‘Us’ Red Velvet Rabbit Cake with Chocolate Mirror Glaze

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The movie ‘Us’ was definitely a horror movie, but not in the way I expected. It was scary,  terrifying, and thrilling. Again, not in the way I expected. It was a horrific waste of time, terrifyingly disappointing, and thrillingly stupid, as far as story goes. The acting was great, the first half of the movie fairly good, then straight downhill like a bobsled on an ice hill. For the full review go to: https://youtu.be/lTG3eWP5czY

Obviously, you probably would want to make a different flavored and colored cake if you wanted to make this for Easter! We don’t want to traumatize any children, when you cut into a red bunny cake! But this cake for ‘Us’ fits the bill. I mean, c’mon, they lived on raw rabbit, hence the red velvet cake here. The mirror glaze “reflects” (ooo, sorry) the mirrors in the movie. You don’t even have to buy a special rabbit cake pan to make this. I traced a silhouette of a rabbit onto some parchment paper, then cut around the outline, right onto my rectangle 13 x 9 cake.

So I hope you’ll give this cake a try and don’t be afraid of the mirror glaze, but be afraid of spending any money to see this movie!

Red Velvet Cake

3/4 cup butter, softened
1- 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2- 1/3 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 oz. red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake pan(s): Butter and flour, tapping out excess flour.

In mixer bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine buttermilk, vinegar, and vanilla. Alternately add about 1/3 of flour mixture, then about 1/2 the buttermilk mixture, ending with flour mixture, beating on low speed, just until combined.

Pour into 13 x 9 pan, or two 8″ round pans. Bake 25-35 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely. If using mirror glaze, refrigerate cake (a cool cake will help glaze set more quickly).

Chocolate Mirror Glaze

2 cups (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
7 ozs. (1/2 can) sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup cold water
1 envelope (1/4 oz.) unflavored gelatin powder
1 tsp. corn syrup

In small bowl, combine gelatin and 1/3 cup cold water. Stir and set aside.

In separate large bowl, combine chocolate chips and cocoa powder and set aside.

In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup water, sugar, and sweetened condensed milk. Heat over medium heat until just comes to a boil. Turn off heat. Pour mixture over chocolate and coacoa and let set for about 3 minutes, without stirring. After the 3 minutes, stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in gelatin mixture.

DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP: Pour mixture through a fine sieve. You might be tempted to skip this step, thinking your mixture looks smooth, but this step is necessary to catch any tiny bits of gelatin and/or chocolate that didn’t quite dissolve, see below photo:IMG_20190324_163608.jpg

Let mixture cool until it reaches 90 degrees, then pour over chilled cake, that is still on the rack over parchment paper on a pan to catch excess glaze:IMG_20190324_163820.jpg

Do NOT touch after you pour!! If you try to smooth it with a knife, it will leave a mark, distorting the mirror finish.

Store cake in refrigerator until serving.

Makes 1 bunny, or 1 13 x 9 cake or two 8″ rounds.

Here’s to us, not watching ‘Us’.IMG_20190324_170642.jpg

 

Black and White Psycho Cakes

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Finally, #4 in my top five favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies. It’s been a long time coming, but finally getting back to regular hours at work, so am able to get back to doing what I love, movies and baking!

Psycho is definitely a classic, even though it was not considered one at the time of its release. People were shocked and disgusted at its subject matter and “gore”. Walt Disney refused to let Mr. Hitchcock conduct any filming at Disneyland due to this movie’s “disgusting” nature.

One of the reasons I like this movie is because of its lack of gore! Since it was filmed in black and white, the gore is left to the imagination, instead of in-your-face gross. This was not only a style choice, but a financial choice, since it was cheaper then to shoot using black and white film. Watch the full review here: https://youtu.be/2_F-KP-2T-4

Since the black and whiteness is one of the main reasons I like this movie, I decided to go with a black and white dessert: ganache covered vanilla cakes. I made these with a strawberry filling, just for a little color surprise, but they are just as good without that or you could substitute a different flavored filling. The cake is dense and moist and the ganache is so smooth and chocolately….it’s to die for!

Vanilla Cakes

1/2 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Filling of choice ( I used strawberry jam)

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In mixer bowl on low speed, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in salt.

In separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. In another separate bowl or measuring cup add vanilla to milk. With mixer running, alternately add dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until combined, scraping bowl once.IMG_20190221_075000.jpg

Pour into 3 (6 oz.) buttered and floured ramekins or 1- 8″ cake pan. Bake 20-30 minutes, until pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes then out onto wire rack to cool completely.

