Biscoff Buckeyes

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I have a thing for peanut butter. Especially when it’s paired with chocolate. (See: these.  And this.  And, of course these.) Like in buckeyes.

When I first started making buckeyes, I melted a little bit of paraffin in the chocolate achieve a smooth texture.  That was a loooong time ago.  Nowadays, candy melts make dipping a lot easier.  It was an easy stretch to adapt these candies to include biscoff.  Along with adding a bit of texture, the cookie crumbs intensify the biscoff flavor.

original recipe

Biscoff Buckeyes

Yield: 40-45 buckeyes

Biscoff Buckeyes

Ingredients

1 c biscoff spread
1/4 c butter, softened
1 c biscoff cookie crumbs (about 12 cookies)
1 3/4 c powdered sugar
2 c dark chocolate candy melts

Instructions

  1. Cream the biscoff spread and butter with a hand mixer. Beat in the cookie crumbs and powdered sugar on a low speed until well combined.
  2. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Set balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Insert a toothpick into the center of each buckeye.
  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water. Dip the buckeyes in the chocolate, leaving the top bare. Return buckeyes to the lined baking sheet. Chill until the chocolate has set.
http://kokocooks.com/2014/01/biscoff-buckeyes/

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S’mores Fondue For Two

Have you heard about Fondue Week?  Katie and Christina have been hosting lots of fondue-related events this week – daily fondue recipes, a link up, a Google chat with Chef Shane from The Melting Pot, and a fabulous fondue giveaway! The giveaway ends soon, so hop on over to to either of their sites to enter.

A friend recently gifted us with three and a half pounds of good chocolate.  Really good chocolate.  I usually prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate, but this stuff might change my mind.  My husband immediately noticed the difference in quality when he tasted it as well.  With all this chocolate hanging around the house, it was a natural conclusion to make chocolate fondue.  In fact, our friend who gave us the chocolate mentioned that when she makes fondue, she uses the chocolate that’s stuck to the inside of the pot and adds milk to it for instant hot chocolate.  Talk about resourcefulness!

I loved the idea of layering the s’mores ingredients for this fondue.  It requires a bit of digging to get to the chocolate, but that’s half the fun.  I also enjoyed poking around for the pockets of graham cracker crumbs.

I used to have a fondue pot.  An old one, probably from the eighties.  It was a rusty orange color (gotta love those retro earth tones).  While prepping this dish, I searched high and low for it, to no avail.  So, I’m really hoping I win the beautiful fondue pot that Katie and Christine are giving away.  Happy dipping, all!

original recipe

S’mores Fondue For Two

S’mores Fondue For Two

our favorite food to dip was (hands down) the pretzels. They were the slightly-butter flavored ones, and really enhanced all the components of the fondue.

Ingredients

¼ c heavy cream
4 oz good quality milk chocolate, broken into bits
½ tsp vanilla
3 Tbs graham cracker crumbs
¼ c marshmallow fluff

Instructions

  1. Heat heavy cream over medium heat until just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Let the mixture sit 5 minutes. Carefully stir until all the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  2. Pour chocolate into a small bowl (make sure there is a few inches of space at the top of the bowl.) Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs in an even layer over the chocolate. Top with marshmallow fluff. Toast marshmallow fluff with a kitchen torch or under the broiler. (To do this: make sure the bowl holding the fondue is oven-safe, place bowl on a baking sheet, and toast under the broiler until browned.)
  3. Serve with desired dippers.
http://kokocooks.com/2013/02/smores-fondue-for-two/

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2011, The Desserts


When I’m at the Food and Wine Festival, desserts usually take a back seat to the drinks and savory food. I’m usually so excited to try the main dishes, that I’m too full when it’s time for dessert. But, there are some sweets that are too good to pass up. Here are my top 5 desserts of the International Marketplace:


Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote from Belgium. This dessert debuted a year ago and was an instant hit. It was easily the most popular menu item from last year. The waffle was crisp and warm, and the berry sauce made us totally forget about syrup.


Apple Strudel from Germany. This classic appears every year, and for good reason. Flaky pastry, apple filling, and not one but two sauces: caramel and vanilla. This generous portion is big enough to share with a friend.


Pumpkin mousse with dried cranberries (provided by Ocean Spray) and orange sauce from Hops and Barley. The chefs have really stepped up the selections from the Hops and Barley stand (a.k.a., the United States.) This pumpkin mousse is layered parfait-style with an orange sauce and a granola-like streusel with dried cranberries. I really liked the combination of the citrusy orange with the pumpkin.


