Festy Besty Boozy S’mores Fudge

July 28, 2014

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Woo wee! Would ya’ll just take a look at this fabulous S’mores Fudge I just whipped up!  Yup, what you’re seeing there is a rich decadent creamy chocolate fudge, surrounding fluffy mini marshmallows, all sandwiched between a buttery graham cracker crust. And you did read that title right…there’s booze in it! Marshmallow Vodka booze to be exact, which goes along just perfectly with the whole s’mores vibe. (Though I suspect Bourbon would be a good choice as well.) Why is it that I’m always reaching for that bottle of booze to give recipes that little something extra? Wait…don’t answer that. :)

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Anyhoo… This fudge was super easy to make and only required me to have the stove top on for 5 minutes and there was nary a bit of oven time need at all. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, heating up the kitchen one fraction of a degree during these hot swampy Virginia summers is really frowned upon. So no-bake desserts are very popular around here right now. The only thing you might be left wondering at this point is what is the meaning of that “Festy Besty” bit in my recipe title. Well let me explain and also take a moment to plea for a favour.

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The Festy is this phenomenal 3 day camping music festival which takes place the 2nd weekend in October on the beautiful grounds of the Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson Country Virginia (about 45 minutes away from Charlottesville). This event is the brain child of  The Infamous Stringdusters. The Stringdusters are a pop bluegrass, progressive bluegrass or newgrass band – take your pick of descriptors there. Basically  these incredibly talented musicians are schooled in traditional bluegrass which they are able to combine seamlessly with the improvisational skills and blistering solos of a consummate jam band. To hear a recording of them is delightful but let me tell you, seeing their enthusiastic and passionate performance live is a unforgetable experience to say the least! Every year, The Stringdusters hand-pick the line up of bands which will perform at the Festy in an attempt to display a wide range of musical genres, not just bluegrass. Yeah…you heard me. A music festival… held on the grounds of a brewery! And you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere after a full day of listening to a lineup of smoking hot bands, eating tasty grub and washing it all down with cold refreshing Devils Backbone brews. Nope cause you’ve got a tent pitched only a small bit away from the stages. Brilliant!  (And even more brilliant if you leave all that tent pitching work to the Show Sherpa. Sooooo worth it!) The husband and I went last year for the first time and that is all it took. We were hooked and have vowed not to miss any of the future Festys come what may! (I think there is supposed to be a vow which specifies something about hell and high water here…)

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it our not, but the husband and I are both musicians. I play mandolin and he plays pretty much anything with strings, but most recently has been seen with a banjo over his shoulder.

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We love to play bluegrass tunes as well as some Old Time and Americana songs. So we are really looking forward to the Festy this year because in addition to hearing all those great acts over the weekend, there are many impromptu jam sessions taking place back at the camp sites and everyone gets to join in. That is where this Festy Fudge comes in.

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When we are ready to take a break from picking, I will be ready to offer everyone some of that delicious Festy Besty S’mores Fudge. It will be just perfect, enough sugar to keep you going, a little booze to keep you loose and the wonderful campy S’mores vibe to boot. I mean what is camping without s’mores? And these little gems are coated with a graham cracker crust which will keep the melted chocolate off of your fingertips, and hopefully off of your strings, when the snacking is done and the playing resumes.

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The husband and I will definitely be in attendance at Festy 5 come this October. In fact, I even entered a photo contest which the Festy Experience is hosting. And I’m a finalist!!! Here is what I hope will be the winning pic:

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The winner gets free weekend camping and back stage passes. Oh my goodness! We would so love to win this. And this is where that favour I mentioned come into play. I’m going to have to ask you for some help. You see the winning photo will be chosen from the photo that gets the most votes. So….Please…pretty, pretty please with S’mores Fudge on top, please take a couple of minutes and cast a vote for our picture at this link: http://thefesty.com/festybesty-finalists-cast-vote-winner/ The deadline for voting is Sunday August 3rd, and thus far, I don’t really have a lot of votes compared to some. Help a girl out ya’ll! But regardless, even if you don’t do the “vote for people” thing, you should check out the Festy. Tickets are on sale and the lineup looks incredible. You don’t want to miss the raging good times to be had by all! If you are a bit too far away to take part in the Festy, make some of this stunning S’mores Fudge to console yourself. You won’t regret it and keep your fingers crossed for us to win!

