Christmas Morning Crock-Pot Hot Chocolate

Candycane Marshmallow Read the rest of this entry »


Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes with Creamy Fudge & Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting

Guinness and Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate and Baileys Buttercream

Chocolate Guinness Stout Cupcakes

 

I just finished reading a really moving book that tells the true story of Sasha Martin, called Life From Scratch. The book is sad, inspiring, raw, and sensitive. Along the way you feel the mood and emotion of her childhood as she moves into adulthood. Each chapter is a blessing of recipe(s) from her life’s journey. One of the recipes is a Chocolate Guinness Cake with Baileys Buttercream which I’ve adapted into cupcakes and added a bit of extra chocolate fudge frosting as a bonus. I’ve seen cake recipes before that use Guinness so I was especially excited to try this, and it was fabulous. Pick up her book if you haven’t read it- it’s a great read.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!!

Saint Patricks Day Cupcakes

Baileys Irish Cream and Chocolate Fudge Buttercream

Choc Guinness Stout Cupcake

Chocolate and Guinness Stout Cupcakes

Chocolate & Guinness Stout Cupcakes

recipe adapted from the book Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin

yield: 16 cupcakes 

12 Tbsp (1  1/2 sticks)  unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup Guinness Extra Stout Beer (take the beer out ahead of time and let sit on the counter unopened so that it is not cold)

1 Tbsp Vanilla

3/4 Cup unsweetened Cocoa powder

1  1/2 Cup sugar

1  1/4 Cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 large eggs, room temp

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a small saucepan heat the butter until just melted, then whisk together with the Guinness, vanilla, and cocoa. While the Guinness mixture is cooling, line cupcake tins with paper liners. Whisk together the sugar, flour, and baking soda in a large bowl. Pour the Guinness mixture onto the dry ingredients, and then whisk in the 2 eggs. When the batter is shiny and smooth, pour it into the wells of the cupcake tins filling 2/3 full; exactly 1/4 cup of batter. Bake for ~ 15-20 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. (baking time in a regular oven is around 19-20 minutes. I used my convection oven at 325° F and baked mine for exactly 15 minutes). Cool completely.

Prepare a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (or your choice of tip) and fill each side of the bag with chocolate fudge frosting and Baileys frosting-it’s handy to use a “two tone” piping bag if you can find one.

 

Dark Chocolate Fudgy Frosting

recipe adapted from Sweetapolita

1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup  plus 3 Tbsp confectioners sugar

1/3 Cup (40 g) extra dark unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s extra dark)

1/4 Cup hot water

1/4 Cup sour cream

1 tsp vanilla

generous pinch of salt

5 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghiradelli) melted and cooled

 

In a food processor place all but the melted chocolate and pulse until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth. Chill frosting is not using right away.

Bailey’s Irish Cream Buttercream

recipe from Life From Scratch by Sasha Martin

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted

2-4 Tbsp Baileys Irish Cream

 

Whip the soft butter until fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar on low speed, then increase to medium high, and drizzle in enough Baileys to get the buttercream loose and fluffy. To achieve a whiter frosting whip it 5-10 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.

 

 

 


Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Happy Valentines Day.  Do you know where your sweet tooth is? That’s right- it’s still in the same place you left it, no-not at the dentist’s office-but right in the back of your mouth. Your mouth is calling for something red and sweet. It’s okay, you are allowed to indulge today-no need to feel guilty. Your welcome.

Red Velvet Brownies

Red Velvet Brownies

brownie recipe: from thatskinnychickcanbake

 

3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 oz. liquid red food coloring (such as McCormick)

2 tsp. vanilla, divided

1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

1  1/2 C sugar

2 lg. eggs

1  1/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

 

Line both sides of  an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with tinfoil  and spray lightly with non stick spray. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a small bowl combine the cocoa powder, red food coloring and 1 tsp. of the vanilla to form a smooth paste, set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape bowl.  Add the remaining one tsp. of vanilla to combine. Add in the cocoa powder paste mixture and beat gently to combine. Stir in the flour and salt to combine. Smooth batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let brownies cool completely before icing.

 

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese, room temp

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp

1 tsp. vanilla

1  1/2 Cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled (I use Ghiradelli white chocolate) (do NOT use white chocolate chips)

 

Chop the white chocolate very fine and microwave on 50 % power to melt chocolate-stopping frequently to stir. Allow to cool. Beat the cream cheese and butter in bowl of stand mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla and beat to combine. Add in the sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth. Add in the cooled white chocolate and beat until smooth. Spread the icing over the cooled brownies (decorate with heart sprinkles if desired) and chill entire pan until icing becomes firm-this makes cutting the brownies easier.

