Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

Was I a fool to think I could make mousse? (Heh…heh…heh…) Read on, friends. Read on.

Mousse will always make me think of my father. Ever the chocolate lover, I know I have mentioned multiple times in this blog how I’ve seen him make brownies at midnight many times in my 33 years. I’ve also seen him make his fair share of mousse, the light chocolaty fluff making its usual appearances around the Christmas season, topped with copious amounts of whipped cream.

If my dad’s a pro at it, surely the ability to make it is hereditary!

For a pink sexy Valentine’s Day theme – bolstered for my urge to eat a ton of strawberries during this chilly bleak winter season – the idea to create a strawberry mousse popped into my head. A little crunchy chocolate bottom would make for a nice treat as you dug closer to the bottom, I thought!

Well, I got the cream. I got the berries. I got the gelatin.

I got SCREWED. Ha!

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

So, mind you, having not made mousse before, nor having worked with gelatin outside of helping my dad make Strawberry Jell-O as a kid, I took to Google to find a strawberry mousse recipe. I found what I thought was a good one! I followed it to a T. The photos for this recipe looked luscious!

Apparently, 4 teaspoons of gelatin mixed with 2 tablespoons of water is not the ratio you want. Well, unless you want to pull something out of your fridge a few hours later that springs back at you like a marshmallow!

COME ON. JEEEEEEZ.

Well, after that disappointment – that’s recipe development for ya – I decided to make a Strawberry Fool instead of trying mousse again. Folding strawberry puree into whipped cream is more my style anyways. Simple. Easy.

I’ll save mousse-making for another time, once I am over this trauma…

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers. 😘

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool

JOIN IN ON THE VIRTUAL PARTY! Check out the links below for some Valentine’s Day-theme goodies from a troop of wonderful fellow bloggers. Follow along on Instagram with #galentinesday and thanks to The Sweet Nerd for organizing! 

1.) Earl Grey Frosted Brownies by Madeline Hall
2.) Red Velvet Whoopie Pies by What Should I Make For…
3.) Chocolate Wine Cake by The Sweet Nerd
4.) Pink Grapefruit & Thyme Shortbread Hearts by The Beach House Kitchen
5.) Blood Orange Margarita Sorbet by Beyone Mere Sustenance
6.) Vanilla Rose Shortbread Cookies by Seasons and Suppers
7.) Chocolate Panna Cotta with Raspberry Compote by Ciao Chow Bambina
8.) Horchata Latte Cheesecake Meg Is Well
9.) Chocolate Coffee Layer Cake by Katherine In Brooklyn
10.) Chocolate Topped Seed & Nut Bars by This Brown Kitchen

Chocolate-Bottomed Strawberry Fool
(Makes 4 [roughly] 4 oz. servings)

Ingredients:

Chocolate Bottom:
– 16 Oreo cookies (or any chocolate sandwich cookie brand)
– 1 tablespoon melted butter or refined coconut oil

Strawberry Fool:
– 2 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled
– 2 cups heavy whipping cream
– 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

1.) Place cookies inside of a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin until finely broken. Mix crumbs with butter or coconut oil until well combined. Spoon a heaping tablespoon on the mixture into the bottom of a small serving dish and lightly press down to set. Set aside.

2.) Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth.

4.) In large (preferably chilled metal) bowl, whip together cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the pureed strawberry mixture and slowly incorporate; do not overmix and allow the mixture to remain light and airy!

5.) Carefully spoon or pipe whipped cream into chocolate-bottomed serving dishes. Eat immediately or refrigerate for no more than 4 hours; mixture can deflate and become somewhat soupy if not eaten quickly.

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Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

Any true New Yorker eats ice cream year round – have you seen the insane amount of delicious artisanal shops around this city?! – and eating it at home is absolutely no different. In fact, I purposely don’t keep ice cream in my freezer because I know I’ll eat it.

I know, I know. That entire preceding paragraph was entirely nonsensical in a bevy of ways. Let us count them…

There are very few ways I take coffee – I’ve documented them well in my social media accounts – but caffeine and I are not friends. That caffeine buzz gives me the shakes times 1,000! It ain’t a pretty picture. However, at times, we can be cordial.

Every now and then, I do enjoy a dazzling affogato, espresso poured over vanilla ice cream, for the layman. The shock of the hot drink marries well with the smooth, cold, creamy ice cream below it.

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Smoked Chili Maple Affogato

I say, if you’re going to go hard, go all of the way. I’m a seeker of new flavor combinations, and I felt inspired to make this twist on affogato when I laid my eyes upon a bottle of Merquén Infused Maple Syrup from Runamok Maple. Merquén, a smoked chili pepper native to Chile, is delicious in this blend, the smoke hitting your mouth first before the slow heat files in.

