Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nutella Icebox Cake

If you could taste Heaven, I'm pretty sure this is what it would taste like. (or bacon. It might be a tie. Haha!) It's so fluffy. It's rich, yet light. Simply delightful! My Mother-in-Law brought this cake to us for a party this summer and I have been dreaming about it ever since! I finally made it yesterday. It's really quick and easy, too. Sorry the picture isn't that great. It got devoured so fast, this was the only piece I had left to photograph! Now, that's saying something! This recipe comes from The Food Network Magazine. You can also find it on

1 3/4 cup heavy cream, cold!
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup Nutella
20 whole chocolate graham crackers or other good chocolate cookie/cracker

Beat on low speed 1 cup cream, 3/4 cup mascarpone, all the sugar and vanilla till combined. Then beat till stiff peaks form, 1-2 minutes. (with my Bosch, it was about 30 seconds. watch it, I made butter out of it the first go around. boo.) Combine remaining 3/4 cup each cream, and mascarpone with the nutella in a separate bowl, beat till stiff peaks, 1-2 mins. (again, watch it close) Line bottom of 8 inch spring-form pan with 4 grahams in single layer, breaking up if needed to fill gaps. (my pan is a 9" springform. next time, I will 1 and 1/2 the recipe so it is taller. it will look prettier) Spread half the vanilla whipped cream over crackers. Top with another layer crackers. Spread half the Nutella mixture over, then layer crackers. Repeat ending with Nutella layer. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hrs or overnight. To serve, run a knife along edges of pan and remove springform sides.

Check out my family's recipe blog here for more great recipes. I have 8 sisters-in-law and 1 mother-in-law and they are all wicked cooks! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Spooky Witch's Fingers

These are a favorite family tradition at our house! I have 4 kids and they think these are SO cool.  I think they look pretty neat myself! The first time I made them, boy #3 was 3 years old. When I showed him the picture of what we were making that day, he got the funniest look on his face. Seriously creeped out! Haha. And my favorite part about these is they have a disgusting secret! When you bite into them, there is a BONE inside!!!! (insert evil laugh here) These are quick and easy and all the kids can help.

Here is what you need:
Your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe (I have included one in case you need it)
Green food coloring
Straight pretzels
Slivered almonds

1 tube of chocolate icing

Peanut Butter Cookies (from my trusty Pillsbury Cookbook)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/2 c peanut butter
2 T milk
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 3/4 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Regular directions for cookies:
Heat oven to 375F. In large bowl, cream sugars, and butter. Blend in peanut butter, milk, vanilla, and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets; flatten balls in crisscross pattern with fork dipped in sugar (I just roll mine in sugar first then flatten with fork). Bake at 375F for 10-12 min or til golden brown. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

To make witch's fingers:
Make dough as directed above, but add a little bit of green food coloring to make them look like real witch fingers!  Roll dough into finger-sized logs, inserting a pretzel in the middle of each finger. Then shape them to look like old witch fingers with gnarly knuckles. Take a knife and make little lines to look like knuckle lines. (look at my photo and you'll get it.) Then make an indentation at the top for the nail bed. (You will add a slivered almond after it's baked to look like the fingernail.) Bake. Check your first batch at 8 minutes to see if you need to adjust time, depending on how big you make your fingers. After they cool a bit, put a little chocolate icing on each nail bed. Press an almond on to look like a fingernail. Let some of the icing squish out a bit so the nails look good and dirty. What witch do you know with lovely clean nails??!!  (again, add the evil laugh)

Arrange these on a plate or wrapped in tissue paper in a take out box. They look amazingly real! We love taking these around to friends and seeing their reactions. I also like asking them later if the kids ate them or not. It's funny to find out who was freaked out and who ate them with gusto!!

Happy haunting. Hope this adds to your Halloween fun!

Check out some of my other recipes: meatball subs, cheeseburger chowder and bread, nutella icebox cake

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Homemade Mult-Grain Pancake Mix

In honor of 'Back to School', I am posting this recipe from my family blog. If you need other good breakfast recipes, (or anything else) check it out, here

I decided I wanted to make my own pancake mix. Since I have a wheat grinder, I thought I should be thinking of more ways to use it.  I am also interested in fresher, more quality foods. These are just under 90% whole grain!  This recipe is from the King Arthur Flour Company's website.  It is SOOOO delicious! This stores in an airtight container at room temp for 2 weeks, or indefinately in the fridge or freezer.  Everyone gave these a thumbs up.  This will be really fast to whip up before school! 

4 cups King Arthur white whole wheat flour (or whatever kind you like, I grind my own)
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned or rolled oats
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil

To Make Mix
1.Grind the oats in a food processer until they are chopped fine, but not a powder. (I just use quick oats and don't bother grinding. One less step.)
2.Put the flour, oats, and all other dry ingredients into a mixer with a paddle. Mix on slow speed, and drizzle the vegetable oil into the bowl slowly while the mixer is running.
3.Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks at room temperature, or indefinitely in the refrigerator or freezer.
To Make Pancakes:
1.Whisk together 1 cup of mix, 1 cup of buttermilk (you can use soured milk, but buttermilk gives noticeably superior results; a combination of half plain yogurt and half milk also will do), and 1 large egg. Don't worry if it seems thin at first: the oats will soak up the milk, and the mix will thicken a bit as it stands. Let the batter stand for at least 20 minutes before cooking.
2.Heat a lightly greased griddle to 350°F (if you've got a griddle with a temperature setting; if not, medium-hot will do).
3.Drop the batter onto it in 1/4-cupfuls (a jumbo cookie scoop works well here) to make a 4" diameter pancake. If you have English muffin rings, use them; they make a perfectly round, evenly thick pancake. When the edges look dry and bubbles come to the surface without breaking (after about 2 minutes, if your griddle is the correct temperature), turn the pancake over to finish cooking on the second side, which will take about 2 minutes.
4.Serve pancakes immediately, or stack and hold in a warm oven.
Yield: a batch using one cup of the mix will make about eight 4" pancakes.
Note: If you don't have buttermilk in the house, try the yogurt and milk combination first; if you happen to have buttermilk powder, try this: In place of the buttermilk, add 1/4 cup buttermilk powder to 1 cup of dry mix, then stir in 1 cup water and 1 large egg. The results won't be as magnificent as using liquid buttermilk, but you'll still have very tasty pancakes.
Variation: Add 1 tablespoon orange juice to the dry mix along with the buttermilk. We've found that the acidity and sweetness of the orange juice helps mellow the tannic taste some people perceive in whole wheat flour; while the pancakes won't have any orange flavor, they may taste slightly milder to you, if you're not a fan of whole wheat flour (but still want to get more whole grains into your diet).

I didn't use their brand of flour.  I ground my own WW flour and I only use unbleached anyway.  I only had quick oats on hand, so I used those instead.  I only had the mixture sit 10 minutes.  It seemed fine.  I also didn't have buttermilk, so I used the sour milk.  Whenever I do this in a buttermilk recipe, it makes a thinner pancake.  I don't mind the thinner, but it is different with the real stuff.  I would say they are better with buttermilk , but still delicious no matter what is used.  They also said you can freeze buttermilk in 1 cup portions to use at later times.  Also, these are fabulous with berries in them.  And my kids loved jam on them.

Check out my other recipes: