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Posts Tagged ‘decadent’

I thought I’d perk the mood up a bit with this hot chocolate recipe, with winter approaching. I, however, will be avoiding the snow altogether in my new home in Sénégal. This situation is definitely a bit ironic: I’m one of the small number of Canadians who loves winter, as long as it is a good one, but I will also be part of the group that avoids it. So, I thought I’d share my secret hot chocolate recipe for all of you to come home with a frosted nose and pink cheeks and enjoy a cup for me (and for you, I guess)!

Let me preface this next part by saying I’m quite a chocolate-lover. This past spring I was lucky enough to go to Cacao Fest in Punta Gorda, Belize. For those of you who do not know about this, it is a week-end of festivities surrounding chocolate, from its origins in the Maya culture, to its agricultural production, processing, and finally, to its consumption. Who could refuse such an event?

A Maya woman roasting cacao beans on her stove

I was hoping to be able to eat the fresh flesh from cacao pods this time round like I’d tried in February, but they were already harvested and so I had to make do with only actual chocolate. For those of you who have the chance, I encourage you to try the “food of the gods” as they call it (the white flesh inside cacao pods). It was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tried. At Cacao Fest I visited the Cotton Tree Chocolate Factory where I learned how they make chocolate. This reminded me of when I learned how to make the traditional maya cacao drink in my last trip.

This hot chocolate recipe is absolutely delicious, and its secret is using real, un-powdered chocolate. What surprises most people when I tell them I sometimes make hot chocolate with squares of chocolate is that it takes as much time to make milk-based chocolate with squares or powder! And if you want to celebrate a special occasion or just indulge, add a bit of whipped cream.

Ingredients – Two 1.5 cup servings or three 1 cup servings

-3 cups milk
-80g your favourite chocolate (I like to use 75% for this) + a bit extra for decoration if you like
-granulated sugar (to taste – I actually don’t add any if I use 75% chocolate, but it’s up to your taste!)
-1/2 cup whipping cream
-2 tsp icing sugar (or more to taste)

Directions

Place milk in a saucepan and heat gently over medium heat. Break the chocolate up into chunks, and the place in milk. Once the milk begins to warm, begin to whisk the mixture to help dissolve the melted chocolate. Do this until you reach your desired temperature, and then remove it from the heat (if you avoid it boiling over, you avoid the risk of the chocolate forming small granules).

Now for the extra special part: in a bowl, beat (or use electric beaters) the cream until it thickens, then add the icing sugar and whisk a bit more.

Return the hot chocolate to the heat for a few minutes if it is not to your desired temperature and whisk. Pour into your favourite cups and top with a dollop of whipped cream and grated chocolate.

-Sitelle

 

 

 

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My grandmother’s carrot cake is to die for.  Moist and beautifully textured with nuts and coconut, it is unsurprising that our family often requests this cake for birthdays.  I only discovered a few weeks ago that her secret is to follow Silverpalate‘s carrot cake recipe.  Written by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, their recipes are classic, perfect for special occasions.

About 18 months ago, I made a bet with my friend Leslie.  We agreed that the loser would have to bake the other their favourite cake.  I promptly lost the bet, and ever since we have jokingly agreed that I better remit sooner rather than later.  Last night, I finally had the chance to pay out my debt, so I decided to cook the most sumptuous carrot cake I had tasted, this Silverpalate recipe.

This cake spares no frills (and is sadly not for a calorie-watching individual), decently filled with walnuts, coconut, and pineapple.  Surprisingly there is less carrots than coconut!  The cream-cheese frosting is smooth and tangy, a beautiful complement to the spiced carrot cake.  Leslie decided that this cake was more than worth the cake – although she is now threatening that due to the 18 month delay in remittance, I owe her a second carrot cake from the interest!

 

Carrot Cake

(10 to 12 slices)

 

Ingredients:

CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking soda

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cup canola oil

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups shelled walnuts, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

1 1/3 cups puréed cooked carrots

3/4 cups drained crushed pineapple

 

CREAM-CHEESE FROSTING

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature

3 cups icing sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9-inch layer cake pans lined with wax paper.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add oil, eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Fold in walnuts, cocount, carrots and pineapple.

Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until edges have pulled away from sides and cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours.

Meanwhile, cream together cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.  Slowly sift in icing sugar and continue beaing until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Fill cake and frost sides with cream-cheese frosting.  Dust top with icing sugar.

Bon appetit!

– Catherine

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