Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

J@H - Snickers Bars

Sorry for my lack of posting lately. My kitchen is currently sitting in my living room.


Over the past year, the boyfriend and I have been updating, renovating and decorating our first house. We have been putting off renovating the kitchen because it is the biggest job in the house. We pulled up the old flooring (three layers of tile, Peel & stick tile and linoleum) on Saturday. Re-tiling of the kitchen has taken up the past few days with grout planned for the weekend. We still have to choose a paint color, paint and then install a backsplash. We'll probably be out of the kitchen for another week or so.

Luckily, I had time to put the finishing touches on these bad boys before pulling the appliances out of the kitchen. I've been looking forward to recreating this classic candy in my kitchen. It took a few tries to get the layers right, but the final product is so fantastic!


Rather than coating the entire candy in chocolate, I went with the simpler option and built the candy bar in layers in a 8x8-inch pan. First went in a layer of chocolate. Next I made and pressed in the peanut butter nougat. After setting overnight, I made three different batches of caramel before finally making one that I was happy with. I stirred in the peanuts and poured it over the top. Once the caramel set up, I added the final layer of chocolate.

Do these bars taste exactly like a Snickers Bar? No. But they do taste delicious. They are also a labor of love. There are several other Snickers Bars recipes out there on the internet that are easier to put together. If you want to make everything from scratch and avoid ingredients like marshmallow fluff and store-bought caramels, give this a try!

Though, after all the trouble I had with the caramel layer, I might go with the easy way out next time!

One Year Ago: Hazelnut Cream Cheese Brownies
Two Years Ago: Peach Melba Linzer Bars
Three Years Ago: Gorgonzola & Leek Risotto
Four Years Ago: Orange Cinnamon Bread
Five Years Ago: Spanish Chicken with Mustard-Green Onion Sauce

Monday, June 22, 2015

J@H - Homemade Snoballs

I'm a few challenges behind on my Junk at Home 2015 challenge, due to travel and work, so I thought I should get back to it with a bang! This week I was scheduled to make my own version of Hostess coconut snowballs and I decided to make it all from scratch.


Even though I had to made four different things for this recipe, it all came together pretty quickly. Aside from the shredded coconut, you probably already have all of the ingredients in your pantry. Well, as long as you're a baker, if you don't bake a lot you may need to head to the grocery story for a few things (unsweetened chocolate, marshmallow creme, Greek yogurt).


While you can get Snoballs at the store once again, you should definitely try making them at home. It's so much fun! Look at these adorable little purple puffs! The colored coconut is so easy to make. Simply place a bag of sweetened, shredded coconut into a large zip top bag. Add a drop of gel food coloring and squish it around until the coconut is evenly colored. Alternatively, you can add the coconut and food coloring to a food processor and pulse until the color is even and the coconut is slightly smaller.


The big question - do they taste like the original? With the combination of marshmallow, coconut and chocolate, there is no way for these to taste like anything else! This was definitely a winner in my book.

Two Years Ago: Strawberry Bacon Pizza
Three Years Ago: Pesto-Yogurt Chicken
Four Years Ago: Baked Pasta Casserole

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ice Cream Week - Grasshopper Sandwiches

It's day two of ice cream week! Today we're enjoying ice cream sandwiches, made with the biggest, richest cookies around, filled with ice cream, which is filled with more cookies! Ice cream sandwich Inception!


Summertime is ice cream sandwich time. Who wants to be tied to a bowl and spoon? With these bad boys, you're free to leave the house, roam the world and still eat ice cream. So perfect.


These particular ice cream sandwiches might be the perfect thing to share with a friend. The cookies are enormous and putting two of them together gives you something the size of a baseball. I decided to pair Perry's Grasshopper Pie with these rich cookies. The mint flavor of the ice cream is smooth and not overpowering. There are also crushed cookie pieces and fudge swirls throughout. The combination is totally decadent.


I only made up a few sandwiches with the Grasshopper pie flavor. I'm thinking these cookies would also be amazing with the Cocoa-Nut Bliss flavor - coconut ice cream with chocolate covered almond, fudge pieces and shredded coconut. What would you sandwich between these chocolate cookies???


Disclaimer -  As a member of their Inside Scoopers team, Perry's Ice Cream supplied me with a bunch of their new Escapes flavors. All opinions are my own. I'm only so happy to support this hometown brand because I grew up eating Perry's and they make a damn delicious ice cream!

