Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chocolate. Show all posts

5/19/15

Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies



Hey there. Did you already run out of your stash of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies?? You've come to the right place. I'm about to make you forget your worries and satisfy your craving with this recipe for  homemade Thin Mints!




Once upon a time, I said I didn't like anything mint. Gradually, over the years, I have found I do like a few mint treats. The moon has to be in just the right position, with all the planets aligned, and in that moment,  for some unknown reason, BAM, I'm in the mood for mint. I think I was one of the last people on the earth to develop a love for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies. 
Whyyyyyyy? Who knows.




The bad news is, they are only available a few weeks of the year. 
The good news is, they are only available a few weeks of the year. 





I love baking, which makes entertaining my often irrational sweet cravings fairly simple to satisfy!  I pinned this recipe for Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies at The View From Great Island. These cookies are about as close to the real deal as I have tasted... except they don't have the slightly waxy chocolate coating. Again, good news, bad news. Hard to say? 
They are truly a little bite of Girl Scout cookie inspired goodness in a home made treat. 





Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies
adapted slightly from The View From Great Island

cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour*

chocolate coating:
20 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, or dark dipping chocolate
2 teaspoons peppermint extract or oil

Set oven to 350 degrees
Cream butter until light and fluffy, then add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Stir in the salt, vanilla and cocoa powder. Mix until the cocoa powder is integrated and the batter resembles a thick frosting. Add the flour and mix just until the flour is combined, making sure to not over mix.
Form dough into a ball.
Using about 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll it thin on a lightly floured surface, about 1/8-inch. Cut cookies using 2-inch cutter. Gather the scraps and press together lightly and cut remaining cookies. Place up to 20 cookies on a jelly roll pan, lined with parchment paper or lightly grease a cookie sheet. The cookies will not spread much while baking.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely before removing from baking sheet. 
While the cookies bake, make the peppermint coating. Chop the baking chocolate into very small, thin pieces. Place in a glass bowl or similar container and microwave for about 30 seconds at a time, stirring with a spoon or a whisk. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the peppermint extract.
Gently drop the cookies, one at a time, into the coating. Turn to coat entirely, then lift the cookie out of the chocolate with the fork and tap the fork on the side of the pan until the extra coating drips off. Place on a parchment baking sheet, and repeat for the rest of the cookies. Place the cookies in the refrigerator or freezer to set for a few minutes.
Yield about 50-2 inch cookies.

Tips:
-Fluff the flour and lightly scoop with a spoon into the measuring cup, then level off with a knife to insure you don't get too much flour in the cookie dough.
-The dough is a little stiff and tends to crack while rolling out. No problem, just press it back together with hands. 
-Melt the chocolate just before you are ready to dip, and make sure to whisk in the extract well. 

5/15/15

Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies and Cooking Classes at Harmons!




THE Guide to Southern cooking. 

If you were able to sit down with one of the most popular cookbook authors in the US, what would you want to know (insert emoji with wide eyes and hand over mouth)?  Nathalie Dupree is coming to SLC to teach cooking classes at Harmons, and they asked me to do an interview with Nathalie to promote her upcoming visit and classes. We had a lovely conversation about everything from Julia Child and the influence she had on Nathalie's career path to her preferred fat in biscuits and pie crust. Some people want to know how to achieve world peace, I just want to talk crust, dough and chocolate. Nathalie is a gracious Southern Lady, so of course, she obliged and gave me all kinds of insider tips about one of her areas of expertise, biscuit making. Nathalie is the Queen of Biscuit Making. She's written a whole book about the subject.

One of Nathalie's 14 cookbooks...

