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Entries in Dessert (31)

Tuesday
Apr072015

Raspberry Swirl Lemon Cheesecake Bars

Lemon raspberry cheekecake bars

This year, we once again hosted Easter dinner for our families, but we switched things up and went with a non-traditional menu. Instead of the traditional ham, sausage, and pierogi, this year we decided to go with a taco bar. Perfect for the crowd…all 14 of them! As for dessert, I opted for something light and fruity. I know that Easter generally conjures up memories of chocolate filled baskets, but as I have gotten older, it also has me craving lighter flavors. Flavors such as lemon. Lemon is just so fresh and clean after a long winter laden with heavy foods. Since the thought of making a regular cheesecake still intimidates me, I went with the simpler cheesecake bar. It still has all of the flavor of a cheesecake with the bite-size convenience of a bar. These were a hit, even with the little kids! Perhaps now it is time to start tackling the real deal...

For the Crust
1 1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
4 tablespoons Butter, melted

Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper overlapping in a crisscrossing pattern, leaving some overhang for easy lifting. In a bowl, mix the melted butter with the crumbs until moist. Pour the crumbs into the prepared dish and press until evenly distributed throughout the bottom of the dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while preparing the filling. 

For the Raspberry Puree
4 ounces Raspberries (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons Sugar

In a food processor, puree the raspberries until smooth. Press the pureed berries through a fine mesh sieve, pressing out as much juice as possible. Discard the solids/seeds. Add the sugar to the puree and stir to combine. Set aside.  

For the Filling
16 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup Sugar
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
Zest of a lemon
4 tablespoons Milk
2 Eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the lemon juice, zest, milk, eggs, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over crust and spread with a spatula to even it out. Spoon the raspberry mixture over the top of the mixture and swirl using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set around the edges and jiggles slightly in the center. Cool completely then refrigerate until ready to serve. 

SOURCE: The Baker Chick

Thursday
Feb122015

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

PB Cup Brownies

Today is my brother’s 30th birthday. Of the two of us, I have the bigger sweet tooth. That being said, when he does eat sweets, he doesn’t mess around. Each year of our adult lives, I’ve been making dessert for his birthday dinner, and each year, he suggests the same “guidelines” and leaves me to choose the perfect recipe: chocolate with peanut butter, or Oreo. The boy certainly knows the best flavor combos! This year, I figured the suggestion was no different, so imagine my surprise when he said brownies! While I could have just used that as an excuse to go easy this year and reach for a box, I could never do no such thing for such a milestone birthday! I took it as the chance to merge his apparent simpler tastes of his 30’s with his favorite flavors of his 20’s. Not to mention, merge my favorite flavors together into one fudgy bite. These brownies were rich, but delicious. Definitely the right way to ring in a new decade. Happy birthday, Michael!

For the Brownies
10 tablespoons Butter
4 ounces Semisweet or Milk Chocolate Chips, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tablespoon Butter, softened
1 tablespoon Powdered Sugar
Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 15-20 miniature size)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. To a large, microwave safe bowl, add the butter along with 2 ounces of the chocolate, and microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the chocolate is smooth and melted. Whisk in the sugar until completely combined. Add the vanilla and eggs, whisking until smooth. Stir in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt until just combined. In a small bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon of butter until smooth. Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 ounces of the chocolate. Top with the remaining brownie batter, gently spreading it toward the sides of the dish, if needed. Bake for 30 minutes (my oven took more like 45 minutes), until the brownies are set on top. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting. 

For the Frosting
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
5 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, chopped (I used chips)
1 tablespoon Creamy Peanut Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to just below a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and peanut butter until it is melted and smooth. Set the frosting aside to cool and thicken as the brownies are cooling. Once thickened and cooled, spread the frosting on the brownies and sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow the frosting to set for about 30 minutes (I popped them in the fridge) before slicing into 16 squares. 

SOURCE: Half Baked Harvest
  

Monday
Jan192015

Chocolate Covered Coconut Marshmallows

Coconut marshmallows

This year, I didn’t make too many Christmas cookies. I participated in two online cookie swaps, and one cookie exchange with my friends, but aside from the small amount I made for each of those, I didn’t make any cookies. Instead, I decided to try my hand at making homemade marshmallows. I made Alton Brown’s recipe, bagged them up 6 at a time, tied them with ribbon, and gave them to my family at our after-Christmas gathering. They were a hit, especially with the kids! I had a few bags left, so I whipped up a jar of homemade hot cocoa mix and planned to bring my best friend hot chocolate and marshmallows when I brought over my goddaughter’s present. I came home from work one day and noticed that the marshmallows were no longer on the counter. In a cleaning spree, Joel had accidentally thrown them out. Luckily, I had plenty of ingredients to try again, this time trying a different (& flavored!) recipe. Making marshmallows is incredibly easy and the outcome is fabulous. They are perfect for eating plain or topping a mug of hot cocoa. The hardest part is waiting for them to set. To be honest, I don’t buy marshmallows regularly, but now that I have seen how simple it is to make my own, I may not ever go back to buying bagged marshmallows whenever I need them.

