Archive | chocolate

Chocolate Babka

If it were not for Downton Abbey, I wouldn’t have known that ironing newsprint sets the ink, leaving one’s hands stain-free. Then again, I have yet to test this method. My last newspaper print subscription ended more than half a decade ago.  J’s mom, on the other hand, still gets her daily Globe and Mail. I kind of miss it and I must admit, I don’t think I’ll mind having stained fingers. I miss reading the papers and holding them in front of me on a table, a guilty pleasure I still do at coffee shops and from my occasional  purchase. They remind me of simpler times.

I remember being six or seven, eagerly awaiting the newspaper and milk delivery guys on summer mornings at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would usually be found watering the red, pink, yellow and orange daisies along the curved driveway in front of the house. I would sit on, what seemed to me then were, always impeccably-clean mustard-colored stone doorsteps. My grandfather would either be typing away in the office, or busy attending to some concerns in the community (he was the head of a theological seminary then).  The glass jug of freshly pasteurized carabao’s milk from the nearby dairy farm would usually arrive first and I would carry it straight to the kitchen. It’s a dairy treat that’s not just for drinking, but also for eating —  it’s poured over fried or steamed jasmine rice and sprinkled with rock salt, a delicious combination I tell you. As for the newspaper, I would take it to the dining table and everyone would have their piece of it once breakfast was ready. I took the comics section, with Garfield and Dennis the Menace. Breakfast conversations were a mix of chatter about the headlines, politics, crime, sports (oh, how Filipinos love their basketball), and everything and anything that’s going on with us and the community. Oftentimes, my conversational contributions were about my new jokes, new “inventions”, and a rough idea of where my friends and I will go that day, and what food we’re taking for the lunch. There were no table-side electronic gadgets that demanded attention then, so everyone talked and read.

W (J’s mom) shares her newspapers every now and then, when there’s something interesting to read (we don’t live close enough to share papers reguarly), like the 2-page spread of the different FIFA teams and the match schedules. She’ll sometimes bring a newspaper clipping of a recipe she thinks we’ll enjoy and would have otherwise missed, like this chocolate babka. She gave it to us on a Thursday night and after quickly going through it, I decided to make it the next evening. Saturdays being our cleaning days, I go for recipes I can make ahead on Friday nights. This fits the criteria perfectly.

Chocolate Babka

In the morning, all that was left to do were the egg wash and the crumble topping while the oven is preheating.

The scent of chocolate melting between layers of dough makes its way from the kitchen to adjacent rooms after the 30-minute mark. By the time the oven beeps and you’ve been intoxicated by the baking aromas, you’ll meet an impressive-looking golden brown loaf once you open the oven. It really is a stunner.

Sliced Chocolate Babka

However, don’t start calling every one  just yet. It is best to  delay (every)one’s gratification and let it cool for a bit to set the chocolate, or it would be oozing everywhere when you try to slice it. It is truly worth the wait and can melt any morning grumpiness.

If you want to take it one chocolate step further, spread Nutella on a slice. [And know what else this would be good for? French toast.]

The length of the recipe looks daunting, but just take a deep breath and read through it carefully. There’s nothing complicated and with a little bit of patience. you can do it. I’ve included a lot of photos below to guide you through the different processes, which I hope would help.

I like this tradition of passing on recipes, from J’s mom, to us, then to you. This turned out to be a lovely and special breakfast for us, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, too.

If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. :-)

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Posted in baking, bread, breakfast, brunch, chocolate, coffee buddy, make-ahead, snacks8 Comments

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse

This dessert-turned-quick-experiment was brought to you by Jens’ chocolate mousse craving and his Greek yogurt substitution idea. I’m always happy to oblige his sweet tooth and even more so because we were both feeling under the weather, with him suffering most of the flu symptoms. After a trip out of town combined with the exhaustion from cycling over 100 kilometers, neither of us had any sense to check our dairy essentials for expiration dates. It turned out our heavy cream had gone bad, so he suggested using the only alternative we had left aside from milk: Greek yogurt. A quick online search proved that it was doable, so I trusted my kitchen instincts and went with it. Experience has shown that I do get good results when we collaborate on food this way, plus we had a chocolate bar on standby in case this produced an inedible pudding. I knew I had to add more sugar to counteract the sour yogurt, but when I tasted the whipped chocolate and yogurt mixture, it didn’t really need any more than a touch. An additional tablespoon was just the right amount of sweetness boost it needed.

