National Nutty Fudge Day

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Another holiday, another gourmet food recipe or two. Today is National Nutty Fudge Day. My Aunt Ann made the best fudge in the world, but now that I know more about candy nomenclature, I think she made truffles. They were dark chocolate balls rolled in cocoa. I’ll always remember her truffles as fudge.

However, I had my first taste of the ‘real’ fudge down the shore in Atlantic City. Fudge was sold along with Salt Water Taffy at many of the Boardwalk candy shops. Yum!

History of Fudge: Fudge was supposedly invented in the U.S.in the late 1880s. Historians believe the first batch of fudge resulted from a bungled batch of caramels, as in “Oh, Fudge” I don’t think so… According to Wikipedia, the main component of Fudge was similar to the traditional recipe for Scots Tablet found in The Household Book of the Lady Grisell Baillie (1692-1733). The term ‘fudge’ is often used in the UK for a soft variant of the tablet recipe.

One of the first documented examples of American fudge (containing chocolate!) was found in a letter written by Emelyn Batersby Hartridge, a Vassar College student, who wrote that a friend’s cousin made fudge in Baltimore in 1886 and sold it for 40 cents a pound. Hartridge asked for the fudge recipe, and in 1888 made 30 pounds of the fudge for the Vassar Senior Auction. In The Candy Book (Alice Bradley, 1929) an entire chapter is devoted to fudge.

Fudge is a crystalline candy, which means that, unlike lollipops, caramels, and taffy, crystal formation is the key to making great fudge. Tiny micro crystals of sugar in fudge give fudge its firm but smooth texture. The secret to successful fudge is getting these crystals to form at just the right time. Fudge is one of the rare exceptions to the rule that sugar crystals are not desirable in candy. Tiny micro crystals in fudge are what give it its firm texture. When the crystals are small enough, they don’t feel grainy on your tongue, but smooth.

While you ultimately want crystals to form, it’s important that they don’t form too early. Now it gets tricky! The key to successful, non grainy fudge is in the cooling, not the cooking. If you disturb the cooling fudge during this cooling phase you increase the potential for larger crystals (seed crystals) of sugar to form too early and thus a grainy fudge results

O.K. this is too much for me to take in, not being a candy maker. So how to make fudge relatively easy? Here are three recipes.

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Recipe 1: Easy Million Dollar Fudge from Stephanie in All Recipes
4- 1/2 cups white sugar
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
2 cups chopped nuts
1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips
12 (1 ounce) squares German sweet chocolate
2 cups marshmallow creme

1. Butter two 9×9 inch baking pans and set aside.
2. Place chocolate chips, German chocolate, marshmallow creme, and nuts into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
3. In a 4 quart saucepan, combine sugar, salt, butter, and evaporated milk. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil, and cook for 6 minutes.
4. Pour boiling syrup over ingredients in bowl, beat until all chocolate is melted. Pour into prepared pans. Let stand a few hours before cutting.

Recipe 2: Foolproof Dark Chocolate Fudge Recipe

3 C semisweet chocolate chips, 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk dash, salt, 1 C chopped walnuts, 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla

In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chips with sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and vanilla. Spread evenly into aluminum foil lined 8 or 9 inch square pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Recipe 3: Alton Brown had a great show on the Food Network on making fudge, so I thought I should include one of his recipes for nutty chocolate fudge.

Ingredients
2- 3/4 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup half-and-half
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, roasted nuts, optional

Directions
Grease an 8 by 8-inch pan with butter. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, chocolate, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter, half-and-half, and corn syrup. Over medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until sugar is dissolved and chocolate is melted. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and boil for 3 minutes. Remove the cover and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Cook until the thermometer reads 234 degrees F. Remove from the heat and add the remaining butter. Do not stir. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or until it drops to 130 degrees F. Add vanilla and nuts, if desired, and mix until well-blended and the shiny texture becomes matte. Pour into the prepared pan. Let sit in cool dry area until firm. Cut into 1-inch pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Have a wonderful Nutty Fudge Day!

Source: www.dyingforchocolate.blogspot.ca/2009/05/national-chocolate-fudge-day.html

Chocolate Dominoes

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Chocolate domino is a fun and delicious gourmet food recipe. The chocolate dominoes are shaped in the form of the gaming pieces that make up the domino set. This edible domino set is made with dark chocolate instead of ivory, plastic or wood. It also consists of walnuts, dates, figs, oranges, orange juice, and nutmeat not only chocolate. Actually, this is the perfect casino night party dessert dish and makes an excellent business gift and thoughtful present to friends or family who love the game. To imitate the dots of dominoes use almond pieces. You can also use frosting, white mini chocolate chips. Or you can use colored sweets to make the dots and draw the lines.

