Friday, February 27, 2009


Some very good friends of ours will be getting married in less than a month, really in just a couple weeks! When I got back from my big trade show trip to Tucson, I made it home just in time for Erin's shower. They were having a desert bar of yummy finger food baked goods, and I offered to contribute something to that area of the party!
Because brownie-bites are so freakin easy and always delish, I thought I'd try something new and different for the second item...

A few years ago I went to Louisiana for the first time...first to Lafayette then drove to Shreveport, in BOTH locations I was served petitis fours. That was my first encounter with the lil'cakes, and I have been dying to try and make them ever since!!

I just kind of winged it and made these with out doing any actual petits fours research...and they were yummy, but I didn't really know if they qualify or not...I DID do some googling while typin up this post and found a informative lil bit on ALL RECIPES,HERE.
I guess this DOES qualify...Interesting!

This was a fun first attempt with petits fours, and I am looking forward to making these again!

Lemon Chocolate Petits Fours

Lemon Cake
Fluffy White Frosting
Chocolate Glaze

1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant lemon pudding mix
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 c lemon juice
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350, butter and lightly flour a 15x10 jelly roll pan.
Combine dry cake ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, mixing on med-low add egg whites one at a time, mixing 30-60 seconds between each, mix in the water & lemon juice. Spread out in pan and bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
While cake cools whip up the frosting~

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/1 cup water
1 Tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine sugar, water & cream of tartar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, cook/boil covered for about 5 minutes, then uncovered until it reaches SYRUP temp of about 240-245 degrees. When you uncover the lid on the sauce pan, start whipping the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. You're aiming to have the egg whites forming peaks as the sugar mixture reaches syrup temp...slow down the mixer to low if need be, don't over beat the egg whites....When the sugar gets to 240-245 it will be thicker and a sugar-syrup. With the mixer on medium speed, and with out burning yourself, carefully pour the syrup into the egg whites & mix for about 2 minutes add the vanilla and continue beating until cooled, about 5 more minutes...

Wash and slice the strawberries into thin vertical slices.
Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with wax paper...
Slice the cake into rectangles about 1 inch x 2 inches, and cut them in half horozintally , line 'em up on the cookie sheet. Add a dollop of the marshmallowy frosting in between each layer, on each cake rectangle- top the dollop with a strawberry and replace the top cake layer- so you've got a lil'cake samich.
Once your finished adding frosting and a strawberry to the middle of each one, make the chocolate glaze.

Here's a simple old-school glaze recipe, great for donuts, bundt cakes, and coincidentally petits fours!!

1 stick/ 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
10 1oz squares of baking (semi-sweet) chocolate.

In a medium microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate, chop the butter into pieces and mix in, continuing to microwaving in 15 second increments, stirring after each zap, until all is evenly melted and incorporated. Let cool a few minutes.

Using a spoon drizzle chocolate glaze over each cake and let set.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cocktail Latkes

These are a fabulous, and relativity in expensive appetizer for a party or a holiday dinner.
I made these "cocktail-sized" (using about 1 T. of the potato mixture per latke) and following that method this makes about 80-something latkes
You can always make them more traditional-sized and that would probably produce 1/3 as many.

I've made these a few times before and this is my is a bit time consuming (when you are making a whole bunch of them!) but totally worth it. These are served with homemade apple sauce & sour cream~

8 medium-large Idaho baking potatoes
1 cup matzo meal
7 eggs
Onion powder
1 1/4 shredded sweet white onion

Wash & peel the potatoes, then grate (I get out a giant bowl and fill it with ice water, the potatoes sit in that while waiting to be grated)...I used the larger grater blade on my food processor. Immediately after shredding soak the potatoes in cold/ ice cold water, rinsing with clean cold water until the water is clear and shredded potatoes are clean and white.
Press as much of the water out as possible using your hand and some paper towel. Lay a piece of wax paper over a cookie sheet and place several layers of paper towel on that.
Dump the potatoes out onto the cookie sheet and press a few layers of paper towels on top, a few times to remove as much of the water as possible. You can also strain them quickly with a cheese cloth to get additional moisture out.
Shred the onion, squeeze the liquid out as much as possible.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs
In a LARGE bowl combine the shredded potato, the onion, the eggs, the matzo meal, onion powder and salt, mix well.

Heat just enough oil to keep the bottom of the pan covered on medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Drop the potato mixture into the heated oil (I did about a tablespoon at a time), then press to flaten a bit. Fry about 4-5 minutes on each side (until golden) and set on paper towel to cool. Serve warm or room temprature with some applesauce and sour cream.

