Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Fabulous Desserts For a Rainy Day (Or Any Day)

Lots of rain means less time outside, but more time to experiment in the kitchen. The following dessert recipes are some that I made recently and loved. My husband and kids loved them too! In fact, my husband now wants carrot cake on his next birthday. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake

This dessert is time-consuming because of the large amount of grated carrots, but oh-so-worth-it! It is a perfect dessert for special occasions.

4 eggs
1 ¼ Cups vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots **
1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.

2. In large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack (I leave mine in the pan instead) and cool completely.

4. To make frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

**While grating the 3 cups of carrots, take time to count your blessings. Trust me, you will have plenty of time to come up with a very long list! Also, be careful with your hands during the grating. In other words, no grated fingernails allowed!!

Heavenly Chocolate Mousse

Hello, chocolate lovers! Have you ever heard of “heaven on a spoon”? Trust me, this is it!

8 squares  (1 oz each) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or use 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips)
½ cup water, divided
2 tablespoons butter (no substitutes)
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp. sugar
1 ¼ cups whipping cream, whipped and unsweetened**
Sweetened whipped cream ** and grated chocolate for topping

In a double boiler, heat chocolate, ¼ cup water, and butter until melted. Cool 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and remaining water. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F (use a candy thermometer). Remove from heat; whisk in chocolate mixture. Set saucepan in ice and stir until cooled, about 5-10 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into dessert dishes. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Serve topped with sweetened whipped cream and grated chocolate.

** If you are wondering if you must use real whipped cream, I would have to answer in the affirmative since eating Cool Whip probably isn’t much better for you than eating plastic. Yes, whipping cream is high in fat, but at least it’s real food! Much has already been written about the Cool Whip atrocity, but if you want to see what resulted when one father left it out for several days, here’s a link for you:

Hopefully, the rain will soon stop and we will see lots of sun. Until then, look on the bright least we can have dessert!