Chocolate lava cake with Bailey’s ganache from Ireland. These little lava cakes are rich, so it’s a good thing the portion is small. We loved the warm Irish cream ganache so much that Hubs licked the plate clean.


White chocolate macadamia mousse with dark chocolate pearls from Desserts & Champagne. Yes, another mousse. All the selections from the Dessert Trio tasted fantastic (a vast improvement from last year), but this mousse really stood out. The pearls were chocolate covered rice krispie-like crunchies, and they popped delightfully in my mouth.


Have you been to the Food and Wine Festival yet? Do you have a favorite dish? Which dessert would you really like to try?

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Gummy Frogs – August Daring Bakers (part 2)

So, the Daring Bakers challenge for the month was two-fold. Along with chocolate candies, we had to make one other type of candy. This other candy could be anything. I chose gummy frogs. I’ve wanted to make gummy candy for a while, but was a little off-put by the amount of gelatin used. I tried using less, but the texture ended up somewhere between jello and a gummy bear. That was even more off-putting.

When it came time to pull the candies out of the molds, I was a little wary. I was afraid they would rip, but they were surprising resilient. All means of tugging and pulling on them, and those frogs didn’t lose their shape, let alone tear. I love how they look like they’re marching into battle.

Look, they’re getting closer.


adapted from Skip To My Lou

white layer adapted from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen

Gummy Frogs

Gummy Frogs

Ingredients

Green Layer
1/3 c water
1 box of melon flavored jello (or any green flavor)
3 packets of unflavored gelatin
White layer
1/3 c water
1 packet unflavored gelatin
4 oz sweetened condensed milk
Other
Cornstarch for dusting

Instructions

  1. For the green layer: Place water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle jello and unflavored gelatin over the water, and let set for 5 minutes. Place saucepan over medium heat and melt the mixture, stirring occasionally. Place gelatin mixture into a cup with a pour-spout. Fill plastic molds until almost full. Leave a few centimeters at the top.
  2. For the white layer: while the green layer sets, make the white layer. Follow the same steps as above with the water and gelatin. After the mixture melts, remove from heat, and stir in the condensed milk. Place gelatin mixture into a cup with a pour-spout and fill the remaining space of the molds. Let candy set. Dust the surface of the candy with a little bit of cornstarch, and then pull out of molds.
  3. You can use the mold over to make more batches. Gently re-heat the gelatin mixtures until melted and re-fill the molds, letting the green layer set a little before filling with the white mixture.
http://kokocooks.com/2011/08/gummy-frogs-august-daring-bakers-part-2/

 

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Peppermint Marshmallows

 

Usually, during this time of the year, I am busily baking and putting together goodie boxes to give to friends and family. This year, however, I am having trouble finding the motivation to bake. Finding the time between my three jobs and caring for a toddler is also an issue.

I eked out some time to make these peppermint marshmallows, and I’m glad I did. I’m always a bit hesitant to use mint flavoring. If it is too strong, your food ends up tasting like medecine. Luckily, I used just enough. I adapted the previously posted marshmallow recipe by using 2 tsps of vanilla and 1 tsp of peppermint extract. To make the marble design, I swirled gel food coloring with a toothpick across the surface of the still soft marshmallow.

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Pecan Pie Bites

 

A dear friend of mine is getting married in a few months, and her bridal shower is coming up. She wanted these for the shower, and asked me for the recipe. Usually I refer her to the blog, but then I realized that I hadn’t posted it yet. So, Jessica, here it is!

This recipe is a bit labor intensive, with all the pressing required for the crusts. The filling makes these well worth the effort. It is the perfect combination of sweet, nutty, and sticky. If the dough starts sticking to your fingers, wet them with some cold water.


