Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

October 29, 2019

 

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There is absolutely no way you won’t have a howling good Halloween if you make up a batch of these terrifyingly adorable Werewolf cupcakes! And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but this year, just like last year, I am blogging about a Halloween recipe, prior to the actual date of the holiday. So yeah, I guess I’ll just say “Toot Toot!” Not only do these werewolves look irresistible, but they are also made with multiple Reese Cups – full size and minis, so they also undoubtedly taste irresistible to boot. I love Reese Cups, so I am totally psyched about these naughty little treats. Also I must say, Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact, all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day!

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Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

 

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

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And last year was all about the whimsy with these

Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes.

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I guess I’m still in the whimsical mood this year because I absolutely could not resist these Reese’s Cup Werewolves when I saw them over at Hungry Happenings.

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She makes the most amazing creations there, so you should definitely take a peek. These little devil dogs were not terribly hard to make, but I will say they were a bit fiddly. You had to have a steady hand and plan ahead by piping out all the fangs ahead of time so that they would harden. But would you just look at the end result!! I don’t think I’m barking up the wrong tree when I say these werewolves are just perfection!

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So, I’ve given you enough time to gather all your supplies to make these lovely lycanthropes. What are you waiting for? I just bet that you and your friends will be howling at the moon come Thursday night! Happy Halloween ya’ll!!!

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Reese's Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 Cupcakes
  • Print

Werewolf Cupcakes inspired by: Hungry Happenings

Chocolate Frosting Recipe from: Sally’s Baking Addition

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup black coffee
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cup (290 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups (420 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 3/4 cup (65 grams) dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 – 5 Tablespoons (45 – 75 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Werewolves:

  • Full Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • White Cookie Icing or White Candy Melts
  • Wilton Candy Eyes
  • Chocolate Candy Melt Wafers (for ears)
  • Whoppers (malted milk balls)
  • Candy Bones (or make them using white candy melts)
  • Chocolate sprinkles (for eyebrows)
  • Valhrona Chocolate Crunchy Pearls (for nose, you could also use a mini M&M)

Directions:

For the Reese Cup Werewolves:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the full size Reese Cups flat. Put a dollop of cookie icing on the top of a corresponding number of mini Reese cups. Attach the mini Reese cup “snout” to the full size Reese Cup. Place in fridge to harden.

Using White Cookie Icing or white chocolate melts, pipe “teeth” onto a sheet of parchment paper.  If you are making the bones from chocolate melts, pipe these out as well. Place this in the fridge to harden.

Cut unmelted chocolate melts into triangle shaped “ears”. Set aside.

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line your cupcake tins with paper liners.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a separate medium bowl, add all the wet ingredients. With your mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix for 2 minutes. The batter will be quite soupy – this is ok!

Pour batter into the prepared cupcake tins, filling just slightly more than halfway. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Cool cupcakes in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, and then remove from pan to cool completely.

While you’re waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make your frosting.

For the frosting:

Place butter in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat it on medium speed until it is light and fluffy – approximately 2 minutes. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder. Add this sugar/cocoa mixture to the creamed butter 2 – 3 Tablespoons at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add 3 Tablespoons of the cream, the salt and vanilla. Beat on low speed initially, increasing until you reach high speed. Beat for 1 -2 minutes. Add more sugar or cocoa is frosting is too thin or add cream if it seems too thick.

Werewolf Assembly:

Frost  the cupcakes with enough frosting to hold the Reese Cup “wolves” upright.

Remove the Reese cups from the fridge. Using a piping bag fitted with a Wilton #233 tip, pipe frosting fur all over the prepared Reese cups. If you don’t have this tip, you can paint some frosting over the Reese cup and use a paint brush to give it a rough, fur-like texture.

Carefully put the eyes, nose and teeth in place.

Place the Reese cup on the frosted cupcakes. Push two malted milk balls (paws) in front of the decorated Reese cup and pipe “fur” frosting over them.

Add a bit more fur to the top edge of the Reese Cups so that you can attach the candy melt ears.

Place bone between paws.

Enjoy!

