Category Archives: Desserts

Cheesecake Filled Strawberries…Covered in Chocolate!

I recently had some guests over for dinner. I’m planning on sharing each of the recipes with you from the appetizer to dessert, but guess what? I’m starting with dessert!

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I made chocolate covered strawberries filled with cheesecake! These are no bake (no egg in the filling) and the only time consuming part is hulling out the strawberries. Here’s a little how-to from about.com. The only difference is that you’re going to cut out just a little bit more of the center to fit more filling! Now, I love gadgets but a strawberry huller is something I don’t see the point in buying, but if you have one, use that!

Once you rinse and hull your strawberries it’s super easy to complete. I’d say don’t prepare these more than a day in advance, because once you wash berries, their life on this earth is limited! You can always hull them BEFORE washing about a day before, and make the filling the day before and leave it in a ziploc bag. Then when you need to prepare them, wash, fill, and dip in chocolate.

Now, you don’t have to dip these in chocolate. They would be delicious without it, if you’re a strawberry purist!

The beauty of this recipe is that it can easily be doubled for entertaining at a party (just have a buddy to help you hull!).

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Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Filled Strawberries
(Makes about 20ish strawberries)

1 lb. fresh strawberries
1 8 oz. package of Neufchatel cheese (reduced fat cream cheese) or regular cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 – 1/3 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. semi-sweet, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate chips
1 regular graham cracker

Wash and hull out your strawberries, throwing out the ones that aren’t a pretty, vibrant red. If they have mushy bad spots, don’t use them!

If you’re preparing your strawberries a day in advance, just hull out the strawberries and wash before filling.

In a stand mixer or using an electric mixture, beat your cream cheese on medium speed for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is fluffy and smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and beat until combined. I say 1/4-1/3 cup sugar because if you want them a little sweeter, add some more!

Spoon mixture into a large ziploc bag (Tip: Put the ziploc bag into a drinking glass with one of the corners pushed down to the bottom of the glass. This allows you to easily fill with the mixture and puts it right to the corner.) With the bag open, squeeze the filling to the corner of the bag and let the air out. If you’re using this the next day, zip up the bag. If using right away, don’t worry about it. Snip off about 1/2″ of the corner of the bag.

Now, grab a strawberry. Put the tip into the center of the strawberry and squeeze from the top of the filling in the bag. Fill the strawberry until a little bit of the filling is coming out of the strawberry. Repeat until all the strawberries are filled.

In a microwave safe bowl, put your chocolate chips. Microwave in 30 second intervals until the chips soften (probably about 1 minute total), stirring between shifts. Once the chips are softened, stir until they’re a uniform melted goodness.

Grab your filled strawberries. Using tongs or your fingers dip strawberries into chocolate and lay onto a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until the strawberries are covered.

Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 1-2 hours.

Crush up a graham cracker in a ziploc bag using the bottom of the glass. Pour onto a small plate. Dip the exposed cheesecake end of the strawberries into the crushed graham cracker, placing them onto your serving tray. Repeat until done. Sprinkle with remaining graham crackers. Refrigerate until you’re ready to use them!

Enjoy :)

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Happy 100th To Me :)

It’s my 100th post! Hooray!

Thanks to everyone that has supported me, tried out my recipes, started following me, etc. etc. It means so much to me that you guys are enjoying my recipes and blog! Hope you’ve learned a thing or two, and found at least a few new favorite recipes along the way :)

I had a lot of recipes in front of this one to be posted, but what’s more appropriate for a celebration than a little cake pie? Not just any ordinary pie. Peanut Butter Mousse Pie! Yum.

The original recipe is from bon appetit. I changed a couple things, added a couple things, and as I don’t have a pie plate (I know, I know) I used a spring form pan (think cheesecake pan). I didn’t think it was enough graham cracker crust to go around a pie plate anyway! So it worked out perfectly. The fun surprise is that between the peanut butter mousse and graham cracker crust is … *drum roll please* a thick and luscious layer of chocolate!

So please make this soon. I promise it’s easy. It can be made a day in advance (I actually made the crust and chocolate layer two days in advance and did the mousse layer the night before) for your convenience.

