Dessert Enchilada (Praline Pecan Roll)

Dessert Enchilada

Dessert Enchilada

Back in February I made a praline filled king cake out of crescent rolls and that was my inspiration here. I had a left over sheet of puff pastry and 15 minutes to kill while I waited for the Gringo Sopapillas to finish backing so I decided to make a Mexican version of the praline filled king cake. I know, I’m an overachiever.

This is basically just a praline pecan roll with a praline sauce drizzled on top. The final product is small but the dessert itself is very sweet so you can’t eat too much without feeling sick and needing your friends to carry you to the couch where you will promptly unbutton your pants and assume an Archie Bunker position.

Pecan Roll Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (located in the freezer section at the grocery store)
  • 1 cup of crushed pecans
  • 3 Tablespoons of butter (melted)
  • 1.5 cups of brown sugar (either light or brown will work, your choice)

Praline Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar (again either light or brown will work)
  • 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lay puff pasty sheet flat on a greased baking sheet.
  • brush melted butter across the top of the pastry.
  • spread the brown sugar so that it covers the entire pastry.
  • spread crushed pecans on top of the brown sugar. (This might sound crazy but if you turn any long pecan pieces so that they lay horizontal to the direction you’re going to roll the pastry, it will prevent them from punching through the outer layer.)
  • Bake the pastry for 20 minutes or until light brown.
  • While the pastry is baking, combine brown sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir until mix is smooth and syrupy. This could take up to 10 minutes.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Let the sauce cool for 5 to 7 minutes before serving.
  • Once the pastry is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Place the pastry on a serving dish and pour the warm sauce over it.
  • (Optional) Sprinkle leftover pecans over the roll.

*Notes: I named this the Dessert Enchilada because it looks more like an enchilada than a pecan roll and we were having Mexican for dinner so I thought I would be witty. Like I said, this dessert is pretty sweet (there’s a lot of brown sugar in there) so it wont take much to satisfy your post dinner sweet tooth. Also, the praline sauce is good for a lot more than just this recipe, feel free to pour it over ice cream. It’ll look a lot more impressive if you make homemade toppings for your ice cream.

Most store bought puff pastries come in packs of two sheets. I suggest using the other sheet to make Gringo Sopapillas. An easy dessert (or breakfast) that will puff your leftover ingredients to good use.

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Gringo Sopapillas

Gringo Sopapillas

Gringo Sopapillas

Each week I try to find out why we will be having at our family dinner so I can prepare a dessert that will pair well with it. It doesn’t always work out but I like to try.

This week we had tortilla soup so I thought it would be fun to make a Mexican dessert. I’m not a fan of flan (say that 5 times fast) so that was off the list of options right away. I was also informed by my wife that she was getting tired of pumpkin and would appreciate a week off from that. So that’s a big NO to “putting a fall twist on a Mexican classic.”

After several days of googling and pondering quietly on the balcony while I watched the sunset, I was about ready to phone it in and get a frozen Sarah Lee pie when I stumbled upon this simple recipe. The simplicity of the recipe was a big selling point because I honestly didn’t want to make anything at that point.

What resulted was a dessert that took about 20 minutes (including bake time) that everyone loved.

This recipe was so simple that the recipe didn’t really exist. I had to work this one out for you guys. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 puff pastry sheet (located in the freezer section at the grocery store)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)
  • 2 Tablespoons of milk (for egg wash)
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Honey

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Cut the puff pastry sheet into small triangles and lay them on a greased cookie sheet.
  • brush the top of each triangle with the egg wash.
    • Egg Wash instructions (for those that don’t know): Whisk one egg in a bowl until blended. whisk in 2 Tablespoons of milk (or water). Once that’s all blended you’re good to go
  • Place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • While the pastry is backing, mix cinnamon and sugar in a large plastic freezer bag. The mix ratio is up to you, make it however you like. I used 3.5 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of cinnamon.
  • When the pastry is done baking, let them cool for just a minute then drop them in the bag of cinnamon sugar a few at a time and give them a good shake.
  • Once they’re done being “sugared” arrange them on a plate and drizzle them with honey.
  • Take pictures to post on Facebook and Instagram before serving.

*Notes: You can also serve them with the honey on the side for those who might find the whole dessert a little too sweet. This really was a simple recipe, use it on a night when you want to “phone it in” but still impress everyone.

What should I do with this extra sheet of puff pastry? I’m glad you asked! Why not try out this Dessert Enchilada recipe

Original “recipe” source: http://sewtrashy.com/2010/03/make-it-monday-gringo-sopapillas/

Halloween Graveyard Dirt Cake

Halloween Graveyard Dirt Cake

Halloween Graveyard Dirt Cake

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m wrong… if I am, in fact wrong. In this case I was very wrong.