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  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted (I added the booze bit – go figure!) from: On Sugar Mountain

Ingredients: 

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter

For the fudge:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 -4 Tablespoons Marshmallow Vodka  (some folks would say this is optional. I don’t think so, but do as you will…)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:

Prepare the graham cracker crust. Line one 9 X 9″ square pan with aluminum foil. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Press half of the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set the remaining graham cracker mixture aside for the moment.

Make the Fudge. Add the sugars, butter, heavy cream and salt into a medium-sized , deep pot and bring to a boil Boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and using and electric mixer, beat in the marshmallow fluff. Next add the chocolate chips to the mixture and beat until the all of the chocolate has melted and the fudge is smooth. Add the Marshmallow Vodka to the mixture and continue to beat until combined.

Pour half of the fudge over the prepared graham cracker crust in the 9 X 9″ pan. Top with the mini marshmallows. Cover the mini marshmallow layer with the remaining chocolate fudge and smooth the top. Cover the top of the fudge with the remaining graham cracker mixture and press down gently. Cover the pan and place it into the refrigerator to set for at least four hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy!

Boozy S’mores Fudge Brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips

July 11, 2014

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Lord Have Mercy! Would you look at these irresistible little jars of veritable bliss! Silky Peanut Butter Mousse covered in fluffy marshmallow frosting and then topped with chopped candied bacon and all bundled up in an adorable and very portable little mason jar. Are. You. Kidding. Me. And…guess what guys? These little temptations are completely gluten and dairy free! What the what?!!

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So I just told you all about that unbelievable delectable Flourless Double Chocolate Cake that I made for the get-together my friend, who is gluten-free, was hosting. Turns out that cake was not only easy to make but was really delicious. It almost made me think for a second I could give up glutens (who am I kidding…truth be told I only thought about it for a quick moment what with my bread obsession.) Anyhoo…I was riding high on my gluten-free chocolate cake victory, but I might have done my celebratory dance (yes…I do have one) a bit too soon. Turns out my friend’s family is also dairy-free. That cake almost fit the double whammy gluten/dairy free bill. I had replaced the butter in it with coconut oil, so the cake was good to go. However, that chocolate ganache glaze had some cream in it. Wha-wha-wha…dairy-free failure! Not being one to turn away from a challenge, I set out to make a second dessert for the gathering that would be both gluten and dairy-free. Happily I found the recipe for these Fluffernutter Parfaits and they were just perfect, not only gluten and dairy-free but also wonderfully addictive. And did I mention they are topped with candied bacon?!! You just can’t go wrong with bacon.

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Now, I’ve got to let you in on a secret…I put some of the Fluffernutter Parfait on top of my Flourless Chocolate Cake and it was just nothing short of salty sweet perfection. Yup…I doubt I will ever make one of these desserts, without whipping up the other to go along with it. Deep, dark, rich chocolate and creamy, salty peanut butter. Get in my belly! Let the celebratory dancing begin in earnest!!!

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Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips

  • Servings: four 1/2 pint jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: The Bacon Princess

Ingredients:

For the Peanut Butter Mousse:

  • 1/2 can coconut cream, chilled
  • 4-5 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil, solid

For the Candied Bacon:

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

For the Marshmallow topping:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 dashes cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mini Chocolate Chips for topping

Directions:

In the bowl of your standing mixer, whip chilled coconut cream for about one minute.
Add peanut butter, maple syrup, and one tablespoon of coconut oil at a time, continuing to mix for about one more minute.
Once all ingredients are fully incorporated, portion out into individual pint jars for serving, remembering to leave room for the marshmallow topping. Place in the fridge to set.
Dice bacon and add to a medium-sized frying pan over low heat.
Cook on low for about 5 minutes.
When the bacon is almost done cooking, drain as much grease as you can and add the brown sugar.
Cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until sugar has been melted and bubbles up a bit.
Remove bacon to a plate lined with parchment paper, so the caramelized bacon doesn’t stick.
Let cool until you’re ready to garnish.
Fill a small saucepan with an inch or two of water, and bring to a boil.
In the bowl of your standing mixer or another bowl that fits inside the saucepan, add the egg whites, brown sugar, and cream of tartar.
Place the bowl over the saucepan of boiling water, making sure the bowl and water are not in direct contact.
Stir vigorously until all the sugar has been absorbed into the egg white. Make sure you start stirring immediately or you will end up with scrambled eggs!
Remove from stove and immediately bring to standing mixer.
Whip on high for about 3-4 minutes, or until mixture stands in stiff peaks.
Add marshmallow on top of mousse, using a piping bag if necessary.
Garnish with chopped candied bacon and mini chocolate chips.

