Tag Archives: dessert

Saturday Sweets: Chocolate Soufflés

13 Aug

Happy Saturday!

Welcome to the 99th post, the one before the much anticipated 100th post!! Oh boy, I can hardly wait 🙂

Over here the sun is shining, the kids are finally healthy again, the airplanes are rattling the roof thanks to the nearby Airshow, and we’re about to get another look at our new house to take some measurements so I can start planning how to maximize work space and functionality in my new (still fairly small) kitchen!  A good day all ’round, and made even better by these chocolate soufflés.

I made these as part of  the blitz when my family was here, yet another delicious gluten-free dessert to add to the repertoire. This recipe came to me via my friend Kate, who is an amazing cook.  She made these with a delicious coconut cream topping for a Mexican-themed dinner night, after which I could not stop thinking about them and had to have the recipe.  Thanks for sharing Kate!

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a great picture to show you since it was later in the evening when I made them and I was barely containing my desire to delve in long enough for one quick picture, let alone a variety.  I do apologize.

If you’ve been intimidated by soufflés (which I was), it’s time to take the plunge.  This recipe takes a few steps and a few bowls, but it is SO WORTH IT.  They can also be prepped ahead, refrigerated, and thrown in the oven when your guests are over so it will look really effortless 🙂  This is one of the chocolatey-est, richest, most decadent things you could imagine, but somehow totally avoids being overly sweet or cloying.  This is something you would order in a restaurant to share and then regret the fact that you hadn’t ordered two. If you eat it immediately out of the oven it will have a soft mousse texture throughout, and if you let it sit 10-20 minutes to cool it will set a bit more and just have a gooey, mousse-like centre. Either way, amazing.

This recipe makes 8, but it could easily be halved. Either way, this was one of the best things I’d ever eaten and I was so glad I was able to reproduce it with much less stress than I thought a soufflé would bring! Try ’em soon.

Chocolate Soufflés

 

 

(Gluten-free) 

1/2 cup butter
8 oz semi sweet chocolate (8 squares)
3 whole eggs plus 4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Grease 8 custard cups with some melted butter, stroking upwards with pastry brush to help soufflés rise high. Then coat with thin layer of sugar. Set in freezer to cool.

In a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, melt chocolate with 1/2 cup butter. Remove from the heat.

In separate bowl, beat whole eggs with 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk slowly into chocolate and add vanilla.

In another bowl, beat egg whites. Add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tbsp at a time, until stiff peaks form.  Fold slowly and gently into chocolate mix.

Spoon into custard cups (I used ramekins and only filled them half full so the soufflés rose only just above the high edges of the dish, which looked a little less impressive than in low custard cups where they can rise way above the dish, but the taste was the same :)). Level them off and make sure rims are clean. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-28 min. DO NOT open oven while baking or the soufflés will fall!

You can make them ahead and refrigerate for up to 2 days if they are covered, then bake when needed. 

Thanks again for the recipe, Kate!


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Saturday Sweets: Strawberry Chocolate Meringue Torte

6 Aug

I’ve been a little heavy on the recipes lately, but I have quite a backlog to get through of things I feel I just HAVE to tell you about!  And I’ve missed TWO weeks of Saturday Sweets installments and want to make it up to you.

Also, my family left today to go back to the faraway land of O-Ville, Ontario, so I don’t have the cheeriest of stories to share with you.

Unless you’re interested in the fact that we bought a house?

Well, technically that is largely untrue.  My in-laws bought the house, really, but we have our small share which allows us to live in a rather palatially large share.  Sounds fair, right?  For the first time I actually get to put my Interior Decorating diploma to good use on a home I can actually make decisions about!  I don’t have to confirm with a landlord if I want to paint a wall (which I ALWAYS do), I don’t have to hope no one will notice we screwed a planter box onto the side of the house, I don’t have to pay someone else’s mortgage for them, I don’t have to cram 4 people’s lives into less than 900 square feet…

On the other hand, I do have to care if my appliances break down or my roof leaks. I do have to clean like I might be there in two years facing the same (no doubt morphed) dirt if I don’t deal with it now.  I do have to commit to staying in one place for a reasonable amount of time.

