Categories
Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes vegan

Amazing, Almost Ambrosial Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I woke up grumpy, feeling rickety, tired, and ancient. By late afternoon, however, I was quite cheery, even contemplating having a 10 minute solo dance party in my living room. This transformation was in large part thanks to a quick twenty minute yoga session and then, this plate of perfect cookies, alongside a cup of chamomile tea.

What does the perfect cookie taste like, you might ask? What does it feel like when you bite into it? How does it smell? Well, that of course may vary from person to person. To me, a perfect cookie is a chocolate cookie. It is filled with dark chocolate chips and possibly dotted with lightly toasted nuts. It is crisp on the top, bottom, and on its sides, but has a gooey centre. It has the distinct aroma and taste of rich cocoa, a hint of vanilla, and finally, the caramel-like taste of brown sugar. It looks like this:

If this sounds and looks like something you might like, then I suggest giving this recipe a shot! Oh and these cookies are completely vegan!

I will say, some people may find these cookies a bit sweet. The trouble is that the recipe requires at least this amount of sugar in order for the cookies to have a crispy exterior and a gooey centre. Moreover, these cookies, while undoubtedly sweet, were not unpleasantly so, to me (just to calibrate my palate/preferences, most North American milk chocolate tastes saccharine to me). Especially, when paired with some unsweetened coffee or tea to offset their sweetness and also, to compliment their crisp and gooey texture.

I sipped on some chamomile tea, made by brewing dried chamomile flowers from our garden, while I ate them.

I think a cup of coffee with these cookies would be great too!

If you want to give making the cookies a shot, here’s what you will need:

Ingredients:

100 g (about 1/2 cup) white sugar

100g (about 1/2 cup) dark brown sugar (if you want to use light brown sugar, use 125g of it and then, reduce the white sugar by 25 g)

112g (about 1/2 cup) vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use real vanilla extract, but imitation vanilla extract should work fine in foods treated to relatively high temperatures)

125 g (about 1 cup) all purpose flour

60 g cocoa (about 2/3 cup) (use the best cocoa you have as the better it tastes, the better your cookie will taste)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 pinches of salt

1-2 tablespoons of almond milk

2 handfuls of vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chop up a bar of your favourite vegan dark chocolate) (you can add less or more, per your preference)

2 handfuls of walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted (toast them in a frying pan until slightly browned and fragrant)

Equipment:

Stand mixer, handheld mixer, or a whisk and strong arms

2 large bowls

1 sieve

A weighing scale or measuring cup

A teaspoon

A baking tray

Some parchment paper

An oven

Method:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar (i.e. beat them together in a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer/eggbeater or whisk) until they form a creamy, thick, pale yellow mixture.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating the mixture until the extract is incorporated into it.
  3. Sieve the dry ingredients into a second bowl (flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt).
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix them altogether with your hands. It will seem like a thick dough. Add in a tablespoon of almond milk and mix it in. If the dough still seems very dry, add in another spoon of the milk.
  5. Toss in the chocolate chips and walnuts and mix them in.
  6. Roll the dough into individual little balls. (I got about 14).
  7. You can bake them all on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (ideally unbleached and compostable) at 350 F for about 12 minutes or so. The cookies are ready when they are slightly firmed up on their sides. They will still seem soft in the centre, but will firm up in about 10 minutes if you just let them cool on the tray.
  8. Alternatively, flash freeze the dough balls in the freezer (i.e. freeze them on a tray or plate) for about 2-3 hours, and once they have frozen, throw them into a freezer ziplock bag and then the freezer. This way, you can pop your head into the freezer and grab some dough whenever you want a fresh cookie! If you choose this route, bake the frozen dough balls directly, without defrosting them, at 350F, but for about 3 minutes longer.
  9. The only problem with the freezing method is that it isn’t very energy-efficient because it involves heating up the oven multiple times. What we’ve been trying to do in our home is to bake various different things in the oven at the same time. For instance, one can also toast bread at 350F. Alternatively, we heat up the oven to 350F, bake the cookies, and then increase the oven temperature to a higher temperature to bake other things, like bread, for example.
  10. Whatever method you choose, I recommend enjoying your warm cookies with a glass of milk, coffee, or tea!
Categories
Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

How to Make Paneer Bhurji!

