Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

This is such a fun way to make chocolate cake. Deep chocolate fudge cake topped with the crackled meringue and fresh whipped cream. It is a cross between a brownie and macaron.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I wanted to try something a little different. When Patrick and I first started dating I would make a dark chocolate cake for two. This reminds me a lot of that flavor profile, but instead of icing a nice crispy meringue topper.

We used strawberries, but raspberries would be equally delicious. Between the fudge cake and meringue I drizzled hazelnut spread for a little extra richness.

Ingredients-

2 cups of dark chocolate

3/4 stick of salted butter

1/4 cup AP flour

3/4 cup of almond flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar divided

1 vanilla bean scraped or tbsp vanilla bean paste

6 eggs, 4 separated

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

Whipped cream and berries for topping

Directions-

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melted butter and chocolate together. In sauce pan or microwave for one minute on high. Add 1/4 cup sugar and brown sugar.

Let cool slightly and whisk in two eggs plus 4 egg yolks. Add in your vanilla bean/ paste. Mix in the salt, AP flour, and almond flour.

Pour into a lined spring form pan. I used an 8in pan for height and put parchment paper down to prevent leaking.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just set enough to hold the meringue.

Warm your hazelnut spread and drizzle over the cake. This does not need to be perfect.

Whip the remaining egg whites and sugar together. Add in the cream of tartar as it whips.

Once the egg whites are glossy and slightly stiff, slowly fold in the cocoa powder. Do not mix, whip, or go to fast. This will deflate your eggs to crumbles.

Spoon over the cake and slightly spread.

Bake for another 20 minutes or until the meringue is set. It will have a slight crust to it.

Let cool and top with whipped cream and berries!

My favorite Cocoa Power is from Rodelle. You can get a giant bag that lasts forever and adds the perfect dark chocolate richness.

Sprinkles I found at Homegoods!

If you want an even more dramatic top just add two more egg whites to the meringue mix.

Enjoy!

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Easy Empanadas with Jalapeño Dip

There is a Cuban restaurant around the corner that makes super simple delicious empanadas. Beef or chicken, crunchy with an amazing dip.

I do not know anything about an authentic empanada, but I do know what would go well with a similar dip.

My version has roasted onion, potatoes, butternut squash, ground beef, and mozzarella. I used frozen empanada dough from my local grocery store. These seem to be pretty accessible. I found them at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix.

Best part is how easy it is to make these! I froze the filling and was able to make them in minutes.

Ingredients

For the empanada

Ground beef cooked and drained

2 cups of butternut squash and gold potatoes cubed

1 small yellow onion chopped

Mozzarella cheese (I like fresh grated for extra melt)

Empanada dough ( I’ve found this in the frozen section at Walmart, Kroger, and Publix)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt and pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp garlic

For the dip

1 cup sour cream

1 small ripe avocado

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1 fresh jalapeño seeds removed

Juice from 1 lime

Directions

Let your empanada dough defrost.

Roast your squash, potatoes and onion until fork tender.

Add to your beef.

Season and mix.

Take a dough circle and fill it with the beef fixture leaving room to fold over.

Top with cheese.

Fold the circle in half.

I dip a fork into water and push the ends together. Just make sure it is nice and sealed.

You can bake or air fry at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (or until golden)

You can also deep fry at 350 degrees for 1-2 minutes per side.

For the dip

I dump everything into my blender and blend until creamy. Season with salt and pepper. This keeps fresh for up to 5 days in a sealed refrigerated container.

You can also freeze the empanadas. They reheat beautifully! I hope you try these out. Definitely experiment with your fillings! I want to try a breakfast version soon!

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Arancini – Fried Risotto

What is it about the cool weather that makes you crave all the comfort foods? With the temperature dropping we have been eating a lot of risotto. Usually we have so much left over and I don’t know what to do with it. So I was thinking why not fry it?

I used our favorite classic parmesan risotto and made a light crispy crust. Serve with your favorite marinara and extra cheese!