Enjoy!

Fluffernutter Parfaits topped with Candied Bacon and Mini Chocolate Chips is brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Flourless Double Chocolate Cake

July 8, 2014

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All you gluten-free folks out there lookie what I got here…a luscious Double Chocolate Cake with nary a gluten to be found! And it doesn’t only look pretty…no indeed, this cake delivers on taste as well. Bittersweet chocolate chips and Dutch Process cocoa are combined in the cake which is then topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache glaze. The result is an incredible rich and deliciously decadent knockout of a dessert. And since this recipe is flour free, that means gluten-free folks can indulge without hesitation.

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Now you may be wondering how it is that I’ve suddenly come to be posting gluten-free recipes. I mean if you have followed my blog at all, you’ve surely noticed that the Runcible Kitchen is quite far from gluten-free…more like glutens-galore! (my husband says “It’s gluten-tootin!”) Recently I was fortunate enough to be invited over to a friend’s house for a little birthday celebration. I offered to bring the desserts and it wasn’t until after I’d offered that I remembered she was following a gluten-free diet for her Celiac Disease. She graciously told me not to worry about trying to make a gluten-free dessert, but I decided that it would be a great opportunity to find a delicious go-to gluten-free treat to keep in my recipe arsenal. Thank goodness for the folks over at King Arthur Flour, not only do I exclusively use their flours in all of my baking, but their website is chock-full of fabulous recipes and I was able to find this one in no time flat. This Double Chocolate Cake was really a winner. And I don’t mean that in a “oh, it was pretty good for a gluten-free cake” kind of a way. I mean this lush cake is really delectable. Glutens be damned! We don’t need no stinking glutens! Success!!!

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Flourless Double Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter or substitute in 1/2 cup coconut oil for a dairy-free cake
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract, optional
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-Process cocoa preferred

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

To decorate:

Candy Stars, or Fresh berries or Toasted Almond slices -your choice!

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan; cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit, grease it, and lay it in the bottom of the pan.

To make the cake: 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 also do this over a burner set at very low heat. Transfer the melted chocolate/butter to a mixing bowl.

Stir in the sugar, salt, espresso powder, and vanilla. Espresso enhances chocolate’s flavor much as vanilla does; using 1 teaspoon will simply enhance the flavor, while 2 teaspoons will lend a hint of mocha to the cake.

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, and it should register at least 200°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into its center.

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

Loosen the edges of the pan with a table knife or nylon spreader, 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 the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, but not simmering. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is completely smooth.

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.

Enjoy!

Flourless Double Chocolate Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 

 

 


Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Mousse with Candied Bacon

July 3, 2014

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I know, I know….4th of July desserts are supposed to be all patriotic…all red white and blue and festooned with flags. With all the fresh strawberries and blueberries around this time of year, that is pretty easy. I mean I’ve done some fun some Independence Day classics in years past. There was my Strawberry, Blueberry and White Chocolate Mousse Tart for instance, so fresh and delicious and practically whistling Yankee Doodle Dandy!

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I started to go along that route again. But then I came across this recipe for Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Mousse with Candied Bacon and new I had found the dessert that folks attending my 4th of July festivities would be most excited by. Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey is the highest selling American Whiskey in the World and has been distilled in good ole Lynchburg, Tennessee since 1866. Pretty good pedigree I’d say and definitely beloved among my crowd. So what could be better than the combination of the smooth smoky sweetness of that lovely elixer with rich, dark chocolate and heavy cream? But I won’t stop there, I will just continue… whipping it all up until it becomes a silky fluffy mousse which will then be topped with candied bacon! Have mercy!

