Monday, December 30, 2019

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas!  I'm relaxing and having a slice of this rich cake and a cup of tea from my new poinsettia teacup that my darling daughter gave me, which also has a matching pitcher. 

Isn't the teacup a pretty one?  Red is my favorite color, too!  I'm having some Candy Cane Lane tea today, which goes nicely with the cake.

My son, Mike, who lives with me, has a New Year 's Eve birthday, and I thought I'd try the cake out to see how it tastes.  it was my first time baking a cake.  I like that the 6-cup bundt pan makes for a smaller size cake. 




Yield: Depends on how big you slice
Author:

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

This cake is very chocolate-y and dense!

ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1  and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • For the ganache
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

instructions:

How to cook Instant Pot Chocolate Cake

  1. In a small bowl combine hot water with cocoa powder. Whisk until smooth and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, baking soda, kosher salt, and eggs. Add in sour cream, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.
  3. Whisk until smooth. Stir in flour until fully combined. Add cocoa mixture and beat for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into a 6 cup bundt pan, that has been greased very thoroughly with baking spray.
  5. In the bottom of the Instant Pot add 1 1/2 cups of water. Put the bundt pan on a trivet with handles (and for easier lifting, you can make a sling out of foil if your handles are not long enough) and lower into the pressure cooker.
  6. Secure the lid and turn the valve to "SEALING."
  7. Select "HIGH PRESSURE" for a cook time of 32 minutes.
  8. When cook time ends, allow to naturally release for ten minutes, then do a quick release and remove the cake pan from the pressure cooker.
  9. Allow cake to cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then invert onto a cake plate.
  10. For the ganache, add chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream to a glass bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals in microwave stirring between each interval.  Let the ganache set to thicken before spreading on top of the cooled cake. 

NOTES:

Decorate the cake with sprinkles, or even leave off the ganache and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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I was featured!  Thank you, Miz Helen!

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I was featured!  Thank you, Linda!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Sparkling Spice Spritz Cookies

 Here's one more Christmas treat to make, if you have the time.  I'm hoping that Lynn, from Happier Than A Pig In Mud  will try these sometime.  Lynn is the Queen of Spritz (and also Deviled Eggs, crafts, and always good recipes!).


 This is probably my favorite Christmas plate, which is by Johnson Brothers, and the pattern is Merry Christmas.  I just love the old fashioned look of it. 

 The teacup has this pretty Christmas tree inside. 

 I love these vintage salt and pepper shakers that belonged to my late beloved mom.  Don't they have the sweetest faces?

 Harper decorated this tree for me with the little cooking utensils that my daughter bought me years ago. 

 Cissy performed in a Christmas program that we so enjoyed.  She's the one on top!

 Here is my daughter and I with our little star.

 Harper also performed in a Christmas program, where she was the Innkeeper, and sang so many sweet Christmas songs with her class.  I'm so blessed to be able to attend these wonderful events.  That's Hayden on the left, with me, my daughter-in-law, Harper, and my youngest son.  

 

 Merry Christmas to all of you!  



Author:

Sparkling Spice Spritz Cookies

Sparkling Spice Spritz Cookies

Even though there are a lot of spices in these cookies, they are not overly spicy. I freeze my cookie sheets when making spritz because it makes it easier for the dough to stick.

ingredients:

  • 16 tablespoons  soft unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup  sugar
  • 1/2 cup soft cream cheese
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or ground clove
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • coarse sparkling sugar, for decorating

instructions:

How to cook Sparkling Spice Spritz Cookies

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Get out two cookie sheets; they don't need to be greased.  Chill the cookie sheets as you make the dough.
  2. Cream together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, salt, vanilla, and spices.
  3. Beat in the egg yolk, then stir in the flour.
  4. Pipe the cookies onto the chilled cookie sheets.
  5. Or drop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the baking sheets; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here.
  6. Top with colored sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake the cookies for 10 to 16 minutes, until they're brown around the edges.  (Mine were done around 10 minutes).
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to racks to cool. Be sure to move the cookies to a rack before they're totally cool, as otherwise they may stick to the pan.
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Monday, December 16, 2019

Microwave Peanut Brittle

 Do you need any last minute food gifts to give to family or friends??  I have the best Microwave Peanut Brittle that comes from my high school friend, Lois.  It is so incredibly easy and the BEST! 

 Lois (on the bottom left), and me (on the bottom right) were in theater together in high school, and this was not a class that we got credit for, either.  Our play director was Sister Phillip, and we practiced in the evenings during the school week. We did not have to try out, if I recall correctly, as Sister Phillip just cast us to what she thought was the best fit.  The photo above was in our local Columbus, Ohio newspaper for the promotion of The Imaginary Invalid.  Lois and I also were in You Can't Take It With You, which if you've never seen the play,  is about an znay, eccentric family with one normal person (played by me), who reluctantly, wants to bring her fiance and his parents home to meet her family.  The moral of the story is that you can have all the riches in the world, but if you're not happy, "you can't take it with you".   We had such fun our Junior and Senior years!  Lois and I also worked together at a snack bar at a swimming pool in the summertime. 

 I'm using my December Royal Albert teacup that my friend gifted me from her late mother's collection.

 My late beloved Dad gifted me this sweet Goebel angel and baby Jesus, back in 1979 (I wrote it on the underside!). 

 My youngest son, Kevin, gifted this tea set when he was just a little boy.

 My late friend, Kathryn, gifted me this sweet angel. 

