Olive Oil Focaccia w/ Rosemary, Tomatoes and Garlic…and Soda

_MG_4321

Yet another bread recipe pulled from my favorite book of bread! Except this time, it’s more like it came from it’s next best relative, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day.

Today is cold and rainy and just, blah. I’ll happily admit that I dream of days like this because it’s the perfect excuse to just be one with the kitchen. Cookbook out, music on, oven heated and scale at the ready, I decided to make focaccia bread.

_MG_4310

The beauty of artisan bread is that it’s often no-knead, and this book calls to the laziness in all of us. Even the most inexperienced baker can make this happen. Add some olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and garlic and you can impress the socks off anyone. The dough itself has a looser crumb with inconsistent air pockets, which is desirable in an artisan bread.

It’s another one of those recipes on a long long list of others that lets you make it anything you want it to be. In the spirit of being cozy indoors, I resorted to ingredients that are familiar, classic and easily enjoyed by every taste bud around.

DOUGH: (makes 2)

1 3/4 c. lukewarm water

1/8 c. olive oil

1/2 T. Yeast

3/4 T. Kosher salt

1 T. sugar

3 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

TOPPINGS:

Halved grape tomatoes

Fresh rosemary

Minced garlic

Sea salt

Shredded parmesan

  1. The book uses a method they call dump and stir. To a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the water and yeast. Measure out the rest of the ingredients and add those in too. Mix on medium speed until fully combined.
  2. Cover the mixer bowl and let sit 2 hours. It won’t rise as much as other doughs, but should look activated.
  3. After the two hours, dump onto floured surface and rotate into a ball. Transfer to a floured pizza stone or baking sheet. Flatten the ball into a disc gently with your fingers about 1/2 inch thick. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Using your fingers again, gently push the dough further out until it is half the original thickness. Scatter the toppings to your own taste over the top and let rest and rise for 20 minutes. During this time, preheat the oven.
  5. Bake for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. The time will depend on the thickness of your bread. Mine took 18 minutes total.

————————————-

_MG_4277

If you’re watching the clock while your bread rises like I was, you can make up a batch of this. It’s refreshing and a definite step away from the typical cola you might have in your fridge. It’s simply rosemary, honey, crushed ginger and soda water. The recipe is for one glass so, if you love it, increase the portions and make a pitcher.

ROSEMARY, GINGER & HONEY SODA:

1 sprig of rosemary

1 thumb size piece of ginger, crushed or pressed with your palm

1 star of anise

2 T. raw honey

2 T. hot water

soda water

ice

  1. In the cup that you want to drink out of, combine everything but the soda and ice. Let the honey dissolve in the hot water.
  2. Add ice and soda water.
  3. Drink!

 

Advertisements

Espresso Meringues w/ Cocoa

_MG_4225

These meringues are the best alternative to coffee I’ve ever had. I don’t even like coffee. Dessert for breakfast, however, is another story. If it happens to be coffee flavored, I guess I’ll live.

They’re easy, quick and basic. On a day like today, I need basic. The energy boost isn’t half bad either.

ESPRESSO MERINGUES: makes 15-20 meringues

3 egg whites

1/8 t. salt

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1-2 T. instant espresso powder

  1. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the whites and salt to stiff peaks. When you lift the whisk from the mixture it should keep it’s point.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and espresso powder.
  3. Still whisking, gradually add the sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is stiff, fluffy and glossy. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag with desired tip.
  4. On a baking tray lined with parchment paper, pipe small/medium mounds. As you near the end, pull up quickly to get the little curl on top.
  5. Bake at 285 F / 140 C for 30-40 minutes or until they appear crispy on the outside. Depending on the size of them, you may need more or less time.

Honey Vanilla Polenta Cake with Mascarpone Cream

_MG_4181

Every time I watch the Great British Bakeoff I get myself all excited about what the contestants are baking. So excited, in fact, that I end up making my own versions of their bakes. If you’ve been sticking around for my posts you’ll know this isn’t the first time that I’ve let my obsession get out of hand. You get cake, I get my fix, it’s under control. I swear.

