Dessert

S’mores Fudge

Gooey charred marshmallows sandwiched between subtly spiced crunchy graham crackers with rich milk chocolate oozing out of the middle. The crackling fire is warm on your back as you pierce another marshmallow and lick sticky remnants from your lips. It’s s’mores time folks.

Except it’s December and the fire is in your living room fireplace. The delightful sandwich held between your fingers is not a sandwich at all, but a piece of rich creamy s’mores fudge. With a base layer of buttery spiced graham crackers, a smooth and gooey center of chocolate and fluff topped with extra miniature marshmallows you will be transported to a mid-July nighttime fire pit s’mores session. And just like a traditional s’more you will be wanting more of this addictive fudge.

It may look complex, but just like the original recipe it is certainly not time consuming. Also when there are chocolate, marshmallow and graham cracker supplies laying around the fudge is almost as delicious to make as it is to eat. Enjoy!

S'mores Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs, about 15 squares
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • One 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup marshmallow fluff
  • ½ cup miniature marshmallows
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt until well mixed then press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Melt butter and the baking chocolate square in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  5. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and marshmallow fluff.
  6. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Top with the miniature marshmallows and lightly press into the fudge.
  7. Refrigerate until the fudge is set. To toast the marshmallows place under a broiler or heat with a kitchen torch for a couple minutes.
Notes
There is ½ a teaspoon of salt in the graham cracker crust because I enjoy the sweet-salty combination. Feel free to reduce the salt to ¼ of a teaspoon.

 

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge

It is time for the big reveal. Ever since I mentioned fudge variations you have been waiting patiently for the chocolate decadence to continue. I’ve been holding you in suspense trying to distract you with crab dip and brussels sprouts. I should have known vegetables would only stall you for so long before the chocolate craving from within you started to take over. Just in time for this chocolate peppermint fudge.

People tend to be either mint lovers or haters. Until a year ago I used to fall into the later category. Lauren used to not like something? Huge shocker, I know you’re all gasping in disbelief. While I can’t say I’ll be whipping up mint chip ice cream anytime soon, the chocolate-mint flavor pairing has won my heart, granted that the chocolate to mint ratio is at least 3:1.

Adding mint to chocolate provides a fresh finish and refreshing break from the richness of the cocoa. This fudge has all the creamy and decadent qualities of the original recipe with a cool aftertaste and added crushed peppermint for texture. Plus how gorgeous does it look?

Perfect for gifting this holiday season.

Chocolate Peppermint Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • One 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-2 candy canes, crushed
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and the baking chocolate square in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the peppermint extract.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Sprinkle the crushed candy cane pieces over the top of the fudge and lightly press on the pieces so they set into the fudge.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces.
Notes
Although I usually promote eating fudge straight from the fridge the candy cane pieces seem to not like it in there. I had this in the fridge for a couple days and the candy cane pieces got melty and lost their crunch so I would advise you to store this unrefrigerated.

 

World’s Smoothest Chocolate Fudge

It’s official, holiday season is well underway. Decorations have taken over the stores, holiday party invitations have been received and here in New England it has been absolutely frigid. As ridiculous as I believe it is that the grocery store had Christmas themed candy on November 1st I am definitely guilty of early holiday enthusiasm including Christmas shopping and streaming my holiday music playlist well before Thanksgiving. Whether you are having trouble getting into the holiday spirit or you’ve been humming Christmas carols since August this fudge is sure to get you excited.

This here is the world’s smoothest fudge. I am allowed to make this claim because I have tried every fudge ever made across the globe including the one your grandma made last year. Although it was tasty, it does not hold a title quite like this one. Surprisingly simple, this fudge uses condensed milk instead of granulated sugar to lend to its smooth texture. The simplicity, delightfulness and versatility of this fudge recipe makes it a great holiday gift idea for family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and yourself. After you make this recipe and taste the rich chocolate you will be very torn. Part of you will want to keep it all to yourself because it’s habit forming. But part of you will want to give it all away because, well it’s habit forming and then we would have to add new pants to our holiday wish list. So make some, have some and spread the chocolately love.

One variation is to add chopped walnuts to the fudge. This is how my stepmom usually makes it, but she always leaves some without for me since I don’t like nuts interfering with my chocolate experience. However, I have some exciting variations I’m experimenting with so I will be sure to share in plenty of time for you to make this holiday season. Go and make this chocolate fudge now so you are ready to handle the dangerously delicious novelties I’ll have for you in a couple weeks.

 

Worlds's Smoothest Chocolate Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce Baker's unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • One 14 ounce can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions
  1. Line an 8" x 8" pan with wax paper and set aside.
  2. Melt butter and the baking chocolate square in a double boiler over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in half the bag of chocolate chips and stir with a heatproof rubber spatula to help melt. Once partially melted add the rest of the bag of chocolate chips and stir until fully melted.
  4. Carefully stir in the condensed milk to combine and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula.
  6. Refrigerate until the fudge is set then cut into bite size pieces. Best eaten straight from the fridge.
Notes
Variation: Add ½ cup chopped walnuts right before pouring chocolate mixture into the pan.

 

Stracciatella Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato Pie

“What is this vision of deliciousness I see before me?” you ask? A chocolate hazelnut gelato pie in name, but it is so much more than that. There are layers involved and layers make things scrumptiously complex. The base of this pie is a lightly sweetened chocolate cookie crust. Resting on top of the crust lies a creamy stracciatella chocolate hazelnut gelato. Stracciatella is the Italian version of chocolate chip ice cream except there are no chips or chunks, just wispy bits of hardened chocolate throughout the gelato. The subtle hazelnut flavors breaks through the richness of the rest of the pie and brings it to a new level of decadence and addictiveness. Finally, the fudgey ganache topping speckled with toasted hazelnuts. Since my keyboard is still recovering from drooling on it while describing this ganache on Tuesday I’ll just say yum.

