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Let’s face it. There are a lot of things in this world that need to be fixed! Only sometimes the problems seem so big I have no idea how I can make a difference. I donate, I volunteer, but lately I’ve come to understand that the biggest impact I can make is being a conscientious consumer. I really should know where my food, clothing, and everyday purchases come from because I could be contributing to the very same problems I want to help solve.

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Chocolate lava cakes. Hope this recipe makes sense. I never write with music playing because I need absolute silence. However, it seems the battery in one of our smoke detectors has gone bad. I have been listening to intermittent beeps for the past five hours and I can’t take it anymore! I’m blasting Eric Hutchinson while I write this post.  Beep!

Awesome! My favorite dessert. Here’s where we found the recipe. SAVEUR.

Ingredients for 6 Cakes:

  • Ramekins 6 or 12
  • 1 Tbsp. Dark Rum
  • 2 Oz. Semisweet chocolate (Finely chopped)
  • 3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream
  • 8 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 6 Oz. Bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 3 Eggs
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

We doubled the recipe and made 12 individual cakes.

Chop the chocolate.

Add Rum.

Heat the cream in a saucepan. Pour over the chocolate.

Refrigerate the mixture for an hour and then separate it and form six individuals balls. Refrigerate again.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of each ramekin with butter and sprinkle with flour. Place them on a cookie sheet.

Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat.

Let it cool for ten minutes.

Beat together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt.

… Moving on to Fleetwood Mac… beepAhhhhhhh!!!

Mix in the chocolate and flour.

Stir until it’s smooth. Pour a little batter in each ramekin. Add the chocolate ball in the center.

Cover with more batter and bake for fifteen minutes.

 Believe me, these cakes are incredible!

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I had to make more popping cupcakes before the 4th of July. Okay, it was really Arielle who did most of the baking. I supervised. These cupcakes are very easy and festive. Change the colors and they could be used for a space themed birthday party.

First we used a red velvet cake mix. See… very easy.

Lovely red.

We melted blue chocolate wafers in the microwave.

Sprinkled food glitter into the bottom of a star mold, poured a tiny bit of chocolate, added some pop rocks and then covered the pop rocks with more chocolate. Ten minutes in the refrigerator and the chocolate stars popped right out of the mold.

Delicious and the chocolate stars fizzle in your mouth. Happy Fourth of July!

By the way – if you like this blog be sure to subscribe to it via email so you get informed of every new post. To do this, just click this link and give us your email address. Then simply click the confirmation text in the email you will be sent and you’re all set. Or click on the Facebook button above and click “like” on my Facebook page.Thank you.

The wonderful thing about long car rides is it allows for endless conversations about anything from the latest book we’ve read to a recipe we want to try. I sat and listened while Eric described his idea for what I’m calling – Delightful Strawberries. I’m all for Eric trying out new recipes. They’re good for my taste buds and good for this blog. It’s a win – win.

Monday night he began hulling strawberries and I grabbed my camera. While the Delightful Strawberries turned out to be absolutely scrumptious… the final pictures of them didn’t turn out well. Here’s what happened. I decided to wait until the chocolate hardened to take the last shots. Eric, Kai and I turned on Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of The Ring while we waited. If you have seen Fellowship of the Ring you know it’s a LONG movie. By the time it was over I was half asleep and in no mood to make strawberries look pretty for a picture. When I took the berries out of the fridge I realized I should have put parchment paper under them. I was left holding a strawberry with half its chocolate coating stuck to the plate. I ate it. Then I ate three or four or five more because they were incredible and because I was feeling sorry for myself after watching a movie based off of J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. He was a brilliant writer. Gollum  has to be one of my all-time favorite characters. The lesson… when faced with feelings of inadequacy over an artist’s brilliant work – eat chocolate covered, cream cheese filled strawberries. You’ll feel better… for a minute or two.

So, the strawberries don’t look tasty but believe me they are! Here’s the recipe. Make sure to place parchment paper under the chocolate.

