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Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

…was a dish created by Cracker Barrel that my mom absolutely adored when it was available at the restaurant.  I don’t believe it is still on the menu, but I found a recipe for it and we were excited to make it for her.  I’m not sure if it was up to Cracker Barrel’ standards (as I never tried the real recipe), but Mom loved it and it is indeed a delicious cake, regardless!

For Coca-cola cake you need:

  • 1 cup Coca-cola
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Start by bring the Coke, oil, butter, and cocoa to a boil.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt.  Pour in the boiling liquids and mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 9×13.  Bake the cake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make some rich chocolate icing:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 tbsp. half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Combine butter, cocoa, and cream and stir over heat until the butter is melted.  Then, add the rest of the ingredients, adding the sugar slowly so it becomes well-incorporated.

When the cake is done, smooth the icing on top and serve warm or at room-temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

This is one of the richest cakes I have ever eaten, much less made!  It is probably a cavity waiting to happen, but it is absolutely divine.  If you are looking for a new version of chocolate cake, I recommend trying this–it is ooey, gooey, chocolate goodness that is pretty tough to beat!

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…for pumpkin pie!!  Our first pie of the season was one we have been waiting to make for quite some time–“triple-chocolate pumpkin pie” from marthastewart.com.  Let me tell you, the wait was worth it (and we could NOT be more glad that pumpkins had a better season this year!).  This amazing dessert has a homemade buttery graham cracker crust topped with a layer of dark chocolate, then filled with a smooth pumpkin-chocolate filling, and finally is topped off with a drizzle of milk chocolate.

For this delicious pie’s crust you need:

  • 2 cups ground graham cracker crumbs (16ish crackers)
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (we used dark chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 350 and combine everything but the chocolate.  Press the crumb mixture along the bottom and sides of a deep-dish pie dish and bake for about 10 minutes, until firm.  Then, spread the chocolate over the crust and pop it back into the oven for another minute, just until the chocolate is melted.  Smooth the chocolate over the bottom and sides of the crust and set it on a wire rack to cool.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325.

For the filling you need:

  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 15 oz. canned pumpkin
  • 12 oz. evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 oz. milk chocolate, melted

Melt the semisweet chocolate and butter in a double-boiler, stirring often.  If you don’t have a double-boiler, simply melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  But, if you like to bake, I highly recommend investing in one of these–it makes things so easy!  Anyway, once the mixture is smooth, take it off the heat and try not to eat it.

Next, mix the pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, and spices.  Whisk about a third of the pumpkin mixture into the chocolate, then add the rest.

Pour the pumpkin-chocolate filling into the prepared crust and bake for 55-60 minutes, until the middle is set but still slightly jiggly.  Cool the pie on a wire rack for about an hour, then cover it tightly in saran wrap (it helps stop that pasty layer from forming) and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.

When the horrible wait is over, drizzle the luscious melted chocolate over the pie.

Oh my goodness, this is heaven in a pie!!!  If you love pumpkin pie and chocolate, trying this is not optional.  Note: if you are like us and don’t have a deep-dish pie dish, you will have extra batter.  Simply pour it into a couple of ramekins and bake alongside the pie for about half an hour.  Now you have individual chocolate-pumpkin custard treats!  Try this.  Taste bud heaven is a wonderful place, and this pie is your ticket there.

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…and cookies are wonderful things.  Schati received some early birthday gifts this year, one of which was a fantastic set of Star Wars cookie cutters from Williams-Sonoma.  Being the total nerds we are, we were both pretty excited to whip up a batch of star wars themed sugar cookies!

For sugar cookie goodness you need:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat the butter with a mixer until it is creamy.  Then, beat in the sugar until the butter becomes fluffy.  Add in the egg and vanilla and beat the mixture for another minute.  Proceed to add the flour slowly.  Beat everything until a stiff/crumbly dough forms.  Divide the batter into two balls and roll them into disks.  Wrap the disks in saran wrap and refrigerate them overnight.

The next day, let the dough stand for about 5 minutes outside the fridge and preheat the oven to 350.  Then, on a floured surface, roll the disks until they are about 1/4 inch thick.   Cut out your shapes and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing with your favorite frosting.

These cookie cutters are ridiculously awesome and super-fun.  And, the sugar cookies themselves are pretty darn tasty!

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Bananas and rum…

…are a natural combination.  We had several mushy bananas that were begging to be baked into something delicious, so I headed into the kitchen to concoct something.  The result was banana-rum cupcakes with rum-butter frosting.  Delicious!

For these beach-worthy cupcakes you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. dark rum

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with paper cupcake cups.  This recipe probably makes 1.5 dozen cupcakes, but I just made 12 and baked the rest into a rum cake/banana bread deal.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and add in the melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and rum.

Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the banana concoction into it.  Using a wooden spoon, fold the ingredients into one another, just until everything is well-incorporated.  Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake tin and bake for about 28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile, whip up some tasty frosting!  You need:

  • half a stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz. (half a bar) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp. dark rum
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

Simply beat all the ingredients together until smooth.  The cupcakes will ice better if you refrigerate the icing for a bit, but it is quite runny and a bit messy.  Oh well!  It tastes delicious.

Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes in the pan, then get them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Ice them with some of the yummy frosting and you’re ready to go!

I’m still working on how to make a thicker/prettier frosting, but these cupcakes are delicious nonetheless!  Send yourself on a mini-vacation and whip up a batch!

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…is an absolutely heavenly dessert, is it not?  This week marked the end of my church choir season, so we decided to have a dessert party.  I made a peanut butter pie and it was to die for!

For a perfect peanut butter pie you need:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust, slightly softened
  • 1 15.5 oz. box of brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 and roll the pie crust out.  Press it into a glass pie pan and fold the edges over, pressing them with a fork to seal.

Mix the brownie mix, egg, water, oil, and peanut butter chips until everything is moistened.  I like to use a wooden spoon for batters and doughs because the batter doesn’t stick to it as badly as a spatula or metal/plastic spoon.

Pour the brownie batter over the pie crust.  Bake it for 20 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust with foil and bake it for another 20 minutes.  t may not take a full 40 minutes, depending on your oven.  The crust is done when the middle of the brownie has set and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the crust on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then pop it into the fridge to finish cooling completely, about an hour.

When the crust has cooled, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peanut butter until smooth.

Then, fold in the whipped cream.

Spread this luscious mixture over the crust and top it with the chocolate chips.

Put the pie in a sealed container and refrigerate it for at least 3o minutes before you cut it–it helps the peanut butter topping set and makes it much easier to slice!

Words do not express how perfect this pie is!  Not only is the peanut butter topping incredibly smooth and creamy, but the crust is a gooey brownie!  If you have an upcoming event in need of a dessert, MAKE THIS.  It is absolutely heavenly!!

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Healthy cupcakes…

…actually exist.  And, they taste good to boot!  While browsing in Barnes and Noble a couple weeks ago, I came across a book that I couldn’t leave without–Cupcake Heaven.  This wonderful find has about 200 recipes solely devoted to the wonder that is the cupcake.  Healthy banana cupcakes were my first on my list of recipes to try from the book, and they are quite excellent!

For a cupcake you can feel good about eating you need:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped banana (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 1/4 cups granola
  • 2 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour, sifted twice
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup honey (I used half honey, half blue agave nectar)
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Heat the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with 12 baking cups.

Start by mixing the banana, granola, flour, and baking powder together with a spoon.  The original recipe calls for regular flour, but I wanted to use the whole-wheat to bump up the nutrition even more.  If you use the wheat, make sure you sift it well.

Beat together the orange juice, honey/agave, oil, and egg with a mixer.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture and stir just til the two mixtures are combined.  Then, fold in the golden raisins.  Make sure you actually fold in the raisins; stirring them in will make your muffins tough from over-mixing!

Pour the batter into your muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.  Then, enjoy!

These cupcakes are a yummy treat that you really can eat anytime–they are great for breakfast or a mid-day snack.  The original recipe is already quite healthy, but the additions of the whole-wheat and agave really make these cupcakes guiltless!

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…is simply extraordinary.  As a kid, I thought I hated anything that dealt with cream cheese until I tasted my Aunt Mary’s glorious chocolate cheesecake.  I’ve been a convert (only in regards to cheesecake!) ever since.  As you (hopefully) well know, yesterday was Mother’s Day.  Schatzi and I headed up the road for a visit with my family with this wonderful double chocolate cheesecake in tow.

For this scrumptious dessert you need:

  • 24 Oreo cookies, crushed
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 32 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 8 squares semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • blueberries

Start by melting your chocolate.  This process is a snap if you have a double broiler!  Simply bring some water to a simmer (not a rolling boil).  While that’s heating, chop up your chocolate squares so they will melt more evenly.  Then, add them to the top pan of your double broiler and knock the heat back to a simmer.  Stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted, then take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit (you don’t want it to cook the eggs later!)

Heat the oven to a cool 325.  While it’s warming, mix the cookie crumbs and butter.  Then, make the crust by pressing the moistened crumbs into a 9×13 that has been lined with aluminum foil.  Bake the crust for 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and vanilla until blended and creamy.

Add in the chocolate, and mix it well. PS: is there anything more beautiful than rich, freshly melted chocolate?!

Beat in your eggs, one at a time, with the mixer on low.

Pour this delicious mixture over the crust and bake it for 45 minutes, until the center is almost set.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then pop it in the fridge for at least 4 hours to finish setting.

To serve, simply cut the cake into your desired slice size and top it with some blueberries. Divine.

This cheesecake was a hit, and it is so easy to make!  You don’t even need a spring-form pan!  We certainly aren’t sad we have leftovers.  I’m sure it is excellent by itself, but I highly recommend that you don’t skimp out on the blueberries–the combination of fresh, sweet berries with the rich, creamy chocolate is absolutely heavenly!

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