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Entries in Dessert (32)

Sunday
Dec152013

Christmas Crack

Christmas crack

Making Christmas cookies was always a family affair in my house growing up. We had a small kitchen, but every year, without fail, my parents would set up the round card table so that there was barely enough room to move, and that served as our work station. My brother and I would help make traditional cut-outs, chocolate chip, peanut butter blossoms, peanut butter chip, oatmeal, m&m cookies, and the list went on and on. There were a few other treats that we made that weren’t quite cookies, too, like 7 layer bars, peanut butter and jelly bars, and a Club cracker toffee. I vividly remember helping to make all of those treats and really enjoyed it. Perhaps that is where my love for baking began. Anyway, over the years, my mom has cut her baking list down considerably and the Club cracker toffee faded away. Until now, sort of. I ran across a recipe that was very similar, except replacing the buttery Club crackers with saltines. The saltiness from the crackers pairs so well with the sweetness from the toffee and chocolate. This super fast and easy treat is deliciously addictive, which is probably how it got its name! 

Approximately 50 Saltine Crackers (1.5 sleeves)
2 Sticks of Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Chocolate Chips
1 cup M&M's

Line a 9x13 jelly roll pan with foil, then spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with the crackers and set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat the butter and sugar over medium-low heat, stirring until the butter has melted. Once melted, bring the mixture to a boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Working quickly, pour the hot mixture over the crackers and spread with a spatula as best as you can. Place the pan into a 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes. The mixture will spread a bit as it bakes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. When the chocolate chips start to melt, spread them over the toffee with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with M&M’s and place the pan in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden. Once the chocolate has hardened, peel the crackers off the foil and break into pieces. Store in a container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE: I Heart Nap Time

Wednesday
Nov272013

Salted Caramel Cashew Bark 

Salted caramel cashew bark

We are big fans of dark chocolate. There is almost always some kind of dark chocolate bar in our pantry, just waiting to be shared as an after dinner treat. Sometimes it’s plain, sometimes it’s flavored with chili pepper, nuts, or sea salt, but no matter what, it is savored and enjoyed. Sure, we’ve had some bad flavor combinations in the past, and sometimes the flavors that the store has don’t sound appealing, but it has never crossed my mind to make my own until I saw this post! Life changing, I tell you! How can you go wrong with sea salt, caramel, cashews, and dark chocolate? The answer is, you can’t! This bark took no time at all to put together…and no time to disappear! I can’t wait to play around with this recipe and see how many other flavor combinations I can come up with!

12 ounces Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used dark chocolate chips)
1/2 cup Cashews
1/4 cup Caramel Sauce, at room temperature (I used caramel ice cream sauce)
1-2 teaspoons Flaky Salt 

Line an 8” or 9" pan or a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop over a pan of simmering water. (I microwaved the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until the chocolate was smooth and melted). Meanwhile, toast the cashews in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant. When the chocolate is melted, pour it onto the prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to smooth it out. Drop spoonfuls of the caramel onto the chocolate and swirl with a skewer. Sprinkle the cashews over the chocolate and then top with the salt. Refrigerate until set, then cut or break the bark into pieces and serve. 

SOURCE: Cook Like a Champion, via A Southern Fairytale

Thursday
Aug082013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Cookie dough truffles

Since Joel sails on Wednesdays, I try to plan things for those nights that he would not like to do; things like crafty "pinterest party" girl-time with my friends. This week, I invited two very crafty girlfriends over, told them to bring the supplies they needed to make a craft they've been wanting to make, and I supplied some snacks and drinks. For the dessert portion of our snacks, I chose to make these little bites of cookie dough. Not that it's ever stopped me before, but this dough is eggless and therefore its safe to eat raw. Delicious enough on its own, once it's drizzled with melted milk chocolate, these are little bites of heaven! 

1/2 cup Butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/4 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

For the Chocolate Coating:
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/2 teaspoon Vegetable Oil

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk and vanilla, then add the flour and salt, mixing on low speed until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon. Refrigerate the bowl of dough for about 30 minutes, or until slightly firm. Roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Place the baking sheet into the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Stir together the chocolate chips and oil in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and return to the microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir until the remaining chips have melted and the chocolate is smooth. Dip each dough ball into the bowl of chocolate to coat, or drizzle the chocolate over the top of the balls. Place the baking sheet back into the refrigerator to set. Refrigerate the truffles in an airtight container for up to one week.

SOURCE: The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook, via Bakerella

 

CraftsAlaina made bangle bracelets, Liz made a folded heart picture, and I made beer coasters!

