If you haven’t heard of a Texas Millionaire before, they are essentially chocolate-covered caramel pecan balls (say that five times fast!) They’re very similar to turtles and thus, equally as addicting.
Homemade candy is so easy to make and it makes a great gift. Everyone loves something that was handmade and custom. Here’s a great opportunity to make something for someone you love.
Spray a [heavy] saucepan with non-stick spray. Cook first three ingredients in the sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.
Once melted, stir in pecan halves. Remove from heat and cool in pan at least 5 minutes (should be a fairly pliable consistency).
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased wax paper. Chill 1 hour, or freeze 20 minutes (until firm).
While the pecan caramel goodies cool, wash out the saucepan you were using. Melt the chocolate morsels and candy coating in the same saucepan on low heat, stirring until smooth (this will save you loads of cleanup later).
Dip caramel candies into the chocolate sauce, allowing excess to drip, place on lightly greased wax paper. Chill 15 minutes. While these chill, clean out your saucepan.
This recipe makes 2-3 dozen candies. These keep the best in the fridge. However, if you know you're having company over ahead of time, take them out a half hour before your guests arrive and these little guys will be ooey gooey on the inside by the time their grubby fingers find them.
School is almost back in season for those of you with school-aged youngin’s and for some of you aspiring students yourselves. Isn’t it amazing how fast time flies?
A miracle happened today. I finally baked a perfectly moist cake from scratch! Cakes were a challenge for me after I moved to a higher altitude. I quickly realized that all of my old cake recipes didn’t work up here. I don’t know if the altitude messed with my measuring skills or what exactly was going on but I finally found my new basic chocolate cake recipe. And I can’t say enough about it!
This cake is one of the best cake recipes you are ever going to find. It is super easy, moist, and has a perfect silky texture. I couldn’t be happier with the way this turned out.
This recipe is especially great because you mix everything in one bowl. Talk about easy clean up! That leaves me more time to make a cocktail and read a book.
I chose to use this frosting because I’m not a huge fan of buttercream frosting. For me, buttercream tends to be overly sweet and overpowering. Instead, I whipped up this egg white frosting that is much lighter. I toasted some leftover coconut and voilà! A Mounds cake is born.
Yields: 2 - 9 inch round cake layers or 24 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 157
Fat per serving: 5.7g
For the Cake:
2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened, good quality cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup lite sour cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil (you can use half applesauce as a healthier substitute)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting:
3/4 c. light corn syrup
1/4 c. sugar
Dash of salt
2 egg whites
1 1/2 tsp. or less of vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two nine inch round pans.
In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, sour cream, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed of mixer. Stir in the boiling water last. Batter will be thin. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven (26-28 minutes for cupcakes), or until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Frosting:
Heat corn syrup to a boil. In a small mixer bowl, beat egg whites and salt at high speed for 1/2 minute until foamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Slowly add boiling corn syrup to egg white mixture while beating. Add vanilla. Continue beating until frosting becomes thick enough to spread, about 5 minutes. Spread on cooled cake and gently press toasted coconut flakes into the frosting. Keep chilled.
This was my first attempt at a vegan dessert and I must say that I patted myself on the back for this one. There aren’t a ton of kooky ingredients in this recipe (by “kooky” I mean ingredients that I buy once and never again) however, you might be surprised to read that this mousse consists mostly of avocado. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the avocado at all. It simply provides the smooth texture you want in every good mousse. Wild huh?
What makes this recipe even better is that every part of it requires absolutely ZERO baking. That is especially nice to hear after surviving these 100 degree days. So mix this up, relax and indulge in this chilled, practically sin-free yet completely decadent dessert. You deserve it.
2 tbsp coconut oil (other light taste oil may work)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the chocolate mousse:
2 cups avocado flesh (approx 3 small avocados), pitted and scooped out
1/3 cup almond milk
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tbsp chocolate chips, melted
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted if clumpy
Fresh fruit (I used strawberries and raspberries), for serving
For the crust:
Oil a 7-10 inch springform pan and line it with a circle of parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until crumbly. Be careful not to over process them as you still want them a bit chunky. Now add in the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse until just mixed. Scoop mixture onto prepared pan and press down firmly and evenly with slightly wet fingers or a spatula. Pop into freezer to set while making the mousse.
