Categories
Bake Desserts Featured Recipes

Insanely easy Red Velvet Cake Balls recipe

Making Red Velvet Cake BallsThis past weekend I had to chance to fly home and spend some time with my family. I always treasure these days with my family, and my little sister and I got to spend some time baking together. In high school we would make treats for our football players before games, but we loved doing this so much that we began making more desserts — like these Red Velvet Cake Balls — whenever we found recipes on Pinterest that we wanted to try. So when I came home last weekend I made sure we had time to make something I recently found online: Red Velvet Cake Balls.

I love the idea of making everything from scratch, and usually I would do that, but we only had a few hours for the whole project, so we succumbed to cake mix from a box. Terrible, I know, but Duncan Hines sells a delicious red velvet cake mix, and saves you so much time. First, we made the cake as instructed on the box and placed it in the oven to bake for 30 minutes. While it was baking, we made the cream cheese frosting. If you do not want to make the frosting, you can always buy a jar of it from the grocery store. I don’t really like premade frosting, and homemade does not take very long. The recipe for the frosting is above; just make sure the butter is already softened before trying to blend it.

When the cake is finished baking, use a fork to crumble it into fine pieces, avoiding the edges if they are hardened. Transfer the crumbled bits into the bowl of frosting, and blend together. If the “dough” feels too warm to roll into balls then place the bowl in the freezer until it feels firm enough. This was about 20 minutes for us, so while we waited we had the chance to look at even more recipes on Pinterest and get inspired for Thanksgiving!

Next, take the bowl out of the freezer and roll the dough into 1-inch balls and place on wax paper. Something I love about cake balls, truffles, Oreo balls, or any kind of “ball” is that anyone can help with the rolling and dipping. It makes baking a time to come together and enjoy each other’s company while working on the task at hand. Once you roll the balls, place them back in the freezer so they can keep their shape.

For the coating we used 6 cubes (12 ounces) of white chocolate almond bark. This stuff is amazing as a coating because it is made with vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter, and it covers the cake balls more evenly than chocolate chips or something. Melt the cubes in the microwave in 30-second intervals, until it is completely melted. If you “over-melt” the bark, then it will lose it’s consistency and not harden the way it should.

We took the balls out of the freezer and began dipping them in the melted almond bark. Once again, I “supervised” for this part because I didn’t really want to get my hands covered, and my sister is just so skilled at the dipping part. Make sure the cake balls are completely coated before placing them on the wax paper. Top with sprinkles, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Red Velvet Cake Balls Ingredients and Directions

  • 1 box Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • Sprinkles
  • 12 oz cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Half stick softened butter,
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, half pack cream cheese,
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Mix together by hand, then blend on high for 2 minutes until creamy.
Categories
Bake Boston Restaurants Desserts Recipe Sources

Chocolate Coconut Bread Pudding

 Ingredients

  • ¾ loaf of stale bread cut into cubes
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 21 oz. coconut milk
  • 1 ½ heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 9 ea. egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups shredded coconut

Preparation

  1. Scald cream, sugar, chocolate, coconut milk, blend well.
  2. Separate egg yolks and temper with chocolate mixture.
  3. Pour custard over bread cubes and add shredded coconut, let soak for 1
    hour.
  4. Rub butter and sugar on bottom and sides of metal bread pan
    or cast iron skillet.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and cook at 325° for 30 minutes.
  6. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
Categories
Autumn Bake Boston Restaurants Desserts Holidays Mexican Origins Recipe Sources

Pan de Muerto

On Tuesday, November 1st and Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 Chef Erwin Ramos of the Olé Restaurant Group is hosting an authentic two-night Día de los Muertos celebration featuring traditional Mexican cuisine and customs at Olé Mexican Grill located in Cambridge, MA and Zócalo Cocina Mexicana located in Boston, MA. While “Day of the Dead” may have a grave and gloomy ring to it, the holiday itself has no such emotions. Instead, the first two days of November are used to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost along the way. Chef Ramos and the Olé Restaurant Group are inviting friends and family in to both Olé Mexican Grill and Zócalo Cocina Mexicana to partake in the festive occasion with customary Mexican foods available either á la carte or as a three course prix fixe menu. Guests will be able to enjoy a 3 course meal consisting of traditional Day of the Dead foods including a variety of tamales and moles, such as manchamanteles (red mole), mole verde (green) and mole poblano (chocolate)—a fan favorite!  The meal will end on a sweet note, as all guests will receive complimentary Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead), made with rich, cinnamon and spice-infused Mexican chocolate brought to each table on a dessert cart.

