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Stock up on your citrus. You can use any kind of citrus to make this tangy grapefruit sorbet. It’s a good thing this sorbet only takes 2 ingredients. You’re going to want to have this on hand all summer!

I had a bumper crop of grapefruit this year. After making four types of jam, it was time for something different.

This grapefruit sorbet was the result. It’s so simple, just grapefruit juice, grapefruit zest and sugar. I love how tangy it is and it’s also easy to scoop.

Becks is home from college for just 2 weeks. It’s always good to see her but the time is always too short.

She brought her boyfriend home for the first part of the break. We took him around to Austin.  

We took him to watch the bats come out from under the Congress Avenue Bridge. Austin has the largest urban bat colony in North America. On a good night the emergence of the bats is quite spectacular but they came out too late to really see them.

We also took him to Central Market for live jazz. I love Central Market. It’s Texas’ answer to Whole Foods (also from Texas). You can buy drinks and food inside, grab cups and plates at the cafe, and bring it to the patio while you watch the music. There’s a playscape for the kids and plenty of room for dancing. It’s fun to people watch while you listen to music. 

We also took Caelum to Shakespeare in the park. Austin Parks and Rec put on a good performance of The Merchant of Venice.

In between all the touristy stuff, Becks has also been catching up with friends. Last night we had dinner with some old friends from her high school days.

I brought some of this sorbet along and it was a hit. Tangy, not too sweet and refreshing when it’s hot.  The zest gives it a little texture but you can leave that out if you use grapefruit juice from the store.

We also used this to make Italian sodas. Just add a tablespoon to a cup of carbonated water for a refreshing drink.

Grapefruit Sorbet
Print
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grapefruit juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • grated rind of 2 grapefruit (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat until sugar melts. Remove from heat and let cool. (I put the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour).
  2. Put mixture in the tub of your ice-cream freezer and church until soft frozen. Put in a container and freeze until hard (3-4 hours).
Nutrition Information: Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1mg Carbohydrates: 45g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 36g Protein: 1g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Please consult a dietitian if you have specific dietary needs.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Uncategorized
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Chocolate meringues topped with raspberry whipped cream are a delightful treat on a warm day! Chocolate Raspberry mini-Pavlovas are an elegant dessert that is easy to make. I’m enjoying these with some tea on my patio thanks to an amazing Honeywell evaporative cooler.

I enjoy gardening. It relieves stress and I love the challenge of finding the right plants for the right spots.

When I came back from Cambodia, most of my backyard was a barren mud pit. I guess the people who rented my house had a dog because all the grass under the trees by my patio was gone.

I’ve also had drainage problems from a downspout that’s located uphill from my patio. So it was time to do some major work.

I dug a swale (or dry creek as they’re called in Texas) from the downspout across the backyard. All the rocks in the swale came from my yard (it’s that rocky). And, I put in a rain garden at the end. 

Then I put in some stone paths and began planting. Most of the area is shaded. Finding plants that will tolerate dry shade is a challenge but things are coming along.  I also planted a passion vine, clematis, honeysuckle and a grapevine by the pillars to my pergola.

It’s still a work in progress but I’m enjoying watching the flowers come in.

Now that the back yard is looking pretty, I want to spend time there. The problem in Texas is that it gets hot even in the shade. It’s already over 80°F in the afternoons and it’s been a cool spring.

So when the folks at Honeywell asked me to review their indoor/outdoor evaporative cooler, I jumped at the chance.

They sent me their 525 CFM Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler (affiliate link). I was a little concerned when the box arrived because it was pretty dented. But the unit is packed well so there was no damage.

Evaporative coolers are an old concept. When I was a kid up in Delaware, we didn’t have air conditioning. On hot days, we’d put a bowl of water in front of a fan. As the water evaporated, it would cool the air above it.

The 525 CFM Indoor/Outdoor Portable Evaporative Cooler uses the same principal (evaporating water absorbs the heat as air passes over it) so they are an efficient way to cool a small space.

The first task then is to fill the evaporative cooler with water. It takes a lot of water to fill the tank. I started running back and forth with a gallon pitcher from my kitchen and then finally got the garden hose out.

The 525 CFM is pretty lightweight until you fill it with water. Once you fill the water tank, it’s not so easy to move around even though it does have wheels. So put it where you want it to be before you fill it.

I found it easy to operate with either the remote or the buttons on the unit. This unit puts out a lot of air so it’s wonderful outside on my patio. You can set it to oscillate or to blow in one direction and you can control the height of the breeze.

It also has a timer so you can turn it on and set it to cool for a certain amount of time before it goes off. This is a handy energy saver if you’re forgetful like I am.

I’ve also used my 525 CFM evaporative cooler to cool my back room. It used to be the back porch and the original owner of my house put in heating and ac but it’s never the same temperature as the rest of the house.

As an empty-nester, I love the energy savings of cooling a single room instead of the entire house. I can set my central air thermostat on eco but use my Honeywell evaporative cooler to enjoy a nice cool room.  So far, I’ve used it in my bedroom at night and my office during the day. I may move it into the kitchen to cool that down while I’m baking.

On really hot days, you can add ice to the top of the unit. I find it cools well without the ice but I’m sure I’ll be using that feature when the temperatures hit 100°.

Now about these chocolate raspberry mini-pavlovas. My Australian friends introduced me to pavlovas a few years ago. They’re named after a famous ballerina (Pavlova) because the meringues are shaped like her tutu.

Usually, pavlovas are cake-sized. This makes for an elegant dessert until you try to slice it. Then it’s not so pretty. (Maybe one of you knows the trick, I certainly don’t).

I usually bring dessert to a weekly gathering of friends and I wanted to bring pavlovas without the mess. So I made mini pavlovas. Each one is an individual serving and they stay beautiful until someone eats them.

Chocolate raspberry mini-pavlovas start with chocolate meringues. I dropped my meringue onto parchment paper and spread it out into flat disks with a spoon.

I had some less-than-fresh raspberries in my refrigerator – you know, kind of mushy but not yet moldy. So I made some raspberry sauce for the raspberry whipped cream. You could substitute raspberry jam to save time. If you make the raspberry sauce, you’ll have extra to either serve with the pavlovas or on top of ice-cream.

Ideally you want the meringues to be crisp when you serve this dessert. So you need to assemble it right before serving. I showed my guests how to assemble the layers and then let them make their own. It only takes a few minutes either way.

The components are also freezable so you can make the parts ahead of time and put them together at the last minute.

If you’re having a party and want to stretch the recipe a little further, only use one meringue per pavlova. In other words, just put a spoonful of raspberry whipped cream on top of each meringue, top with a fresh raspberry and serve.

If you have left overs, eat them as quickly as possible. As they absorb moisture from the whipped cream, the meringues become more “cookie-like” which isn’t all bad. The flavor will be as incredible as ever.

Yield: 12 Chocolate Raspberry mini-Pavlovas
Print
Light chocolate meringues with raspberry whipped cream
Ingredients Chocolate Meringues
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Raspberry whipped cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons raspberry sauce or raspberry jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Raspberry sauce
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
Instructions

!Chocolate Meringues

  1. Put egg whites in a mixing bowl and beat until frothy. If desired, add a pinch of cream of tartar (this helps the egg whites whip up nicely). Continue beating until soft peaks form.
  2. Sift in the cocoa powder and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Line a pan with parchment paper or a silpat. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the meringue onto the paper leaving a couple of inches between each meringue. Use the back of a spoon to flatten the meringues into 2-inch disks.
  4. Bake in a preheated 250°F oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven until it cools (about 2 hours). Store in an airtight container and/or freeze if you are not using them the same day.

!Raspberry Sauce

  1. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook on medium high, stirring until the juices in the raspberries form a slightly thickened sauce. I smash the raspberries while I stir to speed things up.
  2. Let cool before adding to the whipped cream.

!Raspberry Whipped Cream

  1. Put the ingredients in a chilled mixing bowl (I put my bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes). Beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use. Use within 2-3 days or freeze.

!Assembly

  1. Assemble your pavlovas right before serving to keep the meringues crisp. I let my guests assemble their own.
  2. Place one meringue on the plate, top with a generous tablespoon of raspberry whipped cream. Place the second meringue on top and top that with another tablespoon of whipped cream.
  3. Garnish with a fresh raspberry and/or some additional raspberry sauce.
© Gail Dickinson
Cuisine: Australian / Category: Sweet
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Chocolate Cherry Paris-Brest – light choux pastry filled with cherry pie filling and chocolate cream in an elegant presentation. This decadent dessert is easier than it looks and you can even make the parts ahead of time!

A French baker invented the Paris-Brest to celebrate a bicycle race from Paris to Brest. This ring-shaped eclair filled with praline pastry cream resembles a bicycle tire in honor of the race.

I love eclairs. Light pastry on the outside. Decadent filling on the inside. Ganache on top. What’s not to love?

But, when it comes to making them, everyone thinks you’ve slaved for days. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, they do take some time, but they’re much simpler than they look. And, if you only have short blocks of time, you can make the pastries and freeze them until you have time to make the filling.

You make the dough on the stove. Boil water, butter, and salt and then add flour all at once to the hot mixture. The heat turns the mixture into a fairly stiff dough.

I add my eggs one at a time while the dough is still hot. But I learned from my good friend Jenni Field, a trained chef, that you’re supposed to let the dough cool first. It works either way and adding eggs to hot dough saves time. And we all need more time, don’t we?

This dough is so easy, I made it in my kitchen in Cambodia. Jenni and I did a live video of it. She’s so fun and gives great tips. Below is the video we made.

You don’t need a piping bag. Put the dough in a plastic bag and cut the corner off to make a 1-inch diameter hole and pipe using that. For cream puffs, I just drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto a cookie sheet.

For this Paris-Brest you’ll make 3 rings of dough. Two one the bottom and one on top.

I made little circles on top to make it a little more decorative but didn’t pace myself so ran out of dough. You can see the swirls stop in the lower right.  No one noticed in the finished pastry.

I adapted Barb Kiebel’s amazing cherry pie filling for this recipe. You could use canned if you’re pressed for time.

Now for the chocolate whipped cream. My daughter gave me some To’ak cacoa for Mother’s Day. This gourmet cocoa is ethically sourced from Ecuador and the flavor is outstanding.

I’m not sure how they process their cocoa powder but this is amazingly smooth. Normally, I find unsweetened cocoa powder to be bitter but To’ak cocoa is only mildly bitter.

This means you can use less sugar and have a more intense chocolate flavor than other cocoa powders. At $18.50 per 8.8 ounce (250 g) bag, this is on the spendy side. But, if you have chocolate lover in your life, this is a fun gift.

My daughter also sent me some aged To’ak drinking chocolate. This chocolate is aged for 2 years in a bourbon cask. I guess it’s like the chocolate version of whiskey. The flavor is amazing!

The drinking chocolate has a little sugar added in so you can think of it like hot chocolate mix or you can make it with water. The package has directions for both European style drinking chocolate and American style hot chocolate. It’s not sweet like most hot chocolate mixes – just rich dark chocolate.

It’s a good thing that you only need 2 tablespoons per cup of drinking chocolate. A 7.1 ounce bag costs $38 and free shipping from To’ak starts at $40 so buy two and keep one for yourself.

Yield: 1 pastry, 16 servings Chocolate Cherry Paris-Brest
Print
Chocolate cherry Paris-Brest is a ring of light pastry filled with chocolate cream and cherries. Dust with a little powdered sugar and shaved chocolate for a spectacular dessert that's deceptively easy to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Ingredients Choux Pastry
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
Cherry Filling
  • 1 1/2 cup cherries
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
Chocolate Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
Instructions
  1. Trace a 9 inch circle onto parchment paper with a pencil or pen. Turn the paper over and use it to line a cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Put water, butter and salt in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the flour all at once and stir. You will get a thick paste like mashed potatoes or playdough.
  4. Stir the eggs in one at a time. The first is the hardest but it gets easier with each egg.
  5. Put the dough in a pastry bag and pipe a ring around the inside of the pastry circle. Then pipe a ring around the outside of the circle. Lastly, pipe rounds of dough on top of the line between the two rings (like a pyramid). If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a plastic bag and cut the end off (leave a hole about 1 inch wide). Or, you can simply spoon the dough onto the parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 20 -30 minutes.The pastry should be puffed, dark brown and crispy. Let cool.
  7. While the pastry cooks prepare the fillings. Stir the ingredients for the chocolate whipped cream together in the bowl of a mixer and the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator to cool thoroughly while you make the cherry pie filling.
  8. Make the cherry filling. Put all the ingredients except the butter into a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring, until the mixture forms a thick sauce. Remove from heat and refrigerate.
  9. Take the mixing bowl with the chocolate whipped cream ingredients. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.
  10. To assemble the Paris-Brest, slice the top layer of the ring off horizontally. Since mine was too delicate to move in one piece, I left it in place and just picked up sections to spread the fillings. Then I laid the top back down on that section and moved to the next one. Spread the cherry filling in the bottom and the chocolate whipped cream on top. Place the top of the ring back.
  11. If desired dust with powdered sugar and a little grated chocolate just before serving. This is best served on the same day as it is assembled.
Nutrition Information: Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 96mg Sodium: 96mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 6g Protein: 4g
Nutrition information is provided as a guide only. Please consult a dietitian if you have specific dietary needs.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Sweet
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Samoa Brownie Cups are

Samoa Brownie Cups
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Ingredients
  • 1 box brownie mix, prepared according to directions
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • ¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ jar caramel sauce
Instructions
  1. Prepare brownie batter according to package directions.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, coconut, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
  3. Spray muffin tin(s) with cooking spray. This make 18 brownie cups so you need 18 muffin cups.
  4. Divide the brownie batter among the 18 muffin cups. Top with a spoonful of the coconut mixture.
  5. Bake at 325°F for 20 minutes. Let cool and remove from cups.
  6. Before serving, drizzle tops with caramel sauce.
© Gail Dickinson

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Chocolate Chocolate and More! by Gail Dickinson - 2M ago

Love the refreshing lime and mint combination in Mojitos? Now you can have this wonderful combination in these easy Mojito scones!

I love a cold Mojito on a hot summer day! Lime juice, mint, rum and a touch of soda make for a delightful combination.

I was thinking about what to make for Cinco de Mayo when King Arthur Flour sent me their recipe for these scones.  Their recipe is OK but the comments said the flavor was barely detectable.

It also calls for lime oil which isn’t available around here.

I decided to up the ante on the original recipe by adding 50% more lime zest and mint. My first batch of Mojito scones was still pretty bland. My neighbors liked them but I wasn’t entirely satisfied. So back to the kitchen.

In my second batch, I doubled the mint and lime zest and added rum flavoring. The rum flavoring is still subtle, but you can definitely taste the lime and mint now.

Now just a side word about kitchen tools. Good kitchen tools make all the difference in the world.

A few years ago Deiss sent me a zester that has been my go to tool when I need zest or finely grated anything. It makes zesting easy and it’s easy to clean.

I never thought they could improve on that model but they did. The Deiss pro zester has bumps on the handle which help you keep your grip. Since Deiss zesters are very sharp, a good grip is a great thing. If you need a new zester, amazon carries them — (Affiliate link) Deiss PRO Citrus Zester & Cheese Grater

My Deiss zester made short work of getting the 1/4 cup of lime zest needed for this recipe.

I used crystallized lime to get the tangy flavor of limes. King Arthur Flour sells their version but I found some in my local grocery store. They also sell crystallized lemon if you want to make lemon scones.

I don’t think the crystallized lime tastes much like lime but it is tangy. So you need the combination of crystallized lime with lime zest to get the full lime flavor.

To get a decent rise on these scones, you freeze them before you bake them. This makes the butter burst when you put the scones in the hot oven so they end up light and flaky.

You can also just leave your scones in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them. So, if you want Mojito scones for breakfast, you don’t have to get up too early. Make them the night before, freeze them, and bake them in the morning.

Yield: 8 scones Mojito Scones
Print
Mojitos for breakfast? You bet! If you love the tastes of fresh mint and lime, you're going to love these scones!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Ingredients Dough
  • 2 2/1 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice powder
  • 1/4 cup lime zest (zest from 4 limes)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup cold milk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • coarse sparkling sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (everything but milk, butter, and rum extract).
  2. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredient mixture. Work quickly cutting the butter in until you have a coarse mixture. The mixture will not be uniform.
  3. Mix the rum extract into the cold milk and add that to the other ingredients. You want to just mix the ingredients together without over working the dough.
  4. Pat into a 9-inch round. If you want, line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment. Pat the dough into the prepared pan.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the disk to the baking sheet. Score the dough where you will slice it. You will slice the dough into 8 slices.
  6. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. I used green and white sugar for a festive look.
  7. Cut into slices with a sharp knife. Then pull the slices apart so they are 1 inch apart.
  8. Freeze while you preheat the oven to 400°F. If you want to bake the scones later, you can leave them in the freezer until you are ready to bake them.
  9. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Nutrition Information: Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 32mg Sodium: 362mg Carbohydrates: 58g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 8g Protein: 8g
Nutrition information is provided as a guide only. Please consult a dietitian if you have specific dietary needs.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Sweet
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Chocolate grapefruit jam tantalizes you with the tastes of tangy citrus and silky chocolate. It’s fun on toast, an english muffin, or thumbprint cookies or the end of a spoon!

I had a bumper crop of grapefruit this year. After making grapefruit marmalade, raspberry grapefruit marmalade, and cinnamon grapefruit marmalade, I needed something different.

I was thinking about how I might something like a citrus nutella when I came up with this idea. Chocolate grapefruit jam starts of with a tangy citrus flavor and finishes with rich dark chocolate.

It was much easier to make than the marmalades. I think the cocoa powder helps it gel. This gelled right away.

Because this is an unusual flavor, I only made a small batch (6 half pint jars). As soon as it was done, I’d wished I’d made more.

You can tell this jam was popular. After a couple of weeks, I only had half a jar left for photos.

Yield: 3 pints Chocolate Grapefruit Jam
Print
Ingredients
  • 4 cups orange or grapefruit juice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Ball low sugar pectin
Instructions
  1. Put juice, water and cocoa powder in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
  2. Mix pectin into the sugar and add to the boiling juice. Stir constantly. Boil 20 minutes. You can test it by putting a dime-sized drop of the jam on a frozen plate. Wait a minute and then run your finger down the middle of the drop. The path of your finger should be clean and the jam should wrinkle up behind your finger.
  3. Pour into warm sterilized half pint jars.
  4. If you want to store outside the refrigerator, put lids on finger tight (just until there's resistance). Place in a pot of boiling water so that the water is 2 inches above the tops of the jars. Boil 10 minutes. Let cool and then screw lids on tight.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Canning

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Homemade Grapefruit Marmalade is bursting with citrus flavor. It’s well worth the time. You’ll never want store-bought marmalade again.

This is one of the many treats I made when my grapefruit tree went nuts this winter. My tree produced lots of fruit but it was seedy so not that great for eating. The grapefruit look like oranges but they’re quite sour.

I used a vegetable peeler to get the zest without the bitter pith. Boiling the peel three times also removes some of the bitter flavor but it also removes some of the pectin.

I wanted my marmalade to be more tangy than sweet so I used Ball Low sugar pectin to help my marmalade set. Pectin requires sugar to gel. This is why jellies have so much sugar.

It turns out that you have a choice when you make marmalade. The flavor is brightest right before the marmalade fully jells (at around 220°F). As you continue heating the marmalade, the sugar caramelizes a bit so you loose some of the bright flavor but your marmalade is more solid.

The first batch I made was on the runny side. I loved the flavor and didn’t want to cook it to the higher temperature so I added a bit more pectin. The result was fresh fruit flavor in a more solid marmalade.

You can test how done your marmalade is by putting a spoonful on a frozen plate. Wait a few seconds and then run your finger through the jelly. Marmalade that is set will pile up in front of your finger and leave a smooth trail on the other side.

Yield: 3 1/2 - 4 pints Grapefruit Marmalade
Print
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grapefruit juice with as much pulp as possible
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Ball low sugar pectin
  • Peel from 16 grapefruit
Instructions
  1. Cover grapefruit peel in water and bring to a boil. Boil 15 minutes and then drain the water. Repeat two more times.
  2. Put peel, water and grapefruit juice in a large, heavy pan and bring to a boil. Boil 40 minutes stirring occasionally. You may need to add some more water. You want 4 cups of liquid after this stage.
  3. Place a plate in the freezer before the next step.
  4. Mix sugar and pectin together. Add to the boiling grapefruit juice and reduce the heat to medium high. You want the mixture to keep boiling but not scorch so you will need to stir constantly. Boil for 20 more minutes.
  5. Drop a spoonful of the marmalde onto the chilled plate. Wait 30 seconds and then drag a finger through the marmalade on the plate. If the pectin is set, then there will be a clean line behind your finger and the jelly will pile up in front of your finger.
  6. Place in sterile jars and boil for 20 minutes.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Canning
Looking for more grapefruit recipes?

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Grapefruit Honey Pate De Fruit from Kitchen Heals the Soul

Grapefruit Gingersnap Pie from View from the Great Island

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Praline sweet potato casserole is a family favorite in our house. What’s not to love – sweet potatoes with a pecan praline praline topping!

Sweet Potato Casserole - YouTube

This praline sweet potato casserole is a family favorite of ours. It isn’t one that has been passed through the generations, but instead comes from back when I was working as a news producer at a local station in Tampa, FL.

One of my jobs was to produce a weekly cooking segment with one of our weather folks (her name was Laura), and one week, she did a group of holiday side dishes. I fell in love with two of them, and after making them for the family (this is about 20 years ago), they have become a staple in our holiday meals.

The casserole is very simple to make. We actually pre-make our side dishes while the turkey is baking, and then set them aside in the refrigerator until the turkey is out of the oven.

The temperature for the bird and the sides is the same, so once the bird comes out, the sides go in.

You don’t have to have a holiday to make this dish..so don’t look at this as just a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter side. Sweet potatoes are available all year round, so you could make this for a summer picnic, or a family dinner in place of plain old mashed potatoes.

If you don’t include the boiling and mashing of the potatoes, the actual preparation for the sweet potato casserole is all of about 10 minutes, and as you can see from the video, it is very easy to do.

The longest part is the baking — it takes about an hour in the oven to properly cook. But your kitchen will smell amazing while you wait!

Yield: 8 cups Sweet Potato Casserole
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Ingredients
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 pounds fresh sweet potatoes, boiled, drained, peeled, and mashed (about 6 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Topping
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup butter, cut into small pieces
Garnish
  • 12 pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sweet Potato Mixture:
  1. Beat eggs in large bowl.
  2. Stir in potatoes until blended.
  3. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
  4. Spread evenly into baking dish.
Topping
  1. Mix sugar, flour, and nuts in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Work in butter with hands until well blended.
  3. Sprinkle evenly over potato mixture.
  1. Bake 60-70 minutes until topping is brown and bubbling.
  2. Garnish with pecan halves.
Nutrition Information: Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 764 Total Fat: 40g Saturated Fat: 19g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 19g Cholesterol: 143mg Sodium: 295mg Carbohydrates: 96g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 56g Protein: 9g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Please consult a dietician if you have specific dietary requirements.
© Kim Roberson

Looking for more side dishes?

Cranberry Apple Casserole

The post Praline Sweet Potato Casserole appeared first on Chocolate Chocolate and More!.

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Chocolate orange cheesecake is a slice of heaven. Dark chocolate with a strong hint of orange make this crustless cheesecake unforgettable.

A few months ago, a neighbor requested volunteers for a hospital sewing room. I’ve been wanting to volunteer and I like sewing so I signed up.

It’s a great group of ladies. We meet each Wednesday for about six hours to make things for patients. Some of the things we make are therapeutic – small pillows that nurses use to prop up patients’ limbs, hats to keep patients warm, and rice bags that can be microwaved for heating pads.

We also make things to cheer long term patients up like lap blankets and decorative pillowcases. One of the most touching things we make are lap quilts. The quilts are placed on top of organ donors before they’re wheeled in for surgery. After the surgery, the quilt is given to the donor’s family.

A few weeks ago one of our group had a birthday so I brought a cake. Joan is a hoot. She’s always got the best stories. She doesn’t sew but she makes pillow forms for the small pillows and she pins the quilts.

My sister’s namesake deserves a special cake so I made this chocolate orange cheesecake for Joan’s birthday. It was a hit with our group.

The orange flavor comes from grated orange peel and Grand Marnier (or orange juice if you prefer). Melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and cocoa powder give this cheesecake rich chocolate flavor.

I kept this cheesecake simple. There’s no crust and no topping. The flavor and texture of this cheesecake are outstanding.

If you like chocolate and orange together, you’re going to love this cheesecake.

Yield: 16 slices Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
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Ingredients
  • 20 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2/3 cup Grand Marnier or orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Line a the bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the cream cheese until soft. Add the sugar, flour and cocoa. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Gradually add each of the remaining ingredients, beating after each one. Pour into the springform pan.
  3. Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 250°F and let some of the hot air out to drop the temperature. Bake for 30 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let the cake cool in the oven (about 2 hours).
Nutrition Information: Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280 Total Fat: 22g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 87mg Sodium: 130mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 13g Protein: 5g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. Please consult a dietitian for specific dietary requirements.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Sweet

Looking for more cheesecakes?

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

Chocolate Lover’s Cheesecake

Or more chocolate orange desserts?

Chocolate Coconut Orange Mousse Cake

Citrus Chocolate Stout Cake


Or try this Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Truffle Cake from Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online!

The post Chocolate Orange Cheesecake appeared first on Chocolate Chocolate and More!.

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Raspberry grapefruit marmalade is beautiful to look at and the flavor pops. Make your morning routine a little brighter by topping your toast or biscuits with this delicious treat!

My son, Tim, has always loved grapefruit. I mean this kid lives for it. He even loved it as a baby. The problem was his little digestive system wasn’t ready for it. He’d cry if we ate grapefruit in front of him. so we had to eat our grapefruit in secret.

We always buy big bags of grapefruit when they’re in season. It’s a little expensive even here in Texas. So when I saw a little grapefruit tree for five dollars at our local grocery store, I snagged it.

The tree sat in a pot for a few years and then I planted it in the ground. It’s on the side of my house so it’s kind of hidden. While I was in Cambodia, this little tree shot up. It’s now as tall as my house and it’s producing grapefruit like crazy.

I lost count this year of how many I collected this year. It was probably around 400. I gave some away to neighbors and friends but there was still way too much to eat.

This is less than half what I collected. They were dirty off the tree but they cleaned up well.

So it was time to make some marmalade. I tried the natural pectin for my first batch. To use the grapefruit’s natural pectin, you put all the membranes and seeds in a cheesecloth bag and boil that with the juice. It didn’t work at all for me. I had a lovely grapefruit syrup but not marmalade.

When I gave jars to a neighbor and my hairdresser, they both told me that marmalade is the most difficult jam to make. They both said I’d need to buy some pectin to add.

My neighbor also suggested adding a different fruit. She made a cranberry grapefruit marmalade that worked well. Cranberries are out of season but Costco had loads of raspberries.

Raspberries have some natural pectin and they go so well with citrus that I decided to try a raspberry grapefruit marmalade. I boosted the pectin in the raspberries with some Ball low sugar pectin.

Initially, my raspberry grapefruit marmalade was a bit syrupy but it’s been firming up after sitting on the shelf for 2 weeks.

Yield: 9 1/2 pints Raspberry Grapefruit Marmalade
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Tangy raspberry grapefruit marmalade has amazing flavor and the flavor will brighten up your morning!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 cups grapefruit juice
  • 4 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2 2/3 cups honey
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons Ball Low sugar pectin
  • Peel from 16 grapefruit
Instructions
  1. Wash your grapefruit. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from your grapefruit. You only want to take off the outer layer (not the white pith below the peel).
  2. Place the peel in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes and then drain the water. Do this three times.
  3. Put the grapefruit peel, raspberries, water, and grapefruit juice in a large, heavy pot and boil for 40 minutes.
  4. While the juice is boiling, you can prepare sterile jars if you want to store your marmalade outside the refrigerator. Place jars and lids in a pot filled with water above the level of the jars. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes. Keep the jars in the hot water until you're ready to fill them.
  5. While the juice is boiling, mix the honey, sugar and pectin together. Also place a small plate in the freezer.
  6. Add the sugar/honey/pectin mixture to the boiling juices. I turned my heat down a little at this point but you want a rolling boil. STIR the mixture continuously while it boils for 20 more minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, test to see if the mixture is ready by dropping about a dime-sized drop on your frozen plate. Wait a minute and then run your finger through the middle of the drop. If the liquid separates so the middle is clean and wrinkles at the end below your finger, then your marmalade is ready. You can also test the temperature. 219°F -220°F will five you the brightest citrus flavor but will still be a bit runny. 221°- 222° F will have a more bitter flavor but will be more solid.
  8. Use sterile equipment to fill your jars if you are keeping outside the refrigerator. To completely sterilize, twist the rim of the ball jar until it's finger tight (you want air to escape when you boil them). Place jars in a pot of boiling water that is at least 2 inches above the level of the jars. Boil half pint jars for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool and then tighten the rings completely.
Nutrition Information: Yield: 152 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 43 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1mg Carbohydrates: 11g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 9g Protein: 0g
Nutrition information is provided as a guideline only. If you have specific dietary requirements, please consult a dietician.
© Gail Dickinson
Category: Fruits
Looking for more raspberry citrus flavor?

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake

Raspberry Limoncello Bundt Cake

Raspberry Lemon Crumble Bars

Or how about these luscious raspberry lemonade gooey bars from Maria’s Mixing Bowl!

The post Raspberry Grapefruit Marmalade appeared first on Chocolate Chocolate and More!.

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