Asian Sesame Dressing

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I found this bad boy on Pinterest via Chris from The Café Sucre Farine and modified it just a bit because I didn’t have a few ingredients, but it still turned out super tasty! Whatever I make for dinner tonight, you know it will go with this dressing.  

There’s nothing better than something being ridiculously yummy while also being ridiculously simple and quick. I eye balled a lot of the measurements, except for the oils and vinegars.  I hate dirtying dishes if I don’t have to, so feel free to eye ball it, too, but only if you feel comfortable enough. 

I’m kind of obsessed with this Asian Sesame Dressing. It’s on the same level as ranch for me. I will freely admit to licking the bowl after finishing my salad, and then using my finger to get the rest of it at the bottom of the bowl. It’s that good. I encourage you to make this, put it on your salad, marinate some meat in it, or maybe dip something in it (a finger maybe?). Just make sure to enjoy it all before 7 days are up (that’s how long it will be good for in the refrigerator). Feel free to leave a comment and/or picture letting me know what you did with it…so many possibilities with this one!

~Cella

Asian Sesame Dressing
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, Finely Ground
  2. 3 tbsp Brown Sugar, Light
  3. 2 tbsp Poppy Seeds
  4. 1 tsp Sea Salt
  5. 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
  6. 1/4 cup Canola Oil
  7. 1/3 cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
  8. 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  9. 1 tsp Sesame Oil
  10. 2 Medium Cloves Garlic, Minced
  11. 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger, Minced
  12. 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  13. 3 tbsp Honey
  14. 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  15. 1 tsp Sriracha Mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Put all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
  2. Store in an air tight container for up to 7 days in your refrigerator.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Spinach Artichoke Dip

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Super Bowl 50, baby!! I love it, and by “it” I mean the FOOD!!  This is one of those dishes that will make you popular and loved…I honestly can’t think of anyone who doesn’t like some spinach artichoke dip…nope.  I crafted this recipe after making different versions over the years.  It’s not super dense, where you pull out all of the spinach with one dip because it’s tangled together, and I love how fluffy it is.

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This recipe=easy peasy…seriously. Just spray the inside of the slow-cooker with cooking spray, dump all the ingredients in the slow-cooker, mix, turn on high for the first hour and low for the second hour, and stir every 15-20 minutes until 2 hours is up…Can it get simpler??! If it could, please let me know! The yum-a-licious result is a creamy and o-so-cheesy dip that is perfect for game day!

~Cella

Spinach Artichoke Dip
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Ingredients
  1. 14 oz Can of Artichoke Hearts, drained
  2. 5-10 oz Fresh Baby Spinach (depends on your personal preference)
  3. 1-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced (depends on your personal preference)
  4. 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  5. ½ C Mayonnaise
  6. ¼ C Milk
  7. ½ C Sour Cream
  8. 1 C Shredded Mozzarella
  9. 1/3 C Parmigiano Reggiano
  10. ¼ tsp. Garlic Salt
  11. ¼ tsp. Onion Powder
  12. Salt (to taste)
  13. Pepper (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Spray the inside of the slow-cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Put all of the ingredients into the slow-cooker and stir.
  3. Set the slow-cooker to high for the first hour, and turn down to low for the second hour.
  4. Stir every 15-20 minutes.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

 

Not Your Store-bought Oreo Cookies

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You may be familiar with my babka woes. If not, click the link and you’ll soon be informed (it’s a two parter). While immersed in butter, yeast, and so much chocolate, I found a recipe for chocolate wafers that I wanted to use for cookie crumbs The Babka recipe called for. These turned out so great!! The dough is wonderful for making a day or two ahead; cutting the chilled dough is easier the longer it’s in the refrigerator.

This recipe came from the Cooking Channel, courtesy of Zoe Fancois, and it will now forever be in my recipe box! It yields about around 4 dozen 1½ inch cookies, so you’ll get about 2 dozen cookie sandwiches. You’ll definitely have enough to satisfy your craving. Once again, my favorite thing about this recipe is knowing what’s in it…you just can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.

