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All of the content and images featured on The Garden of Eden are © Darcy Eden 2011-2014 unless otherwise stated.  If you post an image of mine on your blog/website, please link back to The Garden of Eden and credit me accordingly.  Thanks! 

Images that are not my own are credited as such.  If I have either failed to credit accurately or someone wishes an image to be removed from this blog, I will gladly comply.

Sunday
Nov102013

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I regularly have ambitious plans to make an elaborate dessert for a dinner party, and often it just does not happen.  Life gets in the way, the guests are arriving in one hour, and I haven't showered, set the table, etc.  Any of this sound familiar?

For the last few years, this Flourless Chocolate Cake has been my go-to dessert.  I always have the ingredients on hand and it takes no more than 15 minutes to get this into the oven.   While it bakes, you can clean up, do any last minute prep work, and pour yourself a drink.  About 35 minutes later, your home will smell like chocolate and your dessert is ready!  This is a rich, intense cake and it is best-served with something - I like whipped cream and a few raspberries or sliced strawberries.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Adapted very slightly from Alexandra Cooks
Yield = 1 9-inch cake (I find this serves 8 generous slices or 12 slightly smaller slices)

Notes -  This cake is meant to be moist inside so be sure not to overcook it.  As soon as it feels only slightly wobbly but mostly firm, remove it from the oven.  Give the cake time to cool before you dust it with powdered sugar, too, or it will soak right into the cake.  This cake calls for almond flour, so it's not for those who need to be nut-free, but it is gluten free!  

Ingredients
8 oz semisweet chocolate
8 tablespoons margarine or butter 
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon almond extract
4 large eggs, separated
2 large eggs, whole
1/3 cup plus ½ cup sugar
½ cup almond flour

Fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries (if you'd like)
Whipped cream (you could also serve it with ice cream, but I prefer whipped cream)
Powdered sugar (If you serve this for Passover, see Alexandra Cooks for a different option for dusting the cake)

Preparation
1.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Place chocolate and margarine or butter in bowl and microwave on high for one minute (or until melted), stirring once after 30 seconds.  If you don't have a microwave, you can use the oven or a double-boiler (if you use the oven, watch it carefully!).

2.  Coat a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray.  Line bottom with round of parchment paper, then spray the parchment as well.

3.  Whisk chocolate mixture until smooth, then add salt and almond extract and stir until blended.

4.  Crack 4 of the eggs, separating the whites from the yolks.  Whisk the four yolks and two additional whole eggs (whites and yolks) with the 1/3 cup of sugar just until blended.  Add yolk mixture to chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in almond flour.

5.  In the bowl of an electric mixture, whip the four egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the ½ cup sugar and beat until egg whites become shiny and hold their peaks, but are not too stiff. 

6.  Stir one third of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten.  Then, in two additions, gently fold in the remaining egg whites.  Pour batter into pan and place in oven.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes.  Cake will rise and have cracks running across it. It should feel only slightly wobbly when gently pressed. Remove from oven and let cool in pan 10 minutes before removing sides and transferring to cooling rack. 

7.  Use a fine mesh colander or sifter to dust the cake with powdered sugar.  Serve the cake with whipped cream and fresh berries if you have them.  I'm sure it will also pair well with ice cream.

Saturday
Nov092013

Print Smitten

Are you all sick of my posts about stationery?  I'll never get enough of cute paper goods, and Print Smitten is no exception.  There are adorable options for every day, lovely customized cards for couples (perfect for wedding thank you notes), and funny cards to send when you've messed up (I can particularly relate to "I'm Sorry for what I said when I was hungry").  And I know it seems a bit early for holiday paper, but Starbucks has released holiday cups, so why not?  There are some clever gift card options - I love "Naughty or Nice!"

 
 

How cute is this advent calendar? And it is only $30!  All images credit to Print Smitten.

