Avocado Chocolate Mousse

So last month I posted about my new Paleo diet lifestyle and mentioned avocado chocolate mousse. This is a wonderful dessert that you can enjoy yourself or make for a nice dinner with friends and/or family. It’s so delicious I cannot even say. It’s rich, decadent and chocolaty, everything you want in your chocolate dessert. And no, you don’t taste the avocado at all. Even better, it’s no cook!

Serves 4.

Hardware

Blender

Knife

1 cup glass measuring cup

Measuring spoons

Rubber spatula

4 half-cup ramekins

 

Ingredients

2 large or 3 small ripe avocados

3 T cocoa

4 oz dark chocolate

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave (pictured) or in a hot water bath. If using the microwave, use just short heating times, 15 seconds, until the mixture melts by stirring.

Test by stirring at the 1st 30 seconds, then every 15 seconds after that. Let it cool while you complete the other steps.

Half the avocados, remove the pits, scoop the avocado into the blender.

Add the milk and blend. If the avocado doesn’t get creamy, add more splashes of almond milk and blend until it does. Trust me on this. If you add everything all at once, you end up with green pieces of avocado in your chocolate mousse. Tastes good but looks a little off.

Add the cocoa, the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Blend until totally mixed. I have to scrape down the sides a couple of times to get it thoroughly blended.

Scoop into the 4 ramekins evenly. Refrigerate for a more solid mousse or serve right away.

 

Note: Even though paleo doesn’t do dairy, I can’t resist a dollop of real whipped cream on top.

Enjoy.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

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Poached Pears

PoachedPears005

Poached Pears with Frozen Custard and Orange Slice Garnish  Picture by Connie Cockrell

Lots has happened to me since my last post in June. July held the Payson Book Festival for which I am the director, then August is prep for the Northern Gila County Fair which is the weekend after Labor Day. Then, well, I was just tired.

But, news! In August I began eating the Paleo Diet. I love it! I lost 15 pounds in August alone. If you don’t know what the Paleo Diet is, a quick explanation is that you stop eating grains and dairy. You can Google it for a more complete explanation. I have Celiac Disease which is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease. With that, you should also stop eating sugar (well, we all should anyway), caffeine (which I gave up years ago), and raw cruciferous veg (cooked is ok). So that’s what I’ve done.

I don’t feel deprived at all, despite my strong love of anything pasta. But it was making me feel bad so, while I may make the very seldom choice to go gluten-free pasta, it’s gone! Now I eat as clean as possible (meaning organic, grass-fed meat, organic veg, organic fruit. It helps that I have my own pear, apple, and peach trees, and grow a lot of veg in my small garden.

The pears are where this blog comes in. My Bartlett pears became ripe the end of September. They’re not a soft pear. I was having my brother-in-law and his girl for supper and was thinking about dessert. At first, I thought about an avocado-chocolate mousse, (more on that next month), but then I was looking at all of my lovely ripe pears and decided poached pears would be a better choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really missing anything on my new diet, but a girl does like the occasional sweet, am I right?

Serves 4 – 6.

PoachedPears001

Hardware and Ingredients  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Hardware

Cutting board

Knife

Saucepan

 

PoachedPears002

Juicing the Oranges  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Ingredients

4 pears, peeled, cored, cut into quarters or sixths

3 navel oranges, 2 juiced (1/2 cup or more if extra juicy), 1 sliced into rounds

5 – 6 whole cloves

1 tsp vanilla (Pictured is a bottle of homemade vanilla my friend Dee gave me for Christmas. It’s almost gone. ☹)

PoachedPears003

Cutting up the pears  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Directions:

Put the pears, vanilla, orange juice, orange slices, and cloves in the saucepan. The recipe I was using didn’t call for any other liquid and I saw that the pears were not fully submerged. Thinking that if they were going to poach they needed more liquid, I added water to just cover the pears.

