Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Heart Shaped Chocolate Cherry Mini Cakes


It all started when I decided to make some Valentine's treats for friends and neighbors. I figured I'd do something fun and colorful but my baking cabinet was sadly out of red or pink sprinkles. So I headed to the store to restock and saw heart shaped sprinkles (what??) and red candy melts and heart shaped cutters and I bought them all without even knowing what I was going to do with them.

I already had good quality semi-sweet chocolate in the house and I was picturing a delicious drippy ganache. Over what, though?A few trial run ideas later I had the answer in the form of a large chocolate sheet cake.

I could cut out little hearts and big hearts. I could stack the hearts and pour ganache and frosting over the hearts. This was fun.

Because cherries and chocolate were meant to be together, I stacked the cake hearts with a scoop of my favorite cherry preserves in the middle. Smaller heart cutouts for individual portions and larger hearts for a romantic little mini cake to share. If you space the hearts close together, you should have a minimum of wasted sheet cake. Of course, cake scraps are what gives the baker the energy to go on. Hahaha. Enjoy!

Heart Shaped Chocolate Cherry Mini Cakes

by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients (8 Servings)
    • 2 Sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
    • 1/4 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 Cup boiling water
    • 2 Eggs
    • 2 Cups sugar
    • 1/2 Cup sour cream
    • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 Cups all purpose flour
    • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 Teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 Cup cherry preserves
    • 8 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate
    • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
    • 1 Tablespoon butter
    • Red Candy Melts (optional)
    • Colorful sprinkles (optional)
    Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a half sheet pan (approx. 18" x 13") or jelly roll pan (approx. 12" x 17") with parchment paper.

    Melt the butter and whisk in the cocoa powder. Pour in the boiling water and stir until combined. Set aside to cool.

    Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the eggs and sugar. Beat in the vanilla and sour cream followed by the cooled chocolate mixture

    Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and mix into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    Allow the cake to cool slightly and then cut out heart shapes with a 3" or 4" cutter. Place about a teaspoon or two of cherry preserves on half the heart shapes and top with the other half.

    Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave and stir in the heavy cream and butter. If using candy melts, melt them as well in a double boiler or microwave. Pour the chocolate ganache over each stacked heart cake and top with the melted candy melts and sprinkles. Makes about 16 3" hearts which yields 8 tiered cakes.

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    Monday, February 6, 2017

    Red Velvet Swirl Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache


    So the Superbowl is over, right? And one of the teams won, correct? My lack of interest is showing, isn't it? In fairness, I'm a big fan of football food. I just prefer eating it while watching puppies playing with a ball. But that's not important now. What is important is that we all stuffed ourselves with copious amounts of game day snacks and now it's time to focus on the sweets. Yup, Valentine's Day is coming!

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Soup and Salad Wraps Dinner


    I think I've made it known in the past that I'm obsessed with soup in cold weather. And by cold weather, I mean starting right after Labor Day. And by "made it known" I mean multiple times per year going back forever. So, it's a soup-fest around here for most of the year.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2017

    Game Day Eats Ideas and Finds!


    I'm back today with more game day food ideas but with an eye toward convenience. Let's face it, sometimes you've just been cooking too much and too many folks are coming and you need some shortcuts. Or, at least, recommendations for good products to buy to supplement the snacks you've made yourself. So here then are some items I've tried lately that deliver on flavor, convenience and quality. I hope some of them will find their way to your game day festivities. Enjoy!

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Southwestern Chorizo Filled Potato Poppers and Pineapple Salsa

    Southwestern-Chorizo-Filled Potato-Poppers-and-Pineapple-Salsa

    I'm deep in game day recipe mode around here. Between regular Sunday sporting events on TV and the big game coming up soon, it's a bit of a snack fest around here. And the cold rainy weather outside is not doing anything to remove the desire to eat yummy food in front of the TV inside, if you know what I mean.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Ultimate Crispy Topped Cheddar Mac and Cheese


    Superbowl is almost here. Are you getting really excited? Are you cheering for your favorite teams and planning a big get together with lots of great snacks? Me, too! Um...OK...maybe just the food part. Seriously, I have watched football (the things you do for men), I understand football (sort of, in the sense that I know the rules of the game) but I'm really just here to eat.

