Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole


Not to make you jealous or anything, but as you read this, I am sitting on the beach in Hawaii with my family. We are having a long Thanksgiving vacation on the white sandy beaches of Kauai. Aaahhhh . . . . Which mean the traditional Thanksgiving just went out the window. No cooking this year.

However, being the Thanksgiving purist that I am, I had to cook a traditional Turkey dinner before I left. So I will leave you with a small holiday recipe. You will never use marshmallows again with your sweet potatoes or yams, this is the recipe of all recipes for sweet potatoes. I had to compliment myself at least 5 times at the dinner table, not to mention all the other compliments.

6 large sweet potatoes or yams boiled, peeled and mashed (don't over cook!)
1/4 c butter melted
3 eggs
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste.

1 c brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1 c chopped pecans
1/3 c butter
1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After the potatoes have cooled, add the eggs, sugar, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Transfer into a oven proof baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the potatoes have puffed and set. Meanwhile combine the topping ingredients till well combined. Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, you can put the topping on and return it to the oven for 10 or 15 more minutes until the topping is browned and caramelized. However, the great thing about this recipe is you can make the casserole a day or two in advance. You can put the topping on cover it and put it in the fridge, and on the day of serving put it into the oven for 20-25 minutes till the topping is brown and caramelized.
This is what it looks like when you put it in the fridge, before you cook it the second time.

This recipe is so dang good! If you are responsible for bringing the yams to Thanksgiving dinner this year and you bring this, the host is going to secretly hate you for upstaging her, and you are going to love it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cake Bites


These cake bites have been on my list a long time. It was Father's Day. I was at church. At our church they always give a small gift to the dads on Father's Day. Since Fairb was out of town, I didn't even bother to see what they were handing out. I friend of mine asked me later in the church service if I had tasted what they gave to the dads. When I said no, she gave me a look like I was missing something VERY important. So I immediately hunted some down. Luckily my own father goes to the same church and so I poached his gift. On a small plate were a variety of little truffles of different colors and flavors. I went for the yellow one, assuming it was something lemon. Oh my goodness, total ambrosia! Dense, moist lemon cake dipped in white chocolate. So of course I had to go for the rest. Red velvet, peanut butter, strawberry, mint, vanilla, and chocolate. As far as my dad was concerned, these cake bites never existed, they were all mine.
The first thing I did when I got home was to call the master mind behind these cake bites. I didn't even have to ask who had made these, it had Jodi's name all over them. She is a culinary genius (and a loyal reader of the blog, love ya Jodi!), and she managed to make to make probably 600 cake bites for all the dad's in our church (aka ward for all of you who speak Mo'). I demanded to know how she made them, to which she happily told me, ignoring the fact that I was acting completely manic. They have been on my mind ever since, but not till now have I tried to attempt them on my own, the flavor possibilities are endless with cake bites, and they are darn easy to do. Jodi told me the basic formula, bake a cake, mix crumbled cake with frosting or filling, shape into balls, dip in chocolate. The flavor combinations are endless.

First you must bake a cake. The first time I did this, I used a spiced cake mix, but the second time, the store (curse you wal-mart) didn't have a spice cake mix so I got a yellow cake mix and I liked it better.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

1 yellow box cake
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t clove

mix well, add;

4 eggs
4 oz cream cheese (half a pkg)
half can of pumpkin puree
1/2 c oil
1/4 c water

Beat until well combined. Bake in a cake pan at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes till done.

While the cake is baking, prepare cream cheese frosting;

1 8 0z package cream cheese, softened
3 T butter softened
1 t vanilla
2 1/2- 3 c powdered sugar

First beat the cream cheese and butter together till smooth. Add vanilla and beat till smooth. Add powdered sugar 1/2 c at a time and continue to beat. Add sugar till desired thickness and taste is reached.

Once the cake is done, while it is still warm, scoop the cake out into a large bowl. Add about 1 1/2 cups of the cream cheese frosting to the cake and combine well.

Once the cake mixture is cool enough to handle, using a mini ice cream scoop or a big spoon make ping pong size balls. Roll them in your hand to make them as round and as smooth as possible. Arrange them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. This recipe will make about 32-36 cake bites. You don't need to freeze them completely, but you want them hard, and cold enough that you can dip them in chocolate with ease.

Once the cake bites are chilled properly, it is time to melt the chocolate. I recommend using the dipping chocolate disks, and not chocolate chips. I melt my chocolate over simmering water, but I know you can melt them in the microwave (I don't have a microwave, I know, I know, I am weird, the microwave is the devils machine). It is time to dip. Just drop the cake bite into the chocolate and roll it around till coated. Scoop it out with a spoon and carefully roll it off the spoon back onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment.

Then you can garnish the tops with milk chocolate, sprinkles, or anything else fancy. Some friends of mine, turned their cake bites into eyeballs for Halloween.

These are divine, they taste like pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The good news about this recipe I gave you is that it make an amazing spiced pumpkin bunt cake.


Use the exact cake recipe and frosting recipe. Just bake it in a bunt pan for the same amount of time, just check it with a toothpick to make sure it is done. Use the same cream cheese frosting. Put the frosting in a pastry bag, or ziplock bag and chill the frosting before you pipe it onto the cake. You don't even need a pastry tip, just cut the end of the bag and run it in lines down the cake.

Can't wait to try my next flavor of cake bites. Thanks Jodi for introducing them to me!!