Chocolate Recipes for Valentine’s Day

I have to admit that I think Valentine’s Day is kind of hokey. Teddy bears and silly cards are cute enough, I suppose, but overpriced flowers and prix fixe restaurant menus don’t do much for me. But this Hallmark holiday does have one major redeeming quality: chocolate.

Who can be cranky about a holiday that prompts coworkers to share bowls of hershey kisses and husbands to bring home cherry cordials? Even better, of course, are the home made treats. Nobody can resist chocolates from your very own kitchen. And on this one day, all chocolate is calorie-free. True fact. So go to town!

Below are a few of my favorite chocolate truffle-like recipes.

I hope you enjoy!

cake balls white chocolate
Cake Ball Truffles

chocolate goat cheese truffles
Nutty Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

peanut butter chocolate truffles
Peanut Butter Balls

Published in: on February 11, 2013 at 9:19 am  Comments (9)  
Tags: , , , ,

Coconut Hot Cocoa

coconut milk hot chocolate

It’s official; I’m an old fogie.

I’d rather be curled up on the sofa with a mug of cocoa than partying it up at a bar.

When did that happen?  When did my PJs and a James Bond movie marathon become my idea of a perfect evening?

At some point along the way, a steamy mug of really great hot chocolate eclipsed tequila shots as my New Year’s Eve drink of choice.  And this coconut hot cocoa is about as great as cocoa gets.  It’s incredibly creamy and full of deep, rich chocolate flavor.  But best of all, it smells incredible. The combination of coconut and chocolate is addictive.  And it’s so easy to make!

You could certainly top this cocoa with a dollop of whipped cream or a few mini marshmallows.  But I’m a hot cocoa purist.  To me, whipped cream detracts from the chocolate, and elusive little marshmallows distract me from my chocolate desires. But I do advocate a splash of coconut rum here.  After all, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m not THAT old!

Happy New Year!

Coconut Hot Cocoa

Serves 2

1/2 cup low-fat milk

4 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 cup canned lite coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut rum (optional)

In a small saucepan, wisk together the low-fat milk, sugar and cocoa powder over medium-low heat.  Once the sugar has dissolved, wisk in the coconut milk and heat, stirring, until hot but not boiling.  Add the rum, if using.  Pour into two mugs and enjoy. Great with ginger snap cookies!

Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm  Comments (10)  
Tags: , , ,

Peanut Butter Balls

chocolate peanut butter candy

Over the weekend, in New York, I had a delicious wholesome lunch with two wonderful childhood friends.  There’s nothing like spending time with people who have known you your whole life over quinoa salad and sautéed brussels sprouts.

And there’s nothing like indulging in a chocolate truffle after filling your belly with organic veggies. Which is why, after taking a leisurely, sunny walk through Soho, I made a stop at Kee’s Chocolates (Kaffir lime infused dark chocolate truffle!) and then another at Jacques Torres (did you know they sell chocolate covered Cheerios?) and a final stop at Chocolate Bar (spicy milk chocolate!). 

I adore the beauty of a chocolate shop.  From a cozy corner confectionary serving steaming cocoa in china tea cups to an over-the-top high-end boutique with truffles displayed like jewels.  I love the smell of chocolate, the symmetry of each pretty little square.  How do they get each and every truffle, each caramel, each cherry cordial to shimmer with perfection? Every corner of every strawberry creme is an exact 90 degree angle, every morsel of cashew bark a slim parallelogram. 

And while I well never turn down a beautiful bon bon from the latest and greatest chocolatiers, I am just as content to enjoy a homemade, lopsided confection.  I’ve had dreams of opening my very own chocolate shop, but the dream vanishes when I remember that every truffle would have to be identical and perfect, over and over.  Perfect is simply not in my nature.  I like messy.  I like my jeans ripped and my wine glasses unmatched. I like my oddly shaped truffles and fingerprints in my turtles. 