Start by creaming the butter, sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla together on medium-high for about 2 minutes.

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In a bowl large enough to hold all of these ingredients while mixing, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. I always sift my dry ingredients to make sure all of the lumps are gone; there’s nothing worse than biting into one of those balls of dust!

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After whisking, add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until just combined. Add the milk and mix until just combined. I did this step by hand because my mixer was dead and I had not replaced it yet. If I had my stand mixer, I would have used it with the paddle attachment. If you have a hand mixer, I wouldn’t use it to mix at this step. Instead, use a good ol’ spoon and some elbow grease/arm power (if someone asks where the gun show is, you’ll know where to direct them). The mix didn’t moisten right away (I know, a lot of ya’ll don’t like that word. Sorry!), and I had to really press down on the dough to incorporate the dry into the wet. You’ll then form the dough into a ball and divided it in half. I rolled each one out until I had two logs of dough measuring about 1½ inches in diameter.

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Wrap each one up in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least an hour. After they have chilled out for at least 60 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and cut the logs into 1/8 inch thick coins. I had to re-shape them a bit, so don’t worry if you have to do that, too. Place the cookies on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake both at the same time (one on the top shelf, one on the bottom shelf) for 8 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets, turning the front to the back, and then place the bottom sheet on top and the top sheet on the bottom…does that sound confusing? It did to me, at first. Just read that sentence a few times and you’ll get it! You’ll bake the cookies for another two minutes or until they are firm and dry-looking.

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You could enjoy these as chocolate wafers, but I know what you came here for, so keep reading.

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Your cookies should be completely cooled before the frosting part, which is seriously simple. Place powdered sugar, softened butter (room-temperature, so soft you could make an indentation by lightly pushing on it), vegetable shortening, and vanilla in a bowl. Take a fork and mash ingredients into one another, and then mix until well incorporated. I took about a teaspoon of the frosting and put on one cookie, then topped it with another. It’s doesn’t have to be pretty since it’s going straight into your mouth and down to your tummy (that’s what happened with mine)! 

So basically, I never want store-bought cookies again…so good, so chocolaty…milk is the perfect drink with this, of course. I would love to see some photos if you make them…maybe dunking?? The cookies, not like Jordan! Whew! That comment just aged me!! I meant to say…LeBron…yeah, that’s way younger, right?! Speaking of sports…this is great snack for Super Bowl 50! Your sports fan will love you for making these, I promise!!

Oh man! Just thought of the cutest idea for these cookies if they go to a Super Bowl themed party…shape the cookies into footballs before baking, and then once they’re completed, you can pipe some of the frosting to create the laces on the ball.  Wish I would have thought of that earlier.  Now you HAVE to show me your football-shaped homemade Oreos when you make them!!

~Cella

Not Your Store-Bought Oreo Cookies
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Cookies
  1. 1/2 C Unsalted Butter
  2. 3/4 C Sugar
  3. 1/2 C Dark Brown Sugar, well packed
  4. 1 tsp. Vanilla
  5. 1 C All-Purpose Flour
  6. 3/4 C Cocoa Powder, Dutch Processed
  7. 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  8. 1/4 tsp. Salt
  9. 1/4 C Milk
Frosting
  1. 1/4 C Unsalted Butter, softened
  2. 1/4 C Vegetable Shortening, room temperature
  3. 1 3/4 C Confectioner's Sugar
  4. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Cookies
  1. Cream the butter, sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla together on medium-high for about 2 minutes.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold all of these ingredients while mixing, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients to make sure all of the lumps are gone.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Add the milk and mix until just combined.
  6. Then form the dough into a ball and divided it in half.
  7. Roll each one out until you have two logs of dough measuring about 1½ inches in diameter.
  8. Wrap each one up in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  9. After they have been chilled, remove the plastic wrap and cut the logs into 1/8 inch thick coins.
  10. Re-shape (if necessary).
  11. Place the cookies on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake (350 degrees) both at the same time (one on the top shelf, one on the bottom shelf) for 8 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets, turning the front to the back, and then place the bottom sheet on top and the top sheet on the bottom.
  12. Bake the cookies for another two minutes or until they are firm and dry-looking.
  13. Completely cool cookies.
Frosting
  1. By hand, mix the butter and shortening until smooth and combined (feel free to use a mixer, too).
  2. Then add the vanilla and the confectioner's sugar and mix/beat until combined and creamy.
  3. OR you could just put everything in the bowl and mix until combined.
  4. Spread about a tsp. of frosting on cookie and top with another.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Creamy Turkey Soup–Perfect for “Souper Bowl” Sunday

