Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dirt Cake

This easy recipe is one of my husband's favorites, and has been for a long time.  I've been making cupcakes for summer get-togethers lately, so he put in a request for something fudgy and chocolate-based.  We went to this old favorite, shared it with friends, and the result was just what the almost-doctor ordered. :)

1/4 c butter
1 c powdered sugar
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 small boxes instant chocolate pudding
3 1/2 c milk
1 (8oz) container Cool Whip
1 pkg Oreo cookies, crushed (white stuff removed)

Blend butter, powdered sugar, and cream cheese in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix pudding and milk until smooth.  Add cream cheese mixture and mix well.  Add Cool whip and mix until blended.

In a container, add 1/3 of Oreo crumbs, add 1/2 of pudding mixture, add another layer of crumbs, the other 1/2 of the pudding mixture, then top with remaining Oreo crumbs.

Refrigerate 4+ hours.  Serve with gummy worms.

Comments from the cook:  This dessert is so easy!  I used my food chopper/grinder to crush the Oreos (when they break and still have white stuff inside, I toss them in anyway), then did everything else with my KitchenAid.  I layered mine in a trifle bowl, with 4 crumb layers, and 3 pudding layers in between.

Not everyone cares to do so, but I used low-fat cream cheese, sugar-free/fat-free pudding, skim milk, and light Cool Whip in my recipe.  I was pleased to discover that the taste wasn't compromised, even though I'm sure the full-calorie version is even better!

Originally shared by Vickie Luker, dessert extraordinaire and long-time family friend

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

This is my husband's FAVORITE pie, and I made it for him last week after he passed his comprehensive oral exam (one of the last requirements for his doctoral degree).  The crust is my mom's fabulous recipe, the pie is one of her specialties (my dad's favorite), and Brian likes it with cream cheese filling inside (because how could that ruin a pie!?).

1/2 c shortening (we use All-Vegetable Crisco - blue container)
1 1/3 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cold water
4 ice cubes
1 T vinegar (trust me...this is the zinger that makes this crust amazing!)

Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a pastry cutter (or fork) until it balls together into pea-sized chunks.  

In a separate bowl, combine water, ice cubes, and vinegar.

Add 2 TBSP vinegar water to pastry mixture and mix.  Repeat until dough is soft and pliable (6 TBSP or so was enough for mine).

Roll out onto a floured surface.  Cut into a circle, put in a 9" pie dish.  Press edges if desired.

Bake at 400° until edges are slightly golden, usually somewhere between 6-10 minutes.

Allow to cool completely before filling.

Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c Cool Whip

Whip cream cheese with mixer until smooth.  Mix powdered sugar in.  Fold Cool Whip in.

Pour filling into cooled pie shell.

Strawberry topping:
2 (1 lb.) cartons strawberries
1 container strawberry glaze 

Wash and slice strawberries, then mix with strawberry glaze.

Pour glazed strawberries over cream cheese filling into pie crust.

Chill until serving, and refrigerate leftovers promptly.

Comments from the cook:  It had been quite a while since I last made this pie...and I couldn't quite remember how I'd done the cream cheese filling before.  This time, I just used cream cheese and sugar...and later realized that Cool Whip was in our earlier versions.  It makes for a fluffier filling, and I won't forget it next time :)  

Originally made by my fabulous mom, Alane Sleight

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Strawberry-Lime Margarita Cupcakes (Non-Alcoholic)

If I've ever doubted a Betty Crocker recipe, I take it all back!  Betty's Strawberry Margarita Cake recipe made for perfect cupcakes... and the awesome recipe for buttercream frosting I found (I made the limey version) took these babies from good to great in no time!  I made these for our Cinco de Mayo party, and can't wait to find a reason to make them again :)

1 white cake mix
oil and egg whites (as called for in cake mix instructions)
3/4 c strawberry margarita drink mix (syrup, non-alcoholic)
1/2 c water

1 c (2 sticks) butter (salted or unsalted)
1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
4 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lime juice
2-3 TBSP milk

1 TBSP lime zest
sliced strawberries, rinsed and dried


Preheat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Add 1/2 c water to 3/4 c margarita mix (to create 1 1/4 c of liquid).  

In large bowl, combine cake mix, strawberry liquid mixture, oil, and egg whites.  Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Bake for 16-20 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.


Using the whisk attachment of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until completely smooth (about 1 minute).

Add salt (if using unsalted butter).

One cup at a time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition.

Add vanilla and lime juice and beat to combine.

Add 1 TBSP milk and continue beating.

Add 2 remaining cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Add remaining 1 TBSP milk until consistency is reached (1 more TBSP if you prefer thinner frosting).  Add a bit of lime zest, if you'd like.

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes after they have cooled completely.


Top with a strawberry slice and a sprinkling of lime zest.

(If you chill these, make sure to take them out of the fridge a few minutes before allow the frosting to soften back up.  It hardens in the fridge!)

Comments from the cook:  I originally used a strawberry cake mix and added the strawberry syrup (by accident, actually).  The taste was phenomenal, though maybe a little on the overpowering side.  Fortunately (or unfortunately?), I baked them for a minute or two too long and they were too sponge-like for me.  I tried again (this time with a white cake), and had perfect success baking the cupcakes for about 17 minutes.

I will probably add 1/4 cup more powdered sugar to my frosting next time.  It was REALLY hot outside (about 90°) the day I took these to a party, and they might've held up just a little better with a bit more p. sugar.  And, though I tried to fight it, my strawberries still put off a bit of syrup that ran down the sides and into the frosting.  A small sacrifice for the taste we achieved...but enough to drive me a little crazy too!  Perhaps next time I'll throw the berries and lime zest on RIGHT before serving.  Or perhaps next time I'll just look the other way :)

Cake originally found here (thank you, thank you, Betty) and super-fantastic frosting recipe found here (can't wait to use this as my new go-to recipe!).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Browned-Butter Choc Chip Cookies

I'd heard about people using browned butter in recipes.  I was when I found this recipe, I decided to try my hand at the technique.  The results were fantastic...and I'm now converted.

1 c (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to brown butter:

Heat pan on medium to medium-high heat (NOT high).  Cut butter into pieces and melt in pan.  Stir continuously.  Butter will foam up.

After foam subsides, small brown flecks will start to appear in bottom of pan.  Continue stirring, until butter has reached a nice brown color, and has a nutty aroma.  (This took 5+ minutes for me.)

Turn the heat all the way down, then pour into a bowl.  Refrigerate until solid again.  (This took 30+ minutes.)

For the dough:

Cream the solid browned butter and sugar until well mixed.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Continue mixing while adding the eggs one at a time (making sure they are well-incorporated before adding the next).

Mix for a few minutes until batter is light and fluffy.

Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a separate bowl.  Slowly add to the wet mixture, just until combined.  Don't over mix.

Fold chocolate chips in with spatula.

Bake at 350° for 11-13 on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

Comments from the cook:  This recipe definitely delivered a rich, moist cookie.  I generally bake one batch, then freeze the leftovers in pre-formed dough balls.  Personally, I always think the frozen dough balls make better cookies the next day...and that was definitely true in this case.

When I browned my butter, I don't think I had my heat quite high enough (I had it on medium), and met with best success once I moved toward medium-high heat.  I was afraid to burn the butter, so I watched it very closely...

Originally found here.  Most text (and ingredient list) taken from her awesome site.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...