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All posts for the month December, 2011

Crockpot Candy

Published December 27, 2011 by ciannucci

Now this post is not going to be too long because this recipe is the simplest one yet.

1 bag of chocolate chips

1 bag of peanut butter chips

1 cup of honey roasted peanuts

2 cups corn flakes

1 cup coconut

1 cup marshmallow

1 cup m and ms

1 cup broccoli…

 

…Notice how I am rambling? That’s because it doesn’t matter what you put in your candy…its completely up to you.

 

I throw some peanuts and cornflakes at the bottom of the crockpot. Over that layer pour in some coconut or any other candy/crunchy food. Then pour over your chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips (whatever you like)

Set the crockpot on high for about 45 minutes. Stir all ingredients together once chocolate is melted. Use a spoon to scoop out and place on wax paper. They were a HIT on christmas!

7 Layer Sin Cake

Published December 27, 2011 by ciannucci

Be prepared to unzip your jeans because this cake is heavy, rich, and exactly what you need. I made this for Christmas Eve and am going to be making it for the Twisted Vine this weekend. Stop by the restaurant Friday or for New Years Eve to try this outstanding cake.

So…I love brownies. I love chocolate chip cookies. I love cheesecake. I love buttercream. I love graham crackers.

Why not make a layered cake out of some of my favorite treats???

I can’t deny it…I got this recipe from a blog I read called “Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body”

This cake is actually supposed to be an Anniversary cake. Every year you are married, you add another layer. This one would be for a couple married 7 years.

Here’s what you’ll need for this cake:

2 brownie layers
2 cheesecake layers
2 chocolate chip cookie layers
5 graham crackers (this is one of the ‘cake’ layers)
1 recipe for marshmallow frosting
1 recipe for chocolate Frosting

Brownie
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Fudge Brownie recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 2 round cake pans (or a 9×13 inch pan for a standard batch of brownies).
*Grease the pan AFTER you add a piece of parchment, like the note above says.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

Spoon the batter into the cake pans.

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool COMPLETELY on a rack before frosting or cutting (if your making normal brownies)

 

Cheesecake
1 1/4 pounds cream cheese (20 oz), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium until fluffy, scraping down side of bowl. Gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl after each addition. Beat in sour cream.

Put a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of a springform pan, spray with non stick spray. Pour half of the filling in each pan Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temp down to 325 and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, let cool 20 minutes. Run a knife around edge of the pans to loosen from the sides; let cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use.

Chocolate Chip Cookie
Used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe , spread half of the batch in each cake pan and bake at 350 for 12 minutes, until it’s slightly golden. Not TOO golden or the cookie will be crispy, and you want a soft cookie in the cake.

Chocolate Frosting
Recipe adapted from Sweetopolita
Ingredients
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled (I let it cool about 1 hour, stirring occasionally)
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Process until the frosting is smooth.

Marshmallow Filling

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow fluff
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract

To make the butter cream, beat together the marshmallow fluff and butter, on medium speed, until the mixture is smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat for another minute. Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

Assembly
Place one layer of brownie on a cake stand. Frost brownie with with marshmallow frosting. Place a cookie layer on the marshmallow filling. Spread cookie layer with marshmallow frosting.

Remove cheesecake from freezer, unwrap, and remove from metal bottom of the pan from each piece, then peel off parchment paper.

Place cheesecake layer on top of the marshmallow frosting.

Spread a layer of chocolate frosting on cheesecake. Layer graham crackers on the cheesecake. You’ll have to break up the crackers to make them fit. Spread chocolate frosting on grahams, then place the second layer of cheesecake on the chocolate frosting. Spread cheesecake with marshmallow frosting

Then place the remaining cookie on the frosting. Spread the cookie with marshmallow frosting and put the remaining brownie on the marshmallow frosting. Spread the remaining chocolate fudge frosting on top of the cake and on the side.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to help it come to room temperature slightly. Because this cake is SO dense, when it chills, it gets even denser and takes a little muscle to cut.

 

I don’t recommend this recipe if you are counting calories. But hell, it’s Christmas…who is counting calories anyways?

Oreo Truffles (TO DIE FOR)

Published December 18, 2011 by ciannucci

These are my new favorite thing..ever..in the world. Make them. They are SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE. But I dare you to make them and NOT eat the entire bunch.

 

~Ingredients~
1 package regular Oreos (not Double Stuffed!)
1 eight ounce package softened cream cheese
Twelve ounces of melted white or milk or dark chocolate (or all three!)
Baking pans lined with wax paper.
~To Make~
~Combine all Oreos and softened cream cheese in a food processor.
~Form into balls.
~Put balls on baking pans lined with wax paper.
~Freeze until hardened probably 10-15 mins.
~Dip balls into melted chocolate.
~Set back onto wax paper.
~Refrigerate to cool and store.
You can decorate any way you want.
You don’t have to tell me you love me…I already know 😉

Peanut Butter Pie Cups

Published December 18, 2011 by ciannucci

I don’t often like to pat myself on the back..but after making this dessert…not going to lie…I patted  myself on the back…several times.

I made these for a christmas party my mom was going to the other night. They are extremely rich and decadent so make sure you save room for them after dinner.

Peanut Butter Pie Cups:

FOR THE CRUST

16 Oreo cookies
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

FOR THE FILLING

1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place the Oreo cookies into the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter and stir.
2. Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the dishes to form a crust layer.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a small bowl and place it into the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the filling.
3. Place cream cheese and peanut butter the mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in confectioners’ sugar until well combined. Add in sweetened condensed milk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until mixture is creamy and smooth. Take care to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the remaining whipped cream until well blended until no streaks remain.
3. Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. If desired, garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

 

T’is the Season for….COOKIES!!!!

