Berries on a Cloud

Two Carolines Berries on a Cloud 1.JPG

There was a brief and lovely Two Carolines reunion over the weekend (with most of the rest of the family) and of course—there had to be a dessert party. I wanted something that would feed the whole crew and that could be prepared ahead of time. I dug back into the family archives and found this dessert that came from family on my mom’s side. It’s almost like a Pavlova, but with some extra ingredients that add to the texture and flavor. It is one of those desserts that all the kids and adults were devouring and wanting seconds and thirds. It takes some time to make it, but each step is pretty easy and it’s totally worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups small marshmallows
  • 1 pint cream, whipped
  • 1 (16 oz.) bag of frozen berries, thawed

Instructions:

  1. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Add the salt and sugar; whip 10-15 minutes in stand mixer.
  2. Spread in an 11×15 inch greased pan. Bake one hour at 250-275 degrees. Turn off oven and leave in overnight.
  3. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and the vanilla until smooth and creamy. Add the marshmallows and mix until incorporated. Gently fold in whipped cream until mixture is uniform. Spread evenly on meringue layer. Cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Chill 8-10 hours.
  5. To serve, cut into squares and top with spoonful of thawed mixed berries.

 

-CK 1.0

 

Quintessential Chocolate Cupcakes

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Quintessential Cupcakes by twocarolines.com


I’m introducing you to the most perfect party companion ever.  These cupcakes are always so moist, rich and chocolatey with a bit of sour for balance and the most perfect springy texture, they are consistently amazing and so easy it’s embarrassing.  Of course this recipe works great as a layer cake, in a bundt, or just poured into a 9X13, just be sure to check doneness instead of bake times.  I made this batch for a sweet baby boy’s 1st birthday and thought it would be more fun to have two kinds of frosting for the kids to choose from, I will post both but I only made half of each for 24 cupcakes.  If you don’t feel like making frosting I’m sure you’ll enjoy them with a little ganache glaze or even just sprinkled with powdered sugar.

 

Chocolate Cake:

1 box pillsbury devils food cake mix
1 3.4 oz box jello instant chocolate pudding (not the fat/sugar free)
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs lightly beaten (room temp works best)
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup chocolate chips

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting: 

1/2 cup butter at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 a box) room temperature
5 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: 

1/3 cup butter
2-3 ounces cream cheese
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (might need a bit more if frosting is too thick)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

  1. For the cake.  Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans then spray the very bottom so your cakes come out clean.
  2. Lightly mix together the cake mix and pudding mix then in a separate bowl mix your eggs water, oil (or butter) and vanilla well until all the eggs are incorporated.  Add the wet mixture into the cake mix making sure to mix it thoroughly for a few minutes, and then add the sour cream blending until no white streaks remain.  Last add the chocolate chips and just fold them in with a spatula so they are evenly distributed.  The batter is quite thick, but it bakes up really nice so don’t get scared.
  3. Fill muffin tins about 2/3-3/4 tall depending on how tall your want your cupcakes.  You might have a bit extra.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 19-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean (bake times vary for 9″ pans, bundts etc. so check doneness with a toothpick before taking out).
  5. For the vanilla buttercream – mix butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until well combined and a little fluffed up.  Add sugar and milk alternating, then vanilla.  I usually end up adding a little more sugar or milk until I reach desired texture.
  6. For the chocolate buttercream – melt butter and mix with cream cheese until well combined.  Add about half the milk to this mixture then start to add your cocoa and sugar in alternating batches ending with sugar.  Add vanilla and salt anytime.  Put in the rest of the milk and make sure you scrape down the sides of the pan often and just like the vanilla buttercream have extra milk and sugar on hand to get to your desired texture.
  7. I think it’s easiest and pretty to pipe on your frosting for cupcakes.  I use these handy Wilton disposable piping bags and I just cut them and put in my large frosting tip then put the bag into a tall vase with the edges pulled over the top to fill it up and pipe it on to my cupcakes.  So easy, and looks pretty good for someone who’s not the worlds best decorator.

-CK 2.0

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Cake recipe adapted from “A Gathering of Friends” cookbook.  Vanilla Buttercream from Martha Stewart Cakes cookbook.  Chocolate Buttercream I made up.

Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Two Carolines Wheat Germ Chocolate Chip Cookies 2

I realize that this is going to be a bold statement, so you might want to sit down. This is my ALL-TIME favorite cookie. I even posted this recipe twice on my old blog, because it went through quite a few iterations to reach Peak Cookie. It’s inspired by a favorite cookie from Specialty’s in SF that my friend and I used to get all the time during work breaks/after work/whenever we could. This recipe seems fairly close but is even better, if I do say so myself. I added a lot of healthy bits and bobs, so you could probably eat them for breakfast—not that I’ve ever done that*.

*Disclaimer: I may or may not have eaten these for breakfast.

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • (Makes approximately 30 cookies)

Preheat oven to 400°. Grease cookie sheets or line with baking paper.

