Brownie Bites from The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook

Here’s the recipe for Brownie Bites which CTV co-anchor Nancy Richards and I prepared during the noon news show on CTV Kitchener today.

This recipe is one of my contributions to the brand spanking new cookbook, The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook, which was edited by the incomparable Mairlyn Smith. This just-released book (which is already into its second printing!) is from the Ontario Home Economics Assocation. All the recipes come from Ontario professional home economists and students.

You’ll find recipes for two other dishes I had on display (Autumn Apple Crepes from Deb Campbell and Mexi Meatless Shepherd’s Pie from Amy Snider Whitson) here.

Brownie Bites
Make 24 mini muffin-size brownies

½ cup (125 mL) quinoa flour
1/3 cup (75 mL) natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
2 omega-3 eggs
2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) canola oil
1 tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Lightly spray 24 mini muffin cups well with canola oil spray.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together quinoa flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until well mixed.
  3. In a large bowl whisk eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until blended.
  4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, whisking until blended.
  5. Divide batter between muffin cups, filling each with about 1 tbsp (15 mL) batter. Cups should be about 2/3 full.
  6. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into a brownie comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it, 13 to 15 minutes. Don’t overbake.
  7. Remove from oven; let cool in pan on a wire rack for 2 minutes, then turn muffin pan over. After a minute or two, lift up pan. Brownie Bites should have released from pan onto wire rack. Carefully turn each brownie over to finish cooling on rack.

Tips:
* To serve, plate brownies and sprinkle with icing sugar and cocoa powder or serve on a puddle of raspberry coulee.
* For an extra special treat, press a chocolate macaroon or mini Rolo into the centre of each Brownie Bite before baking.
* If you are gluten-free use gluten-free baking powder.

Per serving: 3 brownies (without chocolate macaroons or mini Rolos!): 202 calories, 12 g fat, 0 g sat. fat, 48 mg cholesterol, 17 mg sodium,  24 g carbohydrates, 2 g fibre, 17 g sugars, 3 g protein.

Chocolate Crepes

Want a decadent brunch or dessert recipe? Perhaps something to serve this Easter weekend?

At the Chocolate class I taught at Thyme to Cook in Guelph a couple weeks ago, one of the recipes I made was Chocolate Crepes with Cream Cheese Filling.

You could easily use another filling of your choice for these crepes: chopped fruit, caramelized bananas, ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt, pudding, or ????  What do you suggest?

Or, you could simply roll up the crepes and drizzle them with fruit syrup, maple syrup or chocolate sauce.

Chocolate crepes filled with chocolate ice cream and topped with strawberries and a sprinkle of icing sugar

Chocolate Crepes with Cream Cheese Filling

(Makes about 18 small crepes or 10 large crepes)

Crepes:
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
3 tbsp (45 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1-1/4 cups (300 mL) milk
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter
Vegetable oil
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Bad Late Night Habits

I’ve developed a bad habit. Well, it’s kind of a good bad habit. Or should that be a bad good habit?

Most week days my husband, a hockey scout for the Kitchener Rangers, doesn’t get home until 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. Often he leaves for the evening before I got home from work, or we have a lightening speed supper together before he dashes off to a hockey arena somewhere to assess the on-ice talent.

Late night tea with Pain Au Chocolat.....and milk bones

But when he walks in the door later that evening, a little ritual ensues. I put the kettle on, ask him what kind of tea he wants, and the two of us sit down with our cups of tea and maybe a cookie or a piece of chocolate, and we talk over the day’s events or anything else on our minds. (Sorry, make that the three of us. Cocoa, our poodle, snuggles in beside us – after he’s enjoyed his own snack!)

While it’s a good thing to take a few minutes each day to spend together, by 11 p.m., the lights in the rest of the houses on our street have long since been turned off and most people have been in their beds and sound asleep for awhile.

Driving home the other day I heard a ‘sleep specialist’ talk about the importance of sleep. You don’t expect to get through the day on only half the food your body needs, she said. So why do people think they can exist on half the amount of sleep their bodies need. Good point, I thought guiltily.

And never mind all the sleep I’m missing out on! How about the effect of snacking at that late hour? Sure, sometimes there’s no snack, or maybe just a digestive cookie, but often it’s something a little more, uh, how to put this…..calorie-laden?

Recently I brought home a box of Caramilk Snack Cakes. Not something I typically buy, but I like Caramilk chocolate bars and I was curious to try these little cakes with my evening tea.

The verdict? Well, I liked the oozing caramel centre but I wasn’t really crazy about the flavour of the chocolate sponge cakes or chocolate coating.

Then there are the chewy chocolate cookies Murray likes – Little Debbie Caramel Rings (cookie rings made with caramel and coconut) and Caramel Treats (cookies made with caramel and crisp rice). I like them too. Probably a little too much.

And how about my own baking? Tonight I made a super easy version of Pain Au Chocolat. (I’ll share the recipe in the next weeks. I’m teaching a Chocolate Class at Thyme to Cook in Guelph on March 24th and I don’t want to post the recipe until after the class.)

