Chocolate Swiss Roll Cake

Prep Time: 30 Minutes Difficulty: Easy

Cook Time: 5 Minutes Servings: 6 Servings

 INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE:

  •  Butter, For Greasing
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, Plus More For Sprinkling
  • 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

 FOR THE CREAM FILLING:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

 FOR THE CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

  • 4 ounces, weight Bittersweet Chocolate Chips Or Chopped Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk

INSTRUCTIONS:

To make the chocolate cake, preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat on a 17×12 sheet pan, and rub butter on it to grease.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine the cocoa powder, flour, and salt.

Bring an inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Combine the eggs and sugar in a heatproof glass bowl, then place over the simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together over medium speed for about two minutes, until the eggs are thick, pale yellow, and warm to the touch (if you have a thermometer, you want the eggs to be about 120ºF. If you don’t have a thermometer, just touch the mixture with your finger every once in a while until it feels like hot tap water). 

Remove the egg bowl from the heat and continue beating at medium high speed for another 3 minutes, until it’s thick and airy, and has reached the ribbon stage. That means when you drag and drizzle a spoonful of the liquid, it shouldn’t settle back into the liquid for a good 5–10 seconds. Mix in the melted butter.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixture, and gently fold it into the eggs with a spatula, working quickly. Spread the batter onto the buttered parchment or silicone mat, leaving an inch from the edges. Bake the cake for 5–6 minutes, until springy to the touch.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface and sprinkle lightly with cocoa powder. Flip the cake onto the parchment, then remove the parchment or silicone mat that the cake baked on. Gently roll the cake up into a log while it’s still warm. This is like muscle memory for the cake, and it will roll easier again later.

To make the filling, combine the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and whip with a hand mixer to stiff peaks, about 5 minutes on medium speed. 

Unroll the cooled cake, then spread the cream all over, leave a 1-inch border around all edges. Roll the cake up gently (leaving the parchment paper behind), then place on a wire rack.

To make the chocolate ganache, microwave the cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring after each time, until combined. Add the tablespoon of milk, which will give a more pourable consistency. Pour the chocolate ganache evenly over the cake, then refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving, so the ganache can firm up.

The cake is now ready to be sliced and served. Enjoy!

Original recipe available here.

Key Lime Pound Cake w/ Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing

My husband has been talking about this dessert since Thanksgiving of last year. I was overwhelmed with regular Thanksgiving preparations to give this a try then so I finally agreed for his 40th in a couple days that I would make it for him. Can’t wait to taste it!!

Homemade Key Lime Pound Cake w/ Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing! Bakes up dense and moist with plenty of fresh key lime flavor!Course cake, Dessert, pound cakeCuisine American, southernKeyword butter, cream cheese, icing, key lime, lime, pound cakePrep Time 20 minutesCook Time 1 hour 15 minutesTotal Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

CAKE

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons key lime zest (zest from about 4-5 key limes)
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lime extract
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice (juice from about 4-5 key limes)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

KEY LIME CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 4 oz cream cheese softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice (juice from about 4-5 key limes)
  • 1/4 cup milk (use enough to make icing pourable)
  • 1-2 teaspoons key lime zest (plus more for garnishing if desired) (zest from about 4-5 key limes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and lightly flour a 9½ inch bundt pan. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and key lime zest. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, using low mixer speed cream together butter and sugar just until combined.
  • Mix in eggs, one at a time until combine.
  • Mix in vanilla and lime extract.
  • Mix in key lime juice, sour cream and buttermilk.
  • Gradually add dry mixture into wet mixture until batter is fluffy and combined (DO NOT OVER MIX)
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan and shake the pan to level it out and remove air bubbles.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (may need a few extra minutes. I usually underbake slightly to get that perfect moist and velvety texture. Remember cake will continue to cook as it cool)
  • Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.
  • When pan is cool enough to touch, remove cake from cake pan and allow cake to cool completely on the cooling rack.

MAKE THE GLAZE

  • To make the glaze, combine all glaze ingredients until smooth and silky.
  • Allow to chill in fridge.
  • Just before serving – Drizzle glaze over completely cooled cake and garnish with key lime zest.

Notes

*This pound cake tastes great the first day but even better the next day! If making for a special occasion, make it the day before.

Original recipe available here.

