Tag Archives: Sugar

Hallow’s Eve Chocolate Bark

Can you all believe that the month of October is pretty much over?

Where have all the days gone?

The days just flew too quickly! I swear it was my sister’s birthday, then my uncle’s, my dad’s, and my close family friends (aka my other uncle’s) birthday just one after another. It was a “bam, bam, bam” scenario when it comes to their birthdays. Well more so for my oom (uncle in Dutch), my dad, and dear Bruce as they are within a few days of each other. But still!

And tomorrow is the eve of Halloween!

Are you all set for the festivities that come with the thirty-first?

I’m not! I still need to get more latex and other special effects for my boyfriend’s face! I’ll show you a photo of what I will be doing to him.

Two Face Harvey Dent

And if you don’t know what exactly is going to be done, here is a little instruction demo about what you can do with liquid latex. I did this to him to figure out what I am doing:

His mom called frantic!
His mom called frantic!

I don’t even have anything for my own costume! We also haven’t even carved out pumpkins!

BUT I did make a cool and spooky bark for this afternoon for work. I don’t work on Saturday so I thought I’d spice up the work day with some candy corn and black and orange sprinkles.

I got the recipe for the bark from Family Fresh Meals. The direct link to the recipe can be found here though.

I tried to follow the recipe. Well actually I did, I just couldn’t for the life of me find tiny candy eye balls! All I can think of is that Americans must be odd with their candy eyes on normal shelves in stores.

Though I am rather sad that none of our Oreo cookies have an orange or yellow filling to go with the season. They are all white and boring!

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 225g bags white chocolate chipits
  • 8 Oreo cookies, broken up into chunks
  • 1 cup (112g) pretzels, broken into pieces
  • 1 cup (1,248g) candy corn
  • 1 teaspoon black sprinkles
  • ½ teaspoon orange and black sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Melt the white chocolate at a low heat until smooth. Stir frequently to prevent burning.

  2. While chocolate is melting, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and cover with cookie chunks, pretzels, and candy corn.

  3. Once chocolate has completely melted, pour over cookie sheet. Spread with a spatula to ensure chocolate is evenly distributed over everything.

  4. While chocolate is still sticky, scatter candy corn on chocolate, sprinkle sprinkles, and pop in refrigerator until hard.

  5. Break into chunks and enjoy!

Halloween BarkHalloween Bark

The black sprinkles are too cool for words. They have a bit of a sparkly sheen to them! I got them at a special baking store actually! The baking store is attached to a bakery that sells classic French pastries, like macarons, croissants, and éclairs! How lovely, right?

Black Sprinkles

I found out that I love lavender madeleine’s though! I even bought a mold to try and make them myself.

We’ll see if I will be able to make madeleine’s! I hope I can!

Black and Orange sprinkles

As you can see these are my other sprinkles! I have a feeling I will be decorating everything in orange and black for a good while! I may make a funfetti cake with orange and black sprinkles. That would be neat. Or a chocolate funfetti cake, you know as the orange would be the only thing sticking out? Actually do people ever do that?

Whatever! That was my masterpiece and I cannot wait to bring it into work! Even with the big boss lady coming in. I’m sure she will enjoy it!

Hope you all have a spooky Halloween!

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Apple and Cinnamon Pastry Roses

I made the best breakfast/dessert ever!

I’ve recently started a new diet which I will get into another day, but with my new diet I make new things which suit me better.

Less sugar and yet more heavenly.

This is the first time in two weeks that I have actually had something legitimately sweet. You know what though? This wasn’t even all that sweet. It was as I said: heavenly.

Pre-Baking

Last night I made a quiche for the first time ever and had so much extra puff pastry, so rather than toss it out as mom would have done, I saved it. I looked up some great desserts and breakfasts which utilized the puff pastry and found something amazing.

I got the recipe from trusty ole Betty Crocker, however the direct link to the recipe can be found here.

