Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

Butterbeer Popcorn {Inspired by Harry Potter} 

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Butterbeer Popcorn

I wish all year could be autumn.

I’d be bundled up in a cozy scarf drinking apple cider and eating roasted winter squash every day. And that’s not even to mention how much I love car rides in the country to take in the glorious fall foliage, and pumpkin spice lattes, which, incidentally, always seem to taste best in fall. (more…)

Healthy Candy Apple Wedges {Paleo}

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Healthy Candy Apple Wedges {Paleo}

How many of you will admit to sneaking some of your kid’s Halloween candy when no one is looking?

I don’t have kids (yet!), but yeah, I’d be guilty as charged.

It’s the stuff we won’t buy for ourselves, but if it’s just hanging around, it’s fair game. If you didn’t buy it for yourself, the calories don’t count, right? ;)

I like to have healthier treats that will still satisfy a sweet tooth at the ready. (more…)

Superfood Spiced Autumn Truffles

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Superfood Spiced Autumn Truffles

Look…they look like fudge inside!

If you’re trying to avoid regular (read: sugar-coma-inducing) candy, this recipe will be your saving grace on Halloween night.

Halloween at my mom’s house is like a free-for-all when it comes to sugar. She always has an insanely huge amount of candy on hand for giving away to kiddos trick-or-treating. She fills a stockpot (which is about four times as big as my normal big soup pot!) to the point of overflowing, and then it’s a frenzied dash for stuffing your bag (and your face) with candy.

It is so hard to avoid that evil pot of temptation. (more…)

Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage and Onion {Colcannon}

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Mashed Potatoes with Cabbage and Onion {Colcannon}

Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. I kind-of see it as a non-holiday holiday that must be endured before the real holiday season can be ushered in (and for this I apologize to my darling Halloween-loving readers!).

But…I will admit there are some fun things about it. Costumes, for example. And jack-o-lanterns. Scary movie marathons. And if you’re still young enough to do so, trick-or-treating is always a blast (who would refuse free candy, right?). These are the traditions that I grew up associating with Halloween. (more…)

Announcements, Halloween Candy-Making Event, & How to Temper Chocolate

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Today I have a few exciting announcements!

Announcement #1:  If you haven’t checked out Lazaro’s blog at Lazaro Cooks! be sure to do so!  He is one of the most genuine people I know, and he is incredibly talented and passionate about what he does.  Looking through his blog you’ll notice that everything he makes is a masterpiece (really, his food is that impressive).  He’s starting a new series today called Foodie Friend Deconstruction Saturday and I am honored to say that he’s reinventing a couple of my dishes…I’m so excited to see what he makes!  Thank you so much, Lazaro!  Update:  I’ve seen Lazaro’s reinventions of my dishes and they are absolutely stunning (I like his recreations better than my originals!).  Ready to be wowed?  If so, head over and check them out!

Announcement #2:  The lovely Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny will soon be announcing our All Through the Year Cheer Halloween event!  Stay tuned for that within the next couple days.

Announcement #3:  Halloween is practically synonymous with candy, but who says all candy has to be for kiddies?  This Halloween I wanted to pay homage to candy in a more sophisticated way.  I have partnered with Guittard Chocolate Company who has kindly supplied me with a sampling of their product,* and I will be making a different candy recipe each week in October.  Some candies will be my takes on retro classics, while others will feature new and exciting flavor combinations.  At the end of October I will feature a chocolate-inspired giveaway (details to be announced later), so stay tuned for that!

Before I can get into my candy recipes, I first have to tackle tempering chocolate.  (Aaaahhhh!  I know, I might as well have said today I’ll be tackling the French Macaron (my personal nemesis) or boning a duck (which I’ve heard is a pretty serious endeavor).  Bottom line, I’m not a professional chocolatier or even a chef (they didn’t teach me Chocolate Tempering 101 in law school, lol!).  If I can do this, then you definitely can.  Really.  I’ve consulted several respectable online sources, gleaning information from each that should help make the process smoother.**

Personally, I always feel like it’s helpful to know a little more about what I’m making before I make it, so the first thing I’ll do is answer some questions you might have about chocolate and the tempering process.  Then I’ll share some useful tips for tempering, and lastly I’ll break down the tempering process into steps.

What is chocolate?