Creamy Turkey Soup: The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog

That’s a cute title right there. I don’t care who you are. The Souper Bowl? Why hasn’t Campbell’s jumped all over that?? 

Are all the die hard fans rolling their eyes and groaning at me? Shawrry… I’m not the hugest football fan in the locker room. The Super Bowl is just another great excuse to let me stuff my face with pals, and yell at the T.V (even though I don’t know what I’m yelling about 63% of the time). BUT I am watching the game more than The Chef. He’s usually the one in the kitchen preparing more food and I’m out, yes, stuffing my face. 

This turkey soup recipe has got to be one of my favorites.  I crave it quite often.  When I was still in high school/college I asked the “creator” of this soup (I’m not sure where she got the recipe) almost weekly for this. She made it every Souper Bowl (sorry, Super Bowl), and to me, it wouldn’t be the same without it.  Maybe it’s part nostalgia. If it is, the other part is because it’s straight up delicious. 

Tammy's Creamy Turkey Soup
Serves 12
A perfect rich and creamy winter soup!
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Prep Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cooked Turkey- chopped
  2. 3 quarts (12 cups) turkey stock or chicken stock
  3. 3 large onions- finely chopped
  4. 3 stalks celery- finely chopped
  5. 3 large carrots- finely chopped
  6. 1/4 uncooked long-grain rice
  7. 1 cup butter
  8. 1 1/2 cups flour
  9. 1 pint half & half (or milk)
  10. 1/4-1/2 tsp onion salt
  11. 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic salt or powder
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pan, combine onions, celery, carrots, rice, and 1 quart of stock. Cook for 20 minutes. Set aside. In large kettle, melt butter, blend in flour. Beat until bubbly. Add in milk and remaining stock. Cook and stir until smooth and bubbly. Stir in veggie mixture, turkey, and seasonings. Heat slowly.
Notes
  1. If the soup seems pretty thick, add in more stock (or milk, stock might be better), and add more seasonings if necessary. This is a great soup to freeze for left overs as well!
Adapted from Tammy Mallory
Adapted from Tammy Mallory
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/
I know Souper Bowl’s main squeeze in the soup department is usually chili, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I do like to mix things up a little bit. Keep the guests on their toes. Maybe you have a few “fans” in your party that are just sick and tired of chili and beer cheese dip. I personally think this makes a great alternative. You could even have little bread bowls to put it in. Ok stop it. That would be awesome. I totally want to do that. Am I ruining this sports fanatic day with cute food ideas? I would be sorry, but I’m not. I know I’m not the only one who uses this day to go over her daily caloric intake. 

Do you have any non-stereotypical game time munchies? I want to hear about them!! 

Comment below or send me an email! 

And pleeeease, let me know if you make this soup, and if you put it in bread bowls, and if everyone loved it, and you just can’t wait to make it again… and send pictures. 

