FiftyTwo Treats

I had to make a dessert to bring for Christmas so I decided to make a Death by Chocolate cake.

It was delicious and rich. Or at least that was the adjective everyone used to describe it, so I took it as a compliment.

I used the same frosting and ganache recipe as my peppermint cupcakes (except minus the peppermint extract) And I used this recipe for the cake.

Death By Chocolate cake

Three layers of delicious chocolate cake filled with chocolate buttercream topped with chocolate ganache.

My mouth is watering.

I going to say that these are half a treat each because I used mixes and didn’t do much special.

Gingerbread cookies:

How cute!

The mix from Williams and Sonoma is awesome! And they had the cutest little cookie cutters that are 3-D. Although I didn’t use those because I was making these cookies for my mom to bring to work with her. But one day I’ll use them! Here I used Wilton mini holiday cookie cutters, you can get them at Michaels.

And Nutella cake balls. No picture though. I made these in a hurry to send to Therese, you remember my friend from DC?, in time for Christmas since she won’t be home. You’ll just have to trust me that I made them. They were delish. Just use chocolate cake mix and mix with Nutella. Roll into a little ball, dip in chocolate and there you have it!

Next up…Christmas weekend.

Oh yes, there were more treats that came out of this weekend. I told you I was busy!! We had our office holiday party on Tuesday…and afterwards my friends and I did a secret santa so of course…I baked.

Peanut and Chocolate cookies…two heavenly foods mixed together.

 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Kiss cookies

I got the recipe from Bakerella…here.

Right now I am watching the Jets vs. Giants football game (Go Jets!) while making cinnamon rolls for tomorrow morning and enjoying the smell in the house.

But I just wanted to take some time out and wish everyone a very happy holiday season. Whether its Christmas or Hannukkah that you celebrate I hope you enjoy this time with family and friends.

May 2012 bring all the happiness and more that 2011 brought.

 

So after the mandatory Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies, came the piece de resistance. (Or at least I thought, I was very proud of these)

Chocolate cupcakes filled with Peppermint Ganache. Yum.

After baking and cooking all day (yes, I cooked for the party too) I got lazy and used boxed chocolate cake mix. *GASP* I know! I know! How dare I?! But! I did make the ganache and frosting all on my own…so that counts, right??

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Ganache

 

There they are, in all their glory

Prepare Devil’s Food boxed cake mix for the cupcakes. While the cupcakes are cooling prepare the ganache:

  • 1 12 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
  •  1 cup heavy cream
  •  1 – 1 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract (You can find mint extract at the supermarket and I’m sure that will work fine, I found peppermint extract at HomeGoods though)

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl with the heavy cream. Melt the chocolate for 30 seconds at a time and stir after every interval. (Depending on your microwave, it should take about 1 minute) Once the chocolate is melted and the heavy cream is mixed in well add the peppermint extract. Try 1/2 tsp first, and add until desired taste. Mix in. Wait 5-10 minutes for the ganache to thicken and fill the cupcakes (Make sure they are cool!!) You can add the ganache one of two ways…if you have a pastry bag with the very long tip used to fill eclairs and etc, use that, but be careful to not go all the way to the bottom of the cupcake. OR you can cut a little well into the cupcake and fill that. You’re just going to top it with frosting so no one will see your little well anyway.

You can also skip filling the cupcakes with the ganache and just dip the tops in it and forgo frosting. I don’t know if you can tell in the picture but I had to do that for two of the cupcakes because I ran out of frosting.

Now onto the chocolate frosting!

  • 2 sticks of softened butter
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar (You can add more confectioner sugar to taste, I don’t like things overly sweet)
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract…whichever you prefer
  • 4-5 tbsps heavy cream – add it a little at a time until you reach desired consistency

For this I’m sure your supposed to cream the butter and then add the dry ingredients but I’m lazy so I throw the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in and mix together. Then I add the extract and heavy cream until I reach the desired consistency. If you accidentally put too much cream in (hey! things happen!) add more confectioner sugar to thicken it up.

Frost the cupcakes and add some crushed candy canes for garnish and VOILA! Behold the cupcakes.

Last weekend was a busy weekend. Really busy. We had our annual family Christmas party where members of my extended family come and we eat, drink, and be merry. Even though I am an only child technically (I have a stepbrother and sister) I have a huge family. We’re Irish, what can I say? So when we get together it’s always a lot of noise, but a lot of fun and catching up.

Of course, because I love to bake, my mom put me in charge of baking for the party. Which leads me to my first of many treats- Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies. Every year my mom asks for these cookies around Christmas time so it has come somewhat of a tradition. It’s a super easy recipe that I’ve been making since I was 13 or so. No need to change it, it’s good just as is, although sometimes I substitute the butterscotch chips for raisins or chocolate chips.

 

Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies

You can get the recipe here at the Hershey’s website. And of course if you have something you make as a holiday tradition, please share! I love hearing about traditions.

I am not one to give up, so I decided that I’d give biscotti another try for a family party tomorrow. I had decided on making a cranberry pecan biscotti. It was going good until the dreaded forming of the biscotti log. But I persisted and decided to put it in the oven anyway, hoping for the best.

Took it out of the oven and it looked like this:

So I thought, god that is an ugly biscotti, maybe it’ll taste better than it looks. No such luck.

Ok biscotti, you win this round. But we will meet again, and I will win.

Until next time!

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