As much as I love Greek yogurt, it doesn’t necessarily go with chocolate and I did cringe at the thought of combining them. Thankfully, my fears dissolved with my first spoonful of the mousse. It had a deep chocolate flavor with hint a of orange and vanilla. We couldn’t tell there was yogurt in it at all, unless we really tried to look for the taste. We shared the rest of it with his folks for dinner the following day and it tasted even better then!

Chocolate Mousse with Greek Yogurt

A rich chocolate mousse goes exceptionally well with sweet blueberries. We’re lucky to be able to enjoy fresh ones in the summer and we take advantage of that as much as we can. The ones I took home from a BC Blueberry Council event were ginormous and almost as big as quarters! Mmm…I love the pop of fruit with the decadent mousse.

Chocolate Mousse with Greek Yogurt

I was a tiny bit concerned that the thick yogurt would weigh down the mousse, but it didn’t affect its fluffiness at all. It was still light and smooth, and ridiculously good as can be. Here’s to another successful experiment and dessert–thanks to the beau for yet another wacky and awesome idea!

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Posted in chocolate, dessert, experiments, fruits, original Gourmeted recipe, quick & easy3 Comments

Nutella Bomb Brownies

I’m going to try this or this blog will never be updated ever again: tapping away on the iPad (mini, which is perfect for typing with my small hands) at 2am in the morning with what might turn out to be… a post! I already finished drafting the recipe on Evernote earlier, as a gift to myself instead of brownies, after clearing the dining table and cleaning the kitchen. This is the kind of busy I’m in now. I’ve never stopped cooking or baking, but producing content for the site is a different story altogether. And what about photos taken with the DLSR, you ask? I could take one tomorrow IF there’s any left by the time I get around to it. For now, iPhone 4S photos would do. Please bear with me as I return from my writing slumber.

Now these brownies.

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Do we need another one of these recipes, really? For Nutella Day, why not? It is, after all, the sweet and equally evil equivalent of bacon. I picked a drier and fluffier brownie from Alice Medrich’s book as the carrier of the gooey fudge “bombs” of Nutella, making sure to decrease the amount of sugar to accommodate the spread’s sweetness.

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The resulting brownie has pockets of Nutella in every bite.

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Posted in baking, cakes, chocolate, dessert, snacks0 Comments

Triple Chocolate Cookies with Cherries & Cashews

Between us two, Jens & I consume a fair amount of chocolate on a daily basis. When they’re not in the form of bars, truffles or chunks, they are in something baked. These brownies have certainly been on rotation to help keep up with our quota, but there’s always room for more.

Triple ChocolateCookies with Cherries & Cashews

I had my heart set on this cookie recipe since I got Alice Medrich’s book last year. What’s stopped me from making them was the need to refer to another page in another section of the book for the chocolate wafer recipe. This stresses me so.

One evening a couple of weeks ago, the need to bake something chocolate-y overruled my cookbook pet peeve. I just wish it happened sooner. The original recipe called for pecans and sour cherries, but I stuck to what we had on hand at midnight: cashews and dried bing cherries. J would have preferred hazelnuts, but we were out of them, too.

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Posted in baking, chocolate, cookies, quick & easy4 Comments

Easy Fudge Brownies

While it’s a no-holiday-rush week for us Canadians this week (unless you’re getting ready to shop in the US like me!), I feel the “pain” of my friends in the US as Turkey Day approaches. Been there, done that last month. I love the holiday shared with friends and family, but it could be so stressful and tiring when you forget to come up for air and remind yourself that everything will turn out fine.

Speaking of coming up for air, if you won’t be one of the busy bees who will be knee deep in the kitchen for hours, why not make this for your Thanksgiving dinner host?

Fudge Brownies

Drop it off a day or two before the big day and tell them you appreciate all their efforts. Trust me, these babies and a glass of wine are better than a dehydrating dose of Red Bull. And the best thing about this recipe is that you have brownies in under an hour — including a prep time of less than 15 minutes! Using just one bowl and wooden spoon!

Even if you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, I mean really…who needs a reason to bake brownies?

Fudge Brownies

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Posted in baking, chocolate, dessert9 Comments

Wordless Wednesday | Sipping Chocolate

Posted in chocolate, wordless Wednesday1 Comment

Chocolate Donuts and a Donut Pan Giveaway!

Oh, boy. There are no excuses. I didn’t have time. The holidays just crept up on me and I didn’t even get a chance to do my annual holiday mail signup! I’ll set up a New Year’s one — that’s the plan. :) What little extra time I have, here it is…in Vegas before my flight back in the cold north.

