Category Archives: no bake

Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge

Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeOver the course of the next twenty days, there will come a moment where you’re glad to have this Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge recipe in your back pocket.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBecause it really is easy. Like six ingredients easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeNo boiling sugar, no candy thermometer easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeMake it in 20 minutes in a double boiler or—even easier—the microwave…easy.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeBut nobody will know that you made these little morsels of holiday magic without having to think too hard, or that the batch makes enough for multiple holiday gifts (just add cute bags or tins), so you didn’t have to overextend yourself.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeAnd nobody is going to bite into this rich, dense, silky fudge and think “I bet he/she/they made this with sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips instead of the ‘traditional’ way.” Nope.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeIn fact, I guarantee you that all anybody will be thinking is how to get another piece of this double-layer minty coffee confection into their faces as soon as possible.Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
Looking for more peppermint mocha? Check out these cookies!

Looking for more easy holiday candy? See here and here.

Easy Peppermint Mocha Fudge
makes one 9×13-inch pan

Mocha Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
5 teaspoons espresso granules (I use Medaglia d’Oro)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Peppermint Layer:
18 ounces (3 cups) white chocolate chips
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Garnish:
4 candy canes or 10 starlight mints, crushed (I prefer starlight mints)

Lightly grease a 9×13-inch pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides, and grease again. Set aside.

To make on the stove:

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in the heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thick. Remove from heat and stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the heatproof bowl and dry well. Return pot to a simmer.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Use a silicone spatula and/or whisk to stir mixture until chips almost all are melted and fudge is even in color. It will be thinner than the mocha mixture. Remove from heat. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

To make in the microwave:

Make the mocha layer. Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and espresso granules in a medium microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until chips are melted and fudge is thick and even in color. Stir in peppermint extract. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press into an even layer all the way to the corners. Freeze full pan while you make the peppermint layer.

Wash the microwave safe bowl and dry well.

Combine white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in the bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring/whisking in between, until almost all chips are melted and fudge is even in color. Whisk in peppermint extract and continue until mixture is totally smooth. Mixture will be thinner than the mocha layer.

Remove pan from the freezer. Spread peppermint mixture over the top of the mocha layer, smoothing it all the way to the edges. Garnish the top with crust candy canes or starlight mints.

Both methods:

Refrigerate fudge for at least 1 hour. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edges of the pan. Use parchment overhang to lift fudge onto a cutting board.

Use a greased knife to slice fudge into 1-inch pieces. Wipe the knife clean between cuts.

Fudge is best kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, but may be kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. Candy cane/starlight mint garnish will melt over time.Easy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha FudgeEasy Peppermint Mocha Fudge

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Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1: Caramel Pudding

For Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 2, click here. For Vol. 3, click here.

