Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holiday. Show all posts

2/11/15

Chocolate Ganache Cake with Raspberries and Almond Cream








What says I love you more than a home made chocolate treat?  This dessert is beautiful and simple and tastes like something you order in a high end restaurant. It takes about 10 minutes to mix up the cake, and less than 30 to bake. While it's baking, you can make the ganache and whip the cream. Haven't ever made ganache? It consists of warming the cream and adding chocolate to the warm cream. Yup.  That's it.
After the cake is cooked and cooled, it can be glazed and set aside for later.
Hope you enjoy a sweet holiday with the ones you love!











Chocolate Ganache Cake with Raspberries and Almond Cream
A Bountiful Kitchen, cake recipe originally from Deer Valley Bakery, UT
print recipe

for cake:
1/2 cup butter room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour*
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
11/2 cups buttermilk

for ganache:
1/2 cup heavy cream (if you want the ganache to be thinner, use 3/4 cup)
1 cup dark chocolate (chips or broken up bar chocolate 8 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla

whipped cream topping:
2 cups heavy whipped cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon almond extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cocoa powder, for dusting top of cakes

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Set rack in middle of oven.
Grease and line two 8 inch cake pans. Grease the parchment paper.
Sift the flour into a bowl along with the cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until they are mixed well, about 1 minute on medium speed. Add the vanilla and eggs, beat for about 1 minute.
Add the dry mixture, alternately with the buttermilk mix on low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl twice, until all of the buttermilk and the flour has been added and mixed well. After all of the ingredients have been added, mix for about 1 minute.
Divide the batter evenly into the two pans. Place the pans on the center rack and bake for about 25 minutes or until a few moist crumbs are attached to a toothpick. This cake may take less time if you are baking in a dark pan. Be careful to not let this cake overcook!
Remove from oven, let cool.

While the cake is baking, make the ganache:
Heat the cream in a medium size bowl in microwave for one minute. Remove and stir in chocolate chips or broken up bar chocolate.  Add vanilla and continue to mix with spoon or small whisk until smooth. The heat from the cream should melt the chocolate.  Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes, then spread the mixture evenly onto cooled cakes.  You may layer the cakes, or serve them as single layers. If this mixture starts to thicken too much before the cakes are cooled, you may warm the ganache for about 10 seconds and then spread on the cakes. If you want the ganache to be thinner, use 3/4 cup cream instead of 1/2.

Whip the cream in a large mixing bowl, add the powdered sugar and if desired, the almond or vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to serve with the cake and berries.

To assemble:
Slice the cake and place on a plate. Top with whipped cream. Dust with cocoa powder and serve with fresh raspberries or strawberries.

Tips:
-*If you are not baking at a high altitude, Adjust the flour  to 2 cups. This recipe works well in our mountain (4,000 ft ) altitude.
-This recipe will yield about two dozen cupcakes. Bake for about 15-18 minutes.


2/5/15

Three Sweet Coconut Treats for Your Valentine



On my last appearance at KSL Studio5, I shared my favorite coconut treats.  We talked about why coconut is a great option for Valentines Day!




The Coconut Cream Swig Cookie is always a hit. Made with coconut flavoring, sour cream and topped with a sweet cream and coconut frosting. It's a coconut lover's dream cookie. 






Nan's Coconut Cake made with a cake mix, sour cream and coconut milk. So moist it stays fresh in your fridge for daaaaaays. Better the second day, when all the flavors have a chance to combine. There's not an easier treat to make for your sweetheart!







And last, but not least, the Joyous Almond Cookie. Made with coconut, chopped whole almonds, chopped Almond Joy Bars and chocolate chips. Moist, chewy, loaded with everything in an Almond Joy bar, stuffed into a cookie. Then dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut.  Probably one of the best cookies I've ever eaten.
End of story.


12/22/14

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes




I fell in love with twice baked potatoes as a kid. I still remember my mom and dad  making twice baked potatoes for the first time. They had the old BH&G cookbook (with the red and white checked cover) opened up on the counter. Dad reading the recipe to Mom, while they both worked on adding ingredients together.  That creamy mashed filling, stuffed back into a baked potato jacket was such a treat.
I still love this recipe for two reasons:
One- Who doesn't love a baked potato combined with butter, cheese, and sour cream?
The answer is NO ONE.
The second reason to love this dish- it can be made ahead and stored in the fridge until you're ready to bake and serve. Because of the creamy filling, Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes taste just as good several days after they are made. The addition of the sour cream and half and half keeps the filling perfect for reheating.  This dish is perfect for busy cooks who want to make ahead and enjoy the holiday.