Ingredients:

  • Pint of Strawberries
  • Chopped Orange Zest (1 Teaspoon)
  • Chocolate for Dipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
  •  1/2 Teaspoon Orange liqueur
  • Parchment paper

First, hull the strawberries.

Not sure how to hull a strawberry properly. Follow this link.

Next, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and orange zest.

Pour in the liqueur, stir, and fill each strawberry with the mixture.

Dip!

We tried using a corn holder. A spoon may have worked better.

Sprinkle extra zest on the strawberry. Let the chocolate dry. Delicious!

Sorry looking strawberries that taste like heaven.

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Delightful Strawberries

Serves 12-14
Prep time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pint Strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Peel (finely chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons Cream Cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange Liqueur
  • 1 cup Chocolate (Chocolate for dipping fruit)

Directions

Step 1
Hull strawberries.
Step 2
Mix together the cream cheese, sugar, orange zest and orange liqueur.
Step 3
Fill the strawberries with the mixture and dip them in chocolate.
Step 4
Place the chocolate strawberries on parchment paper to dry. Sprinkle extra orange zest over the filling to decorate.

 

The picture above is what the cupcakes should look like. They are totally worth the effort of making them. Yummy! You can read all about my mistakes during my first baking attempt or simply scroll down and print out the recipe.

MY First Try:

What do you get when you add graduation cupcakes and the Wizard of Oz…

“I’m MEL… TING!!!” I goofed again. Twice. Okay maybe three or four times.

I had good intentions. I thought I’d add the graduation cap decoration to Arielle’s favorite cupcake. Easy? Well, I made one mistake after the next and by the end of the evening I was snapping away trying to capture the perfect photo in hopes of making it look like I knew what I was doing. No such luck. Chocolate melts super fast on hot caramel. Dah!

First, I had to go to my own blog to print out the cupcake recipe. Then I realized I hadn’t used GetMeCooking and I couldn’t easily print out the recipe. I had to copy it all down. Ugh! From now on I’m using the GetMeCooking template. Here’s the original post. Notice what I have listed on the ingredients list beside vanilla. T. Translation… teaspoon not tablespoon. See where I’m going with this? Yeah, double dah! Who puts two tablespoons of vanilla in their cupcake batter?

Me! As I’m pouring I’m thinking – wow, this is a lot of vanilla. Maybe it was supposed to be teaspoon. Nah, I would have caught the mistake on my post. I have to be right. It’s tablespoon.

Next, I discovered the cookies I bought for the graduation caps were rectangular not square. Rectangular caps? Not going to work. If I cut them there would be a non chocolate edge. I couldn’t have that. I grabbed my phone and called Eric. “Oh, dear sweet husband will you stop at the grocery store on your way home? I need vanilla extract and square-shaped chocolates.” He lovingly obliged.

Then I placed a miniature peanut butter cup under a square chocolate I had found in the refrigerator. Arielle laughed. The miniature cup was too small. I picked up my phone and texted Eric. I need 18 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups too.

The video I watched that showed how to make the graduation caps said to put the Tootsie Rolls in the microwave for a few seconds to make them easier to cut. I figured it would have the same affect on Airheads. I only had one white Airhead left in a half eaten box. Apparently, the white mystery flavor tastes the best. I placed it in the microwave and… it stuck like glue to the plate. I picked up my phone and texted. And I need about five white Airheads.

The cupcake batter smelled more like vanilla than chocolate. I knew. Still, I had to keep going and place the cupcakes into my old failing oven. I have to guestimate on the temperature and time when I place anything in it to bake. It makes baking an interesting game of chance. There’s a chance my ingredients will be fully cooked or a chance the undercooked eggs will give us salmonella. I grabbed my phone. And a new oven.

I took the cupcakes out of the oven to check them no less than eight times. Cooked or uncooked that was the question. I melted the caramel for the topping. By this time Eric was home from work and shopping, teens were about to arrive and everyone was hungry for dinner. Dishes and bags of unused candy bars and rectangular cookies covered the counter. Ollie barked at every sound that resembled a knock because he knew company was coming and my nerves had had enough of cooking.I just wanted to finish and go for a peaceful walk.

