Tag Archives: chocolate

Valentine’s Homemade Brownie Truffles

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and one of the most special gifts you can give is homemade!  These brownie truffles are extremely easy and super fun to decorate.  Create a beautiful variety, uniquely decorated with just a handful of supplies.

Valentine Chocolate Edible Gifts

Recipe:

The easy part is using a box of brownie mix baked following the instructions on the box.  The brownies filled a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.  Once removed from the oven, slightly cool, then crumble into a bowl to cool completely.  Create uniform 1 inch balls (easiest using a cookie scoop) and place in an air-tight container until ready to decorate.

Dip each brownie ball into melting chocolates:

There are a few different ways to melt chocolate, but I prefer the double boiler method.  Boil 1 inch of water in a large sauce pan, placing a larger heat proof bowl on top of the saucepan.  This technique prevents the chocolate from scorching.  Once the water is simmering, place the chocolates in the bowl on top and stir until melted.  Note to add 1 teaspoon of Crisco to create a smooth finish.  Roll each brownie ball in the chocolate removing with a fork and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or foil.  A few truffles were decorated with sprinkles or sanding sugars immediately.

I started with a 1/2 cup of white chocolate melting wafers to decorate a quarter of brownie balls.  Then added milk chocolate wafers to the same bowl and mixed with the remaining white chocolate. 

Decoration ideas:

Any leftover chocolate?  Don’t toss it…pipe mini chocolate hearts onto wax paper and let them cool completely.  They will easily peel off to use as decorations.

The undecorated chocolate covered balls were enhanced with glaze.  Starting with plain white glaze – 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, 1 teaspoon of corn syrup and 1-2 tablespoons of milk.  Mix until a thick, smooth consistency.  Pipe a few, drizzle a few, add a drop of red food coloring to create pink…have fun!

SweetStackers chocolate truffle  storage
SweetStackers homemade Valentine truffles

Once the decorations have set, the truffles should be place in an air-tight container.  Each truffle could be placed in mini cupcake liner to separate.  Give a beautiful gift showing off your little works of art using a pretty container!  This red tin with a clear see-thru lid is perfect!

Sweet Stackers Edible Gift Valentines

Sweet StackersTM is a versatile system used to store and transport layers of baked goods in any container!   The product was designed to maximize food storage space preventing cookies and desserts from sticking together and protecting the topping, decorations or icing.  Visit sweetstackers.com for more information about our product.  Sweet Stackers can be found on our Etsy shop.

Sweet Stackers Valentine Chocolate Gift

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Fairy House Birthday Cake

The spring fairies must be visiting my garden!  The flowers are blooming and my daughter has been busy building fairy houses in our yard.  She just turned 7 and to celebrate, I wanted to make a fairy house cake for her party.

A few years ago, I bought a beautiful story book called Fairy Houses by Tracy Kane.  It was about a little girl who went into the forest on an east coast island to build fairy houses made only out of natural things.  My daughter enjoys the idea so, that we still go on walks to collect sticks, bark, rocks and even seashells on vacation.  You may not collect anything living.  She then builds these cute little homes for the fairies, tucked into hidden places in our gardens.  I thought it would be very fitting if she had a fairy house cake for her birthday!

Chocolate Fairy House Cake

The idea was to make the cake look like a tree stump fairy house.  It had 4 layers of chocolate cake, two 9″ layers of dark chocolate boxed cake mix and two 9″ layers of german chocolate cake mix.  The layers were alternated light and dark to add interest when you cut into it.

The chocolate ganache frosting was very simple to make.  I was inspired by a recipe from Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman).

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 24 ounces bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat the heavy cream until very hot (not boiling) and add the chocolate chips.  Stir over heat until completely melted.  The mixture will turn smooth deep chocolate color.  Remove from heat and pour into an electric mixer bowl.  Refrigerate until completely cooled, but do not let harden.  After 2 hours, the bottom of the bowl was just slightly warm to the touch.  I added the vanilla and started to beat the chocolate using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Tree Stump Fairy House Birthday Cake Detail

The chocolate ganache frosting filled between each 9″ chocolate cake layer and the sides of the cake.  I covered the sides of the cake and then stroked from the bottom up to create the look of bark.  The door and windows were a graham cracker, cut with a knife to shape.  They were trimmed with a tube of orange decorative cake icing.  The vines were piped using a tube of green decorative cake icing.  The edible sugar flowers were packaged by Wilton.

