February, March & My Cream Puff Obsession Continues

Hello everybody! These past few months have been busy with birthdays, baby showers, wedding cake tasting and of course holidays. Both of my grandsons had birthdays and it’s always fun to create what they ask for. They begin thinking about it and saving pictures months in advance. This year we had a construction site and Batman Lego cakes. Legally I can not sell a Batman Lego cake to the public because of copyright laws and all that, but I can make it for my grandson. I think it turned out pretty good. The Grands were happy and that’s all that matters. I also made a second attempt at petite fours for my daughters birthday. Years I ago I tried it and wasn’t impressed but after watching the Great American Baking Challenge I decided to try it again. They make it look so easy! It’s a lie. It is not. Also they are super sweet and I’m still not impressed. It won’t be added to my Sweet Eats website menu any time soon. My niece had a lovely bee themed baby shower that was lots of fun to do. Below are pictures of some of my creations for February and March.

Valentines Day, Purim and St. Patrick’s Day were all celebrated in our home this year. Everyone knows what Valentine’s Day is but not a lot of people know about Purim. It is a holiday commemorating the saving of the Jewish people from a really bad guy named Haman. You can read about it in the book of Esther in the Bible. Purim and St. Patrick’s Day were about the same time this year so I decided to pair the traditional Purim cookie, known as Hamanstachen in Yiddish, with what else? Irish cream! This Chocolate and Irish Cream filled cookie, drizzled with white chocolate and green sprinkles was sooooooo good!

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St. Patrick’s Day! We actually had the whole soda bread, corn beef and cabbage meal twice this year. It’s so yummy! Every year I try to create a different take on traditional desserts to celebrate the holidays. St. Patrick’s Day has turned out to be one of the more challenging ones. There’s not a lot to work with. I once asked a very good friend, who happens to be a beautiful Irish lass, what spices are used in Ireland. She laughed and said, “Salt, pepper and for a bit of adventure some cinnamon.” So that didn’t help me much. This year I decided to combine my cream puff obsession with my Irish love to create the most amazing cream puff ever, Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream Filled Cream Puffs! I also made regular vanilla cream puffs and strawberry and cream filled cream puffs, which were also really yummy but nothing like the main event!

How to make Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream Filled Cream Puffs

Make your regular cream puff recipe. I like to use Betty Crocker’s Cream Puff recipe. Bake them, slice them in half and let them cool. Then whip up your cream filling. 77d869480b66805b691e18ebeb38f05d

Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream Whipped Cream Filling
1 pint of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (or to taste) of Bailey’s Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream
1 package of vanilla instant pudding

Beat all of the ingredients together with a mixer until the cream thickens and holds it’s shape.

Your puffs should be cool now. Spoon a good sized dollop of the cream filling on the bottom of each puff. Cover with the top puff. Melt about 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to drizzle over the top of each cream puff. Then sprinkle on some edible shamrocks. I found these at Michael’s. They looked like fun so I had to use them. Keep the puffs refrigerated until you eat them.

There you have it, Chocolate Cherry Irish Cream Filled Cream Puffs. Enjoy!

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Cream Puff Obsession ~ Part 2

My cream puff obsession was put on hold for the holiday season but I am back with a new recipe to share with you. Even though we are still a few weeks away from February these Tiramisu Cream Puffs would make the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day. Of course they are seriously delicious for any occasion so forget about waiting and try them today.

The idea for this cream puff came about because of my youngest daughter’s love of tiramisu. I love to bake and cook but I’m not going to lie, I don’t have patience for any long and complicated recipes, so I’m always on the look out to find the easiest ways to make the most complicated things. As I was looking up easier recipes to make tiramisu I came across this Easy 10 Minute No Bake Tiramisu recipe. Honestly, I have not made this exact recipe yet. I actually used it the first time to make the cream for this really yummy Tiramisu Cake. 487531_1013333735400325_8418572481253560484_n1

Yes it was a thing of beauty, but we are here today to talk about cream puffs. Below you will find the step by step instructions for making my Tiramisu Cream Puffs.

Tiramisu Cream Puffs

I always begin my cream puffs with the basic recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook which you can find here: Betty Crocker’s Cream Puff recipe. You will need to add a heaping tablespoon full of instant coffee to the melted butter and about 1 teaspoon of rum extract. Continue with the recipe until you have a coffee colored cream puff pastry dough.

Place the pastry dough by rounded spoonful’s onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let the baked puffs cool on the pan while you prepare the next step.

