Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Cherry Kisses

I *had* quite a few of these, arranged prettily on the red plates I bought to celebrate Chinese New Year...however...I forgot to put them away, so instead of my family eating the cupcakes I made for them, they ate the little Chocolate kisses. Ah well, there were a few left.

These are perfect little bites for your Valentine. 2 bites of delicious chocolate and cherry. Ok, ok, so this is the part of my blog I'm at a loss for words. I'm not much of a sales person, and I really don't self promote much at all. So, how do I get you to bake these immediately? Bake these immediately! They are delicious, perfect little morsels - moist, sweet, chocolately, dense, rich, with just the right touch of cherry. Really perfect.

For a .pdf of the recipe, click here. And, make your special Valentine a batch of these. What's not to love...

Cherry Chocolate kisses

Inspired by an old Hershey recipe I found for the cake. Frosting an original recipe.

For the cakes:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa

1 t. espresso powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup boiling water

¼ cup tart cherry juice concentrate (I got some from King Arthur Flour. You can substitute frozen cherry juice concentrate here)

20-25 cherries, finely chopped (I used canned in their juice dark cherries)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine boiling water and cocoa. Stir until no lumps remain, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Mix together until completely combined. Add salt, vanilla, espresso powder, vanilla, cherry juice concentrate, baking powder, and water/cocoa mixture. Whisk until completely combined and no light streaks remain. Alternate flour and buttermilk, mixing until combined before adding next ingredient. Fold in chopped cherries. Batter will be a bit thick.

Fill mini muffin tins with 1 tablespoon batter each. Bake 10-12 minutes until done and tops spring lightly when touched. Cool completely, then frost.

Deep Chocolate Frosting

1 lb. powdered sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

½ c. cocoa

1 t. espresso powder

2 t. vanilla

2-4 T. cream

1/3 c. softened butter

Pinch salt

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, salt, and vanilla. Mix 1-3 minutes until creamy. Add cream, 1 T. at a time, beating a few minutes after each addition, until desired consistency.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jalapeno Bacon Dip

Don't you just love Jalapeno Poppers? Crispy bacon wrapped around jalapeno's that are stuffed with a cream cheese and cheddar mixture. What's not to love, besides those calories!

Those flavors were the inspiration for this dip. Since I am a bit of a spice wimp, sometimes Jalapeno Poppers can be a bit too much for my mouth. Yes, roasting the jalapeno's calms down the spice a bit, but still can be a bit much for me.

So I came up with this dip. The heat is controlled by the number of jalapeno's you put in it. My favorite mix was 3, but you can use up to 6, or even a hotter, spicier pepper if the mood suits you. I love the warm creaminess of the dip and how that is contrasted to the heat of the peppers and the crunchy bacon. Sauteing some of the peppers in bacon gives you a little different texture and heat level that is just perfect with this dip.

For a .pdf of the recipe, click here. And, enjoy!

Jalapeno Bacon Dip

8 oz cream cheese, softened

½ t. garlic powder

½ t. black pepper

½ t. salt

3-5 jalapeno’s, depending on how spicy you want it

½ c. shredded cheddar cheese

4 slices thick cut bacon

Chop bacon into ½” dice. Render over medium heat until crispy, drain and set aside. While the bacon is cooking, finely dice jalapeno’s into a small dice. After bacon has been taken out of the pan, saute ½ the jalapeno’s in the remaining bacon fat until softened, about 3 minutes. Drain and cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Once jalapeno’s and bacon have slightly cooled, mix all ingredients together and place in a small baking dish. Bake 15-20 minutes, until softened and slightly bubbly. Serve warm.