Chocolate Fondue Recipe
There’s never any need to wait for a holiday to enjoy this chocolate feast. It’s a great treat to enjoy with friends while you linger at the table after dinner. And, while they are pretty, a fondue pot is not necessary. Make your fondue on the stove and when you are ready to serve pour it into a pretty bowl. When (if!) the chocolate gets too cool just reheat it. I’ve even used a microwave to reheat.
Choosing your dippers is the fun part. Use fresh fruits like bananas and strawberries, dried fruits like apricot and chunks of mango, lemony pound cake cut into cubes, marshmallows, and my favorite rice krispie treats. When arranged nicely on a platter and presented to family or guests you’ll instantly turn into a superhero. Provide plenty of wooden skewers so everyone can dip and dip and dip.
- 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate. I use Callebaut bittersweet which is available in the specialty food aisle of most supermarkets.
- 3/4 cup half & half
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, optional
- 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite liqueur (such as Frangelico, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Tia Maria, Amaretto, or a brandy) (optional)
Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized heatproof bowl and set aside.
Combine the 1/2 & 1/2, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring just to a simmer, stirring often.
Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate has melted, then stir gently until smooth. Whisk in vanilla extract and the liqueur until smooth and shiny.
Place the chocolate sauce in a fondue pot over a low flame or bowl and serve with your dippers.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (360 ml).Preparation time15 minutes.
Quinoa Porridge Recipe
I think quinoa should get the most versatile food award for 2014. I giggle to myself as I read other foodie blogs when they have discovered how great quinoa is in sweet recipes because I’m on the other end of the spectrum as I begin to discover great new ways to use quinoa in savory recipes. I’ve been using quinoa in my signature granola, cookies, and pancake recipes for quite some time. And this time of year my quinoa breakfast porridge is very popular. It’s healthy, it’s gluten free and it’s vegan so what’s not to love? If you haven’t found a place for quinoa in your diet yet this porridge recipe is an easy and delicious way to start
For each serving:
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cup almond milk (see my recipe for easy homemade almond milk)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 dash cinnamon (or cardamon)
- 1/4 cup fresh seasonal fruit like chopped apples, pears or your favorite berry. Raisins work too!
- 1 handful of your favorite nut – almonds, peacans, or walnuts – toasted and coarsley chopped
- Bring the quinoa, almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Mix in the fruit and top with toasted nuts.
Souper Sundays return on December 14th
There are many things we do here on the Connecticut shoreline in order to coexist with the cold New England weather. From skiing and skating to reading and hibernating, we each have our own ways to keep from going stir-crazy during Old Man Winter’s annual visit. One of my own favorite winter rituals is to make homemade soup. It’s healthy (well…sometimes!), satisfying and delicious, which means that in one pot I get to fulfill all of my new year resolutions: live healthier, cook at home more, and eat better.
The aromas that fill the inn are second only to the reward of eating a bowl of hot homemade goodness. I enjoy it so much that I have have started sharing my ritual with our Sunday guests and am calling it Souper Sundays. All guests that check in on Sunday are invited into the kitchen to help me prepare what will become the Sunday supper that we will share at dinner time. It’s a time to bring the ever-changing Scranton Seahorse Inn guest community together to do something fun, healthy and, if we do it right – utterly delicious.
Book your room with us and enjoy a perfect stay at a classic Connecticut bed and breakfast that includes a cooking class and dinner with (new) friends. Bring your own favorite wine if you wish, and we’ll provide the soup, bowls, and spoons!
- December 14th: Butternut Squash with Sage and Apple & New England Style Clam Chowder
- December 21st: Creamy Chicken Chowder
See you at the inn!
Oatmeal Scones with Hazelnut & Cherries
I’m a bit behind in sharing some of the recipes I’ve been asked for. I hope to catch up on that this week.
One of my favorite recipes (and that of many of the guests) is this scone recipe. This is not my own invention but a variation of a recipe my friend Jan shared with me. In my opinion hazelnuts make everything taste good!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- 1 1/4 cups Quaker oats
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/3 granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
- Spread oats and chopped hazelnuts evenly on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant – about 7 minutes. Keep an eye on this and be sure not to burn the hazelnuts. They will brown before the oatmeal does which is ok. Remove from oven and cool. Raise temperature of your oven to 425 degrees.
- Whisk together cream and egg. Reserve 2 tablespoons for glazing scones.
- In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and baking powder and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter in the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse cornmeal. Transfer this mixture to a good size mixing bowl. Using a large rubber spatula fold in the oatmeal and nut mixture. Add the cherries.
- Fold in the liquid ingredients until large clumps form. using your hand mix the dough a few more times until a large ball is formed.
- Dust your clean work surface with a little flour and then gently pat the mixture until a 7″ circle until it’s about 1″ thick. Using a sharp knife cut into 8 wedges. Line a sheet pan with parchment and place wedge 2″ apart. Brush each wedge with the reserve liquid and sprinkle with a little sugar. Place sheet pan with scones in freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Bake until golden brown and delicious – about 12 – 14 minutes. Let them cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
This recipe doubles easily. Uncooked wedges can be wrapped and frozen for 2 weeks. If you plan to freeze the uncooked wedges don’t glaze or sugar them until your ready to cook (you can use 1/2 & 1/2) Cook them frozen and increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
As always write all call me with questions, especially if the recipe didn’t come out as planned!