Mix oats, flour and almond meal, in a medium bowl. Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon and whisk until mixed in. Whisk in wheat germ and flax. Chop coconut and pecans very finely in small food processor (or old school with a good knife) and mix into the flour mixture.

Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy. Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Chill the dough in a refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough should be semi-firm before proceeding with next step.

Use a cookie scoop to scoop out dough and arrange, at least 1 inch apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies, until firm around the edges and barely golden on top, about 9 minutes. Cool the cookies for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.

NOTE: I think the cookies actually taste the best the next day. Also, the dough can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator, tightly covered for up to a week.

-CK 1.0

Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake

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Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines

If you haven’t met Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake, let me introduce you to one of the great loves of my life.  Trust me, this one is for the record books people.  I’ve never served it without loud praise, wide applause, and urgent requests for the recipe.  My husband, who isn’t really a cake guy, calls this his favorite and it’s the only cake he actually requests on the regular.  There is so much that’s right about this cake, the always moist and magical oatmeal texture, the not-to-sweet with brown sugar cinnamon flavor, and the coconut pecan topping just sends it into the prize winning cake hall of fame (that’s a thing, or at least I should make that a thing).  It’s one of those rare combinations of show stopping deliciousness that’s embarrassingly easy to make.  Try it and see!

Cake:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

  1.  Set oven to 350.  Prepare a bundt pan by either spraying with baking spray that has flour or greasing well and tapping in flour to coat.
  2. In a large bowl combine melted butter, oatmeal, and boiling water.  Let sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Add sugars then eggs, one at a time mixing well after each.  Add flour and before mixing just put the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon on top of the flour heap then mix it all together adding vanilla last.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a dish that can go in the oven.  If you don’t have one put it on a cookie sheet for the application of the topping then transfer to a plate once it’s completed.
  5. For the topping put the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When sugar is dissolved and mixture starts bubbling on the sides mix in coconut and pecans then remove from the heat. It will stick on the cake a bit better if you let it cool 10-15 minutes before spreading on the cake.
  6. Once your topping is on put cake under the broiler (I keep it on low) for only a minute or so, just long enough to brown the topping.
  7. Serve anytime, keeps at room temp for a number of days.
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Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines

Recipe adapted from A Gathering Of Friends

 

 

Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie

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Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie by twocarolines

You guys, I’m about to drop some life altering pie knowledge on you, it’s a gift that is likely to end up being better than anything under the tree.  I’m even going to go there and declare this my FAVORITE PIE OF ALL TIME! Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie is legend in these parts made famous first by our sister Kristin, then by me, but originating with Caroline v1.0 who has literally won awards with this pie that trumps all pies.  Every time I’ve served it people respond with big eyes repeated by even bigger bites, followed by requests for more and always ending in wide applause.  It’s layer upon layer of creamy, chocolatey goodness and I seriously can’t wait for you to try it and become a Chocolate Cinnamon Mousse Pie devotee for life. – CK 2.0

1 deep dish traditional pie crust baked and cooled (try ours! It’s a cinch and flaky perfect every time)

2 eggs separated
½ teaspoon vinegar (white or rice vinegar)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
8 ounces chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
¼ cup  + 2 teaspoons water
3 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat together egg whites, vinegar and salt until almost stiff but not dry. Gradually add sugar and beat until stiff. Spread meringue over bottom and up sides of a pie shell (the many layers are why you should use a deep dish pie pan) Bake in 325 oven 15-18 minutes until lightly browned.

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meringue layer for chocolate cinnamon mousse pie

Melt chocolate chips over hot, not boiling water, beat together room temperature egg yolks lightly. Thoroughly blend yolks into melted chocolate, add water and mix well. Spread 3 -4 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture over the cooked and slightly cooled meringue. Chill remainder of chocolate until it begins to thicken and set aside.  Beat together cream, sugar, and cinnamon until very thick.

Spread ½ of whipped cream mixture over chocolate mixture in pie shell. Fold chilled chocolate mixture into remaining whipped cream (it helps to make a divot in each layer so the layers don’t get too high) Pile the chocolate whip cream layer on top of pie last. Top with shaved chocolate if you wish. Chill at least 4 hours

 

Chocolate Granola Pie

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Chocolate Granola Pie by twocarolines.com

I shared this pie almost a year ago as a guest post on one of my friends blogs, but I’ve shared it MANY times with friends for various events and just whenever I want to eat one of the most delicious bakes in my arsenal.  I had to post it here today because so many friends have been asking for the recipe with Thanksgiving less than a week away! This pie not only checks all the boxes, crunchy, chewy, chocolatey, nutty, sweet, salty, mouth melty…it also makes the people you serve it to think you’re a total genius in the kitchen.  The cool trick is that it’s one of the easiest pies I make, and honestly, the only pie that competes with this for my favorites is chocolate cinnamon mousse, but that’s a much more involved pie so granola pie has become my go to.  It’s really good served warm, but I think it’s even better served cold, it’s amazing on it’s own, but heaped high with whipped cream or ice cream and you are winning all the pie awards this year.  I implore you to add it to your Thanksgiving line up and share this recipe with your pie loving friends!

