Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desserts. Show all posts

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DIY No Bake Chocolate Pot De Creme

This dessert is like eating truffles with a spoon. It is rich and chocolatey and amazing. I like this version because there is no baking or water baths to mess with.

Well unless you decide to share with your kids, then you will need a bath to clean them up, because they will lick the bowls clean, but their faces will be full of chocolate.

Homemade No Bake Chocolate Pot De Creme Recipe

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate chopped or use chocolate chips (use a chocolate you enjoy eating without any extra sweetener, because there is no sugar in this recipe)
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat safe mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan slowly heat milk and cream.
  3. In a small mixing bowl whisk egg yolks.
  4. When the milk and cream begins to bubble at the edges, slowly add half to the egg yolks while whisking steadily. This tempers the egg yolks and prevents them from turning into scrambled eggs. Then add the yolk mixture to the saucepan and heat slowly until it begins to bubble at the edges again and thickens.
  5. Remove from heat and pour over chopped chocolate (though a strainer if necessary to remove any chunks of egg).
  6. Allow to sit for a minute and melt chocolate and then stir until smooth.
  7. Pour into individual serving dishes (small bowls, ramekins, jars, espresso cups, etc.).
  8. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to set.
  9. Serve topped with whipped cream if desired.

After eating, bathe small children.
Makes 6-8 small but decadent servings.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

DIY Strawberry Heart Brownie Cheesecake Bars (perfect for Valentine's Day)

I made this recipe last year for Valentine's Day when I wanted a dessert that combined chocolate, cheesecake, strawberries, and hearts! This recipe is quite similar to these tasty Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies but makes a whole 9x13 pan and has a more brownie and less cheesecake ratio. You could also just use the swirling heart technique I show here to decorate other favorite cheesecake or bar recipes as well. If you used a package mix for the brownies and store bought strawberry sauce these would be quite quick to make.

Homemade Strawberry Heart Brownie Cheesecake Bars Recipe (and simple swirling sweetheart decoration technique)

Drop spoonfuls of strawberry sauce on top of cheesecake
  • 9x13 pan of your favorite fudge brownies prepared with optional 1 cup chocolate chips (use a package mix or this easy recipe for better than boxed brownies)
  • 2 (8oz) packages cream cheese, softened (or even homemade yogurt "cream" cheese works great)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Strawberry sauce or pureed strawberry jam for decoration (you could use store bought strawberry sauce or jam to save time and I bet this recipe would be great with raspberry as well)
Drag a butter knife through the middle of the circles
  1. Bake brownies according to box directions or prepare homemade brownies 9adding an optional 1 cup chocolate chips) in a 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix cream cheese, milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy and smooth. Pour cheesecake mixture on top of baked brownies.
  3. Now comes the fun part of decorating with swirly hearts that is so easy. Simply drop spoonfuls of sauce onto the top of the cheesecake mixture and then drag a butter knife down the center of the circles. With the 9x13 pan I made a grid and swirled the hearts in two different directions. But you could make each one swirl in a different direction or in a circle around a circular cake, however you like!
  4. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes until firm in the center (watch these carefully though as all oven are different and you don't want the top overly brown. Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight, and serve. 
Makes one thick 9x13 pan of bars.

Close up of heart swirls before baking

Mmm chocolate, cheesecake, strawberries and hearts!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pie and Ice Cream Recipe Roundup

If you are still looking for recipes for Thanksgiving pie and ice cream. Here are few great recipes to choose from. I'll be making some of these later this week.

Pie Recipes:

Ice Cream Recipes:

Dessert Topping Recipes:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

DIY Black Bean Brownies (gluten free, dairy free)

I heard about black bean brownies quite a while ago, and possibly quite a few of you have too. But it wasn't until recently that we finally found good beans here and I was able to actually try out this unique dessert. The texture is a little different than traditional brownies, but not at all a bad sort of different. And they are incredibly easy to make, much healthier than most brownies, and really delicious.

I thought I go ahead and post about these now, because if you need to take a dessert to a holiday gathering where you know someone has allergies or is trying to follow a gluten free, dairy free, or low carb diet it can often be quite difficult to find a good recipe, but this one fits the bill. At the same time, it is so good no one will know it is a healthy dessert or gluten free unless you tell them.

