Pinterest Test Kitchen #100 ~ Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for just the right time to share it and I think posting my 100th Pinterest Test Kitchen qualifies, don’t you?

It’s rich.

It’s decadent.

It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.

It even gets points for being naturally gluten free.

It’s also versatile. I’ve made it as a single layer cake in a torte pan and I’ve made little minis too.

And unless you are having a no good very bad day like the one I was having here while making it, it is super simple and you probably have everything you need on hand to make it and that is a big bonus right there.

What you’ll need for the cake:
 1 cup chocolate chips (I’ve used semi sweet and dark chocolate, either is fine)
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder (again I have used regular cocoa powder and dark chocolate)
2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee (made it with and without and it’s tasty either way)
For the ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
What you’ll do:
Preheat over to 375 degrees
Melt chocolate chips and butter until combined
Pour into a bowl and add the sugar and espresso powder if you’re using it, stirring until thoroughly mixed
Add eggs and whisk until batter is smooth
Add in cocoa powder and stir
Pour into a well greased cake pan (you may want to use parchment paper but I’ve not had any problems just using Baker’s Joy)
Bake for 20 minutes (I’ve started cooking mine for 18 minutes because I noticed my edges getting too done at the full 20 minutes.)
While the cake is baking make your ganache by heating your heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips until smooth and well blended (be careful not to allow your cream to get too hot and keep stirring as the chocolate melts)
Let the cake cool for ten minutes and them flip it onto a plate
Pour ganache over the top and allow it to drizzle over the sides
Let the cake sit out for about 30 minutes before refrigerating for at least an hour before serving
Top with a dollop of whipped topping and garnish with raspberries

Grab a fork and bite into that deliciously chocolate dream and sigh with utter satisfaction.

I realize that a one layer cake doesn’t seem like much but this dessert is really rich so a little slice will do ya. Also, to make the mini cakes I’ve used the silicone pan and I’ve also used just a regular mini muffin pan. I think once I got really crazy and used the mini bunt cake pan I have but decided that was a wee bit more work than I wanted to put into it with not much return.

I’ve also learned that while you do need to refrigerate it so the ganache can set you want to take it out and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

So yeah, this is my 100th post that I’ve tagged (or tried to remember to tag) as either Pinterest Test Kitchen or simply Test Kitchen. You can enter either of those into the search bar near the bottom of the blog to pull up all the post in the series or you can go here to where I have most of them saved onto a pinterest board.

I’d love to know what you have found on pinterest and tried!

Pinterest Test Kitchen #99 ~ Cordon Bleu Bubble Up

This is crowd pleasing comfort food at it’s best. Biscuits and cheese are two of the main ingredients so seriously, how could it not be? I cannot even remember how I found the recipe, or when, but I know since I pinned it and started making it it’s a favorite at every potluck I bring it to. I was actually surprised to realize I hadn’t blogged it already.

What you’ll need:
2 cans Grands biscuits, cut into pieces
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (I like the family size jar but the regular works fine)
2 cups Swiss cheese, separated 
(I have only found shredded Swiss once, the rest of the time I just use sliced and chop it up)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 garlic salt
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 lb deli ham, shredded

What you’ll do:
Toss the biscuit pieces with the Alfredo sauce and garlic seasonings
Add chicken, ham, and 1 cup of cheese
Stir until everything is well blended and coated with Alfredo sauce
Place into a 9×13 that has been coated with non stick cooking spray
Top with the remaining cup of cheese
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until biscuits are done.

Serve with a Caesar salad or steamed green beans so you’re at least giving a nod to the healthy life and enjoy!

Pinterest Test Kitchen #97 ~ Banana Pudding Cupcakes

A while back I hosted a baby shower for my niece who loves banana pudding. Because I am all about the presentation I just did not want to put a bowl full of banana pudding on the pretty dessert table and I did not want to do individual cups either for some reason that I no longer remember. I’m sure it was a good one though.

