Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies - Candy Coated Culinista

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and this is a recipe I have made many a time and for many different occasions and this is always a favourite.

Yield/Serving: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 min.
Cook Time: 30 – 35 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Red Velvet Brownies

• ¾ cups unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp red food coloring
• ¼ tsp sea salt
• 1 tsp white vinegar
• 3 eggs
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
Cheesecake Filling
• 340g container cream cheese, softened
• 3 tbsp sugar
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large egg yolk

Assembly/Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, food coloring and salt, stirring to combine. Then stir in the white vinegar.
4. Whisk together the eggs in a small bowl, and then stir them into the brownie batter.
5. Fold in the flour until just combined, then pour the batter into the prepared pan, reserving 1/3 of the batter for the topping.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a handheld electric mixer), blend together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until well combined.
7. Spread the cream cheese mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter then top the cream cheese with dollops of the remaining brownie batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the cream cheese together with the dollops of brownie batter.
8. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes.
9. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before lifting the parchment out of the pan then slicing and serving.

Tips
• Serve with a scoop of French Vanilla Ice cream.
• Add more food colouring if you want the brownies to be redder. I don’t like to add to much dye to my baking so I held back here.
• I made these twice in a couple of weeks and found that the ones I baked in a glass Pyrex 9” x 9” dish came out more fudgey and moist than the ones I baked in a steel pan made for brownies specifically. (The ones with the grid make, so each slice is the perfect size). I prefer the Pyrex and suggest saving your money unless you got them on clearance like I did. This pan seemed to work much better for my blondies than brownies. Unless you prefer your brownies to be more dense.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I not a fan of cheesecake, but this is the first cheesecake like recipe I could eat and say I enjoyed every bite. The mix of brownie and cream cheese lessened the “cheesecakey” taste. The brownie was dense and rich and decadent. All the taste testers loved it. I got told I’m running their diet; this is sooooo delicious; I’m taking one home for my BF; but he’ll be lucky if he actually get this and so one. Brownies to me is very subjective as to how you like to enjoy your brownie on the brownie spectrum.

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Valentine’s Day Dinner à la Chuck

Chuck's Chicken Dinner - Candy Coated Culinista

Chuck’s Chicken Dinner – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s no mystery by me having this blog that I absolutely love to cook and some days I can be in the kitchen for hours on end on my feet. To past the time I bring in my IPad to watch some TV shows and while watching a few shows the commercial breaks were filled with ads for LG presents Chuck Hughes with little snippets of recipes. Well since Chuck’s in my top two favourite chefs of all time it was obvious I was going to try some dishes from these mini ads and since the timing was right Valentine’s Day would be a great day to make this simple and succulent dinner.

From Chuck Hughes

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 1 hour & 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

Roasted Chicken
Ingredients

• 1 whole organic chicken
• Handful of oregano, thyme, rosemary and parsley, finely chopped
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 lemon, zested and sliced
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• ½ head of garlic
• 1 small white onion
• 1 medium white onion, sliced
• 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 ½ chicken broth
• ¼ cup white wine (I skipped this)

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 425°F.
2. Rinse chicken on cool water and pat dry inside and out.
3. Finely chop the herbs and mix into softened butter and add lemon zest in a small bowl.
4. Rub herbed butter under the skin and on top of the chicken and inside.
5. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
6. Fill chicken cavity with lemon, garlic and onion.
7. Tie the legs with kitchen twine.
8. Place sliced onion in the centre of a cast iron skillet.
9. Rest chicken on top of onions breast side on top of the onions.
10. Roast for 30 minutes at 425°F and then reduce heat to 350°F and continue to cook for 1 hour.
11. Baste chicken every 15 minutes to brown the skin.

Gravy
Assembly

1. Soften the onions from the cast iron skillet skimming off any fat.
2. Place skillet on the stove over medium-high heat and using a wooden spoon scrape the flavour from the bottom on the skillet.
3. Stir in the flour to make a roux.
4. Slowly add in the chicken broth letting the flour dissolve.
5. Add wine if desired.
6. Cook for 3 – 4 minutes and season with salt & pepper if desired.

