Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baked Hot Chocolate

The restaurant I work at makes the most amazing baked hot chocolate. It is kind of like a lava cake. A hot decadent chocolate cake with a warm, moist center. For the past couple of months I have been spying on the cooks at work, and trying to get their recipe. Finally, I think I have found something very similar! The recipe comes from the cookbook: The Essence of Chocolate - Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate.

Ingredients (serves 4):

9 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter cut into cubes
4 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
whipped cream (or vanilla ice cream)

  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange four 1-cup ovenproof coffee cups or mugs or 8-ounce ramekins in a baking or roasting pan. (I used five 5-ounce ramekins)
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over gently simmering water, and whisk occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Stir the eggs and sugar together in the bowl of stand mixer then set over the simmering water and stir until warm to the touch.
  4. Place the bowl on the stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat for 3 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Remove from the mixer, and fold the eggs into the chocolate mixture until it is light and smooth.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cups. Add enough very hot water to the baking pan to come halfway up the side of the cups.(<<< not sure what that meant, so I skipped that step) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. The baked hot chocolate will be done when the tops lose their glossy finish. A wooden skewer inserted in the top will emerge clean, but batter toward the bottom of the cup will still be very moist.
  7. Carefully remove the cups from the pan. The cakes can be served warm, at room temperature or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. To reheat, bring to room temperature and place in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 5 minutes, or until warm. (I microwaved for 1 minute)
  8. At work we top with fresh whipped cream and cocoa, but I served mine with vanilla ice cream
I feel like this recipe makes it look more complicated than it really is.
All you are really doing is:
1. melting the chocolate and butter
2. whisking the eggs and sugar in a seperate bowl
3. and then folding them together

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Goat cheese & carmelized onion pizza

On Sunday afternoon my mom, my sister, & I made an amazing pizza! I got the crust started in my bread maker before Chris & I left for church. The rest was was super easy! Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the pizza, but I do have a cute picture of us in the kitchen!

2 pound Pizza dough:

All ingredients at room temperature
(70°–80° F)
3/4 tsp. salt
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1-1/4–1-3/8 cups water
3 Tbsp. olive oil

After rolling out my dough I spread olive oil evenly over the crust. We crumbled goat cheese generously over the olive oil. Then sprinkle caramelized onions over the goat cheese. At the last minute we decided to add some fresh mushrooms that had been sauteed in olive oil and fresh garlic and some sliced tomatoes straight from my mom's garden. Us girls wanted a nice vegetarian pizza, but the boys like their meat, so we added some nice thick organic salami to their half. We baked our healthy and delicious pizza on 400 for about 18 minutes. Note: I wanted the crust to be thin and crispy, so I rolled out my dough as thin as possible and baked longer than normal.

The pizza chefs!

Put ingredients in your bread maker according to bread maker's instructions. (mine say: liquid first, then solids, then yeast). Then select dough setting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crockpot Monday: Chicken Tacos

Tomorrow night we have lifegroup with some of our good friends. We are learning how important it is to live in community... to sharpen eachother and to become better disciples of Jesus Christ. I will be making shredded chicken taco meat in the crockpot for the twelve of us. I like to use frozen meat, so I can cook the meat on low for 8 hours while I'm at work and it won't dry out. This recipe is for 12 people. Although, normally I use one chicken breat for Chris and I and it is plenty.

6 frozen chicken breasts
3 cans of ro-tel
2 small yellow onions chopped
taco seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1-3/4 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt

  • 1-1/4 teaspoons black pepper

  • Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Shred chicken with a fork. I will probably shred halfway through cook time. Serve with tortillas and favorite condiments :)

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Raspberry Lemon Bars

    We visited Chris' mom this weekend up north. (when I say we... I mean Pookie, Chris, & I :)
    She has a lemon tree that has extremely enormous lemons growing on it. So I came home with a plathera of lemons, and didn't know what to do with them! So, naturally I made Raspberry Lemon bars! (I found the recipe here:
    Then I made my favorite lemonade (I posted my recipe for my lemonade last week.)
    Tomorrow I'll make lemon chicken... But here's the recipe for the AMAZING raspberry lemon bars!

    For the crust:
    1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
    6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
    1/4 cup sugar
    Zest of one lemon

    For the filling:

    2 large egg yolks
    1-14 oz. can fat free sweetened condensed milk
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    6 ounces fresh raspberries

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8 by 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Stir until graham cracker crumbs are moist. Press crumbs into the prepared pan, pressing the crust mixture one inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

    Once the crust is cool, combine the egg yolks and condensed milk until well mixed. Stir in the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir until mixture begins to slightly thicken. Gently fold in the raspberries. Fold carefully so you don't break the raspberries.

