No-Bake Chocolate Tart

If you love chocolate, but don’t want to turn on your oven, this tart is the perfect dessert for you! It’s only a few simple ingredients, takes no time to whip up, and gives high-quality delicious results.

I’m a sucker for a smooth, velvety ganache. This tart has just that. It is simple, only two components, but so, so rich and chocolatey. I found the recipe here, and didn’t change a thing, except I did make a little bit extra of the crust because I like a thicker crust sometimes!

I’ve been incredibly busy the past few weeks, and this is also the haul to the end. We’re almost to the end of the school year. At the end of this week I also go to Edmonton to mark Diploma exams, so unfortunately, don’t expect a post next week, as I won’t even be in town!

When July hits I’ll be able to spend a bit more time with the things I’ve been neglecting lately: the blog, my saxophone, my cats… the list seems to be endless when you are busy and have no time for anything. (Thankfully Paul and I have scheduled a few date nights to actually be able to see one another.)

Either way, bring on the chocolate!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch tart

For the crust:

2½ c. chocolate baking crumbs
½ c. butter, melted

For the ganache filling:

1 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 c. heavy cream
¼ c. butter

To make the crust, in a heat-proof bowl, melt the butter, and add the chocolate baking crumbs. Stir together until combined, and press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill and set for at least 30 minutes. (If you want the crust a little crisper, you can bake it at 350°F for 5-6 minutes… but that’s if you want to turn on your oven.)

In a small saucepan, combine the butter and heavy cream. Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is at a low boil. In a large heat-proof bowl, place the chopped chocolate. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate, and leave for 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, stir the mixture until melted and smooth. Pour ganache over crust and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

I also whipped some heavy cream with some vanilla and powdered sugar to make a whipped cream topping. Delish!

Keep in the fridge, and slice and serve.

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Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Chip Cookies

These cookies, despite their mouthful of a name, are extremely easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I first tried them at a meeting with a few people, and when I found out I had the recipe in my house the whole time, I immediately had to make them! The recipe for these is found on the bag for the Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips. (This post is not sponsored by Hershey’s.) They are so easy! I followed the recipe as written, and they turned out beautifully. Definitely put these on your to-make list.

Side note – blog posts have been sparse and/or haphazard lately. I apologize for that, especially if you are a devoted reader. May and June as a teacher are incredibly busy and stressful. I have barely enough time to mark everything I need to, let alone do a blog post. I’ll be more consistent in July, when I have time to plan, bake, and relax a bit. Cramming twelve months of work into ten months is tiring!

I wanted to make a few things before I go marking Diploma exams again, and these were on my list. They took barely any time, with a high reward – my kind of cookie! Either way, if you are a chocolate/caramel combo lover, these cookies are for you. But enough blather, to cookies!

Ingredients

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size

½ c. butter, softened
¾ c. light brown sugar, packed
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1½ c. flour
½ c. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 2/3 c. (1 pkg.) Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line with parchment paper two cookie sheets.In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until well blended and creamy. Add eggs, beat again.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture, beating after each addition.Fold in caramel chips, and drop by rounded teaspoon onto the prepared cookie sheets.Bake in the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, or until cookie is just set. Cool for 3 minutes on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, and enjoy!

Southern Peach Bread

This peach bread is so good! It’s extremely easy to make, and takes about 10 minutes to whip up. Also, it only takes one bowl to make everything. How easy is that! Paul loves peaches, so when I told him that I was making a peach bread, he was extremely excited.

I found the recipe here, from Pinterest, and I am so happy with the results. Little effort, big rewards. Delicious! The only thing I changed was that I left out the pecans because I didn’t have any and I didn’t want to go to the store. I left those in the original recipe though.

I don’t want to spend much time talking about this recipe, because it’s too good! I’m going to go eat another piece.

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf

½ c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. finely dices peaches or peach puree
½ c. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1½ c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ c. pecans, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of a loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, and sugar. Add in the eggs, peaches, sour cream, and vanilla, and whisk again.

Add in the flour, baking soda, and salt a little at a time. If using, fold in the pecans.

Pour batter into the greased pan, and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, let cool 5-10 minutes longer, slice and serve.

S’mores Cake

Happy Belated Birthday to Paul!

As usual, he challenged me to make something new for him. Lately, he has been migrating away from the chocolate peanut butter classic combination he loves so much, and has been delving into the world of s’mores. I’m okay with it – it’s just as good, and classic, a combo!

Last week, I did a lot of talking about why I was missing from the blogosphere for a while. This week, I just want to get to the cake. If you like s’mores, and if you like cake, you will love this cake!

