Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Chocolate Pot de Crème



Chocolate Pot de Crème (“pot of cream”, en Français) is one of my all-time favorite desserts, chocoholic that I am. Rich – very rich – and ultra-creamy, I think of it as chocolate pudding on steroids. It 



makes an indulgent and festive dessert for a holiday meal, especially when served with a flavored whipped cream (a must to cut the richness of the custard). I like to top it with coconut, peppermint or 



cacao nib whipped cream. For the coconut cream, I just infuse hot cream with unsweetened coconut (about 2/3 cup for 1 ½ cups cream) for 20 minutes or so, then chill and whip with some sugar. For the peppermint cream, just add a bit of peppermint extract along with some sugar



before whipping. For the cacao nib cream, give it the same treatment as for the coconut cream, using ¼ cup nibs for 1 cup cream. For the pot de crème, do use a really good chocolate, such as Guittard or Valrhona – it makes all the difference!


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gingersnaps!



Gingersnaps rank among my favorite all-time cookies, even though I generally only make them around the holidays. But this year I got a jump on things and made a batch before Thanksgiving, so I wouldn’t have to share them with anyone (sorry, I know that 



sounds stingy).  I like my gingersnaps to be more on the ‘soft’ as opposed to ‘snappy’ (i.e., crisp) side, and so I bake them just until they are browned around the edges. If you prefer a crisper gingersnap, bake them a few minutes more, until they are evenly 



browned all over. For the sugar topping, you can use a coarse raw sugar (Turbinado or Demerara), but I prefer to use organic evaporated cane sugar, which is available in most grocery stores now, because it has a finer texture that melts as you eat it. Crumbled up, these homemade gingersnaps also make a wonderful crust for pumpkin cheesecake. 



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