French Silk Pie

IMG_6076Yum yum yum.

Spring is here, and when I think of spring desserts, I think PIE.

I haven’t made pie since the holidays (pumpkin and pecan), but I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE French Silk Pie and I had never attempted one of my own before so here we are.

This pie recipe turned out just like what you can buy at a restaurant, it was delicious.

Creamy with rich flavor, it set up nice, and I wished there was more. I also wish I had more pictures, but these will do. Please share your own if you make this recipe!

I found the recipe on Taste of Home’s website here. The recipe follows with some of my minor tweaks.

French Silk Pie

Prep: 40 minutes     Bake: 10 minutes     Chill: 6 hours     Yield: 8 servings

IngredientsIMG_6059

  • 1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
  • Whipped cream and chocolate curls, optional

Directions

French silk pie filling.

French silk pie filling.

  1. Put refrigerated pie pastry in pie pan. Flute edges.
  2. Line shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes. Remove foil; bake 2 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. *I would have loved to have added pie weights to prevent bubbling, however I did not have this! You can poke tiny holes in the bottom to alleviate some of the bubbling before baking.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and eggs until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Cool to lukewarm (90°), stirring occasionally.
  4. In a small bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add cooled chocolate mixture; beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  5. In another large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.
  6. Pour into crust. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Enjoy!

Advertisements

Homemade TWIX Bars

IMG_6028Need I say more?

My staff and I had a VERY challenging week at the ol’ preschool, so I was looking for the perfect sweet treat to get us through our Friday, AND to show my appreciation for them coming back to fight another day!

It’s a tough job guys, really it is. I would REALLY lose my mind without my paraprofessionals.

I needed CHOCOLATE, and had seen homemade Twix bars before and could not get them out of my mind.

I came across a fabulous blog called High Heels & Grills whose recipe for Homemade Twix Bars seemed just perfect, so I gave it ago.

Let me tell you it IS pretty dang perfect.

My staff ate these up (and so did I), and they even took some home to share with their families!

I will definitely make these again, they were simple and really hit the spot.

Here is the recipe as it was posted, my notes will follow.

Homemade Twix Bars

Prep: 15 minutes     Bake: 35 minutes    Inactive: 2 hours     Total: 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

The dough, poked with a fork, ready for the oven!

The dough, poked with a fork, ready for the oven!

  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 3 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable shortening (Optional)

Directions

Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degree Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a 9×13 in pan with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Add the flour – at first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together quickly.
  5. Take the dough and press it evenly into the pan.
  6. Prick the crust all over with a fork – allowing steam to escape so the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles.
  7. Bake until lightly golden brown on top and edges – about 30-35 minuts.
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set aside to cool completely.
Caramel Layer

My layers are poured, ready to go in the refrigerator to set!

My layers are poured, ready to go in the refrigerator to set!

  1. Melt the caramel and cream in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up.
Chocolate Layer
  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave using ten second increments – stirring every time.
  2. If the chocolate seems too thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it.
  3. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread until it covers the entire surface.
  4. Return to the refrigerator until the chocolate is well set.
  5. Cut and serve.

My bake time for the crust was slightly longer, but I find that to be true on most recipes, so it may just be my oven.

I did NOT need to use shortening in my chocolate, it was thin enough to pour and spread. I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips.

I would remove the Homemade Twix Bars from the refrigerator for at least one hour prior to cutting. I kept mine in the refrigerator overnight, then tried to cut and ended up cracking the chocolate and making a bit of a mess! Softening the chocolate may help this.

You can also cut the crust and caramel layer and dip in the chocolate to resemble an actual Twix bar more closely!

IMG_6026

Enjoy!

 

Irish BOOZE Cake

SAM_0491

I know, I am a little behind in posting this delectable Irish treat, but better late than never!

Especially when it comes to this irresistibly rich and perfectly boozy dessert!

My dad brewed his own Irish Stout for St. Patrick’s Day, so of course I wanted to incorporate it in to the traditional family meal of corned beef and cabbage somehow, and what better way than mixed with chocolate in a cake!

I came across a food blog called Food Babbles which posted this amazing Irish Car Bomb cake recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, and it was just too perfect to pass up!

SAM_0477

Jameson with my whiskey ganache.

 

It has all of the elements of the Irish Car Bomb beverage:

Irish Stout beer, Jameson Irish whiskey, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Isn’t the point of St. Patty’s day to get your drink on? This cake is the perfect compliment to whatever you find yourself sipping on.

Irish BOOZE Cake

Ingredients

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Irish stout and butter with cocoa.

Cake

  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness, I used my dad’s home brewed Irish Stout)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Ganache

Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
Chopped chocolate for the ganache.
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson and at least doubled the recipe- add to taste)

Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8″ cake pans with parchment circles on bottom. (I also sprayed with nonstick spray)
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Cool slightly.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend.
  4. Add the stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the two cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake until tester inserted in center come out clean, about 10 minutes longer. Cool completely on rack.

Ganache

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

  1. Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then stir until smooth.
  2. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let cool to room temperature and until thickened a bit.

Frosting

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Fresh from the oven!

Fresh from the oven!

SAM_0489

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting!

IMG_5973

Oh my goodness.

I have not posted in nearly a week, and I am NOT happy with myself about that!

