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Serves 6
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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Everybody wants to achieve perfection when baking chocolate chip cookies. It is the quintessential cookie. The cravings evoked at the mere mention of its name are powerful. Therefore, it is always so disappointing when they come out of the oven far less than perfect.

There are so many factors that come into play that affect the end baking result it is hard to know what went wrong. Ingredients, mixing process, and even the length of time the cookies were baked could thwart your best efforts and ruin your anticipated Utopian cookie. However, there is one simple little tip that could so drastically alter the results of your chocolate chip cookie, you will slap your forehead that you did not try it before. That is to chill your dough before baking the cookies. So simple and yet so important is this one overlooked step. We are always in such a rush to get to hot, gooey confectionery bliss that taking the time would be torture. But, a few hours in the fridge will promise that blissful moment to be even greater than imagined.

Chilling chocolate chip cookie dough does a couple of things. First, it marinates the flavors that go into a cookie dough. Have you ever noticed that lasagna tastes better the second day? Well, the same principle applies here but we are talking about cookie dough. The flavors will really pop and deliver a richer experience after sitting in the fridge for a bit. According to a New York Times article titled Perfection? Hint: It's Warm and Has a Secret (July 9, 2008), there are some interesting and yet dramatic physical effects on the cookie the longer it is chilled. They found that a thirty-six hour period in the refrigerator produced cookies with deeper shades of golden brown without longer time in the oven.

Second, the flour will really drink up all the moist ingredients that went into the dough after a prolonged time in the chill box. The longer the dough sits, the drier the dough gets, and that is actually a good thing. The chocolate chip cookie will have a better consistency right out of the oven. This is because of the hydration effect of sitting in the refrigerator and also because cold dough will spread less in a hot oven making a thicker cookie. And, don't worry about dry dough. The baked cookie will actually be moist and delicious.

There is one more factor to take into consideration when chilling the dough. Because the dough gets so dry during this time, it is best to form your cookies before you chill the dough. Try to scoop the dough after it has been thoroughly chilled and you will have a crumbly frustrating mess on your hands. Scooping them and chilling them on a cookie sheet is good. If you are going for the big chill and waiting the optimal thirty-six hours, an airtight container is best. You don't want those cookies to taste like last week's meat loaf.

Apparently Ruth Wakefield, inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, knew about this handy little tip from the very beginning. The New York Times also reveals that it was a regular practice of the Toll House Inn to chill their cookie dough. Somehow this piece of information failed to meet the final edit when the recipe went on the backs of Nestle's Chocolate in the 1930's. We should not feel too betrayed. Most great cooks are happy to share recipes, but rarely share all the tricks of the trade that make the end product great.

Amanda Julander

There are even more chocolate chip cookie baking secrets at Choc-Chip-Cookie-Recipe.com!

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 20 April 2009

The one dessert I always have on hand is a box of brownies mix. Since they never go bad, they make the perfect emergency dessert. My favorite thing about them is that they are so versatile and you can dress them up many different ways.

A little something sprinkled on top is an instant embellishment.  Three very simple topping ideas are powdered sugar, mini M&M's, or caramel ice cream topping. Any of these toppings make very cool and tasty decorations.
 
Another favorite candy topping of mine is mini peanut butter cups. These are great when the brownies are baked as mini muffins. After the brownies are baked, press the candy gently into the brownie until the top of the peanut butter cup is flush with the top of the brownie. It's a mini brownie bite with a surprise filling.
 
An easy brownie icing is Ganache. To make Ganache icing, simply melt ½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix in ¼ cup of heavy whipping cream. This makes for rich and decadent brownies.
 
If you really want to get fancy, Tuxedo Brownies are always a hit at my house. For this, you need to mix with an electric mixer: 1 (8 oz) box of cream cheese, 1 egg, and 1/3 cup of sugar.  Place dollops of this mixture over the top of the uncooked brownie mixture and run a knife around the top to create a swirl affect. Bake according to box.
 
My last variation is my kid's first choice and that is a la mode. They have known the meaning of a la mode since they were two. They love ice cream on top of everything and brownies are no exception. You can really go the distance and do an entire Brownie Sundae.
 
