Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Espresso Caramel Bars

This week as we got a Potluck day I chose a very sinful treat (I suggest you to make them when not alone !).
These bars are so good it is difficult not to grab a second one I warn you...

Please visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs to find out other wonderful recipes and go here for the recipe.




  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 12 whole (6 ounces) cinnamon graham crackers, crumbled or 2 cups cinnamongraham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted



  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Chocolate Layer:

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt, optional

Special equipment: a candy thermometer

For the crust:

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform panwith parchment or waxed paper. Spray the paper and the sides of the pan with cooking spray. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the graham crackers and sugar. Process until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and blend until the mixture forms into clumps. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing gently to form an even layer. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until thecrust is golden. Cool for 15 minutes.

For the caramel:

While the crust is cooling, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of cream, butter, sugar, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring the mixture to a boiland cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees F, about 5 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour the caramel over the warm crust. Cool for 20 minutes. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

For the chocolate layer: Combine the chocolate chips and cream in a small bowl and place over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes.Whisk in the espresso powder. Remove the springform pan from the freezer. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel layer and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with smoked sea salt, if using. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour until firm.

Allow the layers to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Using a warm, slightly wet knife, carefully cut around the edges of the chocolate layer. Release the side of the pan and remove the paper from the bottom. Cut into 1 1/2 by 1/2-inch bars and store airtight in a covered plastic container.

Monday, January 24, 2011

TWD : Nutty Chocolatey Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

My friend Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort chose the recipe for today and the bundt did not stick,
burn, over or undercook but.... I met my friend Tamara and discovered it was her birthday so I DID NOT EVEN TASTE IT !!!!

Her kids (they both go to school with my kids) were very happy for my present !!
As a reward I got a wonderfully smelling kitchen though.

As you can see the swirl was on top too but the cake rose and the swirl stuck to the cake anyway actually it was very nice on the wrong side too.
Please visit Jennifer for this and many recipes, and go here to check all the others bundts !

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Orecchiette with Greens, Garbanzo Beans and Ricotta Salata

The theme chosen for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs is California Dreamin' and I'm sure Giada's twist on a very regional dish as Orecchiette would be considered very Californian by any mamma pugliese making orecchiette by hand almost every day ! If you want to dare you should visit Natashya to get some tips !
My husband, who's not usually an orecchiette fan, loved the lemon that made this dish a 'spring is arriving' hint.
the recipe is here or ....


  • 1 pound orecchiette or other short pasta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 ounces Swiss chard or mustard greens, stemmed
  • 12 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups small cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 8 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and discard. Add the Swiss chard and cook until wilted. In batches, add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the beans and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the pasta, 1/2 of the cheese, and lemon zest. Toss well and thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed.

Transfer to a large serving bowl and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve.

Monday, January 17, 2011

TWD : Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

This week it was Betsy of A cup of Sweetness who got to choose the recipe, and, I must confess that after baking so much from this book I would have imagined the 'last' recipes to be so so but this muffins are really super special !

So I must thank Laurie again and again for creating this group and for letting me become acquainted with Dorie Greenspan.

I made both versions of the muffins : the glazed ones are plain and the hearts are filled with blueberries jam (Anita's favourites).
Please visit Betsy for the recipe and go here to see all the different muffins.

Now I think all of you know how bad I was (at least) in blogging so I give you a quick summary of my unblogged TWD past recipes:

Laurie of Slush and Jules of Someone’s In the Kitchen chose Midnight Crackles

Margo of Effort to Deliciousness chose Chocolate Fluff Filled Madeleine

Hindy of Bubie’s Little Baker chose Translucent Maple Tuiles

Amber of Cobbler du Monde chose Apple-Coconut Family Cake

Jill of Jill’s Blog chose Cardamom Crumb Cake

Nicole of Bakeologie chose Peanuttiest Blondies

Jessica of Singleton in the Kitchen chose Not-Just-for Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread

Whitney, April, and Elizabeth of Celestial Confections chose Cranberry LIme Galette

Emily of Sandmuffin chose All-American, All-Delicious Apple Pie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I Heart Cooking Clubs : Roasted Citrus-Herb Chicken

I'm finally back to cooking with Giada but most of all cooking with the I Heart Cooking Clubs Group which I really enjoy very much.
I finally even got a book by Giada (Giada at home) and what could I easily roast if not a chicken ?

Actually the recipe called for game hens which I do not really know what they are (not guinea hens right ?) But lenghtening the cooking time was allowed so here comes the chicken !

I the original recipe Giada suggests a crouton salad with the roast but I opted for patate al forno which are a sure hit with the kids.

The raw chicken gets scrubbed with orange and lemon zests, shallots, olive oil, thyme and mint and salt an pepper.
It is then roasted with marsala, broth, orange and lemon juice and raisins.

It was great you should try !
I even found the recipe here so you can read it in proper English...


  • 2 (1 1/2 to 2-pound) Cornish game hens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest, from 2 medium oranges
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, from about 3 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Rinse the game hens and pat dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, shallots, orange zest, lemon zest, thyme, mint, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the zest mixture over the skins of the game hens. Place the remainder of the zest mixture under the skin and into the cavities of the hens. Using kitchen twine, truss the legs together. Place the hens in a shallow 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Add the chicken stock, Marsala wine, lemon juice, orange juice, and cranberries. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the leg juices run clear. Remove the game hens and set aside. Place the flour in a small saucepan. Whisk in the pan juices. Bring the juices to a boilover medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Whisk in the butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

To serve, remove the kitchen twine and place the hens on 2 serving plates. Drizzle with the citrus-herb sauce.

Cook's Note: Reserve 1/4 cup of the citrus-herb sauce for theCrouton Salad.