Tag Archives: dessert

Marshmallow Cream Drinking Chocolate

4 Nov

Rich, fragrant, creamy, delectable… 

Drinking chocolate is out of this world. The best chocolate beverage you’ll ever have. This version combines locally produced Guittard Chocolate Company’s Bittersweet chocolate with toasted marshmallow cream and the crunch of  graham cracker crumbs. Best part? It’s simple to make.  Only 10 minutes, I promise. 

I still remember my first experience with drinking chocolate.  In Santa Cruz, there’s a little cafe on Pacific named (quite aptly) Chocolate. They offer a selection of gourmet drinking chocolates made with artisanal chocolate. I fell in love with this decadent beverage one winter evening during college.

However, as I sipped my way through their menu, I thought their dark chocolate a smidge too dark and their milk chocolate too light.  In true Goldilocks style, I wanted something just right.   So I quickly set about recreating this awesome drink for myself. And now you can, too!

The Key…

The chocolate makes (or breaks) this dessert beverage. So, use the best quality chocolate you can find. You get to choose the darkness of the chocolate to suit your taste, however.

I highly recommend any of these brands’ semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, as I’ve tried them all: Callebaut makes a super-smooth and creamy drink, Schaarfen Berger seems more fruity to me, and Guittard is a great all-around crowd pleaser.

Let me give you my recipe!

Marshmallow Hot Chocolate:

2.5 oz High-Quality Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Guittard Bittersweet shown here)
2 tbsp Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Marshmallow Cream (Marshmallows are an OK substitute, too)
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
Graham Cracker Crumbs for rimming the glass
Butter for rimming the glass

Begin by preparing your chosen glass / mug. Lightly coat the rim of the mug with butter, which will help the graham cracker adhere. If you are using whole graham crackers, smash or blend the crackers into very small pieces / powder. Place crumbs onto a plate, turn the mug upside down and gently coat the rim with the crumbs.

Chop up your chocolate into even, small pieces (the smaller the pieces, the more quickly and evenly they will melt). Place the chocolate into a different, microwave-safe mug, add cream and microwave for 15 seconds. Remove and stir mixture with a spoon for 10 seconds. If chocolate is not fully melted, microwave again for 10 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. (Do not overheat or you risk burning the chocolate.)

Add the vanilla, milk and salt to the melted chocolate mixture. Stir and microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and test the mixture.  When done, the drink should be heated to your liking and all chocolate should be fully melted. If not, return and microwave for another 30 seconds.

Pour the prepared drinking chocolate into the mug lined with graham cracker crumbs.

Place the 1/2 cup of marshmallow cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 seconds, remove and stir. You need the mixture to be pliable enough to spoon over your hot chocolate. Microwave in 5 second increments until the cream is a spoonable consistency. Spoon the marshmallow cream over your drinking chocolate.

If you have a blowtorch, you can toast the top of the marshmallow cream for effect. Beware the marshmallow cream does like to catch on fire! So keep your blowtorch turned on low and very gently toast the surface. Or, you can pop the mug in your microwave for 10-20 seconds to make the marshmallow cream blow up above the top of the glass!

This is not the last time you’ll see drinking chocolate on Decadent Dragon Bakery. It’s just that awesome.

Do you have an experience with amazing drinking chocolate? Please share!

Beth

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

2 Nov

When your husband works as an agricultural Biologist, you get used to “produce surprises” appearing in your kitchen on a semi-regular basis. Sometimes it’s a pound of local, fresh honey, others a little bean sprout begging to be planted.  This week, it was a box of three, extremely ripe pineapples. And one of them became this scrumptious rum-laced cake.

Whenever these culinary surprises show up, I imagine myself a star on Iron Chef, tasked with creating a meal from our new found bounty. Silly? Probably.

With the pineapple, I was looking to highlight the sweet and tart flavors of fresh pineapple – almost like a tribute to the end of summer now we’re firmly in fall. And so the inspiration for this Pineapple Upside Down Cake was born.

This pineapple was a truly beautiful thing.  Incredibly sweet and ripe, with low acidity (well, for a pineapple anyway).

I found a lovely recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s blog. Like her, I chose to omit the ground cardamom from the cake — though I did go back and garnish with cardamom afterward.  Cardamom does a good job of balancing the rather intense sweetness of this cake.

