Sunday, December 6, 2015

Spicy GingerBread

Well, the season has arrived!! The trees are up (we have 3 of them!), our Christmas cards have been created and printed and I think I'm almost done with shopping.  Whew, I'm tired.  We have a couple of holiday gatherings yet to attend and concert tickets to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra.  That, I must say, I am super jazzed about!  As usual I have once again forgotten about St Nicholas Day.  The Bellman never does......and guess what today is?  Yep, this morning I awoke to find a lovey card and gift waiting for me.  This beautiful bundt pan!!  So festive and cute :)  

 I couldn't wait  to try it out.  I used my trusty gingerbread cupcake recipe and adjusted the baking time.  It popped out of that bundt pan perfectly!  This is a very dense and earthy cake.  The molasses is very dominant so if ya don't like rye bread or dark beer then this is probably not for you. :)

I sprinkled it with powdered sugar and decided to go back and add a drizzle to sweeten it up a bit.  I totally winged it and mixed some 10X with milk and a little orange essence to make a nice thick drizzle.  Personally, I like it plain without the drizzle but it is probably not sweet enough for the Bellman Rat Pack that way.  

Not that there will be any left over but wouldn't this make a nice next day french toast?  Perhaps with a little raspberry jam or lemon curd??  yummo!

Yield = 1 loaf

2 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C molasses
1 egg
1/2 C buttermilk
1/4 C hot water

1.  sift together all dry ingredients.

2.  stir in melted butter, molasses, egg and buttermilk.

3.  beat in hot water.

4.  pour into greased loaf pan and bake 350F for 45-50 minutes.

**if baking cupcakes then bake for 20-22 minutes.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Hola!  Have you noticed that everyone says that now rather than a good ole Hi or Hello?  I'm blaming it on Dora.  

I am sitting here writing up my lists of things yet to do for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wow, somehow the season has rushed in so quickly!  The Bellman and I already went to see the Holiday Osborne Christmas Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios this week.  

Yeah, I know, its not even Thanksgiving yet.  As my friend and co-worker Melissa says, "Let the turkey have its day"! I kind of agree. 

The lists of shopping and baking I can handle.  I think what is stressing me out most is the 10K I signed up to run next January.  I feel that I am not remotely ready.  Plus I have a ton of baking/tasting to do between now and then.  Oh my, what was I thinking?!  I am gobbling down the last of the pumpkin bread---better to get it out of the house once and for all.  HA!

Look at this loaf, isn't it gorgeous?

Everyone loves this pumpkin bread and it is super easy to put together.  It is great for potlucks and travels well. Personally I like it better the day after it is baked.  The spices seem to pop more.  The trick is trying to keep everyone (me) out of it until then! :)

Yield = 1 loaf

1 3/4 C Flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C pumpkin
1/2 C veggie oil
1/4 C orange juice
1/2 C semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 C milk chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Grease loaf pan (9x5).

2.  In large bowl combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves and salt.

3.  In smaller bowl combine eggs and sugars, Whisk in pumpkin, oil and orange juice.

4.  Add the egg mixture to the flour bowl mixture until just combined. Be careful not to over mix as this will cause the bread to become tough.

5.. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.

6.  Bake 60 -65 minutes.

* adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Peach Mango Salsa

The Bellman and I are on a "let's get healthier" kick.  It's almost impossible to be outside in this molten lava Florida summer heat so exercise is limited an occasional dog drag around the block and some lounging in the pool.  We've become pretty committed to eating healthier, too.  I've discovered the power of a green smoothie---yep, complete with leafy fresh spinach. The Bellman won't touch them but I love them! I am sure my body will go into shock soon from all the fruits and veggies I've been pumping into it.

Aside from the green smoothies I have also started preparing fish one day a week.  The Bellman isn't a big fan of fish.  I told him that eating fish one day a week won't kill you--right?! I asked him what kind he preferred and he replied, "sticks".  Uhh, no.  No Bueno Bellman.  So--I've been busy preparing and sampling different types of fish (some stinky some not) tying to find something he can tolerate,  I think we found a winner with some Mahi Mahi simply prepared with salt/pepper and a spritz of lemon. I then covered the top with an amazing peach mango salsa!!  Peaches are in so now's the time to get your peach on.  This salsa is so good!  I eat it on anything, even those new coconut triscuits.  BTW, have you tired those yet?  Super yum! Yay Martha!

I had instragrammed a photo of the salsa and had so many people ask me about it that I thought I'd share here.  It's super easy and so tasty.  I like a lot of cilantro and a little heat but you can customize it any way you prefer.  The peaches are so soft and juicy now that the salsa won't stay fresh too long without going to mush. Sometimes I just make a half batch, too.

Yield = 3 cups

2 peaches, diced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 mango, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4C red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
juice of 1 lime
1tsp sugar

1.  Dice up all fruits and veggies.  Mix together and add lime juice and sugar.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Wickedly Chocolate Bundt Cake with Fudge Frosting

Holy wow this cake is good!  Seriously, it is the most dense and intense chocolaty cake I've ever baked.  The fudge frosting is killer. I couldn't stop eating it--I may even have licked the pan once or twice :)  Okay, not really, that would be gross.....right?