Run a thin knife or offset spatula around the perimeter of the brownies. lift the entire slab of brownies out of the pan and cut into desired shapes.

 


Peppermint Marshmallows

Peppermint Candycane Crush Mallows

Peppermint Mallows

Candycane Marshmallow

Peppermint and Candycane Marshmallows

Some treats evoke a sense of cozy. Marshmallows are cozy. Fluffy, soft, sweet- what’s not to like. This is the season of joyful  and cozy eating and indulging. Just go with it. Forget the diet for now. Just once in your life you need to make homemade marshmallows. I think Christmas time is the perfect time. Imagine Christmas morning as you set up a hot chocolate bar and include these as part of your cozy plan. Make your hot chocolate and have it sitting warm on the stove as your little gremlins open their presents.

I have made mallows several times and I find my favorite recipe is one with a little egg white in the mix. They come out softer and less rubbery. The Husband proclaimed he doesn’t even like marshmallows but he likes these. A lot. This recipe makes a nice thick square when cut and quite a few so you can wrap them in cellophane bags and give as gifts-perhaps with a sleeve of mocha, hot chocolate mix or peppermint mocha mix. Plan to make them early in the day or the night before so they can set up. It’s a gift to yourself curled up on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and tucked into your favorite fuzzy blanket.

Peppermint Marshmallows

 

yield: one 9×13 inch pan (36-40 marshmallows)

3/4 Cup cold water

3 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin

3 Cups sugar

3/4 Cup light corn syrup

3/4 Cup hot water

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

3 large egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. pure peppermint extract

3 Tbsp. finely crushed peppermint candy canes (about 3 mini candy-canes)

red food coloring

confectioners sugar and cornstarch for tossing marshmallows

 

Line a 9×13 inch pan with baking parchment, allowing excess to hang over both sides. Sprinkle liberally with confectioners sugar

Place the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl with set up of mixer with whisk attachment.

In a small bowl place cold water. Sprinkle gelatin over water a teaspoon at a time allowing to soak in as your sprinkle. Let stand to bloom.

In a heavy saucepan (3-4 quart) combine sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt. Cook over medium heat stirring until sugar dissolves. Once sugar dissolves, stop stirring insert a candy thermometer and continue to cook until mixture reaches soft ball stage (240 F on a candy thermometer). Once mixture reaches 200 F start to beat egg whites on medium high-speed until stiff; BE CAREFUL TO NOT LET WHITES GET OVERBEATEN AND DRY. IF OVERBEATEN, THEY WILL APPEAR CURDLED. Turn mixer speed down to low if whites appear to be ready before sugar mixture reaches 240 F. Once mixture reaches 240° F turn off heat and add the bloomed gelatin, and whisk with hand whisk to combine. Carefully pour the sugar/gelatin mixture to the stiff egg whites down the side of mixer bowl in a steady stream being careful not to let sugar touch whisk. Add in vanilla, peppermint and crushed candy cane and beat until stiff and glossy; about 8-10 minutes. Pour half of marshmallow mixture into prepared pan spread to distribute evenly, then drop about 6-8 drops of red food coloring, moving quickly swirl color into mallow. Pour the remaining mallow into pan, spread evenly and again drop more random food color and swirl with knife or bamboo skewer. Dust entire surface with confectioners sugar and cover with plastic wrap.

refrigerate marshmallows overnight to allow to set. Remove entire slab of marshmallow using the parchment paper and cut into squares using sharp scissors.

Whisk together 1 Cup confectioners sugar along with 1/2 Cup confectioners sugar and toss cut marshmallows. Shake off excess sugar mixture and store in an airtight container.

 


Raspberry Lemonade Bars

Raspberry Lemonade Bar

Happy Independence Day

Raspberry Lemon Bars

raspberry lemonade bars 3

raspberry Lemonade bars 4

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

yield: (about 30-32 bars-depending on the size cut)

Crust:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 Cup sugar

2 Cups flour

pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk the flour and salt together, then add to butter/sugar and beat until combined. Prepare a 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper with a 2 inch overhang. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 15-20 minutes until very lightly browned. Place the pan on a wire rack while you make the filling.

Filling:

2 1/2 Cups sugar

zest of 3 lemons

1/2 Cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 Cup seedless raspberry puree (press fresh or thawed frozen raspberries through a fine sieve).