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Spiralized Root Vegetable Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas and Walnut Pangrattato


    This recipe title is a mouthful, I know. And it really should be even longer because it's technically a walnut gremolata pangrattato. Ouch. So many big words for such a simple and easy to make dish. Healthy, filling, delicious and on the table in 30 minutes. Let's discuss, shall we?

    Monday, January 2, 2017

    Southwestern Black Bean Salad with Sweet Potato Wedges


    Happy New Year, friends! I have to say that I love when New Year's Day falls on a Sunday. I mean, I'm all for resolutions and new beginnings and all that. But to go from chugging a bottle of champagne (I admit nothing) to presenting yourself at the gym the next morning on a bowl of high fiber, whole grain cereal, is a little daunting. By which I mean, it ain't happening. So this way, we kind of get a bridge day to get it together.

    Monday, December 26, 2016

    Bourbon Manhattan Cherry Shrub


    I always find it hard to say what my favorite foods and drinks are because I love so many. But if there's one cocktail that's had a starring role over the years, it's the Manhattan. It's one of the first real drinks I ever tried and I'm sure the name had a lot to do with the attraction for this native New York girl. But I did really like it.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Baked Gingerbread Doughnut Holes


    In between the rounds of cookie baking I've been doing lately, I was suddenly struck with an urge for a doughnut. Of course, the problem could also be that I was gifting all the cookies and developing sweet treat withdrawal. It actually doesn't take much to put me in sweet treat withdrawal which is probably why stretchy pants are such a good idea. But back to the doughnuts. I wanted some right now.

    Monday, December 19, 2016

    Satsuma Mandarin Shrub Martini


    This year I added a new treat to my list of favorite things. I wasn't completely sure how I felt about the idea of drinking something that was made with vinegar. But, as it turns out, I'm totally on board and the shrub experiments began in earnest around here. If you haven't tried it yet but are a fan of kombucha, you probably will become a shrub lover.

    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Potato, Onion and Cauliflower Latkes


    It's getting to be the most delicious time of the year. And if there's anything better than the smell of frying potato pancakes, I don't know what it is. Yes, Hanukkah is in a couple of short weeks. In fact, it's rather late this year, with the first menorah candle being lit on Christmas Eve. So, there will be yuletide carols and frying potatoes. It's going to be epic!

    Monday, December 5, 2016

    Southwestern Cheddar Stuffed Meatballs


    Meatballs again? Oh, hell yes, I love them! They're easy to make, use ingredients I usually have around the house and the flavor can be customized in lots of different ways. They're great as leftovers or on a sandwich. Hey, there's a reason that a meatball themed restaurant is doing so well in New York that it's opened multiple locations. More meatballs!

    Monday, November 21, 2016

    Potato and Acorn Squash Soup


    Every year I flip through fancy housewares catalogs and see gorgeous soup bowls shaped like pumpkins and squash, just begging to be added to an elegant holiday table. And I want them. And I imagine making pumpkin or squash soup to serve in them. But I never buy them because they're kinda pricey for something I'll just use at Thanksgiving.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016

    Cocoa Caramel Cocktail


    Every year I plan a "house cocktail" for the holidays. I make a big pitcher of it in advance and then just shake off the individual cocktails with ice as guests arrive. Since I'm a big believer in making as much ahead as possible so I can enjoy actually spending time with friends and relatives, it makes sense to do the same with the drinks.

    Monday, November 14, 2016

    Pear and Apple Autumn Pie


    Holiday desserts in my house have always meant pie. Sure, there might be a few other things that I whipped up or that guests brought. And they change with the season and mood. But there's always pie. When I was a kid, I really only ever wanted the crust and could do without the filling. But now that I make my own pies, I want them both.