Tuesday
Jul022013

Easy Cherry Tart

Cherry tart

To celebrate the end of the school year, my friend Lynn wanted to host a small get-together for a group of friends at work, including a friend that retired last year. She opted for an appetizer/dessert party rather than a full dinner, to keep things casual. When I asked her what I could bring, she responded by saying that she knew I enjoyed cooking and baking, so to make something new-to-me that I've been eyeing up, and let them be the guinea pigs. You won't hear me complain when my friends are just as eager as I am to try something different! I started searching and noticed a recipe that showed up in a few different places. I had pinned this recipe on my Sweet Treats board, and I had also bookmarked it in my reader. To make things even better, Joel and I just bought a quart of fresh cherries from the farmer's market on Saturday and I had a puff pastry waiting to be used in the freezer. It was as if this recipe was destined to be the one I made. Once it was made, it was devoured. It took me everything I had not to dig in before heading out the door to Lynn's house. While this is a great dessert, I could totally justify eating this for breakfast, too!

1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Powdered Sugar
3 cups Cherries, pitted and halved

Lay the thawed puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface and gently roll it out to an even thickness, using a rolling pin. Transfer the puff pastry to a baking sheet and score a very thin border around the outside using a knife. Then, use a fork to prick several holes in the middle of the pastry, to minimize inflation during baking. Bake the pastry at 400 degrees according to package directions until it begins to puff and turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, and continue beating on medium-low speed until smooth. Add more powdered sugar to thicken, if necessary. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the cooled puff pastry. Sprinkle the top with the cherry halves, slice, and serve. 

SOURCE: Imperial Sugar, via Gimme Some Oven

 

Monday
Jul012013

Coconut Rhubarb Mess

Rhubarb mess

After taking a few challenges off, I'm back to posting with First on the First. This month, the assignment was Eton Mess, a traditional English dessert consisting of strawberries, meringue, and cream. It has been said that this dessert is served at Eton College's annual cricket game against Harrow School. I had heard of Eton mess before the challenge, but never cared much to look closely at the recipe or make it myself. When it was assigned, I started to think about how I could put my own twist on the recipe. My brother and sister-in-law have a giant rhubarb plant consuming much of their garden. I stopped by one afternoon and picked some stalks to help them get rid of it, and for nostalgia sake, since my grandparents always grew rhubarb. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the rhubarb at first. It sat in a glass on my counter waiting to be used. When the assignment for Eton mess was given, I searched Pinterest for a recipe. As luck would have it, one of the first recipes I came across was for this rhubarb mess. Perfect! While the meringues took a bit of time to cook, the rest of the recipe came together quickly. As you might be able to tell from the picture, I had a bit of difficulty with the coconut whipped cream, so I used the liquified "whipped cream" as a sauce instead. Even though Joel passed on the offer for this dessert, I enjoyed it very much!  

For the Meringues:
4 Egg Whites
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Powdered Sugar 

Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and allow them to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Add the vanilla and the salt, then beat on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until the sugar has dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form, then fold in the powdered sugar. Carefully spoon the meringue onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 225 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Turn the oven off; leave the meringues in the oven for about 1 1/2 more hours, leaving the oven door closed. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheet. Makes about 3 dozen 1.5 inch cookies.

For the Rhubarb:
3 Rhubarb Stems, chopped
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 

Mix the ingredients together in a baking dish and stir to coat evenly. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. Remove from the oven and let the rhubarb cool slightly. 

For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 can Full Fat Coconut Milk
3 tablespoons Powdered Sugar 

About 2 hours before serving, place the can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill. Remove the can from the fridge and scoop the solid cream from the top of the can into a medium sized bowl. Stir in the powdered sugar and whisk the cream until light and fluffy. Use immediately. **NOTE: Most cans of coconut milk that I have seen tend to be upside down--meaning that in order to open the can, you have to turn the can upside down from the way that the label is. I did not think that far in advance, and therefore, ended up with the whole can of coconut milk instead of the hardened cream on the top. Keep that in mind if you plan to make this whipped cream. I did try to whip up the contents of the can of coconut milk, along with the powdered sugar, but I was unsuccessful, and was left with a liquid instead. 

To Assemble the Dessert:
Spoon some of the rhubarb into the bottom of a glass dish. Add some crumbled meringue and a spoonful of coconut cream. Repeat. Top with toasted coconut, if desired. 

SOURCE: Life Love Food, Meringues from Taste of Home

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