Monday, October 26, 2009

Scary Halloween Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Halloween is known for candy, costumes and tummy aches. I know that when I was young my Halloween candy lasted maybe a week. I would eat so much candy I would be sick. So now that I am older and wiser, I am always trying lower calorie alternatives to the traditional candy treats. I was debating between caramel apples or chocolate covered strawberries and my craving for chocolate won out and I made chocolate covered strawberries. This is a healthier option for kids, but moderation is key, if you are trying to cut back on calories have just one and you will have the satisfaction of eating something delicious, without adding too much to your waistline. I posted the calories below. It was loads of fun coming up with cute and scary ways to decorate each strawberry. I took them to a party and they were gone so fast, the combination of white and milk chocolate with a hint of almond and mexican vanilla extract was delectable. You have to try this recipe. It's good and fun to make...can you really ask for more? :)

You need

  • Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. In a microwave-safe bowl, add almond extract and vanilla extract to chocolate then melt chocolate chips and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth.
  • Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet.
  • In a zip lock bag melt white baking chocolate; cut a small corner of the bag, then squeeze the air out and draw a spooky designs on each strawberry . Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 strawberry equals 54 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 8 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 1 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1/2 fat.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Update: Homemade Vanilla Extract - After two weeks

I am amazed at how dark it is getting already, it has been only two weeks and it is coming along very well. I keep it on the kitchen counter so that I remember to shake it daily.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spooky Black Cat Cake

Halloween is my favorite holiday, I love all the fun decorations, the fact that you can dress up as whatever you want, but I would say my absolute favorite thing is making spooky treats. This is a a fun and easy cake to make! Your family will love it.


Flour No-Stick Spray
2cups sugar
1cup butter, softened
1teaspoon Totonac Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract
3/4teaspoon Totonac Almond Extract
2 large eggs
2 1/2
cups Cake Flour
1cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (alkalized) or unsweetened cocoa powder
2teaspoons baking soda
1/2teaspoon salt
2 1/4
cups buttermilk

1 1/4
cups butter, room temperature
2teaspoons Totonac Mexican Pure Vanilla Extract
1teaspoon Totonac Almond Extract
8 to 9tablespoons milk
7 1/2
cups (2 lbs.) powdered sugar
cup Cocoa Powder

Preparation Directions:
1.HEAT oven to 350°F. Spray three 9-inch round cake pans generously with flour no-stick cooking spray.
2.BEAT sugar, 1 cup butter, 1 teaspoon Mexican pure vanilla extract and 3/4 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; beat into creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk on medium speed. Beat 1 minute longer. Pour into prepared pans.
3.BAKE 26 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely.
4.BEAT 1 1/4 cups butter, 2 teaspoons Mexican pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon almond extract in medium bowl at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add milk and powdered sugar, scraping bowl as needed. Beat on high speed adding additional milk by the tablespoon until desired spreading consistency is achieved. Brush any loose crumbs from cooled layers.
Set 1/4 cup of frosting aside. Now add 2/3 cup cocoa powder.
5.PLACE first layer, rounded side down, on plate and cute the second layer on wax paper and cut into 4 piece, like picture below.
Arrange all pieces into a cat like picture below.
Spread with chocolate Buttercream Frosting to within 1/4 inch of edge of the top. Coat side of cake with thin layer of frosting to seal in crumbs. Frost side and top of cake. Pipe the white frosting on as eyes and some of the chocolate frosting as the iris, if desired use food coloring and make yellow eyes and a pink nose.
6.REFRIGERATE cake to set frosting; allow cake to stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.
High Altitude (above 3500 feet):
1.HEAT oven to 375°F. Decrease sugar in cake to 1 3/4 cups and baking soda to 1 1/2 teaspoons. Increase cake flour to 2-3/4 cups.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homemade Extract Day 1

12 Madagascar beans and vodka.

I split and cut the beans before adding them to the vodka. This picture was taken after I shook the bottle.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I can't believe it's October already, and before you know it Christmas will be here. This year I am making most of my family and friends gifts. This takes a lot more planning ahead but I know I am putting more thought into what I would like to give them. So working at Arizona Vanilla really helped in the idea department and I have decided to make my own vanilla extract to give to my friends/family members that love to bake. I figure, if I start it now it will be ready just in time for Christmas. I will keep you posted on the progress. The best part about making your own extract is, it's super easy to make.

Okay so here's what you need:
Once you have all the ingredients here's what you do:
  1. Using a sharp knife, cut a lengthwise split down the middle of each bean.
  2. Cut beans into 1/2 - 3/4 inch pieces.
  3. Pour vodka into container.
  4. Add vanilla beans to the container and shake it.
  5. Shake it vigorously daily for 7-8 weeks.
  6. Strain through a coffee filter and funnel into bottles.

Your done, yay! Now how do you personalize each bottle? Create individual labels! I am going to create some super cute labels for each bottle. When I get them done I will post them.

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