Monday, September 30, 2013

Death by Chocolate

You know it's going to be a good party when an invitation like this one arrives!

Hosted by Brenda and Carrie, they went all out with the decorations for our "Death by Chocolate" gourmet club night.  Brenda made these terrific vinyl designs and then decorated the walls of Carrie's living room and dining room with them. 

Since brown is one of my favorite colors, of course I loved this décor!  The cute shaped menus were so fun, too.  Everything about the table settings was classy and rich.

Appetizers were a huge hit.  Chocolate!  Life is short they say.  Eat dessert first, right?  Fresh fruit and chocolate is a perfect combination along with cheese and chocolate baguette and mole stuffed peppers.

This was a delicious chocolate citrus green salad!  So pretty, too.

Our hostesses! In their fun aprons made by Carrie's husband Derek.  He was also their kitchen assistant for the evening.  (Thank you Derek!!)

Chocolate milk.  A classic.

Raspberry and White Chocolate Italian Soda

Roast Beef with Chocolate and Rosemary, Roasted Asparagus and White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
Back: Tori, Nola, Alisha
Middle: Corinne, Brenda, Brittany, Mandy
Front: Holly, Tanya, Alyssa, Carrie, Emily

LOVE these awesome, inspiring, good women!

The chocolate cake!  I do believe they sampled at least 6 recipes in their quest to find the perfect chocolate cake for us.  I didn't try the runners-up, but this one was a winner for sure for me!

Now that's a chocolate chocolate chocolate cake.

And maybe sometimes in life you may wonder if there is something that can be the answer to every question:

Chocolate.  Chocolate is the answer to every question. 

The take home gifts were so fun!  A box full of the most amazing, delicious chocolate cookies--several different types, some almond roca chocolates (YUM!), the cute chocolate sign, and our chocolate name place holders. (My little kids keep trying to eat the candle, thinking it's candy.)  I loved all of the chocolate wisdom they shared on the walls, the signs, and the take home containers.  Yes indeed, chocolate is the answer to every question.

This was such a beautiful, fun, decadent, delicious evening!  Thank you Brenda and Carrie!

White Chocolate Mashed Potatoes
recipe adapted by me , but found at The City Sisters

6 to 8 extra large potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
1-1/2 cups white chocolate, melted (look for pure white chocolate)
1-1/2 cups milk, heated

Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with cool water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Drain in a colander set in the sink.

Return the potatoes to a large mixing bowl and begin mixing. Add in heated milk (not cold) and continue mixing. Add in the melted white chocolate to the still-hot potatoes; stir until the mixture is very creamy. (no butter is needed, the white chocolate takes the place) Serve Hot!

Roasted Asparagus
Bon Appétit, June 2006
2 pounds green asparagus, trimmed
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Preheat oven to 450°F.  Brush large rimmed baking sheet with 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Arrange all asparagus on prepared baking sheet.  Whisk remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, shallots, and lemon zest in small bowl; pour over asparagus and toss gently to coat.  Spread asparagus in single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast until asparagus is tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes.
Can be made 2 hours ahead.  Let stand at room temperature.  If desired, rewarm in 450°F oven 5 minutes before continuing.  Add parsley and toss gently.  Transfer to platter and serve warm or at room temperature.

Roast Beef with Chocolate & Rosemary
Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2006
1/4 cup diced pancetta (about 1 1/2 ounces)
6 pounds roast beef/pot roast
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cranberry juice
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups chopped drained canned diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons shaved or grated bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
Heat heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add pancetta and saute until crisp.  Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain.  Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.  Brown the pot roast in drippings in pot over medium-high heat until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.  Transfer to plate.  Add onions and next 4 ingredients to pot.  Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  Add cranberry juice.  Boil uncovered until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up browned bits, about 5 minutes.  Add broth, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pancetta.  Return ribs to pot, cover partially, and simmer 1 1/2 hours.  Uncover and simmer until rib meat is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours longer.
Transfer meat to plate; discard bay leaf and thyme stems (herbs will have fallen off stems during cooking process).  Spoon fat from surface of sauce.  Boil sauce until beginning to thicken, about 8 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add chocolate, cocoa powder, and rosemary; stir until chocolate melts.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Return meat to pot.  Simmer to re-warm, about 5 minutes. 
Serves 6 to 8.