Here's a bit of our conversation:
First, we discussed how her name is properly pronounced.  Since we have that in common ( you have no idea how many variations I have heard of my name- Sayuri (Si).  Her name is pronounced Natalie, not Na-THalie. Apparently her mother wanted Natalie, and her father wanted NaTHalie, and dad got his way in spelling. She was raised in Virginia and in her early years and had an opportunity to cook for her college dormitory one summer. Her mom didn't want her to be a cook, it wasn't "suitable work for a lady" back in the day. Her mother knew it would require working at night with men (yikes!) and lifting heavy equipment. It was not typical work for a woman in 1959.
But Nathalie loved cooking.
After she was married, she moved to London and while looking for a job, she "stumbled into" the Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School. She took a class, then went home and tried to duplicate what she had learned.  Everything she made flopped!  Nathalie said she considered herself a good cook and decided at that point she didn't want to be a "lady" and instead wanted to go to cooking school. A year later, she earned her advanced certificate.  At graduation, Nathalie talked to Julia Child about her future.  "Julia was very generous and available to people, I asked her - what I should do now and Julia told me I should teach cooking."


Nathalie instructing at Rich's Cooking School in Atlanta

The rest is history.  Nathalie has owned multiple restaurants, opened and enrolled more than 10,000 students at Rich's cooking school in Atlanta during her almost 10 years there. She has hosted more than 300 television shows on PBS, TLC, The Food Network and countless other appearances on national television shows. Nathalie has been the recipient of the prestigious James Beard award three times and was recently inducted to the Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America. Whew. And she's still going strong in her 75th year. With a reputation like that, I knew I had to honor Nathalie by making one of her recipes. We were in the mood for chocolate, so I made some of her Fudgy Brownies.
Oh my. They did not disappoint!




Ani could not wait to get her hands on a homemade brownie...


kid approved!

They lived up to Nathalie's amazing reputation.
If you want to learn from Nathalie, and live in the SLC area, she will be teaching  Southern Desserts, Cool Summer Eats, Southern Breakfast, and Southern Menus for Two at Harmons Cooking School, City Creek on May 22 & 23. I highly recommend taking a class. This would make such a fun girls night out or mother-daughter date.  Hurry and sign up the slots are filling fast...Hope to see you there!
Oh and the biscuit making tips? We'll have to talk about that on another post.

 


Nathalie Dupree's Fudgy Brownies









4/10/15

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake for Sweet Saltwater Design Celebration!









What's a party without a cake?   Kayleigh and Linsey  are best friends, old college roommates, elementary school teaching partners and moms of two kids each.  They love the ocean and candy created Sweet Saltwater Designs.  They make the most precious leather, steel and wood jewelry. I  absolutely love their hand written "I love you" bar necklaces. 
They are celebrating the launch of their new website this weekend with a 48 hour Instagram "party" and asked me to share a cake recipe for their celebration.  My favorite way to celebrate is to combine both cake and ice cream in one dessert. 
Tillamook is my favorite ice cream and this cake combines the goodness of Tillamook with a home made cake and rich chocolate frosting! It's one of our family favorite desserts. 
Happy day Kayleigh, Linsey and Sweetwater Design! 



Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cake
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice cream, 1.75 quart container of chocolate (I used Tillamook)
Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Place rack in center of oven and heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2-9 inch round cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on medium speed, stir in eggs, buttermilk, warm water, sour cream, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely. I place the layers on a cooling rack in the fridge to cool them quickly.


Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons milk or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Cream butter, powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl. Mix in milk and vanilla, add salt. Beat until smooth add a little more milk if needed.

Assembly, three basic steps:

1. When cakes are cooled completely, place one of the cakes on a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper. I like to place the cake in a 10 inch Spring form pan or 10 inch cake pan, but a plate will work as well. Scoop the ice cream onto the cake. I use about 3/4 of the container. Try to make an even layer of the ice cream, then place the second layer of cake on top of the ice cream. Using another piece of parchment or wax paper, Press down on the top layer of cake. Don't worry the cake will not be ruined, press down evenly, so the ice cream will be compacted and the layers meet up more closely on the sides. Don't cry if part of the cake sticks to the paper, just scrape it off an eat it as an appetizer.
* see additional note below about pressing down on cake.