Chocolate comes from seeds that grow in pods of Cacao Trees.  As they ripen, the pods turn lovely shades of red, orange, yellow or purple; once ripe, the pods are harvested and the seeds and pulp are left to ferment for up to a week.  The seeds are then extracted, roasted, cracked into cocoa nibs, and ground into a paste comprised of cocoa butter and cocoa powder.  This paste is melted to form chocolate liquor; once cooled and hardened, this is referred to as unsweetened chocolate.

Cacao Pods, Exterior (Image Source) and Interior (Image Source) Isn’t it amazing how something as delicious as chocolate can come from something that resembles eyeballs?

Different types of chocolate contain different proportions of cocoa butter and cocoa powder; for example, dark or bittersweet chocolates have less cocoa butter and more cacao than milk chocolate.  White chocolate contains cocoa butter and no cacao; it also usually has additives like milk and sugar.  Coco powder is made by removing most of the cocoa butter from chocolate liquor, and then crushing what is left into a powder.

Cocoa Powder (Image Source)

Why does chocolate need to be tempered?

When melted chocolate hardens, the cocoa butter forms a crystalline structure.  The type of crystalline structure that forms depends on the temperature at which it forms.  If you melt chocolate the same way you would melt a stick of butter, the crystalline structure will be unstable, causing a dull and/or sticky surface.  The tempering process of heating the chocolate to a specific temperature and then cooling it to a specific temperature ensures that a uniform crystalline structure is formed, resulting in a smooth, glossy finish.

What is “seeding”?

Many people think of seeding as the easiest method of tempering chocolate.  In this method, chocolate is melted and then tempered chocolate (remember, most chocolate you purchase is already tempered) is added to the melted chocolate to act as a source of seed crystals that the melted chocolate can form around. 

What does tempering do to chocolate?

Tempering chocolate gives it a smooth, glossy appearance and a nice snap when broken.  This process is a good way to preserve chocolate, as tempered chocolate will keep for quite a while at cool room temperature.  Tempered chocolate is quite stable, hardens very quickly, and can be used in many different applications, including as a decoration (think chocolate leaves), mould, dip, or coating.  The last (and perhaps most important) reason to temper chocolate is to prevent fat bloom (resulting from extreme temperature) and sugar bloom (resulting from moisture), which causes a dull finish and white or gray spots.

                                                               Melted Chocolate (Image Source)

What kind of chocolate should be tempered?

The fast answer is real chocolate.  The more detailed answer is chocolate that contains a high percentage of cocoa butter (also known as couverture chocolate), must be tempered.  Most of the real chocolate you buy comes tempered, but must be tempered again if you’re planning to melt it and use it as a decoration, mold, dip, or coating.  There is no need to temper chocolate-flavored items like chocolate chips, since the cocoa butter has been removed and replaced with vegetable or palm oil. 

Different Chocolates (Image Source)

When do I have to temper chocolate?

This depends on what you’re using the chocolate for.  If chocolate will be used in a recipe (such as chocolate custard, brownies, or truffle filling) there is no need to temper it.  However, if you’re using chocolate as a decoration, mold, dip, or coating it really should be tempered.

What are the biggest pitfalls in tempering chocolate?

There are two that I know of:  scorching and seizing.  To prevent scorching, chocolate should never be heated above 200F; the best way to ensure this is to use a double boiler when melting chocolate.  If your chocolate scorches there is no way to save it. 

Seizing occurs when water comes in to contact with melted chocolate.  (To prevent seizing:  If you’re using a double boiler, be sure to dry the bottom of the bowl once you remove it from the boiler; also, don’t let any steam reach the chocolate.)  Because chocolate is so dry, the sugar and cacao in it absorb any water that comes into contact with them, causing the chocolate to clump or seize.  Seized chocolate can’t be tempered, but you can add liquid (such as water, milk, or oil) to thin the chocolate into a sauce and use it in other recipes.

Tempering Tips

  1. Work with chocolate on a relatively cool, dry day (or in a temperature-controlled environment).
  2. Use a rubber or silicone spatula to stir the chocolate (wooden spoons can carry odor or moisture and metal spoons can condense if their temperature is too drastically different from the chocolate’s temperature).
  3. Have everything you’ll need out and ready to use before you start.
  4. The size of the chocolate should be fairly small.  The small disks are ok for melting, but the chocolate that will be used for seeding should be chopped smaller, about the size of chocolate chips.
  5. It’s easiest to work in batches of at least 1 pound of chocolate (over 1 pound is ok, but any less than that is very difficult to temper correctly).

How to Temper Chocolate:

Step 1:  Mis en Place:  Get out your equipment:  chocolate, cutting board, knife (for chopping chocolate), double boiler, rubber/silicone spatula, instant-read thermometer, kitchen towel, and butter knife (for testing chocolate).

