Category: Dessert

Shark Week Cake

wpid-wp-1437485104194.jpeg

In case you live under a rock and didn’t know, it was Shark Week a few weeks ago. We go bonkers for Shark Week in our house. My husband and I have been watching it for years, even before kids. It’s a thing. And now, it’s a thing for our kids. For this year’s, I prepared an entire homeschool session based around sharks. We checked several shark books out from the library, I had the boys watch a show on different kind of sharks, we went fishing, and I made cake. Because…cake. I tried to get them to eat fish for dinner, too, but they were having none of that. #moreforme

wpid-wp-1437485050959.jpeg

I had so much fun making this shark cake. Honestly, I have fun making any cake, but this one was especially fun for me. Cake. Icing. Sharks. Cake. Sprinkles. Icing. Cake. Sharks.

wpid-wp-1437485059774.jpeg

I made a one-layer (soooo, basically no layer(s)? not sure, too meta for me) vanilla almond cake, with a creamy, vanilla almond frosting.

wpid-wp-1437485063496.jpeg

I used the I Am Baker method of swirling the frosting into rosettes and added some extra “waves”.

wpid-wp-1437485099302.jpeg

I made blue toned white chocolate shark fins, used white pearl sprinkles for bubbles, and used dolphin and fish sprinkles.

wpid-wp-1437485102003.jpeg

Shark Week Cake

Cake:

Recipe adapted from: White Cake Recipe, goodiegodmother.com

**The recipe below makes a one layer 8 inch cake**

1 C sugar

1 1/4 C flour (APF)

1 t baking powder

1/2 t kosher salt

6 T canola oil

1 T egg white (I always have liquid egg whites on hand)

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

1 C milk (I used coconut)

Sprinkles

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease one 8-in cake pan and set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients in a smaller mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add sprinkles (I used green and blue) and mix together. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for about 30 – 35 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back when touched (mine took 30). Cool the cake for 10 minutes before letting it cool on a wire rack.

Frosting:

Recipe adapted from: I Am Baker, Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

**Recipe has been halved**

1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened

1 t vanilla extract

1 t almond extract

3 C icing sugar (or more, as needed)

2 T milk (more or less, as needed)

pinch salt

Blue food coloring (I used Americolor Sky Blue)

Purple food coloring (I used Americolor Electric Purple)

White chocolate

Sprinkles

Beat the butter in bowl of stand mixer on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Turn the mixer to low speed to slowly add in the icing sugar. Whip for at least 6 minutes on medium high. Add food coloring and mix until fully integrated. Add more milk to the frosting, if too thick. Add more icing sugar, if too thin.

For the white chocolate shark fins:

Place a sheet of parchment paper over a pan. Melt white chocolate chips on the top of a double boiler (microwave will also work, I just find a double boiler more consistent). Whisk until smooth. Add a few drops of food coloring and whisk again. Once smooth, spread out onto the parchment paper. Place in the fridge until hardened. Once it is, use a very sharp knife to cut shark fin shapes.

To assemble:

Place the one-layer cake onto your serving platter. Scoop the blue frosting into a piping bag, fitted with a 1M tip. I didn’t need a coupler. Make frosting rosettes all over the cake. Once it is covered, go back and add a few flicks of frosting, for “waves”. Stick white chocolate shark fins into icing, add a few pearl sprinkles around it, as “bubbles” and sprinkle the entire cake with fish and dolphin sprinkles.

wpid-wp-1437485089349.jpeg

wpid-wp-1437485093578.jpeg

wpid-wp-1437485106530.jpeg

El fin. <– get it?

Enjoy!

Kristin

One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

wpid-wp-1437414105714.jpeg

I told you I hadn’t stopped baking. And, now I’m back!! Back with a yummy recipe for some super flat (but SO flavorful) chocolate cookies. These came by way of an accident. Not so much in the sense that I was making spaghetti and “oops I made cookies instead”, which has, incidentally happened. But in the sense of, they weren’t supposed to look like this, flat as a board. But the flavor is so good! So there you go. Bake them at your own risk. As you should with all the recipes I come up with. Consider yourself adequately warned.

wpid-wp-1437414095938.jpeg

One Bowl Chocolate Cookies

Recipe adapted from: food.com

12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips (separated into 2- 6oz piles)