These peanut butter balls (also called buckeyes) are perfect in their imperfection.  If they are slightly different sizes, so much the better.  If they aren’t perfectly round, that just makes them easier to bite.  These are homey chocolates.  These are chocolates that have no place in a velvet-lined glass case but every right to join in on Sunday dinner.  Peanut butter balls are beyond easy to make, and are ideal for kid kitchen helpers.  And no matter how awkwardly shaped they turn out, they will still be delicious.  How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?

These peanut butter balls would make a great addition to your Easter dessert spread.  They are also fantastic for Passover, if it’s your family or community tradition to consume peanuts on Passover.  Peanuts are a strange gray area.  As a nut, they would be generally considered acceptable Passover fare, but as a legume they come into question.  In any case, you can certainly substitute almond butter for the peanut butter if that works better for your needs.

chocolate buckeyes

Peanut Butter Balls

Makes about 5 dozen

1 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/4 cup salted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

24 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar until well combined.  The mixture should be soft, but firm enough to form into balls (if too soft add a bit more sugar). Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour.

Melt the chocolate very slowly over a double boiler, or in 20-second bursts in the microwave, stirring often whichever method you choose.  Dip each peanut butter ball in chocolate, carefully tapping off the excess. (Although messy, I find this easiest to do with my hands. You could use a fancy dipping spoon, or simply pierce each ball with a toothpick and use that to neatly dip it in the chocolate.  But hands are most fun!) Place each chocolate coated peanut butter ball on the wax paper lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.  Remove from the refrigerator a few minutes before serving.  They will keep in a container in the fridge for up to a week.

Published in: on April 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm  Comments (14)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

For Mom: Oreo Brownies

My mom is not a baker.  She makes a mean curry and a fabulous chicken noodle casserole, but baking is not her cup of tea. 

That’s the amazing thing about moms, though, they do all sorts of stuff they hate, just because they love you.  Did she enjoy watching the endless hours of soccer games in which I rarely left the bench?  Not likely.  Did she complain during the year I got really into Kurt Cobain and blared Nirvana at all hours of the day? Nope. 

So when my brother and I were in college, and she sent care packages full of homemade brownies and spiced raisin bread, I shouldn’t have been surprised.  When I first moved to St. Louis, the care packages came from my grandmother.  But as baking got harder for her, Mom took over, believing that dorm-dwelling students can’t subsist without home-baked treats. My brownies would arrive, mangled and smashed, and my roommates and I would dive into them, devouring the batch in minutes.

With my college days long gone, I can’t remember the last time I received baked goods in the mail.  Squished, crushed, or crumbled, it doesn’t matter.  There is something so heartwarming about a shoebox full of homemade goodness. And if, like me, you haven’t seen a brownie-filled care package on your doorstep in a  few years, just imagine how many years it’s been for your mom!

So make your mom a batch of these decadent, old-school brownies.  And pretend that you’re back in college, in the days when you could eat pizza at midnight and drink beer all weekend without gaining an ounce! If your mom lives far away, wrap these babies up and send ’em overnight mail! And if she’s close by, tuck them in a cute, parchment-lined shoebox anyway, for old times sake.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Oreo Brownies

For the brownies:

4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup flour

2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (or other sandwich cookies), divided

For the frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, soft

1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.  To make the brownies, put the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on low heat, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Stir in the sugar, eggs and flour to combine. fold in half of the cookie crumbs.  Spread the batter into the pan and bake for about 35 minutes.  Cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting.  Whip the butter with an electric mixer.  Beat in the sugar, then add the vanilla, cocoa, and milk and beat until fluffy and combined. 

Spread the cooled brownies with the frosting and sprinkle with the remaining Oreo crumbs.  Slice the brownies into bars and serve with a tall glass of milk!

Published in: on May 6, 2011 at 6:57 am  Comments (22)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

A Chocolate Malt From Route 66

chocolate and vanilla milkshakes

The Grand Canyon was great.  It really, truly was.  Mind boggling, majestic, picturesque… all of that. 

