Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things I love Thursday! Cocoa!

One of the products I love on more than Thursdays is the Vosges bianca couture cocoa. Vosges has three cocoas that they make.

Bianca Couture Cocoa : "Australian lemon myrtle + lavender + white chocolate + vanilla powder "

Aztec Elixir Couture Cocoa : "ancho & chipotle chillies + cinnamon + vanilla bean + dark chocolate" 

La Parisienne Couture Cocoa : Madagascar vanilla bean pieces + dark chocolate

Really I love all of their cocoas. I bought a sample pack and tried them all. The one I was the most hesitant about was the white chocolate but it turned out to be my favorite. I can purchase them in the larger box from a local gourmet store but on their website there are so many different delicious chocolate options I just want to buy half the store. I took a picture of the "cocoa mix" close up so that you could see the detail. This cocoa is made on the stove, then the shavings are mixed in, steeped, then strained. It is worth every penny to enjoy the amazing textures and flavors. You can actually see the little pieces of lavender on the plate with the white chocolate. I tell everyone I know who loves hot cocoa and now I'm sharing with you :)

I am in no way being reimbursed for any of my thoughts or opinions about Vosges Chocolate. I just really like them a lot.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

and sometimes...things go terribly wrong

I don't see people post about their mishaps to often and I think it's interesting to see the mishaps and slight disasters sometimes. Not everyone does all their baking perfect every time. So...I had this awesome idea to put the delicious Apple Cider Caramels on a "StackerMallow" then dip the whole thing in white chocolate. Then my white chocolate ceased on me while I was melting it. I should have done it in a double boiler but I didn't, I went for the microwave knowing I had to watch it. I sure enough watched it to, watched it get overheated. Geez...the chocolate in the picture is brown, not because I burnt it mind you, but because in my creativeness I added some semi-sweet chocolate in a terrible attempt to make it work. Ummm...didn't work. Besides, when I tried it the white chocolate overpowered the caramel anyway. I have to eat the caramels plain, so sad :). Hopefully my next experiment will go better. Yes yes, I'm sure it will.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple cider caramels

I believe the first day of Fall just passed which means it's a free for all for apples and pumpkins in baking, yum! I stumbled across Blondie's Cakes last week and saw a recipe for Apple Cider Caramels. I knew when I saw the recipe I HAD to make them, absolutely had to. I love working with sugar, especially when it involves cooking it to a temperature and something delicious is the final product. You will notice the lovely specks in the caramels in the picture above, those are from fresh grated nutmeg and fresh ground cinnamon. My mom found this cinnamon grinder at the store and picked it up for me and it's so great when you just want a little cinnamon all aromatic to spice something slightly like hot cocoa or on whipped cream on a waffle. This recipe was easy to make but just takes some time and patience. Sugar sometimes takes a while to get to temperature. I wrapped some of them up yesterday and took them to a friends house for a football game and everyone enjoyed them :). I also thought about adding some vanilla bean paste but decided against it. You can see if the picture to the right this was the sugar boiling it's way up to 234F. This recipe originally came from Our Best Bites and she recommended using the Simply Apple juice and it worked beautifully.  Both sites have different cutting methods and I just haphazardly cut strips in my 8x8 and then pulled out the pieces individually to put them on my squares of foil. I don't really recommend this method as it was probably a little stickier that what was supposed to be done but I was on a time constraint and didn't plan my caramel wrapping very well. :) I also used Brown Sugar corn syrup and that probably added a nice flavor to the caramel.

Apple Cider Caramels
Recipe from Our Best Bites & Blondie's Cakes

2 cup high-quality apple cider (Simply Apple works well)
1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup real butter, cubed

- Pour cider into a medium saucepan and boil on high for about 20 minutes or until the cider is reduced to 1/3 c. Keep an eye on might try to run away. Set aside to cool.
- Line an 8" square pan with parchment paper, making sure to leave about 1" hanging over the edges for easy removal. Coat with a bit of vegetable oil and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine 2/3 c. cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and reduced apple cider. Set aside.
- In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, 1/3 c. whipping cream + enough water to reach the 1/2 c. line on the measuring cup, and corn syrup. Cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Insert the candy thermometer and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 degrees.
- Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cream mixture. Add the cubed butter and stir until the cream and butter are fully incorporated. Return the pan to heat and re-insert the candy thermometer. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the temperature reaches 248 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Let the mixture cool completely at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I covered the top with saran wrap and left it out overnight. You could cut the caramels into 1/2" squares and wrap each caramel in wax paper, but I'm lazy so I cut the caramel into 1/2" logs, which meant that I had exponentially fewer pieces to individually wrap. Store in an airtight container or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but I can guarantee that they won't last that long. These things are delicious!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


In all my years of baking I don't recall ever making popovers. A while ago one of my friends bought me a popover pan and although I bookmarked all kinds of recipes I never got around to it. Yesterday I decided, today was the day. So I used a recipe for Parmesan-Onion popover because I was looking for a recipe to use green onions in. Unfortunately for my green onions I decided to omit them, mostly because this was for breakfast. They came together in about 5 minutes and baked for about 55 minutes. The recipe also says you can make them in a muffin if you don't have a popover pan. All in all I would definitely make these again even though my husband said he could taste the egg white. To me if was like creme brulee in that you can taste the egg in some creme brulee and so you can taste the egg in some popovers but they are still delicious and fun to watch them bake :). I almost forgot to post the recipe, this is adapted from As you can tell I also doubled it and it turned out fine.