Reese’s Cup Werewolf Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Reese’s Werewolf Cupcakes:

Wilton Mini Candy Eyes 
King Arthur Double Dutch Process Dark Cocoa Powder
Ghirardelli White Candy Melts
Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Melts
Valhrona Crunchy Pearls
Wilton Graveyard Bones
Wilton #233 Decorating Tip
Wilton Cookie Icing

 

 

 

 


Black Jack Cocktail

October 9, 2019

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Since the weather seems very danged determined to keep rolling out those summer temps, I thought I’d tell you about a nice refreshing cocktail that we have been enjoying – The Black Jack. It is made with a delicious blackberry shrub, a little glug of lemon and orange juice, and Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey served with a splash of tonic water over crushed ice. The perfect thing to cool you down while you’re waiting for the season to change!

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So what is a shrub? It is not that small ornamental bush out in the yard. Well, technically it is I suppose. The Shrub that I’m referring to is a concentrated syrup which is made by combining fruit, sugar and vinegar. Just between me and you, when I first read about shrubs all I could think about was the Knights Who Say “Ni” of Monty Python fame. In Monty Python’s “The Holy Grail” these knights will not let King Arthur pass unless he brings them a shrubbery as toll. But I suppose I digress…

So shrubs (the drink) have their roots (yeah, I know I said roots, but I am still talking about the drink, not the plant) in England where vinegar was traditionally used to preserve fruit. This practice then arrived in Colonial America with the settlers. Sailors would take shrubs along with them on sea voyages. These fruity elixirs, being full of vitamin C, helped to protect them from scurvy. In no time folks started mixing that vinegary fruit juice with spirits. Pirates were undoubtedly mixing it with rum. (When in doubt, always blame pirates).  But then, for some reason shrubs fell out of fashion in the 1800s. Lucky for us, shrubs have recently made a big comeback on the cocktail scene.

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Several years ago I planted a blackberry bramble in our yard. His name is Chester and this year he grew quite a lot of blackberries. Not enough to make any preserves, or a pie or anything like that, but it was enough to make several batches of blackberry shrub. It is quite easy to make and in addition to mixing it into a cocktail, it can also be used as a glaze in cooking or to liven up a salad dressing. While I did use Jack Daniels for this creation, I must admit mixing the blackberry shrub with some vodka and a splash of tonic is also quite nice. Of course you can also just mix it with plain ole tonic water, without adding any alcohol at all, though I’m not sure why you’d want to do such a thing.   I assure you, the Husband and I have been mixing up the high-test adult beverage versions of this drink. It is deee-lish! On any given night , you might be able to find us out sitting on the porch, toasting to each others health and the much wished for yet slow to arrive Fall temperatures with a  hardy heartfelt “Ni!”

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Black Jack Cocktail

  • Servings: 1 cocktail
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Today Show

Ingredients:

For the Blackberry Shrub:

  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

For the Cocktail:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Jack Daniels
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 ounce blackberry shrub
  • Fever Tree Refreshingly light Tonic Water
  • crushed ice
  • fresh mint for garnish

Directions:

Prepare the shrub: Place blackberries  in a nonmetal bowl. Add the vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir well and cover with plastic wrap. Place mixture in the refrigerator and let it sit for 2 days.

Transfer the berry mixture to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes or so, skimming away any foam that should form.

Strain the berry mixture through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing any remaining berries against the sieve to extract as much juice as possible. Discard any remaining solids. Store shrub in the refrigerator for up to 6 weeks. This makes approximately 1 quart of concentrate.

For the Cocktail: Combine the Jack Daniels, lemon & orange juices along with the blackberry shrub in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake it up until it is chilled and thoroughly combined. Strain over cocktail glasses filled with crushed ice. Fill glass 1/2 way and then top with tonic water. Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Enjoy!

