July 31, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

I've kind of been on a bit of a mission lately. A mission to create the best classic peanut better cookie recipe. Now, I hesitate to use the modifier "the best," because what I think of is the best isn't necessarily what everyone else will think of as the best.

But according to my taste buds, I think I may have done it. Thick, soft, peanut buttery cookies with a surprisingly light texture, and a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Yum. I like my cookies soft as a personal preference, and I love my peanut butter.

And this recipe is for sure for peanut butter lovers only. There's about 3/4 of a regular sized jar in here. I do not kid when it comes to peanut butter.
Why have I been on a peanut butter cookie mission, you ask? (Or maybe you don't. But for the purposes of this post, I'm going to assume at least one of you is curious). Well, because I need a good base recipe for something I've been planning.

What am I planning, you ask, because you're just a really super curious person.

Well, I'm not telling. Not yet, anyway. But I've done some research and actually haven't seen it anywhere else, so I'm really kind of excited.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Yield: Approx. 3 dozen cookies

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
2½ cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
Sea salt, for sprinkling

In a large mixing bowl with electric beaters, cream the butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition. Add the peanut butter and beat until well mixed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula. Carefully fold in the flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Roll the dough into tablespoon sized balls, and place them about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. With a fork dipped in flour, flatten the dough into disks about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt and bake about 15-17 minutes, until the bottoms start to brown, and the dough begins to look dry. Let cool completely on wire racks.

Recipe by Kim

July 27, 2013

The Accidental Banana Daiquiri Ice Pop

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you find 18th century France on a 51st century spaceship, get invited to a party in Versailles by the king's mistress, and accidentally invent the banana daiquiri a few centuries early?

Well, then, you know what that must mean. It's a Doctor Who Saturday.

In the second season (of the reboot, of course), there is a quite wonderfully bittersweet episode called The Girl in the Fireplace, where the Doctor finds a broken down spaceship filled with space-age, clockwork robots that, for some nefarious purpose, have opened windows into 18th century France.
One of these windows is a fireplace, and the Doctor meets a young French girl named Reinette Poisson, known to history as Madame de Pompadour.

And let me tell you, Reinette might be all fancy and regal and French, but she is totally the ultimate fangirl.

First of all, she meets the Doctor twice as a child. He's a man that just appears out of her fireplace, but since the 10th Doctor has that "trust me, I'm cute" look to him, and that 50 million megawatt smile-- not to mention that he saves her from a seriously creepy robot under her bed-- she's totally cool with it. And when he comes back, what does she do? That's right boys and girls, she kisses him
But really, can you blame her?

Ten was the romantic Doctor, the one we were meant to fall in love with. So really, Reinette was just doing what we all wanted to. And she knew, just as we do, that the Doctor might be mad and wonderful, but he's also dangerous. But she also knew, just as we do, that the Doctor is worth the monsters. After all:
And then she invites the Doctor to dance with her. She says it's to make the King of France jealous, but we all know what you're really up to, Reinette. We're fangirls, too.

The Doctor being the Doctor, brought a banana to the party, and may have, just a little bit, invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early.

And that's where these ice pops come in. They're not a few centuries early, but they were supposed to be ice cream instead of pops, so I'm totally keeping with the Doctor's theme here. (I thought I could get away without freezing my ice cream maker, but it was too thin. Sad face)

Now you guys know that I don't much care for booze, and I don't like coconut, but these pops just might convert me. The coconut milk brings a subtle, sweet coconut undertone and a great creaminess. Then you've got the stronger flavors of the banana and the lime, which, as far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with. I think I'd still prefer it without the rum, but as cocktails go, I'm totally sold.

And maybe if I keep my freezer stocked with these, the Doctor will come and dance with me, too.
Banana Daiquiri Ice Pops
Yield: 6 pops

2 large bananas, chopped and frozen
1 tsp. lime zest
1 can coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 a lime
2 tbsp. sugar
1 oz. (2 tbsp.) white rum

In a blender, add the bananas and lime zest. Blend until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, coconut milk, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk mixture and the rum to the mixer and pulse on low until well mixed. Pour into ice pop molds or plastic cups with popsicle sticks, being careful to leave at least ½ inch from the tops of the containers. Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours.