2. Place the cake in the freezer for at least two hours.
3. When ice cream cake has been frozen for at least two hours, remove from freezer and place on serving plate. Frost top and sides of cake. Place back in freezer and let sit for at least another hour.
If preparing ahead and cake is frozen for several hours, remove about 30 minutes before serving to allow for easier cutting.

Tips:
-Don't let the length of this recipe intimidate you. It's basically cake, ice cream and frosting. Best to start this recipe the day before serving. You can make the cakes, and place in the freezer or fridge for easy handling. Make sure to freeze on a  flat surface.
-I have used lots of different recipes over the years. Boxed, home made, they all work well with ice cream cakes. But home made is always best :)
-You may use any flavor of ice cream. I thought when I picked up this flavor it was plain chocolate. While I loved the flavor and taste of "Udderly Chocolate", I prefer a solid color for the ice cream layer. I just like the way it looks as opposed to the mixed brown and white of this particular carton of ice cream.
-*Pressing down on the second layer of cake: This step is important if you want to be able to frost the sides of the cake and avoid huge gaps between the cakes. Press down evenly. It may be helpful to press down using a cookie sheet to get an even surface.
-This cake keeps well in the freezer for about 2 weeks if covered tightly with plastic wrap.

3/23/15

ABK's Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies








Hey. You know how I was obsessed about perfecting the chocolate chip cookie? And how I made batch after batch until I created the Tried and True Chocolate Chip Cookie??  If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what I'm talking about. If not, read these posts: Post One CC Cookies and Post Two, updated Tried and True CC Cookies

A few months ago, I made a batch of cookies and put them on my Instagram. If you're not following along there, come join me! I post every day (almost) and share the latest and greatest goings on in my kitchen. Anyway, I posted a photos of my CC Cookies one day on Insta, and a reader said - you should try melting a square of caramel on top.  Well, if that wasn't the greatest idea ever! Add a little coarse salt.  Genius. 
Not me. The cookie. 
If you want to take the humble, but always crowd fave cc cookie to a whole new level, try the ABK Salted Caramel CC Cookie. You're going to love it. 






ABK's  Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen

* Note- the first batch I cooked with the caramel on top of the dough the whole time the cookie baked. The second batch, I made following my recipe directions, bake cookie, remove, add caramel and cook a couple more minutes. This is the reason some of the caramel looks more melted on some of the cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened *
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I prefer coarse salt)
2 cups  or 1 (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips, I prefer Guittard Milk Chocolate for this recipe
Peter's Caramel (see note below) or individual pieces of soft caramel (see note below) Kraft caramel not recommended
additional coarse salt for top of cookies