For the chocolate mousse:
Place all mousse ingredients (except chocolate chips) into food processor. Process until smooth. In a small bowl, melt your chocolate chips in the microwave and scoop melted chocolate into food processor mixture. Process until smooth.
Remove crust from freezer and scoop this mousse on top of crust. Smooth out as much as possible and then place in the freezer for 2 hours to firm.
Once firm, remove from freezer and allow to sit on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before serving chilled. Place leftover torte in the freezer wrapped and placed in a seal container. Serve with fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries.
This torte should be served chilled. It will get soft at room temperature.
I have made Aimée’s recipe in the past and turn to it again and again. She really did her homework with this one. Especially since baking comes as naturally to me as flying does to a fish, believe me when I say that this recipe is a winner. You can see her full recipe research here.
You don’t have to wait for zucchini season to roll around to enjoy this bread. It is possible to freeze grated zucchini so as to have it available whenever the baking mood strikes.
To freeze zucchini, first wash them, trim the ends and then simply grate them on a box grater. Package in 1 or 2-cup portions in freezer bags or freezer containers. Remove as much air as possible from the bag by smoothing it with the back of your hand from bottom to top and quickly sealing the bag. Freeze flat.
Last night I found myself in one of those situations where I wanted something sweet to eat but dessert was nowhere to be found. I peered in the fridge and found the following:
Leftover ham from Easter
Leftover chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting
Pork cutlet – this has been defrosting for days
One pie crust
Mysterious substance in jar – date unknown
A few bananas
Vanilla soy milk
I’d like to note that a few of the items listed do not belong to me, thus, they sit in the fridge until they resemble a science experiment and I feel obligated to finally toss them. I’m a bit of a Fridge Nazi when it comes to leftover food so I follow a strict 4-5 day rule. I can’t say the same about everyone else who uses the fridge.
Anywho, I was feeling especially creative and put together these mock mini chocolate cream banana pies. I was super excited to use up that leftover buttercream frosting.
But really, I didn’t find a ton of ideas online when it came to using up leftover buttercream frosting outside of freezing it to use at a later date or simply spreading it on graham crackers and eating it that way. These are all great ways to use up buttercream frosting, but I was just looking to do something more-recipe oriented. This was my solution.
Try these mini pies out and let me know what techniques you used or how you improved upon these. Recipes like this are pretty darn good but there is always room for improvement!
2 ripe bananas, cut in half and sliced (reserve a few for decoration)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 pre-made pie crust
Buttercream frosting, about 8 - 10 ounces, leftover or not
Milk, any variety, a tablespoon or more
Heat the butter in a small pan and add the bananas and brown sugar. Stir until the brown sugar is melted and the bananas are in a glistening sauce. Remove from heat and keep in a cool place (I popped my pan in the fridge once it cooled off).
Use a biscuit cutter or the rim of a large glass and cut the pie crusts into 3.5-4-inch rounds. Place them in your muffin tin and press the sides down where the dough overlaps. With a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom of each pie crust. Place in the refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 375. While the oven preheats, make your "Chocolate Cream" by mixing together the frosting and a tablesoon of milk. You want to combine these until the frosting has a very smooth texture. Add a bit more milk as needed. Place in the fridge when it's ready.
Bake your pie crusts for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. You should smell these when they're close to ready. Push down the crusts if they bubbled a bit and allow them to cool completely.
Once cooled, remove from the crusts from the muffin tin, add about a couple teaspoons of chocolate cream, a mound of bananas, and whipped cream. Top each pie with a banana slice for decoration.
Today is 3.14 – International Pi Day. Mathematically, Pi is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. In my world, pie is a delicious baked good that should be enjoyed every single day. But that’s just me.
I came across this recipe the other day and I had to share it with all of you.
Beat your eggs in a large mixer until foamy. Add the flour and sugars and beat until well blended. Beat in the softened butter. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Pour the mixture into your pie crust.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm with a heaping scoop of ice cream.