Yesterday, we received a grocery delivery, including fresh whole milk from free-range cows. So, last evening, I made some fresh paneer! I could barely stop myself from eating it all, as is. It was citrusy, fresh, and utterly, deliciously, creamy! Somehow, I managed to control myself and stored it in the refrigerator and today, I set out to make some paneer bhurji.

Bhurji recipe

If you want to try making some too, here’s what you will need:

1/2 pound paneer (for instructions on how to make it, go here; you could also buy some at Indian stores, but freshly made homemade paneer really is several orders of magnitude better than the store bought kind)

2-5 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil or ghee (go here for my recipe) (if you use 4-5 tbsp of oil or ghee, the bhurji will taste better and have a better mouth-feel)

1 medium onion (ideally red; diced)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)(optional)

2 green chillies (ideally, the slender, thai ones) or 1 habanero (chopped);

3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (you can use more tomatoes if you like your bhurji a little more tangy and sweet) (diced)

Salt to taste

1-3 teaspoon red chilli powder (depending on how hot you want your bhurji to taste)

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 lime or lemon (optional)

A few sprigs of coriander/cilantro (optional)

Rotis (for more on how to make rotis, go here; you could also use tortillas or buy pre-made rotis at an Indian store, but I wouldn’t recommend it).

Method:

  1. Take the Paneer and chop it up into little pieces. You can also process it in a food processor until it is broken up into fairly small bits.
  2. Place a frying pan on your stove and turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the oil/ghee to the pan.
  3. Once the oil seems hot (test it with one small onion piece) toss in the diced onions and sauté them until they are slightly browned.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, throw the crushed garlic and chopped chillies into the pan, and sauté them, as well.
  5. Sprinkle the salt and all the masalas (red chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric powders) into the pan. Stir the contents of the pan until the spices are well-distributed.
  6. Once the aromas of the spices begin to release (in about a minute), add the tomatoes, and mix everything in the pan.
  7. Place a lid on the pan and let the tomato-onion-spice mixture cook for a few minutes, until the oil separates from the mixture (stirring intermittently).
  8. Toss in the paneer chunks and stir well, breaking up the paneer in the pan even more as you stir.
  9. Cook until the paneer looks well cooked but still moist. You can taste it after a few minutes and decide whether or not you want it cooked some more. You should definitely cook it long enough for the oil to separate from the paneer-masala mixture.
  10. Take the pan off the heat. Squeeze some lime/lemon juice on the paneer bhurji, to taste; it will add a bit of tartness to the bhurji! You could also garnish the bhurji with some coriander/cilantro leaves. And enjoy!

How to make paneer bhurji

Eat it with some rotis!

Healthy vegetarian meal

You could also roll it up in a chapati to make yourself a Kathi roll. Go here for instructions on how to do this.

Categories
Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Homemade Paneer: A Creamy, Lemon-ey Delight


I just wrote a post about my favourite quick snack: paneer bhurji rolls. As a companion post, I thought it would make sense to write about how to make paneer at home. It’s actually very easy and absolutely worth it, given how amazing fresh paneer tastes!

