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Hot Fudge Sauce … I’m in Hot Fudge Heaven!

Hot Fudge Sauce

WELCOME  GARDNER NEWS  READERS 

This past week I made up some of the most sinfully magnificient Hot Fudge Sauce.  You’d be surprised just how many things you have in your kitchen right now that can be doused in hot fudge!   In the 25 minutes it took to whip up this sauce I had fashioned quite an extensive list.   Fresh fruit, a stray brownie, that last piece of pound cake from Christmas, pretzels and of course ice cream, the most obvious choice.   Be careful or you could find yourself lost in “Hot Fudge Land”. 

 To me, hot fudge sauce on ice cream seems so … from an era gone by.  It appears that the simple hot fudge sundaes of yesterday have been replaced with more modern creations, using the same ingredients but sporting new trendy names.  Maybe we have just gone overboard with the likes of “Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream served in a velvety pool of bittersweet chocolate, topped with 24-karat edible gold leaf” … when actually what we have is just an unnecessarily expensive version of a classic hot fudge sundae.  

This sauce is so easy to make and is so versatile.  You can probably make it with ingredients you already have in your pantry.  Don’t settle for the store bought stuff … make your own.

HOT FUDGE SAUCE
Makes 3 ¼ cups   (I filled 2 pint jars)

Melt 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate baking squares and ½ cup of unsalted butter in a large, heavy saucepan.  (I “borrowed” my Mother’s copper bottom sauce pan.)  Melt over low heat stirring constantly.  (Use a low setting and be patient.)

 When completely melted add in 2 cups of sugar, stirring constantly over low heat.  (I stirred approximately 4-5 minutes until it was well blended.  The mixture will be thick and “sandy” looking.)

 Add 1 cup of milk (I like to use room temperature milk.) and continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thoroughly heated and the sugar is dissolved. (Once the sugar dissolved, I changed from stirring with  a wooden spoon to a whisk.  At this point, I raised the temperature just a bit above low and continued to whisk the sauce.  I found that you must let the sauce heat through all the way.  The longer you whisk and cook it, the fudgier the finished product will be when cooled.  I probably whisked about 10 minutes to get the consistency I liked.)  DO NOT BOIL THE SAUCE.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of good vanilla extract (I used about 1 and ½ teaspoons) and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.  Cover and chill sauce.  It will hold in the fridge up to 2 weeks.  (One recipe filled 2 pint canning jars.) 

Note: To reheat, spoon some of the sauce into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for about 15 seconds, or in 15 second intervals until warm.

Espresso-Hot Fudge Sauce:  Add 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder with the sugar.

Whiskey-Hot Fudge Sauce:  Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of Southern Comfort with the vanilla and salt.

Brown-Sugar-Cinnamon Hot Fudge Sauce:  Substitute 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar for 1 cup of granulated sugar.  Stir in ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon with vanilla and salt.

Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe Double-Header: Sauteed Broccolini side dish and Brownie Pudding dessert

Sauteed Broccolini

Sauteed Broccolini

Mary of  Meet me in the Kitchen  chose Sauteed Broccolini as a Barefoot Blogger Bonus Recipe for this month.   My local Price Chopper and Hy Vee grocery stores did not stock broccolini.   It was Whole Foods who finally came thru for me … they had a few bunches.    I was told to “hurry and get here because when people see it they usually buy it all”.    (Yeah, like I believed that.)  But in the end, it was my mother and me that  bought all they had! 

The recipe is very straight forward and easy to follow.   I tend to wonder if the 2 minute blanching process followed by the ice bath is truly necessary.  Could I achieve the same results by increasing the sautee time?  The butter, lemon and garlic sauce went well with this vegetable.

 

Brownie Pudding

Brownie Pudding

I hope Ina G. will not be upset that I made her Brownie Pudding in a Rachael R. pan!

Tia of Southern, Eh? tasked us to make this divine dessert. 

I chose to make only half the recipe.  It was a perfect fit in my new one quart, oval dish.   I adjusted the baking time to 30 minutes. 

This also is a very easy recipe to follow.   Even though I read the recipe thru several times over the last few weeks (yes, and right before I made it) and knew about baking in a water bath … I forgot.   (Whew .. it turned out OK so I could come clean about my lapse in memory.)   It wasn’t until 20 minutes into baking that I remembered the water bath.    With only 10 minutes to go, I decided to take my chances.  I am pleased to say that the top crackled when I dipped out the first serving and the center was exactly as other have described  it  … pudding like.   This dessert is best described as “less-than-pretty”.   But, what it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for it in taste!  Dust it with a little powder and it’s good to go …

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Valentino

chocolate-valentino-slice1
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

This certainly is a month of “firsts” as this is my rookie showing as a Daring Baker!

