Archive for November, 2012

Coconut Hot Chocolate

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you’re doing well and keeping calm in the midst of the busy fall/holiday season. I cannot believe how quickly Thanksgiving is coming…I’m so excited. This is my favorite time of year.

I have to run to work but thought I would write up a quick post about Coconut Hot Chocolate. The weather has been so dark lately – we’re blanketed by such thick clouds that it feels like dusk at lunchtime. I’m enjoying it though, and it’s the perfect scenario for hot chocolate and a good book (I’m slowly reading the three pictured above – and by slow I mean a page at a time. Some books are just meant to be savored, not unlike this beverage.)

I should warn you, this is a thick, velvety, rich hot chocolate. This is mostly because of the creamy lusciousness of the coconut milk. I would recommend serving it in smaller cups than the ones pictured above. It sort of reminds me of the sipping chocolate served at Starbucks a few years ago.

I hope you can find some peaceful moments filled with chocolate and books in the next couple months. I’ll see you soon with some holiday recipes!

Coconut Hot Chocolate

Adapted from Bobby Flay

Makes 4-5 small cups

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
Whipped cream, for serving

Directions
Prepare whipped cream to taste (I like mine with a bit of sugar and vanilla). Toast coconut in a frying pan. Stir frequently and remove from heat when it begins to brown.

Heat whole milk and coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Whisk in cocoa powder, brown sugar, chocolate chips, vanilla, and sea salt. Whisk constantly until chocolate and sugar are melted and the mixture is smooth – about five minutes.

Serve in small cups. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Enjoy!

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Double Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I’m so excited to share these Double Chocolate Nutella Cookies with you. This is the story of how they came into my life (and hopefully yours!):

Last week on the return trip from CA we broke up the 10 hr drive with a quick stop in Portland. And of course every proper Portland visit includes a stop at Powell’s Books. I had promised myself that I’d pick up a used Hershey’s cookbook the next time I went there, so I made a beeline for the cooking section and picked up a nice hardcover copy for $10. I love Powell’s!

This is a quick tangent, but I also discovered this photo in another novel I picked up:

It’s funny to think about the life of a book and the different courses it can take as it’s passed from owner to owner.

Back to the matter at hand – back at home I found a chocolate cookie recipe in my new cookbook, and decided to give it a Nutella twist.

These cookies already contained cocoa and chocolate chips, but I added a bit of Nutella to the batter.

The original recipe calls for a chocolate kiss on top, but I added a dollop of Nutella instead.

#1 Dog was extra lurky while I was making these. Sorry Woodrow, no chocolate for you!

I always get nervous making even small changes to baking recipes, but these turned out really great. Every recipe I’ve tried from Hershey’s has been a winner, and Nutella always takes things to a whole new level. I hope you can give these a try!

Double Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies (depending on size)

Adapted from Best-Loved Hershey’s

Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus approx 4 tablespoons Nutella
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of a large electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Beat in 1/4 cup Nutella. Add eggs and milk and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add gradually to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Place 1-inch balls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until set.

Immediately after removing from the oven, use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to press a little hole in the top of each cookie. Add a small dollop of Nutella to each cookie. (You will need approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of Nutella per cookie sheet).

Move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. You can use a little spoon to poke the Nutella once it’s melted a bit to smooth the Nutella center and spread it out. Cool completely, and enjoy!

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Pomegranate Chocolate Bites

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Hello everyone! It’s been a little while since I’ve blogged. On Monday I got back from the trip I took to CA with the young adults group at my church. The trip was so good – it’s hard to sum up everything that happened even when I’m explaining in person, but I’ll just say it was good…God is so good.

Since then I’ve just been getting back into the routine of things. I’m a little under the weather, and I’ve lost my voice. I went from sounding like Lindsay Lohan to Batman to basically no voice at all. That’s ok though – as long as I’m not congested at night I’m happy!

I’ve been trying to eat healthy as I get back on track, and while I was ready to bake I wasn’t in a cheesecake/brownie mood. I’ve noticed a few people eating pomegranate seeds, so I decided to give them a try.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried these seeds before, but they’re really delicious! They are bursting with flavor and really nutritious.

I tried them on top of plain Greek yogurt, which was good. It would make a great breakfast.

I found a recipe online for chocolate covered seeds. It’s so simple – the only ingredients you need are the seeds and the chocolate chips. It turned out really good too – the seeds hold their own against the chocolate creating a dessert that is both rich and refreshing.

A couple notes: I was able to buy the seeds at Costco which worked perfectly. I used 1 1/2 cups of seeds. I haven’t worked with actual whole pomegranates, but from what I understand the amount of seeds in each pomegranate varies. There could be as little as 1/2 cup in one pomegranate, so if you’re using the actual fruit keep that in mind. I doubled this recipe, and made one batch with semi-sweet chips and one with white chocolate. I really liked both versions.

I hope you have access to these seeds and can give this recipe a try! I’m definitely going to start having them with my yogurt regularly.

Chocolate Pomegranate Bites

Makes about 30 bites

Adapted from Yummly

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds
2 cups (1 12-ounce package) semi-sweet or white chocolate chips

Directions
Place wax paper on top of a cookie sheet and set aside.

If needed, rinse pomegranate seeds. Spread on a paper towel and pat them down so they aren’t wet.

Stirring constantly, melt chocolate chips using a double boiler (or a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan). Remove from heat, and gently stir seeds into chocolate (make sure seeds aren’t wet).

Using a spoon, place bite-sized dollops onto prepared cookie sheet. Cool in refrigerator for a few hours/overnight or until chocolate is set. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

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