On bottom of small cooled cakes, remove a small portion to insert filling, then place small portion back in place, or use pastry bag to inject filling.IMG_20190222_064915.jpg

Chocolate Ganache

4 ozs. semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small chunks
4 ozs. (1/2 cup) heavy cream

Place chocolate into small bowl. In small pan, heat cream to just boiling. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let sit, without stirring for 2-3 minutes, then stir with whisk until very smooth. While still warm, pour over cakes on rack with baking sheet underneath to catch drips. With offset spatula, smooth tops of cakes, going over only once. Once dripping has stopped, remove cakes using two spatulas, to serving plate.

Garnish with whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes 3 individual cakes or 1-8″ layer.IMG_20190224_133532.jpg

 

 

Coming Soon…

Hello friends! I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post. Been working extra hours at work to get a new kitchen going, but plan to get back on track soon. I’ll be reviewing the last two of my top 5 favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies and their desserts very soon! Stay tuned…

Roped Pears (poached pears in puff pastry)

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Even though Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope is one of his lesser known movies, it’s always been one of my favorites. You know who was killed and who committed the murder in the first 3 minutes, but it becomes a game of cat and mouse, as these two of a kind friends (or a “pair” of friends), struggle to maintain their composure while the threat of being discovered is a heavy presence in the room. Shot in very few takes and banned earlier because of it’s “homosexual undertones” in 1948, Rope has become almost a cult classic. It was Hitchcock’s first color movie, giving it a more modern look, but keeping the colors muted due to the “serious subject matter”. See full review and roped pear recipe video here: https://youtu.be/ZkWbnCfwetA

Watching Brandon and Phillip banter and parry back and forth, made me think they are quite the pair! So I wrapped this “pear” with a pastry “rope” to savor while watching the movie on a chilly fall afternoon. The pears are poached in an absolutely delicious maple ginger mixture which tastes just like fall (enough with pumpkin spice already!) and then it’s wrapped in the easiest, flakiest puff pastry dough that melts in your mouth. The maple ginger mixture is tea based, rather than wine, because first of all, not that big a wine fan and secondly, poaching in wine has been done to death!

So I hope you’ll give this movie and this recipe a try. Puff pastry, especially this easy “rough” version isn’t as scary as you might think. Its mostly just a bit of rolling and folding and chilling. You can use frozen ready-made puff pastry, but you don’t exactly know what’s in it, and this is so much more rewarding. You don’t have to be Julia Child to get a nice flaky pastry dough!
Roped Pears (Poached Pears in Puff Pastry)

Puff Pastry Dough (can be made up to 2 days ahead):

2 sticks butter, chilled
8 ounces all purpose flour ( a little over 1 cup)
4 ounces water (1/2 cup)

Cut butter into small pieces and toss with flour. Gradually add water and blend until dough just holds together. Form a disc, wrap in plastic and chill 20 minutes. At this point: You could poach your pears and let cool while finishing your dough. (see below)

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You can still see fairly large chunks of butter. This is what will provide the flakiness!

Take your dough out of the frig and unwrap. On floured surface, roll dough to large rectangle, about 16″ x 12″. This does not have to be precise! it should be about 1/8″ thick.

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Now you’re going to fold in into thirds, like a business letter. (This is actually called a “book fold”.

Now turn so that the fold is facing you and roll out again to 1/8 inch, fold into a book fold, wrap and chill another 20 minutes.

Repeat rolling and folding process one more time and chill again.
Poached Pears

4 cups water (or enough to barely cover pears in medium saucepan)
2 teabags of desired flavor (I used Celestial Seasonings Vermont Maple and Ginger)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (could use cinnamon stick instead)

Bring this mixture just to a boil, turn off heat and let steep. Add peeled and cored pears and bring back to boil, let boil gently about 10 minutes or until pears are just barely tender. Let cool in tea mixture.

While pears are cooling, you can roll out your pastry dough for cutting. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut dough into long strips to wrap around each pear. Each pear will take about 2 strips to cover.

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You can be as precise as you like; as you can see, I like to be “rustic”! Also cut out a round piece of dough to just cover the bottom of your pear.

Dry your pear slightly, place pear onto dough round, then start wrapping the strips of dough around your pear, spiraling upward toward the stem.

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Repeat for all 4 pears, placing on aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water, being careful to brush on dough lightly, we don’t want scrambled eggs, dearie!

Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly then rmoe form baking sheet and serve. These are best served warm and same day.

Makes 4 delicious maple ginger flavored wrapped pears in puff pastry. Can I “rope” you into trying them?

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Rear Window Glass Candy

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Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window is only second to The Birds. Full of suspense with bits of humor make it something you’ll want to watch again and again. (Full review and recipe demo: https://youtu.be/U6ecUo1hEaM).

If only we all had a window like Jimmy Stewart’s, to look at our neighbors and solve crimes based only on what we see…hmmm, think most of us do that anyway! What’s the saying? He who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones….

