Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

Vodka Zinger Balls

December 10, 2012
Vodka spiked center

Vodka spiked center

2 cups (measured with whole cookies) vanilla wafers
1 1/2 cup sweetened flake coconut dyed red (reserve 1/2 cup for toasting and rolling)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vodka
1 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon of seedless raspberry jam
4 oz white chocolate or almond bark for dipping
toasted coconut

Before you go to bed, prepare the mixture to be chilled in the refrigerator over night. Use a food processor (or crush with a rolling pin in a ziploc bag) to chop or crush vanilla wafers into consistent fine crumbles.

Empty into a large mixing bowl. To proceed like the photograph, dye coconut by combining 2 tsp of water with four drops of red food coloring in a ziploc bag and shake until evenly colored red. Next add 1 cup of the dyed coconut and pulse until chopped into bits (or chop with a knife.) Then add the red chopped coconut to the mixing bowl containing crushed wafers. Sift 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar into bowl with wafers and coconut. If you don’t have a sifter shake it through a mesh strainer to get it broken down into a dusting. Mix all ingredients and set aside.

In a smaller mixing bowl mix 1/4 cup raspberry vodka, corn syrup and raspberry jam. Pour this vodka mixture into the larger bowl with the wafer mixture and mix thoroughly. It will look like a lump of dry cookie dough. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator over night or for a few hours. Once it is firm, use a small cookie scooper to create symmetrical balls and roll into balls and place on waxed paper. Allow them to chill again in the refrigerator. You may roll them in sifted powdered sugar or dip them into white chocolate or almond bark. This photograph shows Zinger Balls dipped in white chocolate and then rolled in two-tone red dyed and plain white coconut.

To continue like the photograph, set the oven to 350 degrees and toast remaining 1/2 cup red coconut for about 7 minutes. Careful to watch coconut and use a fork to mix it as needed to prevent burning. I added a handful of plain white coconut half way through toasting to get color variation, but please note it will toast faster because it is not wet like the red coconut. Set the coconut aside to cool and begin melting white chocolate in a double boiler or use a wide bowl on top of a pasta pot with about 3 inches of simmering water.

Once the white chocolate is melted, roll the balls in the white chocolate, set onto waxed paper and sprinkle and press coconut into each vodka ball. Use small foil cupcake liners for a nice presentation. However, if you turn them inside out then the silver shows better.

chop into fine crumbs

chop into fine crumbs

add wafer crumbs to bowlsift sugar into bowladd chopped coconut to waferscoconut dyed in bag redtake chilled dough and scooptoast coconutmelt white chocolat for outer coatingplated zingers

Vodka spiked center

Zebra Cheesecake

August 23, 2012

Zebra Cheesecake

One slice can force your brain to manufacture more dopamine than love

Dessert on the wild side

I love the visual combination of decadent white and black chocolate in this recipe and the obscenely delicious layer of chocolate on top of the chocolate crust.  It is a labor intensive recipe, but worth the work.  I suggest you begin this recipe at the beginning of the day or better yet, make it a day ahead.

