Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Fantastic Fabulous Familiar Fudge

Fudge is a mainstay in holiday sweet treat platters for gift giving, and holiday parties.  If the fudge is not present, we will be asking; 'where is the fudge?'  We need a reliable recipe.  One we know will set perfect every time. I have the recipe! I have been using this recipe for 35+ years. I changed up the chocolate I use from just one chocolate to two chocolates; semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips. Enjoy making and tasting Fantastic Fabulous Familiar Fudge this holiday season!

Fantastic Fabulous Familiar Fudge Recipe:

1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract [pure if you have it]
pinch of salt
3/4 c. chopped walnuts

8x8 inch pan
Chill two hours before cutting.
Yields: 25 1" pieces

Measure out 1 1/2 cups each of semi-sweet chips and milk chocolate chips.

Place in medium saucepan with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk on medium low heat. Stir to mix together.  Add pinch of salt.  Stir to combine. Remove from heat when chocolate is totally melted.
Measure out 2 tsp. vanilla extract and 3/4 c. chopped walnuts.
Add vanilla and stir well.

Fold in walnuts.
Prepare 8x8 inch pan with parchment sprayed lightly with non-stick spray.
Spread fudge in 8x8 inch pan with spatula.
Chill in fridge for two hours.
Fudge is set and ready to cut.
Store in airtight container in fridge.
Rooney's new sweater in the works as we prepare for snow and cold temperatures.
Rooney soaking up some rays!  One of my favorite pictures of her.
Rooney cannot enjoy the fudge, and yet again she seems relaxed with the fudge aroma wafting through our home.  She can snack on her homemade pumpkin, peanut butter, cinnamon pup treats I have made her!

Enjoy Fantastic Fabulous Familiar Fudge this holiday season as you and yours prepare for the holidays and winter weather!

Monday, December 5, 2016

'Tis Chocolate Dipping Season

Biscotti is the plural form of biscotto.  The word originates from the Latin word biscoctus  meaning 'twice baked'.  Biscotti were twice baked, so that they would be dry and then could be stored for long periods of time.  Country of origin is Italy.  A delicious crisp cookie with fruit and/or nuts included into the batter.  They can be dunked to soften for more gentle chewing also.  I find biscotti delightful, and I am glad I have learned to make them.  Biscotti looks terrific on a cookie platter by themselves and looks gorgeous surrounded by an assortment of other cookies on a cookie platter for a party!

Vanilla Cherry Biscotti:

6 Tbsp. Butter [softened]
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 c. flour
1 c. dried cherries

Oven temperature 350 degrees to bake for 25 minutes for the first baking.
Oven temperature for second baking is 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
Yields: 12-18 biscotti depending on how thin or thick you slice them.

Cream butter and sugar together.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt together.

Add eggs to butter and sugar, and blend well.

Add flour and continue blending until dry ingredients are well incorporated.

Measure one cup of dried cherries.  Turn off mixer, and mix cherries in batter by hand with a spoon.

Divide dough in half evenly.  On parchment lined baking pans form biscotti loaves with hands moistened with cool water.  Rewet hands as needed to form loaves.  Batter will seem dry and this is good.  Makes for better biscotti.  Keeping hands moist will help you form the loaves together with ease.  If any dried cherries fall out, just re add them to the top of the biscotti loaves and gently pat them to stay.

Cooking time is 25 minutes or until loaves when gently pressed in the center bounce back.

Loaves should cool slightly for twenty minutes before slicing.  Slice biscotti 1/2"-3/4" thick, and place back on baking sheet.  Return biscotti to a 325 degree oven for ten minutes.

Make sure biscotti is totally cooled before dipping one end in milk chocolate which has been melted in a double boiler or glass heat-proof bowl over a slow boiling saucepan of hot water.  Place dipped biscotti on plate or cooling rack until chocolate is set.  You can then move biscotti to a platter for your party or an airtight container for storage.

Rooney not being able to have chocolate does not stop her from enjoying the aroma that melting chocolate creates in our home, nor from enjoying the smell the baking Vanilla Cherry Biscotti creates.  With all the baking we do this time of year, the smells that waft through our homes is enjoyable.  Everyone and every canine seems happier when baking of sweet treats is happening in our ovens!

Enjoy Vanilla Cherry Biscotti dipped in milk chocolate this week,

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Dear Chocolate; I love you....

I love chocolate! Chocolate is elegant and humble.  I think that is my favorite characteristics about chocolate; elegant and humble.  There are so many flavors that try to compete, and yet chocolate holds its own.  It does not need to advertise.  We would search and travel to the ends of the earth for chocolate. It comes in all different kinds and in all different recipes, and just when we think we have all the ways to prepare and enjoy chocolate, yet another way comes upon us and we always try it and we always like it.  Here is a marvelous and tender brownie from scratch you are going to love.

Four Chocolate Brownies:

1/2 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 c milk chocolate chips

Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
Pan size 8"x8"
Yields 25 bite size brownies

Put 1/2 c butter and 1 c sugar in medium saucepan on medium low temperature.

Stir occasionally, remove from heat when butter is melted, stir to blend well. Add unsweetened cocoa powder and stir well. Add vanilla extract and stir well.

Place saucepan over bowl of ice to bring batter temperature down before adding eggs.

Line 8x8 pan with parchment.

Add eggs and stir well.

Sift flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in saucepan.

Measure 1/4 c semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips.

Add chips into brownie batter. Stir well. Spread brownie batter in 8x8 pan using a spatula.

Place in 350 degree preheated oven for 22-25 minutes.  Outer edges will test done and center will remain soft.  Do not over bake.

Cool brownies thoroughly before lifting them out of pan using edges of parchment.  Do run a knife gently on edges where parchment paper does not cover the edges of the pan. Just in case!

Cool brownies in the fridge for one hour before cutting into 25 bite-sized pieces.

Chop white chocolate and place in top of double boiler or glass bowl on saucepan of low boiling water.

Dip edges of brownies in melted white chocolate and place on a plate to set.

After white chocolate sets, you can move them to a serving platter or air-tight container with lid to keep them fresh.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  Fresh and tender brownies with four times the chocolate power!

And Rooney says if she could have chocolate, she is sure she would enjoy brownies with four times the chocolate power.

Enjoy Four Chocolate Brownies this week!