 My late beloved hubby made me this beautiful wooden box the Christmas before he passed away.  It's always on my dining room table.  My friend, Cheryl, at Homespun Devotions  honored me by including my treasured memory in her post, which can be found here.



My four children gifted me with this beautiful nativity set years ago. 



Author:

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Microwave Peanut Brittle

My friend, Lois, got this recipe from her late beloved mother, who was known as one of Ohio State Buckeyes biggest fans! Thank you for sharing the recipe, Lois! 

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Raw Spanish Peanuts (I found mine in a 30 oz. bag at Wal Mart)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Utensils needed:
  • Cookie sheet with sides
  • Large (2 quart) glass measuring pitcher with handle
  • Wooden spoon

instructions:

How to cook Microwave Peanut Brittle

  1. Butter the cookies sheet.  Set aside.
  2. Mix the corn syrup and sugar with the wooden spoon in the glass measuring pitcher.  Microwave for 4 minutes* stirring halfway through.
  3. Stir in peanuts and salt.  Microwave for 4 minutes* stirring halfway through.
  4. Stir in vanilla and butter.  Microwave for 1 minute*.
  5. Quickly mix in baking soda until mixture is foamy.  Por onto buttered cookie sheet.  Tip from side to side to help spread the mixture.   Cool completely.  Crack.  Enjoy!

NOTES:

Lois's hints: *Microwave wattage varies from oven to oven. This recipe worked great in my microwave that is 10 years old, but Lois said that in her new microwave oven, which is 1200 watts, she had to reduce the power to 70%, but used the same times. Hint: Line up your ingredients and measure in advance. Put the salt and peanuts together; the vanilla and butter together; the baking soda in a small dish for the last step.
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Monday, December 9, 2019

Holiday Chex Mix

 I've made some Holiday Chex Mix to share with neighbors.  There are two boys that live next door, and I always like to give them treats for each holiday.  They're the sweetest neighbor kids, and are so polite, kind, and respectful.  How can you not love that?  My Santas were gifted to me from my daughter, except for the bottom one, that my late beloved gave to me. Don't you love the slippers on the Santas?

 The yummy treat is served in my pretty Santa teacup, but I have filled gift bags for the boys.


 I thought I'd show my mantle.  My sister sent me the snowflake lights that are on a timer.  Aren't they pretty? I've had the metal angels for so many years, and bought them at a local once a month trade days.

 I bought these fun headbands for my two youngest granddaughter at the Dollar Store.  Little Hayden wanted me to wear one, too. 




Yield: Varies according to how much each gift bag is filled
Author:

Holiday Chex Mix

Holiday Chex Mix

It's always nice to have some goodies to share with friends and neighbors! Using CandiQuick makes it so easy because you melt the candy right in the tray that it comes in.

ingredients:

  • 6 cups Rice Chex™ or Corn Chex™ cereal (I used a combo of them)
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup mini pretzel twists
  • 15 oz vanilla candy coating (almond bark) (about 9 cubes from 20-oz package) (I used a 16 oz package of vanilla CandiQuik)
  • 3 tablespoons holiday-colored sprinkles or nonpareils
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup holiday-colored candy-coated chocolate candies

instructions:

  1. Line large rimmed cookie sheet with waxed paper. In large bowl, mix cereal, marshmallows and pretzels. (I used a large Pyrex glass bowl that has a lid.)
  2. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave candy coating uncovered on High 60 to 90 seconds, stirring after 1 minute, until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Pour onto cereal mixture; mix well.
  3. Spread on cookie sheet; sprinkle with holiday sprinkles, and cool completely, about 15 minutes. Break into bite-size pieces.
  4. In 2-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag, add coated cereal pieces and powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake to coat. Remove from bag; discard any remaining powdered sugar. See NOTE.
  5. In large serving bowl, mix coated cereal mixture and chocolate candies.

NOTES:

I used a large glass bowl that has a lid , instead of a 2-gallon bag for mixing and them shaking the powdered sugar onto the mix.
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Monday, December 2, 2019

Midnight Mints

 

If you like mint and chocolate, I think you'll love these cookies that I'm sharing today.  I have had this fiber optic tree for so long and always love seeing it sparkle.  The Comfort and Joy tea from Republic of Tea is perfect for this time of the year.  My daughter bought me this Santa years ago.  

 

I love this pretty plate by Royal Stafford.  Doesn't it have  such a welcoming door? 



I wanted you to see the size scoop that I used, since I didn't have the 1 and 3/4" scoop.  I did mound my scoops pretty large. 



Yield: Around 32 cookies with a small scoop, and around 20 cookies with a 1 and 1/4" scoop
Author:

Midnight Mints

Midnight Mints

I cut this recipe out of the newspaper and had put it aside for a few years, always wanting to try it. I had to adjust the directions.

ingredients:

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut up
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 32 Andes Mints (I had the 2" size, and cut them in half)

instructions:

How to cook Midnight Mints

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Break up unsweetened chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.  Toss with the cut up butter.  Melt for 1-2 minutes (mine took 1 and 1/2 minutes).  Stir, and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Crack eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer.  Pour in sugar and add vanilla.  Sprinkle  in baking powder and salt.  Beat until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Pour in chocolate mixture; beat on low until combined.  Sprinkle in flour; beat on low until combined. 
  5. Use a 1 and 3/4" ice cream scoop (I used a mini scoop, which is 1 and 1/4", as my ice cream scoop is 2").  Portion out domes of dough.  Press a mint into each cookie. 
  6. Slide pans into oven and bake until just set.  Mine took 10 minutes, but directions said 7 minutes. 
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