Saturday, March 24, 2012

For the Love of Chocolate



 
"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz

     Everybody loves chocolate, there is something about it that just makes you smile. While I am a chocolate fan, I am also fussy about my chocolate, after all not just any type of chocolate will do. As I have gotten older I have learned all about the different types of chocolate and the different ways of utilizing chocolate in your cooking. My personal favorite way to have chocolate is (and always has been) is a mug of hot chocolate a good book, and a nice quilt, to me that is pure bliss.

     Yesterday Mr. Love From Scratch and I toured a local chocolate factory, we watched the chocolate being tempered and hand dipped, completed with the dipper adding their own personal artisan mark to the tops of the chocolates. We also watched the nougat centers lined up on a conveyor belt and going through what is called the "enrober" to coat the nougat with chocolatey goodness. It was fascinating to watch, but I always love factory tours, I love seeing how things are made. During the Holidays I usually make a good deal of candy from scratch, I love the taste of homemade sweets and treats, and I love to share it with my family and friends.

     As I have mentioned before Mr. Love From Scratch loves chocolate mousse, and had dropped several hints that he would love a chocolate silk pie, so I picked up on the hint, (it really wasn't that subtle of a hint) and made a pie just for him yesterday. I always love making pies, especially when I get to whip out my cute pink mixer, I LOVE that thing, I use it wall the time, excellent purchase. The end result was a huge success, and he loved it! I made the recipe up years ago and just made it from memory, so the recipe is still coming, I will post it and hopefully you enjoy!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

As a kid I loved St Patrick's Day, I remember in grade school have a "leprachaun hunt" (we never did find one), and I remember making absolutely sure that I had green on. It always seemed like such a fun holiday. I love that it really is a feast and a celebration of all things Irish. As an adult I choose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day as a celebration of all things Irish, and as a day to celebrate my good fortune, and hope for continued good fortune.

As I have mentioned before Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday, I think its important to take time and express gratitude for our blessings. For me I feel today is a time to stop and reflect on the blessings we have and reflect on our hopes for the future. My hope for all of you is epitomized in a poem I know all of you have heard, but is always worth another reading. Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Irish Blessing

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Ides of March are coming!

Man I have totally slacked off for the past couple weeks in posting. There has been so much going on that I hardly know where to begin, but things are settling down, and are good now. Actually things are very good now, I am definitely a very lucky and blessed girl! Life is funny at times and I can't help but laugh at how many times I have tried to plan things to the T only to have nothing come together, and then once I start to let things happen naturally everything comes together like a symphony. A lot of times it is the same way in cooking. Flavors have to meld together naturally, flavors forced together is never usually a good thing.

That being said I have been experimenting with different flavor combinations, some more exotic and some the tried and true. One flavor combination that is always a winner, and perfect for March is Mint and Chocolate. How can you go wrong with these two flavors? I don't know that you can. This particular recipe came out of desperation. Do you ever have a craving that you just have to get satisfied? A couple weeks ago Mr. Love From Scratch was out of town and I had the worst craving for Thin Mint Cookies. You know the Girl Scout cookies, the one's that are completely addictive? Well while I realize it is Girl Scout cookie time, I simply can not find a girl scout to buy cookies from. I know, what has the world come to? So I had to take matters into my own hands and make my own! I think I actually like mine better, but you try and let me know what you think!

Mock Thin Mints

Ingredients

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 egg
1 teaspoon mint extract
6 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter

Directions

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until mixed well. Beat in egg and mint extract.

Sift flour, cocoa, and salt together into a small bowl. Add flour mixture by halves into creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface roll dough into two 1 1/2 inch diameter cylinders. Wrap each cylinder in waxed paper, and refrigerate 5 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, thirty minutes prior to baking, place both cylinders in freezer.

Remove one cylinder at a time, and slice 1/4 inch thick pieces with very sharp knife. Place on cookie sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine and the semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Drizzle over warm cookies. Place on wire racks, and let cool and harden completely.