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.

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

Easy Pasta, Many Flavors

Spinach Pasta and Chicken Alfredo

I had to been a really good girl for Santa to bring me a pasta maker from Christmas and I am so happy that he did. This is hands down the best pasta we have ever had, then again it is homemade I should have know better to doubt it. What I didn’t expect was how easy it was going to be! I have made 3 different flavors of pasta so far: classic, spinach, and roasted red peppers & garlic pasta. Each one has been so simple make. Each one only had a max of FOUR ingredients. I bet you have everything you need to make at least the classic pasta.

I have made pasta before using a rolling pin and pizza cutter. So you don’t need to have the pasta maker to make it just strong arms. So don’t think that you need the special pasta machine to make it! I am going to show you step by step how to make spinach pasta. This is my favorite pasta, especially when you top it was Alfredo and chicken. See picture above. Homemade of course, but that is for another post. 🙂

Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • 6 oz spinach, steamed & pureed
  • 2 eggs
  • dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Using a large pot and a steamer basket, steam spinach. About 5 minutes. Once spinach is done puree the spinach in a food processor.

    Steaming spinach

    Steaming spinach

  2. In a large bowl, place flour at the bottom and make a well. Crack two eggs into the center of the well and add a dash of salt.
    Eggs inside a flour well.

    Eggs inside a flour well.

    Slowly add the pureed spinach.

    Pureed spinach add to the flour and egg mixture.

    Pureed spinach add to the flour and egg mixture.

    Combine until a ball is formed.

  3. On a lightly floured surface kneed the pasta ball until smooth and elasticy. About 5-8 minutes.

    Spinach pasta ball ready for kneading.

    Spinach pasta ball ready for kneading.

  4. Wrap the pasta ball in plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes. <- Hint: Before placing the ball in the plastic wrap dust with flour, that way the pasta will not stick!

    Spinach pasta ball resting inside a plastic floured wrap.

    Spinach pasta ball resting inside a plastic floured wrap.

  5. Work in small batches!!!! Keep your work surface lightly floured at all times. You will be glad you did!!!You can do this part with a rolling pin and knife or use a pasta maker.
  6. Form a small circle by hand and run it through they highest setting on the pasta maker. As you are rolling it through with one hand guide it through the other end with the other hand.

    This is 1/4 of the dough cut into half and formed into little disks.

    This is 1/4 of the dough cut into half and formed into little disks.

  7. When the all of the pasta is out fold in half and dust with flour and repeat. Once the pasta has gone through the roller again fold in half, dust with flour and roll through the next setting. Keep repeating until the desire thickness is reached. <- Just remember to fold in half and dust with flour between each rolling. This helps keep the pasta from sticking to the rollers.  

    Pasta sheets going through the rollers.

    Pasta sheets going through the rollers.

  8. At this point you should have sheets of pasta. Let the sheets dry about ten minutes before cutting them. <- This makes it easier to cut!

    Sheets of pasta on a lightly floured surface air drying before turned into noodles.

    Sheets of pasta on a lightly floured surface air drying before turned into noodles.

  9. Before cutting, either with a knife, pizza cutter or the pasta roller make sure to dust the tools and pasta sheets. <- This helps keep the pasta from sticking. Now you should have a ton of little strips of pasta.

    Pasta sheets being cut into thin strips.

    Pasta sheets being cut into thin strips.

At this point you can boil some water and cook the pasta and eat right now! This should take between 4-8 minutes, depending on the thickness. Check the pasta half way, they will cook faster then store bought pasta.

Or you can dry the pasta. You have several different options for this. 1) If you have a dehydrator you can make little ‘nests’,  put in the 140 degree setting and let it sit in there for 2-4 hours. Again depending on thickness. <- Very brittle when they came out but completely dried.

Drying in the dehydrator.

Drying in the dehydrator.

2) Drape pasta over the racks in the oven. Turn the oven on to the lowest setting. Wait five minutes then turn off. The place the racks in the over and wait until dry. This takes between 1-2 hours. <- Warning: pasta may break using this method, keep a close eye on the drying.

