Cupcakes for Chanukah! Recipes and more

Sorry for the lag in posting, lots of travel and family commitments but now, shes back…………………..

cup3 There are times in your life (like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

 

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

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Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

 

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

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BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

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ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

 

 

 

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Too Much Candy for Halloween??? Nah……recipes for leftover candy

So the high holiday of candy is coming up and your little darlings will get enough sugar to power a small nuclear plant and it’s time for the “parent” to consider confiscating a portion of bounty “for their own good” of course. Yeah, right, that didn’t work with my kids either.

What I did do was try to channel some of the candy to other venues. I always let my kids eat about 1/3 of the candy, they had to give at least 1/3 of the goodies they collected to one of the women’s shelters for the kids there who didn’t get to trick or treat and the remaining 1/3 was put into the communal candy basket at home for us to use as a family (ok, my husband and I snarfed a few) for some of our favorite, made with candy recipes.

Rather than try and justify how chocolate should really be its own food group I’m just going to offer the following recipes that have graced my family’s table in the weeks following Halloween and pray you don’t gain as much weight as we do when we eat them.

 

 

CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR CROISSANTS

 

1 (8 ounce) tube refrigerated crescent rolls

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

2 (1.55 ounce) milk or semi sweet chocolate candy bars, broken into small pieces

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Unroll crescent roll dough; separate into triangles. Brush with butter.

 

Preheat oven to 375. Arrange candy bar pieces evenly over triangles; roll up from the wide end. Place point side down on a greased baking sheet; curve ends slightly. Brush the top of the croissant with the beaten egg and then sprinkle the top with almonds. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8. This recipe can be doubled.

 

CANDY BAR CAKE

 

3 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups finely chopped candy bar (Snickers, Almond Joy, Milky Way, peanut butter cups or a combination of any of your favorites)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

 

Frosting:

4 1/2 ounces milk, semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped candies

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10-cup nonstick Bundt pan. In a bowl sift together the 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl combine the chopped candy with remaining 1/2 cup flour. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar and beat until combined about 2 minutes then add the yolks and vanilla. Beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour, the remaining milk and then the last of the flour.  In another bowl for the electric mixer beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until you get stiff peaks. By hand, fold the chopped candies and egg whites into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake, in the pan, on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and allow to cool on the rack for an additional 20 minutes.

 

To make the frosting place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream over the top. Microwave for about 30 seconds and then remove and stir. Return to microwave and cook an additional 30 seconds or until the chocolate is totally melted. Whisk to combine and let cool for a few minutes. Place the cake on the serving platter and pour the icing evenly over the top of the cake (some will drip over sides but that’s ok). Sprinkle the remaining chopped candy over the top. Let cool and serve.

 

 

Modified from ALL YOU OCTOBER 2011

KIT KAT KAKE

 

1 (18 ounce) packages refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough, prepared recipe favorite

6 cups whipping cream

2 1/2 cups chocolate chips, divided

14 Kit Kat bars

2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine

whipped whipping cream or whipped topping

 

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Press cookie dough in bottom to 1/2 inch thickness. Bake approximately 18 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool completely. In a large bowl, put 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 5 cups whipping cream. Microwave on HIGH for 4 – 5 minutes until chocolate is soft. Remove and stir well until chocolate and cream are mixed well. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.  Melt remaining chocolate chips with butter and stir until smooth.

 

Place large cookie in center of 10-inch spring form pan. Cut candy bars long ways and dip one end in chocolate mixture. Place vertically between cookie and sides of pan. Continue until all candy bar pieces are used.  Chill 20 minutes.  Whip cream and chocolate mixture until stiff.  Chop remaining candy bars into chunks. Take cookie shell and place one-third of mousse on bottom. Sprinkle chunks on top. Repeat layers, ending with mousse. Chill in freezer overnight.  Top with whipped cream and chunks of candy bar.  Return to freezer for at least 1 hours. When ready to serve remove from freezer and slice.

 

Submitted by Rachael Margoles Philadelphia PA source unknown

 

CANDY CORN BLONDIES

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/4 cup each orange, yellow, and brown candy-coated chocolates (from a 12.6-ounce bag) or 8 Reese’s peanut butter cups, removed from their wrappers and coarsely chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; stir just until moistened. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Arrange candies or chopped peanut butter cups in 12 rows (2 rows per color, repeating once) on top of dough.Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares. To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days. Makes 16.

 

Modified From Everyday Food

MILKY WAY TART

 

 

Crust

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 large egg yolk

 

Filling

3 1/2 ounces milk chocolate candy bars chopped

2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided

 

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons water

 

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)

 

Make crust: Whisk flour and cocoa in medium bowl. Beat butter and powdered sugar in another medium bowl until well blended. Beat in yolk. Add flour mixture in 2 additions, beating just until blended. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours.