Want a little step by step? 



Bake the potatoes. Cut the top fourth of the potato off, 
discard, then scoop out the insides. 
I was probably a little aggressive with the scooping. 
It's best to leave a little more of the potato attached to the skin. 



Make the filling as directed in the recipe, then carefully fill the skins. 




Yum.



Top with cheese just before the second bake.
On this potato, I  topped it with Smoked Gouda  and Cheddar.





What else are you serving for Christmas dinner? 


My friend Linda at The Organic Kitchen is dedicated to creating healthy and delicious recipes for home cooks.  Her recipe for Pear and Brie Salad with Honey Champagne Vinaigrette  is simple and fresh  and a perfect healthy addition to your holiday meal.  Check out The Organic Kitchen for instructions on how to arrange this festive salad. I love it paired with  Ham with Grilled Pineapple and Pomegranate Pineapple Glaze, and Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes. Steam some fresh green beans, and you've got a beautiful colorful, easy to serve meal.






Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes
A Bountiful Kitchen

The measurements of butter, half & half and sour cream may vary depending on the size of potato used)

6-7  Russet potatoes about 3/4-1 lb each
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1  cup half and half, warmed for about 1 minute in microwave
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1- 1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups grated cheese (I use  Medium Cheddar or Co Jack)

Wash and pat potatoes dry. Pierce the potatoes with a fork about three times to allow heat to prevent bursting of skins.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake potatoes on rack for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until knife is easily inserted in center of potato. Remove from oven and place on cookie sheet or cutting board.
Cut the top fourth of the potato off  lengthwise and discard. Using a dishtowel to cover your hand, hold the potato and  gently scoop the hot potato out of the skin and place in a large bowl. Place the potato skins back onto the cookie sheet. Continue until all of the potatoes are scooped into the bowl.
Add the butter, warmed  half and half, salt and pepper. Using a potato masher, smash the potatoes until the half and half and butter are incorporated. Add the sour cream and grated cheese, mash again. Taste to see if the mixture needs more salt and pepper.
The potatoes should be very creamy and soft. If they are not, add additional half and half or sour cream until soft (a few tablespoons at a time).
Using a large spoon, fill the potato skins. Heap the mixture up in the middle of the potato. Top with additional grated cheese (if eating right away, if saving for later, do not top with cheese at this time). If eating right away, bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes, uncovered.
Serve immediately, or keep warm in oven until serving.
Serving size is one potato per person.

Tips:
-This recipe varies depending on the size of the potato. If the potatoes are large, you may use more half and half and sour cream to achieve the desired consistency. You're looking for the same consistency you will find in a creamy mashed potato.
-If making ahead, stuff the potatoes after making the mashed mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator. When ready to cook, uncover and let sit on counter for about 30 minutes. Bake in center of oven for about 30  minutes at 350 degrees or until heated through. Remove from oven during last 10 minutes of cooking and top with grated cheese. place back in oven and let cheese melt.
-If you are making this for young children or others with smaller appetites, you may use two small potatoes in place of one large.
-I always use Russets. Their skins are tougher than any other potato and will hold up to being baked, scraped and then re baked. You may rub the skins with oil for a nicer appearance and better texture for eating after the second bake.
-If you have any extra filling, place it in a bowl and reheat later.

12/18/14

Berry Merry Coffeecake








Coffeecake is always on our list for Christmas breakfast. I love it because it's easy to make and can be made either Christmas morning or the day before. It's a one bowl, mix and bake type of dish. Perfect for when you're in a hurry, but want something special for your Christmas table.
One more week!