High quality premium chocolate like Belgian, Swiss, French or Venezuelan chocolate is used to make chocolate dominoes. Making chocolate dominoes is a thrilling activity. It can be fun to do with kids, family, or friends. Dominoes are rectangular in shape, formed by two congruent squares from edge to edge. They are marked by a line in the middle and dots or spots, also called pips. Some domino pieces, however, are left blank. The traditional domino set consists of 28 pieces. The set is known as cards, bones, stones, tiles, spinners, or tickets. The back of the dominoes is usually left blank. If you are aiming for accuracy it is best to have a real set to copy from when making chocolate dominoes. If not, then use a picture from the Internet as guide to copy from.

A traditional set of dominoes has one unique piece for each possible combination of two squares. The left and right side divided by a line, with zero spots up to six spots. The highest value has six spots on each side. This is called a “double six” while the lowest value has no spots. They are left blank with only a thin line dividing the two squares that make up one rectangular piece.

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Ingredients
 
  • ½ cup nut meat
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup English walnut meat
  • Grated rind 1 orange
  • ½ cup figs
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 square dark chocolate

 

Preparation Instructions

1. With little water, melt the chocolate in a saucepan. Mix in nut meats, figs, and dates chopped finely.

2. Add remaining ingredients to this melted chocolate. Then toss on a board sprinkled with powdered sugar.

3. Cut into domino shapes. Spread thinly with melted unsweetened chocolate. Decorate with small pieces of blanched almonds to imitate dominoes.

 

 

Apricot Apple and Banana Pudding

Apricot Apple and Banana PuddingImage

On its own, milk pudding can be boring or can be easily tiresome. Adding a mixture of fruits is one way to give it more life, flavor and vibrant color. In this easy gourmet food recipe, sliced bananas, apricots and apples are made up as base of this delicious pudding recipe. This makes a luxurious breakfast. It is also an elegant dessert that you won’t get bored of soon. These three fruits combine well together to give full texture, color, and flavor and to create harmony in the palate and invigorate the senses.

You need scalded milk, sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla extract to make the pudding. When making this recipe use fresh fruits. This is a great dish to make when apricots are in season. Bananas and apples are typically available all year round. Make sure that just before making the pudding is the time you peel and slice the fruits since they oxidize and change color once exposed to air.

Before adding it to the other ingredients you also need to scald the milk so timing is crucial when making this recipe. Scalded milk, technically, is milk that has been heated to 180 degrees F, a temperature that destroys the enzyme in the milk and kills any present bacteria. In scalded milk many of the proteins are also denatured. The milk is heated just to the edge of boiling. In the process of scalding the milk it is important to keep a watchful eye on it to prevent it from boiling over, scorching or burning. A kitchen thermometer should be used ideally to monitor the temperature of the milk.

The scalded milk makes a difference in the texture of the pudding. Use a heavy bottomed saucepan or double boiler to scald the milk. Use whole milk and a candy or fry thermometer, which can be clipped onto the saucepan. At 180 degrees over low heat, the milk will lightly froth. You will see tiny bubbles forming around the edges of the pan.

 

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Ingredients
 
  • 6 3/4 oz. (5/6 cup) milk, scalded
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 well beaten eggs
  • 4 apricots cut into halves
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon rice vanilla extract

Preparation Instructions

 

1. Mix the sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Then slowly add the milk and mix well.

2. Into a pudding tray pour all the chopped fruits. Pour the milk mixture over this.

3. In a pan of water place the pudding dish. Bake in a 180 degree F. preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

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Apples are best as apple pie, but the German traditional dessert, the strudel, is also a perfect recipe using apples. With its thin and crisp crust, the apple strudel has an apple filling which takes the apples to a different level. Unlike the apple pie, which must be sliced before serving, the apple strudel is handier to eat because of its shape. Make this delicious treat especially during apple picking season (or even when you just feel like serving something sophisticated for supper).

When making the apple strudel, make sure to create a good pastry dough with which to wrap the apple filling. The unleavened dough should be rolled into thin and elastic sheets. The rest of the ingredients of the apple strudel offer simplicity: the apples themselves mixed with bread crumbs and dried grapes (or raisins). It is then flavored with cinnamon, butter, and sugar. Just the combination of apples and cinnamon are enough to make you want more of this pastry.

Shape the dough into the traditional oblong after you have kneaded the dough until smooth, supple and elastic. Use a rolling pin and to stretch the dough with your hand. While the dough should be stretched very thinly, any holes that appear have to be mended. The key is to make the dough flaky when it bakes. Otherwise, make it simpler by using store-bought phyllo sheets.

