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Chocolate Ganache Brownies

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Ganache Brownies
These dense chocolate brownies are topped with a rich chocolate ganache.  You won’t be able to eat just one!!

It’s November.  Time for turkey and thankfulness.  One of the things I am incredibly thankful for is my wonderful family.  We are spread over many states and have many interests, but one thing we all love:  dessert.  This month I am going to feature some of our family’s best dessert recipes– just to get you all ready to bring some mouthwatering treats to your Thanksgiving feast!

This brownie recipe is from my Aunt Sara.  She’s known in our family for her wonderful layered salad, but since this is a blog about sweets, that recipe will have to wait for another day.

Aunt Sarah and her granddaughter Sierra

Aunt Sarah and her granddaughter Sierra

Several years ago I asked everyone in our family to submit recipes to compile into a family cookbook.  SO many wonderful things (with the exception of “Feline Delight”, submitted by my Uncle Keith and my dad, involving a stew made from the family pet…. a joke, of course!)  My Aunt Sara turned in this brownie recipe and I’ve always wanted to try it but just hadn’t taken the time until right now.

The verdict:  AMAZING.  These are the most fudge- like brownies I’ve ever had.  If you prefer cake-like brownies just stop reading right here….because these are rich, heavy, delicious bits of chocolate joy.

Ganache Brownies
So, lets get you the recipe so you can try these yummy treats! (printable version)

INGREDIENTS:

Brownie:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2/3 cup chocolate (I used Nestle’ dark chocolate chips)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup chocolate (Aunt Sara uses Ghiradelli, I just used the rest of the Nestle’ dark chips)

DIRECTIONS:

Brownie:

  • Preheat oven to 325F degrees
  • Place butter and chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second increments, stirring between, until melted and smooth.
  • Beat eggs and salt until they turn a light yellow color.
  • Add sugar to egg mixture gradually, and then beat until thick and creamy (about 15 minutes).
  • Fold in melted chocolate/butter mixture.
  • Add flour and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Fold in nuts.
  • Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and pour batter in.
  • Bake at 325F degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Toothpick should not come out clean- if you over-bake them they will be dry.

Frosting:

  • Place chocolate (either chips, or chopped up) into a bowl.
  • Bring whipping cream to a boil over the stove.
  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth.
  • Refrigerate about 20 minutes, until thick enough to spread, but not completely set.
  • Spread over brownies and enjoy!!!

Ganache Brownies
My thoughts:  These are wonderfully gooey and rich- my perfect kind of brownie!  The only downside of these is having to beat the eggs for 15 minutes.  If you have a stand mixer you won’t mind it, but I have a hand mixer…seemed like an eternity!  Once I tasted them, it was worth every second though!  Thanks for the wonderful recipe Aunt Sara!!  Love you!  ~r

Other brownie recipes to fill your November with yummy goodness:

Caramel Fudge Brownies!!Fudge Brownie!Mint Creme Brownie CupsBrownie Oreo Cookie Cup

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S’mores Cookie Cups

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S'more Cookie Cups!!

These mini graham cracker cookie cups are overflowing with soft marshmallow and chocolate~ a perfect replica of the summertime favorite~ in cookie form!!

These little cookie cups were eaten up faster than any dessert I can remember.  You simply can’t stop at one!  I guess that’s because they are made with all the ingredients used in S’mores!  The marshmallow stays soft, and the  soft chocolate layer on the inside….?  Oh my.

S'more cookie cups!

Here’s how to make them: (printable recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 48 mini cups)

  • One tube of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 cup of finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  (13oz) jar of Jet-Puffed Marshmallow fluff
  • 48 Hershey Kisses (unwrapped!)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Place cookie dough and crushed grahams (save 2 to 3 tablespoons of crumbs to sprinkle over cups at end) in a mixing bowl and using hands, combine crushed grahams with cookie dough until completely incorporated.
  • Evenly divide dough into mini muffin tins (I used a medium cookie scoop to do this and got about 48 cookies)
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 7 to 9 minutes, until turning a light brown at edges.
  • Remove from oven and immediately press centers in using a mini tart shaper (or a wooden spoon~ although I highly recommend the tart shaper as it is a small and inexpensive tool that I love and use all the time!)
  • Allow cups to cool for 2-3 minutes and then gently run a small knife around the edges and pop the cup out of the tin.  Allow cup to completely cool on counter.
  • Place all cups on a cookie sheet (preferably one with raised edges)
  • In a small sauce pan, heat up heavy cream until just bubbling at the edges (20 seconds or so).
  • Add chocolate chips, cover and allow them to sit for 5 minutes.
  • Stir melted chips with cream until smooth (turn heat back on if needed)
  • Place chocolate sauce in a zip-top bag, clip a corner and pipe chocolate evenly into each cup.

