Category Archives: Dessert

Cadbury Mug Cake

Mug cakes are perfect for college life, or when just one person in the house has a hankering for something sweet. This mug cake is not for the faint of heart. I am giving you fair warning, this is a rich, gooey and totally FAB mug cake and it will break every diet out there. I highly reccamend having a glass of milk handy when you dig in. Ready? Here we go!

INGREDIENTS – for each mug

1/4 c room temp Milk

2 Tb melted Butter cooled

1/4 c Flour

2 Tb Cocoa Powder (I prefer Ghiradeli)

2 Tb Sugar

1/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Vanilla

1 Cadbury Carmel Egg

Just to give you a tease of how yummy this cake is, this is what was left over.

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Milk needs to be room temp to allow the cake to cook quickly in the microwave. Allowing the but to cool a little will keep from curdling the milk. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients making sure to remove all lumps. Combine the milk, butter and vanilla and mix with the dry ingredients.

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Pour the mixture into a mug that holds at least 2 cups of liquid.

I used caramel but they also make peanut butter or there is the classic one too.
I used caramel but they also make peanut butter or there is the classic one too.

Unwrap that egg and gently push it into the cake mix until it is completely submerged.

If it tips over a steak knife can turn it pointing up.
If it tips over a steak knife can turn it pointing up.

Bake in the microwave for 60 seconds on high. Using a steak knife, check to make sure the cake if cooked all the way

to the bottom. If not, cook another 30 seconds.

We made two tonight.
We made two tonight.

Now how comes the best part, eating it! I use a teaspoon so I can get all the way to the bottom. Sometimes the gooeyness sinks so you may have to go digging for it,

Just hitting the top layer of yumminess
Just hitting the top layer of yumminess

Believe me when I say,not a is a decadent treat, but you will be ever so happy you tried it!

Look at all that chocolate and caramel!
Look at all that chocolate and caramel!

If you have some handy a little whipped cream on top would be nice. And that my friends is a mug cake you can be proud of.

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Toffee

There are a few things that I try to only eat around the holidays. Not only because it limits how much sugar I consume, but it means they are even more of a treat. Almond Rocha is one candy that I only eat at Christmas. That sweet caramel flavor, a bit of chocolate and nuts just go together perfectly. And I admit, I love opening that gold foil from a famous brand we all know, but making my own means I am also controlling the ingredients. It is a simple recipe with only 5 ingredients, and I bet you have most of them in your pantry right now.

Please read all the instructions before beginning this recipe.it can easily be cut in half.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds Butter

32 ounces Brown Sugar

24 ounces Chocolate melted

2 cups chopped Pecans (or favorite nut)

Sea Salt

TOOLS

2 quart Sauce Pot

Candy Thermometer

Tin foil

2 Cookie Sheets

Candy making is a simple process and it is done the same way no matter what you are making. You melt sugar and a few other ingredients in a pot, bring it up a very specific temperature, and the end result can be fudge or lollipops. The temperature is the hardest thing to control and is the most important. Cook your fudge too long and it will become hard. Don’t cook your sugar long enough and your peanut brittle is chewy,

You will read terms such as soft ball stage and hard crack stage in every candy recipe. When the sugar and other ingredients reach a certain temperature they behave in a certain way. If you take a bowl of water with ice cubes in it and drip a little of your candy in it, how hard it becomes tells you what kind of candy it will become. For example, in the soft ball stage it forms a soft ball that is easily smooshed between your fingers while a hard crack stage will produce hard strands making it perfect for homemade suckers. An experienced candy maker learns to use ice water to get their candy at the exact stage they like, but if you have never made candy before I highly recommend using that candy thermometer.

The trick is to keep a close eye in your temperature. It starts off painfully slow, but it can jump 20 degrees in less than 2 minutes. One needs to be ready to pull the pot off the burner right before it hits the correct temperature. It is so hot it will continue cooking those last five degrees while you are moving the pot and starting to use it. The hotter the candy becomes it moves quickly from a soft to hard candy and not moving quickly may not produce the results you want. I don’t say this to scare you, only to ensure your first batch turns out perfectly.