Berry Merry Coffeecake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

Cake:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup berries fresh or frozen (in the winter, I use a frozen tri-berry mix)

Topping- 3 choices (using all three looks extra festive) :

Streusel (optional) or sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle, listed below
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

and/or

drizzle:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons cream
dash of salt
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

and/or
powdered sugar, in a shaker

Grease the bottom and sides of a 10-inch Spring form pan. Preheat oven to 350 and set the rack in the middle of the oven.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs. Add yogurt and blend well. Add all of the dry ingredients to the bowl. Mix just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the berries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan (it will be thick).
Prepare the streusel topping by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Sprinkle over the top of the cake, if making with streusel, otherwise, just bake the cake without a topping.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and run a knife around the sides of the Spring form before detaching the side form.
When cake is completely cool, whisk powdered sugar in a bowl, add cream, salt and flavoring. Drizzle with a spoon over the cake. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving. 

Tips:
-This may be made the day before serving. After the cake is cooled, remove the springform side and cover with foil. 
-If the powdered sugar "melts" into the cake, simple sprinkle again. I often sprinkle the pieces on a serving plate as well. 
-You may use all three toppings if you like! 
-If you don't have vanilla or plain yogurt, you may use fruit on the bottom style yogurt, simply scoop the yogurt off the top of the fruit and add to the cake, discard fruit layer. Sour cream may also be substituted.

12/12/14

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies





To finish out our week of cookiescookiescookies, I've partnered with the Harmons bloggers to present a Christmas cookie post! We gathered a while back to share holiday cookie recipes and have a little tasting party. It was a sweet afternoon of sugar and spice.




Have you ever made a macaron cookie? My friend Caroline is an expert at macaron making.  Her Pumpkin French Macaron Cookies are amazing! Such a fun addition to your holiday cookie platter.
And the flavors! They taste just like the holidays.





Becky, from Vintage Mixer made Frosted Honey Christmas Cookies. They reminded me of a recipe that would have been passed through a family, hand written on a 3x5 card, and tucked away in a recipe box!  I loved the way Becky piped the frosting on this simple and not overly sweet cookie.



Jesseca at One Sweet Appetite was on Channel 4 News in SLC recently, and shared her recipe for these oh-so-darling Melted Snowmen Cookies. Wouldn't your kids love these? They're almost too cute to eat.


The Harmons bakers shared their recipe for Peppermint Ganache Cookies. If you're a peppermint lover, make sure to check out this recipe! Also,  if you are looking for a special ingredient for your holiday baking and can't find it, the amazingly helpful employees at Harmons will special order it for you.

For my contribution to our cookie-fest, and to end our week of Christmas cookie posts, I baked up a ginger cookie with a special twist.
The best kind of twist.
C H O C O L A T E !
What could be more wonderful than a Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookie? This recipe comes together in just a few minutes and is what I call a pantry-ready cookie, meaning most of the items for this cookie are probably already in your pantry. Or in your mom's pantry.
My family is officially addicted to ginger and chocolate.


photo credit Caroline Drake

Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup unsweetened powdered chocolate
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar, granulated or powdered for coating cookies

Place butter, oil, sugar, egg, molasses and unsweetened cocoa in a large bowl and beat together until blended well.
Mix remaining dry ingredients into wet ingredients, if using a mixer, this should be done on low speed and take about 10-15 seconds.
Form dough into balls using a 2 inch scoop. Roll in granulated sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Crowd cookies together on one cookie sheet and place in fridge for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place cookies on cookies sheets (about 6-8 per sheet) , and slightly flatten with palm of hand. Bake for about 8 minutes or until set. The cookies will flatten as they cool. Sprinkle with additional sugar after removing from oven.


12/9/14

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars (copycat)






I first tried a Cranberry Bliss Bar at a cookie exchange last year. Have you had one? Essentially it's a Blondie, with fruit and white chocolate in the dough, topped with cream cheese frosting and more fruit and white chocolate (covers lots of food groups according to Grant).
Red and white, rich and chewy.  This cookie was made for Christmas! I looked for the recipe from my friend Karen (who brought it to the exchange), but no luck. Could not find it. I emailed Karen and asked her to resend it via email. She couldn't find it either. She sent me links to a couple of recipes she had used, but wasn't exactly sure which of the two was her favorite. This is an all to familiar story in my world.  I gave up the search and started from scratch to make my own recipe.








