T.F.’s “Ultimate”

TFU Cheesecake 3 arrSay, “Cheese-cake!” I don’t always make cheesecake but, when I do, it must be in following Tyler Florence’s Ultimate recipe.  Seriously the best homemade cheesecake instruction I have come across ─ to date ─ let it be known:  a piece of this all-American style dessert is not for the faint of heart.  Dense, rich, and reassuringly decadent, Tyler’s take on this classic is full of flavour ─ a.k.a. saturated fatty deliciousness.  Needless to say, the anatomy of this three-part cake is telling of a very good ─ for your taste buds ─ anticipated treat:  tart fruit topping, velvety smooth filling, and a buttery cinnamon-infused graham cracker crust.

TFU Cheesecake 5 arrCare to get your own cheesecake factory up and running? Clearly I do, and you can too!  Simply remember:  all is possible with some precision and elbow grease.  So for the making of your own cheesy round, start by getting your hands on the ‘necessities’ and separately prepare each required layer.   Crackers smashed and blended with melted butter and spice, mould the dry crumbs into a cake pan and set it aside into the fridge.  Now for the filling, here’s what you’ll need:  cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla essence and lemon zest.  Filling made and crust chilled, continue by pouring the abundant batter into the cookie shell and wrap the cake tin’s exterior ─ twice, for safe measure ─ with foil.  While some recipes omit a steam bath ─ ‘bain-marie’ ─ this one calls for it.  TFU Cheesecake 7 arrAnd so, it’s a must to ensure the aluminum package is tightly sealed prior to submerging it into a roasting pan filled with hot water.  Finally ready to bake, carefully place the pan-filled contents into a preheated oven for about 45 minutes, as per Tyler’s directions.  A tad bit extra work ─ I know ─ but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Messing not with this cheesecake recipe, then, I can attest that adhering to Tyler’s steps will yield optimal results: a perfectly smooth moist cake.  And once chilled, this delicately sweet creamy cheesecake can be enjoyed ‘as is’ or made more scrumptious with the addition of a fruit topping.  TFU Cheesecake 9 arrWhile the original recipe proposes a simmering of citrus zest and blueberries, my preference lies with seasonal ‘rouge’ embellishments.  In effect, I replace Tyler’s warm blueberry lemon topping with vibrant red raspberries.  Still refreshing and bursting with bright flavour, I first enrobe the plain cheesecake canvas with a spreading of sieved raspberry preserve, and then decorate the glistening surface with orderly rows of fresh ruby berries.  ‘Et voilà,’ this presentable cake is now ready to slice and share.  Indeed living true to status, this “ultimate” cake boldly delivers in taste, texture, and appeal.  Obviously beyond words, it’s just one of those things ─ ‘c’est du fromage!’

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

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Pithiviers aux Amandes

Pithiviers 1 arrWhen I think of aromatic breads, divine pastries and scrumptious cakes, French recipes and masters of the trade definitely come to mind. Truly synonymous with all things deliciously baked, it’s no wonder I celebrate this year’s Epiphany with ‘galette des rois.’  Loosely translated to ‘king cake,’ this regional favourite is made and enjoyed to commemorate the arrival of the Wise Men.

More pleasing for foodies, ‘pithiviers’ generally refers to a filled puff pastry pie that can be either sweet or savoury. For the making of this particular ‘galette,’ I decide to encase two sheets of puff pastry with almond frangipane.  Just like Martha Stewart, I follow her frangipane recipe and baking instructions ‘to a T.’  Keeping things real-ly honest, however, I forgo the making of ‘pâte feuilleté’ from scratch and stand by a very good purchase of pre-made ‘quality’ frozen puff pastry.  Great news is:  “You can too!” Still buttery, flaky and rich, store-bought puffy pastry is my kind of “good thing!”Pithiviers 2 arr

Recipe, now simplified, I expedite the process slightly further by spreading refrigerated ─ not frozen ─ frangipane filling onto one of two cut rounds ─ 9 inches in diameter ─ of puff pastry. Being sure not to spread the almond filling right to the edge of the pastry dough, I continue by brushing egg wash along the circumference of the first disc, then cover it with the second cut sheet, and finally seal the two.  Adhering to the remaining steps, I remove the chilled encased ‘pithiviers’ from the icebox and prepare the final stages.  For its completion, here’s what to do:  brush the domed exterior with the remainder of egg-wash, score the top with a pattern of choice, and finally bake the ‘galette’ into a preheated oven for the specified time.Pithiviers 4 arr

Time-elapsed and house-filled with the scent of victoriously baked sweetness, here’s the end result: it looks, smells, and tastes nothing like “store-bought!”  Golden on the outside and delicately perfumed with a creamy nutty interior, this take on almond ‘pithiviers’ is indicative of ‘kingly’ flavour and desired light crispy texture.  Also saving time and exceeding expectation, celebrations are clearly in order with this share-worthy pastry ─unequivocally, a piece of cake!