1 ½ C Chocolate Oreo Cookies

3 T butter, melted

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate pieces

4 (8oz)  packages of cream cheese, softened

1 ¼ c sugar

3 T cornstarch

¼ tsp salt

5 large eggs

8 oz sour cream

2 tsp Watkins vanilla extract

1 ½ C heavy cream

8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate squares

8 oz white chocolate baking squares

Raspberries for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9X3 spring form pan.  Place Oreos in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are fine.  In a bowl, mix crushed Oreos with 3 T of butter.  Press crumbs firmly onto bottom of pan.  Bake the crust for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand until chocolate pieces soften, then spread chocolate evenly over the crust.  Place in refrigerator to chill until you finish mixing the filling.
  2. In a large bowl, use mixer on medium speed to beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.  In a small bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Gradually mix into cream cheese until well blended.  With mixer on low speed, gradually beat eggs in one at a time, sour cream vanilla and 1 C heavy cream (reserve ½ C for glaze later) until blended and smooth.
  3. Divide batter evenly into 2 (4-8 cup) measuring cups with pouring spout.  In small saucepan over low heat, melt 8 oz squares of semi-sweet chocolate.  In another small saucepan melt 8 oz of white chocolate.   When melted smooth, mix white chocolate into one bowl of filling and mix the semi-sweet  chocolate into the other bowl.  Make sure the filling is evenly divided or the batter will not pour into properly.
  4. The Zebra stripe design is achieved by alternating pouring the filling into spring form pan.  (This is difficult so don’t panic.  Do the best you can because it will look dynamite even if the pattern is a little less even than you desire.) Pour half of the dark batter into the pan.  Then pour white batter from 2 feet above pan directly into the center of the dark batter (the height will force the center of the cake to be pushed to the edge of the pan.   Alternate pouring white and dark batter about 3 times decreasing the amounts of batter each time and ending with white batter.  The batter should resemble concentric circles.
  5. Bake cheesecake 30 minutes.  Turn oven to 225 degrees and bake 1 hour and 45 minutes longer or until center is set.  Turn off oven; let cheesecake remain in the oven 1 hour.  Remove cheesecake from oven.  Run thin bladed spatula or knife around edge of cheesecake to loosen side of pan.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack.  Refrigerate at least 6 hours or until well chilled.
  6. Optional glaze:  About an hour before serving prepare the glaze.   In a quart saucepan over medium heat, heat remaining ½ C heavy cream until small bubbles form around edge of pan.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Stir in remaining 4 squares of semi-sweet chocolate until melted and smooth.  Cool glaze about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, carefully remove cake from pan to cake plate; with spatuala, spread glaze over top and side.  Refrigerate 30 to 45 minutes until glaze is set.  If you like, garnish with whipped cream and raspberries.

chocolate Oreo Cookies crushed

Add butter

Press firmly into spring form pan

Allow chocolate pieces to melt on hot baked crust and then spread evenly

pour melted chocolate into seperated filling bowls

Begin alternating pour of filling. My chocolate was a bit too thick because I had an unequal amount of batter divided. It will still work, but won’t pour as well. My dark filling stayed in the center when it should have pooled out more when white batter was poured onto center. Just a small mistake can change the look, but doesn’t ruin by any means.

melt white chocolate in its own sauce pan
melt chocolate in seperate pans
Add ingredients one at a time
Beat cream cheese with mixer until fluffy

Snickers Beast Cake Recipe

February 16, 2012
Three layers of chocolately goodness

Good for you

I wanted to bake a Snickers inspired cake for my nephews that had big visual impact and lots of flavor. This Snickers Cake referred to around my house as the “Cake Beast” is the result of those efforts. WARNING: This cake is extremely rich and decadent. It will wreck your diet and call out to you from different rooms of the house when you least expect it. Proceed with extreme caution.

Here are the beastly supplies: Two boxes of milk chocolate cake mix, one can of fudge frosting, one can of cream cheese frosting, three cups milk chocolate chips, one tablespoon of almond butter, one bag of caramel, 2 cups of chopped roasted peanuts This is the best the sugar industry has to offer!


oh, so so much

more is more


1. Following instructions on cake mix and divide batter into three nine-inch pans. Bake in 350 degree F oven. (will leave in for ten minutes before adding caramel)


2. In a heavy sauce pan melt caramel with 1/2 cup of butter and 1/3 cup of whole milk until smooth.





3. Pull soft-baked cakes out after ten minutes and add 1 cup of milk chocolate chips and less than a third of the caramel mixture to each cake reserving about a 1/3 cup of caramel for the top of the cake. Add cakes back to oven and continue to cook for another 15-20 minutes or until done.

inside the beast

matche taste with the visual expectations by baking caramel and chocolate in cake


4. Mix cream cheese frosting with one tablespoon of almond butter to mimmick taste of nougat  5. Chop roasted peanuts.  6. Remove cakes and allow to cool.  7. Assemble cakes and frost between layers with nougat leaving top nougat layer of nougat thicker and visible.

cream cheese frosting base

add almond butter to cream cheese frosting

8. Frost entire cake with fudge frosting and then pour remaining caramel over the top. (may need to reheat)  9. Add chopped peanuts to the top of the cake.

