When I first bought my bundt cake pan from Williams Sonoma, I kept the recipe from the back of the box - a big square of cardboard hanging around in my cabinets for years. I was rearranging my bakeware the other day and decided it was finally time to try the recipe, if only so that I could get rid of that piece of cardboard.
But holy moly, you guys, this thing was awesome! It is crazy rich and moist and dense and intensely chocolaty - even my cake obsessed husband could only eat a little slice at a time. This is definitely a cake for sharing with friends, trust me, you cannot handle this cake alone.
Part of what makes this cake so awesome is that it has multiple kinds of chocolate in it, the first being bars of semi-sweet baking chocolate. I choose Ghirardelli because it seemed fancy to me and I was feeling fancy. You will combine the baking chocolate with cocoa powder for double the chocolaty awesomeness and melt with hot water.
I hope everyone had a fun holiday - we certainly did! We grilled and played games (these ones to be precise) and watched Jaws (the original, duh). My special contribution (because there always has to be one) was this gorgeous gelatin mold with champagne and fresh berries. It is light, refreshing, not too strong, and totally gorgeous. It looks really impressive, but it's actually pretty easy to make!
The base is sparkling wine (I used Prosecco), peach schnapps, plain gelatin, and a little sugar. I'm trying to be really accurate in my title here, so I had to change it from "Champagne Jello Mold", which was my first instinct. Jello isn't even a real word! It's Jell-o, a brand name that got appropriated to mean all gelatin (like Popsicle or Coke, if you live in the south).
This month for Food 'n Flix our movie is Bridesmaids, hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eatz. This movie is hysterical, with a lot of heart. I've seen it multiple times and I still lose it during the scene where the main character drives back and forth in her car doing various illegal things to get her cop friend's attention.
Kristen Wiig plays a woman whose bakery fails because of the economy crash. There is a very memorable scene of her making a gorgeous single cupcake and then chowing down on it. So I knew that I definitely wanted to do a cupcake for this post. There is also a lot of drinking in the movie, so I thought - what about a boozy cupcake? Perfect.
I ended up making Moscato Cupcakes with sweet wine in both the cake and the frosting - so good. Though I made a lot of changes to my inspiration recipe - subbing half melted butter and half coconut oil for vegetable oil, subbing vanilla sugar for regular sugar, and subbing whey (from all that cheesemaking) for buttermilk. I also made a simple syrup from equal parts moscato and vanilla sugar to brush over the warm cakes to boost the flavor. And I used half cream cheese and half butter in the frosting (I'm not a big fan of too sweet frosting).
As promised in my last post, today we are talking about Rhubarb Sour Cream Pie. Oh yeah, baby. I have a bonafide obsession with fruit and sour cream pies. That tang to balance out sweetness, and the creaminess - yum.
Just a few ingredients are all that is required - flour, sugar, sour cream, and an egg for the custard; and chopped rhubarb.
We already talked about crust this week, so you know that is going to be good. I like the idea of a crumble topping with this, especially to add sweetness since rhubarb is so tart.
Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most deliciously decadent thing ever. I don't even know whether to call it brunch or dessert, or both. Buttery brioche french toast, sweet pastry cream made with vanilla bean, and crunchy brûléed bananas topped with a drizzle of salted caramel. Total epic ridiculousness.
Step one is to make the vanilla pastry cream. Bring cream to a simmer with a vanilla bean and then let steep before adding to a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and flour and cooking until thick and creamy. It needs to cool completely and then chill, which is why we make it first.
The next step is to make the salted caramel sauce, which is a bit tricky if you have never made one before (I hadn't). You have to leave the sugar alone while it melts and colors, and watch carefully for the right moment. Then you add butter and cream. The caramel with pop and splutter like crazy, and ball up on the end of your whisk. You just have to keep whisking over low heat until it all comes together. Then add in your sea salt and let it cool.
While that is cooling, make your French toast using big, thick slices of brioche (a little stale is better).
BLOW TORCH TIME. This is seriously so much fun. Sprinkle banana slices with sugar and brown with a blow torch. Easy. If you don't have a blow torch, I'm pretty sure that you can use a broiler.
I had recently been experimenting with Rice Krispies treats, and when I saw Golden Grahams at the store I immediately thought of making a s'mores treat. I wanted there to be bits of marshmallow and chocolate throughout (instead of all melted together).
It ended up being super easy - cereal, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips bound together with melted marshmallow.
S'mores any time of year, no matter the weather, and without the mess!
Eggnog ice cream - why have I never thought of that before?! With the eggs, cream, and sugar - it's the perfect base! Creamy, spicy, and delicious - this is the perfect winter ice cream. And it's even better topped with fresh espresso as an affogato!
Eggnog, cream, orange extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and rum come together to form the base; which freezes up soft and creamy.
To take it to the next level, pour a espresso over the ice cream to make an affogato.
