Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ginger. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homemade Dark Chocolates


VALENTINES equals CHOCOLATES !

HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES equal 

I LOVE YOU !

treat your loved ones to something HOMEMADE from the heart.
chocolate CAN be a healthy indulgence.
BUT...you absolutely must
MOVE OVER TO THE DARK SIDE ! 
i am not a nutritionist, nor do i carry any reputable knowledge in the field, but I DO LOVE CHOCOLATE !  and...of course, i'm stretching it a bit to say chocolate is healthy, but it does carry a "SUPER-FOOD" status. there really are health benefits from the cacao nibs and the bitter seeds from which chocolate is made. 

DO YOU NEED A FEW REASONS TO GIFT DARK CHOCOLATE ?!
lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, lowers heart risk, helps fatigue, super high in antioxidants
blah, blah and more blah...

i find it's EASIEST TO WORK WITH, and....
CHOCOLATES MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY


MAKE YOUR OWN CHOCOLATES !
buy some molds,  use some mini cupcake papers or pour it on a sheet pan and make some "bark".
NO ONE WILL TURN DOWN HOMEMADE CHOCOLATES
(Chip N' Chipotle Bar recipe found HERE)

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...
TEMPER YOUR CHOCOLATE!
you want your chocolates to be nice and shiny?  go buy some molds like the ones shown... do you want it to hold up and not melt in hand?...be pretty for gift giving?  TEMPERING IS A MUST.  it is NOT hard to do.  i use the microwave method explained HERE.


here are a few flavors i have made...
always starting with 1 lb. GOOD "coverture"dark chocolate
UPDATE...shhhh...i did an experiment with Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips in a bag.  it works and the flavor is great.  some, MOST, chips won't work because they have stabilizers for baking.

DARK CHOCOLATE with South African flavors....
1 lb dark chocolate...TEMPERED
2/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
1/3 cup crystallised ginger, diced
1/4 tsp powdered ginger, 1/4 tsp cayenne
So African pepper blend from Trader Joe's
sea salt and more fresh pepper blend to finish

CUMIN CHIPOTLE COFFEE TOFFEE DARK CHOCOLATE BARS
(i used Cacao Barry Mexique 66% for this one)
1/2 cup toffee chips
1/4 cup crushed crushed coffee beans
1/8 cup cocoa nibs
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp chipotle powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder blend, 1/2 tsp cumin...sprinkle with black salt.

TOASTED COCONUT CURRY GINGER DARK CHOCOLATE
1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut
1/3 cup crystallised ginger pieces
1/2 tsp Madras curry, 1/4 tsp cayenne, lime zest, dollop of vanilla bean paste.  finish with sprinkle of sea salt and a little coconut strands.

ROSEMARY BLACK PEPPER and POTATO STICKS
(i forgot to write this recipe down...my bad)
but i always use fresh rosemary that is dried in the toaster oven.  store bought just isn't as flavorful.  i also used crushed potato sticks that come in a can from Mother's Market and fresh ground pepper with sea salt finish.

when your chocolate is tempered at 90 F degrees, add your ingredients.  i like to keep my glass bowl inside another bowl with a towel inside to cradle and keep everything warm.  have a small hairdryer handy in case you need a blast of warm air to keep your chocolate at or around 90 F degrees.  pour or spoon your chocolate into molds of choice.  try to work fairly quick or you will lose you temper...in more ways than one. 
give the molds or tray a few knocks on the counter to release any bubbles and settle the chocolate.  sprinkle with salt, pepper, your extra what-evers.  set in the fridge for about 15-30 minutes and remove from fridge.  let them come to room temp before packaging for gifts.

THIS IS A MESSY JOB for 1st timers, BUT WELL WORTH THE GRATITUDE YOU WILL RECEIVE FROM YOUR INTENDED LOVED ONE.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Homemade Ginger Ale or Beer...or HOOCH


HOMEMADE GINGER HOOCH
the non-alcoholic kind

positively the most satisfying best tasting ginger ale i've ever had in my life!
and it's HEALTHY.


well...as you might have guessed i'm on a quest for the best, funnest, most interesting and out of the ordinary drinks of the NON-ALCOHOLIC NATURE.

as stated in a previous post... 
the most important person at your summer party is the designated driver.
if that person is bored and ain't havin' a good time...if THAT person wants to go...everybody goes...
THE PARTY'S OVER!

so take some time and make some special concoctions to keep the party going.

THIS RECIPE IS NOT DIFFICULT...
IT JUST TAKES PATIENCE
start with a "ginger bug"...wait...
make a "wort"...
add the "BUG" to the "WORT"...wait...
bottle and wait some more...
in about 2 weeks...you'll have  HOOCH
i like saying "hooch", but this is KID FRIENDLY.  i read that you'd have to drink a gallon or two of the stuff just to possibly equal 1 light beer.  i'm not an expert, i'm just going by what i have researched on quite a few different sites...so if you are worried, please do some more research and please let me know.


