Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nigella Lawson Chocolate Loaf Cake

  • Typically cake is not my "go to" dessert, for the simple reason that I do not like to have an entire cake just sitting around the house. After all  there are only two of us and we do not need a entire cake to eat. 



  • I like to make recipes that I can make in small batches, like cookies and brownies, that way I can freeze the extra dough or the brownies and then have some at a later date. 

  •  Lately though I have wanted to have a nice moist piece of cake that was easy to make and was not laden with a thick layer of frosting, a cake that the ingredients themselves stood out. And something that was small enough that we would not be eating it for a week afterward. This cake fits the bill perfectly. (I did drizzle this cake with a little melted chocolate just for decorative purposes.)




  • I have never made a loaf cake, except for an old fashioned pound cake and frankly I found it to be a bit dry. This Chocolate Loaf Cake from Nigella Lawson is FABULOUS! It is delicious, rich, dense and so chocolaty. It is now my husbands favorite dessert! 



  • Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake  
  • Adapted from Nigella Lawson How to Be a Domestic Goddess

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean extract
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted 
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee or espresso
Heat the oven to 375. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, then spray with cooking spray. 
Cream the butter and the sugar with an electric mixer, add the egg and the vanilla bean extract. 
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate, you can use the microwave but be careful not to burn it. Cool slightly then fold into the egg, sugar mixture. Do not beat or mix vigorously, you do not want to add air to the cake. 
Add the flour, spoon by spoon, alternating with the bourbon and coffee, blend well. But do not overheat the mixture. The mixture will be liquid like.

Pour the mixture into the loaf pan, stop when the batter is 1 inch from the top otherwise the mixture will OVERFLOW in the oven. Put leftover mix into a smaller pan or muffin tins. 
Bake for 30 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 and cook an additional 15 minutes. The cake will be a bit soft, an inserted cake tester or toothpick will not come out clean. Place the loaf on a rack and leaf to get completely cold before you turn it out of the pan. Nigella says to leave the cake to sit for a day, it is best this way. The cake will sink in the middle so do not worry. 

* NOTE: Nigella's recipe does not contain coffee or bourbon, if you do not want to make it like this then add 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of boiling water. 





Have you ever made Nigella's cake? Did you like? I really love this cake and have in fact made it several more times and have even frozen a loaf or two, just to have when people stop in. It is perfect as is, but I think it would be excellent garnished with berries and a little whipped cream as well.

I hope that if you try it you let me know how you liked it or if you made any changes please share them!



Friday, March 20, 2015

Ritz Carleton Chocolate Chip Cookies





I love chocolate chip cookies, admittedly I like the raw dough probably as much as the actually cookies, and I am constantly on the hunt for the "best" one that suits my taste. I do not like flat cookies, I like think crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and filled with gooey chocolate!






These cookies have been on my Pinterest board or a long time but I am just now getting around to making them, perhaps because I was a little afraid of the 5 sticks of butter! Whatever the case they are delicious, a little soft, a little crunchy and filled to the brim with chocolate!






Ritz Carleton Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:

5 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups dark brown sugar
5 eggs
1Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 cups flour
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a Silphat baking liner, set aside. 
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle cream together the butter, brown sugar and the granulated sugar until light and fluffy about 2 minutes, then add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. In a another bowl mix the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the sugar mixture. Stir until just incorporated. Then stir in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop batter onto baking sheets, I used an ice cream scoop and bake for 10-12 minutes until the edges are brown and centers are almost set.

Remove from oven, cool a bit on the pan then remove to wire rack to cool.


Notes:

I added 2 Tbsp. of vanilla, I use 65% dark chocolate chips and I added an extra cup of chocolate chips and I chilled my dough overnight. You do not need to to this.






I should also not that this recipe makes a lot of cookies which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your New Years resolutions. But you could make half the recipe of just give some away!

I hope that you enjoy them and if you have a favorite recipe, please share!




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes

Happy St. Patricks Day! I thought you might want to whip up a last minute batch of Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting to celebrate the day.



Chocolate Cupcakes with Bailey's Irish Cream Frosting. 


Guinness Cupcakes


1 cup of Guinness Stout
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all purpose flour 
2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
3/4 teaspoon salt 
2 large eggs 
2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.  

