Chocolate Walnut Pie Bars

Hi there– I sure wish you could meet my Monday night ladies.  They come in the door in around 7:00 each week.  I can hear them talking and laughing as they come up the steps.  There are hugs and cups of coffee and when I finally get them to settle in, there is time to read and pray together. It’s a bright spot in my week.

And, of course, we eat.  This week it’s these pie bars– nutty and sweet (a little like my ladies!)

CHOCOLATE WALNUT PIE BARS

Crust:
1  1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted

Filling:
3 eggs
1  1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tab. melted butter
1  1/2 cups chocolate chips
1  1/2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

To make the crust, mix together the flour and 1/4 cup brown sugar.  Then fold in the melted 1/2 cup butter until it’s all crumbly.  Press the mixture into 9″x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.

While that’s baking, stir together the filling– beat the 3 eggs in a mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar and vanilla.  Then mix in the butter, chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spoon the filling carefully over the crust, covering it from edge to edge.  Bake it in the same 350 even for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until the filling is set.  Let it cool completely and then cute into tidy bars!

Tiramisu Cupcakes

Hello there– I know, I know you shouldn’t start a new recipe with a disclaimer– But if you are a blogger (this means you, all my blog-buddies), you know the sometimes photos aren’t what you’d hoped.  But I loved these tender, creamy cupcakes!!- so I’m sending along the recipe and you’ll have to imagine how pretty (and delicious) they were! OK??

TIRAMISU CUPCAKES

cupcakes:
chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
water
1 pack instant coffee crystals (about 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. coffee liqueur  (like Kahlua)

Topping:
1 pint whipped cream
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding powder
tsp. powdered sugar
1 cup mascarpone cheese
unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the box.  (Mine used 3 eggs, 1/2 cup oil and 1 1/4 cup water).  Add in the instant coffee and coffee liqueur and beat for two minutes with an electric mixer.

Pour the batter into 24 paper cupcake liners in cupcake pans.  Pop them in a 350 degree oven and bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely.

With an electric mixer, beat the whipped cream along with the pudding powder and powdered sugar  –until it is stiff and set.  With a spoon, fold in the mascarpone cheese.

Top each cooled cupcake with a large dollop of the cream & mascarpone mixture.  And then dust the cocoa over the cream through a small sieve.  Refrigerate the cupcakes if you are making them way ahead…  So delish!

 

Triple Chocolate Poke Cake

Hello all– I’m wondering how many cooks out there have a secret stash of chocolate hidden away in their kitchen.  I know I do.  Tucked away in the hutch drawer, just enough chocolate for a nibble now and then when I’m flagging and could use a little chocolate encouragement.

If you fall in this same category– I think you would be fond of this cake.  Chocolate cake, laden with drizzles of hot fudge, topped with chocolate whipped cream and chocolate curls. Is that enough chocolate??  Trust me.  It’s chocolatey good.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3.9 oz. pkg. instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sour cream

Filling:
12 oz. jar of hot fudge sauce*

Topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. unsweetened cocoa (dark version best)
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large chocolate bar

With an electric mixer, beat the cake ingredients– cake mix, pudding, mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and sour cream for 2 minutes until well blended and fluffy.

Spoon the batter into a 9″x 13″ baking dish (or I used a 10 1/2″ round springform pan so I could remove it from the pan for serving) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is firm to the touch.

When you take the cake from the oven, immediately poke holes in the top with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the hot fudge sauce into the poked holes (you may need to microwave the hot fudge  for 1 or 2 minutes to make it thin enough).

Let the cake cool completely!!

To make the topping, use an electric mixer (the whisk attachment works best) to beat the cream, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Spoon the chocolate whipped cream over the cooled cake and set it in the fridge 30 minutes or more to set well.

Use a potato peeler to peel small shavings from the shorter end of a large chocolate bar.  And sprinkle them over the cake before you serve it.  Enjoy!!

*I like Hershey’s hot fudge sauce (but you will have to microwave it for a couple minutes to make it thin enough to drizzle onto the cake.
**I always use vanilla instant pudding mix when whipping cream.  It acts as a stabilizer to the cream will hold up fluffy and firm.

Squirrel Bars


Hi friends–  Don’t ask me how this recipe got the quirky name –Squirrel Bars.  This recipe is an old favorite and dear to my heart because it came from my beloved Aunt Mary Ann.  Maybe the squirrels in my yard would like them– all those peanuts!

And I’m pretty sure you would like them too.  Quick to make and delicious as the best kind of peanut butter-chocolate cookie.

SQUIRREL BARS
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/3 cup butter (2/3 stick)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips (8 oz.)

With an electric mixer beat together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Then blend in the flour, baking powder and salt.

Spread the thick dough in to a 9″x 13″ baking dish** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and put the baking dish into a 350 degree oven for just 3 minutes!!

Take the squirrel bars out of the oven and swirl the melted chocolate chips into the top of the batter.  Pop it back into the oven for 20 more minute until the bars are cooked through.