I figure I can handle one big commitment per 5 year span, and between getting married and having 2 children over the past 5 odd years I’m just hoping the time frames don’t overlap anywhere, prompting a return to my post-wedding sleeptalking and day visions which made Carl (and my mother) question my sanity.

(Now you are probably questioning my sanity.  Don’t worry, I’m quite harmless.)

I don’t even know where to begin – probably largely due to the fact that my budget is about $12.  If I had unlimited money I think I know exactly where I would start – hire an interior decorator 😉  But seriously, we’re very excited about it, as it will give the kids lots of room to play, both inside and out, and with all that kitchen space just THINK how many recipes I can test and create!

In the meantime, before said O-Ville family left, I made this delicious gluten-free dessert for us all!

I inherited a daunting stack of old Cooking Light magazines from my aunt, via my mom, and thoroughly enjoyed going through each one and ripping out recipes to try at a later date.  As I work my way through them, I have to say I have yet to be disappointed by one, and since the magazine is called Cooking Light I feel like they must be healthy…and actually, a serving (an eighth) of this dessert comes in at less than 200 calories, according to the nutritional info provided in the magazine.  This torte was a big hit with adults and kids alike; I could easily have made two as it’s really light and fresh and inherently eatable.  And we all like our dessert.

My meringue could’ve used an extra 15 minutes since it was a muggy day, making it a bit harder to remove it from the parchment paper, but it didn’t affect the overall taste at all.  I’d actually never made meringue till recently and then I’ve made it several times in the last month after realizing how easy it is, so if you haven’t tried it this is a great recipe to start with!  If you’ve had pavlova, this is basically fruit pavlova in cake form, which looks impressive, even if it is hopelessly, deliciously messy to serve.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture of that for you but since this dessert traveled, and I have yet to become crazy/patient/bold enough to photograph food at other people’s homes (it’ll come), you can click here to see what the inside looks like.  Honestly, mine didn’t look nearly that perfect anyway.  Nobody complained.

Aside from making the meringue this is actually a very low-effort dessert, even if you make your own whipping cream instead of using store-bought “whipped topping”.  I think I would do that next time since I’m not the biggest fan of the special flavor those “edible oil products” impart, although I know that would really negate the light factor. But it is dessert, after all.  And it’s gluten free, and we all know gluten is what makes us chubby anyway, right?

Right.

P.S. This would be amazing with a combo of berries too, or just raspberries. Everything is good with just raspberries.

Raspberries, raspberries, you sweet red delights

I could eat you all morning, noon, eve and night.

You’re tart and you’re sweet (I know what that’s like)

We’re two peas in a pod, we’re that much alike.

Ahem. Focus.

Strawberry Chocolate Meringue Torte 

4 large egg whites

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

2 cups (about 1 lb) sliced strawberries

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250.

Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 2 8″ circles on the paper (I trace around a cake pan or put my handily-marked silicone pie mat under the paper to trace).  Turn paper over and secure with masking tape.

Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar at high speed of a mixer until foamy.  Gradually add the 1 cup of sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.  Divide the mixture over the 2 8″ circles, spreading with the back of a spoon.  Bake for 1 – 1 1/4 hours or until meringues are crisp.  Sprinkle each meringue with 3 Tbsp chocolate chips and return to oven.  Turn off oven and let meringues stand for 5 minutes to soften chocolate.  Remove from oven and spread softened chocolate with a spatula.  Cool meringues to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle strawberries with remaining 1 tsp sugar; cover and set aside.

To assemble, place 1 meringue on a serving platter, spread 1 cup whipped topping over it and top with half the strawberries.  Repeat with second meringue, second cup of whipped topping, and remaining strawberries.  Melt 1 Tbsp of chocolate chips in the microwave and drizzle over top.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Recipe barely adapted from Cooking Light magazine.

Nectarine and Cherry Cobbler

4 Aug

A couple weeks ago my lovely mother-in-law gave me a huge bowl of fresh Okanagan cherries, the best cherries around.  They needed to be used promptly due to ripeness, and thankfully this coincided with me needing to make dessert for 10ish people.

