Thursday, July 29, 2010

Special Occasion Cake or Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake

This is definitely a special occasion cake! What was my special occasion, you ask? Only my 10th anniversary!! Unfortuneately, my husband wasn't able to share this special day with me. He is serving in Iraq right now. But I decided it was a perfect chance to make a dessert that he would absolutely hate and I would love. Ha, ha This is a super rich cake. The mousse and ganache are to die for. My only hang up was it starts with a boxed mix. Which is perfect if you're in a rush, but I feel like since you're spending so much time on this cake anyway, why not use a delectable home made chocolate cake recipe.... right? Other than that, it's pure evil. I especially loved the crushed Heath bar in it. Oh, one more thing, the ganache is somewhat bitter just using semi-sweet chips. I would use half milk chocolote or all milk chocolate if you are not a fan of the bitter chocolate taste.

Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake from Our Best Bites

1 package Devil's Food cake
1 recipe (give or take a little) Chocolate Ganache (recipe below)
Crushed Heath bars or a bag of chocolate-covered Heath bits
1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
1 Tbsp. cold water
2 Tbsp. boiling water (just heat it in a small bowl in your microwave)
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 c. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla

Bake cake according to cake mix instructions in 2 8" round pans. Allow to cool and set aside. This can be done several days in advance; just freeze the cakes when you're done.

In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water and allow to stand for about 1 minute. While gelatin is softening, bring 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in the microwave. Whisk into the softened gelatin and allow to cool slightly.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, whipping cream, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. Mix in gelatin mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Prepare ganache (if you haven't already) according to directions.

With a serrated knife, carefully slice the rounded part of each cake layer off so the layers are level. Place one layer on the serving plate and spread about 1/2 of the chocolate mousse over the cake. Sprinkle with Heath bits.

Place second layer on top of Heath bits.

Spoon ganache
over the top layer, allowing it to drip down the sides. Sprinkle with additional Heath bits and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Super Easy Chocolate Ganache
Recipe by Our Best Bites
8 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate
8 oz. heavy cream
(If you have a kitchen scale, use it!!! Otherwise the sauce comes out too thin)
Combine chocolate and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 2 minutes and stir. Heat for an additional 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is fully melted and can be whisked and incorporated into the cream. Be sure and scrape the sides and bottom to make sure you don't find any chunky bits of chocolate when you start working with it.
The ganache will thicken as it cools, so if it's a little too thin for you, hang tight and it will be ready pretty quickly. When it's completely cool, it will be thick and can be used like frosting. Store in an airtight container. You can reheat it to achieve your desired consistency.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

I saw these on The Pioneer Woman and instantly started to drool. I love breakfast, and I love a good pancake. The "syrup" or topping is what makes these phenomenal. Definitely make more than you think you'll need.

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

1 1/2 cups flour
3 T white sugar
1/2 t salt
4 t baking powder
1 T cinnamon
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 T corn syrup
1/4 cup melted butter

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon and whisk together until well combined.
In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, corn syrup and butter. Stir in flour mixture.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle to medium/low heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle and brown on both sides. Serve immediately with Maple-butter icing.

Maple-Butter Icing: (Double the recipe)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
dash of salt
1 T maple syrup
1/4 cup milk (more if needed)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve over warm Cinnamon Bun Pancakes...or any other pancakes, waffles or french toast.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baked Corn Dog Muffins

These are really fun to make. My kids loved the surprise in the middle. And it was a great recipe for the kids to help me with. Quick, easy, plus a little surprise. What more could you ask for?
I found the idea on Lick The Bowl Good.

Baked Corn Dog Muffins

  • 1 box Jiffy Corn Bread Mix (plus milk and egg as directed on box)
  • Hot Dogs (2-3) or Kielbasa Sausage
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese

Make corn bread mix according to the package instructions and set aside. Spray 7 openings of a muffin tin with nonstick spray and set aside. Chop hot dogs into 3rd (about 1 1/2-2 inch pieces).

Place a tablespoon or two of the cornbread mix into greased muffin tins. Add a piece of the hot dog and a sprinkling of cheese. Top with more corn bread mix filling each tin about 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle with a little more cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 15-20minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Let cool for a few minutes before removing from tin. Serve with condiments of your choice such as ketchup, mustard, chili, cheese or relish.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Inside Out Cinnamon Bun Pie Pockets

I found these little beauty's on Picky Palate. Anything having to do with cinnamon rolls, I'm a sucker for. I decided to make these special by using a heart cookie cutter. They turned out adorable... and delicious. I like to double the amount of filling in mine.

Inside Out Cinnamon Bun Pie Pockets

2 refrigerated 9 inch pie crusts
8 oz softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
¼ Cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 Cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll both pie crusts and place onto a lightly floured countertop. Using a 3 inch round cutter, cut rounds out of crust until all crust is used. You should get approximately 12 rounds per pie crust, re-rolling scraps one time.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Place half (12) of the rounds onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Using a small-medium cookie scoop, scoop a heaping Tablespoon of cream cheese mixture onto the centers of the 12 crusts. Lightly brush water around outer edges of the filled dough then place remaining rounds on top of filled rounds. Gently press edges to seal. Place sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl and mix to combine. Brush tops of pies with melted butter then sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tops of pies are golden brown. Once pies are cooled, whisk powdered sugar and cream until mixed well and a desired drizzling consistency. Drizzle over tops of pies.
12 pie pockets

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I found this recipe quite awhile back in my America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I love pasta and my hubby loves meatballs so it was a winner all around. I usually do a simplified version of this for a quick week night dinner with meatballs that I have frozen beforehand. The meatballs freeze really well. Served with delicious garlic bread, we all gave it two thumbs up.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

2 slices high-quality white sandwhich bread
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/4 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper
vegetable oil
4 cups tomato sauce (great recipe for this coming soon)
1 pound spaghetti

1. Bring 4 quarts of water of a boil in a large pot for the spaghetti.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the crusts from the bread, then tear the bread into small pieces. Mash the bread pieces and buttermilk to a smooth paste in a large bowl, using a fork.
3. Add the beef, pork, parmesan, parsley, yolk, garlic, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper to the mashed bread.Stir the mixture gently until combined and uniform. Gently form the mixture into 1 1/2 inch round meatballs. (about 12)
4. Pour the oil into a 12 inch skillet until it measures a depth of 1/3 inch. Heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel lined plate and discard the oil left in the skillet.
5. Place the skillet with any browned bits over medium heat and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce to the heat to low and add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, turning the meatballs occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
6. While the meatballs are simmering, add 1 tablespoon salt and the spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until the spaghetti tastes almost tender but is still firm to the bite.
7. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, drain the spaghetti, and return it to the pot. Stir in several large spoonfuls of the tomato sauce (without meatballs) and toss to coat. Divide the pasta among individual bowls. Loosen the remaining sauce as needed with the reserved pasta cooking water. Top each bowl with more sauce and several meatballs. Serve with extra parmesan.