But it’s not the Grand Canyon that I’ve been dreaming about since we got home.  It’s the chocolate malt from Twister’s 50’s Soda Fountain.  I’m a total sucker for nostalgia, and the town of William’s, AZ was right up my alley.  The main drag is an homage to the Route 66 glory days, complete with poodle skirts and James Dean posters and, of course, an authentic soda fountain.

old fashioned chocolate maltWe were headed back to our bed and breakfast when we saw the sign for Twister’s, and my husband (bless him for knowing me so very well) yanked the wheel hard, crossed two lanes of traffic, slammed on the brakes and whirled into the parking lot. He was rewarded with a strawberry freeze (strawberry ice cream blended with lemon-lime soda).  The freeze was lovely, but there is nothing better than a rich, sweet malt.  Dusty and sweaty from our walk at the canyon, we lounged at the outdoor chrome-top tables, enjoying the sunset and our frosty treats.

And the minute we got home I sent Jeff off to the store for malt powder. And straws. You can’t have a shake or malt without a fun straw. Unless you enjoy your malt from a shot glass.  Yep, a shot glass.  Little milkshake shooters served with a big plate of cookies make for a pretty awesome dinner party dessert.  Your friends will swoon.  And if you go for half chocolate shooters and half vanilla (use regular malt powder, skip the chocolate syrup and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract) you’ll please every last picky guest.

chocolate malt shooters

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Malt

Makes two big servings (or about two dozen shooters)

2 cups vanilla ice cream

2 cups milk

1/8 cup chocolate malt powder

1/4 cup chocolate syrup

1 ounce dark chocolate

Combine ice cream, milk, malt powder and syrup in a blender and whir until well blended.  Pour the chocolate malts into two big cups.  Grate the dark chocolate over the top of each malt.  Serve with straws.

 chocolate malt

Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 4:00 pm  Comments (37)  
Tags: , , , , , ,

My Grandmother’s Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

zucchni bread

Nannie (my grandmother) made the most wonderful chocolate zucchini loaf.  Sort of a bread, sort of a cake, it’s the perfect afternoon snack. I love the unlikely combination of chocolate and zucchini, and the hint of cinnamon and cloves here makes this recipe so very comforting. And given that the season for overflowing kitchen gardens is almost upon us, I decided to share this decadent recipe with the Dedham Transcript for the June “Cozy, Delicious” article – which you can read here.

recipe card for chocolate zucchini breadAs a kid, I could devour slice after big, thick slice of this rich, fragrant quick bread.  But as an adult I have come to realize that one thin slice carries with it more than enough butter and sugar for an afternoon snack.  I’ve always thought that a bread chock full of bright and healthy summer squash should be healthy. And more than once I’ve convinced myself that since it contains veggies, I can have just one more morsel. But the reality is that Nannie’s recipe, despite it’s reliance on diced zucchini, shows her generation’s characteristic adoration of butter. 

So while I have a nostalgic connection to the original version, I couldn’t resist tinkering a bit with Nannie’s recipe.  And with some whole wheat flour and a bit of apple sauce, I managed to up the fiber content and reduce the fat and sugar.  And the best part is that the flavor is right on.  The texture may be ever so slightly less luxurious, but I actually have enjoyed this healthier chocolate zucchini bread all the more for its heartiness.  It makes a wonderful breakfast, and even works great as a muffin instead of a loaf (just be sure to reduce the baking time if you choose to make muffins – about 25-30 minutes will do).  

zucchini muffins

Healthier Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Makes 2 loaves or 18 muffins

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup apple sauce

1 egg

4 egg whites

½ cup fat-free buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided (optional)

1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, oil and sugar. Beat in the applesauce, egg, egg whites, buttermilk and vanilla. Sift together the flours, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (Nannie was big on sifting – don’t skip this step). Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and beat just to combine. Fold in the zucchini and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts, if using. Spread the batter into two greased loaf pans. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with the remaining walnuts and the chocolate. Bake for 55-60 minutes. Cool completely before slicing and serving.

zucchini and bread

Published in: on June 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm  Comments (35)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Memorial Day Indoors: Chocolate Frosted Angel Food Cupcakes

angel food cupcakes

Memorial Day is for cook-outs and white Capri pants.  Usually. 

angel food cupckaes with rainbow sprinklesWe were planning on grilling a few steaks this afternoon. But the world sometimes does not cooperate with our plans.  And in a sad and scary turn of events, the air is hazy and filled with smoke. Who would have thought that smoke from a forest fire in Quebec would travel hundreds of miles south to Boston? Not just one forest fire, in fact, but at least a dozen, raging outside Montreal, forcing thousands from their homes. 