Butterscotch Pudding Chocolate Ganache Fairy House Cake

To vary the color of the top of the cake, I made a box of butterscotch pudding and spread this over the top of the cake to look like the inner part of a tree.  The fairy figurine that adorned the top of the cake was purchased at a local craft store.  A piece of wax paper was placed down underneath to separate her from the cake.  The fairy figure will make a neat keepsake on my daughter’s bedroom shelf after her party.  The springy butterfly party plates napkins matched perfectly!

Happy Birthday!  Stop growing so fast!!

 

Valentine Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand.  So instead buying a box of chocolates, why not surprise the special people in your life with homemade chocolate truffles?

Heart Shaped Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

Truffles or homemade chocolates sound like it would be intimidating or difficult to make.  They are actually very easy, quick and only require a handful of ingredients.  This recipe used semi-sweet chocolate chips, cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar.  They can easily be rolled into balls or shaped using a small cookie cutter.  Truffle balls can be rolled in sprinkles, cocoa, chopped nuts or shredded coconut. Using a 1 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, the chocolate truffle mixture could easily be pressed into a heart shape.  Decorative sprinkles can be placed on top, pressing down lightly and the chocolate heart can easily be removed from the molded shape.

Heart Shaped Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

These chocolate truffles should be stored in the refrigerator to set and later stored in an air-tight container.  Instead of fighting with curly parchment paper or trying to squeeze large cookie sheets in your refrigerator, homemade chocolates can be placed on reusable plastic trays made to fit an air-tight container you already own.  Sweet Stackers can separate and layer the chocolates in multiple layers in one container.  They create a working surface that can be easily lifted and placed in your container.  One step, without transferring from parchment lined cookie sheets to a container.  Plus this helps prevent them from sticking, melting together or messing the decorations.

homemade truffle dividers

Chocolate Cream Cheese Truffles

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

In a small mixing bowl cream softened cream cheese using an electric mixer.  Reduce mixer speed and gradually add confectioners sugar.  In the meanwhile, melt chocolate chips using a microwave or a double boiler (a heat proof bowl placed over simmering water).  Add melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture.  The mixture will be stiff and easy to work with.

Scoop the chocolate using a melon baller or small ice-cream scoop to ensure uniform size.  Shape the chocolate into balls and immediately roll in sprinkles, cocoa, chopped nuts or shredded coconut.

Truffle mixture can also be molded into shapes using a mini cookie cutter, coating in sprinkles.

Chocolate truffles should be refrigerated.

Valentine Dessert Truffles

Share the love and Happy Valentine’s Day!
 

New Years Chocolate Dipped Fruit

Have to admit that I am a little “cookied out” after Christmas.  For New Years, I thought I try a guilt free dessert that would be fun and festive.  Dark Chocolate Dipped Fruit – chocolate covered blackberry pops, fresh mandarin oranges dipped in chocolate and chocolate berry cups.  They will transport easy to a party using Sweet Stackers!

New Years Chocolate Dipped Fruit on a Stick  Guilt Free New Years Dessert Chocolate Dipped Fruit

Using a double boiler, add half a bag of chocolate chips and one teaspoon of shortening (to make the chocolate smooth and silky).  Stir until melted. Place blackberries on a pop stick and dip into the melted chocolate.  Add festive sprinkles immediately and stand to let cool.  Dip the mandarin oranges and place on a sheet of parchment or wax paper, then top with sprinkles.  For the berry cups, I added a teaspoon of chocolate into mini paper cupcake liners and place three raspberries and blueberries on top.  The berries will set into the chocolate.

Refrigerate.  Sweet Stackers will divide your chocolate confections without them smudging, sticking or melting together.

Don’t forget, there are two days left to get Free Shipping on Etsy Orders Over $20! Enter coupon code FREESHIP20.  Visit my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/SweetStackers

Sweet Stackers Guilt Free New Years Dessert

Ready to transport to a New Years Eve Party!  Once you arrive to the party, the chocolate covered fruit pops will display pretty in a few champagne flutes.

Sweet Stackers Chocolate Dipped Berries New Years Party

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Years from my PartyKitchen!

