Confections & Candies

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Toffee

A BIG thanks to everyone who voted for me in round 3 of the Project Food Blog Challenge, keeping my fingers crossed hoping to advance into the next round!

In the mean time let’s all congratulate the winner of my most recent giveaway who’ll soon be receiving a copy of this bad boy in the mail…

Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America's Guide to Wines of the World

Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America's Guide to Wines of the World

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Pistachio Sandesh

First of all I would like to thank everyone who voted for me during the first Project Food Blog challenge which allowed me to move up to the next round!

In this next challenge we were asked to create a classic dish from another culture, something we weren’t familiar with, or something out of our comfort zone.

This was one tough challenge for me, I will admit. I had a difficult time trying to decide what to make, I did a lot of googling, daydreaming, and cookbook reading trying to come up with the perfect choice.

To aide in my decision making I used the handy dandy process of elimination tactic.
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There are a number of reasons why food bloggers might plan a get together.

Perhaps it’s to finally meet long-time fellow food blogger friends in person.

Many times we get together for a worthy cause.

Since we love what we do, we are always looking for ways to learn and improve our craft; we’ll get together for that.

However, regardless of the circumstance that might bring us together there is one thing you can be certain of… rarely does one show up empty-handed.



Those who know me, know that I usually show up with a batch or two of french macarons. And, anyone who knows Rachael of La Fuji Mama knows without a doubt that she will most likely show up with a delicious batch of Fuji Nana’s Deadly Chocolate Almond Toffee.

Which, while we are on the subject I really think should be renamed to “Fuji Nana’s Dangerous Chocolate Almond Toffee” because:

a)You run the risk of not being able to control yourself once you have possession of said toffee.

b)You can end up with a chocolate dipped chin or a chocolate dipped lens.

c)You might turn your head at the bowl of oatmeal you had planned on having for breakfast, and have this instead.

So consider yourself warned…



Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Toffee
inspired from Fuji Nana’s Deadly Chocolate Almond Toffee

1 cup roasted unsalted hazelnuts
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped or ground walnuts

1. Line a baking sheet with foil or a Silpat, spinkle the hazelnuts in a single layer over the over baking sheet to cover an area of approx 9 X 12; set aside.

2. In a heavy saucepan or copper pan combine butter, sugar and salt. Cook over high heat stirring constantly until the candy reaches 300 degrees F (Hard Crack stage) this step takes between 5 – 7 minutes. Remove for heat, stir in hazelnut liqueur, and quickly pour candy over the hazelnuts; allow to cool completely.

3. Melt chocolate in the microwave oven in intervals of 40 seconds at 50% power and stirring inbetween until chocolate is soft enough to spread. Spread chocolate mixture over cooled toffee and sprinkle with your favorite ground nut. Allow chocolate to cool completely before breaking toffee into bite-size pieces.


Here’s a batch of Fuji Nana’s Deadly Chocolate Almond Toffee I made a couple of weeks ago. Mmm Mmm Mmm…

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Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

This past weekend my husband and I flew to Mexico to attend my Aunts 90th birthday.

Unfortunately the boys weren’t able to join us on this trip. I did however, make sure I left a little piece of me with them before I left.

To kickoff the birthday festivities my uncle celebrated mass in her honor.

Uncle
Mom, Aunt, Uncle

A trio of young whippersnappers.

Jose and I with my Aunt

After mass we all headed over to the potluck party. Daughters and daughters-in-law each contributed their “specialty dish”. Everything was fantastic since they are all amazing cooks. It must run in the family. 😉

Leftovers were equally divided so everyone got to take home a little taste of everything.

Leftover distribution

She celebrated this very special day in company of siblings, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends.

Some of us had longer flights than others…

Cindy & I
Ana Silvia & I

During the short visit I was also able to spend time with some of my closest friends from Elementary, Jr. High, & High school.

Friends since elementary
High School buds...

We had a great time, but we are glad to be back with the boys!

Coffee Ice Cream

Coffee Ice Cream

adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely round coffee
2 oz chocolate covered espresso beans, whole or chopped

In a medium saucepan warm the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream. Once the milk is warm remove from the stove, cover, and let it steep at room temperature for at least 1-2 hours. The longer you let it steep the more intense the coffee flavor will be.

Place the saucepan back on the stove and reheat. In a large bowl pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, and place a large strainer on top. Slowly pour about half of the warm milk in a thin stream into the egg yolks while whisking constantly to warm the egg yolks. Now return the egg yolks back into the sauce pan.

Over medium heat stir the ice cream base with a wooden spoon making sure you scrape the bottom of the pan while you stir until the ice cream base thickens and coats the back side of the wooden spoon.

Pour ice cream base through the strainer and stir it into the heavy cream. With the wooden spoon press on the coffee beans held in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. The coffee beans can be thrown away at this point.

Add vanilla extract and ground instant coffee, stir well to combine. Cool over an ice bath then finish chilling the ice cream base in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Pour ice cream base into your ice cream maker and follow your manufacturer’s instructions. About 5 minutes before the ice cream is done churning add in your whole or chopped chocolate covered espresso beans. Pour ice cream into a sealable plastic container and place in the freezer until throughly frozen.

Coffee Ice Cream Base
Coffee Ice Cream
Coffee Ice Cream

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What are your thoughts on being “sweet-toothed”? Blessing or curse? I can’t decide…

At home, everyone but my husband can go without dessert and not feel like they are missing out. He can take it or leave it, no problem.

The boys and I on the other hand unless completely stuffed, find it hard to pass up on dessert.

A few days ago we had company over and I decided to make these stuffed Medjool Dates to offer as an appetizer. After the company left there were a handful of dates left over so I put them away in the fridge.

The following evening after dinner my husband asked if we had any of the stuffed dates leftover because he wanted to have one for dessert.

This sweet & savory treat may not be the ideal dessert for those of us (blessed/cursed) with a “sweet-tooth”, but it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t enjoy them… after all they are quite tasty.

Medjool Dates
Blue Cheese-Walnut Stuffed Medjool Dates

Blue Cheese-Walnut Stuffed Medjool Dates

12 whole medjool dates
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Sliced Medjool Date
With a paring knife carefully make a lengthwise slit across the top of each date.

Medjool Date Seed
Remove the seeds from the dates.

Blue Cheese-Walnut Stuffed Medjool Dates
Place approximately 1/2 a teaspoon of crumbled blue cheese in each of the dates and press it down to make room for the yummy walnuts.

Fill the remainder of the date with chopped walnuts.

Enjoy!

Blue Cheese-Walnut Stuffed Medjool Dates

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