Archive for March, 2014

Double Chocolate Mousse Torte

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Cakes and Cupcakes, Desserts

Double-Chocolate-Mousse-Torte

A few weeks ago we were invited to a Sunday dinner, and I volunteered to bring dessert. I knew I wanted something a bit fancier as this was to be a more formal dinner setting. Maybe I’m strange, but I feel a certain amount of pressure when selecting which dessert  to make. There are just SO many amazing dessert recipes out there and only so many dessert making opportunities – one has to be selective.

When I found this double chocolate mousse torte from my trusted recipe source  I knew it would fit the bill.  It was amazing – so amazing that a week later one of the dinner guests emailed to ask if I’d be willing to make it again for a group of 30 she was hosting a dinner party for. If you need a fancy schmancy dessert to impress, this is the one. Trust me. Recipe found here.

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Wheat Grass Leprechaun Hats for St. Patrick’s Day Centerpieces

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Holidays, Kids, St. Patrick's Day

St.-Patrick's-Day-Wheat-Grass-Centerpieces

Just look at this fresh green color! I just love it! It makes me so excited for spring! I put 25 of these centerpieces together for a St. Patrick’s themed church party. I was asked to be over the decorations, and I didn’t have much of a budget to work with. The idea of wheat grass centerpieces came to mind, and I knew it was just the idea I was looking for. For one, wheat grass is super cheap to grow especially if you happen to have bulk wheat berries on hand (which I always do to make this bread!). Secondly, it doesn’t take much time – a week and half, two weeks maximum. AND, the grass is so bright and fresh looking – just the color pop I wanted!

St.-Patrick's-Day-Wheat-Grass-Centerpiece

I found the planter pots at the Dollar Tree. I was so excited they were green and resembled leprechaun hats! To plant the wheat grass, I basically followed these directions. The grass grew so fast! My kids and I had a LOT of fun watching it grow from day to day.

To finish the centerpieces off, I hot glued black ribbon around the brim of the hat and added a gold paper buckle. I am so pleased with how they turned out. It may be too late to grow wheat grass for St. Patty’s Day, but wouldn’t these be cute with a colorful polka dot ribbon for Easter with maybe some eggs peeking out the top? Oh, the possibilities! You really should try growing your own sometime. It’s quite fun!

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Toffee Crunch Cupcakes (My Favorite Cupcakes To Date)

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Cakes and Cupcakes, Desserts, Food

Toffee-Crunch-Cupcakes

I love cupcakes, AND I make a lot of them. There are so many good ones to choose from, but if you asked me today what my absolute favorite one is, it would most definitely be these toffee crunch cupcakes. They are simply divine! They may require a bit more prep than your regular vanilla cupcake with buttercream (which definitely has a rightful place in the cupcake world), but these chocolate cupcakes with ganache, toffee and caramel frosting are totally worth the extra effort!

About a month ago I was asked to donate 60 cupcakes of my choice for a fundraising event. In choosing which cupcakes to make, I decided I would make 30 of my husband’s favorite, vanilla cupcakes with raspberry cream cheese frosting, and 30 of my favorite, these toffee crunch cupcakes. While I can attest that the vanilla and raspberry cream cheese cupcakes are most scrumptious, it was reported that the toffee cupcakes were cleaned out first. If you ask me, they are pretty impressive little cups of cake!

Toffee Crunch Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

CUPCAKES
2 c white sugar
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 t vanilla
1 c brewed coffee (I use brewed Pero)

GANACHE AND TOFFEE
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c heavy cream
3 T butter
2 packages (8 ounces each) toffee bits

FROSTING
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 T cornstarch
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 c milk
2 t pure vanilla extract
24 T butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature
1/3 caramel sauce (store-bought or homemade)

DIRECTIONS

CUPCAKES: Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with electric beaters on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the hot coffee or Pero by hand. The batter will seem extremely runny, but don’t worry! Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

FROSTING: In a medium sized saucepan combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it boils and becomes thick, a bit thicker than pudding consistency. Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool until room temperature (this is very important!). Once the mixture is cooled to room temperature, beat in the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter is fully incorporated. Increase the speed on your mixer to medium-high, and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Gently fold in the caramel sauce. If your frosting is a bit runny, allow it to sit at room temperature to firm up a bit.

GANACHE: In a small saucepan, heat the cream on the stovetop until it barely begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to sit in the warm cream for a minute or two, and then stir until the mixture is silky and smooth. Add the butter and stir until smooth. Chill the ganache in the refrigerator until it is a piping consistency. Stirring it every 5 minutes or so helps it cool evenly, and if it gets to hard, let it come to room temperature until it softens again.

ASSEMBLY: Pour the toffee bits into a bowl. Use a piping bag with a large round circle tip to pipe the ganache in a ring around the edge of the cupcake. Dip the piped ganache into the toffee bits. Fill another piping bag with a large decorative tip (I used a large star tip here, but I’ve used round or a french tip as well), and pipe a swirl of frosting in the center of the cupcake.

Recipe Source: Originally seen from Baker’s Royale, cupcakes slightly adapted from allrecipes.com, and frosting and ganache from melskitchencafe.com.

Primary Music Racing

Written by JaNae on . Posted in Crafts

RaceTrackFront

This was a super fun end of the month activity for Primary Music, especially for those boys!  I brought in my son’s giant bucketful of toy cars and had each class take turns picking a car to race down our speedway.  The child whose car won the race got to pick their favorite song for us to sing.

I love letting the kids pick their favorite songs.  I was so impressed to see what they chose.  It was a reminder to me that their favorites are the ones that really speak to them spiritually and touch their hearts.  Primary music is so powerful.

Race Track with Stool

I made my speedway by taping cardboard boxes together, making sure to place the tape on both sides for added security.  I then covered the cardboard with a black poster board, and threw on a start and finish line and some flames for fun.

Race Track Back

I taped a couple long dowels on the back of the board for added support, and propped it up on a fold-able step-stool which worked perfectly for all the kids to stand behind with their cars.  My speedway was wide enough since our primary doesn’t have super large classes, but if your class sizes are larger than 6 or so kids, it might work best to split the class up, or make a wider race track.  Either way, the kids really enjoyed this, and my son has gotten several hours of bonus playtime with it at home!

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