PoachedPears004

Everything in the pot, heating up  Photo by Connie Cockrell

Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Check to see if the pears are completely tender. If not add another 5 to 10 minutes or more until they are.

I made my pears early in the day and after the mixture cooled, refrigerated it until time for dessert. However, you can plate this warm as well.

I served it with Culver’s vanilla custard (broke my diet a little there) and the pears.

For the picture, I did decorate with an orange slice but when I served it to my guests, I left the orange off. I thought it looked a little mushy and not nice to eat. The orange gives the pears a nice floral note and the cloves a little warm spicy flavor. Yum.

Enjoy.

Notes: Culver’s vanilla custard, as of this writing, is gluten-free. I figured the 1/4 cup I ate wouldn’t break the Paleo diet too much.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Do you have a favorite dessert to serve guests? Please tell us about it in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Mysteries, and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.com.

Company Cheesecake

Cheesecake, Connie Cockrell, Strawberry Glaze, Strawberries, Blueberries

Company Cheesecake by Connie Cockrell

In the theory that it’s better late than never, I’m presenting today’s blog post two days late. Hey, it’s a cheesecake recipe ya know! Anyway, this recipe is from my Betty Crocker cookbook, the one I bought just after I got married 40 years ago. The pages are yellowed and splattered, the tabs I used the most have torn off and I hold the cover on with duct tape but I still return to this book over and over again.

Cheesecake, yum. This is a nice fluffy style cheesecake, not dense like say, a New York style cake. But it’s a perfect dessert for company. I made this one for my bunko group. I hosted the game in April and while a lot of ideas floated through my brain since January, this is the one I picked. Make it the day ahead of your event and keep it in the fridge once completely cooled.

The Crust

Cheesecake crust, Lemon Shortbread Cookies, Butter

Crust Ingredients by Connie Cockrell

I made the crust gluten free by using gluten free lemon shortbread cookies. I used the whole box, broke them up into a food processor and whirled them till they were crumbs. I added 3 tablespoons of melted butter and stirred until the crumbs were coated.

Crumbs and melted butter

Crumbs and melted butter

Put in the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan, place on a cookie sheet and back at 350 degrees F until lightly brown. It could be 10 minutes, it could be 20. Mine took closer to 20. Also, add just 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the crumbs and see if that’s enough to coat. At 3 tablespoons mine seemed kind of wet.

Crumbs in Springform Pan

Crumbs in Springform Pan

After the crust is pulled out of the oven to cool, reduce temp to 300 degrees.

 

Cheese Mixture

 

Cream Cheese, Sugar, Eggs, Lemon Flavoring

Cheesecake Ingredients by Connie Cockrell

2 8oz packages of cream cheese plus another 3 oz., room temperature

1 c sugar

2 tsp grated lemon peel

1/4 tsp vanilla (or substitute lemon juice or lemon flavoring)

3 eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream, Cherry Glaze or Strawberry Glaze

I use a stand mixer for this as I have in the past burnt out a hand mixer but both will work.

Cream cheese, sugar

Add sugar to beaten cream cheese by Connie Cockrell

Beat the cream cheese in the stand mixer bowl on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the lemon peel and flavoring.

Eggs

Add Eggs by Connie Cockrell

Mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time.

Cheesecake ready to bake

Cheesecake ready to bake by Connie Cockrell

Pour the mixture over the crust.

Baked Cheesecake

Baked Cheesecake by Connie Cockrell

Bake for an hour and check for doneness. The center should be firm. Turn off the oven and cool to room temperature right in the oven. Loosen edge of cheesecake with knife before removing the side of the pan. Spread with the sour cream or glaze.

 

Strawberry Glaze

1 – 1 1/2 cups cut up strawberries

1 cup sugar

3 T cornstarch (I used 1 tsp of Arrowroot. I find cornstarch makes the sauce cloudy.)

1 cup water (I used a couple of tablespoons)

Cook in a small pan over low heat to a low boil until you can mash the berries. I left some fairly large pieces but you can thoroughly mash them. Cook until the sauce is thickened. Refrigerate until ready to top the cake.

