Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Streusel Apple-Spice Cake


This cake was just fun.
I made it late at night... I can't recall why I couldn't sleep.
I remember Thunderous couldn't either and ended up down in the kitchen as it came out of the oven.
We shared a piece and had a great debate over this recipe.
Thunderous stands that it is named incorrectly. It is baked in a loaf pan...therefore it is a quick bread and should be called Streusel Apple-Spice Bread.
I hold that he is too literal and it is indeed a cake.
The next morning when the rest of the family had some we asked their stand.
Mouths full they would only say, "It's GOOD!"

Now you try it and decide: Cake or quick Bread

I was lucky enough to have apples that the kids and I had picked, peeled, sliced and frozen the fall before. They worked beautifully in the recipe!
I may try it with fresh apples next time.
It is an excellent fall flavor and I look forward to baking it as the days get chilly.
Who knew chocolate complimented apple so well!

*sigh* either I am terrible at searching the Hershey's site for recipes or they just did not add the ones from this spectacular book to the site!
Again. I will attempt to photo the recipe and post....must have feed back!



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Today is not a great day or a bad day... it is a very confusing day.
I got a promotion, but will be taking my new place sooner then anticipated. I will be in management, which is good. The original plan was get a week of training and then transition into it. Then a Co worker who has a parallel position had bad things happen... she has to move out of town suddenly. So, instead of gradual I will be trained by her today and then take her shifts the rest of the week, that would be the bad.
Means a crappy schedule and more importantly a friend is moving far away.

She used to bring in cookies every time she baked them, but we never really worked together enough for me to get them...they were always eaten by the time I got there. It soon became a running joke between us.
As a going away present I am making her cookies!
Well, brownies too.

Of course the cookies were no problem, just went with the new favorite
Chocolate Peanut butter Thumbprints!
chocolate peanut butter thumb print cookies

As I was making them the 2 elder kids wandered in and began to help. They discovered I have the most amazing talent to make a ball of dough in a measuring cup of sugar magically roll around and get totally covered with the sugar.
That is the next trick they want me to teach them... heck I didn't know I could do it till I did it.

Eldest...errr...Raven wanted mostly to pick at the chips and chunks...sampling every step of the batter. Thunderous then mostly engaged in verbally discouraging her.
They both got some practice in on using the beater and the scarpers. I kept encouraging them to practice more. I didn't mention that they will be making their own dinner a lot more often so they had better practice fast.
I showed them how to layout all your ingredients before you start baking to be sure you have it all.
Raven loves the smell of vanilla, she asked me if there are any shampoo the smells like vanilla. I told her "Probably. You are old enough to make your own hair tonics, why don't you make some with vanilla?" She is thinking about it.

Thunderous made the observation that the brownies are the opposite of the cookies!
They happen to be on opposite pages in the cook book as well.
I think that means they balance each other.

It was simple to whip these up. The problem we have run into is we must have used much to small of a pan. It is taking about twice as long to bake as the instructions call for. Looking at it in the pan I am sure that is the problem. It rather looks like a cake instead of a brownie!

I, yet again, can not find the recipe on the Hershey's site to link to it for you. This time instead of typing it for you I took a picture of the page and will post it...let's see if you can see it okay.
You MUST let me know if this works!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint cookies

These are our new favorite cookies!
the recipe is simple and the girls had fun making these.
I looked on Hershey's site but I could not find this recipe. So I will retype it here as it appears in our Hershey's Chocolate Lover's Cookbook

Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprints
1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Reese's Peanut Butter Chips, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's European style Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
additional granulated sugar

*Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In small microwave-safe bowl, place 1/2 cup peanut butter chips. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 30-40 seconds or just until chips are melted and smooth when stirred; set aside.

*In large mixer bowl, beat butter granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add melted peanut butter chips; beat well.

*Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; stir into peanut butter mixture until well blended.

