Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (Lava Cake)

 

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I first had the chance of feasting on this decadent and luscious dessert on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. It was just a pure, unadulterated, and chocolatey deliciousness! It was paired with a good vanilla ice cream. The combination of warm chocolate cake and cold vanilla ice cream is one of the best in my vocabulary! Carnival Cruise Lines is willing to share the recipe to everyone, and it’s easy to find online as well. The caveat? The recipe that was given to me by a cruise staff is a recipe for a huge batch of this dessert (not surprisingly, I guess). As much as I like to devour this, I don’t think my family and I can eat that much. So, here’s my take on their warm chocolate melting cake. I tweaked some changes, reduce the amounts of ingredients (especially the sweetness), and it came out soooo delicious!!

Not to mention that you can make this in advance. Yes! I’ve experimented on this during the weekend and I was very successful. Initially, I had thought that the batter has to be cooked almost immediately as there could be some textural changes and such. Additionally, you can only serve this warm, meaning you have to make this just minutes before serving, which may not be ideal at times. However, after last weekend, I found out I was wrong on both accounts. No changes in the batter as long as it’s kept in the fridge, and even though it’s no longer served warm, it’s still quite delicious!!

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My Mom’s Meatloaf

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My mom rarely cooks these days, but whenever she does, it’s eventful. I grew up eating her meals and baked goods, so there’s always nostalgia involved whenever I eat one of her foods. Sadly though, she doesn’t keep recipes most of the time. She goes by taste, look, and what ingredients are available, and not by any written recipes. Admittedly, this makes it hard for me to sometimes replicate the foods she made for us before.

Last weekend, she had the time and decidedly made us meatloaf for our meals. When I saw her, I immediately grabbed the camera and took pictures of the whole process. Don’t want to miss this for the world!

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Tres Leches Bundt Cake

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This is probably the second time I’ve made a Tres Leches Cake. The first Tres Leches cake I made was when I was still in my teens. After that, for some reason, I never made it again until last weekend. Such a shame, as this is one of the most delicious, moistest, one of the easiest and probably the milkiest cake you’ll ever have! Before, I had baked this in a rectangular pan, topped it with whipped frosting and sifted cinnamon. It had turned out awesome and delicious! One of my most successful cakes I had made back then, despite it’s plain appearance. Recently, I acquired a medium-sized bundt cake pan that looked like new from a thrift store. I was itching to use it, but I just couldn’t think of what cake should I make that would entice my family. And then my brother came to me and asked if I could bake a Tres Leches cake for him. He told me one of his co-workers made one for everybody and he totally loved it. Hence the idea of baking a Tres Leches in a bundt cake!

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Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree

Update 12/20/17:

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By request, I made another one to give as a gift for a family friend. We found this snowman topper in a local craft store, and it just looks so adorable as a topper. Then placed the chocolate tree on Christmas theme plate, then filled the plate with Lindt hazelnut chocolates which are darker in color. I would have filled the plate with more Ferrero Rocher chocolates, but we ran out of those while we still have an abundance of Lindt chocolates currently at home. You can wrap the whole thing up with a cello wrap, and a ribbon on top. If this doesn’t make any chocolate lovers’ dream come true this Christmas, then I don’t know what is!

 

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There was once an idea nagging in my mind to make a Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree that could wow the people who see it. Yes, I know Ferrero Rocher chocolates alone already has that wow factor to it, but more so if you presented it as a Christmas tree. I didn’t know how to make it to fruition, however. I had this unwavering determination to do this without the help of internet. Haha! So much for my self-confidence! My first attempt was a failure. I was thinking of making a pyramid cardboard and glue these chocolate candies to that cardboard. It was a pretty good idea in my mind but the reality was not. First off, it didn’t look like a Christmas tree but more of, well, a pyramid. Second, it’s very fragile, and wavered. It didn’t have a very good base. Hence, I gave up on that idea. Mind you, I didn’t waste any Ferrero chocolates. That’s a crime right there to waste extremely good chocolates, I tell you! They were glued on the paper liner and cardboard, so nothing touched the candy at all. It’s still safe for consuming.

For my second try, I used a styrofoam pine cone as my tree base and it went so much easier. Instead of gluing the chocolates, I used toothpick to keep them stuck on the base. Less messier that way, too!

So here’s how to make a sweet Christmas Tree filled with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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Chocolate Peppermint Candy

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I’m pretty excited about this chocolate peppermint candies! This is my first time making these and it’s outrageously easy and good. It was truly by chance that I came upon these two silicone molds at a store and bought them for really cheap. Upon paying, my mind was already racing with thoughts on what to make using these molds. I initially thought of gum candies or chewy ginger candies, or marshmallow. And then I thought, why not make chocolate peppermint bark in a molded candy form?

I never made chocolate peppermint bark before. We’re usually loaded with all different kinds of chocolate and sweets every Christmas, so I don’t see the point of adding more chocolates to consume (not that it’s a bad thing!). I’ve always wanted to make one, though. Although I had never made one before, I do know for certain that a good quality chocolate is very much needed for this type of candy, if you want yours to stand out.