Recipe by Kim

July 24, 2013

Nutella Stuffed Sweet Buns

One thing about being the only person to answer the main line for an international company is that you learn very quickly just how little people think before they speak.

I can't tell you how many times I've had people call in and ask for Joe. That's it. "Can I speak to Joe?" Because it's not like there might be more than one guy named Joe or anything.

My favorite is one time I got the reverse of that. Someone asked to speak to Mr. Smith. I applaud your effort sir, but I'm still gonna need a little more information.

I had one person call and ask, "Can I speak to someone?" I'm sure you can. Do you have an idea who you would like to speak to, or should I just start alphabetically?

Or when someone said, "I need to be transferred to someone who can open a document." Umm, I'm pretty sure that's everyone in the building. You want to try something a little more specific?
Visitors tend to be a little better, but I had one that just kind of came up to the desk and stared at me. I smiled, said good morning, she said hi back, and then stared. After an uncomfortable few seconds, she said, "So what do I do?" I don't know. Who are you and why are you here?

Or the visitor that I asked to sign in. They pointed to the sign in book- there's nothing else around that they could possibly use to sign in-, and asked, "in here?" No, not at all. I want you to carve your name into the desk. I like a permanent record.

It's like these people don't realize that I can't read their minds. You guys, I know I'm good, but I'm not that good. So, pro-tip: think about exactly what you want to ask the operator before calling, because she can't read your mind. Also, be as succinct as possible. If I need more information, I'll ask you for it. If not, you're just tying up my phone line. I've had people give me job id's, employee id's, tell me about conferences across the country, tell me how much their medications cost and what they're on, I even had one person give me a social security number. I can do nothing with this information. Except maybe commit identity theft. Not that I would, I feel should clarify, but you really shouldn't just give random people your social security number. Even if that random person is me.
So whenever you're about to call a corporation, take a deep breath and a moment to gather your thoughts before dialing. And you know what, eat one of these Nutella stuffed sweet buns to put yourself in a good mood, too. Because you can't be pissy when you have a belly full of homemade sweet dough and chocolate hazelnutty goodness. That's just science.

As yeast dough goes, these suckers are surprisingly quick and easy. Not quick like 10 minutes quick- dude, it's still yeast dough- but minimal hands on time, no electric mixer needed, and just under 2 hours for combined rising/resting times. Then you roll it up with some Nutella, brush them with some melted butter, sprinkle with some raw sugar, follow up with a quick trip in the oven, and you are in sweet dough/Nutella heaven

These buns are best served fresh and still warm from the oven. The sweet dough is light and airy, and the Nutella is melty and gooey, and it will make you forget all your troubles. Like why you even picked up that phone in the first place.
Nutella Stuffed Sweet Buns
Yield: 10 buns

3 to 3½ cups flour
3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup unsalted butter, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
Approx. 5 tbsp. Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 tbsp. raw or decorating sugar

In a large mixing bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, granulated sugar, yeast, and salt. In a small saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave) heat the milk and 3 tbsp. butter together until the microwave, or in a saucepan over low heat, heat the milk and butter until very warm, 110°-120°F (butter does not have to melt completely). Gradually stir the milk mixture and egg into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough. If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Shape dough into a ball, and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat with oil. Cover and let rise about 1 hour, or until doubled.

Lightly spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Punch down the dough and knead gently on a lightly floured surface about 1 minute. Shape the dough into a log and cut into 10 even pieces. Working with one piece at a time, form the dough into a ball. Hold it in the palm of your hand, using the heel of your other hand to flatten it. Place about 1/2 tbsp. of Nutella in the middle of the dough, then fold the edges over so the Nutella is completely covered. Pinch the edges together to seal completely, then place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover lightly with a towel, and let rise about 20-30 minutes, until nicely puffed.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Melt the remaining tbsp. of butter and brush the tops of the buns with it. Sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar. Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Best served warm.

