I actually had this one scheduled for tomorrow, but I thought of my lovely readers settling down for the evening with a good book and a blanket…What would be a better way to complete that snuggly little picture? Hot chocolate, of course!
This is not just any old hot chocolate… it’s a spicy chocolate that will really warm you up on this ridiculously cold evening. I first had it when I lived in Texas, and I never really bothered to attempt to make it myself until last night.
This recipe is not authentic at all. It’s made with what I had on hand since we are under travel restrictions. When I can get to the store, I’m going to pick up some of this stuff:
For now, though, Hershey’s cocoa powder will do.
To make one serving of this yummy beverage, you’ll need:
Milk (I used my coffee mug to measure)
2-3 heaping tablespoons of sugar
2-3 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if you like cinnamon)
UP TO 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (go extremely easy at first)
Combine everything in a small saucepan and heat on low, stirring frequently, until it gets to your desired temperature. CAREFULLY pour it into a mug, add whipped cream or marshmallows if you like, and enjoy!
Remember, this is totally customizable. If you want more chocolate, dump more in! If you like it super sweet, really go for the sugar… I happened to have some of my chili dark chocolate left, so I melted a few squares of that in there. It’s hard to screw this up, and it’s leaps and bounds better than the powdered mix.
Stay warm, friends!
If you’ve liked my page on Facebook (you can do it in the right-hand sidebar over there), you probably saw that I made an experimental dessert on Friday. I had been kicking the idea around ever since I made the cherry delight, and I decided the BF’s family Christmas was the perfect occasion for my mystery concoction.
Turns out, no one minded playing pie guinea pig because it was really pretty good!
Here’s what you need to make this super quick and easy holiday (or anytime) treat:
Oreo crust (I used a store-bought crust this time. Shameful, I know)
For the chocolate filling:
1 envelope Dream Whip
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into cubes
For the peanut butter filling:
1envelope Dream Whip
1/2 cup cold milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions. Add cocoa and cream cheese and mix well. Once combined, add powdered sugar. Mix well. Spread about half of the chocolate filling into an even layer in the bottom of your crust. Cover and refrigerate.
Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions. Add peanut butter and powdered sugar. Mix well.
Spread a thin layer of peanut butter filling over the chocolate layer in your pie crust. I had a little peanut butter filling left (about 1/2 cup that The BF gladly ‘taste tested’)… You’ll want the middle layer to be a bit thinner than the others. Top peanut butter layer with the remaining chocolate filling, cover and refrigerate. Mine chilled overnight, and I think that is the best way to go.
I apologize for the not-so-great picture. I totally forgot to take a picture until the darn thing was almost gone. I did sneak a little piece, and I have to toot my own horn a bit on this one. Toot!
In other words, it’s tasty!
Here’s the BF and I, modeling his Dirty Santa gift of Bubba teeth, fake pink mustaches, and a spy disguise:
If you make this cake you’ll understand why I have no words. When you get it out of the oven, angels will sing. Ed McMahon will come knocking on your door. A unicorn will trot through your kitchen with a leprechaun and a pot of gold on his back. What I’m trying to say is, this is a damn good cake.
A friend of mine suggested this recipe when I mentioned that I was searching for the perfect chocolate cake. The BF’s birthday was yesterday and the man loves chocolate more than a woman in the middle of a visit from Aunt Martha. Last year I made him a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and it was good but I wanted better. I may have found it.
The original recipe is courtesy of a lovely little blog, Slow Like Honey (I was immediately won over by the Fiona Apple-inspired name) and can be found here. I only made one tiny change… I used regular unsweetened cocoa powder instead of dark. I actually couldn’t find dark cocoa powder in my little grocery store. I probably could have found it at Wal-Mart but I try not to go there too much. It isn’t good for the psyche.
The BF made the coffee this morning, and he likes it strong so that’s what ended up in the cake. There wasn’t an overwhelming coffee flavor, so don’t worry about having a mostly coffee cake.
I was curious about the pepper, even wondering if it was a mistake. I added it (which caused a sneezing fit when I switched on the mixer) and I’m glad I did. It’s definitely there, but not overpoweringly so.
