Thursday, December 31, 2009

Soda Bundt Cake

This is just a little something I made for friends coming over. It is a good something different. Chocolate.... Mmmmmm... think I might go have another piece right now!

adapted from Lick the Bowl Good

2 cups Coke, Dr. Pepper, Root Beer, etc (do NOT use diet)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter it, dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour.
In a small saucepan, heat the Dr. Pepper, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.
In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy--do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

The Frosting
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup root Dr. Pepper
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 Beat all ingredients together with an electric mixer until a good consistency.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oreo Balls

Boy did these ever go over well! I used white chocolate and drizzled bittersweet on top and they were very tasty.

1 regular package of Oreo cookies
1 package of cream cheese
Chocolate for the outer coating

They say you can use a food processor, but I don't have one so I used a ziplock bag an a rolling pin to squish the Oreos, insides and all. Add in the cream cheese until it creates a homogeneous mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour. Roll into balls of whatever size you want an dip in melted chocolate. I would recommend white or milk chocolate. 

Lava Cakes

The first time we had a dessert like this we were living in Italy. Still a fan of boxed mixes back then, I found this one called "Cuor di Ciobar" at the grocery store we frequented. We fell completely in love! So much that I went and bought about 10 boxes to take back to the states with us when we moved. Alas, these boxes didn't even last us an entire year. I searched and searched for a recipe like it. Once I finally gave up trying, I found this on a card by the chocolate in the grocery store in Illinois. It's been on our fridge ever since. It's super easy and delicious! Remember, the better chocolate you use, the better the flavor will be.

4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (or 4 ounces if you weigh it)
1/2 c butter
1 c powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 T flour

Preheat oven to 425° F. Butter and flour (or use baking spray in) six 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler (or very carefully in the microwave for about 1 minute) mixing with a whisk until incorporated. Stir in sugar until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolks. Stir in flour. Divide batter evenly among prepared dishes. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until sides are set but centers are soft. Remove and serve while still hot. You can serve in the cups as soon as they're cool enough to handle or for a fancier plate, run a thin knife around top edge of cakes to loosen slightly; carefully invert onto serving plates. Lift ish off of cakes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 cakes.
Batter can be prepared a day in advance, poured into cups, covered and put in the refrigerator. Simply bake as directed when you're ready.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chicken Soup

I take a very "whatever is in the kitchen" view to soups in general. I've never been disappointed, so use what you have that sounds good!

6-7 chicken legs or thighs (breast can be used but is not as flavorful)
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 1/2 t garlic
6 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2c mushrooms, sliced
2c of the starch of your choosing (egg noodles, mini soup pasta, rice, that sort of thing)

Boil chicken in 6-7 cups of water (make sure the meat is always covered) until it's cooked through (I usually just leave it an hour or 2 while I'm doing other stuff around the house).
Remove and cool.
Add to the remaining water the remaining ingredients. Take the meat off the chicken bones and cut into pieces. Add to soup. Leave on a low simmer for 30 minutes. Add your starch to the soup and leave at a low simmer for another 30 minutes or more.
If water level ever seems low, just add more!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

I have to admit I have stolen this recipe from my sister-in-law, Anya. Try it. You'll like it. Oh and heat up some refried beans with cheese and put them on the side. Dinner that tastes like you worked really hard when you really didn't.
10 (or so) tortillas
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
a million cups of shredded cheddar cheese... no, about 4 cups (or more) will do
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
16 oz. sour cream
1 small can diced chiles

Mix together last 3 ingredients.
Put a light coating of mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish. Then roll into each tortilla a small handful of chicken, a generous amount of cheese and a spoonful or two of the sauce mixture. Place into the pan. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until it's heated and cheese is melted throughout. Turn oven and broil and toast the top of the cheese.
Delicious! Thanks for the great dinner recipe, Anya!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mexican Wedding Cakes

These go by many names: Mexican Wedding Cakes, Russian Tea Cakes, Pecan Sandies... all are the same basic idea. Something about these cookies says Christmas to me. They are so delicious but messy, so no serving them at any black tie events, okay?

1 cup butter, softened
8 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients together with a mixer until well blended. Roll dough into round small balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool completely then roll in additional confectionary sugar

Pecan Pie

I got this recipe in early college when my love for baking was really just starting to blossom. I got it from a junior high school boy. It was his grandmother's recipe and its' still the one I turn to for my own pecan pie.
3 eggs
2/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/3 c butter (melted)
1c dark corn syrup
Beat together (she calls for a rotary beater, but I use a whisk)
Add 1c pecan halves (I obviously like to arrange mine after pouring)
Pour into pie crust. Bake at 375 degrees F until almost set in the center and pastry is nicely browned, about 40-50 minutes. Cool and serve.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

First Christmas cookies of the season!
These are our favorite holiday cookies, hands down.
Our first Christmas married we were in Italy. We had just moved there one month prior and moved into our home just days before the holiday but still had no furniture. Phil had duty. He was stuck on the ship. I was in a new country 6 months pregnant and alone. We had already planned to celebrate the next day. So what did I do Christmas day all homesick and lonely? I made these. I took them still melty and warm to Phillipp on the ship. Every single guy on the way to Phil begged for one but were denied (poor things). These are some powerful cookies! If you like peanut butter and chocolate, make these. You won't be disappointed.
1/2 c butter
1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
2T milk
1t vanilla extract
1 3/4c flour
1t baking powder
1/8t baking soda
1/4t salt
1/3c granulated sugar (for decoration)
48 (approx) chocolate kisses or hugs, unwrapped (Phil's favorite are the hugs)

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine and peanut butter. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat again.
In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture until combined.
Cover and chill for 1 hour (approx). Meanwhile preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in decoration sugar.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove and immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie. Quickly transfer cookies to a cooling rack (if you wait too long the chocolate will melt and warp when transferred).
My original recipe says "let cool" but I disagree. My favorite way to eat these cookies is fresh out of the oven when the kiss has just melted almost up to the tip. The real problem is trying to stop eating them that way...