Chocolate Souffle

chocolatesouffle

When you hear the word souffle, what do you think of? Something tall, elegant and sinfully tasty or does it make you cringe at the thought cause it sounds fancy. I hear challenge excepted! I have been watching way to much How I Met Your Mother. 🙂

I made a triple berry souffle once to keep my kids happy during one of their school vacations last year and it didn’t seem hard. I had never made a chocolate one though. And given my love for chocolate seemed to me a little weird. I mean I LOVE chocolate. If there was a chocolate anonymous meetings I would be the spokes person.

So I knew that I had to change that. I had to make one and so I did. Plus I love using my ramekins for things other then dips! I looked at tons of different recipes trying to figure out what I should do. Again no two recipes were the same but the how you made them was close. So I took several different recipes and smashed them together into one yummy tasting chocolate souffle. 🙂

I started to have my kids taste everything as it was being made, I got responses like, “Needs more chocolate” or my favorite from my husband, “Less chocolate more vodka.” You would think that is an odd response but not in my house. I use real vanilla extract. But that is a recipe for a different day. 🙂

Chocolate Souffle

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for baking dish
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven 350˚F degrees. Lightly butter or spray a 1 1/2-quart tall-sided baking dish or 4 10oz ramekins. Coat with sugar, tapping out excess. Set dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. In a large glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, combine chocolate, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir egg yolks into cooled chocolate mixture until well combined. Set souffle base aside.
  4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat egg whites and lemon juice on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes (do not over beat).
  5. With a rubber spatula, gently cut fold in half of the egg white mixture. Down through center and lift up some base from bottom of bowl. Turning bowl, steadily continue to cut down and lift up base until just combined. Add in the second half and repeat.
  6. Transfer mixture to dish or ramekins, taking care not to get batter on top edge of dish; smooth top. Bake souffle until puffed and set, 30 to 35 minutes. Do not open oven during first 25 minutes of baking. Serve immediately.

Note: The souffle will start to loose it’s height as it starts to cool off.

Serving Tip: You can dust the top with powder sugar or pop the center and fill it with either chocolate or vanilla sauce. Either way you can’t go wrong.

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Great Tasting Bagels

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

I am a bagel addict. I love bagels! The perfect bagel is crunchy on the outside and yet chewy on the inside. You can top them with eggs and cheese, jam, jelly, cream cheese or even make sandwiches from them. The bagel is a universal food. 🙂 A blank canvas, if you will, that has endless possibilities.

I have two ways I love bagels. Toasted with butter and as a breakfast sandwich with eggs, ham and cheese.

If you think what is needed to make bagels, I bet you already have most of everything that you need. At most you will need yeast, so you can spend $0.99 for a pack of 3 or $3.49 for a jar that you can use over and over again. After all is said and done your homemade bagels come to $0.12 per bagel or you can spend $3.99 for a package of 8 and  have it come to $0.50 per bagel with all those extra additives. You can make 8 bagels for $0.99 or buy them for $3.99. Saving $3 per 8 bagels. And the cost will just go down if you buy the yeast in bulk.

Now you see in my recipe that I used honey instead of sugar and changed out 1/2 cup of all purpose for wheat flour. I just liked the flavor it gave better. You can use sugar and 100% all purpose flour if you want. The bagels take about 2 hours to make from start to finish. But the good news is that most of that is waiting time. 🙂

New York Style Bagels

 

  • 2.25 teaspoons of active dry yeast (one pack of yeast)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of honey or sugar
  • 1 Âź cups of warm water, divided
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour or bread flour (will need extra for kneading)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • ½ cup wheat flour

 

Directions:

  1. In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Give a quick stir to mix everything. Let it sit for five minutes, until it all dissolves in the water. Should be very bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture.DSC_0081
  3. Pour 2/3 cups of warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about Ÿ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
  4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. Hint: Spray the table top with water then cover with plastic wrap. This will help keep your surface clean and makes for easy clean up when you are done.
  5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil. Turn the dough in bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Hint: I put the oven on let it warm up to 170˚ then I turn it off and place the dough to rise in the oven. Works great.DSC_0087
  6. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes once dough is done rising. DSC_0092
  7. Carefully divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. To shape each piece into a ball, press it gently against the countertop moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat until you have 8 dough balls.DSC_0097
  8. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.DSC_0101
  9. After shaping the dough into balls, place them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. DSC_0104
  10. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 30 seconds, and them flip them over to boil for 30 seconds. Be careful not to boil too long or they will turn to mush. Hint: Make sure that the water stays boiling when you put the bagels in!
  11. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water for better sticking.
  12. Once all the bagels have boiled, transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet that has been dusted it with cornmeal.
  13. Preheat your oven to 425ÂşF. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure to flip them half way through, to keep that round bagel shape. Cool on a wire rack.

