Chocolate Caramel Pecan Upside-Down Cake

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Elizabeth and Julie appeared on Your Morning in Toronto on Friday, talking about desserts you can make in your slow cooker – recipes from the new Family Slow Cooker cookbook, which is in stores now! We made coffee pots de creme, using the slow cooker in place of the usual bain marie (hot water bath), to ensure a moist, gentle heat, but we also had our Chocolate Caramel Pecan Upside Down Cake on display – a gooey treat that bakes up perfectly in the slow cooker – and slides right out, after it’s done! 

The edges of the pecan layer will get chewy, the center stays softer. This cake will make a lot of people happy!

 

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Bleu D’Élizabeth Cheese, Dark Chocolate & Date Bites

blue cheese bites

Ever tried blue cheese paired with dark chocolate? It’s divine! These fudge-like squares are deliciously different, and can be stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them – perfect for summer nibbling.

This recipe features the 2013 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix winner in the Blue cheese and Organic cheese categories – Bleu D’Élizabeth, a beautiful organic semi-soft cheese from Quebec. But any blue will do – I like to support our local farmers and producers by choosing Canadian cheeses – some of the best in the world!

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Everything Brownies

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I’m a huge fan of brownies – and chocolate chip cookies – and Oreos. What if the three of them got together and morphed into the best of both brownie and cookie worlds? These brownies have a chocolate chip cookie dough base, sandwich cookies in the middle, and a fudgy chocolate brownie top. This is how to win friends and influence people.

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Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

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Earlier this month, Mary, Julie and Elizabeth gathered at the Cookbook Company Cooks with a few dozen Best of Bridge fans for an epic baking party to raise money for the Calgary Food Bank. (Huge thanks to Gail for letting us use her space, and to Calgary Co-op for donating all the ingredients we needed!) We put a pot of mulled wine on the stove and had a blast of an afternoon baking together. Among old classics and new favourites, this was a new discovery we came up with that’s sure to stay in our holiday baking repertoire.

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. peppermint extract (or substitute vanilla)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

extra sugar, for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening and sugar for a few minutes, until light. Beat in the egg and peppermint extract.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and roll in a shallow dish of sugar to coat. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes, until cracked and set around the edges, but still soft in the middle – they’ll firm up as they cool.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Volcanoes with Raspberry Coulis

 A guaranteed hit – easy and absolutely decadent! Prepare and freeze these serving-sized desserts ahead of the time, then cook them while you enjoy your dinner. 

Chocolate Volcanoes with Raspberry Coulis
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 Tbsp. instant espresso granules (or instant coffee granules)
  2. 1 Tbsp. boiling water
  3. 1/2 cup flour
  4. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  5. 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  6. 6 – 1 oz. squares semisweet chocolate
  7. 2/3 cup butter, softened
  8. 1/2 cup sugar
  9. 3 large eggs
Raspberry Coulis
  1. 10 1/2 oz. pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed
  2. 1/3 cup sugar
  3. 1 – 2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier liqueur (orange juice is a good substitute)
Instructions
  1. To Make Volcanoes: Dissolve coffee granules in boiling water. Set aside to cool. Grease 6 – 4 oz. ramekins. Using a whisk, combine flour, cocoa and baking powder in a small bowl. Reserve. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Add butter and sugar and stir until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Using as electric mixer, beat in eggs 1 at a time on medium speed. Add dissolved coffee and flour mixture and continue beating until fully mixed. Raise mixer speed to high and beat for 6 more minutes (there must be something good on TV!). Pour batter into ramekins and tightly wrap with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight or up to 2 weeks..
  2. To make raspberry coulis: Combine raspberries and sugar in a blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve (or a clean j-cloth) to remove seeds. Add liqueur and store in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Take ramekins out of freezer and remove plastic wrap. Bake volcanoes for 18 minutes – no longer! Cool on rack for 5 minutes. The outsides will be crusty and the centers will be gooey – sort of like your average volcano. To serve, drizzle individual plates with raspberry coulis. Invert each ramekin onto a plate and add a small scoop of ice cream.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/

Midlife crisis: when the only thing you retain is water.

Fantastic Fudge Brownies

BROWNIES
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Ingredients
  1. BROWNIES
  2. 1 CUP BUTTER 250 mL
  3. 2 CUPS SUGAR 500 mL
  4. 1⁄4 CUP COCOA POWDER 50 mL
  5. 4 EGGS, BEATEN 4
  6. 1 TSP VANILLA 5 mL
  7. 1 CUP FLOUR 250 mL
  8. 1 CUP CHOPPED WALNUTS OR PECANS 250 mL
  9. ICING
  10. 2 CUPS ICING SUGAR 500 mL
  11. 2 TBSP BUTTER 25 mL
  12. 2 TBSP COCOA POWDER 25 mL
  13. 2 TBSP BOILING WATER 25 mL
  14. 2 TSP VANILLA 10 mL
Instructions
  1. TO MAKE BROWNIES: CREAM TOGETHER BUTTER, SUGAR AND COCOA POWDER. MIX IN BEATEN EGGS AND VANILLA.
  2. ADD FLOUR AND STIR. FOLD IN NUTS. BAKE IN A GREASED13- x 9-inch (3 L) PAN AT 350°F (180°C) FOR 40 to 45 MiNUTES. TOP WILL APPEAR TO BE UNDERDONE (FALLS IN MiDDLE) BUT DON'T OVERCOOK. SHOULD BE MOIST AND CHEWY.
  3. TO MAKE ICING: BEAT ALL INGREDIENTS TOGETHER WHILE BROWNIES ARE BAKING. POUR ON TOP AS SOON AS BROWNIES COME OUT OF THE OVEN. IT WILL MELT INTO A SHINY GLAZE.
The Best of Bridge http://www.bestofbridge.com/