© DISHFUL, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

C’est Si Bon

Bailey's & Hazelnut Truffles 2 arrOnce upon a reverie, a dessert table befitting of all celebrations ─ Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa ─ prepared itself.  Wishful thinking, of course, planning for the upcoming holidays need not be stressful.  Joyful, joyful ─ still ─ seasonal eats may require some elbow grease but, are very manageable.  So yes, you can do it all ─ parades, shopping, dinner parties and homemade desserts ─ but, just remember:  pace yourself.

Bailey's & Hazelnut Truffles 1 arrWith the festive spirit in the air, I cast aside wintry blues ─ the best way I know how ─ and get the ball rolling with a recipe fit for success.  Even better, this task involves quality control in the form of taste testing, and includes none other than an all-time favourite ─ cho-co-la-te!  Clearly, happy times call for chocolaty measures.  Making no exceptions, then, here’s my idea of a must-indulge crowd-pleaser that’s easy to create, share and devour:  Bailey’s Chocolate Truffles.

Bailey's & Hazelnut Truffles 3 arrCourtesy of Martha Stewart’s recipe, the making of your very own cocoa rich confections are a few ingredients away.  For this highly achievable chocolate truffle, all you need is:  ½ cup heavy cream, 8 ounces of fine quality semi-sweet chocolate, liqueur, and cocoa.  Equally versatile, chocoholics rejoice!  Personalizing truffles to suit your palette is a cinch.  First follow basic instructions, then swap the Bailey’s Irish Cream for a preferred alternative, and finally enrobe the truffles with melted chocolate in place of cocoa.

Bailey's & Hazelnut Truffles 4 arrFinding this recipe too irresistible not to quantifiably double, two times the ingredients happily yields twice the amount of velvety rich morsels of creamy chocolate.  Just to recap, here’s a second take on what to do:  heat the cream, pour the liquid over the chocolate shavings or chips, add flavouring, mix contents until smooth, and chill the mixture in the fridge.  Once set, use a melon-baller to measure out even-sized rounds of ganache filling, and then work quickly to roll the truffles into your choice of possible coatings:  confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, toasted nuts, shredded coconut or chocolate sprinkles.  For my second batch, I replace Irish Cream with hazelnut syrup in addition to use of filberts for added texture.  Mindful that these decadent bites of heaven can be spoiled by a rancid nut, I recommend purchase of raw hazelnuts that can be pan-toasted or cooked in the oven.  In essence, use of fresh products will ensure premium truffles that will leave guests with a palatably sweet memory.  So good, in fact, these two-bite delights will get everyone caroling, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…” ─ bonbons!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Melon Ice Pops

Are hot and humid days leaving you with a muggy disposition? Fortunately, taming boiling temperaments is possible with a clear solution ─ ice pops to the rescue! Evading sugary selects, this summer encourages the making of your very own icebox “go-to” treat. For my take, I forgo the freezer aisle and opt for fresh and seasonally fragrant produce. Both naturally sweet, either watermelon or cantaloupe is ideal for your choice of melon pops though other varieties ─ canary, honeydew or casaba ─ are equally formidable substitutes.

Melon Ice Pops 3 arrSimply delicious and irresistibly quick to make, here’s how: cut your melon of choice into chunks, then place fleshy cubes into a food processor and pulse until a purée consistency is reached; and finally, pour contents into a popsicle mold and set it into a freezer. It’s truly that easy! Just chop, blend, and let it go into the icebox to solidify. To enjoy, simply remove the frozen pops from the icebox and leave them at room temperature to slightly defrost. Melon Ice Pops 2 arrOr, if you can’t wait, run hot tap water over the surface of the container’s exterior until a popsicle loosens and is ready for a lift. ‘Et voilà!’ ─ no-fuss frosticles!