 

 

Optional Toppings:
Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. *Make sure to do this as you are taking the bagels out of the boiling water.*

Just in case you don’t eat all the bagels in day one here are a few tips and tricks to help keep those bagels tasting great.

Do’s

  1. Do eat bagels fresh. 😀
  2. Do share bagels with family and friends. 🙂 Sharing is the nice thing to do!
  3. Do freeze bagels to preserve their freshness.
  4. Do take caution when slicing your bagels. (be safe and use an official bagel slicer, I have a slice scar on my thumb from when I was young, I didn’t remove it from the whole in the middle before the knife came down. BE CAREFUL!)
  5. Do enjoy them with butter and/or jam.
  6. Do make breakfast sandwiches with them. (egg, ham and cheese is the best) 😀

Don’ts

  1. Don’t mix smelly bagels with non-smelly varieties in the same bag. (gross) 
  2. Don’t store salt, onion, garlic or everything bagels in a plastic bag unless freezing them. (they go soggy, gross)
  3. Don’t store bagels in the fridge. (they get hard, hockey pucks anyone!)

 

Healthy Snack Options – Hummus

DSC_0071

Red Pepper Hummus

About three years when I started canning my food I noticed that the things that I buy in the store I have the ingredients already at home and buy on regular basis. Take hummus for example, I already had all the spiced at home and the garlic, I really only needed the bell pepper and chickpeas and tahiti.

The red pepper and chickpeas were easy to find, the tahini not so much. And when I did find it I could not justify sending $10 for it, when I only needed very little. So I left it off my version and honestly I like mine without. I have tried it with and didn’t notice a difference.  My version does have a kick to it, just to be warned.

 

Red Pepper Hummus

  • 1/4 ts red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 ts ground ceyanne pepper
  • 1 lemon, zest and juiced
  • 1 red bell pepper, blackened
  • 16 oz chickpeas
  • black peper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Drain and rise off chickpeas. Place in food processor.DSC_0066
  2. Add in spices, lemon zest, and garlic.
  3. Using either a gas stove or grill roast your red pepper on all sides. You do not want to over do it, just enough to bring out the flavor more. Once done remove most of the blackened spots, you do not need to remove them all. Give a rough chop and add to processor.DSC_0064
  4. Blend everything until it looks like a think paste. Slowly add in the lemon juice with the blender on. At this point if it look really think you can add a little water to help thin it out about 1-2 tbs.DSC_0067
  5. Once everything is blended together enjoy with fresh chopped veggies, pita chips, bagels, what ever you want. Tastes great on sandwiches too. 🙂

With a little work I was about to make over 10oz of hummus for under $2 per batch and considering you can buy it pre made in the store for around $3.50, my version is a steal and you get more for your money.

When you start doing things from home you really to start to see that you have been wasting money doing it any other way. And you are putting less stuff into your system. Enjoy.

 

Delicate Sweet Souffle

Triple Berry Souffle with powder sugar dusting

Triple Berry Souffle with powder sugar dusting

I’ll be honest I wanted to make this because I was bored and wanted the kids to stay quite for a minute. So I told them that any noise that they make and the souffles would fall and not be any good. 🙂 That last for a good 10 minutes. Well you can’t say I tried.

They were a lot fluffier but I opened the oven door before time. Don’t do that. They still tasted yummy. Looks don’t matter it is all about flavor.

Triple Berry Souffle

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar for souffle dish dusting
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons triple berry jam or strawberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Brush 4 to 6 individual souffle dishes well with melted butter or spray with cooking spray. Put the sugar inside one dish and toss to coat, then tip the excess sugar into the next dish and repeat. Place the dishes in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. Place the 1 cup of milk in a large saucepan. Scrape out the seeds from inside the vanilla then add the vanilla bean and seeds, heat just to a boil, then turn off the heat and set aside to let the vanilla bean infuse for 10 minutes. <- Be careful not to scald the milk. I did this three times.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, vanilla extract, the flour, triple berry jam and the reserved 1/3 cup milk until well combined.
  4. Remove vanilla bean. Add a little of the hot milk and whisk to combine, then add the flour mixture to the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally. Simmer just until thickened, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, stir, cover, and set aside 15 minutes.  Whisk in the egg yolks.
  5. In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and continue whipping until stiff and glossy. Fold into the milk mixture. <- You don’t want to see any white streaks running through the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared dishes, filling them 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and light golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.*** Do not open the oven door unless absolutely necessary. Again I learned this the hard way.***

Over Flowing Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate Lava Cake

Chocolate Lava Cake

Rich chocolate cake with a warm chocolate melting center with fresh whip cream on top. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a sweet tooth. I get it from my dad! I love chocolate, well only if it is not ruined by nuts. I have enough nuts in my family I don’t want to eat them too. LOL 🙂

Nothing beats homemade bake goods and this is so rich with chocolate it should be sinful.  These look so hard to make but are so super easy. When looking up recipes and ideas I ran across different temperatures, times, etc. There are so many different way to make these. So I combines several and came up with this. This recipe make 5 so if you don’t want to share make them when no one is around cause they will be gone.