All you need is:

2 litres whole milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (you could also use lime juice)

Salt (optional)

A cheese cloth

A colander

A large saucepan

Two plates

Heavy books

 

Method:

  1. Pour the milk into the saucepan and bring it to simmer on medium heat (to about 200 F). Keep scraping the bottom of the pan so that the milk at the bottom doesn’t burn.
  2. Take the pan off the heat.
  3. Add the lime juice to the milk, place the lid on the pan and leave it be for about 10 minutes.
  4. Check on the milk. It should have “broken” with the solids separated from the whey. If this has not happened. Add some more lime juice.
  5. Strain the “broken” milk through a colander lined with a cheese cloth.
  6. Then try and squeeze as much of the whey out as you can. I like to tie the ends of the cheese cloth to the top of the tap over my kitchen sink (very securely) so that gravity does the work for me and the whey just drips down slowly.
  7. Once most of the whey is out, place the paneer (still wrapped in cheese cloth) on a plate. Place a second plate on top of the paneer. Then place some heavy books on top of the plate. I like to also place some paper towels on the lower plate around the paneer to soak up the extra whey.
  8. In about 30 minutes, the paneer should have hardened into a nice block that you can now use 🙂

 

 

Categories
Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Paneer Bhurji Roll: A Great Portable Snack!

The one thing I hate about busy days is that one doesn’t get to sit down and properly enjoy one’s lunch. I hate rushed meals, you see. So on days when I am swamped, I just eat cookies or brownies for lunch and make up for it with two delicious dinners when I get home.

I know, however, that this isn’t the healthiest way to go about things. And sometimes, I miss being able to eat something spicy and not-sweet for lunch (followed by a brownie, of course). That’s where this roll comes in.

It’s inspired by the concept of a Kathi roll and quite easy to assemble. So if you make the bhurji the night before, it becomes an easy snack to put together for lunch on a busy day. And you can eat easily while you work on something without getting your hands all messy 🙂

If you want to try making it, here’s what you will need:

1/2 pound paneer (for instructions on how to make it, go here; you could also buy some at Indian stores, but freshly made homemade paneer really is several orders of magnitude better than the store bought kind)

2-5 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil or ghee (go here for my recipe)

1 medium sized onion (ideally red; diced)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)(optional)

2 green chillies (ideally, the slender, thai ones) or 1 habanero (chopped);

3 medium-sized vine ripened tomatoes (you can use more tomatoes if you like your bhurji a little more tangy and sweet) (diced)

Salt to taste

1-3 teaspoon red chilli powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 lime or lemon

Rotis (for more on how to make rotis, go here; you could also use tortillas or buy pre-made rotis at an Indian store, but I wouldn’t recommend it).

Method:

  1. Take the Paneer and chop it up into little small pieces. You can also process it in a food processor until it is broken up into fairly small chunks (not larger than 1/2 inch cubes).
  2. Add the oil/ghee to a frying pan. Heat the pan at medium-high heat.
  3. Once the oil seems hot (test it with one small onion piece) throw in the diced onions and sauté them until they are slightly browned.
  4. Throw in the green chilli and sauté it as well. Reduce the heat to medium.
  5. Add the tomatoes and toss them about in the pan.
  6. Add the salt and all the masalas (red chilli, coriander, cumin, garam masala, and turmeric powders). Toss the contents of the pan until the spices are well-distributed.
  7. Place a lid on the frying pan and let the tomato-onion-spice mixture cook for a few minutes, until the oil separates from the mixture (stirring intermittently).
  8. Toss in the paneer chunks and stir well, breaking up the paneer in the pan even more as you stir.
  9. Cook until the paneer looks well cooked but still moist. You can taste it after a few minutes and decide whether or not you want it cooked some more.
  10. Take the pan off the heat. Squeeze lime juice on the paneer bhurji, to taste. It’ll add a bit of tartness to it that I love!
  11. Place a roti or tortilla on a plate. Spoon the bhurji into the centre of the roti.

Roll the roti up, so that it looks like a burrito.

Your snack/portable lunch is ready 🙂 I like eating it with yoghurt (I am a yoghurt fiend!)

Categories
General Recipes

Drink your Vegetables!!!: A Healthy Carrot Beet Juice Recipe

I’ve started drinking fresh juices! If you’ve been reading other posts of mine, you know that I struggle with eating vegetables. I especially hate how crunchy they are. Which is why, if I ever eat them, I eat them very cooked. I have found, however, that I can “drink my vegetables”,  even raw vegetables, without too much difficulty.  A carrot, beet (beetroot), orange, and ginger concoction I made yesterday for instance, was actually pretty refreshing!