Chocolate Log Cookies

Today, I am excited to announce that I have a guest baker – my Mom! (not a guest blogger, but a guest baker) She is a very good baker and has inspired me since I was a little girl. Probably why I love baking at Christmas time so much! It brings back memories and annual cravings.

My grandmother would bake these cookies every year and they were always my favorite. (note: my husband says that I have a lot of favorites) But seriously, my favorite! When I was little, the best part of these cookies were the icing on each end. I have my own little ritual as to how I have to eat them (just like twisting an Oreo cookie to get to the creamy center). Since my grandmother doesn’t bake anymore, my Mom knows that she now has to make these cookies. Love the fact that she used her Sweet Stackers too!!  Thanks Mom, your the best!!

Sweet Stackers Christmas Dessert Dividers

Chocolate Log Cookies

  • 1/3 cup hot water added slowly to 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup (1/2 pound) butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups sifted all purpose flour

In a small mixing bowl, add hot water slowly to cocoa, mix well and let cool.  Cream butter thoroughly about 1 minute; add sugar gradually and beat well.  Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, and continue beating until light, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and cool cocoa mixture.  Add combined baking soda and flour, a little at a time, to form dough.  My Grandmother and Mom would make a ball and form it into a log, then press it with a fork to flatten slightly.

Bake 350° for 12 – 13 minutes.  Cool on a rack.  When cold, brush top with warm corn syrup.  Once the glaze sets, cover both ends of cookies with Chocolate Frosting (recipe below) and finely chopped pecans.

Chocolate Frosting

Add 3 tablespoons hot water to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa.  Mix until smooth; add 2 tablespoons of very soft butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Stir until smooth.  Add sifted 2 1/2 – 3 cups of confectioners sugar gradually to form a medium-soft frosting that will not run.

Sweet Stackers - Chocolate Log Cookies

Hope you enjoyed the recipe!  Merry Christmas to you!

Sweet Stackers Christmas Cookie Trays

Chocolate-Chocolate-Mint Cookies

An excellent brownie-like cookie recipe with a swirl of melted Andes Candies mint chocolates.  A yummy addition to our cookie swap 2013!

Chocolate-Chocolate-Mint Christmas Cookies

Chocolate-Chocolate Mint Cookies

Chocolate-Chocolate-Mint Cookies

  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • Andes mint candies broken in half

Preheat oven to 350°.

Over low heat, combine butter, sugar and water.  Heat until melted and add chocolate chips until partly melted.  Remove from heat and stir.

Pour into large mixing bowl.  Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.

Beat in eggs one at a time on high speed.  Reduce mixer to low speed and add flour, salt, and baking soda.  Beat until well blended.  Chill one hour.

Roll into balls, place two inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes.  Place mint half on top.  Allow to melt slightly and spread with a spoon.

Chocolate Shot Cookies

Years ago, I cut this recipe out of the newspaper because it came in first place in a local contest.  It looked so easy and the ingredients sounded so yummy, plus kind of fun to make slices of cookies from homemade dough!

This is my favorite tasting Christmas cookie!  It has become part of my annual cookie collection.

Christmas Chocolate Shot Cookies

Chocolate Shot Cookies

  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup rolled oats

Beat butter until creamy.  Add sugar and vanilla and beat until fluffy.  Gradually add flour and baking soda.  Stir in oats.  Refrigerate the dough in bowl for 10 minutes.  Divide dough in half and form each portion into a log.  Roll in chocolate sprinkles.  Wrap logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 325°.  Slice into cookies 1/4 inch thick.  Bake on greased baking sheet about 20 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on rack.

Salted Dark Chocolate Turtle Candies

Salty, check!  Sweet, check!  Salty & Sweet, check, check!  Next week, I am hosting a cookie exchange party for some of my friends and neighbors.  One batch of cookies is made and ready to go, then I saw this recipe on my favorite new blog called “If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen“.  Wouldn’t a batch of turtle candies be perfect as a sweet addition to a cookie swap table?

Turtle candies are easy to make and only require a few ingredients – pecans, chocolate, caramel and a sprinkle of salt!

Salted Dark Chocolate Candies

Dark Chocolate Turtle Candies

3 ounces pecan halves

1 – 11 ounce bag of individually wrapped caramels

2 teaspoons milk

1 cup chocolate chips; milk/dark

1 tablespoon shortening

coarse sea salt

Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Place 2 pecan halves next to each other, repeat 30 times.