Two Years Ago: Celebration Cake
Three Years Ago: Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes
Four Years Ago: Cream of Asparagus Soup

Monday, April 27, 2015

J@H - Oreo Cookies

I'm a little behind on my Junk at Home challenge - I blame going on vacation, followed directly by a work conference. Luckily, I'm coming back with an amazing recipe! Homemade Oreos!!!

Yes, this recipe requires all of those exclamation marks.


I fed a few of these to the boyfriend and he described them as such... "they taste like Oreos, but without that stale, crumbly, crunchy part. The filling is dead on."


I can't take credit for the filling. I looked at a bunch of different recipes for Oreo fillings online and I decided to go with the one that sounded the least healthy and most unnatural. Just because these cookies are homemade, doesn't mean that they are healthy. 

At all.

There is a whole bunch of shortening in these cookies, but there is also Greek yogurt, so you know, it totally evens out. 


Seriously though, you should probably share these cookies with your friends and family. Limit yourself to one, two tops, and enjoy twisting open the cookies and eating the unnaturally white cookie filling.



One Year Ago: Quiche with Sweet Peppers and Sausage
Two Years Ago: Raspberry Macarons
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Malt Marshmallows
Four Years Ago: Maple Mousse

Friday, April 3, 2015

Chocolate Peep Cakes

We're just a few days before Easter and I really wanted to use that Peep mold again! I decided to try out a few more recipes to see just what would work. Also, I wanted everything to be peep shaped after I made those peeps last week!

Today I present... Chocolate Peep Cakes!!!


Aren't they cute!


The chocolate cake recipe that I used was a simple one. In fact I wasn't really impressed with the one I chose, so I won't be sharing the cake recipe today. You could probably even use a store bought cake mix., if you are low on time! What makes these cakes come together even faster is the frosting.


These cakes are very similar to petit fours because I used a poured fondant frosting. It took two layers of frosting to completely cover the chocolate, but it retained all the details of the peep cakes! The addition of some sprinkles and black sugar pearls and we have ourselves some cute little cakes!


They are the perfect treat to finish off your Easter holiday! These cakes were also very fun to make, I think I'll try my hand at real petit fours in the future.

Two Years Ago: Perry's Ice Cream Factory Tour
Three Years Ago: Grilled Chicken and Potatoes
Four Years Ago: Tortellini Soup

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Junk @ Home 2015 - Girl Scout Samoas (aka Caramel delights)

Call them Samoas, call them Caramel delights, whatever you choose to call them and wherever you live in America, they are delicious. I just wrote that they are devilious. Yeah, that's totally (not) a real word and it applies to these cookies. Because they make you want to eat the entire box! So devilious...

Anyways...


I added these cookies to my Junk at Home challenge because they were highly requested during my oh-so-official poll in December. People love Girl Scout cookies and they want access to them year round.


I hate to tell people, for fear that they will blame me when they gain forty pounds, but two varieties of Girl Scout cookies are available year round. Thin Mints and Samoas.



The same factory that produces Samoas and Thin Mints, also produces a Keebler-branded version of each cookie - the Grasshopper and the Coconut Dream. They are the exact same cookie. You can buy these any time you want, so long as you are at a grocery store. But if it's Girl Scout cookie season, be sure to buy from those cuties. Yes, even though they cost like $85 a box now. (Price of cookies when little Vicki sold cookies? $2.25/box. True story.)

Since you can buy the legit, original cookie anywhere, anytime, and there are dozens of recipes on other food blogs, I didn't want to make just any Samoa cookie. I made them a little bit more tasty, with more chocolate. And salted caramel. Enjoy.

Four Years Ago: Homemade Butterfinger Bars

Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel Samoas
A Wilde Original

For the Cookies

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla extract. Beat to combine. Sift in cocoa powder and all-purpose flour. Mix until smooth. Lay out a long sheet of plastic wrap. Pour dough onto plastic wrap and fold over. Roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Place on a baking sheet and set in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Take dough from the fridge and stamp out donut-shaped cookies (using either a donut stamp or two circular cookie cutters. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Once baked, remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the pan. Carefully remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire cookie rack

For the Caramel topping

2 cups caramels, unwrapped (one entire bag of  Kraft Brand Caramels)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded coconut

Place caramels, heavy cream, kosher salt and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir caramels until they are all melted and the mixture is smooth.  Using a spoon, coat the tops of the cookies with a thin layer of caramel.

