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Boston Cream Cake

Mike’s favorite dessert is Boston Cream Pie.  I am not a Piemaker (where is Lee Pace when you need him?) and that leads me to seeking out alternatives to this favorite.  I was super excited when I found this recipe on The Gooseberry Patch pinned from The Country Cook.  The only complaint I have about this recipe is that this blog does not include an actual recipe-style write-up of the recipe–only an explanation.  Bit of a pain when it’s 4 printed pages long.  (First world problems….)

Recipe:
Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
ingredients needed to make cake; eggs, oil and water
2 (3.4oz) boxes instant Vanilla or French Vanilla pudding
4 cups milk
1 tub Chocolate Frosting
The first step is to make the cake as instructed.  I prefer a hand-mixer when I mixing cakes, as opposed to my Oyster mixer when I’m making cookies or bread.  Something about a hand mixer with cake batter makes me feel more in control of the lumps and chunks in the mixture.  Weird, I get it.  Do as you will 🙂
Then, when the cake is done and still warm, poke holes in it.  I felt like I was slaughtering the pristine beauty of that crisp surface with the handle of my wooden spoon, but I think I made a good show of it:
Then, prepare the pudding and, while the cake is still warm, pour the pudding over the cake, taking care to pour directly into the holes.  It will not look pretty at this stage:
Here’s the tricky part: while the pudding is starting to set up, you need to carefully spread it around the cake to fill all the holes and make it even.  The trick is to do it without tearing the top of the cake.  After about 5 minutes, it will look like this:
Put the entire thing (warm and all) into the refrigerator for 2 hours.  Once the pudding has “firmed,” you can then microwave the frosting for about 15-17 seconds (warm enough to pour, but no boiling bubbles) and pour over the cake.  Using the same careful method of spreading, cover the entire cake with the frosting without disturbing the pudding (the idea here is layers):
Allow it to cool in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours at least, but overnight would be best if possible.  When removed from the fridge, it will have a soft shell from the frosting, but will cut very easily with a butter knife or cake spatula; the first piece will be the most difficult to remove as the pudding makes the cake mushy.
Serve with milk or coffee and enjoy the blending of flavors.
Verdict:
Mike’s Opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: delicious!
Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 3/5 the first night, 5/5 after a full 24-hour refrigeration period
Presentation: 4/5 (sloppy looking on the plate)
Ease of preparation: 3/5 (there are many steps, and the spreading can be a little taxing)
Ease of cleanup: 4/5
Availability of ingredients: 5/5
The first night we had this cake, I was not a big fan–too many flavors and textures.  However, after a night in the fridge where the pudding settled through the holes in the cake, the flavors were well-blended and the texture of the dessert completely changed.  Definitely give it time to settle before serving; you will not be disappointed 🙂
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Dessert

 

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Aside

I have 4 bananas quickly deteriorating in the heat which can only mean one thing: time for a smoothie!  This recipe was pinned by Amanda ZA from the Chiquita Banana website.  As a side note, I bought two 6oz tubs of Chibani yogurt this week, just to see what all the craze was about.  Last night we tried the Apple Cinnamon flavor, and neither Mike nor myself could get more than a mouthful down.  The texture is odd, the flavor is weak, and it left an overt sense of dryness in the mouth.  We left the  Honey and Vanilla flavor specifically to try in a smoothie.  (This is important in about 3 seconds)

Recipe:

2   whole Chiquita Bananas, frozen*, peeled and sliced
1   (6-oz.) carton non-fat Vanilla yogurt
1/3   cup creamy Peanut butter
1/2   cup non-fat Milk

Throw all these together and blend until smooth, serve immediately.  I used the Chobani Honey and Vanilla yogurt…

Verdict:

Mike’s Opinion:
Taste: 1/5
Presentation: 3/5
Notes: Very strange taste, and I think it comes from the yogurt.  It leaves your mouth feeling dry.  Did not like this at all.

Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 1/5
Presentation: 3/5  (weird color)
Ease of preparation: 5/5
Ease of cleanup: 4/5
Availability of ingredients: 4/5

The flavor left a feeling of chalky dryness in my mouth, as well as an overwhelming flavor of the yogurt and peanut butter with no flavor of banana at all.  I took 3 drinks because I really wanted to like this smoothie, but I ended up dumping it down the drain for fear of my gag reflex…
I am not going to completely write this recipe off, as I have made smoothies with peanut butter and bananas before and loved them.  However, next time I will use vanilla yogurt as called for, and I will not use Chobani again.  (sorry Chobani fans…we are not a Chobani family)

Best Creamy Peanut Butter Chiquita Banana Smoothie

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Drinks, Smoothie

 

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ButterBeer Cupcakes

Forewarning: I am a Harry Potter nut!  Living this close to Orlando is not good for my health, as I have to have a Butterbeer every time we visit Universal Studios.  I’d heard a lot about these cupcakes and other homemade butterbeer recipes, but I was a little skeptical that someone could duplicate that much awesome.  Cream soda happened to be on kick-butt sale at Wal-Mart yesterday, so I figured “eh, why not.”  However, as I searched through the dozens of recipes I’d found on Pinterest, I realized I didn’t like any of them because they seemed painstakingly difficult.  So, I went on a quest with my trusty Bing search, and found Pastry Affair.  Here’s a cook who knows what it’s all about.