I spooned the caramel on the cupcakes, placed the graduation cap on top and went to get my camera. A few final pictures and I could enjoy the post rain shower coolness of the Florida evening. I returned to take my perfect shot and… that’s when the belated thought finally arrived. Chocolate will melt on hot caramel.

HOT CARAMEL with a Reese’s peanut butter cup slowly melting on top equals a kitchen filled with laughter. Mom messed up again. Three words: Epic Fail Cake.

Just as an experiment I decided not to tell my family about all the extra vanilla. Turns out two tablespoons of vanilla won’t destroy the cupcake taste. Although it may prevent it from completely baking. Hard to tell with my mystery oven. The cupcakes fell apart. Was it the oven or all the vanilla? I won’t know until Friday when I give them another try.

Eric still loved the graduation cupcakes and so far so good… he’s not sick! He added a bit of whipped cream to the melting mess because two chocolate bars, a brownie cupcake, caramel and a peanut butter cup are not quite enough sugar.

I’m going to list this post as inspirational because my failure should inspire you to do better:) I’ve even entered everything into GetMeCooking so the recipe is easy to print. Remember sometimes T. means teaspoon and not tablespoon. Measure cautiously. For the record. From now on I’m going to list Teas. and Tab. My web of a brain needs it.

Graduation Cupcakes

Serves 18
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 23 minutes
Total time 43 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Occasion Casual Party
Website Kd Rausin's Parenting with a dash of inspiration.

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 5 Candy Bars
  • 4oz Unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 1/2 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt

Topping

  • 30 Caramel Candies
  • 1 tablespoon Heavy Cream

Graduation Cap

  • 18 Square Chocolate
  • 18 Peanut Butter Cups
  • 6-8 White and Red Air Heads
  • 18 Mini M&M's

Graduation Cap (Optional)

  • 1 can Chocolate Frosting

Directions

Step 1
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cupcake pan. You may want to use different color liners for each candy bar filling. Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
Step 2
Melt the butter and chocolate for 90 seconds. Stir.
Step 3
Add the sugar. Stir.
Step 4
Add one egg at a time - stirring in between.
Step 5
Finally add the vanilla, flour, and salt and stir some more.
Step 6
Cut the candy bars into bite size pieces.
Step 7
Place a tablespoon of batter in each cupcake liner and then add a piece of candy bar.
Step 8
Cover the candy bar with more batter. Bake the cupcakes for 23 minutes.
Step 9
During this time prepare the graduation caps. Place a dab of chocolate icing or melted chocolate onto the peanut butter cup. Then secure the square chocolate on top of the peanut butter cup. Add the mini M&M on top of the square chocolate also using the frosting to keep it in place. Cut the Airheads to look like a scroll and a tassle for the cap. My student's school colors are black and red so that's why I chose red. Use any color Airhead you like.
Step 10
Melt the caramels and cream.
Step 11
Drip the caramel topping on each cupcake and let it COOL. (You can see from my picture what happens when you add a chocolate cap to warm caramel.) Dab some frostng onto the caramel and place the peanut butter cup cap onto the frosting. Do the same for the scroll.

My Second Try:

I had to add a picture of what they look like when the caramel cools before you add the cap. I did it! And those who were brave enough for all that chocolate said they were awesome. Yipee!

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzels:

Surprise! I’m posting two treats in one day and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that today is the last day of the month and I’m trying to reach the readership goal I set for myself with the blog. Nope, not at all.

My chocolate covered pretzels were a big hit at the kids Halloween party so I made some for spring. I happened to have the peanut butter jar nearby which got me thinking. What if I covered the pretzel in peanut butter and then dipped it in chocolate? Wow! Why didn’t I think of that before? They were awesome!

The pretzels are easy to make and delicious. I found the colored chocolate and sprinkles at Michaels. Simply melt the chocolate in the microwave. I set it for 20 second intervals. Stir. Smooth some peanut butter over the pretzel and then spoon on the chocolate. Decorate, place on parchment paper and refrigerate for ten to fifteen minutes. Enjoy!

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