HHDD#18: Hay, Hay, It’s Coconut Chocolate Tarts!

I know, I have been under a rock for the last couple of weeks, but, man, I almost missed Hay, Hay It’s Donna Day too. Fortunately, although I missed seeing this until Friday night, the recipe was super simple and fast so I managed to make mine. I just wish I would have had some almonds on hand. Thanks for the kind words some of you have sent — we’re all finally healthy and back at full steam, I think! (Whoohoo!)

Marita Says ‘Coconut Chocolate Tarts’ and I’m there. Hay, Hay, It’s Donna Day is an event started by Barbara of Winos and Foodies (who very romantically just renewed her wedding vows!) and has had some fun themes and I just can’t help but participate in one involving tarts.

I made a couple of minor changes to the recipe provided. I added a little almond extract to the coconut shells (sometimes you feel like a nut . . . ) and I made the chocolate filling a little thicker but it is still rather soft. If I would have had them, I would have put an almond slice on the top of each one. I used mini-muffin cups and I think I should have spritzed the liners with a little non-stick spray because they are pain to get off. These are cute, tasty, and really simple. They could easily be made ahead and have little baking time so would make a great summer treat, too. I will definitely make these again, possibly with some orange flavor incorporated.

Coconut Chocolate Tarts (adapted from Donna Hay)

For the shell

2 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups dessicated coconut
1/2 t. almond extract.

For the filling

1 c. heavy cream
400 g dark chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Mix the egg whites, coconut, sugar, and almond extract well. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins and with wetted hands (works best this way) press it out to create a base and sides for a cup. Put into the oven at bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until it begins to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for one minute. Gently remove the cups from muffin tins and let it cool more.

While this is happening, heat the cream in a saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from heat and throw in the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted into the cream.

Carefully, fill each cup with the chocolate. Put the cups on a plate or tray in the freezer and leave it for 10 minutes or until set. When set, remove from the freezer and serve to guests with coffee or as a dessert.

I made 24 mini-muffin sized tarts and had enough coconut mixture leftover to make six more, which I just made as knock-off macaroons. I had enough chocolate leftover to make a double batch, so if I make them as minis again, I’ll use 1/2 c. heavy cream and 200 g chocolate.

Maimed By Chocolate

When I first received the invitation to participate in Culinate’s Death By Chocolate competition (go vote for your favorite and maybe you can win a cool prize too!), my mind ran to my favorite Belgian chocolates, full of hazelnut and swirled chocolate. I wanted to recreate that flavor in cake form.

I took a non-chocolate recipe I like and modified it to produce what I hoped would be the right taste. I thought it was exquisite. But it wasn’t really ‘Death By Chocolate’. Maimed, but not killed. Crystal and Ramona suggested I use a different recipe or modify this one with more chocolate (this one was originally going to be smothered in ganache but I had a little chocolate disaster that we may hear more about later). But I was out of some of the ingredients and didn’t feel up to a do-over on this and that’s why, at the last minute, I submitted a modified remake of Crystal’s birthday cake with chocolate ganache.

But I’ve got to tell you, that I really love this cake. The hazelnut competes strongly with the chocolate for winning flavor, but they pair so nicely that you really don’t mind them fighting it out on your tastebuds. You’re the winner in the end. It’s very rich, but there’s a lot of whipping cream in there, which is probably what will really kill you! 😉

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Cake:

1 1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
3 eggs

1 3/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. ground hazelnuts

1 1/2 c. whipping cream, whipped

4 oz. dark chocolate, melted
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine the first three ingredients and beat 5 minutes on high speed.

Measure the dry ingredients and stir together in a medium bowl.

Add flour/nut mixture alternately with whipping cream to the sugar/egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Add 4 oz. melted chocolate. Mix well. Add 2 oz. melted chocolate and fold three or four times to leave swirls. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until done. Cool for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.

Filling:

1 c. whipping cream
2 Tbsp. superfine sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
3/4 c. ground hazelnuts

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks appear. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peak form. Gently fold in nuts.

Frosting:

1/2 c. butter
1 t. vanilla
5 Tbsp. cocoa
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
milk

Beat butter until smooth. Add vanilla and cocoa and beat until smooth and thick. Add powdered sugar and enough milk to achieve good spreading texture for frosting.

What A Way To Go

When I was a kid, Kenny Rogers had a hit song called The Gambler (also the title of an album, movie and TV series in which he starred) and one of the lines says, “The best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep”. But I think Death By Chocolate sounds more appealing. The good folks at Culinate think so too. In fact, they’re having a contest this week to find the most deadly chocolate.

The good news for you is you can win without even baking a thing! Just go select your favorite and you will be entered in the daily drawings for cookbooks and chocolates and one lucky reader and his/her guest will be chosen for a trip to Napa for the Death By Chocolate Festival. The winning blogger gets the same.

So, what are you waiting for? Go to Culinate now and vote! I’ll bribe you with this maple syrup sweetened cake drenched in chocolate ganache.

Death By Chocolate

1 3/4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. xanthan gum

1 c. milk
3/4 c. cocoa powder

1/2 c. canola oil
1 1/2 c. pure maple syrup
1 t. apple cider vinegar
2 t. vanilla

2 Tbsp. Cointreau

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9-inch springform pan or lightly grease and flour two 8-inch tins, or smaller pans, as desired.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in a large bowl; set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium low heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the cocoa powder and whisk well until it is smooth. Remove from heat.

Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and whisk well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Drizzle top with Cointreau. Cool completely.

Ganache:

1/2 c. whipping cream
1 1/2 c. chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

Heat whipping cream until it begins to bubble slightly; remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth.

Daring Little Tart

It’s that time again! Today Lemon Meringue Pies will be sprouting up all over the blogosphere because that was the Daring Baker Challenge selected for us by our host for the month, Jen of Canadian Baker. It also happens to be one of The Husband’s most favorite pies and I have *never* made one for him until now. That’s right, never.

treacherous seas

The first time around, the crust was a little too thick and a tad underdone, the curd was perfect, and I had a little trouble with the oven temp (again!, argh!) so my meringue peaks were burnt in less than half the suggested baking time. He was scarfing down the last piece from that pie as he looked over my shoulder at the computer while I made disgusted sounds over my photos — taken with the fluorescent light (under the cabinet) on one side and blue/white lights (above the stove) on the other side of the pie, making it a strange sea of greens, browns, and purples. “Mmmmm, yeah, I can see this is a definite do-over. You can’t possibly put those pictures on your blog. Mmmm hmmm, yep. I think you might need to make this every day this month, just to make sure you get a good data set.”

I think I’ve been conned. But one of the suggestions for this challenge was to make free form tarts and I really wanted to try that, so I knew I’d be making it at least one more time. Also, I kept imagining it with my homemade blueberry syrup.

For the mini tarts, rather than bake flat disks as suggested, I cut out shapes and then used a piece of foil under it and folded the corners over the top into the shell as the ‘pan’ and then fluted the edges a little with my fingers. Then I folded another piece of foil and tucked it into the center. I don’t have any pie weights and didn’t have beans on hand so some of them puffed up a little in baking, but it wasn’t bad. I baked them for about 20 minutes and then pulled out the center piece of foil and let it bake for another 5 minutes or so, before removing them to cool.

big, hairy deal

The curd and meringue went together beautifully again and this time I played around with the meringue a little, making the tartlets a little different. The oven was a little cooler this time so they didn’t burn but they gently browned. I plated it with a little blueberry syrup with white chocolate piped on top.

But this one, after I took a few pictures, I decided to try with extra blueberry syrup (with whole blueberries in it) scooped on top. Oh, yeah! That is just soooo good! This probably isn’t something I would make for me, but I can see The Husband requesting it again, and again, and again! Thanks, Jen!


pink.jpg

Recipe after the jump. Continue reading

SHF: Baking With Candy

When I saw Candy Recapper’s theme for January’s Sugar High Friday (started by Jennifer of Domestic Goddess), two recipes came to mind, and both of them are from Pillsbury Bake Off cookbooks. One of my great auction finds a few years ago was a box of PBO cookbooks, starting I think with #5 and working up to the late 80’s. I had a few of my own, beginning in the 90’s, so I nearly have a full collection of them! It’s amazing how many popular favorites are former PBO recipes.

The one I chose is called ‘Toffee Apple Coffee Time Bars’ by Patricia A. Harmon of Baden, PA from the 1996 PBO. The original recipe calls for coffee in the powdered sugar glaze but, as I’ve told you repeatedly how I feel about coffee and our mutual rejection, my glaze is just plain old vanilla glaze. I love these bars. They have a great combination of crunch and gooey, stickiness and definitely qualify for a sugar high. I cut mine a little small so I can trick myself into thinking that it’s not as bad if I have two. Half the pan, however, is still bad, no matter how you slice it.

Toffee Apple Bars

Crust:
2 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter

Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 egg
1 c. chopped, peeled apple (I used my favorite Braeburn apples)
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. Heath toffee baking bits

Glaze:
1 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
2-3 Tbsp. milk

Heat oven to 350F.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In medium bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press in bottom of ungreased 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until set.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon and egg; blend well. Stir in remaining filling ingredients; mix well. Pour mixture over partially baked crust.

Bake an additional 30-40 minutes, or until filling is set and edges are golden brown. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled.

In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients, adding enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over bars. Let stand 10 minutes or until glaze is set. Cut into bars. Store in a loosely covered container.