    Pour the lemon raspberry filling evenly over the graham cracker crust. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just set.

    Cool to room temperature, then chill for at least one hour before serving. Cut into bars and serve. Keep bars in the refrigerator-up to five days.

    *Note-use fresh raspberries and make sure you gently fold the berries into the lemon filling or you will have pink bars.

    PS- while we were up North we looked at homes... Please pray!


    Thursday, September 8, 2011

    This season of life

    I know that God has us in this season of life for a reason.

    Last season, before we got married
    I had my plan...
    Where we would live, Where I would do our grocery shopping, which bank we would go to, where our church community would be, where we would work, who our friends would be, and when we would have family nights with my parents and siblings

    Then I found out that God had a different plan...
    We would live near Tracy, Ca...
     where Chris would become an regional manager

    My world was turned upside down...
    I didn't understand why God wanted something different for us when what we had here was so wonderful

    But God is too big and we are too little...
    so there was no way I could understand then...
    maybe someday

    And now in this season after being married for seven months (WOW!)
    God is making it harder for us here...
    work is draining and difficult here

    We're ready for the next season in Manteca, Ca
    God is preparing us...

    It will still be hard to leave what we love here
    but we will trust in God that he will give us our Manna
    For He always provides just enough! (Exodus 16)

    Refreshing Lemonade

    This is my all time favorite lemonade recipe! I have made this numerous times this summer in different variations. Summer is coming to an end, but it is still HOT as ever in Fresno!

    This recipe serves 2-4

    • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 cup simple syrup (boil 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar dissolves)
    • 3-5 cups water depending on how tart you like your lemonade (I use 4)
    Chill & enjoy

    My Variations
    • Instead of mixing lemon juice and simple syrup with 4 cups water I sometimes mix with tea (I use green tea, but any tea is great)
      • I steep 6 tea bags in 4 cups of water for about 5 minutes
    • For a fun adult beverage I mix one shot of boubon into an 8oz glass :)
    • Add a few sprigs of fresh lavander for a beautiful garnish

    Blackberry Cobbler

    I also made this for my dad's 50th! everyone LOVED it! Great served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
    I found this recipe in my Pioneer Woman cookbook!

    1 stick Butter
    1-¼ cup Sugar
    1 cup Self-Rising Flour
    1 cup Milk
    2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)
    Preparation Instructions

    Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

    Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

    Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

    Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Crockpot Black Bean Enchiladias

    Tomorrow is going to be a looong day... I am working both jobs with probably no break in between, and then we have a work meeting until 7pm. (and now I am asking myself why I am on the computer and not in bed haha). Well... since tomorrow will be a long day I have a yummy crockpot dinner planned! Here it is...

    1/2 yellow onion, diced small 1 bell pepper, diced small 1 tomato, diced small Big handful of fresh spinach, thinly shredded 1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup frozen corn 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded and divided - we like monterey jack 2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa 12 6"-8" tortillas, flour or corn (use corn tortillas for gluten-free enchiladas)

     reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for later. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the leftover cheese over the top and let it melt.
    Cook's Note:
    To cook these enchiladas in the oven, layer the rolled tortillas in a 9x13 baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes

    In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, tomato, spinach, black beans, corn, spices, meat (if using), and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour about a cup of salsa (half a jar) into the bottom of the slow cooker and spread it around evenly.
    Scoop about 1/3 cup filling into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and nestle it into the bottom of the crock pot. Repeat with the half of the remaining filling, rolling tortillas until the entire bottom of of the crock pot is filled. Spread another cup of salsa over this layer and sprinkle it with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
    Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas to create a second layer. Top with another cup of salsa, but
    Serve the enchiladas with the remaining salsa. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
    Optional: 1 cup leftover meat - chicken, pork, hamburger, or shredded beef
    I found this recipe here:

    Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake

    Happy Birthday, dad! 

    2 cups sugar
    1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 cup cocoa

    1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup canola oil
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup boiling water

    For the frosting:
    1/2 cup butter
    2/3 cup cocoa

    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/3 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
    2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; With a mixer, beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Carefully, stir in boiling water. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
    3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting.
    For the frosting:
    Melt butter in the microwave or in a small pan on the stove. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.
    Makes about 2 cups frosting.
    Cake Variations from Hershey's:
    If you want to make a three layer cake: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
    If you want to make a bundt cake: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
    If you want to make cupcakes: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.