Red Velvet Cake Balls

This is such a common recipe among fellow food bloggers these days. I had some leftover Red Velvet Cake that my friend Jen brought us a few days ago and made these Red Velvet Cake Balls to use it up and share.

The recipe for this is rather easy and can be easily found on a slew of other blogs in greater detail, but I thought it would be interesting to provide a link to a New York Times article that outlines the popularity, legends and the history of Red Velvet Cake.

Red Velvet Cake Balls
original recipe unkown

Prepared red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting
Chocolate bark, melted
small scoop
parchment lined baking sheet

– In a large bowl, mash the prepared and frosted cake to fully combine.
– Using a small scoop, form small balls of mashed cake.
– Roll each ball with your hands to form a more uniform ball.
– Melt chocolate according to package directions and place melted chocolate in a small bowl.
– Carefully place ball of cake into the melted chocolate and coat completely.
– Remove coated cake ball and place on parchment lined baking sheet to harden.

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Palmer House Brownies

Palmer House Brownies
recipe can be found HERE
1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
1 pound butter
1 pound granulated sugar (3 1/2 cups)
8 oz. cake flour (2 cups)
1 tablespoons baking powder
4 whole eggs
1 pound crushed walnuts

Glaze: (Optional)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt chocolate with the butter in a double
boiler or in a bowl set over barely simmering water. Mix dry ingredients
except the walnuts-- in a large mixer bowl on low speed for 4-5 minutes.

Add the eggs and mix until blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking
sheet and sprinkle with the walnuts, pressing nuts down lightly into
the mixture with the palm of your hand. Bake in the preheated 300 degree
oven for 40 minutes. You will know when it is done because the edges
start to become a little crispy and the brownie has raised about ¼ inch.
Note that even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test "gooey"
with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture.

After removing from the oven, allow to cool at least 30 minutes.

To make glaze: Mix together water, preserves and gelatin in a saucepan,
mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Use while hot. Spread
the glaze in a thin layer over the brownies using a pastry brush.

The brownies are easiest to cut if you can place the whole pan into the
freezer for 3 - 4 hours after glazing, then remove and cut with a serrated
knife.


Mango Lime Pie

Mango Lime Pie
adapted recipe courtesy of Rick Bayless

For the crust:
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter
4 ounces (about 32) Mexican “Maria” cookies (or 16 Graham crackers)
3 tablespoons sugar

For the filling and topping:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
1 1/3 cup cold water
A big pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, plus the finely grated zest of 1 large lime
3 tablespoons butter
A big pinch of salt

For the topping:
*due to time constraints, I used whipped topping instead*
4 egg whites (you should have about ½ cup)
1 cup sugar
1 large ripe mango, peeled, flesh cut from the pit and cut into ¼-inch dice
Sprigs of mint, for garnish

1. The crust. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, letting it brown slightly. Break the cookies (or crackers) into a food processor and pulse until pulverized. Add the 3 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter, then continue to pulse until the mixture begins to clump slightly. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the crumb mixture to use as a garnish for the tart. Press the remainder evenly over the bottom and sides of 8-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes. ( In an effort to save time on a weeknight, I used a prepared graham cracker crust.)

2. The filling. In a medium (3-quart) heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the 1 cup of sugar, cornstarch, water and salt. Set over medium heat and whisk until the mixture begins to boil (it will be quite thick), 3 or 4 minutes. Add the egg yolks to the hot mixture and immediately whisk vigorously until thoroughly incorporated. Lastly, whisk in the lime juice, zest and butter. Continue whisking until the mixture returns to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour into the crust. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, until the filling is chilled and nicely set. (The tart can made 24 hours ahead up to this point.)

3. Finishing the pie. In the metal bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg whites and remaining 1 cup of sugar over a pan of simmering water until the egg whites are very warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat with the electric mixer until cool, about 5 minutes; the meringue should be thick and fluffy and hold glossy stiff peaks. (The meringue may be prepared up to 24 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Shortly before serving, preheat the oven to 500 degrees or set out a propane or butane torch. Scoop the meringue into a ring around the outside edge of the tart (an ice cream scoop works well), then use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to form dramatic peaks in it. Place in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes, until the meringue is evenly browned, or brown the meringue with the torch, moving it back and forth over the surface until browned. Fill the center with the chopped mango, sprinkle with the reserved crumbs and decorate with mint, if you wish.