Friday
Nov082013

Statement Earrings

On most days, you'll find me wearing the same earrings - my Grandmother's pearl with diamond studs.  I absolutely love them and since they are classic, they work with any outfit and I don't have to think about what I'm wearing each day.  That said, I've been making a concerted effort lately to wear my "fun" earrings.  I have a few pairs that I love, but below are some bright, funky (but still classy) options.  What do you think?  A few of these are from Loren Hope, a designer I love, and a few others are from Pomander Place - I can't find a website for the brand, but you can buy them at Tuckernuck (a go-to site for preppy everything).

Thursday
Oct312013

Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge

It’s been a wonderful fall for us here in Colorado.  Aside from work travel, we spent the entire month of October in Colorado and were treated with stunning fall foliage (I think our house might look its best in fall - see below), gorgeous weather, and the first two snows of the coming winter (a bit earlier than normal).  The first snow was on my 33rd birthday (gasp).

I absolutely love birthdays, even if I might prefer the numbers 28 or 29 to 33.  This one was particularly special for reasons I’ll get into in another post, but we celebrated with friends and Rob treated me to a day in Boulder doing things that I love (having brunch, visiting the farmer’s market, going for a trail run, having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants’s, the Kitchen, and even making a stop at Whole Foods).  What a guy!
My birthday weekend was followed by a visit from our dear friends from Boston and their two kiddos (one of whom is my Goddaughter).  We left Boston just before my Goddaughter, E, was born, and this was the first time I was able to spend a long amount of time with her.  It was so fun to do things in Denver that we would otherwise not do and to see the world through her eyes where things I take for granted are new and exciting (e.g., a corn hole board and bags (although not played the normal way), a pumpkin, a slide, our poor cat, making macaroni and cheese, and band-aids).  If you are ever in Denver with kids in the fall, you should check out the Botanic Gardens at Chatfield and visit their pumpkin patch and corn maze.  It was quite a scene and E loved it.
The simplicity of things that kept E entertained reminded me that often, simple is best.  Whether it’s entertaining kiddos or in the kitchen, life doesn’t always have to be complicated or a big production.  I love embarking on huge projects from time to time, but lately I’m making a concerted effort not to overcomplicate life and to spend the “extra” time doing something I love.  
In that vein, I threw this fudge together on a whim with delicious results.  You dirty only one bowl making it and because it is extremely rich, you can serve many people with one batch (25 to 36 pieces of fudge depending on how small you cut the squares).  It would have been perfect for a Halloween party (next year!).

Nutella & Sea Salt Fudge
Recipe from Tasty Kitchen 
Yield = 25-36 pieces depending on how you slice the fudge

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter (for greasing the dish)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (60%) chocolate chips (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 cup Nutella 
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter (softened to room temperature), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • ½ tsp (approximately) Sea Salt

Preparation

1. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8- by 8-inch baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overlap on the sides.

2. In a medium glass or stainless steel bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate chips, Nutella, and butter.

3. Form a double-boiler by setting the bowl over a medium pot of gently simmering water. The water level should be low enough that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth, 5 to 7 minutes.

4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, spread the top smooth with a spatula, and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate until the fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.

5. Once the fudge is chilled, run a knife under hot water, dry it off, and run it around the edges of the pan to loosen the fudge. Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift the fudge out. Peel off the parchment paper. Cut the fudge into 3/4-inch squares. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil.

Tuesday
Oct292013

Spoonflower

You've probably already heard of Spoonflower, but in case you haven't they are an online company that allows you to design your own wallpaper, fabric, and now wrapping paper! If the idea of creating your own design is terrifying or daunting, you can select from thousands of designs created by members of the Spoonflower community (Holli Zolinger is my current favorite). I've never ordered the wallpaper or wrapping paper, but I have ordered fabric before and was really pleased with the quality and the print. The website suggests other designs that match or blend with the one you are considering, which is really helpful if you are buying fabric for something like throw pillows.

What got me thinking about Spoonflower is the impending holiday season, which means there will be a need for wrapping paper. I found a few designs that I liked and wanted to share. Has anyone ordered wrapping paper from Spoonflower? Has anyone ever designed anything on Spoonflower? I'm so curious! You can choose between satin and matte and upload your own designs (including kids' drawings or designs, which would be so fun for giving family gifts).

All images credit to Spoonflower.

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