Recipe:

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

Mind you–there are many other parts to this recipe on her blog if you want the ganache, but I’m the only one in my house who likes frosting, so I didn’t make it.  Looks simple enough; I might make it for my book club 🙂

1. I left out the buttermilk because I didn’t feel like making it.  2. I’m the only one in my house who eats frosting, so I didn’t make any (and trust me, they didn’t need it). 3. I added 2 Tbs butterscotch–next time I’ll add 1/4 Cup.

The recipe for the cupcakes is fairly simple, but the batter is a bit sticky so cleanup is messy.  It says it will yield 18 cupcakes, but I was only able to yield 12.  I needed to keep the cupcakes in for the full 17 minutes–they may have benefited from another  minute as the middle was still a bit tacky.

Unfortunately, there’s no picture.  They didn’t last long enough for me to snap one!  Seriously, between the four of us, these suckers were gone in a hurry.  This is definitely a recipe I will be keeping for future use.

Verdict:

Mike’s Opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: Delicious

Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5 (beautiful golden color!)
Ease of preparation: 5/5
Ease of cleanup: 4/5

Yummy!

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Dessert

 

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Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I saw the title “Best ever chocolate chip cookies,” I thought “sure, whatever, that’s what they all say.”  Nope.  This one is actually true.  I like my cookies ooey and gooey, and I like them to stay that way; no hardening over the days they sit in the cookie jar.  This wonderful recipe has a secret ingredient, and honestly…I’ll never go back to Tollhouse.  (Sorry!  I’ve been a firm believer for years, but I can’t deny the sheer awesome of this recipe).  I found it on Cheri Chavis’s Board, and it was originally pinned from Apple a Day (a teacher blog, woot!)  She’s right, stop what you’re doing right now and make these cookies!

Recipe:

Ingredients:
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

I didn’t have regular chocolate chips, only mini’s.  They were great, but I can’t wait to make it with those big morsels 🙂  I followed the recipe and the directions exactly as directed with one exception.  I don’t use spray on the cookie trays anymore.  My father-in-law taught me that Parchment Paper makes the best cookies, and I haven’t had a burnt bottom or a torn cookie since. These cookies seriously are some yummy goodness–they didn’t last two days in this house.  Perfect for our bad-movie-marathon.

Verdict:

Mike’s opinion:
Taste: 6/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: A little too small for my liking, but absolutely delicious.

Jen’s opinion:
Taste: 6/5
Presentation: 5/5
Ease of preparation: 5/5
Ease of cleanup: 4/5 (cookies are always a pain to clean up without a dishwasher…)
Availability of ingredients: 5/5

By far my favorite recipe I’ve found on Pinterest.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Cookies, Dessert

 

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S’More Bars

Happy Fourth of July, America!  We are going to have a houseful of people tonight, including children, so I needed something quick, summery, and delicious.  I found this gem of a recipe on MintWood and it was originally posted on Wit and Whistle.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 king-sized milk chocolate bars (e.g. Hershey’s)
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme/fluff (I used 30 marshmallows–I needed more marshmallow!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take any pictures of this dessert, but I can tell you, it didn’t last long!  I found myself panicking a little over the ever-expanding marshmallows, but nothing escaped over the sides, so there was no gooey mess in my oven (phew!).  My only complaint was after the yumminess was all gone — cleaning this pan was a bit of a pain.  It soaked for 2 days in soapy water before I could get the  marshmallows off the side.

Verdict:

Mike’s opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: Oh my God, yes please!

Jen’s opinion:
Taste: 5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Ease of preparation: 4/5
Ease of cleanup: 3/5
Availability of ingredients: 4/5

More marshmallows 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Dessert

 

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Frozen Hot Chocolate

Serendipity is one of my favorite movies, and every time I watch it all I can think about afterwards is those humongous chocolate drinks Sara and Eve indulge themselves with in the Serendipity Coffee Shop.  Then, behold!  I found the recipe on Caitlyn Ryan’s board, pinned from a blog called Picky Palate.  Thank you, ladies!  I may have just died and gone to chocolate Heaven!

Recipe:

2 cups whole milk
Five 1.25 ounce packets of Hot Chocolate mix
4 cups ice
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips or grated chocolate

Unfortunately I didn’t have heavy whipping cream, and at 11:00pm I didn’t want to run to Wal-Mart.  My impatience kicked in and I figured I’d give it a go without the whipped topping.  (Someday…whipped topping.  Someday).  I followed the recipe exactly as stated (aside from the topping), dumped it into frozen mugs that my husband conveniently keeps in the freezer, dropped in a straw, and drank deeply.
**Sigh**

Seriously, to me, it is that amazing.  I’m not sure I can survive the whipped topping.

Verdict:

Mike’s Opinion:
Taste: 3/5
Presentation: 5/5
Notes: The chocolate wasn’t all the strong tasting.

Jen’s Opinion:
Taste: 4.5/5
Presentation: 5/5
Ease of preparation: 5/5
Ease of cleanup: 5/5
Availability of ingredients: 3/5 (seriously, who keeps heavy whipping cream lying around?  That stuff is dynamite.)

Overall, delicious, but I  may try actually using real cocoa next time?

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Drinks

 

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