As for the ingredients, the recipe says to use 3 medium apples, I however used 5 small apples. Because in Africa there seem to only be 3 types of apples at the grocery stores. Green ones, red ones, and small ones. Where I’m from the green one is usually a Granny Smith apple, the red one is a Red Delicious apple, and the small one? I’m pretty sure it is a small Jonagold but I can’t be too sure.

apple-types

Anyway here are the ingredients:

  • 3 medium (450g) apples
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • Flour for sprinkling
  • Puffy pastry dough (leftovers from previous meal work)
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 204ᵒC (400ᵒF) and grease 9 silicone muffin cups. (Silicone is less likely to stick to your cinnamon apple roses)

  2. Wash and core apples and slice thinly, leave on the peel.

  3. In small saucepan, fill with four cups (a thousand mL) water, four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons lemon juice. Bring water to boil and blanche your sliced apples for three minutes or until soft.

  4. Drain apples from water and allow to dry in paper towel.

  5. Sprinkle flour on work space and roll out dough sheet. Sprinkle four tablespoons sugar and two tablespoons cinnamon on dough and slice with pizza knife. Each line of dough should be an inch wide.

  6. Arrange cooled apples (skin-side down) on cinnamon covered dough and roll up to make a rose.

  7. Bake for twenty-five minutes or until golden. Remove from pan and allow to cool on cooling rack.

  8. Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Pastry Roses
Apple Cinnamon Pastry Rosess

These were fantastic! Absolutely fantastic! Best of all when Daddy came home from running errands he said he didn’t know that cinnamon rolls came like that, I told him that they didn’t, that this was all me! He was very impressed. Then he bit into one and was even more impressed.

Only issue I had with this recipe was that my oven sucks. Does anyone else have trouble reading the dials on their oven? This house I live in has been a company house for the last five years and before that was lived in by the owner. Because of that there is a lot of wear and tear to it. Like on the oven! UGH

Dials rubbed off

Overall great recipe! A must try for each of you and something I’ll have to make again one day!

Happy eating!

Peanut Buttery Goodness and some Funfetti Drama

A few weeks ago I made choco chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies for our housekeeper as a treat for the weekend. I’ve sort of made it a ritual to make something sweet for her as her one daughter who was the baker of her family passed away.

The Tuesday she came in, I asked her how the cookies were and she said they were wonderful. One of her daughters even asked for the recipe as her own daughters birthday was just around the corner and she wanted to make those cookies for her. I gave the recipe to Lizzie for her daughter but also had an idea up my sleeve to make a funfetti cake for Lizzie’s granddaughter for her birthday. What child wouldn’t want a funfetti cake to brighten up their day!?

Last week Tuesday I baked that cake for Lizzie’s granddaughters birthday which would be the following day. I will honestly say that I will not be making that cake again. It was far too brittle. But I iced it up and wrote “Happy Birthday” on the tin so that Lizzie can give it to the birthday girl the following day. It was pink and playful, perfect for any girl!

Pink and Girly Funfetti Cake

The following Tuesday Lizzie came in and she told me how her weekend went. She then told me that she added on the tin “Lizzie” so that it said “Happy Birthday Lizzie”. I was shocked. I asked her why she had done that when it was specifically for her granddaughter. She told me that she deserved it as she was the one working. Can you believe how selfish that is!? She also said that her daughter would have seen the tin saying “Happy Birthday” and immediately would have known it was for the birthday girl so Lizzie had to make it seem like it was for her.

Happy Birthday

I was so appalled. That’s a whole new level of greed if you ask me.

BUT I couldn’t stop my ritual because of her greediness, so today I made some peanut butter cookies. Simple and easy. I got the recipe from here.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup (65g) creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (100g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (96g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, for coating

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ᵒC (350ᵒF). Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter together in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar and beat until combined. Add an egg and vanilla extract and combine until creamy.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour and baking powder. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until combined.
  3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a small plate place 2 Tablespoons sugar on to coat cookies before placing on baking sheet. Roll a spoon full of cookie dough into balls and roll each ball between your hands. Roll balls in sugar to coat completely.
  4. Place cookie balls 2 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly (about 12 minutes) when cookies begin to just brown around edges and crackle on top they are ready to be removed. Allow to cool on cookie sheet for ten minutes before transferring onto rack to cool completely.