Source: Cuisine at Home, Holiday Cookies

Pecan Pie Bites

Yield: 48 tartlets

Pecan Pie Bites

Ingredients

Crust
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c brown sugar
2 2/3 c flour
½ tsp table salt
Filling
½ c sugar
½ c brown sugar
3 eggs
¼ c pure maple syrup
2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbs bourbon, optional
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp table salt
6 oz chopped pecans
Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat mini muffin pans with nonstick spray.
  2. Cream butter and 2/3 c brown sugar in a bowl with a mixer until blended. Add the flour and salt; mix until sandy. Dough will seem dry.
  3. Pres 1 Tbs of dough into each well of prepared muffin tins, shaping up the sides. Prebake the shells for 6 minutes or until set and lightly golden around the edges.
  4. Remove the tin from the oven and pat the bottoms down lightly with a small spoon. Set the shells aside.
  5. For the filling: whisk both sugars, eggs, syrup, butter, bourbon (if using), vanilla, table salt, and pecans together in a bowl. Pour 1 Tbs filling into each shell. Bake for 15 minutes, or until filling is set and crust is browned.
  6. Sprinkle tartlets with kosher salt, then let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. To remove, run a knife around each and carefully lift out.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/09/pecan-pie-bites/

 

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Irish Cream Marshmallows, aka Pillows of Heaven

When you were a kid, did you ever look at the puffy, cumulus clouds and imagine what it would be like to live up in them? I did. I dreamed of playing on the cottony surface, sleeping on squishy layers, and eating poofy, soft clouds for meals.

That’s how these marshmallows taste.
I have renamed them, “Pillows of Heaven.” That’s what everyone who has tasted them calls them as well.

I’ve seen marshmallow recipes popping up on food sites and blogs for well over a year, and now I see what all the hype is about. They are not as labor-intensive as they look. My trusty Chocolate, Chocolate book has quite a few different recipes. I also consulted Ezra Pound Cake’s marshmallow tutorial. It took quite a bit of man-handling to get the marshmallow mass out of the baking pan, but no worries because it was amazingly resilient and bounced right back into shape. And the Bailey’s flavor added a wonderful flavor – just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.


Notes:

If you are going to mix the powdered sugar with a bit of cocoa powder for a slight chocolatey flavor, do not drop the cocoa powder container.


Do not double the recipe. The mixer probably won’t hold the fully beaten mixture, and the consistency will change.

Powdered sugar works better than non-stick spray when cutting these marshmallows.


Marshmallows made in a humid climate or on a rainy day will be more dense.

Make sure utensils that come into contact with the pre-set marshmallows are grease-free.

Cleaning up afterwards is a very sticky process. I found that lots of boiling water helped dissolve the sugary remains stuck to the bottom and sides of the pot and bowl.


adapted from Pillowy, Cocoa-Dusted Vanilla Marshmallows
in Chocolate, Chocolate
by Lisa Yockelson

Irish Cream Marshmallows, aka Pillows of Heaven

Irish Cream Marshmallows, aka Pillows of Heaven

Ingredients

Powdered sugar for coating pan and spatula
3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
1/3 c plus 3 Tbs cold water
1 1/3 c plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar
1 c plus 2 Tbs light corn syrup
large pinch salt
9 Tbs cold water
1 1/2 Tbs Irish Cream

Instructions

  1. Prepare an 8x8 inch baking pan by lightly coating with non-stick spray. Sprinkle a thin layer of powdered sugar to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Place gelatin and 1/3 c plus 3 Tbs of cold water in the bowl of a free standing electric mixer. Let stand for 15 minutes. Put whisk attachment in the mixer.
  2. Meanwhile, place granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, 9 Tbs cold water in a medium
  3. heavy-bottomed saucepan (preferably an enamel-coated cast iron pan.) Partially cover and
  4. place over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Uncover, attach a candy thermometer, and turn heat up to high. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook without stirring, until thermometer reaches 250 degrees F. Immediately remove the thermometer. Set the mixer on low to stir up the gelatin.
  5. Slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. Increase speed to high and mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce speed to low and add the Irish cream. Bring speed back up to high and mix for another
  7. 7 minutes. Mixture will turn shiny white and almost triple in volume.
  8. Working quickly, pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared baking pan. Coat a silicone spatula with powdered sugar and use to scrape the bowl. Spread the mixture into an even layer. Sprinkle a small amount of powdered sugar along the edges, where the marshmallow meets the sides of the pan.
  9. Let the pan cool, uncovered, at room temperature for 8 hours. Coat a knife with powdered
  10. sugar, and run it along the sides of the pan to loosen the mixture. Sprinkle a flat working surface with powdered sugar, and pull the marshmallow out of the pan. It will take some wrestling, but the marshmallow will spring back into shape. Cut into squares, and dust the sides with a thin coat of powdered sugar.
http://kokocooks.com/2010/03/irish-cream-marshmallows-aka-pillows-of-heaven/

 

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