1/4 C butter

3/4 C brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 C flour

1/4 t baking powder

Melt 6 oz. of the chocolate in the microwave, using 30 second intervals. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate. Add butter to the chocolate and and mix well until melted. Stir together the brown sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder and mix well. Add the melted chocolate. Stir in the second 6 oz. of chocolate chips. The batter will resemble chocolate pudding. Drop by spoonful onto an ungreased (I used a Silpat) baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12-13 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking pan. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.Store in airtight container. Eat within a few days.

wpid-wp-1437414099459.jpeg

I have to tell you, I had a little batter left over (and I didn’t want to bake another round on the baking sheet) and I poured it into a little ceramic dish and it baked up like a cake. And it went over really well (with myself). So, if you feel so inclined, you can actually use this batter for a cake-like variation.

wpid-wp-1437414102984.jpeg

I don’t have any pictures of said “cake”, because it was my from my own private stash…the sort I eat while my children aren’t looking.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Tropical Pavlova

wpid-wp-1437354378563.jpeg

You know how these days are called the “lazy days of summer”? You know that term? Welp. That’s me. Lazy in the bloggy sense. I’ve been cooking and baking and taking pictures and eating, but that’s it. But, I’m here now. When it counts. With a delicious recipe for you. It’s super fresh and summery and I didn’t even wait until the season has passed to share it with you. That should count for something. Brownie points, maybe? Yes, perhaps I deserve a brownie. Get on that.

wpid-wp-1437354384339.jpeg

I made (for you, for me, for everyone) a Tropical Pavlova. A Pavlova is a dessert that simply consists of meringue, whipped cream, and fruit. How could all that goodness be bad? It was created (possibly by the Australians, possibly by the New Zealanders) for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. I mean. This woman, who was already super, ridiculously talented in the world of ballet, had a freaking dessert named after her. #goals

wpid-wp-1437354388850.jpeg

Anywho, this dessert just works. The meringue shells are crunchy and light in flavor, chewy on the inside (in a perfectly stick to your teeth kind of way), the whipped cream is fluffy, and the fruit is so refreshing. It works in the same kind of textural way that Banoffee Pie works. This is also a gluten free dessert. Bonus.

wpid-wp-1437354392949.jpeg

This is a picture-perfect dessert for this ridonk hot summer. I will say that it is not delicious as a leftover (source: I’m eating it now). The delicate meringue shell has broken down into a sloppy mess. The whipped cream and fruit, however, has remained amazeballs (is that said anymore, I need to know).

wpid-wp-1437354395949.jpeg

Make it. Chances are, you’ve got almost all the ingredients in your kitchen now, and if needed, you can switch out the fruit.

Tropical Pavlova

Recipe adapted from: America’s Test Kitchen

4 large egg whites, room temperature

3/4 t vanilla extract

1/4 t cream of tartar

1 scant C sugar

2 mangoes (peeled, pitted, cubed)

2 kiwi (peeled, sliced, quartered)

1 papaya (peeled, seeded, cubed)

Simply Squeeze Coco Real Cream of Coconut (or make your own)

3/4 C shredded coconut

2 C heavy whipping cream

2 T sugar

1 t vanilla extract

Adjust your oven rack to the middle and preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Determine what size you want your shells to be and trace two circles in that shape. I did one a little bit bigger than the other. Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment (handheld is also fine), whip egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar for one minute on medium speed. Switch to medium high speed and whip for another minute. Gradually add the sugar and whip until the peaks are stiff and glossy (one or two more minutes). Separate the meringue between the two circles on the baking sheet. Spread evenly. Bake for about one and a half hours, and then turn off the oven and let the meringues sit for about two hours.

Meanwhile, chop up the fruit and set aside.

When meringues are out of the oven, prepare the whipping cream. Pour cream, sugar, and vanilla into a stand mixer (with whisk attachment), and mix for about one minute on medium speed. Increase to high and whip for about three minutes. You can store the whipped cream for up to a week in the refrigerator. Re-whip, if necessary.

To assemble, place one meringue shell (the larger, if that’s the route you took) on a serving plate. Spread almost half of the whipped cream on top, followed by almost half of the chopped fruit. Drizzle the coconut cream and sprinkle some of the shredded coconut. Put the second meringue shell on top of that, and repeat. This was easy to cut into slices.

Enjoy! I will be dreaming of this all summer!