Pre-BakingPost-BakingGrowing up there were two types of cookies mom would always make: 1) Peanut butter cookies 2) Oatmeal Raisin cookies.

To me, any cookie that has an indent of a fork and is a light brown color MUST be a peanut butter cookie! Because that is how mom would do them when my sister and I were young. These cookies I made today are very different in appearance to what we had growing up. The scent however is much the same.

This recipe is so very easy that I may have to make these cookies again for mom. She has a keen love for peanut butter anything. It is a shock she doesn’t stick a spoon into the peanut butter container like I do.

The container for Lizzie to take home today looks like this:

Peanut Butter Cookies to Go

Quite a small batch, this is why you didn’t get any, Mom! – she was pretty bummed she didn’t get any.

Anyway, I hope y’all enjoy the recipe as much as I hope Lizzie will!

New continent, New Meal

Hello everyone! It has been a while!

It is as if I fell off the side of the earth. Except instead of landing into outer space I landed in South Africa!

Tomorrow evening will make a full week of being in South Africa. The ten days or so before that, I spent both cleaning my apartment up to “check out” as well as just spent some quality time with both my parents and my sister. Because I didn’t have my apartment to make true love-filled cuisine for my loved ones, we just ate out. A LOT. And because of all the eating out, I have a lot of restaurant reviews I’ll have to do soon!

Car packed and ready for business (last time in the Hague)
Car packed and ready for business (last time in the Hague)

But before I get to that, I think it is time to update you on a lovely meal! Also my first meal made in South Africa for my mom and dad. I can happily say that they both enjoyed this to the max.

For this evening I made both a lovely meal and a very rich dessert. If y’all are dessert lovers, this could be something you can handle. If not, stay clear from that recipe!

Greek Chicken and Yellow Tumeric Basmati

I already know that I make a killer Greek marinated chicken, so I thought maybe dinner should be Greek cuisine. Neither mom nor dad had ever had this Greek chicken meal before, so I thought I would treat them to our favourite culinary treat made from our own kitchen. While I was thinking of this meal though, I had to think of something to pair with the chicken. What I thought of was rice. So I found a nice Mediterranean rice recipe which actually had a more Indian twang to it instead. Was delicious nevertheless!

The recipe for the rice can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups (292g) uncooked basmati
  • 2 ½ cups (625ml) chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil, turmeric, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon in a medium pot over medium heat.

  2. Add the dry rice to the pot. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to slightly toast the rice and spices. You may hear a slight popping or crackling noise as the rice toasts.

  3. Add 2.5 cups of chicken broth and one bay leaf to the pot. Place a lid on top, increase the heat to high, and bring the pot to a rolling boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer (with the lid in place) for 10 minutes or as long as directed on packaging.

  4. After letting it simmer for 10 minutes, turn the heat off and let it rest (do not remove the lid) for an additional 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!

This made a superb rice! My parents were very very impressed. Though it is more of an Indian style, it went perfectly with everything. Next time we make Indian, I’ll be sure to make this rice with it!

A few hours after we had dinner we had dessert. Only because I had to allow the top of the cake to set. You know how men are known for not reading instructions? Yes that is a generalization, but it seems to be a very true one most of the time. Well sometimes when I am in the kitchen I too do not read instructions. Oops!

I got the recipe from here, though I used my famous chocolate cake instead of a box cake. Do any of you every think boxed ANYTHING tastes fake compared to something homemade? To me I can just taste the falseness in the flavours. Yuck! I have yet to share my homemade chocolate cake with you guys, but stay tuned! I am sure it will happen sooner rather than later. What with me living with my mom again and all!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package
  • 3 cups (339g) ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (5.1 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup cold almond milk
  • 1 ½ cup canned whipped cream

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Set aside.

  3. In another bow, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

  4. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Spread to fill the pan evenly. Once the cake batter is in place, carefully pour the cheese mixture evenly over the top of the cake batter. Spread to cover the cake batter as best as you can.

