Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake

Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake

We topped elegant strawberry shortcake with a ghoulish white chocolate skull in this spectacular Halloween dessert. Pour over the hot strawberry sauce to reveal the surprise inside!

Level: Intermediate

Total: 2 hr 45 min (includes chilling and cooling times)

Active: 1 hr 10 min

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

Chocolate Skull:

4 ounces white chocolate melting wafers

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

4 ounces strawberries, sliced

Cake and Filling:

Nonstick cooking spray, for the pan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (see Cook’s Note)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup sour cream

8 ounces strawberries, sliced

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Strawberry White Chocolate Sauce:

8 ounces strawberries, finely chopped

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 ounces red candy melting wafers

Directions

 

1. For the chocolate skull: Add the white chocolate melting wafers and coconut oil to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.

2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the front and back cavities of a 2-part medium plastic skull mold (3-by-4-by-4-inch) and tilt to swirl the chocolate around until coated entirely (you can also use your finger to swirl the chocolate around). Tap out any excess and freeze until the chocolate is set, about 5 minutes.  

3. Reheat the melted chocolate, if needed, and brush the sides of the mold cavities with a second layer. Freeze until set, about 5 minutes. 

4. Carefully unmold the skull halves and fill one with the sliced strawberries. Microwave the melted chocolate again until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use the melted chocolate as glue to carefully attach the skull halves. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

5. For the cake and filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 6-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment and spray the paper. 

6. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  

7. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on low just to incorporate, then beat on high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and egg, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and continue to beat until creamy, about 2 minutes (the mixture will look curdled, but will come back together after everything is combined). With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. 

8. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. 

9. Bake until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, turn the cake out onto the rack, remove the parchment and cool completely.  

10. Meanwhile toss the sliced strawberries and granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their juices. 

11. Cut the cake into 3 layers with a long serrated knife. Place a cake layer on a cake stand and top with half of the strawberries. Spread 3/4 cup of the whipped cream on top. Repeat with another cake layer, the remaining strawberries and 3/4 cup whipped cream. Top with the final cake layer and remaining 1/2 cup whipped cream. Position the skull in the center of the whipped cream.

12. For the strawberry white chocolate sauce: Add the strawberries and granulated sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have broken down and thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and return the liquid to the saucepan (discard the solids). Add the cream and red candy melting wafers to the sauce and heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until melted and hot, 10 to 15 minutes. 

13. When ready to serve, pour the hot sauce over the center of the chocolate skull.

 

 

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)


Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake
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Halloween Strawberry Shortcake Skull Cake
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Ingredients
Chocolate Skull:
Cake and Filling:
Strawberry White Chocolate Sauce:
Servings:
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Rosemary Mustard Pork With Peaches

Rosemary Mustard Pork With Peaches

Level: Easy

Inactive: 8 hr

Total: 8 hr 45 min

Cook: 20 min

Prep: 25 min

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

Two 16-ounce containers strawberries

Two 6-ounce containers blueberries

One 6-ounce container blackberries

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Pinch kosher salt

 

One 8-ounce package cream cheese

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 prepared angel food cake (about 12 ounces)

Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish, optional

1 1/2 tablespoons apple jelly or apricot preserves, for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Trim and quarter the strawberries and set aside. Combine the blueberries, blackberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup water, lemon zest, juice and salt in a medium saucepot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries break down and the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

2. Place the cream cheese, 1/4 cup cream, the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. In a second large bowl, whip the remaining cream until stiff peaks form. Fold about one-quarter of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until lightened, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream.

3. To assemble the trifle, rip or cut the angel food cake into 2-inch pieces. Place half the cake pieces in the bottom of a 12-to-14-cup trifle dish or large bowl. Top with about half the blueberry sauce, half the cream and half the quartered strawberries. Repeat the layers with the remaining cake, berry sauce, cream and strawberries. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 8 hours or overnight. Before serving either dust with confectioners’ sugar or heat the apple jelly in the microwave for 25 seconds to loosen, and then brush over the strawberries.


Rosemary Mustard Pork With Peaches
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Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake

Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake

Sure, classic cheesecake is delicious. But PUMPKIN cheesecake? Now that’s a dessert worthy of your Thanksgiving table. The gingersnap and graham cracker crust are actually genius, and that shimmering layer of caramel is the literal icing on the [cheese]cake. It’s one of our all time favorite pumpkin desserts—and that’s saying something, considering we have over 80 recipes.

 

INGREDIENTS

3/4 c. graham crackers, crushed

3/4 c. gingersnaps, crushed

6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp. granulated sugar kosher salt

3 (8-oz.) bars cream cheese, softened

1 c. packed light brown sugar

1 c. pumpkin puree

1/4 c. sour cream, at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice, plus more for garnish

Warm caramel, for garnish

whipped cream, for garnish

Chopped, toasted pecans, for garnish

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 325° with a rack in the middle position. Grease an 8” springform pan with cooking spray.
2. Make crust: In a large bowl, add cookie and graham cracker crumbs. Stir in butter, granulated sugar, and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined. Press crust into bottom of pan.

3. Meanwhile, make cheesecake batter: In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin puree, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined, then beat in flour, pumpkin spice, and ¼ tsp. salt. Pour cheesecake mixture over crust.

4. Double-wrap outside of pan in aluminum foil, making sure to cover the bottom. Place pan in a large baking dish, place the baking dish in the oven, and pour in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the pan. Bake until only slightly jiggly in center, 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes.

5. With oven door propped open, turn oven off and let cool 1 hour in the oven. Remove from water bath and discard foil, then refrigerate cheesecake until cooled completely, at least 3 hours or overnight.

