Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Chocolate Bark is a great recipe to have in your arsenal. It is always a hit, so versatile and incredibly easy to make! You can make it for Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day, 4th of July or on a rainy Saturday. It only takes about 30 minutes (5 to 10 minutes of actual work).

Here is the basic recipe:

Basic Chocolate Bark Recipe

Ingredients

1 – 16 ounce bag of chocolate chips (white, dark or milk chocolate)

Toppings, optional

Directions

Prep a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment or wax paper the same size as the pan. Spray with cooking spray. Prep your ingredients. Pour all the chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing the chips each time in between. It should take about 3 rounds, around 90 seconds total.  Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared sheet and spread out to about 1/8 inch thick.

After pouring then add your favorite toppings and lightly press in. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes. Break into pieces. Keep refrigerated.

Topping ideas:

Baklava Bark – Add 1/3 cup crushed nuts (pistachios, walnuts or almonds), zest of one lemon and honey drizzled on top.

Holiday Bark – Add 2 crushed candy canes.

Cookies and Cream- Add about 4-6 crushed GF oreos (I like GF Trader Joe’s Os or Glutino cookies)

Trail Mix Bark – Add 1/4 cup of partially crushed pretzels (I like synder’s GF or Glutino) and 1/4 cup of craisins

Smores Bark – add about 1/4 cup of crushed graham crackers (I like Schar’s GF graham crackers) and about 1/ 4 cup of mini marshmallows. If you like, use a culinary torch to lightly toast the marshmallows.

The options are limitless. Bark is a great idea to make alongside your holiday dessert or put them in clear gift bags and give as a parting gift.

If you need some more dessert ideas try my Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tiramisu or Boston Cream Pie Cake or GF Crispy Treats or Chocolate Pudding Pie or if you are feeling adventurous try my Baked Alaska.

Baked Alaska

Check one item off my 2017 Cooking Bucket List! For Valentine’s Day I made Baked Alaska for my family. It is definitely old fashioned and definitely delicious! I scoured the internet and my cookbook collection for recipes to learn the process. Allrecipes.com never fails to provide good recipes, so I used this recipe to make sure I got the meringue right.  Some use pound cake and sorbet and bake the meringue while others use sponge cake and ice cream and use a torch on the meringue. The thought of putting ice cream in the oven, made me nervous, so I decided to go the torch route. Plus that is more fun!

Baked Alaska

Ingredients

1 gallon of Hood Patchwork ice cream

1 box of gluten free chocolate cake mix, plus an extra egg (I like Wegmans GF chocolate cake mix)

8 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

Directions

Take the gallon of ice cream out to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Prepare a medium sized bowl by lining with plastic wrap, wax paper or parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Press the ice cream down into the bowl and cover. Freeze for at least 4 hours.

Make 8 inch round cake according to instructions, adding the extra egg. Cool the cake and cut to size of the ice cream in the bowl if needed. Press cake onto the bottom of the ice cream. Cover and freeze for another 4 hours or overnight. About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, take the bowl of ice cream and cake out of the freezer and make the meringue. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form. Turn the bowl with ice cream and cake onto a plate and take the bowl and wrap or paper off.

Frost the ice cream with the meringue. Take a culinary torch and run it over all the meringue until toasted. Serve immediately. Freeze the leftovers.

It was much easier to make than I thought. It does take planning, however. I froze the ice cream in the bowl and made the cake one night. The next morning (day of service) I cut the cake to fit the ice cream and put back in the freezer until after dinner, when I finished it with the meringue.

Working my way through my bucket list. I found cornish game hens on sale this week and put them in the freezer, so a fancy dinner where we will each have our own “little chicken” according to my kids, is coming soon 🙂 What is on your cooking bucket list? What would you love to cook?

Gnocchi

Potato gnocchi is one of my favorite foods! It is so versatile. It can be the star of the meal or the great accompaniment to your favorite roast. You can toss it in any sauce you like. Tomato, pesto, my Mascarpone Pasta sauce or my pink sauce.

Most recently I served it up with a roasted chicken (recipe coming soon!) and made a gravy from the pan drippings. A great comforting meal, especially on a snowy day. Gnocchi is something that you can get the kids involved with if you don’t mind making a mess of your kitchen 🙂  It is fun and delicious. I have adapted this recipe from Tyler Florence to make it gluten free.

Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients

4 to 5 white potatoes

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Pinch of black pepper

½ cup of grated parmesan

1 ¾ cup of ricotta

¾ cup of Cup4Cup Gluten-Free flour, plus more for dusting

Directions

Make holes with fork in potatoes. Bake (about an hour in the oven at 375 degrees) or microwave (on a plate about 8 to 10 minutes). When cool enough to touch, scoop the potato out from the skins and mash with a fork. Add salt, nutmeg, pepper, parmesan and ricotta, then combine. Mix flour in ¼ cup at a time.

Dust a large work space with flour. Take a handful of dough, press together and roll into a long strand, about ½ inch in diameter. Cut with pastry cutter or knife into ½ inch pieces. Lay the prongs of the fork on top of the gnocchi and gently press down and pull fork toward you rolling the gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on a sheet pan topped with parchment paper or waxed paper. Repeat until you have used all the dough.

Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add some salt to the water (about 1 tablespoon).  Drop in a handful of gnocchi at a time. When they float (about 2 minutes) place in your serving bowl. Repeat until all the gnocchi are cooked. Toss the gnocchi with your favorite sauce.