Subtly sweet and virtually guilt-free, I did not add any sugar to my batch of cantaloupe melon pops. Hopefully, you will also luck out with ripened fruit. But if not, no worries! Keeping a cool head, you can most definitely adjust this recipe with extra helpings ─ tablespoon(s) of sugar or honey ─ and ultimately appease your sweet tooth. As a rule of thumb, remember: give blitzed contents a taste and, then, fine-tune ingredients to create a palatably suitable concoction.Melon Ice Pops 7 arr

No food processor? ─ No problem! In keeping with a cool summer and the above steps, you can conveniently use a blender to make melon pops. As a friendly tip, liquid may be required to facilitate movement of solid watermelon or cantaloupe with this particular kitchen gadget. In this case, adding some water ─ just as I have for the cantaloupe pops ─ can help yield a liquefied texture. If watching your sugar-intake is a non-issue, replacing water with a splash or two of simple syrup ─ or a little more ─ is completely fine. Getting creative, you can even try elevating these frozen fruit pops with flavourful bursts of freshly squeezed orange or lemon citrus. Putting a lip-smacking spin on this recipe, I combine watermelon with good old-fashioned lemonade to create the best of both worlds ─ a tartly sweet edible duality that works, tastefully!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Chiado Is What Chiado Does

Chiado 1 arr Summertime is sizzling and for one reason ─ Summerlicious! If you haven’t heard, no worries, there’s still time. Every year, this Toronto food event caters to hungry, enthusiastic and curious patrons. Foodie or not, now is the time to literally sample a three course menu from that establishment you’ve been eyeing for some time. Among friends, here’s a little piece of FYI: please do, R.S.V.P. Chiado 2 arr“I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.” This expression clearly resonates, given we’re ready to eat but uncertain in which locale to invest. Choices galore, the range of participating venues leave many to contemplate between fair to fine dining hosts. This year, however, I just had to taste my way through a ‘prix-fixe’ that was inclusive to an item never tried. And so, I must ─ “must-indulge,” at Chiado. Chiado 3 arrDid someone say ‘sizzle’? ─ Sim, sim, sim!!! ‘Chiado’ ─ as in the Portuguese term ─ indicates ‘sizzle,’ and for a reason. Happy to greet, seat and serve guests, the start of my experience is sizzling with great service. Waiting not, prompt seating and tableside attention is not an issue ─ mind you, former reservation had been made. Evidently still, staff are welcomingly present, professional and do their very best to accommodate patrons. First thing’s first, treat your senses with a taste of complimentary: black cured olives, an overfilled bread basket, and dipping olive oil. Already noted ─ here ─ it’s all about quality.Chiado 4 arr Eager for more appetizing delights, the menu selection is consistent with palatable options. For starters, opt for a seaside inspiration via saffron and cognac-infused shrimp bisque, grilled lemon garlic sardines or salmon tartar à la avocado mousse. Agreeably tempting, I forgo the aforementioned for a vegan appetizer that satisfies while taking account of needed room for the ‘main’ choice to come. In the meantime, my first course leaves a pleasantly earthy and enriching taste that is: portabella mushroom and eggplant that is topped with delicately broiled goat cheese, and justly flavoured with champagne vinaigrette.  Chiado 6 arr A true reflection of the Mediterranean, Chiado succeeds in a menu that well-encompasses regional cuisine as seen with: ‘dourada’ or fileted sea bream, grilled squid and a salted cod terrine, in addition to other piscatorial dishes such as pan-seared skate fish and Atlantic salmon. Seafood cooked right is an incomparable experience in its own right. Chiado 5 arrNonetheless, I set my ‘mainly’ mind on Chiado’s apparent “rule of the roost.” Tried for the first time, the garlic and herb-crusted “Roasted breast of Capon” is overbearingly succulent, adequately heated with ‘piri piri’ sauce, and persists to be undeniably preferred over the usual ‘white meat’ chicken alternative.  Absolutely hearty, the generous serving of ‘capon’ is enough to satisfy one’s eyes and appetite, though the root vegetable and ‘haricots verts’ accompaniments are worth savouring. Chiado 7 arrAnd now, time for dessert! Beyond comfortably-full ─ several bites ago, into the second course ─ how can I ignore Portuguese tradition? Treated to a pillow slice of light ‘molotof’ ─ egg white meringue ─ enrobed in caramel, this cotton candy-like cloud denotes both a sweet finale to this delicious meal, and a prelude to a necessary siesta. Happy eats and sweet dreams in, this Summerlicious experience is ─ most definitely ─ ‘Chiado.’

