Friday, November 20, 2009

Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Cookie Crust

Yum, that is all I have to say, I added some of the Hazelnuts I got from OhNuts! and some Nutella to put my own spin on things. I merged 2 recipes together to get this, and I sure did like it. The cookie crust and Nutella sweetened the Mousse just perfectly and it sure was good!

Chocolate Mousse with Hazelnut Cookie Crust

For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened (or margarine)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (pecans, black-walnuts or butternuts)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and baking soda.
2. Add the butter, brown sugar, walnuts and vanilla.
3. Blend well.
4. Press the mixture, a small amount at a time, into a 9-inch pie plate, building up the sides and fluting the edge.
5. Cover the fluting with a strip of aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
6. Cook at 350 for 7 min

For the Mousse:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 + 3/4 cups chilled whipping cream
1/8 cup sugar
Chocolate shavings and/or chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Combine chocolate, vanilla and salt in processor. Bring 1/2 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. With processor running, gradually pour hot cream through feed tube and process until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

While cooling, melt some Nutella in the microwave, then poor over the the cookie crust to coat the bottom. Use as little or as much as you like :). Let cool.

Beat 1 cup cream and sugar in large bowl to stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Pour mousse into prepared crust. Chill until set, about 3-4 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)

Beat remaining 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl to firm peaks. Transfer to pastry bag fitted with medium star tip. Pipe rosettes of cream around edge of cake. Garnish with chocolate shavings and/or Hazelnuts.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A new Cookie

A friend of mine (Troy's cousin's wife :) ) and I got together on Friday to bake and to let me in on the secret to couponing.  It was a lot of fun, and we made these little beauties, Chocolate Ginger Cookies.  Neither one of us had had the combination of chocolate or ginger before so we gave it a shot, and they were good!  I like the combination of those 2 flavors, it gives sort of a mellow rich flavorful which is very pleasing to the tasties! :)  And how did couponing go?  Well I went out for a quick trip yesterday as a trial run with only a few coupons (to test the waters), and I spent $8 and saved $11!  I can definitely get a hang of that!  Can't wait to keep learning!  Thanks Laura for teaching me some skills :)  And for finding a fun recipe!

Chocolate Ginger Cookies

Makes 3 dozen

1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soften
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup molasses
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Course sugar

1. Mix together shortening, butter, brown sugar, egg and molasses.

2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Blend the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until it forms dough.

3. Mix the chocolate chips into the dough. Chill the dough for at least an hour.

4. Pre-heat oven to 375F. Scoop out the dough and shape into 1 inch balls. Place balls 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Flatten the balls slightly and sprinkle the tops with course sugar.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Alphabet Book

Gone Wild
An Endangered Animal Alphabet
By: David McLimans

I LOVE this book.  Not much to it, just an alphabet, and only in black, white, and a little red, but it really introduce kids to endangered animals and sparks some great conversation about the animals around us.  I read this to my little one last night and she was entranced by the pictures-her type of book, being 4 months old she still likes the contrast of the black and white.  I have read this book to a group of preschoolers, and they also liked this book a lot.  I think it can also be used for older kids especially to introduce discussion on endangered animals.

Banana Bread

I got an email last week from Sam at Oh! Nuts asking me if he could send me some nuts to bake with then post the items on my blog.  Of course I agreed and asked for some Hazelnuts, Macadamia Nuts, and Walnuts.  I have some big plans for the weekend or early next week, but today I made Banana Bread and used some of the Walnuts and Macadamia nuts.  I used a new recipe that I found on allrecipes because I felt like trying something new.  I read everyone's reviews on this recipe and they all loved it...but they all made their own tweaks.  So I decided to go outside my comfort zone and tweak as worked out ok.  I will give you the Original recipe with the tweaks out to the side.  I like the bread regardless.  I am a banana bread fan so I am good to go with a nice slice and warm banana bread in front of me.  Give it a try!

Best Ever Banana Bread


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (don't have buttermilk in the house? (like me) use 1 tsp of lemon juice and enough milk to make 1/3 c.  then let sit for 5 min.  Wah-lah buttermilk)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (I used 1 c white, 1/2 c brown.  Why?  I don't know)
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional) (I used walnuts and macadamia nuts)

(I also added a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and a tiny bit of vanilla)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray coating.
  2. Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and bananas.
  3. Sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir in pecans. Mix well.
  4. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
So should you choose to make this yummy bread, try using your own variation!  Don't be afraid to deviate from the recipe!  Don't be like me!  I'm recovering.  The next recipe I am going to try doesn't come from one thing, I am throwing a couple of things together, so we'll see!!!!)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pre-Christmas Christmas Cookies

I guess since I made my Halloween goody post after Halloween, I could redeem myself by posting Christmas cookies in November!  But, don't let the time of year stop you, you can make these cookies anytime!