Growing up with a diabetic mom, we rarely had candy in our house. For that reason, my palette is extremely sensitive to anything remotely sweet. I do, however, have one blissful temptation that I just cannot resist, and that is chocolate. I’ll pass on suckers, gummies, or Skittles any day… but show me some chocolate and I turn into a ravenous monster. Rawr!
The other day I was watching The Neely’s (who are possibly the cutest couple in the universe) prepare their holiday feast. They made homemade chocolates for their guests to take home with them and it inspired me to make a chocolate bark for my loved ones too.
I used bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate for this recipe. The white chocolate adds the perfect amount of sweetness to counter the bitter chocolate and tart cherries. These end up rich but not overwhelming.
8-ounces to 12-ounces bittersweet chocolate (60% or more cacao)
12-ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 package dried cherries (about 1 cup)
1 cup slivered almonds
Line one large cookie tray or two smaller cookie trays with aluminum foil. Do not grease.
Toast the almonds:
- Stove top method: stir the almonds in a dry, heavy saucepan over medium heat until golden brown
- Oven method: spread the almonds on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
For the chocolate:
Chop your chocolate into smaller pieces (so they will melt faster and more evenly) and place in a heat safe bowl. Create a double boiler by putting a cup of water into a pot and placing your chocolate-filled bowl on top of it. Bring to a low boil, medium heat or so. Stir your chocolate almost continuously. You want to be sure to turn the chocolate so it will melt evenly while watching the heat so your chocolate doesn't burn and seize up.
Once your chocolate melts, add the cherries and almonds to the bowl and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly onto your cookie tray(s) and try to keep the thickness to less than a quarter-inch. Your mixture will be fairly chunky so do the best that you can. Set your tray(s) in the fridge to cool for an hour or so. Peel the chocolate away from the aluminum foil and use a large butcher knife to chop it into festive, bite-sized pieces. Watch them disappear.
Chocolate bark will keep for weeks if properly stored. Keep in the fridge or in festive tins in a cool place.
Busy, busy, busy! So busy in fact, that I’ve failed to update my blog in what feels like ages. I’m sure my blog is going through withdrawals… scrawling hateful words about me in the stall of the women’s bathroom.
There’s always drama with you blog.
Shh… shh… now… now… I didn’t mean it. I brought you chocolate and beer? Does that help?
Wait a second… chocolate AND beer? Did I just die and go to food heaven? The combo of sweet and malty does sound a bit odd doesn’t it? But I must say that the only thing that could make a cupcake taste even better is beer. Surprisingly, the two pair really well. The results are chocolaty but not overpoweringly sweet. Once you go chocolate stout, you don’t go back — very similar to when you add sour cream to a cake batter. There is nothing quite like it.
I used Young’s Double Chocolate Stout for this recipe. The beer itself is very (VERY) milk chocolaty. That combined with the malt and hints of coffee resulted in amazingly tasty and moist cupcake. The beer creates such a frothy batter that I knew I would end up with a light and airy cake.
Your favorite chocolate frosting recipe to decorate (I'm particularly fond of the Pioneer Woman's frosting recipe, without the pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in a muffin tin.
Combine the stout and the butter, chopped into 1-inch chunks, in a large sauce pan and heat on low to melt the butter. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a bowl, whisk the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then add to the beer mixture. Soft together the flour with the baking soda and fold into the batter. Pour into cupcake liners (about 3/4 of the way full) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from muffin tin, and cool completely on a rack.
Using a mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth, sift in sugar and beat. Add milk/stout and beat until smooth. Spread frosting over cool cupcakes. **Add more milk/stout if the frosting is too thick
Dessert and myself go together like oil and water. I was raised by a mother who believed sugar to be the evil of all evils. We had sugar-free syrups, diet sodas and sugar-free candies and cereals. Nowadays, I have a low tolerance for super-rich desserts. One or two bites in and I’m dragging myself toward the nearest cup of milk or coffee to cut the sweetness.
These pretzels are the perfect balance of sweet and salty for my picky palette. They broke my dessert defense barrier. The added crunch from the pretzel and peanuts really make these treats even more irresistible.