This is definitely a nice treat at the end of a long day. Hell, this might even make its way to your holiday dessert table if you’re feeling unique and adventurous!

NOTE: Runamok Maple generously gifted me this bottle for review purposes. Thank you! Please support small business! Please visit their website and check out their amazing line of syrups!

– – – –

Smoked Chili Maple Affogato
(Serves 3)

Ingredients:
– 1 pint vanilla ice cream or gelato; you’ll only need 3 scoops!
– 2 ounces hot espresso or dark roast coffee
– 2 teaspoons Merquén-Infused Maple Syrup

Before We Get Started…

– If you can’t get this specific maple syrup, add a small dash of chili powder of choice to 2 teaspoons maple syrup. Taste before adding to espresso!

– Chill serving bowls before adding ice cream, if you prefer! I highly suggest it.

– If you do not prefer to make your own espresso or coffee, do what I did: go to the cafe around the corner and buy one. Ha! Shortcuts are your friend, y’all. (Thank you, Darling Coffee!)

Directions:

1.) Place one scoop of ice cream into three shallow serving bowls.

2.) Make espresso or coffee or buy your own. (Please see Before We Get Started…) Add in maple syrup. Mix thoroughly.

3.) Slowly pour (roughly; eyeball it!) .75 oz of espresso / maple syrup mixture over each scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with a little more of that maple syrup, if preferred! Enjoy immediately!

 

Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze

I have a major culinary quest in life.

I am trying to perfect the perfect donut glaze.

I just can’t get it!

I’m talking about good thick glazes like the kind you’d get on a donut from Underwest Donuts, Doughnut Plant, The Doughnut Project, or any of the top notch donut spots in NYC.

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For me, I am a baked donut gal when I’m at home; I’d love to make some yeasty fried donuts, but I am so attached to my donut pan! Cake donuts don’t take glazes as well as fried donuts, due to their porousness. It’ll go on thick, but seemingly sink in. Not to say I mind that extra sugary goodness leaching into my treats…

😏

I was a pretty basic glaze girl for a while – I’d mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk for my main base – but that doesn’t do as well with the cake donuts, as aforementioned. It certainly glazes them, but I wanted something to really coat them. I’ve been experimenting with other ingredients, such as butter and condensed sweetened milk. I’ve been finding that butter may be that trick up my sleeve I’ve been waiting for! I’ve found this glaze works better with cake donuts, and I’ve started to get that consistency I’m working towards; not perfect, but it’s progress.

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As I continue to tinker, I must say I’m satisfied with how this matcha glaze came out. I wish I could have gotten a more even coating for these photos – the dilemma of the food blogger – but all that matters to me is that they taste great, and the chocolate and matcha make for a cozy and slightly earthy match. It’s a great donut for the autumn when apple cider donut penetration is getting the best of you. Ha!

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NOTE: This recipe is part of a contest for Kiss Me Organics! PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO VOTE for me in their contest for best matcha-based recipe! Spread the word! Thank you to Kiss Me Organics and Pure Taste for the complimentary matcha and the opportunity to develop this awesome recipe!

Chocolate Donuts with Matcha Glaze
(Makes 6 donuts)

Donuts:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1 large egg
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Matcha Glaze:

– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
– 2 teaspoons matcha tea powder, leveled off (I used Kiss Me Organics Culinary Grade Matcha)
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 3 tablespoons milk (dairy or non-dairy)

Before We Get Started…

– When glazing donuts, set a cooling rack over a piece of scrap paper, parchment paper, cookie sheet, et al, to catch any glaze drips for an easier clean-up!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of the donut pan’s cavities. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir / fold to combine.

3.) Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a gallon-sized seal-top plastic bag; if using plastic bag, cut off small corner to pipe out mixture. Evenly pipe mixture into cavities of donut pan.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 15 minutes; carefully remove donuts from pan and allow to continue cooling on cooling rack.

5.) Once donuts are room temperature, melt butter and allow to cool slightly, 2 – 3 minutes. Add matcha and vanilla and mix until combined. Place confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Add in butter matcha mixture and stir to combine. Add in milk, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until combined. Carefully dip one side of a donut into the glaze and place on cooling rack to drip dry, glaze side up. Allow glaze to set and dry for at least 30 minutes.

 

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk cherries. Ground cherries. Husk tomatoes. Ground tomatoes. Cape gooseberries. There are too many names for these lil’ buggers – you can call ’em Physalis if you really want to get scientific about it – but husk cherries is the name I go for.

husk cherry scones

Last summer, I really noticed them for the first time at my local farmers’ market in Inwood – “Everything In Pint Boxes – $5!!!” a bright cardboard sign exclaimed as I looked at hundreds of little husky pods, unsure what the hell they were but eager to try them! I looked up recipes and settled upon a nice Husk Cherry Clafoutis!

