The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 7 – Chocolate Lava Cake

molten-lava-cake-853x1024

It’s been a week and I’ve lost 2.6 pounds.  I’m right on track, and still feel great.

So I’m going to make a diet treat today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients:

4 oz Semi-Sweet or Bittersweet chocolate

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

1/8 tsp Salt

2 Tbsp Honey

1 tsp Coconut Flour

2 tsp Cocoa Powder

2 eggs

4 Tbsp extra virgin or refined coconut oil (plus a little more for greasing the ramekins)

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease four 6oz ramekins with coconut oil. If you wish to serve these cakes on a plate, you will need to flour as well (use coconut flour, blanched almond flour, or cocoa powder).

In a 4 cup measuring cup or medium microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave on low power. Stir until smooth and let cool.

In a small bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, salt and honey with a hand or stand mixer until light and frothy, about five minutes.

Pour egg mixture over chocolate. Sift cocoa and coconut flour over the top. Then gently fold all the ingredients together.

Pour batter into prepared ramekins (they should be filled to within ½” of the top). Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and place in the oven (you can chill the ramekins for a few hours if you want to make them ahead of time, just make sure you bring them back to room temperature before baking). Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Holidays With Honey – Cincinnati Opera Creams

opera creams

For about a hundred years, Cincinnati has had a love affair with candy filled with opera cream — a simple, but sweet and rich fondant.

Opera cream candies are usually covered in dark chocolate.  According to legend, the opera cream recipe was brought to Cincinnati from France before the turn of the century.

One explanation for the origin of the name “opera cream” is that the candy is sweet and very rich and so are a lot of operas.

Another explanation (more likely!) is that for many years, the Cincinnati Opera treated patrons to opera cream candy before performances.

Yield:  3-1/2  pounds

Ingredients:

4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb dipping chocolate

Directions:

Combine sugar, cream, honey, and cream of tartar in a 3-qt. heavy saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.

Cook to 236°F.

Watch carefully to avoid boiling over.

If sugar crystals form on the side of pan, wipe them off.

(To prevent this problem, place the lid on just as candies start to boil, for 1 minute. This washes the crystals down automatically.) Pour out onto marble slab (do not scrape pan).

Let stand until lukewarm, about 5-10 min.

Work like fondant, until creamy& light in color.

Add vanilla and work into mix.

Shape in pieces as desired.

Dip in melted chocolate.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Peppermint Truffles

peppermint truffles

This always happens. I think I have days and days before Christmas and all of a sudden there it is, staring me in the face. I hope I get the chance to post all of the recipes, Winter Solstice lore, and ghost stories I have planned before the Big Day. If not, there’s always next year…

Ingredients

9 ounces dark chocolate

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup honey

Pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup crushed red and white mint candies or candy canes

Directions

Place dark chocolate in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Heat cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk until smooth. Add in peppermint extract and stir to fully incorporate.

Cover mixture with foil or plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until truffle mixture becomes firm (about 6 hours or overnight).

Place a piece of parchment paper onto a large plate or cookie sheet and set aside.

Place the crushed peppermints on a plate or a cutting board.

Remove truffle mixture from the refrigerator. Using a teaspoon, or a melon baller, scoop out small balls of chocolate. Roll each carefully in your hand until it resembles a misshapen little ball (these should not be perfectly round, they are supposed to resemble real truffles).

Immediately roll each truffle in the crushed peppermint and place on prepared baking sheet. Cover truffles and place them in the refrigerator until firm. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles

Holidays With Honey – Kentucky Bourbon Balls With Honey

bourbon balls

In 1936, Ruth Hanly Booe, a candy entrepreneur in Frankfort, Kentucky, invented the Bourbon Ball.  Simply and deliciously, it is a whiskey-spiked cream center covered with dark chocolate and topped with a pecan. Over time, it became a regional favorite,  especially popular during the holidays. My version contains honey as well as the finest Kentucky Bourbon.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons top quality Kentucky Bourbon

1 Tablespoon honey

Directions

Combine softened butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Add bourbon and honey.  Mix until incorporated.

Refrigerate the mixture for 1 hour.

Form the buttercream into 1 inch balls and place on waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm.

Transfer buttercream centers to a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for several hours or overnight.

Dip in chocolate coating. (See Below)

Chocolate Coating

4 to 6 ounces semisweet chocolate

30 -50 whole pecan halves, for garnish

Place a toothpick in each bourbon ball, sticking the toothpick into the center.

Melt chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave or a double boiler. Mix and heat until smooth.

Working quickly, dip the bourbon ball centers into the chocolate one at a time. Tap the toothpick against the side of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Set the coated bourbon ball on waxed paper covering a baking sheet or pizza pan. With another toothpick push the bourbon ball gently from the toothpick and cover the spot where it was with a pecan half.

