Tag: make ahead

pumpkin-pie-parfait-closeup

Pumpkin Pie Parfait

I can’t abstain from alliteration, it’s annihilating me!  I’m powerless to prevent it!  I’m helpless, I can’t hold off!

Okay, I’m done.  Let’s make parfait.

pumpkin-pie-parfait

I’ll be honest… I’m obsessed with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Cream Cheese.  It’s good on or in just about everything I eat.  Tastes good with chocolate, tastes good with bread, tastes good with Bailey’s – all necessary bases covered.

This parfait is an easy dessert to throw together in a hurry, and it tastes even better if you make it a couple of days ahead of time.  So if you’re throwing a little party or need to take something to a potluck, you can make this DAYS ahead of time and just pull it out of the fridge at the last minute.  Voila!  Miss Stewart if you’re nasty!
pumpkin-pie-parfait-vertical

If you want to use graham crackers or some other kind of cookie for the layers in this parfait, knock yourself out.  The sky’s the limit, folks!  You could lighten the pudding texture (and stretch it out to some more jars) if you folded whipped cream into the pudding/cream cheese mixture.  But I prefer desserts that slap me in the face with flavor and richness, so this is my personal preference.



 

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Pumpkin Pie Parfait
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
parfaits
Ingredients
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
parfaits
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix first 6 ingredients for approximately 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides at least once.
  2. Add maple syrup to taste and mix thoroughly.
  3. Crush butter cookies into rough chunks.
  4. Layer butter cookies and pudding in a jar or glass, ending with a layer of pudding. Sprinkle top with a pinch of pudding pie spice.
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pb-choc-fudge

Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge

Fudge and I have a long, intense history.  When my family went to the beach, or an amusement park, or anywhere else where you’ll find tacky refrigerator magnets for sale, there was ALWAYS a place that sells fudge.  And I ALWAYS wanted fudge.  It’s dense and rich and creamy and it tastes like forbidden love.

pb-choc-fudge-bite

But traditional fudge is a giant pain in the ass to make.  It’s finicky and annoying and requires a lot of stirring and you never know when you’re going to put a bunch of time and effort and ingredients into that pan and end up with a horrible, separated, grainy mess.  As much as I love fudge, and as many times as I tried to make it, I never felt confident that it wasn’t going to fail.

And then one day I found a recipe online for mint chocolate fudge that had 3 ingredients: condensed milk, andes mints, and chocolate chips.  I made it, convinced it would taste like shit… but it was spectacular and here we are today.


pb-choc-fudge-close

The third best thing about this fudge (to review, #1 is that it’s delicious and #2 is that it’s easy) is that it makes a TON of fudge.  You can share this fudge at a party for 40 people and everybody who wants it can have some.

pb-choc-fudge-containers

Throw the cut up fudge into some glass containers with the layers separated by waxed paper and when you walk into the party – INSTANT HERO!

Of course, if you just want chocolate fudge, you could stop after the first two steps in the recipe below (though I would add a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture).  That is a totally acceptable plan.  You could make the chocolate fudge and swirl come caramel into the top once you have it in the pan to cool.  You could throw some nuts in there if you have no taste whatsoever – nuts do NOT belong in fudge!

This basic recipe is ridiculously versatile.  Knock yourselves out and let me know how it goes.


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Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge
Fudge is notoriously finicky to make, but this simple, microwaved mixture of condensed milk and a few other ingredients makes a no-fail, sweet, creamy, dense, gorgeous fudge. Do it.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
pieces (ish)
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
pieces (ish)
Instructions
  1. Mix 1 can of condensed milk and the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. Microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until mixture is completely smooth.
  2. Pour chocolate fudge into a silicon pan and spread in an even layer. (If using a standard pan, grease it or line with foil, parchment or waxed paper before pouring fudge.)
  3. Mix 1 can condensed milk with the peanut butter chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute and stir. Microwave for 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until mixture is completely smooth. Stir vanilla and salt into the peanut butter mixture.
  4. Pour the peanut butter fudge over the chocolate fudge and spread in an even layer.
  5. Refrigerate fudge until firm, 1-2 hours.
  6. Turn fudge out onto a cutting board and slice into pieces. Store in an air-tight container.
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choc-mousse-closeup

