Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Torte




Chocolate, sweet chocolate, how I’ve missed thee.  I think chocolate was one of the hardest foods to give up. I still can only have a small amount or it will trigger headaches, but a little is better than none. And if you can only have a little, then I highly recommend this chocolate torte. It’s like chocolate mousse in cake form. A little bit of heaven. Make this for your family and friends and they will NEVER believe that it is dairy free!


Ingredients

Cooking spray
12.5 squares (5oz) Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate
¾ cup + 2T sugar
½ cup rice milk
3large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Kahlua or coffee extract
¼ tsp salt
3 large egg whites at room temperature
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

·      Heat oven to 350F
·      Line the bottom of an 8” springform pan with wax paper and lightly spray the bottom and sides with the vegetable spray.
·      Wrap bottom of pan with foil (and up the sides by 2 inches).
·      Place the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.
·      Microwave on high for 1.5-2 minutes to melt until smooth.
·      In a small sauce pan, combine ¾ cup sugar and rice milk. Whisk together and ook for 2 minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly until smooth.
·      Whisk the milk/sugar mixture into the melted chocolate until smooth.
·      Stir in egg yolks, vanilla, Kahlua (or coffee extract) and salt.
·      Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl at medium speed until foamy. You want the egg whites to form stiff, shiny peaks. 
·      Gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar; increase speed to high and beat just until stiff, but not dry. Be careful not to over mix to point of being dry.
·      With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg whites into the chocolate mixture, at a time.
·      Fold in flour
·      Spread in prepared pan.
·      Place springform pan in a roasting pan.
·      Pour enough water to reach 1” up the side of the pan.
·      Bake for 30 minutes.
·      Remove pan from water.
·      Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack
·      Discard foil. Remove sides of the pan and cool cake completely.

Chocolate Glaze

5 squares (2oz) semisweet Dark Chocolate Dream chocolate
2 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy, Kahlua or coffee extract

·      Microwave chocolate on high in a medium bowl 1.5-2 minutes.
·      Stir until smooth
·      Stir in evaporate skim milk and corn syrup, until well blended.
·      Add brandy, Kahlua (liquors) if desired
·      Pour glaze over the top of the cake, spreading over the top and the sides.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Almond Sugar Cookies

One holiday tradition that I always eagerly looked forward to as a child was baking sugar cookies with Mom. It wasn’t Christmas until the house was filled with the scent of almond. They are an almond flavored, creamy, delicate concoction covered with a powdered sugar frosting that almost melts in your mouth. We always had fun with sugar sprinkles that added a delightful crunch.




Ingredients

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
1 cup (2) Fleischmann’s Unsalted Margarine sticks
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp pure almond extract (adjust to your own preference)*
Frosting
Sugar sprinkles

·      In a medium bowl, combine and whisk the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
·      Beat the margarine and sugar in a mixing bowl. Start slowly or you’ll end up wearing the powdered sugar.
·      Add the egg and the vanilla and almond extracts. Mix until combined.
·      Slowly add the flour mixture.
·      Refrigerate the dough for 2-3 hours.

·      Preheat the oven to 375°.
·      Divide the dough in half and leave one half in the fridge.
·      On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8’ thick.
·      Cut into shapes with your favorite cookie cutters.
·      Place on a cookie sheet (I prefer to line mine with parchment paper or a silpat liner).
·      Bake the cookies for 7-8 minutes or until very lightly golden.
·      Cool completely on a wire rack.
·      Frost and decorate.

*If you are allergic to almond or do not like almond extract, omit the almond extract and use 2 tsp vanilla extract instead. You can do the same with the frosting.

Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar (sifted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp almond extract
pinch of Kosher salt
4-5 tbsp rice milk

·      Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
·      Dip the top of the cookie in the frosting and place on wax/parchment paper.
·      Sprinkle with colored sugar (or sparkles as my daughter calls them).
·      Let the frosting dry.

Note: Unfrosted cookies will last for several weeks in a sealed bag/container in the freezer.