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Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate’

Cap off your child’s school year with a treat that fits the occasion–a chocolate mortarboard with a fruit-leather tassel. You may want to make enough to share with a few classmates. Bon-Apetit!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Miniature peanut butter cups
  • Frosting or peanut butter
  • Chocolate-covered graham crackers
  • Fruit leather

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place a miniature peanut butter cup, bottom up, on a plate. Top with a small dollop of frosting or peanut butter, then press on a chocolate-covered graham cracker.
  2. For a tassel, tightly roll up a small square of fruit leather. Cut fringe on one end and attach the other end to the center of the graham cracker with another dab of frosting or peanut butter.

CHECK OUT LE TOP CHILDREN’S CLOTHING AT
www.letop-usa.com

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One of the Moms in our office, Robyn, is always doing creative or crafty projects with her girls. She recently made Red Velvet Cake Pops for her daughter Kira’s birthday with a little decorating help from Kira. It takes some patience to prepare these but it is worth it. They were a huge hit at the party but most people said that the pops were so rich that one was enough.

The finished product!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box red velvet cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13X9 cake)
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting (16 oz.) – non whipped
  • 1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
  • Sprinkles or other decorations

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Cookie sheet
  • Wax paper
  • Food coloring if you’d like chocolate a color other than white or brown
  • Lollipop sticks (Crafts Stores carry these)
  • Styrofoam block

DIRECTIONS:

  1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can cream cheese frosting.
  3. Hand roll mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet.    Note: This should make 45-50 balls. You can get even more if you use a mini ice cream scooper.
  4. Chill for several hours or you can speed this up by putting in the freezer.
  5. Melt chocolate in microwave per directions on package. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to white chocolate at this time.           Note: Chocolate shouldn’t be too hot. Chocolate scorches very easily and will taste burnt if heated too long. Only melt a few pieces of chocolate bark at a time because it starts to cool and thicken. It’s easier to work with when it’s hot.
  6. Dip lollipop stick into the melted chocolate and insert into cake ball a little less than half way.
  7. After the stick is firm and set, dip into chocolate and rotate until entire pop is covered and removed promptly. You can use a small spoon to cover areas missed but do NOT swirl pop in the chocolate or you will lose it roll balls in chocolate.
  8. Decorate as you like.
  9. When done, poke the lollipop stick into the styrofoam block to set.

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I have been told the best way to learn how to cook and bake is to “just go for it.”  So, in an effort to become more confident and familiar in the kitchen, I bought myself a cookbook and did just that.   

Recently I made a close-friend a tiramisu dessert for her birthday. After finishing the dessert, I realized I had gone a little overboard shopping for the ingredients. I had two options for the left over ingredients. The first option was to find a recipe and make something with the left over ingredients. The second was to pack everything up and hope to use the food before it went bad. Since I was in a ‘dessert-making’ mood I went with the first.

I started by looking online for desserts that included ladyfingers, heavy whipping cream, marsala, and/or dark rum. I didn’t find much of anything that had those ingredients except for tiramisu. So, I decided to be creative in the kitchen. 

I chose to make something with peanut butter and bananas and basically followed the tiramisu recipe by taking the core ingredient and recreated the textures with new components and flavors. I whipped the heavy whipping cream until it was light and fluffy, and then I threw in a little of the dark rum and some vanilla extract to bump up the flavor of the whipped mixture. Yummy!

When making tiramisu the mascarpone mixture is crucial to the texture of the dessert. Since I had already used all of my mascarpone I had to improvise… so instead I used cream cheese and peanut butter. Mascarpone is an Italian sweet cream cheese that is softer, sweeter, and smoother than traditional cream cheese. After a few taste tests, I realized my mixture wasn’t quite sweet or smooth enough. I wasn’t sure the best way to handle this dilemma, so I called my friend Susan – my go-to girl for baking advice. She quickly prescribed powdered sugar to my dessert. I was on my way! 

I folded the whipping cream mixture into the peanut butter cream cheese mixture. The two combined to make a light, rich, smooth and creamy mixture. Now it was time to assemble my dessert. I covered the bottom of the dish with ladyfingers, followed by a layer of sliced bananas, scooped and spread half of my peanut butter cream mixture, and topped it off with ground semi-sweet chocolate. I repeated the layers again and topped it off with a few banana slices I had left and a good layer of the ground chocolate.

It turned out delightful! I did have some things I would do different the next time around, such as using more bananas, but all in all it was a great success. I don’t have a name for it yet, but feel free to comment if you have any suggestions.

Good luck on your next in-the-kitchen adventure! Here is a “kid-friendly” tiramisu perfect for little hands. Follow this delicious tiramisu cupcake recipe! It makes for 18 – perfect for a party! 

Ingredients:

    • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
    • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
    • 3 large whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks, room temperature
    • 1 cup sugar
    • Coffee-Marsala Syrup
    • Mascarpone Frosting
    • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting

Coffee-Marsala Syrup Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon freshly brewed very strong coffee (or espresso)
  • 1 ounce marsala
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:
Stir together coffee, marsala, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let cool.

Mascarpone Frosting Recipe
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy). In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Use immediately.

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe
Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Heat milk and vanilla-bean pod and seeds in a small saucepan over medium heat just until bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter until melted, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, and discard vanilla-bean pod.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk together whole eggs, yolks, and sugar. Set mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk by hand until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat. With an electric mixer on high speed, whisk until mixture is fluffy, pale yellow, and thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface for several seconds when whisk is lifted.
  3. Gently but thoroughly fold flour mixture into the egg mixture in three batches; stir 1/2 cup batter into the strained milk mixture to thicken, then fold milk mixture into the remaining batter until just combined.
  4. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until centers are completely set and edges are light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  5. To finish, brush tops of cupcakes evenly with coffee-marsala syrup; repeat until all syrup has been used. Allow cupcakes to absorb liquid 30 minutes. Dollop frosting onto cupcakes; refrigerate up to overnight in airtight containers. Dust generously with cocoa powder just before serving.

