Jan 29, 2015

Easiest Valentine's Chocolates

I had some chocolate left over from some cookies I had dipped. There was probably about 6 oz. or so. It was a mixture of semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate (when I was finished with the cookies, I had simply combined all the chocolate into one container). I couldn't quite decide what I was going to do with this block of previously melted chocolate that was sitting in my refrigerator. One day at a kitchen store, I saw a little red, heart shaped, silicone candy mold, and I knew that's what my leftover chocolate had been waiting for!

This is one of the easiest things you'll do, and they turn out so nicely. My more artistic friends will think of ways to dress these up- drizzle them with something, pop them into a little cellophane bag tied with a bow, or nestle them into a cute little box. 

Easiest Valentine's Chocolates

You will need:
Chocolate chips, your favorite kind
Microwave safe bowl

Silicone candy mold

1. Melt chocolate according to package directions. To make the chocolate a little smoother and easier to pour, you can add a bit of shortening or coconut oil (about a teaspoon per 6 oz. of chocolate). 

2. Pour chocolate into molds. Do not overfill over the brim, or the chocolates will not come out quite as nicely and smoothly. Gently tap the mold on the counter two or three times to shake any air bubbles up to the surface. 

3. Refrigerate molds until chocolate is completely set and solid. 

4. Pop chocolates out of molds, and you're done! Store tightly covered. If your house is warm, you may want to keep the chocolates refrigerated.

Print Recipe

Notes: I wasn't quite sure whether to oil the molds or not. Most sources I consulted said it was not necessary. I very lightly oiled the molds for the first batch (put a little oil on my finger and lightly went over the insides of the molds). For the second batch, I washed and dried the molds and did not oil them at all. I couldn't tell any difference in how the chocolates came out. 

Easiest Valentine's Chocolates may have been taken to some of these fun parties.

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Jan 25, 2015

Social Media Weekly 2

New Year.

New Goals.

New Ways to Meet Those Goals.

Welcome to Social Media Weekly.

Jan 23, 2015

Chocolate Almond Biscotti

Looking for something a little different for a Valentine's Day treat? Chocolate Almond Biscotti may be just the thing. Long, crunchy cookies with a rich chocolate flavor are made to be savored slowly over a cup of coffee or tea.

Biscotti have been around for a long time. Centuries ago, they were originally made as a”long-shelf-life” food (very dry and containing no fats) for travelers and were carried by the Roman Legions to battle. Today’s biscotti, while still hard and crunchy, are a far cry from the original, and are a popular accompaniment to espresso, cappuccino, and dessert wine. Their unique texture makes them perfect to dunk in your morning coffee, afternoon tea, or wine after dinner (History of Biscotti).

These are also the perfect cookie to send through the mail if your Valentine is far away. You still want to pack carefully, of course, but they are very sturdy.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti 

2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
4 large eggs (divided use)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional- I don't care for it, but some do)
3/4 cup chopped almonds
3/4 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
coarse sparkling or crystal sugar
sharp serrated bread knife

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place rack in the middle. Line a half sheet (18x13; mine is 16X11) cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat 3 eggs, sugar, vanilla, and almond extract (if using). Gradually stir dry ingredients into egg mixture. Mix just until combined.
3. Mix almonds and chocolate chips into dough until mixed throughout and dough holds together. Dough will be very stiff.
4. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. With slightly wet hands, pat dough into rectangles, slightly rounded on top, about 1" to 1.5" thick. Place rectangles on prepared cookie sheet. 
5. Mix the one egg that is left with 2 teaspoons of water and whisk until well combined. Brush the tops of the dough rectangles lightly but completely with egg mixture, then sprinkle evenly with sparkling sugar.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until dough feels firm to the touch, especially center tops. Remove sheet from oven and let cool on rack for about 20 minutes, or until cookie rectangle can be handled comfortably. Turn oven down to 325 degrees. 
7. Carefully remove cookie rectangles onto a cutting board. Using a very sharp serrated bread knife, slice into 1/2" slices. You can cut these from the long side, from the short side, or diagonally, just depending on how long you want your biscotti to be. Diagonally is pretty, but it's harder for me to get even slices when I cut diagonally, so I just went with a straight cut. :)
8. Place the biscotti cut side down on the cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning cookies over halfway through baking time. Cookies should be firm and dry, but not browned.
9. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then on cooling rack until completely cool. Store tightly covered. These keep well for several days. Makes about 24, depending on how you cut them. 

Print Recipe

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Chocolate Almond Biscotti may have been taken to some of these fun parties, including Metamorphosis Monday

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Jan 20, 2015

Organizing and Decluttering Ideas

The new year is all about new starts and fresh beginnings. So many of us use the new year as the perfect time to organize and declutter. 

Here some really great ideas to inspire you and get you started- everything from the kitchen to the kids' playroom to your personal planner!

                                            Click here to share! :)  

Organizing and Decluttering Ideas may have been shared at some of these fun parties!