Potato Smash with Olive Oil

Yield/Serving: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 yukon potatoes
• ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
• 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, finley chopped
• Chopped dill, to taste
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Boil potatoes in a large pot until tender and drain.
2. Crush potatoes with a wooden spoon just enough. Leave some potato pieces chunky.
3. Stir in the olive oil and the remaining ingredients.

Zucchini Wedges

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
• ½ cup parmesan cheese
• ½ tsp dried thyme
• ½ tsp dried oregano
• ¼ tsp garlic powder
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Assembly
1. Pre heat oven to 400°F.
2. Coat baking sheet with non-stick spray.
3. On a plate combine all of the herbs, spices and cheese.
4. Coat zucchini with olive oil and then coat in mixture.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This couldn’t have turned out any better; well if I had finely chopped my herbs. My idea of finely chop versus the recipe was different and I recognized that upon its completion but it didn’t deter from the recipe in any way. It was just a visual thing for me. The chicken was moist and scrumptious and perfectly coloured and for the first time I had a gravy from scratch that actually tasted and turned out excellent; even with my omission of the white wine. The review was great as I tested this out in advance and at work when I was eating it for lunch I got many compliments on the smell and a co-worker was trying to track down where that smell was coming from; which made me chuckle. The addition of dill to the mashed potatoes and the zucchini was a delicious. I decided to not serve the zucchini with the Spicy Aioli recommended though and I was already in the kitchen for a long time at this point. I can’t wait to make this again. This recipe is so simple you could make it the first time on a special day and not worry about something going awry.

Half Batch Valentine’s Day Cupcakes

Half Batch Valentine’s Day Cupcakes- Candy Coated Culinista

Half Batch Valentine’s Day Cupcakes- Candy Coated Culinista

An easy, special no fuss treats for Valentine’s Day for your household. You won’t even have to pull out the stand or hand mixer. Now that’s what I call a Happy Valentine’s day for you also.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10-14 min.
Difficulty level is: ¼ cup

Ingredients
Cupcakes
• ½ cup all purpose flour
• ¼ cup cocoa powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ cup canola oil
• 1 egg
• 3 tablespoons cold coffee*
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
Nutella Frosting
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
• ¼ cup Nutella
• ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
• ¼ tap vanilla extract
• 1 tsp milk
• Candy lip confections

Assembly
Cupcakes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar.
3. In a large sized bowl, whisk together canola oil, egg, coffee, milk and vanilla.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Place six cupcake liners in cupcake pan and pour mixture into the liners.
6. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean.
Nutella Frosting
7. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the butter and nutella until smooth.
8. Add in the confectioners’ sugar until combined.
9. Stir in the vanilla and milk until the frosting consistency is achieved.
10. Pour into a piping bag and decorate once cupcakes have cooled.
11. Add valentines’ day themed confections and serve.

Tips
• Place the liners in the middle six spaces to allow for a more even bake.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts

I am so happy I finally have a half decent recipe that is half batch. Sometimes I really hate making a dozen cupcakes when all I really want is a half-dozen or less. I will never waste them, but sometimes the option for a small batch is appreciated; especially in a family of two. I found these cupcakes to be maybe a tad dry, but I baked them a little too long and have adjusted the recipe accordingly. I will try this again trying to find some more moisture rich ingredients for the recipe. The frosting came together very easily and in less than 30 minutes I had 6 cupcakes baked, decorated and ready for consumption. With them being that easy and not having to pull out the mixer I can make cupcakes whenever I want now and can’t really complain.

Valentine’s Day: Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

A fancy and delicious dessert dish.

My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 2
Difficulty level is: Medium

