Friday, January 27, 2017

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Bombe






















This is one of those recipes I make for special occasions. It is my show stopper when I walk into the room and I love to hear all the ooohhs and aaaahhs.  It is the perfect cake for Christmas with a few berries around the outside or the perfect Valentines day dessert with some hearts sprinkled on top.  It’s really not hard to make and you’re guest will love it.

Frozen Chocolate Mousse Bombe

Cake:

1 stick unsalted butter
8 oz Ghirardelli chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9" cake pan with parchment and grease the bottom and sides with a bit of butter. Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave in 20 second increments, stirring at each break until everything is smooth. Set aside.

Place the eggs, yolk and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted whisk on high until light in color and slightly thickened (about 5 min). Using a rubber spatula fold in the chocolate and butter mixture just until it's incorporated. Try not to mix too much or you'll lose the volume you just whipped into it. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spread evenly and bake for about 25 min, or until a toothpick in the center comes up clean. Cool completely at room temp before removing from the pan. Set aside. 
 
Mousse

8 oz Ghirardelli chocolate (divided), coarsely chopped
1/4 cup freshly brewed coffee
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons sugar
3 egg whites
2 cups heavy cream

Melt 5 oz of the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals , stirring at each stop until it's smooth. Set aside. 

Combine coffee, honey, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 min. While the syrup is cooking combine the egg whites and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl of a mixer and when the syrup is almost ready, start whipping the egg whites on high and whip until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.

Your syrup should be ready now, so lower the speed to low and slowly add it to the egg whites. Then turn up the speed to high and whip until very thick (about 4 min).  Carefully fold in the melted chocolate. 

In a separate bowl whisk the heavy cream on medium-high until stiff peaks form, then fold that into the chocolate meringue until it's uniform. Keep in the fridge until needed.  Melt the remaining 3 oz chocolate the same way as before, let it cool a bit and transfer to a large bowl. Add 2 cups of the chocolate mousse. Fold with a rubber spatula until combined.

Lightly spray the inside of a 9 inch large bowl with non-stick and line with plastic wrap, making sure to leave lots of wrap hanging over the sides. Spoon the chocolate mousse into the bowl and use an offset spatula to make sure it's spread evenly and that there are no air bubbles.























Top with the cake and press down a bit to make sure there are no air bubbles or gaps trapped in between. Cover the top with the ends of the plastic wrap, adding more if needed and put in the freezer. It will need to chill at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

When you are ready to assemble the bombe, place a cooling rack on a baking sheet.   Lay a 9 inch round parchment paper on rack. Remove the bowl from the freezer, unfold the plastic wrap from the bottom and flip onto  the paper. If the dome doesn't pop right out of the bowl, soak a towel in hot water, wrap it around the bottom and sides of the bowl and hold it there for a few seconds, then try to unmold again.  You may need to tug gently at the plastic wrap to help it along.

Glaze:

8 oz  Ghirardelli chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salted caramel sauce, optional

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the heavy cream, honey, and butter in a small saucepan over medium high heat and stir to combine.  Stir constantly so that milk doesn’t boil over. When you see small bubbles start to form around the edges take it off the heat and pour over the chocolate in your bowl. Let it stand for a minute and then stir with a whisk until smooth. 


Pour the glaze over the bombe, letting excess drip down onto the baking sheet. Transfer to a plate and drizzle with salted caramel sauce if desired.  Return it to the freezer to set for 30 minutes. 

Store the bombe in the freezer, but take it out 20 min or so before serving to let it soften a bit, otherwise it will be really hard to cut. Enjoy!






















Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

German Chocolate Cake





















When I was little I would get so excited watching my Mom make my Dad's birthday cake. His favorite was German Chocolate and she made it every year right on up until the year she moved to Heaven.  When I was little, I couldn't wait to put the candles on and carry it out to him singing happy birthday. He would laugh and be so delighted with his favorite cake. I have now carried on this tradition. When I light the candles and carry it out to him, he bows his head and cries.


German Chocolate Cake

Cake

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons water
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¼ cup sugar
4 egg yolks (separate yolks and whites in two small bowls)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted lightly and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

Frosting

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch cake pans, and then  line the bottom of each pan with rounds of parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Pour the water into a small microwave safe bowl and then add the two chocolates. Microwave on 50% for about 30 seconds and stir. Do this again for another 30 seconds and then stir until smooth.  Set the chocolate aside to cool to room temperature.

 In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1¼ cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the melted chocolate until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, mixing until combined, and then add the remainder of the flour mixture.   

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the ¼ cup of sugar and beat until they form stiff, glossy peaks.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, and then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake layers completely (leave them in the pans).

Filling and Topping

Lightly toast your pecans in a skillet over medium heat.  Next stir together the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, salt, pecans and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Pour the hot mixture immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

Chocolate Frosting

Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute and then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.  Once the filling and icing are both cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove the cake layers from the pans and with a long, sharp serrated knife, cut both cake layers in half horizontally so you have four cake layers. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat this process over each layer, including the top.  Frost the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.






