Graham cookie cupsPiping chocolate into cookie cup

  • Fill a mug or small bowl with HOT water, and place a medium cookie scoop into it.  Shake off excess water and scoop one scoop of marshmallow fluff into each cookie cup.  Place scoop back in hot water as soon as the fluff starts to stick to the scoop.

Scoop Marshmallow into cookie cupSmores cookie cups--yum!!

  • Turn broiler on high and place entire cookiesheet full of cookies in the oven under the broiler.  WATCH the cookies– in about 30 seconds the marshmallows will start to brown.  Take the cookie cups out and immediately place a Hershey kiss on the top of each hot marshmallow top.  Sprinkle with graham crumbs (and drizzle with a little white chocolate if you like).
  • Let these sit for about an hour.  The bottom of the kiss will melt and attach to the marshmallow.
  • You can serve these warm, or at room temp.
  • Once they are cooled, you can store them in an airtight container for about a week.

S'mores cookie cups!

My thoughts~ These cookie cups were a big hit.  They really capture the flavor of a s’more and they aren’t very difficult to make.  The marshmallow fluff was a little fussy, just because it is so sticky.  I highly recommend it though- it was perfect biting into the gooey soft cream rather than an actual marshmallow.  It captured that melted marshmallow feel.  I *highly* recommend you use a cookie scoop for these.  You can get a scoop almost anywhere these days, but if you can’t find one, try ordering one at Amazon.  I hope you really enjoy making (and eating!) these yummy little treats!!! ~r

Melted Smores cup

Other cookie cup recipes you might enjoy:

Gooey filling in Seven layer cups!Fruit Loop Confetti Cups!!Caramel Coconut Creme CupsSalted Caramel Cookie Cup!!!

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes

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Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes


These amazing cupcakes are made with Baileys Irish cream and topped with a Baileys buttercream frosting.  They are incredibly good–and the way I came across this recipe is quite the story!

Have you watched the TV show that’s out right now called The American Baking Competition?  The one with all of the challenges each week– breads, cakes, pies…?  I love it.  Aaaaand…I auditioned for it last fall.  I’m actually not one of those “I wanna be on TV” people, but I am one of those “that sounds like a crazy fun adventure, let’s do it!” people.  In 2002, my coworkers dared me to audition for The Weakest Link game show and they picked me– I’d never actually seen the show which made things a little awkward at first…lol!  So auditioning for a cooking show?  Why not??

I know you are dying to know how these cupcakes are made, so I will save my story-telling for later, but long story short– I met a ton of wonderful bakers at the audition and one of them was Lauren Shilt.  She brought these Baileys cupcakes to her audition and gave me an extra.  I fell in love with this cupcake!  It is so dense and moist and rich….so I begged for the recipe and Lauren kindly obliged.

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes
Here you have it… Baileys Cupcakes: (printer friendly recipe)

INGREDIENTS: (makes 30-36 cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (use super fine sugar, if you can find it!)
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter room temp.
  • 3 eggs room temp.
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (separated, 1/2 cup for the cakes, 1/2 cup to pour over the cakes after they have been baked)

Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, room temp.
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream-enough to get the frosting to the desired flavor and consistency.

For the Chocolate Ganache to drizzle over the top:

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips (or if using a bar, chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream

(I used 1/4c. heavy cream and 1/2c. semi-sweet chips plus  3 teaspoons of Baileys for mine, and I made it at the end since it was thick enough to use as soon as it cooled a bit.  It’s just how I always do ganache and I needed to save time.)

