Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes with a side of Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies

I am just getting the hang of Twitter. I see some of you out there posting or "tweeting" all the time. How do you have the time? I just updated to a new smart phone and I still have not become an accomplished texter. It takes me way to long to post a single sentence.  Maybe my thumbs don't work correctly or maybe I could just employ my children to do all my texting for me as they seem much more adept at it than I am. 

I did tweet yesterday. And sweet Sommer from A Mama With Flavor answered my tweet. Ahh the wonders of technology. I send out a call and half way around the globe, someone answers it... within seconds. I was debating on my next post. I was caught between Chocolate Orange Cupcakes or Chocolate Marshmallow Almond Brownies. Sommer responded with a "why not both?" And so my Double Header baking Sunday was born. I never bake twice, let alone back to back. But my oven was hot and I have chocolate coming out of my ears.... so I melted some into submission and was left with these delicious goodies. Thanks Sommer for the tweet!

The Daily Mail posts some knockout recipes. Of course I have to get out my scale, do some conversions and weigh out all the ingredients, but no matter as the results are usually kick ass. That is where I found these great chocolate recipes from their Choc and Awe! Series.  Marshmallow are amazing in brownies.... who knew? And personally the chocolate orange thing has to be my favorite flavor combo ever. Enjoy! Keep your oven hot, make these back to back. In less than two hours you will have filled your house with the smell of brownies and have amazing treats for the hungry masses.

Chocolate Orange Marmelade Cupcakes -recipe from The Daily Mail

● 80g (3oz) butter
● 100g (3½oz) plain dark chocolate, broken into cubes
● 125g (4½oz) light brown soft sugar
● 3 eggs
● 80g (3oz) plain flour, sifted
● ½tsp baking powder
● 50g (1¾oz) orange marmalade
● Finely grated zest from 2 scrubbed oranges
● 100g (3½oz) orange-flavoured dark chocolate cut into 1cm (½in) pieces
● 200g (7oz) cream cheese, drained
● 250g (9oz) icing sugar, sifted
● 1tbsp fresh orange juice
● Chocolate sprinkles to decorate ( I used natural orange decorating sugar)
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. (350°F) Line a muffin tin with deep cupcake cases.
2 Melt the butter and plain chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – don’t let the base touch the water – and stir well.
3 Whisk together the sugar and eggs until mousse-like. Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold in with the melted chocolate and butter. Stir in the marmalade, zest and orange chocolate. Spoon into the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.
4 Cool. Mix together the cream cheese and icing sugar then add the orange juice. Chill for at least 1 hour.  Ice with a knife and decorate with the sprinkles.

Chocolate Marshmallow Almond Brownies - recipe from The Daily Mail

● 200g (7oz) plain 70% dark chocolate
● 200g (7oz) salted butter, cubed
● 90g (3¼oz) self-raising flour
● ¼tsp baking powder
● ¼tsp salt
● 5 eggs
● 200g (7oz) golden caster sugar
● 175g (6oz) marshmallows, cut in half
● 75g (2¾oz) flaked almonds, roughly crushed
● Icing sugar to dust
1 Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Fully line a 30cm x 20cm x 5cm (12in x 8in x 2in) loose-bottomed tin with baking parchment.
2 Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water – ensuring that the base of the bowl does not touch the water for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and mousse-like.
3 Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and then sift again over the egg and sugar mixture. Pour in the melted chocolate and butter mixture and fold gently together. Fold in the marshmallows and the flaked almonds, spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes until just firm on top.
4 Dust with icing sugar, transfer the tin to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then cut into equal squares.

Loads of foodie love, happy tweeting! - Megan @foodalution

Monday, May 9, 2011

Caramel Sticky Buns Recipe....Fat Heaven

Mother's Day rolled in with sunshine, warm spring weather and ooey gooey drippy caramel. Testing out the waters with Dufour Puff Pastry dough, I paid a visit to one of Ina Garten's simple but wonderfully delicious recipes... Sticky Buns. We love Ina because she does not skimp on the butter. This love for all things butter is what gives her an edge on those who would rather produce something "tasty" with "1/2" the fat. Face it friends, the flavor is in the fat!

For full on fat flavor, I chose to try out Dufour's Puff Pastry Dough. Their dough is made with real butter, not vegetable shortening. Delicious to say the least. Add on another cup of butter to your sticky buns, and you have officially arrived at a place some call "fat heaven".

Yes, this recipe will work. Yes it is delicious. Yes it is laden with fat and sugar. As my grandmother would always say.... A moment on the lips... forever on the hips!

