Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles

Bonjour! I’m supposed to be working on my Thesis Committee meeting presentation…buutttt instead, I made these Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles. Okay, I’m not THAT bad, we’re having a holiday lunch tomorrow at the lab, and I said I would bring dessert. I am trying to convince myself that my procrastination is justified. It may or may not be working…

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Anyways, back to pudding! Pudding was my favourite lunch treat back when I was a child. But, of course, it was always from the little plastic cups. This was my first time ever making pudding, from scratch. There is no powder with unpronounceable chemicals involved! Only real ingredients like whole milk, chocolate, and love. This trifle has four simple components: chocolate pudding, vanilla whipped cream, brownies, and strawberries.

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To make the pudding, just go ahead and follow the tutorial on The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-chocolate-pudding-from-scratch-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195012). SUUUUUPERRR easy! Don’t be frightened! The recipe says it will feed 8, but because of all the extra stuff I added, I got 16 servings.

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For the bottom layer, I baked brownies, and crumbled them up. Feel free to used a mix here, that’s what I did. I know, I know.

I found these cute little plastic wine glasses at the dollar store (don’t judge), and thought they would make a perfect presentation! The first layer was a spoonful of brownie crumbs, then pudding, followed by strawberries, and whipped cream. I topped off each trifle with grated chocolate for some panache!

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This is a great treat for a potluck, or Christmas party.

I hope you try it, and let me know how it goes!

-G

How To Make Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

Makes 8 servings (4 cups)

What You Need

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment
Cutting board
Sharp serrated knife
Large heatproof bowl
Whisk
3-quart (or larger) cooking pot
2-quart storage container
Plastic wrap or wax paper

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate: Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes. Set aside.
  2. Make a slurry: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture.
  3. Whisk in the eggs: Whisk the eggs into the cream and cornstarch mixture.
  4. Combine the milk and sugar: Pour the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Bring the milk to a simmer: Bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.
  6. Temper the egg mixture: Pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.
  7. Bring the pudding to a full boil: Warm the combined pudding mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a full boil. (It should look like lava boiling up!) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker.
  8. Cook the pudding for 2 minutes: After the pudding starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.
  9. Flavor the pudding: After 2 minutes, remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Then add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
  10. Chill the pudding: Spread the pudding in a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the pudding. Cover with a lid and chill. Best eaten within 3 days.
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Blueberry Streusel Muffins

It’s Back to School season! The means lots of rushed mornings and breakfasts eaten on the run, on busses, and in class. Although I wont be falling victim to 8:30 lectures or six hour labs this year, I will be having some early mornings. To make things a little bit easier, I like to bake muffins on Sundays and eat them for breakfast throughout the week, along with a smoothie. One of my favourites is this blueberry muffin, which I’ve been baking for about four years.

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I originally saw this recipe on a blog called Vanilla and Lace, and I have yet to find one that is more delicious. You can replace the blueberries with pretty much any fruit, such as peaches, or blackberries. It takes all of 30 minutes, from start to finish, to whip up these scrumptious treats. I used half white and half whole wheat flours here, to up the health factor, but you could definitely play with the batter and tweak it to your liking.

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The body of the muffin is tender and studded with vibrant berries, and the tops are sprinkled with a cinnamon-y streusel. Yum yum yum!

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You can store these in the fridge for about 5 days, but they also freeze extremely well, and just need to be warmed up in the microwave. The same recipe can also be baked in a 9X9 square pan, and served as cake bars.

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I hope you make these simple and scrumdidlyumptious muffins for yourself and your loved ones!

Have an awesome week,

-G

Blueberry muffins

adapted from Vanilla and Lace Blog
MAKES 12
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the streusal topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg (or replacer mixture) and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
3. To Make Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

Blueberry Scones

Pinterest is an addictive thing! I’ve been pinning obsessively for the past few months, and it’s really been a great inspiration to try new recipes. One of treats I pinned was Blueberry Scones; I know, nothing too tricky, but still! This is the first time I made scones, and I must say, they are pretty yummy. We had an abundance of blueberries at home, so I made a blueberry smoothie for breakfast to have with a scone-it’s all about balance, right?