 

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Press each onto bottom and up sides of 4 1/2-inch-diameter tartlet pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate crusts 1 hour or freeze 30 minutes.

 

Preheat oven to 375. Bake cold crusts until set and dry-looking, about 12 minutes, pressing with back of spoon if bubbles form. Cool crusts in pans. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.

 

Make filling: Place milk chocolate in medium bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups cream to simmer in small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate; let stand 1 minute, then whisk until melted and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

 

Combine remaining 1/2 cup cream and butter in small saucepan and stir over medium heat until butter melts; remove from heat. Combine sugar and 3 tablespoons water in heavy small saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until color is deep amber, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 8 minutes. Immediately add hot cream-butter mixture (mixture will bubble vigorously). Remove from heat and stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Transfer caramel to small bowl and chill until slightly firm (semi-soft), stirring often, about 40 minutes.

 

Spoon caramel into center of baked crusts (about 2 generous tablespoons for each crust). Set aside.

 

Using electric mixer, beat chilled milk chocolate-cream mixture until peaks form; spoon atop caramel in crusts, dividing equally (about 1/2 cup for each crust) and spreading evenly. Chill at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Remove tartlets from pans. Lightly sift cocoa powder over tartlets and serve.

 

Created by Maury Rubin City Bakery /  Bon Appétit  September 2006

 

KITCHEN SINK COOKIES

 

4 eggs

3/4 cup margarine

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups peanut butter

3 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

7 cups oatmeal

3/4 cup chocolate chips (milk or semi sweet)

3/4 cup pecans, chopped

3/4 cup M&M’s ® (you can use the peanut or peanut butter ones too!)

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the eggs, margarine, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and peanut butter. Beat to combine . In a separate bowl mix together the baking soda, salt, and oatmeal. Mix the oatmeal mixture into peanut butter mixture. Add chocolate chips and pecans and stir until combined.  Drop golf ball sized balls of dough (I use an ice cream scoop) on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten each cookie into a circle shape with the bottom of a glass. Press M&M‘s into the top of unbaked cookies.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before removing. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

 

My files, source unknown

 

Super Dupper Ice Box Cake Recipes/Kosher

Anyone who has ever read one of my columns knows I am a huge fan of dessert. In fact, if given the choice, I’ll eat it first. While baking something is my typical motis operandi when the temperature and humidity starts edging toward thermo nuclear meltdown my feelings lean towards less towards cooking and more towards how cold can I make the sweet for the end of my meal.

I suggest we all veer straight towards the quaintly named Icebox cake. For those of us not born before the 1930’s an ice box is the storage unit that was the precursor to the refrigerator where “big blocks of ice” were delivered to the home to place in the “ice box” to keep food cold. Yep, this is how they did it in the olden days when we walked 10 miles to school each day (both ways up hill) and when the Slurpee ®  didn’t even exist.

Ice box cake is a slight misnomer. It’s usually a dessert like recipe that contains layers  of custard or curd or whipped cream layered between, cake, graham crackers, cookies or graham cracker or cookie crumbs. These layers of yummy “rest” or “set up” in the refrigerator (as opposed to the freezer) for a several hours or overnight so that all the ingredients evolve into a single, luscious, creamy cake like dessert that will remind you of an  éclair, cake, cookie and the best thing you’ve ever eaten all rolled into mouth full after mouth full of delicious.

Now for the easy part, putting together you ice box treat. For expediency sake most people usually opt for store bought cookies or cakes for the key ingredient because, like I said, I don’t wanna cook when it’s too hot. Sometimes though, you do have to make the cake or cookie as it’s a key ingredient of the recipe.  That being said I typically make my own, whipped cream, custard, curd or pudding as I’m not a big fan of their “imitation” flavors. I usually avoid recipes that require gelatin as I’m not a big fan of the texture it creates.

Most of the following recipes are quite flexible and forgiving when it comes to the ingredients. You have the luxury, dare I say freedom to interchange most of the ingredients and individualize your creations according to your (or your guests) preferences. Hate strawberries? Use raspberries or blackberries. Don’t like chocolate cookies? Use a vanilla or pecan one. Lactose intolerant?  Get the non dairy whipped topping. Just remember, no matter what you put together, cold in 100 degree weather is always delicious. I am, however, making no comment on the amount of calories you will consume when you decide that leftovers are just not an option.

