Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

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I was tasked with making a pie for Thanksgiving this week, and I had some bourbon, so I looked around for a recipe I could use it in. I love bourbon and don’t mind the taste of it in desserts, so when I came across this Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe from Allrecipes.com I decided to give it a shot. It was well liked on the website and included a 1/4 cup of bourbon, so I knew it must be good.

Final verdict? It was so frickin good! It has a nice chocolate and bourbon taste that goes so well with the ingredients of the pecan pie. I didn’t want to post about the recipe until I had a chance to try some myself, but it was so good I decided to make a post about it, because this is the perfect pie for the holidays. Nothing better than booze and pie at Christmas-time. The alcohol in the bourbon should be all cooked out by the time it’s complete, so anyone can eat this pie. It still retains the lovely flavor of bourbon after baking too.

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The one thing I would recommend for this pie is to use a deep pie dish. The recipe makes just a little bit too much filling for a regular pie dish. As the above photo shows, the filling fit perfectly in my 1 and 3/4 inch deep pie dish.

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Instead of melting the chocolate, the chips stay intact so that there are nice little nuggets of semi-sweet chocolate throughout. I really liked that.

Make sure to click the link at the beginning of the post for the recipe if you’d like to try this pie. Let me know how you like it!

What desserts are your go-to during the holidays? I’d love for you to share any recipes you love.

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Zombie Brain Brownies

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Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Happy Halloween, everyone! This is my favorite holiday and always like making some creepy treats for it too. This year I came up with Zombie Brain Brownies. They’re made from candy melts, brownie, and strawberry sauce mixed with fresh squeezed orange juice and triple sec. If you are looking for a non-alcoholic version, just omit the triple sec and add more orange juice.

Zombie Brain Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup strawberry topping
  • 2 tbs. triple sec*
  • 1 tb. of fresh orange juice
  • 1 batch of brownies (from a boxed mix or your own recipe)
  • 2-12oz. packages of candy melts in Vibrant Green
  • Red decorating gel
  • Optional
  • Red food coloring
  • Also needed
  • Brain shaped candy molds

Instructions

  1. Make a batch of brownies from scratch or boxed mix and let cool. Once cool, cut the crispy edges off the sides of the brownie (eat or discard).
  2. Using the directions on the package, melt the candy melts and line the brain molds with a layer about 1/8" thick. I use the back of a spoon to achieve this. Don't fill in the entire brain cavity with candy melts, because we need to leave room for the strawberry sauce and brownie.
  3. Once the brain molds are all covered with candy melts, chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes to set it up.
  4. While the brain molds are in the freezer, prepare your strawberry sauce by combining the strawberry topping, triple sec, and orange juice. If you want the sauce to be a brighter red color, add a few drops of red food coloring.
  5. Take the brain molds out of the freezer once the candy melts have set, and spoon a teaspoon of the strawberry sauce in each brain.
  6. Pull a small piece of brownie off and mash it into the brain on top of the sauce, making sure to not squish the sauce out.
  7. Re-melt candy melts if needed, and seal the brownie and sauce into the brain by covering the top with the candy. Make sure it meets with the sides of the candy melts you put in the brain earlier, or you'll have holes that the sauce could seep out of.
  8. Put the molds back in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the candy melts.
  9. Once the brains are set, pop them out carefully.
  10. Before serving them, slather the tops of the brains with the red decorating gel to make the brains look gooey and gross.

Notes

*If you want non-alcoholic treats, leave out the triple sec and add more orange juice.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/10/zombie-brain-brownies/

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

If you want, you can slather some red gel over the top to make them bloody or leave it off for a more clean version. You could even get some green decorating gel and put it in the place of the blood for a more gooey oozing effect.

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

When you open them up some of the strawberry sauce could drip out so make sure to have some napkins around!

Zombie Brain Brownies | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Have a fun and safe Halloween!

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Halloween Oreo Truffles

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Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Welcome to October! With the holidays coming up, I thought I’d share some Oreo Truffles with you because they make great treats for all the parties you’ll inevitably be invited to during the holiday season.

If you’ve never had Oreo Truffles before, you really need to try them. They are simple to make and only include three ingredients: Oreos (or similar cookies), cream cheese, and chocolate. I’m amazed I’ve never made a blog post about them before now, to tell you the truth.

There’s something about the mixture of the cookies and the cream cheese that really makes these special. They are decadent and rich. The added chocolate coating only makes them better.