Recipe adapted from Favorite Brand Name Gifts From the Kitchen

July 21, 2013

Oatmeal Ice Cream- Breakfast for Dinner #SundaySupper

You guys, I've felt pretty uncool many different times in my life.

I voluntarily went to a summer camp that taught college level courses twice in high school (once for essay writing, once for etymologies). I used to read during recess. I was in the anime club. As I type this post, I can look up to my bookshelf and see a book on word origins tucked neatly in between a Phillip K. Dick novel and Douglas Adam's Starship Titanic. Cool is not something I've ever claimed to be.

But this weekend, I feel especially uncool. Because this weekend is San Diego Comic Con and the Food and Wine Conference. So as I sit here with my obscure Russian urban fantasy/horror novels (Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch series. Soooooooo good), almost everyone I follow on Twitter is at some kind of panel or meeting some kind of cool celebrity or Instagramming their swag.

And I'm just like, look at this great deal I got on a video game bundle during the Steam sale. No one cares, because there's Felicia Day doing a meet and greet, and there's Wil Wheaton playing Star Trek Catan with fans, and there's all the super yummy food, and there's a picture of John Barrowman hugging Misha Collins, and oh my god, I seriously just want to insert myself in the middle.
A friend and I decided that what we need is a food AND nerd con. Hey, nerds like food, too. And we would have it at Hershey Park, because it is an amusement park inspired by food. And we could feed all our favorite celebrities cookies. I know, it's a super awesome idea, but I have no clue how to make it happen, except by becoming a nerd celebrity so I would be able to meet all the people who could make it happen. And I have no clue how to become a nerd celebrity... except by, maybe, starting a nerd and food con. It's a total Kobayashi Maru; I can't win. In the meantime....

Hold up. Oh my glob, Wil Wheaton just tweeted that he FREAKING MET STEVEN MOFFAT AND TALKED SHERLOCK. Excessive fangirling commencing in 3...2...1...

...ahem, in the meantime, I wish my fellow nerds at SDCC, and my fellow #SundaySupper-ers at the Food and Wine Conference a wonderful weekend. And for all of us uncool enough to be stuck at home, drowning our sorrows in some digital retail therapy, I can provide the ultimate comfort food: Oatmeal Ice Cream.
This week's #SundaySupper is hosted by Conni from The Foodie Army Wife, and the theme is breakfast for dinner. I decided to bring the dessert, because, well, have you read this blog before? It's sort of what I do. And since the heat wave has yet to break, I decided to go for a breakfast-inspired ice cream. Specifically, an oatmeal-inspired ice cream. The base of this ice cream is a delicious honey and apple jelly combo with just a touch of cinnamon sugar. Then the ice cream is mixed with some plump raisins, some oatmeal cookie chunks, and some oats toasted with a little honey and brown sugar.

And you guys, it's a-frickin-mazing. It tastes so homey and wholesome, everything you'd want in a breakfast. But it's creamy, sweet, and decadent, the way that ice cream should be. It's the perfect thing to eat while playing video games and bemoaning your lack of coolness.
Oatmeal Ice Cream

1 cup water
1/3 cup raisins
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. honey, divided
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar*
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Heaping 1/4 cup apple jelly
1/3 cup uncooked rolled oats
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2-3 large oatmeal cookies, broken into chunks (optional)

In a small bowl, add the water and raisins and let soak overnight. Drain well.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the honey and cinnamon sugar and whisk until well combined. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and the milk over medium-low heat until it just begins to simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Remove from heat. Add the milk mixture to the eggs 1 ladleful at a time, whisking constantly. When about half of the milk has been added, mix in the jelly, then finish with the remaining milk, mixing well until smooth. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan, and heat on low, stirring constantly, until it reaches 160°F on a food-grade thermometer. Do not let it boil. Cover and refrigerate until fully chilled, about 3 hours.

Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and toast until golden brown, stirring occasionally to cook evenly. Mix together the remaining honey and brown sugar, and add to the oats, stirring until they are completely coated. Remove from heat, and allow to cool completely.