I love my donut pan that’s about the size of a quarter baking sheet. I’ve always wanted to bake donuts, but my prior experience with a popular recipe I found online was a complete disaster. A bread is NOT a doughnut. These ones though were cake-y (my preference). They dry up after a day, BUT if you enjoy it the day of, it’s a pleasure to eat.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

And I did mention it’s baked, right? No need to deep fry!

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

I have to “blame” my fellow Leo, Tracy of Shutterbean.com for luring me with her donuts a few months ago. Hey, no regrets, I’m baking these babies again soon for the holidays. Perhaps I’ll try a more fruity version since I already have so much chocolate in mind.

Baked Chocolate Donuts with Mocha Frosting

The recipe came from the packaging of the donut pan, and I’m glad it worked out for me. Hope it does for you, too!

And I know what you’re thinking: “But I don’t have that pan, Joy!” So here’s what I’ll do: I’m giving a pan each to TWO lucky winners. ‘ll keep the rules simple: just leave a comment or (re)tweet this post, and I’ll be picking the 2 winners on the 27th of December. This is only open to those with US and Canada mailing addresses because shipping would be too expensive outside of North America. I feel so bad about this, but next time I’ll have something else for international readers.

Oh, and if you think the donut pan will be rarely used in your kitchen aside from donuts, fear not! Make donut shaped rice crispies, small portion donut-shaped brioche french toast with the hole filled up with fruits, donut-shaped granola bars, and so much more. I love “playing” with food, and this is no different. It won’t be a white elephant in your kitchen, I promise.

Hopefully I’ll post again before Christmas. :) HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Chocolate Cake Donuts
Adapted from the Norpro recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325°F with the rack in the middle. Spray a small donut pan with cooking oil.
  2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl, until thick, scraping the sides at least once.
  4. Combine milk and butter in a small bowl. Pour and combine with the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture in 3 increments, until smooth and soft.
  5. Fill donut pan 2/3 full for each donut. Bake for 8 minutes until the donut tops dome up. Cool in the tray propped on a cooling rack and carefully remove after 5 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  6. Frost with your choice of icing or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a lightly sweet treat.

Posted in baking, chocolate, coffee buddy, dessert, giveaways, snacks25 Comments

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Imagine this: It’s the middle of the night. The windows and door leading to the patio are open, the air is crisp, and you’re leisurely reading a book (the only time you have to do so is at odd hours of the eve) while you wait for something baking in the oven. Chocolate laced with summers of your childhood eating spoonfuls of peanut butter wafts in the air; something good’s almost ready. The timer beeps and you make your way to the kitchen to shush the persistent timekeeper. You open the oven door and the aroma of warm peanut butter cups makes you smile, and pause, before reaching out your mitt-covered hands. Helpless, you cross the fine line of reason and stupidity, immediately dunk a spoon — not even a knife — into the hot baking pan and taste it. Curses of euphoria and a shot back to reality ensues.

Hmm. That may or may not have been me. The tip of my tongue is  also not slightly numb right now. {big grin}

I could blame it all on this: A few weeks ago, I sat in the makeshift large conference hall at Theo Chocolate in Seattle for IFBC on a Sunday morning, listening to Shauna of Glutenfreegirl.com as she talked about blogging for specialized diets. Even from afar you can tell that this woman lives with her half glass full. Instead of soliloquies of I-can’t’s, her approach to celiac disease is inclusive: What can I eat? That talk was huge for me and I was drawn to learn more about gluten-free cooking and baking. I just started and I’m hooked.

Say hello to these peanut butter brownies. I would devour a whole pan of it if I knew I could live after such gluttony.

You know you want some. Wink, wink.

Clearly, as someone who can choose not to be on any special diet, I was the one missing out! These are insanely good. Will you forgive me if I keep baking GF brownies like this for a while?

I have Shauna (Gluten Free Girl) and Danny (the Chef) to thank for generously sharing the recipe for this. I’m happy in the belly. :-) Their 2nd book is just hot off the press and I highly recommend you check it out, whether you’re on a GF diet or not. Take a look at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes and if you pick up a copy you’ll find these brownies!

I’m eagerly awaiting for my package from Amazon so I can try more recipes and tell you about them. For now, this Wordless Wednesday turned out to be very wordy. Ah!

Posted in baking, books and publications, chocolate5 Comments

Recipe for German Chocolate Cake and our Olympic Mitts Winner

Olympic Mitts

Remember about our Olympic giveaway last month? After compiling all entries from comments, Facebook fans, and (mostly) newsletter subscribers, we ended up with 442 entries. Whew!