Preheat oven to 375° F. If using convection, preheat to 375 as well.
For regular oven, place rack in middle of oven. When using a convection oven, you should be able to bake on all racks at one time.
Cut butter into pieces ( about 2 tablespoons each) and place in mixing bowl. I use a Kitchen Aid and power it on 2 (low).  After a few seconds, add granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on low speed until creamy (this takes just a few seconds). Add eggs, beating just until incorporated and smooth.  Never turn the beaters on high. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and bottom of the bowl to insure all ingredients are incorporated.
Dump 2 cups of the flour, soda, salt and chocolate chips all together into bowl with butter mixture. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour to the top of this mixture. Slowly mix the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips together.  Do not over mix.  Turn the dough with a rubber spatula so the bottom of the dough is mixed into the top of the dough. This will insure the flour is mixed in properly and the chips are distributed evenly.
Using a cookie scoop, drop onto un-greased baking sheets, or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place 6 scoops of dough on each baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the palm of your hand.
If using convection, bake for 7 minutes. If using regular oven, bake at 375 for 8-9minutes. Cookies should be slightly golden. Remove from oven and place a piece of caramel on top of the cookie. Using the block Peter's Caramel, I cut off a slice, then tore off individual pieces, about the size of a quarter. don't press down on the cookie, just place the caramel on top. Place back in oven and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until top is set and caramel is a bit melted. Do not over bake! Remove from oven. Sprinkle each cookie with a bit of coarse sea salt.
Cool on baking sheets completely.
Yield 18 large cookies.
Tips:
(or my mini-epistle on cc cookie making and baking)
-Only use butter. Unsalted is best. The butter should be more firm than room temperature butter. I take it straight out of the fridge, and microwave it for about 20 seconds.
-*Our altitude is about 4,400 ft. So, I use about 2 3/4 cups flour total. The original Toll House recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups. If you are at sea level, you will probably need less flour than the 2 3/4 cup.
-Don't over beat the butter-sugar mixture, or the batter will become too soft, and your cookies will not be beautiful and puffy. They will resemble pancakes. 
-Don't sift the flour.
-There is usually a notable difference between using a convection and a standard oven. If you bake at the same temperature, for the same amount of time, the convection cookie will be done, with a beautiful, golden, slightly crispy outer layer. Still soft on the inside. And it will be taller than the cookie baked in a standard oven. Not everyone has a convection oven- if you don't, you can still bake a great cookie using a standard oven!
-I think two of the biggest mistakes made while baking cookies are:
1-Over mixing. This will cause the batter have too much air incorporated, producing a fluffy, instead of a chewy cookie.
2- Over bakingUnder baking is good! Not under baked to the point the cookie is wet and doughy, but just until the top sets, and the dough looks like it has a bit of a crust.
-Chocolate chips - For semi sweet,  I use Nestle Semi Sweet chips. You can't go wrong here. But for Milk Chocolate, we prefer Guittard . The chips are called Maxi Chips and are sold in a silver colored bag.
-If the cookie spreads too much, or the edges are not even, I take a small spatula and push the edges inward to create a cookie that is round. This has to be done immediately after removing from the oven.
-I purchased Peter's Caramel, a dipping and cooking caramel at Orson Gygi in SLC in a 5 lb block. You may also use other brands of caramel. I do not recommend using caramel sauce, the cookies will not set up properly. Readers have also reported that Kraft caramels do not work in this recipe. The caramel softens while cooking, but does not soften enough to spread, and then hardens too much after cooling.
- High Altitude info: Not recommended-directions on Nestle Choc Chip package for high altitude- I have tried this variation, and don't like the result. The cookies aren't quite sweet enough, and have a crispy more cake like texture. Here are the directions on the package: (again I do NOT recommend using this method, but have printed it here as an FYI)  Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
-Last tip. Mound the cookie into a ball. I make them about the size of a golf ball. I use a cookie scoop, because it's easier for me. For years, I just used a spoon, and then shaped them by hand. Make sure to flatten the cookie just a bit before baking. To yield 18 cookies use a  2 1/4 inch scoop.

3/2/15

Triple Chocolate Mint Swig Cookies



The Swig obsession continues.
If you are saying "What Swig obsession?" Go back and read this post before you proceed any further. There are four Swig variations I've come up with here on ABK: Lemon Lime Sprig Cookie,  Chocolate Swagg Cookie , Coconut Cream Swig, and the updated Original (Almost) Swig Cookie (volume 2).  And now, the Triple Chocolate Mint Swig.
I think the world is divided into mint and non-mint lovers. Or maybe it's chocolate and lemon lovers??  Whatever the case, I decided it was my duty to come up with a Swig cookie for mint lovers.






Since I am not a huge mint fan, I turned to one of the three sources of mint I occasionally crave: Andes Mints, Jr. Mints and the Girls Scout Thin Mint cookie. I wanted to melt a thin layer of mint and chocolate on top of the baked cookie, and decided on the Andes Mint because it seemed like the best option for my Triple Chocolate Mint Swig Cookie. The first time I put this cookie together, I knew it was going to make a chocolate and mint lover a very happy person!
Here's the end result: dark chocolate cookie with semi sweet chocolate chips, topped with a melted Andes Mint, and finished off with a dark chocolate frosting.
This cookie has turned me into a mint lover.