Black Jack Cocktail brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Jack Cocktail:

Cuisinart Set of 3 Fine Mesh Strainers

Oxo Steel Double Jigger

24 oz. Cocktail Shaker

Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic Water

La Rochere Napoleon Bee Tumblers

 


Zucchini-Basil Pistou

September 26, 2019

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Well here it is, the end of September already. I’m told that Autumn in upon us. However, as is usually the case in Virginia, no one bothered to forward the “it’s Fall now” memo to the weather department. Yup…we’re still baking around here with temps due to hit the lower 90’s this weekend. I know some folks are just thrilled with this turn of events, but ya’ll know that I really do not like hot weather. Not. One. Bit. So I’m going to have to take comfort in the fact that it will eventually cool off. Patience is a virtue. One good thing happening right now is zucchini is plentiful. I have a fantastic recipe to share with you today that will help you use up some of that delicious squash: Zucchini-Basil Pistou. When I first came across it on one of my favorite cooking blogs, Once Upon a Chef, I was certainly curious “What exactly is a Pistou?” I’m familiar with Pesto, but not Pistou. Turns out that a Pistou is somewhat similar to it’s Italian cousin Pesto. The main difference being that Pistou, a Provençal cold sauce, is traditionally made with garlic, basil, olive oil and salt. It does not contain the nuts found in pestos. The word “pistou” is an Occitan word which means “pounded” , which is pretty much what happens to that basil. This particular Pistou I’m sharing today contains zucchini (Yay!) in addition to the traditional ingredients. Oh and it also has a bit of lemon juice thrown in to brighten it up.

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This seemingly simple sauce is an absolutely amazing flavor enhancer! I tell you it makes everything better! You can put it on pasta, spread it on bread or over crackers, add it to scrambled eggs, serve it with grilled chicken or fish, add a dollop to dress up your veggies or just eat it straight out of the bowl. This recipe originally comes from Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame, so I guess it is no surprise how mouth waveringly delicious it is! And here is the cherry on top of this recipe – you can make up a big batch while your zucchini garden is overflowing and then just freeze it! It keeps for 3 months when frozen in an airtight container. Yup – you can be savoring the scrumptious taste of the last hot and hazy days of summer well into the winter when it will (supposedly) be cold. This Pistou is easy to make, so what are you waiting for? Break out your food processor and you’ll have this tasty sauce done is just a few whirrs!

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Zucchini-Basil Pistou

  • Servings: 1 1/2 cups
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

recipe from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/3 pounds zucchini (2-3 zucchini, depending on size)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish if desired
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

First you will need to core the zucchini to remove the inner seeds. To do this cut the zucchini in half and then slice off the ends so that each piece will stand flat. Cut off the outer flesh of the zucchini, leaving the inner seed cores behind. Discard the cores or save for soup. Cut the remaining zucchini into 1-inch pieces.
In a small saucepan, combine the zucchini pieces with the olive oil and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the basil leaves, stir, and cook for one minute. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and salt. Pulse until you have a chunky purée. Transfer the pistou to a small bowl and serve warm.

Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The pistou can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.

Enjoy!

Zucchini-Basil Pistou brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaanjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Zucchini-Basil Pistou:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

 

 


Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread

April 19, 2019

IMG_8091Happy Good Friday everyone! Wait…can you say that? You hear a lot of “Happy Easter” but not really “Happy Good Friday”. Hmmm…well I’ll ask you to indulge me today because I am very happy today! My Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns that I make every year ( you have to bake them on Good Friday or they don’t have all of the special powers) are well under way!

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And not only does the house smell completely irresistible, what with all the baking buns, but I am also ready to share a new recipe with you for Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.

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This tender, sweet and citrus-y yeast bread is shot through with swirls of a chocolatey nut filling. It looks so festive and tastes Ahh-mazing! And here is the truly amazing thing, I have somehow managed to get this blog out BEFORE the actual holiday. Last year I didn’t get the recipe for my Italian Easter Bread published until Easter had come and gone. So this year is definitely an improvement in that regard.

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I tried to play my tardiness off last year by saying “Oh, you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019”. But now I guess now you’ll have to pick between the Italian Easter Bread and this Cozonac or be ahead of the game with a recipe waiting in the wings for Easter 2020!

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I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. I’ve already told you about my Italian Easter Bread last year. The year before I made Tsoureki from Greece.

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There was also the Slovak Paska:

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As well as the impressive Russian Kulich:

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But let me get back to the bread at hand today.

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Cozonac has Romanian origins. It is traditionally baked during both Easter and Christmas. Soft and tender, this bread is slightly sweet and flavored with orange & lemon zests as well as rum. Ha! Now you’re talking huh? The delicious filling has also got a bit of rum in it, so take care that you don’t get too festive over this holiday. Walnuts are typically used in the filling, though the filling ingredients do vary from region to region. I used ground almonds. I think pecans would also be quite tasty.