So what I did to randomize the process in the fairest manner I could make it, is to have all entries on a spreadsheet.

There were double entries for the subscribers and fans, and single ones for the comments–as stated in the ‘rules’.

I added an additional column for the randomized sequence, which I generated through the Sequence Generator. Then I copied the resulting list into the new column, so that each entry will have a random number assigned to it. Sounds fancy, but it’s really simple.

I picked one random winner through Random.org again…and the winner is — Shawna, a longtime newsletter subscriber!

You will receive an email from me. :) Congratulations!!!

- – – – – – – – -

Now let’s move on to the German Chocolate Cake that doesn’t have anything to do with Germany, but has everything to do with chocolate and caramel decadence.

German Chocolate Cake

I'm sorry if I just met you! Clearly it's a sign that I should make up for all the lost years and make you every month. (Good thing my doctor doesn't read this blog.)

Hail be to Samuel German who created Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate for the Baker’s Chocolate brand, for which this recipe was created. Got it? Eventually the ‘s was dropped. [This convolution reminds me of none other than Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Mmm...]

So you see friends, if you are like me, you can stop wondering why in the world Germans have some coconut in their cake. Excuse my ignorance. The first time I ate this cake was right after I baked it. No joke.

German Chocolate Cake

It might not look like much, that light brown on dark brown action. I have to say, I have mistakenly underestimated this cake before I took a bite.

Was I the last person to discover this cake? It’s okay. You can tell me the truth. I’m totally fine with that. As long as you think it’s completely alright that I make this several times a month to make you jealous until you make it yourself. If not, head over to Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle which, according to @Lovelylanvin, makes a really good one!

Because. What could be better than moist and fluffy chocolate cake layers with custard-y caramel filling with coconut and pecans?

German Chocolate Cake

Four of my most favorite things in the world--chocolate cake + condensed milk cooked with eggs + coconut + pecans--in one life-altering bite.

I just could not stop eating it. I blame the cake entirely. I haven’t been on a scale since this cake was baked, but I’ve gone back to running regularly. That’s how guilty I feel, but oh so good! It’s a required indulgence.

The recipe for this cake was adapted from this lovely, lovely book:

Rose’s Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum (she blogs!)

I love Rose’s meticulously detailed recipes that hold your hand through the whole process of preparing, baking, and assembling the cakes. I’ve made a few already from this book and I highly recommend it! No, this is not your last-minute go-to cake book. You need to plan ahead, not only to read the recipe carefully and check that you have all the ingredients, but also for making the cakes. They’re not quick fixes, but you will be rewarded with cakes that you didn’t think could possibly come from your own kitchen. They are indeed heavenly…amazing! cakes.
Go get it if you really want to bake cakes that impress.

Get the recipe for the German Chocolate here (PDF download included)

Posted in baking, books and publications, cakes, chocolate, coffee buddy, contest, dessert13 Comments

Chocolate Easter Eggs

I’m not the type to post about Easter ‘food’. It’s not that I don’t celebrate it, it’s just…wow, I can’t even explain why there hasn’t been an Easter post in all of the 2+ year history of this website. I think things just get got too busy. However, things took a different turn. I got so inspired by Megan’s post yesterday that I postponed sleep for another day just to make, and post about, these:

Chocolate Easter Eggs

Because I’m a complete sucker for Kinder Surprise Eggs. I used to mail them to friends in the US, because apparently they’re banned there. [Fact: It is still banned and the US authorities urged Canadians to stop sending them as gifts last holiday season.]

Somewhere in one of my bins in the garage lies my Disney World of Kinder Surprise Toy collection.

….

….

Happy April Fool’s!

Who am I kidding? That toy collection does exist and I amassed them in my ’20s. I can’t believe I just told you that.

For a period in my life I dreamed of being a Kinder Suprise Toy designer. What? No, I wasn’t on something, I promise. I wasn’t kidding when I said I have so many of the toys. Love ‘em. And the chocolate? Milk chocolate and white chocolate egg “shells” get gobbled up in seconds. So when I saw that Megan made Kinder-esque eggs, there was absolutely no way that I can wait to try my hand at that. Even for one night. So I did what any food-crazy person would do: Labor. Until. Four. In the morning. So that I could somehow be a step closer to that dream (kind of).

Chocolate Easter Eggs

I always seem to want to make things at hours past midnight, so I had no choice but to use whatever chocolate I had because of the time. I had dark, milk and white Callebaut bars, and decided to go with dark and white so the shell won’t be too sweet. SO, SO YUMMY.