This is a time intensive meal to prepare, but well worth it, especially if you have help with the rolling and cutting.

If you have time, this is perfect for a Valentine’s meal. If you don’t have time this week, here are some other ideas for food to make for your Valentines 🙂

Swedish Meatballs

French Onion Soup

Chocolate Pudding Pie

Burrata Appetizer 

Burrata and Tomatoes with Fresh Basil

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. It’s on a Tuesday night, so planning a romantic dinner amidst the usual weeknight craze of kids activities, homework and work can be a challenge. This appetizer or snack for 2 takes less than 10 minutes to make. It is decadent, delicious and oh so easy to make.

 

Burrata with tomatoes

Ingredients

1 – 4 ounce ball of burrata

Handful of grape tomatoes (8 to 10), chopped

1 teaspoon of olive oil

1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar

½ teaspoon of kosher salt

Pinch of black pepper

3-4 leaves of fresh basil, torn

Directions

Dry off the burrata carefully with a paper towel and place on the center of the plate. Place tomatoes around it. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tomatoes and burrata. Lastly, shower the plate with fresh basil. Serve with 2 forks 😉

This would be a great appetizer to serve with my poached salmon and quinoa risotto. Top off the meal with ice cream sundaes with fresh whipped cream.

What are you serving for Valentine’s Day?  or celebrating early over the weekend?

For the Love of Chocolate

Having celiac disease or a family member with celiac disease you have to learn how to bake and create desserts that everyone will enjoy if you want dessert. I have discovered how lucky we are that there are so many gluten-free prepared options now! Now, I love to bake from scratch when I can, but that is not always possible. This pie recipe, is one of the easiest desserts to make. It is a great base that you can change as you like. Use pistachio or cheese cake pudding instead of chocolate. The options are endless!

Chocolate Pudding Pie 

Ingredients

About 6 ounces of milk chocolate chips

1 prepared graham cracker pie crust (my favorite is Mi-Del’s Gluten Free crust)

2 packages of Jello instant pudding (I like to use 1 white chocolate and 1 chocolate fudge)

3 ½ cups of milk

Optional strawberries or chocolate sprinkles on top for decoration.

Directions

Melt the chocolate chips in a small bowl in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. Pour chocolate into pie crust and spread to cover. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

In the meantime, prepare each package of pudding according to pie instructions (which means 1 ¾ cups of milk per packet of instant pudding). Take crust out of fridge and pour about 1/3 of white chocolate pudding, then 1/3 of the chocolate fudge in the center and lightly shake the pie, tapping it on the table to spread out the pudding. Repeat until all pudding is used (or just pour in one and then layer the other pudding). Leave as is or top with sprinkles or strawberries. Let chill for at least 1 hour.

Valentines Day is approaching and I’ve been testing some tantalizing chocolate recipes! Stay tuned for my Boston Creme Pie Cake! This Raspberry Lemon Thyme Tiramisu is decadent, light and also perfect for a romantic dinner. What is your favorite romantic dessert?

Sweet Potato Two Ways

Sweet potatoes can be a great side dish or the star of the meal. They can be fancy or very simple. They can be baked, topped with marshmallows, made into fries or create an amazing soup.

This sweet potato side dish is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter night.

Sweet Potato Gratin

Ingredients

3 large sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

1/3 cup of unsalted butter

1/3 cup flour (I use Gluten-Free Cup4Cup)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

3 springs of thyme

3 cups of milk

4 ounces of cream cheese or 3 tablespoons of mascarpone

12 ounces of shredded cheddar, divided, save about 4 ounces for the top

Directions

Boil slices of sweet potatoes for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Make béchamel: melt butter, add flour, mustard and herbs. Whisk for 2-3 minutes. Whisk milk in. Add cream cheese and combine. Take off heat and mix in cheddar. Make layers, one of potatoes, one béchamel and repeat. Cover top with rest of cheddar and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes if you want to melt the cheese more. If you have extra béchamel sauce, freeze it and add it to quinoa or rice another time.

Serve at Valentines day with a grilled steak or barbecued salmon and a fresh salad.

I love to be able to create more than one meal out of the same ingredient. Especially one that completely hides the fact that I’m using leftovers. That way it is more likely that my family will eat it 🙂

Sweet potato and zucchini enchiladas

Ingredients

4-6 tortillas (I like to use Joseph’s gluten free flour tortillas)

1 1/2 to 2 cups of leftover sweet potato gratin

1 large zucchini, shredded

4 ounces of shredded cheddar

chili powder

1 to 1 1/2 cups of tomatillo salsa or your favorite enchilada sauce

Directions

Preheat oven to 300. In a casserole dish, pour tomatillo salsa or enchilada sauce to cover the bottom. In each tortilla place 3 to 4 Tablespoons of the gratin, 1 Tablespoon of the shredded zucchini and sprinkle with chili powder (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon), roll and place in dish.

Repeat until you have used up your ingredients.

Pour more of the enchilada sauce over all the rolled tortillas. Top with shredded cheddar.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes at the end if you would like to melt the cheese any further.

The enchiladas would make a great meal for the Super Bowl next weekend! If you haven’t made the gratin, just substitute some mashed sweet potatoes and add some shredded cheddar inside the tortillas.

I’ll be posting more ideas for Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!