Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chocolate Pot de Creme

I was inspired to make pot de creme at lunch one day with a friend. We opted to share a dessert and decided on pot de creme - the only option I've never tried. I've heard of it but was curious about the big fuss. I'd say it was one of the best decision I've made in my life. As we dissected the dessert, I determined  it tasted like a cross between an airy cake and a pudding. It was delicious and I quickly went home to begin researching how to make my own pot de creme!

Pot de creme is a French dessert that translate to pot of cream. It is a simple dessert, yet appears to be fancy. I like to make pot de creme seem like one of those desserts that took lots of work to make but really, it's easier than making cake. You will fool whoever you make this for but as long as they think you put a lot of time into it, that's all that really matters. We'll keep it between us - I won't tell if you won't!

If you have never heard of pot de creme, think of it as a hybrid of a pudding and custard. Yes, here's another hybrid recipe for you. Check out a hybrid of a flourless chocolate cake and a chocolate souffle with my Skinny Fallen Chocolate Mousse Cake. Pudding is typically made over the stove top and thickened with cornstarch. Pot de creme is richer than pudding because it only uses the egg yolks but the end product has the texture comparable to pudding. Pot de creme is similar to custard because the way it is cooked - in ramekins and in water bath to ensure a smooth textured dessert. I am not too fond of pudding or custard but when create a baby amongst the two, you get the best of both worlds. Here's to having it all!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Skinny Fallen Chocolate Mousse Cake


Yes, I said skinny! I might be a bit of a health freak but I didn't name the cake, Mrs. Field did! I've mentioned this in a previous post  but Mrs. Field's cookbook is one of my prized possession and was the greatest find at a thrift shop ever. I can guarantee a quality baked good every time I follow one of her recipes and this was no exceptions. My dad's birthday was coming up and I decided to make him a chocolate cake because he loves chocolate. However, this was not an easy task considering my dad likes to eat healthy as well - now you know where I get my health obsession from! He was the one who always tried to make me cut the fat and sugar in my baked goods. I typically rolled me eyes and shook my head like I was seriously considering his request but never took him seriously...until I started doing it on my own. It's funny how we end up more like our parents as we get older. Now he thoroughly enjoys everything I make which makes me happy. We are both the crazy health nuts in our family!

I have always been scared and frustrated with recipes that requires whipped egg whites but practice makes perfect, right? I have recently gotten this technique down and noticed that I only make cakes with whipped egg whites. Forgot those dense, butter-latent cakes! The body of this cake comes from the egg whites to give the cake volume, similar to a souffle. This recipe uses minimal flour and uses almonds to replace some of the flour that would typically be used in a cake recipe. Most of the chocolate flavor comes from the unsweetened cocoa so the amount of sugar is lower than other chocolate cake recipes. When it comes to the "sweet chocolate" this recipe called for, it really doesn't matter what type of chocolate you use. If you want a sweeter cake, milk chocolate and semisweet are good. If you like a richer, less sweet cake, dark chocolate (anything 60% and higher) are good choices.

So what is a fallen chocolate mousse cake exactly? I'm still trying to figure this out myself but I have my own theory. It's a cross between a souffle and a flourless chocolate cake. Other blogs call this hybrid a fallen souffle but I'm sticking with fallen mousse cake. Like I said earlier, the egg whites create volume in the cake like a souffle but this cake is intended to completely cool before serving, causing it to fall, like a flourless chocolate cake. When this happens, the cake condenses and the texture of the cake is comparable to a mousse, hence the name. So while this taste like a delicious chocolate cake, it is moist and reminiscent of a mousse. Although this chocolate cake requires more work than your typical one bowl chocolate cake, it is most definitely worth it!

Oops, only one bite left!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sweet and Satisfying...Apple Bran Muffins

Yes, I am going to continue my healthy muffin obsession. I just cannot get over how amazing and versatile muffins can be. Also, I have been having so much fun finding and creating new and healthy recipes. While I used oat bran a lot in my recent muffin recipes, I tried something different this time...wheat bran! Not only do these muffins taste delicious, they are very satisfying and filling. After one muffin, I felt full for hours. The wheat bran adds a tons of nutritional value, especially fiber. We all know what fiber does, don't we? Besides the obvious reason, fiber expands after it is ingested so it makes you full faster and longer.

What else makes these muffins amazing? Apple bran muffins are sweetened using honey and molasses. That's right, no granulated sugar! These muffins are more sweet and moist than your typical dry, bran muffin. The best part about these muffins...there's no fat (unless you add chocolate or other add-ins). I used muffin liners and the batter stuck to the wrapper because the recipe has no fat to peel the muffin off the paper. Once you eat one, you will not believe how delicious healthy and satisfying these muffins are. Enough said, give these a try!


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