Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

When I feel like indulging myself in chocolate, I tend to rely on this recipe. It’s fast, it’s simple and it’s extremely tasty.

What you’ll need:

2 cups of Whole Milk

2/3 cup of Sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

pinch of salt

1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2.5 ounces of Ghirardelli Chocolate (60%)

Whipped cream

shaved chocolate

1 deep dish pie crust (the frozen kind is what I use, there’s no shame in doing so)

Our misenplace today will involve baking our premade pie shells. First preheat the oven to 325*. Next fill the empty pie shells with dry beans to stop the pie shells from puffing up. Were going to bake the pie shells for about 15 minutes, being careful not to over bake the pie shells.

After the 15 minutes are up, check the pies, you should notice browning on the crust, that’s a good indicator to tell if the pie crusts are finished or not. Next remove the pies from the oven and pour off the beans, some beans may require some coercing to come out of the crust, but they should come out easy.

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup of milk, 2/3 sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and egg.

Mix the ingredients until combined with a whisk.

set the mixture aside.

In a saucepan, add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk.

Gently heat the milk on low temperature until you see bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan.

Pour the heated milk into the milk/cocoa mixture very slowly and gradually, making sure to whisk the mixture constantly.

Pour this mixture back into the saucepan that we used to heat the milk earlier. Cook on medium until the mixture becomes very thick. Again, making sure to constantly stir the mixture to prevent it from burning. When the mixture thickens, turn the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes.

Pour the mixture into the prebaked pie shell and smooth the mixture evenly.

 Press plastic wrap directly onto the chocolate pudding mixture, making sure every inch of covered with plastic wrap.

Allow this to cool completely, You can refrigerate overnight like I chose to do and continue this the next day.

The next day, remove the pie from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap.

the first thing you’ll notice is that the filling has thickened. This is what we are looking for.

Now top the pie with your whipped cream.

You don’t have to smooth it out perfectly, leave it messy, it’s rustic looking. Top this with the shaved chocolate.

Now you can of course place this back into the fridge and wait for dinner to come around or…

You can cut yourself a big slice and dust it with the same cocoa powder you used in the recipe and indulge in a chocolate induced coma.

Crystallized Ginger and Greek Yogurt Cake

Crystallized Ginger and Greek Yogurt Cake

It’s not often I find something that I can eat everyday without every becoming sick of it, some of those examples would be french bread pizza, Filipino Adobo, Cinnamon rolls, pancakes, my wife’s ham and egg sandwiches, coffee, and now this..

This cake involves two rather strange ingredients. The first being Crystallized ginger. A quick search of Google tells us that Crystallized ginger is ginger that’s cooked in a sugar/water mixture then coated in sugar.

If you don’t know what Greek yogurt is, it’s yogurt that’s been strained of any excess liquid, creating a yogurt that’s healthier and thicker.

what you’ll need:

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut in tiny pieces

Our misenplace would be taking the butter and the eggs out ahead of time, so they’ll be at room temperature when were ready to use them. Also, preheat your oven to 300* were going to cook this sucker slow and low.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the room temperature butter for approximately 4 minutes, allowing it to lighten in color.

Add the sugar, and the vanilla.

Mix until thoroughly combined together. Next, add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture.

The mixture will be thick, this is what we want. Now, were going to add the dry ingredients, so mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

Next were going to alternate between the flour mixture, and greek yogurt. So take 1/3 of the vanilla yogurt and add it to the butter mixture. Continue doing the alternations until both the Greek yogurt and the flour mixture are used up. Next add in the crystallized ginger to the cake mix.

Prepare your bundt pan by rubbing shortening (or butter) on the inside of the pan and then coating the shortening with flour. Pour the cake mix into the pan evenly. Once all of the mix as been placed into the pan, gently tap the bottom of the pan on a counter top to ensure no air bubbles will be present, and to make sure that cake was evenly distributed.

Bake this at 300 for 1 hour. Of course, if your oven is as evil is mine is, you can start checking for doneness at the 50 minute mark.

Once the 1 hour is up, remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for approximately 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack. When the cake as cooled completely (about 2 hours) place the wire rack into a sheet pan.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of milk and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Pour the icing over the cooled cake.