Published December 18, 2011 by ciannucci

As most of you know, every year my mom and I have a cookie swap at our house for Christmas. People make between 10 to 12 dozen of their favorite cookie recipe. Prizes are awarded for the best displays and best tasting cookies. Props to my girl Kim this year for her beautiful gingerbread candycane display:  and Sam for her outrageously good oreo truffle balls (i will be posting this recipe in future posts). The cookies that were made were all incredible. Soeme of the cookies made, just to name a few, were:

 

  • Mint chocolate brownie cups
  • Chocolate chip smore’s cookies
  • Hungarian Tassies
  • Peanut Butter Blossoms
  • Hershey kiss Shortbread
  • Pizzelles
  • Jelly thumbprint
  • Ritz peanut butter covered in chocolate
  • Brownie Mounds
  • Oatmeal Craisin
  • Italian icing cookies
  • Hungarian Jelly
  • Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate chip
  • Coconut Macaroons
  • Carrot Cake
  • Chocolate chip
  • Molasses sandwiches
  • Oreo truffles
  • White chocolate rasberry cheesecake
  • Acorn shortbread nut

If I missed yours…don’t worry…my stomach didn’t.

Anyways, every year I always try to outdo myself. This year, I myself, made 30 dozen cookies. It’s a challenge I attempt every year…and after hours and hours and hours on my feet opening and closing the oven, mixing doughs, cleaning bowls, frosting cookies, exchanging ingredients…I always accomplish it. It’s hard but it’s so worth it!

 

 

The cookies I decided to make this year were coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, peanut butter pretzel chocolate chip cookies (for those of you with a sweet AND salt tooth), and Carrot cake cookies.

 

Coconut Macaroons

makes 22 macaroons

  • 4 egg whites
    3 c. sweetened, shredded coconut
    2/3 c. sugar
    1 tsp vanilla

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

    Stir together egg whites, coconut, sugar and vanilla in a heat-proof bowl and using the double boiler method, set the bowl over a pan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Heat mixture until it has thickened, about 7-9 minutes and immediately spoon 2 inch scoops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You will know the mixture has thickened enough if the scoop can hold its shape without liquid puddling around the bottom. Bake cookies for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies on the baking sheet, this gives the bottom of the cookies a perfect crunch (this is the best part).

When cooled, dip the bottoms of the cookies into melted chocolate and out back onto wax paper. Let chocolate harden for an hour.

 

Carrot Cake Cookies

I am not going to waste my time writing this recipe out. Plain and Simple…I used the Duncan Hines Carrot Cake box mix. The bottom of the box has a cookie recipe.

We can’t always be perfect…

Be seriously, they really do taste amazing. (Don’t forget to frost them with cream cheese frosting!)

 

Peanut Butter Pretzel/Chocolate Chip Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 6 cups miniature pretzels, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

  1. 1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined; stir in the peanuts.
  3. Place the pretzels in a bowl. Using a 1 1/2-inch-diameter cookie scoop and working in batches, drop a few balls of dough in the bowl and toss to coat. Place the cookies on the prepared pans. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until golden but still soft to the touch, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to racks to cool.

     

    Phew!!!!! Can you smell them coming out of the oven??

     

    A BIG THANK YOU FOR EVERYONE WHO CAME AND MADE DELICIOUS COOKIES! WE LOVE YOU!

Red Velvet Cupcakes/Cake

Published December 18, 2011 by ciannucci

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! You know what that means? Whip out the red velvet!

Red Velvet Cupcakes or Cake

For the cake:

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup hot (but not boiling) water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons white vinegar

For the frosting:

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch cake rounds; dust with cocoa, tapping out excess. Set aside. Whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa in a medium bowl; set aside.

Mix sugar and oil on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk until combined. Add eggs one at a time; mix well after each addition. Mix in food coloring and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

Stir together baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl. Add baking-soda mixture to batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds. Mix in the hot water until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 18 to 23 minutes. Let cool completely in pans on wire racks.

Once the cake is cooled, using a serrated knife cut off the convex tops from both cakes, leaving your cakes with flat tops. Crumble the discarded cake tops into tiny crumbs to be used as a garnish for later. Set aside.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, mix together the softened cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract. Add the confectioner’s sugar in batches until the frosting comes together and there are no lumps. Let cool in a refrigerator until the cakes are ready to frost.

Frost your cake as you normally would, using about a third of the frosting for between the two layers, the top, and the sides of the cake. Finally, sprinkle the cake crumbs around the sides of the cake, spreading evenly.

You can make either cupcakes or a double layer cake!
NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

Published December 4, 2011 by ciannucci

This post is dedicated to the lovely Kim Denault. She requested this recipe…although, I am not quite sure you can call it a recipe. It’s two ingredients. That’s right…just TWO.

I love anything homemade from scratch…but after a long day of work or a night out…the last thing I want to do is bake anything from scratch. So what’s a girl to do? Pumpkin muffins. Bing, Bang, Boom. Done.

2 Ingredients:

1 16oz can of pumpkin

1 box of yellow cake mix

 

THATS IT!!! Mix it together, pour it into the muffin pans and bake at 350 for about 15 min.

Now…I modified this a bit to add a little flare. I threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice. What no chocolate? Yea right…of course I threw in some chocolate chips.

Tim can’t have any sugar so I use the sugar-free box of yellow cake mix to make these for him. He loves them!

I have also used this recipe to make a cake , cupcakes, and cookies. Nothing changes except the pan you bake it in/on.

When I made it as a cake, I used cool whip as a frosting. If you wanted to skip the “healthy” part of it…I recommend cream cheese frosting. MMM.

9:12, let’s see…do we have any pumpkin cans laying around?….