My wife has been asking me to make a dirt cake for a while now. It’s one of her favorite desserts. I’ll be honest, I’ve avoided it because it’s just dirt cake. It’s what you serve at a two year old’s birthday party. I just didn’t see the challenge.

Finally, after avoiding it for a little over a month I decided to go ahead and do it just to get it out of the way. I ended up having WAY to much fun putting this together.

Ingredients

  • 2 Packages of Chocolate Cream Oreos
  • 1 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • 10 oz. of whipped cream (I prefer making my own whipped cream but Cool Whip will work just fine.)
  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 2 Boxes (3.4 oz.) vanilla pudding
  • 3 Cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Bag of mini Milano Cookies
  • Candy corn pumpkins

Instructions

  1. Remove the cream from all of the Oreo cookies in 1 package. (It’s not as hard as you might think and this will give you a lighter dirt for the top of the cake.)
  2. Crush the Oreos that you just “de-creamed” in a food processor. Once you have a fine powder, place it in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Crush the remaining package of Oreos (with cream)  and place in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. This will be the base layer of the cake.
  4. Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  5. Mix in powdered sugar and fold in whipped cream.
  6. In a separate bowl mix pudding, milk and vanilla. Fold this mixture in with the cream cheese mixture.
  7. Pour the pudding mixture over the crumb base in the pan.
  8. Spread the first bowl of crushed Oreos on top of the pudding mixture.
  9. Add headstone Milanos and candy corn pumpkins to the top of the cake to create the graveyard.
  10. Chill the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

*Notes: It’s October, so I decided to trade the typical flower pot and gummy worms for a graveyard. Which, in my opinion, required a a heavy amount of dirt. The original recipe only called for one package of Oreos but I had to dip into our “personal stash” so I would have enough dirt to cover all of the white pudding. For the headstones, I used mini milano cookies and cut the backs off of them to make them more flat. Then,  I used standard cookie icing to write RIP on each one. The skeletons were the only inedible part of the cake. I wanted to make them out of white chocolate or use candy skeletons but time was not on my side this year. I opted for $1 parachute skelton party favors from Target. I cut them into pieces that I could easily remove them before serving. I don’t want this turning into dark king cake or something.

What started out as something I was dreading turned into something I plan to do every Halloween from here on out. It’s extremely easy and deceptively light. Warning: You’ll start eating it and before you know it you’ll be sick.

BEWARE the mini milano graveyard of stomach aches!

BEWARE the mini milano graveyard of stomach aches!

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BEWARE the mini milano graveyard of stomach aches!

Original Recipe Source: http://lilluna.com/graveyard-dirt-cake/

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

I’ll spare you a short, yet complicate story about an attempted pool party in the middle of October and just tell you that I had the opportunity to try out red velvet cheesecake brownies this past Saturday.

The original recipe calls them red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies but I couldn’t get the swirl to work so mine ended up being regular red velvet cheesecake brownies. Swirl or no Swirl they were very good.

I’ve tweaked a few things in the instructions based on my experience. For example: the original recipe says the prep time for this dessert is only 15 minutes. That might be the case if you have two assistants working with you. It took me around 45 minutes and I’m well past the days of needing to Google search how to cream butter.

Ingredients

  • 10 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Red Food Coloring
  • 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
For the Cheesecake Layer
  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare greased 8×8 baking pan.
  2. In small saucepot over medium heat, or in the microwave, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and red food coloring with the sugar. Slowly add in chocolate mixture until well combined.

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    Chocolate/sugar/food coloring mixture

  4. In small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt and flour.

    Dry ingredient mixture (pretty simple)

    Dry ingredient mixture (pretty simple)

  5. Add mixture to rest of batter. Stop once the batter is a little lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
For the Cheesecake Layer
  1. Beat ingredients together until smooth.

    Cheesecake topping (this won't be as thick as you'd expect)

    Cheesecake topping (this won’t be as thick as you’d expect)

  2. Pour over brownie batter.
  3. Use sharp knife to swirl together. (This is not a required step. Evidently, I’m not good at swirling.)
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until just set and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*Notes: The original recipe called for a baking time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. I’ve adjusted that in the direction because I believe that’s way too long. As you can see in the finished product photo below, I left mine in for an hour and 1 minute before I got the first scent of “been in here to long.” Everyone’s oven cooks a little differently so I would start checking this more frequently once you hit the 35 minute mark.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Original Recipe Source: http://doughmesstic.com/2012/01/23/red-velvet-cheesecake-swirl-brownies/

Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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Frozen Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This was a special request from my cousin. She saw it on Facebook and shared the recipe with me. I followed it almost exactly and it was great! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

Filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Extra:

  • 2 tablespoons hot fudge sauce
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • Mini peanut butter cups

Directions:

  1. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave for about a minute or until melted. Stir together until combined. Add crispy rice cereal and stir well to coat.
  2. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. You could use a pie pan but I’ve found that a springform pan is much easier when it comes to removing slices. Place in the freezer to chill while you make the filling (about 10 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter and mix until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add vanilla and lemon juice and mix until combined.
  5. Gently fold in the whipped topping. Pour filling into the prepared crust.
  6. Heat fudge and peanut butter in two small separate bowls for 20-30 seconds or until warm. Drizzle over filling.
  7. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until pie is firm. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to make cutting easier. Garnish with peanut butter and chocolate candy bars.

