Thursday, January 22, 2009

Valentine Treats

These delicious chocolate butter cookies are a wonderful treat to have on hand for all of your Valentine sweethearts. They're filled with strawberry or raspberry jam and just melt in your mouth.

Chocolate Butter Cookie Sandwich Hearts
(makes 24 single cookies or 12 sandwich cookies)

1 cup of butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
Strawberry jam
Raspberry jam
White chocolate chips
Chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until blended. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl. Combine with the butter mixture until dough holds together in a ball. Wrap in plastic and chill dough for 30 minutes. Portion out chilled dough and roll until it is ¼ inch thick. Dip heart shaped cookie cutter in powdered sugar and cut out 12 hearts. Roll out additional dough and cut 12 additional hearts. Using a smaller heart shaped cutter, cut a small heart in the center of the second batch of cookies. Bake all cookies in a 325 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow to cool on cooling rack to 10 minutes. Once cookies are cool enough to handle, spread you choice of strawberry or raspberry jam on the full cookies making sure not to go over the edge. Top with center cut cookies. Melt white and chocolate candy melts (separately) and drizzle over sandwich cookies.

My daughter and I made these cupcakes last year. They're just plain, ordinary strawberry flavored cupcakes topped with strawberry frosting. What made them special were the roses we created and placed on top of each little cupcake. The roses are made with fruit roll-ups. These are those lovely and delicious fruity rolls that come in all flavors. Ours were, you guessed it, strawberry. It's very simple really. All you have to do is unroll the fruit roll and starting at one end, start re-rolling and crimping in the shape of a rose. Heres a close-up:
They're super easy and a lot of fun to make. I hope you try it with your kids.

Well, Brian, my daughter's boyfriend, was not going to be left out of my daughter's and mine baking adventures. He wanted to do something he had never done before...bake a cake. Actually, his idea was to make a giant cupcake for my daughter to prove to her that he was willing to learn something new. BUT, he wanted to make a giant cupcake in a bucket! You can imagine how well that went over. My daughter went out and bought him an early Valentine's Day gift, a giant cupcake mold.
You can see how proud he was with his first baking experience. My daughter just gushed at his adventurous efforts.

They decided to name this left over piece of cake Mr. Angry Cake. They kept looking at it and decided it had a face to it, an angry face. So to keep Mr. Angry Cake from being angry, we ate him!!

Was the kitchen a mess? Yes it was. But, you know, I'd rather have a mess in the kitchen and hear them laughing than wondering where they are and if they're OK.

I wonder what we'll make next?
I've gotten a couple of inquiries about the giant cupcake mold. Here's a picture of it.

Amazon: Giant Cupcake Mold Here's where you can find it, or just type in giant cupcake mold in your search line and it will give you some link options.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Chocolate Sushi

Look at what I've been playing around with. Chocolate Sushi. We like to celebrate Chinese New Year's Day here at home. You see, we've got a very special member of the family that we celebrate with. Our niece Malia-Lin. My brother Jose and sister-in-law Linda adopted Malia at the tender age of 1 straight from China. She's an absolute love (she's 11 years old now) and smart as a whip.

The Chinese New Year begins on January 26th, 2009. It is the year of the OX. I was born in the year of the OX many years ago, so this celebration is very special to me.

I hope you enjoy this whimsical recipe of mine. It's quite tasty and makes a very cool dessert after a dinner of Sweet and Sour Pork and General Tso's Chicken.

Chocolate Sushi

1-cup long grain rice
1-cup evaporated milk
1 ½ cups water
1-tablespoon sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening

Combine milk, water, sugar, and cinnamon stick in pot. Bring to a simmer. Add rice. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Allow cooked rice to cool for 15 minutes. Cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Spread cooled, cooked rice in a thin layer over plastic wrap. Melt chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon shortening in microwave for 1 minute. Stir chips. If they haven't completely melted, microwave for an addition 30 seconds. Remove from microwave oven and stir until chocolate is smooth. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Spread melted chocolate over rice on cookie sheet. Using a spatula, spread chocolate completely over rice. Being careful and going slowly, lift the long edge of plastic wrap until rice and chocolate combination start to roll. Start rolling towards the center, lifting plastic wrap out of the way. Continue to roll until you reach the end. Secure the roll in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until the sushi roll sets, about 1 hour. Remove roll from refrigerator and carefully unwrap the plastic. Slice into 1 inch slices and serve.

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