Yes, I also realize this isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. BUT like my Salted Caramel Pretzel Tart, it’s best for special occasions :)

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Peanut Butter Mousse Pie
(Serves 8-10…depending how you slice it)

For the Crust:

7 graham crackers, coarsely broken
1/2 stick butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar

For the Chocolate Layer:

1 1/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:

1 c. peanut butter chips
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream plus 1 c. for whipping
2 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. sugar

For Garnish (optional):

1/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c. peanut butter chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray the bottom of a spring form pan with cooking spray.

Combine graham crackers, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until the crust is fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine chocolate chips, whipping cream, honey and vanilla in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals on high until the chocolate softens (shouldn’t take more than 1-2 minutes total). Then stir until the mixture resembles a smooth glossy sauce. Pour over crust and spread out evenly. Freeze for 10 minutes if using right away or refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours.

To make the mousse, combine peanut butter chips, and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in the microwave at 30 second intervals (should only take about a minute total) until the chips soften. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in peanut butter and vanilla. Cool until lukewarm.

While the chips are cooling, beat 1 cup of cream with an electric mixer with 2 tablespoons of sugar until soft peaks form (if you take the whisk attachment and stick it in the cream and flip it over, the peak top will fold over a bit; stiff peaks hold their shape). In three additions, carefully fold the peanut butter mixture into the cream. Spoon mousse over chocolate/crust and spread out until even. Chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours in the fridge.

To garnish (optional), melt the chips in separate bowls in the microwave, about 30 seconds. When they soften, stir to create a smooth mixture. Dip a fork slightly in the mixture and splatter on the top! Repeat until you like the look of it. (I bet kids would like this step!) Serve and enjoy!

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Car Bombs for Dessert

I got this recipe from a fellow Komen volunteer a couple years back, now they are all over the place on foodgawker for St. Patrick’s day and the aftermath.

When I originally made them, I made regular sized cupcakes. I quickly found out I could only eat a quarter, maybe even a half, because they were so rich! These cupcakes are a Guinness chocolate cupcake with an Irish whiskey ganache center topped with Bailey’s spiked frosting.

Decadent, yes?

So this year I made them in mini form! While they were slightly more time consuming to pop the centers out to fill, the results were more worth it. The cupcakes were deliciously moist, and the leftovers are still super moist, even today!

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It made about 5 dozen mini cupcakes! I brought some to work on St. Patrick’s day and made Tim take a bunch to football. Everyone absolutely loved them!

Feel free to dye the frosting Irish colors if you’d like. I just got lazy cause I worked almost every day last week! I just topped mine with some orange and green sprinkles I had around.

For the alcohol in the recipe, if you don’t think you’ll drink a whole bottle of whiskey or Bailey’s eventually, buy the nips!

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Tip: Anytime you’re changing a recipe from normal muffin/cupcake size to mini (which I often do!) decrease the baking temperature to 325 and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Mini Car Bomb Cupcakes
(Makes about 5 dozen)

For the cupckes:

1 cup Guinness (drink the rest while they bake…)
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 OR plain non-fat Greek yogurt (I substituted that this time and they were great!)

For the Whiskey Ganache:

8 oz. (about 1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. Jameson

For the Bailey’s Buttercream:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
~ 4 c. confectioner’s sugar
3-4 tbsp. Bailey’s

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line mini muffin tins with cupcake liners of your choice.

In a small saucepan, heat the cup of Guinness and 1 cup of butter to a simmer over medium heat. Then remove from heat and add 3/4 cup cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. The mixture gets deliciously thick! Cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a stand mixer or another bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the eggs and sour cream or Greek yogurt until smooth. Slowly add the beer/chocolate mixture into the bowl and stir until mixed well. Then, gradually add the flour mixture on low speed until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners about halfway – about a tablespoon of batter. Bake for about 15 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Pop them out onto a plate and continue along baking the rest of the cupcakes.

While the cupcakes cool, you can make the ganache. I found an easy was to make it – no double boiler necessary! Put the heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl. Nuke for about 2-2.5 minutes until the cream starts to bubble. At this point immediately add the chocolate chips. Keep mixing until the chocolate is a uniform looking sauce. I promise, it will eventually come together even though it looks odd at first! Add the whiskey. Stir to combine. Cool slightly.