Trust me, if you make these you’ll see chocolaty fingertips galore.
2 (8-ounce) bags of peanut butter pretzel sandwiches
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
3/4 cups peanut butter morsels
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
Microwave both chocolate in a large bowl for 2-3 minutes or until melted, stirring at 1 minute intervals.
Pour pretzels into bowl of melted chocolate and stir gently until coated. Lift out with a fork and allow excess chocolate to drip off. Lay in a single layer on cookie sheets lined with wax paper.
Sprinkle chopped peanuts over chocolate covered pretzels.
Melt peanut butter chips and shortening in microwave for 30 seconds, or until chips are soft and smooth and spoon easily into a small ziplock bag. Snip a tiny corner off of the bag and squeeze the peanut butter mixture over the pretzels.
Place the cookie sheets in the fridge until the chocolate has hardened, about an hour. Break into pieces and serve.
I wonder how a no-bake cookie gets away with the title of being a type of cookie. Shouldn’t a no-bake cookie be some type of candy? I always consider a good cookie to have an amazing aroma that fills your home while you’re baking them. Hm.
My good buddy Jason and I made these [whatever you want to call them]. I refrained from eating all of them in one sitting… but not for long. I had two immediately and two more after he left (secret’s out). I quickly threw them into a ziplock bag and hid them in the back of my freezer. Panic-stricken, I still indulge from time to time and gorge with my freezer door still open.
3 cups oatmeal (4.5 cups if you are using quick oats)
a dash of salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
4 tablespoons cocoa
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place sugar, cocoa, butter, milk and salt in a 2-quart pan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add peanut butter and stir until incorporated into a smooth, chocolately concoction. Add the oatmeal and vanilla and mix. Drop by the teaspoonfuls onto wax paper and cool for 1-2 hours until set.
For faster results, you can place these in the fridge to cool.
Chocolate mousse is a great dessert to end any heavy meal. It’s perfect for individual servings for small dinner parties. Also, this may be the perfect “pre-dessert” dessert to enjoy with your loved one this Valentine’s Day.
It’s important to follow these directions very carefully, especially in regards to separating the egg yolks from the egg whites. It can be a bit tricky. If you incorporate the egg yolks when the chocolate is too warm, the eggs will cook, if too cold, it will seize up when the other ingredients are added. If you stir instead of folding the egg whites and whipped cream, your mousse will not be fluffy, but dense. This all sounds a bit intense but if I can do it, you can do it.
Whip the cream to soft peaks (be careful not to overwhip it), then refrigerate.
Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso or strong coffee in the top of a double boiler, over hot, but not simmering, water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool until the chocolate is just slightly warmer than body temperature. To test, dab some chocolate on your bottom lip. It should feel warm, but not enough to burn you. If it is too cool, the mixture will seize when the other ingredients are added.
While the chocolate mixture is cooling, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold shape. Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
Once the chocolate mixture has reached the proper temperature, stir in the egg yolks. Gently stir in about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the egg whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.
Spoon or pipe the mousse into a serving bowl or individual dishes. Layer in fresh berries and whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and enjoy!
Today’s focus is on sinfully sweet chocolate and melting techniques. Chocolate is a fairly fragile substance and burns rather easily. So when it comes to those melty chocolate recipes you really don’t want to expose your delicious morsels to direct heat. There are a couple different methods that work well to melt chocolate.
Firstly, chop your chocolate into uniform pieces so it will melt at equal time.
Because all microwaves are different, this is my preferred method. Also I feel you have much more control over the melting of your chocolate than with a microwave.
To use this method, fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and place on low heat. Place your chocolate in the top of the boiler over hot (not boiling) water and allow it to melt. Do not cover. Stir until smooth and immediately remove the top of the boiler from the heat.
NOTE: If you do not have a double boiler, you can easily cheat this method by using a pan as your lower half and a large glass or metal bowl for the top half of your make-shift double boiler.
Place your chocolate into a glass container and place it in your microwave for 1 minute. You will probably need to melt the chocolate further. In between each heating, make sure you stir the chocolate to prevent scorching. Repeat until completely melted.