ODP Day 4 – Friends

Hello reader,

Some days are just good. Full of hugs, sweet messages, good food, and friends. Today was a good day.

 
This cake, which I made to bring to lunch with friends, is potentially my new favorite chocolate cake. It has cherry whipped cream as icing and a cherry filling, and it is delicious. And I have a jar of leftover whipped cream in my fridge right now, which I am very excited about. 

  Today’s outfit looks almost exactly the same as yesterday’s, but for some reason I like it better. I think it’s because blazers make me feel sophisticated, and sophistication is on of my major goals in life to achieve.

  
Even a blazer won’t make me sophisticated at 10pm on Sunday when I’m doing homework due the tomorrow… This morning person does not appreciate late nights… Yay for procrastination, coffee, and friends who take sneaky pictures of you studying!

 

 

Butterflies and Flowers

Pineapple Flowers 3

 

Don’t those look pretty? My mom and I made this for my birthday this past year. It all started with a cake. I wanted to make this delicious sounding cake that I saw on Pinterest (of course, right?). I mixed up the batter, baked it, let it cool, popped it out of the pan, and it broke straight in two. Right before I had to go to work, so I couldn’t try again… So my mom took over. And the same thing happened to her. So now we had two delicious, yet broken, cakes. The day before my birthday. So what do you do with broken cake? You make it into trifle, of course! And you can’t just make a normal trifle for your own 18th birthday, so I had to do something cool to decorate them. Re-enter Pinterest! You’d think I’d have learned not to trust Pinterest the day before things have to be done, but I haven’t yet. The second time time, it was definitely a pin-win, not a pinstrosity. I had seen these pineapple flowers pop up several times and wanted to try them for a while, and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. It was really simple: slice your pineapple into extremely thin slices, lay them out on a cookie sheet, and bake at 225 degrees for 30 minutes at a time, flipping them over after each 30 minutes. Depending on how thin you slice your pineapple, baking time can vary from about 1-2 hours. When they seem thoroughly dried out, place each slice in a muffin tin (mine went into mini muffin tins because I wanted more of a curve) and let them sit over night. This will make the shape of the flower.

The next step to fancy up my trifles was chocolate butterflies. I had made these before, and I think I put them on the blog, but I’ll recap for you here. They’re super easy to do! The most important thing is DO NOT USE CHOCOLATE CHIPS! The first time I made these I disregarded that rule, and my butterflies turned out extremely lumpy and fragile. Use almond bark. It is much smoother when it melts, and it keeps its shape much better when it cools. Print (or draw) a butterfly design in a couple different sizes. Lay wax paper over your paper designs. Melt your almond bark in a double boiler (or in 30 second intervals in the microwave) and let cool until it’s hardened just a teeny bit. If you try to pipe it too soon it runs everywhere and doesn’t form a butterfly, but if you let it cool too much then it is difficult to pipe. Pour the chocolate into an icing bag (if you don’t have one, you can use a ziplock with one small corner snipped out. Pipe the chocolate over the designs carefully. When you have as many butterflies as you want (I suggest making extra ones in case some break or don’t turn out as well) carefully set the wax paper on an open book, with the butterfly’s spine in the middle of the book’s spine. This will create the arch of the wings. Set the books in the fridge and let chill overnight.

The next morning you can assemble your trifles! I layered my cake with whipped cream and strawberries, with a pineapple f’lower and a chocolate butterfly on each one. I would say they were a hit, even if creating them was a bit more of an adventure than I anticipated! Enjoy!Pineapple Flowers 2

Pineapple Flowers 4

Pineapple Flowers 6

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

This is seriously the most delicious thing you will ever eat. For seriousness. And it’s so easy. I made it a while ago to bring to a friend’s house for dinner and it was enjoyed by everyone 🙂
 The layers are composed of brownies, whipped cream, a sweet peanut butter mixture, pudding, and Reese’s.
 I kept forgetting the layers while I was at the store and I couldn’t get the recipe back because I had terrible service, so I just guessed on what flavor pudding. I guessed vanilla, but it was supposed to be chocolate so I  just added cocoa to the vanilla mix and it worked out just fine.
It’s so pretty layered too!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle (found here)
1 Box Brownies, baked according to the box directions
1 5 oz box Chocolate Pudding, prepared and Chilled
2 C Heavy Cream
1 C Creamy Peanut Butter
1 C Powdered Sugar
2 T Milk
8 T Cream Cheese
Beat the heavy cream in an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a medium bowl and chill. In the bowl the cream was whipped in mix the peanut butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and milk. Fold 1 C of the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture until it is a lighter color and mostly combined. Layer however you like and enjoy!
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Butterfly Chocolate Cupcakes

The other day I was in charge of making dessert for a dinner we were having at a friend’s house. Of course I wanted to make something complicated. Here enters Pinterest 🙂 I had been wanting to make these chocolate butterflies for a while now and this was the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, the instructions specifically said “use almond bark. Do NOT use chocolate chips, they will not hold the shape.” Well the store didn’t have almond bark and really how bad could chocolate chips be? Lesson learned: when it says don’t use chocolate chips, don’t use chocolate chips. They turned out fine, but not great. They still tasted fantastic though! Recipe at the bottom, as always.