Healthy Carrot Beet Juice

Of course eating whole vegetables is so much better for you. If you’re simply not eating enough vegetables though, for whatever reason,  juicing is a good way to supplement your nutrient intake. Also, when it comes to people like me who dislike vegetables, I see juices as the opposite of a gateway drug, they’re a gateway to healthier eating. At least, I am hoping they are.

Anyway, it’s week 2 and I am still keeping at it. Every day, I make myself some juice, varying the vegetables so that I am getting a range of nutrients. If you’re looking to try your hand at juicing and haven’t done it before, this is a great starter juice. I use a juicer, but I have heard of people using a Vitamix and then straining out the pulp if they don’t like it.

Ingredients:

8 Carrots (with the ends cut off)

2 Beets (peeled, with ends cut off) (you can use just one beet if you don’t like the strong “root” flavour of beets and just use 2 extra carrots instead)

1 Orange (peeled) (you could also use an apple)

2 inch Piece of Ginger

Healthy juice Recipe

 

Method:

  1. Wash the fruit and vegetables well.
  2. Cut them as needed depending on the size of your juicer feeding tube.
  3. Feed the ingredients into the juicer.
  4. Pour the juice into a glass.
  5. Enjoy your juice 🙂

How to make your diet more healthy

P.s. You could use the pulp to bake muffins. I plan on trying this out at some point and will update this post, when I do.

Categories
Baking Chocolate Food General Recipes

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes (with Dark Chocolate Centers and Cream Cheese Frosting)

Dearest readers, I must begin by apologizing for my long absence. I’ve had a very busy summer indeed. But, I am back now, and I thought a great way to apologize would be to bake you all some delicious cupcakes.

Yes, yes, I know that some people are saying that cupcakes are ‘dead’ now and all that, but really, that’s all stuff and nonsense. Like chocolate, cupcakes are forever, or at least, chocolate cupcakes are forever. I can’t speak for lemon flavoured ones, or even about Kiwi ones, or really about any fruit flavoured ones, but chocolate ones, mmmmm…. even contemplating a world without chocolate cupcakes is enough to drive me to utter and complete despair.

I mean, just look at this cupcake:

Easy Recipe for chocolate cupcakes

Can you imagine this ever not being delicious?

So you see, I am convinced that cupcakes are here to stay, whatever the naysayers may say (I agree with most things on Jezebel, but on the issue of cupcakes, Jezebel and I disagree, vehemently, see: http://jezebel.com/fuck-cupcakes-475125988.)

So, given their classic status (at least in my home and heart), here is a delicious and easy recipe for chocolate cupcakes, with some optional frills you can add to make them even more yummy!

Ingredients:

(I’ve divided the ingredients into three groups, so it’s easy to refer to them collectively in the recipe.)

Group A:

1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

0.5 teaspoon baking soda

3-4 pinches of salt

Group B:

1 cup sugar

0.75 cups cocoa

0.75 cups sunflower or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

1 cup 1% milk

Group C (for frosting and chocolate fillings):

Icing sugar (to taste, usually not more than a cup)

8 ounces cream cheese

About 140 g dark chocolate (this amount will vary depending on the darkness of the chocolate you choose and your taste as well).

About 40 g milk chocolate

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees celsius).

2. Whisk all the ingredients in ‘Group A’ together in a bowl.

3. Whisk the sugar and cocoa together in another bowl. Add all the other ingredients in ‘Group B’, except the milk, and beat with an electric mixer on medium to high-speed, until the mixture is smooth.

4. Now beat the ‘Group A’ ingredients into the mixture from step 3, a few spoonfuls at a time, alternating with the milk. Beat until smooth. This is your cupcake batter. You can mix a handful or two of chocolate chips, if you like, at this stage.