Tamal was making a grapefruit polenta cake, which looked delicious. I, however, don’t love citrus flavors in cakes and made mine with honey and vanilla instead. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been state side during the cold months and I’m loving using these warm cozy flavors again. I’m sure Tamal would understand.

_MG_4196

The rustic and traditional elements here are what I love so much about this cake. Polenta is grainy by nature and gives the cake a cornbread-like texture, but unlike cornbread, is actually enjoyable. The honey cools it down while the vanilla warms it up again. Top it with some mascarpone cream and oh la la.

Last week I made some mini Battenberg cakes, which were a bit tedious at times. This recipe isn’t like that. It’s basic and lovely and if you can do the basics right, this cake beats all. So give it love, give it time and go the extra mile for quality ingredients if you can. You won’t regret it.

_MG_4205

POLENTA CAKE: adapted from this recipe

5 T. granulated sugar

3/4 c. whole milk

1/4 c. whole cream

1 T. vanilla extract

1 sliced vanilla bean

1/2 c. unsalted butter

3/4 t. salt

1 c. instant polenta (I used Delallo brand)

1/2 c. honey

4 eggs, separated

1/4 c. melted honey (for brushing)

350 F / 180 C

  1. Preheat oven and grease a 9 x 9-inch pan.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat milk, vanilla bean and vanilla extract on low-medium. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Once simmering, remove the vanilla bean and, whisking the whole way, add the polenta and continue whisking for about 30 seconds. It will thicken quickly.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into glass bowl. Add honey, egg yolks and 3 T. of sugar.
  5. In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and the remaining sugar to soft peaks.
  6. Fold whites into polenta mixture with a spatula until fully incorporated.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and can hold the push of a finger.
  8. Brush top with melted honey and let cool. Serve with mascarpone cream.

MASCARPONE CREAM:

5 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/2 c. whipping cream

1 t. vanilla

2 T. icing sugar

  1. Combine ingredients in stand mixer with whisk attachment and beat until thick and fluffy.

 

Winter Squash Pizza w/ Whole Wheat Crust

_MG_4104

There’s been an absence of savory flavors around here and it’s about time I fix that before I one, go into a comatose or two, get diabetes. In an effort to avoid either situation, I made pizza. A healthy(ish) pizza to boot!

For Thanksgiving last year, I was still in Thailand. There wasn’t a turkey in sight at the store so, I settled for something a little less traditional, pumpkin lasagna. It was my way of bringing Fall to a tireless streak of tropical weather. And ya know what? It was delicious. I mentally filed my sauce recipe away for another day and today is the day. I made a few switcheroos this time around but it’s just as good.

The flavors here are classic cold weather flavors and since it’s winter and anything above 60 degrees is cold to my tropically adjusted body, this seemed ideal. In my post about soda bread, I mentioned a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The crust used for this is from their master recipe. If you don’t own this book, own it. You won’t be sorry.

_MG_4103

CRUST: (makes 2 pizzas)

1 1/5 c. warm water

3/4 T. active dry yeast

3 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. all purpose flour

3/4 T. salt

375 F / 190 C

  1. In mixer bowl or glass bowl pour in the water. Add the yeast and leave to activate while you measure the flour and salt.
  2. Measure out the dry ingredients and add to mixer bowl.
  3. With dough attachment or wooden spoon mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Securely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for 2-3 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when it deflates in on itself.
  5. On a lightly floured surface roll half of the dough into desired shape, about 1/8″ thick.
  6. Dust a pizza stone with some semolina flour or AP flour and arrange the dough on the stone. Pre-bake for 8 minutes.

SAUCE: (for 2 pizzas)

1 roasted acorn squash

1/2 c. whole cream (or more if you prefer)

1 1/2 t. salt

1 t. pepper

  1. Roast acorn squash in foil drizzled with olive oil at 350 F / 180 C for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients.
  3. Set aside.

TOPPINGS: (for 2 pizzas)

1 raw beet, peeled

1 c. cubed cooked sausage (I used Al Fresco Red Pepper and Asiago)

2 1/2 c. fresh spinach

1/2 c. goats cheese

chili flakes

pine nuts

ASSEMBLY:

  1. On pre-baked crust, spread half the squash sauce on the crust and then top with half of the remaining toppings, except the chili flakes and pine nuts.
  2. Bake for an additional 10 – 15 minutes at the same temperature of 350 F / 190 C.
  3. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle the chili flakes, pine nuts and additional salt and pepper over top.