Two scoops and a lungo or double-shot is the perfect amount for breakfast or a snack. It look's like we might be getting another snow storm out here in the NE, and I know what will be keeping me warm!
Eggnog Ice Cream
from Scoop Adventures
Buy the fattiest, full-of-sugar eggnog that you can find because it will make the best ice cream.
2 cups eggnog (no rum added)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp orange extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp dark rum
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. If eggnog and cream were refrigerated, you may pour the mixture directly into an ice cream maker. If eggnog and cream were not fully chilled, place in a refrigerator until mixture is chilled (1 to 2 hours).
Once mixture is chilled and in the ice cream maker, freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Scoop into a freezer safe container and place plastic or parchment over ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
I'm about to get all raw food, vegan, and healthy on you. If those words make you cringe, don't worry - these things are addictively delicious no matter what diet you follow! Let's talk about dates - they are naturally super sweet and packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also low calorie compared to processed sweets. In other words, they are nature's guilt-free candy. Now let's talk about Barhi dates. Oh. My. Gosh. These dates have a really short season and can be hard to find (I order them from here), but they are totally worth the hunt. They taste like butterscotch candy or caramel, just on their own! There is seriously a world of difference between Barhi and other dates, believe me. And in this recipe? Killer.
Now that we've established that you should totally use Barhi dates because they are way more delicious than any other kind, what else do you need to make these caramels? Tahini, coconut oil, cardamom, and that's it! Blend it all up in a food processor and press into a lined pan. I had trouble getting all the coconut oil to incorporate, which didn't make any difference taste-wise, but made them less pretty. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and freeze until firm.
Once they are firm, cut them into little squares and that's it! You have to keep them in the freezer so that they stay firm, but that's not so much to ask, is it? They are rich, sweet, and complex with the flavors of caramel, tahini, cardamom, and coconut coming together, and the sea salt just takes it over the top. Good for you, delicious, fits any diet, and makes great gifts - why are you not making these yet? Get on it!
Raw Tahini Date Salted Caramels
adapted from The Kitchn
*I made double
1 cup pitted dates (Barhi highly recommended)
1/2 cup tahini
2 tbsp coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 tsp fleur de sel or other finishing salt
Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor. You should have a very smooth, creamy, and thick paste.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. Sprinkle with salt.
Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.
Merry Christmas, y'all! We went on a bit of a crazy roadtrip (which I will tell you about later, because there are restaurants involved) and didn't get back til late on the 22nd, which left us in a bit of a scramble to get ready for Christmas. We managed to get some outdoor decorations up (check out the wreath I made!), but no tree or anything indoors.
We also spent all our holiday money on travel, so no presents this year. But we did have a nice Christmas dinner (I mean, come on - how could I not, right?). Honey Baked Ham (going store bought on the main let me focus on sides); Spinach and Gruyere Strata; Sweet Potato Gratin with Caramelized Onions; and Bacon Popovers.
And a Cranberry Raisin Tart with orange zest and spices for dessert.
Oh yeah, and breakfast! Can't forget Christmas morning sweets! I made these Cranberry Orange Rolls by Smitten Kitchen - yum!
My friend Melissa (you know her by now as Smells Like Brownies) threw a Curious George themed birthday party for her 1 year old. She wanted to have some kind of banana snack at the party (cuz duh - monkeys) but really hates bananas, even the smell of them. So I volunteered to make something for her. These banana pops could not be easier, and they ended up being a huge success!
Start by cutting bananas (however many you want to use) in half and carefully insert popsicle sticks. Pop them into the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make your chocolate dip. Place chocolate chips into a microwaveable bowl - you can use either milk or dark, I prefer dark. 8 oz of chocolate will cover 2 bananas (4 halves). Next, mix in some oil or butter - this makes sure the chocolate melts evenly and that it is shiny. I used coconut oil for the health factor and because it tastes great with chocolate. The ratio is 1 tbsp oil to 8 oz chocolate. Stir to coat the chips evenly with oil, then microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until the chocolate is just melted. Do not overcook it - once you burn chocolate, you can't take it back.
While the chocolate is still warm, take the partially frozen bananas and dip them into the chocolate to coat. You may need to use a rubber spatula to ensure that the entire banana is coated. Allow any excess to drip off. Working quickly (the chocolate will harden quickly on the frozen banana), sprinkle with or roll in whatever toppings you want to use. I used sprinkles, walnuts, and toasted coconut. Return the bananas to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Allow to soften for about 5 minutes at room temp, or longer in the fridge, before you serve them so that they won't be rock hard. The banana inside should be the consistency of ice cream.
I used a 32 oz bag of chocolate chips to make 16 banana pops (from 8 bananas). These are super fun to make - I bet kids would love to get involved. And there is not a lot of sugar, depending on what kind kind of chocolate and toppings you use, making it a healthy snack/dessert. So go bananas!