Saturday, February 16, 2019

CAFE AU LAIT COFFEE CAKE: Café au Lait Day

February 17 is National Café au Lait Day! Café au lait is French for "coffee with milk" and refers to a specific French coffee drink, although like most things there are multiple varieties. Don't confuse it, though, with a Caffe Latte. Did you know that in the 1600s a French doctor suggested Cafe Au Lait for patients, inspiring people to add milk to their coffee. Cafe au Lait is often served in a small bowl. Very French! There are several cafe au lait cups on the market.

To celebrate today, go to your local cafe or brew a cup at home, or you can make this sensational Café au Lait Coffee Cake from Nicole at MadebyNicole. Her recipe is fool-proof, and it's filled with Chocolate Chips. What better way to celebrate coffee with milk than with a Coffee Cake? As always, you can use any good quality chocolate, chopped into small chunks in place of chocolate chips.

For those of you lucky enough to live in New Orleans, pop on over to the Café du Monde today for a Café Au Lait. They make it with chicory, which gives it a strong, bitter taste. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets which of course you'll want to have. O.K., getting ahead of myself.

Café Au Lait Coffee Cake


Crumb Topping:
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup pecans

Cake:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp instant coffee
2 Tbsp warm water
2 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk

Glaze:
1/2 cup icing sugar
milk or cream to desired consistency
vanilla (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan
Make crumb topping: Stir together dry ingredients, cut in butter, add chocolate chips and nuts.
In large bowl beat sugar and butter until light. Add eggs, then sour cream, and then coffee dissolved in water.
In small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Gradually stir into moist ingredients starting with 1/3 of dry mixture, 1/2 of milk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 milk, and final 1/3 dry mixture.
Spread half of batter into pan. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of topping. Cover with remaining batter and finish with crumb topping.
Bake for 60 – 65 minutes

(Optional) Cool and drizzle glaze off a fork onto top of cake.

Friday, February 15, 2019

MARSHMALLOW MERMAID PIE: Waitress

I recently re-watched Waitress, a smart and quirky foodie movie from 2007. Waitress was written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly. Jenna, played by Keri Russell, is a woman trapped in a life she dreams of escaping. She plans to save money from her waitressing job to leave her controlling husband and change the course of her life. She's sharp and sassy and has a gift for making unusual pies whose recipes are inspired by the trials and circumstances of her life. Pies such as: I Don't Want Earl's Baby Pie, Baby Screamin' Its Head Off in the Middle of the Night & Ruinin' My Life Pie, I Can't Have No Affair Because It's Wrong & I Don't Want Earl to Kill Me Pie, Falling in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie, and Marshmallow Mermaid Pie.

Mermaid is also now a musical Broadway hit! 

So today I thought I'd post Jenna's recipe for Marshmallow Mermaid Pie. The recipe actually came with the DVD of the film, but you can find variations of the recipe on the Internet.

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie was the pie Jenna brought for her doctor, Dr. Mueller, who happened to be semi-retired. Jenna ended up giving the pie to the junior doctor, Dr. Pommater. On their next meeting, Dr. Pommater exclaimed, “That pie was biblically good, that’s how good it was!” Want to try it? Here's a recipe for Marshmallow Mermaid Pie!

Marshmallow Mermaid Pie 

Ingredients
9 graham crackers
1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted
5 Tbsp butter, melted
34 large marshmallows (8 oz.)
1/2 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1-1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine coconut and graham crackers in food processor until coarse crumbs form. Combine crumbs and butter with fork. Press to bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate. Bake 10 minutes and cool on wire rack.
Heat marshmallows and milk in 3-qt. saucepan over low heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat. Cool completely (30 minutes.)
In large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold marshmallow mixture into whipped cream with grated chocolate.
Spoon filling into cooled crust.
Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours or overnight.
Top with mini marshmallows, if desired.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

MICKEY & MINNIE CHOCOLATE COOKIES: Valentine's Day

There's nothing quite like a good Chocolate Cookie for Valentine's Day. I make a lot of Heart shaped Chocolate Cookies for Valentine's Day. I always think it's fun to use different Heart Cookie Cutters, so you have different sizes and different shaped hearts. What says Valentine's Day more than the ultimate couple -- Mickey & Minnie Mouse! Love these Mickey and Minnie cookie cutters!

Here's a great easy Chocolate Cookie Recipe. Use whatever cookie cutters you have.. I'm using Mickey & Minnie!

This great Chocolate Cut Out Cookie Recipe is slightly adapted from Bake @ 350. These cookies hold their shape and are delicious!

CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Ingredients
2 &1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dark cocoa powder (Dutch Process)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt (I use course seasalt)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and sugar until light & fluffy (1-2 full minutes). Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso, and salt and slowly add to butter mixture with mixer on low. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Roll dough about 1/4 inch thick on surface lightly dusted with cocoa powder. Hint: roll soft dough in between sheets of parchment and put in refrigerator for 15 minutes until firm.
Cut out shapes and put on baking sheets.
Freeze for 5 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.
Let cookies cool for 2-3 minutes and using spatula put on cooling rack.

I don't frost my chocolate cookies, but these cutters would guide the way. I know you'll love the great chocolate taste in these cookies!

What cookie cutters are you planning to use for Valentine's Day?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

CHOCOLATE FONDUE WITH A TWIST: Perfect Retro Valentine's Day Dessert

Fondue is so retro and romantic! How fun would this be for your Valentine's Day dinner? I know there's cheese fondue, but my favorite is, of course, Chocolate Fondue. Who doesn't like to dip things in chocolate? So pull up a chair at that mid-century table you found at the Flea Market, and enjoy!

A few tips: You can make everything ahead of time: cut up the fruit, put out the marshmallows, and other dippers. Be sure and have lots of napkins on hand, it can get messy. Fondue pots are readily available at most kitchen stores and many hardware stores, and online, of course. Or.. search the attic or ask your mother. You're bound to find one -- maybe even one that's never been used!

Here are two easy Chocolate Fondue Recipes--with a Twist!

CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FONDUE

Ingredients
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 jar Recchiuti burnt caramel sauce (I'm partial to this sauce)*
3 ounces extra dark chocolate (75% cacao), chopped
Assorted fresh fruit

Directions
Combine condensed milk, caramel sauce, and chocolate in saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate is melted.
Put in fondue pot and keep warm.

Serve fresh fruit--strawberries, bananas, pineapple, oranges for dipping!

More suggested dippers: marshmallows, pound cake, pretzels, biscotti

EASY CHOCOLATE BOOZY FONDUE
Adapted from Rachael Ray

Ingredients
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
12-15 ounces dark chocolate bars, chopped
2 Tbsp Amaretto or Kirsch
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions
Heat 1/2 cup cream in heavy saucepan over moderate heat until cream comes to low boil.
Remove pan from heat and add chocolate.
Let chocolate stand in hot cream 3 to 5 minutes to soften, then whisk chocolate together with cream. Stir in liqueur and chopped nuts and transfer to fondue pot.

Dip fruit and other goodies as above. Use fondue forks, skewers, or seafood forks