However… I do have good reason: I interviewed for a special education preschool position last Monday, started Thursday, and am still trying to wrap my head around my new students, classroom, curriculum, staff, and school!

I TEACH PRESCHOOL NOW.

Hilarious. We sing a lot of songs. Like A LOT.

I wanted to get back to my baking basics and make something that can show my appreciation to my support staff for being so amazing this week, so I decided to gift them some thank you cupcakes! I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

I decided to follow Martha Stewart’s recipe for her Chocolate Cupcakes, and Savory Sweet Life’s recipe for Classic Buttercream Frosting.

The cupcakes themselves are dense and intensely rich little nuggets. The consistency is between a brownie and a cake as these babies are moist but heavy. They are also somewhat bitter so the buttercream frosting helps balance the flavor.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Prep: 30 minutes     Bake: 20-25 minutes     Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
  3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then finish with buttercream frosting!

Classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Prep: 5 minutes     Yield: 2.5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!) Ideal texture should be like ice cream.
  • 3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Directions

  1. Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk 1 tablespoons at a time.

IMG_5971

Enjoy!

Chocolate STOUT Cake

SAM_0436

Happy 24th Birthday to my little sister!

She has been a little depressed about this birthday, moping around the house, saying things like “I can’t believe I’m so old”, “it’s all downhill from here”, “look at my grey hairs” etc.

I wanted to surprise her today with a very special cake, one that combines the celebration of her birthday with her love of stout beer. (A love we don’t share)

SAM_0432

Mission accomplished. It was almost too obvious, right?

Chocolate STOUT Cake!

I found this recipe on http://www.epicurious.com that was originally published in Bon Appetit by Barrington Brewery, MA in 2002. I used the Chocolate Bunny Stout from Rhinelander Brewing Co. instead of Guinness! YUM.

Chocolate STOUT Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream

Icing

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • * I added 1 single-serve pack of Starbucks Via instant coffee

Directions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
    Butter and beer.
    Butter and beer.
  2. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

Icing

  1. Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate (and instant coffee) and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.
  2. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.
Cooling cakes

Cooling cakes

The cake looked and smelled beautiful throughout the creating process. However, after reading some of the responses to the original recipe posting, I decided to let the cakes cool almost completely in the pans before transferring them to a wire rack. MY CAKES STILL STUCK! The parchment on the bottom of the cake pans is a MUST! I had a nightmare trying to frost the cakes back together. Also, the three tiered cake was a little tall, when making this recipe again I will either do 2 cakes or a bundt cake.

SAM_0434
Enjoy!

Chocolate Chippers – A Sugarless Cookie

SAM_0394

A sugarless cookie? Now you have my attention!

I found this recipe in the same magazine that gave me my beloved Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake that I posted earlier this week. It was the Better Homes and Gardens Best-Loved Reader Recipes issue (2012). Chocolate Chipper Cookies (p. 144) are the cover star! How could I resist?

This recipe was submitted in 1947 and uses corn syrup instead of sugar. The corn syrup makes these cookies a crisp version of the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie. 

If you love a crispy crunchy yummy cookie, this is definitely for you! These little gems are just delicious! Oh, and did I mention they’re super easy to make?

Chocolate Chippers

Prep: 30 minutes     Bake: 15 minutes    Yield: 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup shortening
  • ¾ cup light-color corn syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
    Fresh out of the oven
    Fresh out of the oven
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate baking pieces
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add corn syrup, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate and nuts.
  2. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are just light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks.
YUM

YUM

Enjoy! 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

SAM_0363

Home for Sunday dinner and it feels so good.

I graduated with my Masters in December, cannot find a job, and Wills left me for the Canadian Wilderness for over a week… naturally I came home to wallow in my boredom with my family… and bake.

One of the best things about being at home is Sunday dinner when my Grandma Ruby comes over and we spend the day preparing something delicious. My part in this feast is typically dessert, and this week is no different.

My brother requested cheesecake and I have been craving something rich with chocolate so naturally when I found the recipe for a ‘Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake’ (p. 127) in the Better Homes and Gardens Best-Loved Reader Recipes magazine (2012), I almost jumped for joy- like literally!

The perfect marriage of everything I love!

Decadent Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Prep: 40 minutes   Bake: 45 minutes   Cool: 45 minutes   Chill: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed chocolate graham cracker squares
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

    Just out of the oven!

    Just out of the oven!

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. For crust, in a small bowl combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press mixture evenly onto bottom and 1 inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl beat one package of cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in peanut butter and ¼ cup sugar until combined. Fold in one egg; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan cook and stir chocolate pieces over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Cub the remaining cream cheese; stir into melted chocolate until smooth. Stir in milk and vanilla. Fold in two eggs. Spread half of the chocolate mixture over crust. Spoon peanut butter mixture over chocolate layer; gently spread to cover. Spread the remaining chocolate mixture over peanut butter layer.
  4. Bake about 45 minutes or until top is set when gently shaken. The outer 2 inches of the top will be slightly puffed and dry-looking; the center will look darker and wet.
  5. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a small sharp knife, loosen crust from sides of pan; cool for 30 minutes. Remove sides of springform pan; cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with peanuts*.

* I cut up Reese’s eggs and sprinkled them over the top instead of peanuts

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake...mmm...Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cheesecake…mmm…

Enjoy!