The most important thing I learned about making this dessert from Lidia Bastianich is you'll need PLENTY of equipment to accomplish these luscious results, with an equal amount of cleanup - including the edge of each glass :)
16 ounce measuring cup with spout
Small bowl for melting chocolate
Large bowl for whipping cream
Hand or stand mixer to make whipped cream
Tongs to pick up chocolate-saturated bread
Food processor or large knife to chop the chocolate
Baking sheet for toasting nuts
(V.O.E. - I topped this with a silicone baking sheet)
Above: I found Italian country-style bread at my local grocery store.
Above: Because we always have walnuts on hand, I substituted them for almonds.
Above: Melting chocolate! For the required hot chocolate, I returned to this Alice Medrich recipe from last week's post. V.O.E.: Using half of her recipe is perfect for Lidia's recipe, with a little bit extra to sip.
Above: 'Soaking' bread.
While Lidia's recipe suggests distributing all final ingredients across six serving glasses, I used four instead based on availability in our kitchen.
Not a fan of bread pudding, my husband found this dessert very approachable. We might add a touch more sweetness, with another tablespoon of sugar and 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon in the whipped cream (we do love cinnamon around here :)
Whichever way you go, everyone will thoroughly enjoy this multi-layered dessert.
In October 2022, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Medrich and several other experts about differences between Dutch process and natural cocoa powder. As I created my recipe list for this year's chocolate blog, I also found her Rich Hot Chocolate Recipe on The Chocolate Professor site.
Above: I chopped bittersweet chocolate chips in my food processor.
This quick, simple, and simply delicious recipe was the perfect antidote to a gray and chilly Sunday afternoon in October. I served myself a large, 1 1/2 cup serving of hot chocolate, but this rich and creamy concoction could easily provide three very satisfying, one cup portions.
2-cup measuring cup with spout
1 large spoon
1 large whisk
Food processor or large knife to chop the chocolate
V.O.E.: I found a ladle extremely helpful when transferring completed hot chocolate to a glass.
V.O.E.: Although I enjoyed my hot chocolate in a glass to facilitate taking photos, I would otherwise serve it in a ceramic mug to better contain the heat from this liquid treat.
Above: After adding the initial boiling water
Below: After adding remaining boiling water + milk & combining slightly with a spoon
Alice recommends several possible flavor add-ins and encourages readers to experiment. I do love a touch of chile powder in hot chocolate, but unfortunately learned I am out at the moment. But I did add a generous teaspoon of cinnamon to my hot chocolate while in the pan.
A little canned whipped cream (No, it's nowhere near as good as homemade whipped cream but with only two of us at home I typically don't make this topping unless we're having company to help us make a good dent in it) and another 'shake' of cinnamon, made a perfect combo for my tastebuds.
Enjoy and experiment!
After I made Orange Olive Oil Brownies plus a Raspberry Chipotle Cheesecake last week, it felt like a good time to make something quite healthy. No Bake Energy Bites fit the bill-and then some. This is also a terrific recipe choice when you want a sweet treat but don't have a lot of time to make one.
-silicone baking mat
I've gathered all of my ingredients here, including the toasted coconut. As I had never toasted coconut before, I did a quick Internet search and found an easy tutorial here. However, my toasting time was closer to 10-12 minutes. After tasting the amazing results here's my V.O.E. - BE SURE TO INCLUDE THIS STEP :)
Although the original recipe calls for semi-sweet chips, I always use bittersweet in my recipes. In this case, I think they provide a nice counterpoint to the honey and sweetened coconut flakes.
V.O.E. - When combining ingredients, pour the toasted coconut, oatmeal and flax meal into a large bowl and combine thoroughly (a whisk may be helpful for this step). Then add vanilla, peanut butter and honey. Finally, add chocolate chips.
V.O.E. - Be prepared to mash ingredients together so they combine well and keep your rubber spatula handy so you can clean off the spoon from time to time, and facilitate blending.
Now that I've made these No Bake Energy Balls once, I agree with the idea of adding a little more peanut butter if the original combination of ingredients doesn't stay together well. Not a fan of messy hands when working in the kitchen? Do opt for bars instead.
Welcome to this year's treasure trove of chocolate recipes. For the next 13 weeks I'll share delicious treats from multiple sources, with links and/or full recipes provided.
If you've followed my 'Chocolate Season' before, you'll remember each post includes photos that depict ingredients and steps for each individual dessert. In addition, you'll find 'V.O.E.s' or Voice of Experience notes - in other words, tips/thoughts from my own experience when making a recipe.
If we're connected on social media, you may also know I'm having a great time writing about passionate chocolate makers for The Chocolate Professor, an ongoing project that began late last year.
Here is our first recipe for 2023. Many years ago one of my coworkers at The Tasteful Olive created a recipe for Orange Olive Oil Brownies. Although it has long been a customer favorite, this is the first time I've gotten around to making the recipe.
Ultra-dark chocolate merges with the store's (blood) orange olive oil, creating a delicious, complex flavor profile. Check out the recipe link, and then follow along for my notes and photos.
-9 x 13 pan
-two mixing bowls (mine are stainless steel)
-double boiler (I used a small stainless steel bowl nesting in a large saucepan)
-sifter to blend dry ingredients (I substituted a large whisk)
-food processor/blender to crush the walnuts
I chose Ghirardelli bean-to-bar premium baking 100% cacao as my unsweetened chocolate variety. It melted easily with Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Despite my sweet tooth - especially for chocolate - I don't like super sweet treats. So I reduced the sugar in this recipe by 1/4 cup. (V.O.E. - The result was slightly 'ooey-gooey.' For a more solid brownie, reduce the butter too, by 1-2 tablespoons.)
Ready for the oven.
Finally, I grated orange peel atop the finished and slightly cooled brownies, for visual interest and added flavor. The result was a new favorite recipe!
P.S. - These brownies also freeze and thaw beautifully.
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