Red Velvet Sneezes

Hey all!  I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas filled with family, love, and great food!  We had plans to go to a get together at our cousin’s house.  The morning of Christmas we both woke up with fevers and our son was hacking up a lung in his room.  There was no way we were making it anywhere.  Especially with four other kids attending the festivities, we’d feel horrible if we got them all sick.  All week we had anticipated going to this get together so we hadn’t even grocery shopped.  In order to avoid the Christmas rush we put off our grocery shopping till after the day.  Bad idea.  Now that we were stuck at home all we had was the Red Velvet Trifle I had made for the party and a 3 lb. chub of beef.  We decided to make chili for dinner and dig into the trifle for dessert.  Oh what?  You want my trifle recipe…well…alright.

 

Here’s what you need:

Red Velvet Cake

 

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder, set that aside.  Then in another bowl mix together the cocoa powder and red food coloring, it will be a thin paste.  Set that aside too.

Next mix together the butter and sugar until it’s fluffy then add in one egg at a time, vanilla, and the red cocoa powder mixture.  Add in a third of the flour mixture and once it’s mixed in add half the buttermilk.  Keep alternating like that until everything is incorporated.  Don’t forget to scrape down the sides.  

In a small bowl mix the baking soda and vinegar together.  It will fizz so make sure the bowl accommodates for that.  Mix it into the batter.

I baked mine in a 9×13 rectangle pan because I just wanted to cube them, but you could easily divide these into cake rounds or whatever shape you want.  I baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.  Just check on it and when a toothpick in the center comes out clean, it’s done.

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup half and half
1 cups milk chocolate chips

Just heat up the half and half to almost boiling and take it off the heat and add in the chocolate chips.  No need for the double boiler, this is ganache made simple.  I used the Ghirardeli milk chocolate chips…seriously…out of this world good.  You could use dark chocolate if you wanted.

Cream Cheese Marshmallow Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup melted marshmallows or marshmallow fluff
1-pound box confectioners’ sugar (2 cups)

Mix together the cream cheese and butter until it’s fluffy, then add in the marshmallows and sugar.  Mix until it’s smooth.  You could also add nuts or coconut if you wanted.  I think coconut is really good with this frosting!  A good tip for using the marshmallow fluff – heat up your spoon under hot water and you’ll have a much easier time dealing with it.  This stuff is STICKY.

Now to assemble the trifle.  I just layered the red velvet and then covered with ganache then added dollops of frosting.  We don’t like a whole ton of frosting, but if you wanted actual layers with complete coverage I would just double the frosting recipe.

Once assembled mine looked like this:

Red Velvet Trifle with Chocolate Ganache and Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

 

The color is unreal and it tastes SO good.  Moist, chocolatey, DELICIOUS.  Try it out!  Let me know how yours turn out!

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Ugly Pie

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July.  We decided to take it easy this year and just have a little meal at home.  The heat is just unbearable so going to a picnic anywhere seemed unrealistic.  Especially with the little man.  We just grilled up some brats and I made my famous watermelon salad.  We also had potato salad and a really delicious dessert.  What was for dessert you ask?!!!!

Recipe courtesy of my good friend Belkis.  (Go visit her blog: belkiscruz.wordpress.com)

I call it Ugly Pie because it’s pretty ugly when I scoop it onto my plate…but so SO good.  It’s incredibly simple, and goes down really easy.  It’s a nice light dessert for the summertime.

Here’s what you need:

1.5 Graham cracker packets

A tub of Cool whip

8 oz of softened cream cheese

2 packets instant chocolate pudding

sugar

1/2 stick of butter (melted)

Mash up the graham crackers, add sugar and melted butter and mix it all up.  To take this crust over the top add a few shakes of cinnamon.

Pat that graham cracker mix into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Make sure it’s packed tight.  If the graham cracker mixture isn’t sticking to itself add more butter.

Next mix together half of the cool whip and the cream cheese.  Mix until it is fluffy and lay it down on top of the crust.

Make the chocolate pudding according to the instructions on the packet.  It should be 2 cups of cold milk and mix until it sets.  Once it sets pour it over the cream cheese/cool whip layer.  Add the rest of the cool whip on top and decorate with graham crackers.  I decorated with Oreos because I didn’t want to open another pack of graham crackers.

Let it sit in the fridge to set a little and dig in!

I didn’t take a picture of it scooped out because we weren’t patient and didn’t let it sit in the fridge to harden.  It was a mess, but I don’t care, it was SO good.

Baklava Cheesecake – Say WHAT?!

I am about to blow your mind, are you ready?  This recipe is super easy and sure to please.  I have to thank my friend Norman for posting a picture of this on Facebook.  He had it at a pizza joint in Baltimore, and it got my gears going!  Baklava Cheesecake?!  Hello?!!!  Why haven’t I made this yet?  So I thought…I know how to make a good cheesecake, and I know how to make a good baklava…BRING IT!  I didn’t have everything in my pantry, so I modified the baklava part, but if you’re lucky I’ll give you my baklava recipe sometime.

