Moose Poop

This is a no-bake treat, truely a great dessert if you are pressed for time and want a good presentation. I dotted the serving tray with Ferrero-Rocher bonbons to give a beautiful contrast. The combination of Nutella and peanut butter make for a decadent treat. The only tricky part is to let them get cold enough in the fridge before breaking into them!

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Yields: 6-8 balls

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Nutella
  • 2-3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups oreo crumbs

How-to:

  1. Pour oreo crumbs into a shallow dish. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, place Nutella, peanut butter and powdered sugar, whisk with a fork until combined.
  3. Using hands, make round ball shape.
  4. Roll ball into oreo crumbs until well coated.
  5. Place on a wax paper lined tray and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours.

 

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German Chocolate Cake

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This is the Original Baker’s Chocolate brand German Chocolate cake recipe. It has been prepared in our family for years. My Granny Smith made it for my Dad’s birthday when he was growing up. And for every birthday since they were married, my mom has made it for him. This cake speaks to chocolate-lovers, coconut-lovers and frosting-lovers! There is so much to love about this cake, but what I love the most is carrying on the long time family tradition. It’s also great for Father’s Day!

(For more information on Baker’s chocolate or other Kraft recipes, visit http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/original-bakers-germans-sweet-chocolate-cake-51120.aspx)

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Ingredients: 
For the cake:
1 pkg.  (4 oz.) Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup water
eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
For the icing:
egg yolks
1 can  (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1pkg.  (7 oz.) Angel Flake Coconut
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
How to:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease the bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with butter or shortening. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  3. Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
  4. Gently fold in egg whites until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
  5. Bake 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. Cool cakes in pans for 15 min. Then, remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Then frost!

While the cake is in the over, prepare the coconut-pecan icing.

  1. Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  2. Add coconut and nuts; mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.
  3. Ice in between the layers and on the top only!

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Black Bean Brownies

My brother is coming into town from California and I wanted to make something special to satisfy his sweet-tooth. He loves having a treat every once in a while, but he also likes having a healthy lifestyle, like I do. These brownies will definitely fuel his next 10-mile run, they are packed with protein! Should I tell him the brownies have beans in them? Or will he freak out?

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Original recipe developed by Meal Makeover Moms for the Bean Institute, published in Food & Nutrition Magazine September 20014 issue, adapted by Meaghan Mikulas

Yields: 16- 2 inch squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz. can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Special Dark b/c bitter is a preferred taste of mine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T mini white chocolate chips

Special equipment: a food processor with a sharp blade

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray down an 8×8 or 7×11 baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Place black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Scrape sides down with a spatula if necessary. Stream in oil with processor on. Then, add eggs, sugar, cocoa, vanilla extract, baking powder and salt. Process all until smooth.

3. Add 1/4 of semi-sweet chocolate chips into the food processor and pulse a couple times, until incorporated but still chunky.

4. Carefully remove blade from food processor and pour batter into pan, using spatula. Smooth top so its relatively even and sprinkle the remaining semi-sweet and white chocolate chips on top.

5. Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack. Cool the pan completely before slicing into squares.

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Chocolate covered figs

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Do you love chocolate? Then keep reading!

 

We have a fig tree in our yard and last year lost all of them to a flock of crows. But not this year! Our plan of attack to keep ’em away included a home made scare crow and aluminum foil strips hung from the tree. It really worked! Needless to say, I harvested over two dozen this morning in the dewy grass with my trusty ol’ wicker basket. I was craving something sweet (as usual) and broke out the chocolate.

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Yields: 12 chocolate covered figs

What you’ll need:

  • 12 figs
  • 6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips

Special equipment:

  1. small glass dipping bowl
  2. parchment paper

How to:

In a small glass bowl, add chocolate chips until about 3/4 full. Place in microwave and heat for about 20 seconds. Check on it, see if they look just about melted. When they do look about melted, using a small butter knife, mix it around until it looks shiny. Take one of the figs and dip it into chocolate. Twirl it around and smooth off the excess on edge of bowl. Place on parchment lined platter. Use a flat platter that way figs dry evenly.  Repeat for the rest.

Note about chocolate: be careful to not over heat. And keep adding more to your bowl and microwaving as necessary.

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Double win on this recipe- you get an A+ presentation AND taste!

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How to get crows to not eat your figs:

 

 

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With a home made scare crow…..AND…..

 

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aluminum foil !!!

 

 

Peanut butter banana popsicles

These popsicles are unlike any that you have ever eaten. This recipes excludes any liquids, making for a smooth texture with a decadent crunch from the chocolate chips. My mom loves semi-sweet chocolate chips and swears that it is the only cure for her chocolate cravings. Great for an summer afternoon pick-me-up or for curing your sweet fix!

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Yields: 4 pops

Time needed: Prep: 5 min; In freezer: 4 hrs +

What you’ll need:

  • 3 ripened bananas
  • 1/4 cup of natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Special equipment:

  1. food processor
  2. popsicle mold

How to:

Begin by placing bananas and peanut butter in food processor. Pulse until well mixed. Once it is mixed, add in the chocolate chips. Pulse for only 7-8 pulses. I like to add the chocolate chips at the end and carefully pulse them so they vary in size and you get a surprise- sized bite every time.  Now, fill the molds. You can even put a funnel over each mold so it goes in nice and neatly. That’s up to you. I’m not much of a perfectionist, I don’t use one, so mine ends up dripping! Freeze for four hours, or overnight.

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For a great variation, substitute peanut butter for cashew butter!!

Gluten-free almond cake

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This soft cake will tempt you for any occasion: breakfast, dessert or snack time. Almond notes are hit on by Italian amaretto and are throughout the cake two more times: in almond flour and in almond slices. It’s crunchy almond top is key to this crumbly treat. Three’s a charm!

Yields: 8 slices

Time needed: prep time 20 minutes, oven time 55 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 8 oz of whole milk ricotta
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of milk, room temp
  • 2 tablespoons of Disaronno liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups of almond flour (or meal)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

How to:

Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees F. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. We want to start with the wet ingredients in the electric mixer with the mixing paddle attachment. First off, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Next, add ricotta, eggs and milk and liqour. When looking consistent, add almond flour, salt, and baking powder. Now, we are almost done. Next, grease a 9 inch spring foam pan with butter (make sure you butter it REALLY WELL) At the bottom of it, toss in the sliced almonds and even them out in the bottom of the pan-this is what is going to make our gooey crust on the top (we are going to flip it over, you’ll see) Lastly, spread the mixture carefully over the almonds, spreading it with a spatula, so it’s even all around. Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes. The edges will sort of separate from the pan, but the center will still be a white color. When the cake is done, let it cool for as long as you can in the pan. (Ideally, 1 hr) Now, pop off the spring foam from around the cake. Take a cake stand, flip it, and place it on top of your pretty white cake. Grab the sides and flip it! (see below for step-by-step pictures) Now, for the tricky part. If you are a perfectionist, you may want to find a kitchen tool, like a butter knife and run it around the edge to make sure when you take the pan bottom off, it won’t take chunks of the cake with it. Slowly, “peel” away the bottom of the spring foam pan, and you will have a gorgeous and delicious cake!

How I inverted the cake:

First, I popped off the spring foam from the sides:

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Then, I flipped the cake stand up-side down and placed it on top of cake:

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Lastly, I held cake stand and remaining bottom of spring foam pan and flipped again:

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“Peel” off and you’re left with cake!

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