Chocolate Mousse

I love stupid-easy recipes.  There are 4 ingredients in this dish, and it takes about 20 minutes of active work to make it (plus a few hours for chilling it in the fridge between steps).  It would only take 10-15 minutes if you decided not to pipe the mousse and just threw it in some dishes as-is.  And on top of that… IT’S CHOCOLATE MOUSSE!

choc-mousse-ruffled-sides

This mousse is so rich and decadent, you could easily have this be 6 servings (instead of the 4 big servings here) and even a sugarwhore like me wouldn’t complain.  You make it with a microwave and the whisk attachment on your mixer.  No cooking! Love it!

I chose to serve these in jars instead of pretty glasses or cups because I was transporting this to a dinner party and having individual, beautiful servings while still being able to easily transport them was really appealing.  Also, I’m totally pandering to the “put shit in jars” crowd.

choc-mousse-beautiful-bite
Doesn’t that just make you happy?  Don’t you want to put it in your mouth and savor the creamy, chocolatey goodness?  Well you can!  This is easy easy EASY to make! 

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The whole key to this recipe is to use really good chocolate.  Don’t skimp on that.  Use darker chocolate if you like it more bitter (and adjust sugar as needed, or just leave it out).  I used 66% dark chocolate here, and it only needed 2-3 Tablespoons of sugar to get it to a nice sweetness level.  You could easily make this with milk or white chocolate as well, but you probably don’t need extra sugar in that case.


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Chocolate Mousse
OMG this is SO EASY! Don't bother with "real" chocolate mousse, just make this instead.
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat cream in microwave until very hot (but not boiling).
  2. Place chocolate in a mixing bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir cream and chocolate until completely emulsified. Add vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. Chill 2 or more hours until completely cool and thickened.
  4. Whip with the whisk attachment of your mixer until color lightens and mixture is thick but still a bit runny (very soft peaks).
  5. Taste for sweetness and fold in powdered sugar if desired. Stop here, or continue to whip until desired consistency is reached. Be careful not to over beat the mixture!
  6. Spoon or pipe mousse into jars or cups, add sprinkles if desired, and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
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clean-cake-side

Orange Almond Cardamom Cake

I was feeling fancy and needed something to put on a buffet table at a party (Drag Race All Stars premiere!), so I dug an extremely expired cake mix out of the pantry and whipped up this paragon of elegance and beauty.  I was worried that being more than a year past the “use by” date would affect the leavening in the cake mix, but you can see that wasn’t an issue.

This cake turned out really well – moist and delicate with a perfect, subtle balance of flavors.

close-up-crumb

I love how the inside of this cake looks — tender crumbs mixed with flecks of ground almonds and a little bit of orange zest.  So pretty!  My whole house smelled good after I baked this.

Because a bundt cake generally doesn’t have a lot of icing on it, the cake has to be awesome all on it’s own.  And this one really, really is. But it’s always better to add just a little more sugar in the form of an icing glaze!  This is a quick one to mix together – the only trick is to make sure you get the consistency right.  Too thin and it runs right off the cake, too thick and it’s goopy and doesn’t drip down the cake in a pretty way.  I test the consistency by draping a line of frosting across my fingertip (because then I can lick it off later) and if it stays pretty solid for a few seconds you’re good to go.

close-up-wet-icing

I’m glad I get invited to so many events — it gives me the perfect excuse to bake.

Oh.

I think I just figure out why I get invited to so many events.

Well, it’s a win-win.

clean-cake-side
This beauty was only outshone by the Drag Race contestants themselves.  And I’m okay with being shown up by drag queens.

