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chocolate coated toffee

butter toffee with chocolateHello 2017!  By now most of you are back to your daily routine.  Our Christmas decorations and tree are still up but it’ll all be put to bed come Friday – or at least the tree will be stripped and out on the sidewalk (garbage collection day).  Over the holidays I made my usual goodies as that’s what my family has come to expect and heaven help me if I change any part of that tradition (insert happy face here).  Continue Reading →

chocolate fudge

chcolate fudge - homemade holiday giftI cannot recall the last time I made fudge.  It was a family favourite growing up and around the Christmas holidays, there was always some to be had.  My mom always had the pantry and freezer full of cooked goodies.  The laundry room became the storage area for fruit cake, plum puddings, cookies, squares not to mention tins of Ganong chocolates.  It was an out-in-the-open treasure chest that as a kid I could not ignore (a few times caught with my hand in the cookie jar).  Continue Reading →

devil’s food cupcakes

devil's food cupcakesDevil’s food conjures up something sinister.  We’re all familiar with deviled eggs, devils on horseback (dates wrapped in bacon), chicken alla Diavola (devil’s chicken) etc.  And according to What’s Cooking America, the term deviled is used to describe food that is dark, rich, chocolate, spicily piquant or stimulating.  Continue Reading →

DIY ferrero rocher

diy ferrero rocherI’ve mentioned it before.  I don’t really have a sweet tooth but if there’s one chocolate that halts me in my footsteps, it’s ferrero rocher.  While I am not a fan of milk chocolate the combination of hazelnuts wrapped in what reminds me of nutella (yum) along with a crisp wafer…I’m salivating just thinking about it!  Making your own chocolates is a labor of love and I was curious to see if I could replicate my own ferrero rocher.  I went sleuthing for a DIY version on the internet.  Turns out there are quite of few. Continue Reading →

Chocolate Scones

Chocolate SconesWhat is it about a storm that makes me want to bake? We were bracing for what was supposed to be THE storm of the century.  Forecasters got it wrong…it was just another snow storm – no crippling affect felt here.  All the hype, I suppose, got to me.  Continue Reading →

Baked Chocolate Pudding

Baked Chocolate PuddingDessert is one of the things I tend to drag my heels on when planning a meal.  It can be the highlight of the meal OR it can be the opposite.  Let me explain.  By the time I come around to serving dessert, my belly is about to burst.  No matter how diligently I focus on ‘saving room’ the appetizers, drinks, and main meal have stolen the show.  Continue Reading →

Christmas Bark

Christmas BarkIf you make your own candies then I applaud you for your dedication and patience.  Years ago, a friend of my mom’s would stop by to drop off her annual Christmas gift of handmade candy.  Mrs. Scarborough would spend hours on her candies and they looked so delicate and professional.  She would tenderly explain to mom what each one was and any that might have given her grief in the making.  My siblings and I would eye the candy and savour each mouthful…there weren’t that many to go around but boy were they delicious! I like candy/desserts that don’t require much finesse or fuss but deliver that wow factor via visual presentation and taste.  Continue Reading →

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

chocolate avocado puddingFood blogging for me is always a new adventure and while it’s generally been fun there’s a tiny percentage when it isn’t.  There are times when a recipe never gets published because it just didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to and couldn’t be salvaged or because I lost my zeal and couldn’t be asked to take photos.  I don’t have a schedule as to what I’ll post this week or next week…a lot of it depends on how I’m feeling that particular day.  And, I never know what will inspire me to write a post.  The inspiration for this post comes from a text my sister sent asking what to do with avocados before they spoiled.  I sent her the usual suspects such as avocado soup, deep-fried avocado wedges, incorporating them in a salad, baked with an egg, avocado smoothie and so on.  I also did a quick scan on the web and stumbled across a slew of avocado pudding recipes.  Chocolate avocado pudding definitely caught my eye.  Avocados are naturally rich and creamy making them a perfect ingredient in a pudding.  But how would it taste?  I was, to say the least, a bit leery but felt the combination should be fine.

Serves 2

3 to 4 ripe avocados
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 half cup milk

IMG_4183 by The Culinary Chase

  1. In a food processor combine all ingredients and process until smooth. Do a taste test and adjust according to taste.
  2. Refrigerate one hour before serving.

IMG_4185The Culinary Chase’s Note: Leaving the pudding in the fridge allows the flavors to intensify.  Decorate with fresh fruit such as raspberries, chopped strawberries (my favorite), chopped bananas and a sprig of mint.  Enjoy!

Lava Cake

Lava Cake by The Culinary ChaseWhen we plan a dinner party, there’s careful consideration as to the flow of the evening especially towards the end. We want our friends to be able to walk away feeling satiated but not stuffed to the gills and about to go into a food coma! Choosing the right dessert makes for a fitting end to the evening. Don’t get me wrong, I do like a sweet now and then but more often than not, we like to end our meals with an assortment of cheese and fruit washed down with a glass of port, Gewürztraminer, sherry, or moscato. However, this lava cake recipe is one you must make! It’s super easy, not too heavy, and using good quality dark chocolate cuts out the overly sweet tones of milk chocolate (I am not a fan of milk chocolate). When you take your first cut, be prepared for the chocolate to ooze out.  Your friends will talk about this all evening!

Serves 6
adapted from The TIBS Guide To Desserts

1 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lava Cake Collage by The Culinary Chase1) Preheat oven to 425f.
2) Grease 6 (6oz.) custard or ramekin cups with butter. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave. Whisk until smooth.
3) Whisk in the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture.
4) In a bowl, beat eggs and yolks until combined. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Stir in the vanilla.
IMG_28115) Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups and bake in the oven 12 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.  Serve with fruit such as raspberries, gooseberries (shown), strawberries, or grated orange zest and top with lightly whipped cream or good quality ice cream.

gooseberry by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: Oh my stars, these were absolutely de-li-cious! Tara, TIBS baker extraordinaire, says the cakes should look firm but if you tap the top and it feels sticky or see any movement (wobbly), then they’re not quite ready. I baked the cakes 2 minutes longer as the tops were a bit sticky to touch.  Perhaps that was 2 minutes too long.  However, I still had a soft, gooey center but not as gushy as I had planned.  I slathered the custard cups with butter and as a precaution I dusted them with sugar…I was not taking any chances that the cakes would stick and they didn’t!  From start to finish, these lava cakes are ready in less than 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Date Balls

chocolate date balls by The Culinary ChaseI was listening to the radio this morning and the announcer said she only has 2 more paychecks before Christmas! Yikes! Thirty-four days to go and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping let alone any baking. In the next few days I plan to make and freeze any holiday sweets with exception of chocolate date balls…made already, eaten already!  I have to admit I was a bit skeptical these balls would pass the taste test.  They’re so delicious I will be making more and the really cool bit with these date balls is that they’re a healthy treat.  If you’re a novice cook you’ll want to try this recipe – with 6 ingredients it’s simple and easy to make.  Edible gifts are always a pleasure to give and to receive (hint, hint).

Makes 15 balls
adapted from Veggieful

1 1/2 cups pitted dates (add more if the mixture doesn’t hold its shape)
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup almonds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

chocolate date ball ingredients1. Combine ingredients in a food processor (except cocoa powder) and pulse until completely combined.
2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in cacao powder; mix well. Scoop up a tablespoon or so of the mixture, squeeze it in your hand, shape a bit and roll into balls. Refrigerate until needed.

healthy holiday goodies by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: These make the perfect hostess gift.  Enjoy!