Homemade Black Bean Brownie Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or one 15oz can drained and rinsed very well)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Optional additions such as chocolate chips, M&Ms, or nuts, but read labels carefully if you are trying to avoid allergens for others
  1. Add all ingredients together in a blender (except for any optional additions) and blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in additions if desired (or you could wait and sprinkle them on top too).
  3. Spread into a greased 8x8 baking pan.
  4. Bake at 350F for 20-30 minutes.

Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY Marshmallows (Corn Syrup and Egg white Free)

I talked about how we made our own marshmallows for s'mores a little while ago and now I'm getting around to posting the recipe I used. I wanted a recipe that didn't use any corn syrup and I basically ended up following the recipe from here. I did end up making a couple of minor adjustments to the process and am including more pictures of the process. I found I had to boil the sugar syrup longer, probably because we are at high altitude. We also had to beat the mixture longer to get it to the right consistency, but  that is because we only have a crank mixture. If you had a stand mixer this recipe would really require very little hands on time, just some monitoring really.

One other cool thing we discovered was that homemade marshmallows don't catch on fire and burn like commercial ones. They also fly across the room really well and make the best foam in hot cocoa that I've ever seen from a marshmallow.

Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavored extract, mint is also really good)
  • Prepared baking pan
  • Butter for greasing pan and powdered sugar for coating pan and marshmallows
  1. Butter and coat a 8x8 pan with powdered sugar. I used a silicone pan, but if using a regular baking pan you will probably want to put waxed paper inthe bottom first too.
  2. Dissolve gelatin in cold water in a mixing bowl. Use the bowl for your stand mixer if you have one, but we were able to make these with just a crank mixer, a few family members, and some determination.
  3. In a saucepan mix together sugar, boiling water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then stop whisking and allow to slowly boil for 15-30 minutes (I had to boil at least 30 minutes at high altitude) or until candy thermometer reads 236F.
  4. When the syrup is thick and ready, slowly pour down the side of the mixing bowl into the dissolved gelatin. Mix for about 20 minutes with an electric mixer, 30-40 with a crank mixer, or until the mixture is thick, white, foamy, and cool.
  5. Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth out mixture.
  6. Allow to sit for 6-8 hours, or freeze for a few hours to allow the marshmallows to set.
  7. Finishing up mixing
  8. Remove from pan (and remove waxed paper if necessary) and cut into squares on a cutting board dusted with powdered sugar. Then roll individual marshmallows in powdered sugar and eat or store in airtight container. Ours did keep OK in an airtight container at (a cool) room temperature for two weeks, but I wouldn't plan on keeping them any longer than that at room temp.
Cute helper

Yield obviously depends on how big you want your marshmallows. This would make, lots and lots of mini marshmallows, 64 one inch marshmallows, or 36 one and a half inch marshmallows, or of course just one giant marshmallow.

These are great for roasting or in hot cocoa.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

DIY 1-2-3 Ingredient "Vegan Ice Cream"

1 Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
I've seen this idea around for a while now lots of places, one of the first was here, I believe. But hadn't tried it myself yet, mainly because I love my blender, but it is not the most powerful one in the world. I didn't want to kill it making banana ice cream, but with softening the bananas slightly and babying the machine a little, we had a great treat. I think that if our blender could handle blending just bananas without any added liquid, most other blenders would definitely be up to the challenge. The boys loved it and my husband couldn't believe it had no added sugar. I liked the version with chocolate and peanut butter best, not really a surprise, but the plain banana was still quite good.

Homemade 1-2-3 Ingredient Ice Cream Recipe

  • 4–6 frozen bananas
  • 2–3 Tbsp peanut butter (for 2 ingredient ice cream)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (for 3 ingredient ice cream)
    2 Ingredient Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
  1. Cut up very ripe bananas in small sections and freeze. I did make this successfully with whole frozen bananas too, but I had to let them thaw a little to soften up some.
  2. Place frozen bananas and other ingredients that are desired into the blender. Blend in short bursts, scraping and stirring as needed.
  3. Enjoy soft serve right away as it melts fast or place in an airtight container in the freezer to firm up a little more for scooping. If you keep it in the freezer for a long time, it will eventually get too hard to scoop and you will have to allow it to soften before scooping.