When the cupcakes have cooled, time to hull out the center a bit. I took the tip of a paring knife and put it at a 45 degree or so angle halfway in between the center and edge. Keeping the knife at an angle, run the knife in a circle and the center should pop out. It sounds more complicated than it is. Basically you just want to get a little of the center out, without going all the way down to the bottom of the cupcake or breaching the sides.

Fill the center with ganache until it reaches the top. Repeat until you’re finished. If the ganache settles a bit into the cupcake, I just popped the top of the cupcake back on!

To make the frosting, put your room temperature butter into a mixing bowl. Whip on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar. When you’ve added about 3.5 cups, add the Bailey’s. Test taste it. If you want more Bailey’s, add some more. At this point, you can add more sugar so the frosting becomes more stiff.

Place into a piping bag with a tip or ziploc bag. I used a ziploc bag and cut about 1 cm of the corner off. My cupcakes look like they have a little wave to them because the corner didn’t cut off cleanly and I ripped it the rest of the way off. I kind of like the effect it made :)

Top your cupcakes however you want with the frosting and decorate with sprinkles if you desire.

Enjoy!

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Mini Key Lime Pies

So there was actually quite a few recipes I had planned to post before this one since I just made them Saturday! But I’ve had a couple of requests for the recipe, so I let it jump the line.

I made these mini key lime bites for a surprise party on Saturday – they were a hit! Now I’ve said before I’m not a great baker (I hate to measure), but these were so easy to make. Anytime I bake a dessert I get nervous, so when people give me a lot of compliments it’s definitely a win for me!

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Did I use key limes for this? No, I didn’t. Have you ever seen key limes? The thought of zesting and juicing about 10 of those little guys just didn’t do it for me.

I found the original recipe on foodgawker here. I’m only making a couple changes based on how the recipe went for me. I’m decreasing the amount of graham cracker sheers from 18 to 14 (there was a TON of leftover!) so I’m also decreasing the amount of butter and sugar.

I also made my own concoction for the whipped cream topping – I used the zest of a couple of my limes and some honey to sweeten it. YUM!

While these take minutes to whip up, it’s the baking that is slightly time consuming. You have to wait for the crusts to cool before filling them. I popped mine in the freezer for about 10 minutes to speed the process along because I only had 2 mini muffin tins and you need 3 to complete these in one shot.

So please make this soon! They’re super impressive and delicious!

Mini Key Lime Pies
(Makes 3 dozen)

For the crust:

14 sheets of graham crackers (I used low fat)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. sugar

For the filling:

4 egg yolks
Zest of 2 limes
1/2 c. lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

For the whipped cream:

1 c. heavy cream
Zest of 2 limes
2 tbsp. honey

Optional toppings: Toasted coconut, sugared lime pieces

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

You know those 4 limes you’re going to juice for the filling? Zest them all first. Divide in half.

In a mixing bowl, whip together the yolks and half of your lime zest for about a minute. Then add the lime juice and sweetened condensed milk. Mix well for about 1-2 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a blender or a food processor, crush graham crackers until fine. Mix in the melted butter and sugar.

Grease 3 mini muffin tins with cooking spray. Put a spoonful of graham cracker mixture into each hole. It should come right up to the top.

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Then press around with your fingers to create the crust. Press down firmly and push up the sides.

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Bake for about 10 minutes until the crusts are lightly browned and fragrant.

Cool at room temperature or if you’re impatient like me, pop in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

Now it’s time to fill! Put the muffin tins on a baking sheet (it makes it easier to transfer). Fill each hole with about a tablespoon of filling. It should reach almost to the top. (Note: still have left over graham cracker mixture? Save it to top the bites with it after the whipped cream)

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Put the muffin tins in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. The filling should be set and just slightly jiggly. Allow to cool COMPLETELY before trying to get them out. Again, you can pop in the freezer (or refrigerator) until they’re cool to touch.