Breakfast is our favorite time of day. We make it our duty to serve things like pastries, pancakes and bacon. However, we do offer healthy choices at breakfast for our guests that want to enjoy something delicous at breakfast but don’t want to over do it. One of our most requested offerings is our Kale Smoothie. The recipe below is how I make it most days but keep in mind smoothie recipes have ingredients that are easy to swap with others. Feel free to use what ever your happen to have on hand.
Scranton Seahorse Kale Smoothie
- 2 handfuls of fresh kale washed and chopped.
- 1/2 chopped fresh chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 1 pelled chopped apple
- 1 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
- 1 cup ice
The strawberries and pineapple should be frozen for at least an hour. What I do is package 1 cup of each the strawberries and pineapple in zip lock bags and when I’m ready to make a smoothie I’ve got them already chopped measured and frozen.
Combine all ingredients in a blender or smoothie machine and blend until smooth. Depending on your preference add more ice (or almond milk) to thin out the smoothie. I personally don’t like mine thick like a milk shake. You can keep the extra in a covered pitcher in the refrigerator for a couple days.
What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?
Apple Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
When I was in pastry school one of the chef instuctors shared this recipe with our class. I’ve carried this fairly simple recipe with me for many years and it’s always a hit. When I make it at the inn I always get asked for the recipe. Use your favorite tart, fresh and locally grown apples for the best results.
- 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 T Vanilla Extract
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 2 cups sour cream
- 5 peeled and diced apples
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar on medium – high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time – completely incorporating and scraping down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula after each addition. Don’t skip this step! Add vanilla.
Combine all dry ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Set the mixer to low and slowly add to butter and egg mixture until just combined.
Add sour cream and mix until smooth. Add apples until thoroughly mixed. Pour mixture in even amounts into three 8″ spring form pans that have been sprayed and lined with parchment paper. I suggest a struesal topping and you can use your own favorite recipe or here’s my easy nut free topping:
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch table salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces, softened but still cool
In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt on low speed until well combined and no large brown sugar lumps remain, about 45 seconds. Add butter and mix on low until mixture resembles wet sand and no large butter pieces remain, about 2 1/2 minutes. Spread evenly over each pan of batter.
Bake at 350F until golden brown and a test inserted into each pan comes out cleanly. About 1hr 10 minutes.
Rum Raisin Scones
I call this grown up scones because the raisins are soaked in dark rum before cooking. The longer the raisins soak in the rum the more intense the flavor gets. The raisins will keep 8-10 weeks in the refridgerator so I make a large batch and have them ready. The recipe below is enough for 12 scones.
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 dark rum (I use Meyers)
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 granulated sugar
- 1/2 kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup heavy cream + 2 tablespoons to brush the scones with
- 1 – 2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Place the raisins in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then strain. Now place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with the rum and let it set for at least an hour.
In your mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Toss in the cut up butter and place the bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes. Using the paddle attachment mix on low until the butter is broken up into pebble sized pieces (3 minutes).
Strain the raisins reserving the rum. Add the raisins to the flour mixture and beat just once or twice and evenly distribute them. With the mixer still on low speed and add the 1/4 cup of rum and the heavy cream until the dough comes together. Using your hands, knead the mixure in the bowl until the dough comes together completely.
Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 7-inch round – about 3/4 inch thick. Using a sharp knife cut in 12 equals wedges – like a pie. The wedges will look small but they will spread and rise in the oven!
Place the pieces on your baking sheet at least 1/2 inch apart. Cover with plastic wrap and freee for 15 minutes.
Preheat your over to 375. Brush the scones with heavy cream and spinkle with the Demerara sugar. Bake the scone for 20 minutes turning the baking sheet halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm.
Hawaiian Waffles Recipe
Macadamia nuts and shredded coconut aren’t the only things that make this dish a summer time favorite. I serve a tropical salsa along side it to finish it off. Use whatever fruit is ripe and fresh at the supermarket. Some of my favorites include mango, pineapple, & kiwi. Don’t be afraid to try something different like starfruit or papaya to wow your family or guests.
For 6 Belgian Style Waffles
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking power
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 3/4 cups coarsely chopped raw macadamia nuts
Whisk the eggs until foamy and then whisk in the butter and milk. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. The batter should not be so thick that you cannot run your whisk through it. You can thin it out by adding a tablespoon or two of milk. Fold in the nuts and coconut. I like to let the mixture sit for 10 minutes before using.
Follow the instructions for your waffle iron to cook. But a general rule of thumb is when the steaming from the iron stops your waffles are done!
Instead of maple syrup, which can overpower the flavors of the coconut and macadamia nuts, try a light or amber agave nectar.
Chop your fruit salsa into small bite size pieces just like a salsa and serve a heaping mound with each waffle.