Monday, October 28, 2013

Reese's Peanut Butter Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting and Ganache...pure Heaven!

The baby girl recently turned 23.  Not sure how that's possible since I'm only 29, but with today's miracles of science, it can proof right here.

Back to THE cake.  I made this cake a few years ago for hubby's birthday and it was a huge hit, so I dragged out the recipe again (well, the part of the recipe I could find...more to come on that later).  You can get the recipe for the cake and PB frosting right here.

For the ganache/chocolate glaze, I used this recipe because I couldn't find the recipe I used the first time I made this cake...hand upside the head (see warning below).

I used mini Reese's PB cups and Reese's Pieces as a garnish...I mean what's better than chocolate and peanut butter on top of chocolate and peanut butter?

Now let me warn you, this cake is RICH.  I am proud to say I can eat a LOT of chocolate in one sitting, but this is truly a "one piece and you. are. done" kind of cake.  

And now for the warning about the ganache.  I subbed semi-sweet morsels for the bittersweet baking chocolate called for in the recipe....big mistake.  My glaze was more like syrup. I would imagine if you're going to use semi-sweet morsels, don't use the corn syrup. Better yet, just buy the *&%$ bittersweet baking chocolate and follow the recipe.  Lesson learned.  Still, even with my faulty ganache, this cake was UNBELIEVABLE.

Give this one a try...make sure you invite over enough friends to eat the entire thing 'cause I warn you, it is dangerously good and probably not low cal, but I'm just guessing on that point.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chocolate Chip Gooey Bars...oh my!

We recently went to a wine tasting hosted by our friends where everyone was asked to bring a tasty tidbit to share.  I figured wine....chocolate....(okay, maybe this is not the kind of frou frou chocolate you're supposed to have with wine, but work with me here).  I've seen versions of the recipe all over the place, so I figured I'd give it a try.

First, the ingredients...pretty basic stuff....oh, and here's the printable recipe

1 box yellow recipe cake mix (can also use Butter recipe)
*4-6 tbs. flour 
1 egg
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted

1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 16 oz. box powdered suga
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted
1 c. chocolate chips

3/4 cup chocolate chips (add or subtract as needed)
1 - 2 tbs. shortening (same here, add or subtract as needed)

*The notation to add 4-6 tbs of flour is due to the fact that over the last few years, cake manufacturers have decreased cake mix box sizes from 18.25 ounces down to 16.25 and 15.25 ounces.  After an exhaustive google search, I've found recommendations to add 6 Tbs. of flour to make up for this decreased size.  I was a little nervous about this, so I only added 4 tbs. to this recipe.  It was fine.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x13 in. pan.
In a bowl, combine cake mix, *flour, egg, and butter with an electric mixer. Mix well.  Pat into the bottom of greased pan and set aside.  Beat cream cheese until smooth with electric mixer, then add eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until combined.  Reduce the speed of mixer and slowly pour in melted butter.  Mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour filling onto cake mixture, spreading evenly.  Bake for 40-50  minutes (I left mine in closer to 50 minutes and probably overdid it a bit...try to leave the center a little gooey).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.


I find it super easy to just add chocolate chips (semi-sweet morsels) to a squeeze bottle, add a tbs. or 2 of shortening (depending on the quantity of morsels, and how runny you want the drizzle to be....add a little, then increase if necessary) and then just pop it in the microwave for a bit. Keep checking it and stir (I use a skewer) to make sure it's stirred really well. 

Then have fun drizzling. 

These were really good and will go into my regular rotation of things that I bake that make me chunkier than I want to be.  Whoever said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels"...remind me to put down my chocolate and slap them.

Now, go pour yourself a glass of red wine and get busy baking!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Galvez Restaurant - Gourmet Supper Club September '13 outing

One night last December, a group of friends were sitting around enjoying a wonderful evening...eating, drinking, laughing, drinking, laughing, get the picture...hiccup.