 

 

Maple Pecan Butter Turtles w/ Homemade Nut Butter

_MG_3853

Cancel your plans, call in sick, pray to the snow day gods, do whatever you have to do to stay home today and make these. They’re some seriously badass chocolates.

I had leftover pecans yesterday and decided to blitz up some butter from them. Then it occurred to me. I have never seen pecan butter sitting on the shelves with it’s older, more established nut brothers. I’ve seen it online and in gourmet food stores before but never have I seen it in an ordinary grocery store where most of us shop. What the heck?

A good raw/organic nut butter with no sugar or other preservatives added is worth the extra couple of bucks. Jif isn’t gonna cut it, folks. I remember when Justin’s nut butter showed up in the local grocery store here. I threw a small personal party in aisle 9 out of sheer joy that some real quality nut butter had been conveniently added to my life. Wahoo! Just to get you my level, Justin’s is an impressive company that was just a little Colorado startup not too long ago. Check them out here if you’ve never heard of them. Justin’s is doing great things with sustainable initiatives and a real team oriented business model. It’s the kind of company you want to contribute to. If none of that matters to you, just buy it based on how genius the packaging is. It is sheer simplicity in a world of clutter.

_MG_3846

Anyway, the pecan butter. Making nut butter is easy if you have a higher powered food processor. You simply throw nuts in, add flavor if you want and process until the oils release from the nuts and form a smooth creamy butter. Voila!

After all this you’re probably thinking, this better be good. Well, it is. Damn good. Then you add chocolate to it and holy crap. Just one bite and you’ll be high on happiness. I promise. If you’re not, contact me so that I can forward the number of a support group to you that helps people rebuild their empty souls. Kidding. Kind of…

VANILLA MAPLE PECAN BUTTER:

2 c. toasted raw organic pecans (toasted optional)

1 t. organic vanilla paste or extract

1 T. pure organic maple syrup

1/2 t. ground organic cinnamon

sea salt to taste

  1. (optional step) Toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven at 350° F /  180° C for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a food processor, add all of the ingredients. Process on high for 2-4 minutes depending on the power of your machine. You want it to be smooth and spreadable. Before it reaches this point it might form into a ‘doughy’ ball but will loosen up as the oils continue to release from the pecans.
  3. Salt to taste and store in airtight container.

———-

VANILLA MAPLE PECAN BUTTER CUPS:

1/2 c. milk chocolate chips

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 – 1/2 c. vanilla maple pecan butter

sea salt

  1. Over a double boiler melt the chocolate.
  2. On a piece of wax paper, make teaspoon-size circles and spread them out slightly. Place a small dollop of pecan butter on top and top with more chocolate. Sprinkle top with sea salt.
  3. Let the chocolate set at room temperature.

 

Vanilla Shortbread with Cranberries, Pistachios and Orange

_MG_3764

I bought some new vanilla paste and Irish butter yesterday because things like that get me excited. To each their own, I guess. Anyway, since cookies were on the agenda, vanilla cookies with butter were now on the agenda. Shortbread it is!

On my way to make my vanilla shortbread I got sidetracked by some pistachios, and then cranberries, and then oranges. By the time I got to my mixer it looked like a Harry & David gift box had thrown up on my counter. Just like that, my vanilla shortbread got an upgrade

_MG_3738

For something so simple, they are flawlessly delicious. Butter is better as they say. Not to mention, they’re quick and easy to make. If you’re like me, it’ll be your savior when you laze around all day dreading a party you never fancied in the first place and you now have only 2 hours to pull your shit together. So, from my procrastination station to yours, I gift you these cookies. You’re welcome.