6 large eggs

1 Cup flour

red and/or burgundy gel paste food color (optional)

Confectioners sugar for serving

1. In a food processor pulse the sugar and lemon zest together several times; about 8-10. Add the lemon juice, raspberry puree, and eggs and combine until smooth. Add in the flour and pulse to combine. The filling is not quite the color that I liked- so I added a few drops of red and burgundy gel paste food coloring.

2. Pour the filling onto the crust and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for about 30 minutes until set; when you jiggle the pan the center should not look loose. Let pan cool over a wire rack. Refrigerate the pan of bars until well chilled before cutting into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.


Happy Chinese New Year 2015: Chinese Almond Cookies

Happy Chinese New Year 2015. The year of the sheep or as some say; the goat. These cookies are simple and perfect any time of year with a little bit of tea, but very popular during Lunar New Year. May the year bring you prosperity, good health, and above all-happiness.

Chinese Almond Cookies

 almond cookies sliced

almond cookies unbaked

Chinese Almond Cookies for Chinese New Year

Chinese Almond Cookies

yield: about 4 1/2 dozen small cookies

1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

3/4 Cup almond meal (almond flour)

1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 egg (for egg wash)

2 tsp. milk (for egg wash)

blanched almonds for tops of cookies*

* (If you don’t have blanched almonds-you can take whole almonds with the skin on-and soak them in water for 1 hour. After one hour drain the almonds and gently push the skins off by pressing with your first two fingers. Blot almonds with paper towels to absorb any excess water).

 

1. Cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy; about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and almond extract. Whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture and combine on medium speed until almost combined. With clean hands mix together gently until rest of dough is combined. Divide dough into 2 equal portions and roll each into a 1.5 inch wide by 14 inch long log; wrap in parchment paper and chill for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 325° F. In a small bowl; make the egg wash by whisking the egg and milk until combined. Cut logs into scant 1/2 inch slices and press an almond onto each cookie. Place cookies 2 inches apart. Brush with egg wash. Bake for 17-19 minutes until cookies are light golden brown. Let cool on sheets over a wire rack until cooled. Serve with tea.


New Years Eve Champagne Cocktails

I’m not one to go out on New Years Eve. This does not mean I don’t drink champagne; that is a MUST.  I’ve just never been one to go out and party on New Year’s Eve; for some reason I enjoy staying at home and making a special meal and celebrating with the ones I love.

With champagne.

I know that sounds incredibly boring. I love champagne. I know a lot of people do not really care for the taste of it, so I have made it my mission to come up with a few ideas for you. Yes, there was some serious tasting and research involved. Someone has got to do it. You see the lengths I go to for you?! . The first champagne cocktail is a turquoise sip. I just made that up.  Perhaps it is a rif on a blue angel-so I’ll just call it the New Years Eve Champagne Cocktail, or maybe I’ll call it the turquoise sip. That sounds kinda cool; or maybe it’s because it’s a Sunday morning and I just have had waaayyy too much champagne taking photos and making cocktails…yep, that’s it for sure.

The second cocktail is really a process and less of a recipe and that is filling a champagne flute with different flavors of sorbet or sherbet and then filling with champagne. You could totally use 7-up or a lemon line soda in place of in both these drinks so your young-ins can partake.  For the Turquoise sip; just remove the blue curacao and use blue Hawaiian punch instead.  I totally dorked out and forgot to rim the glass with sugar for the turquoise sip, but definitely do that with silver, blue or regular sugar if you have some.

turquoise sip champagne cocktail

New Year's Eve Champagne Cocktail

New Years Eve Champagne Cocktails

“Turquoise Sip”

yield: one drink

1 oz. pineapple juice (cold)

1/2 oz. blue curacao (1 Tbsp.)

sparkling wine or champagne

sparkling sugar for rim (optional)

In a champagne glass pour the juice and blue curacao, add the champagne and serve cold.

For kids Non Alcohol version:

1 oz. pineapple juice

1-2 oz. blue Hawaiian punch

7-up  or Sprite

 

Sherbet/Sorbet Cocktail

mixed sorbet cocktail

mixed sorbet cocktail prep

lime, mango, raspberry sorbet and champagne cocktail

sorbet champagne cocktail

Sherbet/Sorbet Cocktail

Per cocktail/mocktail

1 small scoop lime sherbet

1 small scoop raspberry sorbet

1 small scoop mango sorbet

Champagne, Asti Spumante, or sparkling wine (7-up or Sprite for non Alcohol version)