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Silken Tofu Chocolate Mousse Want to serve your sweetheart a killer dessert for Valentine’s Day that won’t kill him? Instead, present him with this cool and creamy mousse that’s rich in flavor, but not heavy in saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories. Don’t mention to him that the base of this luscious chocolate-orange treat is silken tofu—he’ll never guess. Before some of you utter, “Eww . . . tofu,” make this dessert for yourself and then recognize that silken tofu, with its smooth texture and neutral taste, makes the perfect base for a healthy mousse. Plus, after you check the nutritional data below and see that this dessert has no cholesterol, only 40 calories from fat, and a mere 1.5 G of saturated fat, it might just become your favorite dessert.

Silken Tofu Chocolate Mousse
The Whole Foods Market Cookbook by Steve Petusevsky

INGREDIENTS
12 ounces silken-style tofu, drained well
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup maple syrup (barley malt or rice syrup may be substituted)
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules (decaf or regular)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 ounce almond liqueur (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Process the tofu, cocoa powder, maple syrup, orange zest, coffee granules, vanilla, salt, and optional liqueur in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender for 1½ minutes, until smooth.

2. Pour the mousse into wine or champagne glasses or dessert-type serving dishes, and chill overnight.

3. Serve the mousse with fresh orange sections, toasted almonds, or shaved chocolate garnish over the top.

Serves 4

Per Serving:
Calories 240
Calories from fat 40
Calories from saturated fat 15
Protein 13 G
Carbohydrate 35 G
Total Fat 4.5 G
Saturated Fat 1.5 G
Cholesterol 0 MG
Sodium 70 MG

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. In general, but depending on brands, tofu is a good source of calcium. Look for brands in which the tofu has been set with calcium sulfate.

2. Because a rich chocolate flavor is critical to this dessert, use a good quality cocoa powder. I used Sharffen Berger Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder.

3. Amaretto is the almond liqueur I used. Rather than add the full amount of liqueur at first, I would add it to taste.

4. Adapt this recipe using other flavors. Raspberry, mint, or coffee liqueur would be interesting variations to the recipe.

5. I filled 3 champagne glasses to the brim with one recipe’s worth of mousse. If I had not filled them to the top, I probably could have gotten 4 servings out of the recipe.

ENJOY!!

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Chocolate-Pomegranate-Ginger Bark Candy

The intensity of bittersweet chocolate mixed with the spicy zip of candied ginger tantalizes my taste buds beyond delight, but the bursts of fresh, tart, pomegranate juice in my mouth sends them into pure ecstasy. This confection combines few ingredients to create a depth of flavors you’d not expect from such a simple recipe. Individually, each ingredient is potent enough to stand alone, but when combined, they deliver an incredible treat. Flavonoid-rich dark chocolate, zingibain-rich ginger, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice give impressive reasons to eat this candy. Too bad I had to force myself to sample so many pieces to write this review!

Chocolate-Pomegranate-Ginger Bark
Recipe from Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking Magazine

Ingredients:
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), broken into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (from 1 large pomegranate)
1½ Tbs. minced candied ginger
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt

Directions:
1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or waxed paper.

2. Put the chocolate in a wide, shallow, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until it just starts to melt, about 1 minute. Stir with a spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, heating in additional 15-second increments if necessary.

3. Gently stir half of the pomegranate seeds, the ginger (break up any clumps with your fingers), and the salt into the chocolate.

4. Scrape the chocolate mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it into an 8×10-inch rectangle.

5. Sprinkle the remaining pomegranate seeds evenly over the top, pressing them into the chocolate.

6. Refrigerate until fully set, about 30 minutes.

7. Break the bark into chunks with your hands (be careful not to crush the seeds), and serve. The bark will keep, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.

Serves 6

Linnell’s Notes:
1. Obviously, the better quality chocolate you use, the better tasting bark you’ll have.
2. To open up a pomegranate see the instructions in my “Linnell’s Notes” section of my post Brussels Sprouts Roasted on the Stalk. The pomegranates I had were huge, so I used more pomegranate seeds than called for. The next time I make this recipe (and I will be making this again), I will cut back on the amount of pomegranate seeds.
3. I minced a little bit of extra candied ginger to sprinkle on top of the bark.
4. You might be considering omitting the salt from this recipe, but don’t! I think the salt adds a good counterbalance to the other flavors.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

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Do you ever go into a coffee shop and take a slow deep breath to savor the aroma? I do. I love the smell of coffee, but oddly, I don’t drink it. Besides being a green tea type of person, the caffeine in coffee sends my heart into racing mode. Yes, I know green tea also contains caffeine, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to affect my body the same way.

Some of my favorite food memories are coffee-based. My Auntie Priscilla used to make a satiny, chewy coffee candy as part of her Christmas gift to my family. These little bites of coffee were each rolled in wax paper and then finished off with a twist at each end. It’s a prized family recipe now and it always reminds me of her.

Another wonderful coffee-based memory is the Coffee Crunch Cake once served at the now defunct Blum’s Bakery in San Francisco. It was a confection that consisted of layers of light sponge cake and fresh whipped cream, all covered with chunky bits of light-as-air coffee crunch topping. I can almost taste it now!

So after going out for coffee this afternoon with some friends, or in my case, a chai latte, I was in the mood for some coffee and baking. I’d had a recipe on my desk for a while and decided to try it. Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Filling is a Paula Deen recipe, so it’s a given that it’s decadent and probably not low in calories! The cupcakes are made with a batter that contains fresh brewed coffee, injected with coffee cream, and topped off with coffee butter.

Overall the cupcakes were delicious. The cake part was moist and the cream filling was light, but flavorful. The butter cream was a little too sweet for me, but really how bad can a mixture of cream cheese, butter, sugar, and coffee be? I did not use the chocolate covered coffee beans for garnish because I didn’t have any, but I did sprinkle some organic raw cacao nibs on top. They’re not sweet and have a nice chocolate crunch. You can find these at Whole Foods.

One thing I would do differently the next time I make these is to use a pastry bag and pastry tip to squeeze the filling into the cupcakes. The screw lid of my Wilton squeeze bottle kept coming off and there is more wastage of cream since some of it inevitably gets stuck in the bottle. If you’d like to try the recipe just click on this link.

Again, what could be better than chocolate and coffee? Enjoy!!

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