_MG_3753

SHORTBREAD COOKIES: makes 12-14 cookies

1 c. good quality softened butter (not melted)

1/2 c. granulated sugar

pinch of salt

1 1/2 t. vanilla bean paste (or 2 vanilla beans worth)

2 c. all purpose flour

1/2 c. dried cranberries or cherries

1/2 c. shelled pistachios

1 t. orange zest

350° F / 180° C

  1. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla.
  2. Sift in the flour and salt and mix on medium speed for about 1 minute until it comes together. You may wonder if you’ve done it right because it starts out very crumbly.
  3. Add the cherries, pistachios and zest. Mix until just combined.
  4. Form dough into an even log about 12 inches long and roll in parchment paper.
  5. Either freeze or chill until dough is firm all the way through.
  6. Slice cookies off at your preferred thickness and bake for 10-15 minutes until just golden brown. Cooking time depends on how thick you cut them.

Mini Lemon & Poppyseed Battenberg Cakes

_MG_3710

Last March, when Jay went back to England to visit his family he brought back mini Battenberg cakes for me. Once I tried them I was hooked. There were about 5 seconds between the first bite and the last bite. They’re considered to be perfect for afternoon tea, and you won’t catch me saying otherwise. They are. But really, when is tea and cake not a good idea? After eyeing the poppy seeds in my cupboard all week, I decided it was time that me and the ol’ Battenburg meet again.

These guys take some time and precision, which makes it a bit of a slow project. Mine didn’t turn out looking like a perfect 10, but more like a solid 8, which is good enough for me, thank you very much.

After reading a few different methods about how to cook the cakes, I settled on one that involved making a makeshift divider out of parchment paper. It was the option that required less cleaning and it worked out great. I also made my own almond paste that gets wrapped around the outside because I’d never done it before, but you could certainly do it with store-bought almond paste. Traditionally they’re held together with jam or custard, but I just fancied a little buttercream instead.

_MG_3640

ALMOND PASTE:

1 1/2 c. almond flour

1 1/2 c. icing sugar

1/2 t. almond extract

1 t. lemon extract

1 egg white

natural yellow food coloring (to liking)

1 T. lemon juice (you may not need all of it)

  1. For homemade almond paste: In a food processor combine the flour and sugar until no lumps remain. Then add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice. Pour that slowly in until the dough forms a clump. Dump the ball out onto the counter into some icing sugar and knead it a bit. Once it’s smooth and uniform, wrap it in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later.
  2. For ready made almond paste: If you are using ready made almond paste chop it up and put it into the food processor. Add coloring and 1 t. lemon extract until it comes together again. If you have almond flour on hand, you can experiment with adding lemon juice for more flavor and add almond flour if the mixture becomes too wet. You can also just use almond paste with no color or added flavoring. Up to you!

BUTTERCREAM:

1/4 c. soft butter

1 c. icing sugar

1 T. lemon curd

1 T. whole cream (you amy need more)

  1. I tend to just eye this so, these are just loose instructions: With the whisk attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the curd and half the cream. If it is too dry, beat in the rest until you achieve a smooth thick frosting. If it is too wet, add more sugar.

CAKE:

6 oz. soft butter

6 oz. white sugar

3 eggs

6 oz. self raising flour

1/2 t. lemon extract

1/8 t. salt

Lemon curd for icing

Bowl 1:

1 t. lemon juice

1 t. lemon zest

natural yellow food coloring

Bowl 2:

2-3 T. poppy seeds (this depends on how visible you want your seeds to be.)

1 t. lemon extract

375º F / 190º C

  1. In an 8 x 8″ tin, cut a piece of parchment paper that hangs over the sides a bit. Make a fold in the middle of the paper and position it in exactly the center of the tin so that you can pour equal amounts of batter on each side without them interfering. Grease the paper.
  2. In a mixer, combine the sugar and butter and then add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. On a scale, divide the batter into two equal portions.
  4. Bowl 1: mix in juice, color and zest
  5. Bowl 2: mix in poppy seeds and extract
  6. Spread each mix evenly on it’s designated side of the pan and bake 15-20 minutes until it springs back to the touch or produces a clean knife. Let cool completely.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. When cakes are cool, turn them onto a cutting board. With a very sharp knife, level off the top of the cake by running your knife along in a horizontal straight line cutting off any uneven areas. Stack the cakes as perfect as you can and cut off the edges. Then, keeping them stacked, cut your cakes into 1.5″ wide rectangles. Then length of your cake will be whatever is left after you’ve trimmed the edges.
  2. Then, cut your stacked rectangles in half length wise. You should have 4 long pieces per cake to make the checkerboard pattern.
  3. Assemble your 4 pieces into a checkerboard pattern by icing with buttercream between each piece. If this step is confusing, use the picture for reference. Do not ice the outside of the cake.
  4. Once your cakes are glued together with the icing, roll out the almond paste on a sugared (icing sugar) surface to 1/8″ thick rectangle, trimming the edges. Cut rectangles of 4 x 6″
  5. Before you roll the cakes, brush each side with a thin layer of lemon curd. Then, place your cake on the almond paste strips and wrap the strips around until the two ends meet. Trim if necessary.
  6. Smooth over edges with your fingers to make sure the almond paste sticks to the curd.
  7. Brush off extra icing sugar and trim cakes so that the cake and almond paste are flush and the pattern on the inside is exposed on both ends.
  8. Repeat 3 more times until you have 4 mini Battenberg cakes.