Kristin

Dessert Tonight: Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Avocado

I love dessert. And, because of that, I am constantly looking for healthier dessert alternatives that aren’t bowls of fruit. I love bowls of fruit, also, but Imma be honest – compare it does not, to a happy bowl of decadent ice cream or a perfect slice of frosted cake.

Tonight, I put together a really delicious and super healthy dessert recipe, one that is better than a bowl of fruit – Chocolate Avocado Mousse. The avocado makes the mousse ridiculously smooth and creamy, and even little bit airy. The dark cocoa powder adds a richness. Why should you use avocados in your desserts? Well, despite being high in calories (which is why it is important to eat the suggested serving size), avocados are chock-full of vitamins, including Potassium, B, C, and E vitamins. They are low in sugar, high in fiber, and high in the good kind of fat (that helps combat the bad cholesterol).

wpid-wp-1435357998106.jpeg

Chocolate Avocado Mousse

4 Servings

2 ripe [enough] avocados

2/3 C dark cocoa

2 T honey

2 T pure maple syrup

1 t vanilla extract

1/3 C unsweetened coconut milk (more or less, if needed)

Put all ingredients into a food processor. Whiz together until smooth. Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes and refrigerate for about 30 minutes (try to avoid refrigerating for too long, as the avocados will turn brown [not that you’d see it in the rich chocolate], and affect the flavor).

wpid-wp-1435358002254.jpeg

I mean, forrreeeaaallllzzz, look at that creaminess!

ENJOY!!

Kristin

Watermelon & Lime Popsicles

It is hot. Like, bad hot. While it’s still technically “Spring”, it’s been Summer weather here in Sunny Florida for a while. We are constantly trying to beat the heat. I made a fun, healthy treat this week that was both delicious and heat-beating (yes, that’s a thing). Watermelon Lime Popsicles! You need only a few ingredients, and one special tool (maybe two).

wpid-wp-1432689127740.jpeg

Watermelon Lime Popsicles

Watermelon juice

1 lime

microplane

Popsicle bags (I found mine at World Market)

Cut up a watermelon (you can use whatever size you want) and puree it. Strain it. I kept the pulp and ate it, as a snack, with Tajín (a Mexican spice mix of chile, salt, and lime). Wash the lime. Zest it into your watermelon juice container. Cut the lime open and squeeze the juice from both halves into the same container. Stir the liquid and zest. Use a funnel or a measuring cup to fill popsicle bags. Once sealed, place in the freezer for several hours.

wpid-wp-1432689132562.jpeg

These were insanely good. You could see the beautiful lime zest in the gorgeous watermelon juice. The taste was out of this world.

wpid-wp-1432689135722.jpeg

I had only made four (using the leftover watermelon juice from my Watermelon Cupcakes) and my boys keep asking me to make them.

Enjoy!

Kristin

Watermelon Cupcakes

wpid-wp-1432487724501.jpeg

It’s safe to say I have a lot of obsessions things I’m really into – donuts, flamingos, buttercream frosting, watermelon, the Giant Squid, vintage anything, shoes, matching my boys to each other and also to me, hair dye, thrift stores. I know what I like. And apparently, it’s a bunch of weird and varied things, and I realize that now as I’m typing it out.

Welp, today, we are going to talk watermelons. They are such a fun fruit. I love their colors. I love their sweetness. I love how I can eat a whole melon for a meal and feel super full. I love how they smell. It might just be the raddest mainstream fruit.

You you what else is rad? Mixing watermelons and cupcakes together.

wpid-wp-1432487742499.jpeg

Oh, yes, boy.

I’ve made watermelon cupcakes before. From a box. They were really yummy and tasted like Jolly Ranchers (which totally make you feel like you’re teeth are being ripped out, one by one, but also it’s totally worth it). But today, I wanted to try another version, one that used real watermelon in the recipe. I also used LorAnn watermelon oil (I found mine on Amazon) to pony up the watermelon flavor. Watermelon Jell-O might also work.

wpid-wp-1432487732747.jpeg

These cupcakes came out incredibly tender, full of watermelon flavor, and adorable. They would be a perfect addition for a Memorial Day or Fourth of July party. Or for a simple Summer day.

wpid-wp-1432487737336.jpeg

I used a white cake mix for this recipe because I happened to have one on hand (I keep a few stocked, when I see them on $1 sales at the grocery store), but your favorite standard homemade white cake mix recipe would work well here. If you have a few minutes to spare, sift your cake mix prior to adding the other ingredients. l almost always sift dry ingredients when baking, and especially with boxed mixes. I do this, because I find that if I don’t, the batter is terribly lumpy, and the lumps show up in the finished product. Sifting also makes for an incredibly tender crumb, once baked.