I just realized that i don’t have a picture of this cake on a plate, oh well, I guess i’ll just have to make another!! *wink*

Just a quick note, I’ve successfully made a variation of this cake, omitting the ginger and adding orange zest and juice. It was just as good, I think the variations would be endlesss. I’m going to add fresh strawberries next time.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I’m a strong, strong believer in romance and being romantic. However, if you’ve waited until the second week in February, on one specific day to show any sort of romance at all, then sadly, as the Internet Meme goes:

Okay, fine, you are not romantic, you show no signs of an attempt at romance all year-long, you are totally inept at being romantic. What do you do? You go out and you BUY something PRE-made. You don’t take the extra time to make something personal and shows that your significant other that you care.

Let me offer something to you that’s quick, easy, and fun to do.

What you need:

20 long stem Strawberries (usually available at this time of year)

60% Ghirardelli Chocolate chips

White Chocolate Chips

For our Mise En Place:

Carefully wash the Strawberries, making sure not to bruise them. In other words; show them some love.

Take your Chocolate chips and divide them into thirds. The easy way to do this is to weigh them, then divide mathematically by 3. Then to weigh out that amount. I unfortunately am not rich, I cannot afford a digital scale and have to measure by eyeball.

Add into a double broiler 2/3’s of the chocolate.

Turn on the heat, and allow the water to slowly come to a slight simmer. The lower the temperature the better. Cook the Chocolate until it’s melted fully.

Now remove the top half of the double broiler from the heat. Add in the last 1/3 of chips and stir until they are melted completely.

Now, were going to dip our strawberries into the chocolate. To do so, gather the leaves around the stem up, so none of them are hanging down. Dip the strawberry into the chocolate and give it a quick twist to make sure you have the maximum ratio of chocolate to strawberry. Remove the strawberry from the chocolate and shake off the excess, as you shake, you’ll see the stream of chocolate dripping of become less, and less.

Next, move the chocolate covered strawberry to a baking tray, covered with a silicon mat. (please try to use silicon, chocolate sticks to wax paper, believe it or not)

And

Repeat the process again with the white chocolate. Now heed this warning, white chocolate is extremely volatile. You must make sure no excess water is left after cleaning the double boiler, and you must make sure no steam from the  double boiler enters the compound. It will render your white chocolate into a big steaming pile of..well you get the idea.

Once the white chocolate is melted, you are going to drizzle the white chocolate over the chocolate covered strawberries. There are many ways to achieve this, but I really like the messy, rustic look of using a fork and waving it over the chocolate strawberries like you have lost your mind.  (you can imagine you are a wizard, casting a spell, if you’d like)

And

Just a quick note about the chocolate melting, The reason you are adding only 2/3rd’s of the chocolate, melting it, then adding another 1/3rd off the heat is because you are doing a sort of “quick temper” with the chocolate. Doing this will cause your chocolate to harden properly and give it a decent “snap” when bitten into. If you were to just chuck the chocolate into the pan and melt it, when you attempted to dry it, the chocolate would take days to become hard. and even then, you would not get a “snap” from the chocolate. Instead you’ll end up with a sort of glaze or topping that doesn’t really harden unless refrigerated or frozen.

Hopefully I helped someone out who is looking for a quick and easy way to say that they care about their loved ones, without involving too much of your time, and bankroll.

Apple Cake, the Bane of my existence.

Apple Cake, the Bane of my existence.

I’ve tried two times to make an apple cake, and so far I’ve failed to make a great apple cake.

My first attempt ended up a little something like this:

As you can see, the cake looks good. However, the bottom is charred beyond existence. I could have skipped this cake across the pond/lake if I tried.

So, if you know me well enough, I do not accept defeat so easily. In the spirit of trying to correct a problem, I chose another apple cake recipe and decided to try again.

To start:

Misenplace! (I always imagine a burly french chef yelling it)

Peel, core, chop your apples, sprinkle some lemon juice on them and toss them to coat. The lemon juice will prevent them from browning due to oxidation. Next, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and about 3 tablespoons of sugar and toss again.

Preheat your oven to 350*

Grease your 9X13 cake pan with your grease of choice.

Now to start our recipe were going to measure 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of vegetable oil. Combine in a large mixing bowl, then add 2 eggs (one at a time) making sure to thoroughly mix in the eggs each time.

Now add 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon each of salt and cinnamon. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

When I did this, the mixture became extremely thick and dense. I had to add another egg just to be able to stir it.

Now add the apples and mix until combined.

Pour the cake batter into your greased cake pan and level it out.

Sprinkle the top with one whole bag of Nestle’s Butterscotch chips.

Bake for 55 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.

After the cake is cooled, remove a nice sized chunk (for tasting purposes, of course). Next, drizzle your caramel sauce on top, and place a large dollop of whipped cream on top. Also, a cup of milk would be beneficial for you, considering how rich this is.

