Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Balls

Chocolatw Raspberry Truffle Balls

Although I like to make scratch recipes, sometimes taking a short cut and making something semi-homemade works best for me. These truffle balls would be fun to make with kids and since I’m a kid at heart, these were great fun for me to make. To be honest, I did not care for the raspberry gummy candies. Next time I will use a different type of candy. But others in my family loved them. So, it’s all a matter of preference.  This recipe yields 24 truffles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 10 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 box your favorite chocolate cake mix
  • 24 raspberry jelly candies (I used Haribo Black and Red Raspberry Gummies)
  • sprinkles for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt butter in the microwave until in liquid form.
  2. Combine melted butter and chocolate cake mix. Be sure to mix well.
  3. Spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into your hand and flatten.
  4. Place raspberry gummy in the middle of the flattened circle and enclose with chocolate batter.
  5. Roll into a ball between your hands.
  6. Roll the chocolate truffle into sprinkles.
  7. Set onto wax paper.
  8. Place in refrigerator to allow to firm and dry. Serve after chilling for one hour.
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Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

Cranberry and Pistachio Bark

I had planned to make nine different cookies for my Christmas goodie boxes this year. But getting sick right before Christmas ruined my plans. I was able to make four differents cookies but I had to stop there. My ambition was there, but my energy level was exhausted by then. Since I had a ton of extra chocolates not being used now, I  decided to try my hand at making a chocolate bark. Surprisingly simple to make and quite tasty to boot.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided (1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place dark chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Microwave on half power in 30 second intervals, stirring between each time, until melted.
  3. Place white chocolate chips in a separate bowl with remaining coconut oil. Repeat microwave directions until chips are melted.
  4. Spread dark chocolate out on prepared sheet pan. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 1
  5. Drizzle white chocolate over dark chocolate. Use a butter knife and drag through drizzles to make a pretty pattern. (Yeah, I know mine isn’t dragged or pretty. But I was sick!)Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 2
  6. Sprinkle with pistachios and dried cranberries. Chill until hardened. Break into small pieces and serve. Cranberry and Pistachio Bark 3

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hello everyone! I know I’ve been missing in action lately. I had every intention of blogging my Christmas goodies prior to Christmas. But alas, the week before Christmas I came down with the worst cold I have had in years. So I was lucky enough to get through the holiday and get my Christmas goodie boxes out to the family and friends. I just didn’t have the energy to blog afterwards. Here are my red velvet cupcakes with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. They came out really well considering it felt like everything I baked or cooked this Christmas was on autopilot due to all the cold medicine I had flowing through me. This recipe makes 30 cupcakes.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 ounce bottle of red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 f degrees. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color, vanilla and vinegar. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Spoon batter into 30 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. Red Velvet Cupcakes 1
  3. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 5 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sprinkles of your choice. Red Velvet Cupcakes 2

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcakes

Did you get a chance to see my Sugared Cranberries recipe? Well, here is where I used some of mine.  They paired well with my white chocolate cream cheese frosting on top of the cranberry poke cupcakes. I tried these out on my family at Thanksgiving. They were well received. If you can’t find cranberry Jello gelatin, substitute with raspberry Jello gelatin. And if you prefer to use a shortcut, just use a box of your favorite white cake mix. I won’t tell. This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened (Do not soften in microwave)
  • 1 package (3 ounces) cranberry JELL-O gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water

FROSTING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 package (6oz total) Baker’s White Chocolate bars
  • 1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cup powdered sugar

CUPCAKE DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Add cupcake liners to cupcake pans.
  2. In a small bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, almond extract, milk, & sour cream. Whisk until blended & set aside.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients (cake flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt) in the mixer for 30 seconds so the baking powder and salt will be well incorporated into the flour and sugar.
  4. Slowly add the pieces of butter a few at a time while the mixer is on medium speed. Beat for approximately 1 minute or until the dry ingredients are crumbly and moistened by the butter, giving it the look of coarse sand. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
  5. It is important to SLOWLY add approx. 1/2 of the egg mixture with the mixer on very low speed then increasing to medium speed for 1½ minutes — the batter will be thick and fluffy. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, scraping the bowl and beating for 20 seconds after each addition. It is now ready to pour into cupcake liners.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Pierce tops of cupcakes with fork immediately after cooking.
  7. Combine boiling water with JELL-O gelatin. Stir until dissolved. Spoon gently over cupcakes, allowing to sink into fork holes. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

