Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chocolate Candy Brownies

This past week we had some friends over for a "Fondue and Good Caffeine" get-together. We made a few different savoury appetizers and, since one of our guests especially likes chocolate, I made something that packed a super chocolate punch - Chocolate Candy Brownies. With real chocolate in the mix and topped with a chocolate ganache, I knew they would be perfect. They're called 'candy' due to the fact that they are supposed to be sprinkled with chopped chocolate bars such as Rolos or Maltesers. Alas, I didn't have enough for sprinkling so each square got a small chunk of Skor.

The brownie bakes up dark and thick. After 25 minutes you have a moist and chewy slab just waiting to be slathered in rich chocolate. I was pretty happy with how they turned out as I wasn't giving them my 100% attention. The ganache set up nicely and they sliced like a dream. They're perfect for those who like a solid brownie - these are not cakey. If you don't want to do ganache, chocolate frosting would be fine and they would also make an excellent base for a brownie sundae.

So as this year comes to a close, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year! Thank you for all your support and feedback and I'll see you in 2007!

Recipe: Chocolate Candy Brownies

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holiday Shortbread

One of my favourite holiday cookies is shortbread. I enjoy the simplicity of flavours and the buttery texture these simple to prepare cookies have to offer. The shortbread cookies I made are rolled and flattened. The recipe calls for the dough to be rolled and cut into stars but I didn't have time to do all that. With a sprinkle of coloured sugar they look very festive indeed.

The texture is light, flaky and melt-in-the mouth. The shortbread is not overly sweet and would be a nice foil to more elaborate treats on a cookie tray. So when you're contemplating what cookies to make for your holiday gatherings, don't overlook the humble shortbread - it's a classic!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Recipe: Shortbread Stars

Friday, December 15, 2006

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread

Mr. CB is a coffee lover. He recently purchased an espresso maker and grinder and has been making lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots for our enjoyment. I especially like lattes flavoured with vanilla and have not yet been able to fully appreciate an excellently pulled shot. Espresso is quite beautiful when properly made and Mr. CB is doing a great job at achieving a nice crema. Now all he has to do is work on his latte art...

All this coffee talk made me decide to make an espresso shortbread from Tish Boyle's The Good Cookie. I used Illy espresso powder in the batter and good quality Dutch-processed cocoa powder. The batter was patted into a round cake pan, baked and cut into wedges. This was the first time I used this method for making shortbread and I was anxious to see how it would turn out.

When we tried the shortbread the chocolate flavour was pronounced and the coffee was discernable but not strong. I think next time I will grind fresh beans for a punchier flavour. The texture was not melt-in-the-mouth as some shortbreads are. It was solid and 'sandy' - more cookie than shortbread. Let the shortbread cool completely, otherwise your wedge will fall apart. Overall, we all liked it. It was not bitter and it did go well with coffee. Perhaps I will make it again, though at this moment, I'm undecided.

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Shortbread

Monday, December 11, 2006

Menu For Hope III

This holiday season marks the third Menu for Hope campaign which is a fundraiser created by food bloggers around the world. This year, Menu for Hope is raising money to support the UN World Food Programme that aims to "put food on the tables of the weakest and poorest". The campaign runs from December 11 to 22 and during that time you are welcome to purchase raffle tickets for some wonderful prizes.

Since this is a global campaign, you can visit Chez Pim to view all the prizes for this event. Our Canadian host is the wonderful Jasmine the Cardamom Addict so please go take a look at all the great offerings from Canadians across the country. Jasmine has also very thoughtfully translated the information into French. If you would like more information on how to purchase tickets and donations please visit First Giving.

For Menu for Hope, I am donating two cookbooks. The first is the Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook written by Jennifer Appel, one of the original founders of the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York. It is a great book to add to any collection and includes some beautiful photographs. The good old-fashioned recipes are not difficult and would be suitable for the the confident baker. The second book is the Philadelpia Cream Cheese Classic Recipes cookbook. Again, this book has a lot of colour pictures for cooking inspiration and has a great range of recipes - all the way from appetizers to special occasions. Oh, and don't forget, there is a whole chapter on the lovely cheesecake!

Tickets cost US $10 and will buy one raffle ticket to your prize of choice. If you are interested in my donation the prize code is CA07. You must specify which prize you're interested in by quoting the prize code in the "personal message" section.

Here are the instructions for the event:

1. Go to the donation page at to make a contribution.
2. Each US $10 donation will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize or prizes you'd like by entering the prize code in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your contribution. E.G. A US $50 donation may be two tickets for UW99 and three tickets for CA20.*
3. Some companies will match personal charitable donations made by staff. If your company has such a program, please remember to mark the appropriate box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
4. Please also check the box to allow us to see your email address. We need this so we can contact you in case you win a prize. If you do not do this, we will be unable to contact you. Please be assured that we will not share your email address with anyone.
5. Raffle results will be announced on 15 January on Chez Pim. Draws will be conducted electronically, thanks to Derrick at Obsession with Food for creating the computer application used to magically select names.

*N.B.: Canadian tax laws prohibit charitable donation receipts to be issued by registered Canadian charities for raffle or lottery tickets. The UNWFP is a U.S.-based charity; should any donation receipts be issued, you will need to seek professional advice regarding applying them to your Canadian income tax return.

Again, my prize code is CA07 and I'm donating The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook and Philadelphia Cream Cheese Classic Recipes. Thank you and please give generously!!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Chocolate Layer Cake

Ode to Chocolate Cake

A chocolate dessert.
Perfect as a birthday cake.
Makes everyone smile.

Ok, that's my feeble attempt at haiku but the sentiment is true. It's a great cake and a classic flavour. Add some ice cream, and you've got one of the best desserts ever!

Happy Birthday H!

Recipe: Chocolate Layer Cake