When you’re ready to get them out, run a paring knife along the edges of each key lime bite. Gently slide a spoon or the edge of the knife under an edge of the bite, and slip out. It’s ok if some graham cracker doesn’t make it! Check out what happens when you don’t push down firmly enough.

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But hey, that one still tasted good!

To make the whipped cream before serving, pop your metal mixing bowl along with the whisk or whisk attachment into the freezer for about 10 minutes. See how awesomely cold it is? It helps the whip cream beat up faster!

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Add in your 1 cup of cream. Beat until you have soft peaks. Then add the honey and your remaining lime zest. Beat until you have stiff peaks. Stiff peaks are when you put the whisk in the whipped cream, pull it out, turn it over and the peak stays up in the air. Soft peaks, the peak would just gently curl over. Just don’t beat it past the stiff peak phase – we’re not trying to make butter :)

To top the key lime bites, you can spread whipped cream around with a spoon, or just put the cream in a ziploc bag and cut about 1/4″ off the corner. Use a swirl motion while pressing on the bag. Sprinkle with leftover graham cracker if desired. Top with toasted coconut and/or sugared lime slices.

Sugared Lime Slices

6 lime slices, sliced very thin
1/4 c. sugar

Cut up your lime very thin. Like this.

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Then slice into 8 pieces like a pizza.

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Dry with a paper towel. Toss with sugar. Spread them out separately and let them sit for about an hour (they’ll kind of liquefy and turn slightly gummy – they’re delish).

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Chocolate for Breakfast

Yep. Now this isn’t something I do often. But I thought it would be appropriate to make these Valentine’s Day morning!

I found the original recipe on foodgawker, of course. I tweaked the ingredients based on what I had, and added some dark chocolate chips to make it even MORE chocolatey! I also doubled the recipe because I was making them for two :)

I guarantee if you have kids, they’ll love these for breakfast! And they’re not super unhealthy, in fact, you get to sneak in some whole grains in a low fat, decadent breakfast.

My pancakes were topped with light whipped cream, but you could also use powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, or peanut butter. Go nuts!

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Chocolate Pancakes
(Makes about 8-10 3″ pancakes)

1/2 c. spelt, whole wheat or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. dutch cocoa powder
2 tbsp. honey (or 1 1/2 packets stevia)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. applesauce or oil (I used regular olive oil – no extra virgin here!)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. milk of choice (minus 1 tbsp)
1/3 c. dark chocolate chips
Optional toppings: whipped cream, powdered sugar, peanut butter, syrup, chocolate syrup, butter, etc.

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. When water sprinkled onto the pan bubbles, it’s ready to go!

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl. Combine wet into dry until just mixed then fold in chocolate chips.

Spray the pan with cooking spray just before use. Turn the pan down to medium heat. Use about 1/4 c. batter for each pancake. They’re ready to flip when the edges bubble and start to look dry. The second side only needs a minute or two!

Serve immediately, or keep warm in the oven until ready to use.

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Lava Cake For One?

I definitely have a sweet tooth, mostly a craving for chocolate. I’ve seen mug cake recipes on foodgawker, but they seem to all have that rubbery texture because, after all, it’s made in the microwave.

So I got super excited when I saw this recipe for molten lava cake for one! It’s SO delicious and it’s not too bad for you. Hooray!

The original recipe posted on girl who bakes clocks in at about 170 calories. Not too bad for a delicious, warm chocolatey cake!

I even doubled this once to make it for Tim and I. It still turned out great! Just divided it evenly into 2 separate ramekins.

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Molten Lava Cake for One
(Serves 1)

2 1/2 tbsp. all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar, or honey
1 heaping tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tbsp. milk (I used skim)
1 tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small 7 oz ramekin, or other small, glass ovenproof bowl with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Pour wet into dry and stir until just incorporated.

Pour into prepared dish. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until the sides are set and the top is just set. Mine took about 13 minutes.

Take out of the oven and let rest for a couple minutes. Put a plate over top and flip over to invert. Or just eat it straight out of the container! Top with whipped cream or powdered sugar, if desired.

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A Birthday Suprise for Two Little Girls!