*Notes: Like I said earlier, I followed it almost exactly. As you can see in the above picture I didn’t drizzle peanut butter on the top. I just used the hot fudge, I felt like there was already enough peanut butter taste there. I also chose to add the peanut butter cups before I put it in the freezer so they would be set around the edge of the cheesecake and not fall off when I served it.  I only did one other thing differently. please don’t label me a snob but I made my own whipped cream. It’s not hard, just pour heavy whipping cream in a bowl with a couple of spoons of powdered sugar and whip it (and whip it good – Devo reference). I think homemade whipped cream tastes better than the stuff you buy in the store.

Original Recipe Source: Facebook, so who knows where it started.

Homemade Mocha Ice Cream Cake

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Homemade Mocha Ice Cream Cake

I’m not one of those people who thinks you can only eat ice cream when it’s hot outside so if you want to make this right smack in the middle of winter, you have my unneeded approval. That being said, I came up with this is treat several months ago.

My brother-in-law gave me an ice cream maker a couple of years ago and I hadn’t used it yet so I decided now was the time. We were right in the middle of the hot Dallas Summer and making homemade ice cream for dessert seemed appropriate.

I used a basic chocolate ice cream recipe and added the espresso to give it the coffee flavor. I also added chopped dark chocolate about half way through the freezing process.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brewed espresso, chilled
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 large dark chocolate candy bar, chopped
  • Chocolate Shell Ice Cream Topping
  • 1 package of Oreo Cookies

Directions:

Mix heavy cream, milk, sugar, espresso (chilled) and chocolate syrup in a bowl until syrup is dissolved.

Pour into ice cream makers and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

About half way though the freezing process pour in as much of the chopped dark chocolate as you like.

While ice cream is freezing, place Oreo cookies in a large Ziplock bag. Crush the Oreos until all you have are very small pieces.

When the freezing process is done your ice cream should be the consistency of soft serve. Pour the ice cream into a 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 bread foil pan. I suggest foil because it’ll be easier to get the ice cream out of later. If you don’t have a foil pan you can use a regular one, just be sure to line it with foil or plastic wrap to help you remove the ice cream.

Once you’ve poured your ice cream into the pan, spread your Oreo cookie crumbs across the top, pressing slightly as you go to make sure the Oreo crumbs are in the ice cream. This will be the base of the ice cream cake.

Place the pan in the freezer for at least 2 hours, over night if you can. This will firm up the ice cream so it’ll hold its shape when you get ready to serve it.

After the ice cream has had a chance to firm up, take it out of the freezer and out of the pan. If you used a foil pan, you can squeeze gently around the edges to help remove the ice cream block. Be sure to place it on the dish with the Oreo crumbs on the bottom. Place the ice cream on your serving dish and drizzle it with the chocolate shell topping.

*Notes: Presentation is important to me (in case they end up tasting terrible I can at least say it looked good) so I took it a little further and shaved dark chocolate to sprinkle around and on top of the ice cream cake after I added the shell topping. I know the directions make it seem complicated but this is actually a very easy dessert. Be sure to let it thaw for about 10 – 15 minutes before serving, otherwise you’ll be trying to saw through mocha flavored concrete.

This easy dessert takes about 10 minutes to prepare but don’t forget to account for your ice cream maker’s freeze time and the freezer time it needs to get firm.

Cinnamon Cream Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Cream Cake

Cinnamon Cream Cake

There’s a Corner Bakery within two miles of my apartment in every direction so it’s safe to say I’ve eaten there more times than I ever thought I would. Every time I go in I see the cinnamon cream coffee cake as well as other desserts and immediately have to start to fighting the urge to buy one of everything. It all looks so good! Well, the last time I visited one of the many locations near my apartment I just happened to be thinking about our upcoming family dinner and what I would make for dessert that week. It was as if the universe knew what I was thinking and answered my question, right there in front of me was the cinnamon cream coffee cake. I immediately did a Google search for a cinnamon cream coffee cake recipe and found a copycat recipe.