Melt caramel and milk in a heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.  Scoop a teaspoonful of caramel over each set of pecans.  Let cool.

Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate (add shortening to make a smooth finish).  Place a teaspoonful of melted chocolate on the other cookie sheet.  Add the caramel covered pecan on top of the chocolate.  Repeat for the remaining pecans.  Drizzle chocolate over and sprinkle a small amount of coarse salt on top.

Refrigerate to let the chocolate set.  I used the little Sweet Stackers risers to stack the two cookies sheets together.  This condensed the amount of space in my refrigerator.

SweetStackers Chocolate Turtle Candies

Once the chocolate sets, place in an airtight container.

Ready for the cookie exchange!

SweetStackers Turtle Chocolates

Late night craving…

Late night cravingYes, I had a late night craving.

Oh…what to do….

Then I remembered that I have a secret stash of something sweet in my freezer!    Thawing is much faster than baking a whole batch of brownies or cookies and I am not really up for baking at this time of night, plus the aroma would probably wake up the kids.

My SweetStackers Stackable Food Storage System really did the trick!  They separated and stacked the remaining brownies that I made a while ago in a small 9×9 Tupperware container, perfect for the freezer.   Pull out one brownie (or all of them) when you have a craving.

Check out my original post on how I made these brownies, they are decadent!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Ganache         Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie

Look wHoo’s 2! – the cake

The owl theme turned out to be quite fun and my little girl is still enjoying her decorations.  A few days ago I posted the owl cookies that were made for the birthday party.  This post contains how to make this owl cake and some decoration ideas for my daughter’s birthday party.

Owl Shaped Birthday Cake

Preparation for decorating the cake, can be done days in advance.  This is the part when you need to get creative with embellishment for the cake.  To make the eyes and beak for the owl, I used Wilton’s Candy Melts.  Melt a handful of white chocolate wafers.  Then place a large spoonful of white chocolate on wax paper.   Spread into a circle that is approximately 2 inches in diameter, then offset and place one round chocolate-colored wafer for the dark part of the eye.  Make second eye mimicking the first.  For the beak, I melted a small handful of yellow Candy Melts, then spooned into a triangular shape about the same size as the eye.

Owl Eyes - made from melted chocolate wafers

To make the cut-out shape of the owl cake, I baked two 9 inch rounds using a Devil’s Food cake box mix.  I gently sliced each round cake into half to make two layers with filling in between.  Overlap the two bottom layers and cut a semi-circle out of the body layer, so that the head is nested into the body.  Cut the shape for the head and ears out of top cake round.  Spread filling.  Then place the top layers on, trimming to the shape of the bottom layer.

Pineapple Filling

1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Drain pineapple reserving the juice.  Add water to the pineapple juice to make 1 1/4 cups.  In a saucepan, combine the pineapple liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  Stir until the liquid boils and thickens.  Cool completely, then mix in the crushed pineapple.  Refrigerate.

Owl Cake - using two 9" rounds

For the chocolate frosting, I followed a recipe from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa).  It was delicious, but next time I would cut back slightly on the ground coffee.  It does enhance the chocolate flavor, but for a kid’s palate it could be reduced a bit.

After frosting the cake, I placed the eyes and beak in place.  Then used blanched almond slices as the ruffled chest feathers, starting from the top to bottom and leaving room at the bottom to write a birthday message.

Chocolate Owl Cake

Was actually super easy and turned out darling!  I refrigerated the cake overnight and my daughter was hanging on the fridge in the morning because she knew the owl was in there.

I found a few cute things in the dollar bins at Target for Valentine’s day that matched the owl theme.  This little felt purse was perfect to hold the balloon weight.  I stuck a few festive metallic picks into the weight to fill in this arrangement.

Owl Balloon Decoration

I Love to Reuse!  Why keep buying birthday banners to match a theme when you can simply reuse a basic banner every year?

I have been reusing the same two Happy Birthday banners since my kids were born.  These banners actually say Happy 1st Birthday and each one comes in a different set of colors for girl and boy.  Every year I change the “1st” circle piece to their current theme.  For this party, I created this cute little owl out of card stock to match our color scheme and used a few heart shaped stickers to make the ruffled feathers.

Happy Birthday banner

Happy 2nd Birthday kiddo!!