It was two of Tim’s nieces birthdays over the past month, so his sister had a joint birthday get together for the family this past weekend. I decided to make a little something special for them: rainbow cupcakes!

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My friends made me a rainbow birthday cake back in college, and it was super fun and unique! I wanted to make it a little easier… I used boxed white cake mix. Shhh. But hey, you get to make them your own by making a delicious swiss meringue buttercream frosting! It’s super easy and it is DELISH.

I found the frosting recipe on Annie’s Eats. I figured with birthday cupcakes, it would be the perfect time to try such a delicious looking buttercream! I was right. It turned out great. The cupcakes were a huge hit.

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Now, don’t be too scared by this frosting, it really is easy to make and it’s so worth it. I found that the original recipe tasted too much like pure butter, so I added about 1 cup of powdered sugar. So you can use your judgment and add it if you want. Also, feel free to use your favorite flavorings instead of vanilla! Like your favorite flavored liquor or maybe some almond extract.

Put this over your favorite cake recipe if you don’t like boxed or don’t want rainbow cupcakes. I also used some pink and purple sprinkles for the girls’ favorite colors. You can omit them or top them with whatever tickles your tastebuds.

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Rainbow Cupcakes with Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
(Makes about 18 cupcakes)

For the Cupcakes:

1 box of white cake mix, and the ingredients to prepare it
Neon food coloring (I like the really bright colors it makes!)

For the Buttercream:

5 egg whites
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. of vanilla extract
1 c. of powdered sugar (or enough to your liking), optional

To make the cupcakes…

Preheat the oven according to package directions. Make the cake mix according to package directions.

Grease or line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Divide your cupcakes evenly into bowls. I used 4 different colors. Neon green, pink, purple, and blue. There’s a guide on the back of the food coloring box to making different colors. It’s adjusted for a whole package of cake mix, so I used 8 drops for the purple and blue batters, and 10 drops for the pink and green batters. Mix well.

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Using a tablespoon from my regular silverware, scoop one tablespoon of color into each cupcake liner. I started with green. Then go around with your second color, third, fourth etc. The colors won’t run together or anything, they stay separated!

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Bake according to package directions, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting. Look how rainbow-y they are!

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To make the buttercream…

Fill a medium saucepan 1/3-1/2 full of water. Bring to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on top of the simmering water. You do NOT want the water to touch the bowl, so make sure that doesn’t happen. Whisk the mixture frequently until it reaches 160 degrees, or until the sugar is dissolved and the whites are nice and glossy.

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Place the mixture into a stand mixer bowl and, using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until the mixture cools to room temperature and the whites turn into firm, stiff peaks, about 8 minutes.

At this point, add in your butter 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more after each addition. (Tip: Forget to take the butter out of the fridge? Pop in the microwave in the wrapper for about 30 seconds on a low power. Check it about every 10 seconds until it’s just starting to soften!)

Then add in your vanilla extract, and powdered sugar if desired. Mix until just incorporated.

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Spread on cooled cupcakes with a knife or pipe on with a ziploc bag with a corner clipped off with or without a pastry tip in.

Sprinkle on toppings if you’d like. Hope you like them!

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The Best Thing You’ll Ever Eat.

Hope you all are having a great holiday! Sorry for the lack of posts, things have been a bit crazy!

I hope I can make it up to you with this AMAZING dessert recipe. It is seriously the best thing I’ve ever eaten, if I do say so myself. I made it for Christmas dessert this year, hence why I splurged on a recipe that used a candy thermometer. I usually avoid them like the plague.

So what is this heavenly dessert? Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart with a Pretzel Crust.

Yep.

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Even with a candy thermometer, this recipe is seriously easy. I suggest you try it soon!

Foodgawker had a bunch of recipes for these tarts, but I thought making a pretzel crust would really complement the caramel and chocolate. It worked out great!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart
(Serves 12-16)

For the Crust:

3 c. of pretzel sticks
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

For the Caramel:

1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
6 tbsp. water
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
7 tbsp. whipping or heavy cream

For the Ganache:

4 oz. Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (I found about 3 handfuls worked well)
1/2 c. whipping or heavy cream

To make the crust…preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pretzels, brown sugar and melted butter into a food processor or blender. Blend until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Pour the mixture into a tart shell with a removable bottom. Press the mixture down with your fingers on the bottom and as much up the sides as you can. I had an 11″ tart shell, and the mixture went about halfway up the sides. Pop into the oven and bake until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

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To make the caramel…put the sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt into a saucepan. Whisk together. Cook over medium high heat without disturbing until the mixture is bubbling and a golden amber color, about 330 degrees on a candy thermometer.

