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Taste Test Magnum Bars!!!!

via Mojo Savings

Have you tried the new Magnum ice cream bars? I am not usually an ice cream person, in fact I think I probably eat it about once a year. But I was told numerous times to run not walk to the nearest store to try these bars. I didn't, and then every time I turned on the TV there was a commercial for them. I thought perhaps I was being sent a message from the chocolate gods.

Recently I purchased my first box, the double chocolate with the layer of caramel in between. Oh my goodness, I was at a loss of words.

I wish that I had not let myself be persuaded because I cannot be in the house with these things, they are so DELICIOUS! The chocolate is crunchy yet creamy, the caramel is smooth and sweet yet has a hint of salt, pair that with the vanilla ice cream and you have a decadent treat!

To date I have only tried the double chocolate with the caramel sandwiched between the two layers. I could have eaten the entire box in one sitting, thank goodness there are only three in a box.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Taste Test Schokinag Extreme Dark Drinking Chocolate

Drinking Chocolate

 Schokinag (pronounced show-ca-nog) is a German chocolate company with 9 varieties of European Drinking Chocolates. Today I tested the Extreme Dark. I prefer plain drinking chocolate so that I can really taste the chocolate and savor its depth and flavor.

That being said, this drinking chocolate is spectacular! It is "extremely dark" as the label says and has an intense and rich flavor of dark chocolate. It is creamy and goes down smooth with a little bit of a  bitter chocolate finish. If you prefer a sweet hot drinking chocolate this is not the drink for you.

Ground Chocolate Pieces

Delicious dark chocolate drink

Friday, May 13, 2011

Chocolate Boxes on ebay!

Are you a chocolate box collector? Recently while searching eBay for chocolate pots these boxes came up. After a little more sleuthing I discovered these and many more. These are wooden boxes used to transport chocolate, and even a few antique bon bon boxes. I like the worn, rustic aspect of these. Although I did not purchase any of these I will be on the lookout for more!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Taste Test: American Heritage Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Add 2 Tablespoons of mix to water and whisk

The finished cup!

American Heritage Chocolate is made by the Mars Corporation using the recipe and ingredients that are authentic to the 17th Century. This was given to me as a gift from a friend that visited Colonial Williamsburg and I have seen it at several other historical sights.

The package contains chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter and spices. A serving is easily made, by boiling 4 ounces of water and adding 2 tablespoons of the mix. You whisk until the chocolate is melted and pour in cup to serve.

This hot chocolate is surprisingly rich considering it is made with water and has a delicious blend of spices, which add to the flavor and do not overpower it. I would recommend this if you like hot chocolate or even if you just wanted to see what a chocolate drink in the 17th century tasted like!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

As I Look Back...

As I look back on my life
I find myself wondering...
Did I remember to thank you
for all that you have done for me?
For all of the times you were by my side
to help me celebrate my successes
and accept my defeats?
Or for teaching me the value of hard work,
good judgement, courage, and honesty?
I wonder if I've ever thanked you
for the simple things...
The laughter, smiles, and quiet times we've shared?
If I have forgotten to express my gratitude
For any of these things,
I am thanking you now...
and I am hoping that you've known all along,
how very much you are loved and appreciated.
Author Unknown

Happy Mother's Day! I love you mom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cadbury Chocolate Bath Bliss

via Cadbury
Chocoholics rejoice! Today Cadbury announced it has joined forces with the Anatomicals cosmetic company, to create a new limited edition line of 3 bath products, to compliment their Dairy Milk Bliss line which launched last September. This line of bath products includes a bath cream, body butter and a body wash. It will be available at John Lewis and online at http://www.asos.com/ .

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Taste Test Tuesday: Chocolat Chaud Pierre Herme Recipe

I love to make my own drinking chocolate when I am not in a hurry or want to make a pot for more than one person. This is a recipe that I found on the Internet and adapted from Pierre Herme, who is a great chocolatier in Paris. Make sure to use a good bar of chocolate and one that is at least 65%. Also note, this is a small serving, not a jumbo cup as we are use to being served.

Chocolat Chaud

2-1/4 cups whole milk
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3-1/2 dark bittersweet chocolate, Valrhona, or Lindt, Vosges, or any other  finely chopped

In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the milk and sugar. Do not bring to a boil, just heat until little bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Add the chopped chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is dissolved and the mixture has thickened. Reduce the heat to very low. Blend for 5 minutes with an immersion mixer or whisk until thick and foamy. Be careful with your immersion blender, keep it under the liquid so that you do not get splashed with the hot liquid.
Makes: Four 6-ounce cups of hot chocolate.( adapted from Pierre Herme) Note: this is not his recipe, it is one that I referenced and made changes to suit my taste and what I had on hand.

Royal Wedding Groom Cake: McVities Biscuits

One of the Royal Wedding Cakes, what we would term a Grooms cake, was made for Prince William by McVitie's Cake Co. Princess Diana's personal chef, Darren Mc Grady use to make this cake for the Queen as well as Prince William. It was a beautiful Chocolate Biscuit Cake, made of Mcvities biscuits and other secret ingredients, to include 30 pounds of chocolate. You can find a copy of the recipe here.