*For each cookie, shape 1 tablespoon dough into ball; roll in additional granulated sugar. Place balls on ungreased cookie sheet; with bottom of glass, flatten cookies to 1/4-inch thickness. Using Thumb, make indention in center of each cookie.

*Bake 6 to 8 minutes or just till set. remove from oven. If necessary, using the tip of a spoon, press indention in center of each cookie; immediately place 1 teaspoonful peanut butter chips in each indentation. Soften 1 to 2 minutes; spread melted chips into swirl. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
About 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

This is now the Go To cookie recipe.
Eldest made some for a class project and got an A+
We also have made them with chocolate chips and mint chocolate chips in place of the peanut butter ones. They were all good!
This is a fun cookie to make too! Who doesn't want to stick their thumb in a cookie?

Great. Now I want to bake them again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chocolate Layered Angel Cake

In February we moved to a new house, to celebrate I made a feast and served this as the dessert.

I also broke the rules. I think I like doing that.

I have been told over and over "You can't make Angel Food without an Angel Food pan."

Can I use a bunt pan?

"Oh no! You can only make Angel Food cake in an Angel food pan."

So like a good little cook I always borrowed a pan when I made angel food cake.

It seemed every time I would look to buy a pan they were more then I wanted to spend at the time, I'm sure I saw one at a different store that was a better quality or the same price, and this last time...the don't have any in stock.

So I said fine. I decided to do what I could with what I have (which I try to do alot). Obviously I do not have a special Angel Food cake pan...I wonder what Alton Brown thinks of them? He is always talking about multi tasking items and not getting an item that will only do one job...So I looked at what I do have.

I have a couple of bunt pans...a cool heart shape and the other a classic bunt shape...a microwaveable pan with a possible angel food pan/tube insert...not really comfortable with that whole mess...oh! I've got it! My Skirt pan! It has a tube in the middle!
I don't know if it has a real name, to me it's just The Skirt Pan. My mom used it to make all the cakes for the barbies that you stick in them...

Like this one from The Cake Cow

That is what I decided to use for this desert.

unfortunately after searching Hershey's website I can't seem to find this recipe or the picture to this cake. You'll have to trust me...or something

Chocolate Layered Angel Cake p.8 Hershey's Chocolate Lover's Cookbook
1 box (about 15 oz.) angel food cake mix
1/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
Chocolate Glaze

Basically you pre heat the oven to 375. Mix the Angel food as directed on the box. Split the batter in half and carefully fold in the cocoa powder making sure not to deflate the batter.
The trick to the layers is alternating the plain batter and the chocolate batter. I got a bit annoyed when the picture of the batter in the book looked nothing like mine, but I guess they really know what they are doing and I just pretend.
It doesn't take long to bake only 30-35 mins. I forgot to see if there was high altitude adjustments but it turned out alright. I used a couple of bowls to support the pan with. That's the funny thing about angel food cake, it cools upside down...I wonder why? You know, I really need to see if Alton has a show on it...
Make the Chocolate Glaze just before you take it out of the pan...
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup Hershey's simi-sweet chocolate chips
bring the first 2 to a boil then take off the heat and add the chips. Stir till smooth.
You drizzle to all over the cake before you eat and yes it really adds to it!

This cake was well received by everyone, the kids even asked if they could have it for breakfast (I said no). My Love and I both liked it most when it was still a little warm.
It was so simple to make it left me wondering why Angel Food is one of those foods people make a big deal about...how difficult they are to make, how easy to ruin, easier to just buy... are you kidding me? It is the easiest thing to make so far! And I even broke the rules. Why is this cake one of the scary ones?
Another thing we discovered: It tasted wonderful! If the mix is about 100 times better then the inedible store-bought 'cake' then I want to find out about the from scratch one! Maybe on another adventure?

It reminds me of a cake my friend Maya made...I'll make that one too one of these days!

If you want a simple, yet special dessert so far I'd say this one is it!

Finished theNot Really Choclate Almond Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries

Remember the Not Really Choclate Almond Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries I made?
Well catch up!

