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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42 and Chocolate Dipped Rum Balls

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Somebody’s got a sweet tooth.

But then, that should hardly be a surprise. This is after all a website dedicated to making small-batch desserts to be nibbled while reading or listening to a story. Sweet is our middle name! (Truth be told, when developing this blog we considered naming it “Sweets and Stories” but opted for Reading and Recipes.)

But even for us, the back-to-back candy recipes is a little extreme. Chalk it up to holiday fun and wishing to make something with good wow factor without wanting to heat up the oven or worry about lots of ingredients or prep time (there’s more than enough other stuff to fill our time, right?).

Plus these Chocolate-dipped Rum Balls fit right into tonight’s New Year’s Eve theme, with a touch of rum and the perfect size for a bowl set out on the coffee table or sideboard for company.

Or keep them all for yourself–one (or two) tonight, one tomorrow, one the next day, and so on. By the time you get to the end of the batch, you’ll be so far into the new year you’ll have forgotten this old one and fully embraced 2016 (or at least be writing the correct year on your checks and correspondence–the little burst of sugar and booze will help you on your way!).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

rum balls

Chocolate Dipped Rum Balls

1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons bourbon

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

heaping 3/4 cup powdered sugar

4 ounces chocolate candy coating*

Mix nuts and bourbon and allow them to soak for 6 hours, or overnight.

Once the nuts have absorbed all of the bourbon, you are ready to make the rum balls. In a small mixing bowl, cream together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the bourbon soaked nuts until all ingredients are well incorporated. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls onto a plate or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate candy coating according to package directions. Place one rum ball on a fork and dip into candy coating. Place rum ball back onto parchment paper. Repeat with remaining rum balls.

Allow the candy coating to harden before putting the rum balls into an airtight container. Store rum balls in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Makes 8-10 rum balls.

*Candy coating is preferred because it hardens quickly and leaves a shiny coat. If you cannot find candy coating, you can use semisweet chocolate chips and mix in a small amount of shortening. Melt over low heat and stir ingredients together.

chocolate rum balls

{Family recipe}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #42, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41 and Easy Chocolate Fudge

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Ahh, it’s finally Christmas–Christmas Eve, anyway (or Christmas Day maybe, if you’re bored after all the presents have been opened and you’re checking your e-mail from the last few days for something to occupy your time). Either way, probably the last thing you want to think about now is more sweets, whether preparing them or eating them. I mean, those tins of Christmas cookies (all five hundred of them!) will get finished up around the Fourth of July, right?

But–there is life after Christmas.

You will want to cook again. And you will want to indulge yourself with a little treat one night soon when you don’t have anything to do and just feel like curling up with something to read and a freshly made sweet. Who knows–such an occasion may come along sooner than you think. Like tomorrow night, after all the family has gone home; or sometime next week, when you’ve taken time off but have a break between activities.

Whenever such an occasion comes along, Reading and Recipes will be there with this Easy Chocolate Fudge recipe. It provides about the easiest and quickest gratification of any candy recipe you can find–just mix the ingredients together, cool it down, and eat! Doesn’t get much easier than that.

You will want a sweet treat again, guaranteed. Bookmark this page to have it ready when you do.

Merry Christmas!!!!

three ingredient fudge

Easy Chocolate Fudge

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk*

6 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract**

Line a 5×7 pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Add the condensed milk and chocolate chips to a saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, or until the chocolate is melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour mixture into prepared pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. Remove the fudge from the pan and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 8-12 squares.

*Use the other half of the can to make this.

**Feel free to use peppermint extract, hazelnut liqueur, orange extract, or any other flavoring agent in lieu of vanilla. Adjust amount based on potency of extract you use. Start with 1/2 teaspoon; taste and gradually add more until it is to your liking.

chocolate fudge

{Adapted from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #41, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #40 and White Chocolate Molasses Cookies

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Bing Crosby may be dreaming of a white Christmas, but I’m dreaming of these White Chocolate Molasses Cookies!

Don’t get me wrong, I love all kinds of chocolate chocolate–bittersweet, semisweet, milk chocolate, and all the variations in between. But for me there’s something exotic, almost regal, about white chocolate. It’s sweet, of course, but also has a subtle richness that’s hard to describe but unmistakable.

Now let’s put those regal chocolate bits inside a molasses cookie! And there you have it–that regal chocolate combined with the spice of Christmas: dreams of gingerbread houses and sugarplum fairies and in a small-batch quantity that’s just right for one or two.