I openly admit I was a bit intimidated with this recipe of only 3 ingredients.  

Chocolate:   I used 50% bittersweet and 50% semi-sweet.
       Butter:    Next time I will use a much better quality of butter.
         Eggs:    Used farm fresh eggs purchased from the local “egg lady”

A flourless chocolate cake has been on my “gotta try it some day” list for quite a long time.   But any recipe that includes the words “whip the egg whites” throws me for a loop.   So thank you Dharm and Wendy for helping me overcome my “whip the egg whites” phobia!   I did make use of the video demonstration site you suggested.  My batter turned out fine … but I wonder if I might have over-whipped the egg whites.  Instead of a nice ribbon of egg whites being folded into the chocolate mixture (like I saw in the video) … mine kind of separated onto little “chunks”.  I expected my cake to be a bit “taller” … maybe having to take longer to fold the “chunks” of egg white into the chocolate mixture contributed to deflating my batter a bit.

I used an 8 inch heart shaped pan purchased especially for this baking occasion.  At twenty minutes into the baking cycle I tested my cake with an instant read thermometer and it had already hit 145F.   Darn … should have checked it at 15 to 18 minutes.  (Hind sight is 20/20.) 

chocolate-valentino-in-pan

 NOTICE  THE  HOLE IN THE MIDDLE OF MY HEART!
I had to laugh when I realized that the instant read thermometer left a permanent scar.

chocolate-valentino-in-pan2

Step 10 reads:  Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.   Yes, it was that easy!   I ended up with a perfectly shaped heart cake.

chocolate-valentino-unmolded

 You can visit Wendy or Dharm and get the recipe for this great Chocolate Valentino cake.

chocolate-valentino-the-end

 

COOKIE CARNIVAL: February 2009

CHOCOLATE FUDGE COOKIES with TOFFEE and DRIED CHERRIES

chocolate-fudge-cookies-with-toffee-and-dried-cherries1

Well it is official … I have completed my first Cookie Carnival baking challenge!
This proved to be a very tasty start to my “CC” baking adventure.

A few of those closest to me might find the following words hard to believe … but I followed the recipe exactly as it was written.    Additionally, I took the time to make sure I had all the ingredients prior to rolling up my sleeves,  in hopes of avoiding my usual “be right back, gotta run to the store” routine.  Being the proud owner of a bag of dutch-process cocoa powder, recently purchased on an excursion to Penzys’ Spice Store, I was pleased to see that it was one of the key ingredients.  I bought this dutch-process stuff not knowing exactly what it was or when it was best used … but I just had to have some because … well … I just needed it.  OK, I might not have needed it then … but now I do!   Dutch process cocoa is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder flavor.  It forms the basis for much of modern chocolate and is used in ice cream, hot cocoa and baking.  The Dutch process accomplishes several things: lowers acidity, increases solubility, enhances color and lowers flavor.

The directions call for one cup of plump, moist, dried cherries.  Please, if anyone else found themselves squeezing the cherries thru the bags to find plump, moist ones let me know.  I did not know exactly how I would determine the plumpest and moistest bag of dried cherries but ultimately I left the grocery store with, what I had deemed, the best bag available.

Love the English toffee bits in these cookies.   One thing I would do differently next time is making sure that I used only the toffee bits and not the “toffee dust”.  I just measured and dumped  …  without realizing I would be adding a good bit of “toffee dust” to my dough.

Take heed … have your wooden spoon handy … the instructions do not lie.  The batter is very stiff and the use of the wooden spoon vs the mixer does allow you to see that you are distributing all the “mix-ins” as evenly as possible.

The only challenge I had was calculating the “right” baking time.   I found that 12-13 minutes produced the cookie that was barely set in the center and just firm around the edges.  Fist-sized cookies are the only way to go …  less trips to the kitchen!

Debbie’s DO’s and DON’TS:   We ate these cookies hot from the oven, just barely warm and totally cooled!   I am surprised to report that we enjoyed them the most totally cooled … you could really distinguish the individual flavors.  So, DO try them at room temperature and DON’T forget to make a second batch!