This is an ADULT dessert cake bite, so plan accordingly… The bourbon packs a punch and definitely is assertive, front and center. These are conveniently bite size and although they look dainty, they are meant to be popped into the mouth whole for one glorious bite. The perfect boozy bite of chocolaty goodness. This is NOT your wall flower kind of cake bite. There is no hiding in the corner. Bring these to your next Uker, Bunko or Poker party cause it’s about to get rowdy….you’ve been warned.
Boozy Bourbon Cake Bites
(recipe adapted from Cake Simple by Christie Matheson)
yield: 5 Cups of batter- about 60 mini cake bites
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 Cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. natural (not dutch- processed) cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)
6 Tbsp. (90 ml) boiling water
1/2 Cup bourbon (preferably 100 proof-I used Knob Creek brand)
1 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray two mini bundt bite (tea cake size pans) generously with nonstick (baking with flour spray) and set aside. You can also use a small bundtlette size pan; both work well as I have tested the recipe in both. Conversely you can double the recipe and bake in a 10 Cup size large Bundt pan.
2. In a small bowl place the cocoa powder and pour the boiling water over and mix with a spatula to dissolve cocoa. Add the bourbon and stir to combine; set aside to cool to room temp. In another small bowl: whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and egg yolk and beat until combined. Hand stir in the vanilla and melted chocolate until combined. (You want to avoid overbeating batter in order to keep it moist). With the mixer on low add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternately with the cocoa/bourbon mixture (in two increments) beginning and ending with the flour mixture until just combined (avoid overbeating). Note: the cocoa/ bourbon mixture will seem like too much- but trust me it will mix in.
4. Pour the batter into the wells of the tea cake pans filling them 3/4 full. Note: I find it easier to put the batter into a pastry bag with a round tip and fill the wells this way- you have better control.
5. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. For the larger bundt (but still mini) bundts I baked them for 18 minutes. If confused: this particular size Bundt wells hold 6 Tbsp. of batter.
6. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn pans over to remove and allow to cool over a wire rack. Drizzle tops of cakes with Bourbon and Coke Chocolate Glaze. Store in an airtight container. Note; because of their size they tend to dry out quickly- they are best served the day they are made.
Bourbon & Coke Chocolate Glaze
recipe from Southern Living
1/4 Cup unsalted butter
3-4 1/2 Tbsp. Coke soft drink
2 1/2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Cups + 2 Tbsp. Confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. bourbon (preferably 100 proof-I used Knob Creek)
In a small sauce pan over low heat melt butter. Add in the cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp. of the coke, and whisk to combine, cooking for 1-2 minutes over low heat. Remove from heat and add in the bourbon. Add the sifted confectioners sugar a little at a time and whisk until smooth. If too thick add a little more coke a teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.
There are certain things in life I cannot live without.
And salt-(preferably kosher salt).
Don’t even think about taking my salt away. It will not be pretty. You will see an ugly side of me you don’t want to encounter. Remember the scenes when Lou Ferrigno turned into The Hulk? Yeah, it’s something like that. I’m sure as I advance in age some day- some balding, stern Dr. will tell me I have to give up salt- and then I will wrestle him to the ground and feed him a salted caramel cupcake. He will take one bite and come over to the dark side. Immediately.
Please don’t lecture me. It will do NO good. This is right up there with convincing me to floss my teeth every day. Don’t bother wasting your words. Your attempt is futile. I love my salt. I especially love sweet and salty. I REALLY love salted caramel. You will have some salted caramel leftover after making these-You’re welcome. Pour it over vanilla ice cream.
