Snickers Martini

When it comes to flavored martinis, I’m a huge fan.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a regular martini before.  Yikes!  One thing I’ve noticed is that with mixed drinks, almost every bar you go to will be slightly different in some way, just like with restaurants and food.  Several months ago while on a girls weekend trip in Myrtle Beach, I strolled up the martini bar and looked over their menu.  And if you ever have been to a martini bar, then you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say menu.  As in, a 10 page menu of tons and tons of different flavored martinis.  I can only pick one?  I want all of them!

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Although an apple martini has been at the top of my favorites list for a long time, it has some major and serious competition now.  I ordered one of these Snickers martinis last time at the martini bar, and thought it was quite yummy.  Well, I don’t know what was different about that one and this one I made at home…but this one was ridiculous.  I made it for a friend and myself, and as I handed over her martini, I took a sip of mine…and stopped.  “Oh, WOW!  This is awesome!”  And you know how you’re technically supposed to sip martinis?  Mine was gone in two minutes.  Oh, and I was feeling it!!  Holy cow!  As I sat there staring at my friend’s drink as she sipped it, she looked at me and said, “Mine!  Go make yourself another one!”  I sheepishly smiled and headed to the kitchen to make another one…which was gone in another five minutes, and that was pacing myself.  It was just way too stinkin’ delicious.

Snickers Martini Recipe:

1 oz. coffee liquor

1 oz. Irish cream liquor

1 oz. amaretto liquor

1 oz. hazelnut liquor

1 oz. heavy cream

chocolate syrup

Drizzle chocolate syrup in martini glass.  Fill cocktail shaker with ice, pour in all liquid ingredients.  Cover, shake, and strain cocktail into martini glass.

Mocha Cheesecake

If you’re thinking “Hey, is she making a lot of cheesecakes lately?” by looking at Facebook and some of the recent posts, the answer is Yes.  Actually, Heck Yes.  I’ve been a huge fan of cheesecakes throughout my life, and up until recently, I’d never made a REAL one from scratch.  I learn something new about the process from each cheesecake that’s made, and after I finish one, another idea pops into the ole noggin to try out another.  So, that means there will be quite a few more cheesecake flavors that I’ll be experimenting with, but will try to spread them out with the posts here and there so it’s not an overwhelming amount of cheesecakes showing up.  Not like that’s a bad thing, but if you’re not into cheesecake, it could pose a problem.

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I found a recipe for a cappuccino cheesecake, but changed a few things around to make it mocha…and it was a success.  And you know it’s a success when a child (who thinks coffee is yucky) loves it and wants more.  I actually used my homemade coffee liquor in this recipe, and it was absolutely delicious.  Doing a double duty by handling this way.  I thinned the chocolate out on top by adding a little bit of vegetable oil after melting it, so that it would be a little softer when cutting through that glorious piece of deliciousness and not be too crunchy or overwhelming.

Mocha Cheesecake Recipe:

25 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs

1/2 stick butter, melted

5 (8oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

2 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

3 tablespoons coffee liquor

8 oz. sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place 25 of the cookies in a food processor or food chopper.  Cover and process until finely ground.  Add butter, mix well.  Press firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.  Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, cocoa, and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.  Add sour cream, mix well.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.  Stir together coffee granules and liquor until the granules dissolve.  Add to bowl and mix on low speed just until combined.  Pour over crust.  Wrap aluminum foil around edges of pan, so that all of the bottom and sides are completely covered (to make sure it’s completely covered, wrap the pan with two pieces of foil in opposite directions).  Place inside a larger pan, pour water to make a 1 inch water bath around the outside of springform pan (this will keep the cheesecake from cracking during the baking process).  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, until cheesecake is puffed up, the edges are a light golden brown, but the center is still a little jiggly.  Remove from oven, cool on cooling rack for 1 hour.  Place in refrigerator and to let set overnight.  Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each interval until completely melted.  Drizzle over cheesecake.  Store in refrigerator.

Tiramisu Trifle

As I’ve mentioned before, I love trifles.  They look elegant sitting in that trifle dish all layered and put together, and there hasn’t been one yet that didn’t taste delicious that I’ve come across.  While I was talking to my mother-in-law on Friday, we were planning the menu out for Mother’s Day on Sunday.  She asked me if I could make dessert and asked what we would be having…and this was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe out.  I’ve been toying with what ingredients to use in this to make it taste similar to the Tiramisu, yet keep it really simple to throw together.  The end result was bliss.  My husband went back for seconds, and my mother-in-law packaged some up before we left.