CHOCOLATE AND CREAM CHEESE ICE BOX CAKE

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 

FILLING/TOPPING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

3 cups cold milk

2 packages (3.4 ounces each) instant French vanilla pudding mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan.  In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, egg, butter and pecans until they form a crumb mixture. Press the mixture  into the prepared pan. Bake  for 15 to 20 minutes . Cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processer combine the  cream cheese and sugar and beat or process for about 2 minutes or until combined. By hand, fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cooled crust. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

In another large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set. Stir in nutmeg and extract. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with pecans. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serves 16.

 

Submitted by Irene Koslowski Chicago IL source unknown

 

CLASSIC CHOCOLATE COOKIE ICE BOX CAKE

 

3 cups heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies [or, make your own!]

Unsweetened cocoa (or chocolate shavings)

 

In a large bowl, beat cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. On a flat serving plate, arrange 7 cookies side by side in a circle, keeping 1 cookie in the center. Spread with 1/2 cup whipped cream, making a 7-inch circle. Repeat with remaining cookies and cream, making 11 layers of cookies and ending with a layer of cream (there will be a few cookies left over). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, dust top lightly with cocoa powder or chocolate shavings.

 

Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

STRAWBERRY ICE BOX CAKE WITH FUDGE DRIZZLE

 

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced thin (save 5 or 6 whole ones for garnish)

3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided (3 cup +1/4 cup)

2/3 cup powdered sugar, divided (1/3 +1/3)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 sleeves (about 19 ounces, or 24 to 28 whole crackers) graham crackers

2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

 

In the bowl or an electric mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until they form medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and whip to stiff peaks. .

 

Spread a dollop of the whipped cream on the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Place six graham crackers on top of the whipped cream. Gently spread more whipped cream on top of the graham crackers. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top. Repeat this process to create three more layers (total four layers of graham crackers and 3 layers of strawberry slices) End with a layer of whipped cream.

 

To make the frosting, in a microwave bowl combine the chocolate butter and ¼ cup cream. Heat just until the chocolate and butter melt. Whisk slightly and then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps. If there are lumps microwave for at 10 seconds and whisk again. Drizzle the fudge frosting over the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Garnish with the whole berries. Serves 10 to 12.

 

My files, source unknown

 

EASY LEMON ICE BOX PIE

 

1 small can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 graham cracker crust, readymade is fine

2 to 3 cups whipped topping or whipped whip cream

 

Mix everything together until smooth and pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until set about 1 hour.

 

My files, source unknown

STRAWBERRY PRETZEL ICE BOX PIE

I saw a version of this recipe in a magazine a few weeks ago and just had to make it. It was AMAZING!

 

2 cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

2 cups whipping cream, divided

1/3 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the crushed pretzels, melted butter and brown sugar then firmly press it on bottom, up sides, and onto lip of a lightly greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned then let cool completely. In the bowl of a food processor chop up the strawberries, brushing down the sides as needed until they are in smallish pieces but NOT puréed. Remove them from the bowl. Place the sweetened condensed milk and cream cheese in the bowl (you don’t have to clean it out) and process until smooth. By hand, fold in the strawberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat 3/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into strawberry mixture. Spoon the strawberry filling into prepared crust. Cover and freeze 8 to 12 hours or until firm. Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups whipping cream at high speed until foamy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Spread over pie. Freeze 1 hour or until whipped cream is firm. Serves 8

 

Modified from a recipe in Southern Living JUNE 2012

 

CHOCOLATE CRUST LEMON RASPBERRY ICE BOX PIE

 

1 (9 inch) chocolate cookie pie crusts (store bought or homemade)

 

Filling

2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (do not use low or no fat)

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

1 1/2 pints fresh raspberry (more for garnish if you like)

1 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted

 

In a bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the cream cheese and condensed milk. Beat or process smooth and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and continue beating for 1 minute. Add the vanilla and then spoon the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Cover with and refrigerate for at least 3 to 4 hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve sprinkle 1 pint of the berries over the top.  Then in the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream until it has soft peaks. Add in the powdered sugar and remaining raspberries and beat until the mixture has stiff peaks. Gently spread the raspberry whipped cream over the raspberries on the top of the pie. Slice and serve right away, garnishing each slice with additional raspberries.

 

My files, source unknown

 

AMBROSIA ICE BOX CAKE

 

1/2 cup pineapple juice

3 eggs (2 yolks room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (cold)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 pinch fine salt

1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon sweet white wine

1 cup whipping cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

18 ladyfingers (soft)

12 cup shredded coconut (sweetened, lightly toasted)

 

In a sauce pan bring the pineapple juice to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly pour the hot pineapple juice into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils and coats back of a spoon. Continue cooking about 1 more minute. Remove the  mixture  from the heat and then whisk  in the butter, lemon juice, and salt. Pour the mixture into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

 

Zest 1 orange and place it in a bowl. Peel and section the orange, then cut the sections into pieces. Combine the pieces and the zest. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip the whipping cream together until it form soft peaks. Fold in the orange and zest. Whip cream and confectioners’ sugar together until soft peaks form and fold into chopped orange.