After I made the glaze and put it on the cheese cake, I sliced strawberries and used them and blueberries to decorate the top. This is optional, the glaze is certainly pretty enough on its own.

 

Cherry Glaze

1 1lb can pitted red tart cherries, reserving the liquid

1/2 c sugar

2 T corn starch

Water to add to the cherry liquid

Red Food Color

Add enough water to cherry liquid to measure 1 cup. Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Stir in the liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in cherries and 4 drops of red food color. Cool thoroughly.

 

Other Notes:

I have also cooked this cheesecake in a water bath.

Wrap the springform pan in aluminum foil, a couple of layers so no water can get in. Bake the crust per directions. Then, when you’ve filled the pan with the cheese mixture, put the springform pan in a large baking dish and fill halfway up the side of the springform pan with boiling water. It’s easiest to do this when the baking dish is sitting on the oven rack. Carefully slide the rack into the oven and cook until done. Cool according to the directions above. This helps prevent the cracks you get in the cheesecake top when it cools. It’s an extra step and takes longer to cook and cool. Your choice.

 

Thanks for stopping by Chicklets in the Kitchen. Please tell us about your garden or favorite dessert recipe in the comments box below if you feel so inclined.

My name is Connie Cockrell and I write SciFi, Fantasy, Women’s Fiction and a lot of other things and you can find links to all of my books at www.ConniesRandomThoughts.wordpress.com.

Guest Chicklet Kate Meader is HOT IN THE KITCHEN

Kate Meader

Kate Meader

Abigail here!  I’m so excited to host Kate Meader on her blog tour of Feel the Heat, the first book in the Hot in the Kitchen series. YOU can win Feel the Heat swag by going to her blog and entering the Rafflecopter giveaway. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter. Continue reading

Smoothie-palooza

Perhaps this post should be titled “I’m becoming my father.” Not my mother, my father.

Dad was the health nut of the family, you see. He bought us Earth Shoes, insisting they promoted a more natural way of walking.  He used to take a ton of supplements from the health food store. He introduced me to carob as a chocolate substitute, and to Tiger’s Milk bars, which — according to their website — are “America’s Original Nutrition Bar.”

I’m pretty sure he’d be glad to see me making my own almond milk (as I did several times while on my Whole30) and eating chia seeds. Continue reading

Oreo Brownie Evilness

It was my birthday on Sunday. I’ve been around the sun 46 times now, and I figure that’s about the halfway mark so that makes me middle age. Actually, I think I’m middle aged because I’m in that lovely position of being worried about my kids and my parents at the same time, but that’s a post for another day. 🙂

Not sure if you saw the pics going around Facebook last week of a dessert confection that appeared to be a layered brownie cupcake sort of thing: two peanut butter-slathered Oreo cookies with brownie batter poured on top, like so:

Ready for the oven! BTW, tin foil cupcake liners work just fine without the pan. Who knew? :-)

Ready for the oven! BTW, tin foil cupcake liners work just fine as stand-alones. Who knew? 🙂

Continue reading

Banana ice cream: Try it, you’ll love it

Yum!

After getting the invite to join this blog, I was poking around the Chicklets’ kitchen, trying to get a feel for things.

I was shocked  — shocked, I tell you — to see y’all haven’t tried banana ice cream yet. Maybe it’s because banana ice cream, also known as banana soft serve, is ubiquitous on the healthy living blog circuit. For every ten blog posts in my Google Reader, at least two will have a mention of banana soft serve. Continue reading

Guest Marne Ann Kirk: Mildred Miller’s Buttermilk Brownies

Marne Ann Kirt

I have two words for you today, courtesy of our Guest Chicklet:  Buttermilk Brownies.  I’m so glad I can’t eat my computer.  Marne Ann Kirk grew up wild, exploring the vast high deserts and mountains of the West with her family as a child. She loved making up stories and, well, lied about just about everything. Thankfully, she grew out of the lying stage…now she calls it story-telling.