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Let me tell you, folks will love these decadent little treats! A little bit of this dreamy concoction goes a long way, so I will serve mine in little chocolate dessert cups. I think it would also be fantastic if you were to serve it in rustic mason jars – but not the full pint size…Good Lord! Look more to a small 1/4 pint size or go with the whole whiskey theme and serve it in a shot glass. You can’t go wrong with this luscious indulgence. Get folks in just the right mood to celebrate Independence Day and whip up a tray of these boozy treats today!

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Jack Daniel's Whiskey Mousse with Candied Bacon

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

source: Sweet Society

Ingredients:

For the Whiskey Mousse:

  • 4 oz (113g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
  • 2 eggs (100g) separated
  • 4 Tablespoons (50g) granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup (120g) heavy whipping cream plus a bit extra to whip up as a topping if you choose
For the Candied Bacon:
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar

For Serving:

  • Chocolate dessert cups or Chocolate Cordial Cups (or you could use 4 oz. mason jars, or shot glasses)
Directions:
 Fill a saucepan with an inch or so of water and bring to a simmer.

Use a double boiler, or place a heatproof bowl over the simmering water (making sure the bowl does not touch the water) and melt the chocolate, butter, and coffee together.
Remove from heat and stir in whiskey. Set this bowl aside.In a separate heatproof bowl, whisk the two egg yolks with 2 tbsp of sugar over the pan of simmering water.You will continue to whisk this mixture until it becomes foamy (cooking it just slightly).When foamy, whisk the egg-yolk mixture into the chocolate bowl. Set aside.With a stand mixer, or hand mixer, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, gradually adding 2 tbsp of sugar, until stiff peaks form.Fold the stiff egg whites gently into the chocolate/egg yolk mixture.Lastly, whip up the heavy cream until soft peaks form and then fold this into the chocolate mixture from the previous step.Pipe or spoon whiskey mousse into chocolate dessert cups, 4 oz. mason jars or shot glasses. Place into refrigerator to set while you are preparing candied bacon.
Line a plate with a sheet of parchment paper. In frying pan or on griddle, cook bacon until nearly done. Drain as much bacon grease from the pan as possible. Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and let it cook until it melts and begins to bubble up. Remove bacon to parchment lined plate and let cool completely. Chop candied bacon into bite sized pieces.
When ready to serve, top whiskey mousse cups with a bit of whipped cream and candied bacon.
Enjoy!
Jack Daniel’s Whiskey Mousse brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Margarita Mini Cupcakes

June 19, 2014

 

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Well, Easter has come and gone. It has been quite some time since my last post. I don’t know what in the world I’ve been doing! Currently I seem to be glued to the telly. It’s World Cup time and although neither my husband nor myself are usually big sports fans, we suffer a change of personality every four years when the Cup gets underway. Luckily, we can watch all of the matches from the comfort of our air conditioned living room (who am I kidding…air conditioned local pub :) ). And thank God for air conditioning because that swampy Virginia summer weather has settled in quite comfortably around here and thus entrenched seems unlikely to be dislodged for quite some time. Yeah, we had been enjoying a lovely Spring, but recently the temperature has been hovering right around 90° F ( 32° C) with around 80% humidity or so. Anyone who has spent one damp and soggy minute hanging around here in the summer will tell you “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity”. Never truer words were spoken. Humidity, we’ve got tons of it! Needless to say, it is most definitely margarita weather, either frozen or on the rocks. Anything to bring your core temperature down. I think it was my craving for that delicious sweet, salty and blessedly icy drink that inspired me to make these Margarita Mini Cupcakes. They have all of the great flavours so reminiscent of that wonderful cocktail such as tequila, fresh limes and you will even find that the fluffy swiss meringue frosting is sprinkled with just a touch of salt. That’s right they’re sweet and salty, tart and boozy. Could they get any better?

