Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Aunt Di’s Bittersweet Chocolate Layer Caje

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Saturday was our friend Cathy’s birthday, and she requested that I bake a cake. I am to the chapter in All Cakes Considered that deals with fancier cakes, thus I need more special occasions than “It’s Friday!” to bake one of these mamas. Cathy’s birthday was the perfect opportunity to try out the first cake in the chapter, Aunt Di’s Bittersweet Chocolate Layer Cake.

The cake itself is interesting in that it is a whipped cream cake – it uses heavy whipping cream in place of butter and milk. My verdict: it tastes good but is not as moist as I would like. Probably a fault of the chef and not the recipe.

Now, the frosting. When I followed the recipe exactly, this frosting was extremely runny. I added about half a box more of powdered sugar before it was thick enough to spread. Out of curiosity, I Googled the recipe & no one else seemed to have this problem – in fact, there were stellar reviews for the frosting. I don’t know if it was something I did or if letting it sit originally would have allowed it to thicken. A little frustrating. That said, my final product did taste great.

I will slowly continue to work through this book, & hopefully my layer-cake-assembly will improve as I go. This was probably my most successfully constructed layer cake, but it still needs improvement.

Black & White Muffins

This morning I have a houseful of middle school boys. Most of the time when this happens, Jimmy & I will head out and pick up donuts or something, but this morning Jimmy left for an astronomy workshop at the McDonald Observatory, and I didn’t want to go by myself. So I wracked my brain to see what I could do here and remembered that I had both semisweet and white chocolate chips left over from the cookies I baked last weekend. I have a chocolate chip muffin recipe that I have used for years (from a Betty Crocker kids’ cookbook), but the last time I made them I thought they were too oily. After looking around at other recipes, I decided to modify the recipe and see how it came out. They’re fantastic! So, here is the new and improved recipe.

Black & White Muffins

Black & White Muffins

6 Tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
About 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
About 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 *F. Spray the bottoms of 12 muffin cups with cooking spray (or use paper muffin liners).

In a small saucepan (or in the microwave), melt the butter. Let it cool for about 5 minutes.

While the butter is melting, beat the eggs in a small mixing bowl.

While the butter is cooling, mix the dry ingredients (except the chips) in a larger mixing bowl.

Add the melted butter and milk to the eggs and mix. Pour the egg mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix until the flour is just moistened. The mixture will be lumpy.

Fold in the chips. I didn’t measure, I just eyeballed it. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup chocolate chips, but I like more in mine. A full cup may be a little too much. Just use your judgment. All told, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups (about 2/3 full – a good scoop with a wooden spoon is pretty much perfect). Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Enjoy!

In honor of Pi Day

No, there is no picture. But I did make pie.

I was determined. It was Pi Day. Pi Day must include pie of some sort. It’s the law.

Jimmy and I debated over text while I worked my evening shift. Should we go out to eat somewhere where we can get pie? Should we buy pie but cook at home? Should we go eat somewhere but get pie elsewhere? Our dinner plans clearly revolved around the availability of pie.

The ultimate decision? We would cook dinner when I got home, and I would make a chocolate pie. Luckily, I have a recipe for a super-easy, super-delicious chocolate pie. I firmly believe there is no better pie than chocolate pie.

Here’s my recipe. It’s out of Merry Christmas from Texas.

Super-Easy Chocolate Pie

1 stick butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup flour
1 9″ pie crust, unbaked

Mix all the ingredients together and pour into pie crust. Bake at 350 F for 20-25 minutes.

That’s it! If you have ever had chocolate chess pie, this pie is quite similar. It’s best in a regular pie crust, not deep dish, as there’s not enough filling to fill a deeper crust.

The one that started it all

I’ve made a lot of cakes over the past year. And a lot of them were really good. But fancy schmancy as they may have been, I don’t think any of them beat the one that started it all – this recipe for Mexican Chocolate Cake¬†that I randomly found in a Google search.

I searched for Mexican Chocolate cake one day for some reason and bookmarked this cake to make and put it off because I didn’t have an occasion for which to make it. Sometime last spring we had a staff appreciation lunch at work and I dug up this recipe on a whim, not expecting too much. I was stunned by the response I got. Everyone who tried it raved about it. In fact, when about half the cake was gone, our manager took it away so that there would be some left for the other half of the staff the next hour. I had never had such high praise over something I cooked!

Not too long after, I bought¬†All Cakes Considered and started making cakes from that book, which seemed more worthy. And they’re good. Many of them very good. But every once in a while I come back to the Mexican Chocolate Cake. And it blows those cakes away. It is so easy – you make it in a saucepan, so it only dirties two dishes (the saucepan and the baking dish) and it always comes out great. It is THE perfect chocolate cake.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to share. This cake never stays around long enough to get its picture taken. It is just that good.

Hats off to Linda Larsen, the About.com guide who originally posted this recipe. You have made my life (and many others’) a little sweeter.

Let the holiday baking begin

Yes, I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but there are so many things I want to bake out of the Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook, that I just had to start today!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I can be a little bit, um, obsessive. One of the most romantic gifts I’ve received from my husband is this neat little randomizer on a pretty webpage that he made for me: To Be Read. It started out as a tool to help me choose the next book to read, but I seriously use this ALL THE TIME when I have a list of things to decide from. I have multiple book lists, lists of knitting/crochet projects, and, now, recipes that I use with this tool. It is a lifesaver for me, who has a very hard time dealing with too much information and decision-making based on such information.

So, I made a list of all the recipes I want to bake out of this cookbook, and plugged it into the randomizer. Wouldn’t you know, the first recipe to be pulled out of the hat, so to speak, was one of the ones I was least excited to make. But, I’m determined to follow the whims of the code, and so today I made Merry Cherry Fudgies.

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Don’t they look pretty?

And right now I will try the first one.

Hmmm…kind of brownie-like. Not overly cherry-flavored (which is a good thing, IMHO). Not knock-your-socks off good, but good enough to share. Which I will tomorrow! The recipe only makes 2 dozen, though, so you better get ’em fast! (I’ll be at work at 11…just sayin’)

UPDATED: Monday

So, the work test. I brought about 15 or 16 of these to work today in a ziploc and took them to the knitting group that was meeting today. At 5:00 this evening I went to my desk and my coworker had put the remaining treats on my desk. The bag was not even close to empty. As she put it, “They weren’t bad, but you’ve made things that were so much better!” That about sums it up.

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Just peachy

I didn’t mean to take a 2 week hiatus from blogging, but none of my baking for the last 2 weeks has been all that inspiring.

There was the wacky cake 2 weeks ago that I had planned to write about, but I wast pleased with the outcome.

Last week was my daughter’s 15th birthday, and she requested a strawberry cake. I found a great recipe on All Recipes, but I was too busy to create a post. Here’s a picture, though.

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Today, however, I made another great cake! This one was Cocoa Bread with Stewed Peaches. Imagine warm chocolate gingerbread with peaches on top. Soooooo yummy! This one is definitely one I will do again. Even better, it was crazy easy to make!

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Did someone say chocolate?

Today’s cake was pretty simple – a chocolate pound cake. Simple maybe, but so yummy!

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The past couple of cakes I’ve made have been too small to bring to work, but something as large as a pound cake must find it’s way out of my house as soon as possible, otherwise I will eat way too much of it! Since I ride the bus on Mondays, bringing cakes that day is a pain. Lucky for Jimmy’s coworkers, though – they get cake tomorrow!

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