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Cozonac was pretty easy to make, though keep in mind it does require two rising times and a bit of finesse as you have to roll out four different sections of dough, spread the sticky filling evenly and then roll them up and twist the rolls together. That’s how you get those beautiful spirals in your finished loaves.

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And for all of your effort, you are most definitely rewarded with not one but TWO loaves of this scrumptious bread.

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It is a decadent indulgence just as it is, and I bet it will make some phenomenal French toast. I’ll have to let you know about that. So what are you waiting for? I’ve actually given you a bit of time to get this baked for Easter this year. I promise, you won’t be sorry! Happy Easter!

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Cozonac - Romanian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

recipe from: She Loves Biscotti

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 720 grams (approx. 6 cups) bread flour
  • 8 grams (2¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 200 grams walnuts, almonds or pecans finely ground, about 2 cups
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso powder
  • 1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

Directions:

Make the dough:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the butter and stir until butter is almost melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

While the butter/milk mixture is cooling, add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast to the mixing bowl of a stand mixture, fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until combined.

Once the milk/butter mixture has cooled to luke warm (98°F/36°C) add it to the flour/yeast and combine on low speed for 2-3 minutes.

Allow the mixture to rest for a few minutes.

In the meanwhile, grate the orange and lemon zest and set aside.

With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing until the are just combined.  Scrape down bowl and mix for about 1-2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, rum and salt.

Switch to dough hook attachment.

Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, mixing until combined. Once all the flour has been added, continue to knead for a few minutes.

Add the citrus zests and continue to knead for about 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. NOTE: If you find that the dough is still sticky, add a few more tablespoons of flour.

Place the dough in a lightly buttered dough rising bucket or bowl. Make sure to turn the dough over in order to completely coat the dough with the butter.

Cover with plastic wrap.

Allow to rise for about 2 hours or until double in size.

In the meanwhile, prepare the filling.

Make the filling:

Over medium heat, in a small sauce pan, whisk together the milk and sugar.

Add the ground nuts and stir until a paste-like consistency is reached. This should take about 15 minutes. Stir often. (I used Almond Flour because it was easy – being ground and ready to go.)

Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to stir until a paste like consistency is achieved.

Set aside to cool.

To Assemble the Cozonac:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place oven rack at bottom third of oven. Butter two (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans.

Punch down the risen dough and divide into four equal parts. I use a kitchen scale just to make sure I’ve the pieces are equal.

On a rolling mat or lightly floured wooden board, roll out each section into a large rectangle (about 11 x 14). Spread out the 1/4 of the nut mixture (approx. 1/2 cup) to within 1/2″ from the edge for each rectangle.

Starting from the long end, roll the dough to form a log. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling. Pinch the ends and the seams together.

Twist two pieces of the dough log together and place in prepared loaf pan. Do the same with the last two pieces of dough logs.

Brush the top of the dough with a beaten egg. Cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap. Allow them to double in size. This can take 45 – 60 minutes.

Sprinkle a little Demerara sugar over the top and bake for about 45 minutes. Feel free to place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the tops to prevent over browning.

Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!

Cozonac brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cozonac:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

Silicone Pastry Dough Rolling Mat

King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder


Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting

March 17, 2019

 

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Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! It is here, it is here! But this year I am parting with tradition a bit. I have always shared a cupcake recipe for my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. However, today you are getting a full-sized cake! And when I say full sized, I mean it. This Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting is a whopper!

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Kind of like my waist size after I gobbled it all up…but whatever! It was completely worth every inch it added as well as every additional minute I spent in the gym afterwards working it off. This imposing cake features a layer of silky, dreamy Baileys swiss meringue buttercream nestled between two big, tall layers of moist, rich and intensely chocolatey cake which has been frosted with a decadent chocolate ganache. The Baileys Buttercream makes another appearance as the garnish on top of the cake. A chocolate lovers bliss I tell you!

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Even the Husband, who doesn’t really go in for chocolate desserts, couldn’t get enough of it. He must have asked me a dozen times to make sure I saved this recipe. This Guinness Chocolate cake will definitely make an impression!