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

I saw these Halloween themed Joe Joe’s cookies at Trader Joe’s and thought the box was cool looking so I decided to try them. They were not very good. The chocolate cookies were fine but the filling was bland. It tasted like nothing, and definitely not vanilla. Should I just throw the box of cookies away? Continue eating the cookies and hating life? No! Just make them into Oreo Truffles! Even the blandness of the cookies could be fixed with a little cream cheese and chocolate. Once the cookies are combined with the other ingredients, they didn’t taste that much different than the truffles made with real Oreos. So if you ever end up with a crappy box of Oreo knock-offs, you know what to do!

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

Halloween Oreo Truffles

Ingredients

  • Package of Oreos or other chocolate sandwich cookies
  • 8 oz. block of cream cheese (softened)
  • 8-14 oz. of semi-sweet baking chocolate or chocolate candy melts
  • Optional toppings:
  • Chopped nuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Sugar confetti
  • Crushed Oreos

Instructions

  1. Put the cookies whole in a large food processor* and crush until the cookies are a fine crumb. If you want to use crushed cookies for topping set some aside at this point.
  2. Put the softened cream cheese into a large bowl and pour the cookie crumbs on top.
  3. With your hands, combine the cookies and cream cheese until completely incorporated. It's a messy job, but at least you get to lick your fingers clean when you're done!
  4. Chill the mixture for 15-20 mins. to thicken it up.
  5. Then roll it into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper covered jelly roll pan. Chill again for 30 mins.
  6. Melt the semi-sweet baking chocolate in the microwave on 30 sec. intervals, decreasing the time to 15 sec. intervals when the chocolate gets close to melted. You don't want to over heat your chocolate or it'll be ruined.
  7. When the balls are chilled, place each ball, one at a time, in the melted chocolate making sure it's covered completely.
  8. With two forks, pick up the truffle out of the chocolate and place back on the wax paper. While the chocolate is still melted sprinkle the top with your toppings of choice.

Notes

*If you don't have a food processor, split the cookies apart, scrape the filling into a large bowl with the cream cheese and place the cookies in a large ziplock bag. I remove the filling ahead of crushing, because I find the cookies difficult to crush finely when the filling is included.

Crush the cookies finely in the ziplock bag with a mallet or something similar and then place them into the large bowl with the filling.

http://shaneskillercupcakes.com/2015/10/halloween-oreo-truffles/

These little truffles are great for the holidays and an easy, quick treat when you need to make something last minute.

Halloween Oreo Truffles | Shane's Killer Cupcakes

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Happy World Beard Day!

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beardcookies

In honor of beards around the world, last night I made a batch of bearded shortbread cookies! It was done on a whim, so I didn’t really have the right tools or decorations to do proper bearded cookies, but I think they look cute in a bearded-chicken-nugget kind of way.

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Let a bearded man in your life know you appreciate him and his lovely bearded locks today.

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Cherry Amaretto Cordial Cake Hearts

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Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and one thing that goes well with romantic holidays is chocolate and alcohol. These take a day or two to prep for, so if you want to make them for Valentine’s Day this year, better get to it (okay, okay, it’s my fault I didn’t get these posted sooner)! You can make them for any time of the year though so don’t fret if you don’t have time to do them this week.

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There are a few things you’ll need to make these. You’ll need a silicone mold of some kind that has slightly deep wells (I used a heart treat mold), some melting chocolates in your favorite colors or flavors, chocolate cake mix, canned frosting, maraschino cherries, cherry topping, pie filling or cherry jelly, and some amaretto.

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The amaretto doesn’t have to be the expensive kind. I got the cheaper stuff and it worked well for this recipe. For the cherries I chose maraschino cherries because they are bright and sweet. Fresh cherries could work too, but would change the flavor a bit. The cherry topping I found actually tasted more like fresh cherries and was dark in color but it went great with all of the other ingredients.

The first thing you want to do, is pull the maraschino cherries out of their syrup, drain, and dry them a bit. I just rolled them around in a couple paper towels. Pop them into an empty jar and pour the amaretto over them. Let them soak for 24-48 hours.

On the day you make the treats, bake the chocolate cake first and let it cool. While it cools, make your cherry sauce by adding 1/4 cup of cherry topping (strained of fruit pieces) with 1/4 cup of amaretto, set aside. If you’d like to omit the alcohol, don’t soak the cherries in it and only use the cherry topping for the sauce. If you’re using cherry jelly and need to thin it a bit, mix a little cherry syrup into it instead of amaretto.

Prepare your silicone mold by melting the chocolate/candy melts and coating just the bottom and sides of each heart well. The back of a spoon and a pastry brush helped me get it covered. Make sure there are no holes! Freeze the mold for 5 minutes. I suggest placing the mold on a baking sheet to keep it from bending.