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Froyo Inferno

Banana ChocoFro arrHot and hazy days call for an ice-box favourite ─ say it is so, “ICE CREAM!”  Sweet, creamy and undoubtedly refreshing, who wouldn’t want to indulge in this summertime favourite?  I know I do, but with another ‘seasonal must’ beckoning ─ teenie weenie swimsuits ─ dreaded bouts of foreseeable guilt supersede advanced signs of temptation.  Fortunately, sunny days remain bright with an evasion of processed “sugar-free” and “fat-free” alternatives in exchange for homemade batches of fruit-flavoured frozen treats.

Banana Fro arrRecipes abound, there’s no shortage of instructions that call upon the usual suspects ─ sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla ─ and use of an ice-cream maker.  Having both the ingredients and the machinery ‘chez-moi,’ the common necessities aren’t an issue.  What it really comes down to, however, is the “s” word ─ SUGAR!  And so, I continue to scour the net and happily find an effortless frozen recipe that calls for two things:  bananas, and a food processor.  Ultimately working with a blank canvas, be brave and personalize your soon-to-be congealed treat with tasty additions ─ dash of cinnamon, a handful of nuts for added crunch, and even a tablespoon or two of either peanut butter or Nutella.

Blueberry FroYo arrStarting with the basics, follow these steps:  first peel and slice ripened bananas, then place cut pieces into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a few hours or overnight.  How many bananas?  Good question!  As a rule of thumb, you can start with three but, just remember:  if you use more, you’ll get more.  So, it really depends on how large a batch you seek.  Once frozen, place the banana slices into a food processor and keep pulsing ─ about three to five minutes ─ until you yield a smooth consistency likened to soft-serve.  Finally, enjoy this naturally sweet delight immediately or store it in the freezer ─ once again ─ for a more solidified confection.  Requiring minimal ingredients but resulting in superior taste, it truly doesn’t get any easier than this.  So easy, in fact, I couldn’t resist dividing my potassium-rich batch into two and by proceeding to blend it with some cocoa powder ─ ‘et voilà,’ my very own chocolaty banana ice-cream.

Strawberry FroYo arrHooked on something wonderful, why stop now?  Equally achievable, making homemade strawberry and blueberry frozen yogurt is next on my list.  Courtesy of Just A Taste, I adhere to directions that call for three ingredients:  four cups of berries, ½ cup of yogurt, and three tablespoons of honey.  Like the banana recipe, begin with your choice of frozen berries and pulse the fruit using a food processor.  Catering to my taste, I combine the frozen fruit purée with ½ cup of thick and creamy Balkan-style yogurt, in addition to Manuka honey.  So far so good, I pour the vibrant batch of semi-frozen yogurt into a temperature-safe container and leave it in the freezer to solidify.  That’s it ─ done and done!

FroYo Palette arrAs for overall impressions, taste is not an issue so much as texture.  Clean and refreshing to the palette, both berry-inspired frozen yogurts are light and far from saturated ─ no cream, no refined sugar, no problem?  Not quite!  As any ice-cream maker well knows, sugar helps reduce the formation of ice crystals.  Honey, on that note, has purposefully been incorporated into this somewhat health-conscious recipe.  Making a valiant appearance, however slight, the ‘sweet stuff’ ─ agave nectar or other sweetener ─ does not share similar proportions as one would typically find in the rich custard original.  That said, the absence of fat and white sugar in this recipe indicates a less than creamy outcome that fares closer to a ‘granita.’  Needless to say, this fro-yo recipe may cater to some but not all.  On the plus side, there’s no denying this:  bright authentic taste of hand-picked strawberries trump any artificially-packed tub load.  So is fro-yo a go go?  I’d say so!  It’s definitely good as-is, and worth repeating using an ice-cream maker, at least for curiosity’s sake ─ churn baby churn!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Irish You a Happy St. Paddy’s!

GuinnessCCakes 7 arr“Kiss me, I’m Irish!” ─ well, not quite!  Definitely Irish-ish in spirit, who wouldn’t be?  Painting the town green, St. Patrick’s Day is definitely to be seen, heard and celebrated both near and far.  GuinnessCCakes 3 arrGetting early festivities under way, the baker in me feels equally happy-go-lucky to colour my kitchen with my next must-make-bake-and-indulge Emerald Isle inspired treat.  Kissing one decadent recipe “hello,” here’s a moist cake worth touting:  Guinness Chocolate Cake with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Frosting.