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Well perhaps only in that they are bite sized, easy to pop right into your mouth without exerting a lot of effort…which should be avoided at all cost in heat advisory conditions like we’ve been experiencing. They would be a very welcome addition to any cookout, picnic or potluck. And definitely keep them in mind for the next time Cinco de Mayo rolls around. I think we’re going to be in for a long and steamy summer, and it is only just beginning! Guess I’ll just have to take comfort in the little things…( well the little things and some nice ice-cold, boozy and refreshing drinks…)

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Margarita Mini Cupcakes

  • Servings: 86 mini cupcakes (or 24 regular sized)
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Source: Tide & Thyme

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 limes, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup tequila

For the Tequila Lime Buttercream:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 egg whites
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Tequila
  • lime zest and wedges, for topping
  • fleur-de-sel, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare mini muffin tins with paper liners or baking spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar on a high until pale, light, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next one. Add lime zest and lime juice. Add vanilla.

Turn mixer to low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes (25 minutes for the full-sized cakes) or until a skewer shows only moist crumbs attached, rotating the pans at the halfway point.

Allow cupcakes to cool 5 minutes in the pans before removing to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cupcakes are still warm, brush the tops with tequila or tequila/orange mixture if desired.

To make the frosting, place the stand mixer bowl over a simmering pot of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Whisk the sugar and egg whites until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture registers 160°F  with a candy thermometer.

Place bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high-speed until the mixture is cool and holds stiff, glossy peaks (approximately 10 minutes).

Change to the paddle attachment and beat in one tablespoon of butter at a time on medium. The mixture might appear curdled but keep beating, it will pull back together.

Add lime juice and 1 Tablespoon tequila. Increase speed to high and beat until the frosting reincorporates and is smooth and fluffy. Beat in remaining tablespoon (or “spoons” – no judgement :) ) of tequila, if desired.

Frost the cooled cupcakes with the buttercream.  Garnish with lime zest,  lime slices, and fleur-de-sel.

Enjoy!

Margarita Mini Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

April 19, 2014

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Whoo – wee! Is it Easter time already?! Hard to believe it, but it is indeed. I have had an entire month off since my St. Patrick’s Day blogapalooza and have still yet barely recovered. And believe you me, my waist line has not yet managed to get back to normal either. Yup… the old britches are fitting a bit tighter these days. Nothing to be done about it I suppose but some diligent exercising and calorie counting….which I will start right after the Easter holidays, I promise  (wink, wink) . Because no, I can’t start now…not since two of my favourite candy treats spring up like weeds in all of the stores around Easter. I’m talking about those crack-like Cadbury Mini Eggs and those adorable speckled Robin Egg malted milk candies. Now I’m usually pretty strong-willed, but faced with the trial of seeing those delicious treats everywhere this time of year, all of my dieting resolve simply crumbles. So I just won’t set myself up for failure and the calorie restriction will simply have to wait for a few days. Last year I gave into temptation and purchased one (or was it two…or maybe three…) bags of those Robin Eggs and made Robin Egg Rice Krispie Treats, which were not only quick and easy to make, but also a wonderfully yummy snack. And this year, finding a bag of those mini Robin’s Eggs lurking about on my kitchen counter, I whipped up this gorgeous White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake for our Easter festivities. Talk about temptation! It has so many of my favourite things in it – a crunchy shortbread/cashew crust filled with creamy malted white chocolate mousse which is adorned with Robins Egg malted candies – clearly an irresistible indulgence!

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This festive dessert is very easy to make, you just have to keep in mind that it does need a bit of chill time in the fridge. But no worries. You should pour yourself a glass of wine and have a bit of chill time for yourself while you wait. Your patience will be rewarded many times over when you take your first bite of this sinfully decadent dessert. You may have to spend a bit longer in the confessional (Bless me Father…) but sure you’ll be headed off to Mass anyway…right? Happy Easter Everyone!

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White Chocolate Malted Mousse Cake

recipe slightly adapted from: A Family Feast

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

  • 6 ounces shortbread cookies
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Mousse:

  • 2 ounces white chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavoured gelatin
  • 2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons plain malted milk powder
  • Robin’s Egg malted milk candies for garnish (I used the mini Robin Eggs)

Directions:

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the cookies and cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a fine crumb consistency is reached. Add the melted butter and pulse again to combine.

Pour crumbs into the bottom of a 9″ springform pan and press down to form an even layer over the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown around the edges.

Cool the crust completely in the springform pan on a wire rack.