For Marshmallows
2 envelopes Unflavored Gelatin
8 tablespoons Cold Water
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/3 cup Cold Water
2 teaspoons Coconut Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Powdered Sugar, for sprinkling

For Dipping
8 ounces Dark Chocolate
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted (I omitted, but I’m sure it was delicious)

In a small bowl, stir together the gelatin and the 8 tablespoons of cold water; set aside. Spray an 8x8 pan with nonstick spray, then sprinkle in powdered sugar, shaking well to coat the bottom and all 4 sides. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining cold water with the sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and bubbly, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in the gelatin mixture, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Add the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and let it cool slightly. Add the coconut extract, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Beat on medium-high speed for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is thick, white, and glossy. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and top with more powdered sugar, if desired. Allow the marshmallows to sit for at least 4 hours to set, or overnight. Cut into 16 cubes and shake each in excess powdered sugar, if desired

If dipping the marshmallows in chocolate, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave on 30 second intervals. Once melted, stir in the coconut oil. Dip a portion of each marshmallow into the chocolate and place them on a sheet of wax/parchment paper. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top, if desired. Let sit for about 30 minutes to set before serving.  

SOURCE: How Sweet It Is

Saturday
Jan032015

Dark and Stormy Chocolate Cake

Dark and Stormy Cake

Happy 2015! I’m ringing in the new year with a delicious cocktail-inspired dessert! Joel and I discovered Dark and Stormy cocktails on our trip to Newport, RI and haven’t been able to get enough of them since. While the drinks remind me of summer, they really are delicious all year round. We hosted Christmas dinner at our house, and since I chose the meal, Joel chose a dessert from a cookbook we have. I should have guessed that he would pick this cake. Perhaps he was nostalgic for the warm ocean breeze or maybe he just wanted an excuse to have rum in his dessert, but either way, it was the perfect way to end a Christmas meal!

For the Cake:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Molasses
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/4 cups Flour
4 1/2 teaspoons Fresh Ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cloves 
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Dark Rum
2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Lime Zest
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
4 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, molasses, and oil. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix to combine. Add water, rum, eggs, lime zest, and baking soda. Fold in the chocolate. Pour the batter into a 9-inch round cake pan that has been buttered/sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack, then remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely.  

For the Frosting:
8 ounces Dark Chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon Vanilla
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 packages (8 ounces each) Cream Cheese

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each). In a bowl, cream the butter and vanilla with the powdered sugar. Add the cream cheese and melted chocolate and combine until smooth. Pipe or spread on cake. Depending on how much frosting you like, you will have leftovers. Store in the fridge.

SOURCE: Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook 

Sunday
Nov162014

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt Cake

Sour Cream Chocolate Bundt

My college girlfriends and I like to get together every few months to catch up. While I am lucky enough to have a job where I work with one of them, we all don’t see each other as often as we would like. Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes. But, we were able to carve out a little time last night to meet up at my friend Jessica’s house for dinner. She has 2 little kids and it was fun to see them running around and having a good time. Of course, my friend Jenelle brought her 4 month old baby too, who we enjoyed passing around between all of us. Jess made lasagna, and we all brought the rest of the food to make a full meal. I volunteered to bring dessert. Chocolate is a safe bet so I started searching for a cake to make. I found one on my friend Amy’s Pinterest board, which was perfect because I knew she’d be there craving something chocolatey. While this bundt cake had several steps to it, and took quite a while to bake (I killed the time by listening to the Serial podcast, which I am obsessed with), the results were outstanding! The cake took a little longer than planned to cook, so it came out of the oven just as I had to leave. I inverted the pan onto my travel carrier and the cake plopped right out. I whipped up the ganache, but waited to pour it until after I got to her house, so that it wouldn’t leak out of the carrier onto my car floor mats. After dinner, we cut into the cake, which was still slightly warm. We all loved it, especially Jessica’s husband, who said that most chocolate cakes he’s had have been dry and this one was the complete opposite. Must have been the sour cream! Anyway, next time I’m in need of a slightly fancier chocolate cake, I’ll turn to this recipe because it certainly is a winner!

For the Cake
1 cup Cocoa Powder, plus more for dusting the pan
7 1/2 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup Boiling Water
2 1/4 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/4 teaspoons Kosher Salt
20 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature (2 1/2 sticks)
2 1/2 cups Light Brown Sugar, firmly packed
5 Eggs
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt cake pan and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the chopped chocolate. Add the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth; set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce speed to low and add the brown sugar until blended. Increase the speed back to medium and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated, then add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture a little at a time, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. When the mixture is well blended and no lumps remain, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, about 60-65 minutes (mine took almost 75). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool before inverting it onto a serving tray and removing the pan. 

For the Ganache
6 ounces Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Place the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a boil. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter. Whisk until the mixture is melted and smooth. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down he sides. Let the cake stand for about 15 minutes, until the ganache has set. *Ganache can be made ahead of time and reheated to regain a pourable consistency. I nuked it for about 20 seconds in the microwave. 

SOURCE: Lick The Bowl Good