I made this cake to take to work for Boss Man's birthday. He is a chocolate fan and one of those people who doesn't like frosting --just really good dark chocolate cake.  I am kind of the opposite in that I really like frosting and the cake is merely a vessel to carry the frosting to my lips.  Yes, I am that person who always requests the frosting heavy corner piece of cake, too.

I believe this cake recipe is a keeper just in the fact that after Boss Man ate his cake he then entered my office wide eyed and asked how on earth I got that cake so intense.  "HA, winner winner chicken dinner" I said to myself! Must be the espresso powder...or all the eggs...or the really dark cocoa powder.  Whatever, it all just works. Trust me on this.

BTW, I used the Hershey's special dark cocoa powder.  I've tried all kinds of cocoa powders from fancy pantsy and expensive to some obscure chef's choice.  I always end up back with the Hershey's. To me, it really is the darkest and most intense.  

Yield = One 12-cup bundt cake

1TBL cocoa powder
1TBL butter, melted

3/4C cocoa powder
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1tsp espresso powder
3/4C boiling water
1C sour cream

1 3/4C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

3/4C butter, at room temp
2C brown sugar
1TBL vanilla
5 eggs, at room temp

1.  Stir together the 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 tablespoon cocoa powder.  Using a pastry brush coat the entire interior of the bundt pan.  

2.  Add together cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and espresso powder in a medium bowl.  Add the boiling water and whisk until everything is melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool, then whisk in the sour cream.

3.  In another bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt.

4.  Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs until well combined.

5.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture until combined, then half the chocolate mixture.  Repeat with another 1/3 of the flour mixture and the remaining half of the chocolate mixture.  Finally, add the last of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.  Be sure to stop and scrape down the sides often along the way.

5.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

6.  Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes.

7.  Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out the cake onto a wire rack. Let cake cool 3 hours before frosting.

yield = 2 cups

1/2C butter
1/2C cocoa powder
1/3C evaporated milk
3 3/4C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

1.  In a small saucepan combine the butter, cocoa powder and evaporated milk.  Bring to a boil and add the salt, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Whisk until smooth--about 30 seconds.  This frosting will begin to harden quickly so be ready to pour!

2.  Immediately pour over your cake!



**adapted from the Brown Eyed Baker

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Thunder Bread

"Let it go....let it go".  Yep, I am still loving and singing along to the Frozen soundtrack on most of my morning commutes.  Good thing I drive alone, right?!  :)

Yes Frozen mania has officially taken over.  It is everywhere....and I mean everywhere in the Disney Parks and in the Orlando/Tampa area.  It was even just announced this week that the Disney Cruise Line has added a 'Frozen Experience' to debut on the ships bound for parts of Europe and Alaska this summer.  I guess we should have seen that one coming.  Frozen had become the highest-grossing animated film of all time last year taking the coveted title from Toy Story 3 as total sales reached more than $1 billion.

I have to say I loooove it.  HAHA!  Yep, I love the music, I love the story and the look of the film (the colors are amazing) and I even love the merchandise.  Check out this cool wand I found in I need this?  YES!

So, to get in the spirit of things I was asked to provide a prop for a very important presentation.  I was asked to whip up some Icelandic Thunder Bread.   I of course was super curious as I had never heard of such a thing.  What is Thunder Bread??  Here is the Wikipedia definition:
Thunder bread is a rye bread traditionally baked in a pot or steamed in special wooden casks by burying it in the ground near a hot spring. The bread is crustless, dark and very dense, usually rather sweet, and keeps for a long time. It is often served with butter, mutton pate, smoked lamb or with pickled herring.  Excessive consumption of this bread is said to cause flatulence, earning it its nickname Ă¾rumari which roughly translates as "thunderbread". 

UH---fart bread??  Yes, I am intrigued.  :) 
I googled my heart out and found tons of recipes out there.  I tried two, the one below being the most tasty.  I skipped the pate, lamb and herring and instead opted for a bit of good ole grape jelly on mine.  The Bellman thought that was blasphemous.  Whatever.  I thought it was YUM!

Yield:  One Loaf

1 1/2C rye flour
1C white whole wheat flour
1C bread flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3C molasses
2C buttermilk

1.  In mixing bowl add flours, salt, baking soda and yeast. 

2.  Blend together the molasses and buttermilk and gradually add to flour yeast mixture.  The mixture will be fairly thin, more like cake batter than bread dough.

3.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased loaf pan and smooth the top.  Set aside for 60 minutes covered with plastic wrap and a damp towel.  You may or may not see any yeast activity at this time.

4.  Preheat oven to 360F.  In the lower rack of the oven place a roasting pan filled with hot water.  This will create a steamy oven. 

5.  Bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes or until the internal bread temperature reads 200F.  I tented my loaf with aluminum foil for the last 30 minutes as it was getting much too brown and crusty on top.  This worked perfectly for my loaf.

6. Let the bread sit for a few minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy, toot toot!!