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Samoas Bark

Samoas bark

After yesterday’s face-off between Thin Mints and Samoas, I couldn’t let Thin Mints just run away with the victory that easily!

I mean, that Thin Mint Oreo Milkshake was insanely delicious, and I can’t deny it deserved to win, but… to be honest, I’ve kind of always been just a bit more of a Samoas girl.

Samoas bark

This Samoas bark was something I made for my sister last year for Christmas – we were visiting my grandparents for Christmas, and I wanted to be able to give my siblings something, but didn’t want to have to lug all their Christmas gifts all the way to Arizona and back.

Since Kristen’s known for being a lover of all things Samoas, I had the idea of making a Samoas-inspired chocolate bark for her. (Patrick got homemade licorice caramels – I’ll be posting that recipe later this year.)

When I thought up the idea, I did a quick search to see if anybody had made this before. And while yes, of course there are people who’ve made Samoas-inspired chocolate bark before, none of the recipes out there were quite what I had in mind.

This recipe couldn’t possibly be simpler. Layers of chocolate, shortbread, caramel, coconut, and more chocolate – just like the Girl Scout cookie! Except even more decadent, because you get way more chocolate and caramel in every bite with this version. (No regrets.)

If you like Samoas, then you’ll definitely love this bark – and love how easy it is to make!

Samoas bark

Ingredients

  • 22 oz chocolate, divided
  • 10.6 oz (2 packages) Walkers shortbread
  • 22 oz caramel bits
  • 1 cup coconut

Cooking Directions

  1. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt 15 oz of the chocolate in a double-boiler, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring well in-between microwaving.
  3. Spread the chocolate evenly over the parchment paper.
  4. Put the shortbread in a ziplock bag, seal the bag, then use a rolling pin to crush the shorbread into crumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over the chocolate, and lightly press into the chocolate with your fingers. Let the chocolate cool completely before proceeding.
  5. Melt the caramel in a double-boiler, or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring well in-between microwaving. Stir in the coconut.
  6. Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the shortbread.
  7. Melt the remaining 7 oz of chocolate. Drizzle the chocolate over the caramel, to create stripes. Let everything cool completely.
  8. When the bark is completely cool, use the parchment paper to remove the bark from the baking sheet, and place the parchment-lined bark on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into triangles (or whatever shape you prefer).
  9. Enjoy!

Thin Mint Oreo Bailey’s Irish Cream Milkshake… and an epic face-off between Team Thin Mints and Team Samoas!

When it comes to Girl Scout Cookies, are you Team Thin Mints, or Team Samoas?

Everybody’s one or the other. My mom? Team Thin Mints. My sister… solidly in Team Samoas.

But what about Tagalongs, I ask you? Or Do-Si-Dos? Or the classic but unfairly maligned Trefoils?

Those cookies are great and all… but I guarantee you, it’s the Thin Mints and Samoas people go for first.

(Trust me – I used to be a Girl Scout!)

So on Fridgg, which cookie comes out as the winner – Thin Mints or Samoas?



Thin Mints get an early lead, with Laurie’s no-churn Thin Mint ice cream and Thin Mint truffles edging out Deb’s Samoas scones!



And it looks like the Thin Mints are keeping their lead, with Jamie’s Thin Mint-inspired naughty Girl Scout cocktail and Justine’s Thin Mint pots de creme – although Claire’s Samoa cookie doughnuts do look delicious!



But wait – do Samoas have a chance? Lisa’s Samoa rice krispie treats, Phillip’s Samoa mini doughnuts, and Jess’ homemade Samoa cookies all look like winners!



But alas, it wasn’t to be! Team Thin Mints takes the win, with this boozy Thin Mint Oreo Bailey’s Irish Cream milkshake from Peabody!

Did your team win? Tell me who you were rooting for!

(As for me? I’m Team Tagalongs. I’m a rebel like that. 😉)


Thin Mint Oreo Bailey's Irish Cream Milkshake

Obviously, I had to try out the winning milkshake – because when you mix Thin Mints, Oreos, ice cream, and booze, everybody wins!

And my goodness, was it delicious! It tastes like drinking minty oreos… not a bad way to enjoy your Girl Scout Cookies!

Thin Mint Oreo Bailey’s Irish Cream Milkshake

Recipe barely adapted from Sweet Recipeas.

Ingredients

  • 4 large scoops of good vanilla ice cream
  • 100ml (about 3 oz) Bailey’s Mint Irish Cream (or an equivalent amount of milk for a non-alcoholic drink)
  • 4 Thin Mint cookies
  • 4 Double-Stuffed Oreos
  • whipped cream and extra cookies to garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. Add the ice cream, booze or milk, Thin Mints, and Oreos to a blender. Starting low and slowly increasing the speed, blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass, and top with whipped cream and additional cookies.
  3. Enjoy!