A little mango sauce (pureed mango, sugar, a dash of water and a little orange liqueur) or chopped strawberries (or whole raspberries) make a beautiful plate with wedges of Mango-Lime Tart.

Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps Round Up!

Today friends came over for a cooking class where we focused on Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps. We all made our own using either apples, pears, and peaches. But before we get into the recipes, do you know the difference between a Cobbler, Crumble & Crisp? If not, here’s some helpful info to figuring out the differences (which I found HERE) :

Cobblers – American cobblers are considered “fruit stews with dough dropped on top before baking” (ochef.com) They involve a bottom layer of fruit that is then topped with ingredients for a biscuit dough. The result is a dense, rich dessert. Not to be confused with British cobblers (made with meat), popular cobbler ingredients include: apples, peaches and cherries.

Crisps – Crisps also have a bottom layer of fruit, but their topping is much more crunchy than cobblers. Instead of a dough-like pastry that rises, the crisp is topped with a different proportion of butter, sugar and flour that is sort of crumbly, and only briefly browned in the oven. Crisps might include oats or granola in their topping as well.

Crumbles – The crumble also begins with fruit at the bottom, but is topped with a different butter-flour-sugar mixture called a ’streusel’. The three ingredients are mixed just until crumbly and then poured on top of the fruit. This dish is very similar to a crisp but the crumble originated in Britain whereas the crisp is seen as more American. Crisps are also more rich than crumbles with higher amounts of sugar, butter and flour.

Ingredients Used:


To create our Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps, we started by slicing the fruit of our choice into slices and placing them in a greased baking dish. From there, we topped our fruit with one of the following adapted recipes to distinguish them from Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps:

Cobbler Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients. Cut in butter and add beaten egg. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crumble Recipe

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients and cut in butter. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crisp Recipe
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup instant oatmeal or rolled oatmeal

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans & oatmeal and sprinkle over filling. Bake crisps for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Some of the finished ones while others were baking:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite Cobbler, Crumbles & Crisps recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Shayne of One Bite At a Time! Shayne has won a Stoneware Mini Baker to continue baking throughout the fall, compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Shayne and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida
PB&J Crumble Bars
Everyone is familiar with the classic peanut butter and jelly combo… but Karen puts a twist on it by incorporating the flavors into PB&J Crumble Bars! Check out her blog for the recipe and where she found it!
Shayne of One Bite At a Time
from New Jersey
Quick Apple Crumble for Two
Shayne makes these wonderful individual Apple Crumbles for her and her husband to enjoy. I love that these are perfectly portioned and each person gets just enough crispy, crumbling topping all to themself! To find out what inspired Shayne to make these, check out her blog and get the recipe too!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp
How often do you try recipes from brand names? Well Becke did and she submitted this Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp recipe from Pillsbury. Doesn’t it look amazing? You know you want the recipe… so check out Becke’s blog for it!
Kristina of About a Bit of Everything
from Illinois
Apple Crisp
When you’re invited to dinner, one of the best things to bring is a dessert… and Kristina did just that with her Apple Crisp. It’s a great dessert for fall that involves using some common pantry ingredients so you have no excuse not to make this! Check out Kristina’s blog for the recipe!
Kayla of Central Cooking
from Illinois
Apple Cinnamon Cobbler
Kayla
Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Blueberry Crumb Bars
Therese created these fabulous bar treats which are a cross between a blueberry crisp and lemon bar. They look delicious and were inspired by her favorite cooking blog. To find out what that blog is and to also snag the recipe, check out her blog!
Therese
Kelly of Kelly Cooks… and Other Amazing Feats
from Pennsylvania
Southern Peach Cobbler
With quite a few peaches to work with, Kelly creates this delicious Southern Peach Cobbler. It was definitely the best she ever had and suggests that the recipe can be made with other fruits as well. Even better is that the top crust maintains its texture for several days without becoming soggy! Check out Kelly’s blog for the recipe!

Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza

The following recipe was made for my guests during my Fall Snacks cooking class. You can read and view links to other recipes I made HERE.

Fresh Fruit Dessert Pizza
Recipe adapted from HERE

1 (18 ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1 cup homemade buttercream icing
1/4 – 1/2 cup each of the following fresh fruit: strawberries, blueberries, sliced kiwi, drained mandarin oranges

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
– Press cookie dough evenly into a 12 inch pizza pan or medium sized baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.
– When cooled, spread the buttercream icing over the top of the baked cookie crust.
– Top with fresh fruit and cut into squares before serving.