Creamy Turkey Soup: The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog

-The Wife

 

 

Chocolate Babka: The Babka’s Just Not That Into You, Part Two

Quick review of last week’s post:

Chocolate Babka=Diva… 200

Yeast is a mystery… 200-2

I <3 butter, but not all over my hands… 200-1

The Babka killed my mixer… 200-4

I may love The Babka, but I don’t have to like it right now…

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So, I was plagued by sickness towards the end of last week. I was REALLY not wanting to finish The Babka and have it be terrible, but ya gotta finish what ya start. I decided to make the chocolate wafers the recipe called for and those were awesome! That must be the silver lining…it’s gotta be! I’ll have a recipe up for those and what I do with them later this week!

As I said above, this recipe turned into Diva Babka…I was really nervous to attempt it from the beginning and felt like I was walking on eggshells the entire way through. Looking back, I wish I would have just wrangled the dough to do what I needed it to do because that would have saved me a lot of time and anxiety.

Part One left off with the dough spending the night in the refrigerator.  The next day, I rolled the two square pieces as close to 16 inch squares as I could get them. They were jagged in spots, and not at all the perfect squares that were shown in the photos of the magazine I got my recipe from. I cut some of the edges off to give it a more uniform shape and rolled it out a little more. It took a lot of arm muscle because the dough had been sitting in the refrigerator so long, so I guess I wouldn’t recommend going longer than overnight. After rolling both pieces out, I made the filling that consisted of bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, butter, and the finely ground wafer crumbs. The cookie crumbs made it harder to spread the mixture, so in the future I may sprinkle them on after spreading the filling on the dough. I then rolled up each square like you would a jelly roll and cut each one in half, which gave me four rolls of equal length. I covered two in some of the leftover filling and then twisted a “naked” one with one that was “bathed” in chocolate. I put them in bread pans and was supposed to let them set under a towel in a warm place for two hours…that was part of the plan…but after all that had happened, not to mention being drugged up on medication, they only got maybe an hour in a cold spot without the cover of a towel. Whoopsies! It happens and you just keep goin’. They were in the oven for about 45 minutes. Some rising and browning happened. To finish, I made the chocolate glaze (yes, more chocolate) and after taking each Babka out of their tins, I drizzled the ridiculous amount of glaze this recipe called for on top of each loaf. It took around 45 minutes for the glaze to set.

I took a few deep breaths and cut into this jerk of a babka. This chocolate diva. This thing that took over my life for a few days, and to my surprise…….it didn’t look so bad. It definitely could have cooked for a little longer. There were some undercooked spots in the middle, but part of that could have been attributed to not letting the dough sit in a warm spot for 2 full hours before baking…or it could also be that the filling wasn’t spread thin enough…maybe it was both of these things combined.

Either way, I’m coming away from this recipe looking at it as the successful failure. I learned that this was too much chocolate for me, which is really saying something because I L-O-V-E chocolate!! I think The Babka would be amazing with a cinnamon sugar filling and a chocolate glaze on the outside. I also learned the amount for the glaze was way too much and I would scale that sucker down big time, maybe thin it out even more. I learned that the dough was amazing tasting, and when I finally get it right, it may taste like “angel kisses”. I definitely want to continue my search of trying to find a babka recipe that suits me and the equipment that I have/don’t have.  My hope is that others won’t find the finalized recipe as intimidating as this one was for me.

So, even though The Babka didn’t turn out exactly like it was supposed to, it tasted pretty good (my boyfriend and I ate around the undercooked portions). I think after some research and practice, I will have a frequently requested recipe! Thanks for listening and letting me get some things off of my chest! I feel much better about the last week!  Photo recap is below; black and white just seem to fit the horror I felt while making The Babka…

~Cella

At this point, things are going great! (Step One)

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This is where things start to fall apart (dead yeast? or is milk too hot?)

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Take #1, 2, 3…Nope. Nope. Yea..Nope. Take #4…ummmm…sure? Yes. I’m not going out to get more milk.

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Last photo of my mixer working…it had to be in color.