At my current rate of 5 lbs of lower-body weight gain per week, I couldn’t justify eating an entire dessert by myself this time.  Or really any dessert.  Ok, I can always justify eating some dessert, let’s be serious.  But the end of calorie-burning breastfeeding is always such a sharp reality check around here.  On the bright side though, it means back to the mall as, yet again, it seems nothing in my wardrobe fits just right.  I think Carl is starting to believe I do this on purpose, having my body change size and shape every 6 months or so, but I think men will just never understand the many stages of body shape that accompany the before-during-after-even later after of procreating.

I had seen a recipe for Peach and Cherry Skillet Cobbler on Diethood that got me thinking about that combo.  I knew my skillet wasn’t going to be big enough and the recipe looked a little time-consuming given my last-minute nature, but the combination wouldn’t get out of my head.

Being averse to peeling peaches, again due to time constraints, I went with nectarines and left the skin on – they aren’t quite as sweet and delicious as fresh peaches but I love them nonetheless.  As we all know, smooth skin makes up for a lot of other shortfalls.

I highly recommend buying a cherry pitter if you’re going to be making anything with any amount of cherries (like, more than 2), or if you have children who can’t (or won’t) spit out pits.  I had to search good and hard to find said pitter, so if you’re looking, just start in a specialty kitchen store, skip the whole Walmart or Canadian Tire route since they may have everything under the sun but they do not have cherry pitters.  Cherry pitters have come a long way from the spring-loaded contraption I remember in my mom’s kitchen – they now come equipped with comfort grips, locking mechanisms, and handy clear splash guards!  I grabbed a new pair of tongs while I was at it which is equally exciting, since using full-length barbecue tongs in a little frying pan in a narrow kitchen is more than a little awkward.

Anyways, the cobbler!

There are apparently many ways to make cobbler, and people have strong feelings about what constitutes a “true” cobbler.  This version is the type with a biscuit top, and, while I liked it, I prefer the kind that are more like a cake with fruit all throughout.  Much as I love piles of fresh fruit, I also love my carbs – the same reason I always cut back the fruit in fruit crisps and double the amount of crumble topping.  Fruit to topping ratio is very important to me.  If fruit is your favorite part of a cobbler, this will be right up your alley!  

I also used the same fruit mixture, thickened with 1 Tbsp cornstarch in place of the flour, to make a couple gluten-free crumbles to accommodate food intolerances. (In case you’re interested, my gluten-free crisp for the two individual servings was just 2 Tbsp melted butter, 1/3 cup quick oats, and 1/3 cup brown sugar).

Nectarine and Cherry Cobbler

Fruit mixture:

4 cups sliced nectarines (about 4 nectarines)

3 cups cherries, pitted and chopped

1/3 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 tsp vanilla

Biscuit topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

1/2 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Toss fruit mixture ingredients gently and dump into a 9×9″ or 8×11″ baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  

Meanwhile, make biscuit topping. Whisk together dry ingredients, including lemon zest.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  With fork, stir in milk to make a soft, ragged dough.  Drop dough onto fruit mixture in about 9 heaping tablespoons, and sprinkle the whole top with an additional tablespoon or two of sugar.  Return to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until biscuits are golden and not wet underneath and fruit is bubbly.  Serve warm, ideally with ice cream 🙂

 

 

 

Biscuit recipe adapted from Canadian Living, fruit mixture is my own.

Hazelnut Mousse

1 Aug

I’ve been a little lax in the posting department lately since things have been busy around here!  My whole family is around since a new baby joined the family and my parents are here from Ontario and also celebrating 30 years of marriage, so we’re enjoying copious amounts of far-too-rare family time!

Naturally, this means lots of fabulous food, as I come from a family of great cooks, but far too little time spent photographing said food, or using real, shareable recipes to tell you about.  But I did recently make this mousse, which was too easy and delicious (if you like Nutella) not to share.

Also, I’m up to 94 posts now (can you believe it??) so I’m pacing myself before the 100th rolls around, since big, exciting changes are in store here at hiddenponies that I can’t wait to share with you all, and we (hint!) want to have things all lined up before the big reveal, and what better occasion than the hundredth post? Keep your eyes peeled 🙂

For now, calm your suspense and gather the whole 4 ingredients you need to whip up a batch of this light, fluffy mousse!  Carl figures he will never be able to eat Nutella on toast again after enjoying it in mousse texture. I’m not so easily thrown off my breakfast chocolate, but I do think I’ll have to make this again with plain dark chocolate spread since, good as this was, I’m not as much a Nutella fanatic as some people.  And really, dark chocolate mousse can only be an improvement on pretty much anything.

