Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cook N for the Holidays: Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Pretty darn good. Pretty darn quick. Pretty darn easy.

Made some fudge today: Cook's Illustrated's Chocolate Walnut Fudge.

This recipe makes about 2 1/2 pounds of yummy, rich, chocolatey goodness.

The people at Cook's Illustrated recommend Ghirardelli semisweet and unsweetened chocolate. I could not find unsweetened in this brand, so used some green and blacks unsweetened powder instead (6 Tablespoons mixed with 2 Tablespoons of Canola oil- and it worked just fine). The walnuts are "crucial" to the texture of this fudge, so if you don't like nuts (or have an allergy) this may not be the recipe for you.

A few notes from CI:

  • Make sure to remove the fudge from the double boiler before the chocolate is fully melted. If the chocolate stays in the double boiler too long, there is the possibility of the chocolate separating and producing a greasy fudge.

  • This fudge will change texture and become drier the longer it is stored. Store the fudge, tightly wrapped in plastic, in a cool place for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months. If frozen, allow ample time to let it reach room temperature before cutting.

Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Walnut Fudge

16 ounces semisweet chocolate , chopped fine
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate , chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Cut 12-inch length extra-wide heavy-duty aluminum foil; fold edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch-square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Toss chocolates, baking soda, and salt in medium heatproof bowl until baking soda is evenly distributed. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Set bowl over 4-quart saucepan containing 2 cups simmering water. Stir with rubber spatula until chocolate is almost fully melted and few small pieces remain, 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Remove bowl from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Transfer fudge to prepared pan and spread in even layer with spatula. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Remove fudge from pan using foil and cut into squares.

Line 13 by 9-inch pan with two sheets of foil placed perpendicular to each other and double amounts of all ingredients. In step 2, use large heatproof bowl and Dutch oven containing 4 cups simmering water.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cook N by the Book : Charles Virion French Country Cookbook

Decided that I should start to use my cookbooks on a more regular basis....I have about a bazillion of them. Unfortunately, I have not cooked from a large number of them. I was thinking that this is just wrong of me- to hoard these books and not use them....

So once a week I vow to pull out a cookbook and make something new.

Tonight I cooked from Charles Virion's French Country Cookbook. My copy is quite tattered. I picked this up at a thrift store for $2.99. This is the first recipe that I have used from it.

Roast Loin of Pork with Piquant Sauce

Piquant Sauce

3/4 c ketchup
1/2 c water
1/2 c dark corn syrup

1 8oz can Tomato Sauce

1/2 c wine vinegar

1/2 c brown sugar

1 t chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons Cointreau.

I used a 5lb pork roast for this recipe. Browned it, and then put it in a shallow baking pan with a little olive oil for 1.5 hours at 325 degrees.

Combine in a sauce pan the ketchup, water, corn syrup, tomato sauce, wine vinegar, brown sugar and the chili powder. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Blend cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of the simmering mixture and then add it to the rest of the sauce. Cook slowly and stir until slightly thickened.

Add the Cointreau, continue stirring. Simmer gently for 20 minutes and then set aside.

Reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees. Transfer pork loin from shallow baking pan to covered baking dish. (You can use throw potatoes into the roasting pan and combine them with the pork drippings if youd like roasted potatoes)

Pour 1/2 of the piquant sauce over the pork roast, cover and return the pork to the cooler oven for .5 to 1 hour.

10 minutes before serving, pour the remaining piquant sauce over the roast.

I served the roast with roasted dutch potatos, green beans and granny smith apples spirals that I sauteed in butter, then added a bit of sugar and nutmeg to. I recommend the apples! They go great with the pork.