5. Ladle or pour the batter into cupcake cups placed in a cupcake or muffin baking tray.

6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cupcakes comes out clean. Do not over bake as the cakes will then end up dry.

7. Once the cakes have cooled, take them out of the mold/tray. You can eat them as they are, or you can give them dark chocolate centers and frost them.

8. To give them chocolate centers, melt 6 squares (about 60 g) of your favourite dark chocolate (make sure it’s not too dark, as you want the centre to be soft at room temperature, rather than hard and gritty) with 4 squares (about 40 g) of milk chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on a very low heat setting, or in a double boiler. While the chocolate is melting, use a cupcake corer, or a knife to carefully bore a hole into the cupcakes from the top, to about midway into the cupcake (make sure not to go all the way to the bottom), and take out some of the cake to create space for the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon some chocolate into each cupcake. Let the chocolate cool. (Note: don’t wash the bowl you use in this step to melt the chocolate in, just yet.)

9. In the meantime, place an 8 ounce brick of cream cheese in a bowl, and beat it with an electric mixer, until it’s smooth and creamy. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and a few tablespoons of icing sugar, then beat the mixture, and taste it. Keep adding sugar by the spoonful until it tastes just right. Now melt about 8 squares of dark chocolate (80 g) (my measurements for the chocolate are approximate because each person will want different amounts of chocolate in the frosting; so go by what tastes right) in the same bowl used in step 8. Pour this chocolate into the cream cheese-sugar mixture. Make sure that the chocolate is only warm, not hot. Now beat it all together until smooth. Your frosting is ready.

10. Spoon the frosting into an icing bag (if you don’t have one, you can spoon the icing into a sandwich bag or other type of plastic bag and cut a whole at one corner of it). Holding up each cupcake, swirl frosting on it.

11. Top off the cupcake with dark chocolate shavings, if you feel like.

12. You can also make cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting, as shown in the photo below. Just beat a cup of unsalted butter with a few drops of mint essence, a few drops of green food colouring, and icing sugar to taste. Then follow the same steps for frosting the cupcakes as described in 10 and 11.

13. Eat the cakes yourself, or throw a cupcake party for your friends 🙂

Cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese icing

Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting

Categories
Food General Recipes

Mint-Limeade for a Summer Study Break

My protest against the weather continues, as I explore yet another summery treat at home this morning, pigheadedly refusing to acknowledge that it is cold and frigid outside. Given the huge windows and skylight in my apartment, it isn’t that difficult to pretend that it’s summer; all I have to do is imagine that it’s as warm and sunny outside as it is on my couch. So imagine I did, and made up this pitcher of fresh mint limeade:

Cool fresh, minty limeade/lemonade

Limeade, is of course easy to make, and most people could easily make up a pitcher in minutes, without thinking to look up a recipe for it. So I am not posting a recipe for it here so much as sharing my take on, or version of traditional limeade, which, by the way, I maintain, is useful not only to deluded summer enthusiasts like me, but to everyone really. Every once in a while, even when it’s not summer, we all need a nice refreshing drink to hydrate and cool ourselves. It also makes for a great drink on a morning (or afternoon), following a late night filled with a little too much, ahem, shall we say merriment? Not, of course, that I am ever in need of such a treatment. No one who knows me, or has read this blog, could ever accuse me of excess of any sort 😉

I made the limeade very light, using about 1 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, the juice of 2 limes, 2 pinches of salt and a handful of torn mint leaves, for a pitcher of limeade. You could of course intensify the flavour by adding more sugar, syrup, or even more lime juice. It’s best to add the sugar and syrup in small increments, tasting as you go, since each person’s preference is likely different.

Mmmm, I think I am going to make up a pitcher of this stuff for all my summer tea parties 🙂

Categories
Cooking Food General Indian Cooking Recipes

Buttery, Fiery Fish Kebabs, Inspired by Hyderabad

The wonderful weather we had over the Easter weekend had me excited about summer being around the corner. Then, as some of you know, the weather took a turn for the worse; it’s been rainy, grey and relatively unpleasant, on and off, since that weekend, and summer seems like a far away dream. This combined with the fact that I miss India, my parent’s home, the sun, my family and most importantly (:P) the ease with which I could get my hands on some delicious food, and the whole thing made me depressed.