wpid-wp-1432487740178.jpeg

Watermelon Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from: Mix and Match Mama
Makes: 24 standard cupcakes or 12 standard + 24 mini cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 box of white cake mix
1 1/4 C pureed watermelon, divided
1/2 C oil (vegetable or canola)
4 egg whites (or 12 T liquid egg whites)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
*a few drops of pink or red food coloring is optional. if you choose not to use this, as I have, your cupcakes will turn out peachy colored.*
Preheat your oven to 350F. Line your cupcake tins and set aside.
Puree your watermelon. Set aside.
Sift your cake mix into a medium or large bowl. Add one cup of watermelon puree, oil (I used canola), egg whites, and LorAnn watermelon oil. Mix until just combined. If you are using food coloring, add it now. Be careful not to overmix.
Pour batter into your prepared cupcake tins and bake for 18 – 21 minutes. Mine took 18 and I rotated the pans halfway through. Cool for 10 minutes and then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
1/2 C unsalted butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
remaining watermelon puree (1/4 C)
1/2 dram LorAnn watermelon oil
Few drops of pink food coloring
Sprinkles, optional (I found watermelon colored and flavored sprinkles at Publix)
While the cupcakes are cooling, beat butter, remaining watermelon puree, LorAnn watermelon oil, and powdered sugar until combined. Add more watermelon puree or more sugar, if the icing is too thick or too thin, respectively (I actually needed quite a bit more powdered sugar). Beat in food coloring. Frost and decorate your cooled cupcakes.
Store in refrigerator.
Enjoy!
Kristin
Happy Memorial Day! Please remember to thank a Vet or current Military Serviceman or Woman. These incredible, brave souls are such a big reason we enjoy our freedom.

S’mores Macarons

Y’all. I heard it was S’mores Week. If it were up to me, I’d have it be S’mores Day, errday, all day. I love s’mores. You know what else I heard? That Macaron Day is coming up. I don’t know who made these holidays up, or if I am even correct on the dates, but I like them. And, I’ve got a really fun recipe that incorporates both of these super awesome holidays.

wpid-wp-1432084115741.jpeg

S’MORES MACARONS, PEOPLE

S’mores Macarons. Yup. If you haven’t yet (I say “yet” in assumption that you’ll one day try them…because you should) tried then, they are a French meringue made with ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites. They are filled and are characterized by their bottom ruffle (how cute!), called a “foot”.

wpid-wp-1432084095008.jpeg

Glorious Feet

They are crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. And they are wonderful. Extraordinary. Beautiful. And wonderful.

wpid-wp-1432084098450.jpeg

The possibilities are endless, limited only by your imagination. I thought it would be fun to make a s’mores version of these. For me, s’mores are quintessential to Summer (I also think they are quintessential to Winter). There is something so familiar, so lovely about s’mores.

wpid-wp-1432084102930.jpeg

I also made a few without the graham cracker component, to be deemed appropriate for those who do without gluten.

These were delightfully crispy, but chewy, deliciously chocolately, filled with a fluffy, marshmallowy, vanilla filling, and for those with it, dusted with crunchy, buttery graham cracker crumbs. Please don’t feel scared to try these. They have a lot of steps, but it will be worth it.

wpid-wp-1432084106445.jpeg

S’mores Macarons

For the macarons:

2 C powdered sugar

1 C almond flour or almond meal

3 T unsweetened cocoa powder (dark cocoa would be delicious, too!)

1/4 t fine salt

3 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch cream of tartar

3 T granulated sugar

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. You can also prepare a pastry bag with a tip, but I simply cut the end off.

Place the powdered sugar, almond flour/meal, cocoa powder, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times. Then process until fine and combined, about 30 seconds. Sift through a flour sifter into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Set aside.