Trying to dry the strips of pasta on cookie sheets to try to stop pasta breaking.

Trying to dry the strips of pasta on cookie sheets to try to stop pasta breaking.

3) This is by far the easiest method. Just let the pasta dry on a drying rack or lay them flat on the counter. <- If you choose to do it this way make sure it is not humid in the kitchen or outside. This will affect the drying.

I hope that the pictures helped you along the way. Once you get the basics down the different flavors you can make are endless. And at a fraction of the cost. Let’s just take a quick look at the estimated price for just the spinach pasta.

$0.30 for the spinach + 0.22 for two eggs + $0.50 for flour = $1.02 for the entire batch of homemade pasta which is about two meals worth.  You can’t buy the cheap brand of pasta for that price. The prices may vary depending on where you live.

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.

Simply Swirled Delights

 

I  love cinnamon buns! I love how they make your house smell like cinnamon and nothing beats fresh treats from the oven! When you have a house filled with kids buying the pre-made ones is not a great option, but making them does!  And I better you already have everything in you kitchen cabinets too. There is nothing tricky about these to make. So simple and easy. The only hard part is waiting, especially when you start to smell the cinnamon baking in the oven.
Simply Swirled Delights
Ingredients:
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 ounce of yeast, I used
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing:

  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon water

Directions:

  1.  In a large bowl, toss the 2 and 1/2 cups flour, the sugar and salt together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine warm water (115 degrees) and yeast. Allow to sit for ten minutes.
  3. In a small sauce pan heat heavy cream and vanilla in a small over medium heat.  Stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and yeast mixture to the flour/milk mixture. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency. You may need to add extra flour if the dough is too sticky.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  5.  After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14×8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan. Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour. Here is what I do: heat the oven to 170F degrees. Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.
  6. After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. Covered the rolls with foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.
  7. To make icing mix powder sugar, vanilla and water until smooth. Poor over hot cinnamon rolls.

Chocolate Overload- Is there a such thing?

My obsession with chocolate began a long time. I do remember getting a candy bar every Thursday evening when my mom would take my brother and I grocery shopping. I think I got my sweet tooth from my father, at least that’s who we will blame. 🙂

I love everything chocolate, unless it has nuts in it. I hate nuts! Candy, pudding, ice cream, hot fudge, cookies, you name it and I have probably had it at one point or another. A few years ago I tried mousse in a cup and hated it. It had this weird taste, like it was not real. I never had it since, well until I made it.

Once day I wanted chocolate pudding and instant just wouldn’t do. I wanted something smooth and very chocolate. Even though I had it before, I went for a mousse. Again you probably have all the ingredients in your house already. Sugar, heavy cream, eggs, and chocolate. The hardest part is waiting the hour to wait for the mousse to set up. I promise it is worth the wait.

Well this year I wanted to make my mousse for Easter for the family, but not in a huge pie. I made little tartlets. After the pie shells were cooled and ready I pipped in the mousse and topped it off with whip cream, homemade of course. Now everyone has their own little pies to enjoy and no sharing required. 🙂

Mini Chocolate Mousse Tarts

Mini Chocolate Mousse Tarts

Mini Chocolate Mousse Pies

  • 12-14 mini tart shells
  • 3 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 1/2 oz dark chocolate, at least 60% cocoa
  • 14 oz heavy cream, cold
  • 3 egg whites

Instructions:

  1. Place a double boiler on medium heat and melt chocolate. Make sure to stir to even heating and not to burn the chocolate.
  2. Using a standing beat eggs until stiff peaks form.
  3. Fill a medium size bowl with ice and place a large bowl on top. Pour in the heavy cream and beat with a hand held mixer until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over mix, if you do you will end up with butter!
  4. With the standing mixer on low speed, slowly pour the chocolate into the eggs. Mix until everything is combined.
  5. Take the chocolate mixture and add it to the whipped cream. Gently fold the two together.
  6. Once it is completely mixed together spoon into mini tart shells. Place in refrigerator for at least one hour. Top with whip cream if desired.