Freeze the chilled custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. When the ice cream is a few minutes from being done, add the raisins, toasted oats, and oatmeal cookie chunks. Freeze completely in an airtight container.

*I used a palm sugar/cinnamon blend, which is a bit sweeter than cane sugar. This amount may have to be adjusted if you are using regular white sugar. Taste the custard before freezing it to be sure.

Recipe adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
Check out all the other Breakfast for Dinner options #SundaySupper-ers are bringing to the table:

Tres Leches Pancakes from La Cocina de Leslie
French Toast Casserole with Sautéed Apples from The Foodie Army Wife
Gluten Free Breakfast Pizza from Blueberries And Blessings
Basic Vegan Waffles from Killer Bunnies, Inc
Kale, Bacon, Brown Rice Crustless Quiche from Shockingly Delicious
Bacon Egg and Potato Breakfast Tacos from Cookin’ Mimi
Steak and Egg Tostadas from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Breakfast Bowls from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Bacon and Egg Waffles from The Urban Mrs
Homemade Lox from Growing Up Gabel
Seattle Sandwiches (Lox, Shmear, & A Fried Egg) from Juanita’s Cocina
Bacon & Brie Potato Bread Strata with Roasted Pears from Eat, Move, Shine
Saucy Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sliders from Daily Dish Recipes
Greek Frittata from Casa de Crews
Elderberry Flower Pancakes from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Prosciutto, Gorgonzola and Rosemary Strata from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Italian Turkey Meatballs (With a Secret) from What Smells So Good?
Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Breakfast Pizza from Runner’s Tales
Red Pepper and Egg Galette from Healthy. Delicious.
Waffles – One Plate, Two Ways: Sweet & Savory from Foxes Love Lemons
Steak & Egg Bagel Sandwich from girlichef
Florentine Benedict from Supper for a Steal
Oatmeal Ice Cream from Treats & Trinkets
Banana Waffles with Peanut Butter Syrup from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Baked Berry French Toast from Table For Seven

But wait, there’s more!

Open Faced BTC Sandwich from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Crustless Spinach Quiche from The Hand That Rocks The Ladle
Bacon ‘n Eggs Bread Pudding from gotta get baked
Denver Breakfast Ring from Curious Cuisiniere
Copycat Japanese McDonald’s from Ninja Baking
One Pan Full English Fry-up from Food Lust People Love
Crumpets with Whipped Orange Honey from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
Leek, Mushroom and Gruyère Quiche from Hip Foodie Mom
Joe’s Special, the Original San Francisco Treat from Webicurean
Dark Chocolate, Orange & Pistachio Greek Yogurt Cups from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Gluten Free Tomato Basil Crepes form No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Sour Cherry Crisp from Pies and Plots
Cream Dried Beef and Waffles from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Sausage breakfast casserole from My cute bride
Almond Rice Crepes Stuffed With Sweet Potatoes & Peas from  Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
Zucchini Pancakes with Sautéed Tomatoes and Feta from Ruffles & Truffles
Apple, Bacon, and Dubliner Cheese Stuffed French Toast from Neighborfood
Dulce de Leche Stuffed French Toast from Basic N Delicious

Normally it would be very socially unacceptable to have wine with your breakfast, but seeing as this is closer to sunset than sunrise, we say go for it!!!

Hangtown Fry and Wine Pairings with Breakfast for Dinner from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → Sunday Supper Movement.

July 17, 2013

No Bake Summer Recipe Round Up

You guys know: I like to bake. Do you know what else I apparently like to do? Not bake.

With a heat advisory in New Jersey, cooling centers popping up all over the place, and the job stabbing me repeatedly in the eye, I haven't been much in the mood to write a post. So I thought, in deference to the heat, I'd do a round up of some of my no bake recipes. And hoo boy, did I have plenty.