For the Mousse:

In a small saucepan, combine the white chocolate and 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Stirring constantly, heat until the chocolate fully melts. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Pour the milk into a small, wide microwave-safe bowl. Very slowly sprinkle the gelatin over the milk, allowing the gelatin to begin to absorb the milk before sprinkling more over the top. (To avoid creating lumps of gelatin it is important that you not only have a wide surface area of milk but that you also sprinkle that gelatin ever so slowly, allowing it to absorb before adding the next layer). Allow the gelatin and milk to sit undisturbed (don’t stir) until the gelatin is fully softened – about 3 to 4 minutes.

Microwave the gelatin milk mixture at 50% power until the gelatin completely melts. ( Heat in slow intervals, about 10 seconds at a time, taking care not to scald the milk) Once the gelatin dissolves, stir it into the white chocolate mixture. Set aside to cool, but stir often. It will begin to thicken.

While the chocolate mixture cools, in the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar, salt and malted milk powder until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the cooled and thickened white chocolate/gelatin mixture, stirring until combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, whip the remaining heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture by hand until blended.

Spoon the mousse over the cooled crust, spreading evenly in the pan. Refrigerate until firm – at least 3 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan. Decorate with Robins Egg malted candies.

Enjoy!


Pints of Guinness Cupcakes

March 17, 2014

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My Goodness – My Guinness! What do we have here? Little Pints of Guinness Cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day! Yup, today is the day! I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to here, but somehow, seventeen Irish-y recipes later, here we are! I’m finishing my countdown today with these delicious little boozy cupcakes. Are you kidding me? Of course they have booze in them! The cake portion of these edible pints are made with a moist and rich blending of chocolate and  Guinness. The “head” of these pints are formed with a smooth delectable and dreamy Baileys buttercream frosting. Yum, oh yum!!!

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Truth be told, I’ve made a version of these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with a Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting before and they were a big hit. In their first incarnation, they looked just like regular little cupcakes and were topped with crumbled chocolate covered pretzels.

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This time around, I thought I’d like to have a little fun with the shape and since they were Guinness cupcakes, I thought I’d really try to capture the look of a pint of that wonderful elixir. I am very pleased with the results!

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In order to get that pint glass type shape, I baked these in popover pans, rather than the usual cupcake tins. Then I piped the Baileys buttercream frosting onto the top and smoothed it a bit with a spatula to get the appearance of that creamy Guinness head.

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What fun huh? Now you can drink your pint (pints…) and eat one too! Just perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities. So what are you waiting for? Get on out there and have some fun! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)

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Pints Of Guinness Cupcakes

recipe from: Lea and Jay (yours truly :) ) who originally adapted it from The Butch Bakery Cookbook by David Arrick and Allison Eats

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Stout Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (  3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup Guinness, poured and settled before you measure it out
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream

For the Swiss Vanilla Baileys Buttercream Frosting:

  • 5 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Cups (4 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

First, bake your cupcakes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two (6 well) popover pans. Take care to really butter them well so that the “little pints” will slide out easily once baked. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt your butter and set aside to cool slightly, then add in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the stout, then set aside to cool completely for another 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sour cream, then whisk in the cooled chocolate and butter mixture. Whisk in the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, combining until just moistened. Fill each popover cup with 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of batter. (Each well of my popover pan held 3/4 cup of liquid total, so I was filling them 1/2 full). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and a toothpick comes out clean (mine took about 24 minutes). Let cupcakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Now for the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter, few pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together.

Add the salt and Baileys Irish Cream and beat for 5 seconds to combine.

Place frosting in piping bag and pipe onto cupcakes. Take spatula and smooth frosting until it resembles the head on a pint of Guinness.

Enjoy!


Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake

March 15, 2014

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What a fun cake for St. Patrick’s Day huh? Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake! So what you’ve got here is a layer of Baileys Cheesecake sandwiched between two layers of Green Velvet Cake ( you know – like red velvet but green instead) and frosted with a delicious cream cheese & marshmallow frosting. Are you drooling yet?

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I found this fantastic cake over at Recipe Girl. I must admit, Recipe Girl’s Green Velvet Cake is a much more vibrant Kelly Green than mine. Mine seems to be more of a moss-green. Oh well, as everyone knows, there are 40 Shades of Green in Ireland! I can actually attest to the fact that there are many more than that! The color difference between our two cakes is not a mystery to me. You see, Recipe Girl recommends that you use 2 tablespoons of liquid green food coloring (that is an entire 1 ounce bottle). Now I was sure I had food coloring on hand. But lo and behold, when I went to grab it whilst right in the middle of making this cake, there was only a drop or two of that dye to be had from the bottle. I did have some Wilton’s Gel Frosting Tint on hand which I substituted in. So there you have it! If you really want that your cake to have that retina-searing, screaming green hue, use liquid food coloring (and a lot of it). The good news is that the moss-green hue did not affect the flavour of my cake. It is still quite moist and tasty.

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And if those green velvet cake layers weren’t enough for you, there is an entire Baileys Cheesecake nestled neatly into the middle! The Baileys in this cheesecake might have been my addition to the recipe. I couldn’t resist. Almost every single recipe I’ve shared with you recently has a bit of booze in it. I figured why stop now so close to St. Patrick’s Day? You will notice that you assemble the cake with a frozen cheesecake layer. Don’t worry…it defrosts really fast! By the time you get the cake frosted, on the table and ready to go, that cheesecake layer will be entirely thawed, wonderfully creamy and perfectly luscious !

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Oh and let me tell you about the frosting. As with most red velvet cakes, this green velvet cousin has a cream cheese frosting. Always brilliant right? Except get this, this frosting has cream cheese and marshmallow  creme! It is by far the most mouthwateringly scrumptious cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted! Well there you have it! All of the reasons you simply must get busy making this amazing Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake for St. Patrick’s Day. In two days… three counting today…yup, you’ve plenty of time!

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Green Velvet Baileys Cheesecake Cake

recipe slightly adapted ( I added Baileys – go figure!) from: Recipe Girl 

yield: 12 – 14 servings

Ingredients:

For the Cheesecake:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

For the Green Velvet Cakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (1-ounce bottle) green food coloring

For the Frosting:

  • Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • a few drops of green food coloring, if desired

Directions:

Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a kettle of water on the stove to boil. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream, vanilla and Baileys. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan. Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).

Prepare the cake layers: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray two 9-inch round pans with nonstick spray and line each pan with a round of parchment paper (see *Tips). In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar together and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar to the bowl, along with the buttermilk and food coloring. Beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute, until blended. Add the dry ingredients and increase speed to medium-high, scraping down the sides of the bowl while mixing, for 2 additional minutes. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pans, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar (and food color, if using) and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all of the ingredients are mixed in and the frosting is smooth and spreadable.

Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers (see *Tips). Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

Frost the cake: Apply a crumb coat layer of frosting to the cake (see *Tips), and refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, or until the frosting is set. Apply the second layer of frosting. Add a large scoop of frosting onto the top of the cake. Use a long, thin spatula or knife to spread the frosting evenly across the top and then spread it down the sides of the cake too. Decorate, as desired.

Tips:

*You can certainly bake this cheesecake in the oven without a water bath, but you run the risk of cracking the top of the cheesecake. The water bath is a safeguard against cracking.
*Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be slightly larger size round than your cake layers, move it to a cutting board and use a knife to gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake.
*How to apply a crumb coat layer of frosting: use a long, thin spatula or knife to cover the cake completely with a thin and even layer of frosting. Wipe off the spatula each time you’re about to dip it back into the bowl to get more frosting (this way you won’t be transferring any green crumbs into the bowl of frosting). Don’t worry at this point about the crumbs being visible in the frosting on the cake. When your cake has a thin layer of frosting all over it, place it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to “set” the frosting. Once the first layer of frosting is set, apply the second layer.
*If you are serving this cake at a party, it’s perfectly okay to leave the cake at room temperature for a couple of hours (the cheesecake thaws very quickly). Otherwise, keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.

Enjoy!

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Guinness Pretzel Truffles

March 12, 2014

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Time for more candy in this St. Patrick’s Day countdown I say! And who doesn’t like truffles? Better yet, who doesn’t like boozy truffles?!! These Guinness Pretzel Truffles will knock your socks off!

