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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Strawberries and Cream filled Coconut Cake with Chocolate Ganache

I'm always experimenting with dessert recipes. Changing or adding this or that. Most times they turn out great, while other times not so great. But this time I think I have a winner. This is a very moist and somewhat dense cake, made with fresh juicy Driscoll's strawberries all folded up into rich layers of a sweet, cream cheese and white chocolate filling. Top it off with a creamy chocolate ganache and your holiday meal is complete.
I've also made this cake using fresh Driscoll's raspberries, which is also the perfect ending for your family Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday meal. 
Now let's get started. 
Strawberries and Cream filled Coconut Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients
Cake
1 box white cake mix
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs (use just the egg whites of 2 or all 4 eggs for a less dense cake)
3/4 of one can of coconut milk, mixed well
2 tsp McCormick's very vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract


Filling
8 oz cream cheese-room temperature
4 oz white chocolate-melted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp McCormick's very vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 cups fresh Driscoll strawberries, chopped
Fresh strawberries with special thanks to Driscoll's
1 cup fresh Driscoll strawberries, sliced for decorating
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Ganache
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips-melted
1 cup heavy cream

Frosting
1 12 oz tub Cool Whip, thawed

Directions
Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare three 9" cake pans with cooking spray and flour and set aside.
Empty cake mix in large mixing bowl. Add baking powder and stir together. Open and stir coconut milk until smooth. Pour 3/4 of the can into cake mix and blend at medium speed with mixer for about 3 minutes or until smooth and completely mixed. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Mix in vanilla and coconut extracts.
Pour equal parts into each of the three 9" cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until golden brown and top springs back when touched.
Set cake pans on wire racks to cool. Remove one cake layer from pan and place flat side down on cake plate. Using a knife, trim cake layer of any mound so that layer is flat on top. Remove remaining two cake layers from pans and level as well. (Be sure to eat the trimmings!)
Prepare strawberries
Clean and chop enough fresh Driscoll's strawberries to make 2 cups. Clean and slice a separate cup of fresh Driscoll strawberries to decorate top of cake. Set aside.
Prepare ganache
Pour one and a half cups of semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips into microwavable bowl. Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. Microwave for one minute and stir until smooth. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Prepare filling
Break up white chocolate into small pieces in microwavable bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Set aside, stirring periodically until cooled.
Blend cream cheese and extracts on med-high speed until fluffy. Pour in melted white chocolate and mix. Slowly add heavy cream and powdered sugar mixing at med-high speed. Continue to mix until filling thickens. Stir in chopped strawberries and optional 2/3 cup shredded coconut with large spoon or spatula. Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and pour about half of filling onto center of prepared cake layer, spreading to half inch from edges. Place second cake layer, flat side down on filling and top with remaining filling. Place the last cake layer, flat side down on top. Frost entire cake with Cool Whip and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator and pour ganache on top of cake directly in center, allowing to flow down sides. Decorate with fresh sliced strawberries and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
Enjoy!

Visit Driscolls.com where you'll find recipes for pies, cakes and many other desserts to serve all your holiday needs.
Thanks to Driscoll's for suppling the farm fresh strawberries.





Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween: Ghoulish Black Bean Chili Casserole

I found this recipe at www.pillsbury.com and it's fantastic! Couple little things I did differently. I added the one cup of shredded Cheddar cheese, but I also added an additional cup of Kraft Mexican blend cheese. I also served it with a dollop of sour cream on top. Turned out great. It's a very quick and easy meal to get you and your little goblins out the door this Halloween.
This heats up well for leftovers too!
Thanks Pillsbury......
Photo from Pillsbury.com

Ingredients

1
lb. chorizo or Italian sausage, casing removed if necessary
1
medium green bell pepper, seeded, chopped
1
cup chopped onions
1
cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice
1
cup Green Giant™ Niblets® Frozen Corn
1
(15-oz.) can Green Giant™, Joan of Arc®, Old El Paso™ or Progresso™ Black Beans, drained, rinsed
1
(14 1/2-oz.) can ready-to-serve chicken broth
1
(14.5-oz.) can Mexican stewed tomatoes with jalapeƱos and spices, undrained, cut up
1/2
cup water
2
teaspoons chili powder
1/2
teaspoon cumin
4
oz. (1 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions

  • 1. Heat oven to 375°F. Crumble sausage into 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper and onions; cook over medium-high heat until sausage is browned, stirring occasionally. Drain.
  • 2. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese. Spoon into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
  • 3. Bake at 375°F. for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until rice is tender. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

    Nutrition Information

    NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

    Serving Size: 1/8 of Recipe
     
    Calories
    420
     ( 
    Calories from Fat
    200),
     
    % Daily Value
     
    Total Fat
    22g
    22%
     
    (Saturated Fat
    9g,
    9%
     ), 
    Cholesterol
    50mg
    50%;
     
    Sodium
    1000mg
    1000%;
     
    Total Carbohydrate
    36g
    36%
     
    (Dietary Fiber
    4g
    4%
     
      Sugars
    4g
    4%
     ), 
    Protein
    20g
    20%
     ; 
    % Daily Value*:
     
    Vitamin A
    15%;
     
    Vitamin C
    20%;
     
    Calcium
    15%;
    Iron
    15%;


  • Friday, October 24, 2014

    Featured Recipe: Chocolate Cream Extreme Bundt Cake

    This cake screams delicious. The paring of a chocolate pudding cake with a cream cheese and whipped cream blend filling, all topped with a milk chocolate icing makes this the perfect Bundt cake for the upcoming holidays.



    A slice of Heaven
    Ingredients (Cake)
    1 box Pillsbury chocolate cake mix (with pudding in the mix)
    1 small box Jello brand chocolate instant pie filling
    1 can Pillsbury milk chocolate frosting
    2 Tbl water
     Filling
    1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 8 ounce Philadelphia cream cheese
    1 8 ounce Kraft Cool Whip


    Directions
    Prepare cake according to directions. Mix in package of chocolate instant pudding and mix well. Batter will be stiff, add 2 tablespoons of water and finish mixing.
    Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake according to directions.
    While cake is baking prepare filling.
    Beat cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla with mixer until smooth and fluffy. Fold in Cool whip until well blended. Set aside.
    When cake is done, remove from oven and place on wire rack. Take a knife and run it along the outside of the cake to prevent sticking.
    Invert cake onto a plate and cool completely.
    Using a sharp knife, slice cake evenly from side to side. Gently separate the top half of the cake from the bottom half and set aside.
    Spread filling evenly on bottom half of cake and gently replace top half.
    Completely frost entire cake with milk chocolate frosting.
    Now enjoy!

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Driscoll's Strawberry Shortcake Skillet Cobbler

    Dorie  Greenspa
    Photo by Vicki Arsenault/Recipe and berries courtesy of Driscoll's.
    n has a story to tell.
    It’s a "berry" sweet story of strawberry shortcake. The ‘culinary guru’ and award winning cookbook author, together with Driscoll’s offers everything you ever wanted to know about shortcake but were afraid to bake!
    For over 100 years, Driscoll’s farm fresh strawberries have been a part of some variety of a shortcake recipe. Greenspan, who says she adores baking for the love of creating and the joy of sharing, serves up shortcake in a variety of desserts.
    Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan
    Photo courtesy of Driscoll
    One recipe that really caught my eye was the Strawberry Shortcake Skillet Cobbler. I’ve had many varieties of shortcake, but never one that incorporated corn meal into the batter. My interest was peaked, and what better day to give it a try than National Strawberry Shortcake Day!
    I was won over with this recipe. I made a slight change by adding two pints of Driscoll’s fresh red raspberries (my love of raspberries!) and the next time I may even add a pint of fresh blueberries.
    This is a wonderful summer time recipe. It’s not too sweet and the corn meal shortcake goes well with the juiciness of the berries. Top it off with a dollop of sweet whipped cream and you’ll be back for seconds.
    Check out my step-by-step photo gallery of this recipe here.



