Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse
10 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 ounces butter
5 egg whites
5 egg yolks
8 ounces heavy cream, whipped
1 ounce water
2 ounces sugar

Prepare a double boiler. First, melt the chocolate and butter over the water. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, 1 ounce sugar, and 1 ounce of water. Whisk together over the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and continue whisking until cool. In another bowl, combine the egg whites with the remaining sugar. Whisk over hot water for 5 minutes, until the egg whites are fluffy. Remove from head and continue whisking until cool. Fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Then, fold in the butter chocolate mixture. Finally, fold in the whipped cream. Put into fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes.The mousse will fluff up a bit after cooling. At that point, pipe it into the prepared chocolate cups.

Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears

1 box of puff pastry (or you can be good and make your own)
1/2 c. cinnamon
3/4 c. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out thawed pastry dough. Mix cinnamon and sugar together and spread over dough. Roll one side of the dough towards the middle, then roll the other side to meet the first. Cut into 1" slices, then dip one side of each pastry into the cinnamon sugar. Place pastries cinnamon sugar side up onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Allow pastries to cool on a rack.
Makes 20 regular sized pastries.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Fudge Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
8oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/4 c. Chocolate syrup/fudge sauce
1 candy bar, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter/pam an 8-inch square baking pan or heatproof glass dish.

Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature about 10-15 minutes.

Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour, chocolate sauce, and salt.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle candy bar bits evenly over the brownies. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Mini Cheesecakes

Mini Cheesecakes

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs. plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly butter the wells of a mini cheesecake pan or a mini-muffin tin.

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar and stir until blended. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells. Using the bottom of a shot glass or other small glass, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the wells. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the cream cheese and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and beat on low speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the cream and vanilla. Beat until blended. Pour the filling into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the wells.

Bake until the filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
William-Sonoma Kitchens

Kidney Bean Soup

1/2 lb bacon, diced
1 large shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. green peppers, diced
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 c. orzo
1 1/2 quarts beef broth
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a large pot until crunchy. Add olive oil, garlic, shallot, carrots, celery and peppers. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes. Add beef broth and deglaze the pan. Add beans, orzo, and spices. Bring soup to a boil, then turn down the heat to simmer. Cook until the orzo is done, about 8-10 minutes.


Makes 6 servings