Archive for the ‘Chocolate’ Category

My mom, sister and I had a girls’ weekend at The Hershey Hotel.  The Hershey Hotel is gorgeous.  Upon driving up the long driveway you encounter beautiful tulips (my favorite) is purple, pink, orange, yellow and red.  The Hotel itself appears to have Mediterranean influences, and I read that Mr. Hershey planned to recreate an Egyptian resort.  It is like a palace with the fountains, gardens, and green, turquoise and tan tiles that decorate the walls.  To remind you that you are in Hersey, there is chocolate everywhere. It is actually quite charming that you receive chocolate upon check in, chocolate before you go to bed, and chocolate while you are at the spa. 

We had dinner at the Circular Dining Room which is a popular restaurant in this area.  Diners eat surrounded by stained glass windows  overlooking the gardens.  The food was just as good as the setting.  Although the appetizers and entrees were beautifully presented and full of flavor, it was the dessert that really stood out.  Being in Hershey, one may choose to order a true chocolate dessert, but as I was a little overwhelmed by all the chocolate already, I chose something a little different.  Not to worry, chocolate was involved.  Ricotta donuts with spiked chocolate fondue and chestnut ice cream.  Three little fried dough balls each speared with an extra long toothpick appeared on my plate with a ramekin of chocolate fondue and a scoop of ice cream.  Although the donuts did not taste like ricotta, which can be really light in flavor to begin with before it is fried, the donuts were much lighter than your typical donut and did not stay together as well.  Not truly a “dunkin” donut, because as we dunked into the chocolate fondue they fell apart.  They were still delicious and the cold chestnut ice cream was a great addition to the warm dish. 

The shops were equally as nice at the hotel, including Sweets, a cute pastry and candy shop decked out in bright colors.  These mini cupcakes called to me as a great gift for my husband.


Read Full Post »


Who doesn’t love chocolate mousse?  When scanning a dessert menu at a restaurant, I always look for mousse.  Many restaurants do not carry it, maybe because it does take a little time to make, but it is actually very simple.  So simple in fact, that I wish I learned how to do it sooner because it is my absolute favorite.

Now I am not a pie crust making kind of girl.  I typically purchase my pie crust from the grocery store to save time, but again, when I went in search of how to make pie crust and found how incredibly simply that was too, I thought….let’s get a little wild and change up your traditional graham cracker pie crust for some oreos, which happen to be my favorite cookie.

This mousse recipe is from one of the best, in my opinion, baking websites online, Joy of Baking.  I have tried many recipes from this site, and they have yet to dissapoint.  Usually, my creations from Joy of Baking are very well received, so I always check there when looking to make a baked good.  The chocolate mousse recipe as provided was actually on the skimmpy side for the pie dish that I used.  I like my pudding and/or mousse pies to be heaping, piled high, rising up from the crust.  The amount of mousse I got out of this recipe yielded a bit of a flat pie, but delicious nonetheless.  Next time I would make two batches of mousse to fulfill my need for that mound of mousse in my pie.   

 Chocolate Mousse:

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

2 large eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

Oreo Cookie Crust

20 Oreos (1 to 1 ½ cups crumbled oreos)

3 tablespoons melted butter

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons white sugar

Chocolate Mousse: In a stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Then whisk in the two egg yolks. Refrigerate while you whip the egg whites and whipping cream.

Whip the two egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.  Using an electric mixer is much easier. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. You will know that the egg whites are stiff when you can turn the bowl over and they do not fall out.  Make sure to not whip until dry because there is no way to return from dry egg whites.  Then set aside the whites. 

In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, one tablespoon sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.  You will know that there are soft peaks when you lift the beaters from the mixture are peaks form.  I used a hand electric mixer for this.

Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator, and stir a couple of spoonfuls of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold the remaining whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in the whipped cream.

Refrigerate the mousse for a couple of hours.

Oreo Cookie Crust

Crumble the cookies in a food processor.  Save a small amount of the crumbs for dusting later.  Then in a bowl, mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter until the crumbs are all the same consistency and texture.  Then place in a pie dish.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Whipped Cream

Using an electric mixer, whip the cream and sugar together.  Place into a Ziploc bag and cut off the tip of one side of the bottom of the bag.   Again, something new for me was making whipped cream.  I thought that you could not beat RediWhip, which can be addicting, but this fresh whipped cream was also very nice. 

Place chocolate mousse into pie crust and add whipped cream.  I tried to decorate my pie with it a bit, but it turned into a little mess.  Once the whipped cream was on in some form, I dusted the pie with some of the remaining cookie crumbs, and added one whole oreo on top.

The mousse was very sweet, and smooth.  The whipped cream was not as sweet as I thought it would be, but it perfectly complemented the sweetness of the mousse.  The cookie crust was oreos, so how could you go wrong.

Read Full Post »