Chocolate Frito Bark

July 10th, 2011

OK, so I saw Texas Frito Brittle on a cooking show and had to change it up for last week’s family vacation. I have quite a bit left, since I think people were afraid of it, so I’ll take a picture next time I get it out of the fridge. Once again….measurements are sketchy, if at all.

I used a cookie sheet with edges, lined with waxed paper for this, so measurements should be adjusted to the size of your pan.

On the waxed paper, I spread thin layers of:
Crushed Peanut Butter Pretzels
Roasted, Salted Cashews
Chopped, Dried Fruit (Trader Joe’s Mix)

I melted every plain chocolate I had in the house, from Semi-sweet to unsweetened: some Lindt, lots of Baker’s, some Hershey’s Miniatures… and poured it over everything.

I put the pan on a rack to cool to room temperature, then put it in the fridge. I broke it into pieces and put it in to gallon zipper bags, and have kept it chilled.

The Frito taste doesn’t overwhelm the chocolate, but adds a great texture, staying crunchy. The fruit adds just that bit of chewy sweetness. OK, so I love things mixed in to my dark chocolate.

Pics to come soon!

A Couple of Dark Chocolate Recipes

April 18th, 2011

First I tried this recipe for White Cocoa Oatmeal Lava Cake from the Truvia website. I used Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Chocolate, and Bakers White. I also halved the amount of Truvia, since I find it to be really sweet if used in full amounts. Oh, and I don’t have a hand mixer, and didn’t want to haul out the KA stand mixer for just 3 egg whites. The whisk attachment on the immersion blender works much better than the blender attachment!

A couple of faults with the recipe. The size of ramekins was not specified, so I used my Emile Henry soup ramekins, knowing the shape wouldn’t allow me to turn them out. Oh well, I wasn’t making it for company or presentation anyway. The recipe only filled 3 of them less than halfway. I should have used my smaller straight sided ones. The other thing, is that it appears that the oatmeal should be cooked ahead of time. I tried a bit while it was still warm and was confused at how chewy it was. I then realized that the rolled oats were still completely uncooked.

Other than being super-chewy, these tasted really good.

Update 4/24/11: These were far easier to eat after reheating in the microwave. However, the sugar content in the white chocolate was far too high for my body. Next time, aside from cooking the oatmeal, I’ll use all really dark or unsweetened chocolate with a touch of Truvial.

While they were cooling, I decided to try this recipe for Spiced Hot Dark Chocolate using Bakers Unsweetened Chcolate and a few pinches of Truvia. It turned out incredibly thick, rich and filling. I couldn’t taste any of the spices over the dark chocolate, but there was a slight heat from the cayenne. I had about half a cup and refrigerated the rest.

Update 4/22/11: To reheat this, I thinned it down half and half with soymilk and nuked it. The cayenne has definitely strengthened with time! It makes my ears tingle the way a bloody mary used to!

Tried Truvia in baking = success!

April 11th, 2011

OK, sugar doesn’t agree with me. Even the fig spread I made last week with no sugar at all didn’t work – too much natural sweetness in the figs….grrrr. I’ve really been wanting something sweet, since Norm has something to munch on every evening, and I can only watch!

I’ve got stevia liquid, but there are very few recipes out there that call for liquid, and it does taste pretty off.

So, after tons of web research and pricing, etc… I broke down and bought a jar of Truvia Spoonable sugar substitute. Truvia has a number of recipes on their website, but many still call for sugar. I used this recipe for Pumkin Cheesecake. I used just graham crackers and butter for the crust, and used full-fat dairy, since losing weight is not an interest at the moment – if anything I need to gain! Well, I had a slice for lunch today, and it was absolutely delicious! There was a faint aftertaste for maybe an hour, but not as strong or offensive as many of the substitutes out there, and it didn’t have the side effects of the other sugar alcohols!

On to ponder the next dessert!

Almost Sugar-Free Pear Tart

March 25th, 2011

Pear Tart

Pear Tart

Almost Sugar-Free Pear Tart

If you’re very sensitive to sugar, the pears add natural sweetness that may be too much.

1 C All-purpose flour
½ C cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Water

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a food processor (I was able to use my mini one). Pulse flour and butter until evenly distributed.
3. Add sugar and pulse until mixed
4. Gently mix egg with water and add to flour mixture and blend until mixed and a bit sticky.
5. Remove dough from food processor and knead to bring together.
6. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 20 minutes or until ready to use.
7. Before filling, roll out to fit a buttered or sprayed 9” or 10” cake pan, coming up the sides to the top (will shrink when baked).
8. Poke holes in the bottom of the crust with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes.

10 dried pears (or fresh pear halves)
2 Tbsp dark molasses
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cardamom
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground cloves
2 Cups water
1 ½ C cornstarch
1/3 C lightly sweetened granola

1. Bring everything but pears to a boil in a large sautee pan then reduce to a simmer.
2. Place pear halves in a single layer in the pan
3. If using dried pears, simmer until pears become soft and expand a bit, turning occasionally. If using fresh pears, simmer until cooked and spices are soaked in. (I used dried, so I’m not sure of the timing for fresh). If necessary on the dried pears, add more water.
4. When pears are done, carefully remove with tongs or a slotted spoon and place in a single layer in the cooled tart shell.
5. If necessary, add water to what’s left of the simmering liquid to make about ½ C liquid.
6. Mix together 1 ½ Tbsp water and 1 ½ Tbsp cornstarch in a custard cup and slowly mix into pan liquids.
7. Keep simmering, turning up heat if necessary and cook until thickened
8. Pour sauce over pears evenly
9. Sprinkle granola evenly over top
10. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until edges are browned and sauce bubbles a bit
11. Cool on rack