Topping and Filling Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 sticks salted butter, melted
Cake Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups sour cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease and flour 10 inch/12 cup tube pan very well. (Do not use a smaller pan or a bundt pan.)
  2. Combine first five topping ingredients in a large bowl, add melted butter and combine with a wooden spoon. You want big chunks of the topping and filling so don’t over mix.
  3. Cake: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium size bowl, set aside.
  4. In a large bowl cream butter, shortening, and sugar until very light. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in almond extract. Add the dry cake ingredients alternating with the sour cream. The batter will be very thick.
  5. Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the batter, then the remaining cake batter, then remaining topping. Press the final topping layer into the cake layer very gently, just to make sure it “sticks”.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven for 50 –  1 hour and 15 minutes. Cake is done when it starts to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Loosen sides of cake with knife and invert onto a wire rack and then invert again on to serving platter. Sprinkle with powder sugar to finish.

*Notes: I deviated from the original filling recipe a bit. I tend to like things to be a little sweeter and the results of the original recipe were a little more bland. The recipe above is what I used. You can find the original recipe in the link below. If you’re using a powdered sugar shaker to add the powdered super, I suggest waiting a while for it to cool otherwise the sugar will clump in the shaker and make life difficult. Not only was the cake beautiful but it turned out incredibly moist. Serve it warm with coffee and you wont be disappointed.

Cinnamon Cream Cake

Cinnamon Cream Cake

Original Recipe: http://www.barbarabakes.com/2011/10/corner-bakery-cinnamon-creme-coffee-cake/

Pumpkin Crunch

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Pumpkin Crunch – Not the prettiest picture I’ve taken.

It’s midway through October and a cold front has passed through Dallas so that put me even more in the Fall mood than I already was. So, I wanted to use pumpkin in this weekend’s dessert.

If you Google search “Fall Desserts” you’ll be overrun with options ranging from easy fall colored cake balls to some single serve “pumpkin pie in a wine glass” masterpiece that Martha Stewart claims is easy to make. I was looking for something challenging but not so hard that I would mess it up and have to bring store bought cookies and an apology to the family dinner.

After about 45 minutes of scrolling through hundreds of pictures (everything is brown and covered with cinnamon) I settled on the Pumpkin Crunch. At first glance, the recipe looked like an easy cobble. I was intrigued by the idea of a pumpkin pie with a cobbler crunch. That description turned out to almost spot on. The base is soft and very similar to pumpkin pie and the cake mix and butter on top give it the crunch.

Ingredients:

15oz. can pumpkin
12oz. can evaporated milk
1/2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1/2 t. cinnamon
1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 Cup melted butter
Combine pumpkin, evap. milk, sugar and eggs. Once combined, pour into greased 9×13 pan.
Sprinkle dry cake mix on top of pumpkin mixture and pour melted butter over top.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
*Notes – I was concerned while I was making with because the cake mix can be clumpy if you sprinkle it right out of the box. Don’t worry about that because the cake mix gives it the crunch and it blends well with the pumpkin mix. This dessert is great when served hot or cold but only OK when you serve it at room temperature. I recommend serving it warm after dinner (or before, I’m wont judge you) and refrigerating what’s left… if there’s any left.

Chocolate Chip Dip “Blob”

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Chocolate Chip Dip Blob

I’m not gonna lie, I made this with the intention of eating it before dinner. Actually, I had planned on it being an afternoon conquest. I made the first “blob” and it seemed small so I made a second one and combined them. By the time dinner was ready, seven of us had contributed to the effort and only half of the dip was gone and there wasn’t a whole lot of room left over for dinner. It’s hard to walk away from, eat at your own risk.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (that’s powdered sugar for us normal folks…)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • Graham cracker sticks (1 box is not enough)

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the sugars and vanilla; beat until smooth.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Chill in fridge until dip becomes firm (approx 30min – 1hr)
Serve with graham cracker sticks.  

*Notes: I used an electric mixer so I opted to do all the mixing/beating in a large bowl, I’m not a fan of cleaning cream cheese off of my kitchen walls. I also changed the amount of brown sugar from 2 tablespoons  (original recipe) to 1/3 cup. I know, it’s a big jump but it helps tame the tart flavor of the cream cheese.

Original Recipe Source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-dip

Welcome to Mystery Dessert Theater 3000!

This is my wife’s fault. You can thank her or blame her but ultimately she encouraged me to start this blog.

I’m a dessert enthusiast, always have been. However, it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the stress relieving qualities of dessert making. I try out recipes from all over the internet and feed them to my family on Sunday nights. They’re good people so I don’t always know if the dessert really tastes good or if they’re just being nice.

Anyway, I will be sharing each week’s dessert experiment here, along with my brief commentary on the recipe and preparation process.  I will credit the source of each week’s recipe to the best of my ability.

I don’t have a catchy “sign-off phrase” so for now I’ll just tell you that it’s OK to have dessert first.

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Chocolate Chip Dip

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

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Homemade Mocha Chip Ice Cream Cake

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Cinnamon Cream Cake