Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas Baking: How Many Desserts Can One Mom Make in a Week?

While I've always been the kind of girl who knows her way around a kitchen and loves to cook for family and friends, I've suddenly found myself in a kind of culinary hyper-drive.

In November, my sisters-in-law and I threw a 60th birthday party for my mother-in-law and sadly, I don't even remember what I made for that. Oh! That's right...I cheated and bought all the wine and beer for the party. That was a first for me.

December began with a potluck dinner with neighbors. We chose an Italian theme and I brought a fried ravioli appetizer that was a huge hit. And the recipe really couldn't be simpler:

  • One package small refrigerator cheese ravioli
  • One egg, beaten
  • One cup bread crumbs seasoned with garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme, salt, black pepper

Cook the ravioli by the package directions. Beat the egg. Drain the ravioli and dip it into the egg, then the bread crumbs. Then you fry them in olive oil, about 2 min. per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and serve with marinara sauce.

This week, though, has been the craziest in terms of baking or cooking holiday goodies. I baked six Triple Chocolate Coffee Cakes to give to Brendan's preschool teachers and the school director. This is the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever tasted and I use it as a dessert, not a breakfast item.

  • One package Devil's Food cake mix
  • One 3 oz. package chocolate instant pudding
  • Two cups sour cream
  • One cup butter or margarine, softened
  • Five large eggs
  • Five large eggs
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Three cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
  • One cup white chocolate morsels
  • One cup toasted chopped pecans

BEAT first 6 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 30 seconds or just until moistened; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels; pour batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 9inch square cake pans.

BAKE at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on wire racks.

*MICROWAVE white chocolate morsels in a glass bowl at HIGH 30 to 60 seconds or until morsels melt; stirring at 30-second intervals until smooth. Drizzle evenly over cakes; repeat procedure with remaining cup of semisweet morsels. Sprinkle cakes evenly with pecans.

*I never use the microwave, but instead melt my chips on top of the stove, adding a touch of milk to keep them from sticking or scalding. I also sprinkle more chocolate and white chocolate chips on top of the finished cake along with the pecans because I think it looks pretty.

Also, if you use an 8x8 in. pan instead of the 9 inch, you end up with the three cakes instead of two. I use the disposable cake pans with lids to deliver these in, wrapping a pretty Christmas dish towel around the outside and tying it with raffia ribbon for added appeal.

No comments: