Did you know that dark chocolate is one of the worlds natural comfort foods? No wonder we love it so much. It contains endorphins and opoids that may reduce anxiety. When you combine it with ice cream, fruit, or cake, life becomes positively radiant! Velvety vanilla ice cream, cold and luscious, covered with hot chocolate sauce … it just doesn’t get any better than that. I wish my doctor would give me a prescription for one right now!
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for recipes that I can make in minutes, that are knock out delicious, and those that I usually have all the ingredients for in my cupboards and refrigerator. Today’s recipes are in this category.
The first is my go-to chocolate sauce. I use it in many different ways and relish its flexibility. In addition to pouring over ice cream, use is as a chocolate fondue with pieces of fresh fruit, cookies, and cake; dip eclairs, donuts and other pastries for a finishing touch; drizzle it over cakes or cheesecakes; dip cupcakes for a smooth glaze; top a pie for an extra layer of luxury. Virtually anything can be made better with a touch of this chocolate sauce.
The second recipe is a riff on the first. Take just two ingredients, cream and chocolate, and create a luscious chocolate ganache, perfect for a glaze or frosting. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll just want to eat it by the spoonful, LOL!
Oh my, my mouth is watering, how about yours?
And better still, both these recipes are naturally gluten-free. Score!
Have you noticed how most chocolate bars you buy are scored into neat little sections? Did you know that they do this to make it easier for you to estimate how much chocolate you need? Each section often weighs about 1 ounce each, but the best way to know for sure is to use a digital kitchen scale. They are not expensive, and honestly, since I got mine, I don’t know how I got along without one.
If you are doing gluten-free baking a kitchen scale is really more of a necessity as most flour blends are measured in weight and not volume. You will be amazed how simple it becomes to make your own GF flour blends when you can quickly and easily measure out the proportions.
Today’s recipes come from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Her belief in using the freshest ingredients from local producers is woven throughout the book. The book covers everything from appetizers through desserts, giving you the recipes to create meals you’ve dreamed of. This is a cookbook that you will keep close at hand, ready to inspire you whenever the mood or need strikes. When you get ready to pass it to the next generation of cooks in your family, the pages will be lovingly splattered with the memories of cheerful family gatherings, glorious holidays and renowned celebrations.
I hope you have a wonderful Chocolate Monday and terrific week!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you want, you can double the chocolate sauce recipe and take a jar of it as a hostess gift, for a special birthday celebration, or just to say thank you to friends. Remind them to keep it in the refrigerator and to use it quickly because it has no preservatives in it. You’ll be the most popular guest in town!
These recipes are naturally gluten-free, but always check the labels for potential gluten-ingredients and possible cross-contamination.
Kitchen Skill: How to Chop Chocolate
Chopping chocolate may seem simple, and it is if you are using a large sharp knife with a thin chocolate bar. But when you are facing a huge block of chocolate it can be intimidating. Using the largest knife you have, position the chocolate so that one of the corners is facing you. This gives you a narrow spot to work from. Holding the knife perpendicular to the point, cut a piece off. Make several more cuts and then spin the chocolate until another point is in front of you. Continue chopping, repositioning as needed to keep working from the narrowest points.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 lb (8 oz) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm cream, milk, sugar, and butter together. When butter is melted, add chocolate and vanilla. Turn off the heat and let mixture stand for a few minutes and then whisk until smooth. Serve warm.
- This sauce can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reheat in a pan set over simmering water.
- Yield: about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz chopped, semisweet chocolate
- Warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is just barely beginning to simmer. There will be little bubbles starting to show at the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate. Let it sit for several minutes and then whisk together until the chocolate is completely melted.
- Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. As it cools it will thicken, creating a beautiful glaze that is perfect for cakes or cupcakes. For a thicker consistency, refrigerate.
- Once cool, you can also whip this with the beater blade or whisk attachment on your stand mixer. It makes a lovely frosting!
- Yield: about 3/4 cup
Create a New Tradition Today!
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