Butter Chicken Hand Pies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Whether you’re celebrating your sweetie, hanging out with your gal pals, or want to bring a treat into the office (because who doesn’t love cupcakes?), this week I’ve rounded up ten of our top last-minute Valentine’s Day treats from Fridgg.

For example, you could seduce your sweetie with these tasty oysters with chocolate and a saffron sauce!

These chocolate hazelnut truffles from Katherine of Gouda Monster are perfect for valentines or galentines!

This decadent dark chocolate and raspberry souffle from Serena of Foodful Life is sure to please!

This easy chocolate cherry banana bread from Joanne of Family Food Ideas is perfect to make for friends or family.

It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without something from Elizabeth of Sugar Hero! Her nutella pound cake petit fours are tasty and easy, especially if you use store-bought pound cake.

These nutella hearts from Stacie of Simply Stacie are totally sweet and super easy to make.

Another easy last-minute Valentine’s Day from Stacie of Simply Staciehugs and kisses rolls!

Take a shot at love with these fiery chocolate shots from MJ of MJ’s Kitchen.

These easy nutella cupcakes from Elizabeth of Sugar Hero! are so simple to make, they’re perfect if you need a last-minute Valentine’s Day treat!

Our top last-minute Valentine’s Day treat also comes from Stacie – since they’re made with jarred butter chicken sauce, these butter chicken hand pies are a breeze to whip up for a cute Valentine’s Day dinner!

Butter chicken hand pies

I love butter chicken, so I was excited to have an excuse to try out these fun butter chicken hand pies.

Despite a slight mishap on the butter chicken side of things, once the butter chicken was made I found these to be super easy to make, and quite tasty!

Butter chicken hand pies

The original recipe used jarred butter chicken sauce, while I made my own butter chicken from scratch and used that as the filling instead. If you’re looking for a quick last-minute treat, the jarred version may work better, but I urge you to try out the butter chicken recipe if you have more time – it’s definitely worth the extra effort!

Butter chicken hand pies

Butter Chicken Hand Pies

Slightly adapted from Simply Stacie.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 batch of butter chicken (save the rest for another meal, or you can make multiple batches of hand pies)
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 package of refrigerated pie crust dough (enough for two pies)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp water

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook the butter chicken. When the chicken is finished, shred one of the pieces of chicken and mix it with a bit of sauce to moisten, then stir the cilantro into the shredded chicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Unroll both pie crusts and, using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many heart shapes as you can from the dough.
  4. Lay half of the hearts on the baking sheet. In the center of each heart, add about a teaspoon of butter chicken mixture. Place the remaining hearts on top to cover. Using a fork, press down the edges of each heart to seal.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg mixture on the tops of the hearts.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot.
  7. Enjoy!

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken

If you follow the Fridgg blog, you’ve probably noticed the top ten posts that I’ve started doing every week, to feature our Fridgg users and the recipes they’ve contributed.

It’s been a ton of fun cooking the recipe that comes in at the number one spot every week. I love the excuse to cook all sorts of things I may not have had a good enough reason to cook otherwise (ahem, like yesterday’s amazing raspberry chocolate mousse cake!), and it’s an awesome opportunity to highlight all the fantastic photos and recipes our users have uploaded over the last few years.

Next week’s top recipe is a fun Valentine’s Day treat, which happens to involve butter chicken. The original recipe calls for a jarred butter chicken sauce, which, in the spirit of ease as well as keeping true to the original recipe, I ordered from Amazon.

… and then I received a bubble-wrapped package of broken glass and sauce that smelled more like Spaghetti-Os than butter chicken. (Thank goodness for Amazon’s amazing refund policy!)

So in the spirit of trying out Fridgg’s top recipes, I figured, why not try making our most popular butter chicken recipe from scratch instead?

After a quick search, I found that our top butter chicken recipe is this one, from Pepper Garlic Kitchen. Looks tasty, and as authentic as can be!

Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. Most of them are fairly common or can be easily bought online, and the recipe itself is easy enough to make.

And it’s ever so delicious – much better than instant sauce that tastes like Spaghetti-Os, I’m sure.

Plus, Wednesday’s recipe won’t use the entire batch of butter chicken – so you get two meals in one!

Butter chicken

Butter Chicken

Recipe from Pepper Garlic Kitchen.

