Malted Milk Ball Cake

Got this recipe from here and made it for Dad’s 74th birthday. It’s essentially a giant Whopper cake. I think everyone agreed it was pretty much one of the best cakes ever.

For the Cake:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups malted milk powder
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the cake pans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1  cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup malted milk balls, coarsely chopped

 

Process:

  1. Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat 2 (8-inch) cake pans with oil and flour, and tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
  2. Combine the malted milk powder, measured flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.
  3. Combine the eggs, sugar, measured oil, and vanilla in a separate large bowl and whisk until combined and smooth. Add a third of the flour mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Add half of the milk and whisk until smooth. Continue with the remaining flour mixture and milk, alternating between each and whisking until all of the ingredients are just incorporated and smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cakes start pulling away from the sides of the pans, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and transfer them to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each and turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.
  6. To frost, place a cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round, a tart-pan bottom, or a cake plate. Evenly spread about a third of the frosting over the top of the layer. Stack the second layer and evenly spread another third of the frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. (Don’t worry about looks at this point—this is just a base coat, or crumb layer, and it will be covered up later.) Place in the refrigerator until the frosting is set up and slightly hard, about 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, ensuring it’s as even as possible. Press the malt balls into the frosting around the sides of the cake and serve.

 

For the Frosting:

Ingredients:

  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup malted milk powder
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Procedure:

  1. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a paddle attachment, and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated.
  2. Increase speed to medium high and beat until mixture is light and whipped, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and return to low speed until ingredients are incorporated. Increase speed to medium high and continue whipping until frosting is evenly combined and light, about 3 minutes. Use to frost cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

whopper_cake

Eggnog Biscotti

If you like eggnog, there’s really nothing not to like here. Got this recipe from here.

Ingredients

For the Biscotti:

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp rum extract
  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

For the Glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp eggnog
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Procedure:

  1. In mixer, beat butter with granulated sugar until creamy.
  2. Add eggs one at a time and beat well before adding the next one.
  3. Add rum extract, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape dough into  two 12in x 2 x 2in rolls. (Square the corners and the top)
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 28-30 minutes.
  6. Remove. Allow to cool about 10 minutes. Slice biscotti into 12-14 slices (about 3/4-1 inch each). Turn them on sides and put back in the oven. Bake 20 minutes.
  7. Remove and cool completely before adding glaze.
  8. For the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, eggnog and nutmeg together until desired consistency. Drizzle on cooled biscotti.
  9. Allow to set (about 20-30 minutes) – or refrigerate to “speed set” the glaze.

Icebox cookies (sugar free)

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour (will vary in dough modifications)
  • 16 tbsp (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup xylitol
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract.

Procedure:

Cream the butter and the Xylitol and honey together. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time. Then, mix in the vanilla extract. Add the flour to the mixture and mix just until a dough forms and no flour streaks remain. Split the dough in half. Place each half on a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log, wrapping each log in the plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Once the dough is firm, remove from the refrigerator. Slice 1/4″ thick slices from the dough logs and place the cookies onto the baking sheets. Chill cookie slices for 10 minutes. Place in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then move the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Makes 4 dozen cookies

Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz Cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup Xylitol
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice

Salted Caramels

This is taken pretty much verbatim from an Alton Brown Recipe. I’ve played with some different stuff, but really the only difference is the amount of soy sauce I use. Also, I dip mine in chocolate before I sprinkle salt on top.

Ingredients

14 1/2 ounces sugar (~2 cups)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1.5 teaspoons soy sauce
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup, and cream of tartar in a heavy 4-quart saucepan and put over high heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the heavy cream and soy sauce in a liquid measuring cup. Have this and the butter standing by.
  4. Remove the lid from the sugar mixture, and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When the sugar mixture reaches 230 degrees F, reduce the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the syrup is a golden color and is approaching 300 degrees F, about 6 to 7 minutes. At this point, there is less likelihood of any crystallization, so gently swirl the pan to break up any hot pockets.
  5. When the temperature approaches 350 degrees F, it will turn deep amber. Remove the pan from the heat, and gently swirl again to break up all of the hot pockets. Cool for 2 minutes.
  6. Carefully incorporate the cream and soy mixture and the butter into the pan. Stir to combine. Return the caramel to medium heat, stir until the butter is completely melted, and continue cooking until it reaches 255 degrees F. Remove from the heat and pour into the parchment-lined pan, tap gently to release air bubbles.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack for a couple of hours and then cut into 1-inch pieces ( I use a pizza cutter).
  8. Now you can dip them in chocolate! Here are some good resources on tempering chocolate.

The quick version:

  • Bring the chocolate to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (46 C) for dark chocolate or 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 C) for milk or white chocolate.
  • Seed the remaining chocolate and cool to 90 F (32 C) for dark chocolate or 87 F (30 C) for milk or white chocolate

Shortbread Cookies

My mom has made these every year at Christmas for as long as I can remember. So now we make them at Christmastime. Doesn’t get much simpler – or tastier!

