Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Chocolate Custard Pudding #Choctoberfest

Meatloaf with mashed potatoes is my favorite comfort food dinner, no doubt. But when it comes to dessert, chocolate pudding is one of my favorite comfort foods. Sure, I like cake and pie and ice cream. But there's something about the creamy coolness of pudding that's like a hug.

Heavens knows I need a few hugs these days.

I usually make pudding using cornstarch because it's easy, but this time I decided to make a rich custard using egg yolks for thickening. I mean, why not? It's comfort food.

While I'm a huge fan of chocolate and desserts, I don't like super-sweet desserts. I like that little edge of something not-sweet. So I added a bit of espresso powder to add its bit of bitterness to this custard.

This was exactly what I was looking for. And then I found some cute little jars to serve it in.

This post is part of #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar where a bunch of food bloggers have joined together to post about chocolate all week. The sponsors provided products for a giveaway, and they also sent me products to work with.

Chocolate Custard Pudding

1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3/4 cup Imperial sugar
1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3.5-ounce Lindt Excellence 85% cocoa dark chocolate bar, broken into pieces
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine the cream, milk, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, and chocolate bar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium, stirring or whisking, until the sugar and chocolate bar melt and the cocoa powder is well blended in the milk mixture.

Continue cooking until the mixture comes to a gentle simmer then turn off the heat.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

When the mixture is simmering, it's time to temper the egg yolks. This means that you warm the yolks slowly so they don't cook too quickly and scramble. Chocolate custard is good. Scrambled chocolate eggs isn't a great idea.

Tempering isn't difficult, so don't worry. Just add some of the milk mixture to the eggs slowly while you whisk or stir those eggs. Add about a cup of the hot milk to the eggs. You can add more. It doesn't need to be precise.

Now, add the warmed eggs back to the saucepan while stirring. Turn the heat back on and continue cooking, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and just barely starts to bubble a bit.

Turn the heat off and add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Pour the custard pudding through a strainer into a storage container - a quart-sized container is perfect. The reason you need to strain is that no matter how careful you are, chances are that you'll get a few bits of egg, and particularly if there was any egg white with the yolks - and who can separate eggs that perfectly, right?

Chill the custard and serve cold.

Check out the recipes from all the participating bloggers. I think you'll love them!

Chocolate custard pudding - the ultimate comfort food dessert.
Chocolate custard pudding - the ultimate comfort food dessert.

Monday, October 5, 2015

#Choctoberfest Begins Today!


I'm starting to get back on the blogging bandwagon this week, and what better way to do it than with chocolate? Because today is the first day of #Choctoberfest.

Heavens knows I can use chocolate now, right?

Today I'm posting giveaway information. Tomorrow you'll find a recipe for one of my favorite comfort food desserts - chocolate custard pudding! I've snared a chocolate-related guest post for later in the week, and I have a cocktail in mind for the end of the week.

I joined #Choctoberfest for the fun of it, but I also received some products from sponsors for my use. I've got enough Imperial sugar to last at least a little while!

Make sure you stop by to see what all the other bloggers have come up with, and thanks so much for all the kind words and support while I'm still trying to get my feet under me again.

#Choctoberfest is a virtual event put together by The PinterTest Kitchen. Bloggers from around the world will be posting their favorite chocolate recipes, and you'll get a chance to win some awesome prizes. What's not to love?

Here's what this event is all about!

#Choctoberfest would not be possible without our sponsors, starting with our 2015 Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar has been a trusted name in family kitchens since 1843. Their sugar products and sweeteners are made from non-GMO cane sugar and ensure consistently delicious results. We'll be using Imperial Sugar whenever we use sugar in our recipes this week, and can't wait to share the sweetness with you!

You can find Imperial Sugar on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. Make sure you visit the recipes section of their website for some sweet inspiration, and you can also find coupons on their website if you want to try out Imperial Sugar yourself.

Imperial Sugar and our other sponsors have banded together to contribute some awesome prizes for our #Choctoberfest giveaway! Entering is simple - just click below to follow us on Pinterest. Here's what you could win:
We also have a nonprofit sponsor this year - Rescue Chocolate! They make vegan chocolate treats and donate 100% of their proceeds to animal shelters.