GuinnessCCakes 4 arrTraditional or not, a beer-infused dessert is to be truly tried and tasted, at least once.  And in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes ─ yes you can switch things up, and make cupcakes!  Courtesy of Epicurious, anyone can take the original recipe and still yield great flavour with a pan swap-out.  Caring to share a taste of Ireland with friends, then, just exchange a round cake pan for a muffin tin and your mini cakes are set by the dozen.  Needless to say, crack open and pour ‘Made in Ireland’ exports, then prepare and evenly distribute the cake batter into cupcake papers for the start of your very own ‘nouveau’ 12-pack.  GuinnessCCakes 5 arr

Lament-free upon a baking session gone right, these Guinness ‘cups’ are undeniably cocoa-rich, infused with dry ebony stout, and baking ‘familiars’ ─ a.p. flour, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, baking soda and sour cream.  Spirits already elated, you may forgo addition of ‘magical’ hints ─ authentic aged whiskey ─ and opt to top solidified pints of brew-baked cake with modest butter cream.   Going the extra mile, however, Bailey’s cream liqueur befits the occasion and mood for a double-double dose of Irish flavour.  GuinnessCCakes 6 arrEnd result, I deem frosted stout cupcakes to be a clover of a dessert find ─ they’re saporous, sweet and simply shamrockin’!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

This Is How We Do Vegas

BBP4 arr“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!”  Landing in “Entertainment Capital,” this inviting foodie haven is bound to appease every sense.  Fortunately, the need to feed can be accomplished northbound or heading south of Las Vegas Boulevard.  Hungering over Vegas sights, who knew walking along “the strip” quickly leaves one simply hungry.  Sleepless in 702, and with an insatiable appetite for sinfully delicious calories, BBP is a worthy pit stop to replenish and re-energize.

BBP2 arrCourtesy of Bobby Flay’s very own burger palace, this fast-food joint flame-broils three selects ─ Angus beef, chicken or ground turkey ─ and with endless savoury ‘stately’-inspired toppings.  Debating not over the east or west, burger-lovers can go coastal with picks such as the “Miami,” the “Dallas” and even the “Bobby Blue.”  What’s more?  Choose your preferred meat patty, and get it “Crunchified.”  That’s right, even if you’re not keen on the “Crunchburger” ─ double cheeseburger with chips ─ this burger house will generously tower any desired protein plate with golden crisps.  So there you have it:  the addition of complimentary potato chips fit for preferential treatment ─ burger of choice ─ and, ultimately a high stakes noshing session of tasty bites of Americana.

BBP1 arrDo we ever learn from jokes?  I do like my coffee ‘hot,’ my chips ‘crisp’ and while in a restaurant, I’ll definitely ─ especially, when given the choice ─ take my burger “Topless.”  Inside-joke ─ perhaps ─ but, when you’re at BBP in Vegas, this is the way to order.  On the menu, and soon to be my very own, I opt for a “Topless” ─ hold the buns, carb-free ─ “L.A.” style Angus beef burger salad with a serving of chicken.  Clearly, ‘someone’ hearts protein and veg.  Even better, my plateful is promptly delivered tableside and ─ utensils in-hand ─ ready for consumption.  All in all, the combination of succulent ─ doubled ─ meat with sweet baby greens, creamy avocado relish, refreshing tomato, watercress, and balsamic dressing is without a doubt one delectable gamble for a meal gone right.

BBP3 arrFully satisfied at BBP, a ‘good’ food experience is like winning the jackpot.  Luckily, Bobby’s Burger Palace offers plenty of highly mentionable items to leave many with ‘won-over’ appetites, post-indulging.  Tender yet crisp, the sea salted sweet potato fries are quite good and a possible accompaniment as are other sides.  Leaving enticing malts and milkshakes for a future visit, here’s my overall first impression of Mr. Iron Chef’s burger restaurant:  it does reign in supreme flavour and service.  On that note, “Allez cuisine!” ─ and, make a trip to BBP.

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

To Choux Beginnings!

New year, and more resolutions? ─ “mais, oui!”  Evading déjà vu ─ or not ─ fulfilling delicious goals via classical desserts promises to be the ‘solution’ to make, and keep this year.  In pursuit of a sweet-er life, I start 2015 right with my very own wheel of fortunately scrumptious Paris-Crest.

Profiterole4 arrFar from a coat of arms, I’m referring to the creation of an edible profiterole ring ─ a.k.a. ‘crest’ ─ courtesy of Martha Stewart’s pâte à choux recipe.  Highly achievable, the making of light as air choux pastry requires a happy medium between precision, some elbow grease and simple ingredients:  sugar, salt, water, flour, butter and eggs.  Void of complications, just heed to instructions ─ step-by-step ─ and amaze yourself with a delectable display of soon-to-be sweet or savory cream-filled ‘puffs.’

