Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chocolate Brioche Flower

Beautiful Chocolate Brioche Flower….just out of the oven
I have such enthusiasm for baking special breads during the holidays! There is something special about setting a beautiful brunch table, and then placing a gorgeous sweet bread upon it! I have several delectable breads that I make for the Easter and Christmas seasons! The one I’m sharing today starts with Brioche dough from Peter Reinhart.  It’s then filled with a chopped chocolate, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. The real magic starts when it's cut into a beautiful brioche flower! Pretty special for any occasion, this one graced our Christmas table! 

The only photo I was able to get after the bread was plated…I noticed there was a piece missing as I pulled it out to serve…Christmas mice, hmmmm?

Although this bread looks quite fancy, it would be perfect for any gathering of family or friends. You could fill it with a simple sugar-cinnamon mixture, or fancy it up with Nutella or jam. It’s all up to you!
I did solicit some assistance in making this bread from my daughter and granddaughter.  It was our Christmas Eve project! Getting everyone involved made for such an enjoyable afternoon, and hopefully created wonderful memories!

The disk cut into sixteen pieces
My daughter twisting and my granddaughter sealing them

Early in the day, I made the sponge for the brioche. It consists of ½ cup of flour, 1¼ tsps. instant yeast, ½ cup lukewarm whole milk. Whisk it all together, and let rise for 30-40 minutes, or until the sponge rises and then falls. As it rises it will become bubbly.

Once the sponge was ready I prepared the dough. I did this in my stand-mixer with a paddle attachment. Knead and let rise until doubled in size.  Now for the fun part! 

I cut the dough into four equal parts and formed balls. I then rolled out each ball into a 10-inch circle. My granddaughter brushed each circle with softened butter, and then sprinkled each with the chocolate mixture, except the last, which is left plain. This is where my daughter came in. She has an artistic inclination for being precise…so we gave her the job of cutting and twisting! We had a really fun time working together, and my granddaughter even took some of the photos! 
This bread was delicious and a big hit on Christmas morning! Receiving many Oooohs, Aaahs, and Yumms! Go ahead and give it a try…you know you want to…it’s much easier than it looks!

Wishing everyone a Healthy and Happy New Year!! 

Ready for the egg wash and oven
Just out of the oven the aroma was so alluring….
Great shot by my granddaughter…she’s ten!

Chocolate Brioche Flower
Makes: 1 large Chocolate Brioche Flower
Adapted from:
  • Watch how the bread is formed with this Video Brioche Flower @ 
  • Poor Man’s Brioche from The Bread Bakers Apprentice by Peter Reinhart
For the sponge:
  • 1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk, lukewarm (90-100 degrees F.)
For the dough:
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups (13.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk, if necessary to form a smooth dough
For the filling 
  •  about ½ cup of finely chopped dark chocolate
  • ⅓ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • softened butter for brushing
Egg wash, 1 beaten egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon of milk, brush on just before the bread goes into the oven.

To make the sponge, stir together the flour and yeast in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer). Pour in the milk and whisk the ingredients together until all of the flour is hydrated. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the sponge rises and falls when you tap the bowl.

To make the dough, add the eggs to the sponge and whisk (or beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment) until smooth.  In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add this mixture to the sponge and eggs and stir (or continue mixing with the paddle on low speed for about 2 minutes) until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to begin to develop the gluten.  Then mix in the melted butter by hand, using a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk or with the mixer on medium speed using the dough hook. Add in a couple of teaspoons of milk if the dough is too dry.
Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.  It shouldn't be too sticky too handle.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a clean bowl.  It doesn't need to be oiled.  The butter should keep the dough from sticking to the bowl.  Let the dough rise in a warm place (70- 75 degrees F.) for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, cut out a circle of Parchment paper about 12″ in diameter. Place the paper on your baking sheet.

To shape the flower, once risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, punch it down and knead for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal size pieces and form each piece into a ball.
Roll each ball of dough out into a circle measuring about 10″ in diameter. The dough should be about 1/8″  thick.
Place the dough onto the baking paper, brush with the butter, and sprinkle with the chocolate mixture. Leave about an inch border all around the edge.  Be sure to evenly cover the dough.
Roll out the second ball of dough, place it on the first layer, brush with the butter and sprinkle the chocolate mixture. Repeat with the third and fourth balls of dough, but do NOT butter or sprinkle anything on the final layer.
Cut the brioche into 16 segments but leave a small 1½” area in the center of the dough uncut. I used a small round object…so that I would not cut too far into the dough.
First cut the circles into quarters, then eighths, and finally into sixteenths. Take two parts in both hands and delicately twist them in opposite directions. Press the edges together firmly. Repeat with all pairs.