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
makes 24-28 cupcakes
2 Cups sugar
1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour
3/4 Cup extra dark brute cocoa (such as Hershey’s Special Dark)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temp
1 Cup whole milk, room temp
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Cup hot strong coffee
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two standard size muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the sugar and sift the next 5 ingredients over the sugar directly into the bowl. Combine with a fork to mix. In a glass measuring container mix the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla with a fork. Add the egg mixture to the mixer bowl and with the paddle attachment beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes; stopping once or twice to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Stir in the hot coffee and carefully mix by hand with a large spatula. The batter will be very thin. Pour batter into prepared lined tins; no more than 2/3 full. Three measured Tablespoons is about 2/3 full; it’s helpful to measure out one into a well and then you can eyeball the rest. A scant full standard size ice cream scoop is another good way to get 2/3 full. Resist the urge to over fill as you don’t want to get cupcakes that spill over the cupcake liner- but rather you want a more flat cupcake. Bake in 350° F preheated oven for about 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow cupcakes tins to cool completely over a wire rack. Frost with caramel frosting and drizzle with salted caramel drizzle.
Salted Caramel Buttercream
4 sticks (2 Cups) unsalted butter, softened
8 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tsp. whole milk
1 Cup of (cooled) caramel (see recipe below)
2 tsp. kosher salt
In a stand mixer cream together the butter until soft. Add the sugar about one cup at a time and beat until smooth. Beat in the milk then add the cooled caramel and salt and beat until smooth.
Caramel and (Salted Caramel Drizzle)
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
1 1/2 C heavy cream; nuke until slightly warm
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (save for salted caramel drizzle)
In a medium saucepan place the sugar and add the water and mix gently until the mixture resembles wet sand. Cook over medium high heat and let it come to a boil without stirring; until the caramel reaches a deep amber. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pour in the cream, it will bubble and spout a bit; whisk carefully until combined. Whisk in the butter and then divide caramel by half into two heat proof containers. Add the salt to half the quantity of caramel (for the salted caramel drizzle). Let cool.
I know a lot of people do not consider themselves a baker, or they get intimidated with complicated multi step recipes. Holiday time is a time to have fun and TRY to decrease your stress by just having fun in the kitchen and making tasty treats that you enjoy but are comfortable with. If you are not one to knock out a Buche de Noel then- by all means this easy truffle recipe is something you can certainly do. I love anything caramel and especially SALTED caramel. I HATE tempering chocolate so these truffles are covered in cocoa, but you could certainly dip them in tempered chocolate if you like a more formal looking truffle.
Salted Caramel-Chocolate Truffles
yield: about 72-80 truffles
2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup water
16 oz. (1 pound) semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 Cups)
1 1/2 Cups heavy cream
2 tsp. kosher salt
Cocoa powder (natural-unsweetened) for coating (such as Hershey’s)
1. In a heat proof medium bowl place the chocolate chips and set aside.
2. Place a small glass of water and insert a pastry brush inside the glass (I prefer a silicon brush for this) and set next to the stove. Measure the salt and have next to the stove as well.
3. In a 3 quart (medium) saucepan place the sugar and carefully pour the water over the sugar to combine. Heat the sugar and water over medium high heat and bring to a boil until sugar turns amber in color. DO NOT stir the caramel- but rather swirl the pan from time to time to ensure color stays even. If sugar crystals form around the edges of the pan- take the wet pastry/silicon brush and let water drip down the sides of pan to dissolve any crystals. Once sugar is almost amber microwave the heavy cream for about 30-40 seconds until warm. Once sugar is amber color, remove from heat and pour in the warm cream and kosher salt and whisk to combine. Caution- with the adding of the cream it will bubble up and spit so be careful not to get burned. Combine well and then pour the caramel over the chocolate chips until combined and the chips are melted. Pour the mixture into a shallow cake pan or heat proof container. Chill the mixture (uncovered) in the refrigerator until it becomes set; about 50-60 minutes.
4. Remove chilled and set truffle mixture and scoop out small amounts (about 1 inch) and roll in your hands until smooth. If you have a small scoop this works well. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and place in a wax paper or parchment lined container. Once the truffles are all rolled, chill again to help the cocoa meld a bit to the chocolate. Serve at room temperature.