Caramel PuddingIf you’ve been on my social media in the past few days, you know I’ve been busy lately. Aside from working and blogging and petting dogs and being a person in New York City, I’m making a wedding cake!Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1One of my nearest and dearest friends is getting married on Sunday, and asked yours truly to make a big, beautiful cake for her and her dream man. I said yes—it was a proposal this baker couldn’t refuse. Of course, July 15, 2018, seemed very far away when I agreed to this last summer. In fact, it didn’t start feeling imminent until May, when she and future hubs planned a trip home to NYC to make some final arrangements, including a cake tasting.Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1Cut to June 4th when I showed up to the bride’s mother’s apartment with three little layer cakes: all vanilla, two with traditional Swiss Meringue Buttercream, one with Seafoam (brown sugar) Swiss Meringue Buttercream, two with mocha filling (the bride’s request), and one with caramel (the groom’s favorite). I wasn’t too confident, not because I didn’t think the cakes would taste good, but because this isn’t just any ol’ cake, you know?Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1The original plan was that they would choose one filling and one frosting and that would be that. About five minutes into the tasting we were all in agreement—vanilla, mocha, and bright-white Swiss Meringue Buttercream. But that was before the mother of the bride randomly stacked a bite of the caramel-filled cake on top of a bite of the mocha-filled cake and then insisted the rest of us do the same. Just like my friend and her betrothed, each filling was fine on its own, but they were better together—the combination of chocolate, espresso, and dark caramel is divine. And so, it stands that this cake will be vanilla layers with Swiss Meringue Buttercream and alternating mocha and caramel fillings.Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1Since this cake has to be made, transported, and assembled in the middle of a hot, humid NYC July, I had to take melting into consideration when developing the recipe(s). Traditional American Buttercream (butter + confectioners sugar + vanilla + heavy cream, AKA most of the frostings on this site) was out as a filling/frosting option—too prone to melting. Instead, the fillings and frosting are all at least partially egg-based. Eggs are textural and structural powerhouses in cooking and baking, and most importantly, they don’t melt.Caramel PuddingThe frosting, which I’ll write more about on Friday, is made from egg whites, while the fillings are made with the yolks. The mocha filling is simply my chocolate pudding with a tablespoon of espresso granules added to the dry ingredients—easy peasy. I’ve already gone on and on about its richness and depth, and used it as a cake filling.Caramel PuddingToday is all about the caramel filling—this rich, silky, insanely delicious pudding that is practically like eating a little bowl of pure caramel! So freaking good.Caramel PuddingCaramel Pudding is a streamlined spin on the Butterscotch Cream Pie filling I made last fall. It’s super quick and easy to make, coming together in just 15 minutes on the stovetop. You may absolutely enjoy it without any accoutrements, but I especially love it with whipped cream and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.Caramel PuddingAnd, of course, it also works well as a cake filling, if whispers of dark caramel between layers of buttery vanilla cake are a thing you’re into.Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1They are definitely a thing I’m into.Let’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1

Caramel Pudding
makes 4 servings

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving (optional):
whipped cream
caramel sauce

Combine sugar, light corn syrup, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, cook until dark amber, about 7-8 minutes. Do not burn. Whisk in milk. Mixture will bubble violently and caramel may briefly seize, but keep whisking until it has smoothed out and boiled for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk 1/3 of the mixture into the egg yolks. Return egg yolk mixture to pot and place back over medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and butter.

Push through a sieve to remove lumps. Divide mixture among 4 4-ounce ramekins. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surfaces. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, or until cold.

When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and caramel sauce, if desired.

Caramel Pudding will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Caramel PuddingLet’s Make a Wedding Cake, Vol. 1

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

 No-Bake Peanut Butter PieMemorial Day is coming up and I’ve got your long weekend dessert needs covered.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieNo-Bake Peanut Butter Pie, y’all! It’s a great way to ring in the unofficial start of summer.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieAnd since it doesn’t require cranking the oven, it’s the ideal dessert to make on a searing hot summer day. Lord knows we have plenty of those coming our way. (Even if it currently feels like it will just be cool and rainy forever.)No-Bake Peanut Butter PieThis pie has it all. Seriously. There’s the Oreo crust…No-Bake Peanut Butter Piea puddle of ganache (aka a “black bottom”)…No-Bake Peanut Butter Piecrunchy chopped peanuts and miniature peanut butter cups.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieThen there’s the creamy peanut butter filling…No-Bake Peanut Butter PieNo-Bake Peanut Butter Piewhipped cream…No-Bake Peanut Butter Pieand more chopped peanuts and miniature peanut butter cups. Also, chocolate sprinkles.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieYaaaaaaas.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieYou and your friends won’t be able to get enough of this No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie. Make it for the holiday weekend or your beach trip or any summer birthdays. Heck, make it for all of those occasions.No-Bake Peanut Butter PieIt doesn’t get much better than this.No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

Crust:
25 whole Oreos
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ganache Layer:
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped
6 miniature peanut butter cups, quartered

Peanut Butter Filling:
3/4 cup heavy cream, cold
1 cup creamy-style peanut butter (I used Skippy)
1 8-ounce brick full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish (optional):
miniature peanut butter cups, quartered
salted peanuts, finely chopped
chocolate sprinkles

Place Oreos in the bowl of a food processor and blitz until they are crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until the mixture can be pinched together. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.

