12 ounces chocolate, chopped (semisweet or bittersweet)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons liqueur, optional (see step #5)
In a double boiler over barely simmering water, combine chocolate, butter and heavy cream. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir until you have a smooth mixture.
Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
Pour into a shallow casserole dish and cool to room temperature.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. If you refrigerate longer than two hours, the mixture will be too hard to work with. If this occurs, allow the mixture to sit at room temperature until they are pliable enough to work with.
If you are infusing truffles with spirits of any sort be sure to let the chocolate cool enough, so the heat does not burn off the alcohol. A good measure of readiness is to place a small dab of chocolate on your lips, if it’s warm and not hot the truffle mixture is ready to be infused.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a small scoop (2 teaspoons) or a melon baller, scoop out chocolate mixture, roll into one inch balls, and place on prepared baking sheet.
Continue with remaining chocolate mixture.
Roll balls in your desired coating, I typically use high quality sweetened cocoa powder such as Scharffen Berger.
Refrigerate truffles until ready to serve.
Gouda Mac and Cheese
3/4 pound dry small pasta I used elbow
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups milk I used skim
2 cups finely shredded Gouda or substitute with a mild cheddar cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions. I recommend cooking the pasta a minute less than the directions. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.
To prepare roux, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until color of roux gets slightly darker. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in cheese until melted.
Transfer cooked pasta to large dutch oven or pot over low heat. Pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to combine. This is a thick and creamy sauce. To thin the sauce, add a few tablespoons of milk at a time until at desired consistency.
Top with 1/2 cup graded Gouda to make it perfect
Honey, Apricot, and Almond Goat Cheese Spread
8 oz goat cheese or cream cheese
1/3 cup lightly salted almonds
4-5 dried apricots (chopped)
2-3 tsp fresh chopped parsley or basil
1/4-1/2 cup apricot preserves
honey for drizzling
Remove goat cheese from protective packaging and soften to room temperature.
Spread fresh preserves on a cheese tray or serving platter.
Place your almonds in a bag or between two sheets of paper towel and crush using a blunt object, like a glass olive oil bottle.
Next chop your apricots and mix together with the almonds and parsley.
Roll your goat cheese in the mixture, pressing gently to coat.
Set the goat cheese log atop the preserves and surround with crackers and fresh fruit.
Finish it off with a hearty drizzle of honey and you're good to go!
Roasted Garlic and Gruyere Cheese Dip
3 heads of garlic, whole
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
8 oz of gruyere, shredded
1 cup of parmesan, shredded
½ cup of sour cream
½ cup of mayo
splash of hot sauce
splash of white wine (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, cut the tops off the heads of garlic to expose the cloves and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in tin foil and toss into the oven for 40-50 mins.
Once roasted, squeeze the garlic into a bowl and mash it, lower oven temp to 375
Then mix in the rest of the ingredients, reserving ½ cup of the cheese, and stir to combine everything really well.
Pour into a cast iron skillet and top with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until it is brown and bubbly on top.*
Serve with sliced bread or veggies.
The Best Bread Pudding
1 quart (4 cups) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 French baguettes
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups brown sugar
Mix the cream, eggs, white sugar, cinnamon and vanilla together very well in a very large bowl.
Slice the baguettes lengthwise then cut into 1" pieces.
Soak the bread in the cream mixture in the refrigerator overnight, covered.
Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with pan spray or coat with butter.
Layer in the soaked bread but not all the cream mixture. Discard the remaining cream mixture.
Leave the bread about 1/2" from the top so it has room to rise when baking.
Cover the top with brown sugar and bake at 325 for 45 minutes, then start checking and remove when center is set.
For the Sauce:
Melt butter then add brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Add the cream and stir very well then set aside.
When the bread pudding is ready let it cool for 15 minutes then pour the sauce over the top so it can soak in. You may not need all of the sauce.
French Silk Pie
1 9" baked pie shell
1 cup butter softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
4 square baking chocolates, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the butter and sugar
Add chocolate and vanilla
Beat with electric mixer at low speed until well blended
Beat for 10 minutes
Pour into baked pie shell and chill for several hours