Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake

As I have mentioned many times, I love peanut butter and chocolate.  My girls were headed home from college recently... and I wanted to try a new recipe.  I found this recipe at Epicurious.  I thought it was fabulous.  I think it was a little too rich for my hubby but the rest of us loved it.  The cake part isn't overly sweet - kind of dark, rich chocolate.  I thought the frosting was fabulous.  I will make both again.  I think I will use the frosting for other things as well. I was a little intimidated by the frosting.  I don't think I have ever made a true Buttercream Frosting.  I followed the directions - it turned out beautifully.  Just sayin... I could eat it by the spoonful!

I doubled the recipe and made a 9 x 13.  Enjoy!



Chocolate Peanut Butter Fun Cake (adapted from Epicurious)

* I doubled the recipe and baked in a 9 x 13

  1. Chocolate cake:
    • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (3 1/2 ounces)  *I used bittersweet
  2. Peanut butter buttercream:
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup egg whites (from about 2 large eggs)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" cubes
    • Kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (about 1 3/4 ounces) *I used semisweet
    • 1/4 cup chopped unsalted, dry roasted peanuts  *I used salted, cocktail peanuts
  1. For chocolate cake:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom and sides of pan with nonstick spray;  Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups water; whisk until smooth. Fold in chopped chocolate. Scrape into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.  *line pan with parchment paper if want to lift out to frost and cut
  2. For peanut butter buttercream:
    1. Combine sugar and egg whites in a medium metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot to the touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat; using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until cool and thick, 5-6 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then peanut butter. With mixer running, add butter a few pieces at a time, beating to blend between additions. Season with salt.
    2. After cake is cooled, spread peanut butter buttercream over top. Garnish with chopped chocolate and peanuts.  *If you used parchment paper and you choose to lift the cake out of the pan....Run a thin knife around pan to release cake. Invert cake onto a serving plate.  Cut into 2" squares. 
    3.  DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.  
  3. Printable Version
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Feta Cheese Dip

LOVE this easy Feta Cheese Dip... or spread.  I needed a quick something to take to a friend's house last week and I had all of these ingredients on hand.  I keep the large container of feta from Costco on hand.  I whipped it up the night before and took this with some veggies and crackers.  I think my girls would love it... if I would just keep this on hand.  So yummy... and so easy!



Feta Cheese Dip

4 oz crumbled feta cheese
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp dried basil leaves
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/8 tsp dried dill weed
1/8 tsp dried thyme leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. If you like, sprinkle with some dried basil and garnish with basil leaves.   Serve with your favorite cracker, veggie, pretzels...

*I think you could add chopped kalamata olives, chopped sundried tomato, capers....

Printable Version

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies (with a little chocolate/toasted almonds)

Love these simple cookies!  My hubby loves shortbread.... simple cookies.  He likes chocolate but he doesn't love it as much as I do!  I made these cookies and he loved them plain - before adding any chocolate, almonds or whatever.  He did enjoy a few after I added the chocolate.

This recipe made about 30 cookies.  I used a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter.  I wasn't sure how I wanted to decorate them so I dipped some in chocolate, frosted the top and drizzled the top.  I like the half-dipped the best... but I guess it depends how much chocolate you want.  I think they would be great dipped in a white chocolate, a maple flavored white chocolate - really anything.  The basic cookie had a great flavor!


Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour

Topping
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tsp shortening

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350.

Put your slivered almonds on a small baking sheet.  Bake for about 5 minutes to get almonds slightly browned with a nutty aroma.  Watch carefully so you don't burn.  Allow to cool.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a Silpat liner.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until well mixed.  Add in the egg yolks, one at a time and beat until well mixed.  Add the flour and beat until mixed.  Form the dough into a ball and pat the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll or pat out - about 1/8 inch thick.   Using a 2 inch or so cookie cutter or glass, cut the cookies and transfer to prepared cookie sheet.  Bake the cookies 9 - 10 minutes or until slightly golden edges.  Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a cooling rack.  Allow the cookies to cool completely before dipping or frosting.

In s medium microwave bowl, melt chocolate chips and shortening in 30 - 40 second increments until all melted.  When cookies are cooled, either dip half of the cookie in chocolate or spread or drizzle. Top with toasted slivered almonds.  *for drizzling, spoon chocolate into a small ziploc bag, seal and snip a tiny hole in a bottom corner of the bag... and drizzle.

Printable Version



Thursday, May 5, 2016

LOVE this appetizer - savory and sweet!

I have had this recipe for over 20 years.  A dear neighbor in Katy, Texas ... Kendra shared this with me... along with the recipe.  She called it Cheese Souffle.  It reminds me of a yummy, flavorful cheeseball with sharp cheddar, green onions, pecans, mayonnaise... and topped with delightful raspberry preserves.  I know it sounds like a weird combination but I promise, you will love it.  I brought it to school last week and told the teachers... "I know it looks a little weird ... but you have to try it!"  They loved it too.  We enjoyed it for two days at lunch!


I snapped this picture as I was spreading on the raspberry preserves - so you could get the idea!


I served it with Wheat Thins - but any favorite cracker will do!

Cheese Souffle

1 lb or a 16 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 bunch of green onions - chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp Tobasco sauce
3/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 cup raspberry preserves 

Mix together and form a ball.  Flatten into a serving dish.  Top with raspberry preserves.  Refrigerate. Serve with favorite crackers