(P.S. The collages are also clickable. I am that good.)(I hope)
(P.P.S. Doctor Who Saturday will not be this weekend. I screwed up the timing, so it will be next week.)
(P.P.P.S. Steam sale. Whaaaaaaaaat. I bought Evoland this morning for less than 8 bucks. w00t)

Peach Tea Ice Cream Raspberry Red Wine Ice Cream Cinnamon Roll Ice Cream Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Frozen Peach Yogurt Cream Image Map

Cookie Dough Truffles Raspeberry Nutella Marshmallows Homemade Gummies Strawberry Cake Batter Fudge Graham Cracker Marshmallows Pina Colada Marshmallows Image Map
Berries & Cream Pie S'mores Mud Pie Peanut Butter Chiffon Pie Mush Pie (Cookies & Cream Mousse Pie) Black Forest Icebox Cake Cannoli Cream Icebox Cake Chocolate Peppermint Icebox Cake Pumpkin Pie Icebox Cake S'mores Icebox Cake Image Map
Lemon Daiquiri Ice Pops Easy S'mores Pudding Pops Pineapple Banana Mango Pops Cherry Limeade and Lemon Lime Ice Pops Frozen Nutella-Covered Bananas
Fizzy Kiwi Lemonade S'mores Milkshake (A Guest Post From The Messy Baker) Peanut Butter Banana Bread Smoothie Cinnamon Roll Krispie Treats S'mores Cereal Treats Blueberry Goat Cheese Pasta Salad Fiesta Pasta Salad Hot & Cold S'mores Image Map

July 14, 2013

Lemon Daiquiri Ice Pops

Now, you guys know: I don't drink. I pretty much was like the opposite of every college kid ever. No coffee, no parties, no drinking. I went to a friend's party over at Rutgers once (which I only went to because I rarely got to see her), and she had cranberry juice just for me and the bestie (neither of us are drinkers) so that we could play slap cup with them.

And I somehow managed to get like adopted by one of her frat guy friends, who was very sweet, but also drunk, and therefore rather excessive. He insisted we be on the same team for slap cup so that he could teach me how to play, and wanted high fives all night and hugs goodbye. (This may have also been one of my wait-that-was-flirting? moments, but I really just think he was being nice. While drunk)

Anyway, my point is, you guys are a terrible influence. I've consumed more booze writing this blog than my entire college career. Raspberry Red Wine Ice Cream, Drunken Apple Pie, Pina Colada Marshmallows, heck, even my Black Forest Icebox Cake has wine in it.

And now this. Lemon Daiquiri Ice Pops. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.
I mean, I have eaten one of these pops every night after dinner this week. Every night. I'm turning into a downright lush. Next thing you know, I'll be weaving down the street, swigging my booze out of a brown paper bag.

Food blogging: a gateway to addiction. I wonder if anyone's mentioned it to Oprah.

Well, at least this one came at good time. These pops are basically lemonade plus rum that's been frozen. Super bright, super lemony, and super refreshing, they're perfect for the oppressive heat and humidity we've been living with lately. And they're so easy to make: just zest, squeeze, mix, pour and freeze.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for my nightly ice pop. *hic*
Lemon Daiquiri Ice Pops

1 & 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. rum
3 lemons

In a mixing bowl or large measuring cup, mix the water, sugar, and rum until the sugar is well dissolved.

Grate the zest of one of the lemons. Juice all three. Discard the seeds, but keep the pulp. Mix the zest, juice, and pulp with the remaining ingredients. Pour into ice pop molds or plastic cups with popsicle sticks, being careful to leave at least ½ inch from the tops of the containers. Freeze for a minimum of 6 hours.

Recipe adapted from Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

July 10, 2013

Black Forest Icebox Cake

We've been having a heat wave over in New Jersey. It's been so hot, I haven't wanted to turn the oven on. And that's like, me not wanting to bake? Inconceivable!

(You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.)

But I had to satisfy my dessert-making cravings somehow, and since my ice cream maker was ousted from the freezer because of a lack of room, that meant ice cream was out of the question.

So what's a girl to do but make her most favoritest no-bake treat in the whole wide world? That's right, it's time for icebox cakes!!

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *Kermit flail*
(Sometimes I worry about how much I love these things. Then I make one and worry about how little I loved them before.)