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While I was putting this together, the thought pondered in my head, wondering if there was too much coffee drizzled on the cake and cookie layers…but the distribution was perfect.  You could definitely taste the coffee in the dessert, but it wasn’t overpowering…and that mascarpone layer was so rich and creamy.  You can use regular coffee or coffee liquor, but that depends on how much of a “kick” you want.  Since my daughter ate some of this batch, regular coffee was used…but I would still love to throw some of the liquor in there as well.  You could always use half coffee and half liquor, or however else you’d like to make it.  This dessert has definitely been added to the “Heck yes, I’ll make it again” list for the future!

Tiramisu Trifle Recipe:

1 angel food cake (I just picked one up from the bakery at the grocery store)

1 box Nilla wafers

1 cup powdered sugar

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1 cup coffee or coffee liquor

2 (8 oz.) containers whipped topping

4 teaspoons cocoa, divided

Beat mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar with electric mixer until creamy and blended.  Add 1 container of whipped topping, continue mixing until well-blended.  Break up half of cake and place on bottom of trifle dish.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of coffee over cake.  Spread half of mascarpone mixture on top of cake.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cocoa on top.  Place half of cookies on top, drizzle with 1/4 cup coffee.  Spread half of remaining container of whipped topping on top of cookie layer, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon cocoa.  Repeat layering.  Cover tightly and set in refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, so the flavors can set.  Store in refrigerator.

Homemade Coffee Liquor

While searching for items to make for my family’s edible gift baskets, I came across a recipe that made my eyes widen and start grinning from ear to ear.  Homemade flavored liquor?!  Yes!!  I had to try it.  My husband has made a couple of flavors of wine before, and the thought of making your own alcohol from scratch was such a cool concept to me.

IMG_3598Since I came across the recipe right after Thanksgiving, I still had time to make the liquor and let it set for a minimum of two weeks before bottling it up for distribution.  The liquor ended up sitting in the coffee beans for a total of a month, since it didn’t get divided up until the day before Christmas…so the timing was perfect.  Since all of this was new to me, it made me a little nervous, but very excited at the same time.  I couldn’t wait to try it out.  Christmas Day after our daughter went to bed, the liquor had to be tested out…and it was fantastic.  I mixed it up with some milk and chocolate syrup, served it on ice.  It was a little too good.  This liquor would also be perfect for mudslides!

Homemade Coffee Liquor Recipe:

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 cups water

1/2 instant coffee granules

3 cups vodka

1/4 cup whole coffee beans

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, brown sugar, and water.  Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in coffee granules.  Cool.  Combine coffee mixture, vodka, and coffee beans, pour into 1 gallon jar.  Cover tightly and store in a dark place at room temperature for at least two weeks.  Shake jar gently once daily.  Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer lined with 2 layers of cheesecloth into jars, discarding coffee beans.  Cover tightly, store at room temperature.  Makes about 6 cups of liquor.

Tiramisu Cupcakes

My in-laws inspired me to put together this recipe.  If you even mention the word around them, they perk up.  What?  Tiramisu?  Where??  Right here!

This cupcake is rich, deliciously combining the flavors of coffee and cream cheese…and of course, garnished wish some dark chocolate.

Tiramisu Cupcake Recipe:

1 box Duncan Hines white cake mix

1 small box instant cheesecake pudding

8 oz. mascarpone cheese

1/4 cup white sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

2 tablespoons coffee liquor

Cream together eggs, sugar and cream cheese using electric mixer at medium speed until well blended.   Add remainder of ingredients and beat well until smooth, about 4 minutes.  Distribute into lined muffin pan using ice cream scoop and bake at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes.  Cool completely before icing.

Tiramisu Icing Recipe:

1 stick butter (softened)

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 lbs powdered sugar

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

1 can Duncan Hines cream cheese icing

Cream butter and shortening together using electric mixer for 3-4 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and coffee, continue mixing on medium speed for 5 minutes.  Add cream cheese icing and mix well.

*Garnish cupcakes with chocolate shavings.