In a saucepan bring 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/8 cup of strong coffee to a boil, stirring occasionally. Let it boil until the sugar dissolves and becomes a syrup, about 3 or 4 minutes. Cut open the puffs and drizzle some of the syrup into the base of each puff and on top of each puff.

Then make the cream filling: 1733573ac30aea1f98ef632b29a0a5af1

Ingredients

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
6 oz. softened cream cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream
3 Tablespoons heavy cream

Whip together the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until your whipped cream forms peaks in the bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and heavy cream until light and fluffy.

Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream mixture. You can add a little more sugar if you like a sweeter cream filling.

Fill the centers of each cream puff base, put the top of the cream puff in place. In a microwave melt about 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips. Drizzle on top of each cream puff, or just slather it on like I do. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Enjoy!

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It’s Soup Weather!

Oh my goodness! We had such an amazingly comfortable winter and then suddenly it’s like somebody opened the deep freeze and threw us all in it. It is perfect soup weather, however, and I’ve been making a lot of it. Lentil soup was the most recent. I love lentil soup but it never turns out great for me. So I started browsing through Pinterest (whoever the genius is behind Pinterest I just want to thank them) and I found what sounded like a really yummy vegan lentil soup. I got out all of the ingredients then decided it should be doubled, so I got out more ingredients and then I started following the recipe. But me being me that’s about where the ‘recipe following’ ended. I tend to take recipes as more of a suggestion than a fact. It turned out great and I appreciate the Cookin’ Canuck for leading the way. I have written the instructions for how I tweaked my soup below. You can find the original recipe for Hearty Lentil & Black Bean Soup on the blog Cookin’ Canuck.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tsp. spanish paprika
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
3 bay leaves
2 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 cup dried brown lentils
12 cups vegetable broth
2 (14 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

 

Instructions:
Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions and celery for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, spices and bay leaves.

Stir in the 2 cans of diced tomatoes, lentils and the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, 25 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Put about 4 cups of the lentil mixture and 2 cans of drained and rinsed black beans in a blender or food processor. Pulse until almost pureed, but still course.

Pour the blender mixture back into the pot with the remaining lentil mixture. Stir and reheat over medium heat. Enjoy!

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Ring in 2017 with this Chocolate Cherry Cake!

Hey everybody! Happy New Year!

If you are looking for a really rich and yummy cake for your New Year’s Eve party you have to try this. Warning! This cake is not for children as it does contain a lot of alcohol.

First a little back story, a friend told us about this amazing store that has wine from all over the world called Total Wine. One day we went there specifically looking for wine from Israel and found that Total Wine is much more than just wine. This place has everything! Aisles and aisles of everything! Lo and behold, as I was wandering along these miles of aisles I came across one of my favorite things– Baileys Irish Cream. Aw but not just one kind of Baileys but several different varieties met my eyes. Of course the one that stood out and became a must have was this one…33fa14ac28aa21587b30c6ededf61ce92How beautiful is that? Immediately the possibilities started flooding my mind. So many yummy things can be made with this and of course it’s also really good to just drink but soooo much better in a chocolate cake. So, that’s what I made. Today I am sharing with you my Baileys Chocolate Cherry Cake. It’s rich, it’s decadent, it’s perfect for a holiday party. Happy New Years you all!

Shelley’s Baileys Chocolate Cherry Cake

Things you will need:
Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe
Baileys Chocolate Cherry Cream
3 cups heavy whipping cream
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 can of cherry pie filling

Begin with baking your favorite chocolate cake recipe. I used the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake on page 94 of my “A Piece Of Cake” cookbook by Susan G. Purdy. It’s a little dryer than my usual chocolate cake recipe so holds it’s shape better. Bake your cake in two 9″ round cake pans, let them cool and then slice them in half so that you have 4 layers.

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When all 4 layers are completely cooled make the whipped cream filling. In a mixing bowl whip 3 cups of heavy whipping cream, 1/2 cup of the Baileys Chocolate Cherry cream, and about 3-4 tablespoons of sugar until the cream is thick and holds a peak.

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Then it’s time to assemble your layers. Place the first layer of cake onto your serving platter. With a pastry brush dab about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of the Baileys onto the first layer of the cake.

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Cover this with about 2 cups of whipping cream. Then place the second layer on top. Pipe a line of whipped cream around the edge of the second layer then fill the center with cherry pie filling.