    Wednesday, November 9, 2016

    Butternut Squash and Parmesan Lasagna


    So, I was basically a nervous wreck all day yesterday, waiting for election results and watching cable news obsessively. I knew I needed some comfort food so I put my nervous energy to work in the kitchen, layering flavors, creating something delicious and keeping my mind occupied.

    Thursday, November 3, 2016

    Butternut and Ricotta Polenta with Crispy Brussels Sprouts


    I've been on a serious polenta kick around here lately. I think it's a combination of chilly weather and busyness. Polenta is a big warm bowl of comfort and it's also easy to make and cooks pretty fast. And, for even more fun, it's wonderfully versatile so I can change up the flavors and not get bored.

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    Crispy Curried Smashed Potatoes


    Have you ever had crispy smashed potatoes? To me, they're sort of like potato skins only a few notches above. Skins have tons of toppings but not much potato. Definitely more appetizer than side dish. But smashed potatoes give you the crispiness as well as the full flavor of the potato. But, somehow, I rarely get around to making them.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2016

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream with Praline Pecans


    For most of my life, I stopped craving ice cream after summer was over. But all that changed a number of years ago when I first tasted pumpkin ice cream. There's a small local artisan ice cream shop near my apartment and they put a sign out announcing the flavor. Curiosity eventually got the better of me and I went in and got a scoop. An obsession was born.

    Monday, October 17, 2016

    Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Cookies


    We will now take a brief recess from pumpkin spice everything to bring you some peanut butter. I promise that things will go back to orange very shortly. But sometimes, peanut butter and jelly beckon and you cannot refuse. OK, I cannot refuse.

    Wednesday, October 5, 2016

    Smokey Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce

    Smokey Pumpkin Sage Pasta Sauce

    Wow, it's almost the end of the first week of October and this is the first pumpkin recipe I've shared with you this season. That's quite a lot of restraint on my part because I love pumpkin and my kitchen has been stocked with them since I saw the first one in the market.

    Wednesday, September 28, 2016

    Park Avenue Vegetarian Sandwich

    Park Avenue Vegetarian Sandwich

    Many years ago (we won't discuss how many), I worked at an ad agency that was on Park Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. And down the block was a great deli where most of the neighborhood headed for lunch. They piled their sandwiches high with all the lunch meat you could ever hope for but they also offered a veggie only option, called the Park Avenue Vegetarian, that was piled just as high.

    Monday, September 26, 2016

    Joan's Ding Dong Cake

    Joan's Ding Dong Cake

    Earlier this month, a foodie friend posted a link to the Ding Dong cake from Chocolate, Chocolate and More and a flood of memories came pouring in. My darling friend, Joan, created that blog and made it hugely popular. She loved to bake and loved to spend time in the kitchen with her three children in her lovely Georgia home. But Joan was not a small town girl and she and this big city girl hit it off like gangbusters. She was smart, funny, sassy, irreverent and a good time. But she was also the person most likely to help anyone with anything without ever looking to take credit for it. She was a rare and special light.

    Wednesday, September 14, 2016

    Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

    Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Covered Pretzel Crust

    I was in the grocery store last week and planned to pick up a bag of pretzels to snack on. All they had were large bags, more than I needed for a snack for sure, so I thought I might use the rest in a pie crust. And while I'm standing there, deciding, my eyes fell on a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. I'm totally a sweet and salty fan and chocolate covered pretzels are some of my favorite treats but I normally try to avoid them. The reason my eyes lingered is because my brain was thinking along the lines of pie crust and I wondered what would happen if I made a chocolate covered pretzel pie crust. Very, very good things would happen, actually.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2016

    Salisbury Steak Meatballs

    Salisbury Steak Meatballs

    Last week I came home from grocery shopping with a pound of ground beef but no fixed idea how I was going to use it. That's not really all that unusual and I picked it up because I knew I needed dinner ideas, even if I didn't know what they were. One of my go-to ground beef dinners is meatballs and my basic recipe includes an egg and breadcrumbs with the herbs and spices varying. A basic tomato sauce works most of the time but the sauce is a good opportunity to give the dish a new flavor. So, what flavor?

