Entries Tagged as 'christmas'

Dessert First! Decadent Pumpkin Torte

See that right there?  That, my friends, is worth every anxiety attack I’ve had over the last week. [Read more →]

Recipes to Rival–Tamales!

Hello dear readers!  I’m sorry I haven’t been writing much lately…I’ve been in a bit of a funk.  My cuh-RAY-zee meds got screwed up and it really sort of effed me right up.  Things are better now…ye olde kinks have been worked out and I’m back to being only an average level of mental rather than full on nuts.  This is a good thing…because today I have a special treat for y’all.  Tamales!

Last month I read on someone’s blog about a new group called Recipes to Rival (to find out how to join, scroll down the sidebar), which is kind of a savory counterpart to the Daring Bakers…

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Spanish Hot Chocolate

We’re gearing up for a chilly, windy and rainy day today…the perfect weather for hot chocolate!  Spanish hot chocolate is a wonderful variation of this delicious winter standby.  Delicate hints of orange and cinnamon grace the silky smooth chocolate.  Typically, Spanish hot chocolate is thickened with cornstarch, but my version is not.  If you’d like, near the end of simmering just add a cornstarch slurry of 1 teaspoon cornstarch to 1 tablespoon water and stir in until thickened.  Warm up your insides this winter and give this one a try, I bet you’ll love it! :)

spanish hot chocolate


2 1/2 cups whole milk
zest from one orange (I used a clementine)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon best quality cocoa powder


In a small saucepan, bring all ingredients except chocolate up to the boiling point, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Allow to simmer about 10-15 minutes to allow the orange and cinnamon to infuse the milk.
Add chocolate powder and whisk to combine.

Almond Joy Truffles

Joy to the World!  The truffles are done!  OMG if you like Almond Joy candy bars, you simply HAVE to try these.  Seriously, they’re like a little explosion of joy in your mouth.  Truffles are one of those things that sound hard to make, and yet, they’re just not.  They are so easy, and the results are almost always stunning.  I thought I’d be smart and try to use a melon baller this time to try to make perfect little round balls without getting my hands too dirty.  Well, that was a bust. LOL  Truffles do need to be rolled by hand it seems.  Or I was doing something wrong.  Could be…wouldn’t be the first time. lmao  Once the truffles are formed, rolling in coconut is a snap…I just sort of shook them around a bit in a bowl of coconut, and that little trick *did* work. (yay me! lol)  I am so excited to share this recipe with all of you….I think I may have just created a new favorite. :)

almond joy truffles


6 ounces (150 grams) dark chocolate
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon espresso
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup grated coconut


Melt chocolate in a medium sized glass bowl in the microwave (check and stir frequently, time will depend on your microwave).
Allow to cool a bit, then beat in egg yolks.
Add milk and coffee and beat until combined.
Add butter and continue to beat.
Beat in almonds.
Refrigerate truffle mixture for a minimum of 2 hours.
Form smaller sized balls and roll in coconut.

Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

Another recipe for my Christmas cookie tray…I really love the flavor of the toasted hazelnuts combined with the dark chocolate.  I made a couple of different shapes, logs, squares and circles, just for variation…the squares were the easiest, just spread the dough onto the cookie sheet, bake and slice after removing from the oven.



1 cup husked hazelnuts
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate (I used Lindtt 59%)


Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC)
Toast hazelnuts on cookie sheet about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Lower heat to 325ºF (160ºC).
Place hazelnuts in blender or food processor and pulse to coarse bits; set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt to blend; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in egg.
Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture.
Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix.
Chill dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Form into finger sized logs, about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons dough each, and place on parchment lined cookie sheets. (Or, roll into smaller sized balls, and press with the back of a glass, or spread dough onto a cookie sheet evenly.)
Bake until firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on racks.
Melt chocolate over a double boiler and dip half of each cookie into the chocolate.
Place on parchment to dry.
Store in refrigerator.

Galletas de Avellanas con Chocolate


1 vaso (de los de Nocilla) avellanas sin piel
1 1/2 vasos harina simple
1/2 cucharada levadura Royal
pizca de sal
1/2 vaso mantequilla (temperatura natural)
1/3 vaso azúcar
1 huevo
1 cucharadita aroma de vainilla (Vahiné)
1 tableta de chocolate (Lindtt 59%)


Precalentar el horno a 175º.
Tostar las avellanas unos 10 minutos y dejar enfriar.
Bajar el fuego a 160º.
Picar las avellanas en el robot y reservar.
Mezclar la harina, la levadura y la sal en un bol y reservar.
Batir la mantequilla con el azúcar con las varillas hasta que estén cremosos.
Añadir el huevo y volver a batir hasta que esté incorporado.
Poco a poco, añadir la mezcla de harina hasta que esté incorporado.
Añadir las avellanas y remover.
Dejar la masa en la nevera unos 30 minutos.
Formar palitos y bolas con la mitad de la masa y extender la otra mitad en una fuente de horno.
Hornear las galletas unos 15 minutos, o hasta que estén hechos.
Las que estén en la fuente? Partirlas ahora en caliente con un cuchillo, y dejar todas la galletas a enfriar.
Derretir el chocolate y “mojar” las galletas hasta la mitad.
Poner las galletas sobre papel de horno para secar.
Guardar en la nevera.

Christmas Fudge

Yummy chocolatey fudgey goodness!  What says Christmas more than that?  :D   The texture of this candy is beautifully silky smooth.  Definitely a must have on my Christmas tray.  It is so easy to make, too!  This recipe makes a 9×13″ pan, which is plenty, I’ve found.  The fudge is quite rich.  I garnished here with a simple melted white chocolate, just to give it that extra little punch of pretty.  I think it would be awesome to make an opposite version, too…white chocolate fudge with dark chocolate swirls.  :D



12 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup strong coffee (espresso)
30 large marshmallows
4 cups sugar
10 ounces evaporated milk
1 bar white chocolate (6 ounces, 150 grams)


Place the marshmallows, sugar, and evaporated milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and boil exactly 6 minutes.
Remove from the heat and immediately add the chocolate, butter and coffee; beat constantly until creamy, and beginning to thicken.
Pour into a foil lined cake pan (I use a 9 x 13), spreading evenly.
Chill overnight and slice into squares.
Melt white chocolate and drizzle over cut fudge (I use a plastic bag with a tiny hole cut out of one corner, so cleanup is easier).
Store in refrigerator.
Serve at room temperature.


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