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Once the cake is cool, crumble it up in a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup of frosting until it is completely combined. It should have a consistency of clay. It’s a messy job, but I like to mix it with my hands, I find it easier to combine this way.

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Duff Goldman Holly Jolly Cake with Holiday Frosting {Review and Giveaway}

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I hope by now you’ve read and entered my other Duff Goldman review and giveaway for a box of Chocolate Snowball cookie mix (it ends today!), but I have another treat for you provided by Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. I have the opportunity to review another product from the Duff Goldman holiday line and give away a package of the same products I’m reviewing!

Today’s product is the Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and Holiday Frosting. The first thing that caught my eye about this product was how vibrant the colors of the cake were. It’s very festive. I also liked that the frosting looked really white. I hoped that the product lived up to these expectations.

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The products are described by the company as “layers of holiday colors to dazzle the eye, and moist, delicious flavors to tempt the taste buds” with a “decadent” frosting. I hoped this description wouldn’t be setting me up for disappointment.

The first thing that was a plus is that the food coloring gels that come with the cake mix do actually get the batter pretty close to the red and green in the picture! So even if this cake wasn’t any good, I had a feeling it would still look pretty cool.

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I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be able to do the 4 layer cake, because I didn’t have the right sized pans. The box suggests two 8in round cake pans so that each cake can be cut in half for the layers, and 9in pans (which is what I had) were not recommended. I could have said “screw you, cake box instructions, I’ll do what I want,” but since this was a review, I wanted to follow the directions correctly at least this first time. In the end, I opted for a two layer cake.

The batter tasted pretty great but was a tad sweet. The frosting was also very sweet.  I was afraid it might be too sweet when put together. Another drawback of the frosting was that it wasn’t as white as the frosting on the box of cake mix. It was closer to the cream color on the frosting label. It tasted a bit like a mix of regular vanilla frosting and cream cheese frosting.

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I cooked the cake according to the directions and ended up pulling it out of the oven a couple of minutes early because a toothpick already came out of the center clean. This was probably one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever baked. Even after cooling for a long time, the cake stayed sticky. Because of this stickiness, when you frost the cake, you’ll have to do a crumb coat. To do this, spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to glue all the crumbs together that mix into it after you’ve put in the frosting filling between the layers.  To set this quickly, I stuck the cake in the fridge for a few minutes so that the frosting wouldn’t be tacky to the touch. Then I frosted as usual, no crumbs this time! I found a great tutorial for crumb coating on Martha Stewart if you need a visual.

While putting cake in the fridge can dry it out, this cake needs a bit of chilling to firm it up for cutting slices. The cake was room temperature when I took the first slice out and it nearly crumbled all over the place, plus the slice fell over when I was trying to serve it on a plate for the photo shoot! It was not very easy to handle when it was warm and it was messy. There were cake crumbs all over.

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I don’t know how they got the frosting so clean in the cake box photo. Crumbs got all mixed up into mine when I cut the cake. I found out later that chilling the cake briefly does make the cake more firm for slicing, but it’s still a bit crumbly.

Now to the taste. As I expected, the cake was a little too sweet for my liking. If you like really sweet desserts, this might be the cake for you. A little goes a long way, because it’s so sweet and rich. Chilling the cake helped cut down on the sweetness too somehow. A small piece of this with some not-too-sweet coffee would be pretty good though!

Here’s that first slice I cut that fell all over the place. I was able to salvage it by putting the ugly side to the back. Oh the things I do for pretty photography.

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Overall, I did like this cake. It was bright and moist and looked very Christmassy. The only negative things I found were mostly with the frosting, because it wasn’t as white as I expected, and it was too sweet. The cake itself is so sweet, it could be a dessert on its own.

Want a chance to give it a try? Enter the giveaway below for a Holly Jolly Kit that includes one box of Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting.

BUY IT

If you would like to buy the Holly Jolly cake mix, it can be found at Target and Stop and Shop, and the Holiday Frosting can be found exclusively at Target until January 2015. Some of the holiday products can be found online at www.gartnerstudios.com.

CONNECT

Stay up-to-date on all things Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios! Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

WIN IT!

One lucky reader will win their own package of Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting!

Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Giveaway ends 12/24/14 at 11:59 pm EST.

Click HERE for complete giveaway rules.

To Enter, just fill in your name and email into the Rafflecopter widget below. For a better chance at winning, complete as many of the optional entries as you want. Come back daily for more entries!

If the Rafflecopter widget does not show up, just click the link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway.” Then you can put your entries on that page.

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****I received these products free of charge for an honest review of the products. I was not compensated monetarily for this review and all opinions are my own.****

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