Hazelnut Mousse

1/2 cup hazelnut chocolate spread, such as nutella

2 tbsp water 

1 tbsp butter, softened

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

12 toasted hazelnuts, halved (optional)

Directions:

In heatproof bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate spread with 2 tbsp water until smooth; stir in butter. Keep warm. (I’m lazy and did this step in the microwave and it made no difference).
 
In separate bowl, whip cream; fold one-third into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining cream. Divide among four small serving bowls. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Garnish with hazelnuts if using, or a dollop of whipped cream…or a piece of toast, and call it breakfast!
Recipe barely adapted from Canadian Living.

Raspberry Chia Cheesecake

16 May

I am notorious for buying ingredients for recipes I intend to make and then forgetting what recipe I had in mind 3 seconds after I get my groceries home.  This results in random ingredients that languish in my pantry and fridge until I notice that they are about to expire and have to put them in something.

I also tend to buy extra of things on sale with every intention of using them, but sometimes I buy too much extra and the months go by too quickly for me.

This time I had an extra package of low fat cream cheese, and a tub of Cool Whip that had to move to make room in the freezer so muffins and chicken would stop falling on me every time I opened the door.  Combine that with too much yogurt, a lemon and the crumbly end of bag of frozen raspberries, and you get something surprisingly creamy and delicious!

Too-Tall Grizzly (Berenstain Bears, anyone?) has also been on a health and energy quest of late that resulted in the end of coffee drinking and late-night ice cream, and the advent of green tea, ground flax seed, avocado smoothies and chia seeds, the latter of which makes an appearance in this recipe since I figured with the raspberry seeds you’d never notice a few extra seeds and I was right.  You could make this recipe without the chia, but if you research the health benefits you won’t want to…I dare say they’re worth that trip to the uniquely guilt-inducing health food store with all the oddly glowing employees.

We first heard about chia seeds when Too-Tall read “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, and was inspired by these amazing runners who consume huge amounts of the natural energy source:

Anyways, I remain uncertain about my personal “born to run-ness” but I’ll eat chia seeds if they will help me stay awake, and they also serve as a thickener; I’ve seen some recipes where they replace flour or cornstarch thickeners with a chia and water mixture, which is what made me think I could add it to this recipe for the same reason, since I was worried about it being too runny given my random ingredients.  I think now it would have set just fine without them, but you really can’t taste them and it was delicious with them in there.

RASPBERRY CHIA CHEESECAKE

CRUST:

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Zest of 1 lemon

CHEESECAKE:

1 (250 g) package low-fat cream cheese, softened in the microwave for 15 seconds

1/4 cup sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 individual serving yogurt, any berry flavour

1 tub Cool Whip 

1 cup frozen raspberries, smushed

1-2 tbsp chia seeds

DIRECTIONS:

For crust, combine all ingredients and press into a 8×11″ baking dish.  Bake at 375 for 9 minutes.  (If you really want to avoid baking, you can just press this into the pan and skip baking it – I just prefer a crisp crust.)

For cheesecake, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add lemon juice and yogurt and beat until well combined.  Gently fold in Cool Whip (I used about 2/3 of a tub since I had already used some…use the whole tub or save some for topping), then fold in raspberries and chia seeds.  Pour onto crust, spreading evenly.  Refrigerate 3 hours or until set before serving; store in the fridge or freezer, this is also good as a frozen dessert.

Light and fresh and fruity, this is totally guilt-free cheesecake.  It also doesn’t taste very cream-cheesy thanks to the addition of the yogurt, which meant it was a hit with Carl who is normally not a fan of the flavour of cheesecake because of that main ingredient.  My other taste tester also gave it a thumbs-up, as you can see.

   

 

Now to find something to do with those dried apricots, poppy seeds and rice vinegar…perhaps not all in the same day.

Lemon Raspberry Pie

1 Apr

By special request…

Of course, when I wanted to take a picture of it that happened to be the time I forgot about it and the edges got a little brown…do as I say, not as I do, as they say.