The icing (or frosting?) is seriously the best thing ever. I found a recipe a long time ago and have adjusted it to meet my needs. I use:
1 cup of creamy Jif peanut butter (don’t go cheap…this is the brand that seems to work best)
1 stick softened butter (I used unsalted today since I already had it, but I’ve used salted before and it was fine. Just use REAL butter, please)
2 cups powdered sugar
3ish tablespoons milk (I had whole milk on hand, but you can sub in whatever milk you have.)
Use a hand mixer to get the butter and peanut butter nice and smooth, then add the powdered sugar a little at a time. Once you’ve added all of the powdered sugar, add milk a little at a time to get the consistency you want. Now just make sure most of it ends up on the cake.
This cake was sitting in the refrigerator calling my name all morning… I had to practice a lot of self-control to avoid eating the rest of it for breakfast.
Some of my long-term readers might remember a post I wrote a year ago (Happy Massacre Day!) about Valentine’s Day.
Well, that was actually right before I started seeing The Boyfriend. I’m sure some people thought I was just bitter about ol’ V-Day because I was single, so I thought I’d revisit the subject as a non-single person this year.
I still think it’s stupid.
I’m not kidding when I say I don’t really care if The Boyfriend gets me anything for this Hallmark holiday. In fact, here are some typical Valentine’s Day gifts and exactly what I think of them:
Consider the above image…That’s a pretty standard Valentine’s Day present, right? Well, the roses will die and stink up the place because you’ll forget about them rotting away in a windowsill somewhere. The chocolates? I personally don’t eat sweets very often, so the majority of them will end up thrown away in a couple of months (when they get that strange white powdery stuff on them) or given to someone else. Plus, half of them probably have that weird, smooshy, fruit-flavored filling in them and I don’t know a single soul on Earth that likes biting into those chocolates.
Ok, those? Yeah, I’d probably eat a couple…But WHY would you buy them?! I mean, does anyone realize how ridiculously easy chocolate-covered anything is to make? Here:
1. Get melting chocolate
2. Melt chocolate
3. Dunk things
4. Let things sit on waxed paper until hardened
REALLY?! I am a 30 year old woman. What the hell would I need with a teddy bear bigger than me?! Or any teddy bear at all, for that matter. The chick in the picture looks as happy as a guy that just found out he’s not the father on Maury, but how do we know it’s because of the bear? Maybe she just dropped a giant deuce after being constipated for two weeks! I mean, that would make me happy about everything… “You got me oatmeal raisin cookies? Well I despise raisins but that’s ok ’cause I just shit for the first time in a week! Thanks for the cookies, man!” OR maybe she just dumped the guy that got it for her because he sucked at buying gifts, and this picture is of her hauling that stupid thing to the dumpster!
Happy Massacre Day, y’all!
So last night I had a sudden desire for some kind of snack… I really wanted some of the pumpkin roll The Boyfriend gave me a piece of a few nights ago but I didn’t feel like driving to his house. I figured I had everything to make a chocolate mug cake, though, so I set to mixing one up.
Here’s a recipe for one, if you want to make one for yourself.
So I got the flour, sugar and egg mixed up and realized I had no cocoa. For real. It was too late to turn back, so I improvised and threw chocolate chips in.
Uh, not the same.
All of the chocolate chips settled at the bottom and left a layer of dense, spongy (not in a good way) cake on top. Nothing a little ice cream wouldn’t fix, right?
But there wasn’t any ice cream.
So I had chocolate chips and marshmallows… I melted a little butter and stirred in the marshmallows and chocolate chips and ended up with a pretty good chocolate saucy-type stuff. It made the cake edible.
This evening, I once again decided I wanted a snack. While digging through the pantry I noticed some Nesquick…Which would have been helpful last night. Also? I found some Cool Whip hiding in the fridge.
I was tempted to give the ol’ mug cake another go but laziness won.
It’s Friday night and I’m sitting on the couch eating Cool Whip out of the container.
No, I don’t own a cat…why do you ask?
Today I have to go to the grocery store. It’s the day before Thanksgiving.
I know, I should have planned better, but I tend to wait ’til the last minute for just about everything. Last year I didn’t go Christmas shopping until two days before Christmas.
