Category:  Holidays

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Chocolate Sandwich Cookie Cake

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Creams & Sauces, Holidays On December 14, 2020 0 Comments

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After I purchased sandwich cookie cake molds at a local Williams Sonoma® store, I was inspired to make this cake for our 2020 December holidays – (this is to memorialize a year of C19 lockdowns in March and in December).

Mirroring our current lives, the cake is simple, with no frills. But it’s delicious, too.

Enjoy this comforting dessert with your favorite coffee, tea or liqueur after your Chanukah, Christmas or New Year dinner!

Prep time: 20 minutes (cake); and 10 minutes (frosting
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves: 12 to 15

Ingredients for the Cake:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower) or unsalted butter (for greasing cake pans)
1/2 cup cocoa powder or more (for dusting cake pans)
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar (unbleached)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk (whole or low-fat)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces melted, unsweetened chocolate (cooled)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Grease two Williams Sonoma® Cookie Cake Pans or two 9-inch round cake pans.

3. Sprinkle cocoa powder over greased cake pans; shake off excess. Set pans aside.

4. Measure remaining ingredients in a large (12-cup) mixing bowl.

5. Beat 1 minute on low speed, constantly scraping bowl with a spatula.

6. Beat 3 minutes on high speed; scraping bowl occasionally.

7. Pour cake batter into pans until they reach 2/3 height. If there’s extra batter, grease and dust with cocoa a 2-cup baking dish (make a third cake to use for a separate purpose).

8. Place cake pans on a rack positioned in center of oven; bake for 25 to 30 minutes (bake small, extra cake for 15 minutes; check doneness).

9. Test doneness of cakes by inserting a pointed knife in center of each one. If knife comes out clean, the cakes are done.

10. Remove cakes from oven and set aside on a cooling rack or trivets on a counter for 15 minutes.

11. Invert the cakes onto a parchment paper-lined cutting board.

12. Meanwhile, prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 to 3 teaspoons milk (whole or low-fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:
1. In a large (12-cup) mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, milk, vanilla with handheld  mixer. Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with a bowl.

2. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed, until smooth and spreadable. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, using a spatula, turn one cake over and set it on a serving platter (with print side facing down).

4. Spread the frosting evenly over cake on platter.

5. Place the second cake, printed side up, on top of frosting.

6. Serve immediately by cutting cake into slices or refrigerate cake (covered) up to 2 days ahead.

7. If making this cake ahead, remove from refrigerator 2 hours prior to serving.
Text ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Create an Edible Ghoul!

In Fun Foods, Holidays On October 14, 2020 0 Comments

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Prep time: 15 to 20 minutes
Decorates: 1 to 2 individual pastries

How about transforming a premade, individual cake, cookie  or donut into a Halloween ghoul? Have fun!

Ingredients (for 1 to 2 decorations):
3 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Cocoa Rice Crispies (for hair decoration)
One 4.25 oz. tube Dec A Cake Green Decorating Icing
One 4.25 oz. tube Dec A Cake Blue Decorating Icing
One .75 oz. Dec A Cake Black Writing Gel
One .75 oz. Dec A Cake Red Writing Gel

Directions:
1. In a 4-cup bowl, mix the powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon water.

2. If needed, add a little more water until a thick glaze has formed.

3. Place the pastry on a dinner plate covered with waxed paper.

4. Pour enough glaze over the pastry so that it’s surface is completely covered.

5. Immediately transfer dinner plate with glazed item to freezer.

6. Chill 5 minutes until almost firmly set.

7. Transfer the plate with pastry to a work surface & sprinkle the Cocoa Rice Crispies on the ghoul to create “hair”.

8. Fit the Dec A Cake Green Decorating Icing tube with a pointed tip.

9. Looking at photograph herein, be inspired to decorate the pastry by create outer green eye circles, eyebrows & nose.

10. Next, fit the Dec A Cake Blue Decorating Icing tube with a separate pointed tip.

11. Create inner blue pupils inside green outline for eyes.

12.  Draw black pupil in center of pupils in eyes.

13. Draw black line for the mouth.

14. Add red fangs to the mouth line.

15. Decorate a second pastry, if desired. Transfer decorated Halloween ghouls to a serving platter & devour them!
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

Valentine Biscotti & Kickback Strawberry Sunshine with CBD

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Desserts, Creams & Sauces, Holidays On February 4, 2020 0 Comments

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I need to relax these days – don’t you? Here’s a great biscotti dessert with a “kick”! Enjoy this on Valentine’s Day with anyone you love!

Prep time: 15 minutes (mixing dough & shaping biscotti logs)
Makes: 36 to 40 biscotti

Ingredients:
3-3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached, granulated sugar
69 drops red food color
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Mixing the Dough:
1. Preheat double ovens to 350°F. You can also use one oven (baking directions will follow).

2. Line two 18X12-inch baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

3. In a 2-quart bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves & cinnamon; set aside.

4. In a 4-quart mixing bowl using a hand mixer (or in bowl of a stand mixer), blend together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract and sugar until uniform.

5. With mixer going, add the red food color drops.

6. With mixer set on low speed, stir in the chocolate chips.

7. Set mixer on medium and gradually (a little at a time), stir in the flour until a dough forms.

8. When dough is uniform, turn it onto a lightly-floured surface (NOT MARBLE, GRANITE or OTHER STONE – IT WILL HALT THE “RISING” ACTION OF DOUGH).

