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Tom’s grandmother used to make chocolate pudding for us. I remember the first time I had it, it was different. It had nuts in it. Turns out that it was My-T-Fine pudding with nuts. Tiny little chopped nuts inside chocolate pudding. In the years since, I had found it a few times and made it, bringing back sweet (no pun intended) memories of a special lady. Then we couldn’t find it. I am not even sure that it is even made anymore.
This afternoon, we set about to rectify that and make our own version.
First, I made the chocolate pudding with some delicious dutch process cocoa we nabbed down at the Brattleboro Co-op when we were down there last night for dinner after a closing I had in the area. Then, while the pudding was cooking, I chopped up slivered almonds into tiny pieces and added them to the cooked pudding.
The pudding went into the fridge and we had it for dessert just a little while ago. It was delicious.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 c. dutch process cocoa
- 1/4 c. cornstarch
- 1/2 t. salt
- 4 cups milk
- 2 T. butter (unsalted)
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
Mix the first four ingredients together in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the 4 cups of milk (we used Lactaid skim milk so my husband could enjoy it with any intestinal issues).
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Then stir constantly for two minutes more.
Remove from heat and add 2 T. butter (I used unsalted) and 2 t. vanilla extract.
Then I stirred in the chopped almonds, about 1/2 cup’s worth.
Put them into the fridge for at least two hours to set and form that great chocolate pudding “skin”.
This made six ramekins of pudding.
Had a great weekend with my guys, my brother-in-law and nephews. I was the only girl in the house (missing my sister who had to work this weekend and couldn’t make it). I did a lot of cooking and baking for the men and we did a lot of eating.
Lots of homemade bread.
And more bread….Challah this time for morning french toast.
Ah… the pressure. Valentine’s Day is a day both anticipated and dreaded. Single folks lament their lack of love, couples rack their brains trying to outdo each other and those around them in demonstrations of affection and love. Restaurants are booked to the nines with couples looking to share a romantic meal for Valentine’s Day. Silly people. While I wouldn’t turn down a beautiful bouquet of some pastel colored flower (red is not my personal favorite for roses), I do have to admit that there is a great deal of time and money and anxiety surrounding this holiday. We have personally witnessed the angst of a poor guy who didn’t really think that he needed reservations on Valentine’s Day and we (the group of friends who decided that going out together on Valentine’s Day was fun) kindly offered he and his date the two empty seats we had at our table when our reservation got called. It turned out to be a fun evening, probably one of the more delightful Valentine’s Days we’ve spent.
Valentine’s Day should be but one day in a year, or if you’re lucky – a lifetime of love, flowers and chocolate (probably in that order although there are days that I might shuffle it around a bit).
I am lucky to have a husband that I love and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. I am lucky to have three adorably handsome healthy young men. Flowers will die and chocolate will be eaten, yet these gifts will remain.
May you enjoy your Valentine’s Day however you wish to spend it, and remember it is but one of 365 days. How those that care for you treat you the rest of year really is more important than what happens on just one day -even if you do spend most of it in a car – driving kids around like I did.
Probably my biggest challenge this week will be to make the type of birthday cake that my oldest requested for his birthday. It’s something that I have not made previously. It’s really not so much the difficulty but rather with the method of execution. He wants molten chocolate or lava cake for his birthday. This requires not one big cake, but rather, individual cakes. Again, not the end of the world except that we will have a company, an extra five people, maybe six, which means that I have to make 10 cakes. Now, you see my challenge. For anyone that is not familiar, lava or molten chocolate cake is a chocolate cake with a creamy or melted center. Not something that you can really make earlier in the day and serve later. It requires a from-the-oven service, not easy to accomplish times 10.
Several of the recipes that I have found (which are all pretty much the same ingredients) indicate that the cakes can be made ahead of time and simply cooked at the time that you are ready to eat. Sounds easy, right? Well, not for me. Make ahead and then cook or partially prepare and cook later is the kiss of death. The bagels I made the first time promised a do-ahead recipe, which turned into the ugliest looking flat bagels that anyone has ever witnessed. Another time, I tried to pre-make something it was also a disaster. Not something that I want to experience with a houseful of hungry kids dying for cake and certainly not something that I want to blow for one of my boys’ birthdays – after all they only come once a year.
In preparation for Valentine’s Day and our holiday weekend company, I did some Valentine-y desserts of sorts. Chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate dipped rice krispie treats shaped into hearts.