Do you ever go blank when your waitress or waiter ask you what do you want to drink? You KNOW you want a cocktail; but you want something different or something fun and special. I love it when restaurants or bars carry a specialty drink list-and especially if they include a picture of the cocktail! It makes it easy to pick something you might not ordinarily order. I recently bought a really fun book with all kinds of specialty drinks; “Candy Cocktails” by Flannery Good and Katherine Good. I’m enjoying looking through the recipes and the pictures. This super fun cocktail is from that book. This would be a great drink to make for a fun girls night in! I even toasted my marshmallow indoors right over the stove.
recipe: “Candy Cocktails”
yield: one martini
milk chocolate, melted for rim
graham cracker crumbs, for rim
2 oz. heavy whipping cream
2 oz. marshmallow vodka
1 oz. creme de cacao liquor
1/2 oz. chocolate syrup
pinch of salt
1 toasted marshmallow for garnish
Rim a martini glass with the melted chocolate and graham cracker crumbs, and set aside. In a shaker with ice, pour the cream, vodka, crème de cacao, chocolate syrup, and salt. Shake vigorously and pour the mixture into the martini glass. Garnish with toasted marshmallow.
Note: you may make a larger batch ahead of time (by just mixing all the ingredients) and keep chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
I am having a total 70’s flashback today (in reference to my childhood) thinking about Neapolitan ice cream. In the 70’s it was still the cheap square cardboard boxes when it came to ice cream, and you didn’t have a million flavors like we do today. Somewhere along the line we transitioned into circular ice cream containers. What’s up with that?
Neapolitan ice cream was a frequent in our house growing up. I loved the first glance of those perfectly proportioned lines of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry when you first lifted the lid on the container. I was a naughty girl and always scooped from the strawberry stripe only. I’m sure my Mother figured it out. If not-she is certainly right now- reading this. For some reason I was not much interested in the chocolate or vanilla. Today I have grown out of my strawberry obsession and am an equal flavor opportunist.
Neapolitan macarons. You get all 3 wonderful flavors at the same time. Give it a try….
I did a couple variations on flavors. You could use vanilla swiss meringue buttercream to fill all or also choose to divide some of them and fill with chocolate ganache or even strawberry buttercream.
200 gms almond flour, sifted
200 gms confectioners sugar, sifted
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
76 gms egg whites
200 gms granulated sugar
50 gms water
75 gms egg whites (room temp)
pinch of cream of tartar
1. In a large bowl combine the almond flour, and confectioners sugar and cocoa powder. Add the 75 gms of egg whites, and stir to combine. Set aside.
2. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment combine 75 gms of egg whites and the cream of tartar and begin whipping them on medium-high speed.
At the same time combine the 200 gms of granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan on high heat; bring to 240° without stirring while whipping the egg whites on your mixer simultaneously. You want the cooking sugar syrup to reach 240 degrees at the same time your whites reach stiff peaks. To time this; keep the stand mixer next to the stove so you can peek at the whites while still watching your cooking syrup. If you notice the whites starting to get too stiff before the sugar is done; slow down the mixer to low-speed.
3. Once the syrup is at 240 degrees, stop/take off the heat and start pouring the syrup down the side of the mixer bowl slowly with the mixer running on slow-medium at the same time; careful not to let the syrup hit the whisk to prevent hard syrup forming. Once all the syrup is in, crank up the mixer and whip the whites until very glossy and stiff.
4. Take the whipped meringue and place on top of the almond mixture and start to fold gently until all of the meringue is incorporated; careful not to deflate the mixture. You are looking for a thick consistency like lava. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip and pipe the cookies on parchment lined sheet trays; leaving at least an inch space between cookies. Take the trays and rap them hard on the counter to release any air bubbles. Let the trays sit out anywhere from 30-60 minutes; as long as it takes until when you touch the top of the cookies they are dry and no longer tacky to the touch.