The Road to Pink and Green

It felt like the joke was on me last night. I was trying to formulate a way to make Martha and Not Martha‘s methods (I love saying both in one sentence) easier.

Do you know why there aren’t any plastic eggs chocolate egg tutorial? Because they don’t work. Imaginary varicose veins popped up after standing up to wash, wipe, and grease a dozen plastic eggs of different sizes, and then coat and cool four sets of them with chocolate, only to find out that the only way I was going to get them out is to scrape them. That kind of defeats the purpose of having the mold, doesn’t it? Boy, oh boy.

Eight of the plastic eggs (which were purchased ever so dutifully by my dear brother, who will go to stores if he isn’t busy doting on his two boys) came in plastic egg cartons. Even if I did say, Why the heck did you have to buy all those? I am grateful for that plastic tray. It was a lifesaver for the next “plan”.

So I got to Plan B, which wasn’t really part of the plan because I was trying to find the easy button, remember? After midnight, when you decide to take on a project like this: DON’T be like me! I didn’t have the gadget to semi-cleanly cut the egg’s butt (I call it that, no foolin’ around). I did what any self-respecting crafter would do: improvise.

To illustrate how I do it the rudimentary way, which I think is my punishment for looking for a way out of the well-known path, here is a little video for you:

Preparing an egg to make chocolate (Easter) eggs from Gourmeted on Vimeo.

It’s the best way to separate the whites from the yellows.

I’m. just. kidding.

After emptying out the raw egg, you wash the egg shells and boil them in water for about 10 minutes. I added about a teaspoon of vinegar. Make sure each shell is submerged by putting water inside it. To fish them out of the water after boiling, use a slatted spoon to carefully empty out the water from each, and rinse with warm water. At this point, you might want to (ok, stay with me here, don’t get grossed out) stick your pinkie finger in the egg and scratch off the white membrane that lines the egg shell. It takes some patience. Let the shells dry or put back in the pan with fresh water with food color, a little vinegar, and then boil. I attempted to use beets to color it, but it didn’t work for me. Maybe if I just painted it with the beet juice it would have been better, I am not sure. Suggestions, eggsperts? [Hah, corny.]

I dried out the egg shells, hole side down and propped on chopsticks held in a standing glass. Once dried, I put about 2 tablespoons of melted Callebaut dark chocolate into each egg shell, and turned it around to coat the insides. I drained the extra liquid chocolate back into my bowl of melted chocolate, and immediately placed the coated egg in the freezer. After coating and cooling chocolate, I proceeded for the 2nd coating of white chocolate. Same procedure as with the dark, but you may experience some dark chocolate melting. it’s ok.

** Before you proceed, I should warn you now that the photos you are about to see are awful. I used my point and shoot camera, without flash and hand-held to quickly shoot stuff as I go. Oh…and my method? It’s not neat at all. I need to find another solution next time.

Making the "grass"Melting the chocolate. I went for easy: I chopped the chocolate, placed half a cup in a small bowl and heated that in the microwave for 30 seconds before stirring. Place back for another 20 seconds. And then added another half a cup of chocolate to melt in the bowl. I made cup-batches at a time because it gets thick. Megan used another kind of chocolate and used thinners as well (which I have never heard of until I read her post (learn something new!)). Use what your preferred chocolate method is.

As soon as I finished dumping the excess chocolate, I put each egg shell again in the freezer. While the chocolate solidifies, I added green food coloring to white chocolate. Green = grass. To imitate the texture of grass, I placed parchment paper in the plastic egg holder and poured chocolate. I put it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to let it harden a little, but still soft enough to manipulate.

Basically, the concept is to use this molded “grass” to seal the holes at the bottom of the shells, glued by more green white chocolate:


Easter egg toupee

Then cap off with the chocolate “grass”. You can carefully sculpt it if you like. You can also add more melted green chocolate for some artistic effect. To clean up messes, use a clean damp cloth or paper towel.

The "grass"

Place the eggs again in the freezer, and once solid, place at room temperature to “dry”. The egg shells might be initially moist due to the temperature change and humidity.

In the end, after all that hard work, it really is so pretty to look at them!

Chocolate Easter Eggs

These eggs were hard to crack! I don’t think it’s that suitable for kids. It’s more for adults.I was initially going to put wine candies inside but I accidentally burned the batch I made last night. Whoopsie. Next time!

Until then… Hope you all have a fun (extended/long/Easter) weekend!

Posted in chocolate, experiments, sweets4 Comments