Easter Bunny Cocktails

This is not an April Fools joke but a delicious dessert cocktail. I have to be honest,  hollow, chocolate Easter bunnies might be the devil’s worst idea yet. What can make them palatable, however, is to rip their little bunny heads off and fill them with a creamy, nutty chocolate libation.

Easter Bunny Cocktail

1 ounce Praline pecan liqueur
1 ounce Creme de Cacao
1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream

Add ice to a mixer and add all three ingredients. Shake well to chill and then strain into hollow Easter bunnies. Sip or drink it like a shot. Munch the bunny head and eat the body when empty.

Cute lil bunny head in a glass!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I woke up this morning craving chocolate chip cookies. When I went into the kitchen I saw the jar of peanut butter that I hadn’t but back in the cabinet after a snack of peanut butter and crackers last night and decided to alter my plans to include some peanut butter.

Just adding peanut butter to an existing chocolate chip cookie recipe would make cookies without enough chocolate for my craving. However, adding melted chocolate would give me the hit I wanted needed. I also switched the semi-sweet chocolate for bittersweet. Feel free to change it back when making the recipe for yourself, if you don’t want such darkly chocolate cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 ounce bar bittersweet chocolate, broken into bits
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 ounce package bittersweet morsels

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F

Melt the bittersweet chocolate bar in the microwave or on top of a double boiler.

Mix together in a medium bowl the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in the peanut butter. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the bowl and then slowly add the flour mixture. Pour in the melted chocolate. Scrape down the bowl and then stir in the bittersweet chocolate chips.

Make 2 tablespoon balls of the mixture in your hands (if necessary, chill the dough for about 10 minutes first) and then place the balls on an ungreased baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart. Bake for 23 minutes or until set but still soft. Cool on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to a wire rack and cooling completely.

Better Than Math Pie for Pi Day

This pie is a variation of the “Better Than Sex” pie (chocolate, peanut butter, more chocolate). In honor of Pi Day (3.14), I’m naming this one “Better Than Math.”

It is a multi-part recipe – make the dulce de leche first, followed by the ganache, then make the crust and the filling before assembling and cooling it down.

 

Better Than Math Pie

1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 pint heavy cream, divided
6 ounces Oreo cookies – about 25 cookies
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 – 10 ounce package bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Peel the label off the can of sweetened condensed milk. Place in a saucepan and put water in the pan to cover the can with 1 to 2 inches water. Bring water to a boil and then turn the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours (checking regularly to ensure that the water completely covers the can at all times). Turn the can over and simmer for another 1 1/2 hours. Remove can and let cool completely before opening. (You can also make this in a slow cooker – 8-10 hours on low).

Place the bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring 1 cup of the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture has emulsified.  Place the ganache in the refrigerator until it has cooled and thicken (no more than 2 hours).

Scrape off the cream filling from the Oreo. Place Oreo cookies sans cream filling into a food processor and pulse until it make crumbs. Pour in butter and pulse to combine. Press the cookie crumbs into the bottom of a deep dish pie pan.

In a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate chips. Add in the peanut butter and stir until combined. Add melted chocolate chips and peanut butter, cream cheese and 1 cup whipping cream together in a stand mixer. Beat until thick and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.

Spread almost all of the ganache over the Oreo crust. Reserve 2 tablespoons for drizzling on the top of pie.

Spoon chocolate peanut butter mixture into the pie crust over the ganache layer.

Drizzle half the can of sweetened condensed milk dulce de leche over the chocolate mixture. Reserve remainder for another use. Drizzle extra ganache over top.

Refrigerate overnight or place pie in freezer for at least 1 hour before serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

Time for more quick, no-bake desserts. This one is a little messy but the darker chocolate compensates for the sweetness of the cereal.

The recipe calls for 8 cups of cereal but I just used the entire 12.5 ounce box and an entire bag of bittersweet chocolate chips.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Honeycomb Crunch

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 cups bittersweet chocolate morsels
8 cups Honeycomb cereal
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place cereal in a large bowl. Melt chocolate and peanut butter in a double boiler. Let cool slightly and then pour over the cereal. Stir gently until everything is well coated.  Pour onto a baking sheet and let the chocolate set for an hour.