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
1          ingredients
2          1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature)
3          1 1/4 cups firmly-packed brown sugar
4          1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
5          1 large egg
6          1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
7          1/2 tsp salt
8          3/4 tsp baking soda
9          1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 6-oz. package)
10       3 tsp coarse sea salt or Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet and set aside.
Beat together using a whisk, electric mixer or stand-up mixer the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and egg until fluffy.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, taking care not to over-mix. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Working in batches, drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure there are at least 2 inches between each dough ball.
Bake for approx 8 minutes, until the cookies have begun to brown on the bottom but are still soft on top. Put a small pinch of the coarse salt on top of each cookie and press down gently, to embed them slightly. Bake for another 4-6 minutes, or until cookies are golden-brown.
Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Makes about 30 cookies.
Outrageous Chocolate Cookies

           8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
           4 tablespoons unsalted butter
           2/3 cup all-purpose flour
           1/2 teaspoon baking powder
           1/2 teaspoon salt
           2 large eggs
           3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
           1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
           1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chunks
Don't worry if the batter seems thin. It should look more like a brownie batter than a cookie dough.
1.     STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat chopped chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring between each, until almost melted; do not overheat. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
2.     STEP 2 In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; beat in melted chocolate. Mix in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
3.     STEP 3 Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are shiny and crackly yet soft in centers, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Everyday Food, September 2003

 Spicy Chocolate Crackled Cookies

12 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
3/4 cup flour
 or McCormick® Gourmet Collection Roasted Saigon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate as directed on package. Set aside. Coarsely chop remaining 4 ounces chocolate. Mix flour, roasted cinnamon, ancho chile pepper, baking powder and salt in small bowl.

2. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add melted chocolate; beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chopped chocolate. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons or medium cookie scoop 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

3.   Bake about 10 minutes or just until cookies are set and slightly cracked on top. Transfer cookies on parchment paper to wire rack; cool completely.

 Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Almost a candy, these are chewy, not too sweet, but very chocolaty

14oz can sweetened condensed milk
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup pecan pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease cookie sheets very well. Heat the sweetened condensed milk and the chocolate together in a small bowl over simmering water until the chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Arrange by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheets and baking for about 15 minutes, taking care that bottoms do not burn.  You can also add a pecan to the top immediately after taking out of the oven.

Peppers for Appetizer

8/16oz of Cream Cheese
Mole Sauce  (store bought mole with added wildtree guacamole seasoning, wildtree jalapeno Pepper blend, Salt)
Mini peppers

Heat/prepare mole sauce and blend in small amounts with the cream cheese to taste.  Wash peppers, cut top off and de-seed. Fill peppers with cream cheese mixture, making sure the mixture reaches the bottom of the pepper. Set peppers in individual muffin tins and bake at 350 for approximately 13 minutes so that the peppers are warm, slightly soft, but still crunchy. Drizzle with extra mole sauce if desired.

Cheese and Chocolate Baguette

1 baguette
Dark chocolate bar, broken/cut into small pieces
a mild cheese, sliced

Bake in 350 degree oven until just beginning to melt/warm/toasted

Chocolate Citrus Salad

1/2 cup baby spinach/mixed greens
fresh mandarin oranges
1 oz glazed walnuts (make your own or store bought)
1/2 oz crumbled chevrai
1/2 tablespoon dark chocolate chunks
1/2 tablespoon Orange Poppyseed Dressing (we used private selection from Fred Meyer)



2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  Cocoa( not dutch processed)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk warmed


1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling buttermilk (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "Frost with chocolate cream cheese frosting. 10 to 12 servings.

VARIATIONS:ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup fluted tube pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Cream cheese frosting
1 8oz package creamcheese
1 cube better
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 to 1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 cups powdered sugar
Mix all ingredients well. Beeat on high for at least 5 min. 10 will give you better consistency

1 comment:

  1. The cookies in the take home box were all so good! I'm so excited to make them for my kids, since I hid the box and only shared them with the hubs:)