Place the brioche in a large plastic bag or cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for another 2 hours to rise.
Brush with the egg wash, and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  
Place the bread on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, dust lightly with confectioners sugar. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

TWD ~ Gingerbread Bûche de Noël

TWD ~ Gingerbread Bûche de Noël

Happy holidays everyone! Hope you all enjoyed your holiday celebrations! Tuesdays with Dorie picked the very appropriate...Gingerbread Bûche de Noël, for this week.
Roulades and I go way back! My mom was the Jelly Roll Queen! I remember watching her bake those wonderful confections as I stood by her side, amazed at how she took that flat cake, filled it with her homemade jam, then rolled it seamlessly without a crack to be found! Since I’m my mother’s daughter, baking has always been a passion! My mom taught me an abundance of life’s lessons. She also taught me how to be quite competent in the kitchen! Christmas always brings up such bittersweet memories. My mom passed away a few years ago, and there has not been a Christmas since, where my heart doesn’t experience emptiness. Even at my mom’s most confused state, we would still bake together. Interesting how life takes us through a series of cycles…. I now bake with my daughter and granddaughter! Hopefully creating some lovely memories!

A perfect dessert for Christmas…or even New Years…enjoy!
I was delighted to tackle the Bûche de Noël.  It certainly was a show-stopper! This Bûche had several steps, so being organized would be a good thing! I decided to make the pecan praline filling, the day before I baked the cake. The most challenging thing at that point, was trying to keep my hubby from eating the pecan praline. It was yummy! I also made the cream cheese filling the day before. The next day, I tackled the geniose style gingerbread sponge cake. The cake was a bit more complex, then other sponge cakes I’ve made. When I poured the batter into the pan it seemed to deflate a bit, but it turned out lovely despite that.  Rolling the cake, after it comes out of the oven was easy. If you have never done this before, make sure you roll it while it’s still quite warm. Check out Dorie’s video with Melissa Clark. 
I loved the marshmallow frosting. It was a stunning, snow white frosting, that looked beautiful when spread on the cake. Just like freshly fallen snow! However, I found this recipe makes way too much, leaving a lot left over. Calling for four egg whites, I might try to cut the frosting in half next time.  
Wishing all my TWD friends a fabulous New Year! Happy Baking and Happy Holidays!

You can find the recipe in Dorie’s new cookbook "Baking Chez Moi”.  The perfect gift for any baker you know.  It has also been published 
herealong with a video. Check out what the rest of the TWD bloggers did with this one, here.   

Cake rolled inside a towel after removed from pan
Unrolled from the towel, filled with the cream cheese filling, and rerolled
This was a show-stopper dessert and enjoyed by all on Christmas Eve! 
Luscious! Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 26, 2014

FFWD ~ Our Dorista Happy Holidays Recipe Exchange ~ Bethmannchen

FFWD ~ Happy Holidays Recipe Exchange ~~ Bethmannchen
Happy Holidays everyone! This week for our French Fridays post, we shook things up a bit! We were asked to blog about a recipe from our Christmas card/recipe exchange.  Everyone who chose to participate in the card exchange, was also asked to send an optional recipe. One of their holiday favorites! It could be a favorite cookie, cocktail or other holiday/family favorite! Each time the mail was delivered, I felt like I was getting a little Christmas gift! Picking one to make, was not an easy decision!  I received some wonderful recipes from my Dorista friends around the world.  

These were such a nice cookie to enjoy during the holidays!
Even though my plan is to eventually try all of them…today I chose to make Bethtmannchen, a traditional German almond cookie from my friend  Gaye @Laws of the Kitchen.  Gaye blogs from Australia. The cookie is named for a well known Frankfurt family and each of the almonds on top represents one of their sons.
This cookie was quite easy and delicious! I will definitely be adding this delightful cookie to my repetoire of Christmas cookies! Thank you Gaye for a lovely new treat, and Happy New Year!!
To see what holiday recipes the other FFwD members are sharing, pop over and check the LYL post on the French Fridays with Dorie website.
Waiting to bake
Just out of the oven
Wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year! And special wishes for all my Dorista friends!
 Doristas last year in Seattle…Karen, Liz, Betsy, Michelle, Trevor, Adriana and Cher…..Patty, Alice, and me!
Alice(our social director), Moi, Mary and Liz
Michelle, Cher, Guyla, Adriana and Alice…and next spring I hope to meet Gaye in NYC! Anyone else in?