Peppermint Twist Cupcakes; My New Favorite

November 30, 2010
Man Bait

Unique Christmas Treats

I discovered a delicious alternative to the usual holiday fare of fruit cake, cookies and almond dipped everything: Peppermint Twist Cupcakes.  The secret ingredient is Andes Creme De Menthe Baking Chips that are folded into fudge batter, which create cool pockets of tastiness within the chocolate cake.  The peppermint frosting on these cupcakes is so rich and minty, that husbands will do anything, but laundry to get these cupcakes.  Have fun and enjoy, but be warned:  You can’t eat just one….or two.

Cake Recipe
Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix; Follow directions then add:
Add 1 1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
Fold in 1 Cup of Andes Baking Chips into batter
Frosting Recipe
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick)
8oz cream cheese (1 brick)
1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
3 Cups of Powdered Sugar
Use hand mixer to cream butter and cream cheese.  Add peppermint.  Slowly add powdered sugar until all is incorporated.  Scoop into ziplock bag and cut tip for easy frosting swirls.  Top with red sugar or crushed candy canes.

Suffering and Raspberry Pie

September 4, 2009

“Raspberry pie.  Mmmmm. This is why we suffer.”  My husband smiled in agreement and offered no sound, but for the ping of a fork deliberately released, quiet chewing and the delicate sound of savoring as his tongue pressed the roof of his mouth and coaxed the tastes to linger a little longer.  Luscious berries, buttery crust and the crescendos of tart and sour are a symphony of textures and tastes beyond compare. 

Although I detest self-disclosure or public confessional, the contrast of suffering and a perfect raspberry pie speaks to the power of this simple and elegant dessert.  I live in Northern Minnesota, where snow is harvested by the feet, cold is measured below zero and times occur when warmth cannot be obtained, even indoors.  Summer comes in July and leaves at the beginning of September before giving way to a rainy cold fall.  This leaves just enough time to get everything repaired and secured for the next winter. ‘Why do we continue to live here?’  This is a conversation I’ve had countless times with perfect strangers huddled under four layers of clothing, teeth chattering. So began the list of ‘Why we suffer.’

This part of the country offers some spectacular treats for those willing to endure the brutal extremes of the environment.  The Northern lights, deer and fawn grazing the back yard almost daily, bunnies too numerous to name, yesterday a black bear perched at the top of a tree and the occasional fiesty racoon are part of our urban family and on the list of  good reasons for ‘why we suffer.’    Nothing, but nothing beats the raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and rhubarb that grow in this region.  They are the unexpected gifts that gently persuade the people to inhabit this unconquered real estate. So out of this bountiful gift was born an elegant dessert– Raspberry Pie.

The simplicity of the ingredients calls out to the least experienced cook:  raspberries, brown sugar, corn starch, lemon peel–add crust.  Sigh.  The truth is that you don’t have to be a suffering Minnesotan to make such a culinary delight.  Thanks to the interstate trucking system and Pillsbury pie crust, you don’t even have to travel, learn to make grandma’s crust or become a food snob to enjoy.  This is the recipe: 

2 1/2 cups raspberries

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

lemon zest

 2 Tbs butter

1 egg white mixed with 1 tsp water

Toss berries, sugar, cornstarch, a dash of salt and lemon zest  in a bowl.  Prepare crust according to package directions or use grandma’s crust recipe.  When the bottom crust is in place, brush with egg white, then pour fruit mixture into the crust. Cut butter into small squares and place all over the top of the pie before adding the top crust.  I prefer a lattice pie design for my raspberry pies.  Tip: Begin the lattice design with a giant x in the middle and it goes much smoother.  Usually, I take a little extra pie crust and cut out a heart for the top of the pie.  After all, love is the secret ingredient.

As you are scrambling to take advantage of the last fresh fruits and vegetables of the season, don’t forget to include plans to bake a fresh Raspberry Pie.  There is no excuse–even if you are not a foodie.  For me, these last freshly baked raspberry pies are a necessity–my early reward for suffering yet another cold Minnesotan winter.