 

Combine the orange juice and white wine in a bowl. Lightly brush the ladyfingers with this liquid and then press into bottom and along sides of 6 ramekins. Evenly divide the pineapple curd among ramekins. Top each with the orange whipped cream and toasted coconut. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Release cakes from ramekins to serve. Serves 6

 

Modified from Yummly.com

Never Too Late for Valentine’s Day Chocolate Recipes

 

Chocolate has been the “high priestess” of aphrodisiacs since it was discovered over 3,000 years ago inMexico.  Montezuma (of the don’t drink the water fame) would drink 50 goblets of a chocolate drink a day to give himself stamina to handle his harem of over 600 women.

So with my quantum leap of food logic I say what better way to say I love you on Valentines Day than giving or serving chocolate (for breakfast lunch AND dinner).

Hold on a second before you go rushing out to buy DeBrands, Godiva, Ghirardelli, Hershey’s or even Nestles. You need to know a little bit about the chocolate you’re about to use or eat. Not all chocolate or cocoa is created equally. Different recipes call for different types of chocolate.
Unsweetened or baking chocolate is simply cooled, hardened chocolate liquor. It is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes, or as a garnish. Semi-sweet chocolate is also used primarily in recipes. It has extra cocoa butter and sugar added. Sweet cooking chocolate is basically the same, with more sugar for taste. Milk chocolate is chocolate liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla added. Milk chocolate is the most popular form for chocolate. Cocoa is chocolate liquor with most of the cocoa butter removed, creating a fine powder. Each form of chocolate can create a different taste so make sure you’ve got the right ingredient for your recipe.

White chocolate is somewhat of a misnomer. In theUnited States, in order to be legally called ‘chocolate’ a product must contain cocoa solids. Most of the stuff you get in the market place today does not contain these solids so technically it’s not really chocolate. Real white chocolate is primarily cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.

Chocolate in its many forms is always welcome as an expression of love. The making or serving the following recipes won’t guarantee the love will be returned but they could give you a shot a few extra brownie points.
CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIP SCONES

1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 bars (1.5 ounces each) Dark Chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Coarse sugar

 

In bowl of a food processor, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pulse until well blended. Add butter chunks and process for a few seconds, just until butter is size of peas. Transfer mixture to large bowl and stir in sugar.

In small bowl, whisk together heavy cream, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour cream mixture over dry ingredients. Add chopped chocolate and stir to form dough. Knead dough lightly in bowl about 10 times. Transfer dough onto lightly floured work surface and shape into 8-inch round disc. Transfer round to plate, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375. Remove dough from refrigerator and cut round into 8 wedges. Transfer scones to ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until set. Transfer to wire rack and cool completely. Or serve slightly warm. Makes 8

 

Modified from epicurious.com

CHOCOLATE CREPES

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon unsweetened chocolate powder

1 egg

1 egg white

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup milk

strawberries or raspberries or sorbet

 

Mix all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Add all liquid ingredients and stir until batter is smooth and creamy.  Let batter rest in the refrigerator until the air is settled, about 2 hours. When ready to prepare crepes, heat crepe pan over medium heat and pour 1/3 to 1/4 cup of the batter into hot pan. Rotate pan until batter is cooked through and then turn to cook the other side. When done remove from pan and let cool on a rack. Store until ready to serve. May be made one to two days ahead of time. Fill with berries, sorbet. Serves 2.

CHOCOLATE WAFFLES

This recipe is a fun way to portion out cake mix into individual servings much like cupcakes, but with a much quicker bake time.

 

1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of boiling water

2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup of softened butter

1 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

 

In a bowl whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. Allow to cool to room temperature before using. In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add 2 large eggs to the butter mixture, stirring between each egg to combine thoroughly. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the cocoa water mixture to the butter mixture, stirring until just mixed. Batter may be stored in the refrigerator until needed. Makes 4 waffles.

 

CHOCOLATE FRENCH TOAST PUFF

This recipe should be started the night before you want to serve it as it has to sit for at last 4 to 5 hours before you cook it.
12 slices white bread, crusts removed
2 cups skim milk, divided
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 eggs
2 cups half and half

Topping
3/4 cup butter, very soft or melted
1 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
Whipped cream or maple syrup, optional
Generously grease a 9×13 baking dish that is at least 2 inches deep. Arrange trimmed bread slices on bottom of pan in 2 layers. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup milk, chocolate chips and sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until chips are melted and sugar is dissolved. Do not let mixture come to a boil. Stir in vanilla. Let cool. In a large bowl, beat eggs, remaining milk and half and half. Mix chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Pour over bread slices. Cover pan tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. In the morning, remove from refrigerator and prepare topping.