DIRECTIONS:

Make the Ganache first (unless you use my recipe)

  • In a saucepan bring the cream to simmer over med heat
  • Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate until it is melted and incorporated
  • Whisk in the Baileys Irish Cream
  • Refrigerate until it has a good consistency to drizzle over the top

Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the muffin tins with 36 cupcake liners (my batch only made 30)
  • In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon
  • In a large bowl, use a mixer to cream together the sugar and butter for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs once at a time until incorporated and then mix in vanilla.
  • Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the Bailey’s Irish Cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
  • Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full and bake for 17-20 min. (mine were slightly over-baked at 17 min, so check often!)
  • Cool in pan for a few minutes
  • Using a toothpick poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes and using a pastry brush, brush the additional 1/2 cup of baileys over the cupcakes.

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes!Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes!
Baileys Buttercream Frosting:

  • Place butters, powdered sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Beat on high until light and fluffy.
  • Add Baileys Irish Cream a bit at a time until buttercream is desired flavor and consistency.
  • Frost cooled cupcakes using a pastry bag, then drizzle with Bailey’s Ganache.

Baileys Irish Cream Cupcakes!!
My thoughts:  You are simply going to love these cupcakes.  I’ve had 4 people (so far!) tell me that these are their favorite cupcake I’ve ever made.  They are SO good!!!!!  Plus, (be very proud of me!) they are not a cake mix!  
😉

Ok.  Story time.

So crazy, adventure-seeking me sent in my application for this “baking show” on CBS.  I was invited to come to Chicago to do an in-person audition for the show.  I needed to bring my “signature” baked good.  Signature?  How to choose from all my favorites?  I decided on Salted Caramel Cookie Cups, because everyone loves them, they are easy to travel with and they are signature (in that they use lots of pre-made ingredients), making them EASYbaked 🙂  My motto.

A few days before the audition I got a call from CBS confirming my audition time and making sure I would be bringing everything I needed. This very nice man said–“now, be sure you plate your baked good”.  I was like… “um…ok.  I will make sure I put it on a plate.”  Long pause.  “No, you need to plate it.”  “Yes,” I replied, “I will put it on a plate.”   “You need to plate it- you know, make it look all fancy for the judges?”

Sigh.  My 1st clue this isn’t going to go well.  I hang up and google “how to plate a dessert”.  Then I go to the store to buy little bottles with tips….and I practice “plating” my little desserts.

Plating a dessert

Laura and I pack up all my supplies and off we go to a very rainy and cold Chicago.

Laura and ICold Chicago...Starbucks :o)

When I arrived and checked in I was seated in a room FULL of people carrying baked goods in all sorts of containers.  I love meeting new people and within no time I had met all of the people sitting around me.  It was SO much fun!  A whole room full of people comparing ganache recipes and favorite frosting ideas.  AMAZING!  About 5 of us chatted while we waited to get called back and we all ended up getting called back together.  We had to “plate” our items for the judges (thank goodness I got all of that sorted out ahead of time!) and they tasted our items and asked us questions.  Lauren and I made it to the second round and we spent our waiting time really getting to know each other and exchanging our extra desserts with the bakers around us.

New Baking Friends!!!

New Baking Friends!!!

The second interview was questions, asked in a group setting.  Not too intimidating…  The casting person (who, apparently was also a trained culinary person) asked me how I made my wonderful caramel filling.  I explained that I use Kraft caramels, sweetened condensed milk and butter to make it.

There were audible gasps.

Everyone was staring at me.

What had I said wrong?

The interviewer said- you mean you didn’t make this from scratch?

Ummm…no.

Why would you bring this as your signature baked good if it isn’t from scratch?

Because my baking is rarely from scratch.  Why slave over homemade caramel if you can just use caramels to make a filling?

But it’s not homemade….

Well, you loved it and sent me to the next round of interviews…?

I didn’t tell her that the crust was made of refrigerator cookie dough…  yikes.

The next baker was a woman who literally forages in the woods for all of her ingredients.  Literally.  Forages.

I wanted to jump in and say that I foraged at WalMart on Black Friday for my ingredients…nearly died…got them cheap….?

I was fairly certain I was “out” of the running.  Until I was handed a paper that said:

Baileys cupcakesWhat?!?!  This involved staying an extra day in Chicago (thank you dear, patient Laura!), panicking over the fact that I only brought a Green Bay Packer Jersey to wear home the next day…(can you interview on camera for a baking show dressed like a football player?), waiting for 2 hours, falling asleep in a hotel lobby and defending my use of Kraft caramels on camera for Hollywood to see.