So after waiting an agonizingly long time it was finally done!
I was so happy!

or not.

It wasn't that it wasn't good, it just wasn't great.
You know how you get really excited for something and think it will be so wonderful!
Like Christmas morning, or a movie based off of your favorite book...and then you get there and it's okay, you liked it...but somehow you feel let down.
That's how this was.

Maybe it wasn't chocolaty enough...
I don't know.

I do think I put in too much bread so it was on the dry side.
So next time I am thinking, less bread and more chocolate!
I'll take a look at it another date...
Maybe I should actually follow the recipe fully.
Wouldn't that be a change!

Playing catch up

We have tried more recipes and I keep not "having enough time" to tell you about them. So Lets play a little catch up!

Look for the catch up blogs for
Streusel Apple-Spice Cake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprints
Chocolate Layered Angel Cake

bugg me if I don't get them put up fast enough, please.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Not Really Choclate Almond Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries

This recipe is a guest from another book. A friend loaned us Campbell's Slow Cooker Recipes. So far we have tried 2 recipes we enjoyed both,this will be the third and I have mixed yet high hopes! Confusing enough for you? Good then my work here is done.

I really need me some warm chocolaty goodness tonight and for some reason have been wanting bread pudding or rice pudding. After having 2 successes from this cook book I ran across this bread pudding recipe and was instantly smitten!
The recipe
chocolate almond bread pudding
Slow-Cooked Chocolate Almond Bread Pudding with Dried Cherries
Vegetable cooking spray

10 slices Pepperidge Farm® White Sandwich Bread, cut into cubes (about 5 cups)

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

4 eggs

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Toasted almonds (optional)

follow the instructions in the above recipe link and enjoy!

Now the Not Really part....
Notice in the recipe where it calls for dried cherries and toasted almonds?
Well I don't have any. I happen to adore almonds, they are probably my favorite snack, I just can't always afford the lovey nut.
So I had to omit them. I also have no dried cherries. I have dried cranberries and considered subbing them. I decided not to. What I am craving is warm chocolaty goodness. So we are making a naked chocolate bread pudding instead.
Oh, and the whole Pepperidge Farms bread thing? Yeah, right! LOL!
I don't think so.
We are using left over bread that I made for french toast last Saturday. One of my Frankenstein bread experiments where I threw a bunch of thing in the dough to get a flavor/texture I wanted. In this case Cranberry juice and vanilla yogurt and extra eggs. The french toast was great in case you were curious. Now I hope it adds a nice background for the pudding.

The one thing I'm not liking about this recipe?
2 and a half hours to 3 hours!
I realize being a crock-pot its purpose is to slow cook, but that is no excuse when you are in a chocolate craving frenzy! or at least close to one.
A big perk? It takes 10 mins to put together and then your trusty kitchen robots do the rest!

okay I'm gonna go obsess now!
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tropical Garden Cookies and Mary Kay

Today we had a guest baker with us. Eldest had a friend sleep over lastnight and they had a specific goal in mind. Her friend does not know how to cook, more then once she has been on the phone with Eldest at 8pm and later complaining she is starving and her parents wont be home for a few more hours. Eldest's initial responds was a disparaging, "Why don't you make something?" Then shock as her friend confessed she didn't know how. I thought she meant lack of confidence or familiarity with recipes.
The child is the youngest (and last one at home) and has never even turned ON the stove. Someone always cooked for her. Eldest decided we had to teach her or her friend would surely starve! Her friend in return was shocked that Eldest not only knew how to cook, but had also cooked a Thanksgiving diner herself and made the whole dinner for the family once a week. At first she thought is was "just weird" but soon she thought it was amazing.
After they agreed on Eldest teaching her she talked her mom into buying a box cake and attempted to make that. I don't know all the details, suffice it to say no one could eat the cake.

So here was the plan: she would sleepover Friday. They would make pizza for dinner. They would make the snacks for the Mary Kay Color Party we were having Saturday. They would make lunch.

