Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

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Serves: 12-16

Ingredients:

For the Brownie Layer:

3⅓ oz (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
2 oz (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
4 oz unsalted butter
7¾ oz (1 cup +2 tbsp) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Mousse:

9 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1¾ cups heavy cream, divided use
Pinch salt
2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tbsp water

For the Raspberry Mousse:

1½ cups fresh raspberries
9 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream, divided use
Pinch salt
2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tbsp water
Pink food coloring, optional

For the Vanilla Mousse:

9 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1½ cups heavy cream, divided use
4 tbsp honey
Pinch salt
2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)
To Finish:
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 oz heavy cream
1 pint fresh raspberries
Chocolate curls or other decorations

Instructions:

To Make the Brownie Layer:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment and spray well with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.

Set aside for now.

Cube the butter and place it in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Add the sugar, and stir until it melts. Don’t allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool to lukewarm. Once it has cooled, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each addition.

The mixture will start out grainy, but as you add the eggs, it will become shiny and smooth. Whisk the vanilla in.

Finally, add the dry ingredients, and stir them in with a spatula.

Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan, and bake it for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.

Cool the brownie layer completely before proceeding.

To Make the Mousse Layers:

Prepare your pan. You need a 9-inch pan with sides at least 3 inches tall, and the ability to remove the bottom. Either a cake pan with a removable bottom or a springform pan will work.

Line the inner wall with a 4-inch high acetate cake collar or strip of aluminum foil or waxed paper.

Make sure the acetate or waxed paper is long enough so that it overlaps itself, and if you are using foil/waxed paper, make sure you cut the strip tall enough to extend at least an inch over the pan’s sides, since the cake is about 4 inches tall.

Place a cake cardboard in the bottom of the pan, then carefully place the baked on top of the cardboard.

Prepare the chocolate mousse layer:

combine the chocolate, ¾ cup of cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Pour it into a large bowl, and let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

While you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool, prepare the gelatin. Whisk together the gelatin and the cold water in a small bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water.

When the chocolate is at room temperature, microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is melted. Whisk the melted gelatin and chocolate together.

Whip the remaining 1 cup heavy cream to firm peaks. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate, and once it’s incorporated, gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Scrape the mousse on top of the brownie, and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for 25 minutes, until the mouse has started to set and is firm enough that a second layer can be added.

For the raspberry mousse, make a quick puree by blending ½ cup fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor.

Pour them through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and measure out ¼ cup raspberry puree. (If you have extra puree, save it for another use.)
Combine the white chocolate, raspberry puree, ½ cup of heavy cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.

Continue to make this layer the same way you made the chocolate layer, by melting and cooling the chocolate, whisking in melted gelatin, and folding in whipped cream.

Add a few drops of pink food coloring to boost the pink color, if desired. At the very end, stir in the remaining 1 cup of fresh raspberries and pour the mousse over the chocolate mousse layer. Spread it into an even layer, and refrigerate again.

Finally, prepare the vanilla bean layer. Combine the white chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream, honey, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.

Continue to make this layer the same way you made the previous two layers. At the very end, stir in the vanilla bean paste and pour the mousse over the raspberry mousse layer. Refrigerate to set the mousse layers very well, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To finish the cake, push the bottom out from the pan, or unhinge the sides, and unwrap the acetate strip. Transfer the cake to your serving platter.

Make a quick chocolate ganache by putting the chopped chocolate in a small bowl and heating the cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny mixture.

Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and use a spatula to nudge it right to the edge and over in evenly spaced drizzles. Don’t worry if the top is not smooth—it will be covered up! Add the fresh raspberries and chocolate curls on top of the cake. Refrigerate to set the ganache.

For the cleanest slices, cut the cake when it is well chilled. Use a large sharp knife, and wash it frequently between cuts. For the best taste and texture, allow the cake slices to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Store Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake, well-wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Author: Elizabeth LaBau
Recipe by SugarHero at http://www.sugarhero.com/chocolate-raspberry-mousse-cake/

Mushroom Florentine Pasta

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A classic and easy creamy pasta dish made with mushroom, garlic, cheese and spinach.

Author: ©Amy Johnson | She Wears Many Hats
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

8 ounces linguine pasta, uncooked (same amount of other pasta may be substituted)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces Gruyere cheese (or Gouda), shredded
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Instructions:

Begin cooking pasta according to package instructions.
Whisk together flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper.

Set aside.
While pasta cooks, in a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

When oil begins to ripple add sliced mushrooms, sauté for 6 minutes. Add minced garlic, sauté for 2 more minutes until garlic just begins to brown.