These can be made up to two weeks ahead and frozen. I buy some good sturdy disposable plastic storage (the "oven ware" is a great size), line it with wax paper and then add a layer of cooled latkes, topped with a layer of wax paper...and so on, like lasagna I cover the top with press-n-seal to keep it really well locked in.

To re-heat...
Pre-heat oven to 350
Cover a baking sheet with foil, spread latkes over the foil, cook for about 7 minutes or until hot!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie~ Devil's Food White Out Cake (w/ Cherries)

This was supposed to be dessert on Valentine's Day....but we BOTH got SICK! :( After spending a horrible New Year's Eve with the flu (again, both of us) we were really looking forward to a fun Valentine's Day. Well...then the bronchitis and sinus infection moved in and we spent the better part of last week battling off the germies! Fortunately, by Sunday, I was feeling back to myself again and had everything on hand to make this week's TUESDAYS WITH DORIE selection~ Devil's Food White Out Cake, the big, beautiful cake that is pictured on the books cover! A big thanks to Stephanie of CONFESSIONS OF A CITY EATER who chose this week's TWD recipe!

Head on over to Stephanie's blog to drool over her version of this amazing cake, and be sure to stop by the TWD BLOGROLL to see everyone's creations! I was really happy with the cake recipe,even though I spaced out on the directions...I got out 2 sticks of butter to bring to room temp and didn't CUT the one stick, and when they got room temp I threw both of em in!! AND I ended up using only 1/4 c boiling water instead of 1/2 and I used 9-inch pans. All went well there, lucky me! This was the first time I'd made frosting like this before and it came out fabulous- I have a sugar headache right now, but it was delicious!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Shower Brownie Bites

Just another variation, using some frosting from the store and M&Ms for decoration! These were for a bridal shower last month~

Also, it'd been a while since I'd posted the recipe I use when making these lil'guys, so here it is;

My Brownie Recipe
1/2 C. softened butter
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Eggs
2/3 C. Sweetened Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 T. Hersheys Syrup

Mix Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Vanilla (I mixed using a wire whisk so as not to over mix).
Add Flour, Salt & Cocoa Powder mixing after each ingredient until well combined. Add syrup and stir in using a spoon or spatula.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eggnog Brownie bites

I love brownies bites- easy, peasy portable lil'desserts that are always party-perfect.
These are my Holiday version, served for our 2008 Cocktail/Ugly Sweater Party (I am obviously a bit behind with my blog updating...)
Anyhow, these were just plain ole brownie bites on the bottom, but topped with a egnogg frosting that I sometimes use on gingerbread cookies~

Brownie Bites
For the brownie batter I use MY BROWNIE RECIPE (HERE), but in a pinch 2 boxes of brownie mix can be used to whip these up quick!

Grease a mini-muffin tin and preheat the oven to 350. Follow brownie recipe for a double batch, this should be enough for 4 batches using a 24 muffin mini-muffin tin.
Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full with brownie batter (brownies will rise, so just a bit over halfway.) Bake about 7 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Eggnog Frosting
1 1/4 c butter, softened
4 T. Eggnog (the thicker and spice-y-er the better
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp spiced rum
2 1/2 c powdered confectioners sugar

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter, add eggnog & rum. Continue to mix on medium and slowly add powdered sugar & nutmeg. Whip until the frosting comes together and forms stiff peaks.
Frost cooled brownie bites and dust with nutmeg.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tuesdays With Dorie~ World Peace Cookies

This is a great recipe because, like so many in this Dorie Greenspan's; Baking from My Home to Yours, it is one that can be broken up in sections over days, even months if you go the freezer route! We try to DO as much as possible every weekend- really SQUEEZE every bit of fun, productivity, relaxing etc. as we can into those precious two days. Sometimes that curbs having 3-5 hours to bust out some fab baked goodness on a weekly basis. I highly recommend this as a SUPER simple cookie dough that is quick to throw together, and can be frozen for up to 2 months, so you can slice & bake anytime!! Love that. Seriously. Also an easy recipe to 1/2 for a smaller crowd, or bake half/freeze half (which is what I did).

This week's TUESDAYS WITH DORIE is the chocolatastic WORLD PEACE COOKIE, chosen by Jessica of COOKBOOK HABIT. Cruise on over to her blog to see these yummy peaceful cookies!!

We loved these cookies, they were awesome flavor and texture wise and would be fun to try some different add-ins with next time~
I will be out of town and miss next week so see ya for some SERIOUS cake the week after next!

Peace out~