Black Forest Bundt Cake

IMG_6752I finally bought myself a bundt cake pan. Being a bundt pan novice, I didn’t realize I needed to spray the pan with baking spray oil so heavily.  My lesson was learned after 10% of the top of my first bundt cake stayed in the pan. Good thing I had enough ingredients to try again.  Otherwise, the bundt cake pan would have been put in the far back of a cupboard never to be seen again.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup strong brewed coffee (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

FILLING INGREDIENT:

  • 1/2 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling (use remainder to serve on the side)

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sprinkles of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare your bundt pan by coating it heavily with baking spray or butter and flour.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, coffee, buttermilk, almond extract,  vanilla extract and sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.
  4. Sift into the bowl the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt.
  5. Mix together on medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter will be thin.
  6. Top the batter with the cherry pie filling. Black Forest Bundt pan 2
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.IMG_6749 (2)
  9. Whip the heavy cream in a cold, chilled bowl until it starts to thicken.
  10. Then beat in confectioners sugar, almond and vanilla extract until the mixture begins to hold its shape.
  11. Top the bundt cake with the whipped topping and add sprinkles. If you have maraschino cherries add those too. I didn’t have enough to decorate my cake though.
  12. Serve the extra whipped topping and cherry pie filling on the side. Your guests will be pleased! Black Forest Bundt 2
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Peppermint Fudge

peppermint-fudge-1I’m making my holiday treats for my family and friends this week. I’m also using the opportunity to blog some of the recipes to share with you. I don’t know why I haven’t shared this recipe sooner. It’s the perfect way to use up all those extra candy canes you bought. Or am I the only one that does that? Shhh. Don’t tell me. I don’t want you to confirm my all things Christmas hoarding habits.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup (5 ounce can) evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  •  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup crushed peppermint candies (I used candy canes)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with foil.
  2. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium , heavy duty saucepan. Over medium heat, bring ingredients to full rolling boil. Stirring constantly, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in marshmallows, chocolate chips, vanilla extract and peppermint extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan. Let cool for 1 minute before topping with crushed peppermint.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until firm. (Overnight is best.) Lift from pan, remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

peppermint-fudge-2

Holiday Explosion Cookies

xmas-explosion-cookiesOkay, technically these are my Holiday Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they are amped up to be even more festive and more chocolatey. How can you resist three types of chocolate chips, sweet cranberries, holiday M&M’s and holiday sprinkles?! I know I can’t. Make a batch of these for your favorite little elves and don’t forget about Santa.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup red and green holiday M&M’s
  • 1/2 cup red and green holiday sprinkles

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare 2 large baking sheets with non stick baking mats or use parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  4. Using a mixer, combine the butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined.
  7. Add the dried cranberries/cherries, the 3 types of chocolate chips, M&M’s and holiday sprinkles to the mixture.
  8. Mix manually with a wooden spoon until all are combined.xmas-explosion-cookies-2
  9. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
  10. Bake until light golden brown and just set, 8-10 minutes.
  11. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. This recipe yields about 24 -30 cookies. 

  1. xmas-explosion-cookies-1

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread Mini Loaves

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-2Believe it or not, this is actually a skinny recipe. And the best part is that it doesn’t taste like a skinny recipe. This zucchini bread tastes like a rich, decadent chocolate cake. But since it is made with Greek yogurt and grated zucchini, it is actually not that bad for you. Can’t complain about that.  Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I made these into 3 mini loaves. You can make using one regular size loaf pan instead.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt, excess liquid drained
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium sized ones)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips tossed in 1/2 tablespoon of flour

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease mini loaf pans with baking spray. (Or full size loaf pan)
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out excess liquid.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until blended. About 1-2 minutes. Add yogurt and mix until combined.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time until combined with wet ingredients.
  6. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes in loaf pan, then remove from pan and finish cooling on baking rack before cutting and serving.

chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-1

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip CookiesToday I took my mom grocery shopping. On an empty stomach. Bad decision. Whatever delicious smelling concoction they were making in the bakery department left an everlasting craving for something sweet in me all day. Good thing I was shopping with my mom and not alone. My growling stomach would have led me to load up the cart with all sorts of goodies!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats (I used quick cooking oats)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  2. Prepare your baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets.
  3. Add hot water to cover your 1 cup of raisins to plump them up. Drain any excess water after 5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract and stir until fluffy.
  5. In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture. ( About 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time.)
  6. Continue stirring until all the flour mixture is incorporated.
  7. Next stir in the oatmeal, raisins and chocolate chips.
  8. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls onto prepared baking pans.
  9. Bake 8 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Let cool for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.
  10. This cookie dough made 3 dozen plus cookies for me. You can probably get 4 dozen out of it because you make your cookies uniform.

Oatmeal Raisin Choc Chip Cookies

Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies

Chocolate Cake Batter CookiesSo I tried the standard one package of cake mix, eggs and butter recipe. But those turned out more like circular brownies and not cookies.  Boo! This recipe has a few more ingredients, but I assure you it is still just as easy to make. And when you are done, you will have soft and chewy cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup boxed chocolate or Devil’s Food cake mix (save the rest for another batch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or regular sized)
  • 1 container (3 ounces) rainbow sprinkles or more if you really like them to be colorful. I only had the one container.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a mixer, blend butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix for another 30 seconds.
  2. In another bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, cake mix and baking soda.
  3. Add flour mixture to blended butter and sugar mixture. Blend until combined.
  4. Add chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles and combine by using a wooden spoon.
  5. Place cookie dough into the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.
  7. Prepare baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough into one tablespoon sized balls. About the size of a small walnut.
  9. Bake in oven for 8-9 minutes and let cool for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

You can use other ingredients instead of rainbow sprinkles, like chopped up mini peanut butter cups or different flavored baking chips. The combinations are up to you and your tastes. This recipe yielded 36 cookies. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars PlatedEvery Valentine’s Day I make cupcakes to give out to family and friends. This year, I’m trying something different. And easier and a lot less time consuming. Not that they aren’t worth the time or effort. But sometimes it’s nice to have a quick and easy recipe when you are giving out sweets to many.  Besides, who can resist soft and gooey, peanut butter and chocolate?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup butter, (1 stick), melted
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used JIF smooth peanut butter; natural peanut butter can separate or be too oily)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile line an 8 x 8 baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly cover foil with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl melt the butter; about 1 minute on high power. Let cool for about 1 minute.
  3. In the bowl with melted butter, add peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg.  Whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour and stir until combined.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  7. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until done. A toothpick inserted into center should come out clean, no batter.
  8. Allow bars to cool for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.  Bars will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars