Monday, January 30, 2012

.chocolate wasted cake.

Made this dangerous cake for my hubby's grad party. The inspiration was found on pinterest of course and the original recipe can be found here. I might have totally cheated and used a store bought chocolate cake for the base of it because as I have said before I am not a baker at all! This cake was however super fun to make and perfect for chocolate lovers everywhere. Enjoy!

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 cup butter, melted
4 tsp. honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup whole milk (start out with 1/3 cup of milk and add more milk to your desired consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

liqueur for drizzling on the cake layers (i.e. chocolate, coffee or almond)

melted chocolate for drizzling, :
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips*
2-3 Tbs. heavy cream or vegetable oil
semi-sweet chocolate chips for the sides of the cake

assorted chocolate candies for the top of the cake*(I skipped this)

To make the cake:

(Note: Instead of milk, you can replace it with water or cooled brewed coffee. Instead of butter, you can use vegetable oil. Instead of honey, you can use corn syrup or agave nectar. Instead of semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can use Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips. For allergen-free alternatives for the candies, you can try Enjoy Life chocolate chips, bars or cookies)

Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Grease and dust two 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with cocoa powder. Set aside.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate mixing bowl, combine milk, butter, honey and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the milk/butter mixture. Mix until combined. Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Pour in the batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and wait for about 10 minutes to remove from cake pans and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before decorating.

To make the frosting:

Note: instead of butter, you can use any allowed margarine, Spectrum organic vegetable shortening, or coconut oil. Instead of milk, you can use rice milk or soy milk.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add the butter, milk and vanilla extract. Using an electric mixer, slowly mix together at a low speed. Once all the ingredients are combined, increase the speed and beat till fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

Place the first cake layer on a plate or cake circle. Lightly drizzle with liqueur. Spread an even layer of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top of the frosting. Lightly drizzle with liqueur. Cover the sides and top of the cake with frosting. Cover the sides of the cake with semi-sweet chocolate chips and cover the top with assorted chocolate candies. Drizzle the melted chocolate all over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides of the cake.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

.maple & bacon wrapped lil smokies. {husband's choice}

These lil guys are the best/most addicting/tasty/delicious appetizers EVER. I have made them for two parties already that they did not last even a couple minutes out of the oven before they were devoured. They also make the house spell so yum which is always an extra perk. Original recipe can be found here. Enjoy!

1 pound Li'l Smokies
12 ounces, weight Center-cut Bacon
⅓ cups Brown Sugar
¼ cups Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
A Small Pinch Of Cayenne (optional)

Empty the smokies onto some paper towels and blot them dry. Dry smokies will allow the bacon to adhere better. Place the dried smokies in a single layer (keeping them separated) onto a small cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 45 minutes.
While the smokies are in the freezer, cut the bacon into thirds. Separate each piece of bacon and place on a large cookie sheet in a single layer. Put the bacon in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The well-chilled smokies and bacon will help to keep everything from getting too slippery when you wrap the smokies later.
When it is nearly time to take the smokies out of the freezer, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Make the glaze by whisking together the brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, and cayenne (if using). Whisk the mixture well to ensure that the larger pieces of brown sugar have broken up.
Wrap a piece of bacon around each smokie, pressing firmly on the final edge of the bacon to better ensure it does not spring open during baking. Try not to stretch the bacon when wrapping the sausages. Place the bacon-wrapped smokies onto the foil-lined sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with the rest of the bacon and smokies. Using a spoon, put a little bit of the thick glaze on top of each bacon-wrapped smokie, trying to coat each one evenly. You should have just enough glaze to do the entire batch.
Bake the smokies for about 35 minutes or until they are lightly brown on top. Immediately transfer the smokies to a serving plate or a slow cooker set on low to keep warm. These a very addictive. I apologize in advance.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

.most AMAZING popcorn.

Ok so no joke I can not stop eating/making this wonderful treat. Not only can it be made in less than 5 minutes but its just so cute as well. Perfect for a party and sure to be a major crowd pleaser. It would also make great little gifts if put in treat bags. This recipe was shown to me by my friend Teresa (thank you!). The original recipe can be found here. Try it out for yourself and your welcome.

1 bag of popcorn (Try to get one with the least amount of butter)
1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

Cook popcorn according to package directions. When done place in a large bowl. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave by cooking for 30 seconds at a time and stirring in between until melted. Pour melted chocolate over popcorn and mix with a spoon. Sprinkle sprinkles on top and let sit until the chocolate hardens. Eat your heart out.

Monday, January 2, 2012

.chicken spaghetti.

Who doesn't like Pioneer Woman?! I had been hearing wonderful things about this recipe for so long and finally was able to try it. Original recipe with wonderful step by step pictures can be found here. Not only was it fun to make but I love dishes that I can toss in the oven to cook while I can clean up my mess. Then when my kitchen is clean the meal is done {im a bit of a cleaning nut} Try it out for yourself, a wonderful meal to start the new year off right :)
(before cooked w/o cheese)

(after- ready to eat!)

2 cups Cooked Chicken (i used leftovers from a rotisserie chicken)
3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
Salt And Pepper, to taste
1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook 1 cut up fryer and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).