  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup bread flour
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 egg white


  • Heavily coat 2 popover pan cups or 2 muffin pan cups with cooking spray, and set aside.
  • Combine flour and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan. Place in a cold oven. Turn oven on 450°, and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake an additional 40 minutes or until popovers are crusty and brown. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hot Apple Cider Tea

I LOVE autumn and all of the scents and sights that come with it. a few years ago I discovered Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea. It tastes just like apple cider to me which is sooo delicious. I've bought it from The Republic of Tea and from World Market in their stores. I've seen it a few other stores though, I just can't remember which ones. Sometimes I sweeten it with a little honey and sometimes a little sugar. If you're used to to oversugaring your tea like I tend to do then it's delicious unsweetened as well. I've also gotten wild on occasion and in my iced tea maker that requires 6 tea bags I will use 2 Hot Apple Cider Tea bags with 4 regular tea bags and it's so great with the hint of spices. Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Light Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies to be specific. I love love love lemon sugar cookies. I saw this recipe and decided I had to make it. I found it over at Danica's Daily when I was perusing her site a
few days ago. I really love her blog, I could spend hours looking at everything. The original recipe can be found here. I bolded what I changed in the recipe. I changed it because it's what I had on hand and therefore cannot say if it is really 1 WW+ point per cookie anymore. I would like to say I love these cookies though. The texture at first was not what I was expecting and when I tried to lift them off the sheet pan to soon they crumbled but with patience they cooled nicely and came off perfectly and I ate 5 cookies I think in the first 10 minutes because yum, they are good. I did use a one inch scoop and really got 40 cookies out of it exactly, I think that's the first time in my life I actually achieved the correct amount of cookies for a recipe :).

Light Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 tbsp. dried grated lemon peel
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stir together the dried lemon peel withe lemon juice and let sit until the peel is reconstituted, about 3-5 minutes. Combine 3/4 cup sugar and all the remaining ingredients until combine.  If dough is not firm enough, chill 1 hour.
2. Place the 1/4 cup remaining sugar on a plate and set aside.  Form the cookies into 1 inch balls, roll each in sugar and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
3.  Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool 2 minutes and remove from cookie sheet.
Makes approximately 40 cookies

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Things I love Thursdays!

I was reading Better, Homes, and Gardens magazine a few months ago and I saw an article for a Pink Lemonade Blueberry. A pink blueberry! I just think it's one of the coolest  things I've seen in a while. You can actually purchase it here through Burpee although if you type in Pink Lemonade Blueberry you can find it on other websites also. Funny enough the picture is from the Pink Lemonade Blueberry's Facebook fan page :). I think this would be so much fun to make a blueberry pie with pink blueberries. I've always loved growing out of the ordinary vegetables and fruits, really I've only grown vegetables unless we're talking about tomatoes, then I've grown Zebra, Orange, tiny red ones, Pear and I think I even attempted Black Krim at one point. The problem was I have two dogs who love gardens so we planted the garden outside of the fence then I had deer and voles who love gardens, argh! I've also mostly successfully frown purple tomatillos and lemon cucumbers, those are fun but prickly until you take all of the prickles off. Is prickles a word? It makes sense to me :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had a hankering if you will for some Chocolate chocolate chip cookies. This is odd because I typically do not like cookies filled with multiple chocolates unless it is a standard chocolate chip cookie with different types of chips involved, yum! So I went on a search for a recipe I could play with. I found one here and then only changed one thing, tried to change something else, found out I did not like the results, and stopped :) I'm quick like that.
So, I obviously need to purchase some pretty plates or something because the pictures on the stove are getting old. All I have is black plates and clear plates and neither are conducive for taking pretty pictures. Yes, so the recipe, I did not add the walnuts because I do not like nuts in my cookies although seeing as how they are optional that is completely okay :). I did on the other hand put in about 3/4 cup of dark chocolate chunks and 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips because I had them. They were very tasty. What did I do that I decided not to do after I did it? Well, I don't like cookies that looks like rocks, I like cookies that are more flat and soft and chewy. So...I decided to flatten some of the cookies but that just made them less soft and more crunchy so I stopped that and went back to my happy little soft rocks. Happy Baking!

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