Her debut novel, “Love Chosen: Book One of The Fae Dragon Chronicles,” is available now. “Love Dared: Book Two of The Fae Dragon Chronicles,” is coming soon! “Goddess on the Run,” a paranormal romance series, will be available October 1, 2012. Visit her at: www.marneannkirk.com or www.cowboysndragonscafe.blogspot.com

Comment for a chance to win her book.  And now, bring us back to Grandma’s Kitchen, Marne! Continue reading

Carrot cake!

So as I’ve mentioned, I cook when I’m stressed. But sometimes I also cook just because I love love love to bake. I’m generally the go-to dessert person for family holidays, because I take joy in it.

For last Thanksgiving, I was trying to come up with something to make in addition to the usual pumpkin pie. I know that my husband’s favorite cake is carrot cake, and the rest of us love it as well. In fact, my mom is allergic to most everything and generally doesn’t eat dessert at family gatherings, but I knew that she could eat the carrot cake as well so it would be perfect!

Yummy carrot cake!

Continue reading

Copycats!

Okay, I know that I’ve mentioned before my obsession with recreating delicious things I’ve tasted in a restaurant. Usually this is some sort of specific meal. Or a cake or cookies. And I will often try to get the recipes to the degree that I will pester the restaurant, scour the internet, do whatever it is that I have to. When the time comes that I realize it’s over? I still refuse to admit defeat.

Ultimately, I will invent. On my own.

Now that you have this background, let me tell you about a meal I had recently in Atlanta. Or, more specifically, a DESSERT I had. You see, I adore cooking shows. Love ’em. And my favorite is Top Chef. If you’re a fan, you will be familiar with The Professor – aka Richard Blais – and his molecular gastronomy (which, I promise you dear readers, I will one day be brave enough to try on my own. And then I shall blog about my miserable failure for your amusement…). The Professor is my favorite Top Chef contestant ever, and everything he makes looks insanely good (er. with the exception of the foie gras milkshake that helped to win him the competition. Too out there even for me).

The tiniest child stealing a piece of cereal off the Cap’n Crunch shake at Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta.

So when I was in Atlanta recently for my cousin’s graduation, I dragged the family to Flip Burger Boutique – Blais’s Atlanta place. The burgers were crazy good. I mean CRAZY good. But the real winner of the night? Liquid Nitrogen milkshakes. At the table, we had one that was Krispy Kreme flavored (complete with bits of donut), one that was nutella with toasted marshmallow (yes, it was exactly what it sounds like. And it was crazy rich and yummy), and our unanimous favorite: a Cap’n Crunch milkshake. When I tell you it tastes just like Cap’n Crunch, please know that I am not exaggerating in any way, shape or form.

It was insanely delicious. Like beyond what you could expect or imagine. And I vowed that I would one day make something similar because it had to be recreated. It could not be just a one time thing!

And so? I did. Maybe not quite as good as the one from Flip but still a VERY respectable substitute. The recipe is in approximates and will change based on preferred thickness/concentration of cereal, but if you like the cereal you will love the shake!

Cap’n Crunch!

Cap’n Crunch Milkshake

  • 1 c. Cap’n Crunch cereal plus some to garnish
  • ~1/3 carton of vanilla ice cream (I used Breyers, but any of the no-longer-quite-a-half-gallon cartons will do)
  • 3/4 c milk

Pour cereal into blender and pulse until mostly pulverized. Add ice cream and milk, pushing down toward blade. Blend until well-mixed. If you find that it is too thick, add a bit more milk and blend again. If it’s too thin, add a bit more ice cream. When it’s at your preferred consistency, divide between two glasses. Sprinkle with a handful of cereal, and enjoy!

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So what’s your dream restaurant dish that you want to make but haven’t? Or what about anything that you have tried to recreate? How did it work out? Or… am I just insane to want to duplicate every yummy dish I try?