Friday, March 16, 2012

Dessert: Toffee Crunch Squares

I don't have the original recipe on this one, and I wasn't expecting it to make it to the Codex, but it was really enjoyed by the family. As we head into spring, here's an ice cream treat.

1 cup graham crackers crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 half gallon chocolate ice cream
1 bag (6 ounces) chocolate covered toffee chips, divided (I cut up mini Heath bars)
whipped cream for garnish


  1. In a medium bowl, combine crust ingredients; mix well. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8 inch square baking pan. Bake at 350º (325º if using glass pan) for 8-10 minutes. Cool.
  2. In a small bowl, combine coffee and hot water, stir to dissolve coffee; add vanilla and corn syrup and stir to mix. Pour into a large bowl. Fold in ice cream and 1 cup toffee chips. Spoon onto crust. Freeze several hours. Garnish with whipped cream and remaining toffee chips.

Other details:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dessert: Homemade Salted Caramels

I made these on New Year's Day. They are a soft caramel and delicious, but be careful not to burn them!

Vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush the paper with the vegetable oil.
  2. In a small pot, bring the cream, butter, and one teaspoon of the sea salt to a simmer, over medium heat. Do not let it boil. Once it has reached a simmer, turn off the heat, and set it aside.
  3. In a deep saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir only until the sugar has dissolved. Then allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, until the mixture is a warm, golden brown. Watch very carefully, as the caramel can burn quickly toward the end. (It can be helpful to use a wooden spoon and drip some of the caramel onto a white plate to gauge the exact color).
  4. When the sugar mixture is done, remove it from the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful because it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Return the mixture to the heat and cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball), about 10 minutes. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. (Don’t scrape the pot). Refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.
  6. Remove the caramel from the refrigerator and allow it to come close to room temperature. Pry the caramel from the pan. On a cutting board, cut the square in half. Using parchment paper, roll each piece of caramel into a tight 8- to 10-inch log. Sprinkle the logs with sea salt. Cut each log into 3/4-inch or 1-inch pieces. Individually wrap each caramel in glassine or parchment paper, twisting the ends. Store in the refrigerator or in an air-tight container.

Other Details:

  • Prep Time: Requires a few hours of cooling 
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 to 20 Caramels
  • Nutrition per caramel 
  • Original Recipe
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Breakfast: Chocolate French Toast

I'm not exactly sure when or where I heard about chocolate French Toast, but it sounded delicious. It must have been on a cooking show, because I recall the recipe calling for using chocolate pound cake/chocolate bread. However, when I saw this French Toast Recipe at Fine Cooking which uses a chocolate coating and our favorite base, Challah bread, I knew it was the one I wanted to make. While this is published under breakfast, it is really a dessert. Each of us had only 1 slice and that was quite enough. 


2/3 cup granulated sugar 
1 oz. (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed) 
1/8 tsp. baking powder 
1/4 tsp. table salt 
1 cup whole milk 
4 large eggs 
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
4 1-inch-thick slices challah bread (stale is fine)  (called for – you could go ahead and do 6-8 to not waste sauce)
2 oz. (1/4 cup) unsalted butter 
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional) 


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended and no cocoa lumps remain. Pour in about half of the milk and whisk until the mixture is a lump-free paste. Add the remaining milk, the eggs, and the vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
  2. Arrange the bread in a single layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish (or similar vessel) and pour the cocoa mixture over the bread. Turn the bread once to get both sides nicely coated. Poke each bread slice repeatedly with the tines of a fork to encourage the bread to absorb the batter. Let soak, turning every 10 min., until the bread is well saturated, 20 to 30 min..
  3. Set a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter and spread to cover the pan. (If using a skillet, you’ll need to cook the French toast in two batches, using 2 Tbs. butter for each batch.) Using your fingers and a large rubber spatula, carefully transfer the bread slices, one at a time, from the batter to the griddle. Cook until the underside looks browned and lightly crisp, 3 to 4 min. (Reduce the temperature if the slices are browning too fast.) Flip and continue cooking until the slices are slightly puffed in the center and are bouncy to the touch, another 3 to 4 min. Transfer the French toast to plates and serve immediately, dusted with confectioners’ sugar and fruit, if you like.
Other Details:
  • Nutrition per slice. 
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Dessert: Lemon Creme Lemon Cupcakes

These were one of my Longaberger recipes from when I was a Longaberger Collector. You can use cupcake/muffin tins, the Longaberger dessert bowls, or another ramekin to make these in. They are a lot of work, but a great spring dessert and have been very popular every time I've made them. 

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 yellow cake mix (18.25 ounce box)
3 large eggs
1 cup of water, room temperature
Zest of 2 large lemons

3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 ½ cups confectioner's sugar
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Food coloring, as desired

4 ounces prepared white fondant
Food coloring
1 empty paper towel tube

Jelly beans or pastel candies



  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly mist 12 dessert cups with non-stick cooking spray or line 12 large-cup (3 1/2” diameter) muffin tin with paper liners. 
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a flat paddle, cream the butter for 2 minutes or until light and smooth. Add remaining cake ingredients and mix on slow for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 more minutes. 
  3. Spoon batter evenly into cups and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  4. Cool 5 minutes, run a small knife around the edge of cake, invert & release. Cool completely. If using muffin tins, cool cakes and remove paper liners.


  1. Place egg yolks and egg in a bowl and quickly whisk in sugar. Add lemon juice and zest. Place all in a small non-reactive sauce pan and add butter. 
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring the entire time until mixture is very thick and looks like custard, about 5 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Pour mixture into a bowl, place plastic wrap directly onto the cream and refrigerate until cold (at least 1 hour).


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Add food coloring as desired. Place plastic wrap directly onto icing and set aside.


  1. Work food coloring into the fondant by twisting, distributing color evenly. Roll fondant between two layers of parchment or wax paper until it measures 7” x 4”. From this, cut a 5 ½” x 3” rectangle and twelve ¼” strips. Place the paper towel tube on a lined sheet pan, and drape strips over tube to form handles. Make sure a ½” section on each end of the handle rests flat on the tray. 
  2. Allow to dry 10 hours or overnight.


  1. With a small paring knife, cut a small cone from the top of each cake. Set aside. 
  2. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of cake form the center of each cake. 
  3. Spoon the lemon cream into the cavity. 
  4. Using the paring knife, cut away the point of the cone cap and place over the lemon cream to seal. 
  5. Ice the tops of the cakes with a pastel-colored icing. Reserve extra icing. 
  6. Decorate center of each cake with jelly beans or pastel candies. Place cakes on a tray, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 
  7. Remove cakes from the refrigerator ½ hour before serving. 
  8. Using the reserved icing, place a small dot of icing on the underside of the handles. Attach to the cakes and serve.

Other Details

  • Nutrition per cupcake.