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So I do apologize for not sharing a cupcake recipe. Once I made this cake and got my first little taste of it, I just couldn’t wait to share it with you. I suppose you could make it into cupcakes if you wished, but I gotta admit I am a fan of the stature of this full sized decadent delight!

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Well it looks like I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

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Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 1 (excuse my french ) - Big Ass Cake, 16 servings or so depending how you slice it
  • Difficulty: moderate - nothing too difficult, but lots of steps!
  • Print

recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

For the Cake

  • 2 cups stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Dutch-process cocoa
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

For the external Chocolate Ganache frosting

  • 1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the internal Baileys Buttercream frosting

  • 2 Extra – Large Egg Whites
  • 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cups (2 sticks) Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.

For the cake: Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder.

Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.

Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.

Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.

Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

For the Ganache frosting: Place the chopped chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the mixture is completely smooth.

Stir in the vanilla. Refrigerate until the icing is spreadable, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.

For the Baileys 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 and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) 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.

To assemble: Trim one cake layer to have a flat top, if necessary (otherwise the layer will crack when you place it upside down on your cake plate).

Line the edges of a serving plate with parchment or waxed paper to keep it clean, and then place the layer upside down on top. Spread 2/3 cup of the Baileys Buttercream over just the top of the layer.

Top with another cake layer, top side down. 

Spread the chocolate ganache frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Remove the parchment or waxed paper. 

Place remaining Baileys Buttercream frosting in piping bag and pipe onto the top of the cake. Garnish with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Chocolate Cake with Baileys Buttercream Frosting:


Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

March 16, 2019

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So did I hear you say that you are totally over corned beef & cabbage? Or that you never liked it to begin with? Well, don’t fret, I’ve got a great dish that you can serve on St. Patrick’s Day and there is no corned beef in sight. What you do have is a flavorful, succulent loin of pork roasted with a Guinness & Honey glaze.

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I don’t know what it is with Guinness. I don’t really just like to sit around drinking pints of the stuff. Seriously, one pint makes me feel as though I’ve eaten an entire loaf of bread. But I absolutely love every recipe where it makes an appearance. An this pork loin is no exception. That Guinness Honey Glaze is amazing – sweet and tangy. Just the perfect flavor combination for pork.

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And these little potatoes are fantastic all on their own. I’ve rubbed them in a bit of bacon drippings and roasted them until soft and tender. Then they are sprinkled with a bit of sea salt. They’re great with or without the gravy.

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This tasty dish is very easy to prepare leaving you plenty of time for other St. Patrick’s Day activities. Believe me, with their plate piled tall with this Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin & Roasted Potatoes no one will be missing that Corned Beef & Cabbage!

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Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 2 1/2 lb. Pork Loin
  • 150 ml. Guinness Stout Beer
  • 50 ml. honey
  • 125 grams light brown sugar
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth
  • splash Guinness

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 355° F.

For the glaze: Place the Guinness, honey and sugar into a deep sided saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is reduced by half and thickens to make a syrupy glaze. Take care that the mixture does not boil out of the pot onto your stove. You will be very sorry to have to clean up that sticky mess!

Season the pork loin with salt and pepper. Place in in a roasting tin and bake for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, generously baste the pork with the glaze and then continue to cook for a further 40 -50 minutes, continuing to occasionally brush the glaze over the meat from time to time. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the glaze for the gravy.

Once it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F, remove it from the oven. Place on a cutting board to rest and tent it with aluminum foil.

Pour the 1 Tablespoon of glaze into the roasting tin, add a splash more of Guinness and one cup of broth. Place over a burner and heat until it comes to a boil. Whisk in a bit of flour if you would like the gravy to be a bit thicker.

Serve Pork with the Gravy and Roasted Potatoes.

Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. Baby Red Potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup of reserved bacon drippings or canola oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the baby potatoes in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover them by 1″. Add the salt to the water and heat until they just reach a boil. Remove the potatoes from the heat, drain and pat dry.

Place the melted bacon drippings or oil into a shallow dish. Add the potatoes and stir them around until they are coated. Transfer them to a baking sheet.

Season with additional salt and pepper. Place them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully turn the potatoes over and continue to bake for 25 more minutes, or until they are soft and fork tender.