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The jury has been called to order and whether or not caffeine can actually hurt your fetus – most health-care professional do recommend limiting intake. Sorry Starbucks. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it pulls fluids and calcium from both you and baby and will keep you running to the bathroom. Ha! As if you aren’t peeing enough during pregnancy! Caffeine has no nutritional value and can affect your mood, sleep schedule and iron absorption. Remember, caffeine is also found in not just coffee, but most teas, soft drinks and chocolates. Play it safe by totally eliminating caffeine, but If you simply can’t kick the habit, at least cut back. Some studies show that excessive caffeine consumption (more than300 mg or two or three 8-ounce cups a day) can increase chances of miscarriage or premature birth. In the March 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology that showed that moms-to-be who consumed 200 mg or more of caffeine a day had double the risk of miscarriage compared with those who had no caffeine.

Going cold turkey can be pretty hard, so try lowering your caffeine intake little by little. If you’re a coffee drinker, work your way down to half-caf before becoming a full-fledged decaf drinker. Of course, if you decide to cut out caffeine altogether, you won’t get any arguments from your doctor or midwife.

So which foods and beverages contain caffeine?
Coffee is one. The amount of caffeine in a serving of coffee varies widely, depending on the type of bean, how it’s roasted, and how it’s brewed – and, obviously, on the size of the coffee cup. (Although espresso contains more caffeine per ounce, a full cup of brewed coffee will deliver more caffeine.)

To cut your caffeine intake, though, you’ll need to be aware of other sources like tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and coffee ice cream. Caffeine also shows up in herbal products and over-the-counter drugs, including some headache, cold, and allergy remedies. Read labels carefully.

Caffeine chart: Amounts in common foods and beverages*

Source: http://www.thebabycenter.com

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St Patrick’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re searching for festive and scrumptious desserts for your celebration to please both kids and adults, look no further.


St. Patrick’s Day Rice Krispies Treats

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 4 cups green mini-marshmallows (you may have to pick them out of a bag of pastel mini-marshmallows)
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • 3-4 drops green food coloring


DIRECTIONS:

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat.  Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.  Add food coloring and rice krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. You can also add plain green M&Ms.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

 

Easy GrasshopperBars

Chocolate drizzle and cool minty cream cheese frosting top indulgent chocolate bars. Yum!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Makes: 36 bars

INGREDIENTS:

Bars

  • 1 pouch ( lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker double chocolate chunk cookie mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg  

Frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoons mint extract
  • 3 to 4 drops green food coloring

Glaze

  • 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter


DIRECTIONS:

1.  Heat over to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2.  In large bowl, stir all Bar ingredients until soft dough forms> Press into pan; bake 15 minutes. Cool about 10 minutes.

3. In large bowl, stir all Frosting ingredients until smooth. Spread over bars.

4. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave all Glaze ingredients on High for 30 seconds; stir until smooth. Drizzle over frosting. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until set. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.

source of Grasshopper Bars: http://www.bettycrocker.com/Recipes/

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Our most recent Secret Contest winner, Amber, took a bit of work to get a hold of, but she finally gave us a ring the other day from Texas…much to my surprise since her mobile phone number has a California area code! The Texas native, (who went St. Mary’s in Moraga, CA – hence the area code) had moved out here for college, met her husband, had a couple of babies and then, two years ago, decided that Texas is where they would like to raise their family.

SunnyHill Farm shirt and short set available for boys in sizes 3 months to 4 toddler. E-I-E-I OH BOY!

SunnyHill Farm shirt and short set available for boys in sizes 3 months to 4 toddler. E-I-E-I OH BOY!

Amber was telling me all about her two little gentlemen and how she can’t wait to get her hands on the le•top Sunnyhill Farm shirt and short set. Her two year old loves farms and farm animals (hello! they live in Texas — what a perfect place for a boy who loves farms!), so she is sure that he is just going to go wild for the short set, and so are we! I guess he will really have mommy to thank for this one, and we thank you, too, Amber, for your delicious Chocolate Cake-in-a-Cup recipe. I tried it myself, and it was nothing short of delightful, not to mention easy!

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thumbnail1…A Yummy Dessert in about 20 MINUTES!

Berry Sorbet Drops with Chocolate Ganache
Serving: Ten

INGREDIENTS for BERRY SORBET
1 lb. Frozen Berries*
1 cup Sugar
2 cups Cranberry Juice
*NOTE: If using fresh berries, you must strain the seeds.

INGREDIENTS for CHOCOLATE GANACHE
2 oz. Heavy Cream
4 oz. Dark Chocolate (semi-sweet) squares or morsels

Preparation – Berry Sorbet
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend together. Once blended completely, take the mixture from the food processor and place it in an ice cream machine. Once mixture thickens, place in freezer.
Preparation – Chocolate Ganache
Place double boiler over low heat with water in bottom. Once water begins to heat and lightly boil, place heavy cream and dark chocolate in upper boiler. Stir until both cream and chocolate are mixed and melted together. Be careful not to burn ingredients. Take off heat and set Chocolate Ganache aside.

With melon scooper or spoon scoop small balls of frozen sorbet and dip each ball quickly into the Chocolate Ganache mixture. Immediately place each chocolate-covered ball on a cookie sheet and sprinkle coconut flakes over top of each. Place cookie sheet with completed balls in freezer until ready to serve. Recipe Provided By: EatingWell.com

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