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Cream Cheese Custard Flan

 

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This gloriously inviting and heavenly custard flan is always a huge hit in my family. Oh yes, this absolutely ruins anyone’s diet, hence I don’t make it that quite often. Everyone in the house seems to be in some sort of a diet these days, and I don’t want to distract them from their goals. I was planning to make this for Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve though, but they had been bugging me for quite some time now to make this for them. Even volunteering to buy the ingredients (which was rare, I’ll have you know!). I succumbed to their pestering and ended up making this last weekend.

It had been a while since I last made this, so I was bit apprehensive on how this would turn out. Baking time is what I’m most nervous about this dessert. I think it’s critical you get that right. Do not underbake, nor overbake it. The baking time varies on each containers I used. Sometimes, I would use a 9 x 13 inch pan, or even a bundt pan, or even smaller round/oval pans. Hence, I never keep track of the baking duration. I would just use often check on them and see if they have that perfect jiggle at the center. It had taken many tries before I could determine that though. There was one time when I had taken it out still jiggly and had thought it would set once it had cooled. But unfortunately, it didn’t. I had underbaked it. Then there was another time when I had overbaked it and it wasn’t as creamy and luscious as I had wanted it to be and even had that “cake-y” texture to it. So, yes, with experience, you’ll know when they’re perfectly baked, and this is also preferential too, I guess. I prefer mine when the edges are set, and only the center is jiggly. I believe some people use thermometer to check on the done-ness of the flan, but I’ve never really tried it myself.

Some recipes require the use of only egg yolks. I tried that before but I find that specific flan way too rich and heavy for an already decadent dessert. Not to mention, I think the egg whites are needed to help set the flan. For this recipe, however, I used the combination of both eggs and egg yolks only. I find the combination pretty good. You can certainly adjust them to your liking, but I still highly suggest using at least 2 egg whites. Growing up, though, my mom just used whole eggs when making flan, not bothering with separating them. I kind of miss eating her version as well. It’s much firmer, lighter in color, and not as luscious and decadent, but it was still very good. Instead of baking, she cooked it through steaming which I had initially thought was the only way to cook this. Until, of course, internet was introduced.

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Tiramisu

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I have been craving for a good and authentic tiramisu for months now. The tiramisu I had eaten back in one of the trattorias in Rome was heavenly and just delectable. Before that, I had a huge dislike on tiramisu. Well, the ones I had eaten before I had went to Rome was mostly from cafeterias or from bakeries in the grocery store, and not of specialty stores. Those were loaded with sugar and coffee. Instead of of savoiardis, some used sponge cake and replaced mascarpone with cream cheese or a mix of cream cheese and mascarpone. Some tiramisu in here is more like a cake with an even added frosting. In other words, they don’t even come close to the delectable taste of authentic tiramisu.

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So, here’s my version of that tiramisu (although I must honestly admit it still doesn’t taste as good as the one I had in Rome, but close, I hope). The recipe is loosely based from the label of Belgioioso Mascarpone tub. I used the same amount of ingredients, but altered the process a little bit. If you’re like me who is also worried about consuming raw eggs, then this might be helpful for you. I cooked the egg yolks and replaced egg whites with whipped cream. You can certainly use pasteurized eggs, but I didn’t have some, so I used regular eggs.

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Rose Apple Pie

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It’s the internet rage since, I don’t know, 2-3 years ago perhaps? I’ve been dying to try my hands on making rose apple pie, and when is the best day to do that but on Thanksgiving Day, right? However, I wasn’t able to do it on this year’s Thanksgiving as I was pressed on time, and our oven was fully occupied by the turkey. A week after Thanksgiving, I decided to just go ahead and do this, regardless of any occasion. It’s an eyeful for sure, and not to mention such a unique way to surprise your guests.

When my family saw this, they couldn’t believe it’s an apple pie. Sure, I strayed away from the classic apple pie we were all used to having, at least aesthetically. However, the flavor remained the same, or almost the same. If you are someone who likes their crust, this may not be for you as it doesn’t have a top crust. I prefer to think of this as more of a tart rather than pie, actually. In fact, the next time I make this, I might just do it on a tart pan instead of a pie pan.

My go-to apple for baking has always been Granny Smith and I always peel them. I know some people prefer others or a mix of different varieties of apple like Honey Crisp, etc. If you do use red apple, you can definitely skip the peeling process of the apples, if you like. The beautiful red skin color of apples can help enhance the rose impression on this pie.

For the pie crust, I used the pie crust recipe from my¬† Egg Custard¬†recipe post. It’s flaky, buttery and extremely easy to make.

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Turkey Empanadas

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If you read my Turkey Ramblings post, you would know how I approached cooking the turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving. I did say that it was very delicious and everyone just loved it. And believe me, it’s true! However, we were still left with some leftovers from that big bird. And now, the dilemma was what to do with the leftovers. We could simply eat it as it is, with the gravy and lingonberry jam. Still delicious! But, admit it, it’s not as exciting to eat it compared to when you eat it on Thanksgiving Day.

I came upon my friend’s Facebook post on how she’s making pork empanada for her daughter’s snack for the afternoon. And it was like a light bulb was lit on my mind. Why not make a turkey empanada? My aunt would sometimes bring chicken empanadas whenever she comes over. Though I don’t know the recipe, I could figure out from the taste on how to do it. I didn’t have specific quantities of the ingredients as I added stuffs as I go along with the cooking.

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