Sweets For Your Sweet

Are you thinking of making some homemade treats for your Valentine? Or, maybe something for yourself? Well, I have two quick and easy treats for just that… Matzo Crack & Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles.

For the Matzo Crack, you start off by making a simple toffee using butter and brown sugar. Which you then spread over matzo crackers that have been arranged in a single layer on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Pop it in the oven for about 10 minutes, remove and then spread a bag of chocolate chips – semi-sweet, milk or dark – over the bubbling toffee. Let it sit for a few minutes and then using an off-set spatula smooth the chocolate over the toffee. Sprinkle with seat salt (and nuts if you like) and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces.

The truffles are just as easy… After making the filling – beat cream cheese, peanut butter, graham crumbs, sugar and peanuts together – roll it into 1-inch balls and freeze for about 10 minutes. Melt the chocolate and dip each of the balls in the chocolate, sprinkle with chopped peanuts and refrigerate until firm.

There you go… two quick, easy and delicious treats that you can enjoy this Valentine’s Day or any day!

Chocolate Toffee Matzo Crack

Ingredients:

4-5 lightly salted matzos

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup light brown sugar

12 ounce bag of chocolate chips – milk, semi-sweet or dark

Sea Salt

Favorite nuts, optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil – make sure the foil goes up and over the edges of the pan. Top the foil with parchment paper. Cover the paper with the matzo, cutting and piecing the pieces together.

Combine the butter and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil cook for a few more minutes until it becomes foamy and thickened. The mixture may look like its separating, continues whisking and it will come together. Pour the toffee over the matzo and spread it into an even layer using an off-set spatula. Pop it in the oven and bake it for about 10 minutes, until the toffee is bubbling. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack

Scatter the chocolate chips over the hot toffee, let it sit for a few minutes and then using an off-set spatula spread the chocolate in an even layer over the toffee. Sprinkle with the sea salt and nuts (if using) and place in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes. Don’t let it stay in the refrigerator too long or it will be more difficult to cut.

Using the overhang aluminum foil transfer the matzo crack to a cutting board and cut it into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe From Once Upon A Chef

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

  • Servings: About 28 Truffles
  • Print

Ingredients:

8oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons chopped peanuts, divided

8oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into pieces

Directions:

Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until creamy. Add in the remaining ingredients, except the sugar, and continue beating until all ingredients have mixed together.

Roll the cream cheese mixture into 28 balls, using about a tablespoon of the mixture for each ball. Place on a waxed covered baking sheet and freeze for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate. You can melt it in the microwave or using a double boiler. Dip the cream cheese balls into the chocolate and transfer them back to the wax-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped peanuts and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Kraft

A Red Velvet Valentine Heart

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow I decided to bake up a red velvet cake heart and decorate it with cream cheese frosting. I just can’t stand when red velvet (or carrot cake for that matter) are frosted with buttercream or vanilla frosting. The flavors just don’t go well together in my opinion. So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Or will you be celebrating Singletine’s Day? Or Galentine’s Day? Which is actually today!

For the cake I used a recipe that I came across on another blog that was for 12 cupcakes. In one bowl I combined all of my dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt. And in a smaller bowl I whisked together buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, an egg, vinegar and red food coloring. I didn’t have buttermilk so I made my own by combining a 1/2 cup of milk with 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice (you could use vinegar in lieu of the lemon juice). I stirred the two together and let it sit at room temperature until it was slightly thickened. You may also see some curdling on the top as well. Ever since I learned I could make my own buttermilk I have opted to do that as opposed to buying it. Inevitably I always end up throwing out most of the buttermilk since I have nothing else to use it for.

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Next, I added the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat them until they were well combined. And then slowly added in hot water – I boiled the water and then let it cool a bit.

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And finally, I poured the batter into my prepared 6-inch heart pan (I sprayed it with baking spray) and baked it in a 350 F oven for about 40 minutes. Now, if you plan on using a 6-inch heart pan like I did, don’t make the same mistake I did. I poured all of the batter into the pan. I probably should have only poured in enough to fill half or 3/4 of the pan, but, it was slightly more than 3/4. So, what happened, it overflowed when I baked it. Thankfully I had the premonition that it would so I placed aluminum foil on the rack beforehand so I didn’t have a huge mess in my oven.

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It wasn’t all that bad though, after letting the cake cool I was able to torte the cake. I just used the cut side as the bottom of the cake.

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And then it was time to decorate. I made cream cheese frosting and let it firm up a bit in the fridge before decorating with it. I began by make two large rosettes on the cake using a Wilton 1M tip…

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And soon enough, using various sizes and shapes of decorating tips, my heart was completely decorated.

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So, however you will be celebrating, or if you’re not celebrating at all, I hope you have a wonderful day.

 

Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup hot water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare your desired pan. This recipe was originally for 12-14 cupcakes, but, can be easily used for a single layer 6-inch or 8-inch cake.