But here’s a recipe for glass you can eat! It’s great as flavored hard candy to give as gifts or when you want a glass effect in a dessert (see cupcake below), or as the windows in a gingerbread house. It’s super easy to make and only 3 ingredients! You can add any color and/or flavor you like.

WARNING: Aways be careful when working with hot sugar syrup. Keep a bowl of ice water close by in case of small burns.

Rear Window Glass Candy

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
Food coloring (optional)
Flavored edible oils (such as Wilton brand)

Combine thouroughly sugar and water in medium saucepan. Stir in corn syrup.

Place over medium heat. You do not need to stir. Bring to a boil and continue boiling over medium-medium high heat until 250 degrees and if adding food coloring, do so at this point. Continue boiling until mixture reaches 300 degrees (hard crack stage).

Remove from heat and stir in flavored oil, if using.

Pour into foil-lined sided cookie sheet (if you will be storing candy, spread out a one-pound box in a layer over foil, then pour candy on. The powdered sugar will prevent candy pieces from sticking together. If using glass candy for a gingerbread house or other effect, omit powdered sugar layer.

Let cool about 10 minutes before cutting with kitchen shears, if you desire specific sizes and shapes. Otherwise you can break off into random pieces after about 20 minutes.

*Use caution when breaking or eating glass candy. It can possibly cause cuts to fingers or tongues, as with any hard candy.

Decorating idea: Halloween Cupcakes

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Hitchcock’s Blackbird, No, Blackberry Tarts

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Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds–great movie with great characters and memorable scenes. Worth watching one, two, three, okay twenty times! These blackberry tarts really fit the “bill” (ooo!) The dark sweet blackberries topped with golden buttery pastry birds in a still warm crust are just right for eating along with the movie! Full movie review and recipe demo here: https://youtu.be/0TM9oKkYY38

Blackberry Tarts

Crust:
7 Tablespoons butter, cold
7 Tablespoons shortening (I use butter flavored)
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5-7 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (taste cooks out and leaves flakiness!)

Berry Filling:

16 oz. fresh or frozen (thawed) blackberries
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries
3 Tablespoons corn starch
Juice of half of a small lemon (about a Tablespoon)
Water (if berries do not seem to have enough juice, add about 1/4 cup water to berry       mixture as directed below.

Cut butter into small pieces. In large bowl, place flour and salt, whisk together. Add butter pieces and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture, until it resembles coarse crumbs:

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Add very cold water a Tablespoon at a time and blend gently until dough just starts to hold together. The less the dough is handled, the more tender and flaky it will be.

Separate dough into 2 equal parts, flatten into discs and wrap in plastic wrap and chill.

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Meanwhile, ready your filling ingredients. Into a medium saucepan, place sugar and cornstarch and whisk them together. Add berries, lemon juice, and water if needed and stir together gently, so as not to break up the berries too much.

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Put saucepan with berry mixture over medium heat, stirring gently but frequently, turning heat down if necessary.

Cook until mixture starts to thicken and boil. Let boil for about 2 minutes, stirring gently from the bottom to prevent scorching. Turn off heat and let cool a bit. Set aside.

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Take one of the pastry discs out of the refrigerator and place on a floured work surface. Roll out evenly, starting from the middle of the pastry circle every time you roll your rolling pin across the surface, always being careful not to pull or stretch the dough.

As seen in the video (link above) put your tart pan under the crust and gently lift it into the sides of the pans, then press down to cut through the dough. Continue with all tart pans. Cover and chill.

While tart bottoms are chilling, get out your other pastry disc and roll out to same thickness as bottom, about 1/16 of an inch. Use cookie cutters to cut out designs for the top of your pie or leave whole for a regular two crust pie. If you do decide on a full top crust, don’t forget to cut little vents to let the steam out while baking!

Take out your tart bottoms and fill with the slightly warm blackberry filling. Place pastry cutouts or pastry circles on top. Brush pastry top with a little milk and sprinkle with sugar. Place tarts or pie on baking sheet and place in oven.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and continue baking about 20 minutes or until top crust is golden brown.

Enjoy warm or cold with vanilla ice cream and sit back and watch The Birds. Also, keep an eye on that fireplace 😉

 

 

 

Christopher Robin’s Honey Pots de Creme

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The Honey Pots de Creme are not really Christopher Robin’s, but really belong to Winnie the Pooh, as does the movie ‘Christopher Robin’. I was very surprised by the first 10 minutes of this movie. It is definitely not meant for very young children, as it begins with death, war and other adult moments. It does gradually become watchable and quite enjoyable if you take out the ever-annoying Tigger and focus on the wisdom of Winnie the Pooh. I recommend Christopher Robin for ages 8 and up and recommend waiting for the DVD. See my full review and recipe demo on YouTube at Reel Desserts: https://youtu.be/771nqMp-LCc.