125g Confectioners sugar (Powdered sugar)
1 egg white
200g almond meal
1 teaspoon cornflour (corn starch)
1 egg yolk
4 teaspoons water
50 g blanched almonds
a little milk for brushing

Line a baking sheet with parchment. 

Sift the confectioners sugar into a bowl.  Add the almond meal and cornstarch and stir to combine.

In another bowl, beat the egg white until stiff peaks form.  Add the icing sugar mixture to the egg whites, and mix briefly with the mixer.

Pinch off walnut sized pieces from the mixture and roll into balls.  Place each ball onto the baking sheet and press three blanched almonds into each ball, point facing upwards.  Brush each cookie with egg wash made of egg yolk and water. Leave the balls to dry overnight.  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Brush each cookie with milk, and place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven to bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

I did not have whole blanched almonds in my pantry, so I used blanched slivers. I thought they worked well.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Chocolate Amaretti Cookies

Chocolate Amaretti Cookies
Are you ready for one more Christmas cookie? Boy do I have a fabulous one to share! I’ve been baking Amaretti cookies every Christmas, for more years then I care to remember. We go way back, ever since a dear friend gave me her secret family recipe! I had been begging her for it, for years. They are probably my most requested cookie from family and friends. They are also one of my favorites! It might be the almond paste…I’m wild about anything with almond paste!  I adore the chewy texture!

These are just too good to pass up!
However, this year instead of my tried and true recipe, I made a phenomenal chocolate version of Amaretti! I found it on Food and Wine while searching the web. They sound great, don’t they? How could I not give them a try? We’re talking almond paste and chocolate! Two of my favorite things!
Double Chocolate actually! Not only does it call for cocoa powder, but chocolate chips as well!
I used dark chocolate chips and loved the rich deep chocolaty flavor. This cookie is straightforward to prepare. It mixes up quite easily in your food processor.  After one bite, you’ll be in heaven!

And from my kitchen to yours Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the Happiest of New Years!

How decadent can you get?
A wonderful gift idea. too!

Chocolate Amaretti Cookies
from Food and Wine


One 7-ounce package pure almond paste, broken up
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Pearl sugar or Italian pignoli, for decorating

Preheat the oven to 375° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
In a food processor, combine the almond paste, sugar, cocoa powder and salt and process until the almond paste is very finely chopped. Add the egg whites and process until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and pulse just until incorporated.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe half of the batter 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets in slightly rounded teaspoons (about 1 inch in diameter). Alternatively, use a spoon to dollop the batter. Generously sprinkle the cookies with pearl sugar or pignoli.
Bake the cookies for 13 to 14 minutes, until risen and lightly cracked but still soft, shifting the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Slide the paper onto racks and let the cookies cool completely on the paper. Let the baking sheets cool completely, line with fresh parchment paper and repeat with the remaining batter. Invert the parchment onto a work surface and peel it off the cookies.  Store in air tight container. These can be frozen.

Friday, December 19, 2014

FFWD ~ Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds ~~~ Orange and Olive Salad

FFWD ~ Orange and Olive Salad

This week, for French Fridays, we have a very simple salad…another gift for the holiday season! This lovely Orange and Olive Salad took me about 10 minutes to prepare. I was not expecting to like it, but surprisingly I did! Three main ingredients, onions, oranges and olives! A little olive oil, salt and pepper, and that’s it! Simple and delicious! This was not going to fly with Bill; he never eats raw onions (or any kind). However, I genuinely enjoyed the salty-sweet flavor of this salad! I used some Blood Orange olive oil that I had in my pantry, and loved the extra touch it added. This salad was a winner! I would definitely make it again, next time for company! I think I could even make a Bill friendly version (nah)!  Now onto the Lamb Tagine with Apricot and Almonds, that I missed last week!