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Place the third layer on top of this and once again dab on about 2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons of the Baileys, cover this with about 2 more cups of the whipped cream. Place the fourth layer on top of this and repeat with a piped edge of whipped cream and more cherry pie filling in the center. I added a few more decorative stars of whipped cream because it’s pretty and you can never have too much whipped cream. All together your finished cake should look like this:

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Chocolate Cherry Cake

The flavor is best after it’s been cooled for a few hours, but if you can’t wait that’s fine also. Keep any leftovers refrigerated. Enjoy!

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My Creations Of 2016

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone. 2016 kept me busy traveling and as a result I still haven’t really expanded my baking business. But I did get to travel so who can complain about that? However, traveling did not stop me from baking all together and I baked for a few weddings and other special occasions, as well as created a few new recipes throughout the year. I plan on sharing these recipes with you in the near future. In the meantime if I can assist with a recipe related question I would be happy to help. Also if you would like to check out my business website it is: Sweet Eats By Shelley. I wish you all a very sweet 2017!

 

My First Mirror Cake!

The other day my daughter showed me some Youtube videos of a new cake fad called Mirror Cakes. At least it was new to me. 🙂 So on Friday instead of doing all of the 101 other things I should have been doing, I decided to try it out. First I studied a few of the Youtube how to videos a little more closely. Some of them looked pretty scary until I happened to find one by the very quirky crazy Rosanna Pansino. Check out her Facebook page, she’s lots of fun!

Rosanna made the cutest little Galaxy Mirror Cake. She made it look very easy and by the end of the video I’m thinking, “How hard can this be?” I quickly whipped up a yellow cake recipe, baked it and while it cooled I hopped in my car and headed off to the local grocery store to pick up some of the few items I was missing.

After the cake was cooled I frosted it with my favorite buttercream frosting, then placed it in the refrigerator to harden a bit. I gathered together my supplies but didn’t measure everything out before I began the process. I wish I had. Trying to follow the directions, move quickly and maneuver all of the ingredients was interesting. It might be a pain in the beginning, but worth it in the long run.

Next step was making the gelatin. I have never really used gelatin like this so I was learning all kinds of new stuff with this cake. I mixed together 1/2 cup of cold water and 5 tsps. of Knox gelatin until it was thick. Set it aside to harden for about 10 minutes. This is a good time to put 8 ounces of white chocolate in a heat safe bowl and set it aside for later. I used Ghirardelli premium baking chocolate.

In a saucepan I whisked together 1/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup light corn syrup and 1 cup of sugar. Place it on the stove and cook on medium low heat for about 7 minutes, until it get’s all bubbly and the sugar dissolves.

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Take it off the stove, be careful because hot sugar is really nasty to get burnt with. Whisk in the gelatin, then whisk in the 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk. Pour over the chocolate pieces and let it set 2 to 3 minutes until the chocolate melts.

If you have one of those nifty emulsifiers use that to really mix together the chocolate until it’s very smooth. If you don’t have one, a blender will work fine. Then pour the chocolate mixture through a strainer to make sure all of the lumps are out.

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Pour the chocolate glaze into as many bowls as you want to color. I separated mine into 2 bowls for two different colors. At least I thought it was two different colors. I had chosen orange and golden yellow to make an autumn looking cake, I didn’t realize how close these two colors were until I mixed the color into the chocolate. I tried to fix it with a little bit of red, but it didn’t really help. Then I took the cake out of the frig and set it on a bowl in the middle of a parchment lined cookie sheet.

After you mix the color you want to make sure your chocolate is at 90 degrees for the perfect pouring consistency. Me being a rather impatient person let it get to about 100 degrees before I used it. It did still work but it melted the frosting a bit. Waiting would have been better.

Then came the fun part, I slowly poured the chocolate glaze over the cake and watched it coat the sides beautifully. I think I probably poured on more chocolate glaze than I should have but it was really pretty and fun to watch.

After it sat for awhile I cleaned off some of the excess glaze from around the bottom of the cake and placed it on a cake stand. I decorated my cake with candy corn and pumpkins for a fun autumn theme. It had a yummy marshmallow flavor to it and was fun to make, but obviously no where near as easy to do as Rosanna made it look. 🙂
Let me know if you make your own mirror cake. I’d love to know how it turns out. Happy baking!

So Far So Sweet!

19609_1061792627221102_1692094859181225036_n[1]This year is really speeding along! I’ve had a lot of fun creating yummy treats for everyone. Here are some of the things made in the past 4 months. Happy spring everyone!

We Are Still The People!