Ingredients

To marinate chicken:

  • 1 lb chicken
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder

Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 2 green chiles
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek/methi leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, divided
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro for garnish

Cooking Directions

  1. In a large bowl or ziploc bag, mix the yogurt, ground ginger, garlic powder, paprika, and 1 tsp garam masala powder with the chicken.
  2. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium-low heat. When oil is hot, melt half of the butter into it.
  4. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick to the oil.
  5. Coarsly cut up the onion, then puree in a food processor until it forms a paste.
  6. When seeds start to splutter, add the onion paste and cook until golden.
  7. Puree the ginger, garlic, green chiles, and peppercorns in the food processor.
  8. Add the ginger paste to the pan. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  9. Puree the tomato in the food processor.
  10. When mixture in the pan starts bubbling, add the pureed tomato.
  11. In a bowl, mix the ground turmeric, ground coriander, red chili powder, and remaining garam masala powder. Add just enough water to make a paste. Transfer it to the pan, and cook while stirring occasionally.
  12. When the mixture starts to release oil, add the marinated chicken. Stir it well so that all chicken is coated with the sauce.
  13. Add 1/4 cup of the cream, the fenugreek leaves, and salt. Let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep the chicken from sticking to the pan.
  14. Cover with a lid and let cook until the chicken is cooked thorugh. Add the remaining cream and butter.
  15. Stir well, so everything is combined.
  16. Garnish with garam masala, fenugreek leaves, and/or cilantro leaves. Serve with naan or rice.
  17. Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

It’s just a week until Valentine’s Day! What are your plans?

If you’re anything like me, you might be working, going to the gym… and not doing a single romantic thing that day.

But! The best part of Valentine’s Day, whether you’re in a relationship or not, is that it’s the perfect excuse to make something decadent and delicious – even if you’re keeping it all to yourself!

So this week, I’ve got our top ten most amazing Valentine’s Day sweets. Make one, make ’em all, have a sweet day!

These pretty pink Valentiene’s cookies from Claire of The Simple Sweet Life will bring out the artist in you!

Love doughnuts but hate frying? Justine’s chocolate-glazed baked doughnuts, from her blog Cooking and Beer, are the perfect easy alternative!

These gorgeous chocolate rose cupcakes from Elizabeth of Sugar Hero!, are ever so romantic!

Stacie of Simply Stacie keeps it simple with store-bought cupcake toppers for her Valentine’s Day cupcakes.

If it’s decadence you’re looking for, Liz’s ‘La Vie en Rose’ chocolate cherry cake from her blog The Red Bistro fits the bill perfectly.

These cute Valentine’s Day mini cakes, that Elizabeth of Sugar Hero! made for the Oh! Nuts blog use store-bought wafers, so they’re super easy to put together!

These chocolate-covered strawberry hearts from Jen of Pink When are a fun take on a Valentine’s Day classic!

This gorgeous romantic Valentine’s Day cake from Giustina of Domestically Blissful is a beautiful edible take on the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates.

Laurie’s chocolate champagne cupcakes, from her blog Frosting and a Smile, are perfect for any celebration!

And our number one most popular, most amazing, and most decadent Valentine’s Day sweet on Fridgg… is this chocolate raspberry mousse cake, also from Elizabeth of Sugar Hero!

I have never been so excited to have an excuse to make a recipe from Fridgg. I’ve drooled over her photos of this cake for years, but never thought I’d actually make it.

It’s even more perfect, because my mom is a huge (huge!) fan of anything chocolate-raspberry. So… guess who got most of the leftovers of this cake? 😉

Now, I know this recipe looks intimidating. Lots of ingredients, and a long, long list of directions.

But don’t be fooled! I actually found this recipe to be surprisingly easy to make. Most of the cook/prep time is actually just waiting for things to cool or chill, so you have plenty of time in-between layers to do whatever you please. And all three of the mousse layers are pretty similar, so once you’ve mastered one, the other two are a breeze.

And OH MY GOOD GOSH this cake is so amazingly delicious. You’d think it would be really rich and super heavy, and while yes it is a surprisingly heavy cake when you try to carry it around, when you eat it every bite is like eating a cloud. It’s sweet from the chocolate layers and tart from the raspberries, with a moist brownie base and a decadent ganache topping. Perfect for a Valentine’s Day party!

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Recipe from Sugar Hero!.