Pie in My Eye Round Up!

With the bounty of fresh fruits in summer, a great way to use them is to make pie! But if you’re like me, you probably don’t want a whole pie in your kitchen to tempt you. So my friends and I decided it to make pies anyway… only in smaller packages as hand pies.
For our hand pies, we chose to fill them with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mango. Here are pictures of our event. Also check out this link for some helpful tips & hints with Pie Dough 101!

Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough
– makes one 9-inch double-crust pie –

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted pie recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Amy of Just2Good ! Amy will be receiving a Pastry/Baker’s Roller tool compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Amy and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Mom’s Apple Pie
Karen joins us with a special pie that’s near and dear to her. Not only was it a recipe of her mom’s but she made this pie for someone’s birthday! Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!

Dhanggit from Dhanggit’s Kitchen
from Aix Provence, France
Nutella Dulche de Leche Tartellette
Dhanggit joins us from France and has been one of my fave blogs to read. I’m thrilled that she has joined in this blogging adventure to share with us her gorgeous entry. Even the name of her dish makes me hungry. You definitely should check out her blog for the recipe and get some “Nutella theraphy“… because we all need that now and then!
Amy of Just2Good
from Florida
Apple Pie
Amy shares with us a pie recipe she made and brought to a dinner party. She used recipes from 2 sources to create such a beautiful pie! To find out what sources she used and the recipe, check out her blog!

Melissa of Made by Melissa
from New Hampshire
Blueberry Pie
Melissa shares a pie her husband made, since she isn’t a fan of pie. The pie was bursting with blueberries and I especially liked how the top of her pie was decorated. To find out how and for the recipe, check out Melissa’s blog!

Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
from Ontario, Canada
Raspberry Peach Pie
I’m a fan of peach melbas and after checking out Pyschgrad’s entry, I knew this would be an excellent recipe to try. However, someone preferred that Psychgrad not bake this pie. Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!


The Food Hunter
from Arizona
Honey & Pine Nut Pie
A new comer to the my blogging adventures is The Food Hunter! She shares with us her special pie challenge that combines 2 pantry staples (at least in my house) resulting in a sweet looking pie. Check out The Food Hunter’s blog for the recipe!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
Blackberry Custard Pie
Becke has one of my favorite blogs because she often creates dishes using creative combinations and her pictures are outstanding. I’m so glad she participated in this event because her pie entry looks so delicious! Forget plain custard pies… and forget plain blackberry pies. Combine these two for a pie that’s both fruity and creamy! Check out Becke’s blog for the recipe!

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

The following recipe was prepared for my Chef Spotlight Dinner highlighting New Orleans chefs. You can read about it and get other recipes from the event HERE.

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
shared at the event by Joelen
inspired by this recipe & adapted from here

4 loaves – French bread, each 1’ long
1 qt – Heavy cream
1 ½ C – Whole milk
1 ½ C – Sugar
3 C – Light brown sugar
12 ea – Egg yolks
3 ea – Bananas
1 C – Rum
½ t – Ground cinnamon
4 T – Vanilla extract
Fresh mint for garnish

Slice French bread and dry in a 200° oven for 20 minutes. Combine remaining pudding ingredients in a large container and blend well with a hand mixer. Thinly slice dried French bread and place in an 8” x 10” x 2” pan. Pour pudding into pan and mush all bread by hand so that the liquid is absorbed and the bread becomes very soggy. Be sure to flatten all of the lumps. Cover pan with foil and bake at 300° for 2 ½ hours, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the pudding comes out dry. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

Foster Sauce
4 ½ C – Unsalted butter
4 ½ C – Packed dark brown sugar
3 t – Ground cinnamon
2 ¼ C – Golden rum
2 ¼ C – Banana liqueur
8 – Bananas, sliced lengthwise and in half

Melt butter in a saucepot. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Add the rum and ignite. Allow the flames to subside. Then, stir in the banana liqueur. Add fresh bananas and simmer over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until the sauce coats the spoon.

To Serve: Cut bread pudding into 3 ½” x 3 ½” squares. Top warm bread pudding with Foster sauce and garnish with mint leaves.