Margaritas

My birthday happens to be Cinco de Mayo. And I happen to LOVE mexican food – including queso, guacamole and especially MARGARITAS! This is the best margarita you will ever have! An absolute crowd pleaser for our little party today so I absolutely had to write this one down. And yes, this is a picture of my half full glass.. next time I’ll take a pic before I dive in! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 can minute maid lemonade

3/4 can White Tequila

1 can Mexican beer like Corona or Modelo

1/2 cup Orange Juice (or Triple Sec)

Mix in big pitcher and serve over ice (with salt!)

Enjoy! 🙂

Hershey’s Kisses Springtime Thumbprint Cookies

Serves: 36

Ingredients

  • 36 pieces HERSHEY’S KISSES Milk Chocolates, wrappers removed
  • 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Food coloring, in desired colors
  • Sanding sugar, in desired colors
  • 1/3 cup vanilla frosting

Shop Ingredients

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla until well blended.
  • In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Mix butter mixture into flour mixture.
  • For each color desired, evenly divide dough into separate bowls. In each bowl, mix in food coloring until color is uniform.
  • Form 36 1” balls. Roll each ball in matching sugar color; arrange on sheet pan.
  • Gently press thumb into balls to form indentation. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly; transfer to wire rack to cool.
  • Divide and tint frosting to match cookie colors. In each cookie indentation, place about ½ teaspoon frosting; press chocolate piece into frosting.

Original recipe available here.

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

This broccoli and cheese casserole is made with fresh broccoli and topped off with buttery Ritz crackers for the perfect crunchy topping!

INGREDIENTS

  • 32 ounces fresh broccoli florets
  • 10 ounces cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed Ritz crackers
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Add the broccoli to a large microwave safe bowl along with ¼ cup of water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 2 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and drain the liquid.
  4. Add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, salt, pepper, and cheddar to the bowl with the broccoli and stir well to combine.
  5. Pour broccoli mixture into prepared baking dish.
  6. Top with the cracker crumbs and drizzle with the melted butter.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until broccoli is as tender as you’d like and cheese is fully melted.
  8. Serve immediately.

Original recipe available here.

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • Two 10oz cans mild green enchilada sauce
  • One 10.5oz can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • One 8oz container sour cream
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • One 4oz can diced green chiles
  • 3.5 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • Ten 10in soft flour tortillas
  • Toppings if desired: 1 vine ripe tomato, fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray 9×13 in baking dish with vegetable oil
  • In a large bowl, whisk together enchilada sauce, cream of chicken soup, and sour cream. Spread about 1/2 cup of sauce in bottom of baking dish. Set aside remaining sauce.
  • In medium bowl, combine chicken and chiles.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on tortilla, then add some shredded chicken and chile mixture.
  • Tightly roll up tortilla and place it seam side down in pan.
  • Pour remaining sauce over filled tortillas.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top
  • Bake until cheese is melted. About 15 minutes.
  • Top with chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and/or lime wedges at table.
  • Serve with mexican rice and beans.

Original recipe available here.

2020 Reading List

I’m logging all of the books I read this year in an attempt to focus on reading more and celebrating each little victory as I hit “the end.” I love a combination of fiction, nonfiction, and all around feel good books. I also love to read a variety of children’s and preteen books as well to help spread a love of literacy among children. So don’t be surprised if you see a few of those in this list as well. 😍 Feel free to share some recommendations in the comments.. I’ll post as I go.. so scroll down and check out what I’ve read so far in 2020:

  1. Polly and Buster – They Mystery of the Magic Stones (completed Jan 1)
  2. Polly and Buster – The Search for the Silver Witch (started and completed Jan 4)
  3. The Missing Bookshop (started and completed Jan 5)
  4. Sophie Takes to the Sky (started and completed Jan 16)
  5. Roses’s Dress of Dreams (started and completed Jan 17)
  6. The Extraordinary Life of Anne Frank (started and completed Jan 20)
  7. 48 Hours : The Vanishing (completed March 25)
  8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition (Book 1) Completed May 17
  9. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: The Illustrated Edition (Book 2) Completed May 29
  10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition (Book 3)
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition (Book 4) Completed July 6
  12. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix (Book 5) Completed July

Harvey Pancakes

A recipe perfected over many family pancake breakfasts, including some tips and tricks from Magnolia Table‘s Best-Ever Fluffy Pancakes recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  • In large bowl, whisk muffin mix, Bisquick, and sugar
  • In medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, vanilla extract, and eggs
  • Combine liquid and dry ingredients
  • Let rest 10-15 minutes
  • Heat a skillet to medium high heat
  • Cook until lightly brown on the bottom and top is bubbly, about 2 minutes
  • Pancakes are best eaten hot, just after cooking.