Enter now to win the #Choctoberfest prize. Hurry, because we're picking the winner on October 12 at 8:00 AM, so if you don't sign up before then, you'll miss your chance!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A huge thank you to all of the other blogs participating in #Choctoberfest 2015. Check out their blogs throughout the week for chocolate recipes you won't be able to resist:

The PinterTest Kitchen2 Cookin' MamasA Day in the Life on the FarmAloha FlavorAmy's Cooking AdventuresAngels HomesteadBalancing MotherhoodBless this MessBusy-at-HomeChocolate SlopesCoconut & LimeColie's KitchenCookaholic WifeCooking In StilettosCooking With LibbyCookistryCopyKat RecipesCravings of a LunaticCrumbs in my MustachioCulinary CoutureCupcakes Take The CakeDeliciously SavvyEat It & Say YumFairyburgerFamished Fish, Finicky SharkFarm Fresh FeastsFood Hunter's Guide to CuisineFull Belly SistersGet Off The Couch and CookGrumpy's HoneybunchHey What's for Dinner Mom?Honey and BirchI Can Cook ThatJane's Adventures in DinnerJessie WeaverLife on Food Life, Love, and Good FoodMajorly DeliciousMoore or Less Cooking Food BlogMother Would KnowOr Whatever You DoPoet in the PantryRecipes Food and CookingRhubarb and HoneySassy Southern YankeeSavory TartSeduction in The KitchenSerena LissySumptuous SpoonfulsTake Two TapasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeThatsSoYummyThe Chonchudo FilesThe Crumby CupcakeThe Dinner-MomThe Saucy SouthernerThe Spiced LifeThe Spiffy CookieThe Two Bite ClubThe Weekday GourmetVintage KittyWendy PolisiWhat A Girl EatsWhitBit's Indian KitchenWit Wisdom & FoodZesty South Indian Kitchen

Are you a blogger who is interested in joining us during our next community event?

We'll make sure you get an email about our next blogger event.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Olive and Feta Swirl Rolls

I don't know what it is about swirl rolls, but I love making them. And I fill them with all sorts of things.

I'll bet a lot of people would think of cinnamon rolls first when someone mentions swirl rolls, Or maybe they think of sticky buns.

Those are great, but swirl rolls don't have to be sweet.

Nope, savory swirl rolls are pretty amazing, too.

These rolls are filled with olives (I used kalamatas) and feta cheese, and the dough is flavored with oregano. They're tasty all by themselves, but they're also perfect with dinner, particularly when you're serving something with Greek or Mediterranean flavors.

This recipe is sponsored by my friends at Red Star Yeast, which makes a whole lot of sense for this blog. It's the brand that I buy exclusively, because I like it.

I use the active dry yeast most often, but I'm also a big fan of the Platinum yeast, particularly for finicky breads. The Quick Rise is great when you're in a hurry, and it's also a great yeast for bread machines.

But enough about yeast. Let's get back to the rolls!

These rolls are best when they're refrigerated overnight for the final rise, so you can bake them when you need them - right before lunch or dinner.

But, if you want to, you can let them rise at room temperature and bake the same day. Just let them rise for 30-45 minutes after shaping - if you poke one with a finger, the indent should remain. Then they're ready for baking. Personally, I think the flavor is better with the long, slow, overnight rise, so if you have the time, give that a try.

Olive and Feta Swirl Rolls

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons Red Star active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 tablespoon oregano
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives (or your favorite pitted olives)
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Combine the water, bread flour, sugar, yeast, salt, olive oil, mashed potato flakes and oregano in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.

If you prefer, you can mix the ingredients in a bowl and knead by hand. I like using the stand mixer for kneading, but I know that not everyone has one.

Knead until the dough is elastic.

Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about an hour.

Flour your work surface and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with baking spray (or, if you're confident, you don't need to spray. I usually do, for extra insurance.)

Roll the dough to a rectangle about 9x13 inches. It doesn't need to be precise. You can just eyeball it to see that it's about the same size as your pan.

With one of the long sides of the dough facing you, sprinkle the cheese and the olives over the surface of the dough, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on the far end. Use the rolling pin to gently press the filling into the dough.

Starting with the end closest to you, gently roll the dough, jellyroll-style. Don't roll super-tight. When you reach the opposite end, pinch the seam to seal the roll.

Cut the dough into 12 even pieces and place them, with the cut side up, in the prepared pan. If you've managed to cut them unevenly, it's not a big deal - I actually like having some rolls bigger than others, so people can choose a larger or smaller roll. If there are some that are taller than others in the pan, press them down gently so they're all about the same size.

Cover the pan (it's handy to have a pan that has its own cover, or you can cover with plastic wrap.)

Refrigerate the dough overnight or up to 24 hours. It will rise during that time.

When you're ready to bake, take the pan out of the refrigerator while you let the oven heat. Preheat to 350 degrees.

When the oven has heated, remove the cover from the pan and bake the buns at 350 degrees until they're nicely browned and cooked through - about 50 minutes.

Remove the buns from the pan (you can flip them out onto a rack, then from them over onto another rack so they're right-side-up) and let them cool before serving.

Want to see lots of pretty bread photos? Follow Red Star Yeast on Pinterest.

Thanks to Red Star Yeast for sponsoring this post!
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