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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chocolate Wedding Desserts!

      Why am I doing with chocolate wedding desserts?!

      My son and his bride are getting married this coming Saturday!!

      I have found some simple recipes for bridal showers, rehearsals, wedding receptions and gifts, too…

      check them out!

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      DIY: Dark Chocolate Lollipops

      All you need is dark chocolate (the quantity depending on how many you plan to make), lollipop sticks (found at most craft stores), and the toppings of your choice).

      Directions:

      (The recipe calls for tempering your chocolate, but I think this can still turn out great if you use microwavable candy melts).

      Place some large wooden sticks over an acetate.

      Temper the dark chocolate.

      Pour the chocolate into a pastry bag..

      Draw spirals with the chocolate over one end of the sticks.

      Sprinkle the chocolate with the desired flavors.

      Let the chocolate cool down at room temperature.

      Carefully remove the lollipops from the acetate.

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      Fortune Cookies (Great for favors!)

    Ingredients:

    2 egg whites

    1/3 cup sugar

    4 Tbsp. melted butter, cooled

    1/2 cup flour

    1/4 tsp. salt

    1/2 tsp. almond extract

    1/2 tsp. lemon extract

    2 1/2″ x 1/2″ fortune strips (Already printed, cut and ready to go!)

    Optional: Food Coloring

    Optional: Chocolate and sprinkles/nuts/colored sugar (SugarCraft has a huge variety of colored sprinkles!)

    Let’s get baking!

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet thoroughly.

    Whip the egg whites on low speed until light and foamy. Blend in the sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.

    Pour in the melted butter, flour, salt, and extracts; mix until well combined. If you want to color your cookies add a drop of food coloring to the batter and mix well!

    Drop a tablespoon of the batter onto the prepared cookie sheet. Using the back of a spoon, spread the batter evenly into very thin 3-inch rounds. Alternatively, use the lid of a jar with a 3-inch circle punched out as a template, pour the batter in the ring, and remove. Because you must work quickly to shape these cookies, bake just 3 at a time.

    Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes or until the edges are a light golden color.

    Optional Step – Once cooled you may decide you want to dip your yummy cookies in chocolate and then either roll the dipped cookies in fun sprinkles, crushed nuts or colored sugar. If this is the case melt your chocolate in a double boiler or microwave following the package instructions. Then just dip, roll and place on a piece of wax paper to cool! Sooo delicious! Plus, you can further customize the cookie favors to your wedding theme by dipping them in colored chocolate to match or rolling the dipped cookies in sprinkles or sugar to coordinate with your wedding. Maybe you’ll get a little crazy and do both! Heehee.

    (Makes 6 cookies..You will need to multiply the recipe depending on how many cookies you will need.)

    Once your cookies are cooled off and the chocolate has set just wrap them in a little cellophane bag or favor box, tie on a pretty ribbon and add on a cute favor tag! Your guests will love these homemade treats and they will be so impressed you made them yourself!

    Some tips….

    Visit Fancy Fortune Cookies for some wedding themed fortunes for your fortune strips!

    Make sure when you drop the batter on the cookie sheet it is spread very thinly. If it is too thick you will not be able to fold them!

    When pulling the cookies out of the oven work quickly! If you allow the cookies to cool they will crack and crumble when you try to fold.

    If the cookie is too stiff or brittle when trying to fold place them back in the oven 2-3 minutes and try again!

    Place cookies in a muffin tin after folding to help them keep their shape when cooling.

    Practice makes perfect! Be prepared to have some screwy cookies at first until you get the hang of it

    Lastly – If you have issues with the recipe or are tight on time you can by prepackaged fortune cookies, unwrap and just dip them in the chocolate and sprinkles to skip the whole baking process. They may not have wedding fortunes but it will obviously save you a lot of time! Then just wrap up and tag and you are set!

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    Barb’s Brownies

    Ingredients:

    1/2 cup butter (I use salted butter.)