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I’ve been having a smoothie every morning for breakfast for the past while, and there’s really no going back. It’s easy, nutricious, and yummy! This smoothie is superrr healthy. I added a cup of blueberries, a handful of baby spinach (don’t be like me, use fresh greens!), 4 tbsp yogurt, 1/3 cup orange juice, and half a banana. Blend this together, and don’t let the colour scare you!

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Now for the scones, I tweaked a recipe that I found on Joy of Baking, which I included below. The original recipe included a streusel topping, which I didn’t bother with, but if you want a sweeter scone, go ahead and add the topping or some sort of glaze. Also, you can use either milk or cream for the dough, I’m sure cream would make it extremely tender, but I used milk, and didn’t miss the extra calories at all!

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I like mini treats, so I cut the dough into 16 triangles, and they were the right size for snacking, without making you feel like you indulged too much! They are tender, and not too sweet; the perfect accompaniment for hot coffee or tea (or a smoothie)! I also loved the look of the dark purple berries against the white pastry. You should definitely try these simple scones, and enjoy!

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See you next week,

-G

Blueberry Scones

Makes 16 scones

Adapted from: http://www.joyofbaking.com/SconesBlueberryStreusel.html

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (85 grams) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 1/2 cup (150 grams) fresh blueberries

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon (5 grams) pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup (120 ml) cream or milk

Brushing tops of scones:

Milk or Cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Gently fold in the blueberries.  In a small measuring cup combine the milk, beaten egg and vanilla. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough or the scones will be tough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (4 cm) thick.  Cut into 16 wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with a little cream or milk.

Bake the scones until nicely browned, about 15 – 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a scone comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.   These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored for a few days..

Tarte Tatin

Sometimes success is simply a happy accident. Penicillin, an antibiotic, was actually discovered accidentally by Alexander Fleming, when his petri dishes were contaminated by a fungus called Penicillium notatum. Science, people! Now, in the realm of baking, this apple dessert called a Tarte Tatin was invented by mistake by the Tatin sisters in France. If it wasn’t for one of these ladies overcooking their apples, we wouldn’t have this sweet, caramel-y treat.

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One of my friends made a tarte tatin a few weeks ago (I was lucky enough to try some) and I fell in love with it! It’s a true example of when simple ingredients and some patience come together to make something both impressive and delicious. Do you have apples, butter, flour, sugar, and about an hour on your hands? Make this. You won’t be disappointed!

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This recipe has two components: the crust, and the filling. For the crust, you want to make sure that the butter stays as cold as possible until the tarte tatin is put in the oven, because this will ensure that you have an extremely flaky pastry. The recipe below (from Smitten Kitchen) uses a food processor, but I strongly believe in doing pastry by hand, so I would suggest that you chill all of the ingredients for the crust in the freezer prior to making the crust.

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The filling is just luscious. It’s a combination of apples, butter, and sugar (that’s it) and it will blow you away! I used red delicious apples, as that is what we had at home, but I believe Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are also good options. You really want to caramelize the apples in the butter and sugar, until you reach a dark amber colour, as that will take the apple flavour to the next level.

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Serve this warm with some vanilla ice cream, and life will be good!

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I hope your week is full of happy accidents,

-G

Molly’s Apple Tarte Tatin

Via Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

Crust
1 stick plus two tablespoons cold salted butter (5 ounces), cut into cubes and chilled in freezer
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cup flour
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Filling
7 medium apples (I’ve had good results with Granny Smith, Gala, McIntosh…use your favorite, but make sure they are very firm, fresh and flavorful.)
1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter
1 cup sugar

Prepare Crust: I always use the food processor for this. Pre-mix the flour and sugar in the food processor container, and cube the butter on a plate. Then put the dry ingredients and the butter in the freezer for a while. This will get everything, including the blade and container, nice and chilled. The colder everything is, the flakier and more tender your crust will be. Prepare about 1/3 cup ice water and refrigerate.

