Valentine Volcano

Here we have a chocolate meringue with fresh whipped cream and crushed strawberries – a mini pavlova. 

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As I was preparing the meringues, my husband was kind enough to tell me they look like pertrified dog poop. So I guess this snack doesn’t score a 10 for presentation, but the kids didn’t seem bothered in the least.

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This recipe is substantially lower in sugar than any other pavlova recipe I’ve seen.  It’s a relatively light snack all around, except for the whipped cream. But you can’t not have the whipped cream.

 For the meringue:

3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 ounce dark chocolate, chopped very fine

For the whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 tablespoons sugar

For the strawberries:

6 frozen strawberries (about 1/3 cup), thawed
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a standing electric mixer, whip the egg whites, sugar, cocoa powder, and vinegar on medium-high speed until semi-stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the chocolate pieces with a rubber spatula. Spoon the meringue mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet about a 1/3 cup at a time. Create a heart shape, if desired.

Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until outer shell has formed and the meringues are not terribly difficult to remove from the parchment. Allow to cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, make your whipped cream by pouring the heavy cream and sugar into a bowl and beating it with an electric mixer until peaks form. If it’s an especially hot day, put the bowl in the freezer for a while before you begin. Store the whipped cream an airtight container in the refrigerator until the meringues are ready.

Meanwhile, drain any excess liquid off the strawberries. Crush the berries and sugar in a small bowl with a fork until they are broken down. Cover and keep at room temperature until the meringues are ready.

To assemble simply place a dollop of whipped cream on top of each meringue and top with 1-2 teaspoons of crushed strawberries. Serve immediately.

Yield: 10 mini heart-shaped pavlovas
Prep-time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 1 1/2 hours

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Grapefruit Slush

This is easy and delightfully yummy, especially if you are a fan of grapefruit. The inspiration for this particular flavor combination came from the Amateur Gourmet’s Grapefruit Granita which has some nice photos of the preparation process that might be helpful if you’ve never made Granita before.

I’m guessing that grapefruit might not be every kid’s favorite fruit. My kids liked it. But more and more I’m thinking they are being reprogrammed by my endless snack experiments – another unexpected benefit of blogging.

Juice from 3 red grapefruits
Juice from 1 blood orange
1/4 cup agave nectar

Pour the juices into a medium mixing bowl. Add the agave nectar and whisk vigorously for a minute or two in order to make sure the agave has dissolved.

Trasfer the grapefruit mixture to a baking pan somewhere around the 8 x 8-inch size. It can be metal or glass. Cover with plastic wrap and move to your freezer. Allow to freeze overnight.

Before serving, scrape and scratch the frozen grapefruit mixture with a fork, creating little flakes of ice in the process. Serve in cups or bowls.

Yield: 3-4 cups
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Freezer time: 8 hours

Grapefruit with Yogurt Dip

[donotprint]There’s nothing like a bag of inexpensive red grapefruits to brighten up these sometimes dreary winter days.[/donotprint]

If your kids are younger, or if you just don’t feel like getting fancy with the skewers, you can serve the grapefruit on the side or simply on top of the yogurt parfait style.

Continue reading “Grapefruit with Yogurt Dip”

I Heart Clementines

Recently, my three-year-old grew tired of clementines (gasp!). She is a great lover of novelty.  Here are a few ways I’ve found to rekindle the magic:

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1. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses.

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2. Drizzle with warmed  (or not) honey. Warm 1 tablespoon of honey in a very small dish in the microwave for 5 – 10 seconds. This is enough honey for two whole peeled and segmented clementines (not just two segments as pictured above).

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3. Drizzle with chocolate sauce or chocolate syrup.

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4. Serve with Honey Vanilla Yogurt.

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1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tiny dash of cardamom (optional)

Mix yogurt, agave, vanilla, and cardamom (if desired) in a small bowl. Serve topped with chopped clementine.

Yield: 1/2 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes

You are more than welcome to add your suggestions in the comments. Thanks!

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Sweet Potato Fries

Ahh, glorious sweet potato, how I love thee.  You are an inexpensive and highly nutritious veggie whose day job is being a carb. What could be better?

Honestly, these appear as a side dish more often than a snack at my house. But why not make these instead of slaving over a batch of cookies?

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2 medium organic sweet potatoes or yams
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Scrub sweet potatoes clean. Cut into sticks approximately 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Place sweet potato sticks in a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and salt over sweet potatoes and toss to coat.

Spread sweet potatoes out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until soft and browning where in contact with the pan.

Allow to cool a few minutes on the pan. Serve with ranch dressing.

Yield: 5 cups (6-7 servings)
Prep time: 5 minutes
Baking time: 35-45 minutes

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