Monthly Archives: February 2015

Birds Eye View of Cowboys Stadium

Standard

Now that’s a cool shot. Here’s to serendipity!! Cowboys Stadium (now branded AT&T) in focus.

IMG_20150129_121446090

Dark Chocolate-Bourbon Torte

Standard

This torte infuses luscious dark chocolate with a splash of bourbon. It’s an elegant, Southern-style treat.

chocolate-torte-sl-1704074-x

Ingredients

Vegetable cooking spray
1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup fat-free milk
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup thawed reduced-fat whipped topping
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

Preparation

Prep: 20 Minutes
Bake: 45 Minutes
Cool: 30 Minutes

1. Preheat oven to 300°. Coat bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

2. Microwave chocolate morsels in a small microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) for 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.

3. Beat butter and 1/2 cup granulated sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla and egg; beat 1 minute. Add milk and, if desired, bourbon; beat 1 minute. (Mixture will look curdled.) Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended. Gradually add cocoa and flour, beating at low speed just until blended.

4. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold one-fourth of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes or until set. (A wooden pick inserted in center will come out with just a few crumbs on it.) Remove torte from oven; immediately run tip of a small knife around edge of torte. Let cool on wire rack 30 minutes. (Torte will rise to top of pan while baking but will sink while it cools.) Remove sides of springform pan.

6. Spoon whipped topping into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. (Do not seal.) Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe dollops of whipped topping around base of torte. Sprinkle torte with powdered sugar and cocoa.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Layer Cake

Standard

I had to share this recipe from Life, Love and Sugar blog. The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownie Layer Cake is one decadent, rich dessert! Layers of brownie and peanut butter cookie dough are layered together and topped with chocolate ganache and a touch of peanut butter icing!

Peanut_Butter_Cookie_Dough_Brownie_Layer_Cake (1)

Ingredients

Brownies
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup cocoa (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Cookie Dough
1 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3-4 tbsp milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 cup heavy whipping cream, divided

Peanut Butter Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp water or milk
mini chocolate chips, for topping, if desired

Peanut_Butter_Cookie_Dough_Brownie_Layer_Cake2

Instructions

1. Line the bottoms of three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350 degree.
2. Mix together the oil, sugar and vanilla extract.
3. Add eggs and mix until well combined.
4. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
5. Slowly add to the egg mixture until well combined.
6. Pour the batter evenly into the three pans and spread evenly.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
8. Remove brownies from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool on wire rack.
9. While brownies cool, make cookie dough.

To make the cookie dough:
1. Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
7. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla extract.
8. With the mixer on low speed, add flour.
9. Add milk to preferred thickness.
10. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick. Set aside.

To assemble cake:
Once the brownies are cool, it’s time to put the layers together. You can pile the cookie dough onto the brownies, stack the layers and leave messy layers, or use the method I used for having clean edges/sides of the cake.
1. Place half of chocolate chips in a metal bowl.
2. Microwave half of the heavy cream until it starts to boil. Remove from microwave and pour over chocolate chips.
3. Cover bowl with saran wrap for 5-7 minutes.
4. Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.
5. Using one of the same 8 inch cake pans that you baked the brownies in, put parchment paper or saran wrap in the bottom and up the sides of the pan. You will use it to lift the layers out of the pan.
6. Place the first brownie into the bottom of the pan.
7. Add about 3 tbsp of chocolate ganache on top of the brownie and spread into a thin layer. This will help the cookie dough stick to the brownie.
8. Put half of the cookie into the pan and spread evenly on top of the brownie.
9. Remove the first two layers from the cake pan and place on it’s serving dish.
10. Repeat steps 5-8 with the second brownie and remaining cookie dough. Then remove from pan.
11. Put another 3 tbsp of chocolate ganache on top of the cookie dough layer from the first section of cake and spread thinly.
12. Place the second section of cake onto the first.
13. Put another 3 tbsp of chocolate ganache on top of the cookie dough layer on top (the fourth layer) and spread thinly.
14. Top with remaining brownie.

To finish off cake:
1. Place remaining chocolate chips in a metal bowl.
2. Microwave remaining heavy cream until it starts to boil. Remove from microwave and pour over chocolate chips.
3. Cover bowl with saran wrap for 5-7 minutes.
4. Whisk chocolate and cream until smooth.
5. Allow to sit for a few minutes until it just starts to thicken, then pour over the top of the cake.
6. Place cake in refrigerator and make the peanut butter icing.
7. To make the icing, beat the shortening and butter together until smooth.
8. Add the peanut butter and mix until smooth.
9. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add water or milk.
11. Remove cake from fridge, and pipe icing onto the top edge of the cake and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips, if desired.

Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter Chocolate Chex Mix Bars

Standard

All it takes is five minutes on the stove to melt the peanut butter and sugar together and then just drizzle on the chocolate.

I actually first tried these as bars, but then I thought, these would be so cute in little hand-held bites. So I just made both, and both are awesome. I personally would make the cups only because I think they are cuter and really easy for people to grab, go and eat!

Snickerdoodle-Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chex-Mix-Bars

Ingredients

2 cups Corn Chex
1 cup Rice Chex
1 cup Whole Wheat Chex
1 1/2 cups bite size pretzels
1 cup air popped popcorn
1 cup mixed nuts (I used peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pecans)
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup karo syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2-3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like to use all 3 cups)

Idiot-Proof-Snickerdoodle-Peanut-Butter-Chocolate-Chex-Mix-Bars-7

Instructions

1. In a large bowl combine the corn chex, rice chex, whole wheat chex, pretzels, popcorn and nuts. Toss well.

2. In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour the butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well with you hands until the butter and cinnamon has coated all of the chex mix.

3. Using cooking spray or canola oil thoroughly grease 24 cupcake molds (or for bars grease or line with wax paper a 9×13 inch pan), set aside.

4. Add the Karo syrup, peanut butter and brown sugar together in medium saucepan. Heat almost to a boil but be careful not to burn. Stir to combine the ingredients. Once the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stir for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the chex mix and toss well with a spatula.

5. Spoon the mixture evenly among 24 cupcake mold, or one 9×13 inch pyrex dish, and lightly press the mixture together.

6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double broiler. I like to microwave mine, heating on full power for 20 seconds, stir, 30 seconds again, and stir until melted. Spoon a tablespoon or so of melted chocolate over each bar. Place the trays in the fridge for 45 minutes or until ready serve. Once ready to serve use a butter knife to pop the bars up and out of their molds.

An Office With A View

Standard

I recently visited downtown Dallas, Texas and couldn’t resist grabbing a few photos from this vantage point at Main and Akard.

IMG_20150214_152531748_HDRIMG_20150214_152443633_HDR

My view from above the historic Main Street, Dallas, Texas!

IMG_20150214_153304940_HDRIMG_20150214_152547319_HDR

Sicilian Ricotta Cheese Cake

Standard

I believe this to be the first recipe that I have posted that isn’t chocolate, but no one will complain. This cheese cake is a must share!

Sicilian-Cheese-Cake

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 8

Ingredients

32 ounces ricotta cheese, drained
1 orange (for 2 teaspoons orange zest/grated rind)
⅓ cup flour
1 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
18 graham crackers (2 packets from a 14 oz box)
1 stick butter

Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Generously grease a springform pan with butter.
3. For graham cracker crust, crush graham crackers in food processor until consistency of bread crumbs; stir with melted butter until mixture holds shape when squeezed. If needed, add a little more melted butter.
4. Firmly press graham cracker “crust” into bottom and along bottom sides of spring form pan; set aside.
5. Sift together flour and sugar in small mixing bowl.
6. In medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese and orange zest. Slowly fold in flour mixture with spatula until well blended and smooth.
7. Add eggs, one at a time, continuing to blend with spatula. Stir in vanilla extract.
8. Pour batter into spring form pan and gently smooth top with spatula.
9. Bake for 55-60 minutes, until cake is firm all the way to top center. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to set.

Chocolate Heaven Pie

Standard

This decadent chocolate pie recipe features a chocolate cookie crust, cream cheese filling, a chocolate filling and is topped with whipped cream. Enjoy!

images (2)

Makes 10 Servings

Ingredients

1 chocolate cookie crust (prepared)
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
18-ounce container whipped topping, divided
1 21-ounce can Chocolate Crème Pie Filling
mini chocolate chips or nuts to garnish

download (1)

Directions

1. Beat cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth; add 4 oz. whipped topping, mix well and spread into crust.

2. Empty pie filling into a clean bowl and stir thoroughly to smooth. Spread onto cream cheese mixture.

3. Cover the entire pie with whipped topping and mini chocolate chips or simply garnish.

4. Chill until served.