Add coconut to the remaining caramel in the saucepan and stir to distribute. Use a spoon (and probably your fingers) spread coconut-caramel mixture over the cookies. Place cookies in the fridge to set up the caramel.

For the chocolate

1 cup dark chocolate chips

While the caramel is setting up in the fridge, melt chocolate using your preferred method. Easiest option is to place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, pop in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring in between each 30 seconds.

Dip the bottoms of the cookies in melted chocolate, place cookies on wax paper. Once cookies are all dunked in chocolate, pour remaining melted chocolate in a squeezey bottle. Pipe stripes over your cookies. Place in the fridge to harden the chocolate.

Share with your friends.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CTB 2014 - Marshmallow Madness!

I hate to admit this, but I haven't sat by a campfire in 4 years. The last time I sat with friends and toasted marshmallows was the summer of 2010. Weeks away from picking up once again and moving from Boulder, Colorado to New Haven, Connecticut, I just spent the day on the reservoir with my fitness family.


With the sun setting over the Rocky mountains, we settled into foldout chairs with fuzzy blankets and bags of marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey bars. I learned that the best way to enjoy a s'more is to stuff a Milk Dud into the center of a marshmallow before toasting it. Chocolate, caramel and marshmallow. So amazing.


Since moving from Boulder to the East coast, I haven't found myself in the presence of a campfire. You aren't really allowed to start fires in an apartment building. In order to fully enjoy this summer, I wanted to recreate a summertime treat in my kitchen. No fire required.


This s'mores cupcakes was the perfect way to reminisce, without setting fire to my kitchen. Though I'm not going to lie, there totally was a series of small fires when I made these beauties. Did you know that cupcake liners are flammable? When toasting the marshmallow frosting, be careful not to light the actual cupcake on fire!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CTB 2014 - Fat Witch Brownies

I'm sorry, I made you two desserts in a row! Last Thursday was a fruity and summery cobbler. Today you get brownies. Brownies that are filled with cream cheese and hazelnuts.


That's right. Cream cheese and hazelnuts. I'm absolutely terrible.

So what if we are all still trying to maintain our cute bikini bodies? We all need a little bit of luxury every now and then. Besides, it's the middle of August. It's time to start getting ready for cooler temperatures.


To be honest with you... I baked this batch of brownies, photographed the 3x3-inch bars, and then cut the large bars into four smaller, bite-sized pieces. These brownies are so rich, there is no way you would even want to eat a big slab of brownie. Bite-sized is the way to go with these.

Just be sure to toast the hazelnuts.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Buffalo Summer

It's summertime! I'm just a few hours away from boarding a plane and flying home for a visit! I tend to go home to see my parents twice a year, Christmas and summer. That way I get to see both of the Buffalo seasons, winter and July. 




Well, that's how the old joke goes. I'm more in the camp that Buffalo has four distinct, yet unequal seasons. 

Fall starts rolling in immediately after Labor day. In mid-September, the leaves start to turn and the sweaters and jeans quickly reappear. I think it's Fall that WNYers live for. I always loved Fall because it meant going back to school. But then again, I'm a nerd and totally loved school. Feel free to make fun of me.

Yes, winter is long and snowy, but you'll rarely hear a local complain about it. "What is winter without snow?", they will tell you. I remember several Christmas eves, driving through blinding snow to get to my grams house. 



Spring is rainy and cool and it tends to last from early May until mid June. It gives you plenty of time to plant your gardens and clean up from the winter mess. 

Summer pops it's head in around early July and brings sticky, hot weather. We didn't have air conditioning in my childhood home. I was only ever upset about it for one or two weeks a year. You don't get 100 degree days in Buffalo, but humidity will make you wish you had a cold drink in your hand all day. 



One easy way to tell that it was summer in my childhood home? Check the freezer for ice cream. If it was summer, there was a solid shelf of Perry's ice cream. If it wasn't summer, there was probably just half a shelf. My dad seriously loves Perry's ice cream. (Remember, I took him to the Perry's ice cream factory last year? It was his birthday present, he loved it.)

You might remember that I'm lucky enough to be a Perry's Inside Taster! This means that once or twice a year, then send me ice cream! This is super important these days, because my Wegmans in New Jersey have stopped carrying the brand! (Worse day ever) This summer, I received a large box of dry ice and three containers of Perry's. Three containers of ice cream that were all destined for something different. 



