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Frostings, Fillings and Fun!

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One of the most frequent questions I’m asked about this blog is this:  How do you keep coming up with new  and original recipes?

The answer is this: I find elements (usually a filling, topping or frosting) that I love in one recipe and imagine ways to use it again in a totally new recipe.

Here’s an example:  My friend Dawn’s friend Lily gave her a recipe for caramel chip bars.  I changed a few elements in the recipe and made it my own.  The bars are reeeeaaaaalllly good.  The best part about them is the amazing caramel sauce that makes up the middle layer.  How have I used this caramel sauce since?

(click on a picture to see the whole recipe)

  

  

This post is dedicated to sharing my favorites in the frosting, topping and filling world– I hope you can use some of these elements to create your own yummy treats (and if you do, please share them here with the rest of us!!!)

FROSTINGS:

Buttercream Frosting:

By far, my favorite frosting recipe ever.  Light and whipped and a perfect blend of sweet and a touch of salty.  If you want it flavored use extract in place of the vanilla.  You can also add colors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.)of unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)

Directions:

  • Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • This is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes.  Double this recipe to frost more or to frost an entire layered cake.

German Chocolate Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1c. sugar
  • 1c. evaporated milk
  • 1/2c. butter
  • 3 egg yolks (beaten)
  • 1 1/3c. flaked coconut
  • 1c. finely chopped pecans.
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In saucepan combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and egg yolks.  Cook over low heat (stir constantly!) until this thickens considerably (took me about 8 minutes).
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut.
  • Chill until thick enough to spread.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Kool-Aid Frosting:

Just plain fun.  Use different flavors to be as creative as you want!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2- 8oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
  • 1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid
  • Food coloring  (to deepen color if desired)
  • 1- 7oz. container Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping

Directions:

  • Cream together cream cheese, Kool-Aid and food coloring (if desired) until smooth.
  • Beat marshmallow creme and powdered sugar in and then fold in Cool Whip until completely smooth.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip  (4 come in one box)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 4 oz. (1/2 brick) of softened Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar (divided)

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and about half of the powdered sugar.  Set aside.
  • Add remaining ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and stir until all powder is combined.
  • Mix with an electric mixer (beaters are ok, but I like to use my whisk attachment if you have one) on high until very stiff peaks form.
  • Add cream cheese mixture and continue beating on high until stiff and thick.
  • This makes enough frosting to frost a layer cake.

Royal Icing:

Not my favorite frosting to work with, but perfect for a smooth and hard topping for cookies.  Beautiful but a lot of work…

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of powdered sugar
  • 3 T. meringue powder
  • 6 T. water
  • 1t. vanilla (use clear if you want white frosting)
  • Food coloring

Directions:

  • Add all ingredients together and mix with a mixer for at least 2 minutes until smooth and fluffy. Color as desired.

FILLINGS:

Mint Filling

This is perfect for layering inside of brownies and cakes.  I’ve even made a peppermint patty tart using this filling as a layer inside.

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 tbsp. (one cup) melted butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • food coloring (if desired)

Directions:

  • Add melted butter to sugar and extract.
  • Mix well, using water to bring it to a thick but spreadable consistency.
  • Add food coloring if desired.

Kool-Aid Filling

Perfect for making a cream pie or putting in little cookie cups- this filling’s potential is as endless as the flavors of Kool-Aid on the shelf!  Kids will LOVE this!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1 (0.22 oz.) packet Kool Aid in any flavor
  • 2c. marshmallow fluff
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (refrigerator temp)

Directions:

  • Cream together Kool Aid and Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • Add Marshmallow fluff and blend well.
  • Fold in 1c. of Cool Whip.

Chocolate Mousse:

A perfect creamy filling for a layer cake–YUM!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of Dream Whip 
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3T. cocoa powder
  • 3T. powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Put Dream Whip, milk, vanilla, cocoa powder and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl and blend together.
  • Using a mixer, beat until stiff peaks form (3-4 minutes)

Easy Cheesecake Filling:

I’ve used this no-bake cheesecake filling for years- I like to make it and fill a pre-made graham crust for a super easy dessert!

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Cream together softened cream cheese and sugar.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Fold in Cool Whip and  1 c. chocolate chips.

TOPPINGS:

Chocolate glaze:

This glaze is nice because it hardens just enough to still cut- like a really hard fudge.

 

Ingredients:

  • 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 tsp. butter (do not substitute margarine here!)

Directions:

  •  Melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted and smooth.
  • Pour over dessert and spread evenly.  Allow glaze to harden.

Ganache:

This is a big go-to topping for me- you’ll see it in many varieties in my recipes.  You can change the flavor by changing the type of chips you use.  I’ve made dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, cinnamon and peanut butter ganache using this recipe— it makes a GREAT (easy to cut!) topping for cheesecakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 c. chips (any flavor)

Directions:

  • Warm whipping cream in a small saucepan until just bubbling around edges (stirring!)
  • Turn off heat, add chips and cover pan for 5 minutes.
  • Stir melted chips into hot whipping cream until smooth (add a little heat if the chips aren’t fully melted)
  • Pour over dessert (or into cookie cups etc.) and allow ganache to harden.

Melted Frosting Glaze:

Such a simple topping- yet so yummy!

 

Ingredients:

  • One can of pre-made frosting

Directions:

  • Spoon frosting into a microwave safe bowl.
  • Warm in microwave for about 30 seconds.
  • Stir until smooth and runny.
  • Pour over dessert and allow glaze to harden.

Wilton’s Candy Melts:

The best thing to drizzle any dessert with.  These are little candy wafers in a variety of colors that you can melt and drizzle.  They harden into a solid layer though- so cutting them is more difficult.

I hope this collection of my favorites inspires you to create wonderful new treats!

Enjoy your weekend– and Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads out there!!  -r

Leche de Chocolate (Mexican Chocolate Milk!)

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Cold, creamy and sweet- this is chocolate milk like you’ve never had it before.  Say hello to one of my favorite treats from the beautiful country of Mexico!

For several years I’ve led mission trips from our church down to a tiny town in Sinaloa, Mexico.  We spend 10 days or so doing Bible school with the kids of the town, helping to build a church and training facility and just helping out around the town- painting, cleaning etc.  We have met the most wonderful people and made friendships I will never forget.  The food—authentic Mexican–is literally the best I’ve had in ANY country I’ve visited.  I, of course, had my nose in the kitchen often- asking questions, watching them make tortillas from scratch and pluck feathers from chickens.  I do hope to feature some of the recipes they shared with me here someday, but tonight I was craving chocolate milk, and the best chocolate milk I’ve ever had was in a tiny restaurant in Mazatlan, MX.  It was a hot day of touring and we’d just climbed a HUGE hill up to the lighthouse in Mazatlan.  We stumbled on this restaurant and stayed because it had air conditioning.  For some reason, chocolate milk sounded good– and the rest is history!

My friend Jennifer and I enjoying chocolate milk in Mexico

I knew the ingredients because I asked our waiter, but the proportions were up to me.  I will give you the amounts I use- but feel free to adjust them to your liking. Add more or less of anything to adjust the sweetness or the flavor.  This is how I like it:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 c. milk
  • 1c. ice cubes
  • 1/3 c. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup
  • 1/2 of a (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1t. vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into fun glasses (mine were a gift, but I found more like them here: Tall Irish Coffee Glass)
  • Serve cold and frothy!
  • ENJOY!!!!

My thoughts:  My 1st sip of this made me smile and I had to just close my eyes and remember all the wonderful people I met on these trips to Mexico.  Isn’t it fun when a taste brings back happy memories?  I hope that this easy recipe becomes a favorite in your family!  Enjoy! -r

Frosty S’more Cups

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Graham Crust topped with soft chocolate, mini marshmallows and creamy whipped pudding- all frozen in a cute individual cup!  YUM!

I’m back with a recipe using my Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan  that I just love.  My Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecakes were my first experiment using this pan and these are my second experiment.  I’m just so impressed by how easy it is to make these using this pan- love it!  These frozen treats are rich and creamy and oh-so-yummy!  I hope you love them as much as I do!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 18 graham cracker squares (9 sheets or about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 c. butter
  • 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 2 c. mini marshmallows
  • 1 1/2 c. cold milk
  • 1 box (4 servings, 3.9 oz)instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 (8 oz) container of Cool Whip (thawed in fridge)
  • 1/4 c. mini chocolate chips (as topping)

DIRECTIONS

  • Crush graham crackers into fine crumbs.
  • Melt butter and add to graham crackers, mixing until well combined to make crust.
  • Prepare pan by placing disks into the bottom of each cup.
  • Evenly divide crust mixture into all 12 cups, saving about 1/4 cup to use as topping later. (I used a Mini Tart Shaper to press crumbs firmly into the bottom of each cup).
  • Place milk chocolate chips and whipping cream into a small bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  • Spoon chocolate into a zip top bag, cut a tip off and evenly pipe chocolate into the center of each cup, on top of the crust.

