Chocolate Dipped & Walnut Stuffed Figs

We really didn’t eat a lot of desserts when I was a kid. After dinner a pot of coffee was brewed and bowls of fresh fruit and nuts were heaved to the table. One particular treat, at holiday time, was freshly cracked walnuts stuffed into dried figs. This year I gave the treat a little update, by dipping the figs in bittersweet chocolate. A sweet with benefits.

Walnut Stuffed Figs
12 dried figs
12 large walnut halves-toasted
bittersweet chocolate-melted and tempered

Using a sharp knife, make a split in the fig without cutting all the way through

Stuff a walnut into the fig and close it completely. Dip in chocolate and allow the chocolate to harden at room temperature. You can store these at room temperature or the refrigerator.

Cobbled Peanut Bars

Don’t you love hello dollies: the layered cookie with lots of goodies, held together with a bit of condensed milk, and a crunchy graham cracker crust. Me too. I set out to make a batch just the other day only to find that I didn’t have any butterscotch chips in the pantry. What’s a girl to do? Cobble together a substitute, of course. These are chewy, and peanuty, and seriously delicious. Bust open your pantry and make a batch.

Cobbled Peanut Bars

3 Tbs butter–melted
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
2/3 cup marshmallows
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
6 oz peanut butter chips
1 cup dry roasted peanuts
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
Mix together the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together. Press into the bottom of a 13×9″ pan. Sprinkle coconut on top.add the chips and marshmallows on top, distributing evenly. Drizzle the condensed milk over the top, then add the peanuts. Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour. Let cool, then cut into bars to serve.

Chocolate Malted Risotto

About last night. Mike and I returned from our stay at a farm watching lambs being born and bottle feeding those yet able to get their fill. We spent the days eating glorious fresh food; hoarding a small taste of what we hope our lives will be soon. Not the lamb part but a reason to be tethered to our home. As we rolled in to our lives in the city, I felt a yearning for something warm and satisfying and chocolatey. I hope it will comfort me in my passage from what will be to what is. This warm, creamy and malted risotto was like a warm woolly blanket for my heart.

Chocolate Malted Risotto
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 cup arborio rice
3 1/2 cups milk–warmed on the stove
pinch kosher salt
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate–cut into bits
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs malted milk powder
1 tsp vanilla
heavy cream for garnish
cocoa nibs for garnish
additional malted powder for garnish

Melt the butter over low heat in a sided pan large enough to hold the rice in a thin layer. Once the butter is melted, toss in the rice and stir to evenly coat the rice. Allow the rice to cook for just a couple of minutes before you begin to add the milk. Increase the heat to low-medium. Add 1/2 cup of milk at first and stir until the milk is almost completely absorbed. Now begin to add the milk, just until it covers the top layer of rice but not more than a cup at a time. Allow the rice to absorb the milk, but come in to stir quite frequently. When the milk has almost completely absorbed, add the next amount. After you have done the second addition, stir in the sugar and salt, then add the third addition. Cook until the rice is soft, but with just a little hint of a bite, you do not want it to be crunchy or chewy. Remove from heat and add the chocolate and vanilla. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated. Serve warm with a bit of heavy cream and dusted with malted milk powder and cocoa nibs. Serves 4.

Homemade “twix” Bars

A few years ago, a friend of a friend said to me, regarding chocolate, if you could come up with something that has chocolate, caramel, and a cookie, I would totally go for that. And I said, you a twix? And she replied, exactly like a twix. I gave her 25 cents and walked away.
Fast forward a few years…
I was digging through the freezer and came across shortbread cookie dough; and figured why not. I could take a twix and make it just a wee bit better; using fine chocolate, homemade caramel and a smattering of shaved sea salt.
This is good. This is valentine good. This is write 100 times on the chalkboard “i love you more than chocolate” good.

The Holy Grail

We landed in Valencia, Spain and our first stop was at the cathedral to see what is reported to be The Holy Grail.

We then walked up the tower; 207 stairs going up and 207 stairs going down.
Difficult, uneven steps.
Before we journeyed upwards, I noticed, in the corner of the cathedral square, a shop called Valor. For those in the know, Valor is an amazing chocolatier and I knew my prize for the journey.

a holy grail of culinary sorts

A warm cup of cocoa; small and pure from a single source and almost too much to take; so chocolaty, and amazing I had to order a bit of cream to chase it with. So American.
If perchance you are in Valencia and find yourself looking for the Holy Grail, you too can get two for one.

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