The Ultimate Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Meringue cookie meets brownie is the best way to describe these delightful ultimate chocolate meringue cookies!

The perfect treat for your sweetheart, or just a little indulgence, well, just because! A generous amount of melted 80% dark chocolate adds a deep richness to these not too sweet cookies. The brownie like interior is achieved with ground pecans, standing in for the ‘flour’.

Be sure not to over-bake these delights, the result is ooey-goey chewy in the center, and crispy on the outside. Perfection!

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The Ultimate Dark Chocolate Meringue Cookies

The ultimate love affair between chocolate and meringue yield these decadent cookies.

  • Author: Carol Green

Ingredients

4 egg whites, room temperature

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)

3/4 cup unbleached white sugar

16 oz 80% dark chocolate, melted and cooled

2 Tbs. Dutch Process cocoa powder

1 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries, finely chopped

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 F, and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy.

Add the vanilla and lemon juice.

Begin adding the sugar a little at a time until stiff peaks form.

Mix together the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, paprika and ground almonds.

Fold the chocolate into the egg white mixture, gently so as not to break the meringue too much.

Fold in the cherries or cranberries, and half the sliced almonds.

Using two spoons, drop around spoonfuls on to the parchment paper, allowing space for the  cookies to spread.

Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top, crushing them slightly.

Bake at 325F for 20 to 25 minute, depending on the size of the cookies.

Allow to cool before lifting carefully with a spatula.

Notes

Silpat baking sheets can be used instead of parchment paper.

Any type of nut can be substituted for the almonds.

   

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a nice slice of pie!

Now don’t get me wrong, pumpkin pie, done the traditional way, is a great dessert to grace any holiday table, but those who know me, know that I just can’t resist coming up with my own creations.

I have always preferred sweet potato over pumpkin, the texture, the taste, and not to mention that they are absolutely loaded with fiber, a great source of vitamins A, C, manganese and potassium among other nutrients!

The gorgeous, firm organic sweet potatoes for my pie where grown at Wild Hope Farm in Chester, SC, and filmed on the farm on location for the CN2 Today Show . Thank you to Katherine, Molly and team for having us!

Did I mention that chocolate can be a health food too? This creation is blended with 70% dark chocolate, a powerful source of antioxidants, magnesium and iron.

To lighten up the pie, beaten egg whites are gently folded in at the last step, to yield a lovely ‘chiffon’ texture. For the base of my pie, I used gluten free ginger snaps, any type of cracker crumb or pie crust could be used.

So there you have it, a decadent dessert that is actually good for you!!

Enjoy,

Chef Carol Green, NTP

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Chocolate Sweet Potato Chiffon Pie

A new spin on a holiday pie, sweet potatoes and dark chocolate pair perfectly, lightened up with beaten egg white for a light, chiffon texture.

  • Author: Carol Green
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 12

Ingredients

For the base:

8 oz gluten free ginger snaps

1 stick unsalted butter

For the pie:

4 oz dark chocolate

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups roasted sweet potato, mashed (see notes)

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

4 eggs, separated

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut milk (or dairy milk)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/2  teaspoon salt

1/4 cup unbleached white sugar

For serving:

Whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F
  • Place the ginger snaps in the food processor and finely grind.
  • Place in a large bowl, drizzle over the melted butter and work through.
  • Prepare the pie dish; brush with melted butter, and press the ginger snap mixture firmly around the base and sides. Place in the fridge to firm up.
  • Melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler and melt gently over low heat, set aside.
  • Place the sweet potato in a food processor or standing mixer.
  • Add the egg yolks, softened butter, coconut milk brown sugar, salt and spices, and beat or process until well incorporated.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy, add the white sugar and continue beating until stiff, but not over beaten.
  • Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a large bowl, and mix in one third of the egg white to lighten it up. Gently fold in the remaining egg white, being careful not to break it up too much.
  • Dollop the mixture into to pie shell, and gently smooth over the top.
  • Bake at 35o F for 15 minutes, lower the heat to 325F and bake a further 30 minutes. Switch off the oven and allow the pie to rest in the oven at least another hour, this helps ensure the pie does not crack.
  • Allow to cool, garnish with slightly sweetened whipped cream and serve.