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, walnuts, coconut and dark corn syrup. Spread or spoon the topping over the bread slices. Bake, uncovered, 1 hour or until center is set. If edges are browning to fast, cover with foil. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes or so until cool enough to spoon or slice. Top with whipped cream or syrup, if desired. Serves 8

 

CHOCOLATE ORANGE BREAKFAST DRINK

 

1 orange – peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2 inch slices

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1 cup cold milk

1 cup crushed ice

 

Combine orange pieces, chocolate syrup, milk, and ice in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve. Makes 1 serving

 

COLOSSAL CHOCOLATE CINNAMON ROLLS

2 loaves (1 pound each) frozen white yeast bread dough, thawed, divided

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups semi sweet or milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans, divided

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons milk
Grease two 9-inch-round baking pans. Roll out 1 bread loaf into 16 x 10-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Combine sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle 2 tablespoons over dough leaving 1/2-inch border around sides. Sprinkle with 1 cup morsels and 1/2 cup nuts. Roll up the dough starting at short end; seal edges. Cut into 6 slices; place cut side up in prepared baking pan. Repeat with remaining bread loaf, sugar mixture, morsels and nuts; place in second prepared baking pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until dough almost fills pans. Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool slightly in pans on wire racks. In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar and milk and mix into a stiff glaze. Drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. Serves 10 to 12.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

 

3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 can of pumpkin (1 pound)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3 cup of flour

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

8-12 oz. chocolate chips (miniature or regular)

 

Preheat oven to 375. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, oil, eggs, Mix to combine. Mix dry ingredients separately; then add slowly to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Grease muffin pan and fill cups 2/3 full. For full size muffins bake 20 to 25 minutes. For mini muffins bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 12.

 

I’m Cuckoo for Cocoa

            When our friends Debbie and Dennis came to visit last year Debbie brought some FABUOLOUS homemade chocolate Mandelbrot/biscotti which I promptly devoured all by my pretty little self. When asked for the recipe she graciously gave it to me and I tried (tried being the operative word here) to reproduce it.  While it was close and really quite good, it just wasn’t “quite” the same deep dark rich chocolaty tasting as hers. Knowing that in the sacred world of “friends exchanging recipes” leaving out an ingredient or step in the instructions is not something she would do I called her and asked what I’d done wrong (yes, even I, the queen of the kitchen occasionally make what are euphemistically called mistakes). Seems I’d used the wrong kind of cocoa powder. I’d used the regular Hershey’s brand and she’d used Dutch Cocoa powder.

So what, you ask, is the difference between cocoa powder and Dutch cocoa powder? Let’s start at the beginning. First there is the cocoa bean. These babies are roasted and then ground to remove the cocoa butter, (that natural fat in the cocoa bean so often found in sun tan lotion).  What remains is a paste called chocolate liquor.  This chocolate liquor is dried and ground to produce cocoa powder.  Dutch cocoa powder is regular cocoa powder that has been treated with an alkali to neutralize the cocoas natural acidity. Regular cocoa powder is acidic while the Dutch variety is neutral.

Because having the right level of acid to alkaline agent is critical when baking you shouldn’t substitute regular cocoa powder for Dutch cocoa powder or vice versa if a recipe calls for a specific type of cocoa powder.

COCOA RASPBERRY TORTE

 

1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup ground blanched almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 cup raspberry jam
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350. Put flour, almonds, granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal; transfer to a large bowl. In a small bowl, beat together yolks and lemon juice then add to flour mixture along with milk and stir with a fork just until mixture comes together.

Press about 2/3 of the dough into an 8-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or spring form pan to form a 1/2-inch-thick crust. (If using a tart pan, crust should reach the top of the pan. If using a spring form pan, crust should reach about 1 inch up the sides.) Spread jam thickly over the bottom of the crust; set aside.

Working on a well-floured surface, use floured hands to roll remaining dough into 3/4-inch-wide ropes. Press ropes into 1-inch-wide strips and lay across tart in a crisscross pattern to form a lattice top. Bake tart until jam is bubbly and crust is just golden brown around the edges, about 40 minutes. Serve tart at room temperature or chilled, dusted with powdered sugar, if you like.

 

COCOA ALMOND SMOOTHIE

 

2 ripe fresh or frozen banana cut into chunks
6 ounces vanilla yogurt
3/4 to 1 cup milk
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 cup ice cubes

 

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and whirl at top speed for about 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy. When making fruit smoothies, adding ice to the blender is a matter of personal choice. If you are using frozen fruit in place of fresh fruit you may choose to omit the ice.