Eldest was sure there would be no problem and it would be fun. But as we started the pizza dough the little girl was wide-eyed and so nervous...she only watched as Eldest measured out ingredients and mixed it. She had no idea what seasoning she like so had no impute on the spices we add to our dough. She became so confused by the fact that milk or water changes the texture of the crust that she wasn't sure if she liked her dough soft or crispy.
We must not be very good teachers. We just mixed and kneaded it and let her watch. We decided not to discuss sauce and toppings and did it simply: light on the sauce mixed with garlic and basil,lots of cheese, Canadian bacon, mushrooms, and black olives. She seemed to like it once it was done. She didn't say much, just ate and ate and then said it wasn't like the pizza she's ever ordered.

Realizing that we might be taking for grated basic cooking skills we challenging the lunch menu to the very challenging meal of Top Ramon and Grilled Cheese & turkey sandwiches for lunch. Monster mastered the Grilled Cheese a few weeks ago, so she was in charge of that part. Thunderous is the Master Ramon Maker so he was in charge of that part...but before we could do that the girls had to mix the cookie dough.

We had originally intended to make 2 kinds of cookies and 1 brownie but were now worried we'd over load her and she'd never set foot in the kitchen again. So we decided on one cookie and a fruit plate with cream cheese dip.
Eldest started the dough and her friend was literally her shadow, she tripped over her a few times before they settled into a rhythm. We had a disagreement over whether the vanilla is added with the sugar and butter or if it should go in with the eggs. I relented and told her to do as the book said (with the sugar and butter) she met me half way and mixed it in after the butter and sugar but before the eggs. Her friend just looked onto that discussion with big eyes again.

We suddenly were running out of time!

Monster was buttering the bread and Thunderous was boiling the water. The friend was so proud to be able to say,"Hey! I've made that before (Ramon) and I've watched my mom make grilled cheese!" So we threw her in head first. Hey, we needed the extra hands.

She suddenly became everyone's helper. She put the top slice of bread on the sandwiches and flipped them (practically glowing with pride). She told Thunderous when the water was boiling and set the timer, then told him when the timer was almost done. She also held the bowl and scrapped the sides while Eldest added the dry ingredients and the chips.

OH! I missed the best part!

The recipe we decided on was Tropical Garden Cookies. It calls for both orange juice and orange zest. None of the kids had made zest before so they were all on even ground with that. All the kids ended up drifting into the kitchen and staying as we started the cookies (that's why they all ended up staying and making lunch together).
We started with an orange. You might be surprised how unfamiliar whole/raw foods are to some kids, sad isn't it? I showed them how you can let the orange sit in a bowl of warm water for awhile so you can get more juice out of it. Then we all looked at the box grater, Thunderous was the only one who knew that's what it was really called (he watches Alton Brown), my 2 girls had their own names for it, the friend was silent. I showed them the side you can zest on..."Oh that's what that sides for?! I used it for cheese once. It didn't work too well." Monster said.
Aagggh! *face table* you have no idea how much that explains.
Moving on from that I showed them how simple zesting is and about the pith or white-stuff as we called it. I let Eldest start and then she let her friend do the rest while she started mixing the dry ingredients.
The friend must have been feeling more confidant, or maybe adventurous, because after finishing zesting the orange she jumped in to help everyone else.
When it came time to juice the orange everyone stopped for a minute to watch Eldest do it. She cut the orange in half and used a hand juicer to juice it into a bowl first so we could measure it. Apparently it was fascinating.

