Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Award Winning Dessert: Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Delight

Uncle Kevin and I went to an Iron Chef themed dinner party.  Everyone had to bring a dish to share using the secret ingredient that was revealed 2 days before the party. 



When the ingredient of cheese was revealed I went straight to Pinterest to find a dessert with cheese. I didn't want to go with an ordinary cheese cake.   I found this great recipe for a dark chocolate salted cheese cake using mascarpone instead of cream cheese.  As I was reading the recipe, it reminded me of a dessert I made at Christmas.  I decided to combine the two recipes to create my Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Delight.  It was a great combination.


At the party everyone created a card for their dish and the voting was done by secret ballot at the end of the night. It was a fun idea for a party.  We got to try so many different cheese dishes.  I won for best dessert and tied for best overall dish.  I was so excited. My prizes were a bottle of wine and a new colander...just what every kitchen needs.

I've already made this again for a work lunch.  I made a few changes the second time to make the process a little easier.  The great thing about no bake/frozen desserts is that they don't heat up your kitchen in the summer and can be made ahead of time if you're having a party to free up your kitchen the day of the party.    This is definitely going to become a go to dessert.  

 Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Delight  
Adapted from: Little Sweet Baker and Kevin & Amanda

Ingredients:
Crust
2 cups Oreo cookie crumbs
6 tbsp unsalted butter
Cheesecake
½ cup cold whipping cream
275 grams softened mascarpone cheese (or 250 grams of cream cheese)
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Caramel
4 tbsp butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 cup whipping cream
Ganache
1 cup whipping cream
8 oz dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

1 tbsp sea salt flakes

Directions :
  1. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted butter and press onto the bottom and sides of a 9" tart pan. Chill in freezer.
  2. Using a handheld mixer, whip the whipping cream till soft peaks form, set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip together the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until incorporated. Add the whipped cream to the mixture and blend untill smooth. Pour over the chilled crust. Place back in freezer for at least 1 hour.
  4.  Combine 4 tablespoons butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream until smooth. Cool caramel about 15 minutes.
  5. While caramel is cooling make the ganache. Place chocolate chips in a glass bowl.  In a saucepan, bring 1 cup heavy whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate chips and whisk until smooth. Let cool to touch and pour over frozen tart.  Let it set for a few minutes, but don't let it harden too much.  Drizzle caramel over the ganache and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until ready to serve.
  6. Before serving sprinkle with sea salt.
 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Personalized Photo Album

I did a lot of online shopping when I was on maternity leave.  Probably way too much, but I had to do something to keep myself occupied during all of the nursing sessions.

One of my favorite online shops is Pick Your Plum.  It's a daily deals site that has a lot of craft and baking supplies.  They have other items also, but these are may favorites.

I ordered a personalized wooden book cover with The Bugs name on it.  I didn't know what I was going to use it for, but I couldn't pass up the great deal.


They've been sitting on my desk for months and I was trying to figure out what to do with it. After his birthday I had his monthly pictures that I had printed as part of the decorations.  I thought it would be great to use the book covers as a photo album, but I wasn't sure how to make it work and look nice.  I found this blog entry from someone else that had the book covers.  She made some cute books for her nieces and nephews.  I liked how hers looked and it got my mind thinking of how I could make my pages.  I spent one evening working on them and love the way they turned out.



I got a pack of plain paper and a coordinating pack of decorative paper from Michael's. I kept it simple.  The plain paper is the background and I cut strips of the decorative paper as borders to the pictures. To hold it all together, I used binder rings. 

I'll probably add something to the front, but for now I love how it turned out.  I've looked through it so many times already.  It's crazy to watch him grow as I turn the pages. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Easter Cake: Carrot Cake Cheese Cake

Two of my favorite desserts are carrot cake and cheese cake.  When I came across this recipe from Wicked Good Kitchen on Pinterest I knew that I had to make it.  I thought that it would be perfect for Easter.
 Of course I had to find a festive way to decorate.  I wanted something "springy"  I came across this idea from Glorious Treats.  I decided to just do the top with the flowers.  I think I did a few too many.  If I do this again, I would put less flowers on it. 



It was delicious. Not all of my family are huge dessert eaters, but everyone tried this and loved it.  I thought that it would take a long time to bake all three layers, but it didn't take much longer than any other cake with a filling.  I will definitely make this again. 





Monday, April 13, 2015

Oreo Pop Cupcake Toppers

Uncle Kevin's birthday was a few weeks ago.  We were out of town right before his birthday, so I didn't have time to bake anything special on his birthday.  He organized a dinner with friends for the weekend after his birthday, so I decided I would make something for that night.


The problem was, I didn't know what to make.  He's not a huge cake person.  He loves gummies, but I've already done a gummy bear cake.  One night I was reading some blogs and saw this post from Bakerella on Oreo Cookie Pops.   I thought it would be fun to write Happy Birthday on them, but didn't know how I wanted to display them.  Then I realized they would make cute cupcake toppers.  So I made cookies 'n cream cupcakes with Oreo pop toppers.



I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe, but added an Oreo Cookie to the bottom of the cupcake liner before I filled it with the batter.  For the frosting, I mashed up some Oreos and blended them in right at the end.

They were a hit.  Everyone loved them and the Oreo pops were an added treat. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Stuffed Elephant




I've had elephants on my mind after I made the gift set for my friend. I wanted to find something else to make with the patchwork fabric. I thought it would be cute to make a little stuffed elephant. To go beyond just a stuffed animal, I decided to add some sensory elements. It took a little figuring out (and a late night run to Petco for a squeaker) but in the end it turned out better than I expected.


He has two different textures of fabric, ribbon ears, crinkle ears and a squeaky tail.  Bug was excited to figure out how to squeak the tail

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Frozen Cupcakes

My niece Emma had a Frozen themed fifth birthday party.  She wanted an Elsa Princess Cake.  I had made her a princess cake before, but I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull off an Elsa cake.  I wanted to do something for her, so I did some searching on Pinterest.  I found some fabulous cupcakes at Erica's Sweet Tooth that I knew that I could make. 




They  turned out great and were pretty easy to  make.  I think they were a pretty good substitute for a princess cake:)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Year of Holiday Outfits

Last year I decided that I would make some type of shirt/outfit for Bug for all of the holidays.  It started with New Years because I didn't have anything for him to wear.  Some were more involved than others, but he got something for all of the major holidays that we celebrate (including his birthday). 










I've shared most of them on my personal Instagram or Facebook, but it's fun to see them all together.  It's also amazing to see how much he grew and changed in a year.