Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Here's a link, here's a list of St. Paddy's Day recipe ideas.

And this, to me, sounds sort of weird and awful, yet sort of awesome.

Guinness and Chocolate Cheesecake

  • 1 cup crushed chocolate cookies
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3/4 cup Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (1 ounce) square semisweet chocolate
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with butter.
  2. Combine the crushed cookies, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl; mix; press into the bottom of the prepared springform pan.
  3. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to low speed until smooth. While beating, slowly add 1 cup sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until smooth.
  4. Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Beat the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. Add the sour cream, salt, beer, and vanilla; blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust. Place the pan into a large, deep baking dish. Fill the dish with water to cover the bottom half of the springform pan.
  5. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath in the preheated oven for 45 minutes; turn oven off; leave the cheesecake in the oven with oven door slightly ajar another 45 minutes; remove from oven. Run a knife along the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from pan. Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours.
  6. Melt the semisweet chocolate in a small bowl using the microwave. Make chocolate clovers by dropping 3 small drops of melted chocolate close to one another on waxed paper. Drag a toothpick from between two dots outward to make the stem; chill until hardened. Arrange the chocolate clovers on top of the chilled cheesecake for decoration.
Are you wearing green today?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

Because she is wonderful, JMC sent this to share. Adorable, and easy, and also delicious. I noticed there wasn't a step for "eating several rice krispy treats yourself" or "make yourself sick from eating spoonful after spoonful of icing," so use your best judgement on that.

Thanks, JMC!

And for fun, here's a link about one of my favorite candies. (Which I am always ashamed to admit. I like the orange ones best.)

Which color is your favorite?

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

One More Try

I tried again. I have no idea if these are good or not, but at 111 calories per brownie, they might be worth a shot. Surely if you dollop some fresh strawberries and reduced fat/calorie whipped topping, they can't be too bad. Right?

Edit: Plus, this!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Smurfy Goodness

Have you guys been going here lately?

More holiday awesomeness, including this post, which has "My Smurfy Valentine."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Slighty Better for You, Still Chocolate

I Googled "healthy Valentine's Day recipes" and found some things that were mildly less sugar-coma-inducing than, say, bags upon bags of Hershey's Kisses.

I'll share!

This recipe is from here:

Chocolate Mousse

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, rum or strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup low-fat milk
1 large egg
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons water

1. Sprinkle gelatin over liqueur (or rum or coffee) in a small bowl; let stand until softened, about 1 minute.

2. Whisk together milk, whole egg, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and cocoa in a medium saucepan until smooth. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the softened gelatin mixture, stirring until the gelatin has dissolved. Add chocolate and vanilla; stir until the chocolate has melted. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

3. Bring 1-inch of water in a wide saucepan to a bare simmer. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar, water and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a heatproof bowl large enough to fit over the saucepan. Set the bowl over the barely simmering water and beat with an electric mixer at low speed, moving the beaters around constantly, until an instant-read thermometer registers 140°F. (This will take 3 to 5 minutes.)

4. Increase the mixer speed to high and continue beating over the heat for a full 3 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the meringue until cool, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

5. Whisk one-fourth of the meringue into the chocolate mixture until smooth. Fold the chocolate mixture back into the remaining meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. Spoon the mousse into 6 dessert glasses, and chill until set, about 3 hours.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 248 calories; 6 g fat (3 g sat, 1 g mono); 38 mg cholesterol; 47 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 4 g fiber; 68 mg sodium; 238 mg potassium.

3 Carbohydrate Servings

These involve FRUIT and therefore are super-healthy:

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots

1/3 cup sugar
2 strips lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
24 dried apricots (about 1/4 pound)
2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped peeled pistachios

1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and place a wire rack on top.

2. Combine sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon stick and water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes. Add apricots and gently simmer just until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the apricots with a slotted spoon to the rack. Let cool completely.

3. Melt chocolate in a small metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Dip half of a poached apricot in the chocolate, letting excess drip off. Sprinkle some chopped pistachios over the chocolate half and return the apricot to the rack. Repeat with the remaining apricots. (You will have some melted chocolate left over.) Refrigerate until the chocolate has set, about 20 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per candy: 43 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrate; 0 g protein; 1 g fiber; 0 mg sodium; 107 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

MAKE AHEAD TIP: Store in an airtight container, with wax paper between each layer, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

This one claims to take hours, but it might be worth it, especially if you're a big sucker for chai spices. (Like me.) It sounds goooood:

Chai Chocolate Pots de Creme

Makes 8 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 5 hours (including 3 hours chilling time)

2/3 cup whipping cream
2 1/2 teaspoons crushed cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon bruised cardamom seeds (see Tip)
7 whole cloves
4 slices peeled fresh ginger
4 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (see Tip), finely chopped
1 1/4 cups reduced-fat milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Crystallized ginger for garnish (optional)

1. Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Lay a double thickness of paper towels in a baking pan large enough to comfortably hold eight 4- to 6-ounce heatproof custard cups or ramekins. Set the cups in the pan (the paper towels will keep them in place).