Photographs are the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home

Chocolate Fudge Cake

























I love watching cooking shows and my favorites are Paula Deen, Ina Garten, Trisha Yearwood and old Tyler Florence's old reruns. So one day I watched Ina make the most decadent chocolate cake and top it with a luscious chocolate frosting, I knew I had to make it. But a big cake is just too much for one or two people.  So I made a six inch cake and a half a dozen cupcakes out of the rest of the batter! I sliced a piece of cake, set aside a cupcake and froze the rest!  This recipe is for a 9 inch double layer cake.  You will have batter and frosting left over for your cupcakes.

Chocolate Fudge Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good quality cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (you don't taste it)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. 


























Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk (shake well before using), oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Then add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. You will not taste coffee in this cake. It enhances the chocolate only. 






















Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.


Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

6 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder (optional but good!)


Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature. Add butter to a large bowl and with an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 more minutes. 































Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.


Again this makes a single 8 or 9 inch cake.  If you choose to make the smaller 6 inch cake as I did, you will have batter and frosting left over to make your cupcakes. 























Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Artichoke Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms


























Recently, I was having some old friends over for one of my home cooked meals. My plans were to make one of my favorite comfort meals like Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese.  But when one of friends informed me at the last minute that he and his wife had just recently changed their diet and were now vegetarians, I had to move quickly to come up with a new plan.  I bought some beautiful hamburger-sized Portebella Mushrooms and a jar of artichoke hearts and I put together a scrumptious meal that everyone would love. 

Artichoke Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

6 medium to large Portobello mushrooms 
Extra virgin olive oil 
Salt and pepper 
1 large shallot, minced 
3 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs 
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
½ cup chicken stock 
¼ cup sour cream 

1 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese

Wipe any dirt off the mushrooms with a damp cloth, then remove each stem and, using a teaspoon, gently scrape out the gills and dispose.

















Place the mushrooms on the sheet pan and brush them on both sides with olive oil. Starting with the cut side down, broil the mushrooms for 3 minutes, turn them and broil for another 3 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and set the pan aside to cool. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

In a skillet, add the olive oil and saute the shallots and garlic until tender. Add some salt and pepper and remove from heat. Next add the chopped artichoke hearts to the pan and mix with the onions and garlic. Continue sauteing the mixture over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove the artichoke mixture from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.

Add the breadcrumbs to the mixture and combine (a fork works best for this). Add in the Parmesan and Romano cheeses, and mix again. Add the chicken stock and the sour cream, and mix well – the mixture should be thick and bind together. 



Spoon the mixture onto each mushroom cap, pressing down so that the mushrooms are packed with the filling. Place the mushrooms in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Next Evenly sprinkle the shredded mozzarella onto each mushroom, return the pan to the oven. Bake or broil until cheese has melted. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.


















Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Classic Pasta And Mushrooms





















Sometimes you just want to make something simple.  Maybe use some leftover chicken or maybe some cherry tomatoes. And sometimes it can get even more simpler than that depending on how hungry you are. This is my go to quick meal. Why reach for that pack of Ramen Noodles or that can of soup when you can make a rich and creamy pasta dish in no time. Sometimes just a handful of ingredients spell out comfort food at its best.

Classic Pasta and Mushrooms

3 cloves Garlic, Minced
½ cup Cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth (OR Dry White Wine)
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Parsley, Minced
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
 Salt and pepper to Taste
1 pound Thin Spaghetti Or Angel Hair Pasta
Extra Parmesan, For Sprinkling

Cook pasta according to package directions in lightly salted water, leaning toward the al dente side. Do not overcook! Drain pasta and then return to the cooking pot. Save some of your pasta water in a separate cup.





















In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic to pan. Toss/stir around and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes; increase heat to high if needed to help mushrooms begin to turn golden brown.





















Next, pour in chicken broth or white wine.  Using a wooden spoon, stir while scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for several minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half.

 Reduce heat and pour in heavy cream.  Continue to stir until sauce thickens.  Finally, add Parmesan and stir, allowing cheese to melt and incorporate into the sauce. Turn off heat.


Add cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add half the sauce from the pan and toss well.  Then add remaining sauce as needed. If sauce gets to thick, use pasta water to thin it out. Serve pasta in individual bowls, topping each helping with the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with extra parsley and extra Parmesan.

 
Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.

Cream Of Mushroom Soup






















I always make this soup when I have mushrooms in the fridge that I need to use. It is so rich and creamy....one of those perfect soups for a cold afternoon.  You’ll never go back to the canned stuff once you make your own homemade cream of mushroom soup.  It’s not full of salt like the canned soups are. It’s thick and creamy with that earthy mushroom flavor. Really good!

Cream of Mushroom Soup

½ cup butter, divided
2 cups Shiitake mushrooms, sliced or chopped
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ cup flour
2½ cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons dry minced onions
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

I like Shiitaki mushrooms, but I use whatever I have leftover. Crimini, Baby Bells, or even button mushrooms work well.  You can even mix them and add a variety to your soup.



















In a large skillet melt ¼ cup of the butter. Add mushrooms and garlic salt. Cook until mushrooms are tender. Drain and set aside.






















In a large sauce pan over medium heat, melt ¼ cup butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add half and half and heavy cream.



















Add minced onions, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 more minutes on low.  Serve.



Photography is the property of and copyrighted to ©Welcome Home.