I also added more RUM than she called for in her recipe. Excellent Appleton Estates rum. I swear, this blog should be call the Drunken Dragon sometimes. I put rum in the caramel topping, rum in the batter and garnished with rum once the cake was baked!

Overall, this produced an excellent cake.  I highly recommend it. My one suggestion would be to lessen some of the sugar in the recipe: perhaps a 1/4 cup less in the batter (beware as I haven’t tested this). Particularly if you are using a sweet pineapple, the sugar can likely be cut back a bit.

This cake emerges from your cast iron skillet with the most beautiful caramel and pineapple topping. And on a side note: does anyone else think the picture above looks like a spiral galaxy? Haha, I do!

Have a good one!

Beth

PUMPKIN PIE CHEESECAKE *MINIS* with Bourbon Cream

31 Oct

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. (Well, truth be told, I can find something to love in just about all our seasons.)  But part of what makes fall special is the colors and flavors I associate with this season. Bold, earthy colors like oranges, burnt reds, deep browns and olive greens. And these colors are reflected in our cooking as Americans during the holidays: rich stews, winter squash, cranberry relish, cinnamon spice… 
 

Yesterday, I made these adorable Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Minis (3 X 3 square) for a local fundraiser at my husband’s work. All proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. His colleagues raised almost $300 in the fight to cure cancer. Way to go, guys!

This recipe is so much fun! It produces a cheesecake with fresh pumpkin spice flavor, a crunchy cinnamon-ginger crust and a sinful dollop of bourbon cream.

I had recently purchased a Fat Daddio’s 12-Cup Square Muffin Pan (I know, ridiculous name).  Let me tell you though, it’s absolutely perfect for making mini-cheesecakes. The pan can also be used for brownies, tarts, or quiches as well.

I began this recipe by lining my square muffin pan with parchment paper.  I found that cutting a 5″ by 3″ wide strip of parchment made for the easiest cheesecake removal later. You’ll want to be able to pull that little sucker out of there by the ends of the parchment strips. I used a cutting mat, ruler and razor blade but you could use a ruler and scissors, too.

Heheh, anyone recognize the tool I used above to tamp the crust into the molds? I hope you don’t think I’m a complete lush.

My recipe is heavily adapted from this Betty Crocker Pumpkin Cheesecake recipe I found online.  It makes 24 mini-cheesecakes or 1 large 9″ cheesecake.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Minis

For the Crust:
4 cups Cinnamon Sugar cookies / Ginger Snaps / or Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 tsp Ginger, powdered
1 cup Butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:
1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Allspice
1 (15 oz) can Pumpkin
3 tbsp Bourbon or Brandy
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
32 oz Cream Cheese, room-temperature
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2/3 cup White Sugar
5 Eggs, room-temperature

For the Bourbon Whipped Cream:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tbsp Bourbon
1/4 Powdered Sugar, sifted
Garnish with ground Cinnamon and Ginger

Begin by pre-heating your oven to 325 degrees. Grease your pans with butter, line with cut parchment paper and grease again.

Using a food processor, grind up your cookies until finely ground and no large chunks remain. Mix the ground cookies with ginger and the melted butter until combined.

Press the cookie mixture into the bottoms of your molds. Bake crust for 8 – 10 minutes or until set (butter mixture should be absorbed).

In a small bowl, mix flour, spices, canned pumpkin and brandy together.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. (If you see lumps, your cream cheese may be too cold.) Slowly add sugar and then beat the mixture for 3 minutes.  You’re looking for a whipped texture, here.

Return to low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time until just blended.  Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth.

Pour filling into your crusts until 2/3 full.  Bake 12-18 minutes, checking often.  Cheesecake is done when the center still jiggles slightly when moved but edges are set.  Turn the oven off, open the oven door a few inches.  Let cheesecakes sit in oven to cool gradually (and avoid cracking).

After 30 minutes, remove cheesecakes from the oven and cool on wire racks. When cheesecakes are cool, run a knife around the edges and pull out of pan gently using the ends of your parchment paper.  Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight before serving.

Just prior to serving — Whip your heavy whipping cream until soft peaks begin to form.  Add bourbon and powdered sugar and whip until slightly thickened and stiff peaks are just about to form.  Spoon or pipe dollops onto your cheesecake.  Garnish with cinnamon and ginger.

Happy Fall, everyone!