Archive for the ‘Chocolates’ Category

I am really excited about doing this post. These little bonbons are so cute and super festive that it will definitely be the star of your party.

I saw this on Nigella Lawson’s show and I just couldn’t wait to try it out. The recipe calls for using left over or freshly cooked Christmas pudding. Then mix it up with some luscious melted chocolate, golden syrup and a little sherry to give that merry effect. This is truly lovely and will make you feel like a rock star with your guest this holiday. If you can’t find golden syrup at your local grocery store then don’t worry simply substitute it with some clear honey. It will be fine. I also tried substituting it with marmalade jam and it was heavenly. You simply can’t resist taking a bite out of this baby Christmas pudding. It’s all wrapped up in luxury chocolate and decked up with tiny Christmas hollies.

So if you’re hosting a party this holiday how about adding this to your menu or if you are going out this holiday and getting all dressed up in your sparkly new party dress then bring these along for your host or hostess.

Christmas Pudding Bonbons

125g best-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
350g leftover, or freshly cooked and cooled, Christmas pudding
60ml sherry
2 tablespoons golden syrup or you can use honey or even marmalade jam
To decorate
200g melted dark chocolate
100g melted white chocolate
A small amount of tinted marzipan in red and green. Shape them up to look like hollies

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Crumble or break up the cold Christmas pudding into a bowl like how you would if you’re making cake balls. Then add in the sherry and golden syrup and mix it well.

Now, pour in the melted dark chocolate to the pudding mixture. Mix it up nicely till you get a smooth paste. Then grab a melon baller or use a 1 tbs measuring spoon as a guide and scoop to form balls of the mixture and place them on a line baking sheet and let it rest in the refrigerator till it firms up.

Now, here comes the fun part. Decorating them!
Dip the balls in melted dark chocolate using a fork or skewer to hold them. Then set it back on to the parchment and let it rest in the fridge for 5 minutes or till the chocolate is set.

Place the melted white chocolate in a piping and snip off the tip. Piped it on the top of the bonbons to replicate the Christmas pudding sauce. Then top it with the hollies made out of marzipan to complete the look.

 Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson



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Pink Blossom Cake

Sometimes the best gifts are the ones you make or the ones you bake. It’s the gifts that comes from the heart are the ones that matters the most. And it doesn’t hurt if the gift you’re giving is something sweet and covered in delicious frosting too. Like this cute little cake.

I baked this cake for a friend awhile back, it’s a vanilla cake layered in double chocolate fudge. I wanted to make a small cake just because I know she would love it. So, I bake it in a six inch round cake pan in three layers, and then filled each layer with some double chocolate fudge. Then, I frosted the entire cake with chocolate buttercream.

Using ready-made fondant tinted in pale pink, I cut out some tiny blossoms using a plastic cutter and then, piped some vanilla buttercream in the middle. Then, I decorated all over the top of the cake with the tiny blossoms. I also tinted some of the fondant in dark green for the leaves. After it all came together, I realize that the cake now looks like a tiny flower pot. Which wasn’t part of my original plan but somehow it worked.  At least, I think so. This tiny little cake would really brighten up just about anyone’s day on any occasion. Let them know you care.


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Holiday Pretzel Logs

I love checking out those gourmet chocolate dip pretzels. You know the ones that you can get at some fancy candy store. They do look so fabulous don’t they? All dressed up in rich expensive chocolate then rolled in colorful sprinkles. I just can’t resist that beauty!

So, instead of just buying some of these at that fancy store I thought it would be better to just make some at home since I already have the ingredients in my pantry.

All you need is a bag of pretzel logs, some good quality chocolate (you can use dark, milk or white chocolate) and a whole lot of holiday sprinkles. Now, dip the pretzels in some melted chocolate and then sprinkle or roll on the holiday theme sprinkles. When you’re done getting your hands all messy, just place the chocolate dipped pretzels in the fridge for a couple of minutes or until it hardens. Serve this on your favorite platter when your guests arrive. But in the meantime you can store it in a cookie jar or you can also use a cookie tin.

This is a really fun way to entertain your guests this holiday season and it will definitely set the festive mood. These cute little logs are also prefect for giving away to your friends and family this season. Enjoy!

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Candied Orange Peel

Wouldn’t it be really cliché if I said that making candied orange peel is so much fun?
Well, it is.

You can really get a lot of use out of an orange peel. You can make really pretty desserts out of these pretty peels like my previous post on chocolate orange marble cake. So, for this post I wanted to share with you three different variations that I think you might like.

The first one, I did the regular glaze candied peel,

and then for the second version I did a crystalized candied peel which is coated in granulated sugar for that shimmering look.

And finally for the third version I dipped it in dark chocolate.

These candied peels are very versatile, aside from snacking these or having it as an after dinner sweet with your coffee, you can use this to impress your guest and also accessorize your desserts. So, the next time you make freshly squeezed orange juice, think twice before you toss out the peel.

Candied Orange Peel

4 large orange peels cut into 1/4 inch strips

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup water

Wash and dry the oranges well.

Place the orange peel in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring it to a boil over high heat for about 20 minutes. Drain the peel.  Repeat this process three more times.

In medium saucepan, combine one cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. Bring the syrup to a simmer, then place the peels in the pan and cook it further for an hour, or until you can almost see through the peels. Remove the peels from the syrup and place in on a rack to cool and drain. Allow the peels to dry to a couple of hours or overnight.

For the crystalized version: roll the peels in granulated sugar.

