Adventures in cooking: Hollandaise

Tonight’s culinary events are simple Betty Crocker Hollandaise and a goat cheese, bacon, dill Hollandaise concoction. We are having bacon, scrambled eggs and grilled asparagus for dinner!

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Adventures in clean eating: canary melon

It was yummy! Not as spicy as cantaloupe, mild like honey dew with not as much specific flavor.

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Adventures in clean eating.

Round 2 in clean eating challenge started for the gym this morning. This was my brunch. It was yummy. Can’t wait to feel better and be smaller. Trying 4 days at the gym for a bit. More to come

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Fresh Guacamole

For the impromptu Sac Pit Season kick off.

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Found some Valentine Mojo

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Still perfecting the Strawberry Dark Chocolate Fudge. Shaped into hearts with the help of cupcake liners and cookie cutters.


My annual crouton labor of love is complete

Tomorrow’s spinach salad will have fresh chewy crunchy salty garlicky dilly croutons.

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Strawberry Double Chocolate Fudge Recipe

 

So several weeks ago I made two batches of Strawberry Chocolate fudge.  I  started out last Christmas making this for my boss and the recipe has evolved. The first batch I made (try #3 and not pictured) was a different ratio and turned out really ugly ( not shiny) but tasted  fine. This batch turned out pretty and tasted really good.  Upon first inspection I declared it the best fudge I’ve ever made.   I’ve eaten far more pieces now than I am going to admit and I think it could use further tweaks before being “perfect”.   I think it could still be a tad firmer.  I’d like to try adding in another bag of the dark chocolate chips.  I still think it needs more strawberry flavor.   I tried to solve this problem in a few ways as I tweak the recipe.  At first I used the dried strawberries but they made parts of the fudge kinda crunchy, it was no bueno on the mouth feel.  I still think the dried berries have more flavor though.   In the cherry fudge  I use cherry icing and it is perfect.   The closest thing I have found to strawberry icing is the new mix your own flavor stuff.  I am considering buying just the flavor packet  and using it next time.   I am terribly critical of my cooking. I promise it’s good fudge 🙂

 All the ingredients are above. This time I used:

1 can Dark Chocolate frosting

I can Milk Chocolate Frosting

1 big (23 oz) bag milk chocolate chips

1 bag 13oz Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate chips 60% cocoa

1.5 Tbs Strawberry extract

.5 Tbs Vanilla Extract

1  14 oz can Sweetened condensed milk

2.5-3 bags  dried (chewy) strawberries  ( I want to say these are 2-3 ounces each and have about 3/4 cup of fruit in them)  

How to Make:

So in order to experiment further with getting the berry flavor in I dumped all the dried berries into a big non stick skillet and added in just enough water to get them a little wet.   I simmered this mix until almost all of the water evaporated. I was attempting to soften up the fruit a little further and perhaps release some of the flavor into liquid form.   I have to be very careful here because too much water will screw with the consistency and look of your fudge.   raise your hand if you’ve ever had a water + chocolate cooking disaster.  It’s no bueno.  Also be careful not to cook the berries to hot or too quickly for several reasons.  1. You are not trying to boil them, if they get too soft and mushy it isn’t good 2. If you get your pan too hot it can scorch your chips and make your fudge ugly,  it has to cool before you add the chocolate chips in.  If you forget this cool down step, like I did, there will be many minutes of fretting that you’ve ruined the look of the whole batch. IF YOU GET ANY OF THE CHOCOLATE IN THE RECIPE TOO HOT IT WILL TURN INTO A LUMPY,  UGLY , but still good tasting, MESS!!!!  The key to making this fudge “well”, it all comes from a bag or can for God’s sake  but it can still be effed up, is to watch the heat, stir often and work with it as little as possible.

Ok, now that I am off that soap box, you should have a nice warm but not hot pan of  soft but not gooshy, syrupy but not too wet dried strawberries.   If reading all this nonsense about strawberry prep has you tired never fear.  If you were smart enough to read the recipe before starting  you can say. “ Lola, that’s cray” ,and dump the 2.5-3 bags of berries into the pan, turn it on low and try to break up any clumps with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Dump the chocolate chips bags in and let them melt slowly while stirring so none of it gets burned on the bottom.

Dump in the two can of frosting and stir them in you want the concoction smooth and easy to mix around.

Add in the strawberry and vanilla extracts and stir in the can of sweetened condensed milk.

The addition of the milk is what gives the fudge the slightly creamier texture and the nice pretty shine.  Sometimes I add in the milk before I put in the frosting, but you don’t want to do it too early or you can lose the benefits of the texture and shine by cooking it too much or too hot.

At this point I turn off the pan and begin to use a pampered chef scoop to dole it out into cupcake liners. If if started to get too cool I turned the heat on low and gently stirred for a few minutes until I got the creamy texture I needed for scooping.  Freeze fudge  for a few hours and then bag up as you like.  Works best kept in freezer or fridge until just before serving.  Obviously thaw a bit if frozen before eating for best flavor, I can never seem to wait that long.

This batch easily makes 100+ mini muffin size baking cups worth of fudge.

A note on presentation options.  This time I ran out of leftover mini cups, it was just a batch for teachers and friends so no elaborate matching liner and bag color scheme needed, I used  normal sized cupcake liners.   In the past I have also dumped it in a pan and cut it later on a cutting board with a knife while it is still frozen.  All methods suck at some level, I’m pretty sure I said that in the cherry recipe.   So pick your poison.

ENJOY!