Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Eggnog Cake and Frosting

Hello,
  I have stumbled upon some fascinating things in the past few months. First an Eggnog Cake and Second an old word that stirs up memories of sweet times gone by.
Today I'm going to share an Easy Eggnog Cake and frosting Picked as one of the favorite cakes by Ann Pillsbury.
I discovered the word Entremets it means between dishes .... Centuries ago people used to have sweets or vegetable refreshments between dishes or entre's. They'd also have festive entertainments like dancers, music, jesters or other performers. When I learned this word's meaning it took my mind back to when our children were very young. We'd plan  to put on skits in the living room or sing carols and recite poetry. Often times they'd make decorated invitations, just to make the event official:). These are memories I cherish. Memories, that keep in mind that even when life isn't perfectly the way we expected it to turn out(who's life is?) Still there is always something to be grateful for. I hope you make this cake it is so yummy and moist.


"Easy Eggnog Cake"

Tools
10 in. Tube/Bunt pan
mixing bowl,
Whisk
 or Mixer
Spatulas

Ingredients
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 small box of vanilla pudding(eggnog if you can find it)
1 c. of eggnog
4 eggs
1 chopped pecans
a few whole pecans and candied cherries, for decoration (optional)

Instructions
Blend all ingredients except the pecans in a mixing bowl. Beat with mixture at medium speed for 5 min. Brush pan with oil and sprinkle pecans in the bottom. Pour in the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 min(depending on your oven.) Check for doneness by inserting a skewer.
Invert the cake for 30 min and remove from the pan and Frost with Eggnog Frosting below.

Eggnog Frosting

1/4 c. eggnog
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
3 c. confectioners sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla

Instructions
Heat the eggnog and butter, then beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency, that you desire. Decorate the Easy Eggnog Cake and place pecan and cherries or other candied fruit. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Treates: Geodes, a Chocolate Delight


Hello! It's that season again. It's easier to get in the spirit when you have children or someone to snuggle up with during these frigid months:D  With Children their optimism and enthusiasm is infectious. They ask for what their heart desires, with no thought to the adult realities of  obligations or responsibilities. How liberating is that? Secretly within I do the same thing, only I include those adult responsibilities, because without them ...well, where will we celebrate?

With visions of sugarplums, well in my case Chocolate Bon bons and Truffles, dancing in my head.  I stumbled across this wonderful Recipe of  Goedes. From "The Joy of Chocolate" by Judith Olney. First you make Truffles than layer then alternately with Chocolate, Cocoa Powder and White Chocolate. They are about 5- 6 inches in diameter. Cut them open and walla beautiful circular patterns of chocolate bliss! They can be made smaller for individual servings too;).

Chocolate Truffles makes about 50

Ingredients
1 2/3 c. heavy cream
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate, cut or broken into pieces
2 Tbsp. Grand Marnier or to taste)
Cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions
1. Put cream and butter into a saucepan. Let butter melt over medium heat then, stirring all the while, turn up the heat and let the cream just come to a boil.
2. Remove from the heat and ad the chocolate to the saucepan and stir util it is completely melted.  Continue to stir until the mixture thickens and cools a bit. Stir in the grand manier if using, then cover the mixture and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours but stir it about 2-3 times as it cools and hardens.
3. To for the truffles, use a spoon or melon baler to scoop out portions, dust your hands and  the truffle  thickly with cocoa. Roll it between your hands and make a ball, roll it in the cocoa again and refrigerate immediately.

Geodes makes about 2  large or several smaller geodes
Ingredients
1 recipe of the chocolate truffles above
12 oz. white chocolate grated
1/3 c. + 2 Tbsp. boiling water approx.
Confectioners Sugar as needed
Semisweet, bittersweet or couverture chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
Cocoa Powder

Instructions
1.While the chocolate truffle mixture is cooling in the refrigerator...
2 Place the white chocolate over a double boiler. Add the boiling water to the chocolate and whisk over heat until the mixture is perfectly smooth.
3. Continue beating the white chocolate until it thicken a bit, then leave it to cool at room temperature.  * Both mixtures should have the same packing and firming consistency. Do not refrigerate the white chocolate as it will harden too much. If needed add a little confectioners sugar to solidify the white chocolate.
4. To make the 2 large geoedes form 1 white and 1 brown ball each 1 in. in diameter. Wrap the white ball in some brown truffle mixture and place it in the freezer; wrap the brown ball in white chocolate. Continue alternating each truffle by layering by alternating white and brown chocolate. Smooth each layer as much as possible and occasionally placing the balls in the freezer. When the mixtures are all used up place the geodes in the freezer to harden.
5. To make smaller geodes form several balls in the same way as step 4, but with fewer layers and chill.
6. Brush the geodes with melted chocolate and roll in cocoa. Wrap and refrigerate at least 1 day
7. To serve slice the large geodes in half and place them on a platter for each guest to cut a wedge for herself. Place smaller geodes on a platter for individual and half portions.

Enjoy.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Hot Cocoa: Adjusting to Small Town Living






Hi everyone, 
    So much can happen in a little time. You live in one part of the country for so long then you move to another part. At the beginning of Spring we moved from NY. The convenience of instant is totally removed in our small town. I miss it, as well as my daughters that still live in the Big Apple. There are no convenience stores here at least not on every corner or right outside my door. Thankfully I'm still in the states and not too far into the stix. The library doesn't allow Face Book, nor do they have WiFi. Shocking? So when my WiFi is out I have a bit of a hike. The local grocery store and DD has WiFi and is about two mile walk from our house. No biggy on a clear day. NYer's walk...a lot! It's good to know I am self reliant enough to make our own favorites on a rainy day like today. I'm re-posting an oldie but a goodie, while we get adjusted. Our Hot Cocoa recipe, which we used for hot chocolate, to warm us up on days like today. I like to spike mine with a shot of espresso to get me moving and chase all the clouds away.
 Keep warm.


Hot Cocoa (syrup version) serves 4 cups

1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 dash of salt
1/3 c. water
4 c. milk (optional)
3/4 tsp. vanilla(optional)
  1. Mix Cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir/Whisk in water on medium heat until boiling
  3. Let the mix simmer like that for 2 min., whisking a bit.
  4. Remove syrup from the heat and slowly stir in the milk of choice. I love cocoa with almond or coconut milk. Then return to a low heat until the milk is steaming hot, but don't boil. 
  5. Once the milk is hot,  you can add in the individual Ginger tea crystals or 2 slithers of ginger. (see photo below).
  6. Stir in Vanilla,  Hot cocoa!
  7.   The sugar mixed in with the cocoa is enough for me, but  the sweetness can be adjusted  within individual cups. The less sugar the better the cocoa is for you...
"In the this photo from left/clockwise, tea ginger granules, regular cocoa, ginger slices(skin on)  and dark cocoa.




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