Crust: unbaked 9″ Traditional pie crust – ours is easy and always delicious! I sometimes make this in a deep dish pie pan in which case I just go heavy on all the ingredients – you can’t really mess it up I promise!

½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
⅛ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs (beaten)
4 nature valley oat’s n’ honey granola bars (2 pouches) crushed
½ cup walnuts
¼ cup oats (quick or old fashioned)
½ (rounded) chopped chocolate or chocolate chips

  1. Prepare pie crust by pressing into pan and crimping as desired. I usually put my unbaked crust in the freezer while I prepare the filling which makes it extra flakey. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In large Microsoft waveable bowl melt butter, stir in brown sugar and corn syrup until blended.  Beat in salt, vanilla and eggs.  Stir in crushed granola bars, walnuts, oats and chocolate chips.  Pour into crust lined pan.
  3. Bake 40-50 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown.  During last 15-20 minutes of baking cover crust edge with strips of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning (if you don’t want to bother, it’s not a huge deal). I use a pie shield that’s handy for pies that have a long bake time.  Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.  Tastes great warm, room temp or chilled with whipped cream or ice cream.  Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie, but remaining pie is unlikely.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury Bake Off winner 2004 Oats and Honey Pie (which I literally watched the winner announced on Oprah back in 2004 and I’ve been making this pie ever since!)

Toasted Coconut Cream Pie

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Toasted Coconut Cream Pie by twocarolines

It’s November, and I’m hungry for pie every day.  Toasted Coconut Cream Pie is such a special dessert, it’s really not very difficult, but it feels elegant and special.  I like to paint my crust with chocolate which puts it totally over the top.  There is just mind blowing flavor and the chewy toasty coconut bits make it have incredible texture.  It’s hands down one of my favorite pie experiences and I’m going to need to bring this to my November pie line up for SURE.  A cool bonus is that once you learn this recipe you have the foundation for pretty much all my cream pies.  I use it for banana cream pie, strawberry cream pie, chocolate cream pie, and more!  Seriously guys, stop being intimidated by pie, it’s really fun, easier than you think, and such a joy to eat and serve.  You have a Caroline or two here for you every step of the way.

For the crust:

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chocolate painted crust twocarolines

single 9-10 inch traditional pie crust
1/3 cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil

For the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups whole milk (if you don’t have whole use what you have, or mix lowfat milk with cream)
7 egg yolks (save whites for a fancy frosting or meringue in your baking future)
3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

Make your crust:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450. Roll your crust into your pan, I like to use a medium pie pan, not the little tiny ones, and not the super deep dish, but you can make any size work, you might need to just keep a little filling as some pudding for later or you might need to bulk up your coconut and add cream on top.  And you can always roll our traditional pie crust nice and thin for a deep dish or have a little extra for a standard 9″
  2. Blind bake your crust, ours takes about 8 minutes in a 450 oven on the top rack.  Use either pie weights or poke loads of holes (that’s the twocarolines method).  You want it nicely browned on edges and if it slumps a little just use a tea towel to reshape while it’s hot.   Keep your oven on but turn to 325 to toast coconut.  
  3. Melt your chocolate and teaspoon of coconut oil in a pyrex or heatproof bowl.  I prefer to do this in the microwave on defrost power so it never gets too hot.  If you don’t have a defrost setting melt 20 seconds at a time until chocolate starts to loose its form then let it sit and add a few seconds at at time until you can whisk it smooth.
  4. Spread your chocolate into the crust of your baked pie crust painting up on to the sides halfway and all across the bottom.  Let this cool while you make your filling so the chocolate gets hard.

Toast your coconut:

  1. Set oven to 325.  Spread out 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened dried coconut on a baking sheet for about 8-10 minutes stirring a few times until it’s got some nice color and smells amazing.  Set aside.

Make your filling:

  1.  Put sugar, cornstarch and salt into a medium/large heavy saucepan.  I use this all clad one, anything decent sized with a good thick bottom will work.
  2. Gradually whisk in your milk
  3. Vigorously whisk in your egg yolks one at a time until no yellow streaks remain.
  4. Stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat once bubbles come up and scrape down the corners of your saucepan and whisk until smooth.
  5. Return to heat and whisking constantly, bring a simmer and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Take off the heat and whisk in your butter, vanilla and coconut extract.
  7. Pour about 1/3 of your filling into baked pie crust, layer with coconut and another 1/3 of your filling alternating and ending with coconut on top.  If you’re topping your pie with whipped cream save some coconut to put on top of that.
  8. Chill for a good 4 hours before serving.  This pie keeps nicely in the fridge for a good 5 days or so.

Recipe adapted from Joy Of Cooking vanilla cream pie.