When reading your candy thermometer if it is electric, that is pretty simple. I use the old-fashioned kind, I just prefer it for some reason, to read it properly you must bend down and look at the numbers straight on. Looking from above skews those numbers and as I have stated, it is very important you can take an accurate readying. I also suggest having a cup of ice water handy so if any happens to splatter on your hand you can cool it down immediately.

Now for the fun part! Melt 2 pounds of butter in your pot. Once it is melted add the brown sugar and begin stirring. At first you can walk away for a couple of minutes but once the temperature hits 150 I don’t move from that pot.

It takes awhile for the two ingredients to incorporate at first the sugar will settle onto the bottom of the pot.
It takes awhile for the two ingredients to incorporate at first the sugar will settle onto the bottom of the pot.

Once it begins to bubble it will also start foaming. Don’t freak out as this is part of the process, you haven’t ruined anything. While the candy is coming up to temp, cover the cookie sheets with tin foil and use the wraps from the butter cubes to lightly grease it.

Keep stirring, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.
Keep stirring, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot.

Ironicly, as it gets closer to 280 degrees, the foam begins to dissipate. As soon as you see it hit 300, remove the pot and pour onto your prepared pans. It will begin to cool immediately so you need to work fast. It is best to not pour in just once place so that you have very little to spread around.

All those bubbles will disappear on their own.
All those bubbles will disappear on their own.

Allow the candy to cool for two hours before covering with the melted chocolate. I prefer using dark chocolate but you can use semi-sweet or milk chocolate. Sprinkle your favorite chopped nuts on top and finish with a little sea salt.

Chop your favorite nuts coarsely with a chef's knife. This time I used pecans.
Chop your favorite nuts coarsely with a chef’s knife. This time I used pecans.

The easiest way to break the candy is with a steak knife. Push the very tip of the knife near a corner into the toffee and you will hear it crack. Work your way around the pan. For bigger pieces space where you push the knife farther apart.

A little sea salt amplifies the flavors and adds another dimension to a purely sweet candy. Once you try it you will always use it.
A little sea salt amplifies the flavors and adds another dimension to a purely sweet candy. Once you try it you will always use it.

Serve on a platter or place in cellophane bags to give away. Tied with a ribbon and attach a tag to make it really festive.

Add a festive ribbon and gift tag and they are ready to go.
Add a festive ribbon and gift tag and they are ready to go.

I hope I have inspired you to add candy making to your holiday baking list this year.  It is a thing of beauty!

Italian Biscotti

I think one of the best parts about a eating a good cookie is dunking it. That is why I try to avoid buying Oreos, I could dunk that whole package in ice cold milk if I wasn’t careful! I love a good biscotti for the same reason. Biscotti is a perfect match with hot chocolate or coffee and once you have mastered the process, you can get creative and make whatever flavors you like. The problem is that store bought varieties are not only expensive, but typically over baked and flavorless. This is a basic recipe of vanilla with chocolate that I made and bagged up for gifts.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Butter room temp

3/4 cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

2 cups Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

3/4 cup chopped Chocolate

3/4 cup chopped Nuts

1 cup melted Chocolate

This time I used milk chocolate in the batter, and dark chocolate for dipping. The cool thing is that you can choose whatever you prefer as they interchange easily. I prefer walnuts, but you can also use peanuts, pecans or even pistachios. Just changing the chocolate and nuts creates a whole new biscotti so you can give a bag full of a variety of flavors as a Christmas gift.

To get started, put the butter in your mixer and whip it until nice and fluffy. You will see it begin to change color as it moves toward where you want it. Now you don’t want it to get really warm and begin in to melt, so low speed works great it just takes a little time. When it is nearly where you want it, slowly pour the sugar into the butter.

It almost becomes a white color when it is ready.
It almost becomes a white color when it is ready.

Add the eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Separately, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl until throughly blended. Now is when you add your chopped chocolate and nuts.

Don't you just want to lick that paddle clean?
Don’t you just want to lick that paddle clean?

Cover the bowl with serane and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. While this is going on you can clean up the kitchen, work on the next batch or let your kids lick the beaters. Yes, I am one of those moms who isn’t worried about raw dough. Because I was baking so much I double the recipe in this photo. This works fine, I just split it in half before I chill the dough. Once it has firmed up a little it is easier to shape into a flat log. Preheat the oven to 325.