Try making this one yourself – it’s a perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea.


Print Recipe
Orange Almond Cardamom Cake
This doctored cake mix is moist and flavorful with a perfect, subtle balance of flavors. Also, it makes you look like Martha fucking Stewart. View recipe video at https://youtu.be/sJOxG7ZBY14
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Cake
Icing glaze
Course Dessert
Cuisine Moderate Effort
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 2 hours
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Cake
Icing glaze
Instructions
Make the cake
  1. Put cake mix, cardamom and ground almonds in a mixing bowl.
  2. Zest 1 orange into the mixing bowl. Juice 3 oranges into a measuring cup and top up with water (if necessary) to equal 1 1/4 cups.
  3. Add orange juice, vegetable oil, yogurt, vanilla and eggs to bowl. Mix batter according to package directions.
  4. (Optional) Taste batter -- risking almost certain death due to raw eggs -- and add orange oil (or orange extract) to taste.
  5. Use baking spray with flour to grease a bundt pan. Fill pan with cake batter and tap pan on counter a few times to remove any air pockets.
  6. Bake according to directions on cake package, or until toothpick inserted in center comes our clean(ish). Baking may take slightly longer than expected on the package due to extra added ingredients.
  7. Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and let stand until completely cool.
Make the icing
  1. Sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Zest orange, putting half in bowl with sugar and setting half aside for decoration.
  2. Juice half of orange into bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in cardamom.
  3. The icing should be thick enough to hold a line on your finger for a few seconds. If icing is too thick, add more orange juice. If icing is too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  4. Spoon icing glaze over the cake, trying to distribute evenly. Sprinkle the top of the wet icing with remaining orange zest. Allow icing to dry before serving.
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nutella ice cream in dishes

Nutella Ice Cream (no ice cream maker!)

A hands-down winner in the “Sugary As Fucking Fuck” category!  WOW is this a sugar-packed powerhouse of sweet, sinful creaminess. And on top of that, this is fast to prepare and you don’t need an ice cream maker – just a few hours in the freezer.

I try to wait to taste my creations for the first time on film… but it’s ice cream and I’m not waiting.  So I immediately scarfed down 2 scoops of this luscious stuff and then passed out for 12 hours.  I’m pretty sure I spiked my blood sugar so high that I went into a coma.  I don’t recommend 2 scoops – stick with 1.

nutella ice cream in dishes

With that said, this stuff tastes GOOD.  A couple of my friends have told me this is one of the best things I’ve ever made.  Which is slightly insulting given that it took about 10-15 minutes of work plus a little elapsed time in the freezer to make it.  Why do I even try?

One proviso here – this stuff melts VERY quickly.  You’ll still be shoveling it into your mouth as it disintegrates, but the pretty presentation doesn’t last very long. It might firm up a little more if you use less Nutella than I added in the video – I’m guessing the oiliness of the Nutella and possibly the extra sugar makes for a softer texture.  Also, maybe it wouldn’t cause a coma anymore.

nutella ice cream in spoon

This recipe turns making ice cream into a total no brainer, as long as you have room in your freezer for the container.  Which I did not.  Consequences of my food hoarding tendencies. So it’s super fast to make, and then you have to spend another 15 minutes cleaning out your whole freezer before you can actually finish the recipe.  But hey, I needed an excuse to clean out the freezer, right?


Print Recipe
Nutella Ice Cream (no ice cream maker!)
No ice cream machine needed to make this fast, easy Nutella ice cream. This is sweet and creamy and will fulfill all your fantasies. If you're into that kind of thing.
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
pints
Ingredients
Prep Time 0 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 4 hours
Servings
pints
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Mix condensed milk and Nutella in a bowl until completely combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks.
  3. Stir about 1/3 of the whipped cream into the Nutella mixture to lighten the texture, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream being careful not to deflate the mixture too much.
  4. Pour mixture into a container and freeze for several hours or over night.
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