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Healthy and Somewhat Naughty Version of an Orange Creamsicle

This is gonna be short and sweet. I didn’t even write a 1st draft; I’m just gonna wing it!  

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I have been craving oranges since winter hit, and as I was getting one primed and ready to devour, I remembered that I had some leftover whipping cream in the refrigerator that I wanted to use before it went bad.  So I took what was left (about  a 1/2 cup) and put it in a bowl, along with a drizzle of vanilla or almond extract (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp., depending on what you like).  I then used a hand mixer (you can use a stand mixer, too-just make sure to use the whisk attachment) and turned it on high.  I gradually added about 1 Tbsp. of powdered sugar. I mixed on high until it made stiff peaks (stop your mixer and pull it straight up; if you aren’t seeing pointy-like peaks of white, keep going. Just make sure you stop mixing once you get to that point). You don’t want to overmix it because it’s not pretty.  An that’s it!  It’s easy-peasy, delicious, healthy, and fast!  My favorite part is knowing what all the ingredients are and knowing how to pronounce them.

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Chocolate Babka: The Babka’s Just Not That Into You, Part One

Welp, this has been a challenging process. I had yeast problems…

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Well…not ME, but The Babka did. The recipe I’m using is lacking details. The Babka dough killed my KitchenAid mixer in the middle of mixing. I just can’t win. It has kind of been one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days.

Le sigh.

I’m writing this about halfway through making The Babka, and I feel completely defeated. The Babka is resting in the other room right now, and here I am talking about it like it’s a person, peering at it with bitterness and feeling almost sure that all of my hard work, time, perseverance, butter hands (I’ll explain later), and my extra trip to the store were all for naught.

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“You can’t beat a babka,” says Jerry Seinfeld (some of you will know what I’m talking about). Right now, I’m not sold on that expression. I’ve never had The Babka. The photos I’ve seen look beautiful and I’ve heard the taste described as “angel kisses,” but I’m so miffed I can’t even fathom enjoying The Babka at this point.

I knew that this would challenge the skills I’ve acquired over the years, but I was hoping to avoid any disasters that can come with trying something for the first time. Everything was going as planned when mixing the flour, sugar, and sea salt together or what I like to call Step One. Then, things fell apart. 

I had to warm milk and combine it with dry active yeast. Sounds simple enough…yeah. It wasn’t. The first two times, I wasn’t seeing the mixture foam up. There were some bubbles (bubbles!), but I had to look very closely to see them. I was nervous that the yeast I had was too old, so I went to the store and got some new yeast.

After the third time, I was worried that the warm milk was too hot and it was killing the yeast, so I undershot the temperature for the 4th and final time. After 10 minutes of letting it sit had come and gone, I was still seeing the same result for the most part. I decided to sprinkle some sugar in it to see if I could get more of a reaction that way. There was definitely more “movement” after that (foaming and growth), so I decided to just go for it. I so wanted that to be the only problem I encountered, but it was not.

After mixing in the eggs and scraping down the sides, I had to mix the dough for 5 minutes until it was combined and smooth. Little did I know that this would be the last thing my KitchenAid mixer ever did. She was an amazing machine that was used a lot in her 15 years. Up until then, there were never any signs that she would never be working again. Sure, she may have slowed down a bit, but that’s natural. I guess you just never know how good you have it until it’s gone. 

In this scenario, I’m Leonardo and my mixer is Claire Danes.

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My arms aren’t meant to mix butter into super-dense dough, but I did it anyway.   It was messy, gross-feeling, and I got butter all up in my sleeve because I had to take my button-up shirt off after the cuff kept falling into the butter.

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Two pieces of squared-shaped dough now sit in my refrigerator for the night. I’m going to step away from it, and hopefully I will be more optimistic about finishing it in the morning. What a day! “Part Two” coming soon!