Here’s the recipe for the Pan de Muerto.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (for glaze)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (for glaze)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (for glaze)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (to sprinkle over bread to finish)

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk and the butter together in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add them warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down and shape it into a large round loaf with a round knob on top. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
  5. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven let cool slightly then brush with glaze.
  6. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

 

Categories
Bake Desserts

You must be eighteen to eat this cupcake

Here’s a vanilla cupcake with yellow frosting that packs an unusually large punch for a dessert. I infuse the batter with valerian root and melatonin. Used as a minor sleep aid, valerian root is derived from a perennial flowering plant with sweet-smelling pink or white flowers and can be used to treat sleeping disorders, headaches and anxiety. Also a naturally occurring sleep aid, melatonin has the same physical effect when ingested. You can find both melatonin and valerian root at most health stores and some supermarkets.

The song Mellow Yellow takes me back to a day where I was worry free and traveling across the country following Phish and the Dead. Back then they had what they called ganja goo-balls, which were marijuana infused rice crispie treats, but they tasted horrible! People eat oysters because they taste great and it gives them a little kick, why not have mood-altering cupcakes? We card everyone who buys these cupcakes to make sure they are 18. This recipe makes plenty for you and your friends.*

Mellow Yellow Cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 gram Valerian Root finely ground
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 60mg melatonin (12 5mg caplets ground)

Yellow Frosting

  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2½ cups confectionary sugar
  • 1  tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Yellow food coloring

Cupcake Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Line standard-sized muffin pan (half cup) with baking cup liners.
  3. Measure out 1gram of finely ground Valerian Root and add it to a saucepan with the butter and melt on low. When completely melted, let cool. We have now infused the butter with the active chemicals in the root.  Strain the butter in a fine cheesecloth or colander. Reserve.
  4. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, melatonin and salt in medium bowl. Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice; beat at medium speed until smooth, for approximately one minute. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula and mix again.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared baking cups. Bake until cupcake tops are pale yellow (hence the mellow) or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, around 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and transfer to a wire rack. Cool cupcakes to room temperature before frosting.

Frosting Instructions

  1. Using the wire whip attachment of your mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes; scrape the bowl once or twice.
  2. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the confectionary sugar. Once all of the confectionary sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla and food coloring, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.Frost cupcakes, sit back, take a bite and mellow out!

*Valerian is derived from dried roots and plant materials from the valerian plant.  It is used to treat sleeping disorders, nervousness, headaches, anxiety and panic attacks. Valerian’s side effects include dizziness, mild depression, agitation, stomach aches, allergic reactions, anxiety and recently liver failure. It also is sometimes used by pregnant women though research is inconclusive on the side effects it could have on the unborn child.

People taking allergy, cholesterol, cancer and antifungal medications should not take valerian.

Melatonin on the other hand is one of the gentlest supplements that can be used as a sleeping aid. It is used to supplement the natural melatonin hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, in cases of sleep deprivation and insomnia. Melatonin benefits a lot of people and is being used in the treatment of jet lag, migraines (due to its anti-inflammatory effect), sleep disorders and neurodegenerative disorders. Recent studies are beginning to show that it can also be used in the treatment of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.

For a list of drugs that have serious drug interactions. For more information on melatonin supplements side effects, dosage, side effects, FDA regulations visit FDA website.

Even though Valerian and Melatonin are both sleeping aids and sold as supplements at health stores, they should not be taken together. The resulting effect of taking the two includes heavy drowsiness, nausea, confusion and headaches.

Categories
American Autumn Bake

Easy delicious apple crisp

Easy and delicious. Actually its wicked easy and too delicious.
Easy and delicious. Actually its wicked easy and too delicious.

This recipe was featured in Blast Magazine in September 2010.

