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archive for chocolate

while you can

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate hazelnut sandies

This past weekend was closing weekend for our local ski hill. We considered the mobs of people trying to squeeze in one last ski day of the season and decided to head in the opposite direction. Backcountry skiing is more effort than resort skiing. In essence, you are your own ski lift. But the rewards are many and include fresh tracks, solitude, spectacular views, and a great workout. The snow is skiing the way it typically does in early May, so unless we get some promising storms, our ski days are numbered.


skinning up

pausing to admire our backyard

whoop whoop!

skiing out



I’m actually okay with the ski season coming to an end – I mean, my big toenail is okay with ski season coming to an end. I injured it in late January on a ski tour and it has since turned dark purple, doing those things that tell you it is going to fall off in 6 or 9 months. The plan is to ski as long as there is snow and just ignore any pain. So far, so good!

Now on to the recipe. As a rule, when I blog a recipe, I try to have double the amount of impossible-to-get-in-my-mountain-town ingredients needed in case something tanks. I’m happy to say that the backup ingredients are rarely (but not never!) required, which leaves me with extra ingredients. Sometimes they get incorporated into our meals, sometimes they get bumped to the next recipe. Other times, they spark new ideas – like these chocolate hazelnut sandies. It’s a pecan sandie, but chocolate with a different nut!


toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, butter, flour, vanilla extract, hazelnut liqueur

mix the cocoa powder and flour together

chop the hazelnuts into a coarse grind

ground hazelnuts, flour-cocoa mixture, powdered sugar



**Jump for more butter**

fluff puff stuff

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate cinnamon hazelnut cacao nib meringues

Well, I finally overcame my issues with square photos, took the plunge, and got an Instagram account. You can find me and my random shenanigans over at @jenyuphoto. Rather than bore you with stories of skiing slush and trouble shooting our broken washing machine, let’s talk about meringues. I’m specifically referring to giant palm-sized clouds of sugar. While the huckleberry meringues were beautiful to look at, it felt like I was just biting into a big puffball of sugar with a veneer of huckleberry sauce. So I got to thinking about and researching other flavors and textures.


superfine sugar, cacao nibs, toasted hazelnuts, egg whites, cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, salt



I found a recipe on Leite’s Culinaria for chocolate cinnamon meringues as big as the ones I made based on Ottolenghi’s recipe. It’s a similar technique, too – pouring hot sugar into the egg whites. This is what creates the chewy interior of the meringue (which I love). The bitter, earthy, and spicy flavors of unsweetened cocoa powder and ground cinnamon would temper the sugary sweetness of the meringue. Then, taking a cue from another Ottolenghi recipe (the pistachio-rose meringues), I decided to coat the base of each meringue with a combination of chopped toasted hazelnuts and cacao nibs. It sounded like a good combination in my brain.

ready to bake the sugar

whisk the cocoa powder and cinnamon together

chop the hazelnuts

toss the hazelnuts and cacao nibs in a bowl



**Jump for more butter**

sweet things in the year of the goat

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate peanut butter chip pizookie

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Tsai! It’s the year of the goat, or sheep, or ram! I’m not really sure which one it’s supposed to be, but you get the gist. The house is clean (more or less), the symbol for luck is upside down on the front door, and I made several traditional foods on New Year’s Eve to ensure luck, health, happiness, and all the good stuff. Some of the recipes require quite a bit of time to prepare – there is no rushing through them. As I sliced and minced countless ingredients and plucked the ends off the soybean sprouts, it gave me time to contemplate the previous year, loved ones who are still with us and the loved ones who have gone. The new year is a joyful time, but it is also a time of remembrance and perhaps a little heartache.


round whole fruits are good luck (and hong bao have cash!)

the character for “luck” upside down at the front door (luck arrives)

lucky ten ingredient vegetables



You’d think a Chinese recipe would be appropriate for today, but practically speaking, if you’re trying to celebrate the lunar new year, you should have cooked everything yesterday (new year’s eve) because you’re not supposed to use sharp objects (knives) today. Another superstition, don’t you know. There’s no need for knives in this recipe AND it’s something sweet – which is good because you want to eat something sweet on Chinese New Year’s Day so sweet things come out of your mouth all year.

So I have to share this guilty pleasure with you, because it’s ridiculous stuff. Years ago, my good friends Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple posted about pizookies: a deep dish cookie topped with ice cream. They were crazy about pizookies and have several recipes from which to choose. Over the winter holidays, I had some extra cookie dough and asked Jeremy if he wanted a pizookie. “A what?!” he asked. I had already popped it into the oven and just told him he wanted one. I was right.


peanut butter chips, flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, butter, salt, vanilla, baking soda

cream the butter and sugars

beat in the eggs and vanilla



**Jump for more butter**