Company worthy salad…loved it!

I have been anticipating this dish for quite sometime! Moroccan flavors have always intrigued me! When I couldn’t get to it last Friday, I was somewhat disappointed, and was determined to get it done during the week!
I was all ready to start this intriguing dish on Sunday. However, when I pulled out my Tagine, I realized it needed to soak for 24 hours! What?? It’s been sitting on my kitchen counter for over a year, and I never realized it needed seasoning. Once again I put all the ingredients away, and soaked my Tagine! Monday morning I finished the seasoning process, and started my Lamb Tagine.

A Tagine is a North African dish, popular in Morocco and Tunisia. Moroccan Tagine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, usually made in a clay pot of the same name. They can also be prepared in a slow cooker or Dutch oven. There’s nothing like a braised stew or pot of soup simmering away on the stove this time of year…it warms your soul!

FFWD ~ Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
First browning the lamb, and then sautéing the onions and garlic. Once they’re softened, add the spices along with some tomatoes, chicken broth and apricots. Cover it and pop it into the oven for a long braise.  After reading the posts from last week, I decided to add carrots, along with the apricots. I thought they would make this dish more husband friendly. The aroma of the warm spices, as this Tagine braised away in the oven, was intoxicating! It permeated my kitchen and warmed an otherwise cold damp day! 
Tagines are usually served with couscous or bread. I chose the couscous! This was a thoroughly enjoyable dish that I know I will make again. Even Bill enjoyed it! Happy Friday everyone!

This recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, “Around My French Table”. Since it’s been published on Dorie’s blog…I shared it below.  To see what the other Doristas thought of this recipe check it out here.

The tagine was finally christened, after a year of sitting on my counter!

Looking forward to using it again
Notice the deer eating the salad…I didn’t until I downloaded the photo
An utterly delicious dinner…a winner for sure!
Bon Appétit

from Dorie Greenspans blog
Makes 4 servings
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 pound moist, plump dried apricots
About 6 tablespoons olive oil
About 1 3/4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, fat removed, cut into cubes about 1 1/2 inches on a side
4 medium onions, peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled, trimmed, germ removed and finely chopped
One 14 1/2 - ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, or 4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, cracked (I do this in my mortar and pestle)
2 pinches saffron
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
About 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Couscous or rice, for serving
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
If you're using the bouillon cubes (it's what Francoise uses), drop them into a medium-size bowl and pour over 1 3/4 cups of boiling water; stir to dissolve.  If you're using chicken broth, bring it to the boil, then pour it into the bowl.  Add the apricots to the bowl and let them soak and plump while you prepare the rest of the tagine.
Put the base of a tagine, a heavy, high-sided skillet or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and pour in 3 tablespoons of the oil.  Pat the pieces of lamb dry between sheets of paper towels, then drop them into the hot oil - don't crowd the pan; work in batches, if necessary - and brown the meat on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Lift the meat out of the pot and onto a plate with a slotted spoon.  Season the lamb with salt and pepper.  Pour out the fat that it's in the pan, but leave whatever bits may have stuck to the base.
Return the pan to the stove, adjust the heat to low and add 2 more tablespoons of the olive oil.  When the oil is warm, stir in the onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, just to get them started on the road to softening.  Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring often, for another 10 minutes, adding a little more oil, if needed.  Add the chicken bouillon/broth to the pot as well as the coriander, saffron - crush the saffron between your fingers as you sprinkle it into the pot - ginger, cumin, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the chopped cilantro leaves.  Stir to mix and dissolve the spices, season with salt and pepper and spoon the meat over the base of vegetables.  Top with the plumped apricots, seal the pan with aluminum foil and clap on the lid.  Slide the pan into the oven.
Bake the tagine for 60 minutes before carefully lifting the lid and foil and scattering the almonds over the meat.  Recover the pan and allow the tagine to bake for 15 minutes more.  (This seems like a tease to me - you open the lid, get a deep whiff of the tagine, see how beautiful it is and then have to wait another 15 minutes before you can dig in.  Sometimes, I skip this step and just save the toasted almonds to sprinkle over the tagine at serving time.  I give you permission to do likewise.)
Serving:  Of course, this should be served as soon as it comes from the oven.  If you've cooked it in a tagine, sprinkle the remaining cilantro over the meat, bring the tagine to the table and serve directly from the pan.  If you've used a skillet or Dutch oven, transfer the tagine to a warm large serving platter and dust with cilantro.  While you could serve the tagine solo, it would be a shame not to offer something to go with the wonderful sauce.  I serve either couscous (cooked without spices in chicken broth or water) or white rice.
Storing:  Like almost all braised dishes, this one is a good keeper.  You can make it a day or two ahead and, when it's cool, cover it well and keep it in the refrigerator.  If you make the dish ahead, I'd suggest you only add the toasted almonds when you reheat the tagine for serving and, of course, hold off on the last dusting of cilantro.

