Sunday, April 26, 2015

Double Mint Chocolate Cake a.k.a. Grasshopper Thin Mint Cake

Hello world! It's been a while since I've been on here. Like the bees, I've been busy this spring. My friend and I coordinated and directed a dinner theatre for a second year in a row so, I've been playing catch up with all the things that I neglected while I was doing the show. 
I have been some very exciting news to share! I have week left of classes this semester. Woot, woot! I take my last final May 4th. I decided to take the summer off from school. I was just promoted at the library I work at, which means working more hours. So, I'll be busy with that while also trying to focus my energies on other aspects of my life. 
My birthday was back on March 7th. In fact, my sister and I share the same birthday. We are seven years apart however. Because we share the same birthday, we usually share a birthday cake. This year we both agreed that we wanted a double mint chocolate cake a.k.a. a thin mint cake a.k.a. grasshopper cake. We didn't even argue about it because we love it so much. It's most likely my favorite specialty cake. It's everything you could want in a cake: chocolatey goodness, minty freshness, and cool creamy top. Enough said. 
*****Warning: I must warn you though. If you don't like mint then you will not like this cake; and if you don't like rich chocolate then you will not like this cake. However, that just means more for me ;) and if you do like it, you will not be able to eat just one slice. You've been warned. 




Double Mint Chocolate Cake a.k.a. Grasshopper Cake
adapted from Something Swanky

Ingredients: 

1 chocolate cake mix(& water, oil, and eggs as listed on box)
1- 14.5 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1- 12.8 oz. jar Hershey's Special Hot Fudge Sauce 
2 cups crushed Andes mints 
1- 16 oz. container Cool whip
1/4-1/2 tsp. mint extract 
Green food color (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Prepare and bake the cake mix according to directions on box and bake in a 9x13 baking dish for the amount of time labeled on box. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke holes evenly across the entire cake (about 20-30 holes). Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake, trying to fill the holes.
  3. Heat the hot fudge sauce in a small bowl in the microwave. 30-40 seconds should do the trick, you jut want it to soften a little.
  4. Crumble half of crushed Andes mints into the hot fudge sauce and mix. Spread the fudge sauce mixture over the cake.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together mint extract, green food coloring, and the cool whip. Spread the whipped topping over the fudge layer.
  6. Sprinkle the Andes Mint chips on top. Refrigerate and chill for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).
  7. Serve up and enjoy!


If you like thin mints, you'll love this cake. My family does! There is never any left, and when there is a slice left, it isn't for long. The slice or two is fought over. 
Enjoy and let us eat cake!

Peace, Love, Bake on.

                                             Andrea 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Polish Reuben Casserole {my favorite casserole in the whole wide world}

Polish Reuben Casserole is one of my very favorite foods. I could eat it all day, everyday. I really can't get enough of it. Although, it wasn't always like that. The first time my dad made it, I hated it. But after several years, I grew to like it. But not just like it, I loved it. 
So, what exactly is Polish Reuben Casserole? Polish Reuben Casserole has layers of sauerkraut, noodles, and polish sausage topped with a creamy mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, and Swiss cheese. If you like Reuben sandwiches, you'll love this casserole. 
My dad first found this recipe in a big cookbook. However I can't remember which cookbook. Through the years we have made small changes to suit our family. It originally called for only 8 oz. of wide egg noodles, but we wanted more noodles on it. So, I doubled the noodle amount, and in doing so, I have doubled the amount of milk called for in the recipe. 
Everyone always asks me if I'm Irish simply because of my red hair. When I tell them "no", they go onto ask if my parents have any Irish blood in them. I then answer "no" and that I am actually very German. On St. Patrick's Day, however, I become an adopted Irishmen with my friends very Irish family. Polish Reuben casserole may not be  corned beef and cabbage, but it would make a great substitute if you are in a time crunch. As St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, Polish Reuben casserole would make a festive sauerkraut dish for St. Patrick's Day. 


Polish Reuben Casserole


Ingredients:

2-3 cans (10.75 ounces each) condensed cream of mushroom soup
3-4 cups milk (I do 3.5 cups)
1 onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 can (16 oz.) sauerkraut, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. (16 oz) wide egg noodles (uncooked)
1 1/2 lb. Polish Sausage, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
 2 tsp. butter, melted

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
  2. Combine soup, milk, onion and mustard in a medium bowl and blend together well.
  3. Spread sauerkraut on the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Top with uncooked noodles.
  4. Spoon soup mixture evenly over the top. Top sausage.
  5. Combine butter and bread crumbs in a small bowl. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top. Then sprinkle the cheese on top. 
  6. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in oven for 40 minutes- 1 hour or until noodles are tender. 
  7. Serve up and enjoy!

This casserole is so easy to make. I hope you find to love this recipe like I did. The great thing about cooking at home is that you can make the way your family likes it. So if your family wants more sauerkraut, add another can of sauerkraut. Want less noodle, but the same amount of sauerkraut? Then halve the noodle amount and milk amount. This recipe is simple a blueprint. And with that I shall I say goodbye and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 Peace, Love, Bake on... & the luck of the Irish.

                                                  Andrea 

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to Make a Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Cake (without a heart-shaped pan)

Any occasion that I can bake up something festive is right up my alley. Valentine's Day is one of those holidays where it's easy to bake up something special.
There's something out there for everyone when it comes to festive bakery treats. The best place to find festive treats to make for Valentine's Day (or really any holiday) is on Pinterest. I love Pinterest. I could talk all day about my love for Pinterest. Anyway, I saw a pin that I thought was really ingenious. It was directions on how to make a heart cake without having to use a cake pan shaped like a heart (those can be difficult to find). So, I thought I was share it with ya'll because something so cute and easy must be shared.


Valentine's Heart Shaped Cake
adapted from BetterRecipes.com

1 cake mix (2- layered or 9x13 size)
Eggs, oil, water (as directed on cake mix)
Frosting
Red food coloring
Sprinkles or other decorations

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix up cake mix according to directions on the package. Divide the batter evenly into an 8 inch greased round and 8x8 greased square pan. Bake for the labeled amount of times on cake mix (or until when a tooth pick comes out clean).
Remove from oven when baked. Cool in pan for ten minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Once cake has cooled, cut the round cake in half. Assemble to cake on a serving tray of some sorts. Use a little bit of frosting to "glue" to pieces together (Follow the picture guide below from BetterRecipe.com) Frost cake and decorate with sprinkles or other candy decorations.
Take pictures at your amazing creation and enjoy!


Heart Shaped Valentine's Cake Easy
BetterRecipes.com

I hope my directions don't confuse, but in the likely chance that they do please go to BetterRecipes.com for beautiful photographs and detailed instructions. I hope you have a very happy and LOVELY Valentine's Day!

Peace, Love, Bake on.

                          Andrea