Sunday, October 28, 2012

Oreo Play Up Dessert!

Oreo Play Up Dessert!

I recently won an Oreo giveaway hosted by Love From The Oven.  Yay!  The prize package consisted of 1 package of Halloween edition Oreo cookies, 1 Crate and Barrel Halloween plate and spider spatula, 1 container of Wilton Halloween sprinkles, 1 package of (50) Wilton Halloween cupcake liners and a fall decorated apron, along with 3 Play Up Dessert! recipe cards.

They asked us to play with the ingredients and share our creations.  After looking through the goodies and recipe cards, I decided to use the same concept as the Oreo Spider Web Cookie Pizza, only modifying it slightly.

Black Cat Cookie Tarts
adapted from Kraft Recipes

24 Halloween OREO Cookies, divided
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 1/2 c. whipping or heavy cream, divided
1 pkg. (3.4 oz) vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 c. cold milk
8 small round candies
2 Tbsp. Halloween sprinkles

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Crush 22 cookies to form fine crumbs; mix with butter.  Divide mixture between 4 mini tart pans, sprayed with cooking spray.  Press onto bottom and sides.  Bake 4 min.; cool.

Meanwhile, microwave semi-sweet chocolate and 1/4 cup cream in a microwaveable bowl on high 1- 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 sec, until the chocolate is completely melted  and mixture is well blended.

Whip remaining cream on high until cream is thick, or soft peaks form.  DO NOT over beat!  Set aside.  In another bowl, beat pudding mix and milk 2 min.  (Pudding will be thick.)  Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding, until well combined.  Fill tart pans with pudding mixture, spreading with an offset spatula, to within 1/2 inch of edge.

Carefully cut 2 Oreo cookies into quarters.  Use 1 quartered cookie piece for each cat's ear.  Place small round candies onto each cat's face, for the eyes.  If you don't have candies, simply use the chocolate mixture you made earlier.

Spoon chocolate mixture into resealable plastic bag; snip off small piece from one bottom corner of bag.  Use to draw pupils in eyes, whiskers, nose and mouth. Sprinkle Halloween sprinkles onto wet chocolate of the mouth.

Chill for 1 hour before serving.  Or, honestly, you can eat it right away.  Keep refrigerated though, if not serving immediately.  Enjoy!

We had a great time whipping up this fun Halloween treat!  Thank you so much Oreo and Love From the Oven for the giveaway!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Harry Potter Week: Day 5 - Butterbeer!

Harry Potter Week: Day 5 - Butterbeer!

How could we have a complete menu of all things Harry Potter if we didn't have Butterbeer?  Obviously, we could not.  The movies always made me wonder what exactly butterbeer was.  Was it actually an alcoholic beverage?  Is it more like a virgin buttered rum?  And, if there is in fact no booze in it, then why does Hermoine act liquored up and hang all over Harry and Ron while walking back to Hogwarts?  Of course, you could look online here and find out what it really is, but where's the fun in that?

I love that it's spilling over the side!

Anyhoo, I borrowed a recipe, but I adapted it a bit.  Actually, I tried it both ways. I think it's a matter of preference.

adapted slightly from Bakingdom

6 12-ounce bottles chilled cream soda
3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) imitation butter flavor, or 2 tablespoons clarified butter

 2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons sugar, or splenda for sugar free version
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons imitation butter (if using clarified butter, double the amount to 3 teaspoons, or 1 tablespoon)

I've tried both cream soda and root beer.  I found the cream soda with the sugared whipped cream to be a littttttttle too sweet.  Maybe reduce the amount of sugar in the foam?  I didn't try that, but what I did try, was to substitute root beer instead.  It wasn't so sickly sweet with the root beer, but like I said, it's a matter of preference.  It would also be pretty tasty with a shot or two of rum.  =)

Thank you all for joining me this week during my Harry Potter madness!!  And, thank you J K Rowling for your creative mind.  I still enjoy the movies and watch them every so often.  In fact, most of the food that I featured this week was for a low key Harry Potter Fest.  We almost made it through all the movies over Memorial Day Weekend. 