Because Pinterest is magic it didn’t take long for me to discover banana pudding cupcakes and they were a hit at the shower! I’ve made them twice now and tweaked the recipe a little the second go round and probably have one more adjustment that I’ll make the next time I make them.

The first time I followed the recipe exactly with the exception of using banana flavored pudding. (I totally got suckered by the Minion packaging.) I wasn’t a huge fan of the cupcake itself so the next time I made them I used this recipe for the cupcake and added mashed bananas to the batter. And while no one complained of the pudding I found it to be too thick so I will probably change it to just regular banana cream pudding and not make it with the sweetened condensed milk next time.

What you’ll need:

12 to 15 cupcakes 
1 box instant vanilla pudding (or banana cream), prepared
Nilla wafers, about 1/3 cup crushed and 12 to 15 whole ones for garnish
Cool whip
What you’ll do:
Hollow out a portion of each cupcake being sure not to go all the way to the bottom.
Sprinkle the Nilla wafer crumbs into each cupcake.
Spoon the pudding into the holes with enough extra to do a layer of pudding across the top of the cupcake.
Ice the cupcakes with the cool whip.
Garnish with the Nilla wafer.

Enjoy!

Test Kitchen #96 ~ Lemon Tart

I think this has become my absolute favorite dessert right now. For reals. It’s cool and smooth and tart and with just enough summer tanginess. It comes from a Taste of Home cookbook my mother gave us and my youngest daughter actually picked it out (along with about ten more but this is the only one we’ve tried so far.)

I have found that opinions can run pretty strong on the matter of lemon flavored desserts but I am solidly in the go for it camp. I think it taste like summer and is so yummy.

This tart is delicious and bonus…you get a great arm workout.

What you’ll need:
1 pastry shell, baked
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 TBS grated lemon peel
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
What you’ll do:
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
Cook, constantly stirring, over medium-high heat until it thickens.
Reduce heat and continue to cook and stir for two more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Take a spoonful of the hot mixture and stir it into the eggs yolks.
Return all of it to the sauce pan and return to burner.

Bring back to a gentle boil, stirring the whole time.
Cook for two more minutes.

Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and lemon peel.
Gently add in lemon juice.
Cover and cool completely.
Fold in sour cream.
Pour into pastry shell.
Refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting. 
Garnish with whipped topping.
Enjoy!

It really is the perfect dessert for these hot summer days.

Test Kitchen #93 ~ The I Threw It All Together And It Turned Out Good Edition

I know I’ve been neglecting the blog but geeze, I didn’t realize it had been since sometime in December since I shared a recipe. But Imma fix that right now. And it’s a super easy but oh, so yummy one too.

While I didn’t follow a recipe for this I am positive that there are a bunch of really great ones out there for the same thing. Probably better ones. Probably with handmade ingredients and I imagine it would be really great if you were so inclined. But the great thing about this dish, I think, is it’s ability to adapt to either option. This is the quick and easy throw it all together and get on with life version.

What you’ll need:
One package of your favorite stuffed ravioli, prepared according to package directions
(I’ve used the Rana and the Buitoni brands. Plus one from Sam’s Club that I can’t remember the name of but it was stuffed with a smoked cheese…so good!)
2 jars Alfredo sauce
1 8oz fresh mushrooms, sauteed
1 large or 2 medium size boneless chicken breast, boiled and shredded
green onions or scallions, chopped
Shaved Parmesan cheese
What you’ll do:
Mix all ingredients except the ravioli together in a large sauce pan. 
Cook until heated through.
Gently stir in pasta until ravioli is completely coated.
Pour into a 9×13 pan.
Top with the cheese.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Serve with either a salad or steamed green beans or asparagus.

Pinterest Test Kitchen # 92 ~ Italian Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

Have you ever smelled something and the scent instantly transported you to a long ago memory? Noxzema does that for me. I smell it and immediately my mind is flooded with childhood recollections of sandy beaches and sunburns. Isn’t it remarkable how God engineered us so that scents and tastes can bring to mind such vivid memories?

