Friday, February 21, 2014

Blood Orange Mini Cheesecakes

Wee little Blood Orange Mini Cheesecakes – get in my belly!
Is it raining again? It feels like winter will never end. Some days, I feel like I absolutely NEED to see a bright colour, or taste a bold flavour or I might turn into a mushroom. Aren’t we lucky ducks, because this time of year — smack dab in the middle of the dullest of days — it just so happens that it is citrus season!

Most citrus is at its best flavour and price right now. You have probably noticed many new and unusual varieties at your grocery lately. If you’ve never tried blood oranges before, do so now! These juicy orbs are sweet and fragrant. Inside, the orange can range in colour from dark pink to almost burgundy-black, however, there’s no difference in flavour.

This is a no-bake cheesecake — how easy is that? Mix the ingredients together, pour it on the crust, and refrigerate. That’s it! No worrying about cracked tops or over baking. The blood orange gelled topping is a ruby red jewel on top that adds a bright hit of citrus to counterbalance the richness of the cheesecake. The secret, “stealth health” ingredient to this cheesecake is... greek yogurt! I used 2%, but you could use fat free if that’s what you have. Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt. That makes this cheesecake, healthy, right? Right.

A spoonful of Oh My Goodness
Just for fun, I decided to make these into tiny mini cheesecakes, but you could make one full-sized cheesecake if you prefer. Can’t find blood oranges? Use oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit — whatever you can get. This is an easy, versatile recipe you will make again and again. I hope you find your brilliant bit of citrus to brighten your grey day. Cheers!

Click through for the recipe and instructions…

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dark Chocolate & Blood Orange Pots de Crème with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

Dark Chocolate & Blood Orange Pots de Crème with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce
Happy Valentine's Day, sweeties!

Ingredient Gang Wars: Bloods vs. Dark Chocolate

Are you feeling romantic? Do you have some Plans of Love later today? I am staying home with my sweetie darling, hiding from the Love Fest and all of its heart-shaped pinkness. I sound cynical, but I'm not! We love to go out for date nights, but doing this on Valentine's Day is often more annoying than enjoyable.

I'm squishing your head!


My Valentine's Day-at-home will probably look like a nice, home-cooked dinner, followed by a completely rich, decadent, fancy, chocolate dessert. I absolutely love pots de crème — a French custard that falls somewhere between pudding and mousse — and chocolate ones, especially. Just a few mouthfuls are all you need to satisfy that chocolate craving.

Keep pouring.

I somehow ended up with a bag of blood oranges, and needed a reason to use them. Into the pots de crème they go! The custard itself only uses the zest of one orange, so you can leave that out if you prefer. The blood orange caramel, however, is probably the best caramel I have ever made! You MUST make it. It takes a lot of juice — I needed five oranges to get enough — but the results are amazing. I hooted like a monkey when I tasted it for the first time.

Pass me that PO-duh-CREMM, merci

Instead of a traditional ramekin, I used small canning jars. This amount of custard is perfect — it won't fill you up or weigh you down. You know, in case you will be doing anything, uh, athletic, afterward.

Click through for the recipe and instructions.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Champagne Cupcakes for Valentine's Day

It's a cupcake. With booze in it. What's not to love?
Valentine's Day. Cue the twittering birds and soft music flowing from tiny harps! This, the Day of Love, evokes visions of heart-shaped chocolate boxes, bouquets of red roses, and romance. For me, it is simply a glass of bubbly and a special dessert shared with my sweetie.

What's a cupcake without sprinkles? It's nothing. It's dead to me.
Tart Little Dollop is my middle name.
These romantic, Champagne Cupcakes combine a crisp, refreshing sparkler with a sweet, vanilla cupcake with champagne buttercream. There is a surprise inside, too – a tart little dollop of raspberry filling.

Cut a wedge out of the middle, put a wee bit o' jam in there, then squish the lid back on. Once you put the frosting on, it holds the lid in place.
For the bubbles, I chose The Bub, from Haywire Winery in Summerland, BC. The Bub is a Traditional Method sparkler made from chardonnay and pinot noir. It's fresh and crisp and not too sweet – making it the perfect ingredient for these champagne cupcakes.

Any time is the perfect time for Bubbles!
I hope you try my Bubcakes and share them with your love, maybe with a little glass of The Bub. Happy Valentine's Day!

Click through for the recipe and instructions.