Impress your guests or score "brownie" points with your family with these super simple modifications. A fabulous dessert is just a box away.

Dawn Billesbach
Creator and Founder of http://www.Menufortheweek.com
Does the daily struggle of "What's for dinner?" make you want to hide your head like an ostrich? Visit my website for one FREE week's menu and grocery list. Treat yourself and leave the stress to me.

 

10% Off VitaMixes- Only 100 Calories
Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 12:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 16 April 2009

Dan's Chocolates

 

Search "Fudge Recipes" on the Internet and hundreds of thousands of results come back.  One of the simplest is by far the best because of its versatility. 

The basic fudge recipe that always scores with chocolate lovers can be made and then easily modified to fit your personal tastes.  This confection can even be modified into a rich creamy frosting that wows cake lovers too!

1.    Melt one stick of butter.
2.   Add one tablespoon Vanilla Extract
3.  Add ¼ cup heavy whipping cream. 
4.  Stir in one pound of ultra fine sifted powder sugar,  one cup powdered cocoa, and one cup options until just combined. 
5.  Place in a 9" X 13" pan.
6. Chill until set. 

In the fourth step , where it says stir in options, that is where this basic confection can go wild.  One addition could be peanut butter or your favorite nuts.  Some people like crushed Oreos, crushed Butter Finger candy bars, and even caramel ice cream topping.  If you have a taste for anything that can stir into the basic recipe go for it! 

The most outlandish chef thus far added Gummy Bears.  If you like weird fudge that's fine.  Just don't cause yourself a trip to the medicine cabinet over adding something so bizarre it leads gastrointestinal issues. 

A couple of hints about all of this modification.  Be careful with adding too many liquid ingredients or the fudge won't set.  Also don't excessively stir your creation it will get overly airy and again not set. 

If you want a frosting instead of a fudge just add more heavy whipping cream and stir until the consistency is easily spread onto a thoroughly cooled cake.

White cake with strawberry jam between the layers and sliced strawberries to decorate the chocolate frosting tastes like chocolate covered strawberries.  This has been a hit on several occasions. 

Cut through the clutter of hundreds of thousands of "Fudge Recipe" search results and use the simple one that gets raved reviews. 

Copyright Paul V. Weiss 2009

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Champagne Gift Baskets

Are you seeking great wine and cheese baskets?

One very worthy present idea once you are short of thoughts is the wine and cheese gift basket. Many people all of the time apprise a good bottle of wine. But wherefore not sum a few things to go with it and send a attractively assemble wine and cheese present basket this Holidays.

They are flawless for not only friends and family, but in addition to they're perfect for the occupation colleagues or special customers you prefer to thank for their business this year. No matter the reason, a wine and cheese basket is a distinguished idea.

Now unless you're a wine fancier yourself and have a lot of time to spend attempting to put jointly and decorate a basket yourself, it is almost a necessity that you let the experts do the job and buy the gift basket. The alternatives are nearly infinite today. The cost ranks acquirable will accommodate nearly any budget. Nonetheless you will have to make few decisions when you discover all the selections you have.

Contrary to fruit gift baskets, wine and cheese present baskets aren't the sort of presents you can give no matter of the occasion. There are particular events when they are appropriate to give and when they aren't.

For instance, you would not would like to pass on one of these gift baskets at a children birthday party or to a person you do not know very well. And what whenever the recipient is a recovering alcoholic? If he is, one of these present baskets couldn't be more incorrect.

Nonetheless, wine and cheese present baskets are really suitable, and frequently one of the best presents you could give on few special events. Take for example a home warming gift for a couple you know who had just purchased a new house. In this situation, wine and cheese are a very courteous method to celebrate their 1st night in their recently bought house.

For all of your wine and cheese baskets or your wine and cheese gift baskets needs, I invite you to visit my website at http://www.winecheesebaskets.biz/

GiftTree
Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 08 April 2009

Personalized MY M&M'SŪ Candies.

