Birthday Brownie Cake Pops on Glo Sticks

Birthday Brownie Cake Pops on Glo Sticks

Chocolate Brownie Cake Pops on Glo Sticks

The birthdays just keep coming.  This time my friend’s son who is fond of chocolate cake pops.  I tried sending over white chocolate/strawberry cake ones once and they just didn’t make the grade (a polite thanks but next time could you make all chocolate) so we’re back to chocolate.  I did give a little twist on this one and they may have changed my mind.  As I’ve mentioned before in the past I haven’t really understood the appeal of the cake pops, but these were pretty good!  Instead of the usual cake and icing for the filling, I made a really fudgy brownie and slightly underbaked it.  They didn’t even need the icing and the texture was perfect for rolling the balls.  Lot’s of good quality chocolate in the mix kept them firm enough to dip and the taste was wonderful.  To make them special, instead of using regular sticks, I found glo sticks that were just the right size and although I did manage to start a few prematurely glowing, the majority made it just fine and should provide some entertainment after the eating.
I’m not going to go through the whole process of making these but you can refer to my earlier posts on Easter Egg Cake Balls for step by step pictures.  Here is the Brownie Tart recipe I used from Ina Garten on the FoodNetwork website.  The only change is that I did underbake it by about 5 minutes and didn’t use the glaze.  I will definitely be making this one again!
Here’s how they looked after I rolled them.  Notice the neat reflections on the counter!

Chocolate Brownie Cake Pops rolled and ready to dip

Dipped and hardening

Done!

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almond and blueberry croissant

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almond and blueberry croissant

Nutella, Chocolate and Blueberry Croissant


This is a challenge I could really appreciate!  Freshly baked croissants, using Julia Child’s recipe.  What could be better?  Although I love them I’ve never attempted these before and I have to admit it takes a while, mostly just waiting for them to rise though so the actual work wasn’t bad.  Of course, I had to make them sweeter so I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, almonds and blueberries and topped some of the others with honey caramel (recipe here) and almonds.

Blueberry and Nutella Croissant


The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
Sarah provided a beautiful set of instructions which I followed for the dough Croissant Instructions.  Added to that recipe, I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almonds and blueberries.

Fillings for Croissant


Fill with Nutella and Almonds then roll


Croissant



Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters


Here’s another creamy and of course chocolate, dessert.  I’ve always loved custards but since doing the Daring Baker’s Challenge and realizing how simple to make and wonderful it is,  I’ve kind of switched over to Panna Cotta lately.  The Panna Cotta is creamy and chocolaty combined with just a dash of syrups (lime, blueberry and maraschino cherry).  I found some plastic shooter glasses at the dollar store and couldn’t resist. They are perfect for parties, allow for a taste of several flavors and look so cute! For an adult version, top with a layer of liqueur, maybe amaretto, Kirsch or Gran Mariner.  You can also do any size glasses you have and even molds if you prefer.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Panna Cotta


Printable Recipe for Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters
Ingredients:
1 packet powdered gelatin
1 ½ cup milk (two ¼ cup and one 1 cup measures)
1 ½ cup cream
½ cup honey
6 oz softened Philadelphia cream cheese
6 oz good quality chocolate
Procedure:
Sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of cold milk in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to bloom.
While the gelatin is blooming, combine the honey, 1/2 cup milk, cream and chocolate and microwave for about 1 minute, then at 15 second intervals just until the honey has dissolved and the chocolate has melted into a smooth mixture.  Do not boil –  it should be just warm enough to melt the chocolate.  (If you prefer, you can do this in a small saucepan over a low heat.)
Microwave the gelatin for 5-10 seconds, just enough to dissolve so it is clear and smooth.  No boiling here either!  (This also can be done in very small saucepan over low heat if you prefer.)
Whisk the dissolved gelatin to the chocolate mixture.
In a small bowl or measuring cup mix remaining ¼ cup of milk with the Philadelphia cream cheese and mix until very smooth.
Whisk in the Philadelphia cream cheese/milk mixture with the chocolate mixture.
Strain and pour into serving dishes or molds.  You can layer with various flavors of syrup, jam or jelly (such as strawberry, cherry, lime, blueberry, caramel) or pie filling such as cherry or lemon curd.   Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Once they are set they can be topped with a small layer of liquor (which would be too thin on the bottom), fruit or nuts and/or whipped cream.
Yields 8 full ½ cup desserts or 2-3 dozen mini-desserts depending on the size of the glasses.

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters

The Daring Cook's Challenge: Tomato Consomme

The Daring Cook's Challenge: Tomato Consomme

Tomato Consomme


I admit it, I took the easy way out this time.  As much as I love soups and really wanted to go all out, I’m preparing to travel to California to serve 40-50 people on Sunday (family, including a group from Canada who I can’t wait to see) and then another 20 the next Friday (a friend went back to school and just graduated)  so I have a lot of prep to do and just didn’t have the time to properly devote to it.  I used Jamie Oliver’s simplified version requiring only that you strain the ingredients. I so apologize to Peta who prepared such wonderful instructions and I promise I will use them soon!
Peta, of the blog Peta Eats, was our lovely hostess for the Daring Cook’s September 2011 challenge, “Stock to Soup to Consommé”. We were taught the meaning between the three dishes, how to make a crystal clear Consommé if we so chose to do so, and encouraged to share our own delicious soup recipes!
So here’s what I did:
Tomato Consomme Printable Version
Ingredients:
2 lbs tomatoes chopped
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup basil leaves torn
1/2 small red onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
Chives or basil for garnish
Procedure:
Place all the ingredients in a bowl and blend until completely smooth with a hand or regular blender or food processor.

Processed Ingredients


line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and/or coffee filters. (I used both as the cheesecloth seemed like it was going to be too open.

Drain the Ingredients


Place in the refrigerator and let drain for 4-6 hours.  Discard the solids (or use them in another soup or sauce) and serve the liquid garnished with some chives, basil or other herb of your choice.
It was surprisingly flavorful and makes a great summer dish.  Thanks again to Petra for the great ideas!