 

~Cella

Happy Chocolate Cake Day: Mini Chocolate Torte

Mini Creme de Menthe Chocolate Torte : The Everyday Chef and Wife Blog

It’s national chocolate cake day!! Can I ask a question? Who decides this stuff? I’m not complaining by any means, but is there like a society that gets together and they just name that day of the thing they’re craving? Can I join?? I think it’s this amazing conspiracy, or horrible joke, that someone thought of to put out a name of a food to see how many people they can get to eat it because they see a word association. It’s brilliant really…

Because today I’m craving chocolate cake! Is anyone else?  More importantly, my mom’s famous chocolate torte with creme de menthe filling and chocolate buttercream. This cake was served at family birthdays, special functions, and has been a much requested item at school functions/silent auctions. It just looks so fancy. I made a mini version, well, because I love mini cakes. And naked cakes. GOOORGEEEEEOOOUUUS. 

I’m going to give one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes from Ina Garten. The most important thing about this cake is really the assemblage/filling/frosting/ ok the whole thing. If you do have a favorite chocolate cake recipe that you’d like to use, go for it. But this really is quite spectacular, and incredibly moist. (I’m very sorry to use that word, as I know it’s one of the most hated words on the planet. Moist. Ok sorry I had to.) 

Mini Chocolate Creme De Menthe Torte
Serves 6
A delicious and adorable chocolate cake dessert to wow your guests!
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Chocolate Cake
  1. 1 3/4 cups flour (plus more for coating pans)
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  4. 2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 cup buttermilk (buttermilk substitute = 1 cup milk to 1 Tbsp vinegar or lemon juice)
  8. 1/2 cup oil
  9. 2 eggs -- at room temp
  10. 1 tsp vanilla
  11. 1 cup hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream
  1. 4 tbsp softened butter - Not melted!
  2. 2 cups powdered sugar
  3. Couple tbsp milk- until you get the texture that you want.
  4. 6 tbsp cocoa powder
  5. 2 tbsp oil (this is equal to 2 oz. of melted chocolate-- unsweetened)
Creme de Menthe Whipped Cream
  1. 1 1/2 Cups whipping cream
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or to taste, you can have it less sweet or sweeter, I usually just do it to taste, but a half of a cup should get you pretty close)
  3. 1-2 Tbsp Creme de Menthe liquor (again or to taste) -- or 1/4-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
For the Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 2- 8"round cake pans with parchment paper, and butter/spray, and flour them. Set aside.
  2. Sift or whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in large bowl or kitchen aid. In another bowl combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until well incorporated. Slowly add to dry ingredients. Add coffee, and mix until just combined. It will look runny. That's ok!
  3. Pour into pans that are conveniently prepared, because you were ahead of the game, go you!
  4. Bake for 35-40 min. A cake tester/toothpick should come out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes. Take them out of the pans, cool completely, or pop in the freezer for a few minutes. You want to be able to handle/cut without them falling apart.
For the Chocolate Buttercream
  1. Mix together the cocoa powder and oil until well incorporated. Add and beat into the softened butter. Next add in powdered sugar, and slowly add in milk, until you get a thick but spreadable smooth texture.
For the Creme de Menthe Whipped Cream
  1. Whip whipping cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar and liquor (peppermint extract). Beat again until stiff peaks form, and the taste desired is acquired.
Assembly of Cake
  1. After the cake rounds have cooled, using a circle cookie cutter/biscuit cutter, cut out 3-4 circles per round. After, slice the mini cakes rounds in half, making thinner mini cake rounds. Do not cut them into half moons. That will not look quite right...
  2. Sandwich the creme de menthe whipped cream in between cake round layers, smoothing it out to the sides. I was pretty generous with my whipped layer, but I do warn you that it is slippery! After topping with a cake round, dollop, or using a frosting bag and tip, the chocolate buttercream on top. Garnish with either powdered sugar or cocoa powder. Serve and eat! Or refrigerate to give it a fancy ice box cookie feel. No matter what, it's SCRUMPTIOUS!
Adapted from The Wife's Mother and Ina Garten (cake recipe)
Adapted from The Wife's Mother and Ina Garten (cake recipe)
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

It really isn’t that hard. I feel like it looks or sounds way harder than it actually is to achieve. And if it doesn’t turn out perfect, so what, who cares. Call it rustic. 

