DIY Ding Dongs Recipe

ding dong 2

 

As you know, Wee Eats is hosting its first ever giveaway!  If you head over to the giveaway page you can enter to win The Art & Soul of Baking, which includes this recipe for “retro ring cakes” (but we all know they are actually Ding Dongs).  Given the recent demise of America’s long-beloved sweetheart, Hostess, making these from scratch may just be the only way to get your fix.

hostess_ding_dong

Warning: Once you make them from scratch, you may not be able to eat them any other way.

This recipe is a tender, chocolatey devil’s food cake with a fluffy, vanilla whipped-cream filling.  Once upon a time ago (before I had a food blog) I used this very same recipe as cupcakes to make Little Debbie knock-offs. Same concept, different execution.  The great thing about this book is that it will give you base recipes, then variations and ways to play with each recipe.

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For the cupcakes, you make the cake recipe in a cupcake pan and bake at an adjusted time, for the ding dongs you make it as a sheet cake and cut out circle mini-cakes with a 3-inch round biscuit cutter.  I tried to be smart and use a 2.5-inch cutter to get more mini cakes, but then I didn’t have a properly-sized smaller cutter to fit the maximum amount of filling in.  So maybe just stick to the recipe for this one :) Unless you have a wide array of circular cutters.

Make sure you enter the giveaway to win the book, but in the mean time, enjoy this recipe for “Retro Ring Cakes” (/cough-ding-dongs-/cough).  They’re so good, even kitties can’t resist!

ding dong sophie

DIY Ding Dongs Recipe

Makes: 9 cakes

Printable Recipe

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ½ cup + 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) sifted cake flour
  • ¼ cup (1 ¼ ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • ⅓ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Glaze:

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate*, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Optional: Fleur de Sel, for sprinkling

Make the cake:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with foil and/or parchment.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, and salt.

2.  Place cocoa powder in a small bowl.  Heat ½ cup of the water until it just begins to simmer and pour it over the cocoa, whisking until incorporated.  Add remaining 1 cup of water and stir until smooth; set aside to cool.

3.  In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with both of the sugars on medium-high speed until very light; 4 to 5 minutes (a couple minutes longer if using a hand mixer).  Scrape down the bowl.

4.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla together just to blend.  With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs to the butter mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, scraping down the bowl after half the eggs have been added.  Make sure to allow each addition to completely blend before adding the next.

5.  With the mixer on the lowest speed add the flour and cocoa mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour ( ⅓ flour- ½ cocoa – ⅓ flour – ½ cocoa – ⅓ flour).  Once the last of the flour has been added, mix just until combined and turn off the mixer.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, incorporating any last bits of flour.

6.  Pour the batter into your cake pan and bake about 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare for the filling:

1.  Once the cake has cooled, use a 3-inch cutter to cut eight rounds from the cake.  You can freeze the scraps for ice cream sundaes or midnight snacks.  Press a 2-inch round cutter into the cake round until it is ¼-inch from the bottom.*  Pop the cake piece out of the 2-inch cutter and cut off ¼-inch of cake from the bottom of the small cake round (this will ensure that you have enough room for your filling).

* You can do this by inserting a paring knife ¼-inch from the bottom and insert the 2-inch cutter until you feel it hit the paring knife.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until it reaches firm peaks.  Transfer to a pastry bag, or to a quart-size Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.  Pipe the cream into the whole of each cake.  Press the reserved 2-inch cake rounds into the top of each cake to cover the filling.

Prepare the Glaze:

1.  Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl* and warm the cream in a small saucepan or microwave until it just begins to boil.  Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes, then whisk gently until completely blended and smooth.  It will start to blend right after you hit the point where you are about to give up all hope.  Have faith.  Once mixed, let the chocolate mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
* I put my chocolate in a large 4-cup measuring cup, to make the next step easier.

* I also used dark chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate, because chopping chocolate is the bane of my existence.  

2.  Place the cream-filled cake rounds onto a rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet.  Working one cake at a time, pour about 3 tablespoons of glaze over each cake, using an offset spatula to gently spread the glaze over the top and sides of the cake.

3.  Continue with each cake, being careful not to drip new chocolate onto your newly beautified cakes.  If your glaze thickens too much, microwave it in 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring after each, until it reaches your desired consistency.

4.  Before the chocolate sets, sprinkle with fleur de sel, if desired.

 

Adapted from: The Art & Soul of Baking

stress-free super bowl recipes

A collection of stress-free Wee Eats recipes that are perfect for your  super bowl party

(Click the picture to go to the recipe!)

Act 1 : Savories

1. Puff pastry makes these cheese twists super easy (to save time, you can make them in advance and freeze them!)

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2. Make a batch of chili (or even sloppy joes) and serve it on top of hot dogs or tots to make a tasty snack! Or go vegetarian with some cheesy artichoke bread.

chili cheese tots

3. Cut the pretzel rope into 2-inch pieces for delicious pretzel bites.  You can bake these ahead of time, freeze the bites, and reheat them in the microwave or oven before serving! (Short on time? Try this 30-minute pretzel recipe instead!)

pretzel thumb

 4. With all the artery-clogging goodness you can eat at most football fiestas, sometimes a veggie or two is a nice break.  Or some super easy & portable bruschetta or flatbread should do the trick.

caprese thumb

5. This loaded potato dip takes about two minutes to make, and you can make it a day or two ahead of time.  Warning: You will want to double or triple the recipe to have enough to serve your ravenous guests.

loaded potato thumb

6. How about some sliders? The chipotle bacon variety, 5 chile turkey burgers, or just a build-your-own burger slider bar!