Sleeping while we wait...

Needless to say, I wasn’t called and invited to be a contestant on the show.  Have you watched it?  I would have gone down in flames the 1st week.  These people are amazing!  Francine is my favorite~  she uses crazy creative ingredients like bacon and red-hot candies in her recipes (anyone who bakes with candy is my hero!)  Hope she wins!

After my long day of interviewing, Laura and I settled in at our hotel and pigged out on all the treats I exchanged with other bakers during the day.  This was when I first tasted Lauren’s cupcakes…oh. my.

A collection of amazing baked goods!

A collection of amazing baked goods!

A big BIG thanks to Lauren for sharing her recipe with us!  If you’d like to get to know her and see some of her incredible baking creations, she is on facebook.  Visit her page and give it a “like” by clicking here.

Lauren

Lauren

I usually stick to sharing recipes in my posts, but this story was just too fun.  Thanks for listening– now go and make these cupcakes— you will love them— I promise!!!  ~r

Baileys Cupcakes!!

Other “from scratch” recipes on Easybaked…yes, there are a few!!!!

Butter beer cupcakesMint Creme Brownie CupsGingerbread Cookies!Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake!!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Roll!

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Chocolate covered strawberry Cake roll!!This strawberry cake rolled with vanilla buttercream and dark chocolate ganache is not only a pretty Valentines Day treat, but such a yummy one!  Plus, it looks A LOT harder to make than it really is!

February 1st.  How can the first month of this year be gone already?  I had already written a post for for this week when I looked at the calendar and thought, oh my- it’s time for a Valentine’s dessert!  I had an unexpected day off of work this week and decided to experiment with turning an ordinary cake mix into a cake roll.  I absolutely loved the results!  Cake rolls will always be a little fussier than plain old cakes, but look at how cute it is…!  If you’ve never made a cake roll, I will try to explain it as we go.  I have a few pictures, but if you want a few more click here for my pumpkin roll recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • One boxed strawberry cake mix (I used Pillsbury this time)
  • Water, oil and eggs (we will adjust the amounts from the box just a bit!)
  • 1/2c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. clear vanilla flavoring.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  • Make boxed cake mix, but add just a little less oil and water.  The Pillsbury mix called for 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup of oil.  I used 3/4 c. water and 1/4 c. oil instead.  I used the same # of eggs (3)
  • Cover the bottom of a standard jellyroll pan (mine is about 12″ by 17″, and about 1″ deep) with waxed paper- allowing the paper to extend just a bit over each end.
  • Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Pour cake batter into pan and gently spread it out to cover the entire bottom in a thin, but even layer of cake.
  • Bake at 350F degrees for 15-20 minutes- checking often to make sure it isn’t browning too much.
  • Remove pan from oven, sprinkle a clean kitchen towel with powdered sugar, lay it powder side down on the top of the cake and holding the towel in place, flip the pan over onto a flat surface.  You will have your powdered towel, the cake on top and wax paper on top of the cake.
  • Peel the wax paper off and gently roll the cake up in the towel, rolling from one short end to the other- keep the towel on the bottom and wrap it up with the cake.
  • Refrigerate for one hour.
  • While this is in the fridge, make your ganache and butter cream.
  • For the ganache: heat 1/2 c. of whipping cream in a medium saucepan until it starts to bubble around the edges.  Turn off the heat. Add the dark chocolate chips and cover for 5-10 minutes.  Stir until smooth and creamy.
  • For the buttercream: Place (softened) butter, powdered sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until very fluffy and creamy.
  • After chilling for one hour, remove cake roll from fridge and gently unroll on a flat surface.
  • Gently and evenly spread ganache over entire surface of the cake roll.
  • Gently and evenly spread the buttercream over the ganache.  This part was a little tricky- I wanted to make sure I didn’t mix the two layers, so I scooped the buttercream in little bits all over the top and then spread it a little at a time.

Spread chocolate over the cake roll...Add buttercream over chocolate!!  YUM!

  • Gently roll the cake back up, leaving the towel behind.  Carefully lift it on to a large plate and refrigerate it until the buttercream and ganache harden up.

