When you’re avocados are saying “Eat me now”: Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Avocado and Chocolate are just about my two favorite things. I eat both almost everyday… but never together. Until now. A friend brought over a bag of local avocados and I’m sure many of you feel the same when I talk about the anxiety of using an avocado at exactly the right moment.

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This image captures the sentiment perfectly. My mom gave me a good tip to put them in the fridge as soon as they’re ripe and that will buy you an extra couple of days. REALLY the fridge? Who would have thought of that. Clearly not me.

Let’s get to the good stuff – I was faced with all these ripe avocados and thought to myself

“Guacamole? No, I’ll eat the whole bag of chips.”

“Avocado toast? That’s so 2013.”

“With chocolate? That’s weird, but hey, so am I.” Hence, AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE. Silky and smooth, this dessert concept may frighten you, but I assure you that the mere purpose of the avocado is to add that soft velvety texture. Try it, you won’t be missing the guac.

Eñoy!

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AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Serves 4 to 6

2 ripe avocados (I’ve used Hass and Florida and they both rocked)

8 oz bittersweet chocolate (can also use vegan chocolate to make this a completely vegan dessert)

1/2 cup coconut milk (pour right from the can)

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 tablespoons amber (dark) agave syrup

1 teaspoon sea salt

Optional toppings could include: graham crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, berries, nuts

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt chocolate with coconut milk in a bowl over boiling water. Stir frequently.

2. In a food processor add remaining ingredients. Add chocolate mixture once it is cooled.

3. Blend until there are no avocado chunks remaining.

4. Chill and serve

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Holiday Treats Part II + Puppy Holiday Sweater

The morning after Thanksgiving can be quite a doozy. To help recover from my turkey hangover I supplied these amazing Gingery Muffins from one of my fav blogs A Cozy Kitchen.

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Recipe from A Cozy Kitchen

For muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs

For glaze:
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tablespoon whole milk

1. Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle. Line a muffin tin with liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground allspice and ground cloves.
3. In a measuring cup, stir together buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
4. In a another bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in molasses until well combined and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.
5. (Don’t be alarmed if mixture looks separated and curdled.) Scrape bowl and add one third flour mixture, beating on low speed just until flour is incorporated. Add half buttermilk mixture and once batter is smooth add another third flour mixture. Add remaining buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture, and beat until incorporated and smooth.
6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin about 3/4 of the way. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in tin for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a cooling rack.
7. While muffins are cooling, mix together powdered sugar with milk and stir until smooth. When muffins are completely cooled, pour icing on top of muffins and top with candied ginger. Serve right away. If you’re baking these things up and taking them somewhere, I’d recommend icing ‘em right before serving.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAlso can’t beat a hot cup of apple cider. It’ll make your lips smack!

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Pepper was also looking very festive in her Christmas sweater by Freshlotus.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Holiday Treats Part I

Thanksgiving was hosted by my aunt and uncle this year but there was no way I was going to show up empty handed. So in addition to the customary bottle(s) of wine, we brought spiced nuts and biscuits, of course.

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Rosemary Chili Spiced Almonds

1 1/2 C of raw almonds
2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp agave nectar
2 tsps chili or cayenne or combo

Preheat oven to 350.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and non-stick spray. Do not forget the spray or else you will have wax paper stuck to your nuts. No bueno.

Mix ingredients all together in a bowl then evenly distribute onto baking sheet. Roast for about 20 minutes or until you can smell the almonds.

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Honey Chai Roasted Almonds

Recipe from Joy the Baker

3 cups raw almonds

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (depending on how spicy you like your nuts)

3 tablespoons honey

coarse sea salt for topping

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper with olive oil or cooking spray.

Place almonds on baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.

While the almonds are in the oven, in a small bowl, toss together cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, salt, and pepper.

Remove the toasted almonds from the oven.  Drizzle with honey and toss to coat.

Sprinkle with the spice mixture and toss well to ensure that all of the almonds have a bit of spice. Sprinkle generously with coarse sea salt.  And heck.. drizzle with a bit more honey if you’d like.

Return to the oven and toast for 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately trasnsfer the warm nuts to a plate to cool or jars for storage.  The nuts will begin to harden as they cool and become difficult to remove.

Store almonds in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Rosemary Parmesan Drop Biscuits

Drop biscuits are an easy way to make biscuits without the hassle of rolling out dough and cutting out the biscuits.

2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
2teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon sugar
3/4teaspoon table salt
3/4cup grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1cup buttermilk (cold)
8tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (about 5 minutes), plus 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing biscuits

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, Parmesan, and rosemary in large bowl. Combine buttermilk and 8 tablespoons melted butter in medium bowl, stirring until butter forms small clumps (see photo below).