It’s the in thing anyways. 

Happy Choco cake day ya’ll!! Be honest, you kind of want some right? Those brilliant people… 

-The Wife

 

Personal Blackberry Jam

Every year I am so fortunate to have wild goodness growing in my backyard. I have to be at peace with losing a nice amount of blood to the mosquitoes and thorns to get that goodness, but it has always been worth it. I’m sure you’re saying, “What is this weirdo talking about!?” The answer to your question is: WILD BLACKBERRIES!

That’s all I want, all summer long. I become Joey Tribbiani from Friends and want jam on everything.

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I only have about a month to collect 2-3 oz per week and then they’re gone, BUT I found a farm in South Haven, MI that has the biggest, juiciest, and most flavorful berries I’ve ever had during August and September. I can never get through my car ride home from Riverbend Farms without having 1…okay, 2….5. Their sunbathed juice makes life better. Store-bought berries work great and hold me over until I can get the ones from my backyard or from the farm. I’ll be honest though; there is something missing…from the farm, to the store, to my home…something gets lost or too much time has passed and it’s just not as good as when I pick them and 30 minutes later they’re spread over some homemade bread.

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Anywho, I love that I found this little gem of a recipe last year…it made my summer and pretty much my life! I’ve always wanted to make my own jam, as my grandma used to, but the whole process was a little overwhelming and I wasn’t sure I should have a lot of jam available to me (I’m horrible at watching my weight, but I’ve got to try). I spent some time looking for a small-batch blackberry jam recipe that also didn’t involve the whole canning thing, and this is what I found on food.com courtesy of Mary Winecoff.

Start by mashing the blackberries with a potato masher in a non-reactive pot (non reactive= clay, enamel, glass, plastic, or stainless steel). You’ll then add the sugar and mix while over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved (you’re not seeing any individual granules of sugar). Up your heat to medium-high and boil the mixture for around 10-12 minutes. The original recipe says to boil “until a drop mounds in a chilled dish (this took around 10 minutes for me),” but I never really had that happen very noticeably. I ended up boiling the mixture for close to 20 minutes on my first try and the result tasted lovely, but the mixture was a little too set and didn’t spread as easily as it should have. I tried the recipe again and boiled it for the same amount of time Mary did (10-12 minutes) and the consistency looked as it did in the photos. Once your time is up, pour the jam into a jar(s), cap tightly, and put it in refrigerator. It should keep for a few weeks.

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This recipe will give you about 1 ½ cups, give or take a little. It’s also not an exact science! Both times I made this, I used more or less than the 3 cups of berries the recipe called for. I either added or subtracted a bit of sugar and the results were lovely! The amount is enough to share, but if you are like me and become Joey, then forget about the sharing. I love to pair this with the artisan bread recipe, ice cream, or with some cheese. I think it would be a great alternative filling for the Raspberry Butter-Filled Cookies I made last week, too.  This recipe will have you saying,” How YOU doin’?” to your jam in no time. I’d love to see the results if you make some!!

-Cella

Personal Blackberry Jam
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Ingredients
  1. 3 C of Blackberries
  2. 1 1/4 C Granulated Sugar
Instructions
  1. Mash the blackberries with a potato masher in a non-reactive pot.
  2. Add the sugar and mix while over medium heat.
  3. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  4. Increase your heat to medium-high and boil the mixture for around 10-12 minutes.
  5. Pour the jam into a jar(s), cap tightly, and put it in refrigerator.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Raspberry-Filled Butter Cookies

My Grandma was an amazing baker.  I feel like so many of my memories of her revolve around being in the kitchen, cracking eggs, mixing ingredients, and best of all, licking the beaters.  She loved to do it and I definitely inherited my love of baking from her.  It’s how I show love.