Step 2:  Chop:  Chop your chocolate into small pieces.  The small disks are ok for melting, but the chocolate that will be used for seeding should be chopped smaller, about the size of chocolate chips.

Step 2

Step 3:  Melt:  Heat the water in the double boiler until it boils, then turn the heat off.  To the bowl on top add 3/4 of the chopped chocolate (reserving 1/4 of the chocolate for seeding), and stir with the rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted (dark chocolate should be around 115F, milk and white chocolate should be around 110F).  If you need to, you can turn the double boiler on again so the chocolate reaches the correct temperature.

Step 3

Step 4:  Cool:  Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the double boiler and dry the bottom of the bowl with the kitchen towel.  Stir the chocolate with the rubber spatula until it reaches between 95-100F.

Step 4

Step 5:  Seed:  When the chocolate is between 95-100F, stir in the reserved 1/4 of the chopped chocolate and continue stirring until the temperature drops to 80-85F.

Step 5

Step 6:  Reheat:  Slightly reheat the chocolate (dark should reach about 88-90F, milk and white about 85-87F).  The easiest way to do this is boil the water in the double boiler, then turn the heat off and briefly place the bowl of chocolate on the double boiler until it reaches the correct temperature.  Hold this temperature until you’re done using the chocolate.   

Step 7:  Test:  Dip a butter knife in the chocolate and let it sit for a couple minutes.  It should set completely (and not be sticky at all) within a couple minutes.  It should look smooth with a satiny/slightly glossy finish.

Step 7

Quick Reference Temperature Chart:

Chocolate Type Melt Seed Cool Reheat & Hold
Dark 115-120F 95-100F 80-85F 88-90F
Milk 110-115F 95-100F 80-85F 85-87F
White 110-115F 95-100F 80-85F 85-87F

*I want to send a thank-you to Guittard, my sponsor for this event!  Also, I want to note that while I received the chocolate free of charge, I received no monetary compensation.  As always, opinions stated are my own.

**A few of the most helpful sites I found that talk about tempering chocolate are as follows (in no particular order):  CHOW, David Lebovitz, Serious Eats, Cooking for Engineers, and Tasteful Times.

All Through the Year Cheer: Halloween Round-Up and Winner!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Brandy and I want to give a huge thank you to everyone who participated.  All of your festive recipes impressed us, and we loved your creative uses of seasonal flavors and ingredients.  We really enjoyed seeing such a variety of sweet and savory dishes, and Brandy and I think that all of these recipes are the perfect way to celebrate Halloween!  Oh, and be sure to check out Nutmeg Nanny on Sunday…she’ll be announcing our Thanksgiving event!

 

Happy Halloween!

 

Chippy Spiders & Chocolate Web Cookies by Fuzzykoala’s Caketastic Adventures

chippy-spiders-chocolate-web-cookies-by-fuzzykoalas-caketastic-adventures-smallStout Pumpkin Sous Vide with Goat Cheese and Maple Syrup by 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures

stout-pumpkin-sous-vide-with-goat-cheese-and-maple-syrup-by-5-star-foodie-culinary-adventures-small1

Perfect Pumpkin Bars by A Duck in Her Pond

perfect-pumpkin-bars-by-a-duck-in-her-pondCoconut Spiced Kissed Pumpkin Pie by Nutmeg Nanny

coconut-spiced-kissed-pumpkin-pie-by-nutmeg-nanny-smallPumpkin Swirl Brownies by Sweet and Savory Says it All

pumpkin-swirl-brownies-by-sweet-and-savory-says-it-allRoasted Garlic & Butternut Parmesan Soup by Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

roasted-garlic-butternut-parmesan-soup-by-cinnamon-spice-everything-niceEasy Bars by A Southern Grace

easy-bars-by-a-southern-grace

Pumpkin Bredie, Mango Pickle, & Wild & Brown Basmati by Giddy Gastronome

pumpkin-bredie-mango-pickle-wild-brown-basmati-by-giddy-gastronome

Pasta with Pumpkin & Sausage by The Wandering Cook

pasta-with-pumpkin-sausage-by-the-wandering-cookPumpkin Spice Cheesecake Brownies by Beantown Baker

pumpkin-spice-cheesecake-brownies-by-beantown-bakerAnd last but not least, our winner…Indian Corn Cheesecake by Muffin Fixation!

indian-corn-cheesecake-by-muffin-fixation-smallA big congrats to Karen of Muffin Fixation!  We chose your Indian Corn Cheesecake as the winner because we thought it depicted Halloween so well.  Brandy and I thought it was very cute and clever how your cheesecake takes candy corn, which is a traditional Halloween candy, and turns it into cheesecake.  It’s a very “tricky” dessert, which also was a great play on “trick or treating”!  And, it was a complete bonus that it’s got pumpkin in it, which is another great seasonal flavor! 