6. Garnish with a layer of caramel and a few dollops of whipped cream around the edge of the cheesecake. Sprinkle all over with pecans and more pumpkin pie spice.

Best-Ever Pumpkin Cheesecake
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Triple Chocolate Biscotti

Triple Chocolate Biscotti

BiscottiBiscotti, also called Cantuccini in Tuscany, are oblong shaped almond Italian cookies that originated in the city of Prato.  It’s name, Biscotti, literally means twice cooked.

These twice baked cookies are dry, crunchy, and made to be dipped in a drink, traditionally Vin Santo, a sweet Italian dessert wine.  Today Biscotti is made in a variety of flavors and can be dipped in white or dark chocolate.  They can be dipped in coffee, milk, or any other drink.  Of course they’re also pretty good dry.

My family loves Biscotti, specially when dipped in cold milk or hot chocolate.  I love to dip it in my morning cup of cappuccino!  I’d always thought they’d be difficult and time consuming to make.  I thought I’d have to roll each cookie into it’s oblong shape.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are super easy to make and you don’t have to shape each cookie.

I’ve been playing around with different flavors and came up with our favorite, Triple Chocolate Biscotti.  They are super yummy!  Best of all you don’t spend hours kneading cookie dough and shaping them into flat oblong cookies.  You can whip up a batch in about an hour or so and have some ready for dessert.  Did I mention they’re great with ice cream?

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I like to use the best quality ingredients for most of my baking, this is specially true for chocolates.  I usually use Valrhona Cocoa Powder and Guittard White & Semi-Sweet Chips.  They really do taste better!  But if you can’t find these brands in your area you can use Hershey Cocoa Powder and whatever brand chips you can find.

Here’s my recipe for Triple Chocolate Biscotti!

Ingredients:

6 Tbs. Butter, softened

1 Cup Sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 Tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Valrhona Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp. Salt

1/2 Cup Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Guittard White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350º

Cream butter and sugar together

Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg

Add in Vanilla

In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix very well

Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds.  Make sure the dry ingredients are well incorporated before adding more

Dough will be somewhat stiff and sticky

Stir in chocolate chips

Shape cookie dough into a 12″ x 4″ log and place on a parchment covered baking sheet

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

Cut loaf into 3/4″ slices

Place each piece cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes

Turn over cookies and bake the other side for another 5 minutes

Cool on a rack then store in an airtight container

 

 

 

 

Triple Chocolate Biscotti
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Triple Chocolate Biscotti
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º
  2. Cream butter and sugar together
  3. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg
  4. Add in Vanilla
  5. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix very well
  6. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds. Make sure the dry ingredients are well incorporated before adding more
  7. Dough will be somewhat stiff and sticky
  8. Stir in chocolate chips
  9. Shape cookie dough into a 12" x 4" log and place on a parchment covered baking sheet
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
  12. Cut loaf into 3/4" slices
  13. Place each piece cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes
  14. Turn over cookies and bake the other side for another 5 minutes
  15. Cool on a rack then store in an airtight container
Recipe Notes

BiscottiI like to use the best quality ingredients for most of my baking, this is specially true for chocolates.  I usually use Valrhona Cocoa Powder and Guittard White & Semi-Sweet Chips.  They really do taste better!  But if you can't find these brands in your area you can use Hershey Cocoa Powder and whatever brand chips you can find.

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Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars

chocolate caramel cookie bars

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.  Are you still looking for something to make for your sweetheart?  Well if your sweetie has a sweet tooth than these Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars are just the thing!

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars are delicious!  They’re chewy, gooey, and oh so chocolatey!  They can be served cold or hot.  We like them hot!  And can be eaten alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  My favorite way to have them is with ice cream that’s drizzled with chocolate sauce.  It’s a meal in itself and is to die for!

chocolate caramel cookie barsBest of all they are so easy to make and doesn’t have lots of fussy ingredients.  Make some for a Valentine’s Day treat.  Your sweetie will love it!

By the way it makes a great dessert on any day.  I should know, my family loves them![spacer height=”-20px”]

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cup Butter, softened

1 1/2 Cup White Sugar

2 Eggs

2 Tbs. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp. Baking Soda

1 Tsp.  Cream of Tartar

1 Tsp. Salt

4 Cups Flour

2 Cups Chocolate Chips

1 1/2 Cup Homemade Caramel Sauce or 1 Jar Caramel Sauce

1/4 Cup Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour or regular flour

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Line 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy

Add eggs one at a time

Add Vanilla

Mix Baking Soda, salt, and Cream of Tartar together and add to butter mixture

Slowly add in 4 cups of flour until well mixed

Stir in Chocolate Chips

Press 2/3 of cookie batter into bottom and about 1/4″ up the sides of baking pan

Stir Mochiko Flour into Caramel Sauce

Spread sauce mixture over cookie dough

Drop remaining cookie dough over the caramel sauce in the pan

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean

chocolate caramel cookie barsRemove from oven – you can serve it cold or hot

It’s delicious with ice cream!

chocolate caramel cookie bars

 

 

 

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
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Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bars
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°
  2. Line 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper
  3. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy
  4. Add eggs one at a time
  5. Add Vanilla
  6. Mix Baking Soda, salt, and Cream of Tartar together and add to butter mixture
  7. Slowly add in 4 cups of flour until well mixed
  8. Stir in Chocolate Chips
  9. Press 2/3 of cookie batter into bottom and about 1/4" up the sides of baking pan
  10. Stir Mochiko Flour into Caramel Sauce
  11. Spread sauce mixture over cookie dough
  12. Drop remaining cookie dough over the caramel sauce in the pan
  13. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean
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