Cadburys Easter eggs are made at their factory in Minford, Sutton Coldfield in the Midlands, the centre of England. They have been made there since 1993. Easter eggs have been produced by Cadburys since 1875. They had no patterns or carvings on them and were made of dark chocolate and filled with sugar coated chocolate drops.

The first eggs to be decorated were decorated with chocolate piping and marzipan flowers. It didn't take long for many more products to be added to the Cadbury Easter range, and by 1893 nineteen Easter products were in the Cadbury inventory. Richard Cadbury was an artist and was inspired by French, Dutch and German designs though he did adapt his designs on his eggs to something more acceptable to the Victorians.

The first cardboard packaging - filled with assorted chocolates - first appeared in 1906. These were to have a couple of decades in the market and were also exported with great success until the 1950s. 1924 saw Cadbury run a special Easter egg service train so customers in popular resorts in Britain would get their Easter eggs on time.

In 1925 Cadbury were selling 14 Easter lines, including a large egg wrapped in foil and decorated with a bow. Cadbury merged with Fry in 1919 so in reality the product lines were even greater as Fry sold 50 lines including chocolate cream bears, lions and other animals as well as small cream eggs and hollow eggs. Cadbury Crème Eggs are a direct decedent of these and are enjoyed to this day. Cadbury remains the most popular chocolate maker in the UK.

For more information on Easter including $50/£50 of (Cadbury/Nestle) FREE Easter Chocolate see http://freeeasterchocolate.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, 06 April 2009

For spring and summer this gorgeously colorful, delicious and easy to prepare salad turns an ordinary brunch, lunch or dinner into a spectacular occasion. Pair it with crusty warm French bread, a luscious white wine, and a selection of fruit tarts for desert. Add your unique brand of joie de vivre for an unforgettable memory that will be savored again and again. Isn't that what life's all about?

Lobster Cobb Salad Ingredients:

2 ripe Hass avocados
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat, cut in 3/4-inch diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound lean bacon, fried and crumbled
3/4 cup crumbled English Stilton, or other crumbly blue cheese
1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry

For the vinaigrette:

1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
5 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

To assemble:

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut into 3/4-inch dice and toss with the lemon juice. If the arugula leaves are large, cut them in half crosswise.((Put the lobster and tomatoes in a bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and toss with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Add the diced avocados, crumbled bacon, blue cheese, and arugula and toss again. (serves 4 to 6) For more delicious Barefoot Contessa recipes: http://www.barefootcontessa.com

Wine selection:

Tamayo Family Vineyards Sonoma Chardonnay: a refreshing and seductive white that is crafted with fruit vibrancy and aromatics, and nuanced undercurrents of spiced oak to accent your delectable cuisine and delight family and friends.

Click on: http://tamayofamilyvineyards.com/tamayo/index.jsp

© 2008-2012-Suzanne de Cornelia. All worldwide rights apply. This article may be reprinted on websites as long as the entire article, including website link and resource box below are included and unchanged. Suzanne is a freelance writer and Web 2.0 expert. Her novel "French Heart" will be released in Summer 2009. 'Friend' Suzanne on FaceBook or on her site: http://web.mac.com/myfrenchheart

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 12:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, 03 April 2009

Cake decorating can be serious fun, provided you know what you are doing. To be very frank decorating is not really difficult task but you need to know some basic techniques.

When it comes to decorating wedding cakes it's a different story altogether though. Because of the complexity of wedding cakes properly decorating those are not very easy. Cake decorators with average skill level will hardly ever take up such projects.

But one thing you need to remember here that you can use simple flower techniques and not-so-complicated border designs to decorate wedding cakes.

Using simple techniques instead of more complex ones will make your work simple and easy to handle. And the same time that will take nothing away as far as the beauty of your work is concerned because carefully selected design is the key here.

Here you will find some tips on the type of icing and on the designs to be used for decorating cakes for marriage party.

Use the icing mix that you are most comfortable with. Don't go for anything extravagant. Simple butter-cream type can be good enough.

Never ignore the colour of your mix. The cake needs to be a good fit in the total scenario. So use proper colour to colour your icing. Matching the colour with what the bride will be wearing is a great idea.

