Monday, January 26, 2015

Baked Double Chocolate Bread with Peanut Butter Spread

While I baked today the kids were creating things with bread dough. My girls are really creative.

Another recipe that had friends baking it along side me. See what their experiences were. Mine experience was not so great.

Besides dripping and making a mess of my oven this bread would not come out of the pan. URGH!!

The flavor was great and we loved the spread. Once we got the mess cleaned up and the bread dug out of the pan we really enjoyed it.
 
Double Chocolate Loaf with Peanut Butter 
Cream Cheese Spread

Ingredients
For the Double Chocolate Loaf
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder, (like Valrhona ), sifted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-72%), coarsely chopped

For the Cream Cheese Spread
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar

Make the Double Chocolate Loaf
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, dust it with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
Place the brown sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Press out any lumps with the back of a large spoon. Add the cocoa, flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until blended, then add the buttermilk,oil, and vanilla; whisk until combined.
Turn the mixer to low and slowly stream the wet ingredients into the dry ones, mixing just until combined. Stir in the dark chocolate chunks by hand.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the Peanut Butter Spread
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. (If you are not using the spread immediately, place it in a ramekin, tightly cover it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.)
Serve the loaf plain or toasted, topped with the peanut butter spread.
The loaf will keep , in an airtight container or wrapped tightly, at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Baked Notes: This loaf is the ultimate gift. Double or triple the recipe, cool the loaves completely, and remove them from the pans. To give the loaves a nifty bakery look, wrap them in brown parchment paper, and then wrap them in plastic and drop them off to friends along with a card.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Brownie Challenge and Leftover Pudding

I am always on the lookout for the BEST recipe. I have loved both of these recipes and decided to have a bake off to see side by side which brownie recipe would be the best one. I also had a recipe for brownie bread pudding that used left over brownies..we never have "left over" brownies. So I thought this would be a way to create mass amounts and guarantee that I have left overs.

THE CHALLENGERS: 

"Desserts for the Famous Loveless Cafe" in Nashville: 
Double Chocolate Fudge Brownies
vs.
"Baked (New Frontiers in Baking)" in New York:  

Side by side with the same mixing methods.

Same method of folding in the dry ingredients.

Both smelling amazing at this point.

Now, the kitchen is a brownie heaven. And the winner is: Baked! (recipe) Hands down a better brownie because it was about the chocolate flavor. The other was more about sugar sweetness. Luckily we have left overs!! On to our brownie bread pudding.

The first direction is to crumble day old brownies into a shallow bowl. When I first read that I laughed because we never have day old brownies!!

Soak in a custard before baking.

This was awesome! What a fun change in dessert. I halved the recipe and used an 8 x 8 pan. YUM.

Brownie Bread Pudding

Day old 8 x 8 pan of brownies
5 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 tea vanilla extract
Crumble day old brownies and let sit out over night to dry out. If stale already skip this step. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 7 X 11 pan and spread crumbled brownies evenly over bottom. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar until blended. Mix in the half and half and vanilla. Pour over the brownies, cover with foil and let stand for 20 minutes.
Bake the foil covered brownies for 1 hour, until custard is set. Remove from oven and let stand for about 15 minutes. Cut the pudding into 8 pieces and serve warm with a drizzle of caramel sauce and ice cream if wanted. I used whipped cream also.

 I used 3 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 1/4 cup half and half, and 3/4 tea vanilla and 8x 8 pan

Drunken Caramel Sauce
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 Tb unsalted butter
1 small cinnamon stick
1 inch vanilla bean, split
1 cup sugar
2 Tb light corn syrup
1/4 cup whiskey, bourbon, or rum

In small sauce pan combine cream, butter, and cinnamon stick. scrap e the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan using the tip of a knife and toss in the pod. Set over low heat to warm the cream, melt the butter, and infuse the flavors, 5 minutes.
In separate deep saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over med low heat, stirring to milt the sugar. Using a moist brush, wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Continue to boil without stirring until the sugar syrup begins to color. Once it turns golden, gently swirl the pan and watch it closely. As soon as the caramel turns an even amber shade. Remove from the heat.
Pour a few Tb of the warm cream into the caramel; the mixture will boil up furiously. Whisk until smooth.  Whisk in remaining cream. Continue to whisk until all the caramel is dissolved. Stir in rum, remove vanilla pod, and let the sauce cool to room temp before serving.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Chocolate Frosting Has Arrived

 My middle daughter has turned 12. A young women with such drive for life, sensitivity and compassion. She requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting this year for her birthday. She also wanted lasagna, cucumbers, and chocolate butter bread.

ST loves cucumbers.

I wanted to make my grandmother's cake recipe because it is quick and always moist. Recipe below.

I have a frosting recipe with sour cream that I love but wanted to try something new. I found a Martha Stewart frosting that had sour cream and cream cheese the looked too good to pass up. It was remarkable. Frosting recipe found here. I halved it and it still made an enormous amount. Wish I would have followed the very first direction of sifting! Mine was not as smooth as it could have been.

ST really thinking over her birthday wish.

Excellent cake, wonderful family party, all around great holiday..spectacular daughter. I love you ST.

Grandma McQuivey's Chocolate Cake

1 box chocolate cake mix (16.5 oz)
1 cup Mayo (not Miracle Whip)
1 cup water
3 eggs
1/2 tea ground cinnamon

Add all ingredients and mix 2 minutes with hand mixer. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes in a 13 X 9 pan that is greased. Cool 10 minutes on wire rack. (30 minutes for 2 9 inch round pans that are greased and floured)

Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting

6 oz cream cheese, room temp
3/4 of a stick of butter, room temp
Beat until fluffy and pale
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/8 tea salt
Sift and then whisk together. Slowly add to creamed ingredients.

9 oz melted bittersweet chocolate (I used 2 bars of Ghirardelli Baking bars 60%)
3/4 cup sour cream
3 Tb milk (if needed to thin- I needed this- original recipe does not call for milk)
Add to rest and beat until smooth. Slather on your cake after eating a couple sample spoonfuls.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

ABC Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

Happy New Year fellow bakers, family, and friends! Guess what I got for Christmas this year...
new extract from Penzeys Spices, a new apron, a new cookbook, and best of all..a PIE Bird! I have wanted one for years (secretly).  I was excited by this challenge and wanted to test out my vanilla extract. 
Side note: Where ever we go my daughter finds hearts. We have seen hearts in rocks, cactus, clouds..and yes today, while baking these muffins, our banana peel showed us the LOVE.

This year our Avid Baker's Challenge baking group will be baking from Scientifically Sweet. Our first recipe is a wonderful chocolate banana muffin recipe. The texture was so tender!! So yummy. I didn't have access to great cocoa so the flavor wasn't as fantastic as it could be. But did I mention the amazing texture? I will definitely be making these again. Perhaps even tomorrow, now that I am back in my own kitchen again.

Double Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 tea baking powder
1/2 tea baking soda
1/4 tea salt
1/2 tea cinnamon
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (2 med)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tea vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Line 12 standard cups with liners.

Whisk all dry ingredients. Set aside.

Whisk bananas and sour cream till smooth. Add egg, sugar, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Add dry mix and chips and fold gently just until combined. Do not over mix.

Toothpick test 20-22 minutes. Let cool on rack.