When all bourbon balls have been dipped allow them to rest until set. (To speed the process the pan of bourbon balls can be placed in the refrigerator.) When set, transfer the candies to a holiday tin or other storage container.

Holidays With Honey – Honey Turtles

turtle

This is probably my favorite candy!  Make lots because unlike real turtles, they are sure to go fast!!

Ingredients:

12 ounces of soft caramels, recipe follows

6 oz (about 1.5 cups) toasted pecan halves

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and spraying it with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Arrange the pecans in clusters of 4 with each pecan pointing in a different direction (like turtle legs).

3. Place the caramel in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.

4. Allow the caramel to cool slightly, then use a spoon to drop a spoonful of caramel over the pecan clusters. They are meant to be a rustic candy, so don’t worry about keeping the turtles round or about having some of the pecans poking through.

5. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel layer.

6. Allow the turtle candies to set fully, either at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week, but bring them to room temperature before serving so the caramel can soften.

Honey Caramels

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup honey (mild honey works best here)
1 cup raw sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Special Equipment: 8×8 pan, candy thermometer (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line an 8×8 pan with aluminum foil, letting the edges of the foil hang over the side of the pan, and spray with cooking spray, or butter generously.
  2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.
  3. Add the honey, sugar, and heavy cream. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has mostly dissolved.
  4. Turn the heat to medium low. Clip your candy thermometer onto the side of the pan….carefully.
  5. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches firm ball stage, which you can determine in one of two ways: a. the mixture reaches 248ºF (give or take a degree or two) on a candy thermometer (it will be marked with “FB” or “firm ball”) or b. Drop a bit of the mixture into a small bowl filled with ice water. It should immediately form a ball that you can squeeze together with your fingers without it dissipating.
  6. Immediately remove from the heat, quickly stir in the vanilla (it will bubble slightly) and pour the mixture into your greased pan.
  7. Let cool, lift out of the pan using the foil, then cut into squares and wrap in squares of parchment paper or cellophane.

Note: If you happen to accidentally take your caramels past the firm ball stage (i.e., if the caramel mixture gets a little too hard after it has cooled), remelt the candy over low heat with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Stir until the mixture is totally combined, then do the ice water test to check the consistency of the mixture (dropping the mixture into cold water is a reliable indicator of what the texture/consistency of the caramels will be when cool). Immediately pour into a newly-foil lined and greased pan, and cool completely.

Holidays With Honey – Dark Chocolate And Honey Truffles

Truffles

These are so easy to prepare and they make perfect gifts!

Ingredients

9 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

½ cup  heavy cream

¼ cup honey

pinch of salt

unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling the truffles

Directions

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Set aside.

Combine cream, honey and salt in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until honey is dissolved. When the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Mix until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 3-4 hours or overnight. Using a small cookie-scoop or a spoon, make truffles with generous 1 ½ teaspoons of ganache per truffle and roll into the cocoa powder. Place in fluted paper cases and serve.

Truffles can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Makes about 30 truffles

Cranberry Week – Honey Cranberry Fudge Pie

Did you know that cranberries have anti-adhesion properties that reduce the number of oral bacteria that cause cavities and dental plaque?  They also help reverse periodontal (gum) disease.

Crust

1 2/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate (also good with white chocolate!!)
2/3 cup (5 3/8 ounces) heavy cream
3/4 cup diced walnuts or pecans

Topping*

1 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1 cup dried cranberries
12-ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries, a generous 3 cups
*You’ll need about 15 ounces (a scant 1 1/2 cups) topping for the pie. Enjoy the remainder on its own.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2) To make the crust: Process the crackers, sugar, and melted butter in a food processor until crumbly and well combined.

3) Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan.

4) Bake the crust for about 7 to 8 minutes, until it’s set, but not brown. Remove from the oven and cool.

5) To make the filling: Put the chips (or chopped chocolate) and cream in a microwave-safe container, and heat for about 90 seconds.

6) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the mixture becomes smooth and dark brown; you’re simply making a basic ganache.

7) Spoon the hot ganache into the cooled crust, and sprinkle the nuts on top.

8) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour, probably 2, until the ganache has firmed up.

9) While the pie is chilling, make the topping. Bring the honey, salt, and cranberry juice to a boil.

10) Stir in the dried cranberries, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

11) Add the fresh or frozen cranberries, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until some of the berries have burst.

12) Remove the cranberries from the heat, spoon into a bowl, and chill.

13) To finish assembling the pie: Spoon 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce atop the fudge/nut filling. Chill until ready to serve.

Yield: 9″ pie, 8 to 10 rich servings.