Someday, I'd like to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I should probably start saving now.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Harry Potter Week: Day 4 - Cauldron Cakes

Harry Potter Week: Day 4 - Cauldron Cakes!

Day 4 brings us to Cauldron Cakes! Yay! They're so cute, with their little chocolate handles, chocolate chip "feet" on the bottom and wickedly good filling. As with any recipe, there are so many variations, you just need to choose what you like! 
Cakes after baking.

Pipe a ring or two of frosting around the edges

I chose to use my favorite chocolate cake recipe, which is actually the Hershey recipe, and the Hershey frosting recipe too. However, you could definitely use your own go-to cake recipe, or even a boxed mix is good. Buttercream or a ganache would be nice for the frosting. 

Next, I piped in some filling into the cake, and filled the top of the cauldron.

I added the little chocolate handles I had made earlier (melted chocolate, piped onto some parchment in the shape you want).

The filling options are endless. You could really have a field day here. A chocolate pudding to resemble the Liquid Death potion Harry concocts in the Half Blood Prince. Or, maybe a gold dusted chocolate filling like Darla has done, to resemble Felix Felicis. I chose to do a purple whipped cream filling, perhaps as a love potion gone wrong? Not sure, but purple is one of those Halloween colors, and I thought it would look good. So, there we go.

Deilicious Cauldron Cakes for everyone!

Tomorrow is the last day of our tribute to Harry Potter. See you then!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Harry Potter Week: Day 3 - Treacle Tart, Chocolate Frogs and Licorice Wands

Harry Potter Week: Day 3 - Treacle Tart, Chocolate Frogs and Licorice Wands

Well, if you're anything like me, when you see the scene on Hogwart's Express with the trolley car, you wanted to try everything on it!  All those magical goodies, waiting to be explored!  Chocolate frogs that actually jumped, Bertie Botts every flavor beans (ok, maybe not those), licorice wands, acid pops, cockroach clusters...and the list goes on.  Another favorite of Harry's, in the books, at least, was treacle tart.  I had to do a little research to see exactly what treacle tart was, but I was finally able to track down a couple of recipes.

Darla at Bakingdom did an amazing job of some mini treacle tarts.  But, I didn't have any cute little tins like she had, so I opted for a larger tart pan.  I did borrow her recipe though.  I don't think she'll mind.  In fact, I think we could be BFF's...if she only knew who I was.  I mean, she loves sci-fi, I love sci-fi.  She loves baking, I love baking.  Heck, our names even rhyme!  Clearly, it was meant to be.  Treacle tarts, however, were not.  Ignoring the fact that the darned thing spilled over, I really didn't like the taste of it.  Maybe it's a British thing?  Not sure.  But, the taste of molasses was SOOOO overwhelming, it overpowered all other flavors.  It was more like molasses tart, with a side of burnt crust.  Ok, the burnt crust was my fault, but the treacle just wasn't happening.  Click here for the complete recipe, courtesy of Bakingdom.

Chocolate Frogs

I had more luck with the chocolate frogs.  I couldn't get them to jump though.

Cute little frog mold.

Coat inside with chocolate.
I melted down some caramel with a little milk.

Mixed in some chopped pecans.

Another filling was chocolate with rice krispies.

Fill the frogs with caramelly goodness.

Cover with chocolate.

Chill in fridge, and voila!  Chocolate Frogs!!

Licorice Wands

The licorice wands weren't a complete success either, mainly because my 4 year old son was eating all the sprinkles off helping me.

Basically, melt some vanilla candy coating, and dip the licorice in.

Next, dip licorice into a bowl of sprinkles, turning to coat all sides.

If you'd like some better more recipes and pictures, check these out.  And, these!

Tomorrow, we're conquering Cauldron Cakes!  Don't forget to come back!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Harry Potter Week: Day 2 - Mini Shepherd's Pie

Welcome to day two of Harry Potter Week!  Today, although I don't recall seeing it in either the books or the movies, we're featuring mini Shepherd's Pies.  I felt it was British enough to be included in the roster for the week.  And, they probably did eat it, they just didn't mention it!

You can find all kinds of recipes online for Shepherd's Pie.  There are some with a biscuit base.  Some very traditional, with only a few vegetables.  Some with roast chunks, etc.  I wouldn't say I used a specific recipe.  I just knew what I wanted to include.