Profiterole2 arrFrench pastry sounds divine, and is nothing to be feared.  So, pause and pace yourself.  If you feel overwhelmed and want to back out of this baking feat, consider this:  despite its sophisticated appearance, yielding celebratory bites of ‘fancy’ are more than likely, as long as one adheres to outlined procedures ─ no shortcuts.  Quest ─ presumably ─ settled, let’s get baking!  Between gleaming éclairs, towering croquembouche, or layered St. Honoré cake, I’m ready to tackle profiteroles.  After all, there’s something to be said for understated beginnings.  And regardless of desired dessert, the start of all the above encased indulgences boil down to preparation and use of the same enriched, glossy, and light dough ─ choux pastry.

Profiterole5 arrRemember:  fret not, get organized and stay golden!  Recreating the very possible Paris-Crest is a breeze, and practically half-way done with advance preparation. Separate batches of pastry and homemade fillings once made, scoop choux contents into a piping bag while refrigerating the creamy whip and silky custard.  In continuance, pipe 16 pastry rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and brush each circular surface with a coating of egg-wash ─ essentially, a prelude of shiny ‘ringed’ domes to come.  Skipping no step, this sweet bread should bake to an expansive state, and ultimately reveal a hollow interior.  Profiterole1 arrPost-cooling, use a serrated knife to slice the pastry wreath ─ horizontally ─ and proceed by filling the bottom layer with a spoonful of pastry cream in addition to a generous piping swirl of sweetened whipped cream.  To finish, cover the filled dessert with the second half of baked pastry.  For a final touch, decorate the ‘cupolas’ of this gorgeous circular structure with a heavy dusting of confectioner’s sugar.  ‘Et voilà,’ there you have it ─ abundance at its best!  Equally befitting for any occasion, Paris-Crest is more than a delicate round of cream-filled ‘clouds’ ─ it’s the ‘crowning’ reward for a mission thoroughly accomplished.

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

 

“A Festive Miracle!”

Festivus Fudge 3 arrSweet mother of decadence:  when in doubt, fudge-it-out!  Traditional and full-proof, silent nights are guaranteed with bonbons made righteous.  And when made especially right ─ sans a candy thermometer ─ quiet consumption is the only indicator to echo volumes of successful homemade batches of soft and creamy goodness.  Fortunately, one need not live in a marshmallow world to whip up mouth-watering morsels of confectionery cheer.  Unrestricted to snowy seasons, the art of fudge-making is an incredibly effortless endeavour for anyone to take on many ‘wonderful’ times of year.Festivus Fudge 5 arr

Getting back to the basics, the starting process for this old-fashioned novelty involves a handful of ingredients and three simple steps:  melt, mix and chill.  Scoring brownie points ─ for closest in flavour ─ the combination of semi-sweet chocolate and walnuts remain a timeless classic.  Cookies and cream, maple, and peanut butter are quite common varieties as well.  Ultimately, adding tasty ‘extras’ or fragrant essences via vanilla, peppermint or other extracts will delightfully transform any fudgy creation.

Rocky Road Fudge 3 arrForgetting not the rest of us, feeling festive for fudge leads me to the making of an edible colour swatch up ─ elegant white chocolate, cranberry and pistachio fudge.  Both palatable yet palette-inspired, this show-stopping sugary delight is sure to fancy any sweet-tooth.  To make your own embellished block of ‘nuit blanche,’ simply get your hands on the “must-haves”:  chocolate, condensed milk, dried cranberries and shelled roasted pistachios.  Chocolate and condensed milk,  once melted, stir in the remaining coarsely chopped ‘friendlies’ until well combined, and proceed to pour the mixture into a parchment-lined refrigerator-proof dish.  With the magic of real-time ─ elapsing of two hours ─ cut the fudge into bite-sized pieces and enjoy.Rocky Road Fudge 1 arr

For a cocoa-rich alternative, fudge can equally be made using either dark or milk chocolate ─ essentially, real chocolate.  Repeating similar steps, rough chop and melt your preferred quality chocolate (750 grams) ─ chips work fine, too ─ with a can of condensed milk (300ml), then combine the mixture with candied fruit and/or toasted nuts.  Adding texture and taste, my interpretation of rocky road is decorated with ─ as expected ─ soft miniature marshmallows, in addition to nutty cascades of toasted almonds and hazelnuts.  Convenient and clearly exhaustion-free, thank goodness for this hectic-free treat.  Finally, a dessert recipe anyone can be proud to ─ intentionally ─ fudge-up.

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.