I've been playing around with the idea for a Black Forest icebox cake for a while. After all, what is Black Forest Cake, but chocolate cake, cherry filling, and whipped cream? Replace the chocolate cake with chocolate cookies, stick it in the refrigerator for a few hours, and you have an icebox cake. I haven't made it before now because I kept forgetting to buy canned cherries (easier to make a filling with, and fresh cherries don't last long enough in my house to make something with) (you could use cherry pie filling, but the canned stuff is too bright and tastes artificial, and as for making my own, see the previous parenthetical comment.)
Normally I go to the park or take a walk or sit outside and read on my lunch break, but it was way too hot for any of that this past week. And since there is a grocery store a short drive from my office, what better way to spend the time than buying ingredients for an icebox cake?

I have to say, though, that grocery store is big and clean and nice and has a great salad/hot food bar, and all sorts of organic and specialty diet options, so it totally lulled me into thinking that it would have a great selection for scratch cooks.

It does not. It is a grocery store for hipsters who like to pretend to be all gourmet and up on foodie trends and eco-friendly, but don't actually like to cook. The baking aisle is so limited (mostly mixes, to be honest), and they didn't even carry unflavored gelatin until recently. Nor could I find plain chocolate wafer cookies. They had Oreos and off-brand Oreos galore (though not much in the way of other cookies), but not plain wafers. What is up with that?
I ended up getting chocolate graham crackers. Those, at least, they had, and I did not fancy baking my own or scraping the filling out of the Oreos. And I ended up really liking the graham crackers. I think the chocolate ones taste more cake-like after softening than the regular grahams, too.

I also added a little red wine to the cherries, because the cherries are traditionally soaked in kirsch for Black Forest cake. I do not have kirsch, but I had a bottle of Malbec with only a little bit left in it. This was a last minute decision, and totally optional
There's no point to ganache if you don't let it drip down the sides.
And because I'm fancy, I poured some ganache on top. And then I let the rest set, whipped it, and piped ganache rosettes, so the cherries on top would have little chocolate thrones. And ended up with the PRETTIEST CAKE EVAAAAAAA!

And tastiest. Because you can't go wrong with cherries, chocolate, and whipped cream. And you can NEVER go wrong with an icebox cake. Word.
Black Forest Icebox Cake
Yield: 8-10 servings

For the cherry filling:
1 (15 oz.) can sweet cherries in heavy syrup
1/4 cup fruity red wine (optional)*
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sugar

For the cake:
1½ cups whipping cream, chilled
1½ tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 box chocolate graham crackers or chocolate wafer cookies

For the ganache:
6 oz. milk chocolate, chopped**
6 oz. heavy cream

Chocolate sprinkles, and more cherries, for decorating

Prepare the filling: Dice the cherries into quarters. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Heat on low, mixing until the sugar and cornstarch are dissolved. Continue to heat until the mixture is thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Prepare the cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with electric beaters, whip together the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Spread some of the whipped cream evenly in the bottom of the loaf pan, about ¼ inch thick. Place a row of graham crackers over the whipped cream, filling as much space as possible. Spread a layer of cherry filling on top. Top with another layer of graham crackers and spread with more whipped cream. Repeat, alternating between the cherry filling and whipped cream until the top of the loaf pan is reached, ending with the whipped cream. Refrigerate 4-6 hours or overnight.

Prepare the ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream over low until boiling, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Assemble: Invert the loaf pan over a serving dish to release the cake (it should pop right out). Frost the sides with the remaining whipped cream, decorate with sprinkles, if desired, and pour about 1/2-2/3 of the ganache on top. Allow the remaining ganache to come to room temperature (it seem solid), then whip on high with an electric beater. Pipe the whipped ganache on top of the cake in rosettes, then top with more cherries. Serve chilled.

Tip: You can also make a freeform cake. Just line the serving dish with graham crackers and layer from there.

*Traditionally, the cherries for Black Forest Cake are soaked in kirsch. I did not have any, so I used wine instead. Feel free to skip.

**I originally used bittersweet chocolate, but it overpowered the cake. Milk chocolate has a much milder flavor. However, feel free to use your favorite

Recipe by Kim

This recipe is featured on Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party