When you go apple picking in the fall, you end up with a bunch of apples. The problem with a bunch of apples is that, say you’re a young couple, you will never finish 20 or so apples before they go bad. Furthermore, you will almost always get sick of just munching on a plain apple all the time. (Though you shouldn’t. Eating a plain apple is just about the only healthy way to eat apples…this recipe is proof)

For some reason, neither my girlfriend nor I care much care for apple pies. That left us wondering what we could make.

Apple crisp.

This required calls to her sister and mother, but 45 minutes later, here are the steps to delicious, completely unhealthy, apple crisp.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups of Mcintosh apples. (That’s about 4 medium-sized apples.)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. white flour. (to start)
  • 1 cup white flour (to finish)
  • 1 cup of instant oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (Yes, that’s a stick and a half)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Skin and core the apples.
  3. Slice them thinly and arrange them in a deep baking pan.
  4. Mix the tablespoons of flour, sugar, and cinnamon and pour the mix over the apple slices. Make sure they are evenly covered.
  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the cup of flour, oatmeal, and brown sugar.
  6. Take the stick and a half of butter and thinly slice it. Use a large fork to mix it all up until there is a consistency. Spread this all over the top of the apples.
  7. Sprinkle about an extra teaspoon of cinnamon over the top of everything if you like cinnamon.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes.
  9. This is insanely easy. Anyone can make apple crisp. It goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Categories
Bake Desserts Featured Recipes

Hunk of Burning Cake

This Elvis cupcake features treasured ingredients from the King’s favorite snack; the Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Sandwich.  Part touchstone of youth culture, and part rebellious attitude, the chocolate cupcake is infused with bacon and topped with creamy peanut butter frosting before being topped with a piece of mouthwatering bacon. This recipe makes 12 cupcakes.

Elvis Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 8  tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 10 pieces cooked crispy bacon, chopped into fine bits
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • Bacon fat from the cooked bacon (always save your bacon fat, Brotha)
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 large, overripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche

All-American Frosting

  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 cups confectionary sugar
  • 1 overripe banana
  • Remaining bacon fat
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Pieces of crispy bacon
  • Red food coloring

Cupcake Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Line standard-sized muffin pan (half cup) with baking cup liners.
  3. Combine butter, chocolate, bacon fat (save around a tbsp. for the frosting) and cocoa in medium bowl. Set bowl over saucepan containing barely simmering water, creating a double boiler.
  4. Heat mixture until the butter and chocolate are melted, whisk until smooth and full.
  5. Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a small bowl.
  6. Whisk eggs in second bowl; add the banana, sugar, bacon (save some of the bacon for garnish), vanilla and salt and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Add chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth.
  8. Sift about a third of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix until combined; whip in crème fraîche until smooth.
  9. Add the rest of the flour mixture and whip the batter until thick.
  10. Spoon batter equally in the muffin cups.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes, or until done.
  12. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack. Cool to room temperature before icing, which is usually around 30 minutes.

Frosting Instructions

  1. Whisk together the peanut butter, water, Crisco, banana, and the remaining bacon fat with an electric mixer.
  2. Slowly sift sugar into mixture until smooth.
  3. Add food coloring to desired liking (think Vegas, think velvet).
  4. Decorate cupcakes and garnish with a small piece of crisp bacon, Brotha.

 

Categories
Bake Boston Restaurants Desserts Featured Recipes

Butterscotch Bread Pudding with Rum Drunken Raisins

This recipe comes from Jim Solomon, Owner/Executive Chef at The Fireplace in Brookline. A New England-style grill and barbecue, the restaurant is also one of the few green certified restaurants in the Boston area.

Sunday-Thursday The Fireplace features Humble Offerings. Each week a new, high-quality American classic is priced at $20.00 or below. Some past dishes include: Fish & Chips, Beef Stew, and Chicken Pot Pie.

Butterscotch Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (slightly stale) brioche bread
  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 lb. butter
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 5 ea. egg yolks
  • 3 ea. whole eggs
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup sugar

Rum Drunken Raisin Preparation

  1. Heat equal parts rum, sugar and raisins.
  2. Cook until raisins begin to plump, approximately ten minutes.
  3. Allow raisins to cool.

