Chocolate Yogurt Mousse

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My sister recently told me about a dessert she often serves to company. It’s a chocolate mousse made with Greek yogurt. The original recipe came from Maria Speck, Food 52. To serve, the mousse is topped with orange marmalade.

The purpose of my making this mousse was two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to try out the recipe, since it’s obviously beloved. But secondly, I wanted to attempt to duplicate the dessert my mother and I shared at a restaurant, that I mentioned in my previous post. It was a chocolate dirt pudding – chocolate mousse topped with crumbled cookies and served with mint chocolate ice cream, except we had them leave off the ice cream.

The mousse was so intriguing to me because it tasted like a chocolate mousse folded with sour cream or creme fraiche. Turns out, it could have been yogurt. In my memory, the mousse was so similar to this recipe.

The key to this recipe is using a good dark chocolate. Also, my sister suggests that if you don’t want a liqueur included, to use some kind of extract as a substitute.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse
Serves 4

6 ounces (170g) good-quality dark chocolate with 70% cacao, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or other good-quality orange liqueur
1 cup (240ml) whole Greek yogurt
4 teaspoons orange marmalade

Place the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.


Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until you have a smooth ganache.

In a small bowl, beat the Greek yogurt with a small whisk or a fork until smooth.

Fold the yogurt into the chocolate mixture using a spatula until thoroughly combined, then stir in the tablespoon of Grand Marnier.
If you like a boozy dessert, add the second tablespoon.


Spoon the mousse into four small serving cups and chill until firm, or up to a day ahead, covered with plastic wrap.

To serve, spoon a teaspoon of marmalade onto each serving. It was truly a magical combination. I added whipped cream, but that did nothing for me.

My sister told me not to bother to use raspberries; they get lost in the strong chocolate flavor. During the summer, she uses peaches tossed with rose water as a topping. Lovely.

Now, on to the chocolate dirt pudding. I added scoops of mint chocolate ice cream to the chilled mousse, and sprinkled crumbled Colpa Degno cookies over the top.

Wow. Let me first say that I’m not a huge fan of mint chocolate ice cream. However, this dessert was out of this world.

My husband’s favorite sweet flavor combination is mint and chocolate, so he was really happy with my blogging experiment.

There is just something about this mousse! With the yogurt, it’s thick and chocolatey, but not overly sweet. And with the crumbled cookies, it was outstanding.

 

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse

Serves 4
6 ounces (170g) good-quality dark chocolate with 70% cacao, finely chopped
1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon or 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or other good-quality orange liquor
1 cup (240ml) whole Greek yogurt (2% is also okay, but don’t use nonfat)
4 teaspoons orange marmalade

Place the chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate and leave it to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir with a spatula or a wooden spoon until you have a smooth ganache.

In a small bowl, beat the Greek yogurt with a small whisk or a fork until smooth. Fold the yogurt into the chocolate mixture using a spatula until thoroughly combined, then stir in the tablespoon of Grand Marnier.

If you like a boozy dessert, add the second tablespoon.

Spoon the mousse into four small serving cups and chill until firm, at least one hour, or up to a day ahead, covered with plastic wrap.

To serve, spoon a teaspoon of marmalade onto each serving.

Colpa Degno Cookies

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There is a lovely restaurant called Powder that I take my mother to when I visit. It helps that it’s close to where she lives, because if I visit at any time between October and May, who knows how much snow I have to contend with getting anywhere not close.

My mother lives in Park City, Utah, which is known for its powder-like snow, thus the name of the restaurant. The restaurant is in the Waldorf Astoria, which doesn’t really seem to fit in my mind with the quaintness of Park City. The Waldorf makes me think of New York City for some reason.

In any case, when I last visited Mom in December, we dined at Powder and luckily didn’t have to deal with a blizzard.

The food has always been superb there, and the service slow but good. It seems like we have always ordered their charcuterie and cheese platter to start. Here are three of them I happened to document.

The first hurdle is always my mother fainting over how the waiter pronounces charcuterie. Being French, it’s still hard for her, even after 65 years of living in the U.S., to hear French words mis-pronounced. I’ve given up trying to convince her that charcuterie is a difficult word for Americans to say.

Also being French, my mother has a daily chocolate requirement, or at least enjoys a sweet after lunch. So after our cheese and you-know-what goodies, including an outstanding paté, we perused Powder’s dessert menu.

I ordered the Chocolate Dirt Pudding, but without the mint ice cream. She thought it would be too rich, like that’s ever stopped her!

This is what it looked like, after we both attacked it like we were starving. Not the prettiest dessert, but the black cherry fudge sauce was indescribable. Neither of us tasted the cherry part, interestingly enough, but it didn’t matter. The sauce, which was really a pudding, was fabulous.

After getting back home, I looked into Colpa Degno cookies, which were the crumbled “dirt” on the pudding. Turns out the name roughly translates to “worth the guilt.”

From Food52: Created by Megan Fitzroy Phelan, currently an owner of Richmond, Virginia’s lauded Longoven restaurant, and formerly a Sullivan Street pastry chef, these cookies are small and addictive and so delightful that they are well worth any remorse you might feel from eating a half dozen or so.

The actual cookie recipe is in this book:

I’m not much of a cookie or dessert maker, but I really wanted to recreate the dessert, including the mint ice cream, for my husband’s birthday. He loves chocolate and mint together, and he deserves a sin-worthy treat! And it all started with my making Colpa Degno.

Colpa Degno Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 scant cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Whites from 2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (100 g) milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup (100 g) dark chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt with a fork in a medium bowl to combine.