But, instead of giving in to the grey, I decided that I was going to protest the gloom and the fact that I was not in India any more, by making some spicy, nay, fiery Indian food! And what combines Indian spices with the suggestion of summer in North America better than kababs (kebabs in this part of the world)?

Since I eat neither meat nor chicken, I decided that I was going to use fish instead. Also, since it was Hyderabad in particular, that I was missing, I wanted to make something with a Hyderabadi base (for more on Hyderabadi food, read this post). So I did some reading and thinking, and revisited memories of some of the more delicious kababs I’d eaten in my good old meat-eating days, and then went to work.

It took some experimenting, but I finally ended up with a literal and figurative mash-up: fish kababs that pay homage to Hyderabad. I won’t of course stake any claim to either originality or authenticity; all I will say is that these turned out to be spicy, soft, buttery and delicious fish kababs.

Spicy, buttery fish kebabs!

If you’d like to re-create this magic, read on for my instructions.

Ingredients:

1 pound white fish fillets

1 pound salmon fillets

1 tablespoon yoghurt

4 tablespoons butter

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons coriander leaves

2 tablespoons mint leaves

4 spring onions

4 Indian green chillies or two jalapeño peppers, coarsely chopped

Zest of 1 lime, finely grated

3 cloves of garlic, with their skins removed

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon red chili powder

Oil or ghee (indian clarified butter, go here for more information on this and a recipe for making it at home) for frying or grilling the kababs

Spices to be Dry Roasted:

1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds

1.5 teaspoons black peppercorns

1 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons Chana dal

3 whole dried red chilies

2 cloves

Seeds from 1 black cardamom pod

Method:

Place the spices to be dry roasted in a pan, and roast them on low heat until fragrant. Take them off the heat and let them cool.

image

In the meantime, place the coriander, mint, spring onions, chilis, lime zest, garlic and ginger in a food processor.

image

Whizz the ingredients around until they are finely chopped up, like this:

image

Remove (what I am going to elegantly refer to from now on as) the ‘green mixture’ into a bowl.

In the same food processor, process the fish fillets until they become an even paste, like this:

image

While the fish is being processed, grind the dry roasted spices (with a mortar and pestle or in a dry grinder) to a powder.

Once the fish is processed  mix in the ‘green mixture’, chili powder, dry roasted and ground spices, and salt.

image

Add the yoghurt, egg whites and butter, and process until smooth, like this:

image

Your ‘kabab batter’, if you will, is now ready. You can refrigerate this. Whenever you’re ready to eat, take it out, and cook up your kababs.

I tried pan searing the kababs, and that worked out fine. However, the best way to cook them, in my opinion, is to grill them in the oven on a baking sheet, at a fairly high temperature. I went with 450 fahrenheit. Also, instead of oil, I used ghee to grease the tray, and halfway through the grilling (about 7 minutes in) I flipped the kababs and brushed some ghee on them with a basting brush.

And voilà, you have some delicious, buttery, spicy as hell kababs, right in the comfort of your home! I felt a wee bit less home sick after a few of these!

Spicy, buttery fish kebobs!

A great way to serve these kababs is with some green chutney. This is the recipe I used to make it. 

Spicy Indian fish kebab recipe!

Categories
Adventure General Reviews

An Island Paradise 5 Minutes from Downtown Toronto?

The Toronto Islands are surprisingly beautiful, all things considered. I’ve been before, several years ago, but it was only on a recent trip there for the first time in years, that I realized how picturesque the islands are! Obviously, they’ve got nothing on any island in the Caribbean, but for a beach in a busy metropolitan centre, it’s pretty gorgeous. Far more peaceful than the beach in Chicago, and more beautiful than the beaches on Sentosa Island in Singapore for instance, by several orders of magnitude.