Since I was making mini pies, I decided the best way would be for them to actually be pies!  So, I used the same pie crust that I did for the pasties.  I used my mini muffin tin, and filled it with the uncooked pastry dough rounds.  Since the filling would already be cooked, I wanted to go ahead and semi-bake the dough.  I baked mine at 350, for about 12 min, checking frequently.  Then, I started on the mashed potatoes.

Mashed Potatoes:
 I used about 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes.  I peeled them, then cut them into large chunks.  I put them into a pot of water and let them cook until they were nice and tender.  Then, I added waaay too much butter, milk and salt & pepper.  Blended them with my handy dandy hand mixer, and voila!  Mashed potatoes!  Set this aside, and start on your filling.  If you're a mutlitasker, feel free to start the filling while the potatoes are cooking. 

Beef is traditional, so I used hamburger meat.  I seasoned with salt and pepper, browned it slightly, then added some diced onions and potatoes.  Next, I added veggies, and lots of them.  I added peas, carrots, corn, green beans and mushrooms.  I know this is not a traditional Shepherd's Pie, but I thought it would taste better.  Then, I made a roux in the same pan, to form a gravy.  I added beef broth to thin it. I let everything cook together for a few minutes, then tasted it for seasoning.  Feel free to add more herbs or any other spices you want.  At this point, you could let it cool, then refrigerate or freeze until you're ready to use it

Fill each of your mini crusts about 3/4 full of filling.  Top with a dollop of potatoes and spread around, to reach the edges. Then, bake again at 350, for about 20 min, or until everything is nice and toasty.  Careful not to burn the crusts!

I'm sure everyone at Hogwarts would have gobbled these up!  They are so cute and delicious too!  Enjoy!  Check back with me tomorrow for Day Three:  Treacle Tart!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Harry Potter Week: Day 1 - Pasties

Welcome to Harry Potter Week!  As promised, I'm doing a weeks worth of Harry Potter food, based on the movies and books.  Having read the books (read: listened to in the car on my hour commute to work) and watched the movies, I get a little confused where I got the ideas for the food.  So, if you see something that clearly wasn't in the movies, it was probably in the book.

My family is a huge sci-fi fan, so Harry Potter was a natural fit from the start.  I know some people just don't get into the whole fantasy thing, but who wants real life stuff?  Enough of that goes on around me on a daily basis.  I don't need that in my down time too.  Am I right?!  Exactly.

Pumpkin Pasties, Cornish Pasties, Mini Shepherd's Pies, Chocolate Frogs and assorted veggies.

Anyhoo, I thought I'd start off by delving into the land of Pasties.  Now, being an American, it's hard not to giggle when saying, or even reading this word, because it means something entirely different over here.  However, in the UK, a pasty is like a savory hand pie.  I made two varieties.  One savory Chicken Cornish and a sweet Pumpkin Pasty.

Pumpkin Pasties
adapted slightly from Caroline Russock Cook the Book
reprinted with permission from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Buchholz

I used my go-to pie crust recipe, which is the Martha Stewart recipe, but you can use whatever recipe you like, or a store bought one, if you prefer.

The filling is really quite delicious.  Except of course, if you do what I did, and forget to add the sugar!  Fear not though, I just added it after it was cooked, and it was fine.  The whole pie cooks again, so the sugar will dissolve if you happen to forget. =)


Cornish Pasties
Adapted from Diamonds for Dessert

I used the same crust recipe as before.  The Diamonds for Dessert recipe is for a beef pasty, but I wanted to make it a little healthier, so I chose to do chicken.  Everything else was pretty much the same, except I subbed chicken stock, for beef stock.

I thought the thyme in the filling was a little overwhelming, but when you taste it in the pie, it balances out nicely.  I might also reduce the salt a smidge.  Start out with a little, then add to your liking.

All of the dishes I'm featuring this week, I made for a Harry Potter party back in May.  And, let me say, these pasties were a huge hit!  They were among the first things to go!

Come back tomorrow for another Harry Potter recipe:  Mini Shepherd's Pies!!

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