    2 scant cups brown sugar

    2 eggs

    1 cup flour

    5 dessert spoons cocoa

    1 tsp. vanilla

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and add sugar. Cream well. Add eggs and beat until fluffy. Add salt and vanilla. Mix in flour and cocoa.

    How to Make Brownie Pops

    Spray silicone brownie mold with vegetable oil. (You can get the molds from my Amazon affiliate link here if you want: Wilton Round Brownie Pop Mold.) Fill each mold cavity 2/3 full with brownie batter. Place mold in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. (Time will vary depending on your oven and the type of pan you are using.) According to Wilton.com, you can also bake for 15 to 20 minutes, remove from oven, carefully insert cookie sticks, then return to oven for the remaining cooking time. Maybe this would help the cookie sticks to set?

    Place pan on cooling grid and cool completely. Pop brownies from mold. I turned my mold over and carefully pushed in the bottom of each cavity. They released easily.

    Gently insert cookie sticks.

    Melt chocolate wafers. (I nuked mine). Gently dip brownie pops in melted chocolate. (When the chocolate eventually hardens it will help to seal the end of the brownies.)

    Gently dip brownie pop in sprinkles or colored sugar. Let cool. I had to let my brownie pops cool with the brownie part facing down. I tried to turn them over to cool but the stick went through the end. I suspect this would not have happened if I had let the brownie pops cool down more before inserting the cookie stick and dipping them in the chocolate.

    Enjoy!!

    If you are making brownie pops for your wedding or bridal shower you can place them in mason jars and simply have your guests help themselves. (They would also make cute favors.)

    One thing is certain: They will go fast!!

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    Grasshopper Cake

    Ingredients:

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

    1 1/4 cup sugar, see step 2

    1 tablespoon sugar, see step 6

    3 large eggs

    20 crème de menthe thin mints

    1 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

    Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 15 1/2" by 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan; line with waxed paper. On another sheet of waxed paper, combine flour, cocoa, and salt.

    In large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar just until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 3 minutes or until mixture is light and creamy, frequently scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture; beat just until combined, occasionally scraping bowl.

    Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on wire rack, about 40 minutes.

    Meanwhile, with vegetable peeler, shave a long side of each mint lengthwise to equal 1/2 cup chocolate curls. (You can only shave about half of each mint before it breaks.) Set aside curls for sprinkling on top of assembled cake. Chop broken pieces and reserve for use in filling (you will have about 1/3 cup chopped mints).

    With small knife, loosen cake sides from waxed paper; invert cake onto cutting board. Carefully remove waxed paper. With sharp knife, trim 1/4 inch from each side of cake. Cut cake crosswise into 3 equal rectangles (about 9 1/2" by 4 1/2" each).

    In medium bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat cream and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until stiff peaks form. With rubber spatula, gently fold reserved chopped mints into whipped cream.

    Place 1 cake rectangle on serving plate; top with 1 generous cup whipped cream mixture and spread evenly. Repeat 2 times with remaining cake and cream mixture. Sprinkle top with mint chocolate curls. Cover and refrigerate cake if not serving right away.

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    Malted Chocolate Mousse Cakes

    Ingredients:

    Chocolate Cake

    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (45 g) cocoa powder

    3 tablespoons flour

    2 tablespoons cornstarch

    5 large eggs, separated

    2/3 cup (125 g) sugar

    4 large egg yolks

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/4 up (50 g) vegetable or canola oil

    3 tablespoons buttermilk

    Malted Chocolate Mousse

    3/4 cup (168 g) whole milk

    1/2 cup (98 g) sugar

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup (37 g) malted milk powder

    6 large egg yolks

    1 1/4 teaspoons powdered gelatin, dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water

    5 ounces (150 g) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

    1 cup (226 g) whipping cream

    Directions:

    To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 11 x 17 baking pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, and spray again. If you can find a pan with a rim at least 1" high, that's probably best – some jelly roll pans might a little too shallow.

    Sift the cocoa, flour, and cornstarch into a bowl and set aside.