Friday, December 12, 2014

FFWD ~ Béatrix’s Red Kuri Soup

FFWD ~ Béatrix’s Red Kuri Soup
I am totally off kilter! Today is French Friday, and our recipe is for Lamb and Apricot Tagine. I bought all the ingredients, and had every intention on making this dish. I even own a Tagine, a gift from my daughter-in-law and son! But as fate would have it, the Tagine didn’t fit into my life this week.

A few weeks ago, our group made Béatrix’s Red Kuri soup, and I missed it! I even bought a beautiful Red Kuri squash, from my local farm stand, weeks in advance.  My plan was to make it for Thanksgiving! And as most of you know, I spent Thanksgiving in Florida at my son’s house. For several days I packed all the food and equipment I would need for our feast.  My hand held mixer…packed, pie plates…packed, homemade cranberry sauce, piecrust, and date-nut bread…packed, packed and packed! I was ready to travel south!

When we arrived at the beach house, and unpacked, I realized I left the squash sitting on my kitchen counter. OH NO! So I just skipped FF’s for that week! My bad!! (lol)

Loved…loved this soup…thick, creamy and full of flavor!
Fast forward a few weeks. I get home and see my lovely Red Kuri squash still sitting on my counter, and it was looking rather sad! The stem end was getting a bit soft however, it was a large squash, so I cut the end off! The rest of the squash was beautiful. I scooped out the seeds, and proceeded with Dorie’s recipe.

Cutting the elusive Red Kuri squash…the skin is thin and easy to cut through

I should mention the trouble I had sourcing this squash.  I was finally able to find one in October, at a local pumpkin farm…go figure!  I hadn’t heard of this variety of squash until I saw it in “Around My French Table”.  The farmer told me it is in the Hubbard squash family. In France, it is known as Potimarron, due to it’s chestnut flavor. The best thing about preparing this soup, with the Red Kuri squash, was it doesn't need to be peeled! 

I absolutely loved the simplicity of this soup! The end result was creamy, slightly nutty and oh so delicious!! Did Bill eat it? A big fat NO! After enjoying several bowls, I froze the rest. I thought I’d serve the remainder over Christmas week! Happy Friday, everyone! 

A little side note…While I was having such trouble sourcing this squash, I found a site that sold seeds. I bought a pack, and will be planting them next year in my garden…hopefully with success!

This recipe is from “Around My French Table”. Dorie shared this recipe on her blog…so I’m sharing it with you! It can be made with butternut squash as well. To see how the other Doristas did with their Tagine, you can check it out here.

This was my wonderful lunch as I put up my Christmas tree

The seeds!

Adapted from Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan

For the soup:
1 red kuri squash, about 3 pounds
3 slender or 1 1/2 larger leeks, white part only, trimmed, split lengthwise and washed
3 cups whole milk
3 cups water
Salt, freshly ground pepper and freshly grated nutmeg

For the garnish (optional):
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and cut into tiny dice
About 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts
About 1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream

To make the soup:  Scrub the red kuri squash under water, using a brush, if necessary, to scrape off any stuck-on dirt.  With a heavy chef’s knife, cut off the pointy tip of the squash, then cut the squash in half from top to bottom.  Scoop out the seeds and the strings that bind them, then cut the squash into 1- to 2-inch chunks, shell and all.  Toss the squash into a large casserole or Dutch oven.  Cut the leeks into inch-thick slices and put them in the pot, too.  Add the milk and water, salt generously and bring to the boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the soup about 25 to 35 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft enough to mash when pressed lightly with the back of spoon.
Using a hand-held immersion blender, a standard blender or a food processor, puree the soup until it is very smooth.  Depending on how much liquid boiled away, you may have a thick soup and a decision to make:  leave it thick (I do) or thin it to whatever consistency pleases you with either more milk or more water.  Taste for salt and season with pepper and nutmeg.  Heat the soup if it’s cooled in the blender or if you’ve thinned it – this soup is at it’s best truly hot.
Serving:  If you’re using the apples and nuts, spoon some into the bottom of each soup bowl and ladle over the hot soup; top with a little cream.  
Storing:  The soup will keep for up to 4 days in a covered jar in the refrigerator (it will thicken as it stands, so you might want to thin it when you re-heat it) and for up to 2 months packed airtight in the freezer.