Whisk together the egg whites and the vanilla with a fork in a small bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg whites; stir the mixture with the fork until it just begins to come together.

Add the chocolates and stir until well combined. The dough will be extremely sticky and as dark as black licorice.

At the bakery, we use a #60 scoop (like a small ice cream scoop) to scoop and ball these, but an ordinary 1 tablespoon measuring spoon works well too.

Pack the batter into the spoon by squashing and dragging the spoon against the inside of the bowl to make sure the rounds of dough are tight and compact – if the dough is too loosely packed, the cookies tend to really spread out and separate as they bake.


Place the rounds of dough on the parchment-lined cookie sheet a good 3” apart and bake for about 12 minutes or until the tops are glossy and set.

When the cookies are done, they will be quite gooey, but they will continue to cook as they cool.

Once they’ve cooled off enough to eat, they should be soft and chewy – if they’re hard or crisp, they’ve baked too much.


Cool the cookies on the paper, set on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Serve these cookies the day they are made.

Sneak preview to next post!

Polish Cookies

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A while back I was contacted by Ania from Poland regarding my blog. I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was, with our world almost completely online these days. But she did surprise me. Ania told me she liked my blog, which was sweet, and she wanted to know if I was interested in her product. I normally would have immediately deleted the email, or at least written “thank you but no thank you,” but I was intrigued!

Ania represents the company STODOLA, that engraves rolling pins. I urge you to check these rolling pins out. They make so many different varieties, from puppies and kitties to stars and flowers. I f you want one customized with your logo or photograph, they’ll do that too!

The rolling pin I chose is based on a typical Polish folk design, according to Ania, like the design below.
polish
Check out my rolling pin!

It came with a sugar cookie recipe (the little roll of paper) that Ania assured me was easy! I’m not a baker, but I was really excited about using the rolling pin!!!

Sugar Cookies

8 ounces/230 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 ounces/175 grams confectioner’s sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1.5 – 3 teaspoons extract
1 teaspoon salt
14 ounces/400 grams all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F/200 degrees C.
Begin my mixing the butter and sugar together well.

Add the egg and extract and mix well. I used vanilla extract.


Use a sieve to add the flour so there are no lumps. I added a fourth of the flour at a time, blending well after each addition. The salt is in the flour.

Have some extra flour and confectioner’s sugar for rolling the dough.
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Roll, emboss and cut cookies into desired shapes, dusting with flour as necessary.



Bake cookies until tops appear dry rather than shiny.
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The recipe is foolproof, although I chilled the dough a little before rolling.


What I also like is that the cookies aren’t too sweet.

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Stodola claims that the secret to successful cookies using the rolling pin is to preheat the oven, and apply the right amount of pressure on the dough.

note: Stodola also makes mini rolling pins for children!

Stodola is on Facebook, too.

Cranberry Hazelnut Cookies

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I know. Everybody loves cookies with chocolate. But if you’re willing to try these cookies, they will, I promise, make your top two favorite cookies ever list. I’m not kidding.

Cranberries – fresh ones – so that they’re moist and bursting with flavor, pair with the fragrance and crunch of toasted hazelnuts in this cookie. Everything else is a pretty standard drop cookie dough. There’s just something about the cranberries and hazelnuts!

This recipe was actually published in Oklahoma Today magazine years ago. They didn’t want the recipe, per se, it just came with the article they asked me to write on cranberries. I jumped at the chance because, as with many of my fellow bloggers, if not all, I just love cranberries. They scream holidays for me.

Plus, they’re so verstile. They’re just as good in a cake or cookie, like this recipe, as they are in a cranberry compote or chutney – adding that tartness that is so unique and yet so necessary. I just have a love relationship with these little guys. Back in our lean years, I even made cranberry garlands for our Christmas tree. So beautiful and festive.

But back to the cookie recipe, here it is. I know you’ll enjoy its uniqueness and fabulousness as much as I do!

cookies

Cranberry Hazelnut Cookies

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup, packed, brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk or orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups chopped cranberries*
1 cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts*

Before you begin, have all of your major players ready. Have your cranberries rinsed, dried, and chopped. Have your hazelnuts skinned (directions here), and have the flour sifted along with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

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Place the butter in a large bowl, along with both sugars.
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Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until fluffy. Then add the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
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Beat the batter well. Then gradually add the flour mixture, beating at a low speed, until it’s almost all incorporated into the batter.
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It will be slightly crumbly.
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Switch to a spoon, and add the cranberries and hazelnuts.
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Fold them in until they’re completely incorporated into the batter. At this point you can chill the dough for a couple of hours and continue with the recipe, or chill the dough overnight, which is what I did. To continue, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator and let it warm for about 30 minutes.
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Then, using a scoop, place balls of dough, approximately 1 1/2″ in diameter on a non-stick or greased cookie sheet, approximately 2″ apart from each other.
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Bake them for approximately 15 minutes; the time will vary depending on how thick they are, your oven temperature, and the temperature of the dough. When they’re done they should be ever so slightly golden, but still soft to the touch.
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After about a minute rest, place the cookies on a rack to cool. Then they’re ready to serve. Or hide, whichever you want to do.
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I have frozen these cookies with good luck, so if you need to hide them from people, freezing is a great idea.
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If people get to them, there will be none left. Guaranteed. Merry Christmas. Now you can’t say I never got you anything!

* To easily chop the hazelnuts, place them in a food processor and pulse until they’re the right size; for this recipe halved hazelnuts are fine – you don’t want hazelnut meal. Empty out the food processor jar, and then do the same with the cranberries! Easy chopping!