Ingredients

Brownie cake:

  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 7 3/4 oz (1 cup + 2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/3 oz (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 oz (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Chocolate mousse:

  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1 envelope)
  • 2 tbsp water

Raspberry mousse:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 9 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1 envelope)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • a few drops of pink food coloring, optional

Honey-vanilla mousse:

  • 9 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1 envelope)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

Ganache/decorations:

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 oz heavy cream
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries
  • chocolate curls or other decorations

Cooking Directions

Brownie cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cube the butter and place it in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as the butter melts. Add the sugar, and stir until well mixed-in. The mixture will be grainy. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, and let it cool to lukewarm. Once it has cooled, add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. As you add the eggs, the grainy sugar/butter mixture will become shiny and smooth. Whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Stir in the remaining brownie ingredients.
  5. Scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 22-24 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool completely. (Your cake may come out pretty flat-looking, but do not be concerned! Mine didn’t rise at all, but that was perfectly fine and turned out totally delicious.)
  6. Prepare either a 9-inch cake pan with a removable bottom, or a 9-inch springform pan. Line the inner wall of the pan with a 4-inch tall acetate cake collar or a 4-inch tall strip of aluminum foil or waxed paper. Make sure your lining is long enough so that it overlaps itself.
  7. Once the brownie cake has completely cooled, carefully place the baked brownie cake in the bottom of the prepared pan.

Chocolate mousse:

  1. To prepare the chocolate mousse layer, combine the chocolate, 3/4 cup of cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring very well every 30 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. (If you overheat the mixture, the cream will break and the mixture will look lumpy and greasy – if this happens, don’t worry! Just proceed with the recipe – once you mix in the other ingredients it will come together and smooth out just fine.) Let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  2. While you wait for the chocolate mixture to cool, prepare the gelatin. Whisk together the gelatin and the cold water in a small bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water. Make sure all the gelatin looks wet. When the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is melted. Whisk the melted gelatin into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to firm peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate. Scrape the mousse on top of the brownie cake, and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 25 minutes, until the mouse has started to set and is firm enough that a second layer can be added.

Raspberry mousse:

  1. For the raspberry mousse, make a quick puree by blending 1/2 cup fresh raspberries in a blender or food processor. Pour them through a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds, and measure out 1/4 cup raspberry puree. (If you have extra puree, save it for another use.)
  2. Combine the white chocolate, raspberry puree, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Very carefully microwave in 15-second increments, stirring very well every 15 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Be very very careful not to overheat the mixture, as white chocolate can easily scorch or burn if microwaved for too long (ask me how I know). Let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  3. While you wait for the white chocolate mixture to cool, prepare the gelatin. Whisk together the gelatin and the cold water in a small bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water. Make sure all the gelatin looks wet. When the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is melted. Whisk the melted gelatin into the chocolate mixture.
  4. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to firm peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Add a few drops of pink food coloring for a more vibrantly pink color, if desired. Once the whipped cream and food coloring is mixed in, stir in the remaining 1 cup of fresh raspberries.
  5. Pour the raspberry mousse on top of the chocolate mousse layer, and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 25 minutes, until the mouse has started to set.

Honey-vanilla mousse:

  1. Finally, prepare the vanilla bean layer. Combine the white chocolate, 1/2 cup heavy cream, honey, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Very carefully microwave in 15-second increments, stirring very well every 15 seconds, until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Be very very careful not to overheat the mixture, as white chocolate can easily scorch or burn if microwaved for too long. Let it cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  2. While you wait for the white chocolate mixture to cool, prepare the gelatin. Whisk together the gelatin and the cold water in a small bowl, and set it aside to let the gelatin absorb the water. Make sure all the gelatin looks wet. When the chocolate has cooled to room temperature, microwave the bowl of gelatin for 15 seconds, until it is melted. Whisk the melted gelatin into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream to firm peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Stir in the vanilla bean paste.
  4. Pour the honey-vanilla mousse on top of the raspberry mousse layer, and spread it into an even layer. Refrigerate to set the mousse layers very well, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Ganache/toppings:

  1. To finish the cake, push the bottom out from the pan, or unhinge the sides, and unwrap the acetate strip. Transfer the cake to your serving platter.
  2. Make a quick chocolate ganache by putting the chopped chocolate in a small bowl and heating the cream to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and whisk gently until the chocolate melts and you have a smooth, shiny mixture.
  3. Pour the ganache over the top of the cake, and use a spatula to nudge it right to the edge and over in evenly spaced drizzles. Don’t worry if the top is not smooth — it will be covered up! Add the fresh raspberries and chocolate curls on top of the cake. Refrigerate to set the ganache.
  4. For the cleanest slices, cut the cake when it is well chilled. Use a large sharp knife, and wash it frequently between cuts. For the best taste and texture, allow the cake slices to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. The Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake can be stored well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.