Bonne Idée:  There are so many flavors that go well with this soup that you can make the basic soup and serve it several different ways.  You can top the soup with olive-oil sautéed bread cubes – toss some shredded sage into the skillet along with the bread; thin slices of toasted baguette sprinkled with grated cheese and run under the broiler – use a nutty cheese like Gruyere or Emmenthaler, or a blue cheese like gorgonzola or Roquefort; or sauté some cooked chopped chestnuts (you can use bottled chestnuts) in a little butter or oil, season with salt and pepper, chopped fresh thyme or sage, and either spoon a little over the soup or, better yet, over the crème fraiche, if you’re using it.
Another Bonne Idée:  Butternut Squash and Chestnut Soup.  If you’re intrigued by the flavor combination of squash and chestnuts, the pair that come packed together in potimarron and red kuri squash, but you can’t find either squash, you can use butternut squash – choose one that’s 3 pounds, remove the rind and cut the flesh into small cubes – and add 7 ounces of shelled chestnuts to the mix.  You can use jarred or vacuum-packed chestnuts.  Look for packs of chestnut pieces – they’re perfect for purees and less expensive than intact nuts. 
Article printed from Dorie Greenspan - On the Road and in the Kitchen with Dorie:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#Blogger C.L.U.E. ~ Chocolate Pecan Fudge

Chocolate Pecan Fudge

It’s time for the Blogger C.L.U.E. Society again! This month, it’s all about the food our grandmothers cooked. My secret blogger this month is Stacy of Food Lust People Love. She lives in Dubai, and has lived overseas for almost 27 years. She is originally from Louisiana, and her southern roots show with the recipe I’m sharing with you today. Her blog had so many wonderful recipes that I would love to try, but this month it’s supposed to be something her grandmother would have made! After searching her blog for several days, I finally found this Pecan Fudge recipe that she said is just like one her grandmother made.  I adore fudge, and it seems like a perfect recipe for this time of the year. I think fudge is a great gift to bring to someone over the holidays, and it looks so pretty on a cookie platter. A lovely treat to enjoy during the Christmas season! 

This fudge was easy and so very good!
A perfect treat for the holidays!!

Chocolate Pecan Fudge
adapted by FoodLustPeopleLove 

2 scant cups or 440g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons or 85g butter
1 cup or 237ml heavy whipping cream
3 1/2 cups or 205g of marshmallows
3 cups or 525g of semisweet chocolate in bars, chopped up, or chips
1 teaspoon or 5ml vanilla extract
1 cup or about 105g of pecans

Chop half of your pecans rather coarse and the other half into finer pieces.
Line a 9in x 13in (approx. 23cm x 33cm) metal baking pan with parchment.

Add the sugar, salt, butter, cream, and marshmallows to a large saucepan.
Cook the mixture over medium heat until the marshmallows and butter begin to melt, about five minutes. Once the marshmallows have melted, bring the mixture to a boil, and boil for five minutes. It will bubble all over the place and darken slightly. Take the pan off of the heat.          

Add the chocolate and vanilla and mix it all together until the chocolate has melted and everything is nice and smooth.  The oil started to separate out a little so I just mixed quicker and it seemed to come together again.
Working quickly, add in your coarsely chopped pecans and mix thoroughly.  Pour the mixture into your lined baking pan, spread out with a spatula or spoon and sprinkle quickly with the finely chopped pecans.
Let this sit at room temperature for at least three hours or chill it in the refrigerator atop a cooling rack so that air can circulate around the pan for about half an hour before you slice it. 
Cut into squares. This fudge will keep at room temperature for 10 days in an airtight container.  Or on a plate covered tightly in cling film.

Check out the other sleuths of Blogger C.L.U.E.