Oh, I should also say- last week, when I was in the great state of Washington for two days, I bought a Cranberry Bliss Bar from the king of coffee who made this bar famous. I thought if I was going to make their bar, I should make sure my copycat tasted as good, if not better than the real deal.
I read a few recipes, and compared to the official Starbucks ingredient list. Then I worked on my own version. I wanted a recipe that was easily baked in a 9x13. Most of the recipes I found called for an 8x8, or a jelly roll pan -  a 9x13 is the perfect size.  I also like the white chocolate melted into the batter instead of chunks of chips. Grated orange zest gave the topping a little fresh zip.
Everyone who taste-tested gave these bars two thumbs up.
For a fraction of what you'll pay at Starbucks, you can have the whole pan. Freshly made in your kitchen.
Absolutely Heavenly.





Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars (copycat)
A Bountiful Kitchen


1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract, or about one tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup Craisins

Frosting:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash salt
1 tablespoon milk to thin, if needed

Topping:
1/2 cup Craisins, chopped
3/4  cup white chocolate chips, or white chocolate baking bar 4 oz
few drops of vegetable or canola oil to thin white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center of oven.
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs. Beat for about one minute. Add orange and vanilla extracts and set aside.
In a small separate bowl, microwave the white chocolate chips for 30 seconds. Stir, heat for 30 seconds. Stir again. Microwave again for a few seconds. In my microwave this takes a total of 1 min 15 seconds. The chocolate will melt as you stir.
When melted, scrape into bowl with butter and sugars. Mix with mixer until incorporated. Or, alternatively, you may just mix the chips into the batter.
Add the flour, powder, soda, ginger, sea salt and cornstarch all at once. Mix just until flour disappears and ingredients are incorporated. Fold in Craisins.
Spread mixture evenly in a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let cool completely.
Frosting:
Make frosting by combining all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add a little milk if needed. Spread frosting on cooled crust.
Topping:
Sprinkle the chopped Craisins over the top of the frosting.
Prepare toping by placing white chocolate in a small ziplock baggie. Microwave for about one minute. Pour in small amount of oil to help white chocolate pour smoothly.
Using hands, press white chocolate chips together in bag to mix with oil and help melting process. Microwave a few more seconds if needed. Snip off a small corner of the bag and squeeze/drizzle over the frosted bars. Grate a bit of orange rind over the top of the finished bars, if desired.
Let sit in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, cut when completely cooled and set up.
Best stored in refrigerator.
Cut into squares, then half the squares on the diagonal to form a triangle.
Yield about 30 small bars.

Tips:
-These are very simple to make. They are basically a blondie recipe, with white chocolate added, then frosted and topped with more melted white chocolate.  To simplify, just add the white choc chips to the batter and skip the melted drizzle. Just add more White chocolate chips to the topping along with the chopped Craisins.



12/8/14

Christmas Shortbread Toffee Cookies



It's time. Christmas is a little over two weeks away.
Time to get your baking game on.
What's better than toffee? How about a cookie that looks like toffee.
If you're a shortbread fan, you're going to love this cookie. Instead of individual cookies, it's made in a jelly rolls pan and then the pieces are broken off to look like toffee. If you like, you can cut it into neat little squares. It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge or on the counter tightly wrapped in a container.  I loved it wrapped up in a little box with tissue. Perfect for gift giving. Oh, and did I mention, it takes about 30 minutes, start to finish.  That's less time than it takes to run to the store and buy a gift box of chocolates.
And you can stay in your jammies. Really now.
Get baking.





Christmas Shortbread Toffee Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
2 cups chocolate chips , milk or semi sweet

Pre heat oven to 350 and place rack in center of oven.
Beat butter and brown sugar until combined. Add cornstarch, flour, salt, vanilla and one cup chopped nuts. Mix just until combined.
Press mixture into a greased jelly roll pan or other large cookie sheet, the dough should measure about 12x14 in the pan. I used a small floured rolling pin to spread the dough evenly once it was patted out in the pan.  Then I formed the edges of the dough with my hands.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or just until edges are slightly golden brown.
Remove from oven and immediately place chocolate chips on top of shortbread. Let stand for a few minutes, and then spread chocolate until cookie layer is covered. Sprinkle immediately with nuts.
Let cool until chocolate is set and cookie is completely cooled.
Break or cut up and enjoy.
Yields about 3 dozen 3-inch pieces.


Tips:
-You may set the pan in the fridge to cool faster.
-If you are storing for later use, and want to remove from pan, layer the pieces with wax or parchment paper in between.