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You know how some truffles are just so tooth-achingly sweet you can’t manage to take more than one nibble? Not these little devils. You see they have a reduced Guinness syrup added to the chocolate. That Guinness reduction adds an earthy, slightly bitter stout flavour to the chocolate and also serves to temper the sweetness. I’m sure that sounds great to those of you with a bit more subdued sweet tooth. But wait…there’s more. These tasty treats are then rolled in crunchy, salty crushed pretzels.

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So there you have it – malty Guinness, rich dark chocolate and salty pretzels combined to make an irresistible St. Patrick’s Day confection. You can have a batch done in no time flat. So what are you waiting for?! You’ll absolutely drive folks wild with these!

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Guinness Pretzel Truffles

recipe from: SprinkleBakes

yield: 18 – 21 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. bottle Guinness Extra Stout (divided)
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup finely pulverized pretzel rods (you want these really pulverized – best to use a food processor)
  • 3/4 cup crushed pretzels for rolling truffles
Directions:
Place 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. Guinness Stout in a 2 cup saucepan.  Set aside.
Pour the remaining Guinness Stout in a separate small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 15- 20 minutes.  Be sure to keep an eye on this because it can be tricky. You’ll notice it will foam up quite a bit at first. Don’t let it boil over as it will be quite the sticky mess to clean up! (Not that I have first hand knowledge of that or anything. :) Also, once reduced considerably, the syrup can burn easily. So – don’t get distracted!
Chop the chocolate into pieces and place in the saucepan with the Guinness Stout. Place the saucepan over medium- low heat and let stand until the chocolate starts to melt.  Stir with a wire whisk to blend together the chocolate pieces, but don’t whisk vigorously – we’re not trying to incorporate air.
When the chocolate is melted and smooth, begin to add butter 1 tbsp.  at a time. Whisk gently until butter is melted, and then add the 1 tbsp. Guinness Stout reduction.  Stir in the pulverized pretzels.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until firm (or overnight).
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Scoop the Guinness ganache out by the heaping tablespoon and quickly roll between your palms.
Once all the chocolate is used up, chill the truffles in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to roll in crushed pretzels. These chocolates will keep for 7 days when stored properly in the refrigerator.  Roll truffles in crushed pretzels just before serving (so they’ll be crunchy!). If crushed pretzels resist sticking to the chilled truffles, roll the truffles between your palms to warm them up, and then roll in the pretzels. The pieces should stick.
Enjoy!
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Baileys Irish Potato Candy

March 10, 2014

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Only seven more days to go until St. Patrick’s Day! Phew….I can’t believe I’ve made it this far with the daily blogs. Hope folks have been enjoying it. I’ve got a fun, sort of silly recipe for you today. Baileys Irish Potato Candy! Truth be told, no potatoes are actually involved in making these delicious little devils, but they’ve got the look of tiny spuds down huh? What they actually are is a candy made of confectioners sugar, butter, pecans and cream cheese. They get their color from a dusting of cinnamon and cocoa powder and their eyes from slivered almonds.

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Irish Potato Candy originated in Philadelphia and has been a tradition there for over 100 years. The version you will find there in the “City of Brotherly Love” includes coconut flakes and forgoes the cocoa powder coating, using only cinnamon. I couldn’t resist throwing a bit of chocolate into the mix and while I was at it, I decided a bit of Baileys would go a long way here as well. This sweet and creamy candy is very easy to make, no baking involved, just a bit of chill time. I don’t know about you, but believe me, a bit of chill time sounds great right about now! Adorable, tasty spuds… who could ask for more? Whip up a sack of these potatoes for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations today.

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Baileys Irish Potato Candy

recipe slightly adapted from: Bake at 350

yield:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pecans (or you could substitute in your favourite nut)
  • 4 Tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 teaspoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lb. powdered (confectioners) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sweetened cocoa
  • slivered almonds

Directions:

Heat oven to 350° F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 4-6 minutes, until fragrant and toasted.  Remove from the baking sheet and let cool.  Once cool, finely chop

Beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, Baileys and salt until light and fluffy.

Mix in the sugar and pecans until combined and a dough forms.

Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

Place the cinnamon and cocoa in a shallow bowl.  Use a 2 tablespoon scoop, and form the dough into small potato shapes.  Roll in the cinnamon/cocoa mixture, using a pastry brush to brush off the excess.

Break the slivered almonds into small pieces, and press into the cookies to make the eyes.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!


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