GINGER BUG

1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger, (clean or peel knob)
1 large Tbsp of sugar
filtered water

fill a quart mason(sterilized) jar 2/3 full with filtered water.  add ginger and sugar, stir until the sugar dissolves.  cover, as shown, with canning ring and cheese cloth...or a rubber band and cheese cloth.
before you go to sleep, give it another stir.
in the morning add another 1 Tbsp ginger and 1 Tbsp sugar...stir.
repeat this for 3-4 days or until you see some action happening on the surface.  there will be some visible fermenting bubbling "action".  if this does not happen within 5 days, you might want to consider starting over.
NOTE...always try to use sterilized equipment so as not to introduce any odd bacterias...even when going in for a simple stirring.  just a good wash with antibacterial soap should do, but i sterilize the jar in the oven for 15 minutes at 220 degrees.

GINGER WORT

1 1/2 to 2 cups pure cane sugar
1/3 cup fresh grated ginger
2 qts filtered water

bring this mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  let this steep (covered for  while) and come to room temperature.


HOMEMADE GINGER BEER...or ALE
or GINGER HOOCH
NOTE...this is NOT AN ALCOHOL version.
i just like saying GINGER HOOCH

1 cup strained "ginger bug"
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
"ginger wort" from recipe above


add above items into 1 gallon glass jar.  fill the rest with filtered water.  stir to combine.  cover with cheesecloth and rubber band and let sit on the counter for 5 days.  taste it the 2nd or 3rd day.  does it need more sugar or lemon or ginger?
i added juice from 2 more lemons, a little more grated ginger and 1/8 cup sugar.
stir very morning and night for 3-7 days.
i waited 5 days

now strain the gallon of liquid into glass bottles with locking tops (as shown)...like Grolsch beer bottles.  it's cheaper to buy the Grolsch beer and have someone drink it then buy the bottles alone.  strain into pourable container then USE A FUNNEL.
let this sit somewhere safe...i read in a lot of blogs that said thiese could possibly explode...YIKES!   so, depending on the weather and where you live...keep a close eye on them.  i had one plastic bottle so that i could squeeze it to check the pressure and i tested a sealed glass bottle after 5 days. .  
I BABIED MY BOTTLES FOR 12 DAYS.
after 5 days...a little effervescent fizz
after 9 days...a little more fizz

after 17 days of tender loving care....?
bubbles...beautiful  effervescent bubbles.  nothing like the fake store bought stuff.  these were very gentle sparkles and the flavor is far beyond...

this is best served "NEAT"...chilled sans ice

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Double Ginger Chewy Chocolate Chip Molasses Cookies


GINGER ?... MOLASSES ?....summertime?
YES...why not?  there are no holiday flavor police
i love ginger and i love molasses...i love both fabulous flavors all year 'round.
why does molasses only come around during the Christmas holidays?....
it seems everyone forgets how to use it  'til the "holiday spice fest" rolls around.  these delicious flavors pop at specific times of the year, then get stashed in the back of the pantry and we quickly move on.  
what's wrong with...say...
pumpkin pie in the summer...
lemon tart in the dead of winter...
or fruity popsicles when it's pouring rain...?!

i know there are a zillion molasses/ginger cookie recipes out there and you've probably tasted each one during the winter holiday months, but i didn't see too many with chocolate
 i'm on a chocolate kick right now and i always love the zing of ginger so i thought the two would be a good combo with the deep molasses...and that, it is.  something a little different for the normal summer cookie line up.  move over lemon bars and macaroons.

i'll be quick about it and get to the recipe.
NOTE...i made mine a little smaller than usual so i could stretch the recipe, but when you make them large they really are good and chewy in the middle with that slight crunch on the sugar coated edges.
i made 4 1/2 dozen from this batch, but 3 dozen would make a nice large cookie.


CHEWY MOLASSES with CHOCOLATE CHIPS and CRYSTALLIZED GINGER
my apologies to the person i got the base recipe from.  i ALWAYS like to give props to the original.  it's hand written in my file drawer and i don't have any info at all to pass on.  it might have evn been good ol' Betty Crocker.
i changed it up a little by lowering the sugar content with a little splenda,  substituted with 1/2 white whole wheat flour, added some crystalized ginger bits AND added chocolate chips.

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups white sugar...i substituted with 1/2 cup splenda (no one knew)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
1 CUP MOLASSES!
2 eggs, room temperature
4 cups AP flour...i substituted with 2 cups white whole wheat
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1.5 - 2 oz of crystallized ginger, diced or baking pieces
1/2 cup (or more) semi sweet chocolate chips...more would have been better


HOW TO...
preheat to 350 F degrees.
using a paddle attachment on your mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
add molasses and eggs...mix thoroughly.
in a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk.
add dry to wet 1/3 at a time.  mix until well combined...dough should be soft and smooth
chill at least 30 minutes.
form dough into balls 1' - 1 1/2" in diameter.
roll balls in sugar...i used raw Tubinado sugar for a good extra crunch
bake on parchment (allow room for spreading) at 350 degrees till edges are firm...approximately 13 minutes depending on the size of your cookies

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