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    Entries in chocolaty goodness (29)


    Gourmet Hot Chocolate Balls

    First, I must apologize for my recent blog neglect.  It isn’t for lack of trying, really.  It’s just that… well… see what you probably don’t realize is that between all the beautiful stuff that gets posted here, there are plenty of failures.  Unfortunately, I’ve had more than my share of those lately, hence the lack of posts.  I’m back, though, with a fabulous holiday treat!

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 2 cups chocolate chips
    • Cocoa and various other things for rolling in, which I will explain later 

    First up, pour your chocolate chips into a bowl and set it aside.  Next, heat your cream just barely to a simmer.  I actually did it in the microwave this time, but if you do that, be careful, and be sure to stir every 30 seconds or so.  You don’t want it to boil.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. 

    Cover and let it sit for 3 minutes.  

    When you uncover it, it won’t look much different, but trust me, it’s ready. 

    Gently whisk until it becomes shiny and perfectly smooth.  (Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture of that this time around so I’m borrowing this one from when I made actual truffles.)

    Put that into the fridge until its nice and firm, which will probably take an hour or two.  When it’s ready, begin scooping out lumps that are roughly 2 Tablespoons in volume.  (If you have a little ice cream style scoop, it would be perfect for this job.  Unfortunately, I don’t have one.  Why don’t I have one?  I might just have to pop on over to Amazon and remedy that.)

    Shape it into something resembling a ball and place it onto a piece of parchment. 

    Repeat until you’ve gotten through all the ganache.  (That’s what the chocolate/cream mixture is called.)  You should be able to get about 12 of them.  I know, there are only 10 in my picture.  One is missing because it was used as a sample.  I figure there is probably another one because my balls were getting bigger and bigger as I went.  If you’re more consistent than me, you should be able to get 12. 

    Now comes the fun part.  This is where you can flavor them with all different kinds of stuff.  Let’s just start with cocoa, and then I’ll give you a list of other things to try.  Sift some cocoa into a small bowl. 

    Then drop one of your balls into it.

    Roll it around until it’s completely coated.  Shake of the excess and place it onto a foil lined sheet pan.  (Parchment would also be fine, but you don’t need the nonstick for this purpose and foil is usually cheaper.)

    Ok, so now for the ideas I promised.  I coated some of mine in cocoa, some in vanilla sugar, and some in crushed peppermint candies, because that’s how I roll.  (Ha!  See what I did there?  It’s funny because I was rolling the… oh never mind.)

    Anyway, those are just a few ideas.  You could use orange sugar or you could even mix a little salt with the sugar (chocolate and salt are so yummy together!)  For a Mexican style hot chocolate, you could mix cinnamon with the cocoa powder, or if you want a little kick, stir in a pinch of cayenne.  The possibilities are endless, and the cool part is, they can all be different.  If you’re having guests over, they’ll have their pick of flavors to choose from, and everyone will be happy. 

    So far, all we have are truffles, but when you’re ready, you can transform them into fabulous, gourmet hot chocolate in a trice.  Each truffle will be good for about ¾ cup of milk.  Just drop one of them into the bottom of your mug. 

    Then heat the milk until it’s nice and steamy and pour it over the top. 

    Allow it to sit for 2 minutes or so, then just stir.  If you have any trouble with little bits of ganache settling on the bottom, just grab a little whisk.  And there you have it.  Serious hot chocolate goodness.  I topped mine with whipped cream because duh, it’s hot chocolate. 

    What is your favorite flavor of hot chocolate? 



    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

    Ok, so ordinarily you expect the words oatmeal chocolate chip to be followed by the word cookies, but well, I went in a different direction with this one.  Although these pancakes are every bit as delicious as the cookie version, they are actually much healthier.  Where cookies are mostly sugar and butter, these are mostly whole grains, and only a little bit of sugar and fat.  Don’t get me wrong… I’m not trying to sell these as health food.  I’m simply saying it’s not like having cookies for breakfast.  It’s like having cookies for breakfast minus the guilt and the heartburn. 

    Here’s what you’ll need: 

    • ½ cup flour
    • ½ cup whole wheat flour
    • ½ cup rolled oats
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon allspice
    • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
    • Whatever other spices you like
    • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 2 Tablespoons oil 

    See those flowers in the background on my table?  Hubby had a coworker over for dinner, and he brought those lovely roses for me.  How nice was that? 

    Now, back to pancakes.  First up, throw all your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.  They’re not in the picture, but throw in the oats and chocolate chips, as well.

    Stir the together until everything is evenly distributed. 

    Set that aside and move to the wet stuff.  Measure the buttermilk, then add the egg, vanilla, and oil. 

    Whisk that together and pour it over the dry ingredients. 

    Stir just until it all comes together, and you should have a nice, fairly thick, pancake batter. 

    Heat a pan over medium heat (or if you’re using a griddle, set it for something like 300-350).  Wipe the pan with just a touch of butter, and pour on the batter. 

    You’ll know they’re ready to flip when they’ve kind of puffed up and you have bubbles like this forming, and staying, around the edges. 

    And hopefully you’re a better flipper than me, because wow.  Look at that mess.  Oh well, they’re still going to taste fabulous. 

    I served mine with homemade coconut syrup.  I’ll share that recipe with you soon, but you can certainly just use maple, or honey, or just go naked. 

    Just look at that fluffy, chocolaty goodness!