One bite of this cake is a reminiscent mouthful of Christmas past. Seriously, it is the flavor of Christmas with its tangy orange zest, fresh cranberries and spicy overtones. The cranberries give it a zing like the crisp winter air. Rather poetic I know but really, it is the flavor of the holidays I think. Try it and let me know what you think.

cranberries_oranges_pound_cake_ homemade

What you’ll need:
For the cake ~
3 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup orange juice
2 TBS orange zest*
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese**
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh cranberries
orange_zest_cranberries
What you’ll do:
Whisk the first three ingredients together and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.
Add eggs one at a time.
Mix in the vanilla, orange juice & zest, spices, and mascarpone cheese until well combined.
Add in half of the flour mixture. 
Stir in the buttermilk.
Mix in the remaining flour mixture just until the flour disappears.
Gently fold in cranberries.***
Pour into a well greased bundt pan. (I am a huge fan of Bakers Joy.)
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Let cake rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Coat the cake with the orange glaze and allow to completely cool.
Pour the orange cream cheese frosting over the cake.
Orange glaze:
Mix 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar with 1/3 cup orange juice until smooth.
Orange cream cheese frosting:
Mix together 4 oz softened cream cheese with 1 TBS orange zest, 1/4 cup of orange juice, and 2 cups confectioners sugar until smooth.

This is one of those cakes that really taste even better the day after you make it and the flavors have all gotten cozy with each other so don’t be afraid to make it up ahead of time!

*    Orange zest…smells so good!
**  If you can’t find mascarpone cheese you can use 1/2 cup sour cream.
***My family enjoyed the cake but found the cranberries a little too tart for their liking. I figure the         next time I make this I may reduce the amount down or leave them out all together.

Pinterest Test Kitchen #91 ~ Nanny’s Oatmeal Pie

It has been over two months since I shared a recipe?! To make up for it I have a really scrumptious pie recipe for you and it’s just in time for the holidays!

A pie confession…I’ve never been a huge fan of pecan pie which I know can get me kicked out of the South but there you have it. It always made my teeth feel weird. The thing is though that I love the center non-pecanny part. But it’s rude to scrape off all of the pecan topping so it’s always just been off my menu.

But then I came across this recipe and oh my goodness, it is just like a whole pie that is made up of only the inside of a pecan pie and it is the best thing ever! It’s got just the right amount of chewiness and crunchiness. It was a big hit at my church (our weekly fellowship meals are my testing ground for new recipes) and will definitely get made again.

oatmeal_pie_homemade_goodness_pie_recipe
What you’ll need:
1 9 inch uncooked pie crust 
6 TBS butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cups regular corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup regular oats
What you’ll do:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Cream together the sugar and butter.
Mix in the corn syrup, eggs, and vanilla.
Stir in oats.
Pour into pie shell.
Bake for 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and the center is only slightly jiggly.

Serve plain (it is seriously so very, very good!) or I guess you could throw in a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you like.

recipe_oatmeal_pie_homemade

What kind of pies and desserts do you have during the holidays?

Pinterest Test Kitchen # 90 ~ Chicken Rice and Black Bean Casserole

This recipe quickly became a house favorite and I make it every couple of weeks. When I find something that both Rob and the majority of the kids like I get so excited…especially when it is easy and goes far.

I didn’t realize how much I had tweaked this recipe until I typed it out but I did make some changes. The original dish didn’t call for the chicken but it is a rare meal that I serve that has no meat. I also never seem to remember the zucchini. I double the salsa and I am pretty sure I never saute the spinach. It’s barely looking like the same recipe (read that with an eye roll.)

food_Mexica_blackbeans_rice_chicken_casserole

What you’ll need:
2 cups cooked rice (I use brown rice cooked in chicken broth)
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
1 bag fresh spinach, chopped
1 10 oz bag frozen corn (I’ve also used can corn, drained, since I had it on hand)
1 16 oz jar salsa of choice (I use Newman’s Own Black Bean and Corn)
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes 
2 cups grated cheese (I’ve used cheddar, Colby Jack, and a mix of all the bags in the fridge, etc.)
What you’ll do:
Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl.
Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
Spoon mixture into a 9×13 dish.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

blackbean_rice_chicken_casserole_mexican_food

Serve as is or with sour cream and enjoy!