Let Bing have his white Christmas. Give me these cookies and a cozy couch and a good read. If you’re looking for the latter, click on the links below to hear or read Serial #40 of Two Sisters Times Two.

molasses white chocolate cookie

White Chocolate Molasses Cookies

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons molasses

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/3 cup white chocolate chips

granulated sugar for coating

molasses cookie dough

Add the butter and brown sugar to a mixing bowl and cream the ingredients together. Beat in the molasses and vanilla until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and salt and slowly stir into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix the dough. Gently fold the white chocolate chips into the batter. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Roll two tablespoons of dough into a ball. Roll the cookie dough in granulated sugar and then place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. You should get 5 cookies.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just set. Remove the cookies from the oven; allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 5 cookies.

molasses white chocolate cookies

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #40, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #40, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #39 and Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

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A lot of good things have come out of Boston. The Red Sox and the Celtics are obvious candidates, Paul Revere and John Adams if you want to talk history, Aerosmith or The Cars if you want to talk rock and roll.

But this is a cooking blog and I’d better switch over to cuisine before I offend someone or get into a fight.

On the food side of the ledger, Boston boasts such specialties as Boston baked beans, corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day, and baked scrod (at least that was a regional specialty when I used to hang out in those parts). But my all time favorite Boston specialty (even better than Faneuil Hall Marketplace or the North End or the swan boats in the Public Garden) is Boston Cream Pie. For all I know, this isn’t even originally from Boston. But I don’t care! It’s the best dessert in the world and it has the name Boston in it, so it has to be the best thing to ever come out of Boston.

So there.

And to celebrate this marvelous mixture of cake, pudding, and chocolate, this week’s recipe is Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes. This recipe turns the large scale, fairly ambitious dessert into a more manageable quantity and undertaking, and makes it in single serving sizes.

If you’ve ever had this dessert, you know it’s a winner. If not, give it a try tonight. You’ll be glad you did!

(Go Sox! Oh yeah, baseball season is over. Well, there’s always next year.)

boston cream pie cupcakes

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 vanilla pudding cups

2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 muffin cups in your muffin pan, and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, add the egg and granulated sugar and vigorously whisk until the mixture becomes a pale yellow and thick. Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Whisk in the dry ingredients until the cake batter comes together and no lumps remain.

Divide the batter between the 6 greased muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, or until they just start to turn golden brown. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cooled, cut each in half horizontally. Divide the two pudding cups between 6 cupcakes halves, spooning and spreading the pudding evenly. Top the pudding with the remaining cupcake halves.

Make the chocolate topping by heating the chocolate chips and milk in a microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate melts. Drizzle this mixture over top of each cupcake.

Serve immediately. Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Cupcakes are best eaten within 2-3 days.

Makes 6 cupcakes.

mini boston cream pie

{Adapted from Martha Stewart}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #39, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #39, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #38 and Gingerbread Scones

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Remember that holiday with the turkey and the pumpkin pie?

Well, that holiday is long gone; and it’s time to turn our attention to the next biggie!

Hold on a minute, you say? Give me a little breather, how ’bout it?

Okay, okay. We’ll give you a little break before cranking up for Christmas.

But can we put in just a little bit of Christmas flavors and theme? Just a tad?

How about these Gingerbread Scones with a white chocolate icing? They’re simple but elegant, easy to make but suggestive of the coming season without going full-bore into it. And they go great with a warm cup of tea or latte as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, will impress a visiting friend or serve nicely as a low-key treat in the evening after dinner or the morning for breakfast.

So what’s not to like? A hint of Christmas before the season really gets rolling feels about right, doesn’t it?

gingerbread scones

Gingerbread Scones

1 cup flour*

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of ground cloves, optional

pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

3 Tablespoons molasses

2 Tablespoons milk or cream

1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat, and set aside.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to a food processor. Pulse a couple of times until dry ingredients are mixed. Add the cold butter and pulse repeatedly until the the butter is about the size of small peas. Add the molasses and milk and pulse until the dough comes together into a ball. If the dough seems too moist or dry, add a little flour or milk, and process until dough comes together.

Remove the dough from the food processor and knead on a lightly floured service until the dough comes together. Shape the dough into a 4-inch circle. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Remove the scones from the oven and allow to cool.

While the scones are cooling, add the white chocolate chips and a drop or two of milk to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on medium heat for 30-45 seconds, or until the chips are almost melted. Stir the ingredients together and drizzle over top of scones. Store the scones at room temperature in an airtight container.

Makes 4 scones.

*You can use all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or a combination of both. I used half a cup of both, and these scones turned out great.

gingerbread scone

{Adapted from A Kitchen Addiction}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #38, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #38, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!