Chocolate Cream Vol-au-Vent

February 10, 2008
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‘Vol-au-vent’ is French for ‘windblown.’ This light, round, open puff pastry shell is almost always filled with savory meat and/or vegetables. With these Chocolate Cream Vol-au-Vents, you’ll be breaking the mold—and you’ll be awfully glad you did. SAM

1 (8-ounce) package frozen vol-au-vent puff pastry shells
2 cups milk
4 cups heavy cream
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Bake the vol-au-vent shells according to the directions on the package and set aside to cool. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, heat the milk and cream. Add the chocolate and stir until melted. Add the butter. Beat steadily with a wooden spoon until smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into the cooled pastry shells and chill for 3 or 4 hours until set. Garnish with whipped cream.
Makes 8 servings.


Mocha Mousse

February 9, 2008
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A light and elegant chocolate mousse that packs a powerful punch. SAM

4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate plus more for garnish
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon instant expresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons crème de cacao liqueur
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar

In the top of a double boiler over hot water, melt the chocolate. Mix together the water and expresso powder and add to the chocolate. Add the crème de cacao, stirring until blended. With an electric mixer on high speed, whip the cream, gradually adding the sugar until stiff. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the mousse into 8 dessert cups and chill for several hours or overnight. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
Makes 8 servings.


German Chocolate Glaze

February 7, 2008
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When you don’t want to ice a cake, glaze it. SAM

4 ounces German sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening
1/4 cup water
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
Dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening. Add the water. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and salt and gradually stir into the chocolate mixture, blending well. Stir in the vanilla and walnuts. Pour over the cooled German Chocolate Pound Cake.
Makes 1 1/2 cups or enough for one 9-inch stem cake.


German Chocolate Pound Cake

February 7, 2008
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Great for a groom’s cake or a special birthday or a picnic in the park! SAM

4 ounces German sweet chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons crème de cacao
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
German Chocolate Glaze (recipe tomorrow)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch stem pan and set aside. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave, melt the chocolate and set aside. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the sugar and shortening until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, crème de cacao, and buttermilk, beating until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the sugar mixture, beating until well blended. Add the chocolate and beat until smooth. Stir in the walnuts by hand. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, remove, and place the cake under a tightly fitting cover until it is completely cooled. Glaze with German Chocolate Glaze.
Makes 16 servings.


Walnut Wedding Cookies

February 6, 2008
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As delicate as a new bride … SAM

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar plus additional for topping
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup heavy cream

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla, beating until blended. Add the flour, salt, and nuts. Add the cream. Form the dough into a roll 2 1/2 inches in diameter and wrap tightly in plastic. Chill several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until delicately browned around the edges. Remove to wire racks to cool slightly. While still warm, speinkle with additional confectioners’ sugar.
Makes 3 dozen cookies.


Butter Cream Icing

February 5, 2008
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The icing on the cake … yea … this is it. I have known children—I happened to be one—who ate the icing and not the cake. SAM

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons heavy cream plus additional if necessary
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixer bowl on high speed, beat confectioner’s sugar, butter, cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. If necessary for easy spreading, add additional lemon juice 1 teaspoon at a time.
Makes 1 cup or enough for one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.


Orange Loaf Cake

February 4, 2008
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With multiples of this basic loaf cake, you can build your own wedding cake! SAM

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
Butter Cream Icing

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside. In a mixer bowl over medium speed, cream and butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking soda and add alternately with the sour cream to the batter. Add the liqueur and orange zest. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Ice with Butter Cream Icing.
Makes 8 servings.