  • Divide Marshmallows among cups.
  • Mix cold milk with pudding on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip container (the rest will be used as topping).
  • Spoon filling into a large zip top bag (and ZIP it or you might have a mess!)  Clip a corner off and pipe pudding into each cup evenly.  Try to pipe it in between the marshmallows so that the whole cup is filled.  I did have a little left over (which was really tasty straight out of the bag!)
  • Use a knife to smooth the tops level with the top of the pan.
  • Freeze for at least a couple of hours.
  • Allow the pan to warm just a bit before popping each dessert cup out.  Poke a finger up through the hole in the bottom of the pan and grab that s’mores cup by its crust.  Remove the disk from the bottom and you are ready to add topping. 
  • For topping, I just piped a little bit of the left over Cool Whip on each dessert using a decorating tip.  Then I sprinkled the remaining crust and mini chocolate chips on top.
  • Serve cold right away– or put them in a sealed container and freeze until you are ready to serve.

My thoughts:  I love these so much.  They are ok at room temperature, but serve them frozen and they are amazing!  The pudding stays so creamy and that chocolate layer in the middle…. it is a miracle I didn’t just sit down and eat them all.  Seriously.  Enjoy!!!  -r

6-5-12: Check out this bloggers version using muffin cups: A Bunch of Bishops –so fun!

Spiced Mocha Mix (and how to do a TimTam SLAM!)

This spiced mocha mix is a perfect gift or party treat.  Its also the perfect hot beverage for Tim Tam SLAMS!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup dry non-dairy creamer
  • 1c. hot cocoa mix
  • 2/3 c. instant coffee
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine all ingredients together in a big bowl.
  • Add 3-4 heaping tsp. of mix to 8 oz. of hot water to serve.
  • Or…put mix in a fun jar or tin to give as a homemade gift!

You can use Splenda for the sugar, decaffeinated instant coffee and low-fat hot cocoa mix for a guilt-free treat!

 

How to do a Tim Tam Slam.

What are Tim Tams?   They are a chocolate cookie that (I’m told) originated in Australia.  In America they are made by Pepperidge Farm and they are a wafer/mousse cookie covered in chocolate.

To do a Slam:  Bite off the corners on two opposite sides (diagonal from each other).  Place one bitten off corner in a hot chocolate or mocha and drink up some of the hot beverage through the other bitten off corner– pulling the hot beverage up through the cookie like a straw.  Pop the WHOLE cookie in your mouth and it EXPLODES in warm gooey chocolate happiness! 🙂  (If you don’t pop the whole thing in your mouth you will have chocolate running all over you…just FYI).  In our area, Tim Tams are only available near Christmas, so Tim Tam Slams have become a fun Christmas tradition!

Miranda

Ryan

Me!

Megan

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts:  Thanks to my cousin-in-law Eden for the yummy mocha recipe and to my friend Andreya for showing us all how to do Tim Tam Slams….I am forever indebted for the hours of fun and laughter!!!

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Try a new twist on the pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving: crisp squares of pie crust ready to dunk in a creamy pumpkin pie dip!  This is the perfect Thanksgiving party dessert recipe!!!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
  • 1 box (8oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • Cinnamon and granulated sugar – enough to dust crust squares.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Unroll pie crusts on a cutting board and using a knife or pizza cutter slice into squares.

  • Place pieces of crust on a cookie sheet, spray with cooking spray and dust with sugar and cinnamon.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 minutes- until light brown and toasted.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Place softened cream cheese in a bowl and cream it with the brown sugar until smooth.
  • Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and mix with a mixer on medium until smooth and creamy.
  • Fold in 1/2 tub of Cool Whip.
  • Place in a serving dish and top with remaining Cool- Whip.  Dust with cinnamon.
  • Serve dip with crispy cinnamon crust squares– YUM!