First, the French Roast Coffee. I never saw this ice cream. The package arrived and I put the containers in the fridge. I left for a conference. When I came home, the ice cream was no longer in the fridge. The boyfriend may or may not have eaten the entire container of ice cream himself. He wouldn't fess up.

Next, Otto's Cupcake. I saw this ice cream a few months back, during Sweet 16 basketball time. It's chocolate ice cream, with pieces of chocolate cake and orange frosting swirled in. Let me be clear though, the frosting swirl is orange in color, not orange in flavor. My dad and I both had some and discussed this point for a good five minutes. We were both expecting orange flavor because we didn't read the box before we ate it. This ice cream was tasty.

Finally, All Natural Dark Chocolate. This ice cream made its way into those ice cream sandwiches you see above. I was inspired by these brownie ice cream sandwiches from Smitten Kitchen. 

I knew that I still had a container of chocolate Perry's in the freezer and thought nothing would pair better with the ice cream, than peanut butter. I whipped up a batch of my favorite peanut butter bars, divided the batter in two and sandwiched almost the entire container of ice cream between the two slabs of peanut butter bar. The boyfriend thinks my ice cream to cookie ratio is off. He's just crazy, these ice cream sandwiches are amazing.  Give them a try! Or come over, I have a whole pan of them to share!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday WITK!

I've been MIA a lot recently but I just had to remember to wish WITK a Happy Fourth Birthday! This year has brought a lot of change and writing at WITK (and WITC) really helped me through a tough time. WITK has been with me through lots of changes and I always like to take this time of year to reflect on how much has changed and how far I've come!


Four years ago, I was living in Colorado. I was packing up my Boulder apartment and getting ready to move across the country, again. My boss had accepted a position at Yale and was bringing a few of his students and postdocs with him. Food blogs were new to me and I thought it would be a great way to stay in touch with my friends across the country.


Three years ago, I was in the midst of moving from Connecticut to New Jersey. I was a few days from starting my first real job and busy deciding what to wear. WITK went from three days a week posting to just two and I was trying to figure out how to cook dinner for two instead of one.


Two years ago, WITK was in the midst of its first big food challenge (Why Bother 2012!) I was enjoying my first summer as a real employed person. Easily distracted, I neglected to cook dinner and made lots of sweets. My coworkers happily gobbled up the resulting desserts.


Last year, it was a tough time and I was in the middle of my summer of unemployment. Recently laid off and seeking a new full-time gig, I threw myself into WITK and my new venture - Wilde in the City. With two blogs to distract myself from the lack of interviews, my third blogoversary gave me a great reason to make a seriously involved cake. So delicious.


This year, I find myself at a new job, getting ready to buy a house and juggling everything rather poorly! Over the past four months I have racked up over 70,000 frequent flier miles, traveled to six different countries and finally made it to Hawaii. All this travel has been tough on WITK, I cooked very little over the past four months.

In order to properly celebrate four years online, I made WITK a beautiful cake. I've been meaning to make something from the SprinkleBakes cookbook for a while now. I flipped through the pages until I found this cake - the Neapolitan cake. Three different flavors, baked from a single batter, this cake was a great combination of flavors. My favorites? I preferred the strawberry and vanilla layers. The chocolate layer wasn't flavorful enough for me. If I were to make this again, I'd use some melted chocolate for flavoring the chocolate layer.

Happy Birthday Wilde in the Kitchen! Thanks for being there for me though all the changing times! Also, many many thanks to all of my internet friends out there! Without you on the other end of the internet, it would just be my mom reading these posts! Thanks for coming along for the ride.

One Year Ago: Milky Way Cake
Two Years Ago: Buffalo Sponge Candy Cake
Three Years Ago: Pomegranate Moon Pies
Four Years Ago!!!: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate or Peanut Butter Frosting

Neapolitan Cake
Adapted from SprinkleBakes

The bake times for these cakes were way off. The cookbook suggested that all three cakes would take about the same amount of time in the oven. This wasn't the case however and it's mostly because you have to add extra water to the flavored layers. It takes much longer to bake out all this excess water. I've listed both the suggested and actual bake times in this recipe. Keep in mind that your oven could be a bit different and you should check the doneness with a toothpick. Poke it in the center, when you pull it out there should be only crumbs clinging to the toothpick.  Happy baking!