Best part is stuffing them with fresh mozzarella. You end up with a yummy bite reminiscent of mozzarella sticks.

Even picky eaters with love these!

Ingredients

2 cups of risotto chilled

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

1 cup of all purpose flour

1 cup of panko or bread crumbs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3 eggs beaten

2 cups of marinara sauce

Canola oil for frying

Fresh Parmesan and parsley for topping

Directions-

Roll risotto into even sized balls

Cut mozzarella into bite size pieces and place inside each risotto ball

Just make sure the cheese is covered

Heat oil to 350 degrees

Season flour with garlic and Italian seasoning

Roll each ball into the flour, dip into eggs and cover with panko

Fry until golden

They will start to float when they are heated through

Season with salt and pepper

Serve with marinara Parmesan and parsley

Enjoy!!!

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Strawberry Poundcake

Poundcake is one of those things that can be tough and dry or sweet and creamy. I have always loved recipes that use a lot of heavy whipping cream, but this time I wants to try something a little different. This strawberry poundcake is reminiscent of a danish. Light crust with a moist cake and lots of berry flavor.

I served this cake on Mother’s Day for a light brunch. I forgot to take a picture, but we whipped a big batch of vanilla whipped cream to top our bites. You could also cut the cake into cubes and make a trifle with strawberries and whipped cream.

This cake is not too sweet so you can have it with a cup of coffee or as dessert after dinner!

I used my all time favorite Rodelle vanilla paste in combination with their vanilla extract. This seriously gives the most delicious vanilla flavor.

Mixing the vanilla with strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries create the perfect balance when you add the cream cheese. I bet you could even slice this into bread sized pieces for some insane French toast!

Strawberry Poundcake

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Servings 10 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 cups salted butter
  • 8 ounces full fat cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar
  • 0.5 cups sugar
  • 0.5 cups sour cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 0.5 cup seedless strawberry preserves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Rodelle Vanilla Paste
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Preheat to 325 degrees
    Grease or spray down a cake pan/ bundt pan
    Whip butter and cream cheese
    Add in sugar
    Whip until light and fluffy
    Add in sour cream, vanilla, and eggs
    Add strawberries and preserves
    Slowly pour in flour and baking powder
    Mix until just incorportated, careful not to over mix
    Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown

Enjoy!

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Instapot Creamy Tomato Soup with Caramelized Onions

Is it cold where you are? We are in Georgia and it was 70 degrees on Christmas, but today it is 24 degrees. I love the cold because it makes me feel like it is okay to stay in the holiday spirit for just a littttle bit longer!

This soup is perfect for the cold weather! I would honestly eat it any time, but the creamy heat just warms you from the inside out.

Last month a was a little under the weather and my amazing husband came home early to bring me Panera tomato soup and grilled cheese. That combination brings back so many memories for me. My grandma would warm a can of campbells tomato soup with a little milk and cheddar anytime I was sick. This is slightly more grown up, but the same yummy idea.

The caramelized onions pair really well with the tomatoes and cream. Topped with lots of cracked black pepper and grilled cheese croutons, you will definitely win over kids and adults alike!

Creamy Tomato Soup

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • Instapot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 slices sour dough bread
  • 1/2 cup cheddar
  • 1/2 cup grated parm

Instructions
 

  • Heat up the instapot and add the olive oil. Once the oil is warm add your onions and sugar. Keep them moving so they do not burn. Once the onions start to turn golden brown you can add the tomatoes and broth. Turn on your soup setting for 45 minutes.
    Once finished you can use an immersion blender to smooth out the broth or you can put a few cups in a regular blender. (Just make sure you wait until the soup is not boiling hot!) Add the cream, basil, and parmesan cheese. At this point you can salt and pepper to taste. I really like mine with lots of fresh cracked black pepper!
    Toast your sourdough with the cheddar on top. (I did mine really quickly in the air fryer) You just want the bread slightly crispy and the cheese melted. Cut into cubes for your topping.

This is an easy way to have a warm comforting dinner with hardly any effort! The carmelized onions and parmesan just take a traditional soup up a level. Enjoy!

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Caramel Espresso Chip Cookies

What is it about Christmas that just makes you crave warm cups of espresso? Or is it just me?? These cookies are inspired from one of my favorite drinks. Espresso with caramel and mocha sauce.

These chewy chocolate chip cookies have dark chocolate chips, espresso chips, and are stuffed with caramel. They are perfect for any holiday cookie exchange or late night snack!

I created these cookies as part of the #rodellebakingchallenge ! I am so excited to share their give away. If you have been following me for a while you know the Rodelle vanilla extract is my all time favorite.

Ingredients

1 stick room temperature salted butter

1/3 cup of granulated sugar

3/4 cup of light brown sugar packed

2 large eggs

1/2 cup of instant vanilla pudding mix

2 tbsp of Rodelle vanilla extract

1 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup espresso chips

12 chewy baking caramels

Directions

Preheat oven to 350

In a mixer whip the butter and sugars

Add in the extract, eggs and pudding mix

Slowly mix the cinnamon, baking soda and flour

Hand fold in the chips to prevent over mixing

Roll into 12 even balls

Push the caramel into the middle of each until covered

Flatten slightly to the size you like these do not spread much

Decorate with sprinkles!

If you do not have espresso chips just add another cup of dark chocolate chips and 2 tbsp of instant espresso powder

Enter to win Rodelle’s baking challenge! Follow @rodellevanilla on Instagram. Bake one of the influencer collab recipes and tag them at #rodellebakingchallenge !

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Beefy French Onion Soup

My instapot is my favorite kitchen appliance when it starts getting cold out. I love being able to get big flavors in half the time. This soup is easy to make with minimal ingredients, but still delivers hearty bites!

I started by caramelizing two large yellow onions with butter and a spoonful of brown sugar.

This broth takes on the deep onion flavor. When the bread soaks the broth up it is so delicious!

Ingredients

1 pound chuck roast

3 large yellow onions chopped

2 cups of beef bone broth

1 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp of worcestershire

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp dried thyme or one bunch of fresh

1 tsp chopped garlic

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

French bread and smoked Gouda for topping

Directions

In the instapot heat a little oil on the sauté setting and sear each side of the beef

Switch to meat/stew setting

Add the onions, butter, brown sugar, herbs, garlic, and worcestershire

Cook for one hour then add the bone broth.

Stew for another hour until the beef is easy to pull apart

Season with salt and pepper

Top with toasted bread and cheese

I like to broil my cheese bread for a few seconds before topping

Top with fresh herbs and enjoy!

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Cookies and Cream Spider Cake

We had a wild Halloween weekend filled with kids! Friday the kids dressed up and we went to a food truck event. I was so excited about my Chicago dog until I saw Patrick’s bulgogi tacos. Everything was delicious and the weather was gorgeous!

On Saturday the nephews came so we had 5 kids ranging between 6-11. They convinced me that we just had to have a cake for dessert.

When I was checking out at target I saw these unicorn chips so I already had cookie dough resting.

I baked three layers of dark chocolate cake and whipped up a true chocolate buttercream. I always use a good quality cocoa powder and salted butter. Rodelle gourmet cocoa is my favorite.

After evening out my layers, I crumbed the scraps and set them to the side. I made a vanilla buttercream and added my cake crumbs for my cookies and cream frosting.

The spider was actually super easy. I used more cake scraps and shaped it before dipping in melted chocolate. Then just piped frosting on top.

I frosted the entire cake including layers with the chocolate buttercream before going back over with the cookies and cream frosting.

Decorate any spooky way you want!

Ingredients

Chocolate cake layers from your favorite recipe or box mix

6 cups of powdered sugar

2 sticks of salted butter

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of heavy cream

2 tbsp of vanilla extract

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 cup of chocolate chips melted

Sprinkles, cookies and candies for decorating

Directions

Beat 1 stick of butter, 1 tbsp of vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa powder

Add in 3 cups of powdered sugar slowly using up to 1/4 cup of cream until you have desired consistency

Mix the remaining butter, sugar and vanilla add in some crumbs from your chocolate cake scraps whip with the remaining cream until light and airy

Frost the layers and do your crumb coat with chocolate buttercream

Finish frosting with the vanilla

Use melted chocolate for web designs or your chocolate spider

Decorate as desired!

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Low Carb Pesto Chicken Quesadilla

Sometimes I just really crave pasta. Something about a big bowl of noodles with garlic bread is so comforting after a long day. Pesto specifically has been on my mind.

Since I’ve been eating low carb low sugar I typically only have pasta once a month if that. I had to find an alternative that wouldn’t be so heavy! Sprouts came to my rescue once again!

You can get these ingredients at any grocery store or even make them from scratch, but if you have a sprouts close to you definitely check these out!

I really like the tortilla factory low carb tortillas. They crisp up similar to a corn tortilla and only have 3 net carbs.

I bought the sprouts house made pesto which is extra heavy on the garlic. It is very similar to how I make mine. Mostly herbs and garlic!

I almost used mozzarella cheese, but then decided on Monterey Jack. If you can find cheese without rbgh hormones added that is what I like to use. It melts way faster and is a lot better for you.

For the chicken I just used rotisserie chicken from the deli- skin removed. I like to keep this on hand for salads during the week!

Then a little red sauce for dipping!

Ingredients

Rotisserie chicken shredded

2 tbsp of pesto

1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Low carb tortillas

1 tsp of butter

Directions

Heat a non stick skillet to medium

Add the butter

Coat the pan

Add your tortilla and spread with pesto

Top with 1/4 cup of chicken and 1/4 cup of cheese per tortilla

Let the cheese start to melt

Fold in half and flip

Serve with your favorite sauce!

Enjoy!!!!

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Smoked Pork Sliders

Do you ever shop the bargain cook book section at Barnes and Nobles? I get suckered in every time! I came home with two cook books the other day that are filled with inspiration. Since I’ve been doing Keto I feel like I was in a cooking rut.

These buns clearly are not low carb, but Patrick is not on the diet so I wanted to surprise him. These are inspired from a couple different recipes I found. Which is usually how the best creations come about!

I don’t have a smoker so I just used my charcoal grill. I tossed in some Jack Daniels wood chips to get the smoked taste. The trick here is to cook the meat for 275 degrees for at least 3 hours.

The charred meat on the sweet roll with sriracha mayo and pickles is spot on! I did pair the meat with a whole thirty bbq sauce, but Patrick hated the sauce haha! Not sweet enough for him.

If you are doing low carb this meat is perfect for you. Low sugar and so tasty! If you aren’t low carb it’s still wonderful!

Ingredients

3 lb pork shoulder/butt

Salt

1/2 cup or sriracha

2 tbsp of garlic powder

2 tbsp of smoked paprika

1 tbsp of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/2 cup of mayo

Pickles

Hawaiian rolls

Directions

Heat grill or oven to 400 degrees

Rub the sriracha (leaving 1 tbsp out) over the pork and salt liberally

Let sit in the fridge uncovered while the grill heats up

Wipe the pork down with paper towel to dry it

If using the grill use the top rack or put to the side of the coals

Rotate the meat for an even cook every 15 minutes or so

The grill will cool to 300-275 on its own

Lower the oven temp if roasting

Season with the garlic, paprika, pepper and salt liberally again

Turn every 30-45 minutes

Once the pork hits 160 degrees remove and let rest for 30 minutes

Once cooled shred and pour the melted butter over top

Mix the remaining sriracha with the mayo

Serve on the rolls with pickles

Enjoy!!!!

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