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/

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.