So, since grilling is out, I figured that chocolate is in. This is my ultimate favorite chocolate frosting.  Rich and smooth, but oh-so-easy to make.  It is perfect on just about any cake, as long as you use really great cocoa powder (I used Ghiradelli).  It really is perfect atop these angel food cupcakes.  But it’s even quite nice on baked and chilled brownies as an extra decadent layer. I made a double batch of the angel food cake here, because it keeps for a few days.  And when the haze clears, we will be sitting on our deck devouring angel food cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

chocolate buttercream frostingThe cupcakes cook pretty quickly, but if you choose to make a loaf cake or bake the batter in a traditional tube pan, do not grease the pan and do increase the baking time to 50-60 minutes until slightly golden.  While not necessary for the cupcakes, for a larger cake, be sure to cool in the pan upside down on a rack.

Angel Food Cupcakes with Simple Chocolate Frosting

makes 36 small cupcakes

10 egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour, sifted

1/3 teaspoon salt

1 recipe simple chocolate frosting (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites on a medium-low speed until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat on high until firm but not dry. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts if using. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar, sifted flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg white mixture a half-cup at a time, beating well in between each addition.  Spoon the batter into paper muffin liner cups (do use liners, otherwise the batter with stick terribly) and bake for about 15-18 minutes, until golden on top.  Cool completely and frost with simple chocolate frosting.

Simple Chocolate Frosting

6 tablespoons butter, soft

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup milk

Beat the butter until slightly fluffy.  Add in the sugar in two additions, beating well after each additions.  Add in the vanilla and cocoa powder and beat well.  Add the milk and continue to beat until smooth.  Use right away or store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature to use for frosting.

angel food cupcakes

Published in: on May 31, 2010 at 2:38 pm  Comments (37)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Nutty Goat Cheese Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles

My mom calls me the Queen of the Slapdash.  It was a nickname that I earned way back in middle school and it stuck. I’m not a details kind of gal, and if you look up antonyms for meticulous, you’ll probably find ‘Katie’.

goat cheese choolate trufflesSadly, my culinary style is much the same as my middle school homework style.  I don’t take actual short cuts (canned frosting and t.v. dinners are not my thing), but I do love to pass off a seriously easy recipe as a feat of magnificent proportions. I had long been terrified of candy, chocolate, and confections in general because attention to detail is key when a matter of one or two degrees can mean the difference between buttery caramel and a beeping smoke alarm. But over the past year I’ve tackled my fears, and found that not all confections have to be so difficult to make.

Not that you shouldn’t tell everyone that these lovely truffles took days of incredible patience to prepare.  People will believe you.  They are that good.  And they are adorable enough to qualify for a fake-out.  These beautiful chocolate wonders are a great hostess gift for that friend who invites you for dinner but refuses to let you bring anything. 

nutty goat cheese chocolate trufflesThey key to ease here is making sure that your goat cheese is softened before you start – you don’t want lumpy ganache.  And, of course, use great chocolate.  I went for Callebaut, but take my advice and splurge on the best you can find. The marriage of chocolate and goat cheese is surprisingly mild and just a bit mysterious.  I neglected to mention to Jeff that the ganache was made with goat cheese (he hates goat cheese – sometimes I just don’t understand how we ended up together).  He munched away, enjoying the creamy texture and “that something, what is that something?” which I refused to divulge. I love the almond flavor with the tang of the goat cheese, but you could certainly go for hazelnut instead, which would be wonderful and earthy. 