 

Karen will be receiving the following items from Amazon (Karen please email me your address):

cake-pedestal-small1

springform-pans-small2

(Images from Amazon)

Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake 2 Ways

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

all-through-the-year-cheer-fallThe first holiday Brandy and I are celebrating for our All Through the Year Cheer Event is Halloween!  To Brandy and I, Halloween says apples and pumpkins, so this month we’ll feature several recipes with those ingredients.  (For some reason, Halloween always puts me in the mood to watch the first Harry Potter movie…I think because of the scene where they show the dining hall of Hogwarts all decked out with pumpkins!)  The first recipe I’m featuring is a Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake.  This recipe is actually a 2-for-1, since I used the same batter to make two completely different cakes.  The first cake is more for the kiddies, with a colorful, speckled interior (thanks to decorative cake sprinkles) and a pumpkin buttercream frosting.  The second cake is a little more grown-up, with dark chocolate and cranberries and a pumpkin glaze.  I love them both!

 

A couple of days before Halloween, we’ll be taking recipe submissions for your Halloween recipes.  Your recipes will be included in our round-up, and you don’t need a blog to enter your recipe…don’t forget, there will be a prize!  (The prize will be announced later this month.)  And remember, your recipe can be for ANYTHING that says Halloween to you!

 

Happy Halloween!

 

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Speckled Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting

 

Speckled Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake:

¾ c unsweetened pumpkin puree

½ c yogurt

1 c brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 c canola oil

1 c all-purpose flour, plus more to flour the pan

½ c whole wheat flour (or you can use all-purpose)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

1/3 c fall-colored decorative jimmies/sprinkles

Butter, to grease the pan

 

Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting (From A Year In the Kitchen)

¼ c unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 stick salted butter

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

About 1 pound powdered sugar

 

A loaf pan, or a round cake pan

 

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter and flour your baking pan.  Mix together the pumpkin and yogurt, then stir in the brown sugar, then the eggs and vanilla, then the oil.  Stir in the flours, baking powder, salt, and spice.  Fold in the sprinkles.  Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Your baking time will vary depending on the size of pan you use (for example, a round cake pan takes less time than a loaf pan) and the material your pan is made of (for example, silicone cooks faster than glass or metal bakeware).  Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack.

 

For the buttercream:  Cream together the pumpkin, butter, vanilla, and spice.  Gradually beat in the sugar until the pumpkin is no longer separated out.

 

Frost the cake once it’s completely cool.

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Dark Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake with Pumpkin Glaze

 

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Pumpkin Yogurt Pound Cake:

¾ c unsweetened pumpkin puree

½ c yogurt

1 c brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/3 c canola oil

1 c all-purpose flour, plus more to flour the pan and coat the cranberries and chocolate

½ c whole wheat flour (or you can use all-purpose)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

1/3 c dried cranberries

1/3 c dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Butter, to grease the pan

 

Pumpkin Glaze (From Mommy, What’s For Dinner?) 

2 TB salted butter, melted

2 TB unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 TB milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/8 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix

1 c powdered sugar

 

A loaf pan, or a round cake pan

 

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Butter and flour your baking pan.  Mix together the pumpkin and yogurt, then stir in the brown sugar, then the eggs and vanilla, then the oil.  Stir in the flours, baking powder, salt, and spice.  In a separate bowl, combine the cranberries, chocolate, and 1 tsp of flour; stir to coat.  Fold the coated cranberries and chocolate into the batter.  Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and bake for 25-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Your baking time will vary depending on the size of pan you use (for example, a round cake pan takes less time than a loaf pan) and the material your pan is made of (for example, silicone cooks faster than glass or metal bakeware).  Allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

For the glaze:  Whisk together all ingredients for the glaze.  (This makes quite a bit of glaze; you could probably cut the reicpe in half and it would still be enough.)

 

Glaze the cake when it’s still a little warm; I like to place it on a wire rack and pour the glaze over top.  Let the glaze set completely (the glaze will turn white) before cutting.

 

(Click on an image to enlarge)

 

Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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