I found the original recipe here, and didn’t really change a thing. This is the perfect cake to welcome in summer!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch cake

For the cake:

1¼ c. flour
¾ c. graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. allspice
1 c. softened butter
½ c. sugar
½ c. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 egg white
½ c. buttermilk
½ c. sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla

For the crumble:

4 graham crackers, roughly crumbled
4 tbsp. melted butter
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 pinch salt
¼ tsp. allspice

For the chocolate buttercream:

1½ c. softened butter
1½ pounds (3-4 c.) icing sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

For the marshmallow fluff:

1 c. sugar
½ c. light corn syrup
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt

To make the cake, preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 3 6-inch cake pans with Miracle Cake Release and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and sour cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and add the sugars. Mix until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and the egg white one at a time, mixing after each addition.
Add in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven, cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before assembling the cake.
To make the buttercream frosting, beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time, and beat until incorporated. Add in 1-2 tsp. milk if needed for consistency.

Drizzle in melted chocolate, and mix until well combined. Add more milk or sugar to adjust consistency as needed. Set aside.

To make the marshmallow fluff, add 2/3 c. sugar and the corn syrup to a small saucepot and head on medium high. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. The sugar mixture must reach 240°F, and not more!

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, make sure there is NO grease. Wipe down with vinegar to be sure. Start beating the egg whites on low, and gradually increase speed to medium-high. Add in 1/3 c. of the sugar while the egg whites are stiffening.

Once the egg whites hit the soft peak stage, slowly drizzle in the 240°F sugar syrup, and beat on medium-high to high for about 10 minutes, to allow the fluff to cool and thicken.

For the crumble, preheat oven to 350°F. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together well. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for about 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool, then crumble the mixture, allowing some larger pieces to remain.

To assemble the cake, place one layer of cake on a cake stand. Pipe a ring of the chocolate buttercream on the layer of cake, and fill with marshmallow fluff. Sprinkle a small amount of the graham cracker crumble, and top with the next layer of cake.

Repeat the ring of chocolate buttercream, marshmallow fluff, and graham cracker crumble, then top with the last layer of cake. Spread a small amount of the frosting around the outside of the cake as a crumb coat. (I don’t usually do this, but I did here, and I’m glad. It helped everything stick together a little better. Maybe I’ve been converted!) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to set up.

Take out the cake, and spread the remaining chocolate buttercream around the sides and top of the cake. Smooth with an offset spatula, and press the graham cracker crumble around the bottom third of the cake.

Pipe the marshmallow fluff on top of the cake, and torch. Slice, and serve!

Chocolate Pistachio Ice Cream Cake

Wow! It’s been over a month since I’ve posted. I’m so sorry about that! I didn’t intend to take a month-long hiatus from the blogging world. I have been so ridiculously busy, that I haven’t been able to take a breath in a while. I appreciate my readers, and you all deserve to know why I haven’t posted in a while.

In April, we were racing towards Easter break in school. There were so many things going on: I was getting kids ready to write exams, I went on our Grad Retreat for the 2019 graduating class, I got baptized, Paul and I had a visit from his mother, we took day trips to Lethbridge and Calgary, and there were a few rehearsals for the play I’m directing thrown in, as if I didn’t have enough to do.

After coming back from Easter break, it’s been a sprint to two events: My play, and Graduation. We had our performances Friday and yesterday, and I am so proud of those kids!! I am so humbled and grateful to have the job I do, and every day I am reminded about how lucky I am.

Now it’s the countdown to Graduation, and I can breathe, for at least a week or two, so I figured I would update the blog after long last.

I made this ice cream cake back in April, when a dear friend came over for a girl’s night. It was an extremely belated birthday cake, and I’m so glad I attempted it!

To be completely honest, I kind-of Frankenstein-ed this cake together. I had a vision, and I figured out how to accomplish it. I made a single-layer chocolate cake, then (because I didn’t have time to make my own ice cream) used store-bought chocolate and vanilla ice cream to create the layers. No matter where I looked, I could not find pistachio ice cream (even though I know it exists, and you can easily substitute it here), so I took vanilla ice cream, and mixed in pistachio extract and green food colouring to get the pistachio vibe. It worked perfectly!

Okay. Let’s get to cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

For the ice cream layers:

4 c. softened chocolate ice cream
4 c. softened pistachio ice cream OR 4 c. softened vanilla ice cream with 5 drops green food colouring and 1 tsp. pistachio extract

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¼ c. cocoa powder
1 c. sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. espresso powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. brewed coffee
1/3 c. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white vinegar

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Use some Miracle Cake Release (a 1:1:1 ratio of flour, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil) and brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, salt, espresso powder, and baking powder. Pour in all the wet ingredients: coffee, oil, vanilla, and vinegar. Whisk together into a smooth batter, being careful not to overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before assembling.

To assemble, take cooled cake, still in pan, and spread softened pistachio ice cream in an even layer over top of cake. Transfer to the freezer, and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

Once the pistachio ice cream layer has firmed up, spread softened chocolate ice cream over the pistachio layer. Transfer to the freezer and freeze for 45 minutes to an hour, until the ice cream has firmed up.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water, pat dry, and slice. Serve immediately.