Cover a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. I cannot emphasize this enough! I have tried this directly on a cookie sheet and it just doesn’t work as well. The logs should be about 12-14 inches long and 2 inches wide. It is okay if it isn’t perfect what matters is that the entire length and width of both logs are consistent. Unlike a cookie, the top needs to be smooth. Don’t rush this because you won’t like the results if it isn’t. I sprinkle a little flour on my hands to keep the dough for sticking to my hands while I do this.

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Place the pan on the middle rack and bake for 25 minutes. You do not want any pans on the brown rack or the bottom of your biscotti will be overdone. We are baking more than twice the amount of time for a regular cookie and being too close to the elements will make the bottoms very dark and possibly have burnt flavor. After 25 minutes the logs will be set and only slightly browned.

You don't want them to be brown, that occurs in the second bake.
You don’t want them to be brown, that occurs in the second bake.

Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing. Don’t slice on the pan, you need to transfer to a cutting board. If you are nervous about lifting the entire log,cut in half first.slice on the diagonal, not straight across. This is done for two reasons. One, it gives more of a cut surface area to dry out. Second, it provides a much longer biscotti cookie. Each cut should be 1 inch apart. Once they are sliced, put each piece back onto the cookie sheet, slightly apart. Place the pan back into the oven for another 10 minutes and allow to cool on a rack.

Long and petty
Long and petty

Now is when you get to have fun with the melted chocolate. I chose to coat the bottom of each biscotti but you can also dip one end or drizzle over the top. If you are making several varieties, drizzling slightly different on each one can help you to identify each one. I bagged them up in pretty bags of 6 each. Before I give away I will attach a pretty ribbon.

Ready to give away.
Ready to give away.

Pretty simple, right? Nw that you have made a batch here are some ways to change it up.

Substitute coconut flavoring for the vanilla and shredded/flaked coconut for the chopped chocolate.

Use Orange Liquer instead of vanilla and 2 Tab grated orange peel.

Add 1/4 cup Nutella and substitute hazelnuts for the walnuts.

Drizzle chocolate on top and sprinkle sea salt on top while it is still wet.

Crush nuts and while the melted chocolate is still wet, dip into the crushed nuts.

Add 1/2 cup of your favorite dried fruit.

Use white and milk chocolate in the dough.

For a gift, place the bag into a coffee cup and attach a tag inviting your friend over for coffee.

Are you inspired to make this classic Italian treat? I hope so! Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.

Chocolate Lava Cake in 10 Minutes

Chocolate. Now that I have your attention, what if I said chocolate lava cake, are you drooling yet? I have a recipe that you are going to love because not only does it taste good, it is super easy. Here is what you need.

Ingredients
Chocolate Cake mix
Eggs
Oil
Water
Can of Chocolate Frosting

Choose your favorite chocolate cake mix and frosting, just not a whipped version.
Choose your favorite chocolate cake mix and frosting, just not a whipped version.

Make the cake per the directions on the box. We have all done that, right? I am working on finding the right cake from scratch to vary the recipe, but for now a cake mix will do.

Cake batter all ready to go, easy breezy!
Cake batter all ready to go, easy breezy!

Pour the batter into a greased, 2 quart casserole dish suitable for the microwave. Plop the frosting by dollops into the batter. So far, a really simple recipe, right? So easy that the kids would have fun doing this one.

Big or small, the size of the dollops don't rally matter, just spread it out.
Big or small, the size of the dollops don’t rally matter, just spread it out.

Now here is the tough part, put the lid on and microwave it for exactly 10 minutes on high.

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While the cake is baking you can have one of the kids clean up the kitchen. Now it needs to cool for 10 minutes so this is a good time to pull out the ice cream to get soft. Here you go, an ooey, gooey lava cake!

If you save some of the frosting you can put it on top now.
If you save some of the frosting you can put it on top now.

For a little variety, break up some walnuts or pecans and sprinkle on the batter under the frosting, it will appear in the lava later on.

If you don't have ice cream a little whipped cream would be good too.
If you don’t have ice cream a little whipped cream would be good too.

Isn’t it a thing of beauty? And since you likely have all the ingredients in your pantry you can make this as a last-minute dessert if guests show up this holiday season. Enjoy and let me know what you think. 🙂