If you’re not in a burger mood, you could make sliders out of sloppy joes or (our favorite) beef sammies, too!

7. This easy salsa is made in your food processor or blender and only takes a few minutes!

salsa thumb

Act 2: Sweets

1. Cut these brownies into football-shaped bites if you want.  I’m sure they’ll be just as enjoyable as squares, though :)

btc brownie

2. Make these cake pops and cover them with sprinkles that match your team’s colors.

cake pop thumb

3. Mini oreo cheesecakes are a quick and easy (make-ahead) bite-size treat that are sure to please.  You could add food coloring to match them to your team’s color!

mini oreo cheese thumb

4. These toffee chip cookies are a favorite around these parts, they’re easy to make and you can freeze them pre or post baking to save yourself some time on game day.  Or give these giant chewy M&M-stuffed cookies a try.

toffee chip thumb

Act 3: Drinks

1. Start infusing vodka today with berries or pineapple and it should be ready by the time game-day arrives.  Tip: the smaller you slice your fruit the faster your vodka will infuse!

2. Cut this solid hot chocolate into football shapes and you’ll have super bowl hot chocolate on a stick!

hot chocolate stick

Collage

s’more cookies, please

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So I don’t think this is what the BF meant when he asked for “s’more cookies” BUT…

Yeah, sorry. I’m horrible. Can’t stop myself from making s’more jokes. I’m so sorry. Please don’t hold it against me. Or these cookies.

While these aren’t traditional “Christmas” cookies, for some reason when it’s all cold out, I want things like chocolate, and marshmallows, whether it’s in cocoa or s’more form. Problem is, not everyone has the option of making s’mores in the winter… I mean, I’m not too good to “roast” marshmallows over the stove (not that I have to in AZ, we can roast marshmallows all year long), but these are a delightful alternative.

With graham crackers baked right into the cookie, and how cute are those little Hershey and marshmallow pieces sticking out? I swear I could die. I think these will be a new addition to my cookie boxes this year (hope none of you guys are reading this one…)

S’more Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (7-8 crackers)
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 Hershey bars, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.

1. If necessary, crumble 8 graham crackers in a food processor. Measure 1 cup of crumbs and set aside.

2. Whisk graham crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream the butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, until set. Remove from oven and quickly push a few marshmallows and pieces of Hershey bar into the top of each cookie.

5. Return cookies to the oven to finish baking, about 2 t0 3 more minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

[ adapted from cookie madness ]

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soft baked sugar cookies

soft-sugar-cookieI can’t believe it’s December already. Where did the year go? Also, what happened to my plans to save up this year so that I would be ready for Christmas? This year, like so many others, my friends and family will be receiving my annual cookie boxes in lieu of real gifts. Sorry, guys, find me a job that makes more money, and I will buy you better gifts. Not that anyone’s complained…

Last year’s lineup was: snickerdoodle blondies, TKOs, palmiers, peppermint graham crackers, marshmallows, and friendship bread. This year, I’m still narrowing down my list, but I think that I want to include a sugar cookie. But then there is the issue of what KIND of sugar cookie… I’m trying to narrow my options down… Problem being that I don’t generally make sugar cookies. Not during the other 11 months out of the year, at least.

                  

So this is option 1 – soft baked sugar cookies. Just like you get from the grocery store. You know the ones – they come loaded with frosting and sprinkles, not a speck of brown in sight. Just pure, soft, melt-in-your-mouth pillows of sugar. I thinned my frosting a bit too much, but was already disheartened from not getting it as red as i wanted, so I gave up and just went ahead frosting them. Plus, I thought it looked pretty that way.

I’m not sure if they will make the cut for this year’s Christmas cookie boxes, but I think I can make these again… during one of the other 11 months of the year…

Soft Frosted Sugar Cookies

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the cookies:
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 sticks butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs
5 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the frosting:
5 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
7-8 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; line sheets with parchment.

1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in vanilla until blended. Gradually add flour mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

3. When ready to bake, scoop into 1-ounce balls (about 1 tablespoon) and gently press down center to flatten a little bit. Bake 10 – 12 minutes until set, they should not be browned at all. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

4. To frost the cookies, sift powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add melted butter, vanilla, and milk to the bowl, whisking until smooth. If frosting is too thick, whisk in additional milk as necessary, 1 teaspoon at a time. If frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar.

* To save for later, scoop into 1-ounce balls, flatten slightly, then freeze to bake at a later date. Add a couple extra minutes to the baking time if baking from frozen.

*Baking in 1-ounce balls, this batter will make up to 4 dozen cookies

[ Adapted from Annie’s Eats ]

how to get pizzeria-style pizza at home

pizza

For those of you who aren’t aware, I also contribute to a food website called Foodbeast. Every once in a while I give them an “exclusive” post, one that you can only read there. And this, my friends, is one you don’t want to miss.

If you want to find out how to make delicious pizzas like this prosciutto and arugula pie (without any fancy expensive equipment), check out my most recent post on how to get pizzeria-style pizza at home over at Foodbeast.