Here is a little view of my Kitchen at it's cleanest point after I started baking......notice my Sous-Chef in the corner debating wether or not o choke herself with the teaspoon...sometimes I can be a good mother.

Here's a closer view.  She wasn't much help, she cried for the last 20 min of prep.  I would fire her, but she's just too darn cute.

Santa Surprise Cookies

Both of these recipes are from a cookbook my Mom gave al of us kids for Christmas last's fantastic!!!


      2 sticks butter, softened  

 1 cup creamy peanut butter

      1 cup light brown sugar, packed   

      1 cup sugar    

 2 eggs

      1 tsp. vanilla     

3 ½ cup flour

      ½ tsp. salt     

1 tsp. Baking Soda  

32 oz. bag Snicker Brand Miniatures 

11 oz. Dove Brand Milk chocolate    gifts

Combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars using a mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.  Then mix in the flour, salt and baking soda. Up wrap all the Snickers.  Divide dough into 1-1 ½ inch pieces and flatten.  Place a snicker in the center of each piece of dough.  Form the dough into a ball around each Snicker.  Add more if needed.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on bak

ing rack or wax paper.  For a real restive look, Drizzle melted Dove Milk chocolate gifts over the top of each cookie. 

Cashew-Carmel Cookies


  1 2/3 cup all purpose flour  

 ½ tsp. salt

      2 ½ cups roasted, salted cashews

      2 TBLS. Plus 1 tsp. canola oil   

½ cup butter, softened

      ¾ cup white sugar   

 1 large egg

      1 tsp. vanilla     

24 soft caramel-candy cubes (Kraft)

     ¼ cup heavy cream 

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix flour and salt together.  Coarsely chop 1 cup of cashews; set aside.  Process remaining 1 ½ cups cashews in a food processor until finely chopped.  Pour in oil.  Process until mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes.

Put cashew mixture, butter, and sugars in a bowl.  Mix on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Mix in egg and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour mixture.  Mix in reserved chopped cashews.

Shape dough into 1 ½ inch balls; space 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 6 minutes; gently flatten with a spatula.  Bake until bottoms are just golden, 6-7 minutes more.  Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks.

Melt caramels with cream in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring.  Let cool.  Using a spoon, drizzle caramel over cookie; let set.  Store airtight in single layers.  

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Treats (After Halloween)

Here are some festive ways to get in the spirit of Halloween and fall.  This weekend I made some Skull cupcakes and Carmel Apples.  I suppose you can use the Skull cupcake idea for next year, but the Carmel Apples are good anytime!

Skull Cupcakes
(Found on the Family Fun Website)-Sorry, I'm not creative enough to come up with these on my own..maybe next year.

Items needed:
24 Cupcakes (or however many you want to have)
12 Marshmallows
48 Junior Mints
24 Chocolate Chips
Slivered Almonds

1. Cut each Marshmallow in half, then pull down a side of the cupcake wrapper and stick the marshmallows in that lip created.
2.  Frost
3.  Add Eyes (Junior Mints), Nose (Chocolate Chip), and Teeth (Slivered Almonds cut in half)
4.  The End, Enjoy-or add any embellishments you want!  Like stitches or color the frosting, or add a bow to make a lady skull, it's up to you!

Carmel Apples
(These are simple no brainers...)

-Apples (I used 4 large ones, you can use 5 med or 6 small)
-Bag of Kraft Carmels (I don't like saying caramels like the spell check is prompting me to do)
-Popsicle Sticks (mine came with the carmels)
-Peanuts (Optional.  In my house the husband does not like them on his Carmel Apples, but I love them.  I am definitely a nut girl)
-Wax paper

1.  Follow instructions on bag :)!!!!  Or just read this...on medium low heat, melt carmels with 2 tbls of water. 
2. Coat Apples
3.  Cover in chopped nuts if desired (Quickly because the nuts wont stick if you let the carmel cool!)
4.  Refrigerate for 1 hr.
5. ENJOY!!!  We sure did!

Happy Post Halloween!  Happy NOVEMBER!  Making more cookies this week, will post them AND a new book next week!