Whisk flour, chicken broth, milk, salt and pepper mixture into mushrooms and garlic, bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.

Add shredded cheese, stir until cheese has melted.
Mix in spinach, allow to wilt.

Add drained pasta to skillet, toss to coat.

Recipe by She Wears Many Hats at http://shewearsmanyhats.com/mushroom-florentine-pasta-recipe/

Mini Lasagna Cups

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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 12 servings

Mini Lasagna Cups

The easiest, simplest lasagna you will ever make, conveniently made into single-serving portions!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 Italian sausage links, casing removed
1 cup marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
24 2-inch won ton wrappers
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 12-cup standard muffin tin or coat with nonstick spray.

Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat and stir in marinara sauce.
Season ricotta cheese with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.

Fit a wonton wrapper into each of the 12 muffin tins, pressing carefully to make sure there is an opening in the center. Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese.

Top with 1 tablespoon marinara mixture and 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese; repeat with one more layer.

Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the wonton wrappers are golden brown.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
Notes

Adapted from Kevin & Amanda

http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/12/mini-lasagna-cups/

Peanut Butter Maple Cream Sandwich Cookie

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yield: 48 COOKIES; 24 SANDWICHES

INGREDIENTS:

COOKIES:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

FILLING:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silpat baking mats.
Cream butter, peanut butter, and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add egg, vanilla, milk, and salt and baking soda. Mix until combined. Slowly add flour and mix until dough comes together.
Scoop 1 tablespoon sized balls of dough. Place on cookie sheet 2” apart. Press each cookie down with the tines of a fork to create the criss cross pattern.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they just begin to brown. Cool completely on cookie sheets.
Make the filling: beat butter and peanut butter until smooth using a hand mixer. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, mix until crumbly. Add both extracts. Start by adding 2 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream, then add more 1 tablespoon at a time until you have the desired thickness for filling.
Turn half the cookies upside dow and spread with filling. Sandwich with the remaining cookies.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Stuffed with Cream Cheese

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Yield: 30 cookies, depending on the size

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Stuffed with Cream Cheese

Ingredients
Cookies:
1 box spice cake mix (or yellow cake mix plus 1 Tablespoon pumpkin spice-it’s what I did)
15 oz. pumpkin puree
1/2 C. oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 C. mini chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 C. powdered sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift cake mix into a large bowl to remove any lumps and add pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
3. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
4. In a stand mixer (or using a handheld beater) combine cream cheese and powdered sugar.
5. Use a cookie scoop (or a regular spoon-see notes below recipe) and fill it 1/3 of way with cookie dough, then place a little bit of cream cheese filling over the dough and then top it off with more dough. Place the full dough ball onto your cookie sheet and repeat until all the dough is used!
6. Bake for about 14 minutes or until the top of the cookies “spring” back like a cake or muffin would.
7. Let cool. Like anything pumpkin, the flavors actually taste better the next day so these are great cookies to make the day before an event :)

http://www.yourcupofcake.com/2014/10/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies-stuffed-cream-cheese.html

Glazed Cinnamon Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins

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10 minutes
Cook time 8 minutes
Total time 18 minutes
Ingredients

Muffins

3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup pumpkin spice creamer
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Glaze

3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice creamer (add a little more if necessary)
Note

Recipe makes 18 mini muffins.

Directions

Muffins
Step 1
Preheat oven to 375
In a large mixing bowl, beat all muffin ingredients except flour and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour and baking powder and mix gently just until combined. Spoon into greased mini muffin tins 3/4 full and bake 8 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Do not over bake.
Let cool. Remove from tins and add glaze.
Glaze
Step 2
Mix powdered sugar and creamer, Dip muffin tops into glaze.

Read more at http://backforsecondsblog.com/2013/10/glazed-cinnamon-pumpkin-spice-mini-muffins/#tLQzT4vKpx86sSeG.99

Amazing Microwave Lemon Bars

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Amazing Microwave Lemon Bars
25 squares

Microwave Lemons Bars are perfectly sweet with loads of tart lemon flavor!

Ingredients

CRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbls powdered sugar
1 Tbls lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon)
6 Tbls butter, melted
FILLING
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbls lemon zest (zest from 2 lemons)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from your zested lemons)
1 Tbls all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Instructions

Lightly grease a 9×9 inch microwave-safe baking dish OR line with parchment paper.

CRUST
Whisk flour, sugar and lemon zest together.
Stir in melted butter.
Press crust into prepared dish.
Microwave for three minutes at 80% power. Check to make sure the crust is firm. If not, heat for an additional 30 seconds at 80% power.
Set aside.

