April 24, 2013
This might be the best dessert I've ever made. I don't usually make statements like that, but I also don't remember the last time I had something that was this amazing. It's shockingly good. So good, in fact, that my roommate and I finished off the entire thing in just over 24 hours. We were ashamed. I also was working from home the day after I made it, which meant I was sitting at home with it in the fridge just calling my name. You'd be surprised how many times I can justify eating dessert in a day. As I was copying over the recipe I just noticed it says it yields 12-16 servings. Good lord. Let's move on, shall we?
Here's what always gets me: it's the easiest recipes that are the best. I'm not sure I can even call this homemade because it's just an array of pre-made ingredients layered on top of each other. You don't have to be even a slightly good cook to make this. It's also one of those recipes that is guaranteed to make you friends. Unfortunately, Brooke (roommate) and I only shared a small bit with one other friend, so we didn't test this theory out, but I'm pretty certain of it. Again, I admit that we were ashamed.
The concept is simple. It's a layer of Oreos and butter, a layer of a peanut butter, cream cheese and cool whip blend, a layer of chopped Reese's Cups, a layer of a chocolate pudding, confectioner's sugar, milk and cool whip blend, and more crushed Oreos. I don't know what my favorite part was about this giant parfait of sorts. The chocolate pudding/cool whip complements the Oreos and the Reese's Cups complement the peanut butter/cool whip. It's honestly just heavenly. I've forbidden myself from making it again until I have a crowd because obviously I have zero will-power. Make this dessert. Now.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Yum
Recipe from Taste of Home
(Originally seen on Through A Country Mother's Eyes)
20 Oreo cookies, divided
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
20 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
1 cup cold milk
1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
Crush 16 cookies; toss with the butter. Press into an ungreased 9-in. square dish; set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
In another large bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners' sugar on low speed for 2 minutes Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in remaining whipped topping.
Spread over peanut butter cups. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Yield: 12-16 servings.
*Even though I love JIF, I prefer Peter Pan Creamy for this recipe because it's not as thick as JIF. This helps the Cool Whip layer be light and airy. Also, in case the ingredient list makes you feel like this recipe is diabetes just waiting to happen, I use reduced fat pb, 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat Cool Whip.
April 19, 2013
I always find it entertaining to hear what people did for their first jobs. Usually this occurs somewhere around 16, since parents generally want their kids to have jobs but don't want to play chauffeur to and from their places of work. I'm sure I've mentioned before that my first job was at Ben and Jerry's. It was a perfect job for me because a) I'm an ice cream fanatic b) I thought the tie dye was cool c) I genuinely enjoyed making sundaes and d) I never had any issues getting friends to come visit me at work. I ended up getting carpal tunnel at an unusually young age that still bothers me to this day from scooping, but all-in-all I loved working there. Who gets carpal tunnel at 16 from scooping ice cream? Only me. I feel like my life is made up of those sorts of odd stories.
One thing I really enjoyed was making ice cream cakes. I'll go ahead and mention that ice cream cakes are much easier to make when you have a giant freezer that is significantly colder than a normal freezer, but it's not an impossible task even with a regular freezer..it just takes a bit more patience. I prefer to give myself a few days and just casually go through the steps at my leisure. Rushing this process will just leave you with a sloppy mess. I also strongly recommend buying ice cream that is a bit softer. The double churned fall in this category. For this cake I used one carton of Turkey Hill ice cream, and for some reason was cheap and wanted to save $1 so used Safeway brand for the second carton. The cake was easy to slice until I got down to the generic layer. When you're thinking about what falls in this category think of when you first scoop into a new thing of ice cream--if you have to let it sit out to even remotely get the spoon in there that's not going to work for the cake. See below for my tips of cutting into the cake. Enjoy!
Ice Cream Cake
2 Cartons Ice Cream of your choice
10 Oreos, crushed
Whipped Cream Topping
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup Confectioner's Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Spray two, 8-inch cake pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Line the sides with strips of parchment paper about two inches wide. I usually cut these strips smaller so that when I curve them around the edge they don't bubble up at all. The key is to make it smooth so that the edges of the ice cream cake will be flat and smooth as well.
Let ice cream soften for roughly 30 minutes, or until soft enough to spread evenly into pan. When ready, spread ice cream into prepared pans (one flavor per pan), and smooth out the top. Give the pan a few soft taps on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Cover pans with nonstick wrap, pressing wrap against the ice cream. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
Prepare whipped cream by combining heavy whipping cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beating until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Remove first pan from the freezer. At this point I usually turn the cake pan upside down, keeping my hand underneath, and run warm water over the top of the pan. As you feel the cake start to give, gently twist the pan around the ice cream layer. Do not do this for too long, as this will just leave you with a melted mess. Invert ice cream layer onto cake plate. Put cake bake in the freezer for roughly 15 minutes. Pull out and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle crushed oreos over the whipped cream in an even layer. Add second layer of ice cream cake and put the entire cake back in the freezer for another 15 minutes. Remove and coat with whipped cream. You'll find that the cake melts quickly as soon as you remove it from the freezer, so if you want to make sure you have a clean, smooth coating of whipped cream you can add multiple coats and just throw the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes or so between coats.
To serve, warm a sharp knife or serrated cake server under hot water for five seconds. Dry with towel and immediately cut into cake. This will help the cake cut easily and will also make the layers look better! Store in freezer.
|As you can see, using two different brands of ice cream will leave you with two very different looking layers. Stick with one brand!|
April 8, 2013
Carrot cake is one of those cakes that's full of potential, but somehow people always seem to mess with perfection. I mean, really, who decided that adding pineapples and raisins to carrot cake was necessary? No one sits around eating pineapples and carrots together. It makes no sense. I also personally only like the pecans on the outside of the cake, but that's not a deal breaker. Don't even get me started on people who use buttercream instead of cream cheese icing for carrot cake. Admittedly, all of these things are extremely trivial... Sometimes I surprise even myself with the amount of useless thought I put into food.
I'm sure you've all noticed that I'm a huge fan of Jaclyn over at Cooking Classy because her pictures are always beautiful and everything she posts is absolutely amazing. This cake is a perfect example because, well, this cake is perfect. It is hands down the best carrot cake I have ever made or tried. The only thing I changed is the amount of cream cheese icing (I did one and a half of the recipe). The recipe itself is flawless. I wanted to savor this cake for as long as possible, but it was so good I found myself cutting a piece every time I walked by the fridge. I have zero restraint. I hope you enjoy!
Best Ever Carrot Cake
Recipe from Cooking Classy
Serving Size: 12 Servings
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups lightly packed finely grated carrots*
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting*
12 ounces (1 1/2 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
*This is 1 1/2 times the original recipe. Scale it back if you like a bit less frosting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 9" round cake pans with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two side. Grease foil and dust with flour, set aside. (This cake can also be made in a 9x13 dish just increase baking time to 40 - 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, I have even halved the recipe and baked it in and 8x8 dish).
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, combine vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in grated carrots. Divide mixture evenly into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake cakes in preheat oven for 35-39 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in cake dishes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Lift cakes out of pan with foil overhang and allow to cool on wire rack completely before frosting (once cool I cut about 1/4" off the tops to even them out before frosting, you'll notice the centers don't rise as high as the rest). Flip cakes upside down when frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Store cake in airtight container.
- *Grate carrots on small grate of a grater. This is usually 6-7 medium carrots.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until well combine.
Cream Cheese Frosting