Tasty Tuesday–Diet of Worms a.k.a Dirt Dessert

It’s been a good 20 years since I first made this popular-with-children dessert, but I never even thought of renaming it for the Diet of Worms until CPH made the suggestion this fall. So, here’s my familiar recipe, with a new name, just in time for Reformation Day!

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  • 1 family-size package Oreo cookies
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip (can use chocolate)
  • 2  3.9 oz. packages instant chocolate pudding
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • Gummi worms

Crush Oreos in a bag with a rolling pin, or pulse in food processor until fine crumbs. Put 1/3 of the crushed Oreos into a glass trifle bowl. Add a few “worms” to the “dirt.” Set aside.
Mix butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and well blended. Set aside.
Combine milk and pudding mix as directed on pudding box. Let stand about five minutes, then fold Cool Whip into the pudding.
Fold together pudding mixture and butter-cream cheese mixture.
Layer half of the pudding mixture on top of the cookie crumbs in trifle bowl. Add another 1/3 of the Oreos with “worms,” then remaining pudding mixture. Top with remaining Oreos and “worms.”
Chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Truffles from JaCiva’s

One of the nice things about Ryan’s frequent travels is that occasionally, he brings home something amazing for me, like these truffles from JaCiva’s:

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In case you’re wondering, they were an assortment of salted caramel, Bailey’s, creme de menthe, and cappuccino, in both milk and dark chocolate. They were amazing…it would almost be worth it for him to have to go back to Portland, if it meant he could bring some more of them home!

Valentine’s Day Dinner

For our Valentine’s Day dinner, I decided to make salmon oscar, according to the recipe Maggiano’s uses, with a mocha mousse cake for dessert.

There was a lot of prep work for dinner, from the bread crumb coating, to the vegetable and pasta prep, to the salmon itself!

It was worth it though…the end product was delicious! While not all of the children liked every aspect of the dinner (particularly the asparagus, although Ladybug did enjoy it!), they all liked the salmon, which is all that really mattered!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tasty Tuesday–Swirled Peppermint Bark

This recipe is so easy, and looks so pretty! It would make a great addition to anyone’s Christmas baking! (Also, did you know that you can buy pre-crushed peppermints? No more hammering with a rolling pin, and never getting them fine enough, or running them through the food processor, and ending up with peppermint dust!)

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  • 1 package (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 package (10-11 oz.) white chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oil or shortening
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy pieces

Line a jelly roll pan (about 10×15) with parchment paper.
Melt semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler. Spread over parchment paper.
Melt white chocolate and vegetable oil in a double boiler. Spread down center of semi-sweet chocolate, and swirl with a skewer.
Sprinkle peppermint pieces over the top.
Refrigerate until firm, then break into pieces.

Tasty Tuesday–Pie!

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving-ready pie recipes:

If anyone’s wondering, I just use the standard Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe…nothing too fancy there!

Tasty Tuesday–Black Forest Cherry Torte

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I wanted to try something new for our Oktoberfest celebration this year…usually I just make apple strudel. So, I decided to try an authentic Black Forest cherry torte. By authentic, I mean that it had to be made with kirschwasser, in the traditional German way. It was a bit of a challenge finding kirschwasser, but I did finally track it down. I also had to splice together several recipes in my quest for authenticity, but I was very happy with the result, and my family requested that the recipe go in my “permanent file,” so I guess it was a success!

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  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 15 oz. cans pitted sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup kirschwasser (or a little less, if you want a more subtle flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges, and remove to racks to cool completely.
While cake layers are baking, drain cherries. Combine cherries, kirschwasser, 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool before using.
After cake layers and cherries have cooled, combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar in a chilled medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve 1 1/2 cups whipped cream for decorating cake; set aside.
With long serrated knife, split each cake layer horizontally in half. Tear one split layer into crumbs; set aside.
To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with 3/4 cup cherry topping. Top with second cake layer; repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer. Frost side of cake. Pat reserved crumbs onto frosting on side of cake. Spoon reserved frosting into pastry bag fitted with star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping onto top of cake.

Tasty Tuesday–Chocoflan

I made fish tacos for dinner last weekend, and I wanted to make a delicious Mexican dessert to go with it. I had a vague recollection of watching Marcela Valladolid make a chocoflan back when we had cable TV, so I looked the recipe up while I was in the grocery store (what did I ever do before I had a smartphone?). It didn’t look too complicated, so I tried it out. I’ve never made a flan before, so I wasn’t sure everyone would like it, but I was pleasantly surprised, and the whole family loved it. They’ve demanded that I add it to my “permanent collection.” Ideally, you should make this a day ahead, although we did try it the first day while it was still warm.

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1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce
10 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus extra to grease the pan
1 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Put an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350.

Coat a Bundt pan with a little butter, then coat the bottom with 1/4 cup cajeta or caramel sauce and put Bundt pan in a large roasting pan. (The roasting pan will serve as a water bath during baking.)

For the cake: Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa in a medium bowl. Beat 1/3 of the flour mixture, and 1/2 of the buttermilk into the egg mixture. Repeat, ending with the flour mixture. Blend until well incorporated.

For the flan: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Blend on high for 30 seconds.

Scoop the cake batter into the prepared Bundt pan and spread evenly. Slowly pour the flan mixture over the cake batter. Cover with foil and add about 1-inch of hot water to the roasting pan.

Carefully slide the pan into the oven, and bake about 1 hour (mine took a little longer), until the surface of the cake is firm to the touch, or an inserted toothpick comes out clean. When cake is done, remove from the water bath and cool completely to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Invert a large, rimmed serving platter over the Bundt pan, grasp tightly together, jiggle a little and flip over. Remove the pan and scrape any remaining cajeta from the pan onto the cake, garnish with chopped pecans and additional cajeta (if desired), chill 24 hours and serve!