That pint of fruit sat in the back of my fridge for many weeks, and I finally discovered it in October, promptly pitching them into the compost bag in my freezer.

Better luck in 2017, eh?

husk cherry scones

Sure enough, come mid-August, I started seeing husk cherries in my local farmers’ market; one day, while on a staycation from work, I took myself to the Union Square Farmers’ Market on a bright Wednesday morning and comparison-shopped pints of them, finally finding a $5 pint in one of the last vendors I looked at – side note, I balked at paying $6 for a pint, but then walked to MatchaBar and spent $6 on a iced matcha latte even though I had matcha and milk at home, because I’m THAT PERSON sometimes.

Moving on…

I attempted to make this Husk Cherry Clafoutis recipe I had saved from the previous August; it called for almond extract, which I didn’t have, but then I thought to myself, “Hey! Maybe I can just grind some almonds into the flour for the flavor!”

What erupted from my oven was an oddly delicious concoction that my roommate Kait and I loved – some sort of hybrid bread pudding with the consistency of a lemon bar – but it was definitely not a clafoutis by any means. Though we loved it, I didn’t think it would translate well to a universally – loved recipe by any means.

husk cherry scones

husk cherry scones

What can you always do a berry or berry-like fruit, though?

Scones! M’er f’in scones!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

The fruits, with a slightly pineapple flavor when yellow and a slightly green apple flavor when greener, are perfect for a buttery scone. Plus, I have a basic scone recipe that I’ve been using for a few years now that has served me right. Its base allows you to add to much to it, including – taaa daaa – husk cherries!

husk cherry scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Don’t be afraid of or intimidated by these lil’ guys anymore! You now know at least one thing to do with them.

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones

Husk Cherry Scones
(Makes 8)

Ingredients:

Scones:

– 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) butter, cubed or shredded while frozen (see Before We Get Started…)
– 3/4 cup heavy cream
– 1 cup husk cherries, removed from husks and halved

Glaze (Optional):

– 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 2 tablespoons heavy cream or liquid of choice
– 1 teaspoon vanilla

Before We Get Started…

Refer to this recipe on why shredding frozen butter for scones is pretty much the best idea EVER. (Thanks, Dad!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

3.) Add butter to dry ingredients; mix with hands or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and mealy. Form a well in the middle of the mixture and add heavy cream. Use hands to combine mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. Add husk cherries and gently combine into the mixture, taking care not to overly squeeze or press the fruit.

4.) Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly knead for roughly 30 seconds. Form dough into a flat rough circle, approximately 10 inches in diameter. Cut into 8 triangular slices.

5.) Place scones on parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Bake for 14 – 16 minutes, or until tops are lightly browned and slightly cracked.

6.) Place on wire rack to cool slightly before eating.

6a.) If glazing scones, allow scones to cool completely before adding glaze. Combine all glaze ingredients in a small bowl, then drizzle glaze on scones with a large spoon.

7.) Store remaining scones in an airtight container.

Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcakes

We got those Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries.

rosé soaked roasted strawberries

We’ve got those Buttermilk Biscuits.

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What else is there to do?

FOOD TEAM, ASSEMBLE!!!!

(Please say the proceeding in your best Ron Burgundy voice, preferably aloud.)

Strawberry Shortcakes

All that previous work was leading up to this one glorious moment!

Strawberry Shortcakes are such a wonderful dessert. Light yet hardy, crumbly and a little messy, undeniably sweet yet buttery, and an all-around comfort.

Meet your favorite spring dessert. ✌🏻

Strawberry Shortcakes
(Makes 4)

– 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 teaspoon sugar (adjust to taste)
– 4 Buttermilk Biscuits (click for recipe)
– 2 cups Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries (click for recipe; see note in Before We Get Started…)

Before We Get Started…

– The original recipe for Rosé-Soaked Roasted Strawberries yields closer to 1 & 1/2 cups of strawberries once cooked down. Increase strawberries in recipe to 8 cups; liquids and sweeteners can remain the same.

Directions:

1.) To make whipped cream, place cream, vanilla extract, and sugar in a large bowl, preferably a chilled metal bowl. Whip with an electric beater until soft peaks form. Set aside.

2.) To assemble strawberry shortcakes, split or cut biscuits in half; a serrated knife works well here!

3.) Place 1/2 cup strawberries on bottom biscuit halves. Top with whipped cream. Place top biscuit halves on top. Pour yourself another glass of rosé. INDULGE.