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This is my first time making this traditional French dessert. I have happily finished a meal with a pot de créme at various restaurants but I knew I had to try it for myself when Mom lent me some beautiful red ramekins. Aren’t they just begging to be filled with chocolate custard? Now, I was truly ready to expound upon this perfect little dessert until I came upon an entire story about pots de créme by one of my favourite bloggers. If you have never visited the La Tartine Gourmande before today, please go read her entry (http://www.latartinegourmande.com/2008/07/07/chocolate-vanilla-pot-creme-french-dessert/) about her favourite comfort food! She makes me want to jump on a plane toute suite. . . .and the photos . . . and just the way she writes about food. Yes, I have a blog crush. I also love that each recipe is translated into French so I can get a little french practice on the side.

Now for my recipe. I wanted to definitely do a chocolate pot de créme but with some nice spices that would make it a little different. I found a recipe on line and modified it a little by adding less cream and more spice and vanilla. As I wait for them to cool I can already tell that the Chai-themed spices will strike a stronger chord when it is completely chilled – so I think it will be just fine with some fresh fruit and espresso for our dinner guests tomorrow night.

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Chai Spiced Chocolate Pots de Créme

1 c whipping cream
1 1/4 c milk
10 crushed cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
3 whole star anise
7 oz/ 200 g bittersweet chocolate (use the good stuff!), finely chopped
6 eggs yolks
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Method:
Heat cream, milk and spices in a saucepan over medium heat until steaming. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for about 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and heat again until steaming. Whisk in chocolate until smooth.

In a large bowl whisk the sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow and them whisk in about 1/2 cup of the chocolate mixture. When smooth whisk in the rest of the chocolate, vanilla and salt. Strain again through a fine sieve. Pour equally into 8 ramekins and place in a roasting pan. Pour in enough boiling water to come half way up the sides. Cover roaster with foil and bake at 325 F for about 30 minutes – until the edges are set but the middles still jiggles! Remove from roaster and cool, them cover and refrigerate.

Enjoy the last of summer!

via Saskatchewan,
J

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Who doesn’t like s’mores?

I love s’mores. And they’re called s’mores, not smores, because they’re all about “I want some more… I want s’more…”

I don’t care what you say. That’s the story. So there.

Back to my first point. Who doesn’t love s’mores? Toasty, gooey marshmallows, sandwiched between graham wafers with some lovely chocolate that can’t help but melt. My preference is to make them with Caramilk bars; what’s yours? I mean, it adds some lovely caramel-y goodness. Mmm.

So we went camping. In crazy-ass fire season – one spark enough to ignite the entirety of BC.

Obviously, no fires allowed. What to do for a s’mores blog?

I’ll tell you.

We broke out the little Weber barbeque and pulled the cover off the flame. Then we toasted marshmallows over the little blue flame, and mushed their melty goodness between two graham crackers, topped by a square of Caramilk bar.

graham wafers!

toasting over the flames

s'mores!

Delicious.

Oh.

Did I mention we had a huge, ginormous thunderstorm while all of this was going on? We’re talking direct lightning strikes and Noah’s Ark rain. Crazy. We huddled under the Ross pavilion because we didn’t bring a darned tarp. Holy moly (Di); you’d think camping in August you wouldn’t need a damned tarp.

Then, the next day we watched helicopters scoop water out of the river and douse the smouldering forest fires that cropped up around us.

firefighting helicopter - cool

gratuitous shot of Jimmy in the river with a beer

All in all, a satisfying weekend.

I want s’more.

~ Eva

Welcome to a perfect combination: Peanut Butter and Chocolate. I capitalize those words because in my world of cookies, it is a very, very good marriage of all things sweet and savoury. I realize that for many people peanut butter cookies do not usually include chocolate. They should. Its not that I don’t enjoy the American classic peanut butter cookie with it’s smart looking fork tine pattern on top, I just find you could make them a little healthier most of the time. Especially when you think of all the different types of P.B. out there. I bake cookies once a week so I try to have some sort of healthy ingredient in the mix. Maybe this weekend you have a little time for baking and your eye might look this way . . .

I had trouble deciding which recipe to pick, but in the end an Epicurious.com classic won out. The runners up are also something you might be interested in:

Healthy Peanut Butter Cookies (which uses natural peanut butter)
Chunky Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Fleur de Sel (with peanut butter and roasted peanuts!)

The following recipe has been adapted from “Jose’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies” on Epicurious.com. Over 200 people have posted reviews for this recipe and they have a huge following! I love reading everyone’s reviews along with their adaptations so the following recipe is a result of a bunch of cooks hashing out their ideas. Enjoy!

1 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup of peanut butter (I have tried natural, Kraft, Kraft light, etc. with no problems)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
12 oz of chocolate chips
8 oz of semisweet chocolate, grated (I usually leave this out because I am in a hurry and just add more chips)

Pulse 1 cup of oats in a food processor until finely ground. In a large bowl stir the first 6 ingredients, including the ground and not ground oats. In another large bowl beat the sugars and butter with an electric mixer until fluffy and light. Beat in vanilla and peanut butter. Beat in eggs one at a time and then applesauce. Gradually add the flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and grated chocolate until just combined. Chill cookie dough, covered at least 2 hours and up to 1 week.

Preheat oven 325F.

Drop by rounded teaspoons (or tablespoon if you are like me!) on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten them slightly if they very stiff. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden – about 15min.

Makes about 36 large cookies when dropping my the tablespoon.

The five year old’s eyeballs rolled back in this head when he saw the mountain of chocolate chips!

Kitchen Buddha smiling with me at I put them in the oven.

Quickly looking for an icy cold glass of milk . . .

via Saskatchewan,
J