  1. Melt chocolate according to package directions.
  2. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl for 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Add melted chocolate, vanilla extract, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Beat for another 2 minutes.
  4. Pipe onto cupcakes and garnish with sugared cranberries.

White Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cupcake

Sugared Cranberries

Sugared Cranberries

Hello everyone! It’s officially the holiday season once again. It’s also my favorite time of the year for baking and cooking. I thought I’d start off with something really easy to make. Sugared cranberries are great for garnishing your desserts or dessert trays or even as a sweet and sour treat all on it’s own.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups granulated sugar divided (2 cups & 1 cup)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine 2 cups of sugar with the 2 cups water in a small sauce pan. Heat over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Do not bring to a boil!
  2. Remove from heat as soon as sugar is dissolved.
  3. In a large bowl, add cranberries. Top with the sugar syrup you just made and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight is best.
  4. After your cranberries have soaked, drain off syrup completely and allow to sit in strainer for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Pour remaining  1 cup of sugar in a gallon Ziploc bag.  Add cranberries and shake until all cranberries have been well coated.
  6. Empty contents of bag onto a wire rack (with pan or foil underneath to catch excess sugar.)
  7. Let cranberries dry for at least an hour.
  8. Store in refrigerator until ready to use as garnish.

Sugared Cranberries Close Up

Mini Cheesecakes

mini-cheesecake-1Since my father passed away earlier in December, this Christmas was bittersweet. I think my cooking and baking has reflected my sadness. So these mini blueberry cheesecakes I made weren’t given the usual attention and detail that I normally like to give my recipes that I post. So I apologize if the pictures aren’t as appealing as the mini cheesecakes really are.

 CRUST INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 graham cracker sheets
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

To make the crust:

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until they are crumbs.
  2. Add sugar and melted butter and pulse until well combined.
  3. Press 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of your cupcake liners.mini-cheesecake-2

 

To make the filling:

  1. Using an electric hand mixer, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth
  2. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla and almond extract, and lemon juice. Mix on high for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Pour filling over crusts to the rim of each cupcake liner.
  3. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours. I made mine the night before, so it was refrigerated for 12 hours.mini-cheesecake-3

To make the topping:

  1. Combine the blueberries, sugar, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium high heat for about five minutes.  Stir frequently until the blueberries breakdown and the sauce thickens.
  3. Let cool down and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Are you ready to serve? Let’s go:

  1. Carefully remove the mini cheesecakes from the cupcake liners.
  2. Arrange on a platter and spoon the blueberry sauce over the top of each mini cheesecake.mini-cheesecake-4

 

This recipe yields 12 mini cheesecakes. Double the recipe if you have a larger crowd to feed. You can substitute any berry for the topping. I just like blueberries the most.

Lemon Snowball Cookies

lemon-snowball-2These cookies you can make all year round. But come on. They call them snowball cookies. SNOWBALLS! When I think of snowballs, I think winter. And when I think winter, I think the holidays. These are similar to Russian tea cookies without the walnuts or pecans. I just don’t really like nuts in my cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups powdered sugar for coating

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. Beat butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon extract, kosher salt and lemon zest.
  3. Add the flour and mix until dough forms into consistency of small pebbles.
  4. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls. Leave 1-2 inches between cookies as the dough does no spread.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies no longer look wet.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before rolling in additional powdered sugar.
  7. Roll cookies in powdered sugar added to a bowl or go add powdered sugar to a ziploc bag and shake to cover cookies.

Cookies will store for 3 days in air tight container or freeze up to one month. This recipe yielded 30 cookies.