Over Flowing Chocolate Lava Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz  Semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBS flour
  • 2 ts vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Spray down custard cups generusly with cooking spray and dust with a little cocoa powder, place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Whisk until smooth.

    Chocolate bar and butter melting in a double boiler.

    Chocolate bar and butter melting in a double boiler.

  4. Stir in sugar. Mix until well combined. Whisk in vanilla, eggs and egg yolks, combine completely. Add in flour.

    Sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour have been added to the chocolate mixture.

    Sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and flour have been added to the chocolate mixture.

  5. Divided chocolate mixture between the custard cups.

    Fill cups about 3/4 of the way.

    Fill cups about 3/4 of the way.

  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes until the sides are set and the center is still soft. The cakes will be done if the knife comes out clean from the edges and the center is still soft.
  7. Let stand for 1 minute before removing from cups.
  8. Invert cups on to plates and serve. <- whip cream, ice cream or strawberry sorbet would be great to have on the side of this little chocolate heavens. Or even a simple dusting of powdered sugar makes a great topping.

    Chocolate Lava Cake

    Chocolate Lava Cake

Updated Classic Gingerbread Cookies

First post of 2014! I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and a very happy new year. I have been busy away in the kitchen as I am every holiday season. And I wouldn’t have it any other way! 🙂 It sounds strange but nothing relaxes me more, I just love being in the kitchen baking and cooking. I have some great new recipes I can not wait to share with you.

It seems during the holiday season you see lots of people with gingerbread cookies. I had made some a few weeks ago from a package that were okay but not great. This year I wanted to try making them from scratch, really just so I can say that I did. This one recipe makes over 60 cookies. For the price you pay in the store this is a steal. And to me nothing says I love you more than fresh goodies from the oven. 🙂

I have to admit though my cookie decorating skills need some work. But they did taste good!

Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1) In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix
well.

2) Cover and refrigerate overnight. <- This is very important. This will help roll out the dough. 

3) On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. <- I used parchment paper to make the cookies easy to remove. High recommend. 

4) Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Options: If you want you can either frost these with royal icing or just gently dust them with powered sugar. I did the royal icing route. They taste great no matter which way you go. Enjoy.

Power of Citrus and Honey

We all know powers of citrus. Oranges were historically used for their high content of vitamin C, which prevents scurvy. Citrus fruit juices, such as orange, lime and lemon, maybe have been useful for lowering the risk factors for specific types of kidney stones. Grapefruit is another fruit juice that can be used to lower blood pressure because it interferes with the metabolism of calcium channel blockers. Lemons have the highest concentration of citrate of any citrus fruit, and daily consumption of lemonade has been shown to decrease the rate of stone formation.

And there is honey. Sweet, smooth tasting honey. Historically, honey has been used by humans both orally and topically to treat various ailments including gastric disturbances, ulcers, wounds, and burns. However, it is only recently that the mechanisms underlying the antiseptic and antibacterial properties of honey have come to be understood. Honey has also been used for centuries as a treatment for sore throats and coughs and, according to recent research, may be an effective soothing agent for coughs.

Knowing all this just made making citrus and honey drops make sense. I get to eat something that is good for me and tastes like candy. Yeah I call that a win win. I had everything already in the house so it didn’t cost me anything to make except my time, which was only about 30 minutes of doing something. The hardest part is waiting the 12 hours while it is in the dehydrator. I have never tried them in the oven yet. Maybe I will make that my next experiment in the kitchen.

Sorry for the bad picture. I had to hurry up and take it before the kids ate everything!

Citrus & Honey Gummy Drops

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c  + 2 TB clear jel
  • 1 1/3 cup fresh fruit juices ( I used a combo of orange, lemon, and grapefruit)
  • 2 TB lemon juice
  • 1/2 c honey

Directions:

  1. In a medium sauce pan combine clear jel and honey. Mix until completely combined. Boil on medium for one minute.
  2. Slowly add in the citrus juices. Mix until smooth. Boil on medium for one minute or until think.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Trust me on this, this is a must! You don’t want to burn your hands like I did. Once cooled place in a piping bag or a large zip lock bag.
  4. Pipe even size drops on to the fruit roll up tray that works with your dehydrator or on a parchment sheet.
  5. Let them ‘cook’ in the dehydrator for about 12 hours. That is the hard part waiting! They are done when they pull apart like a gummy worm/bear.
  6. Once done place them in the refrigerator and let cool.
  7. Take about 1/2 of sugar, paper or plastic bag and place the gummies in. Shake until well coated. You don’t have to do this step but it will help with keeping the gummies from sticking together.