    Wednesday, August 31, 2016

    Late Summer Pasta with Roasted Corn Sauce

    Late Summer Pasta with Roasted Corn Sauce

    I know summer isn't technically over until the third week of September but it never feels that way. The whole vibe of the city changes right after Labor Day weekend. Kids go back to school, summer beach house shares are over and stores start decorating for Halloween. Even the temperature seems to dip abruptly during those first few days. Everything says summer is over.

    Monday, August 29, 2016

    Lychee and Elderflower Gin and Tonic

    Lychee and Elderflower Gin and Tonic

    Back in my youthful clubbing days (no, we're not going to talk about how long ago that was) I was a gin and tonic girl. I can't say I remember exactly loving it but it seemed to be popular with my friends and I rather liked the smell of juniper berries. And then, I didn't. One day I got tired of the juniper and the tonic and moved on to more involved cocktails.

    Monday, August 22, 2016

    Honey Blueberry Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

    Honey Blueberry Bread with Cream Cheese Swirl

    How is it possible that summer's almost over? Didn't it just begin recently? Ugh, it's always such a whirlwind. And this was a busy summer for me, work-wise, so it definitely flew by. I know that in just a couple of weeks we'll be planning the last official summer cookouts of the season and getting ready to send the kids back to school and us back to full time work schedules.

    Wednesday, August 10, 2016

    Summer Party in the Big City (with Bourbon Peach Fizz Cocktails)

    Summer Party in the Big City (with Bourbon Peach Fizz Cocktails)

    No back yard to hold the summer party? We big city types are not fazed in the least. Sure, we can take our picnics to the park but since New Yorkers spend so much time vertically, we love holding our parties up high.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2016

    Mixed Cherry and Goat Cheese Pie

    Mixed Cherry and Goat Cheese Pie

    Sometimes in life it's worth making a fuss. Now you know that normally I'm not a fussy baker and I like more rustic looking desserts. But I've been seeing some seriously beautiful pies on Instagram lately (are you following me there at hungrycouplenyc ?) and I found myself with a sudden overwhelming desire to cut leaf shapes out of pie dough. I can't explain it so let's just go with it.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2016

    Spinach Salad with Crumbled Feta and Tomato Vinaigrette

    Spinach Salad with Crumbled Feta and Tomato Vinaigrette

    Last week I was talking about my crazy busy summer schedule (which hasn't even remotely slowed down, by the way) and how I've been trying to combine store bought dinner help with an easy fresh side dish. So, let's chat about that again because it seems to be working well to get me through the crazy days without ordering take-out.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2016

    Mango Lemonade Vodka Fizz

    Mango Lemonade Vodka Fizz

    I am definitely a sucker for anything mango flavored and I will find whatever it is on any menu or any grocery store pretty much right away. And I'm most likely buying it! And yes I do buy a lot of fresh mangoes in season but the thought of juicing those babies is a little tiresome.

    Monday, July 18, 2016

    Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Greek Yogurt Tahini Sauce

    Roasted Cauliflower with Tomato Greek Yogurt Tahini Sauce

    Can we talk about how people think summer is laid back? Um...where does that come from because there is nothing laid back or slow or even reasonably paced about my summer so far? I thought maybe it was just me but my friends have been talking about crazy kid activity schedules or that frantic rush to get extra work done in advance so you can take a vacation. Nope, not feeling the summer relaxation just yet!

    Monday, July 11, 2016

    Market Salad with Eggs, Asparagus, Corn and Mizuna

    Market Salad with Eggs, Asparagus, Corn and Mizuna

    On Saturday mornings, especially in spring and summer, you can usually find me at my local farmer's market. I'm fortunate to have a sweet little one just a couple of blocks away. It's not the size and scope of the giant Union Square market but a good supply of vendors set up their tents here on Saturdays and it often serves as my cooking inspiration for the weekend.

