Category Archives: chocolate

Petits Pots de Creme au Chocolat

Sometimes there’s nothing better in life than simple pleasures. You know, those winter days where you do nothing other than sit in front of the fireplace with a good book and a cup of tea. Or in the springtime, going on a hike through newly green hills, or going for a really good early morning run in the summertime, or listening to raindrops in the fall. This tends to be the attitude I take toward food as well. Sometimes I get caught up in a desire to create an intricate & complicated birthday cake (see below), but for the most part, this blog is about simple food.

A few days ago, my husband and I were invited to have dinner with some good friends at their house. I offered to bring dessert, and in the back of my mind planned to bring Crème Brûlée so that I could try out my newest cooking toy (a kitchen torch!). However, when I measured out my whipping cream, I only had 1 cup. All of the recipes I could find called for 2 cups, so I could either go to the store and buy more cream, or think of a different dessert idea. I opted for the latter, because I was too lazy to go out and didn’t particularly want something with 2 cups of cream in it. I checked the recipe for Pots de Creme au Chocolat, and happily, found that it calls for 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of milk. Yay! I was sold.

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe from her website. I pretty much followed it word for word, except that instead of bittersweet chocolate I used semi-sweet, and instead of using 2 tsp of vanilla extract, I used 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of vanilla paste. I had never made Pot de Creme au Chocolat, so I didn’t know what was in store for me (and the rest of the dinner crew). Wow. The dish went well beyond my expectations. It was creamy, chocolaty, and just the right balance of sweetness. From the very first bite, I was reminded of how good simple food can be. Simply delicious.

Chocolate & Peppermint Meringue Hearts + more chocolate creations

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which meant my theme for the day was chocolate. I don’t usually need an excuse to cook with chocolate, but since I had one, I figured I may as well take advantage. My hubby and I were going to go for a bike ride yesterday, but ended up staying in and relaxing at home since the weather was a bit iffy. I took full advantage of the rainy day to make some Valentine’s-themed desserts. So, here are a few chocoholic creations for you.

Spicy Hot Chocolate

This one is pretty simple, but definitely delicious. You need some milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar and cayenne pepper (but just a tiny bit…a little goes a long way, so be careful!). You can also top your mug with a few mini marshmallows, if you are feeling extra-indulgent.

For 2 servings of hot chocolate:

2 cups 2% milk
2 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
~2 tsp water
tiny pinch cayenne pepper
Handful mini marshmallows

Warm the milk over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to make sure not to let the milk boil over. Add the sugar. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water. Stir to make a paste and add this to the milk. Mix well. Add the cayenne pepper. I recommend tasting as you go to make sure the levels of sweetness, chocolatiness and hotness are to your liking. Serve immediately and top with mini marshmallows.

Chocolate & Peppermint Meringue Hearts

For the meringue:
270 g superfine sugar
4 egg whites
2-3 drops red food coloring
2 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cookie sheets by covering with parchment paper. Place your egg whites in a clean bowl. Beat them on high speed using a stand mixer or egg beaters. Once you begin seeing lines forming in the egg whites (from the whisk), begin slowly adding sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, you should have a stiff meringue. Add the peppermint extract and food coloring. Mix until the food coloring is fully incorporated.

Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag with a #10 tip. Pipe the meringue onto the prepared cookie sheets into heart shapes. Place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour. They need to cook just long enough for them to be dry, but not so long to become golden. You want them to retain their pink color.

Take the meringue out of the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack so that they can cool completely. Once the meringues are cool, warm up some good quality chocolate in a small saucepan. Once it’s completely melted, dip the meringues in so that half of it is covered with chocolate. Set the chocolate-covered meringues on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has cooled completely. Remove the meringues from the wax paper and store them in tupperware in the fridge.

Finally, I’ll just post a few pictures of a chocolate heart cake I made earlier in the week, served with a creme anglaise. The concept of the cake was good, but something was off about the recipe and it was just okay. It’s pretty though, so I’ll post a picture and try to refine the recipe to post later!

Before going into the oven:

Slice of chocolate cake with creme anglaise: