Monday, February 20, 2012

Chocolate soup for two

A few months ago I announced to Jess that for our anniversary we would be having chocolate soup. Now  if you think for one second that in this home dessert proclamations are not made months in advance, and then eagerly anticipated you'd be wrong, terribly wrong. There are a lot of great recipes out there that call for all sorts of thickening agents such as flour, corn starch or egg yolks but for ours I wanted a simple cream and chocolate mixture. I decided to use flour since I did not want to bother tempering eggs and I was out of corn starch. Feel free to adjust it to your specific needs, or even omit the thickener all together. The result something more than hot chocolate but less than pudding and entirely decadent to the last spoonful. That being said, I'd like to warn you that it probably has about a gazillion calories in it, but you'll savor every last one of them!

Chocolate soup for two
4-5 oz.  of good quality chocolate bars of your choice chopped ( I chose a 70% dark and a milk)
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2c. milk
1/4 vanilla bean split
pinch of salt
2 tsp. flour or corn starch(optional for thickening)
10-20 hazelnuts cracked and toasted for topping

for the hazelnut whipped cream:
3/4 c.  very cold heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. pure hazelnut extract

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine milk, cream, sweet con milk and vanilla bean split with seeds scraped and added to the milk. Heat over medium flame just until it begins to bubble around the edges (not boiling) Turn off heat, cover and allow to steep for 10-15 min.
While the cream mixture is steeping mix up the hazelnut cream by whipping heavy cream and powdered sugar on high. Just as mixture starts to thicken add hazelnut extract and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. (I prefer to over whip my whipped cream for a stiffer texture). Place whipped cream into the fridge until ready to use.
Once the cream mixture has steeped return it to medium-high heat, add flour and stir constantly until it is very hot but not boiling and thicker in texture. turn off heat and add chopped chocolate and stir until well combined.
Pour into bowls, top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted hazelnut and grated chocolate.

There are so many variations here. you could add any kind of chopped dried fruit, or nuts or coffee or even a little of your favorite liquor. Maybe the best part of this recipe is that you can freeze any leftovers in ice cube trays and blend the chocolatey cubes with a little milk to make the best milk shake ever! The options are dizzying, I'm out of control, I know!

&  velvety chocolate soup

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I wish you love

Romantically speaking I could care less about Valentine's Day, but when it comes to the kiddos it's a whole different story. As a child it was one of my favorites with all the hand made paper doodads and candy. I mean really those are still 2 of my favorite things! 

This year my wee men and I made cookie pops to pass out at school. The perfect little treat for kiddos, this valentine is a little more work than just taping prepackaged candy to a card but I think it's a whole lot cuter too!

all you need is some sandwich cookies, white chocolate, lollipop sticks and some red food coloring or sprinkles!
Never, ever, before have I said this, but please buy real Oreos! I bought the Newman's organic cookies, and those delicate little boogers crumbled in my hands as I tried to put the sticks in them.

poke your lolli stick into the creme filling and lay on a parchment covered cookie sheet

here's all my cookie pops ready to be enrobed
what you can't see here is the 3 or 7 cookies I threw at my wall in a cookie shattering rage

Melt your chocolate (we used white, it's Orion's favorite) in a glass bowl in 30 second increments in the microwave until its smooth and ready for dipping.
Carefully coat the cookies in the chocolate and return to the parchment covered cookie sheet to cool. Top with sprinkles while the chocolate is still melty, my little helpers did all the sprinkling. 
I have no pictures of this since my hands were also coated in chocolate the entire time, oh well you get the idea, right?

Allow pops to cool to room temperature before packaging. We used sandwich bags with the zipper cut of and tied them with some cute red baker's twine. Super easy and super cute!

I'm off to help out with class parties but before I go I'd like to wish you love and peace and big hugs from your loved ones today and everyday!

 remember you are loved!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

my paper heart

It's really no secret that I've been pretty down lately. Chronic health issues start to wear on a girl, and the truth be told I should probably talk to a therapist about all of this. (since I'm sure you are all sick of hearing about it) But no amount of talking will make all my problems disappear, so instead I've turned to the only therapy I'm comfortable with, art. I can sit in the quiet of my mind and create beautiful things, perfect things. Here are a few beautiful and perfect things that I am finding very inspiring right now. Thanks to the all encompassing super powers that are Pinterest I have found many incredible artists to set me dreaming.

All the above images are from my 'Paper Skies' board on Pinterest, except the last one which is mine, I'll show you more in a few days :)

have a great day lovies!

& free therapy
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