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!

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Thanksgiving Dessert: S’mores Pumpkin Pie

 

Thanksgiving Dessert:

S’mores Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie is a staple on our Thanksgiving table, but you know sometimes I tire of the same thing year after year after year. This is a fresh take on the classic pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie Purest please avert your eyes to this recipe…. 🙂

smore pie crust


smore fudge

 

smore marshmallow top

 

 

What you will need:

1 ½ cups canned pumpkin

2 Eggs

4 1/2 cups Golden Graham Cereal

¾ cups brown sugar packed

¾ cups Cocoa Mill bittersweet chocolate chunks

1 tsp. pumpkin spice

1 pinch salt

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter

14 Tbsp. Heavy cream

½ cup Milk

1 Bag Jumbo Marshmallows cut in half to top pie

 

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350®
  2. In a bowl, stir crushed cereal and butter until well mixed.
  3. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a 9” pie plate.
  4. Bake crust 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
  5. In a saucepan, over low heat, stir chocolate chunks and 2 Tbsp. heavy cream until smooth. Pour onto bottom of cooled crust and spread evenly.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together pumpkin and eggs until well blended. Add brown sugar, heavy cream, milk, pumpkin spice and salt. Stir until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour pumpkin batter on top of fudge layer. (Do not over fill pie plate. You may have filling left over.) Bake 1 hour until pumpkin is set. Cool completely. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (do not touch top of pie) chill overnight.
  8. Next day: Uncover the pie and placed halved jumbo marshmallows on top of the pie.
  9. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds until marshmallows are golden brown and toasted.

smore finish

Enjoy!

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

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)

Easy Chocolate Chess Pie

My Family loves homemade desserts and I am up for the task as long as it is not too labor intensive. I had never made a chocolate chess pie before but remembered enjoying it a few years ago. Lucky me I had all the ingredients on hand and the pie making began, (and was all gone within 3 days!)

This pie is quick and easy and if you are chocolate lovers like my family then this is the dessert for you!

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup sugar

5 oz dark chocolate

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup milk

3 large eggs

1/3 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 9″ pie crust

 

 Crust Ingredients:

2 cups ground oatmeal

1/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons of softened butter

 

Instructions:

Place the oatmeal in a blender and chop until finely ground (you can also use nuts or cookies that have been crushed). Pour the oatmeal 1/4 cup of sugar in a 9″ pie pan and mix. Add the 5 tablespoons of butter and mix thoroughly, press mixture until flat and it covers the base and walls of the pie plate.

In a sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter and chocolate stirring constantly. When completely melted remove from heat and add the sugar, salt, and flour stir until well blended. Let this mixture rest about 5 minutes then add the vanilla, milk and heavy cream, stir vigorously for 2 minutes. beat the eggs and slowly add one at a time until completely incorporated into chocolate mixture. 

 

Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes. Let cool before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream and Enjoy!

 

 

Thanksgiving Carrot Cake

Thanksgiving Carrot Cake

carrotsraisin

pecans

white choco chunks

In the fall my family longs for the taste of spiced goodies, this cake fits the bill. It is quick, easy and I feel good knowing that all the ingredients were placed in the mixing bowl out of pure love. I hope that you too will find that this recipe brings the taste of Fall to your family’s table and will remain a staple for years to come.

Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups of sugar

1 cup olive oil

½ cup butter (room temperature)

4 eggs (well beaten)

3 tsp. blackstrap molasses

2 cups of unbleached flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. ginger (ground)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins (multi-colored)

4oz white chocolate chopped into chunks

3 cups grated carrots

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven 325 degrees

Mix sugar, eggs and molasses, add the oil and butter blend well. Combine the dry ingredients in another bowl and mix. Once blended add to the wet mixture and blend well. Add the carrots, raisins, pecans and white chocolate blend well until all is mixed thoroughly.

Place into 3 greased 9” cake pans for about 30 minutes.

Once baking is complete let cool and remove from pan.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 sticks of butter soften

2 packages of cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream (can use milk instead)

Blend the butter and cream cheese until well blended. Add the powdered sugar, lemon and heavy cream. Whip until light and fluffy.

Frost the layers of the cake, placing one on top of each other. Frost sides, and top. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

carrot cake

Happy Fall & Enjoy!

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

For some reason I have been baking up a storm lately, from homemade sweet rolls, to chocolate caramel brownies, I just can’t stop.

Here is a neat little recipe I wanted to pass along:

Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies:

cran choco

Ingredients:

  • 1/2  cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • !/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3  cups Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
  • *6 – 8 oz of Cocoa Mill’s Dark Chocolate Cranberry Bark

Preparation

Heat oven to 350°F.

Chop chocolate cranberry bark up into nice bite size chunks, set aside (to snack on while you assemble the rest of the cookie).

 

In large bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.

Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Add combined flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix well.

Add oats and chocolate cranberry bark; mix well.

choc oatmeal dough2

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheets.

choc oastmeal pan

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered or in freezer safe bags for later consumption 😉

Enjoy!

cran oat

* Bark may be substituted for 6 – 8 oz chopped bittersweet dark chocolate and 1 cup cranberries.