ZUCCHINI COCOA MUFFINS

 

2 1/2 cups flour

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup margarine or butter

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups shredded zucchini

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup pecan pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper liners in muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, ground cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in shortening until flour mixture resembles coarse meal. Slightly beat eggs. Add eggs, milk, lemon juice zucchini, and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Add pecans and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then cool on racks.

 

COCOA MERINGUES
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate squares, chopped
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 220. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil and set them aside. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa and then set it aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whites and cream of tartar until it starts to form soft peaks. Increase speed to medium high and slowly, in a steady stream add the sugar. Beat until mixture forms stiff peaks and is glossy. Stop the mixer and by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon, gently fold in the cocoa mixture and chopped chocolate. Try to make sure that the cocoa mixture gets thoroughly mixed in but don’t over mix. Using a tablespoon drop a heaping tablespoon of the mixture 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. Let meringues sit at room temp for 1/2 hour before baking. Preheat oven to 220. Bake for 1 hour and DO NOT open the oven door. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet. When the meringues are cool remove them from the foil. Makes 25 to 30.

 

PEAK A BOO SCONES
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, chilled
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2-3/4 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or knife, cut chilled butter into flour mixture to resemble coarse crumbs.In a small bowl, combine egg, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Stir cream mixture into flour mixture. If needed, add up to 1/4 cup more whipping cream, until mixture is just moistened. Stir in both chips, and than use hands to knead dough about 10 times. Lightly flour a working surface. Pat dough into 8-inch circle. Cut circle into 12 wedges using a sharp knife. Place each wedge 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes or until set. Do not overbake. Let stand for 3 minutes before transferring to cooling surface. Makes 12 scones.

Cupcakes for the Holidays

There are times in your life ( like after eating a dozen latkes) when you just gotta have that certain something sweet BUT you really don’t want the guilt associated with gobbling up 5 bags of candy coins or a calorie laden mega doughnut topped with chocolate and filled with custard (granted, there aren’t too many times when I DON’T want that kind of doughnut). For me that’s when I reach for a cupcake. Just enough cake and frosting to satisfy but not so much as that I feel like I’ve over indulged and the “oh I blew my holiday diet AGAIN” remorse isn’t omnipresent.

The origin of the cupcake isn’t all that clear. Some historians say it’s because the original recipe contained 1 cup measurements (I cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar etc.) Another source I checked with said that long ago that cake batter was cooked in tea cups, hence the name, cup-cake. Either way it came about I’m just glad the recipes evolved into the sweet treats we love today.

Deciding what type of cupcakes to make and what to top them with can be truly a personal and existential experience. You can fill them, frost them, and dust them with powdered sugar or cocoa. Sprinkles are always nice and so is a couple of pieces of candy or chocolate stuck into the top of the batter just before baking. The possibilities are endless and the results are always irresistible.

With cupcakes you can indulge in your love of lemon, banana, chocolate or vanilla or both at the same time and not have to commit to eating a whole cake. One of the beauties of making cupcakes is that most cake recipes can be converted into cupcakes. There are, however, some exceptions, like angel and sponge cakes, they don’t have quite enough structure to pull off the smaller size, but those to obvious exceptions aside, I say go for whatever recipe you want and see how creative you can get. I prefer to use cupcake liners in my pans as I find it easier to take them out after they’ve been cooked and they help keep all those pesky crumbs from falling all over your lap or shirt.

Just a few cup cake rules before you get started.

 

1. Always grease or line you baking pan, easier to remove the cupcake

2. Never over fill the pan, it will make an overly large cupcake top

4. Once the pan or pans are full, put them in the preheated oven immediately. The longer they sit out, the less they will rise.

5. Cupcakes should be baked in at least a 350 so that the structure sets quickly and the cake doesn’t dry while it’s baking

3. Make sure you test the cupcake with a toothpick before you remove it from the oven to make sure it cooked throughout.

 

 

Depending on how you decorate the following recipe they can be served as a snack or at a formal dinner and are equally at home at a 5 year olds birthday party or a wedding reception. I make the peanut butter ones every Chanukah and decorate them with chocolate candy coins.  Enjoy!