A few years ago I wrote this blog post about my first time experiencing a caucus, We The People. It was at a time when we were still in the middle of trying to get our Cottage Food Law bill passed and everything we hoped and dreamed for depended on who won that election. It was when I realized how important each one of us are and how much responsibility we all bare for who governs us.

Since then our Cottage Food Bill has been passed. There are still little kinks in it that need to be worked out, but for the most part we got what we wanted. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful people who helped make this a reality. But as I worked on this bill and got to see first hand exactly how our state government works, I realized a few things. First of all, those individuals who we vote into office have the power to change our lives. Secondly, a lot of their time is spent on discussing where our tax dollars go and let me tell you, you would be shocked if you actually sat in one of those sessions and knew what was really happening with your money. Thirdly, it’s actually we the people who voted in these folks sitting around a big table, looking bored, making snide remarks, and imperiously giving our money to the most ridiculous causes and controlling our lives.

Voting isn’t just a privilege, it’s a responsibility. It’s not a popularity contest either. You shouldn’t vote for someone just because he looks like a nice guy, or because she talks so kindly. You really have to know what they stand for and if they really will protect your interests and your rights.

Tonight is the caucus in our state. It doesn’t take much time to do a little research, listen to what your candidates are all about, and vote.

We The People do make a difference.

Below is some information about the caucus for you:

A Guide To Minnesota’s Tuesday Caucus

Minnesota Caucus Finder

 

 

Cream Puff Obsession

Recently I have become obsessed with cream puffs. It all began with the Triple Chocolate Cake, which is one of my family’s birthday favorites. I found this recipe in one of my Hershey cookbooks, put my own spin on it, and have been making it for about 20 years now. My kids love it, but it’s a bit too rich for me. The best part of this cake is the chocolate whipped cream filling. I could eat a bucket of it!

The last time I made this cake I kept thinking about other things this whipped cream would taste good in. Finally, it hit me: cream puffs! I had to see how my idea would come out and this past Friday I made them for dessert when my parents came to dinner. Let me tell you, they were amazing!

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If you would like to make your own Cream Puffs with Chocolate Whipped Cream Filling it’s really easy. Just make your favorite cream puff shells, I use Betty Crocker’s recipe, fill with the chocolate whipped cream from Hershey’s Triple Chocolate Torte recipe, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Even my son loved them, and he doesn’t really like sweets.
Betty Crocker’s Cream Puff Recipe
Hershey’s Chocolate Whipped Cream Recipe

Yesterday we were driving down the road, running errands when my mind went to those cream puffs and how yummy they had been, which in turn led me to thinking about the technique for making them, that it’s really pretty easy, and what else could I do with them. Considering the liquid in the recipe I use is water, what would happen if I used some other form of liquid, for instance, orange juice. Oh yeah! Orange cream puffs with ice cream! But not just ice cream, orange flavored ice cream! Thus the idea for my Orange Cream Puffs with Orange Ice Cream was born. Today I made them. They were so, so, so many so’s good! I have a few more ideas I can’t wait to try, so stay tuned for the sequel. My cream puff obsession isn’t over yet!

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Orange Cream Puff Shells filled with Orange Ice Cream
Use the Betty Crocker cream puff pastry recipe above, substituting the water for freshly squeezed orange juice, and add a little orange zest with the flour. Bake as directed.

For the Orange Ice Cream, I took 28 ounces of vanilla ice cream, cut it into smaller pieces and put it into my Kitchenaid mixer bowl. Then I added about a teaspoon of orange zest, and 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice. I mixed this until it was whipped nicely, but do not over whip or you will have a milk shake.

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I used my mini ice cream scoop and put a scoop of ice cream into each cooled puff. I had to work quickly before the ice cream melted. Next time I think I will try putting scoops of ice cream onto a cookie sheet first and letting them freeze solid before putting them into the puffs. Sprinkle the finished puffs with powdered sugar and serve immediately. Enjoy!

 

My Creations of 2015

On July 1st, 2015 the law was finally and joyfully passed in Minnesota, making it legal for home bakers to sell their baked goods from home. It’s been really exciting to see so many of my friends and fellow bakers start their home businesses. Unfortunately, I’ve still had a lot to do with the cottage food bill, and my own business is taking a little bit longer to get up and running. I do have a business card now and my brother had this beautiful sign carved for me. Pictures do not do it justice.

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I did find time to do some baking for family and friends this year. It’s always fun to create things for them. The kids especially as they call grandma, that’s me, months in advance to discuss their birthday cake for the year. Here are some of my creations from 2015. If you’d like to see more just click on the link to my Facebook page: Sweet Eats By Shelley.

 

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