Loco for Coconut Sorbet

Belated though this may be, I thought I'd give a quick description of the dessert I served at our Easter dinner. Unfortunately this post is sans picture because we ate everything before I remembered my camera. I'm sure you can picture this for yourself: a perfect round scoop of creamy white coconut sorbet atop a sweet yellow pineapple ring. Can you see it? Good.

Coconut Sorbet
1 can cream of coconut
1 cup milk (or half and half)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
4 tablespoons of unsweetened dried coconut flakes(optional)

1. Whisk liquid ingredients together and prepare in your ice cream maker.
2. When the mixture is nearly finished churning, add the coconut flakes if desired.

There isn't an easier ice cream in the world! No cooking and cooling or blending or anything at all, and the result is creamy and delicious for spring. I like mine with pineapple or dark chocolate sauce. If you toasted some coconut flakes I'm sure they'd make a great topping too.


Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins

I whipped up these Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins after a torturous afternoon at work; the chef at the tea room beneath my cubicle (literally!)was baking something delightful all afternoon, and I left work dying for my own fresh baked goodies. Luckily, Maki at i was just really very hungry also happened to be hosting an IMBB cupcake/muffin event today, so I can participate (albeit at the last minute) and satisfy my craving for something warm from the oven all at once!
I chose a basic low-fat muffin recipe as my base and decided to forgo the blueberries it called for (as I had no blueberries to use) and added my own mini chocolate chips and orange twist. Eating one fresh out of the oven, I must say I had a good impression. I might add another teaspoon of vegetable oil just for a touch more moisture next time, but with a cold glass of milk these were just right as a late night snack.

Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins
(based on a recipe from "Cooking Light")

2 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup orange juice
freshly grated zest of one small orange
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 oz. vanilla yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line muffin tin.
2.Combine dry ingredients (except chips) in large bowl.
3.Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
4.Make well in dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and mix gently just until moistened.
5.Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Yield: 12 small muffins.  Posted by Hello


Sugar High Friday: Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Topping

My husband's birthday was last week, so of course I wanted to make him a special treat. While I would normally choose chocolate for such occasions, I also knew the kind ladies at his job were surprising him with a chocolate cake from a talented local baker. So I started thinking about fruit desserts, and settled on apples because, well, he likes them and there are so many recipes to choose from! There isn't any better combination than apples and caramel, as far as I'm concerned, so I knew this would become my Sugar High Friday entry as well.
I wasn't nervous about baking the cake, and I must say it turned out well. I used this recipe from Epicurious, except I added a pinch of nutmeg and substituted 1/2 cup of applesauce for part of the oil. The diced apples looked very pretty in the sliced cake.
You'll notice that that recipe includes a caramel topping. I didn't want to make that one because of all the butter. Mostly I wanted the challenge of working with sugar -- I say challenge because the last time I made a candy recipe it turned into a grainy disaster despite my careful attempts not to disturb the boiling contents. I was a bit worried, but there was no reason to be because this recipe for caramel sauce worked on my very first try! It's just a simple caramel sauce that dressed up the cake nicely, calling to mind the caramel apples I usually enjoy in the fall. The sauce was also great the next day over a bowl of ice cream.
Overall, this birthday dessert was a great success. There were so many textures, from the creamy ice cream to the soft cake to the caramel, which was soft on the cake and a bit chewy on the ice cream. I'm sure it will return to my table on many other special occasions.  Posted by Hello


Chocolate Yogurt Loaf

I've really been enjoying Words to Eat By recently, and I just made Debbie's recipe for low-fat chocolate yogurt loaf. What a great treat! It is very chocolatey and even rich for a low-fat treat. A little slice of it with tea was the perfect afternoon pick me up at work. It whips up in a snap too. At first I thought the batter seemed too thick and it looked like an awfully scrawny amount in my loaf pan, but it puffed up beautifully in the oven. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Posted by Hello


Easiest Challah Ever

Here's a rather blurry photo of a great bread from a mysteriously authorless cookbook I own. The book calls it a "braided loaf" though I'm pretty sure it's officially challah. I call it easy, tasty and very pretty too. The dough is always a dream to work with and the braid makes for impressive presentation.

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 cup lukewarm milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cups flour (I usually use 2.5 cups AP and .5 whole wheat)
1 teaspoon salt
1 lightly beaten egg
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon milk for glazing

1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk, and butter, stir, and leave for 15 minutes to dissolve.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir from the center, incorporating flour with each turn to obtain a rough dough. (I usually do this with my standing mixer on low with dough hook - works fine).
3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1.5 hours.
4. Grease a baking sheet. Punch down the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Roll to shape each piece into a long thin strip.
5. Braid the strips on the baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about 30 minutes, until nicely puffed.
6. Brush bread with glaze and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. Posted by Hello


Mousse Memories. . . Old & New

My brother kindly gave me a copy of Pierre Herme's magnificent "Chocolate Desserts" for Christmas, and I've been drooling over it ever since. He came for a visit this weekend, so I decided I simply had to make something from the book. Nothing could be more appropriate than chocolate mousse, which has been my dessert of choice since I was three. Waitresses used to always assume I meant chocolate pudding when I requested mousse, but they were wrong -- only mousse would do! This recipe is fantastic and easy, and manages to be both rich and light at the same time. It's a bit altered here to reflect the way I made it.
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (which I didn't have, so I used about equal parts unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate)
1/3 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1 large egg yolk
4 large egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
1. Melt the chocolate either in a double-boiler or microwave. It should still feel fairly warm to the touch when you use in the next steps.
2. Boil the milk, then pour it over the chocolate. Whisk them together gently. Add the egg yolk and whisk it gently into the chocolate just until it's incorporated.
3. Beat the egg whites just until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites until they are firm but still glossy.
4.Scoop 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and whisk them together. Then, delicately but thoroughly fold the remainder of the whites into the mixture.
5.Turn the mousse into a large serving bowl or individual cups and refrigerate for 1 hour to set. Posted by Hello


Scones 2: With Lemon Curd

As promised, I tried another scone recipe. I was even less satisfied with this one than with the first, and in fact we didn't finish the scones - a testament to how unimpressive they were. Luckily, all was not lost because I made a delicious lemon curd to accompany the mediocre scones! The tangy citrus seemed a bit out of place in the midst of the wintry weather we've been having, but it was a nice bit of sunshine on my plate. The recipe was incredibly easy too. Hopefully you have a better recipe for scones to accompany it than I do. Posted by Hello