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Category Archives: Dessert

Almond and cherry cupcakes

My brother-in-laws birthday was on Sunday.  I also work with him, so I decided to make cupcakes to take to the office on Monday.  I decided to go a little bit Sandra Lee on the cupcakes, and just got a box of white cake mix and spruced it up with almond extract and chopped maraschino cherries.  The almond flavoring made a HUGE difference!  I will never make a plain boxed cake without adding it.

1 box white cake mix

3 eggs

1 and 1/3 cups water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 or 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) almond extract

1/4 cup or so maraschino cherries, chopped

1 tub store bought vanilla frosting

Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions.  Add in the extract and chopped cherries.  Divide the batter into the lined cupcake pan and cook according to the package directions.  Test by sticking a tooth pick or a piece of spaghetti into the center.  They are done when it comes out clean.  Let the cupcakes completely cool before icing.  I did half of the cupcakes with plain vanilla frosting and topped with a cherry.  I mixed half of the frosting with about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of the cherry juice.  It gave it great flavor and a fun color.

Enjoy!

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Cherry Clafouti

I saw this recipe in my latest edition of Bon Appetit magazine and knew I had to make it.  It looks (and I found, smells) like summer.  It is the perfect recipe to have it your summer rotation, especially if you like to entertain.  It uses simple, fresh ingredients, is very quick to prepare and really just offers that simple fresh summer taste that is unbeatable.  I already have a list of other seasonal fruits to adjust the recipe with, so stayed tuned soon for black raspberry clafouti, peach clafouti, raspberry and mint clafouti, blueberry clafouti… I actually cut the original recipe in half when I made it, so you will see that it made 4 individual servings in ramekins for me.  If you follow the recipe below don’t be surprised when it makes a full cake or numerous ramekins, be delighted!

1 pound fresh cherries, steamed and pitted

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

4 large eggs

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp finely and freshly grated lemon zest

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp kosher salt

powdered sugar (to dust after baking)

You will need a 10″ spring form pan or 8 ramekins

Preheat the over to 375.  Butter pan or ramekins.  Spread the cherries in a single layer in the pan or dishes.

Combine milk and cream in a small saucepan; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Set aside. Combine eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture; whisk until custard is smooth. Pour custard evenly over cherries in pan. If necessary, gently shake pan to allow custard to settle.

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Bake clafouti until custard is set and top is golden brown, about 30 minutes for ramekins and 45-55 minutes for cake pan. Let cool 3 minutes, then run a knife around pan sides to loosen clafouti (if using a cake pan). Dust top with powdered sugar; cut into wedges and serve.

Raspberry Cheesecake- Marbled Brownies

What could be better than brownies and cheesecake baked together to form a  mouthful of absolute pure bliss.  Oh yeah, adding raspberry to the party!

I found this recipe while recently exploring one of my favorite cooking blogs, Smitten Kitchen.  I upped the yumm factor a bit by adding in seedless raspberry fruit spread into the cheesecake batter.  These were a big hit with all who ate them.

Despite the recipe being a few different steps and using a few bowls (which is probably only a big deal to a dishwasherless person like me) it was very simple to make.

Brownie batter
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Cheesecake batter
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Plus
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini chips)

For the brownie batter:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in a 3-quart heavy saucepan — though I did mine double-boiler style, placing the mixing bowl I was using over simmering water, thereby creating one less dirty dish and melting the chocolate more gently — over moderately low heat, whisking occasionally, just until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Whisk together cheesecake batter ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.  Mix in about 3 heaping spoon fulls of the raspberry fruit spread.  Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula.

Use the tip of a knife to swirl the cheesecake batter into the brownies.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Bake the pan full of heaven for about 35 minutes, until they are set and the cheesecake seems a bit puffy.

Fudge

This is really simple to make.  I actually just use the recipe right on the back of the Jet Puffed marshmallow creme jar.  It takes about 25 minutes or so to make and is creamy and delightful!

3 cups sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine

1 can (5 oz) evaporated milk

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

1 stp vanilla

Grease a 9 inch pan (you can also line the pan with foil with flaps over lapping the edges).