2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. Using greased 1/4-cup dry measure, scoop level amount of batter and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (biscuits should measure about 2 1/4 inches in diameter and 1 1/4 inches high). Repeat with remaining batter, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, 12 to 14 minutes.

3. Brush biscuit tops with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Halloween Costume + CAKE!

For Halloween I made a chocolate bundt cake with my new bundt pan. I chose the recipe because of the way it looked so I wasn’t expecting much in terms of taste, but DAMN was I wrong. This cake was moist and rich and went great with ice cream or a glass of milk. This one is going into my book of keepers.
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***Updated with recipe:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups dutch process cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong black coffee
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a bundt pan and dust the inside with cocoa powder, set aside.
Sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.
In a mixer on low add the milk, coffee, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla one at a time. mix until everything is incorporated. Then, with the mixer still on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Once all of the flour mixture is added, mix the batter for a full four minutes on medium speed.
Then, pour the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Then, dust with powdered sugar and serve.

My hubs dressed up as Guy Fieri and I went as Clockwork Orange. DINERS DRIVE-INS AND DIVES! was the only thing he said all night.
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Your pound cake just got turned up a notch

I had the rare occasion of having buttermilk on hand, thanks to this cookie recipe here, so I thought I’d run with a few more recipes that utilized the decadent dairy product. In the spirit of using everything I could from my cupboard I also considered this sophisticated dutch-processed cocoa powder my mom sent me.

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I went with a Marble Buttermilk Pound Cake with Chocolate Sauce which was a life saver when it came to the 6pm meeting I had that day.

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Makes one 9 x 5 loaf

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup cocoa powder

For the chocolate frosting:
2/3 cup of heavy cream
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour the loaf pan. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light lemon-colored and fluffy, about 5 minutes. While the butter and sugar are creaming, measure out the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well in between each addition and scraping the bowl as needed. Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Then add 1/2 of the buttermilk and beat.  Add another 1/3 of the flour, and beat, and then the last of the buttermilk and beat.  Finally, beat in the last 1/3 of the flour. Transfer roughly 1/2 of the batter to a separate bowl. In a small bowl or ramekin, mix the cocoa powder with 2 tablespoons of hot tap water until smooth. Add this chocolate mixture to the remaining batter.  Beat to incorporate.

Beginning with the vanilla mixture, place four spoonfuls of batter into the pan, spacing them far enough apart so that you can create a checkerboard when you add the chocolate batter.  Add the chocolate batter into the empty spaces to fill the bottom of the pan in a checkerboard pattern.

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Repeat with the second layer, alternating the vanilla and chocolate batter. (See notes, above) Using the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the batter to create a marbled effect. (See notes, above.)Place in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cake is done when it has browned slightly and a cake tester comes our clean when inserted into the middle.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and let cool completely.

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Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat, and add chopped chocolate and corn syrup.  Let sit until chocolate is melted and then stir gently to combine.  Let cool slightly until ganache has thickened to a pourable consistency.Place the cake on a serving platter.  Pour the ganache over the cake and spread lightly as needed.  Allow it to drip down the sides here and there.

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“Top 5 Cookie”: Red Velvet Black & White

“Top 5” he said. My husband, the “cookie connoisseur” said these Red Velvet Black & White cookies were in the all time Top 5 that I’ve made for him. I’d really have to agree. They are soft and moist like red velvet cake and are accompanied by a decadent chocolate topping and a rich cream cheese frosting. They were also described as a “muffin top with icing” that sounded pretty accurate to me.

I brought a dozen to my office to prevent us from eating the full batch ourselves, and my co-workers were raving. I’m still getting high fives after the fact.

The blogger I tweaked this recipe from, Joy The Baker, brought these to a cookie swap with INA GARTEN HERSELF! So you know she was bringing her A-game.

Find recipe in my recipe box here.

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Weekend Wrap-Up: VIDEO of my corn pasta

I thought I was tech savvy until I was putting together this post. I meant to share it with everyone weeks ago but I was failing miserably at uploading a video of what I was cooking. A few posts ago I mentioned all the corn recipes I wanted to try. However I only had 4 ears of corn so I had to make a decision. The winner was the Creamy Sweet Corn Clam Pasta. This dish was spectacular! The corn was such a great showcase for the dish and added a velvety sweet goodness that could have stood on its very own. — The clams were a nice touch though, not going to lie.

Check out my really hi-tech video below. Please excuse the audio from my hubs.

Creamy Corn Pasta from Jessica Patino on Vimeo.