S’mores Icebox Cake

Happy National S’mores Day! Isn’t it insane how there’s a day for everything?!?! Today is also National Lazy Day so if you feel like doing nothing you have a decent excuse. And if you want to prepare yourself for tomorrow… August 11th is National Son’s and Daughter’s Day, National President Joke Day and National Raspberry Bombe Day. And if you are so incline to go further than that check out the National Day Calendar website. So, would you believe that even though I have been sharing s’mores related desserts on my blog for the past couple of years I had never had a s’more until this past weekend? I can’t really say why, maybe it’s because I have never been camping, but, that’s not a good excuse. Truth is, I don’t care for marshmallows that much. But, after making this cake I realized that I like toasted marshmallows! I guess it’s like toasting bread, somehow it just tastes better that way.

Before assembling the cake I made ganache, chocolate whipped cream and marshmallow whipped cream. In case you are wondering at the moment and you can’t wait to get to the directions, to make the marshmallow whipped cream I roasted marshmallows in the oven under the broiler, let them cool and then whipped them with heavy cream. I am beginning to learn that you can make any type of whipped cream. I recently came across a recipe with coconut whipped cream using just the coconut solids from a refrigerated can of coconut milk. It’s essentially a vegan version of whipped cream, but, nonetheless I really want to try it.

Next, I assembled the cake. After lining a 9×5 loaf pan with plastic wrap – leaving an overhang on the long sides – I placed a single layer of chocolate graham crackers along the bottom. Breaking the pieces as necessary. Now, I am sure if you want more of an “authentic” s’mores flavor you could swap out the chocolate graham crackers for honey (or cinnamon) flavored ones. Truth be told, these chocolate graham crackers aren’t available everywhere. And did know they make vanilla ones now? I am really hoping this isn’t going to become like M&M’s or Oreos where there are more flavors than you can name or remember. Back to the cake though… Once I had a layer of graham crackers I then spread half of the marshmallow whipped cream over them and drizzled it with a few tablespoons of the chocolate ganache.

I repeated the layers again this time with the chocolate whipped cream, and then another with the marshmallow whipped cream and one last one with the chocolate whipped cream. Finally, I topped it with a layer of the graham crackers. I folded the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake and refrigerated it overnight. I also placed the remaining ganache in the fridge as well. And, I placed 2 whole graham crackers in a Ziploc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin until they were fine crumbs.

The next day, before removing the cake from the fridge, I heated the ganache in the microwave until it was pourable and let it cool for an hour. I also cut 9 marshmallows in half and placed them on a greased baking sheet in a tight 3-by-6 rectangle and broiled them until they were toasted and bubbling. I also let this cool for an hour.

To finish the cake, I inverted it onto a platter and then pressed the chocolate crumbs onto the sides of it. I poured the leftover ganache over the top and spread it into a thin layer – allowing the excess to fall over the sides of the cake. And finally, I removed the marshmallow rectangle from the baking sheet and placed it on top of the cake. And there you have it, a S’mores Icebox Cake.

And you can see after slicing it the layers were distinct. This cake was a hit… especially those roasted marshmallows. My favorite part! I think if I make this again I will opt to use the honey or cinnamon graham crackers just so that the chocolate isn’t the focal point of the cake.

Here are some more s’mores related desserts:

S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

S’mores Brownies 

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

 

S'mores Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

2 1/2 cups heavy cream

24 marshmallows

3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

16-18 whole chocolate graham crackers

unsalted butter, for the baking sheet

 

Directions:

Preheat the broiler.

Make the ganache: Put the chocolate in a small bowl. Bring 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes until stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Butter a baking sheet, then arrange 15 marshmallows on the baking sheet. Broil until toasted and bubbling, 30 second to 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

Combine 1 cup heavy cream, the cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

Combine the remaining 1 cup heavy cream and the broiled marshmallows in another medium and beat with a mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Don’t worry if bits of marshmallow remain.

Line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 4-inch overhang on the long sides. Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of chocolate graham crackers, break the crackers to fit as needed. Spread half of the marshmallow mixture over the graham crackers and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate ganache. Repeat this step, but using the chocolate whipped cream instead of the marshmallow one.  Repeat again using the marshmallow whipped cream and then finally the chocolate whipped cream. Top with a layer of graham crackers and then wrap the overhanging plastic wrap over the cake and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Crush the remaining graham crackers into finely ground crumbs by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and rolling them with a rolling pin, set aside. Place the remaining ganache in the refrigerator.

About an hour before serving preheat the broiler. Warm the reserved ganache in the microwave until pourable and set aside for an hour to cool. Butter a baking sheet and cut the remaining 9 marshmallows in half and arrange them on the baking sheet in a tight 3 x 6 rectangle – the marshmallows should be touching. Broil until toasted and bubbling and then let cool for an hour.