Bring sugar, butter and milk to full rolling boil in large saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for about 4 minutes or until 234 F on candy thermometer (but you really don’t need the thermometer to make this), stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Add the chocolate and marshmallow creme (I alternate them in batches while incorporating and melting).  Stir in vanilla (you can also add nuts if you like them).

Pour into pan.

I thought I would mix it up, and press mini pretzels into the fudge while it was still very warm thinking that the sweet with the salty would be a great mix.  I didn’t like how it turned out, so I ended up picking them all off.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (Happy Birthday, Val!)

Wednesday was my coworker Val’s birthday, so I wanted to find a recipe for a special cake for her.  I saw one for a chocolate peanut butter cake, and I knew that I had to try it!  It was a simple recipe and turned out pretty well!

Found on: http://christyskitchencreations.blogspot.com/2008/10/reeces-cup-chocolate-peanut-butter-cake.html

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt.
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled (optional) (I didn’t use this)

For the Icing:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the cake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9×2″ round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper. Place the pans on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, until thoroughly blended into the butter. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk; add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients). Mix each addition only until it is blended into the batter. Scrape down the bowl and add the melted chocolate, if using, folding it in with a spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until the cakes feel springy to the touch and start to pull away from the sides of the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cardboard circle covered in foil. Spread peanut butter frosting on top of the cake layer. (If desired, sprinkle with chopped Reese’s cups). Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Frost the top and outside of the cake with remaining peanut butter frosting. Decorate with halved and chopped Reese’s cups as desired.

 

Dacquoise

Oh, you fancy, huh!?!  I just realized that I hadn’t posted the grand finale for dinner a couple of weeks ago!  Nicky had mentioned doing lattes, so I wanted to find something coffee flavored.  I also wanted to keep dessert on the lighter side, so I found this great recipe through http://www.cookinglight.com.  The actual dessert style is French, and is baked meringue which is usually stuffed with butter cream frosting.  Cooking Light put a spin on the classic by substituting the butter cream with frozen yogurt. Very delicious!!

The recipe also included a mocha sauce, but I left that out (I did include the recipe for it at the bottom though).

Meringue:
5  large egg whites
1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
Dash of salt
2/3  cup  sugar
Filling:
3  cups  vanilla low-fat frozen yogurt, slightly softened
About 1/4 cup black coffee

Preheat oven to 275°.

Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw 2 (9 1/2-inch) circles on paper. Turn paper over; secure with masking tape.

Place egg whites, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Divide the egg white mixture evenly between the 2 drawn circles. Spread egg white mixture onto the circles using the back of spoon. Bake at 275° for 1 hour or until dry. Turn oven off; cool meringues in closed oven at least 1 hour. Remove meringues from oven; cool.

To prepare filling, beat yogurt and coffee  until smooth. Carefully remove the meringues from paper. Invert 1 meringue onto a serving plate. Spread filling evenly over meringue. Top with remaining meringue. Cover and freeze several hours or until firm.

Mocha sauce:
1  cup  strong brewed coffee
3/4  cup  Dutch process cocoa
1/2  cup  light-colored corn syrup
1  teaspoon  cornstarch
1/3  cup  semisweet chocolate chips
1/4  teaspoon  vanilla extract

To prepare mocha sauce, combine brewed coffee, cocoa, corn syrup, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate chips and vanilla. Remove dacquoise from freezer, and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut dacquoise into wedges with a serrated knife. Drizzle the mocha sauce over each serving.

Chocolate Chip Cake

This recipe is from my home church’s cook book and is from my neighbor, Cherie, from where I grow up.  It’s one of my favorite cakes to make; it is very simple to make and very delicious!

1 package yellow cake mix

1 package vanilla instant pudding

4 eggs

3/4 c. water

2 T. sour cream

1/2 c. oil

1 (12 oz) package chocolate chips

Blend first 6 ingredients together for 5 minutes on medium speed.  Mix in the chocolate chips (coat with flour to help avoid the chips all sinking to the bottom of the cake).  Pour batter into greased and floured tube or bundt pan.  Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes (be sure to test the cake for doneness, the recipe says 50 minutes but it actually take about 1 hour 15 minutes in my oven).  Be sure to really prepare the pan, I sometimes have problems with the cake all coming out in one piece (as the pictures will prove!).