After you’ve chilled everything for at least 20 minutes, add the cubes of butter to dry ingredients and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than tiny peas.

Add the ice water a little at a time, processing just until the dough starts to come together into a mass. (it won’t quite be a “ball,” and it won‘t look smooth–you don’t want to overprocess it!) Turn out onto well-floured surface and pat together into a ball. Don’t handle the dough too much, or the warmth of your hands will start to melt the butter. Flour the top of the dough and use rolling pin to quickly press and roll the dough out into a 10 to 11-inch circle. Keep turning the dough as you do this to make sure it doesn’t stick to the rolling surface. Throw more flour underneath the dough if necessary. Check the crust to make sure it’s just big enough to cover the top of your tarte tatin pan. Move the crust onto a piece of parchment paper or onto a floured rimless baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 375° F.

Peelcore and quarter the apples. Don’t cut them into smaller pieces than quarters–the quarters shrink considerably during cooking. You can squeeze a bit of lemon on them, but it’s not necessary.

Over low heat in a heavy, ovenproof skillet measuring 7 to 8 inches across the bottom and 10 to 11 inches across the top, melt the stick of butter. Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir until blended.

Shake/tap the pan so the butter-sugar mixture distributes evenly across the bottom.Arrange apple quarters in pan, first making a circle inside the edge of the pan. Place them on their sides and overlap them so you can fit as many as possible. Then fill the center of the pan; you may have some apple left over. Keep at least one extra apple quarter on hand–when you turn the apples over, they may have shrunk to the extent that you’ll need to cheat and fill in the space with an extra piece. This one piece won’t get quite as caramelized as the other pieces, but don’t worry–it will still cook through and no one will notice.

Return your pan to the stovetop on high heat. Let boil for 10 to 12 minutes or until the juices in the pan turn from golden in color to dark amber. Remove from heat. With the tip of a sharp knife, turn apple slices over, keeping them in their original places. If necessary, add an extra slice of apple to keep your arrangement intact. Return to the stovetop on high heat once more. Let cook another 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

Place the crust on top of the apples and brush off excess flour. Tuck edges under slightly, along the inside of the pan, being careful not to burn fingers. You can use your knife.

Bake in oven until the top of the crust is golden-brown in color, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack about 30 minutes.

Run a sharp knife along the inside edge of the pan. Place a plate or other serving dish on top of the pan and quickly flip over the whole shebang so the Tarte Tatin drops down onto the plate. The pan will still be hot, so use potholders and be careful! Don’t burn yourself or drop stuff! If you are feeble and clumsy, get someone stronger and more coordinated than you to do this. Peek under the edge of the pan to see if the Tarte came out. You may need to bop the bottom of the pan with your potholder-encased fist for this to happen. If there are any pieces of apple left behind in the pan or otherwise out of place, carefully put them back where they are supposed to be. Voila! A beautiful TREAT!

This keeps well for about a day at room temperature; if you have to refrigerate it, warm it up slightly before serving for optimum enjoyment.

Summer Popsicles

You know those home popsicle molds that are most likely meant for children? I had wanted one for quite a while, I even tried making one myself but that ended…messily. When I finally bought one I was pretty excited and ready to try all these recipes. The first ones I tried were simple and successful, plain strawberry and a strawberry banana hybrid. Next I made these awful avocado things which completely destroyed my desire to make delicious popsicles and that was the end of that phase. However, my initial attempt was successful so here it is…Image-1

I really wanted to make a multicolored popsicle so I started off with a plain strawberry base. I blended strawberries, sugar, and some lemon juice until it was smooth. I froze a couple just like that and they were lovely. To my surprise, they weren’t like those store-bought popsicles where you suck out all the flavour at once and all you’re left with is essentially bland ice.

To get the second color, I decided to go with banana. I mashed some banana with Greek yoghurt (this would have been a little tastier with some added sugar, but taste it and then decide). Because of the weights, I put the banana on the bottom and topped it with the strawberry layer. I decided three layers would be slightly excessive.Image

That’s all, a simple summer treat that can be as healthy or unhealthy as you desire!

– S