Caramel Sticky Buns Recipe - adapated from Ina Garten's Recipe
1 package Dufour Puff Pastry Dough - defrosted
12 tbs. softened butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tsp. high quality cinnamon
2/3 cup raisins
2 TBS butter, melted and cooled

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Oven to 375. Butter the insides of a standard muffin tin with butter. Place muffin tin on parchment lined cookie sheet.

In mixer with the paddle attachment, whip 12 tbs softened butter with 1/3 cup light brown sugar. Take mixture and add tablespoonfuls to the bottom of each muffin tin. Pat the butter mixture so it covers the bottom of each tin. Distribute pecans on top of the butter mixture. In separate bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon and raisins.

On lightly floured surface, unwrap your first sheet of puff pastry dough. Place on surface with the long edge facing perpendicular. With pastry brush, brush the entire sheet, save 1" from the long edge of the dough. Take half of your mixture and sprinkle over the dough, not on the 1" edge. Begin rolling the dough as if you were rolling up a jelly roll. Slice roll in half and then each half into thirds. You will have six little spirals. Place each one, with the spiral side up on top of the butter mixture in the muffin tin. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry dough.

Place baking sheet and muffin tin into the oven. Check at 25 minutes. It will probably take 35 minutes to reach the nice golden stage. You do not want these to burn. Take out when golden brown and firm to the touch. Let rest for only 5 minutes. Turn muffins out onto parchment paper. Let cool completely and move to platter for serving. 

Serving up a piece of fat heaven for all the beautiful mothers out there! 

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

Loads of ooey gooey caramel love! Megan

Monday, May 2, 2011

Organic Mango Love Hand Dipped Chocolates

For my 100th post..... and a Happy Blogaversary.....a new chocolate is born. 
Organic Mango Love Hand Dipped Chocolates.

Last year I was remaking myself. Fresh out of the hospital, I was stuck... literally. I had a limited range of motion, I was unable to walk without assistance.  The walker, shower stool and handy grab bars became my new best friends. And how humiliating is that at age 36?  It was not fun at all. Slowly, with the help of my friends and family, over the course of several months, I made it back to the world of mobility, agility and motion. Thank you friends and family for helping support my personal healing and rebirth. ♥♥♥

My first few blog posts were all about my healing and foods that heal. Now as I take a look around,  I am stuck again. This time I am stuck smack dab in the heart of chocolate land. Not a bad place to be for a women who lives for chocolate, wine, good food and juicy conversation. How does something like this happen? A week doesn't go by without me tempering chocolate and dipping bon bons. I would never have imagined myself where I am now as of last year. It is amazing if we take one step forward without looking back, we end up on the path we never thought we would take. My path happens to involve chocolate.... a lot of it.

Making chocolates is so very zen in nature. If you are not in a good head space, I guarantee you chocolates will fail. A life lesson that can be applied to anything. I have had many chocolate fails over the past several months, but I also have had many tasty successes. Your chocolates will not turn out when you are upset at your husband for mounting a huge antennae on top of your house or when your children have decided that duct-taping their feet together was somehow a good idea. Respect the chocolate, it's origins and carve out a quiet space to create your masterpiece. It is worth it.

I picked up some delicious organic champagne or altufo mangoes at the store earlier last week and waited for them to ripen. They were quickly made into my first fruit puree.You can throw your fruit purees into sauces, marinades, desserts, puddings smoothies or use them for an ice cream topping. The list is endless...... just use them for something delicious! You will see below what I created using my mango fruit puree. The puree went into the top and bottom layer of my chocolates. It was utter Mango Madness.

Mango Fruit Puree

5 ripe organic mangoes
organic sugar

Peel mangoes. Cut fruit off pit. Place fruit in blender until pureed. Measure/weigh out mango puree. Then add back into the mango puree exactly 1/10th of the weight of the puree in sugar. Meaning, if you have 16 oz of fruit puree, you will need to add in 1.6 oz. of sugar back into your mixture. Blend all ingredients again and strain if needed to remove any unwanted fiber. You can use this exact recipe with any fruit. Just follow the measurements and make sure you strain if doing berries or something else with seeds. Refrigerate until ready to use.

100 posts later, I am filled with so much happiness. The friends I have made through food blogging have been amazing. It is awesome to see so many talented people, wrapping their arms around their own passion and kicking ass in the kitchen. Eat some chocolate for yourself today and think of all the amazing things you have done. Embrace your talent, dive in head first. And please.... come to my house to eat chocolate! 

Foodie love and mango chocolates ~ Megan

An Apple for the Teacher....

An Apple for the Teacher

I sliced this apple open on Saturday. It was love at first sight....and then I remembered, Teacher Appreciation Day. To all you foodies out there.... remember to send love to those amazing teachers who care for your kids every day. Bake them something delicious this week! Pass on the love!

Foodie love and something delicious for the teachers! ~ Megan