Olive and Parmesan Soft Pretzels

_MG_3510

This is one of those bread recipes that I hinted at in my soda bread post that involves a bit more time and effort. I had planned on doing these yesterday but ended up having one of those days where you just don’t give a damn. So, I’m doing it today instead, which by the way, I’m still not giving a whole lot of damn. Let this be further proof that making your own bread is worth it even on the lazier days.

There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t crave a pretzel. When I say pretzel, I do mean the Americanized version of it. Though German pretzels do have their place, today isn’t it. This recipe is a step up from the ones you dip in wannabe cheese at baseball games, though. They’re salty, nutty, rustic and a bit rough around the edges, which is right up my ally.

I used this basic pretzel recipe from ChowHound and added a few extra things to it in the recipe below. In total, this will take you a few hours. If you choose to add different flavors, add them AFTER the first rise! Just off the top of my head, you could add: fresh herbs, cheese, roasted garlic, sundried tomatoes, dried fruits, candied peels, seeds, nuts, chocolate, etc.

_MG_3500

*I may have photographed my pretzel upside-down. Oops.

PRETZELS:

1 cup warm water

2 1/4 t. active dry yeast

Vegetable oil

2 3/4 c. bread flour

1 T. granulated sugar

1 t. kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

6 c. water

1/4 c. baking soda

1/4 c. green olives, measure then finely chop

parmesan cheese for sprinkling

  1. Prep: Lightly grease a glass mixing bowl. Line 2 baking sheet with greased parchment paper and a layer of greased plastic wrap overtop.
  2. Add yeast and water to a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.
  3. Meanwhile, combine your dry ingredients in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. When the yeast has proofed, add to the mixture on low power. Once combined, move to medium power and knead for about 8 minutes until your dough becomes shiny and smooth.
  4. Take dough out and shape into a ball. Roll it in your greased bowl so it is covered on all sides and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm place for 40 minutes to 1 hour. It should double in size.
  5. Once doubled in size, dump the finely chopped olives over top and punch down the dough. Gently squeeze the dough until the olives are evenly incorporated. Divide the dough into 16 evenly sized pieces.
  6. Roll each piece out to about 16 inches and form a pretzel twist (Bring two ends up and twist two times. Bring the twist over the middle of the piece and press lightly where they meet.) Pictures in link above.
  7. Place all 16 pretzels on the greased sheets you prepared earlier and let sit in warm spot for about 20 minutes. They should be bouncy and airy to the touch.
  8. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Once it reaches a boil, add the baking soda. The water will fizz a little bit. Preheat your oven to 425º F / 218º C for step 10.
  9. Place 2-3 pretzels in the pot and boil each side for one minute, 2 minutes total per pretzel. When done, remove the pretzel and move to a wire rack until finished.
  10. When each pretzel has bene boiled on both sides, place on baking sheets and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. They should be brown with a chewy thick crust.
  11. Cool on wire rack until ready to eat.

 

 

Homemade Coconut Marshmallows

_MG_3419

It’s cold, people. Today, I briefly thought to myself that being this cold might be the closest to death I’ll ever be without actually being dead. Naturally, the only real cure for this is to drink copious amounts of hot chocolate, and what better to go with hot chocolate than your very own homemade giant marshmallows? Nothing. That’s what.