FILLING
Beat sugar, lemon zest, eggs, and lemon juice together.
Beat in flour, baking powder and salt and continue beating for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the filling over the crust and microwave for three minutes at 80% power. Check the filling. It should be set with just a little jiggle – much like JELLO. If it hasn’t set, microwave for an additional minute at 80% power and check again.
Let the lemon squares cool completely and then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Cut into squares, dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle additional lemon zest on if desired.
Keep refrigerated.

Apple Pie Cookies

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Ingredients:

2 refrigerated pie crusts, or homemade recipe that makes enough for a double crust pie
2 medium apples, peeled and shredded
squeeze of lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
For Topping:
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Shred apples into a bowl. Squeeze out as much water from the apples and discard, returning apples to the bowl. Add the lemon juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the apples. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust. Using a cookie cutter, cut out and even number of 2 1/2 to 3-inch circles.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush egg wash onto half of the pie crust circles. Spoon about a teaspoon of the apples into the center of the brushed circles, then top with the remaining circles. Press the edges together then crimp the edges with a fork.

Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the egg wash. In a small bowl, combine remaining cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle over the tops of the cookies, then cut small slits into the top of each cookie to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

http://stephiecooks.com/2014/06/17/apple-pie-cookies/comment-page-1/

Caramelized Banana Upside-Down Cake

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Browned butter, brown sugar, and natural banana sugars create the best tasting bananas ever. The cake is moist, springy, and fluffy thanks to buttermilk, sour cream, and oil. While baking, the bananas caramelize in a butter and brown sugar bath giving the cake it’s signature glistening top. There’s so much rich browed butter and alluring caramel flavor making the cake irresistible. The buttery caramel sauce seeps down into the cake after inverting, adding more moisture to an already very tender and supremely soft cake. Optionally drizzle with salted caramel before serving.

Yield: one 9-inch round cake, 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 38 to 40 minutes

Total Time: about 2 hours, for cooling

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
about 3 extra-large ripe bananas or 4 small/medium, sliced in half horizontally and then sliced in vertically (if banana is ‘fat’, slice each half into 3 or 4 long vertical pieces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (or Powdered Buttermilk, use 2 tablespoons with the dry ingredients + 1/2 cup water added with the wet)
1/3 cup sour cream (lite okay, or plain Greek yogurt may be substituted)
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salted caramel sauce for drizzling, optional (homemade or storebought)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch springform cake pan with cooking spray; set aside. A regular 9-inch round cake pan is likely going to be too shallow and is not recommended.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
Pour the butter into the cake pan. Use your finger to run a bit of butter around the side of the pan to ensure it’s well-greased.
Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter.
Fan banana slices (cut side down) out from center of pan like the spokes of a wheel covering the entire pan with banana slices. The less gaps and space between bananas, the better. Use short pieces to fill in gaps.
Add 8 to 10 short banana pieces around sides of pan (cut side down), spaced uniformly; set pan aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, optional salt; set aside.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the next 5 wet ingredients (through vanilla).
Add the wet mixture to the dry, mixing lightly with a spoon or folding with a spatula until just combined. Small lumps will be present, don’t overmix or try to stir them smooth.
Gently turn batter out into prepared pan, being careful to not disturb the banana slices on the bottom or sides of pan. Fill pan to about 3/4-full. If you have a little extra batter, discard it rather than overfilling your pan (was not a problem for me but pan sizes and depths vary).
Place pan on a cookie sheet as insurance to catch anything that may leak from springform pan and bake for about 38 to 40 minutes, or until center is set, not jiggly, lightly golden browned, and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Only go down about 1-inch with the toothpick, not all the way to the bottom where you’ll hit gooey caramelized bananas.
Place pan on a wire rack and allow cake to cool for at least 1 hour before inverting, slicing, and serving. Optionally before serving, drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Cake will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Cake base adapted from Blueberry Muffin and Buttermilk Pancakes Cake

Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.

White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

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This White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge is so smooth, so creamy, so rich with the refreshing zip of cranberries!

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
3/4 c sour cream (not light)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (5 oz) bag dried cranberries (Craisins)
Instructions

Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Combine sugar, sour cream, butter and salt in a heavy 2 qt saucepan.
Bring mixture to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, to soft ball stage (238 degrees).
Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until fully melted. This will take a few minutes :)
Stir in the marshmallow creme and vanilla extract until smooth and blended.
Stir in dried cranberries until evenly distributed.
Pour into the baking dish, cool to room temperature.
Chill in refrigerator for several hours before cutting into squares,
Store in an airtight container.
http://www.momontimeout.com/2013/11/white-chocolate-cranberry-fudge/