Cake batter
3 sticks (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 cups cake flour, sifted
2 tablespoons baking powder
12 egg whites, room temperature
2 cups milk (I used skim milk with a dash of heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot water

Icing
1 pound cream cheese, removed from the fridge 20 minutes ago
1/2 pound (16 tablespoons) butter, softened
1 pound (about 4 cups) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease three 9-inch round pans with butter. Line pans with parchment paper (I used wax paper because it was what I had!), butter the paper.

In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. You can also do this with a hand mixer or in your stand mixer. You'll have to transfer the whipped egg whites to another bowl if you use your stand mixer.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.  Sifter together flour and baking powder. Add vanilla to milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Mix on low until incorporated. Add 1/2 the milk, mix until blended. Add flour, milk and then flour, mixing until smooth after each addition.  Add egg whites all at once. Gently fold in the egg whites, try not to beat too vigorously and deflate the egg whites.

Divide the batter into three equal batches (I used a food scale to ensure I had three equal amounts). Add 1/4 cup hot water to the strawberry Jell-O. Stir until gelatin is mostly dissolved. Add this to one of the batches of batter and stir until there are no streaks remaining. Pour into one of the prepared pans.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup of hot water with cocoa powder, it will form a slurry. Add cocoa mixture to the second batch of batter. Pour into the second prepared pan. Pour remaining vanilla cake into the third pan. Bake cake layers as follows.

Vanilla - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (33 minutes)
Strawberry - Suggested (30-35 minutes), Actual (45 minutes)
Chocolate - Suggested (25-30 minutes), Actual (40 minutes)

Remove cake layers from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and peel off paper from the bottom. Let cool cakes completely before cutting. Level the tops of the cakes and stack while you prepare the frosting.

Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the entire pound of sugar is added. If it's too thick - add 1 teaspoon of milk. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time.

Assemble the cake - Chocolate layer on the bottom, spread about 3/4 cup frosting on top of the chocolate layer. Add vanilla layer and top with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with strawberry layer and top with 1 cup frosting. Spread cake with a thin crumb coat (Here's a nice video to learn how to crumb coat!). Pop it in the fridge for about 1 hour to harden.  Remove from the fridge and frost with the rest of the frosting. You can get fancy, but I just went with a smooth outside and a swirly top.

Feed this cake to lots of people, there is a lot of butter in here!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

CTB 2014 - Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook

Last week a few people at work asked me what I was going to bake for Easter. I replied - "Nothing." I don't really cook for holidays and you all know that a blogger bakes holiday foods way before the actual holiday. I was making Thanksgiving sides by Halloween. Christmas candy in late November. Valentine's day treat for Presidents day. But seriously, I'm not really a holiday blogger.


I may get lucky and make something green around St. Patrick's Day, like a salad, or whip up something patriotic around the Fourth of July. A good bet though, if you are in need of a holiday treat, you may want to hit up another blog! Holidays seem to sneak up on me and it's all of a sudden the week after Easter and I'm buying Cadbury mini eggs on sale at CVS.


This year I think I have an excuse. Of the past four weeks, I've been out of town for three of them. Maybe I'll start celebrating foreign holidays? Heading to London, Berlin & Sydney next month - time to research what English, German and Australian people celebrate in May!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chocolate Hearts

I wasn't planning on making anything for Valentine's Day, but I decided to try out a variation on my cutout cookie recipe this weekend.  Since we are only a few days away from February 14th, I thought why not use a heart shaped cookie cutter.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Cookies for Monday

Sometimes you need something really simple and delicious.  Comfort food.  When it comes to comfort food dessert, nothing is more classic than chocolate chip cookies.  The boyfriend and I like to whip up a batch for Saturday night and turn on a movie.  


I may or may not have eaten a few spoonfuls of the raw cookie dough before it made its way into the oven.  I'm not feeling guilty about it, this dough is delicious.  Rather than using straight all-purpose flour, I swapped out half for rice flour.  The rice flour gives these cookies a really soft texture.  They are crispy on the edges and soft in the middle, my kind of cookie.


I would totally recommend using this cookie dough as a base for using up any of your excess chocolate chips.  Toss in whatever you have in your pantry.  Milk chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch?  Toss them all in, this dough is the perfect base for anything you want to throw in there!

Half of these cookies will be making their way to work today.  One of my new coworkers has made it very clear that he love love loves chocolate chip cookies.  A new coworker always needs to make a good impression!

