Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A shout out for Chocolate

My brother is great at sending me links, books and sometimes goodies.  Not too long ago, I received a box of chocolates from him.  The package was beautiful.  Once unwrapped, the chocolates were revealed...they were gorgeous  My husband and I started tasting them.  We each ate half of every piece so we could taste everything in the box.  What we discovered was a mix of flavors that we had not encountered before.  The link to the source of these little treasures is:


....and I urge you to visit.  Try some of the chocolates and be prepared to taste a little bit of heaven in each bite.

Jason and I both like dark chocolate, so the recipes that follow are for the dark chocolate lovers out there.  If you like something a bit more mellow, you can use regular cocoa powder.  

Warm Dark Chocolate Pudding
For the best results, use  half-n-half.  However, skim milk will work just fine.

3 cups of milk
1/3 cup sugar (you may want to add more, but do so in increments of 1 tablespoon at a time)
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (you may also want to add more, but do so in increments of 1 tablespoon at a time)
4 tbsp corn starch and 4 tbsp cold water mixed to make a slurry
1.5 tsp vanilla

Heat the milk on low until is gets warm.  Combine the sugar and cocoa powder and add to the warm milk.  The cocoa powder will eventually melt into the warm milk.  Slowly bring this to a light simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Then, stir the cornstarch and water to mix, and pour into the pan slowly while stirring (a wooden spoon works best) or whisking the pudding.  

Continue to stir or whisk and let it simmer for approx. 1 - 2 minutes, or until thickened.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  

Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to avoid the formation of a "skin" over the top of the pudding.  

Then, take 1/2 cup of whipping cream, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.  

Serve the pudding either warm or cold with the whipped cream.

Hot Chocolate
Use the same recipe as the pudding, but don't add the cornstarch and water.  This is a great hot cocoa.  

Variations - add 1/4 tsp (or more to taste) of peppermint abstract for a Peppermint Patti
Add 1/2 cup Raspberry liquor for a sensational Raspberry Hot Cocoa
Add 1/4 cup of Amaretto and 1/4 cup Coconut Rum for a Chocolate Covered Almond
Add 1/2 cup of Grand Mariner for a Chocolate Orange

You can also use the whipped cream to top your hot cocoa.

I hope you enjoy!

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