Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

It doesn't take much to show someone you care. Something store-bought is special, but something homemade is even better. When my daughter asked if I was going to make a special Valentine's Day Dessert, I told her I was going to use the mini cupcakes I had in the freezer. The look on her face was priceless. "Mom, cupcakes...again?"

Well, yes. But these cupcakes are going to knock your socks off, I said.

She and I had been shopping at the Outlet Mall not too long ago and we went into the Kitchen Gourmet Shop. I found the coolest item.

This little jar of flavored powders, by Dean Jacobs, was right there on a shelf just waiting for me to pick up and take home. The flavors are:
Green Apple

I couldn't resist. I kept thinking of the possibilities. They not only flavor the icing, but color it as well. It might not be a new item for many of you, but it was for me. We don't have a Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table in El Paso. If I want something special, I have to drive up to Albuquerque to get it.

I couldn't wait to get started. The mini frozen baby cakes I had were cinnamon chocolate, so I knew I was on the right track.

I whipped up a batch of White Chocolate Frosting and pulled out the flavorings. Here's the result.

The colors were light and the flavors were subtle, but obvious. They were fantastic. Topped off with a few SweetHearts and they made a gorgeous presentaton.

Well, my daughter, not to be outdone, took some of the left over baby cakes, dipped them in some milk chocolate ganache and made some squiggles on the tops after the ganache had set. She placed these in a heart-shaped box we had kept from last years Valentine's Day and made her baby cakes look like little truffles. She (with Brian's help) was quite please with herself.

So, it's turned out to be a delicious and easy Valentine's Day dessert even with all the researching on FAFSA, credit transferring, and apartment hunting we're doing for her for when she goes to Arlington next semester to complete her studies. We'll be going to Dallas next month for her advising and we'll make time to go to the cooking stoes and container shops (with my son Michael and daughter-in-law Jennifer) while we're there.

Have a loving and pleasant Valentine's Day with your loved ones. Remember it doesn't take much to show someone you care.

White Chocolate Frosting

6 oz. white baking chocolate (chopped up)
1/4 c. heavy cream
2 sticks butter
1 c. powdered sugar

Stir white chocolate and whipping cream in pan over hot water until melted and smooth. Cool. Add butter and sugar; beat on high until light and fluffy. Makes about 3 cups. Keeps well in refrigerator.

If you are going to use the Icing Flavors, I suggest you start out sparingly (about 1/4 teaspoon) and MIX THE POWDER IN WELL.

Enjoy the day and feel the love. Hugs everbody.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cinnamon Chocolate Pudding and Puff Pastry Churros

After doing all the puddings for the Mexican American Border Cooking blog, I realized I hadn't made one for the chocolate blog. My bad! So what better refreshing chocolate pudding than one with cinnamon?

Then, I was inspired with this wonderful Puff Pastry Churro recipe posted by Anudivya from…and a little bit more. Churros are so popular here in El Paso and I know they have grown in popularity across the states. But this recipe was so unique to me that I had to try it. Despite their deliciousness, churros are still fried. These puff pastry delights by Anudivya are baked and have the same cinnamon-sugar flavor that are particular to churros. Give them a try. They really are good.

The little heart in the pudding is made from a flour tortilla. I just used a cookie cutter and baked these as well then coated them with a little cinnamon sugar as well. Enjoy.

Cinnamon-Chocolate Pudding

2 cups milk
1 pkg. (4-serving size) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup thawed COOL WHIP Sugar Free Whipped Topping Shavings of Abuelita Mexican Chocolate

Beat milk, pudding mix and cinnamon with whisk 2 min.
Stir in COOL WHIP.
Spoon into dessert dishes.
Sprinkle with some shavings made from Abuelitas Mexican Chocolate.

Mini Churros - Baked Vs Fried
(by Anudivya)

Puff pastry sheets
1 tspSugar
1/4 cup (They don't take up so much sugar, it is only for coating, you will have some left over)Eggwash
flour - To dust

Method:Thaw out pastry sheets according to package instructions. It should be at room temperature or slightly still cold.Preheat oven to 400 F.Mix cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and keep them ready.Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and set aside.Unfold the sheet, dust a little All purpose flour if need be and roll out slightly.Cut into thin strips of desired lengths. I did mine about 3 inches long and 1 inch thick.Brush beaten egg on both sides roughly. Coat with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.Lay them on the cookie sheet with little space in between them so that they can puff up.Bake at 400F till slightly golden brown on top.

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