Notes

Roasting the sweet potatoes for this recipe further intensifies the flavors; simply place the whole sweet potatoes on a roasting pan, and roast until soft to the touch, 30 minutes to one hour depending on the size.

Allow to cool, peel away the skin and mash.

This recipe yields one large 12 inch pie, or two smaller.

Keywords: chocolate sweet potato pie, thanksgiving dessert, holiday pie, chocolate sweet potato chiffon pie

Flan! The classic silky smooth custard dessert with a caramel custard is found on the menu in a multiple of versions world wide.

On my recent visit to Thames Farm, to film cooking segments for the The CN2 News Today Show I was inspired to create a version complimented with a blueberry balsamic caramel. The balsamic vinegar cooks away, and imparts just the right amount of balance to the sweetness.

For a stove top preparation, I steamed the dessert in a double boiler, however this could also be baked in the oven in a ‘bain marie’ (waterbath).

Enjoy!

Chef Carol

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Lemon Flan with Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

A classic flan dessert gets an update infused with lemon and paired with a blueberry balsamic caramel sauce. 

  • Author: Carol Green
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6
  • Category: Dessert

Ingredients

For the sauce:

1/2       cup sugar

1 ¼       cup blueberries

¼         cup water

1          Tbsp balsamic vinegar

For the Flan:

1 ½       cups whole milk

½         cup heavy cream

4          large eggs

¼         cup sugar

½         tsp, Stevia

1          tsp lemon zest

Pinch of salt

Instructions

Prepare the Sauce:

  • Place the sugar in a medium sized, heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat.
  • Do not stir, but watch carefully, as soon as the sugar has melted, add the water, balsamic and 1 cup of the blueberries. (set aside ¼ cup to use for garnish)
  • Stir until all well incorporated and a thick syrup has formed, set aside.

Prepare the Flan:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well incorporated.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well.
  • Add water to the steamer basket set up, and place over high heat.
  • Place one to two tablespoons of the sauce in each ramekin, and swirl to coat all sides.
  • Fill each ramekin with the egg custard, place in the steamer basket, cover, lower the heat and allow to steam gently for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Remove from the basket and allow to cool. The flan can be enjoyed warm, or cold.
  • Add the reserved blueberries to the rest of the sauce.
  • Run a small knife around the inside edge of the ramekin to release it.
  • Invert onto a plate, garnish with a little more sauce, and serve.

Notes

Special equipment needed:

6          ramekin dishes

Pot with steamer basket, or ‘Bain Marie’ (waterbath) for oven baked version.

Keywords: flan, dessert, egg custard, thames farm, blueberry balsamic sauce

The Ultimate Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse

 

Chocolate and avocado; who knew these two nutrient rich foods would marry so well, to create a sublime dessert?!

A blender or foods processor, a couple of ripe avocados and a few key ingredients is all you need to whip up the most amazingly rich and divine dessert; and guess what, the avocados taste is quite undetectable!Rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fats, the avocados provide a silky smooth base for the mousse.

For the choice of chocolate, I prefer to go with organic Dutch processed cocoa, rich in flavor and color which is Fair Trade Certified.  The certification of the product ensures ethical treatment of the growers and workers who produce it as well as social premiums to help their communities.

For this recipe I used coconut milk as my base, really any nut milk or even real cream will work really well.  I’ll let you in on a little secret…. place the mousse in the freezer for an hour, and you have a divine frozen treat!

Enjoy!