    In stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks star to form. Add 1/3 cup of the sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue whisking medium-soft peaks have formed. Do not overwhip the whites. Scrape the whites into a bowl, and clean the mixer bowl and whisk.

    Place all 9 egg yolks in the clean mixer bowl and whisk on medium until they are combined. Add the salt and remaining sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue whisking until the mixture is pale yellow and very thick.

    Whisk about half of the egg whites into the e egg yolk mixture by hand to lighten it up. Fold in the dry ingredients carefully until almost fully incorporated. Fold in the rest of the egg whites carefully.

    Whisk the oil and buttermilk together in a bowl. Fold into the batter until fully incorporated.

    Spread the batter into the pan and even out the surface with an offset spatula. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating halfway through. The surface should be just dry and springy to the touch. Let cake cool on rack.

    To make the mousse, combine the milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on stove over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and bubbles are starting to form around the edges. Whisk in the malted milk powder and cook until fully dissolved. Remove mixture from heat.

    Whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl. Pour in about half of the malted milk mixture in a steady stream, whisking constantly to prevent the egg yolks from cooking. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Remove saucepan from heat and add the gelatin. Stir until the gelatin is fully dissolved. Add in the chocolate and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Let mixture sit and cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

    Whip the cream to soft peaks. Fold gently into the chocolate mixture. The mixture may look very liquidy now but it will firm up as it cools and the gelatin sets.

    When the mousse seems thick enough to spread, you can assemble the cakes. Place 8 cake rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Use a 2 1/2" round cookie cutter to cut out circles from the cake. You want to have 3 circles of cake for each cake ring. Place a circle of cake into the bottom of a cake ring. Spoon some mousse in. Top with another circle of cake, some more mousse, and the final circle of cake. If you have room you can spoon some mousse on top, but depending on how soft your mousse is it might make it trickier for the cake to hold its shape.

    Chill cakes in the refrigerator overnight.

    Unmold cakes shortly before serving them. Dust a little cocoa powder on top if desired.

    Makes about 8 2 1/2" round cakes
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    Raspberry Chocolate French Macarons

    Ingredients:

    For macarons

    6 oz. sliced blanched almonds (not slivered; 2 cups)

    1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

    3 large egg whites

    3/4 teaspoon salt

    3 tablespoons granulated sugar

    Red or pink food coloring

    For chocolate raspberry ganache

    3 oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (60 to 64% cacao), finely chopped

    1/3 cup heavy cream

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

    1/16 teaspoon raspberry extract (preferably McCormick brand)

    Special equipment: parchment paper; a gallon-size sealable plastic bag (not pleated)

    Preparation:

    Make macarons:

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Pulse almonds with 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a food processor until very finely ground, 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Sift in remaining cup confectioners sugar, stirring to combine.

    Beat egg whites with salt in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until they just hold soft peaks. Add granulated sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and continue to beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks. Add drops of food coloring to reach desired shade and mix at low speed until evenly combined. Stir almond mixture into meringue with a rubber spatula until completely incorporated. (Meringue will deflate.)

    Spoon batter into bag, pressing out excess air, and snip off 1 corner of plastic bag to create a 1/4-inch opening. Twist bag firmly just above batter, then pipe peaked mounds of batter (the size of a chocolate kiss) onto lined sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Let cookies stand, uncovered, at room temperature until tops are no longer sticky and a light crust forms, 20 to 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 300°F.

    Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until crisp and edges are just slightly darker, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on sheets on racks, about 30 minutes.

    Make ganache while macarons bake:

    Melt chocolate with cream in a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water or in top of a double boiler, stirring until smooth. (Bowl should not touch water.) Remove bowl from heat, then add butter and raspberry extract, stirring until butter is melted. Let stand at room temperature until cooled completely and slightly thickened.

    Assemble cookies:

    Carefully peel cookies from parchment (they will be fragile). Sandwich a thin layer of ganache (about 1/2 teaspoon) between flat sides of cookies.

    Cooks' note: Filled macarons keep in an airtight container at room temperature 3 days.

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    imageHappy chocolate day and have a wonderful weekend!

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