Archive for November, 2015

Quick Dark Chocolate Orange Mini Tarts

Dark chocolate mini tarts

Have you ever needed to whip up a rave-able dessert but you only have a few minutes? Yeah, I’ve been there, too.

 

I came up with these mini tarts last Thanksgiving. I needed something with dark chocolate for dessert but I didn’t have time to bake up a pie or a cake. Plus, I wanted something bite-sized. These mini tarts come together quickly – your kids can even do these while you’re cooking something else. The key to making these mini tarts ah-inducing is all in how you plate them. One approach: Drizzle the plate with chocolate syrup (Hershey’s is fine), add a swirl of raspberry jam, and pair with an assortment of other sweets. Or, top each one with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, dust with cocoa powder, and insert an orange sliver.

Dessert assortment

Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes + chill time*

Servings: 30 mini tarts

 

Ingredients

2 packages of Mini Fillo Shells (15 each; I like Athens brand)*

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup orange zest

Dash of salt

Whipped cream (optional)

 

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl melt together the cream and chocolate chips in the microwave for 90 seconds; stir until smooth (some microwaves may take longer – be careful not to burn).
  2. Add in orange zest and salt. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour filling into shells. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. To serve: Garnish with fresh whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.

 

*Note: You can either use the shells thawed and right out of the package. Or, for a crisper exterior, bake them for 9 minutes at 350°. Cool, then fill.

Orange chocolate mini tarts

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Easy Brain Cake

Forget vampires, zombies are all the rage now. So are brains. For eating, of course.

Brain cake

Whether you’re trying to do something memorable for Friday the 13th, or you need snacks while watching iZombie or The Walking Dead, this is the cake.

 

Ready to construct a brain cake? It’s actually easy and fun to make. Promise. We even did our own fondant to create the twists and turns on the brain.

Brain cake constructing

Recipe

Prep time: 45 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

1 red velvet cake mix

1 1/2 cups red jam (like raspberry, seedless)

 

Homemade fondant

1 10.5-ounce bag mini marshmallows

2 tbsp. butter

1 2-lb. bag powdered sugar

Canola oil

Brain cake 2

Directions

  1. Put together the fondant first so it can refrigerate while you’re baking the cake. To make the fondant, heat the marshmallows and butter in a large glass bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds. Stir and heat again in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Cool slightly.
  2. Using a hand-held mixer add powdered sugar to the marshmallows 1 cup at a time. Beat after each addition until the mixture becomes stiff (you probably won’t need the whole bag).
  3. Coat a cutting board with powdered sugar and knead the mixture until it forms a smooth ball. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Make red velvet cake mix according to package directions. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to make the cake easier to move later (cut a circle out of the parchment to position on the bottom of the pan–coat with cooking spray). Bake the batter in a 8″ or 9″ circular cake pan. Cool.
  5. Use a sharp knife to cut two sides of the red velvet cake to create an oval shape. Eat the extras.
  6. Heat half of the jam to make it easier to spread. Use a pastry brush to cover the cake with the jam.
  7. Time to make brain matter! Roll out 6″ snakes out of the fondant dough (great kid job). It helps to cover your hands in powder sugar. Apply the snakes in zigzag designs on the cake. The way we put the cake together is we had one person rolling out dough snakes while the other applied them. For the person applying the fondant, put a little canola oil on your hands to make the dough more pliable. We pulled up a comic book picture of a brain to guide us in applying the fondant.
  8. Once all of the brain matter is on the cake (and you may not need all of your fondant) brush it again with the rest of the heated jam.
  9. Place the brain on a plate (remember you still have parchment paper on the bottom to make it simpler to handle). Refrigerate until ready to serve. Offer to startled zombie fans.

Note: We trimmed a little too much red velvet cake off of our “brain.” No worries. We used a bit of regular white icing to glue the cake back into an oval shape.

 

Brain cake 3

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