Triple Chocolate Mint Swig Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening, (butter flavor is best)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

for shaping cookies:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
cooking spray
*glass with flat bottom, see notes below

2- 4.6 oz packages Andes Mints

Preheat oven to 350 or 325 on convection setting.
Cream butter, shortening and sugar together.
Add sour cream and vanilla. Mix. Add the cocoa and mix again until smooth. The mixture should be creamy, with no specks of white. Turn the mixer off.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips all at once. Mix just until all of the flour disappears, on the lowest setting. This should take about 10-15 seconds.
Using a 1 3/4 inch to 2 inch scoop, place the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Lightly spray the bottom of a glass with cooking spray. First press the glass against a cookie, then dip the bottom of glass in sugar to flatten cookie a bit. Continue dipping the bottom of the glass into the sugar after flattening each cookie.
After all of the cookies are flattened a bit, go back and lightly sprinkle sugar on top of each cookie.
Bake for about 8 minutes at 325 convection, or about 10 minutes at 350.
The cookies should be barely firm on top. The sugar sprinkled on top will form a light crust.  Do not over bake! While cookies are baking, unwrap the mints and set aside.

Remove the cookies from the oven. If the cookie has spread and is not as round as you would like, use a small spatula and push the edges back into a circle shape while still warm. Place two mints on top of each cookie. The mint will melt a bit.  After about 2-3 minutes, use a butter knife to evenly spread the melted mint on top of the cookie.
Let the cookies cool completely on cookie sheet. If you want to speed up the process of cooling the cookies and mints, place in refrigerator or freezer. Frost when the mint has set up on top of the cookies. After frosting, chop a few of the leftover mints and garnish the top of the frosted cookie.
Yield about 18-20 large cookies or 30-32 small to medium cookies.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 tablespoon sour cream
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa, unsweetened
1 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt
milk to thin, about 2-3 tablespoons

Cream butter, sour cream and powdered sugar. Add cocoa and vanilla, beat until smooth. Thin frosting with milk a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.

Tips:
-To achieve an edge on the cookie, or "lip" * :
1. Generously fill the cookie scoop, extra dough will help form an outer edge on the cookie.
2. Choose a glass with a flat bottom. Look at the bottom of the glass, if the bottom is not flat, the dough will not press out properly.
3. I use a 2 1/4 inch glass bottom.
4. Flatten the cookie ball with the bottom of the glass, twisting the glass gently as you flatten the dough ball. The dough should no longer be mounded. The cookie should be about 1/4 inch thick after flattening with glass.
-I use Dutch Process Cocoa, which I highly recommend for this cookie.
-This cookie will keep well refrigerated for a few days. Frost after cool, refrigerate in a single layer until the frosting is set, then stack in layers between parchment or wax paper, cover tightly.
-Be very careful to not over bake this cookie. It will be slightly firm to the touch when done. Because the cookie is so dark in color, it cannot be judged by color when it is finished baking.
-You may also skip the frosting step and simply let the mint melt on top of the baked cookie. Spread around a bit. The cookie will look like the second photo from the top of the post. 


2/24/15

Five Ingredient Hot Fudge



Do you love hot fudge, but don't love the price of premium jars of fudge sauce in the grocery store? This recipe makes enough to feed the hungry masses without breaking the bank, and also stores for a couple of weeks in the fridge, (if it lasts that long).







I love this recipe because it takes about 10 minutes start to finish, and is perfect on top of ice cream, brownies, fruit, waffles, crepes...the possibilities are endless.  It also makes a perfect home made gift for someone special.

I dare you to find a store bought hot fudge topping you love as much as this!






















Five Ingredient Hot Fudge
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

8 oz. unsweetened chocolate, broken up
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups whipping cream, heavy cream is best
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the chocolate and butter in a medium size saucepan over low heat on stove, or if you are worried about heat control, place in a double boiler. Simmer until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Add sugar and whipping cream and whisk. Cook on medium heat until the cream barely starts to boil and mixture is smooth. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until mixture is heated through and smooth. Remove from heat. Add vanilla.
Serve immediately. The mixture will start to thicken as it cools. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.
Serves 12-15



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.