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When it reaches this stage, take off the heat and whisk in the butter and heavy cream until a nice smooth caramel is made! Be careful though, it will bubble up. Pour into your cooled crust. Refrigerate overnight or about 4-6 hours until it’s set.

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To make the ganache…heat the cream on the stove until it starts to steam and bubble slightly around the edges. Pour over top of your chocolate chips in a bowl. Allow the hot cream to sit for a minute or two, then stir until you get a smooth delicious chocolate sauce.

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Pour over the set caramel. Allow to sit in the fridge for about 3-4 hours, until hardened.

Before serving, allow the tart to sit at room temperature for about a half hour. Garnish with fleur de sel and cut into small wedges, it’s really rich!

Happy new year everyone!

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Sweet and Salty Toffee

Well. This isn’t a cookie recipe but it falls along the same lines. It’s toffee made out of saltine crackers.

I’ve had the variety made with graham crackers, but there’s something that drew me to the saltines…most likely the salty-sweet combination that they would lend to the toffee.

I made it this morning, at about 7:30. I have a really difficult time sleeping in once I’m getting up at 6AM 4 days a week! So I thought why not make myself useful since I still have so much to do before Christmas.

I snuck a piece of it, and let me tell you, it’s delicious. The sweet-salty combo is oh-so-good. And like most of my recipes, very easy to make. The best part? You don’t even need a candy thermometer! Though, it is on my list of things to get because I’m making a salted caramel tart for Christmas dessert…. I know. I can’t wait, it sounds delicious. And more of that sweet and salty mix :)

It takes no time at all to whip this up, and with only 4 (maybe 5 ingredients if you so choose), it’s definitely a winner in my book!

Saltine Toffee
(Makes 1 sheet pan)

1 c. unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 c. brown sugar
About 40 saltines
12 oz. bag Ghiradelli’s semi-sweet chocolate chips (or another good quality chocolate)
¼ – ½ c. finely or coarsely chopped pecans, walnuts, etc. – whatever you want to top it with if you desire

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with a cooking spray. Line with an even layer of saltines.

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan on the stove on medium heat. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture over the saltines and spread to evenly coat. Pop in the oven for about 6-10 minutes (depending on your oven), until the toffee is bubbling.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for about 3-5 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and allow to melt. I popped mine back in the warm oven that I had turned off, for just a few minutes.

Spread the chocolate into an even layer. Add nuts or whatever topping you’d like at this time. Put in the fridge until hardened, about 1-2 hours.

Break into whatever sized pieces you want. I found they broke into cleaner pieces if i had the chocolate facing up and folded the sides downwards so the breaking area comes up…. hope that makes sense! Enjoy!

A Couple Names. One Great Taste!

Yes, I wanted to give you another cookie recipe for the holiday season! Some people know these as snowballs; I know them as Mexican wedding cake.

Delicious little balls of cookie that practically melt in your mouth. They are amazing. And super simple to make!

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They only use a few ingredients, which is good for those of you looking to save a little extra money around the holiday season.

You really don’t want to make these too big, a little smaller than a golf ball… Maybe more like the size of those large gumballs you see around.

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Also, wait about 5 minutes before rolling the warm cookies in the powdered sugar after baking. If you do it too soon the sugar will just melt and be gooey. Though if you wait too long the sugar won’t stick!

Mexican Wedding Cake
(Makes about 50 cookies)

1 c. butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. pecans, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Slowly add in flour and salt. Once combined, add pecans.

Roll pieces of dough slightly smaller than a tablespoon into balls. Place about 1 1/2″ apart from each other on the baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are just barely browned.

Cool for about 5 minutes and roll in powdered sugar while warm.

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