Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Best Ever Chocolate Frosting

Now personally, I've never found a homemade chocolate frosting I love. Some are good here and there, but I haven't found the perfect one...till today. And you know it's gotta be good because it comes from our friends over at Our Best Bites. This is the definition of what a chocolate frosting should be. Deep, dark chocolate flavor and smooth, airy texture. It's basically a whipped ganache which makes it the epitome of chocolate flavor. It does take a bit to make, but oh boy is it worth it!

16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips

1 stick (8T) butter

1/3 cup granuated sugar

2 T light corn syrup (I used honey)

2 t vanilla

1/4 t salt

1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan containing 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Meanwhile heat butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted. Increase heat to medium, add sugar, corn syrup (or honey), vanilla and salt and stir with rubber spatula until the sugar is dissolved, about 4-5 minutes. Add melted chocolate, butter mixture, and cream to a clean bowl of a stand mixer and stir to thoroughly combine.

Place mixer bowl over and ice bath and stir mixture constantly with a rubber spatula until frostin is thick and just beginning to harden against the sides of the bowl, about 1-2 minutes (frosting should be cooled and aroun 70 degrees.) Place bowl on stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-high speed until frosting is light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Stir with rubber spatula until completely smooth.

*If you find that after beating, your frostin is still too soft for your liking, chill in the fridge until it sets up a little more. I ended up stiring the frosting in the ice bath for a little longer than they said, until it was cold to the touch and thick, before I started whipping it. I feel like I got a great consistency from this and it definitely wasn't too soft. It was perfect...this recipe is perfection!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nutella Cupcakes

I was itching for a new recipe, but being Sunday I needed to use what I had on hand. Somehow I had Nutella. Have you had Nutella? It's amazing. It's rapidly becoming one of my favorite spreads. I love the nutty, chocolaty, smooth taste. There's really nothing like it. It was the perfect ingredient for cupcakes:) I decided to go with a basic chocolate cupcake recipe, fill it with Nutella and then top it off with a Nutella cream cheese frosting. This might be my new favorite cupcake recipe! I got SO many compliments on these and I can't deny it...I couldn't keep my hands off them, especially when I did half the batter as mini cupcakes - perfect one bite treat:) If you love Nutella, you must try these!

For the Cake:
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix
1 small box white chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 small jar Nutella

For the Frosting:
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1/4 cup Nutella

Start by making the cake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cupcake pan by lining it with cupcake liners. Mix the cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, milk and oil in a standing mixer and beat until well incorporated (about 2 minutes) while scraping the sides. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full. Place 1 teaspoon Nutella on top of each cupcake batter. Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until tops spring back when touched. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack.

For the frosting cream cream cheese and butter until really smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add vanilla and Nutella and beat until very creamy. Add powdered sugar - enough to get your desired spreading consistency. Personally I like it a little thin and creamy instead of stiff like icing. Pipe or spread onto cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Bake

This is the perfect weeknight dinner. It tastes just like enchiladas with half the work. I love twists on classic recipes and this is one of them. You won't be disappointed!

2 cups white rice
2 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 (15oz) can mild green enchilada sauce
1 (4oz) can sliced black olives
1 (15oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 t cumin
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained ans rinsed
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Cook rice according to package directions. Place chicken, enchilada sauce, olives, tomatoes, sour cream, salt, pepper and cumin into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Pour cooked rice into prepared baking dish and layer beans on top of rice. Pour chicken mixture over rice and top evenly with cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cheese is melted and rice is hot.

*From Picky Palate.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars

I found these on and knew I needed to try them. Surprisingly they taste just like creme brulee! The toffee bits give them that crisp top layer just like it. I sent them to work with Justin and they were gone within 5 minutes. If you're in the mood for a simple, delicious, sophisticated dessert this is the one for you.

1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1 small box french vanilla instant pudding mix
2 T packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 1/2 t vanilla, separated
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup toffee bits, finely crushed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla an 1 whole egg until a soft dough forms. Press dough in the bottom of the pan

With a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping the sides. Add sour cream and sugar and beat on medium until really smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla. Beat until smooth and spread over crust.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until center is set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with toffee bits. Place a cookie sheet over the top and let sit about 10 minutes. Remove cookie sheet and cool for 20 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. Cut into bars and serve. I like to let them sit out for at least 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off. I think they taste better that way:)

*From Betty Crocker.