Invert the cake onto a platter, discard the plastic wrap and press the graham cracker crumbs onto the sides of the cake. Pour the ganache over the cake and spread into a thin layer letting the it drip down the sides. Finally, remove the toasted marshmallow rectangle in one piece and place on top of the cake.

Recipe from Food Network

Black Forest Cupcakes

So, I had never baked with cherries before until this Cherry Pie and here I am making another sweet treat with cherries… Black Forest Cupcakes. With chocolate, cherries & whipped cream how could they not be delicious!

I began by making the cherry filling. Unfortunately this isn’t the most appetizing looking picture of the cherry filling, but, it definitely tasted whole a lot better than it looked.

While the cherry filling cooled in the refrigerator I made the cupcakes.

And once the cupcakes and the filling had cooled I cored the cupcakes and filled them with the cherry filling.

And finally, I topped them with whipped cream frosting, some chocolate shavings and a cherry.

Surprisingly these cupcakes were incredibly light and not overly sweet.

 

Black Forest Cupcakes

  • Servings: 15 cupcakes
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Ingredients:

Chocolate Cupcakes:

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

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons milk*

*I used 2% milk

 

Cherry Filling:

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons corn starch

2 tablespoons water

1 2/3 cups pitted and quartered cherries

 

Whipped Cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

chocolate, for grating

cherries, for topping

 

Directions:

Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with liners.

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended.

In a separate bowl combine the vanilla extract, water and cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Add this to the sugar mixture and beat until combined.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternating with the milk. Add half of the flour mixture, then all of the milk and then the remaining flour mixture, mix until the batter is smooth.

Fill the cupcakes liners about 3/4 way (about 1/4 cup) and bake for 15-17 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool a few minutes in the pan and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Cherry Filling:

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Heat until the sugar begins to melt

Add the cherries and stir to coat them with the sugar mixture. Cook the mixture until the cherries begin to soften and they let out their juices.

Remove from the heat once the juice has begun to thicken. Pour the mixture into another bowl and refrigerate until cool.

 

Once the cupcakes and the cherry filling has cooled remove the centers of the cupcakes using a cupcake corer or a knife and fill the centers with the cherry filling.

 

Whipped Cream:

Add the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract to a large bowl and whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Pipe swirls of the whipped cream on top of the cupcakes. Then top them with grated chocolate and a cherry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

For today’s Slow Cooker Sunday post instead of bringing you a meal I am bringing you dessert. I’ve made bread pudding and rice pudding in my slow cooker and I’ve finally made a cake, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake.

To begin, I made the cake batter by whisking together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. I then stirred in 2 beaten eggs, whole milk, canola oil and vanilla extract. Once that was well combined I then stirred in peanut butter chips.

Next, I poured the batter into the insert of my slow cooker which I sprayed generously with cooking spray.

Per the recipe I set the slow cooker to low, but, my cake was ready way before the directed time of 4 hours. It was more like 3 hours, but, truthfully I probably should have turned off the slow cooker around 2.5 hours. While make cake came out of the insert without sticking to the sides or bottom…

It was a bit hard/burnt along the edges so I decided to cut it in a way that I ended up with pieces that were more like a snack cake as opposed to a cake cake. But overall it was delicious and incredibly moist and paired very well with vanilla ice cream, especially if you warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Slow Cooker Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, beaten

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

Directions:

Spray the insert of a slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract; mixing until all of the ingredients are well combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips.

Pour the batter into the slow cooker, spreading the batter evenly. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the top is set. Since all slow cookers are different begin checking the cake after about 2 hours to ensure it doesn’t burn, check it with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness. The cake may look a little undercooked in the center. Turn off the heat and let the cake cool uncovered for about 20 minutes. The cake will firm up as it cools.

Recipe from Slow Cooker Family Favorites

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

I came across this brownie recipe in a recent issue of People magazine. At first it sounded great, but, then I started to make them and I began to question them due to the vast amount of ingredients.

In one bowl I sifted together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In another bowl I combined 9 eggs, 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree and 4 1/3 cups of sugar. And finally, in another bowl I melted 1 2/3 cups of unsalted butter. YIKES! I’ve made brownies from scratch before and usually they require about 4 eggs or so and definitely not that much sugar. Oh, and if you didn’t know 1 2/3 cups of butter is roughly 27 tablespoons! So, I had my doubts, but I plowed ahead.

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To combine these three, I continued to beat the pumpkin mixture on low while slowly adding in the melted butter and then gradually added in the flour until the mixture was completely blended.