Chef Carol

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The Ultimate Mexican Chocolate Avocado Mousse

You’d never guess the secret ingredient is avocados! Rich in healthy fats and minerals, avocados give this delectable mousse a silky texture with the antioxidant power of cinnamon, paprika & nutmeg.

  • Author: Carol Green
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: 8

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 4 large ripe avocados
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup Dutch process dark cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 packet stevia or 3 drops liquid

Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.
  • Chill until ready to serve, spoon or pipe into individual cups.

Keywords: avocado chocolate mousse, Mexican chocolate mousse, heart healthy

The thing I love about living where I do in South Carolina, is the access to local farms and great produce.

Recently I took a trip out to Thames Farm, a delightful farm in Chester county for their monthly ‘farm day’, welcoming visitors to experience the sights, sounds and flavors of real food. A great day out for young and old, all the wonderful fares of Thames Farm are on offer, as well as produce and artisan products from local growers and vendors.

Check them out on Facebook for the next special Farm Day honoring Mother’s Day.

Thames farm art1

Dedicated to raising animals in humane ‘free range’ conditions, the story book green rolling hills of the farm are dotted with a variety of livestock. Happy, well fed Berkshire pigs stroll around the lush green pastures with fluffy lambs prancing by. Jersey cows produce rich, creamy milk fueled by plentiful grass, sunshine and clean air.

All the livestock is raised without antibiotics, steroids and hormones, and on a diet of rich lush grass, producing meat naturally higher in omega 3 and lower in potentially inflammatory omega 6.

Don’t forget about the produce! Farmer Amy also grows a variety of produce without the aid of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides; I know I want to be on her farm box list!

1Blue Wyandotte, Ameracauna, CoCo Marans, and Speckled Sussex

The clucking symphony of chickens greets me from down the hill, shades of brown, grey, black and white, the laying hens are a variety of breeds including Blue Wyandotte, Ameracauna, CoCo Marans, and Speckled Sussex.

Thames Farm pasture coops1

These happy chickens spend their days foraging in the pastures for juicy grubs and insects, with only a little supplemental non-gmo feed.

A genius method of allowing the chickens to enjoy the pasture while being safe from predators is employed, with a unique mobile chicken coop. The coop is simply lifted and moved in the pasture several times a day, allowing the chickens to enjoy fresh pasture and forage for insects and grubs, while fertilizing the soil.

As Farmer Amy says “chickens are not vegetarians”, I couldn’t agree more, and the proof is in the product! The laying chickens get to roam around the yard, all with ‘Junior’, the guard dog standing by.

1Thames Farm Eggs

The reward is truly ‘eggscellent’ eggs boasting deep yellow yolks with a rich flavor, a chef’s dream! I do love meringue, and I had great fun whipping up a Saffron Pavlova with Exotic Fruits and Orange Crème Pâtissière  as contributing  blog post, head over to  Delicious Obsessions for this fabulous recipe and technique run down.

Pavlova

Before you begin whipping up your masterpiece, how do you know if your eggs are fresh?  Newly laid eggs will have a very small air pocket usually at the flattened end of the egg. As the egg ages, moisture and carbon dioxide escape, and air enters, so the air pockets expands.

A really simple test to check the freshness of your eggs, is to place them in a glass of cold water, the fresher the egg, the heavier it will be, as the air space grows, the egg will float more. Check out this handy quick reference chart to help you decide.

Egg Freshness Chart 2

If you’ve been wondering  about the difference between all the different types of eggs available in the supermarket, here’s a quick summary, with a great info graphic (click to expand). More great information on all things eggs can be found  here at the ‘Eggcyclopedia’.

If the regular factory farmed eggs have been your usual choice, treat yourself to some pasture raised eggs, most likely the store bought eggs are already weeks old, and devoid in nutrients.

The factory farmed eggs will ‘pale’ in comparison to the pasture raised eggs, literally!

Egg Label

Graphic courtesy of the Holistic Entrepreneur Association

Enjoy!

In Health and Wellness,

Carol