  5. Bake the cake at 350ᵒF (175ᵒC) for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

  6. Once cooled, flip cake so ricotta is on the serving plate first and the chocolate cake is above it (not touching the plate)

  7. Begin to stir the pudding mix and milk together with a whisk until combined. Carefully, fold the whipped cream into the pudding until combined.

  8. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.

The whole last step about allowing the cake to refrigerate for six hours completely went over my head. So instead I had it cool for a minimum of three hours. I had planned dessert time for nine o’clock! Though the anticipation was so high that we had it at 8:30PM instead!

The ricotta was a little too weird for mom, but it tasted grand. Incredibly rich – I will eat it alongside a large glass of almond milk, but still good.

Three Layer Ricotta Chocolate Cake

I had to show my sister in Holland and she instantly decided she and her best friend would have to make it! So one way or another, my entire immediate family will have some rich cake in their lives! Wonderful!

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy the Greek style rice with this truly chocolatey cake!

Απολαύστε το γεύμα σας

And if you can’t read Greek, enjoy your meal!

Mint Chocolate Cake to Celebrate the Year!

Hello two thousand and fourteen! What great things will come for us as we experience another year in the twenty-first century?

To start the year I thought to make a mint chocolate cake which we brought to my aunt’s house to give as a celebratory dish for 2014. That family has a wonderful sweet tooth which means I can experiment more in the kitchen and let them indulge in my sweet desires without actually eating such creations myself.

This cake is my most basic cake that I make every time we crave for something sweet but not THAT sweet. When you eat sweet things do you prefer to have a super sweet treat or something light but still good enough to hit the craving you lust? I personally cannot stand super sweet. I could never own a candy shop. If I did I would probably be ill all the time.

Mint Chocolate CakeThis was what the cake I made looked like. The recipe for the chocolate cake is super duper easy and very delicious! If you just exclude the mint extract you will find the recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup room temperature water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ᵒF or 175ᵒC and grease a 9×5 rectangular loaf pan.

  2. In large bowl, sift all dry ingredients and mix. Then add all wet ingredients and mix well until all dry ingredients have become wet and liquidy.

  3. Pour chocolate cake recipe into prepared pan and place in oven.

  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes. When time is up check if cake is baked through with a toothpick, if not bake for additional ten minutes until cake is thoroughly baked.

  5. Once finished take out from oven and allow to cool. Remove mold from cake and allow cake to cool on plate or wire cooling rack.

  6. When cool, cut cake to make two layers. (I cut the cake just below the “crown” of the cake)

Next make the icing layer for both in between and on top of the cake. This I am not all too keen on, but it did the job.

Thick Mint Icing on Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 cups powder sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar together using a spatula. (Doing this will prevent the sugar to not fly up when later mixed with an electric mixer)

  2. Once the sugar and butter mix has made a very sandy-like texture, add vanilla and mint extract as well as milk and mix with electric mixer.

  3. Continuously add milk until at desired consistency (I prefer it to be able to still stick to the spatula, while being thick enough to spread well as a middle layer, – you can thin the icing out even more to make a glaze on the top layer of the cake)

** This recipe is enough for two of the loaf cakes above, so halve the mint buttercream icing if you’re making it for one cake!

I decided to add some dragees and chocolate chips for a design on top. With those candies I tried to design a firework. The final product ended up looking like this:

Firework Mint Chocolate CakeAfter baking this I then made dinner and attempted to make the blog entry for the meal. I ended up falling asleep for a bit too long of a period of time. Oops.

Luckily I was able to shower up and do my makeup just in time (45 minutes) to head to my aunts place at 10:30pm. We brought the cake and the ingredients to make some strawberry punch. Those ingredients are the following:

1 container of Strawberries, washed and sliced
1 Bottle White Zinfandel
½ a 2L Bottle of Lemonade
½ a 2L bottle of Ginger ale

If you like a sweet and slightly tart punch which looks very classy, this is definitely something for you!

I do not have a photo of the actual punch in the bowl, but I have a small photo of the punch in a glass. Not the best of photos, but you can see what it is like!

Strawberry PunchMom & I at 12:30am

If you make any of the above I hope you enjoy all!