A couple months ago I brought this pie to a barbecue at my parents’ house. Having sampled the gelato I was excited to try the pie. The dessert received rave reviews, which I’m sure you guessed based on the uncharacteristically long description of it in the beginning of the post. The surprise of the night was that my dad claimed, and continues to claim to this day over two months later, that this was the best dessert he has ever eaten. That’s right, not one of the best, but the best.

Now my dad has a healthy ice cream obsession as is family tradition so you might be thinking well of course he liked it, it’s gelato. But you have to know that my dad is a creature of habit. Yes he might eat ice cream every single night and yes there were 12 half gallons of ice cream in his house on my last count, but they were all of the same three flavors. God forbid he run out ;-). He also has this extraordinary skill to pick through a dessert and consume only the ice cream portion, so the fact that he ate this pie in entirety and claimed it as the best dessert ever? That is what we call a food victory.

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato Pie
 
Yield: 10 servings
Ingredients
for the crust
  • 6 ounces chocolate wafers
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt
for the gelato
  • 1½ cups toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
for the topping
Directions
for the crust
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Pulse the chocolate wafers in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add the butter, sugar and salt pulse until well combined.
  3. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pans.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes then cool on a wire rack.
for the gelato
  1. If the hazelnuts are not toasted, bake them in an even layer on a baking sheet at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Rub the hazelnuts to try and get rid of as much of the skins as possible. Use a food processor to finely chop the toasted hazelnuts.
  3. In a medium sauce pan heat the milk, 1 cup of the cream, sugar and salt until warm. Once warm remove from the heat.
  4. Add the chopped hazelnuts to the warmed mixture, cover and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  5. Place the milk chocolate in a large bowl.
  6. In a medium saucepan heat the remaining 1 cup of cream until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the milk chocolate.
  7. Stir the chocolate and cream until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  8. In the medium saucepan used to heat the cream, place a mesh strainer over top then pour the hazelnut mixture through the strainer into the medium saucepan. Push on the hazelnuts with a wooden spoon to try and get as much liquid as possible. Discard the hazelnuts.
  9. Rewarm the hazelnut liquid over medium heat. While the liquid is heating whisk together the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Once the hazelnut liquid is warm, slowly pour the liquid into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Pour the warmed eggs and liquid back into the saucepan.
  10. Still on medium heat, stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula.
  11. Place the bowl with the melted milk chocolate mixture over an ice bath and set a mesh strainer on top. Pour the egg mixture through the mesh strainer into the large bowl. Add the vanilla and stir until cool.
  12. Once the mixture is cool chill in the refrigerator completely. Once cold, pour into your ice cream maker following the manufacturer's directions.
  13. While the mixture is in the ice cream maker, melt the bittersweet chocolate over a double boiler and stir until it's smooth. Transfer the chocolate into a measuring cup with a pouring spout.
  14. During the last couple minutes of churning in the ice cream maker pour the melted bittersweet chocolate into the ice cream maker in a thin stream to create the stracciatella.
  15. When the gelato is done churning carefully spoon it into the prepared crust and smooth the top. Freeze until no longer soft.
for the topping
  1. Take the pie out of the freezer and carefully pour the prepared ganache over the top of the gelato. Smooth the top with a spatula then sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts.
  2. Freeze for several hours or overnight. Remove from the freezer 15-20 minutes before serving.
Notes
I use Ghiradelli chocolate bars.

Crust from Martha Stewart.
Gelato from The Perfect Scoop.

Chocolate Ganache

This recipe is life changing. Now I know I have been throwing a lot of bold words around on Lemon & Mocha lately, but there are so many recipes out there that I can’t afford to be meek. If I let you live your life even just one more day without tasting this chocolate ganache I could never forgive myself. And if I withheld this deliciousness from you for months before suddenly sharing, well, I shudder to think about the angry mobs.

Chocolate ganache is just a fancy way of saying a sauce of chocolate and heavy cream, or a fancy way of saying “mmm.” You heat heavy cream until it’s steaming, add in the chocolate then voila- the ganache is complete. This ganache has been known to bring people to their breaking point. I have even heard someone utter that they were ready to smack a ganache-topped cupcake out of child’s hand because they thought it was the last one! Don’t worry, I won’t name names ;-).

Now this photo is deceiving because once you have poured, dipped or drizzled the ganache it hardens into a glistening chocolate shell and develops a fudge-like quality. The beauty of this recipe other than the rich chocolate taste and smooth velvety texture is its versatility. Originally used to make faux Hostess cupcakes, I have since used the ganache for a wide variety of chocolate sinfulness. Topping chocolate cupcakes? Check. Coating brownies? Check. Eating with a spoon? Check. Matt likes to heat leftover ganache in the microwave then drizzle over ice cream. Now is that a boy after my own heart or what? You better make sure your computer screen is clean because when you see what I make with the ganache on Friday you might find yourself licking your monitor. It’s ok, I won’t judge.

Chocolate Ganache
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1- 12 ounce bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Directions
  1. Heat the cream over medium heat until steaming, stirring constantly.
  2. Once steaming, remove the cream from the heat. Add the chocolate and stir then let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the butter to the chocolate mixture then stir until smooth.
  4. Dip, pour or drizzle as directed in your recipe.
Notes
Any leftover ganache will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Recipe from The Curvy Carrot.