Honey Pots de Creme

2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, heat cream over low heat just until hot, but not even close to boiling.

In seperate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together until light in color about 3 minutes.MVIMG_20180817_111811.jpg

Very slowly add heated cream to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add vanilla extract.

Pour through fine mesh sieve to remove any egg bits, then pour into individual serving ramekins.

Place filled ramekins in water bath (pan filled halfway with water, and place into preheated oven.IMG_20180817_112117_1.jpg

Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until very little jiggle remains. remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Can be served warm or cold (some like it hot…oh wait, that’s a different movie).

Serves 4 adults or one Pooh.IMG_20180817_121441.jpg

Very Possible Mission Impossible Impossible Pie

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Accept this mission! Delicious buttery coconut pie, not impossible. Very easy! Easy to enjoy too, just like Mission Impossible 6: Fallout. Great action movie, not to be missed on the big screen! Watch full review and recipe demo at: https://youtu.be/oyXnL5Q53HU

Impossible Pie

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
1 teaspoon extract (vanilla or rum)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded coconut

Mix all ingredients with whisk, pour into greased 10″ pie plate.
Very possible!

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour until set. Serve warm or cold. Eat while watching Tom Cruise.IMG_20180727_141846.jpg

Hereditary Comforting Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Sometimes you just need a little comforting. This was one of those times. I had the post bad movie blues after watching the “horror” movie Hereditary. I’m not a jump-scare movie person, so I was very excited to see a movie that supposedly had some substance to it and maybe some chilling moments. I had heard it compared to the Babadook, a really good horror movie that dealt with grief. I watched it a couple of years after I lost my son and it had really helped to see some of my darker feelings in a movie, making me feel that I wasn’t alone. This movie however, was nothing like the Babadook. I dealt with some grief, but only in a superficial way and as far as chilling or scary goes, the scariest thing about this movie was that it was over two hours! I was so mad that I had spent money and so much time on this movie! As I fast-walked to my car, I heard the other two people that had sat in front of me in the theater say, “thank God that’s finally over!” At least I wasn’t alone in my opinion!

So I decided to stick with the comforting aspect for my dessert, and believe me, the chocolate helped! You can watch my full movie review and recipe demo at: https://youtu.be/Uq8Z3UqUJ2I

Dark Comfort Chocolate Bread Pudding

2 cups milk
4 eggs
Dash salt
6-10 slices brioche bread, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips

Butter six 1-cup ramekins or one 1-quart ovenproof souffle baking dish. Place bread cubes and 1/2 of the chocolate chips evenly among the ramekins or in the baking dish.IMG_1736.JPG

In small pan over low heat, place remaining chocolate chips, sugar, cocoa powder, and 1 cup of the milk. Stir constantly until just until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Transfer to large bowl and add remaining milk. Whisk in eggs, salt and vanilla until thoroughly combined.IMG_1738.JPG

Pour mixture evenly over bread cubes/chocolate chips and let sit 30 minutes for bread to absorb chocolate mixture. Ramekins or baking dish should be about 3/4 full, or possible overflow will occur.IMG_1743.JPG

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until set and no longer runny in the middle. Get your favorite banky and cuddle up!

Serves about 6.

Jurassic World Lemon Lava Cookies

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was not what I’d expected. I’d expected it to be good! I’d expected a lot more lava and volcanoes and a lot less dinosaurs running upstairs and downstairs in mansions. But oh well, I’m sticking with my Lemon Lava cookie recipe and the dinosaurs can go chase themselves! Maybe Fallen Franchise? Just sayin’.

Full review on YouTube: http://youtu.be/zSDwhu2HnFc

This recipe is my take on the chocolate crinkle cookie recipe that I used to make around Christmas time. Only instead of chocolate showing through the powdered sugar “snow”, this is “lava” (lemon flavored cookie) showing through the “hardened ash” (black sanding sugar). When you look at them, you’re not expecting this bright lemony flavor, then
wow…Delicious! (I found my black sanding sugar at Joann’s.)

Lemon Lava Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest and juice from 2 lemons
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Yellow food coloring
Orange food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour baking powder and salt.

Mix together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, beating well after each. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. (do NOT add food coloring at this point unless you want the dough to be all one color.)

 

Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Now you can add the food colors, just mixing into the dough, but not mixing colors together too much. This will give you that nice lava look.

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Put sanding sugar in a small bowl. Scoop cookie dough into 1-2 Tablespoons, depending on the size cookie you want, remembering they will spread a little. Roll into a ball, then dip one side in the sanding sugar and place sugar side up onto a lightly greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

Bake 10-13 minutes. Because of the black sanding sugar, it will be hard to tell when the cookie are done, If you lightly touch the cookie on top, it should feel set, and should be just lightly brown on the bottom.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 2 dozen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe

Lemon Lava Cookies