Let the squirrel bars cool a few minutes before you cut them into bars– delicious with a scoop of ice cream!

*I like super chunky peanut butter — the little peanuts add a nice texture.
**In these pictures I made just half of a recipe and cooked it up in a 9″ pie dish and cut it into wedges.

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Hi friends– Last weekend was a cake-o-rama around here.  My sis and I made cakes for a big family baby shower– anticipating baby Wyatt’s coming to the big wide world soon!  And our dear younger friends Travis & Bekah were married in this most hopeful happy wedding– simply beautiful.  More cake baking!

So here’s my favorite of the bunch.  Fresh cherries in the cake and in the frosting– with rich ganache and cherries on top!

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAKE

Cake:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
water
canola oil
3 eggs
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted & chopped
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese
6 oz. butter (1 1/3 stick)
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. amaretto (or vanilla)
2/3 cup cherries, pitted & chopped very fine

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
1 cup chocolate chips

Garnish:
stemmed fresh cherries

Make the cake according to the directions on the box–mine used 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil and 3 eggs.  Beat for 2 minutes with an electric mixer.  Then fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into 3 –9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake them up at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes–until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before adding the frosting!

To make the chocolate ganache, bring the cream and 2 tab. butter to a low simmer in a pan on the stove top.  Take it off the heat and beat in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until they are melted and the ganache is glossy.  Let this cool completely before your pour it over the frosting (so you won’t melt the frosting!!)

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and amaretto (start on the lowest setting so you won’t have powdered sugar flying out of the mixing bowl!).  When that is blended, stir in the cherries with a wooden spoon until they are thoroughly mixed in and the frosting is colored a light pink from the cherries.

Frost the 3 layers of the cooled cake, stacking as you go.  When the ganache is thoroughly cooled drizzle it over the cake letting little streams pour down the sides.  Top with a mound of fresh cherries– Done! and so pretty!

Triple Chocolate Black Forest Cake

Hello all– Chocolate cake, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce with fresh cherries and cream.  That about sums it up.  Loved this rich and creamy cake and I’m hoping you will too, while cherries are at the market bright and juicy.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BLACK FOREST CAKE
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream topping*
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, chopped
2 tab. almond kirsch or amaretto
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tab. powdered sugar
2 tab. vanilla instant pudding powder**
garnish: fresh stemmed cherries

With an electric mixer, make the cake according to the directions on the box (mine called for 1/2 cup oil, 1 1/4 cup water & 3 eggs).  Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or a 10″ spring form cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake the cake according the directions on the box.  Out of the oven let the cake cool completely.  Then poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Drizzle the ice cream topping over the cake and into the holes.  (If the topping is too thick to drizzle, put it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds).

Chop the pitted cherries and mix them in a bowl with the kirsch or amaretto.  Then spoon them evenly over the top of the cake.

Whip the cream with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer until it is well set.  Beat in the powdered sugar and pudding mix.  Then spoon the thickened cream over the cake and set it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more to make sure the cream is firm.

Garnish with the stemmed cherries and then serve it up to friends…

*I used Smuckers Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Topping
**The pudding mix thickens and stabilizes the cream.

Happy Birthday Stu!! (and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake)

Hi Friends!! — starting off here like a blogger should never start– apologizing for the wonky photos.  But this post isn’t really about beautiful food picutres– it’s about celebrating Stu’s 90th birthday!!  He’s the best father-in-law a girls could have– and all his kids and grand-kids and great grand-kids would say the same!!  (Plus I did want to add this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake recipe– because it was so delish!).

   


Photos:  Stu about to blow out those candles, With Helen (his wife of 68 years!) and Kathi– the party thrower!!  Plus The collection of all Stu’s local kids, grand-kids and those little greats!!  We all love you Stu!

And just in case you love chocolate and peanut butter thrown together as much as I do, here’s the cake recipe:

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CAKE

Cake:
1 chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/4 cup water
3 eggs

Peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
4  1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
7 to 8 tab. milk

Ganache:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tab. butter
8 oz. chocolate chips (1  1/3 cup)

Garnish:
chopped peanut butter cups
birthday candles!!!

Make the cake according to the directions on the box ( mine used 1/2 cup oil,  1 1/4 cup water and 3 eggs). Spoon the batter into three 8″ or 9″ cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, until they are firm to the touch.  Let them cool completely before you add the frosting!!

Make the ganache while the cake it cooking and let it cool.  In a sauce pan, bring the milk and butter to a simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips for 2 or 3 minutes until ti’s smooth and shiny.  Let it cool.

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla.  Then beat in the powdered sugar and chopped peanuts.  Finally addd the milk one tablespoon full at a time until it is the right consistency–  careful–it’s easy to add too much and have runny frosting!!

To put the cake together– Frost the cake using the peanut butter frosting between, on top and around the 3 layers.  Drizzle the cooled ganache over the top and garnish with chopped peanut butter cups– and candles (!!!) if you have a birthday in the family!