2. Heat cream, cardamom, cloves and ginger in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the mixture just comes to a full boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes. Place chocolate in a 4-cup glass measure. Return the cream to medium-high heat and reheat to boiling. Immediately pour through a very fine sieve set over the chocolate, pressing down on the spices to extract as much flavor as possible; don't stir the chocolate. Let stand for 3 minutes, then gently stir until the chocolate completely melts and the mixture is well blended and smooth. (If the chocolate is not completely melted, microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds on High, then stir.)

3. Wipe out the saucepan, add milk and sugar, and heat just to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves. In a slow, thin stream, gradually stir about two-thirds of the boiling milk into the chocolate. If the mixture looks separated at any point, stop adding milk and stir the chocolate until it is smooth again before continuing.

4. Whisk egg, egg yolks and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended. While constantly whisking the egg mixture, add the remaining milk in a slow, thin stream. Strain the egg-milk mixture through a fine sieve into the chocolate mixture; stir well to combine. Evenly divide among the custard cups, about 1/4 cup each.

5. Place the pan on the low oven rack. Add enough very hot tap water to come 3/4 inch up the sides of the cups. Bake until the tops appear barely set when the cups are jiggled, 16 to 20 minutes; don't tap the tops as this will mar the surface.

6. Transfer the cups to a wire rack. Let cool thoroughly, about 1 hour. Cover with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours and up to 3 days. Let warm up just slightly before serving. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a small piece of crystallized ginger (if desired). NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 204 calories; 15 g fat (8 g sat, 3 g mono); 132 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 1 g fiber; 36 mg sodium; 87 mg potassium.

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 3 fat TIP: Tips: You can use either whole cardamom pods or the peppercorn-size seeds for this recipe. Crush or bruise the seeds with the side of a chef's knife or a heavy-bottomed pan to help release the flavor. If necessary, substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom; the flavor will be fine, but the texture will be a little less silky.

Almost any semisweet or bittersweet chocolate will work in this recipe, although if you choose an extra-bittersweet one with more than a 65% cacao content, reduce the chocolate to 4 ounces and increase the sugar to 1/4 cup. MAKE AHEAD TIP: Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Brownie Torte

I've been going through Christmas candy withdrawal (plus I didn't bother to make a New Year's resolution involving weight--opting, instead, for one involving art). Winter stretches out long before me. Gone, gone, are the days of cookies and fudge.

Thank goodness for Valentine's Day, right? Because what is it, other than an excuse to curb that itching for sugar left over from Christmas and Halloween? How about we look at some chocolate? If you're still resolving, look away. Or send me some low-fat Valentine's Day recipe ideas. While you're at it, send me some Valentine's Day idea love, in general.

I pulled this from It has to be good, because the first ingredient is butter.

Brownie Torte

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (optional)


Butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan. In a pan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup light corn syrup. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat and add sugar and eggs, and stir until blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, flour, and nuts. Pour into pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until center springs back when touched. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then place on a cooling rack.

To Make Glaze: Combine chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter or margarine and corn syrup in pan. Stir over low heat till chocolate chips are melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Frost tops and sides of torte. Chill until set. Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Groundhogs Speak--Take the Tree Down

Uh oh, six more weeks of winter!

This is the official, well, proclamation:

"Here Ye! Here Ye! Here Ye!

On Gobbler's Knob on this fabolous Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2008
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators,
Rose to the call of President Bill Cooper and greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths.

After casting a weathered eye toward thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil consulted with President Cooper and directed him to the appropriate scroll, which proclaimed:

'As I look around me, a bright sky I see, and a shadow beside me.
Six more weeks of winter it will be!'"

The official site is amusing, and has some history here. And, of course, there's always here, which tells us that the National Climatic Data Center gave the overall accuracy rate of groundhog predictions a whopping 39 percent.

Here's a rendition of the poem that started it all, pulled from Wikipedia:

"As the light grows longer
The cold grows stronger
If Candlemas be fair and bright
Winter will have another flight
If Candlemas be cloud and snow
Winter will be gone and not come again
A farmer should on Candlemas day
Have half his corn and half his hay
On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
You can be sure of a good pea crop"

And this is what Candlemas is. Last night my husband asked what the official cut off for Christmas decorations is, as we drove to the grocery store and saw several people had lights still up. I think this, pulled from the Wikipedia Candlemas article, is good:

"Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe;
Down with the holly, ivy, all,
Wherewith ye dress'd the Christmas Hall"
Robert Herrick (1591–1674), "Ceremony upon Candlemas Eve"

The article states, "the eve of Candlemas was the day on which Christmas decorations of greenery were removed from people's homes; for traces of berries, holly and so forth will bring death among the congregation before another year is out."

What did the groundhog see in your neck of the woods? He definitely saw his shadow here, but I, for one, am welcoming the sunshine.