Writing Process Blog Tour, Part II: Suzanne’s Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache

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I’m finally home from vacation! It was a nice relaxing time, but I was pretty homesick the last couple of days, so it’s nice to be back, and into my regular routine. I’ll get caught up with all of your lovely comments in the upcoming week!

This is the very last post for my Writing Process Blog Tour, Part II…. I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the tour a little over a month ago, and had the honor of introducing you to some outstanding bloggers, including Suzanne, from A Pug in the Kitchen.

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I went ahead and opened my big mouth during the first day of the tour…and said “Oh yeah, I’ll give Suzanne’s Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache a try!” It’s not enough that her recipe is a winner in a Food52 contest…Nope… I said that I was going to make it, and then post it for all the world to see.

Yep. Me.
The non-baker.
The un-bakeable-ist.

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So…when I put all of the ingredients in front of me, I’m not kidding when I say that I think I broke out in a little sweat. Panic set in. I stood there looking at everything… reading the recipe over and over again, and then looking at everything again.

I really wanted to make Suzanne proud.
Because, well…it’s Suzanne, you know?
She is one of the most highly respected bloggers in our blogging community.
We love her.

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Honestly, there was nothing to worry about…she made the instructions so clear, that this absolutely beautiful and delightful ganache is a breeze to make!

And seriously…this stuff is good. I mean really, really good… and when you make this ganache, be prepared for burned fingers and tongues. Because that’s exactly what’s going to happen the second you add the butter to the amber colored liquid sugar. You’re going to start dipping your finger in, knowing full well that burns and discomfort will happen… but you’re not going to care. That delicious caramel with the chocolate is completely and utterly burn worthy.

I mean…look at it…how could you not take that chance??

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And while it was whipping in my mixer, I was so impressed at how quickly it all came together, to produce such a perfectly fluffy and delicious ganache. This is definitely a recipe that quickly became one of my favorites, one that will be my go-to whenever I need a chocolate frosting.

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I’m so pleased to share this with you today, and I hope that you’ll stop by Suzanne’s blog to visit her, and to see what she has cooking up her sleeve. I can guarantee that it will be amazing!

Life is good…it’s a “Finding a new favorite chocolate frosting, and totally knowing that you can rock that frosting out of the house!” kind of good…

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Whipped Chocolate Caramel Ganache
Copied from Suzanne’s blog: A Pug in the Kitchen

Makes enough frosting to fill and frost a 9-inch cake

Chocolate Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons salted butter cut into tablepoon-size pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 ounces dark chocolate (I used bittersweet)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put the heavy cream in a glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 45 seconds, add chocolate and microwave another 30 seconds Stir until its smooth, add the vanilla extract and stir to combine, set aside so that it will cool before adding to the caramel.

In large saucepan add the sugar, turn heat to med/high and let sit until it starts to liquefy. Start stirring with a heat proof spatula. The sugar will crystalize but that’s alright — keep stirring until its all liquid. Stop stirring and let it cook until it turns amber in color, then add the butter and stir to combine.
Remove from heat and add the chocolate cream. Stir until its incorporated. Store in a container at room temperature until ready to use. Note: If you make this ahead of time, simply place the bottle or jar in hot water to warm the caramel so it’s pourable.

Ganache :
4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
4 ounces milk chocolate broken into small pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon liquor (I like cointreau or kahlua) or vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate caramel sauce

Heat cream to scalding (not boiling). Pour over the pieces of chocolate that are in a mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes then stir until there are no pieces of chocolate and it’s smooth and shiny, then add the chocolate caramel sauce and stir to combine.
Place bowl in an ice bath and stir or whisk until it’s cool but not cold — it will stiffen fairly quickly if it gets too cold. Remove from the ice bath and beat with a mixer or whisk until the ganache is fluffy and spreadable. Frost the cake immediately. Best served at room temperature.
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Enjoy!

Impulsive Purchases and Mini Headlights

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Sometimes I do things that I have no other explanation for, except that it was a spur of the moment thought, that led into a spur of the moment online purchase….there was no thinking involved…just a thought, and the click of a button…and then guilt for the purchase.

On Wednesday last week, I decided that I wanted a donut maker.
By Friday, it arrived in the mail.

I should probably mention that I am not being paid to talk about this donut maker. This is really all about me, and my impulsive nature.

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When I opened the package on Friday, and sat there staring at this powder blue donut maker, I honestly wondered what the heck was I thinking on Wednesday.. I don’t know..I guess I thought it would be kind of fun to be able to make little donuts when the mood struck. I thought that I’d rather eat a homemade donut, and it would be much better than deep frying…but I was feeling guilty for such a random purchase.

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I can honestly say it works pretty well for the $25 I paid for it. I do agree with the reviews on Amazon, when they complained that the donuts cook unevenly. They definitely cook faster on the bottom than on the top.

This little donut maker probably appeals to a very young crowd (or impulsive people like me), but I certainly wouldn’t let a child use it, at least unattended. It gets really hot to the touch on the outside. The donuts didn’t stick to the pan at all, but it was pretty hot when I was pulling them from the rings.

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And now for the donuts… they’re about 2 inches in diameter, so more of a little nibble than anything. I do think that they’re a nice little treat for a Saturday morning… possibly rolled in sugar, cinnamon, or even plain! I liked them because they were quick and easy. A breeze of a clean up!!

I decided to make mini headlights, and I’ll tell you why I love these little things…

I’m not sure about you, but when I lose my willpower (which is often), and go for a full size crème filled chocolate frosted donut, and eat the whole thing while I’m thinking to myself that it doesn’t even taste as good as I thought it would…and then that sickly sweet feeling comes over me immediately after that very last bite…the bite that I really didn’t want, but ate anyway…and then I’m miserable…sick and miserable.

Well, these mini headlights were the perfect size to remedy that. I ate one, and it satisfied any crème filled donut craving that I might have had. I could have even eaten two of them, and still wouldn’t have gotten that sickly feeling. And the beautiful part of the whole thing? It tasted good, because I made it exactly the way I thought it should be made.

So, in the end… will I use this little donut maker often? No, probably not. I do know that I’ll pull it out once in a while, and make these fun little donuts.

I’m definitely not sorry for this impulsive purchase. No guilt here!

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Mini Headlights
Makes About Two Dozen

The Donut:
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1-1/3 tbsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ cup milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Preheat your donut maker.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, eggs, vanilla, and vegetable oil until well blended.

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You can spoon the batter into the donut rings, but I found that it’s much easier to use a disposable piping bag. Fill the rings just to the top with the batter, close the top of the donut maker, and let cook for exactly two minutes. Remove the baked donuts from the rings, and let cool on wire rack.

The Ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp heavy cream

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Place the chocolate chips and heavy cream into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, and spreadable. Add a few more drops of heavy cream if you feel it needs it. Dip the tops of the donuts into the ganache, and set on wire rack to cool.

The Crème Filling:
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
¼ to ½ cup heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and ¼ cup of the heavy cream until fluffy. If it isn’t as fluffy as you’d like, continue to add heavy cream until it becomes your preferred piping consistency.

Pipe onto the chocolate covered donuts. Decorate with sprinkles if desired.

Enjoy!

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