 

My thoughts:  Again, pumpkin is not a flavor I enjoy– I did taste test this though, and went back for seconds!  This was a HUGE hit both times I served it and I had so many people ask for the recipe I decided to post this earlier than intended so I don’t get mobbed.  If you want to try a unique twist on the traditional pumpkin pie, this is it!  Make a practice round before Thanksgiving and try it out on your friends– they will love you!  ENJOY!!!  r-

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce

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What was your least favorite Halloween Candy? You know…the one left at the bottom of that plastic pumpkin at Thanksgiving? Mine was the Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kiss. The distinctively wrapped orange and black chewy candy with peanut butter in the middle– remember those? I remember trying to trade my brother 10 of them for a Nestle Crunch and being refused.

My goal: Make something WONDERFUL out of Mary Jane PB Kisses.

The result: AMAZING! Seriously the best caramel sauce I’ve ever had.

This creamy caramel with just a hint of peanut butter flavor stays soft even when used as an ice cream topping (it’s really good with apples too!– reeeeeallly good…..!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 15 Kraft Caramels (unwrapped)
  • 15 Mary Jane Peanut Butter Kisses (unwrapped)– (I found mine at Walgreens: 99 cents/bag)
  • 1 (14oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 c. butter

DIRECTIONS:

  • Place all ingredients in a saucepan and melt, stirring constantly.
  • Stir until melted and completely smooth (about 6 to 8 minutes)
  • Cool a little and pour over ice cream (or anything else that would taste good with gooey caramel sauce!)

My thoughts: I experimented with these horrible little candies all weekend…They melt in the microwave in 15 seconds (and they smell TERRIBLE burnt!)  Once they melt, they harden and form crystals within seconds (no dipping apples in THAT). They do not combine with chocolate. They DO combine with peanut butter, but YUCK– they form a dough-like consistency that sticks to your teeth.

Adding them to my best caramel sauce was the answer– and they really do taste WONDERFUL in this-they add a sweet peanut butter flavor that goes PERFECT with caramel. So a month from now, when you find these little gems still sitting at the bottom of your kids plastic pumpkins, think of easybaked and make some caramel! 🙂 -r

Giant S’more!!

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Ten different kinds of chocolate....

We are going to stray a bit from the usual into the bizarre in this post.  Typically I like to share fun, easy and unique dessert recipes with you- and this is all three of those things- plus a hint of Guiness Book of World Records.

Let me explain:  I help to lead COLLISION, the college-age group at our church and one of the things we do each month is a “Live Your Dream” night. Each person in our group has submitted a “dream” for something they have always wanted to do but never have and we try to (often very creatively!) fulfill the dream.  This weekend we made Ryan’s dream come true– a ten layer s’more with 10 different kinds of chocolate (a dream that I never even thought to have, but should have!)

We spent our Saturday raking leaves at a camp for inner city kids- its a really cool ministry that has a TON of trees (and therefore a lot of leaves to rake this time of year).  As the day drew to a close, we cooked hotdogs over a bonfire and then made Ryan’s dream a reality:

INGREDIENTS:

  • Graham Crackers- lots of them (they break and you really need whole ones!)
  • 10 (+) kinds of chocolate.  We used: Hershey’s milk chocolate, dark chocolate, cookies and cream, milk chocolate cookies and cream, white chocolate, Mr. Goodbar, Krackel, mini snickers, milky way, dark milky way, 3 musketeers, and last (but definitely not least!) Twix.
  • Marshmallows- lots– and it helps to have lots of people toasting them all at the same time!

Team effort on toasting!

DIRECTIONS:

  •  Unwrap all your chocolate and set up 10 full sheets of graham crackers with chocolate on top (lots of it!)
  • Roast 2 marshmallows per layer
  • Assemble!  We put it together in two stacks and added them together for 11 layers at the very end- otherwise it will tip.
  • Tip it sideways on a couple of plates to serve it– people can just pull off what they want 🙂

Ready for some pictures???  Here you go:

Marshmallows roasted to perfection!

Eleven gooey layers of happiness!!!

Ryan's dream come true!

My thoughts:  This was SO much fun!  We laughed and stressed out about not having unwrapped chocolate in time for all the marshmallows and took a ton of pictures– and then ate AMAZING s’mores (mine had caramel oozing out of one of the layers—BEST s’more ever!!!!!!  Next time you go camping you simply HAVE to try this– your kids will love it!!!

Best S'more EVER!

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