Just like the apple pie, the filling of the strudel can make use of a variety of apples, but most especially the firm ones that can hold its shape when baking. Some examples of the sweet and tart apples perfect as apple strudel filling include the Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious, and Jonagold. To serve the apple strudel, top it with whipped cream, vanilla sauce or ice cream for a more decadent version. Serve it warm or cold and pair it with a glass of Jurancon wine.

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Ingredients
Dough:
  • ½ lb. flour
  • 1 spoon oil
  • 1/2 spoon vinegar
  • 1/3 lb. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • salt
  • pepper

Garnishing:

  • 6 apples
  • 1.8 oz. molten butter
  • 1/3 lb. sugar
  • 2/3 oz. cinnamon
  • 1.8 oz. dry grapes
  • 1.8 oz. breadcrumbs
  • 0.35 oz. milk

Preparation Instructions

1. Make the pastry dough. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt and gradually add the water and the oil. Add the vinegar and egg and blend until you get supple dough. Knead for about five minutes until it is not sticky. Form into a ball and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow dough rest for 2 hours in an ambient temperature.

2. Meanwhile, make the apple filling. Peel the apples and dice into pieces about ½ inch in size. Place the diced apple, cinnamon, 3.5 oz. sugar, and dry grapes in a large bowl. Allow to macerate for about 1 hour.

3. After two hours, spread the dough as thin as possible (about 1/10 inch). Spread the molten butter, then the macerated apples (except the milk) over the thinly spread dough. Add the breadcrumbs. Further garnish with the macerated apples.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll together the pastry with apple filling to create a cylinder of about 2 inches in height. Use a brush to glaze the top with milk. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

 Apple Rhubarb Crisp

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Rhubarb adds a refreshingly tart flavor to the traditional apple crisp. Their combination creates an extraordinary dessert for a special occasion. Like in this recipe, sliced apples and diced rhubarb are tossed with sugar, ginger, and flour and topped with a crispy crust made of flour, ginger, baking powder, egg, sugar, oatmeal and vegetable oil. Choose a sweet crisp and juicy apple to contrast with the robust and tart flavor of the rhubarb for this easy gourmet food recipe.

 Always remember that only the stems of the rhubarb are edible. Make sure to remove the leaves of the rhubarb, rinse well and pat dry. Trim the ends of the rhubarb then slice the stem into one-inch chunks. There are times when the stems can be stringy, and can be tough when added to the dish what you can do in this case is to strip or peel off the outer layer thinly the same way that you would when preparing celery. However, some varieties of rhubarb are very tender, and need not be peeled.

Those apples with a blend of sweetness and tartness are the best apples for making apple crisp or for baking for that matter. Some examples that are on the sweet side include Golden Delicious, Jonagold, and Braeburn, while those that are on the tart side include Empire, Cortland, and Granny Smith. You don’t have to worry about too much tartness since you will be adding sugar to the apples and rhubarb and the sugar will contrast and complement the acidity of the ingredients.

Cinnamon is the spice commonly used to flavor the classic recipes for apple rhubarb crisp. However, in this recipe a different twist is added by using ginger instead. This gives the dish a tangy and invigorating taste. Crystallized ginger is used in this recipe combined with the fruits, while to mix with the upper crust, ground ginger is used.

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Ingredients
 
  • 2 cups diced rhubarb
  • 3 apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon minced crystallized ginger
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preparation Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 in. baking pan and set aside.

2. Stir together the rhubarb, apple slices, 1 cup sugar, crystallized ginger, and 1-tablespoon flour in a large mixing bowl. Then pour the rhubarb mixture into the prepared pan.

3. Stir together the 1 cup flour, ground ginger, baking powder, egg, ¾ cup sugar, oatmeal, and vegetable oil in a separate bowl. Blend until just moistened.

4. Pour the flour dough over the rhubarb mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven when the topping becomes golden. It is best to serve this warm.

Apple Fine Pie

Apple Fine Pie

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Long before it became the quintessential American dessert, Europeans have been making all sorts of apple pies and tarts since the Medieval Times. There are many apple recipes but one of the easiest yet most refined of all these delicious apple recipes is the French Apple Tart. Probably one of the simplest and perhaps one of the most elegant recipes you’ll find is this version by Chef Patrick Durand. To start this gourmet food recipe he uses basic flaky pastry dough, topped with apple slices and then baked in the oven for fifteen minutes. The apples are not seasoned or enhanced with syrup, sugar, spices, or any other ingredient. Just plain apples are used on a crusty pastry to truly savor their natural goodness. It is therefore very important to get the best and freshest apples you can find to make this recipe.

Golden Delicious is perfect for making French Apple Tart. This kind of apple is crisp, sweet, and juicy. Other kinds of apple ideal for making apple tarts include Granny Smith, Pippin, Pink Lady, Northern Spy, Gala, Jonagold, York Imperial, and Gravenstein. Some like to combine different varieties of apples in one pie for a wider and nuanced spectrum of flavors and textures. While apples are available all year around and you can make this recipe whether in the cold winter or during the hot summer, they are usually better to prepare them in the fall when they grow abundantly, and are therefore more affordable and super-fresh.

When the apple tart has been assembled, Pommeau liqueur is poured over the cooked apple tart and lit up for a dramatic presentation and a deep and sensual flavor. Pommeau is an alcoholic drink from Normandy in the north of France made with a mixture of apple juice and apple brandy, particularly Calvados. This drink is considered an aperitif and popularly consumed with a variety of desserts. Besides cooking with Pommeau to make apple tart, you can also serve it with the dessert for a lovely after-dinner party.

 

Ingredients
 
  • 1 cup flour
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 5/8 cup Calvados brandy or Pommel (a mixture of Calvados and cider)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 or 4 golden apples
  • 1 cluster of red currants

Preparation Instructions

1. Start by peeling the apples. Remove the seeds, and cut into thin slices.

2. Put the slices of butter sugar and salt in the mixing bowl. Mix together using a flat beater until fluffy. Add flour. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead. Put the mixed dough it in the refrigerator to cool for a while. The pastry will be a little flaky so flatten with a rolling pin until thin and roughly round. Place in a baking dish lined with a baking sheet. Arrange the fine apple slices on top of the pastry, slightly overlapping and neatly layered following the round shape of the pastry. Place in a 180 degree F and bake for 15 minutes.

3. Pour Pommeau in a saucepan. Heat it up a little at low temperature.

4. Take the tart out of the oven. Place on a plate. Then put a small branch of red currant in the middle of the tart to decorate. Flambé by pouring the slightly warm Pommeau over the tart and light it up.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

This weekend I wanted to make manly food for my man. But what does that even mean? Beer and Nacho Cheese Doritos? Frozen Pizza? Ham & Cheese Hot Pockets? Steak?! ….Obviously, Jorge has really sophisticated tastes. :-)

I wanted to make something that he, and any guy at a Superbowl party, would love to see included in the big spread. And as far as I am concerned, there are 5 main flavors to any good Superbowl party.

1. Beer.

2. Chili.

3. Chips & Dip.

4. Meat covered in BBQ sauce.

5. Buffalo sauce anything.

Don’t you want to stick your whole head right in the center of that? Because I do! YUM!

I took a quick glance through my bookmarked gourmet food recipe posts and these Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas from How Sweet It Is were glaring back at me. I had dreams about these for weeks after I originally saw them, but they somehow got buried under all the holiday recipes. I took it as a sign. A delicious, spicy, cheesy sign from God that I had to make these ASAP. I just couldn’t let y’all throw a Superbowl Party that didn’t include these Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas…because seriously, they go perfect along with flavor group #1…Beer.

Do I need to tell you how good these were? I mean, come on! Look at that face! Jorge and I both loved these! I changed them up a little from the original recipe…but not by a lot. I love all flavors and left them the same, but I like my enchiladas to have lots of meat and cheese in them. I want them to be so big and filling that you can barely make it through one. And I also want them to be incredibly messy and dripping in sauce. It just makes them that much better.

Do yourself a favor and don’t let these drop down into the forgotten recipe pile like I did. Make them. Immediately. Oh! And serve them with lots of cold beer. You will thank me. :-D

 

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 4 large enchiladas

Recipe Note: This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, for a big party. But as it is…it’s perfect for two hungry people!

ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
14 ounce can red enchilada sauce
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (I use Frank’s)
5 chopped green onions, divided
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 glass dish with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and slowly mix in buffalo wing sauce…stopping to taste and adjust as you go. I used a little over 1/3rd a cup wing sauce, but we like it spicy! You as little, or as much as you like. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together shredded chicken, half of the green onions, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce mixture and stir until combined.

Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the prepared glass baking dish and spread mixture to the edges. Working with one tortilla at at time, fill with 1/4 of the chicken mixture. Roll the tortilla and place it seam-side down in the dish. Once all tortillas are filled, pour the remaining enchilada/buffalo sauce on top of tortillas and add the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce its bubbling. Immediately after taking enchiladas out of the oven, top with gorgonzola cheese, cilantro, and the remaining onions. Serve immediately!

Store any remaining sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, and use if reheating leftover enchiladas.

Source: www. thenovicechefblog.com/2012/01/buffalo-chicken-enchiladas/