In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, egg, vinegar and red food coloring.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and using a hand mixer beat until well combined.

Slowly add the hot water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

If using a cupcake pan, bake for about 15 – 17 minutes. If using a cake pan, bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Until a cake tested comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe from The Cake Blog

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat until smooth.

Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth.

Add in the vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.

Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake

A great thing about blogging and social media – Instagram in particular – is the chance to discover other bloggers. One blog that I have enjoyed following is The Cake Blog – a blog with amazing cake designs that include tutorials so you can recreate them yourself if you wish. Recently they featured a Valentine’s Heart Candy Box Cake that I thought was too cute not to try.

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Using one milk chocolate box cake mix I baked two heart cakes filling the pan with about 2 cups of batter for each of the cakes. After letting the cakes cool completely I leveled the cakes using a large serrated knife. I used to use a cake leveler but have found that using a knife allows me to level the cakes more evenly.

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Following that I frosted each of the cakes with vanilla frosting and then placed them in the refrigerator so the frosting could harden in preparation for decorating them with fondant.

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And while I was on a kick making marshmallow fondant recently, I opted to go with store bought fondant to decorate these cakes. I picked up Wilton’s Decorator Preferred Fondant in red and pink and I was pleasantly surprised; it was easy to knead and roll out. I’ve used Wilton’s Rolled Fondant in the past and it wasn’t as easy to work with.

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After rolling the red fondant out to an 1/8 of an inch thick I cut two strips of fondant long enough to wrap around each of the heart cakes, one an inch and half wide – the height of the cake – for the top of the candy box and the other two inches wide for the candy box.

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I rolled up the strips and then unrolled them around each of the cakes.

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Next I rolled out more of the red fondant and using my heart cake pan as a template, I traced out a heart for the cover of the candy box.

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Once I was done with the red fondant I rolled out the pink fondant and cut out two hearts – one smaller than the red cover I previously cut and one to fit inside of the wider red border – the candy box cake. On the smaller of the two pink hearts I used a fondant stitching wheel to etch an angle design.

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Next it was time to make the candy box cake actually look like a candy box and to do that I needed candy, more specifically chocolate candy. I melted some Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melts and filled heart & circle swirls molds to create the candy.

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After refrigerating the molds so the chocolate could set I tapped them out onto wax paper.

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I then used some of the melted chocolate to glue two pieces of the candy together so they would have a little height inside the candy box cake.

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To add a little more pizazz to the chocolates I drizzled them with melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with Valentine’s themed sprinkles.

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Then I used more of the melted chocolate to glue the pieces onto the candy box cake.

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On the original cake the edges were painted gold using gold dust and extract. I attempted to do the same with shimmer powder I had on hand…

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But unfortunately I wasn’t too successful as the powder I have didn’t have the same color intensity. It was worth a try though! While there were some imperfections with my final outcome, overall I was pleased with it. I definitely need to work on cutting fondant shapes and making straight lines when etching a design into the fondant.

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Valentine’s Day Treats

Happy Valentine’s Day! Many have coined this day a Hallmark Holiday, for me, I personally believe that we shouldn’t have to designate a specific calendar day to show the one’s we love how much we love and appreciate them (If you’re curious here’s a little history on the origins of the day.) We should take a lesson from my friend’s four-year old daughter who will ask me to call her mom while I am baby-sitting her just so she can tell her that she loves her. I will say though that Valentine’s Day does bring about some delicious treats available in stores. I highly recommend the Heart Shaped Brownie Batter Donut from Dunkin’ Donuts… It’s delicious! Something else that is available in stores… an array of baking items so you can bake up your own delicious treats. I definitely couldn’t resist quite a few of those…

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While I would have loved to bake up a batch of sugar cookies from scratch I had to settle on using a bag mix since I was short on time and couldn’t afford to wait the hour or so for my dough to be refrigerated.

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After following the mixing directions on the package for cutout cookies I rolled out the dough and used my heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out cookies and then popped them in a 350 F preheated oven on an ungreased cookie sheet for six minutes. I got a jump start on decorating a few of them by sprinkling sprinkles on them prior to baking. I then let them cool completely before finishing my decorating.

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While the cookies cooled I made some cupcakes using Pillsbury’s Valentine’s Day Funfetti Cake Mix. How can you resist the Pillsbury Dough Boy on a Valentine’s Day themed cake mix box!?!? Once they cooled I frosted them using store bought vanilla frosting. I was planning on whipping up a batch of vanilla frosting from scratch, but, after shoveling snow for the umpteenth time this year I just wasn’t in the mood.

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I tinted half of the frosting pink and then sprinkled some Valentine’s Day sprinkles on them.

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And finally something I did make from scratch… Royal Icing to decorate the cookies.

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I used a squeeze bottle to decorate the cookies with icing and then once again used sprinkles to finish decorating them.

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And finally my Valentine’s Day treats were done and ready to be shared…

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