Though as far as flower designs are involved you can go with almost any flower that you are good at, in many design works, chrysanthemums are used because of their popularity and clean beauty.

And remember you are not limited to tree tiered circular shaped cake, you can use many other shapes and form. Imagination is the only limitation here.

So go ahead and have fun.

If you want to learn more about cake decorating check the popular cake decorating course here

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 02 April 2009

Winebasket.com - Unique Gifts & Gift Baskets

 

For people who love sweets, a meal is not completely satisfying unless it finishes off with a sumptuous dessert. Some of the most popularly sought after desserts include cakes, pastries, fruits, pies, nuts, sorbet, breads, pudding and chocolates. While they are great on their own, their flavours can be enhanced and complemented by the perfect wine.

But how does one know what wine to match which dessert?

A good dessert wine serves to bring about the best in every dessert. The popular notion of wine is different when it comes to dessert wines though; this is because dessert wines are especially sweet. As such, a dessert that doesn't compete with the sugariness of the wine is a good option. For instance, dark chocolates that contain more than half of cocoa ingredients in it go well with a dessert wine. The basic guide then in choosing matching desserts and wines is to get to know how different dessert wine selections taste like.

Sauternes wines from France are made from Sémillon grape, Sauvignon Blanc, or Muscadelle grapes. These wines almost have a yellowish or golden colour and they have a citrus taste. The Gewürztraminer and Tokay Pinot Gris wines in particular are great with chocolates and other intensely flavourful afters.

Meanwhile, in Portugal, the port red wines are known for their enticing flavours and alcohol content. They come in tawny, ruby, and vintage varieties. Tawny ports have a suave nut-like tang to it that go well with toffee and milk chocolates. In the meantime, vintage ports are so zesty that they are best with banana cream pies, dark chocolates, and walnuts. All the port varieties are generally enhanced with pumpkin pies, cheesecakes, chocolate mousse and cobblers. Similarly, Vin Santo from Italy has a nutty essence that is likened to a hazelnut. The sweetness is not that much that it can be taken with almond cakes, almond shortbreads, and biscotti.

Interestingly, there are wines that are manufactured from grapes that are covered with ice on the vine. In Germany, they are appropriately called ice wines and they have a balanced, sugar-enriched and invigorating acid flavour. Consequently, ice wines can be paired off with desserts like apples, peaches, pears and hazelnuts. Thinking about ice wines might make you imagine ice cream with dessert wine together, but unfortunately, the cold can mute the taste buds that sorbets are not to be served with sweet wines.

Muscat wines are for individuals who enjoy munching on raisins as they are crushed from grapes that are typically made into raisins. It likewise has this rich aroma and a taste that is very similar with mild fruits such as peaches and apricots. To achieve the palatable temptation of Muscat wines, the dessert should be composed of smooth Tiramisu, milk chocolate or white chocolate.

All these wines are highly recommended, however, tasting them on your own can prove to be delightful for you and your guests. This experience then can be used until wine and dessert matching becomes an addition to your expertise.

Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who writes for a number of UK businesses. For a large selection of wines, spirits and liqueurs he recommends Alexander Hadleigh Wine Merchants & Importers, a leading provider of some of the finest Dessert Wines.

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 07:55 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 01 April 2009

WASHINGTON—Urging the estimated 60 million Americans who have not yet made the transition to the more advanced form of sustenance to do so as soon as possible, acting FDA commissioner Frank Torti announced Wednesday that the nationwide conversion to Digital Food (DF) will take place on Apr.17, 2009. "The only thing consumers who currently rely on analog foods will need is a digital converter box, which you can purchase at any grocery store," Torti said at a press conference, adding that every American household is eligible for a $40 coupon to digitize its current pantry. "DF offers higher texture quality and better taste, as well as multiple spice choices and interactive capabilities. I must stress, however, that after the deadline you will no longer be able to eat your current food." On the heels of the announcement, President Obama has begun pressuring the Senate to pass legislation that would require all food to be completely wireless by 2015.

Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 08:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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