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And finally I stirred in 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips.

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Next, I spread the batter into a greased 18 x 12 – inch rimmed baking sheet.

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And baked it for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester came out clean in the center.

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And after letting them cool completely I went to slice them and problems quickly arose. While they did appear to be completely cooked for some reason when I went to slice them they seemed to be undercooked in the middle. Granted, if I had left them in the oven longer the edges would have really burned. So while it appeared that I would have been able to slice these into 20 healthy-sized brownies I really only ended up with 12. While they did taste good the verdict is out as to whether or not I will make them again. I actually brought them to a friend’s house and we jokingly coined them “The $50 Brownies” because of the amount of ingredients… LOL!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

9 large eggs

2 1/2 cups pumpkin puree

4 1/3 cups sugar

1 2/3 cups unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 18 x 12 inch rimmed baking sheet.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and the pumpkin puree on medium speed until well combined. Add the sugar and continue beating until all ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer running, slowly add the melted butter to the pumpkin mixture. Gradually add in the flour mixture until fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely and then slice.

Recipe from Buddy Valastro People Magazine

 

Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

The unofficial end of the summer is upon us! A bittersweet time… the lazy days of summer are coming to an end, kids go back to school (yay for crazy morning traffic – that being said in my most unenthusiastic and sarcastic voice) and temperatures begin to drop. Granted, that last fact is a welcome change to me. Fall is upon us! If you didn’t know, it’s my favorite season! There’s pumpkin everything (I’m actually eating a Chobani Flip Pumpkin yogurt as I write this), apple picking, the crisp air in the morning, the leaves changing color and so many other wonderful things. It also leads us to my other favorite time of the year… The Holiday Season! You know, that time between Thanksgiving and Three Kings Day. Well, that’s what I personally consider the Holiday Season to be, I know for some it ends with the New Year. But, before we get to all that and our ovens working overtime baking wonderful holiday treats, I have a dessert for you that’s perfect for any BBQ’s you’ll be heading to this holiday weekend and for any of those random 90+days that are sure to come… An icebox cake, more specifically a Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake.

 I first saw this recipe on Food Network’s Instagram feed. It’s from Ina Garten aka “The Barefoot Contessa” and I knew I had to make it. And then a few weeks later it was featured in their magazine. Its super simple, only requires 1 bowl for mixing and you have don’t have to bake it. You assemble it and let it set overnight in your fridge – hence icebox cake.

 In a large bowl combine heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer, mix on low speed until combined and slowly raise the speed until stiff peaks form. Before using this mocha cream of course I had to try it and it tasted similar to the cream used in Tiramisu… Delish!

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Once the cream is made it was time to assemble the cake. I arranged a layer of thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan. I used Tate’s cookies, which are famous for their thin & crispy texture. If you can’t find Tate’s or you just don’t feel like ordering them, you can try Chips Ahoy’s new Thins Chocolate Chip Cookie. So, after arranging the first layer of cookies, I spread about a fifth of the cream evenly over the cookies. Next, another layer of cookies and then the cream. I continued this layering pattern until I had 5 layers of each, ending with the cream. I then smoothed the top, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight.

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The following day to unmold the cake I ran a sharp knife along the sides and then removed the ring and topped the cake with some shave chocolate.  

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Delicious is an understatement for how good this cake is! The cookies soften due to the cream, but, are left enough with enough texture that you don’t feel like you’re eating mushy cookies… Gross! And the combination of the mocha cream and chocolate chip cookies is just perfect!

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Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

24 ounces thin & crispy chocolate chip cookies, about 35

Shaved semi-sweet chocolate, for garnish

Directions:

In a large bowl combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder & vanilla extract. Using a hand mixer mix on low speed until all ingredients are combined, gradually increase the speed until firm peaks form.

To assemble to the cake, arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat in an 8-inch springform pan, breaking the cookies as necessary to completely cover the bottom of the pan. Spread a fifth of the mocha cream evenly over the cookies. Place another layer of cookies lying flat and then another fifth of mocha cream. Continue this layer pattern until there are 5 layers of each, ending with the mocha cream. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, run a sharp knife along the edges and remover the ring. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate and serve cold.

Recipe from Food Network

 

 

Malted S’mores Ice Cream

Happy National S’mores Day! In honor of the day I am sharing with you a Malted S’mores Ice Cream recipe that I came across in a recent issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine. And best of all… you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it.

To begin, I softened a pint of vanilla ice cream by letting it sit uncovered on my kitchen counter for a few minutes. Meanwhile, I roasted (in actuality lightly toasted, but we gotta go with roasted since this is a s’mores ice  cream) 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows in a 425 F preheated oven by spreading them on parchment lined baking sheet and popping them in for a minute or two. Don’t worry if they stick together while roasting, once they cool just pull them apart.