For the chocolate version: Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler. Then dip the candied orange peels in the chocolate. (use good quality dark chocolate)

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Lately, I have been toying with different ideas on what to bake this season. There are many beautiful fall flavors this season that are all very comforting with rich spice and very intoxicating aroma and yet, somehow I decided to go with Nigella Lawson’s chocolate raspberry pavlova. I know that this has nothing to do with my whole fall flavor them. But for me, just one bite of this babies makes me fell all warm and fuzzy inside. Which I think it’s the whole point. I just couldn’t help but make this over the weekend.

I did however make two small changes (variation):
1.  I made individual ones instead of making a whole pavlova.
2.  I substitute the whipped cream for vanilla ice cream.

 I have to say how much I love the whole chocolate and raspberry pair in this pretty little dessert. They do play very well together and I wouldn’t change that at all.

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Chocolate Waffle Cookie

How cute are these babies?

These are really fun to make if you have a waffle iron. They are not as light as your conventional waffle, but rather a little bit dense with a touch of crunch. I usually like making this around the holiday time; and these cookies makes really good gifts for friends and family. This is one of my favorite cookie recipe from Martha Stewart. I just love how easy it is to put together.  Instead of using my electric mixer as directed, I simple place all the ingredients in my blender and blitz away. Then let the batter rest for 30minutes in the refrigerator before using.

You can pretty much try this recipe with different variation besides chocolate, I have recently tried one with vanilla and also some cinnamon and nutmeg and I have even tried a pumpkin spice version. It’s all very delicious. Personally, I love this one the best.(big surprise right?) The chocolate makes this somewhat dense. Try using a good quality cocoa that will bring out the flavor of this babies.  Don’t skip chocolate glaze; it’s the best part and really makes a lot of difference in flavor and the appearance of this cookie.

Chocolate Waffle Cookie  adapted from Martha Stewart

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus 2 tablespoons for icing
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Vegetable oil cooking spray

1. Melt chocolate with 1 cup butter (2 sticks) in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly.
2. Put eggs, vanilla, and granulated sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in chocolate mixture, salt, cinnamon, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, and the flour.
3. Heat a waffle iron until hot. Lightly coat grids with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter onto center of each waffle-iron square to make 1 1/2-inch rounds. Close cover; cook until set, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, bottom sides up. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter, coating grids with cooking spray after each batch.
4 .Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add confectioners’ sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons cocoa powder; stir until smooth. Stir in milk.
5. Gently dip 1 surface of each cookie in icing so that just the waffle lines (not gaps) are coated. Repeat with remaining cookies and icing. Transfer to wire racks; let stand until set, about 10 minutes. Dust iced surfaces of cookies with confectioner’s sugar. Cookies can be stored in single layers in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

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So, my obsession with zucchini continues. I have been experimenting with the different possibilities of using this pretty green summer squash. And the possibilities are endless.

I have never tried making brownies with zucchinis in it before and I have been toying with this idea for a while now.

 This is a great way for you to use up your left over zucchini and it is also a good way to sneak in zucchinis to feed those picky eaters.

Let me just say that when making these; don’t be alarm if you find that the batter starts out dry. Just relax and add in the grated zucchini which would then, magically releases its liquid to moisten the batter right away.

This brownie may not be chewy in texture but instead, it’s very light and moist. It’s so good and somewhat healthy you won’t even miss the frosting.

Chocolate-Zucchini Brownie

1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×8 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the melted butter, sour cream, sugars and vanilla until well blended.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. The mixture will appear slightly dry or stiff but don’t worry just fold in the grated zucchini. This would then release its moisture to the batter. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

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Zucchini has become one of my favorite fresh ingredients to play with this summer. I love it roasted in salads, grilled in pasta, baked in pies and it is crazy good when paired with chocolate. I have been spending way too much time playing around with the different the types of recipes for zucchini breads lately, some with chocolate and some without. Personally, I vote for the ones with the chocolate. It doesn’t really matter if you use milk or dark chocolate. Either way it is perfect. I also threw in some fresh blueberries into the mix and it turned out amazing. I prefer mine fresh out of the oven with a tall glass of ice tea. Then again, having a cold slice of this the next day still makes me a happy girl.

Zucchini Bread with Chocolate and Blueberries

1 large eggs
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1  ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease and flour one 8×4 inch loaf pans

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, apple sauce, sour cream and vanilla. Then add in the grated zucchini. And that’s the wet ingredients.

Combine the dry ingredients together, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, as well as chocolate chips and fresh blueberries. Stir this into the wet mixture. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan.

Bake for 60 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

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I never knew that making these babies could be so much fun and easy. It makes me wonder why I haven’t made them before.  

I wanted to try making these with only 4 ingredients, since that was what I had in my pantry. I love the depth of  the dark chocolate in this recipe and somehow it makes me  feel less guilty eating them. I also made an extra batch of these for my next cookie project. But for now, here is the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

2 cups dark chocolate

For the filling:

1/2 cup crunchy organic peanut butter

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup chocolate sandwiched cookie crumbs

Pinch of salt

Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler.

Mix together the peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, cookie crumbs and salt together.

Working one at a time, pour a teaspoon of melted chocolate into each mini paper cups. Use a small pastry brush to coat the inside with chocolate, making sure the chocolate is thick and there are no gaps. Place the chocolate-covered liners in the refrigerator to firm up for about 5 minutes.

Then fill in with a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture. Pressing down gently to make sure the paste is evenly distributed. Then cover the cups with remaining melted chocolate, spreading carefully so that none of the peanut butter can be seen. Then, refrigerate until set for 10 minutes.

Makes about 20 cups

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