Make the ganache. Combine chopped chocolate and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until a smooth even ganache forms (about 45 seconds total). Pour it into the crust and use the back of a spoon to carefully spread it into an even layer on the bottom. Scatter with chopped salted peanuts and quartered miniature peanut butter cups. Refrigerate crust and ganache while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Do not overwhip. Set aside.

In a separate arge mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat peanut butter, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar until combined and fluffy. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream. Working in 2 installments, carefully fold in remaining whipped cream until combined. Transfer to chilled pie crust. Chill for 3 hours or overnight.

Make whipped cream topping. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Use an electric mixer to whip cream until stiff peaks form. Top pie with whipped cream. Scatter with quartered miniature peanut butter cups, chopped salted peanuts, and/or chocolate sprinkles, if desired.

Slice and serve. Leftover pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMother’s Day is this weekend and while I won’t be spending the holiday with my mom, I still have “mom food” on the brain. In the case of my mom, that means vanilla and/or fruit, and also things that are both easy and fancy. This Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote absolutely fits that bill.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompotePanna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) is a soft-set cream-based pudding commonly served with fresh berries or a berry sauce. Most are made with a combination of heavy cream and whole milk, but the version I’m serving up today has a pleasant tang, thanks to the addition of buttermilk. It has the creaminess you expect in a custard, but where custards are set with eggs, panna cotta relies on gelatin.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteI’ve considered panna cotta a “restaurant only” food for years, thinking it was too fancy or time consuming to make at home, or that it required a skill set I didn’t have…Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote…and it’s turned out to be exactly as difficult and time-consuming as making Jell-o. But softer and creamier and with a silky smooth texture.What I’m trying to say is that panna cotta is the ultimate high brow/low brow dessert.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteMy Buttermilk Panna Cotta has five ingredients and takes all of five minutes of effort (seven, if you count the time for measuring). The time consuming part is waiting for it to set up—this can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on whether you’re serving it in the mold or inverting it onto a plate. Gelatin gets stronger over time, so if you want to serve free-standing panna cottas, make sure to plan ahead. Otherwise, you can just serve them straight from their molds.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAnd speaking of molds, you can find all different kinds online, but I spent $10 on a dozen 4-ounce mason jars last week and, even if I break every last one tomorrow, I already feel like I have gotten my money’s worth. They’re a perfect combination of form and function, and I love the way they showcase these layers of Buttermilk Panna Cotta and Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteAfter all that talk about panna cotta, I bet this compote seems like an afterthought, but I assure you it. is. not. In fact, this sauce is what really makes this dessert sing!Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteButtermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteThe sweet-tart combination of strawberries and rhubarb is a classic for a reason. Here, it’s amped up with just a touch of sugar and some lime zest before being tossed with olive oil and roasted until saucy. This takes minimal time and effort and makes much more than you’ll need for six panna cottas. I suggest spooning the leftovers over ice cream or plain yogurt, or just eating them directly from the jar…not that I’d know anything about that.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteHappy Mother’s Day to everyone celebrating, especially my mom. Thanks for loving me so hard.Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
makes six 4-ounce servings

1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 1/4-ounce packet unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups buttermilk (low fat is fine)

For Serving:
Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote (recipe below)

Gelatin is an animal byproduct. Buttermilk Panna Cotta is not a vegetarian dessert.

Pour 1/2 cup heavy cream into a small saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin granules over the top. Let sit 5-10 minutes, or until gelatin starts to become saturated and surface in wrinkled.

Lightly grease 6 4-ounce molds (I like mason jars) with oil. Set aside.