One Year AgoGinger-Curry Crackers & Whole Wheat Crackers
Two Years AgoBoysenberry Buckle Muffins
Three Years AgoFruit Salsa

Wilde Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, cold
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Whisk together flours, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.  In a large bowl, cream together butter and shortening, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Add sugars and vanilla and cream until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.  Pour in flour mixture and turn mixer on low.  Beat just until the flour is absorbed.  Add chocolate chips and mix by hand until chips are evenly distributed.  Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 ºF.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat sheets.  Scoop out 1 tablespoon cookie dough and roll into a ball.  Bake cookies for 11 minutes, or until they are browned around the edges.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet.  Remove from the sheet and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  (Or eat them hot, so good)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Fudge

We're in the home stretch of the holiday season and it's time to bombard you with a few more festive recipes!  I think we're just about two weeks away from not wanting to see anything peppermint, pumpkin or cranberry related for another year. Until that time comes I'm going to revel in those flavors! Get ready for a holiday countdown of flavor!


Up first is some pretty amazing and easy peppermint and chocolate Christmas fudge.  It's not the holiday season to me until I order my first peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks.  This fudge is like a condensed, one inch square version of that drink.


I've made a few different varieties of fudge and I think I prefer this method to the classic boiled sugar method. No candy thermometer, no pot and no careful crystallization required. Just microwave, stir and pour. It's incredibly creamy and smooth. I made this batch of fudge for the boyfriends holiday office party and apparently it was gone in no time! I know I had a few pieces for myself.

One Year AgoEggnog Mallomars
Two Years AgoCoconut Brownies
Three Years AgoDark Chocolate Hearts

Easy Christmas Fudge
A Wilde Original

1 (14-oz) can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cup vanilla chips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup candy canes, crushed

Line an 8-inch pan with wax paper.

Combine 9 tablespoons (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk with chocolate chips and cocoa powder.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour into the prepared pan and smooth out.  Place in the fridge while you prepare the peppermint  layer.

Combine remaining sweetened condensed milk with vanilla chips.  Microwave for 1 minute, stir until mostly melted.  Add powdered sugar and peppermint extract and stir until smooth.  Pour over chocolate layer and smooth out.  Sprinkle with crushed candy canes and gently press in.  Place in the fridge for 2 hours to harden.

Cut slab of fudge into 25 squares.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cooke Week - Peanut Butter Sandwiches

I can't have a cookie week without including peanut butter and chocolate. It is one of my most favorite flavor combinations ever. When my mom and I made cookies for Christmas, I would inevitably pick at least two or three PB&C recipes for us to make. Then I would promptly eat all of them. I can't make peanut butter blossoms because I will wind up downing the entire batch.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Cookie Week - Red Velvet Brownies

Cookie week continues! Hopefully the boyfriends coworkers don't get too sick of cookies. I've been sending him to work with lots and lots of them. Well, most of them, these red velvet brownies didn't leave the house. Call me a sucker for cream cheese frosting, because you couldn't pry these from my hands.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

French Silk Pie

It's apparently Pie Week around the internets. It's this week that everyone in finalizing their thanksgiving menus and dessert is the most important part. At least it's most important in my opinion! It's how you finish off the night and what puts that final nail in the coffin of your food coma.


 Personally I love making pies at thanksgiving because it reminds me of my gram. When I was little, we always went over to grams house for thanksgiving dinner.  We would walk in the door and the entire house would smell amazing. She had a turkey baking in the kitchen and lamb baking in the basement. Yes, she had a second oven in the basement. I'm not sure exactly how safe the whole situation was, but everyone got something they wanted for dinner.


As gram got older, we moved thanksgiving dinner to my aunts house. The aunts and uncles took over the majority of cooking but my gram still made all the desserts. Cherry pie, pumpkin pie and apple pie all made appearances after dinner. Gram was the dessert queen and made a fierce pie crust. Years later I discovered grams secret. Canned pie filling! My dad was so disillusioned. Gram was a definite housewife of the 1950's, she didn't meet a canned good she didn't like. But seriously, her pies were still awesome.


I did not inherit her pie dough making gene. I'm a huge fan of the cookie crust. Or the those rolled up pie crusts from the grocery store. Don't judge, they're yummy. For our early thanksgiving dinner this week, I prepared a chocolate chocolate chocolate French silk pie. It's rich. It's creamy. It's got to get out of my house before I eat the entire thing!