Candy Cane Cookies

1 cup Shortening (Half Butter)
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Red Food Coloring

Heat oven to 375. Mix shortening, sugar, egg and flavoring. Mix flour, salt and stir in. Divide dough in half. Blend food coloring into one half. Roll 1 tsp. of each color dough into strips 4 inches long on a lightly floured board. Place strips side by side and twist. Put on ungreased baking sheet. Curve tops. Bake 9 minutes.

Original recipe available here.

Explaining Santa

It’s that time of year where some parents find themselves in the heartbreaking position of telling their kids there’s no such thing as Santa. Whether it’s a jerky fifth-grader on the bus ruining the fun or a child old enough to put it all together on their own, it’s sad and the end of an era. There’s also the worry that you’ll do it “wrong” and traumatise your child by telling them the truth.

Enter a mom who shared a wonderful idea for breaking the news that you’ll want to save for when the time comes at your house.

Christy Hutchison posted on Facebook about the method she came across online to tell kids there’s no Santa (gulp.)

And it’s pretty much perfect.

In their family, they have a special way of transitioning the kids from receiving from Santa, to becoming a Santa. This way, the Santa construct is not a lie that gets discovered, but an unfolding series of good deeds and Christmas spirit.

When they are 6 or 7, whenever you see that dawning suspicion that Santa may not be a material being, that means the child is ready.

Hutchison suggests taking them out “for coffee” at the local wherever. Get a booth, order drinks, and the following pronouncement needs to be made:

“You sure have grown an awful lot this year. Not only are you taller, but I can see that your heart has grown, too. [ Point out 2-3 examples of empathetic behavior, consideration of people’s feelings, good deeds etc, the kid has done in the past year]. In fact, your heart has grown so much that I think you are ready to become a Santa Claus.

You probably have noticed that most of the Santas you see are people dressed up like him. Some of your friends might have even told you that there is no Santa. A lot of children think that, because they aren’t ready to BE a Santa yet, but YOU ARE. Tell me the best things about Santa. What does Santa get for all of his trouble? [lead the kid from “cookies” to the good feeling of having done something for someone else]. Well, now YOU are ready to do your first job as a Santa!”

The trick here is to make sure you maintain the proper conspiratorial tone.

Then have the child choose someone they know… a neighbour, usually. The child’s mission is to secretly, deviously, find out something that the person needs, and then provide it, wrap it, deliver it… and never reveal to the target where it came from.

Being a Santa isn’t about getting credit, you see. It’s unselfish giving.

“My oldest chose the “witch lady” on the corner. She really was horrible… had a fence around the house and would never let the kids go in and get a stray ball or Frisbee. She’d yell at them to play quieter, etc–a real pill.”

“He noticed when we drove to school that she came out every morning to get her paper in bare feet, so he decided she needed slippers. He wrapped them up, and tagged it “merry Christmas from Santa.” After dinner one evening, he slipped down to her house, and slid the package under her driveway gate. The next morning, we watched her waddle out to get the paper, pick up the present, and go inside. My son was all excited, and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The next morning, as we drove off, there she was, out getting her paper–wearing the slippers.” 

He was ecstatic. I had to remind him that NO ONE could ever know what he did, or he wouldn’t be a Santa.

“Over the years, he chose a good number of targets, always coming up with a unique present just for them. One year, he polished up his bike, put a new seat on it, and gave it to one of our friend’s daughters. These people were and are very poor. We did ask the dad if it was ok.”

“The look on her face, when she saw the bike on the patio with a big bow on it, was almost as good as the look on my son’s face.”

When it came time for her second son to join the ranks, her oldest came along and helped with the induction speech.

Hutchison says that both her sons are excellent gifters to this day, and never felt that they had been lied to… because they were let in on the Secret of Being a Santa.

Original Post available here.