For the meringue component, place the egg whites in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld mixer). Beat on medium speed until opaque and foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar, put mixer on medium high, and beat until the egg whites are white, about 1 minute. While continuing to beat, slowly add the granulated sugar, until it is combined, the peaks are stiff, and the whites are shiny, about 1 minute more. Make sure you don’t over whip. Put the meringue to a large bowl.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry mixture into the egg whites in four batches until the dry ingredients are just combined. The meringue will lost some of its airy-ness. With the final addition, stop folding when there are no traces of egg whites and the mixture looks like cake batter. Make sure you do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to the pastry bag. Pipe out 1-1/4-inch rounds about 1 inch apart onto the baking sheets, about 25 per sheet. Bang your baking sheet on your counter tops. This will remove cracking from the macaron tops, and instead add the crack (or foot) to the base. Let the rounds sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry the tops and ensure even cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350F and move a rack to the middle. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time for 7 minutes. Rotate the sheet and cook for 7 minutes more. Cool completely.

For the marshmallow frosting:

** I halved this recipe and still had plenty leftover**

1 1/2 C granulated sugar

1/4 t cream of tartar or 1 T white corn syrup (I used cream of tartar)

1/8 t salt

1/3 C water

2 egg whites

1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract

Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water. Make sure that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. This will cause your frosting to be grainy. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Beat in vanilla. Transfer frosting to a pastry bag.

wpid-wp-1432084121594.jpeg

To assemble:

Pair macarons of similar size. Snip off the end of your pastry bag. Squeeze about a teaspoon of frosting onto one macaron shell (the flat side), and top with another half. Press gently. The filling should just come to the edges of the macaron. Pour graham cracker crumbs (about 1/2 C) into a bowl. Roll the macarons into the crumbs. They will stick to the frosting. Cover and refrigerate. These taste better once they’ve been refrigerated. It will help the frosting settle and make the inside portion chewier. These freeze quite well (up to a month). You can even fill them before freezing.

Enjoy!

These would be wonderful to make this Memorial Day weekend, also rounding out S’mores Week. Don’t forget what this weekend is about – we are remembering those who have died in our great Military. THANK YOU to those who have served…past, present, and future. I am forever grateful for your bravery.

Kristin

Favorite Things Week – VPK School Lunch (and Chocolate Cake!)

This is my big boy’s last week of VPK. Sniff. I don’t know where the time has gone. I literally only blinked, and his entirely VPK year has come and gone. To help him celebrate his last three days of school, I decided to pack some of his favorite things.

For tomorrow:

wpid-wp-1431989857236.jpeg

I packed a PB&J. This kid loves his PB&J’s. I also packed corn (his favorite vegetable), a yogurt squeeze (he always wants one), and a teeny slice of super sprinkled homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Speaking of chocolate cake…

wpid-wp-1431996059395.jpeg

…oh, yes boy.

Today was my last Mommy church group meeting for this school year, and I made a one-bowl frosted chocolate cake to take with me. I made sure to save some for my boys. They always ask me to save them special treats when I make them for get-togethers.

wpid-wp-1431996063048.jpeg

I’ve used this recipe a dozen times before. It’s very quick to throw together. I almost always have the ingredients, as well.

wpid-wp-1431996065890.jpeg

Who could resist such an easy recipe?

wpid-wp-1431996068578.jpeg

It’s fudgy, not-too-rich, chocolatey, and super moist.

wpid-wp-1431996071463.jpeg

I covered it with a ton of fun sprinkles.

Do it.

One Bowl Chocolate Cake

recipe adapted from: Six Sister’s Stuff

2 C AP flour
2 C sugar
1/2 C baking cocoa (I used 1/4 C of dark chocolate cocoa, 1/4 C regular)
2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 C vegetable or canola oil
1 C buttermilk (you can easily make your own with milk and vinegar)
2 eggs
1 C hot water

Frosting:

1/2 C butter, softened
1/4 C milk
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
3 T cocoa powder (I used a mix of dark and regular, again)
3 C powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13″ pan.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix in the oil, buttermilk, and eggs. Pour in the water and mix well. It will be runny and that is okay.

Pour batter into pan. Bake for 33-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Mine was done at 35 minutes.

Once completely cooled, frost.

To make frosting, mix all the ingredients together. Add more powdered sugar or milk, as needed.

I hope you enjoy it!

Kristin

You DONUT want to miss this VPK School Lunch!

