Holiday Treats

Chocolate Truffle Cake

November 13, 2011

Chocolate Truffle Cake

If you love chocolate then this cake is for you! It is dense and pure chocolate. Chocolate Truffle Cake is great for special occasions and especially birthdays!

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Butter

14 Ounces Semisweet Chocolate

2 Ounces Unsweetened Chocolate

9 Large Separated Eggs

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Almonds for Garnish (Optional)

Preheat the oven to 300° F. Remove the bottom from a 9×3 inch springform pan and cover the bottom with foil. Wrap the foil around to the underside. This will make it easier to remove the cake from the pan. Replace the bottom. Grease and flour the foil bottom and side of the pan. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, melt the butter with all of the chocolate over a low heat. Stir constantly. Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl. In a small bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar for about 5 minutes with a mixer and 10 minutes by hand. The goal is to get the mixture very thick and lemon colored. With a rubber spatula, stir the egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture until blended. In a separate large bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Make sure that the beaters are clean before beating the egg whites. With a wire whisk or rubber spatula gently fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the egg whites one third at a time. Do not mix them in. We want to be gentle with the egg whites. Now, spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Do not over bake because the cake will firm up when chilled. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate overnight in the pan. To remove the cake from the pan run a hot knife around the edge of the cake. Remove the side of the pan and invert the cake onto a cake plate. Unwrap the foil on the bottom and lift off the bottom of the pan. Carefully peel the foil from the cake. Garnish with almonds or other nuts if you like. Makes 20 servings

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

November 2, 2011

Chocolate Crackle Cookies

These cookies are a chocolate lover’s dream.

INGREDIENTS

12 Ounces Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate (Divided)

¾ Cup Flour

2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ancho Chili Pepper

½ Teaspoon Baking Powder

¼ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Cup Softened Butter

½ Cup Sugar

¼ Cup Packed Brown Sugar

2 Lightly Beaten Eggs

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate. It is a good idea to use a double boiler, but you can also melt it in the microwave. After melting the chocolate set aside. Coarsely chop the remaining 4 ounces of chocolate. Mix the flour, cinnamon, ancho chili pepper, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a medium bowl beat the butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well blended. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on a low speed until well mixed. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons 1 ½ inch apart on parchment paper lined baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 10 minutes. You want the cookies set and slightly cracked on top. Transfer the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely. Makes 3 ½ dozen cookies.

Pumpkin Cake

October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Cake

This cake is so easy to make. It is a nice dessert or can be eaten as a breakfast cake. You can put frosting on this cake if you like, but I don’t think that it needs it.

INGREDIENTS

3 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Olive Oil

5 Eggs

3 1/3 Cups Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Soda

1 ½ Teaspoons Salt

1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Teaspoon Allspice

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2/3 Cup Water

15 Ounces Pumpkin Puree

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a Bundt pan or two 9x5x3 inch cake pans and set aside. In an extra large mixing bowl beat the sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Add the vanilla and set the sugar mixture aside. In another large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Alternately add the flour mixture and the water to the sugar mixture. Beat on low speed after each addition just until combined. Beat in the pumpkin and then spoon batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 1 hour until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan(s) and cool completely on a wire rack. Serves 8

Cranberry Apple Pie

October 29, 2011

Cranberry Apple Pie

This pie is such a nice holiday pie. Cooking the berries, sugar and orange peel with the flour before pouring it over the apples gives the pie a better texture and flavor. The chopped pecans add a nice crunch as well.

INGREDIENTS

Pie Filling

1 ½ Cups Chopped Cranberries

1 Cup Sugar

½ Teaspoon Grated Orange Peel

1 Tablespoon Unbleached Flour

1/3 Cup Cranberry Juice

6 Tablespoons Chopped Pecans

3 Peeled & Sliced Tart Apples

½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 Tablespoon Butter

Pie Crust

3 Cups Unbleached Flour

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Teaspoons Sugar

½ Cup Shortening

½ Cup Cold Butter

9 Tablespoons Ice Water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and sugar. With a pastry blender (or two knives or fingers) cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it resembles cornmeal. Dice the butter into cubes and cut in until the largest pieces are the size of a dime. Sprinkle the ice water over the flour & fat mixture. Toss with a fork and continue until the dough is moist enough to hold together. Roll into a ball and cut in half. Flatten with halves into two disks. Wrap the pieces of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate to give them a rest for 30 minutes or more before rolling out.

Preheat your oven to 425° F. Grease a 9 inch pie plate and line with half of the rolled out dough. Put the dough lined pie plate back in the refrigerator while making the filing. In a large saucepan, cook the cranberries with the sugar, orange peel, flour and cranberry juice for 20 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and cool. Remove pie plate from the fridge and sprinkle half of the pecans in the bottom of the prepared pie plate. Make 2 layers of apples on the top of the nuts. Sprinkle these with cinnamon and dot with butter. Pour the cooled cranberry mixture over the apples and sprinkle on the remaining pecans. Over with the remaining (rolled out) dough and crimp the edges. Bake for 30 minutes until the crust is golden and the berries are bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing. Serves 6

Holiday Popcorn Balls

October 28, 2011

Holiday Popcorn Balls

Growing up we made popcorn balls every Halloween and Christmas. We usually made them various colors according to the holiday and sometimes would put candy in them. Sticky and gooey, but oh so good. Here is a good basic popcorn ball recipe. You can make them plain or dress them up. You decide!

INGREDIENTS

¼ Cup Corn Oil

½ Cup Popcorn

½ Cup Dark Corn Syrup

½ Cup Sugar

½ Teaspoon Salt

Heat the corn oil in a large pan over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the popcorn and cover leaving the cover slightly ajar. The popcorn will start to pop. Shake frequently until the popping stops. Mix together the corn syrup, sugar and salt. Add the corn syrup mixture to the popped corn while it is still in the pan. Stir and toss constantly over a medium heat for 4 minutes until sugar is dissolved and the popcorn is evenly coated with the mixture. Remove from the heat and gently form into balls using buttered hands. To make colored popcorn balls just use a drop of food coloring in the corn syrup mixture. If you want to add candies then add the candy of your choice into the corn syrup mixture as well. Makes 12 popcorn balls

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