Enjoy!

Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness & Honey Glazed Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes:

Chicago Professional Roasting Pan with Rack

Oxo Good Grips Large Silicon Basting Brush

Oxo Good Grips Gravy Whisk


Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

March 15, 2019

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Yummmmmmmm! Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks! Comfort food at its finest!  This potato ale soup is so creamy and flavorful on its own with that gorgeous sharp Kerry Gold Cheddar swirled into the mix, it is sheer bliss. It is then topped with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and just a bit of red pepper flakes to give it a little kick.

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I would’ve said it couldn’t have gotten any better….but that was before I got a taste of those beer battered leeks. SQUEEEEE!!! Those fried leeks are so crispy with a lovely delicate flavor – they just melt in your mouth! I know deep frying stuff can be a bit of a pain in the neck, but seriously….you’ve just got to do it for these leeks. Sooooooo worth it!

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I must admit, I was a bit nervous when I was making this soup. You see, several years ago when the Husband and I were on holiday in Newfoundland, we went into a local brewery and ordered some cheddar ale soup to go along with our pints. We were expecting a little cup, but then big ole honking bowls of soup came out. It was pretty tasty I must say, so foolishly we gobbled it all up. We finished our pints somewhere along the way and ordered seconds. When we got up to leave we couldn’t believe it. It felt as though that soup had tripled in size or that I had somehow eaten all of St. Johns. I have never been that full in my life. We could barely move. I thought someone was going to have to roll us back to our hotel. When we finally did make it back there, we just laid about the place for hours moaning about our bellies. Good times right?

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But this Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup was thankfully nothing like that. Although it is hearty and filling, it isn’t heavy at all. I would recommend that you use a lighter ale or lager with this recipe to avoid weighing it and yourself down! Goodness knows there are parties & parades you’ve got to get to. And green beer to guzzle…

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Or maybe you stay in this year. Seen one parade, you’ve seen them all? You could just cozy up with a nice warming bowl of this lovely soup all topped with those glorious little leeks and enjoy some quality me time. Everyone knows beer has no business being green anyway!

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Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy - but a bit messy what with the frying of the leeks. SO worth it though!
  • Print

recipe from: How Sweet Eats

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • 8 ounces Kerry Gold sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated, plus more for topping
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cream, for drizzling
  • fresh herbs for garnish, like thyme, oregano or basil
  • red pepper flakes for garnish

For the Beer Battered Leeks:

  • 1 cup sliced leeks
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounces irish ale or your favorite beer
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying

Directions:

For the Soup:

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. Stir in the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and even begin to caramelize slightly, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add in the potatoes, stock and ale. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce it to medium-low and let it simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Carefully pour the contents in a high-powered blender (if needed, you can do it in two batches). Blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot. Or alternatively, you can use an immersion blender and just keep the soup in the pot. Once blended, heat it over low heat, stirring well. Stir in the grated cheese, one handful at a time, until it completely melts. Make sure you add the cheese SLOWLY over low heat, so it melts right into the soup. Taste and season additionally if desired – you may want a little more salt and pepper depending on the saltiness of your cheese!
To serve the soup, drizzle 1 tablespoon of cream over top. Top with a handful of the beer battered leeks, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, some fresh herbs and pepper. Serve immediately.
For the Beer Battered Leeks:
Cover a large plate with a paper towel or two.
Heat about 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the oil to be about 350° F. In this instance, Use a candy/deep fry thermometer to ensure it reaches and remains at the correct temperature.
Whisk together 1 cup of flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Whisk in the beer until the batter is smooth. Place the other cup of flour in a plate. Add the leeks to the beer batter in batches, covering them completely. Remove them from the beer batter and place them in the flour on the plate, tossing to coat. Shake off any excess flour. Add the coated leeks to the oil and fry until the batter is golden brown and flakey. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel to drain and excess grease.
Enjoy!
Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Ale Potato Cheddar Soup with Beer Battered Leeks:
Le Creuset 5 1/2 qt. dutch oven
Breville Immersion Blender
Candy/Deep Fry Stainless Steel Thermometer
Stainless Steel Spider Strainer
KerryGold Aged Cheddar Cheese

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