I submitted the recipe for these lovely truffles to the Ile de France Cheese Recipe Contest.  Go vote for my truffles here! (scroll down to find the nutty goat cheese chocolate truffles recipe)


Nutty Goat Cheese Truffles

Makes about 2 dozen truffles

4 ounces goat cheese

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped and divided

2 tablespoons almond liqueur

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and finely chopped

Bring the goat cheese to room temperature. Melt half of the chocolate on low power in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds (or over a double boiler). Adding a the chocolate to the cheese just a spoonful at a time, stir together the goat cheese and the melted chocolate until very smooth. Use the back of a spoon to work the goat cheese into the chocolate. Mix the almond liqueur into the chocolate mixture. Chill one hour. Remove from the refrigerator and scoop into balls. Roll the scooped truffles in your hands to make them perfectly round. Put the chopped almonds on a flat plate. Melt the remaining chocolate. Coat each truffle with a small amount of chocolate (the best way to do this is by dipping a large spoon in the chocolate and then rolling the truffle in the spoon). Quickly transfer each coated truffle to the nuts and roll to coat. Chill at least 30 minutes. Remove the truffles from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Published in: on May 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm  Comments (35)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In The Meantime, Enjoy These Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles

I’ve been thrown for a loop in the past few days, and am still feeling a bit under the weather.  But as far as I’m concerned, the road to recovery is paved with chocolate.  And while I’m laid up on the sofa, there really is nothing I want more than a truffle, bursting with intense, creamy flavor and complete with a perfectly smooth shell.  Thankfully, I’ve been on a chocolate-making jag in the last few weeks and have a store of bonbons large enough to sustain me as I recuperate.  I even wrote about chocolate truffles for my latest column in the Dedham Transcript.  You can read about these lovely orange chocolate truffles here.

As you’ll see in the Dedham Transcript column, I have carefully avoided the complicated topic of tempering chocolate. Tempering is simply the process of carefully heating, cooling and then reheating chocolate to allow the fat crystals to form in such a way that gives the outer layer of chocolate a shiny look and nice snap when bitten. Tempered chocolate keeps longer and does not get a white powdery fat layer called a ‘bloom’ that tends to appear on untempered chocolate. My favorite trick is that by simply never over-heating most brands of chocolate you can keep the temper, and not worry about it.  This is not a fool-proof method, but if you expect your confections to be gobbled up too quickly for longer storage to be an issue, tempering is not a major concern anyway. So just very, very slowly heat your chocolate, trying to keep it at about 90 degrees, and never allowing it above 94 degrees, and it should retain its original temper.

chocolate trufflesIf you would like to properly temper your chocolate, it’s actually not that difficult. Just place half of your finely chopped dark chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler. Carefully bring your chocolate up to about 110 degrees, then remove from the heat and vigorously stir in by the handful enough finely chopped reserved chocolate to bring it back down to about 85 degrees (usually this requires about an equal amount of chocolate to what you already have melted in your bowl).  Rewarm your chocolate slowly to about 90 degrees and hold at this temperature while you use the chocolate for dipping. You can hold the bowl over the double boiler occasionally to keep the temperature at 88-90 degrees, or you can place the bowl on top of an electric heating pad turned to its lowest setting and covered with a dish towel.

Chocolate trufflesOf course, there are a million ways to flavor truffles.  Instead of orange liqueur you can add any liqueur (or fruit puree) you like to the ganache, and in terms of garnish, anything goes. My husband’s grandmother has dutifully taken a shot of ginger brandy every day for the past 70 years.  She calls it medicine and given that she is 90 years old and not only living on her own, but still mowing her own lawn, I’m thinking there is something to this brandy.  So my next endeavor is going to be these ginger brandy truffles, since speedy healing is what we’re all about here. 

I should be back with some lovely spring recipes soon (I am dying for asparagus salad and Jeff has been jabbering on about grilled lamb chops) but in the meantime, eat chocolate.  Lots of chocolate!