In a large paper bag, place 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Dump in the chocolate covered cereal into the bag and shake out another 1/4 cup of powdered sugar on the top. Shake vigorously until sugar coats the pieces. Pour out onto a large baking sheet and let cool completely before putting in zip top plastic bags.

White Christmas Party Mix

The New Orleans Saints are playing the Dirty Birds (aka Atlanta Falcons) on Christmas Eve, so I decided to take my usual party mix (Circles and Squares) and give it some holiday flair. If I had some red and green m&ms, I would have added them after the powdered sugar coating step.

Dirty White Christmas Party Mix

1-12 oz box of Crispex cereal
1-8.9 oz box of Cheerios cereal
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-12 oz package of semi sweet morsels
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, divided

Stir the cereals together in a large pan. I use a disposable turkey roasting pan. In a small saucepan, melt together the butter, Worchestershire sauce and salt. Pour over the cereal and, gently but thoroughly, stir to coat. Bake in a 250 degree F oven for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

When there are about 20 minutes left on the baking cereal, put the semi-sweet morsels and peanut butter together in a double boiler and melt, stirring occasionally.

Remove the cereal from the oven. Pour the melted chocolate and peanut butter over the cereal and stir. Keep stirring until all the cereal is coated in chocolate. In a large, clean paper bag, sprinkle a half cup of powdered sugar. Pour in the cereal and then sprinkle on the other half cup of powdered sugar. Close and roll down the top of the bag and shake to coat all the cereal in sugar.

Cool completely on baking sheets – this takes about an hour. Store in an airtight container until time to gobble it up!

Who Dat!

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Joy

After I had bought Halloween candy, my sweetie mentioned how her favorite treat is Almond Joy (of course, not one of the ones I purchased). So we decided to make a homemade version. I used a chocolate macaroon recipe I had in my files (I think it came from Martha Stewart Living) and we made the chocolate bittersweet, the coconut sweetened, switched creme de cacao with the vanilla and added pecan pieces (plus a single semi-sweet morsel for whimsy).

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Joy

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon creme de cacao
Pinch of salt
20 whole pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a double boiler, stir until chocolate is melted, and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine cooled chocolate, cocoa, sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Use your hands to mix well, completely combining ingredients.

Dampen hands with very cold water. Form 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet with a whole pecan on top. Repeat with remaining mixture, placing macaroons 1 inch apart.

Bake until just firm to the touch but still soft in the middle, about 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven to a wire rack, and let cool on baking sheet.

Middle Cake from Miryam Levy

Here is another delicious recipe from Miryam Levy. It was missing a few amounts but I had a recipe in my files for a chocolate, date and walnut cake from which I was able to crib. As I’m actually allergic to walnuts, I used pecans but I kept walnuts in the recipe list for authenticity. Also, if you don’t have self rising flour (and what good Southern biscuit maker doesn’t lol), sift together 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Victoria tells me the name “Middle Cake” comes because her family would sit around the table with spoons, eating the middle first, leaving the delicious crusty edges for last. For best results let the cake cool in fridge, but she told me “good luck with that. The smell filling the house is so intoxicating, you can’t stop the lurking kids from eating it hot. Mom threatened to put a lock on the fridge, but it never helped…”

Middle Cake from Miryam Levy

2 tablespoons cognac
1/2 cup raisins
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13 pan and, instead of flouring the pan, dust with a little bit of cocoa and shake to coat the entire interior. Knock out excess cocoa.
Place cognac in a bowl with the raisins and let soak.
Melt chocolate, cocoa, sugar and water over stove, stirring regularly until it becomes creamy. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Alternately add the flour and chocolate mixture, starting with 1/2 cup flour. Mix just until combined, scraping down the bowl at least once. Stir in raisins and all the cognac and the nuts.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan midway through cooking. Bake until a crust has formed on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For best results let the cake cool in fridge, but I admit I took a spoon to it while it was cooling and it is quite yummy hot.
I sprinkled the top of the pieces I did allow to cool with confectioners sugar.