Cranberry Snow Cake

 

Cranberry Snow Cake

 

I found this cake on Pinterest and hunted down the recipe. Oh my goodness this Cranberry Snow Cake exudes elegance and decadence. The colors of this cake make you feel warm and cozy at the same time representing the beauty of the Holiday Season.


02cranberry-snow cake

 

Ingredients

Cake

10 ounce unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans

3 1/2 cups cake flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar

7 large egg whites, at room temperature

flour eggs butter

 

Cranberry filling

3 3/4 cups cranberries, divided

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberry or cherry preserves

02 cranberries

 

Butter-cream

5 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

12 ounces Cocoa Mill White Chocolate (bars or a blocks), divided

white chocolate chunks

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into pieces and at room temperature

Assembly

1/2 cup colorless liqueur such as crème de cacao or kirsch

About 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter two 9-in. cake pans; set aside.
  2. Make cake: In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on low speed until light and fluffy. Add egg whites in 3 batches, scraping inside of bowl as needed. Beat in flour mixture in 5 batches, adding 1/4 cup water after each addition (you will begin and end with flour); make sure flour is completely blended each time before adding water. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Smooth tops with a spatula.
  3. Bake until center of cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on a rack.
  4. Meanwhile, make cranberry filling: Combine 3 cups cranberries, the sugar, preserves, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until cranberries pop and preserves melt, 5 to 10 minutes. Add remaining 3/4 cup cranberries, stir to combine, and remove from heat. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.
  5. Make butter-cream: Fill a 2-qt. pan with about 1 in. water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Put egg whites, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine. Place bowl over hot water, making sure bottom of bowl isn’t touching water, and heat whites, whisking constantly, until hot to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pan and bowl from heat.
  6. Put bowl of warm whites on the mixer and whisk on high speed until tripled in volume and side of bowl is cool to the touch, about 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, chop 4 oz. white chocolate, put in a medium metal mixing bowl, and set in same pan of warm water off the heat to melt slowly, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from pan and let cool to room temperature.
  8. Reduce mixer speed to low and whisk butter into whites, about 1/4 cup at a time, until incorporated. Continue to whisk on low speed until smooth and fluffy, about 10 minutes (mixture may look grainy at some point but will come together).
  9. With a rubber spatula, gently fold melted chocolate into butter-cream until completely combined.
  10. Assemble: Rub tops of both cakes gently with your hands to remove browned outer surface, then carefully invert cakes and rub undersides so that cakes are completely white. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate, top side up. Using a pastry brush, brush top with half the liqueur. Spread about 1 1/2 cups cranberry mixture over layer with a metal spatula, leaving a 1/2-in. empty border around edge. Place second cake layer on top, flattest side down, and brush with remaining liqueur. Spread top and sides of cake with a thin layer of butter-cream to seal in crumbs and chill 30 minutes. Cover with remaining butter-cream, starting with the sides and covering the top last.
  11. Use the palm of your hand to warm remaining chocolate. Shave smooth side of chocolate bar with a vegetable peeler to make thin curls; scatter curls over cake’s top. Sift powdered sugar over cake. Serve with remaining cranberry mixture on the side.

02 cranberry snow cake

 

Make ahead: Baked cake layers can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature or in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Cranberry filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and chilled.

 

Note:

Bakers’ tip: To make a pure white cake, use your fingers to rub off the browned surface of each layer before assembling.

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Strawberry Christmas Tree

 Strawberry Christmas Tree

 

This is a wonderful and creative idea for Holiday Parties. It sure beats a vegetable tray and dip.

This ingenious idea was shared by Can’t Stop Making Things and I am happy to share it with you too! Of course it has been adapted to use Cocoa Mill Chocolates but that will make it that much better 🙂

01strwberry tree

 

So here it is, so simple, so easy and very impressive….

What you’ll need:

You can use either a Styrofoam tree or a Papier-mâché tree, it only needs to be about 13”, can be smaller too.

