Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Star

Merry Christmas! May your Christmas be filled with warm wonders and laughs, warm wishes and delicious food.

May all your gifts be well-received and your gifts from Santa be well-loved.

Christmas Wishes
Friday, December 24, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread for Christmas

YIIP: Day 355

I've been busy making a holiday food basket for two special people. I do wish I had taken the time to make one for a lot of people but there is always next year. This year, however, this was just time for one basket. So far I've put blueberry preserves that I made this past Summer, lemon curd, kitchen utensils, a mini loaf of banana bread, crackers and this delightful Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

I read about Chocolate Hazelnut Spread on Angry Chicken's blog and really wanted to try my hand at making it. (Of course we all should remember that Angry Chicken is the Awesome and that I usually want to do what she does).

Choc Spread

This was even simpler to make than the Meyer Lemon Curd I posted about and surprisingly fast. If I were to make this again, I might up the sugar as I found this to be a bit too nutty and not sweet enough. It is still very tasty though.

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Yield 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
1/2 cup dry nonfat milk powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp cornstarch
3/4 cup milk (low fat)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1. In a medium saucepan, combine hazelnut meal, dry milk powder, brown sugar, cocoa powder and cornstarch. Add in milk and vegetable oil and whisk until smooth.
2. Cook over medium heat and whisk frequently, until mixture begins to thicken and just starts to bubble. Remove from heat and transfer to a heatproof container, preferably one with an airtight lid.
3. Cool to room temperature and, if not eating right away, store in the fridge with an airtight lid on the container.
4. Spread tastes best at room temperature and will keep for several days in the fridge.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's almost Christmas and as I finish wrapping all the presents while singing Christmas carols at the top of my lungs, I've also been cooking.

Last night I whipped up a batch of Meyer Lemon Curd. It's bright yellow color was the perfect antidote for the shortness of the Winter Solistice.

Lemon Curd Weck

This recipe is quick to make. I started making this at 10 p.m. and was snuggly in bed by 10:45 p.m. I even washed the dishes before heading to bed. The curd does require at least 4 hours to set and produces an amazingly sunny curd.

Lemon Curd

I think this would be wonderful as a tart or as Christmas presents to loved ones. I know that a few special people are getting these jars as part of their Christmas presents.

Meyer Lemon Curd from Gifts Cooks Love
Makes four (½-pint) jars

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1. Wash the jars and lids in hot, soapy water and dry thoroughly.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, eggs, and sugar. Whisk in the lemon juice. Transfer to a double boiler. Cook over barely simmering water, whisking constantly, until the lemon mixture thickens and reaches 170°F on an instant-read thermometer.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the lemon zest and butter.
4. Using a wide-mouth funnel and filling one jar at a time, ladle the sauce into the prepared jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean. Seal the jars and refrigerate until the lemon curd is thickened and completely cold, at least 4 hours.
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