If you're looking for a little something different at your dessert table this year, whip up this pie. It's sure easy.

Two Years Ago: Sausage & Gorgonzola Mac'n'Cheese
Three Years Ago: Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

French Silk Pie
A Wilde Original

Chocolate Crust
From Momofuku Milk

For the Crumb

2/3 all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 300 ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Combine solid ingredients with a whisk. Add butter and stir until everything is moistened and you form small crumbs.

Spread mixture on baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, stir around. Bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely before making cookie crust.

For the crust

3/4 crumb recipe (260 g, 1 3/4 cup)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Pulse chocolate crumbs in the food processor until finely ground, sandy. Transfer to a bowl and add remaining ingredients. Knead with your hands until everything can be put together into a ball.

Press dough into a pie pan, using your fingers and palms to flatten the pie crust and push up onto the sides of the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to harden.

French Silk Pie
Adapted from The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook

1 cup whipping cream
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 beaten egg yolks
3 tablespoons whipping cream

Combine whipping cream, chocolate chips, butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. Slowly pour half of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks, beating the entire time.  Pour egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture begins to bubble and thickens slightly.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons whipping cream and stir to combine. Place saucepan in a bowl of ice water. Let cool for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl and whip on high speed for for 4-5 minutes, or until lightened in color and slightly fluffy.  Pour into prepared chocolate crust and place in the fridge to chill.

Stabilized Whipped Cream
from several sources

1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
1 cup cold whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Pour water over gelatin and allow to bloom for 2 minutes.  Microwave, 5 seconds at a time, until gelatin is liquefied.

Beat whipping cream on high speed until frothy. Add granulated sugar and continue beating on high for another minute. Add gelatin and whip on high until you achieve stiff peaks.  Transfer to a piping bag with a large star tip, pipe big loopy designs on your pie.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cocomel Candy Bars

I have been going through a ton of sugar these past few weeks.  I've decided now is a good time of year to get back into candy making since it is the biggest candy eating season of the year! I need to head to the grocery store and stock up on sugar when it goes on sale.


Today we have a combination of two of my favorite candies - caramel and coconut!  These were not a good candy for my braces.  Shh, don't tell my orthodontist!  The coconut is crunchy and fluffy, while the caramel is smooth and sweet.  Just look at those little vanilla seeds dotting the caramel!  So adorable.


PS - these were delicious and totally worth the extra brushing.

One Year Ago: Visiting Montreal
Two Years Ago: Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cookies
Three Years Ago: New England Cranberry Chutney

Cocomels
Adapted from Chocolate & Confections

For the Coconut layer

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) water
3 ounces (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar
6 ounces (1/2 cup) corn syrup
8 ounces (2 cups) sweetened shredded coconut
1 ounce (1/4 cup) marshmallow creme

For the Caramel layer

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) water
4 ounces (1/2 cup) sugar
1/4 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3.5 ounces (1/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
3 ounces (1/4 cup) corn syrup
1/5 ounces (3 tablespoons) butter, room temperature

1 pound chocolate

Coat an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray and line with plastic wrap.

In a small 2-quart saucepan, combine water, sugar and corn syrup and clip on a candy thermometer.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the temperature reaches 246 ºF.  Remove from the heat and add coconut, stir until completely coated.  Add marshmallow creme and stir with a rubber spatula.  Pour candy mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out with an offset spatula.

Set a bowl of icey water next to the stove along with some spoons. In a 2-quart pot, combine water, sugar, vanilla bean, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and butter.  Stir while cooking over medium heat.  Clip on a candy thermometer and cook until temperature reaches 240 ºF.  Dip a spoon in the caramel mixture and plunge into the icey water for 5 seconds.  Test the caramel for hardness.  If it's still very liquidy, continue to cook until temperature reaches 245 ºF. Pour caramel over the coconut layer.  Let set for at least 2 hours.

Temper chocolate in a double boiler.  Once slab of candy is set, remove from the pan by pulling up on the plastic wrap.  Set on the counter, caramel side up.  Pour some of the tempered chocolate on top of the caramel and smooth out with an offset spatula.  Allow chocolate to set.

Flip candy slab over and peel off plastic wrap. Trim the edges so the slab is square.  Cut slab into 12 bars.  Place candy bars on a wire rack.  Pour tempered chocolate over the bars.  Garnish with extra shredded coconut if desired.  Once coated, move to a piece of parchment paper to set.
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