5. Bake the cookies double panned (placing one empty tray underneath the piped cookies) one tray at a time in a 325° oven for about 15-18 minutes until the cookies are no longer wet on the bottom and appear dry. Sacrifice one if you have to test. Let the cookies cool on the tray. Sandwich with the filling. Store the cookies in the fridge covered loosely for 8 hours or overnight; this helps the cookies become even more chewy as the moisture from the filling helps the texture of the cookie.
Follow the same recipe as above except substitute the cocoa powder with 2 Tbsp. dried strawberry powder and add a few drops of deep pink food coloring gel in step one.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
4 sticks unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and sugar. Set over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk until mixture is hot and sugar is dissolved. Remove bowl and place on mixer and beat until stiff meringue forms and bottom of mixer bowl is cool to touch; about 5 minutes. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time until all is incorporated. Add vanilla and and beat until smooth. Use a generous 1 tsp. full to fill macarons.
Note: any leftover buttercream may be frozen. Store in an airtight container. To use: thaw at room temperature and rewhip with paddle attachment. You may also make strawberry buttercream by dividing adding in some seedless strawberry jam and whipping to combine.
Assembling Neapolitan Macarons: match up one chocolate and strawberry mac cookie and fill with vanilla buttercream. As an alternative you may fill some with chocolate ganache.
Small batch chocolate ganache
4 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped fine
3 oz. heavy cream
In a medium bowl place the chopped chocolate. Heat the heavy cream on high until small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute before stirring to combine thoroughly. Place the ganache in the fridge while you make the cookies.
Flash back to the 70’s and cue one of my favorite tv commercials for Reeses peanut butter cups. Two people walking down the street; the sun is shining, they are each lost in their own little unicorn world, and BAM!! both oblivious they serrendipitously bump into each other coming around a corner.
The first person is holding a rather plain chocolate candybar as the second person with an open jar of peanut butter crashes into him, his candybar falls into the open peanut butter jar. The candybar man retorts “You got peanut butter on my chocolate!” The peanut butter jar person exclaims “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” After a Hmmpf! is exchanged between the two of them they each taste the mistaken calamity (in perfect slow motion tv unison) and quickly pronounce with a huge corny smile what a genius they are as the point man cues the Reeses peanut butter cup…
You almost immediately forget what idiot walks around with an open peanut butter jar on the street?
Chocolate and peanut butter ever colliding into sweet bliss. Yes it was super cheesy. Did we like it? You betcha. Some of the corniest commercial are the ones we remember. A real life Don Draper was smiling and knocking back a neat scotch I’m sure when that little nugget was produced. Chocolate and peanut butter will always be colliding–even on purpose. If you are more of a purist and like your chocolate cake flowing with an oozy chocolate center then leave out the peanut butter and instead insert a big square piece of chocolate in the cake batter instead. I won’t mind.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Lava Cakes
recipe adapted from Donna Hay
yield: 4 individual cakes
200 gm dark chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet bars)
100 gm unsalted butter, chopped
2 Lg eggs
2 egg yolks
1/2 Cup castor sugar
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
8 teaspoons smooth peanut butter
1. Preheat oven to 400° F or 200° C. Generously butter 4 dariole molds. If you don’t have dariole molds I think a popover pan would also work fine. (Note her original recipe calls for using 1 cup capacity molds but mine were 3/4 cup and it worked perfectly).
2. In a saucepan over low heat melt the chocolate and butter until smooth–stirring constantly to avoid burning.
3. Place the eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until combined. Slowly add the chocolate mixture while whisking until smooth. Using the whisk stir in the flour until combined.
4. Spoon 2/3 mixture into each dariole mold. Spoon 2 tsp. dollops of peanut butter into each cup and gently press the dollop into the chocolate. Spoon the remaining chocolate batter evenly into each cup using up all the batter. Using the back of a spoon level off the batter in each cup. Place the cups on a tray and bake for 13-16 minutes until tops appear dry and are slightly puffed. Do not overbake. Cakes can have a slight crack on top but not too much cracking. Let cakes rest for about 2 minutes until warm enough to handle and turn out onto a plate for serving and dust generously with cocoa powder.