McSkimming recipe from Scotland:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. of room temp butter
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1&1/2 to 2 cups sifted flour

 

Procedure:

  1. Mix sugar and butter by hand until sugar seems pretty much desolved….it never desolves completely.
  2. Gradually add all purpose flour by handful until nice rolling consistency. Use 1&1/2 and then put some on rolling board to make up the rest. It will be VERY sticky and you need the extra flour to keep it from sticking to everything-including you. Dough will be soft.
  3. Put on rolling board and kneed with heel of hand 15-20 times.
     
  4. Shape into circle about 3/4″ thick.
  5. Cut into diagonal diamonds.
  6. Gather up the rest of the dough and keep repeating until used up.
  7. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1″ apart.
  8. Prick with fork clear to the bottom of cookies three times so they’ll cook evenly.
  9. Cook somewhere between 250 to 300 degrees, 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your oven.

They’ll still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will crisp up after and hour or so.
Don’t let them get brown and it’s even better if you can cool on pan.

Crustless Cheesecake

This makes 1 9-inch cheesecake.

 

IMG_4160

Ingredients:

  • (4) 8 ounce packages cream cheese (the regular variety, not light Neufchatel cream cheese) at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar (or use 1 1/6 cups xylitol for a sugar-free version. Or if you’re using swerve, I use 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350degrees Fahrenheit and generously butter a 9-inch springfoam pan. Wrap the outside of the pan with foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides.

Place an 8 ounce package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.

Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar, then beat in the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after adding each one. Blend in the heavy cream. At this point, mix the filling only until completely blended. Be careful not to overmix the batter.

Gently spoon the cheese filling into the springform pan. Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake the cheescake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the sides of the springfoam pan. Slide the cake off of the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate. Or if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate. If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Optional stuff:

Ingredients for the Macaroon Crunch

  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts (almonds, peacans, and/or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup angel flake coconut

 

Ingredients for the Strawberry Topping

  • 1 quart large ripe strawberries
  • 1 cup strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

 

Directions for the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake

Macaroon crunch: Spread the nuts and coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 F oven until golden and crunchy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set the crunch aside to cool.

To prepare the strawberries: Wash, hull, and sort through the strawberries, then pat them dry with paper towels. Starting at the outside edge of the cheesecake, arrange the berries on their sides, in rows, with ends pointing toward the edge of the cake. Continue until the top of the cake is completely covered by strawberries.

Now make the strawberry topping: Melt the strawberry jelly and apricot preserves together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Strain and drizzle the warm jelly over the berries. Sprinkle the macaroon crunch ina 1 1/2-inch border around the edge of the cheesecake, covering the berries around the outside edge. Loosely cover the entire cake with plastic wrap, being careful not to let the glaze stick to the wrap.

Refrigerate the cake until it’s completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. Remove the cake from the pan and serve it chilled. Wrap any leftover cake in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

ENJOY!!

Coconut Macaroons

Not even a question. THE best coconut macaroon recipe ever. Straight from “The Joy Of Cooking“.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flaked or shredded sweetened coconut

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Grease or line 2 cookie sheets.
Stir together in a large bowl until combined all ingredients except for coconut. When well combined, stir in until blended the coconut.
Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.
Yield: About thirty-six 1 1/2 inch cookies.

 

Mint Chocolate Ganache Cake Balls

Ingredients

 

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (16 ounce) container prepared cream cheese frosting

 

Directions

 

  1. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions using any of the recommended pan sizes. When cake is done, crumble while warm into a large bowl, and stir in the frosting until well blended.
  2. You are suppose to use a melon baller to scoop out the mixture, but I make them a bit bigger. I use my hands and scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and roll into a ball.
  3. Lay the balls on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper. Once all of the cake balls are rolled, put in the fridge or freezer for an hour.
  4. Take cold cake balls and dip in Mint Chocolate Ganache. Place the dipped balls on cookie sheet with parchment paper, put in fridge until ready to serve. (These will taste better the second day, once the ganache has really set. If you make them the day you are serving, make sure you have at least 3-4 hours, once dipped, to refrigerate.)

 

Mint Chocolate Ganache

  • 16 ounces chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • peppermint extract (I add to taste, til it is as minty as I like it:)

 

I do this recipe in two batches, starting with 8 ounces of choc chips and 1 cup of cream. It is just easier to melt this way and it is nice to have a fresh batch to work with, half way through dipping. Since I really don’t have a recipe for my ganache and I eye everything, I am enclosing instructions from a recipe of Alton Brown’s. I have used this before and it is now the method I always use when making Ganache- it’s just so easy.
Place the heavy cream into a heat-proof bowl and microwave on high just until simmering, approximately 30 seconds. Remove the cream from the microwave and add the chocolate. Make sure the chocolate is completely submersed in the cream. Allow to sit for 2 minutes. Gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.