PEANUT BUTTER CUP CUPCAKES (dairy)

1/3 cup margarine or butter
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
16 miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350. Place paper cup cake liners in the muffin pan and set it aside. In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer combine the margarine or butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar.  Mix to combine and then add the eggs and vanilla. Mix to combine. In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the flour mixture to the egg mixture with the milk. Do not over mix or you’ll get air bubbles in the cup cake. Fill each muffin cups about 1/2 full of batter. Place a peanut butter cup into the center of each and push it down so it almost touches the bottom but so there is still some batter underneath the peanut butter cup. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or till toothpick comes out clean (be careful not to test where the candy is, you won’t get a true test of if the cupcake is done). Makes approx 14 to 16

 

 

BANANA SPLIT CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 mashed ripe bananas

1 cup warm water

1/2 cup milk or non dairy substitute

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

 

Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese or pareve cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoon soft butter

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Optional Toppings;

hot fudge sauce,

maraschino cherries

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 20 to 24 muffin cups or use paper liners. In a large bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. In another large bowl combine the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool on a rack.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until blended.  Frost and top with fudge sauce and a maraschino cherry

 

Modified from the Joy of Baking

 

ZUCCHINI AND PISTACHIO CUPCAKES (pareve)

This recipe uses self rising flour if you don’t have it for each cup of self rising flour use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 cup granulated sugar

4 zucchinis, grated

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

2 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups self-rising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dried cranberries

 

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease or line 2 12 muffin tin pans. In a bowl combine the egg, oil, and sugar and whisk until combined.  Add the zucchini, lime zest and nuts and stir together until well mixed.  Add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, into the zucchini mixture and gently fold it in. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and bake and for 18 to 20 minutes until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then dust the top with powdered sugar. Makes 24.

 

Modified from about.com

 

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

generous 1/3 cup potato flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon milk

 

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and cocoa powder and beat until combined. Add the sugar and beat until combined.  Add the cream cheese, vanilla, milk and eggs and beat to combine.   Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and beat until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the paper liners and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool before frosting.

 

1 oz bittersweet chocolate

5 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave but don’t over heat it, it should just be soft. Cool for about minutes. Place the softened cream cheese in a bowl and then pour the chocolate over the top. Add the vanilla and mix until the cheese and chocolate is combine. Add the powdered sugar and mix to combine. Frost and serve. Makes 12

 

Submitted by Roger Mancref and Cheryl Rodrego Naples FL

 

CANDIED CUPCAKES (dairy)

 

Topping

6 chocolate candy bars, chopped into pieces (your choice)

1, 12 oz bag of any kind of M&M’s you like

Crush, cut and mash into tiny pieces

Mix together in a bowl, set aside

 

Frosting

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 cup semi sweet chocolate

1/2 cup cream

 

Cupcakes

12 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

 

Make the frosting first. In a microwave bowl melt the chocolate and cream together. Stir until smooth and then add the peanut butter and mix until combined. Cool in the refrigerator and when it is cool beat the frosting until it is spreadable.

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease or place paper liners in 24 cupcakes molds. In a bowl combine the butter, white sugar and brown sugar. Mix to combine. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs and mix to combine. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, chocolate chips and mix to combine. Spoon the batter into the prepare tins filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool before frosting and then decorate with the chopped candy. Makes 24.

 

LUSCIOUS LEMON CUPCAKES (dairy or pareve)

 

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream or pareve substitute

 

FROSTING:

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

1 tablespoon milk or pareve substitute

 

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or paper line 30 muffin tins. Set them aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar. Mix to combine and then with the mixer running add the eggs. With the mixer still running add lemon zest and vanilla. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  With the mixer running slowly add the flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. This will be a thick batter.  Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor combine the butter and powdered sugar. Mix until combined.  Add the lemon juice, vanilla, lemon zest and milk; beat until smooth. Frost the cooled cupcakes. Makes 30.

Candy Cane Heaven

There are certain foods that have a finite season where the price is perfect and the taste sublime. You rush to the store at the first advertisement and shop with the motto “shop till you drop” and stock up.  Most the time this kind of hunting for the perfect specimen is conducted in the produce aisle. However, at this time of year, when you’re talking prime time a specialty item, it’s all about the candy cane.

The candy cane is that once a year item that you can find in abundance until December 26th and then it disappears (except for the 75% off rack for about 30 seconds) until Thanksgiving the following year. I say, plan ahead, buy now, buy a lot (because they store very well and I ‘m going to give you lots of yummy recipes) and store them the extras until you need them.

So, what is the best way to store candy canes? The best way to store any hard candy for a length of time is to place it in a zip lock bag and store in a dry place.  Do not store them in the freezer or refrigerator, the moisture is too high and will cause them to get sticky.

CANDY CANE TIP: In the event of a candy cane emergency (can’t find any) you can always substitute those round peppermint candies that are always available.

WHITE CANDY CANE FUDGE

 

2 (10 ounce) packages vanilla baking chips

1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 1/2 cups crushed candy canes

1 to 2 drops red food coloring (not too much)

 

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, and grease the foil. In a saucepan combine the vanilla chips and sweetened condensed milk. And heat over a low flame, stirring frequently until almost melted. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and continue to stir until totally smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract, food coloring, and crushed candy canes. Mix quickly and spoon the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerated (do not cover) for 2 to 3 hours and then cut into bite sized squares. Makes at least 24 pieces or more depending on how you cut the pieces.