This is a delicious, easy, refreshing dessert for those who love tangy lemon and raspberries, which is most people I’ve ever met.  This recipe allowed me to learn something new about my husband, who eats pretty much anything quite happily, but who, after eating this, said, “Wow, you can make that again.  Lemon is my favorite flavour.”

Me: “LEMON is your favourite thing?? You’ve never mentioned lemon in all the 12 years I’ve known you!  Bacon and ice cream – regularly mentioned.  Even roasted ASPARAGUS has been mentioned more often than lemon.”

We need to work on our food communication it seems.

I’ve written the recipe with the standard graham crust but included the option of crushed cornflakes, which makes it wheat free and it was actually my favourite that way since the crunchier crust stands up nicely to the soft, gooey lemon.  Half graham crumbs and half crushed cornflakes is also fabulous if you suddenly realize you don’t have enough graham crumbs.  I’ve also made it with Oreo crumbs instead (I often forget to check my ingredient stock before I start things) and it was not as good that way.  The chocolate takes away from the freshness.

Mark this date.  I just admitted that chocolate did not improve something.

Here it is – I make it in a pie plate because I like wedges, but you can also make it in a 8×8″ or 9×9″ square pan.

LEMON RASPBERRY PIE

Crust:

1 ½ cups graham crumbs OR finely crushed cornflakes (or a combination of the two)

6 tbsp salted butter, melted (or unsalted butter + ½ tsp salt)

¼ cup sugar (just under 1/4 cup is actually perfect)

Zest of 1 whole lemon

Filling:

2 egg yolks

1 can fat free sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)

½ cup fresh lemon juice, strained

1 tsp lemon zest

6 oz fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9″ pie plate with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine graham crumbs, melted butter, sugar and lemon zest.  Stir until graham crumbs are moist.  Press crumbs into prepared pan, pressing the crust 1” up the side of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk until well mixed.  Whisk in lemon juice and zest.  Stir until mixture begins to thicken slightly.  Gently fold in the raspberries, folding carefully if you don’t want it all to become pink.  Pour lemon raspberry filling evenly over the crust and bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.

Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Even prettier with a little dollop of whipping cream 🙂

I have another lemon pie recipe with a cream cheese layer I can’t wait to try when the weather finally turns truly springy!

Adapted from http://twopeasandtheirpod.com/lemon-raspberry-bars/, a beautiful blog where you can find much nicer, non-overcooked pictures!

Black Forest Cake

14 Mar

Carl loves Black Forest Cake, so for his birthday I decided to attempt to make a homemade one.  I think this is one of the easiest cakes in the world to make, so remember that if you’re ever tempted to buy one again…and this way also happens to taste better, if I do say so myself.

I love cake mixes for angel food cake but that wasn’t the texture I wanted here, so I made this moist, dense cake, which should quickly become your go-to chocolate cake when you need a basic cake, or when last minute guests are coming over and you only want to spend 5 minutes putting something in the oven – this is as quick as a cake mix and you can pronounce all the ingredients, and mix it all in one bowl!  Win, win, aaand win.

5-Minute Chocolate Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 cups cold water

2/3 cup vegetable oil

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp white vinegar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Heat oven to 350.  Grease two 8″ round cake pans or a 9×13” baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.  Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until well combined.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve with ice cream and chocolate sauce or ice as desired…or make Black Forest Cake!

To complete Black Forest Cake you need:

4 tbsp icing sugar (more to taste)

1 500 ml carton whipping cream

1 can cherry pie filling

Directions:

Once cakes have cooled, slice any bulge off the top of the bottom layer to create a flat surface.  (If you’re really good with a knife, slice both cakes horizontally in half and make a 4-layer cake with cherry filling between each layer.  I know what happens to bagels when I attempt to slice them down the middle so I opted out of this step). Reserve a few cherries on paper towel to decorate the top of the cake and top the bottom layer with the rest of the can of cherry pie filling – the juice will run down the sides a bit but it will all be covered by the whipped cream eventually.

For “icing”, combine whipping cream and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and whip on medium-high speed until it holds fairly stiff peaks.  Spread all over cake and decorate as desired…I just grated a square of baking chocolate to sprinkle on and topped with some extra dollops of whipped cream with cherries on top.

If this all sounds like too much work you could just make the cake in the 9×13 pan and serve squares topped with whipped cream and cherry pie filling and I’m sure it would be just as delicious!


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