So, I thought I’d start out with a recipe that is near and dear to my heart. This recipe has four of my favorite things: sugar, butter, something raspberry, and chocolate. This is one of my Grandma Bond’s recipes that I would always request if it wasn’t already made and on a plate ready to devour when I’d walk through the door. It is the perfect amount of saltiness, sweetness, and melt-in-your-mouthness (I know I just made that word up, it’s horrible, but let’s go with it).

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First things first; pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl you’re going to beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with an electric mixer a bit past medium high until it is light and fluffy. This won’t take long since the butter has been softened. You’ll then want to take the flour and blend it in until just combined. I’d pulse the mixer in the beginning so you don’t end up covered in flour. This only needs to be done on the lowest of speeds. It will be crumbly at first and then the dough will come together. I stop mixing once most of the crumblies get picked up into the dough on the beater.

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Once mixed, you’ll take about a ½ tsp. of the dough (you can make these bigger if you want, the baking time will just be a bit longer) and roll into ¾ inch balls. Don’t get thrown by getting these measurements exact. The most important thing is that your cookies are pretty close in size for when you partner them up later. You should also make sure to taste test the dough to ensure that it’s good, you know, to make sure they’re okay for everyone else…yeah. 

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Take these dough balls and place them about two inches apart on an non-greased baking sheet. You’ll then take the bottom of a glass and dip it in flour. Lightly press the glass bottom down on each ball. Put those guys in the oven and bake until very lightly browned around the edges (about 5-7 minutes). 

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After all of your cookies are baked and completely cooled, take a about a ½ tsp. of the preserves (you could do a different flavor if you didn’t want raspberry) and place on one cookie and then cover with another cookie of a similar size. I usually match them up before putting the preserves on.

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Now, you could be done right here. They are amazing if you stopped and did nothing else OR if you wanted to be the daredevil I know you kind of want to be, you could make the chocolate glaze and spread that on top. I’m sure I had many of you at “chocolate”.  

To make the glaze, all you have to do is combine the butter and chocolate chips (I love using the 60% Cacao chips, but use what you have and what you like) and on very low heat, melt the two together, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once it’s all melted down and combined, spread the dark chocolate goodness on each cookie. I use a spoon to dollop it on and use the back of the spoon to spread it using a slow circular motion. That creates a non-messy and lovely presentation, but if you aren’t concerned with looks, take as little or as much of the chocolate and schmear it on there!!

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These cookies always make me feel special and maybe even a little bit fancy. They’d be lovely with a spot of tea or a really nice cup of coffee, but whatever you do, return the favor and make them for someone who makes you feel special.

The Cella (not sure how to sign off yet)

Raspberry Filled Butter Cookies
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Cookies
  1. 1 C unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 C Sugar
  3. 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  4. 1/2 tsp. Salt
  5. 2 C Flour, plus small amount
  6. 1/2 C Raspberry Preserves
Chocolate Glaze
  1. 1/2 C Chocolate Chips
  2. 1 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
Cookies
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt with and electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in the flour just until combined.
  4. Using a 1/2 tsp. of dough, shape into 3/4 inch balls. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on non-greased baking sheets.
  5. Dip the bottom of a glass into the extra flour and press each ball down with gentle and even pressure.
  6. Bake until the cookies are very lightly browned around the edges (about 5-7 minutes).
  7. Place 1/2 tsp. of preserves on 1 cookie and cover with another.
Glaze
  1. Put the chocolate chips and butter in a small pot and place over low heat.
  2. Stir constantly until both have melted and are combined.
  3. Place a dollop of the glaze onto each cookie and spread using a circular motion.
  4. Let the chocolate set (it won't appear shiny) before serving.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/
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