We began to lament the fact that we're blessed to live in a city with so many wonderful dining options, but so little time to try them all.  

Well, one drink thing led to another and we decided to form the "Gourmet Supper Club".  We each put the names of restaurants we'd like to try in a bowl and picked 11 of them, and once a month we go together to these wonderful restaurants.  Why 11 you ask when a calendar clearly has 12 months?  No, it was not the alcohol....we saved our December outing for a special Reveillon Dinner to be determined at a later date.

During my absence from blogland, we tried quite a few wonderful restaurants....too many for me to go back and review, so I'll just start with September's outing....Galvez Restaurant.

The restaurant is on the 2nd floor and offers amazing views of the river and railways below.  As we dined and the sun set, the Crescent City Connection bridge lights came on and lit up the night sky and steamships and locomotives went about their daily business adding a wonderful soundtrack to our evening.  

It's a gorgeous restaurant in a quiet area of the French Quarter.  I am always fascinated with the statuary in the area. Apparently, so is our friend avoid confusion....Mike's the one on the left.

But back to Galvez.  The restaurant is really beautiful and completely appropriate for special occasions or just a quiet dinner with friends.

We started our evening with a few pitchers of Sangria.  While it was very tasty, I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of the fruit with rinds still on it. Just not my thing. Please peel the fruit...thank you.

I started my meal with the Manchego Bombas appetizer (a traditional Spanish dish of potato croquettes stuffed with manchego cheese, deep fried and served with quince sauce) This was like fried cheese....overpriced fried cheese.  I wish I'd taken pics of everyone else's food, but I didn't want to be "that person"...ya know?  Our friend, Thorkil, had the seafood gumbo and it was delicious.  I think we all wished we would've gotten that.   

I figured if you're at a Spanish restaurant, ya gotta eat paella, so I went with the Paella Valenciana as my entree (served with mussels, shrimp, chorizo and chicken).  Again, I was underwhelmed.  On the plus side, it's a healthy portion and when I reheated it the next day for lunch it was much tastier than I remembered...seemed more flavorful.  

...and of course, I had to have dessert, so I got the Flan Estilo Galvez (classic Spanish custard with Caramel sauce topped with figs).  This was your basic flan....not bad....just basic flan.  

...and as I said, the view....well, it's hard to beat this.  

All in all, I'd give Galvez Restaurant a "C".  The food was just okay, but the views and atmosphere are "A+".  Some of our Supper Club group gives this a higher grade, and some a lower grade, so the reviews were mixed.

If I ever return, maybe I'd request a table outside on the 2nd floor balcony and just order tapas and drinks and enjoy a quiet, beautiful night in the French Quarter.

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Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Well, here in New Orleans, the thermostat dipped below 70 so that means it's fall and I can officially gorge myself on all things pumpkin!!

I'm not a huge oatmeal fan, but I know it's good for me and, well frankly I could eat pumpkin off a crusty old shoe, so I decided to give Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal a shot.

I perused the web and found a gojillion recipes, but none of them were exactly what I wanted and I had to go with the limited items I had on hand in my pantry.

Here's the concoction I came up with.... (printable recipe here)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

1.5 cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 cups skim milk
3/4 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
9 dashes pumpkin pie spice
2 dashes cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs. Splenda brown sugar

Add all ingredients except Splenda brown sugar, bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Add Splenda brown sugar at the end.  As far as spices, vanilla and sugar, use these to suit your individual taste.  If you don't like Splenda, you could always use honey, maple syrup...skies the limit.

Use your choice of garnishes, though this is perfectly delicious as is.  I used walnuts, cranberries and raisins.  I think you could also sub almond milk for the skim milk and it'd be mighty tasty.

And because I was feeling especially proud of myself (and because I had it in the fridge), I squirted on some whipped cream....uh huh, yes I did.

I made this yesterday for breakfast and reheated the leftovers this morning (added a splash of skim milk to loosen it up) and it was just as good.

This is a definite keeper recipe! Happy Fall y'all!!

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