The 1st time I made this it rolled beautifully and I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar….then when I made it for taking photos it cracked as I rolled.  This sometimes happens with cake rolls and there’s an easy fix: make another batch of ganache and pour it right over the top!  I think I actually liked it better this way!  You can’t even tell it cracked, see:

Cake roll cracked!!!!Chocolate covered Strawberry cake roll-- all fixed!!!

When it is chilled, slice it and serve it with whipped cream and maybe even some chocolate covered strawberries?  So yummy!!!!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake Roll!!!My thoughts: I really had fun making this dessert.  There’s just something about the pink cake and all that gooey chocolate that makes me smile!  I hope this cake brings a smile to the faces of all the ones you love this Valentine’s Day!  Enjoy!!!   ~r

Want some other fun Valentines Day ideas?  Click on the picture to be taken to the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Ganache CupcakesPeppermint marshmallow crunch barsSweetheart browniesOld Fashioned Red Velvet Cake

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Dark chocolate cupcakes topped with ganache and vanilla buttercream– so rich and smooth because they are flour-less (lets hear it for my gluten-free friends!!)!!!  YUM!

Ingredients: (makes about 40 mini cupcakes)

Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Ganache:

  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

Frosting:

  • 1 stick (4 oz.) salted butter (room temp)
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 t. clear vanilla flavoring

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate with butter in 30 second increments, stirring between until smooth and creamy.
  • Whisk cocoa powder into melted chocolate.
  • Add egg YOLKS and whisk until smooth.  Set aside.
  • Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk until foamy.
  • Add sugar gradually to egg whites while beating on high until medium peaks form.
  • Add 1/3 of egg whites to chocolate and mix well- until completely combined and smooth.
  • Add remainder of egg whites and fold in gently until completely incorporated.
  • Spoon batter into mini-cupcake liners in tins and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool completely. (Cupcakes will rise high in oven and as they cool they will sink and even become a little concave— perfect spot for our yummy ganache to sit!!)
  • To make the ganache, heat chips and whipping cream in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until completely melted and smooth.
  • Gently spoon or pipe ganache into the concave top of each cupcake until all ganache is used up.
  • Allow ganache to cool and harden (place in fridge to speed this process up)
  • Make frosting by combining remaining room temperature butters with powdered sugar and vanilla and beating on high until light and fluffy.
  • Pipe frosting on tops of each cupcake, covering the ganache.
  • Decorate as desired.

My thoughts: Usually, I use a cake mix for my cupcakes and focus on the fillings and frostings for that “wow” factor.  The wow factor in these is definitely the cupcakes themselves….wow.  I tried cupcakes made with a flour-less recipe this past weekend in Chicago at Molly’s cupcakes.  (AMAZING!)  I just had to try making them for myself and the reason I made them mini is because they are SO rich and heavy.  A full-size cupcake would be too much.  These cupcakes are definitely worth the extra effort!  The tiny hearts on top I just made on wax paper using Wilton’s candy melts. Click here for some photos of how to pipe designs in chocolate.  Enjoy!!!  -r

Chocolate Mousse Cake

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This wonderful cake recipe is courtesy of my Uncle John.  He has made this cake for family gatherings for years now and it is one of my favorites.  I think I’d have tried it sooner if I’d known how EASY it is.  There’s nothing better than a really easy dessert that looks this fancy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boxed chocolate cake mix- I like Duncan Hines!  (with oil/eggs/water to make according to directions)
  • 2 packets of Dream Whip (I’d never heard of this– it comes in a box and was near the jello/pudding boxes at the grocery.  There are 4 packets per box, and if you order them in a 6-pack at Amazon they are much cheaper than in the store.)
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3T. cocoa powder
  • 3T. powdered sugar
  • one container of pre-made chocolate frosting.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake mix according to box and bake in 2 – 8 or 9 inch round pans (I cut parchment paper to fit and place it in the bottom of each pan so that it comes out easier).
  • Cool cakes completely on a wire rack and while they are cooling make your mousse.
  • 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)
  • Scoop chocolate frosting into a microwave safe bowl and heat for only about 20-30 seconds in the microwave.  Heat until frosting is melted into a hot fudge consistency.
  • Use a large serrated knife to level your two cakes.
  • Place 1st cake on serving plate, leveled edge up.
  • Pour about 1/4 of melted frosting on top of cake and spread to cover (I put this layer in the fridge for about a minute just to cool the warm frosting down before adding the mousse layer)
  • Spoon all of the mousse on top of the cake and spread it ALMOST to the edges.
  • Top with second cake– put the leveled edge against the mousse…this keeps all the crumbs in the middle and leaves a nice flat surface on the top of your cake. Gently press top layer down to squeeze the mousse all the way to the edges.
  • Pour the rest of the melted frosting over the entire cake and let it drip over the edges.
  • Refrigerate until serving.