Pour remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream and sugar into the saucepan. Place pan over low heat. Whisk constantly for 3-5 minutes, or until sugar and gelatin have completely dissolved. Do not let boil. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and buttermilk and whisk for 1 minute, or until fully combined.

Divide mixture among greased molds. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill at least 4 hours (or overnight) if you wish to release the panna cottas from their molds. If being served directly from the molds, they only need a 2 hour chill.

Release the panna cottas from their molds. Fill a deep container with a couple of inches of hot water. Place an in-mold panna cotta in the water for 1 minute.

Swipe a damp paper towel over the plate you wish to use for serving the panna cotta. This will make it easy to move the panna cotta for more aesthetically-pleasing plating.

Remove in-mold panna cotta from the hot water. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge to break the suction seal. Invert panna cotta onto prepared plate. Tap/jostle mold as necessary to release panna cotta. Repeat process with remaining panna cottas.

Top with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. Serve immediately.

Panna cottas (still in their molds and without topping) will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After that point, they may become rubbery.

Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
makes about 3 cups

1 pound fresh strawberries
1 pound fresh rhubarb, poisonous leaves removed
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt (optional)
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed sheet pan (or jelly roll pan) with parchment.

Trim, hull, and dice strawberries into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut rhubarb into 3/4-inch pieces. Place on prepared pan and top with sugar, optional salt, lime zest, and olive oil. Toss together with clean hands.

Bake mixture for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Compote is ready when strawberries and rhubarb are soft and juices have thickened slightly (they will still be on the thin side).

Let cool before using. Store compote in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Roasted Strawberry Rhubarb CompoteRoasted Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate PuddingI’m usually not the sort of blogger who labels her own recipes as “the best ever,” but y’all…this Chocolate Pudding might be the best ever. At the very least, it’s the best I’ve ever had.Chocolate PuddingOf course, until a few years ago, I’m pretty sure that the closest I’d ever come to eating pudding made from scratch was my mom making Jell-o Cook & Serve vanilla pudding on an occasional weekend night. I’m not complaining though—she served it in a set of rarely-used champagne coupes, so it felt very fancy for something we ate on the couch in front of the TV.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingThis pudding though? It doesn’t need any elegant glassware to feel luxurious. It’s made with both cocoa and chopped bittersweet chocolate, giving the finished pudding a bold, in-your-face flavor. I cut the added sugar way down too, so there’s no cloying sweetness to distract from the intensity of the chocolate. Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingI can guarantee you that there is no boxed mix on the market that makes a chocolate pudding that’s anywhere near this chocolaty.Chocolate PuddingThis Chocolate Pudding is super thick, too. I mean, your average store bought pudding cup can’t hold a spoon straight up like that, now can it?!Chocolate PuddingAnother thing I love about this recipe is that it takes all of twenty minutes from the time I start measuring out ingredients to the time I put the pudding in the refrigerator to chill. This makes it perfect for a lazy night in or for a game night or cookout. I even think you could deck the individual servings out with whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve them at a dinner party.Chocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingChocolate PuddingMy Chocolate Pudding stays good for a few days in the fridge, so it’s a great make ahead option too. If you can resist the temptation to take a cold, creamy bite, that is.Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate Pudding
makes 4 servings

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter

For Serving:
whipped cream
chocolate shavings

In a medium-large saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk the milk into the dry ingredients. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Continue to whisk until the mixture boils for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Whisk egg yolks with a fork. Remove 1/3 of the warm chocolate mixture from the pot. Whisking constantly, slowly pour chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until completely combined. Add egg yolk mixture to the pot and turn heat back up to medium-high. Continue to whisk until mixture boils for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat. Whisk in vanilla, followed by chopped chocolate and butter.

Push pudding through a fine mesh sieve. Divide pudding among 4 small bowls (I used 4-ounce jars). Press plastic wrap to the surface of each bowl of pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until cold.

When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired. Pudding will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Chocolate Pudding