You’ll need an 8” inch round cardboard cake round and a doily to disguise to cardboard round.

3 – 4 pounds of strawberries

berries

4 oz. Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

chocolate shavings

1 Tbsp. butter

Waxed Paper and Tape

01papertree

 

Cover the tree with waxed paper, tuck the waxed paper ends under and secure with tape.

 

In a double boiler begin to melt the chocolate and butter slowly until it is liquid like and smooth. Place some chocolate under the doily and secure it to the cardboard cake round, let set.

Coat the bottom of the tree with chocolate and place on the doily 8” cardboard round, let cool and set again.

Separate the strawberries by size and remove the leaves. Dip the largest end of the strawberry in the melted chocolate and press into the bottom of the tree. Cover the whole bottom of the tree with dipped strawberries; continue up using the largest ones first and saving the smaller ones for the top.

01strwberry

Place a strawberry on top of the tree to finish this beautiful edible creation. (You can always add other fruits too if you like!)

01strwberry variation

 

Voila, you are done!

Easy Fun Fall Treats: Chocolate Turkeys

 

Fun Fall Treats:

Chocolate Dipped Turkey Pretzels

 


turkey pretzel

I love the idea of making Holiday crafts with my kids, but the truth is I rarely have time. When I do I need something fairly easy and straight forward so that everyone can have fun while creating the craft. Here is a cute Thanksgiving food craft that is easy and will be fun for the whole family!

Thanksgiving Turkeys

1 cup Cocoa Mill bittersweet chocolate chunks
1 1/2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 Oreo cookies
36 small pretzels
24 candy eyeballs
12 pieces candy corn

Parchment paper (for drying)

turkey pretzelsturkey oreoturkey ccorn

 

 

 

chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks and ½ Tbsp. vegetable oil 30 seconds in a small microwave-safe bowl. Remove and stir. Continue cooking in 30-second increments until chips are melted.
  2. Assemble cookies using chocolate like glue; spread on back of Oreo and attach 3 pretzels in a fan pattern to look like feathers.
  3. Let the turkey dry allowing the chocolate to cool and bond the pretzel and Oreo together.
  4. Heat the remaining chocolate and vegetable oil in 30 second increments (stirring each time) until chocolate is melted. Once chocolate is smoothly melted dip the turkey full in the chocolate using a kitchen fork and allow excess chocolate to fall back in the melted chocolate bowl. Coat all turkeys and place on parchment paper to cool and dry.
  5. Dip backs of eyeballs and candy corn in chocolate and stick to the front of the “turkey” to make a face.
  6. Place finished turkeys on a plate and cool in refrigerator 1 hour to allow chocolate to set.

Yields: 12 cookies

 

If that is too much work you could always just dip the pretzels and decorate them with fall colored sprinkles 🙂

turkey easy prtzl

Stuffed Apricots

Apricots-Honey2-585x585

 

These are sweet & savory little snacks that will make a beautiful and eye-catching addition to any dinner party. Besides being lovely to look at they are delicious and easy to make!

apricot-in-halves

What you will need:

1 cup softened cream cheese

4 Tbsp of milk

1 Cup finely grated sharp and mature cheddar cheese

4 ounces melted, slightly cooled white chocolate

salt and ground black pepper

10 apricots (cut in half equaling twenty)

Garnish:

Any type of chopped nuts

paprika (if desired)

honey to drizzle

apricots halvedwhite choco chunksfeta

1. Beat the cream cheese in a bowl with a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the milk and cheddar, when the milk and cheddar are completely mixed in add the white chocolate, mix again. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Spoon the cheese mixture into the hollow side of each apricot half.

3. Arrange the filled apricots onto a serving platter and sprinkle the chopped nuts on top of each apricot, dust with paprika and drizzle with honey.

Apricot Recipes

Enjoy!