Shape Biscotti Logs & Bake:

1. Lightly knead dough until it is smooth – do not overwork it.

2. When dough is smooth, divide it into four balls.

3. Roll each dough ball into a 15 X 2-inch log; place two logs on each baking sheet, spaced 3 inches apart.

4. Flatten logs slightly.

5. If using two ovens, place one sheet in each oven – racks must be centered in ovens; bake for 30 minutes.

6. Alternatively, if using one oven, place sheets on separate racks (top and bottom); bake for 15 minutes.

7. After 15 minutes, switch top and bottom sheets and bake for additional 15 minutes.

8. After 30 minutes baking time, transfer sheets with dough logs to a counter; cool for 6 minutes.

9. After 6 minutes, using a serrated knife, cut biscotti – 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide. DO NOT USE A “SAWING MOTION” AS BISCOTTI WILL CRUMBLE. INSTEAD, CUT “DOWN” INTO DOUGH.

10. Place each biscotto (Italian, singular) with cut side down on baking sheets.

11. Bake 5 minutes per side. Cool and serve.

TO STORE BISCOTTI: Place biscotti in double freezer bags and freeze up to two months. Place biscotti on a platter one hour prior to serving.
Text & Photograph ©2020 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Christmas Tree Cupcakes

In Cakes & Cupcakes, Holidays On December 16, 2019 0 Comments

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Wanna have some fun with food sculpture, colors and textures? Round up kids of all ages and make these bright Christmas Tree Cupcakes!

Decorating time:  20 to 30 minutes
Bake time: 35 to 40 minutes
Makes: 20 to 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
One 15.25-oz. Betty Crocker® cake mix (any flavor)
Two 12-cupcake size baking pans
24 cupcake baking paper cups  (optional)
One 7-oz. package Betty Crocker® Red Cookie Icing mix
One  .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Green Decorating gel
One .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Yellow Decorating gel or icing
One .67-oz. tube Betty Crocker® Blue Decorating gel or icing

NOTE: You can substitute yellow and blue gel or icing with colored nonpareil or other types of candies.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven according to cake mix package directions .

2. Prepare cake batter according to cake mix package directions.

3. Either grease and flour the cupcake sections of baking pan or line them with cupcake baking paper cups.

4. Pour and divide cake batter evenly among cupcake sections in baking pan..

4. Bake cupcakes per package directions.

5. To check doneness of cupcakes, insert a pointed knife in center of one cupcake – the knife should come out clean.

6. If batter clings to knife, bake cupcakes 3 to 4 minutes longer.

7. After 3 to 4 minutes, check doneness again.

8. Transfer baking pans with cupcakes to a cooling rack or counter; let cool to room temperature.

9. When cupcakes are completely cool, remove them from baking pans and set on a flat surface lined with parchment or waxed paper.

10. Using a cake decorating spatula, decorate cupcake tops with the red icing.

11. Next, using green gel tube, create abstract tree design with side-to-side, squiggly lines.

12. Finish decorating each cupcake “tree” with green and yellow dots from decorating icing tubes or sprinkle with decorating nonpareils or other candies.
Text & Photograph ©2019 Nancy DeLucia Real

 

Matcha-Cranberry Biscotti

In Cookies, Candies & Sweets, Holidays On December 9, 2018 0 Comments

Hey, Everyone – following that “Matcha” craze? I thought it would be a great idea to combine some Matcha tea powder (green) and dried cranberries (red) for a holiday recipe. Here are some mean Matcha-Cranberry Biscotti. The best thing about making these is that you can make them now and freeze them until Christmas!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 25 – 30 minutes
Makes: 25 – 30 biscotti

Ingredients:
3-3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Matcha tea powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1-3/4 cup unbleached, granulated sugar (you can substitute regular granulated sugar)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (sunflower or safflower preferred)
3/4 cup slivered, roasted almonds

Prepare Dough & Shape Dough Logs:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Line two 18″ X 12″ baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

3. In a 1-quart bowl, combine the flour, Matcha tea powder, salt and baking powder; set aside.

4. In stand mixer fitted with a bowl, beat together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and oil on medium speed until well-blended. Alternatively, you can use a 3 to 4-quart mixing bowl with a hand mixer.

5. Gradually stir in the almonds and the flour mixture (a little bit at a time) until a smooth, uniform batter has formed.

6. Transfer the batter to a smooth, floured surface and gently knead. You should add enough flour so that the batter does not stick to the surface.

7. Divide the batter into 3 even balls; set aside.

8. Take one ball and gently roll it out on a lightly-floured surface until it measures about 13 to 15 inches long. Transfer the log onto the baking sheet (leave room for two more logs).

9. Repeat rolling and transferring the dough log onto baking sheet, leaving about 1 to 1-1/2 inches in between each log.

Bake the Dough Logs:
1. Place the baking sheet with dough logs on a rack fitted in center of oven.

2. Bake the logs for 25 to 30 minutes or until dough springs to the touch and feels firm.

3. When done, transfer baking sheet with logs onto a a counter top; cool 5 minutes.

Cut Biscotti & Bake:
1. After 5 minutes, using a serrated knife, on a diagonal slant, cut down 1/2-inch from edge of one log (DO NOT USE A “SAWING MOTION” OR LOG WILL CRUMBLE).

2. Continue cutting 1/2-inch thick biscotti from the baked log; repeat cutting biscotti from the two remaining logs.

3. Place biscotti – cut-side down- on baking sheet.

4. Return baking sheet to oven and bake 5 minutes.

5. After 5 minutes, transfer baking sheet with biscotti to countertop.

6. Turn the biscotti over and bake once more for 5 minutes.

7. When done, transfer the baking sheet with biscotti to countertop to cool.

8. Freeze biscotti in double freezer food bags up to 1 month.
Text & Photograph ©2018 Nancy DeLucia Real