  • The toothpick method will be ineffective for checking doneness on this particular recipe because of the gooey topping. I believe this is where i went wrong on both recipes.
  • I used Golden Delicious apples for both recipes for consistency.
  • the cake batter was very thick, I’m not sure why.
  • I used a bottle caramel sauce but I suspect that homemade caramel sauce would be much, much better.
  • I actually ended up cooking my cake for one hour and 20 minutes, but I was using the toothpick method, and the darn thing kept coming out wet.
  • This credit goes to Noblepig.com. It’s her recipe and it’s gooooood.
Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Yes, yes, I know. Pumpkin pie in July!? You’ll be relieved to know that I am not crazy. I just enjoy food, and believe that certain foods should be enjoyed all year around, not just on holidays.

Here’s some history for you: Pumpkins are native to North America, The Native Americans grew and farmed the pumpkins even before the settlers arrived. However the settlers were not interested in the pumpkin, until they their first bad winter, where they lost about half of their population from scurvy and exposure to the elements. The Native Americans brought the pumpkins as gifts and showed the settlers many uses of the pumpkin. Roughly 30 years after that they were exported to France where the crafty French began using pumpkins as pie fillings. The English also got ahold of the Pumpkin, but used the pumpkin as a cooking vessel, stuffing it with apples, sugar and spices and then baking it.

The first account of actual pumpkin pie recipes in American cookbooks appears in 1796, in a cookbook called “American Cookery, by an American Orphan” by Ameila Simmons.

For the recipe, preheat your oven to 350* degrees

Now on to the Misenplace!!

Actually, the only misenplace in the recipe involves you opening cans and measuring! Open the pumpkin pie tin, and both of the evaporated milk tins and set them aside. using measuring spoons measure out 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

Beat 4 eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the tin of pureed pumpkin and mix until combined.

Now add 1 1/2 cups of white granulated sugar, and all of your measured spices to the pumpkin mixture. stir until combined

Add the 2 tins of evaporated milk we opened earlier to the pumpkin mixture gradually. The mixture will look a bit…soupy, don’t worry, it’s supposedly to look like that.

Place your pie crusts on a baking sheet, and fill your crusts almost to the top, leaving just about a 1/4-1/2 inch crust.

Bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a skewer in the center, if it comes out clean, the pies are finished.

Place on cooling rack, or open window if you are feeling old fashioned.

Reese’s S’mores

Reese’s S’mores

The history of S’mores is clouded and unverified. The original recipe dates back to 1927 (on paper, in the form of a Girl Scout publication), the credit goes to Loretta Scott Crew who reportedly would make the S’mores for her troop by the campfire. It’s unknown however, if the Girl Scouts are the first to concoct S’mores, as there are no earlier claims.

The word S’more’s is apparently a contraction of the words Some and More. Later shortened to “S’mores” however there aren’t any documented reasons as to why. One could speculate that the word came from campers who were attempting to ask for “some more” but were unable to speak the words because their mouths were filled with the marshmallow chocolate concoctions and could only speak the words S’more. That’s just my imagination though, don’t hold me to it.

Let’s start with the misenplace.

Today it’s simple, remove the wrappers from the Reese’s cups and set the cups aside. Also place the graham crackers in front of you horizontally and cut them in half.

Next, were going to place the 1/2 graham crackers on a baking sheet. Top each 1/2 graham with marshmallows.

It's a Marshmallow world.

Place the graham and marshmallows under a broiler. These took less than 30 seconds to turn golden brown. Pay close attention to them, do not put them under the broiler and walk away, you will be disappointed. After about 20-30 seconds pull them out from the broiler.

Toasted, some things are just better this way.

Without wasting much time, press a Reese’s cup into the middle of each toasted, marshmallowed-up graham cracker. The heat from the marshmallow will begin to melt the chocolate from the Reese’s cup.

You could eat these how they are now, but that's not exactly a S'more. Open-faced S'mores anyone?

Add the other 1/2 of graham crackers on top, and press down lightly. The result is a sticky, gooey mess that is called S’mores.

I need serenity in a place where I can hide..
  • I do not have a fire pit, or grill, so I used my broiler for this. The results were just as good.
  • I added Reese’s cups, of course traditionally S’mores are made with Hershey’s Chocolates.
  • I used honey graham crackers, I’ve always wondered how cinnamon graham would taste though.
  • If you are looking for Chocolate overload, you could use chocolate graham crackers with Hershey’s Chocolates and chocolate marshmallows.
  •  I decided to use mini marshmallows for aesthetic reasons, but I believe the larger marshmallows would work also.