 

Source unknown, my files

 

OREO ® MINT BALLS

 

1  12 oz package of Oreo cookies (plain not double stuff)

2/3 cup crushed candy cane pieces (not too big)

1 8 oz. package cream cheese

1 package Chocolate Almond Bark ®

Mini chocolate chips or sprinkles for decorating

 

Put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and set it aside. In the bowl of the food processor combine the cookies and broken candy canes. Process until combined and it’s totally crumbs. Add 1/2 of the cream cheese to the mixture and process to combine. Add the remaining cream cheese and process to combine. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture into balls and place it on the prepared pan. When you use up all the dough place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 1 hour. Melt the dipping chocolate in a microwave bowl.  Remove the pan from the freezer. Using a long bamboo skewer dip the cookie balls, one at a time, into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped balls back on the waxed paper and then sprinkle the chocolate or sprinkle over the balls. Makes 24 to 30 depending on the size of the balls. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Modified from about.com

 

CHOCO MINT PIE

 

Crust

2 cups plain vanilla wafer cookie crumbs (about 1 8 oz box crumbled)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

 

Chocolate Layer

3 tablespoons boiling water

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

 

Peppermint Layer

1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

1/4 cup milk

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup finely crushed candy canes (7 to 8 canes)

whipped cream, for toping optional

2 or 2 candy canes chopped into small pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the cookie crumbs, cocoa and sugar.  Add the butter and mix to combine. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch spring form pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling combine the chocolate chips and boiling water and mix until the chips are melted. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mixture into crust and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. While the pie is cooling place the candy canes in the bowl of a food processor and process until it becomes a fine powder. Place the marshmallows and milk in a small pan and cook over a low heat until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Beat the 1 cup of whipping cream to form stiff peaks. Fold the crushed candy canes into the whipped cream and then fold that mixture into the marshmallow mixture. Cool for 10 minutes in the refrigerator and then spoon the mixture over the chocolate layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. You can also freeze this pie and serve it frozen. Top with sweetened whipped cream and chopped candy canes.

 

Modified from food.com submitted by Ronnie Cohn Chicago IL

 

CHOCOLATE AND SOUR CREAM CANDY CANE BARS

 

Crust:

20 chocolate wafer cookies

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon instant coffee

1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Filling:

8 ounces milk or semi sweet chocolate

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

 

Frosting:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon light corn syrup

2 tablespoons sour cream at room temperature

6 to10 candy canes, chopped

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan and then set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine the chocolate cookies, butter, sugar, coffee and salt and process until combined. . Press the crust into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes and then cool to room temperature.

 

While the crust is cooling melt the milk chocolate in a microwave dish and set it aside. While it’s cooling, in the bowl of the food processer combine the sugar, sour cream, and cream cheese. Process until smooth. Add the eggs and process until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and process until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the baked crust. Bake 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly puffed but the center is set but still a little wiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature

 

In a microwave bowl combine the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup and cook for 1 minute or until the chocolate is melted. Add the sour cream and mix to combine. Spread the frosting over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped candy canes over top of the warm frosting .Cool slightly and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting. Serves 8 to 10.

 

Modified from Cricketcakes.com

 

CANDY CANE CHEESECAKE

 

8 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped, or 1-1/3 cups white baking pieces

2 cups finely crushed graham crackers (about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 8 ounce carton mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup finely crushed candy canes

2 ounces white chocolate or 1/3 cup white baking pieces

Crushed candy canes for garnish

 

For crust:

Preheat oven to 325. In a medium bowl, stir together graham crackers and butter until combined. Press crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan (do not go up the sides of pan.) Bake for 10 minutes then cool to room temperature.

 

For filling:

In a microwave bowl melt the 8 ounces white chocolate and set it aside. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, mascarpone, sugar and salt with an electric mixer until combined. Beat in the melted chocolate and extract until smooth and combined, scraping sides of bowl. Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup candy. Pour the filling onto the crust. Place pan on a cookie sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a 2 1/2-inch area around the outside edge of the cheesecake seems set when gently shaken. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 then using a sharp small knife, loosen the cake from the sides of pan. Cool for an additional 45 minutes. Remove sides of the spring form pan and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to serve place the cheesecake on a serving plate (keep the cheesecake on the bottom of the spring form pan.) In a microwave bowl melt the white chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the cheesecake and then sprinkle the chopped candy canes over the top. Cut in wedges with a sharp knife dipped in warm water. (To store any remaining cheesecake, cover and chill in refrigerator up to 2 days.)

Modified from Midwestliving.com submitted by Carin Silverston Chicago IL

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