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  • Have a Spooky Halloween!

    Cheddar Witches Fingers - Cheese straws in the shape of fingers, complete with a black almond "finger nail." Delicious and totally spooky.

    Candy Apples - You don't need to go to the fair to get my favorite treat because you can make these at home. Black food coloring gives them a festive touch.

    Pumpkin Caramel Sauce - Having a not-so-scary Halloween party? Serve ice cream with this pumpkin infused caramel sauce on top.

Monthly Archives: April 2009

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

I’ve been looking for an excuse to make these cupcakes for quite some time. I finally found the perfect occasion-my sister and brother in law’s birthdays. Since I knew I’d be seeing them at Easter, not long after their birthdays, I decided these were a must-make.

I don’t even know that I can put into words how amazing these cupcakes tasted. Everyone in the family was raving about them. The cupcake is rich and moist, all that a perfect cupcake should be. The ganache filling was amazing (we ate the leftover right out of the bowl, if that tells you anything). The Bailey’s gave the icing the perfect amount of flavor (and that’s coming from someone that doesn’t really like buttercream). Put those things together, and you get the most rich and decadent cupcake. I will warn you, though, that you should have a glass of milk or water close by when eating these.

Chocolate, Whiskey and Beer Cupcakes
For the Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
Ganache Filling:
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (optional)
Baileys Frosting:
3 to 4 cups confections sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys (or milk, or heavy cream, or a combination thereof)

Make the cupcakes:
-Preheat oven to 350°F and line 24 cupcake cups with liners.
-In a large, heavy saucepan, bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.
-Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend.
-Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl.
-Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat until just combined. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on low speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
-Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Make the filling:
-Chop the chocolate and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate.
-Allow the chocolate to sit for one minute and then stir until smooth. (If this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler to gently melt what remains. 20 seconds in the microwave, watching carefully, will also work.)
-Add the butter and whiskey (if you’re using it) and stir until combined.
Fill the cupcakes:
-Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped (the fridge will speed this along but you must stir it every 10 minutes). Meanwhile, remove the centers from the cooled cupcakes.
-Put the ganache into a piping bag with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.
Make the frosting:
-In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.
-When the frosting looks thick enough to spread, drizzle in the Baileys (or milk) and whip it until combined.
-Ice and decorate the cupcakes.

Do ahead: You can bake the cupcakes a week or two in advance and store them, well wrapped, in the freezer. You can also fill them before you freeze them. They also keep filled — or filled and frosted — in the fridge for a day. (Longer, they will start to get stale.)

Source:  Smitten Kitchen

Bacon & Cheese Quiche

I love breakfast foods and could probably eat breakfast as every meal. I didn’t think it possible, but this recipe made my love for breakfast even stronger. This was my first time making quiche, and it couldn’t have been easier. To have minimal ingredients, this quiche packs a lot of flavor. The creamy, golden brown custard was filled with the fresh flavor of thyme and enhanced by crispy bacon and the mild, slightly nutty flavor of the cheese.

Since I was visiting family for the weekend when I made this, I decided to skip making the pie crust. As much as I love cooking, I didn’t ride in the car for over 8 hours just to spend the entire time in the kitchen. I know it wouldn’t have taken that much longer, but that was time I wanted to be spending with my family, so deep-dish frozen pie crust it was. Even taking shortcuts like this, my older sister still made fun of me for being in the kitchen too much and joked that Eric would have to drag me out of there. :)

Bacon and Cheese Quiche
10 strips bacon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light cream
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (We used Swiss.)
1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese

-In a medium skillet cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
-Crumble bacon.
-Transfer to a paper towel to drain.
-In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, thyme and pepper.
-Pour into the crust.
-Sprinkle egg mixture with bacon and cheeses.
-Bake until golden and custard is set, about 30 minutes.

Source: Food Network

Chocolate Cake with Espresso Glaze

I will admit that I have a weakness for any dessert containing coffee and chocolate. It is one combination I simply can’t resist. This cake is incredibly moist and flavorful. The espresso really comes through, but not so much that it overpowers the chocolate. The glaze is pure bliss. The only complaint that I have about this cake is that I felt the need to explain that it was supposed to look the way it did. :) This cake was delicious, elegant and so simple to bake. I’ll definitely be making this again.

Chocolate Cake with Espresso Glaze
Recipe Note: Flourless chocolate cake is a crumbly and dense classic everyone loves. This version gets subtle coffee flavor from espresso powder used in the batter and in a rich, creamy dark-chocolate glaze served at the table.

For the cake:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, plus more for pan

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or nondairy margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream or plain soy milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

-Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Butter bottom of a 9-inch springform pan, and line with parchment cut to fit.
-Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
-With a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
-Add espresso and salt, and beat for 1 minute.
-Add vanilla and chocolate mixture, and beat for 1 minute.
-In a clean bowl and with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy.
-Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff peaks form.
-Fold whites into chocolate mixture in 3 additions.
-Pour batter into prepared pan.
-Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes.
-Let cool completely in pan on a rack.
-Remove pan sides. Carefully lift cake with a spatula, and remove parchment.
-Make the glaze: Place chocolate, butter, and vanilla in a bowl.
-Bring remaining ingredients to a boil, stirring, and pour over chocolate mixture.
-Whisk until smooth.
-Serve glaze warm with cake.

Serves 8
Source: Martha Stewart Living

Taco Hummus

I’ve always been a big fan of hummus, but had never tried making it myself. Since I’ve been taking my lunch to work most days, I thought this would be a good snack or side to have handy. It’s so delicious and so incredibly easy to put together. The taco flavoring isn’t overpowering at all; it just gives the hummus a little kick. This hummus is a healthy snack, and is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet.

Taco Hummus
2 cups well cooked or canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon

-Combine the chickpeas and all the spices in the bowl of a food processor.
-Process until well combined.
-With the machine running, add the tahini, olive oil, and lemon juice through the feed tube in a steady stream.
-Add reserved liquid from the chickpeas as necessary to achieve your desired texture.
-Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon juice as necessary.

Source: Annie’s Eats