I encourage you to tweak the recipe if you want.  I tried to give you measurements this time, but I really eye balled everything and I’m not too sure how much.  I just kind of think…yea I love to taste cinnamon in the crust, let’s add a little more!  I go a lot off what it smells like once I mix it, or I try some.

Another thing I changed is the cheesecake part – I just halved the recipe that I normally use.  I didn’t want to make such a thick cheesecake.  You could do either!

Here is what you will need:

Crust:
graham crackers, finely crumbled

2-3 tablespoons sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Few Tablespoons butter, softened

Filling:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs

Baklava:
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Fillo:
15 sheets Athens 9 x 14 Fillo Dough, thawed

1/2 cup butter, melted

Syrup:
1/2 cup light corn syrup, heated

Preheat your oven to 325.

First you want to take your graham crackers and mash them up, mix in the sugar, cinnamon, and butter.

Then take a fork or your fingers and press the  crumbs on the bottom and up the sides of 9″ springform pan.  Bake it for about 8 minutes so that it sets.

To prepare the cheesecake, beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add lemon juice, vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth. Pour into springform pan over your crust.

To prepare baklava, combine walnuts, sugar, butter and cinnamon in bowl.

So for the fun part!  You could cut the pastry so that it fits exactly over your baking pan perfectly or your could just fold it and make it fit as a rectangle.  I chose the latter because it’s easier and creates no waste!

Take your fillo sheets and you can do this one at a time or you can take like 5 at a time.  Lay it on the cheesecake filling and brush it with butter.

Once you have a few down spread the walnut mixture over the top.

Keep doing that for as long as you like.  I did about three layers.  This doesn’t have to be exact or beautiful.  Just slap it down, really.  When you do the final layer of fillo, make sure you score the slices, this will make it much easier to cut once it’s baked.  To make it look pretty just ruffle up the top sheet, it will fold a little during baking so just leave it messy, it’ll look good, don’t worry.  Now brush an ample amount of butter over the top of it.

Also notice how I lined the bottom of my springform with foil.  That’s because I always put water in the cookie sheet to create moisture in the oven so the top of the cheesecake doesn’t crack and dry out.  I don’t want the water to seep into the pan for any reason so I just protect it this way.

See water!

Now bake it for an hour and a half or longer, just make sure the top is golden brown.  It took mine about an hour and 50 minutes.  Just start looking at it after an hour and keep an eye on it.  Every oven is different!

Slowly spoon warm syrup over that bad boy and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled before slicing.

I skipped the syrup this time, and we ate it at room temperature.  Oh well.  Maybe after it’s chilled in the fridge I’ll pour some syrup over the top.

YUM!!  If you tweak the recipe please tell me what you did and how it turned out!  Enjoy!

Monkeying Around!

So a little while back I made some monkey bread and boy was it delicious.  I thought I would share the recipe with you guys!  It’s great for breakfast which is when I made it, but it’s a great dessert too with some whipped cream or ice cream.  It tastes buttery and sugary and it’s a serious comfort food.  If you’re on a diet, you should either forget about this recipe or just take a little diet vacation and monkey around!

Here’s what you need:

* Brown Sugar // 1/2cup will be needed
* 2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
* Bundt Cake Pan (or a spring form works well too)
* Cinnamon // 2-3 teaspoons
* 3 cans of Buttermilk Biscuits (the non-flaky ones)
* Sugar! // 1 cup

Alternatively you can also get the Grand’s Giant Biscuits and use only 2 cans.  Just make sure they’re not the flaky ones.

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 because the prep will take no more than 10-15 minutes.

POP!

Pop those cans open! The first thing you will do is cut up the biscuits into tiny pieces.  This is what makes the spaces and makes it easy to pull apart after baked.  They just need to be bite size pieces.

Once they’re all cut up just grap a big zip lock bag and dump in your sugar and cinammon.  Add the pieces to the bag and zip it up and shake what your mama gave ya!

Shake, shake, shake!  You’re done when the biscuits are completely coated.

So now it’s time to get it ready to put in the oven.  Let’s make the butter mixture.  Take the 2 sticks of butter and melt it in a pot, you could also do this in the microwave.  Once it’s melted add brown sugar and mix.

Put the sugar coated biscuit pieces in your cake pan and pour the butter mixture over the top.  It will slide down into the cracks and soak into the dough.  Mmmmm!  Now at first it’s going to look like a lot of butter.  It covers the biscuits but it will cook off and soak in.  It creates a nice crunchy coating so make sure the top is well covered.

Now bake it for about 30-40 minutes until the crust is a deep golden brown color.  It should end up like this:

This went really good with a cup of strong black coffee!  This is super easy and so good, people won’t believe it only took you 10 minutes to throw together!  Try it out and let me know what you thought!