Dark Chocolate Mousse

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8-1 oz squares semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
3 TBSP butter (no subs on this one)
1/4 cup water

In a double boiler, melt all 3 ingredients together. Cool for 12 mins.

3 egg yolks
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 cup water

In a small saucepan, whisk these 3 ingredients slowly over low heat, for 1 1/2-2 mins. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the chocolate mixture. Set the pan on some ice to slow the cooking. Cool 10 mins, then whisk in 1 1/4 cups of whipping cream that has been whipped to hold a peak. Spoon into serving dishes, I used shot glasses, perfect serving size! Another trick is to spoon the mixture into a gallon size bag and snip off the end and pipe into your dishes, makes for a easy clean up with edges. Place in the fridge for about 4 hours. Now try to only eat one!!

Note: On the plastic utensil isle, most stores sell these little spoons, perfect for tiny dishes!

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Apple Turnovers

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You know when you waltz into a bakery and your eyes go directly to the favorite display case? Well for me it’s Turnovers, I adore the flaky puff pastry dough and warm gooey filling inside! What could be better that a hand-held pie?  Nothing, nothing compares!  Above are pictured all the ingredients to re-create those turnovers.

Filling: In a large mixing bowl, pour apple contents in and stir in 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and mix well. This is about the time I use a sharp knife to slice thru the mixture, making the apples a bit smaller, but you don’t have too:)

Follow the box instruction on defrosting the pastry dough, after defrosted, lay the square out on a flat floured surface. Roll a few times to seal those seams up.  Slice the dough into an equal 4 squares.  Towards the middle of each square, place 2 TBSP of the filling and fold up the edges (gently so you son’t squeeze the yummy out) Using a fork, press down both seam sides.

Transfer to a baking sheet (4 per pan) that’s lined with parchment and sprayed with cooking spray. Brush top and sides with egg wash.

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 TBSP water

Sprinkle sparkling sugar on top and bake at 350 for 20 mins or so, until golden brown.

Enjoy and look, you didn’t have to get out of your sweats to head to the bakery, it came right to you!

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Dulce de Leche Bars

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Crust:

2 cups AP flour

1 cup cold butter, cut into cubes

½ cup powdered sugar

1 TBSP vanilla

1 tsp kosher salt

Middle Layer:

1 can (13.5oz) Dulce De Leche

1 TBSP flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 egg yolks

Topping:

¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

¾ cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350, line a 9-inch square pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a food processor, pulse the crust ingredients until crumbly. Press firmly into the pan and bake until lightly browned, about 25 mins.

In a bowl, whisk all the middle layer ingredients until smooth, pour over the top of the baked crust, and then sprinkle the chocolate chips and chopped pecans over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking for another 22-25 mins. Remove and let cool. Lift out of the pan and cut into small squares. Enjoy the gooey happiness!

Note: This is easily made gluten-free, just switch out the AP flour for GF.

Butter Sugar Cookies

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1 cup butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter flavored extract (pic below, can be purchased in craft stores on the baking isle)
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Cream butter and sugar, add the eggs, extracts and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk, flour, powder and salt together. Add to the batter and mix well.
Roll into a ball and double wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 3-4 hours or overnight.
Roll out the dough using dusted powdered sugar instead of the usual flour (the extra sugar makes them especially yummy) Cut into your favorite shapes.
Bake cookies, using parchment paper on your baking sheet, at 350 for 8-10 mins, just until the edges are a touch brown. Let cool and decorate away, with royal icing or just plain store-bought vanilla frosting, throw some sprinkles on and chow-down! However, these are buttery and sweet enough to just eat plain!

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake

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Cake:
1 cup butter
1 cup Guinness stout
¾ cup extra-dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 cups ap flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt

Frosting:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
½ cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325, Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the Guinness and bring to a simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa and white sugar. Cool 10 mins. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add the cocoa-beer mixture to the egg mixture. Add the cooled cocoa mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Slowly add the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well-combined. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the middle or a toothpick, inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 1-2 hours. Remove the cake and place on a platter or cake stand. Beat all the frosting ingredients until smooth and spread on the top of the cake. Enjoy!

Broccoli and Bacon Salad

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This is one of my favorite salads, it’s crunchy, sweet, and the real bonus?… filled with bacon!! This is a perfect and easy salad to make and bring to potlucks also.

1/2 cup mayo
2 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP white vinegar
12-oz of broccoli, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
8 slices of bacon, cooked til crisp and crumbled

Whisk the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl, toss in everything else and stir til well coated, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours for all the flavors to blend together. Enjoy:)

Cowboy Caviar

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Who doesn’t love a good dip? Now that football season has officially begun, dips are where all the action is at! Whip this up and grab a bag of tortilla chips and enjoy!

1/2 red onion, diced finely
1 bell pepper, chopped (I use yellow or orange)
1 small bunch green onions, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, quartered
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz can black-eyed peas, drained
1-11 oz can corn with jalapenos
1 avocado, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper
small bunch of cilantro, chopped

8-oz of your favorite zesty Italian dressing, I use the olive garden brand.

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together, pour the dressing over the top and stir. Store in the fridge until serving. Easy Peasy and not to mention, yum!!!