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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Balls

21 Dec

cookies-and-crafts-for-sandy-hook

Today my post is dedicated to the Newtown shooting victims. I still can’t believe so many little ones were taken from this world way too early. I pray every night for their families and wish them strength. It’s just so sad.

Several of us bloggers who wanted to do something to show support. Being food people, we decided we wanted to share recipes.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Balls The Tasty Fork

I’m sharing this awesome delicious no bake cookie ball. I brought this cookie to a holiday party last night and it was a HUGE hit. The recipe is super easy and you’ll probably have a lot of ingredients on hand.

I’m sure no one from Newtown is scanning the internet looking for cookies today, but I hope me and & bloggy friends can provide some comfort & let the world know we’re still thinking of all the people from Sandy Hook.

chocolate pb balls the tasty fork

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Balls

  • 18 oz creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 3/4 cup powdered cereal
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • sprinkles for decorating (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix together everything except the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Form into balls and place on parchment paper. Set in the freezer for 45 minutes.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double broiler. Dip cookies into chocolate and decorate with sprinkles. Put cookies back in the freezer for 30 minutes to let the chocolate set. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

chocolate pb crispy balls the tasty fork

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Holiday Treat – White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds

10 Dec

White Chocolate Caramel Holiday Treats via The Tasty Fork

White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds. I know — a total mouthful… a mouthful of deliciousness!

I was inspired by my bloggy friend Rachel from {I Love} My Disorganized Life. She makes amazing turtles. I pinned the recipe the day she posted it and I’ve been dying to find the time to make my variation of her recipe.

My house has 2 pantry items always in stock. Pretzels & some kind of almond variety. My husband and I have been on a roasted almond kick lately. I love the smoky & salty taste! After reviewing Rachel’s turtle recipe, I made a few tweaks and added my favorite pantry snacks.

The Tasty Fork Holiday Treat

For someone who doesn’t make treats a lot, this recipe was a breeze for me. My only frustration was getting my fingers covered in caramel & almond pieces but I can’t complain too much because I had the fun of eating what was stuck to me. 🙂 If you need to bring a small dessert to an upcoming event, you can make these white chocolate caramel pretzel bites in 30 minutes. I was kind of shocked by how easy this recipe was to make.

The best part about these little sweet treats?? They’re so gooood! Sweet, salty and covered in chocolate. The pretzels give a nice crunch, too! I used white chocolate so the red & green sprinkles would stand out but milk or dark chocolate would be just fine to use.

Thank you, Rachel, for giving me some inspiration to explore my sweet side! I’m happy to say I’ve found an easy sweet treat to enjoy all year round.

White Chocolate Holiday Caramel Bites from The Tasty fork

White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bites with Roasted Almonds

  • 11 oz bag Kraft caramel bits
  • 3 tbsp heavy cream
  • 10 oz can roasted almonds, pieces
  • 12 oz package white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp shortening
  • 40 pretzel rounds
  • Cookie decorations

Directions

  1. Unwrap caramels and put in a microwave safe bowl with the cream. Heat in 30 second intervals and stir. This step took me about 3 minutes total.
  2. Put almonds in a ziplock bag and use a mallet to break into pieces. Once caramel is done, add almonds and fold into the caramel.
  3. In a double broiler, heat white chocolate & shortening. Stir until smooth.
  4. On parchment paper, line up pretzel rounds. Add a spoonful of the caramel nut mixture to each pretzel. Let it cool.
  5. Top with white chocolate and cookie decorations. Put in freezer for 10 minutes. Store in an air tight container.

Inspired by{ I love} My Disorganized Life

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

19 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving Week! A holiday which reflects what we’re thankful for, watching football and centers around food is the perfect holiday. Actually, I already had one Thanksgiving celebration. On Saturday, I went out to my brother’s house and had a turkey day meal with my family. On Wednesday, we’ll be making the drive to Fort Wayne, Indiana to celebrate with my husband’s family. I’m pretty thankful we have families who want to celebrate with us!

On Friday night, I gave myself a test run on making pie. I haven’t made a pie in a year…and it was in my baking & pastry class in culinary school. I was nervous! I’m not sure why, but crust can be really intimidating. There isn’t much to it, but little tips can make or break your crust. Butter must be cold. Add butter to dry ingredients and incorporate until it looks like pebbles. Water must be ice-cold.  Oy vey.

When I put the pie in the oven, I checked it (like every 10 minutes) to watch my crust progress. I even called in my husband to check out my dessert project. When I took the pie out of the oven, I was pretty proud. It looked like a pie I would want to eat. But my real judgement day would be on Saturday after our Thanksgiving meal.

Verdict? Well, take a look at what was left…

All of my worries and anxiety faded away after my first bite. The crust was flaky and moist. The filling was caramelly (is that a word??) and mixing two kinds of apples made each bite tart yet sweet.

My baking skill is good, but I still need to follow a recipe. I was very lucky to come across a new blog, The Baker Chick. I’ve been obsessed with her blog and she has a lot of things I want to bake. This is her pie recipe but I made one slight change.  I’m really encouraging you  to use two types of apples when baking a pie. It’s something I learned in culinary school, and I’ll always do it. For this recipe, I used Granny Smith (tart taste) and Gala (sweet taste).

If you’re still wondering what you’ll have for dessert on Thanksgiving, this should show up as an option. Who doesn’t love a homemade pie?

Salted Caramel Apple Pie, from The Baker Chick

crust:


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

 ( you may need more, I did)

filling:


  • 6 -7 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced (mix two kinds of apples)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 
1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 
1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Directions:


  1. For the crust: Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds. You can also do this by hand or with a pastry cutter. (Pastry cutter and hands was my method for step 1!)
  2. Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide in two. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten, and form two discs. Wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

When chilled- roll out one disc and place inside a pie dish with a small over-hang around the edges. Let chill in fridge until filling is ready.

 (You can make your pie dough days ahead of time.)
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  4. For filling: Sprinkle apples with lemon juice. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl and add apples. Toss to mix. Add vanilla and cream. Melt butter in heavy skillet. Add apple mixture and cook approximately 8-10 minutes, until apples are soft and the liquid has turned golden. Turn into pie shell.
  5. Cover with a lattice top or just drape the whole second crust over the filling and crimp the edges. If you don’t have enough over-hang to turn it over to seal the pie, use my trick: roll out a thin 1/2 inch wide strip of extra dough and place it around the edge. Use a fork or your finger to decorate the edge.
Brush the top of the crust with heavy cream and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. If your crust is getting too brown, cover it with tin foil as it continues to bake.

Better than a Peanut Butter Cup

13 Mar

I gave up sweets for Lent. 😦 I was hoping to kick the habit of wanting something sweet after a meal. That habit has yet to die. I went to a benefit this weekend for Bear Necessities and I ended up on the dance floor with a Priest. (Strange I know. But he was a great dancer!) I told him about giving up sweets for Lent but I still had a dessert at the benefit because it’s a special occasion. I guess I needed to get the guilt off of my chest. He just laughed and said, “Well, it’s almost Sunday. You’re allowed to cheat when Sunday comes around.” That used to be the rule in my house growing up, but I thought it was a nice gesture my parents did and rewarded us with keeping our Lent promise all week.

If a Priest says so, I’m not going to tell him no. So I baked this.

And I ate some on Sunday.

I also shared with one of my favorite local business’, Dimo’s Pizza. They proposed a food exchange — I’d bring in a sweet treat and in return, I get a pizza. DEAL!

This recipe for Chocolate Cake (it’s vegan!) and Peanut Butter Butter-Cream Forsting is better than a your everyday peanut butter cup. The chocolate chips baked into the cake don’t completely melt, so it’s very chocolatey! The peanut butter frosting is whipped until it’s very airy. I love how the frosting wasn’t too sweet.

If you’re a chocolate & peanut butter fan, this cake will not disapoint you! Perfect for any occasion — a BBQ dessert, birthday cake or just a good way to treat yourself!

Chocolate Cake & Peanut Butter Frosting (from Bon Appetit)

Chocolate Cake

  • Nonstick vegetable oil  spray
  • 1 1/4 cupsall-purpose flour
  • 1 cupsugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa  powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoonskosher salt
  • 1 teaspoonbaking soda
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or  bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)

Peanut Butter Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large  eggs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut  butter
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted  butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet  chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted  peanuts

Chocolate Cake & Frosting Directions

  • Cake – Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottom and sides of pan with  nonstick spray; line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Whisk flour and next 4  ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until  smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake  until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35–40 minutes. Let  cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  • Frosting – Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a  saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture  is hot to the touch, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; using  an electric mixer,  beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5–6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then  peanut butter. With mixer running,  add butter a few pieces at a time, beating  to blend between additions. Season with salt.
  • Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto  a serving plate. Spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped  chocolate and peanuts. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.

 

 

Make the most of Fat Tuesday

20 Feb

I know I will! Shamrock Shakes all day.

I’m giving up sweets for Lent. So I’m going to make the most of my Fat Tuesday.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Two Words – Wine Cupcakes

15 Feb

When two of my favorite things collide, you get a wine cupcake.

I can’t claim this was my idea. My friend, Maria, presented me with this challenge. She had some cupcakes made with wine and asked me to re-create it. Maria doesn’t ask for much and isn’t demanding… how could I turn her down?

My favorite wine (at the moment) is sauvignon blanc. I love how sauvignon blanc has a crispy & citrus flavor. It’s usually my go to wine in the summer, but my love for it has carried over into our winter season. I’m blaming our lack of cold weather & no snow. I’m usually bottoms up in pinot noir by this time of year.

Besides making a wine cupcake & frosting, I made lemon curd to fill the center of the cupcake. Gotta keep the citrus taste in every bite!

Tools you’ll need for this recipe – muffin pan, electric mixer (standing or hand), 2 pastry bags and a decorative tip for one pastry bag.

This is a fun cupcake to serve on a girls night or bring to a party. Combining wine & cake — what’s there not to like??!!

Sauvignon Blanc Cupcakes – makes 16 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup Sauvignon Blanc ( I used Dancing Bull)
  • Lemon curd, recipe below
  • Sauvignon Blanc Frosting, recipe below

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In the base of your electric mixer (or you can use a hand mixer), beat the softened butter with the 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar until light and really fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating each well until incorporated. Whisk in the orange zest and add your vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture in two steps, alternating with the wine, and mixing only until both are incorporated.
  5. Line your muffin pan with muffin cups. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 of the way with the cupcake batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. When the cupcake has cooled, grab a pairing knife & cut a square in the middle of each cupcake. Take out the square & there will be a hole in the middle of the cupcake.

  1. Fill the square with lemon curd.

  1. Top each cupcake with Sauvignon Blanc frosting.

Lemon Curd

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice ( 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Stir in lemon juice, butter and lemon peel. Cook over simmering water for 15 minutes or until thickened.

Sauvignon Blanc Frosting

  • 4 oz Butter, room temperature
  • 2 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups Powdered sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Sauvignon Blanc

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter with a stand mixer (or hand mixer) on medium to high for 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and continue to mix on medium to high-speed for another 2 minutes.
  2. Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Mix on low-speed until incorporated and then increase speed to high speed and mix for another minute.
  3. Add salt, lemon juice and sauvignon blanc.  You’ll think this is too much liquid, but mix on medium until the salt and liquid are incorporated which they will.
  4. Add additional powdered sugar if you need it, getting to a good spreading or piping consistency.

 

Decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake & Very Berry Sauce

13 Feb

I live and die by chocolate. I can never get enough. Whether it’s a miniature chocolate peanut butter cup or French silk pie, I’m not going to turn it away.

Have you eaten flourless chocolate cake? The best place I’ve had it is at Mia Francesca. Oh my, it is sinfully good and my husband knows he’s lucky if he can sneak in a bite or two.

We haven’t been to Mia Francesca since the night we got engaged, so it’s been awhile. But my longing for flourless chocolate cake never fades. I thought trying to make my own would be a special touch to our Valentine’s Day Dinner. I found the recipe on Epicurious and all of the ingredients are things I had on hand. I paired the cake with a basic mixed berry sauce. I love the combination of chocolate and fruit.

Holy chocolate! This was such a decadent dessert. The cake is very rich and fudgy. The berry sauce had large chunks of fruit and really stood up to the richness of the cake. Perfect pairing!

FYI – I made a lot of berry sauce. Since I’m not one to throw things away, here are some suggestions on what to do with the leftovers:

  1. Use it as syrup for pancakes, waffle & French toast.
  2. Would go great over ice-cream!
  3. Mix it into your Greek yogurt.
  4. Make your own berry cream cheese.

The berry sauce will freeze just fine. I’m going to freeze the sauce in ice trays, that way I can use little portions whenever I need it.

If you love chocolate as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed in this dessert!

Flourless Chocolate Cake  – Recipe from Epicurious.com

  • 4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of wax paper and butter paper. (I used heart shaped baking tins)
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove top of double boiler or bowl from heat and whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate. (The heart shaped tins took 20 minutes to bake)

Cake keeps, after being cooled completely, in an airtight container, for 1 week.

Very Berry Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 oz frozen berry mix, (I used cherry, blackberry & blueberry mix from Trader Joes)
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs water

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a slow boil and boil for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add berries to syrup, reduce heat and simmer another 5 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch or arrowroot powder with the water. Slowly stir into the syrup, bring back to a boil and cook until thickened.
  3. Serve with flourless chocolate cake!

This amount of cornstarch will create a semi-thick but still runny sauce, about the consistency of syrup. If you want it thicker, add more cornstarch & water.