Once the ice cream is softened, mix it along with a 1/4 cup of malted milk power. Once the two were well blended I folded in the cooled marshmallows and 3 crumbled graham crackers. I used cinnamon graham crackers, but, I am sure that honey graham crackers would be just as good. Once all of the ingredients are incorporated transfer the ice cream to a metal loaf pan (or any other freezer safe container) and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

And you may be wondering, “How is this s’mores ice cream without chocolate?” No need to worry, the chocolate comes in the form of chocolate syrup as a topping. Add as little or as much as you like!

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And there you have it… A quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy your own version of a s’more on this National S’mores Day or any other day!

 

Malted S'mores Ice Cream

Ingredients:

1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened

1/4 cup malted milk powder

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

3 graham crackers, crumbled

Chocolate syrup, for topping

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 425 F. On a parchment lined baking sheet spread marshmallows and bake until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Let cool.

In a large bowl mix softened ice cream with the malted milk powder.

Using a rubber spatula gently fold in the graham cracker crumbles and marshmallows.

Transfer to a freezer-safe containers and freeze until firm, at least an hour.

Serve topped with chocolate syrup.

 

Recipe from Rachael Ray Magazine

A Sweet Way to Ring in the New Year… Chocolate and Strawberries!

Happy New Year! So, how did you ring in the year? Asleep? Out and about? Or like me, surrounded by family and friends? In my case, the friends actually fall under the family category, so I should say I rang it in with family. Either way, I hope it was an enjoyable time and a great kick off to the new year ahead. And how about those resolutions? Did you make any? I may have mentioned it before, but, I don’t make resolutions. I think it’s great for those people who do so, but, I don’t think you need a new year to make a new start. Every day you wake up is an opportunity to do something different and better for yourself and those around you. I sound like self-help guru or something… LOL! But, it’s true. Every day we have a choice as to how we are going to lead our day and we can make the decisions that are best for us or the ones that are not so great. But, it’s up to each of us to make those decisions. So, maybe that’s my resolution, to live the best day possible each and every day. And trust me I know from experience that it’s not always easy, but, you always have to try and find the silver lining because if you don’t you may always wonder, “Why me?” And now on to the Chocolate and Strawberries!

So, I always want to make something different and delicious as a sweet treat for New Year’s Eve and I was pondering attempting to make macarons, but, I quickly decided against it. I think that’s best left for when it’s just a random day and if they don’t come out well I don’t have to scramble to make something else in their place. So I opted for cupcakes. Something that is foolproof and always a crowd favorite. And these were cupcakes that I wanted to make for a month or two now. I came across the recipe when I was flipping through an old holiday magazine for cookie recipe ideas – remember I am a bit of a recipe hoarder! They are a super simple mocha chip cupcake with a chocolate sour cream frosting. The coffee in the cupcake offsets the chocolate from the chocolate chips in it and the sour cream adds a nice tang to the frosting so overall this isn’t an overly sweet or chocolatey cupcake. And to make it festive I sprayed a few using an edible gold shimmer spray and topped the others with strawberries.

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And since I had leftover strawberries and half a bag of chocolate chips left it was the perfect set-up for some chocolate covered strawberries. I simply melted the chocolate chips in the microwave in minute intervals and then dipped the strawberries in it and then placed them on a wax-paper covered cookie sheet and placed them in the refrigerator until set. Once they were set I drizzled more melted chocolate over them. These were a HIT and barely made it to midnight!

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So, stay tuned in 2016 for more sweet treats, slow cooker meals, beaded jewelry and yarn projects!

 

Mocha Chip Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 cupcakes
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Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a 12 standard cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. While the mixer is running, slowly poor in the sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, with the mixer on medium-high speed beet until the mixture is light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, on medium speed. Beat until the batter is smooth and scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and the melted chocolate and beat until smooth and blended. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the dissolved espresso powder. Finally stir in the chocolate chips by hand.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin tin and bake 20 to 22 minutes, until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed in the center.

Let the cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes on a wire rack and then remove them allowing them to cool completely on the wire rack.

Recipe from Fine Cooking

 

Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

  • Servings: 1 1/4 cups
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Ingredients:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, spooned and leveled

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

milk, if necessary

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk butter, sour cream, vanilla extract and salt to blend. Gradually whisk in the sugar until smooth. Add the chocolate and beat it in with the whisk until the frosting is smooth and creamy. The frosting must be thick and spreadable; if it’s too thick thin it with a drops of milk. If it’s too thin, chill it briefly, stirring occasionally until thickened.

Recipe from Fine Cooking