I think Toronto residents often don’t get to enjoy the beaches on the Islands as much as they could and should.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself.

Best beach in Toronto

Toronto Islands

We even managed to stay long enough to enjoy a beautiful sunset:

Beautiful beach on Toronto's Centre Island

Categories
Chocolate Food General Recipes

Velvety Hot Chocolate Fudge

Of all the lovely chocolatey treats in the world, chocolate-themed ice cream is one of my favourites. If you’ve seen my post on the best ice cream in the world you know I am not kidding or exaggerating when I say that I am hooked to chocolate filled, chocolate topped and chocolate sprinkled chocolate ice cream.

Now ordinarily, I eat my ice cream with Sanders Dark Chocolate Fudge, which is an absolutely delicious ice cream-topping that you can get in grocery stores all over Michigan. I haven’t found a decent substitute here in Canada though, and believe me, I’ve looked. So I stock up on Sanders every time I am in Michigan. When I run out, which is always fairly soon after I return to Canada, I settle for whatever generic fudge is available at my local grocery store. This makes me immensely discontent. Really, it gets in the way of me being truly happy here. Also, store-bought fudge is often filled with high fructose corn syrup and tonnes of sugar and preservatives. Given this unfortunate state of affairs, I’ve tried on 3 separate occasions to make a homemade fudge topping, following recipes from different sources each time. Alas, the result was sub-par each time.

But today, as I sat down on my couch to a new episode of “Luther”, I was struck by an idea. You see, the biggest problem with the homemade sauces I made was that none of them were gooey and fudgy enough. Also, there is a warm, velvety feeling that the Sanders fudge fills my mouth with, and I haven’t been able to re-create this texture and taste in all my fudge-making attemptsI’ve been telling myself that my refusal to use high fructose corn syrup lies at the root of my failure. “Or perhaps, it is some other, secret ingredient that I am missing”, I would think to myself morosely, in my dark moments. But the thought that came to me this evening, the question rather, was this: could it be, that the secret ingredient was caramel sauce? (Side note: I have now discovered that this inspiring epiphany was the result not of divine intervention, but a happy co-incidence. You see, I was eating caramel chocolate ice cream on the couch, while watching the tv show).

I was intrigued, I was inspired, I was impatient! I pranced over to the kitchen, and began concocting. What I ended up with wasn’t as good as Sanders chocolate fudge, but it was pretty darned delicious nevertheless. Also, I think that this recipe is slightly healthier, because I used no corn syrup or preservatives, just good wholesome, somewhat fattening ingredients 🙂 If you want to try it, here’s how:

Homemade Dark Chocolate Sauce for Icecream

Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp organic unpasteurized honey

1 tbsp organic grade B maple syrup

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tbsp good quality, unsalted butter

A few pinches of salt to taste

1 tsp vanilla essence

150 g 80% good quality dark chocolate

Method:

Place the sugar, water, honey and maple syrup in a little saucepan and heat on medium heat. Don’t stir the mixture at all; instead swirl the liquid about in the saucepan once in a while. Use a basting brush dipped in water to brush down the sides of the pan if needed. Wait until the sugar dissolves and then turns a deep amber (the maple syrup will make the mixture a little brown right from the start, so wait until the mixture turns even darker), about 8 minutes.

Next, take the pan off the heat and add cream and butter to the mixture. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.

Homemade hot chocolate fudge

Then add the chocolate, salt and vanilla essence. Mix it all up until you have a nice smooth texture.

Homemadel hot chocolate sauce

You can serve it warm, as most people like it, or you can wait until it cools and thickens. I like my sauce thicker and more fudgy, so I wait until it has cooled down before I drown my ice cream in it. Either way, whenever you’re ready, pour this delicious goeeyness on your ice cream and eat away to your heart’s content.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Topping

Pour the left-over fudge into a jar and store it in the fridge.

Homemade Dark Chocolate Sauce Recipe