    Thursday, June 30, 2016

    Grilled Cumin Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Pickled Red Cabbage

    Grilled Cumin Chicken Tacos with Guacamole and Pickled Red Cabbage

    I know "taco Tuesday" is a thing and today is not Tuesday. But, when faced with a great taco idea, I see absolutely no logic to waiting. My normal market only carries white flour tortillas but I was shopping at a different location and saw the corn ones. Instant inspiration and tacos coming right up!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    Parmesan Panzanella Salad

    Parmesan Panzanella Salad

    And, just like that, it's summer. And it's hot. Like, really hot. It's typical June weather in New York and the time when I start to think twice about any meal that might be too heavy. So I took myself to the farmer's market for salad inspiration.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2016

    Vodka Ginger Fizz

    Vodka Ginger Fizz

    Cocktail inspirations come to me in all kinds of places. Bars, restaurants, farmer's markets and, in this case, the beverage aisle of my supermarket. It was a hot day and a tall bottle of sparkling ginger ale caught my eye. I didn't have any thoughts beyond just pouring it over ice and relaxing but the ginger flavor was so intense that I thought it needed a mixer.

    Wednesday, June 8, 2016

    Loaded Completo Hot Dogs

    Loaded Completo Hot Dogs

    I'm always excited to try new wines and find food pairings for them. And on the food front I'm a little obsessed with trying new spices and understanding which cuisines typically use them. And then I like to mix it all up, naturally. So that's how I came to pair some great Chilean wines with an American cook-out classic and an ethnic spice blend.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

    Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies

    Last week I suddenly had an attack of summer nostalgia. The temperature jumped up 20 degrees and patriotic holidays were in the air. My New York apartment is just down the block from the East River and it's a great place to watch the 4th of July fireworks. So my friends and I would always pick up those thick ice cream cookie sandwiches (you know the brand I mean) from the store and head over to the pedestrian walkway by the water to watch. Sweet summer memories.

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Loaded Tex Mex Burger

    Loaded Tex Mex Burger

    What is it about warm weather that makes me start craving burgers? Sure, there's the whole outdoor grilling thing but I can really make them anytime on a grill pan in my kitchen. Still, the sun is out, the temperatures have warmed up, Memorial Day is a week away and my burger cravings have started. So, I started my summer burger love with an epic version.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    Naked Lemon Cakes

    Naked Lemon Cakes

    Wow, where does the time go? I swear spring just started and then I blinked and now we're just a little over a week away from Memorial Day weekend. Somebody please slow the world down because I can't catch up! Still, the arrival of the first official / unofficial weekend of summer always makes me happy because it means grilling, BBQ and outdoor party season has arrived.

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Hummus and Salad Appetizer Pizza

    Hummus and Salad Appetizer Pizza

    Did you know that today is National Hummus Day? Actually, if you were to look inside my refrigerator on any random day of the year, you would likely conclude that every day was hummus day. One of my neighbors was over recently and, when I opened my fridge to get a beverage, he remarked on the amount of hummus in there. So, yeah, I celebrate hummus day often.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Pear, Blue Cheese and Honey Tartine

    Pear, Blue Cheese and Honey Tartine

    There are just certain flavor combinations that are perfect together in any form and one of my favorites is the pairing of fruit, blue cheese and honey. Most of the time, the form they take for me is in a salad but with the weather warming up and grilling season starting, I decided to play around with new forms.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    Creamy Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

    Creamy Strawberry Banana Daiquiri

    Let's talk about warm weather drinks. Um...OK, wait. First let's talk about getting some warm weather. It's coming, right? New York has been doing the April showers brings May flowers thing and it's been a little nippy. But I know from experience that we'll wake up one of these days soon and run to turn on the air conditioners.

    Monday, May 2, 2016

    Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

    Strawberries and Cream Stuffed French Toast

    I've been pondering Mother's Day brunch menu options and keep hearing people tell me to make French toast. They tell me how much they love French toast. But the thing is, I don't really love it. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, but it just seems kind of boring. Stuffed French toast isn't boring though and although it's not a new idea, it was new to me.