Murray should be home soon and then we’ll try them with a cup of tea. Or maybe we’ll just share one. And, just maybe, tonight we’ll drink our tea quickly, keep the conversation brief, and get to bed a little earlier than normal.

One can dream.

One can dream even more comfortably if one is in bed……

A basic chocolate cake recipe, with variations

For Valentine’s Day – a basic chocolate cake with lots of variations (see below)….in case you’d rather have cupcakes, or a different size or shape of cake.

Chocolate Cake

(Makes 10 to 12 servings)

2 cups (500 mL) sugar
1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (175 mL) cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking powder
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
Chocolate Icing (recipe below)

Grease and flour two 9-inch (23 cm) round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. (The batter will be thin.) Pour batter into prepared pans.

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Chocolateville – where all your chocolatey dreams come true!

Chocolateville! I want to live there!

How positively amazing is this!! A winter village scene – made out of 5,000 pounds of semisweet, milk and white chocolate – complete with mountains, a running chocolate waterfall, chocolate gondolas and two moving chocolate trains!

Hats, no, touques off to Executive Pastry Chef Ned Archibald and his staff at Keystone Resort in Keystone, Colorado for this incredible work!

Chocolate Fashions in Paris

Fashions for chocolate lovers? Oh yeah!

Okay, I’m not sure I’d wear an outfit made out of chocolate, but the chocolate fashions created for the Salon du Chocolat (Chocolate Show) and modelled in Paris on Oct. 13 are pretty amazing.

On second thought, if you were wearing one of these, you’d always be able to satisfy your chocolate cravings!

Guilty Food Pleasures

Got a guilty food pleasure? Something you like to eat, but are hesitant to admit it for whatever reason.

I have a few GFPs, but the one I’m willing to confess today is my secret love of Cherry Blossoms (a Hershey product).

Cherry Blossom

I say ‘secret’ because anyone who knows me knows I appreciate good quality chocolate.

A Cherry Blossom is chocolate candy. It’s really not supposed to be something a true chocoholic indulges in (or in this case, admits to indulging in!).

But there’s something about the texture and taste of this chocolate, coconut and chopped peanut shell with its maraschino cherry and oozing cherry syrup centre that just works for me. The little yellow box with its foil-wrapped contents rather resembles a little gift. Maybe that’s part of its allure!

Here – see what I mean……

It’s not that I eat a ton of these chunky, flat-bottomed chocolate mounds.

Once in a while I pick one up when I see them at the grocery store checkout. I tend to eat this treat quickly, partly because otherwise its oozing centre makes for sticky fingers, and tell-tale stains on one’s clothing. And, probably also to hide the evidence that my love of chocolate isn’t exclusively for higher-end brands.

By the way, Cherry Blossoms are a Canadian candy. If you don’t live in Canada, you can order this treat and other foods from Canadian Favourites, an online company that sells specialty Canuck foods.

So there. I’ve confessed a guilty food pleasure. What’s yours?

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

I think Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream may be the best ice cream I’ve made so far.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream

If you like Nutella and ice cream, I’m quite sure you’ll like this ice cream too! Seriously. Who wouldn’t??

It’s so easy to make, and it just sings with chocolate hazelnut flavour. It’s texture is more creamy than other ice creams I’ve made. I often find that “ripening” homemade ice cream in the freezer tends to make it harden to an extreme and form large crystals that make for a really granular texture in your mouth. I’ve had this Chocolate Hazelnut ice cream in the freezer for almost 3 days now, and although there’s not much left, what there is is firm, but scoop-able.

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream2

So here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream
(Makes 8 cups/2 L)

2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream (35%)
2 cups (500 mL) homogenized milk (3.5%)
1 cup (500 mL) chocolate hazelnut spread
1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dark chocolate* (optional)
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped hazelnuts (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring cream and milk to a simmer.

In a large bowl, combine hazelnut spread and sugar; stir until smooth. Whisk 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the cream mixture into the sugar mixture; whisk until blended. Whisk in remaining cream mixture until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled or overnight.

Stir cream mixture. Transfer to an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions, adding chopped chocolate and hazelnuts a few minutes before the ice cream has finished churning.

Recipe Source: 125 Best Ice Cream Recipes by Marilyn Linton and Tanya Linton, Robert Rose Inc., 2003

Tips:
* If you’re adding chopped chocolate, use a good-quality brand. I used Lindt Madagascar (65%) dark chocolate.
* I have a Cuisinart Flavor Duo (two 1 L/1 quart buckets) ice cream maker. This recipe filled both buckets. The mixture had chilled overnight so only took 15 to 18 minutes to process to a soft creamy consistency.
* The recipe can be halved if you can only make 1 L (1 quart) of ice cream at a time.
* If desired, splash a serving of the finished ice cream with hazelnut liqueur and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts (instead of adding the hazelnuts to the ice cream).

Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream3

Meat and potatoes for dessert?

Here’s a novel dessert idea from The Nibble (an online magazine) –

Grilled Idaho Potato Ice Cream with Milk Chocolate Cake and Bacon Toffee, garnished with Potato Rings.

If anyone is brave enough to try it, let me know how it turns out!