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 2/3 C Flour
1 1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Cocoa
1 1/2 t Baking Soda
1 t Salt
1/2 t Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 C Shortening (I used butter)
1 1/2 C Buttermilk (or sour milk)
1 t Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, shortening, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix for 3 minutes. Fill the muffin cups 1/2 full. I actually filled mine a little more than that, about 2/3rds full, because I wanted a little poof top to the cupcakes. Bake 18-20 minutes or until the cupcake bounces back when you touch it. 
Mocha Frosting 
Warning: This is the best frosting I have ever had in my entire life. You will be addicted.
1 Stick Butter
1/2 C Cocoa
1/3 C Milk
1 t Vanilla
1 T Instant Coffee
2 2/3 C Powdered Sugar
Butterfly Toppers:
Melt your almond bark in a double boiler. You can put the melted chocolate in a cake decorating bag or a ziplock bag, just make sure the tip you are piping out of is big enough to create a thick piping line. Pipe the chocolate flat onto wax paper using a pattern. If you trace the pattern onto the paper instead of just placing it behind the paper make sure to flip the wax paper over. You don’t want to eat sharpie! 😉 After you pipe the butterfly put the wax paper on an open book and chill it in the fridge until firm. Enjoy!
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Popcorn Chocolate Chip Cookies

 Say what?? You’re putting popcorn in perfectly good chocolate chip cookies?? Well you have to understand something: my family LOVES popcorn. We try to have popcorn for dinner at least once a week. And when you get the chance to combine popcorn and cookies can you really pass that up? I think not.

You know those flavors that just go together? Peanut butter and jelly, hot tea and honey, apples and caramel. Well it’s time to add popcorn and chocolate to this list. Seriously delish. Make them. You can thank me later 🙂

Popcorn Chocolate Chip Cookies (found here)
2 T Oil
1 T Butter, melted
1/4 C Unpopped Popcorn Kernels
1/4 t Salt
1/2 C Butter, softened
1/2 C Brown Sugar
1/3 C White Sugar
1 Egg
1 t Vanilla
1 1/4 C Flour
1/2 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Salt
1/2 C Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then pop the popcorn. You can do this multiple ways, the easiest being with a popcorn popper. If you don’t have one you can pop it in a brown bag in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. After the popcorn is popped (using the kernels, oil, butter, and 1/4 t salt) set it aside. In a mixer, mix together the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/4 t salt until just combined. Fold in the popcorn. It will seem really uneven at first but keep stirring; the popcorn breaks down. Now fold in the chocolate chips. Drop on greased or covered cookie sheets by the spoonful and bake at 350 for 10-13 minutes. Let them cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack. Enjoy!
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Knock you Naked Brownies

First of all, I’d like to thank my friend, Lindsay, for introducing me to these brownies. They are incredible.

This is what they look like finished. Not beautiful, but incredibly delicious.

I made them for the Easter Vigil party. They are caramely, chocolatey, nutty goodness.

This is the first layer.

You have to melt the caramel candies in a double boiler until it’s smooth like this.
Knock You Naked Brownies
1 Box German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 C Chopped Pecans
1/3 C Evaporated Milk
1/2 C Evaporated Milk (additional)
1/2 C Butter, melted
60 Caramel Candies
1/3 C Chocolate Chips
1/4 C Powdered Sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan. Mix together the cake mix (not prepared, just the powdery mix), pecans, 1/3 C evaporated milk, and butter. The mix will be very thick. Press half the mixture into the pan and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. While it’s baking melt the caramels and 1/2 C evaporated milk in a double boiler until smooth. Pour it over the cake when it comes out. Make sure to pour it over a spatula or something because if you pour it directly onto the cake it will make a hole in your cake. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel. Press the remaining cake mix into a square slightly smaller than 9×9. Use a spatula to flip the cake mix onto the caramel covered cake. It’s ok if you can’t get it all at once, you can piece it together. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar once cool, if desired. Enjoy!
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Happy Birthday Momma!

My mom’s birthday is on Tuesday! Usually she’s the cake baker. She makes beautiful cakes and often makes them for other people’s birthdays. However, I didn’t want her to make her own birthday cake, so I thought I’d take over. I had to make it almost a week early because she was out for the weekend with my dad and I wanted the cake to be a surprise. Also, if I had tried to make it while she was home she would have taken over 🙂 So I made it this past Saturday while she was gone. I’m definitely not as much of a decorator as she is, so I tend to make simple, yet delicious, cakes. I was able to choose a recipe with buttermilk and heavy cream in it because we had them from making ice cream and something else, I’m not sure what. I love having random ingredients in the house! This cake is SUPER delicious. And it keeps for a really long time due to the oil in it; it’s been in our fridge for a week and it still tastes super fresh!

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake (found here)
3 C Flour
2 1/2 C Sugar
1 T +1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt
1 C Cocoa
1 1/3 C Canola Oil
1 1/2 C Buttermilk
3 Eggs
1 1/2 C Extra Strong Hot Coffee (you cannot taste this in the cake, it just brings out the chocolate flavor)
1 t Vanilla 
Icing
24 oz (3 C) Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 C Heavy Whipping Cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa together. Add the canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs to the dry mixture. Add the coffee and vanilla. Pour batter into two greased 9″ circle pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (mine stayed in 40 minutes). Let the cakes cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before dumping out. While the cakes are cooling heat 2″ of water in the bottom of a double boiler. When the water is boiling, but the chocolate chips and whipping cream in the top of your double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, like me, you can boil the water in a saucepan and use a stove-top safe bowl that sets in the top of the pan without wiggling too much. Make sure the water in the saucepan doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl in the top.) Melt the chocolate and whipping cream until combined. Chill the icing until spreadable (about 10 minutes). Dump the first layer of cake onto a plate. If needed, level the top of the cake with a serrated knife, cake leveler, or dental floss. Ice the cake with the chilled icing. Place the second layer on top and ice it. Chill the cake for about 15 minutes and add another layer of icing. Repeat until you have as much icing as you’d like. Enjoy!
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