Monday, January 14, 2013

Chocolate Yogurt

A while ago I found some recipes for making different flavours of greek yogurt.  It was the chocolate that got my attention - I love chocolate.  Well I tried it, and it was alright.  I liked it, it was great while I had it, but I wasn’t going to rush out and buy greek yogurt to make more.  This may have been for a couple of reasons - I could still taste the “tang” of my yogurt, the is that I am just not used to the thicker texture of the greek yogurt.  It might be the brand I using, I am not sure, but I have found that the flavour will give me issues and I already am a texture eater.

To get to the point of all this though, I recently tried this again with our regular yogurt.  I had bought strawberries as I thought I had some greek yogurt left from a dinner I had made the week before that I wanted to use.  This seemed like a great plan with some strawberries for snacks.  However upon arriving home, the container of yogurt was not to be found - I must have used it in smoothies one morning to get rid of it, oops.  Not wanting to give up on my chocolate snack for the week, I grabbed some of my vanilla yogurt.  The result was fantastic, I love it.  It tastes like a nice dark chocolate mousse, and is light and airy.  Actually this really reminds me of a chocolate mousse.  It is like dessert.  I know that this is not as healthy as the greek version (which is still good), but I am going with it.  It is nice to know that I can make it with the yogurt I keep on hand for everything else and I don’t have to pick up anything special.  

Chocolate Yogurt.  
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used a french vanilla, but it shouldn’t make a big difference)
2.5 tbsp coco powder

Directions: Mix the coco powder and vanilla together.  Enjoy!

Note: Use your favourite yogurt, I use Astro Original yogurt, it is nice and thick and doesn’t use any of the fake sugars.  I find it is thicker than the other brands I have tried, but not as thick as a greek yogurt.

Chocolate Greek Yogurt
1 cup greek yogurt
2-3 tbsp coco powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maple syrup

Directions: Mix the ingredients together until well blended.  Enjoy.

I like both, but the most popular is the recipe made with vanilla yogurt.  I have also made this with vanilla greek yogurt and it also turned out as well.  A great snack for dipping fruit in or just eating with a spoon.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sea Salt and Chocolate covered Caramels

This year in all my Christmas baking I made caramels.  Everyone is always impressed with homemade caramels, and I don’t find it too hard to make them.  The only downside is wrapping all the little caramels once they are done. I usually end up doing this over a couple of days, which is how I came to this new small variation.

I had a bunch of caramels wrapped when O informed me that there was a baking competition at work the next day and he should take something.  I handed over my caramels (there were still lots left to be wrapped) and didn’t think anymore of it.  Turns out they were a big hit - they ran out of caramels during the eating/judging of the competition, oops.  What did come out of this though was the suggestion to coat the caramels in chocolate and sea salt.  I had some left and wasn’t excited about wrapping them, so why not play a little?

I am happy to say I did play with them and to my delight they were fantastic.  The bonus is that this doesn’t even take much more time than wrapping them, but really takes them to a whole special place on the dessert table!

I did some slight adaptations to the caramel recipe found on  I hope you enjoy these.

Sea Salt and Chocolate covered Caramels
1 cup butter
1 pound brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup (i used golden, as that is pretty much all you can find here)
1 ½ tsp vanilla paste (or 1 ½ vanilla beans - well the insides of the beans - would work)

3 cups milk chocolate melting chips
Coarse sea salt

1. Prepare a 9x13 pan by lining it with parchment paper (or you could just grease it - I like the parchment paper as you can just lift out the caramels to cut them)
3.In a saucepan (preferably with a heavy bottom) combine the caramel ingredients: butter, sugar, milk, and corn syrup.  
4 Heat the mixture until you reach 234F, then cook for 2 minutes at this temperature, while stirring.
    Note: this will make very soft caramels, if you would like them a little firmer, cook them at 240F (I like the really soft ones, so I left it at 234F).
5. Take the caramels off the heat and add in the vanilla paste/beans.  Pour the caramels into the prepared 9x13 pan, and allow to set.
6. Once the caramels are set, cut them into bite sized squares - I did about ½ inch x 1 inch rectangles.
7. In a double boiler melt some of the melting chocolate pieces.  Once they are melted remove from heat. (if the chocolate starts to harden on you, just put it back on the heat for a couple of min).
8. Dip the caramel squares in the chocolate, set to cool on some parchment paper.  While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle with some sea salt.

Note:  I found it easiest to work in small batches of the caramels at the time.  It was also easier to have the caramels cool while dipping them, as they held their shape a little better in the warm chocolate, so I kept the other batches of caramels in the fridge while I was working.

These were fantastic.  I had to give most of them away as I found I couldn’t stop eating them!  One person O work with even asked for a bunch of them to give as a Christmas present to someone!  They were a big hit and will have to be something that I make again.

The caramels by themselves are also great, so don’t worry about covering them all in chocolate!