    INGREDIENTS
    Cobbler
    ·       2 packages (16 ounces each) Driscoll's Strawberries, hulled and sliced
    ·       3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
    ·       2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    ·       1 tablespoon cornstarch
    ·       1 cup all-purpose flour
    ·       1 cup cornmeal
    ·       2 tablespoons baking powder
    ·       6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    Photo by Vicki Arsenault
    ·       Pinch salt
    ·       1 large egg
    ·       1/2 cup milk
    Whipped Cream
    ·       1 cup heavy whipping cream
    ·       1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
    DIRECTIONS
    1.Combine strawberries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Let sit 15 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
    Whisk together flour, cornmeal, remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Add butter and salt and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or your fingers until the butter is incorporated. Whisk egg and milk together in a small bowl. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture.

    Scrape strawberries and juices into prepared skillet. Drop batter by the spoonful on top of strawberries.
    Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the shortcake cobbler is golden brown. Remove pan from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
    Use a hand mixer to beat cream and confectioners' sugar until thickened. Spoon cobbler into serving dishes and top with sweetened whipped cream. 
    For more Strawberry Shortcake recipes, click here!

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Pure Michigan: Hudsonville Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake

    Hudsonville Double Berry Pie Ice Cream
    Summer time. Warm weather, ice cream, dreamy desserts and Mackinac Island. Hudsonville Ice Cream, Michigan’s largest manufacturers of branded ice cream offers a full line of ice cream flavors. From their rich and creamy Vanilla and Chocolate Cravings flavors to their specialty and Limited Time only line.


    They even have a specialty flavor for the sports fan - filled will chocolate covered baseball pretzels and smooth gooey fudge - Tiger Traxx made me a fan! Or how about taking a vacation without leaving the house with Grand Traverse Bay Cherry Fudge. A creamy amaretto ice cream, loaded with chunks of cherries and fudge.
    A new addition to their specialty line this summer is Grand Hotel Pecan Ball.
    Partnering with the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for the Grand Opening of Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, Hudsonville has replicated the deliciousness of the hotel’s famous pecan ball dessert. Starting with their very own rich Vanilla ice cream and adding genuine Grand Hotel fudge and pecan pieces - this specialty ice cream is served in the Grand Hotel’s dining room and five restaurants located on Mackinac Island - and of course – Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor.
    My favorite has to be the Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie. Hudsonville's original creamy Vanilla loaded with swirls of blueberries and strawberries and filled with real pieces of pie crust.
    And because it is my favorite, I turned it into a dessert that's perfect for a summer treat or that special birthday celebration.
    Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake

    Pure Michigan Double Berry Pie Ice Cream Cake
    Ingredients
    1 carton Hudsonville Double Berry Pie ice cream
    1 box strawberry flavored cake mix
    1 container Cool Whip frosting
    1 pint fresh Driscoll's raspberries
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup water
    1/3 cup oil

    Directions
    Prepare two or three 9 inch round cake pans by spraying bottom and sides with cooking spray.
    In medium size bowl, prepare cake mix according to directions on box. Bake and completely cool cake layers.
    While cake layers are cooling, empty carton of Double Berry Pie Ice Cream into large bowl and set aside to soften (do not let the ice cream melt).
    Wrap cake layers individually in plastic wrap and place in freezer until frozen (about an hour). Once frozen, remove one cake layer from freezer and place on a cake plate. Ice cream should be soft but not melted. Gently stir and mix ice cream and spread onto first cake layer.
    (Work fast, ice cream will start melting) Form, fill and smooth until you have a large layer of ice cream. Remove second cake layer from freezer and place on layer of ice cream. (If using three layers, divide ice cream between layers). Immediately put back in freezer and allow to refreeze. Once refrozen, remove from freezer along with the Cool whip frosting and completely frost top and sides using entire carton. Decorate with Driscoll's raspberries and return to freezer.



    To serve
    Cut desired number of slices and place on serving plates,  returning unused cake to freezer. Allow slices to thaw about 5 to 7 minutes before serving.

    Note: Your freezer should be set very cold so that the ice cream begins refreezing immediately.
    Enjoy!