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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com #BakeWithGhirardelli #CleverGirls #spon

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes are a hearty oatmeal buttermilk pancake studded with chocolate chips!  

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes | alidaskitchen.com Every Valentine’s Day, I like to make something special for my family, whether it’s a breakfast treat or a special dessert.  These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes combine the two – they taste like a chewy, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in pancake form.  This recipe is adapted from my Oatmeal Raisin Pancake recipe, so they are a bit healthier, with a little decadence from the chocolate chips.  For the ultimate indulgence, I used Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips (60% Cacao).  The smooth, rich bites of chocolate studded throughout the oatmeal buttermilk pancakes really made them delicious!  In fact, I used these same baking chips in my Chocolate Malt Bread Pudding recipe, and they really add such a deep, wonderful chocolate flavor.  …

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Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate

I was pretty excited to find a small-ish package at my doorstep. I was expecting some samples of Ghirardelli® Intense Dark chocolates. Little did I realize that a “sample” would equate to this…

Pardon the photo quality.  This was taken from my phone to text to an out-of-town Mike.  I knew he would be excited to come home!
As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghirardelli® Intense Dark chocolates, I was given the opportunity to taste three varieties of their Intense Dark chocolate line.  That’s right.  I got to sample top quality chocolate for free.   You don’t need to twist my arm for this one!   As a lover of all things chocolate, especially dark chocolate, this was right up my alley. 

The task was to share the pairings we put together with the chocolates. I enjoyed some plain, some with coffee, and was busy in the kitchen as well.    Well, you’ll see…let’s get started.
Twilight Delight – 72% cacao
When I first opened my chocolate bounty, Twilight Delight is the chocolate that I was immediately drawn to. After the first bite, I knew I was in trouble. The chocolate is smooth, dark, and is a perfect accompaniment with my coffee (or water, or wine, or milk, or Tuesday…you get the idea). I really wanted to just sit and eat all of this lovely chocolate plain, but the baker inside of me had other ideas.    It just so happens, that weekend I rediscovered a brownie recipe,..it was as if fate was working its little hand here.   Check out Brown Sugar Brownies for the recipe.
I really enjoyed the Twilight Delight chocolate with the caramel flavors of the brown sugar in these brownies. I also enjoyed Twlight Delight with dried apricots, coconut and pretzels.
Midnight Reverie – 86% Cacao
The darkest of the bunch, Midnight Reverie boasts 86% Cacao, and unrivaled chocolate intensity. To a dark chocolate lover like myself, it’s perfect.   Again, I really wanted to just enjoy the bar plain (and I definitely did!), but I wanted to make a dessert that would really highlight the beautiful chocolate. The idea of the darkest of dark whipped into a mousse was SO appealing, so I made Chocolate Ricotta Mousse. The Midnight Reverie chocolate was well pronounced throughout this dessert, and the result was a nice dark chocolate treat! 
I also enjoyed Midnight Reverie with marshmallows and pretzels.
Sea Salt Soiree – Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt and Roasted Almonds
How delicious does this sound!  There is something about the sweet-salty combination that is so appealing.  Now, I did not personally sample this chocolate because I have a tree nut allergy. *tear*  Fortunately Mike and my mom were willing and eager participants for this task!  They both devoured the chocolate.  You really can’t go wrong with dark chocolate and almonds, they say.  The sea salt puts it over the top, they say.   I will have to take their word for it.  *tear*  So for me, Sea Salt Soiree pairs best with sharing and smiles 🙂  (My taste testers thought they were perfect without accompaniment).  

So there you have if folks!  While these chocolate pair well with many accompaniments, they are quite delicious just plain.  It’s nice to have options…and chocolate!
Disclaimer: As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with 3 bars and 2 bags of Ghirardelli chocolate for free. The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.
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Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Ghirardelli, I was given the opportunity to sample several of Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolates, including Midnight Reverie, which is 86% cacao.   I thought, what better way to highlight this deliciously dark chocolate than to make it into mousse! 
I love the elegance of chocolate mousse, but have a hard time eating or serving it due to the amount of cream or half and half, etc. it typically contains.  As a healthier alternative, I have had my eye on a recipe for Chocolate Ricotta Mousse for quite a while. 

 

 
We enjoyed Chocolate Ricotta Mousse, but found that it is very important to approach this mousse as “mousse.” It is made with ricotta cheese, so accordingly expect the texture to be a little grainy (like ricotta).  In return, you get a delicious, light, chocolaty dessert that is higher in protein and lower in calories and fat than its traditional counterpart.

The original recipe calls for cocoa powder, which I substituted for an equivalent amount of Ghirardelli’s Midnight Reverie chocolate. Since this chocolate already contains some sugar, I reduced the amount of sugar in the mousse by half. The result was a perfect balance of sweetness. 

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse
Yields 6 servings
15 oz low fat ricotta cheese (room temperature)
1 ounce dark chocolate (melted and cooled), such as Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie 
OR  3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 egg whites (room temperature)
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
Coarse salt
Cocoa powder, for serving (optional)
Whipped topping, for serving (optional)
  1. In a food processor, process ricotta and chocolate until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  2. Place egg whites, sugar and a pinch of salt in a medium heat proof bowl set over simmering water.  Whisk constantly, until sugar dissolves and mixture is warm (about 3 minutes).  Remove from heat and beat mixture (using an electric mixer) on high until stiff glossy peaks form (about 5 minutes).
  3. With a rubber spatula, gently fold egg mixture into ricotta mixture until combined. 
  4. Divide mousse among 6 glasses or bowls.  Refrigerate 3 hours (or up to 1 day).  Serve dusted with cocoa powder or with a dollop of whipped topping, if desired.
Adapted from Everyday Food
Disclaimer: While this is not my formal write up of my experience with Ghirardelli chocolate, I feel obligated to disclose the following: “As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I was provided with Ghirardelli chocolate for free. The details of my experience are exclusively my opinion, and I was not otherwise influenced or compensated.” I will be sharing a full write up of my experience later this week.