Tomorrow marks the first day back to school from Spring Break (cue crying/sniffling/and-also-joyful-whoops). We had a great break – we visited family several hours away, my oldest BFF came up from Miami for an awesome visit, our playgroup went on a train ride and took our kids to a fancy breakfast which was a disaster (but my cheese grits and fried green tomatoes were worth it), we went to a concert in the park, we ate overpriced froyo, and we got sick. All of us. My boys had fevers and one had a horrible ear infection. I lost my voice (happiest day of their little lives). But we survived. And to simultaneously celebrate the first day back in school and mourn the loss of Spring Break, I made a fun donut lunch.

wpid-photogrid_1427150045055.jpg

I made a donut (doughnut, also being a perfectly acceptable way of spelling it) shaped PB & berry cream cheese sandwich. I cut the large circle shape using a mug and the little hole using a medicine cup (which I had readily available). I used a teeny bit of red spray, and then a teeny bit of pink sparkly icing to keep the confetti sprinkles from falling off. I also packed gold raisins (as my Biggie calls them), a date, grapes, pineapple, goldfish crackers, and a teeny homemade donut for dessert.

I made the donuts last week.

wpid-photogrid_1427150110021.jpg

These little suckers are SO good. I have made them many times before and they are always a hit.

Here is the recipe:

http://www.confessionsofacookbookqueen.com/2012/04/mini-devils-food-donuts/

And for the icing:

2 C powdered sugar

2 T milk (I used cashew milk)

1 t vanilla (optional)

1 t almond extract (optional)

food coloring, if desired

sprinkles, if desired (and why wouldn’t they be)

Mix the first five ingredients together. Frost the cooled donuts and decorate with sprinkles.

Get it girl. Or boy.

Kristin

(late) Valentine’s Desserts

Last week was full of Valentine’s activities and special treats. I was so busy, that I wasn’t able to get the dessert recipes up, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me, right? You can make these any time. So get on it. Or tuck these away for Valentine’s Day next year….it never hurts to be prepared!

First up, Dark Red Velvet Cookies. Oh yes, boy.

wpid-20150210_171923.jpg

These were chewy and cocoa-y, and filled with milky, melty chocolate.

wpid-20150210_171953.jpg

Such a fun treat for the lunchboxes!

Dark Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe adapted from: Sally’s Baking Addiction, Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1.5 C + 1 T AP flour

1/4 C dark cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)

1 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1/2 C unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C brown sugar

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 T milk

2 t vanilla extract

1.5 T red food coloring

1 c milk chocolate chips

Toss together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

With a handheld or stand mixer, beat the butter, in another bowl, on high speed until creamy. On medium speed, add the sugars and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla extract. Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Beat in more food coloring if you’d like the dough to be redder. On low speed, beat in the chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky.

Cover the dough and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour (up to several days). Thaw, as needed, before baking.

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Scoop the dough and roll into balls. Bake each batch for 10-11 minutes.

Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Switching directions to gluten and dairy free –

wpid-20150212_162112-1.jpg

I’ve made these GF DF peanut butter cookies many times. They always come out perfectly.

wpid-20150212_162141_hdr.jpg

They have all the ingredients needed to make for an old-fashioned peanut butter cookie feel.

I also added raspberry jam to a few:

wpid-20150212_162212_hdr.jpg

I love how these came out. The jam added a chewy goodness to them. I can’t even. Actually I could. And I did.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/gluten-free-peanut-butter-cookies

And lastly, but still gluten and dairy free – Chocolate Torte!

wpid-20150212_162404_hdr.jpg

This thing is a showstopper. It’s super glossy in the picture, because I had just poured my cashew milk ganache on top.

Yes. Cashew milk ganache. And it’s ridonkulously easy.

wpid-20150212_162429_hdr.jpg

Look at that freshy.

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Torte

Recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour, Flourless Chocolate Cake

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 C (8 T) unsalted butter

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper in the bottom. Grease that as well. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft. Stir until the chips melt, reheating briefly if necessary (you can use a double-boiler if preferred). Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the eggs, beating briefly until smooth. Add the cocoa powder, and mix just to combine.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 25 minutes; the top will have formed a thin crust.

Remove it from the oven, and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes.

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife and turn it out onto a serving plate. The top will now be on the bottom; that’s fine. Also, the edges will crumble a bit, which is also fine. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine one cup of semi sweet chocolate with one half cup of non-dairy milk (or cream, if you want dairy) in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the milk is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

*I have used both cashew and coconut milks for this and they both turn out beautifully.*

Spoon the glaze over the cake, spreading it to drip over the sides a bit. Allow the glaze to set for several hours before serving the cake.

EAT.

Enjoy these sweet treats!

Kristin