Ingredients
Pear
• 2 pears
• ½ of a lemon, zested
• ½ of an orange, zested
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• ¾ cups granulated sugar
• ½ cinnamon stick
• 75 – 100 ml white wine
• 100 ml water
• Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate Sauce
• 40g (1/4 cup) 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
• 40 ml whipping cream
• 20 ml milk
• 1 tbsp butter
Ice Cream
• 1 cup milk
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• Pinch salt
• large egg yolks
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Assembly
Pear
1. Peel pears leaving the stems on and core out from the bottom of each using a sharp knife.
2. Flatten the bottom of the pear a little so the pear can stand up on its own.
3. Place pears in a saucepan along with zests, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, wine and water and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
4. Lower heat a poach pears for 20-25 minutes until pears are cooked all the way through.
5. Let cool in liquid.
6. When pears have cooled take out with a slotted spoon and place in a plate or bowl.
Chocolate Sauce
7. Create a double boiler and melt chocolate.
8. In another saucepan warm cream, milk and butter and stir into chocolate.
9. Pour over pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Ice Cream
10. Combine milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth.
11. Whisk together the egg yolks in a large bowl.
12. Add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, pouring in a constant stream while whisking.
13. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium-high heat until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 minutes.
14. Strain the base into a large bowl and mix in the cream and extract.
15. Set the bowl into an ice water bath and stir until the base becomes cool.
16. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap and let chill completely for at least 2 hours.
17. Freeze in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
18. Transfer to a chilled container and freeze until ice cream firms up before serving.

Tips
• This can be made a day ahead.
• The custard will look a little eggy but don’t fear it will turn out well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The ice cream tasted great and this is now my base ice cream recipe. The pears were soft, but not mushy and I could taste the wine, cinnamon and vanilla. The whole dessert tasted great and would impress anyone.

Valentine’s Day Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous

Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous - Candy Coated Culinista

Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous – Candy Coated Culinista

This is an exotic, scrumptious and romantic meal that can be served for Valentine’s day or for a dinner party.

My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• ½ cup Moroccan Couscous
• ½ cup chicken broth
• 2 handfuls of green beans
• 8 Lamb loin chops
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 6 tbsp Fig Cabernet & Wine Jelly
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
• Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 green onion, finely chopped
• small handful of mint leaves,
• 1 tbsp sultana raisins
• 1 tbsp pine nuts
• 1 tbsp dried apricots, finely chopped
• Dash of extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

Assembly
1. Boil a ½ cup of chicken broth and once boiled pour couscous along with broth into glass bowl until absorbed.
2. Trim green beans and steam.
3. Season lamb with salt and pepper and cook in a frying pan along with olive oil on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side (for medium rare) and brush jelly onto lamb.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar in the last minute or two of cooking.
5. Remove lamb from pan and let the remaining juices cook until sticky.
6. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the red onions, tomatoes, green onion, mint, raisins, pine nuts and apricots along with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
7. Plate two lamb loin chops along with the green beans and couscous and serve.

Tips
• Figs aren’t in season right now so I managed to find a fig jelly (PC Fig Cabernet and Wine Jelly).

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The lamb was perfectly cooked and along with the fig and wine sauce it tasted delicious. The Moroccan couscous was savoury and light. This is a perfect Valentine’s Day meal, not too heavy and the perfect portion size.

Valentine’s Day Cocktail

Valentine’s Day Cocktail - Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

My signature cocktail for Valentine’s Day.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Mix Time: 1 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 1 ½ oz dark rum
• 1 oz grand marnier
• 1 oz peach liqueur
• 1 oz fresh lemon juice
• 3 oz chilled citrus soda (lemon-lime or soda water)
• Splash of grenadine
• Club soda / ginger ale.
• Lemon wheel, for decoration

Assembly
1. Rub a piece of lemon around the glass and rim with sugar.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into a champagne glass.
3. Decorate with a lemon wheel.

Tips
• Pink, red or purple coloured sugar works better if you have it on hand.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
As I don’t drink really this was purely an experiment with the end goal of getting a pink hued cocktail for a special night. I could really smell and taste the alcohol, but if you love cocktails this may be right up your alley.

Valentine’s Day Nutella & Almond Croissants

Nutella & Almond Croissants - Candy Coated Culinista

Nutella & Almond Croissants – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I have my home prepared menus all ready to go. Mr. C. and I are going out for Valentine’s Day but I still wanted to make us a homemade meal, even if I was a week early. This is a simple recipe to start off the day with a little more of a romantic feel than the usual fruit and cereal. My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Ingredients
• 6 croissants
• ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
• ¼ cup nutella

Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice into croissant but not all the way through. (like a hot dog bun)
3. Spread nutella and sprinkle almonds inside.
4. Close up the croissant and place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 5 minutes.

Please Enjoy

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