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

It is August, for a lot of this it means we are reminiscing over summer vacations or waiting to squeeze a last minute vacation in before September comes. Our family has already been on vacation, so I am left to reminisce. In doing so I thought about all the baking I decided to do before we went on vacation this year, it took some extra prep work but it was well worth it. We had lots of yummy treats for the car ride and when we arrived at our destination. This made for a happy family and a happy Mama, who didn’t have to rush off to the grocery store or a restaurant upon arrival.

nonpariel 4                        

I knew I wanted to make the Chocolate Nonpareil Cookies (you can find that recipe by clicking here), then I was blessed with a new (to me) idea Peanut Butter Cookies with a Cocoa Mill Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup in the middle! I also made cinnamon rolls and danish (those recipes to follow!)

peanutbutter-surprise-cookies

Easy Better Peanut Butter Cookies

What you’ll need:

pbcc,  flour eggs butter  peanutbutter

2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup  of brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

15 – 20 Cocoa Mill Peanut Butter Cups (milk or dark pb cups will work, I used milk)

2pb dough

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl mix together butter, sugars until well blended, add the egg and vanilla mix again thoroughly. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix again until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the peanut butter last and mix one last time.

At this point you will need a cutting board and very sharp knife. one by one cut the peanut butter cups in half and set aside.

Form your dough in 2 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Take your halved pb cups and pressed down a bit into the middle of the dough of each cookie. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

pb cookies

Take cookies out of the oven, let cool a bit and enjoy!

Bird’s Nest Cookies

easter basket

Every holiday Cocoa Mill Chocolate Shop is bustling as we hurry to make the appropriate seasonal chocolates that so many people have come to incorporate into their holiday traditions. This Spring we are busy making custom Easter baskets filled with Peanut Butter or Coconut Eggs, Chocolate Bunnies and many more fabulous confections. The smell of melting chocolate never gets old; it is howeegg2 (3)ver our job, so finding time and energy for fun Holiday activities and special time making memories with our children takes planning and preparation. Of course we will dye our Easter eggs and prepare for the Easter bunny to visit our house, as well as learn about what Easter truly means to our family, but this year I thought that I would do a little extra, a little more.

 

I know that this is an easy and simple recipe but I thought that it would work perfectly for and added Easter activity. We will be making The tried and true Bird’s Nest cookies, the only difference is we will be sprucing it up with Cocoa Mill’s gourmet white chocolate. So step aside chocolate or butterscotch chips, this isn’t your grandmother’s bird’s nest cookie (although I know grandma would enjoy them too :)ha ha ).

 

 

 

Bird’s Nest Cookies

 

What you will need:

 

white chocolate chunks

peanutbutter

 

How to make the cookies:

    1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
    2. Place White Chocolate and peanut butter in a microwave-safe container. Heat on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir, and repeat, until chocolate is melted.
    3. Stir in chow -mein noodles until fully coated.
    4. Drop by tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheet.
    5. Use your thumb and press down in the center to form a nest shape.
    6. Place a few candy robin’s eggs in the center of each nest for eggs.
    7. Refrigerate until firm.

 

birdnest22

Enjoy!

 

St. Patrick’s Day Chocolate Stout Cake

CHOCOLATE STOUT CAKE WITH BAILEYS IRISH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This the perfect recipe for today! It came from The Brown Eyed Baker, you can find her full story, this recipe and many others by clicking this link:The Brown Eyed Baker

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cake:
1½ cups stout or dark beer, such as Guinness
1½ cups unsalted butter
1 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup butter, at room temperature
7 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
6 cups powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles.

2. Place the stout and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

3. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine. Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

5. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake the layers for 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

6. Make the Frosting: In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and Baileys Irish Cream on medium speed until completely smooth and combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar on medium-low speed until it has all been added. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is smooth and thoroughly mixed. Use immediately. You can refrigerate the frosting, but it will need to be brought to room temperature before using. This yields enough frosting to fill the cake and frost the outside, and do some basic decorations.

*Note: If the finished frosting is a little soft for your liking, you can add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

(Cake recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour, Frosting recipe adapted from Epicurious)