You can find this recipe along with all of my other test kitchen recipes here!

Pinterest Test Kitchen #89 ~ Inside Out Egg Roll

So, last week I shared a picture on facebook of the dinner I had made for us that night.

Y’all that post got busy! People commented and messaged me asking for the recipe. The funny thing is that it is so simple I didn’t even follow a recipe. A friend had made it for us the week before and she walked me through how she had made it (she had tweaked the recipe she found) and said to just pinterest search inside out egg roll.

inside_out_egg_roll

This is the recipe I found that seemed the closest to what she had told me. I read through it and wrote the ingredients down and haven’t looked at it again since…not even when I cooked it. I say that only to point out how very versatile and easy this recipe is. (I left out the egg & celery and could not find the Chinese Five Spice at all.)

What you’ll need:

1 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1 1/2 pound ground beef, browned and seasoned (I used salt, garlic and ginger)
Soy Sauce, to taste
1 can water chestnuts
8 oz mushrooms, sauteed 
What you’ll do:
Steam your cabbage with water almost to the point of being done. (We like ours with a little crunch.)
Toss in the other ingredients and stir fry until everything is heated through and at the desired tenderness.

Eat and enjoy!

asian_food_inside_out_eggroll_recipe_food

Seriously, it couldn’t be any easier and even the kids were clamoring for more. Next time I would probably prepare some rice as a side to go along with it. I’ve also seen a couple of recipes that substituted chicken for the beef.

I’d really like to find that Chinese Five Spice so if you know where I can get some don’t be shy, let me know! I really enjoy Asian food and want to experiment with making more of it from scratch.

You can find this recipe, as well as the other test kitchen recipes I’ve shared on the blog, here on My Test Kitchen Pinterest board.

Pinterest Test Kitchen # 88 ~ 7 Up Biscuits

You’ve probably seen the recipe before. I come across it frequently on Pinterest and finally decided to try it out.

biscuits_homemade_bread

As far as recipes go it couldn’t be any simpler…four ingredients. And since three of the ingredients get cooked in the forth, melted butter, they are quite tasty.

What you’ll need:
4 cups Bisquick
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7 Up  (Notice it is a cup of the soda and not a whole can.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
What you’ll do:
Melt the butter and pour it into a baking dish.
Mix together the sour cream and Bisquick.
Stir in the 7 Up.
Place dough on a well floured surface, use your hands to flatten it out until it is about an inch thick.
*Cut the biscuits out.
(The dough is really sticky and you may need to dip your cutter into flour after each cut.)
Place the biscuits in the buttered pan.
Bake at 425 degrees or until a nice golden brown.
This recipe made two dozen biscuits. I cut it in half and used gluten free Bisquick in a smaller batch and they turned out fine.
homemade_breakfast_bread_biscuits

They didn’t really rise so if you’re expecting a big fluffy biscuit you are bound to be disappointed. However, they do have a good flavor and I think would do well on the breakfast table…especially paired with some jam or honey. We don’t drink soda on a regular basis so it’s not exactly an on-hand recipe for me but I will keep it in the make again pile 🙂

*In the past I’ve just always used a regular glass to cut out biscuits, no big deal, right? This time I wised up and used what the kids refer to as our fancy glasses. It was like having a nice handle on the cutter. I guess I could break down and buy a actual biscuit cutter since Sarah and I both seem to be delving into bread making but I don’t think it would be as fun to use as the fancy glass.