I’ve been making turnip gratin for my dad every year for Thanksgiving since I found it on the Pioneer Woman’s website…It’s probably the only recipe I haven’t messed with at all. It’s delicious exactly the way she has it, though I don’t put butter between the layers. I’m also going to make a big ol’ double batch of my favorite toffee candy because the batch I made last week is all gone. That stuff doesn’t last long because it’s goooooood.
The rest of the menu is pretty typical:
Turkey (my mom puts two turkey breasts in the crock pot instead of a whole turkey since no one really eats dark meat)
Pie (pumpkin and apple)
If you’ve waited ’til the last minute to finalize your Turkey Day menu, or if you don’t know what to bring to a family dinner, do yourself a favor and take a look at Pioneer Woman’s recipe archives. You’ll find all sorts of delicious things.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I’m not a huge fan of sweets… I more enjoy a sweet/salty combination than a full-out sugar attack. I think toffee might just be the best thing on Earth (for now…I’m pretty fickle). Six or seven years ago I was given a recipe for toffee candy that was easy and delicious and I’ve made it every year around the holidays with great success. Everyone asks me about it but I’ve kept my mouth shut because, gosh darnit, it’s my toffee recipe and I don’t want other people stealing my thunder.
What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, yesterday I was looking through the 34,865 (approximately) bookmarks that I’ve collected…they’re mostly recipes that I sincerely meant to make immediately until having no money kind of got in the way. I perused the list hoping to find something that we just so happened to have all of the ingredients for…With no luck. So I did what anyone else would do, I pulled a recipe out of my mental archives, said “Screw you, bookmarks!” and got to work because damnit, I wanted to bake something.
I drank at least a pot of coffee and a lot of time on my hands. Baking seemed like the right thing to do.
My lovely readers, I’m in a giving mood so I’m going to do the unthinkable and share my favorite toffee recipe with you. It’s extremely difficult and takes all day…
Nah, just kidding.
So you want 1 stick of butter (I used salted), 1 cup of packed brown sugar, about a sleeve and a half of saltine crackers, some chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet but dark chocolate is really good!), and whatever toppings your heart desires. I used walnut pieces and macadamia nuts but crunched up candy canes, pretzel pieces, or bacon could be used.
Yes, I said bacon. I happen to think it would be delicious.
Ok, so preheat your oven to 350, grease a cookie sheet (one with a lip) and arrange crackers in a single layer like this:
Set that aside, then put your butter and brown sugar in a pot on the stove:
Cook the mixture over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Make sure to stir constantly.
Have a candy thermometer handy. You’ll want to remove it from the heat when the thermometer reads 300 degrees or hard crack.
*insert crack joke here*
I know it’s tempting, but don’t stick your finger in for a little taste…it might as well be molten lava at this point, and it’ll stick to your fingers and burn like crazy. I know this from experience.
Once your thermometer reads hard crack (snicker, snicker) you can pour it over the crackers. Try to spread it around but don’t worry if you don’t get everything covered…The toffee will spread in the oven. Put the cookie sheet into the oven for 5-10 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and when the toffee has spread enough take it out. Or, get tired of waiting and take it out of the oven when the toffee is liquid enough and just spread it around yourself.
Let the toffee cool a bit, then sprinkle chocolate chips over it. They should melt enough to spread on their own, but you can put it back in the oven for a couple of seconds to speed things up. Once you’ve got your chocolate layer spread evenly across the toffee, add your toppings.
On the left I used walnut pieces and on the right are macadamia nuts. I also sprinkled sea salt over the whole thing once I realized I used unsalted nuts.
Let the chocolate cool enough to solidify…I ended up putting mine in the fridge for a few minutes because I’m impatient. Once everything’s nice and solid, bust it up into pieces! I use a butter knife to cut sections out, then I break the sections up into smaller pieces with my hands. It’s really easy to break apart once you get things started.
I like to make a bunch of this around Christmas…Whenever I’m going to see a friend or I get invited to a party I just put it in a pretty box and presto! Instant hostess gift.
The best part? Everyone thinks you slaved away at this because a lot of people seem to have the idea that toffee is SO difficult. You get to look like a shining star with minimal actual work.
Plus it tastes really, really good.