3 Ingredient Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream
Linking up to Raising Arrows.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DIY Lemon Cake

In the winter months, we seem to consume all things pumpkin. But now lemons and other fruits are in season, and I'm baking with lighter flavors. You definitely need fresh lemons to make this cake taste right, but it is a very easy recipe. We love this simple lemon cake topped just with lemon curd. If you want to make a layer cake you could use the lemon curd as filling and top with buttercream frosting. The lemon curd is also great for topping scones, toast, or muffins and sounds very fancy when served at something like a ladies' tea.

Homemade Lemon Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (or I often use the concentrate from when I make homemade lemonade the easy way)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1–2 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
  2. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan (or two 8 inch round cake pans).
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30–40 minutes until lightly brown on top and toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool.

Homemade Lemon Curd Recipe

 briefly adapted from allrecipes

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (or I often use the concentrate from when I make homemade lemonade the easy way)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2–3 Tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
  1. Combine eggs and sugar in a double boiler. Then stir in lemon juice, melted butter, and lemon zest.
  2. Simmer in a double boiler for 10–15 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Pour through a strainer to remove any egg white particles if necessary.
  4. Allow to cool; the curd will continue to thicken. Spread on cooled cake or enjoy on scones or toast. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

DIY French Silk Pie

As a kid, my parents would take turns taking us on mother-daughter or father-daughter dates to different places to spend some one-on-one time together. One of the places we often went to was Baker Square, where I would almost always get French silk pie. Probably because it was chocolate, and this pie was amazing there.

Well, recently I was having a craving for French silk pie, so that's what I asked my husband and boys to make me for mother's day. It turned out amazing, especially considering we only have a hand crank mixer, so my awesome husband whipped up the perfect fluffy filling with just that and a lot of elbow grease. If you have an electric mixer or especially an electric stand mixer this recipe would be a lot easier.

This recipe is slightly adapted from allrecipes. The filling either makes a thick regular 9 inch pie pan full of filling or a thin 9x13 pan. We made a 9x13 pan and topped it with a lot of whipped cream and chocolate chips. This was a good choice for us because it is such a rich filling. This recipe does have raw eggs in it, so if you are in a high risk group or worried about consuming raw eggs you can buy pasteurized eggs, pasteurize you own eggs, or just skip this recipe.

Homemade French Silk Pie Recipe

  • Pie crust (1/2 of this recipe make one regular pie pan, 1 whole recipe will make a 9x13 pie pan)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4-8 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how dark your cocoa powder and how dark you want your filling)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • whipping cream whipped for topping pie
  • chocolate chips or chocolate curls for topping pie
  1. Prepare pie crust using this or your favorite recipe and let cool.
  2. For the filing cream together butter and sugar. Blend in cocoa and vanilla.
  3. Beating in one egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Up to five minutes per egg for optimal consistency, even with a regular electric mixer. Repeat with each remaining egg. Keep whipping until fluffy.
  4. Spread in cooked and cooled pie shell.
  5. Top with whipped cream and chocolate as desired and refrigerate until serving and for storage.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

DIY Caramel or Turtle Ice Cream

It is no secret that I love caramel. This recipe and variations thereof have probably become my all time favorite ice cream. We made this together today to have for my birthday tomorrow. I basically used David Lebovit'z salted butter caramel ice cream recipe, but I broke it down into easier steps and came up with some variations of this recipe. Adding chocolate and walnuts to make this into turtle ice cream is even better, if that's possible.

To me, this recipe is easier to understand when it is broken down into several steps. Making hard caramel candy chips, making caramel sauce, turning the caramel sauce into a custard ice cream base, and freezing and adding desired additions. I am not sure if it would work, but you could try starting with a pint of store bought caramel and making the ice cream custard from that to save some work. Let me know if you try it how it turns out. However, homemade caramel is really so much better than store bought it might not be worth it anyway. And how can you go wrong with a ice cream base that has butter in it?

Homemade Caramel or Turtle Ice Cream Recipe

Recipe makes 1 generous quart or liter of ice cream

Hard Caramel Candy Chips
Pictures of this process here.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, or just get out a silicone baking pan to have ready nearby.
  2. In a very clean and dry saucepan, begin heating the sugar, stirring occasionally to keep it from burning.
  3. Continue heating the sugar, stirring occasionally, until it is all melted and has turned amber in color. Stirring too frequently can result in lumpy caramel. However, stirring too little or heating too long can cause the caramel to scorch and burn. This is really not difficult, but you do have to keep a close eye on this recipe.
  4. Once all of the sugar is melted and turned a beautiful amber, very carefully pour into prepared baking pan. Melted sugar is extremely hot so be careful not to burn yourself. Wearing oven mitts and a long sleeved shirt is a good precaution.
  5. Spread out the melted sugar with a spatula to cover the entire bottom of the pan.
  6. After the caramel has cooled and hardened, break it into pieces. You can use a mortar and pestle, rolling pin, meat tenderizer, or even your hands (if you are really determined) for this step.
  7. Set aside caramel chips to mix into ice cream later.
Caramel Sauce
(Pictures of this process here.)

  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Begin by placing sugar in a medium to large saucepan over low heat. Even though this recipe only makes about 1 pint of sauce altogether, you need a much bigger saucepan because the caramelized sugar will bubble and foam up a lot when you add the butter and cream, and you don't want to get burned.
  2. Melt all of the sugar completely, stirring and swirling the pot as necessary to keep it from burning. Be aware that too much stirring can make the final product a little lumpy.
  3. Once all of the sugar is melted, add the butter carefully and stir to combine. Some of the caramel may harden and seize, but if you just keep stirring it over low heat, it will melt into liquid again.
  4. Then add the cream a little at a time because this is when the mixture will really bubble up. The caramel will harden again, but just keep stirring over low heat until it melts. 
Custard Base
  1. To the caramel sauce, add 1 cup of milk to the sauce and stir over low heat until well combined.
  2. Put five egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk egg yolks. Begin adding some of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolks. When the egg yolk mixture is warm, add it into the milk mixture, and continue heating over low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula or spoon.
  3. In a heat- and freezer-safe mixing bowl, add one cup of cold milk and then the custard. Mix until well combined. Chill until mixture has cooled.
  4. At this point, you can freeze the ice cream in an ice cream maker if you have one. Or if you don't have an ice cream freezer, simply mix all ingredients in a freezer safe bowl or pan and place in your regular freezer. After about 30–60 minutes, check on the ice cream, and stir vigorously with a spatula or hand mixer to break up the ice crystals. Repeat this process every 30–45 minutes until the ice cream is frozen well. In general, the more you break up the ice crystals, the longer it will take for the ice cream to freeze, but the smoother the end result will be. There is a lot more information on making ice cream and frozen yogurt on David Lebovitz's site.
  5. When the ice cream is semi set mix in caramel chips for all caramel ice cream. 
For Turtle Ice Cream
Make caramel ice cream as directed above.
Mix in:
  • Caramel chips like directed above
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Place in Freezer to set up more before serving. This is the one homemade ice cream that I make that stays somewhat soft even in our freezer which is very cold. The high sugar content of the caramel gives it this wonderful soft and rich consistency.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

DIY Scottish Shortbread

My husband loves shortbread. I used to think it was a rather boring cookie, but now he has me convinced how wonderful they are. The difference is baking them with 100% real butter. With just three ingredients these are really simple cookies, but you can totally taste the difference if you make them with anything besides all butter. Personally, I think it is a waste of time now to even attempt shortbread with margarine, somethings you can't taste the difference, but this isn't only of those recipes. I think these make great food gifts as well because not everyone makes them, and they don't have any nuts or chocolate in them if someone has allergies.