Ginger Brandy Truffles

12 ounces good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped, divided

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons ginger brandy

2 tablespoons thinly sliced candied ginger

Melt half of the chocolate with the butter in a mixing bowl set atop a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and brandy.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Using a melon baler, scoop the ganache onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roll each scoop into a ball with your hands and return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

 Place the remaining chocolate in a mixing bowl and melt very slowly over a pan of simmering water.  Do not allow the temperature of the chocolate to rise above 94 degrees or the chocolate will not have a nice sheen and snap to it.  Keep the chocolate at about 90 degrees (by holding it over the pan of simmering water and removing as needed or by placing the bowl on a heating pad covered with a towel). Dip each truffle in the chocolate, shaking off the excess, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Garnish with a slice of candied ginger. Allow truffles to set in a cool place.

Published in: on April 12, 2010 at 7:37 am  Comments (17)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Baking for Passover

chocolate meringue cookies

I suppose that for some folks Passover is a miserable stretch of deprivation.  But Passover has always been my favorite holiday. and while I am one of the few nuts out there who actually enjoys matzoh, it’s not just because of the crackers.  Well, ok, it’s partially because of the matzoh (egg matzoh spread with good butter and a sprinkle of salt).

fresh mangoEvery year I tell myself that I’ll lose a few pounds at Passover, what with skipping all that leavened goodness.  But that never seems to happen, in fact quite the opposite. I adore Passover food.  Jeff and I have a running joke that all Jews eat is bagels and fish (Jeff even made up a song about bagels and fish – no joke).  But even Jeff has to admit that with no bagels allowed, we pull out all the stops and put out a pretty irresistable spread. I can’t say no to brisket or potato kugel. And my mom’s matzoh brei (matzoh dipped in egg and fried in chicken fat) is the stuff of dreams – well, my kind of crazy food-obsessed dreams, anyway.  Given that flour is off-limits you might think that Passover desserts are not an issue, but you’d be wrong.  Oh, I’ve had my share of icky matzoh-meal brownies and sandy angel food cakes.  But then there are the fabulous flourless chocolate cakes, and the coconut macaroons, and the matzoh brittles, and the cheesecakes.  And, of course these lovely egg-white concoctions. 

mango pavlovas

I don’t know why I don’t make meringue cookies more often.  They are light and  delicious, and in the grand scheme of cookies, relatively healthy.  And these mini pavlovas are so easy and yet so impressive that they would be the perfect dessert for a back-yard garden party.  If you have never made pavlovas, they are truly heaven.  Pillowy meringue topped with creamy goodness and sweet fruit.  What’s not to love? The key with both the cookies and the pavlovas is quality.  With so few ingredients, each one really counts.  Use great chocolate for the meringue cookies (you all know my fondness for Green & Blacks) and be sure you have a perfectly ripe mango for the pavlovas.  You won’t be sorry.


chocolate meringue cookies

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

cooking spray

2 teaspoons matzoh meal (or all-purpose flour)

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Coat two baking sheets with spray, sprinkle with matzoh meal and shake off the excess.  In a very clean bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Add in the sugar and continue to beat until glossy.  Fold in the chocolate and vanilla.  Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter on prepared cookie sheets. Bake for one hour and then turn off the oven and let sit for another hour.  Cookies will keep a couple of days in an airtight container.

mango pavlovas

Lemon-Mango Pavlovas

Serves 6

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons potato starch (or corn starch)

1 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1 large mango, diced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and beat until glossy.  Sprinkle the potato starch over the egg whites, add the lemon zest and juice and the vanilla and fold gently to incorporate.  Spoon the egg whites into six mounds on the parchment, creating a slight indentation in the middle of each mound.  Bake 50-60 minutes, until slightly golden, and then carefully transfer to a rack to cool.  Once fully cooled top each meringue base with a dollop of sour cream and some of the chopped mango.  Serve with plenty of napkins as these can get messy!

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm  Comments (26)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,