My thoughts:  WHO KNEW you could melt frosting and make such a wonderful fudge-like topping?  Learn something new every day.  Uncle John sometimes adds peppermint extract to the mousse– so yummy– and I had the thought while I was making this that a layer of raspberry preserves somewhere in the middle would be amazing.  I think you will just love this mousse.  It is so creamy and flavorful.  

If you live in Africa and cant find Dream Whip PLEASE don’t ask me what to substitute– I have no idea what this stuff is…it’s MAGIC 🙂 and I love it!   

Curiosity got he better of me…. here’s what Dream Whip is: click here  (I still think it’s magic.)

Enjoy this recipe friends!  Thanks for the inspiration Uncle John!!!   -r

Caramel Coconut Cream Cups

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These chewy coconut cookie cups filled with rich chocolate and fluffy cream cheese are topped off with soft caramel, chocolate and toasted coconut.  More than delicious, these are truly a unique dessert that will have all your friends and family wondering how in the world you made them!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c.  yellow cake mix (any variety)
  • 2 c. crushed coconut cookies (I use WalMart brand)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c. whipping cream
  • 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 16 Kraft Caramels (unwrapped)
  • 7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 c. margarine
  • 6 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 oz. Cool Whip (refrigerator temperature)
  • 12 oz. Wilton Dark Candy Cocoa Melts

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a mixing bowl combine cake mix, crushed coconut cookies, eggs and oil.  Blend well.
  • Scoop batter evenly into 12 un-greased muffin tins, pressing it down with spoon.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Spread coconut over a small cookie sheet and toast at the same time your cups are baking for 10 to 15 minutes (check often to prevent burning!)
  • While cookie cups bake, make your fillings:
  1.  Chocolate ganache:  Place whipping cream in a small saucepan and heat it over the stove until it just starts to bubble at edges (20-30 seconds).  Turn off heat, add chocolate chips, over and allow to sit on warm burner for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, stir until smooth.
  2. Caramel Sauce:  Place caramels, condensed milk and margarine in a saucepan and heat until caramels are fully melted and mixture is smooth (about 5 minutes)  stir constantly.
  3. Cream filling:  Combine cream cheese with sugar  until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip.
  • Remove coconut from oven when it is a toasty brown.  Place in bowl to cool.
  • Remove cookie cups from oven.  They look like muffins at this point–using a tart shaper or the end of a wooden spoon, press the middles of the muffin in to form a cup shape. (NOTE:  because ovens vary in temperature, your cups may need to bake longer.  When you press the middle in it should look a little oily from the coconut oil in the cookies- but it should hold its shape–  if it’s doughy and wont stay pressed down, place it back in the oven for a few minutes.)
  • Tip the muffin pan over a clean counter to release the cups and carefully turn them all upright to cool.
  • Melt chocolate candy coating in microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until smooth.
  • Dip the top edge of each cup into the chocolate and then sprinkle with toasted coconut.
  • Spoon chocolate ganache evenly into each cup.
  • Place cream filling in a large ziplock.  Cut one corner and pipe the cream evenly into each cup.
  • Spoon caramel sauce evenly over each cup.
  • Drizzle any left-over candy coating over each cup and top with remaining coconut.
  • Keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Makes 12 cups.

My thoughts:  I “invented” this recipe for Kraft using Philadelphia Cream Cheese.  It has some of my favorite flavor combinations– coconut, chocolate and caramel– amazing!  It is also a great texture combination: chewy, creamy crunchy….yum.  This is a fairly time-consuming recipe.  If you love baking it is FUN FUN FUN!!!!  (I’m actually a little addicted to making these!)  I can’t give it an “easy recipe” tag though– its just too involved.  If you get a chance to try these let me know what you think!  Enjoy!!!! r-



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