We ate lunch and let the dough chill. The girls decided to use the 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the cookies, Eldest likes big cookies. The first pan looked good but the second I had to suddenly remind them the cookies need to be equal sizes and about 2 inches apart. I wish we had the camera so I could have taken pictures for you!(still haven't found where it was packed so safely) It was crazy!
They set the temp and the time.
When the timer went off they were under done so I put them back in for 3 more minutes. It apparently was too long.
I haven't figured out all the quirks of my new oven, but I am trying. It seems to cook too slow, then too fast, and the bottoms of everything gets over done. So unfortunately the cookies, while not burnt, were a bit too dark on the bottom for my tastes. But I didn't say a thing. I wonder too if the extra sugar in the OJ burns a bit easier, we had all kinds of issues when we tried to bast a turkey in OJ in the past.
The kids all say the dough tastes better then the cookies and we have plans to try and incorporate it into cookie dough ice-cream this summer, which the friend is invited to and very enthusiastic about...who knew you could make ice-cream at home! This she has to see! (me too. we've never done it.)
The other friends who came for the party loved the cookies!
So I think the whole experience was a success.
I'll ask Eldest.

Thought here are only 4 cookies left I am not sure about making this one again. I liked them alot and want to try them on a different shelf and see if that cures the toasty bottoms. My Love is not big on flavored chocolate. Okay he REALLY doesn't like flavored chocolate. He keeps saying they were okay. But I don't believe him.
Monster gives them a thumbs up and Thunderous says they were okay (mini dad), but not as good as the cookie dough.

Okay, I think that settles it. I will have to try them again and not over cook them, maybe that will really tell us if they are repeat worthy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chocolate Pantry

We have immediately run into a bump.
We want to come up with a Chocolate Pantry.
You know, things you will always have on had so you can whip up something chocolately at the drop of a hat(and I have lots of hats!).

We decided it needed to have:
*assorted chips
*assorted chunks
*assorted coco powders
*milk, lots of milk
*European or home churned butter (Alton Brown says its good for baking)
*powdered sugar

But we got bogged down.
What chips and chunks do you always keep on hand?
We agreed Only on simi sweet chocolate chips as necessity.
White only for special recipes (which just including them shall earn us the wrath and disdain of my sister.) so no need to keep on hand.
But we disagree on whether dark chocolate is one to keep on hand.
I prefer dark chocolate. I find it very satisfying...milk chocolate makes me thirsty.
Raven disagrees.

Currently we have Dark coco powder, simi-sweet chocolate chips and mini chips.
That is why we need to expand it!

So what would you keep in your Chocolate Pantry?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Chocolate Mouse Torte

I realize it has been a REALLY REALLY REALLY really long pause in our chocolate adventure.
That would be mostly my fault. I didn't want chocolate while I was sick.

We did make a chocolate dessert over the Holidays. I saw the recipe on the back of a box of cookies that were left in the break room at work.
So I made it.

The first one was for a friend who is diabetic. We may have caused some sugar shock, but she seemed to like it. It taught us some lessons.
Oh wait! I haven't even told you what I made!

Well, I didn't take a picture of it at the time, but this is the one the cookie box had:
You see why I HAD to make this?

Since you probably HAVE to make it now the recipe can be found at Kraft.com

When I made the first one I made it on a Sunday night with the intention of delivering it the next morning. Instead it was delivered on Tuesday night. The cookies got all soft. I don't think they thought that was yucky, she seemed to like it...but I still agonize over that error.
As she is diabetic I made it with sugar free jello and whipped cream, and fat free cream cheese.
The chocolate shavings on top were not sugar free though. Instead of berries we used crushed candy canes! (yes, more sugar)
Of course the top went a bit flat because we had to deliver it, but the presentation was still nice-ish.

Now when I made it for us as our Christmas Dessert I made it the same day, so the cookies were still crisp. Again we didn't top it with berries, do you know how hard it is to find fresh berries at Christmas?! Shaving the chocolate was an adventure! I had never done it before and I suggest putting your peeler and the chocolate in the fridge or freezer on a regular bases. I must say I loved licking all the chocolate off my hands when I was done, reminded me of a messy childhood :)
Anyone have any tips for shaving chocolate?
It was fun! I want to do it again!
only... maybe with more chocolate shaved then on my hands.