Before you make these, mentally prepare yourself for how sticky your situation is about to get. Trust me when I say: it will get better. Arm yourself with icing sugar until you’ve tamed the beast that is this marshmallow recipe and you’ll be fine.

In the end, I rolled some in toasted coconut to eat on their own and melt on ice cream and then dipped the rest in milk chocolate to use in my hot chocolate. The beauty about this recipe is that you can flavor them in any way you’d like. Either use another kind of extract, add zest to your sugar or use concentrated fruit mixtures/caramel in your corn syrup. The flavor mileage you can get out of this recipe is endless.

_MG_3420

MARSHMALLOWS: (original recipe from Ina Garten)

vegetable oil for greasing the pan

7.5 oz unflavored powdered gelatin

1 1/2 c. white sugar

1 c. light corn syrup

1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. coconut extract

icing sugar for dusting

toasted coconut for topping (toast on medium-high heat over stove until you reach desired color and flavor)

  1. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the gelatin and 1/2 c. water and let sit while you do step 2.
  2. In a small saucepan combine the syrup and sugar on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Place a candy thermometer in the pan and move to high heat. Cook the mixture until the thermometer reads 240° F / 115° C. Remove from heat.
  3. Starting on low power, slowly pour the sugar mixture down the side of the mixing bowl until it’s gone. Then, move to the highest power setting and whisk for about 12 minutes or until the mixture becomes light, fluffy and firm. It shouldn’t fall from the whisk when you lift it up.
  4. Add the extract and whisk just until combined.
  5. While you’re mixing, pour a small amount of vegetable oil in a 9 x 9 in. pan and coat every surface. Dust with icing sugar until pan is fully lined.
  6. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and try your hardest to spread it out evenly to the edges. Dust the top with icing sugar or toasted coconut and let sit 2-4 hours to dry out.
  7. Once dry, pull it out of the pan onto a wooden cutting board dusted with icing sugar. Cut the block into squares with a large knife. You want as few cuts as possible because it will stick to the knife with every cut. Once cut, roll the new edges in more icing sugar or toasted coconut. The squares shouldn’t stick to you or each other if coated properly.
  8. Store in airtight container.

Chilli Cardamom Chocolate Mousse

_MG_3401

Before you look away because you don’t like spicy food, just hold on a minute. Whether you like mild spice or red hot, blow your brains out kind of spice you can make this work.

I adore spicy food. When you live in Thailand long enough you don’t have a choice. I think my tongue may be immune to any spice level below, say, a seven. That only happened after many months of having the appearance of an emotionally distraught lunatic in restaurants as I choked down chili after chili trying to make myself adjust. I saw it as an endurance challenge, and since any challenge is my kind of challenge, I won. Booyah.

In this recipe, I used ground dried Thai chili that I had on hand. If you want something mild, use the chili powder you’d put in chili when you make it at home. If you want something more intense, maybe use mace or something along those lines. It all depends on what your taste buds like. Keep in mind when you toast them that the flavor intensifies so, don’t go gung-ho on a spice and then gift yourself an ulcer later on down the road.

I like the idea of just chocolate and chili, but cardamom is such a warm flavor that it can really bring something to the table in the right setting. Here, it sort of offsets the pang from the chili and mellows you out. Instead of feeling spice, you just feel a tingly warmth of happiness. A lot like when you’re cold and you put on a pair of slipper socks to make everything right again.

_MG_3383

MOUSSE:

1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream, very cold

1 t. chili powder (whatever variety you choose)

1/4 t. cardamom

3  egg whites, room temperature

  1. In a small saucepan, toast your spices on a low heat for 4-5 minutes until they become fragrant.
  2. In the same saucepan, add 1/4 c. of the cream to the spices. Cook on medium heat until you see small bubbles form around the edges.
  3. Fill a new saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place a glass bowl that fits over the pan without touching the water with the cream mixture and chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is uniform. Set aside and let cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks (about 3 minutes)
  5. Clean your bowl and whisk and whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks.
  6. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then add the rest.
  7. Finally, gently fold in the egg white mixture just until there are no more clumps or streaks.
  8. Pipe the mixture into your dishes and refrigerate until firm.