Cooking Instructions

  1. Melt the butter and brown sugar until just bubbling.
  2. Add whiskey & lemon juice and cook for one minute to burn off the alcohol.  Add cream and mix to combine.
  3. Cook for approximately five minutes.  Allow to cool until warm to the touch (110°).
  4. Add the yolks & eggs and whisk to combine. Pour over the bread (which should now be in a large bowl after being roughly chopped) and allow to soak for one hour.
  5. Soak with the Rum Drunkin’ Raisins (see accompanying procedure). Spoon mixture into well greased baking dish. Cover with foil.
  6. Bake at 350° for one hour.  Serve with fresh whipped cream and seasonal berries.

 

Categories
Bake Desserts Featured Recipes

The Crabby Cook’s Brownies

My husband and I do not need brownies; we’ve eaten enough of them already to meet our lifetime quota and to account for certain body changes that I will not describe here. But because Tom is a hopeless chocoholic, when I make brownies to curry favor with my kids’ friends, I have to keep an eye on them.

For a long time, when brownies disappeared from the cooling rack and my husband seemed the obvious perpetrator, he would issue a denial and look meaningfully in the direction of Oliver. So I thought the golden retriever was amazingly athletic (how did he reach the brownies I had placed behind the kitchen sink?) and had a remarkable tolerance for chocolate, a substance that is notorious for making dogs ill.

But then, on a recent occasion, I left a hot brownie batch on the counter to cool and took Oliver for a walk. When I returned and noticed that the baking pan was half empty, I did a breathalyzer test on napping Tom. Sure enough: chocolate breath. (And a messy crime scene: brown crumbs on the sofa.)

Since then, I have become more creative with my hiding places, putting cooling racks in the car or in the guest bathroom.

So far, so good: Tom has lost five pounds.

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the baking dish
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharffen Berger)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cooking instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, line it with parchment, and butter the parchment.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat and set it aside to cool. Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Using a whisk or an electric hand mixer, beat them until they are well blended, light and pale yellow, about 2 minutes,. Gradually beat in the melted butter, then stir in the vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix well, then fold the flour mixture into the butter and egg mixture until just combined. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan and bake until the top is crusty and cracking around the edges, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a little batter on it, about 30 minutes.
  4. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan, then cut them into 12 pieces and serve.
Categories
Bake Desserts Featured Recipes Holidays

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

This easy, delicious bread has been a favorite in my household for many years.  It is a recipe from Wilson Farms in Lexington, Massachusetts.  This bread can be a welcome gift, a family treat, or an interesting addition to your bread basket at dinner.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup butter or margarine softened
  • 1 1/3  cups sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  cup cooked, mashed pumpkin or winter squash
  • 1/4  cup water
  • 1 2/3  cups flour
  • 1/4  tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4  tsp. salt
  • 3/4  tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2  tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2  tsp. cloves
  • 1/2  cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2  cup seedless raisins (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar and beat in the eggs with an electric mixer.
  4. Beat in the pumpkin and water until smooth.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves together.
  6. Beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.
  7. Stir in the walnuts and raisins into the batter.
  8. Place mixture  in the prepared pan and bake for approximately one hour.
Categories
Bake Desserts Featured Recipes

Snickerdoodles

Here’s a classic cookie recipe that I learned from my friend Nigella, reinvented into a donut hole shape that can be dressed up or dressed down, depending on the sweet tooth occasion.  Instead of taking the traditional route and making these cinnamon-sugar delights into flat

These snickerdoodles can be eaten with a steaming cup of espresso.  When sharing these cookies with a crowd, they can be paired with homemade whipped cream and a dab of chocolate syrup to turn the dish into a more refined dessert.

To add a little more creativity to this dish, replace 2 tablespoons of the flour with cocoa to create chocodoodles, as Nigella calls them. This recipe makes about 32 cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 baking sheets, lined with parchment or wax paper or greased

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter with 1/3 cup of sugar until light in texture and pale in color.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until you have a smooth mixture.
  6. Combine the remaining sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl.
  7. Squeeze out pieces of dough and form walnut-sized balls.
  8. Roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and arrange on your prepared baking sheets.
  9. Bake for about ten minutes, let cool, and serve.