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.




 Bailey's Buttercream:

1 cup butter softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
Food Coloring Optional

Place room temperature, softened butter into the bowl of mixer. Cream for three minutes. Add powdered sugar slowly and not all at once or it will fly all over the room. Add Bailey's Irish cream and then mix on medium high for another 3 minutes. Add food coloring if desired.





These cupcakes are delicious if I do say so myself, they are moist, chocolaty and the Bailey's Irish Cream frosting puts them over the top. I love Bailey's which explains why I love this frosting, I think I ate most of the bowl before I even frosted the cupcakes, which also explains why my clothes felt a bit snug this morning. 


Note: This recipe was posted on my other blog Pine Cones and Acorns some time ago but I thought you might enjoy it also. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chocolate Marble Cake with Chocolate Mocha Frosting




Good morning! I hope that you are surviving the storm and have not lost power. If you are snowed in this might be the perfect cake to whip up while you wait out the storm. A little comfort on a cold day is always a good thing.

This scrumptious and easy cake is a favorite from Southern Living and the Mocha Frosting is creamy, rich and frankly, fabulous!


Chocolate Marble Sheet Cake 

1 cup butter, softened
13/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
21/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 Tbsp. hot water

Mocha Frosting

Directions

Preheat oven to 325. Bet butter and 11/2 cups sugar at medium speed with a stand mixer for 4 to 5 minutes or until creamy. Add eggs one at a time beating until just blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. 
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture alternating with half and half, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stop to scrape bowl as needed.
Spoon 11/4 cups batter into a 2 qt. bowl and stir in cocoa, 3 tablespoons of hot water and remaining 1/4 cigar. Stir until well blended.

Spread remaining vanilla batter into a greased and floured 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. Spoon chocolate mixture over vanilla and gently swirl with a knife.

Bake at 325 for 23-28 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on the wire rack for about an hour. Then frost with Mocha Frosting.





Mocha Frosting Recipe

3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa 
3 Tablespoons hot brewed coffee
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 to 4 Tablespoons half and half

Whisk together sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl. Combine coffee and vanilla. Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy duty electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar mixture alternately with coffee mixture, beating at low speed until blend. Add half and half 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is smooth and a spreadable consistency. 



Have a great day! Stay safe!




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies



Brownies, cakes and cookies are the staples of my holiday baking. I love to eat them as well as give them for gifts. Ordinarily I use recipes from my cookbooks, or Pinterest but lately I have been finding great recipes on the back of chocolate chip bags and these Guitard Double Dark Chocolate Cookies are one of them. 

Dark, decadent and bittersweet with a lightly crunchy top these cookies are perfect for gifts, a cookie exchange or keeping them all for yourself to enjoy sitting in front of a toasty fire.





Double Dark Chocolate Cookies

2 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips, divided
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Melt 11/2 cups of chips and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth. Cream the butter and sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add melted chocolate, stopping to scrape the bowl as needed. Mix in flour and baking soda until just incorporated. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of chips. Drop rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until tops are cracked and crusty. Centers shouls still be sorft and appear slightly underdone. Let stand 5 minutes before removing to cooling racks. Store in an airtight container. 





Enjoy!



Friday, December 5, 2014

Guittard Truffle Brownies



December 1st can you even  believe it? Christmas preparations are well under way at my house, decorating, buying and wrapping gifts and of course baking. Although I always make truffles this year I thought I would make Truffle brownies using a recipe I found on the back of a bag of Guittard extra dark chocolate chips.



These brownies are FABULOUS! They are dense, moist, extra chocolaty, and simply delicious.More like a truffle candy than a brownie.  If you are a "fudgie" brownie lover than you are going to enjoy these.






Truffle Brownies

12/3 cups Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 325. Line an 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil leaving the edges long enough to use as handles to life out the brownies after they bake.
In a medium pan, melt the chocolate, butter and water and stir until smooth. With a wooden spoon beat in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until smooth and glossy. Stir in the flour until just combines. Spread the batter into the pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a crust forms on the tip. The center of the brownies with be moist when tested with a toothpick.
Do NOT OVER BAKE.
Place pan on a rack and cool for 3 hours or overnight. remove brownies from pan and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!








Enjoy the season!