Homemade Scottish Shortbread Recipe

  • 1½ cups flour
  • ¾ cup butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, and cut in butter with a pastry cutter. Mixture will be very crumbly and resemble pie crust crumbs.
  2. Press into an ungreased 9x9 (for thick shortbread) or 9x13 (for thin shortbread) pan. Recipe can easily be doubled to fill a jelly roll pan nicely.
  3. Bake at 350F until edges just begin to brown. Time varies widely on baking these by oven and thickness of the cookies from 5–15 minutes, so you really just have to watch them carefully.
  4. Allow to cool before cutting so they are not too crumbly. We also love melted chocolate drizzled on top after they have cooled.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    DIY Chocolate Covered Cherries

    I had some leftover melted chocolate from making chocolate covered peanut butter eggs and decided to cover some maraschino cherries with it. Simply melt the chocolate, I suggest using a double boiler, and then dip the cherries in. Draining the cherries in a colander or on paper towels will make them easier to cover with chocolate. After dipping in chocolate, place on wax paper, aluminum foil, or a silicone pan, and place in the refrigerator to harden.

    DIY Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Eggs

    This is a really simple recipe for a great homemade treat for Easter/Resurrection Sunday. I do like the symbolism of eggs, something that looks dead, like a tiny tomb, but from which new life can spring forth. I made similar candies at Christmas time and never got around to posting them, but I made trees and squares then. You can of course make these whatever shape you wish for any occasion you wish, and everyone will be delighted.

    Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Recipe

    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 2 cups powdered sugar (I used homemade this time. You can also substitute powdered milk for up to ⅓ of the sugar. I did this at Christmas time, grinding the powdered milk up finer in the blender, and it worked well also.)
    • 1 bag chocolate chips for melting and dipping
    1. Combine peanut butter and powdered sugar (and powdered milk if desired) in a bowl. Knead together until it is well combined and becomes the consistency of play dough. If you feel like it is too crumbly add more peanut butter, if too sticky, add more powdered sugar.
    2. Form desired shapes, and place in refrigerator or freezer to chill while you melt the chocolate.
    3. Melt chocolate chips. I suggest melting them in a double boiler as it is the only way that I have tried that I have never ruined a batch. You can microwave them too, but I've had them burn occasionally. And this time I was in a hurry at first and thought I'd just melt them in a pot over really low heat, and they first bag of chocolate chips got all weird and crumbly and wouldn't melt. So melt chocolate chips completely with your desired method, but I think I'll be sticking to the double boiler.
    4. Dip peanut butter shapes in chocolate mixture, coat thoroughly, pull them out with a fork and tap on the side of the pan to dip off excess chocolate, and place on aluminum foil or waxed paper to cool. Repeat until all of the shapes are covered. Refrigerate to set up the chocolate, and then store in an airtight container in a cool place or the refrigerator.
    I made just over 30 small eggs, and I actually had a little melted chocolate left over this time, so I made chocolate covered cherries too. 

    You can also put these candies on sticks to make a candy pop. I insert a small stick or straw into the candy after the chocolate has hardened and then individually wrap these for small gifts for my kids. Great for Easter baskets, Valentine's day treats, or stocking stuffers.

    How not to melt chocolate

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Easy Chocolate Truffles

    I love chocolate ganache. The extremely simple combination of good dark chocolate and real cream taste pure and elegant. These chocolate ganache truffles are quite easy. I found this method and ratio of chocolate to cream to work the best for shaping into balls. It doesn't melt all over your hands, but is still soft and pliable. These are great for a party, gift, or anytime.

    Homemade Chocolate Ganache Truffle Recipe

    • 8 oz chocolate chopped or chips (use whatever % of cacao that you prefer to eat plain because there is no additional sweetener in this recipe, I used half 62% dark chocolate chopped and half semisweet chocolate chips, and we all really liked them)
    • 1/2 cup whipping cream
    • cocoa powder or chocolate for covering the truffles
    1. Chop the chocolate and place in a heat safe mixing bowl.
    2. In a saucepan, heat the cream to just simmering, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Once the edges begin to bubble, pour over chocolate.
    3. Let is sit a few minutes so the chocolate begins to melt, and then stir until well combined and smooth.
    4. Chill in the refrigerator a few hours or over night.
    5. When the mixture is very firm, but still pliable, scoop out rounded teaspoons full, and use your clean hands to roll them into round balls.
    6. At this point, you can either roll them in cocoa powder right away, or return to the fridge or freezer to chill a little more before dipping them in melted chocolate.
    7. Store in the refrigerator.
    Makes about 2 dozen. 


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