Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking

July 22, 2008

Death by Chocolate Cake

Filed under: dessert — Emily @ 12:20 am

Today is my friend Lori’s birthday, so I decided to make a cake! I also made my amazing spinach artichoke recipe (see appetizers tags). This cake is beyond easy to make and it is so delicious!

Death by Chocolate Cake

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup oil

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix (Devil’s Food is good)

1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding

12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Beat eggs, sour cream, water and oil together in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed.

Add cake mix and pudding mix.

Beat until smooth.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Pour into bundt (this is what I used) or regular cake pan (will most likely fit 2 round pans–so the cake will be stacked).

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Substitution: Can replace 1/4 cup of water with Grand Marnier (so 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup Grand Marnier)

I decided to use a caramel glaze for this cake thanks to inspiration from friend Jeni, who calls her rendition of this cake “Anti-terrorist” cake because if more people would eat this eat, then they might like Americans more. I think that is an excellent idea.

Here is the recipe for caramel glaze that I came up with based on what I had. I think it turned out wonderfully.

Caramel Glaze

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons half and half (I actually didn’t have this—so I made my own using 2 tablespoons of melted butter and 210mL of whole milk)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter .

Add the half and half and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Boil vigorously for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar.

Let cool for a minute and then add the remaining powdered sugar and vanilla.

Depending on desired consistency, may need to add additional half and half (I think I added another 2-3 tablespoons).

Quickly spoon over cake before the glaze gets too hard!


July 20, 2008

Peanut Butter Blondies with Peanut Butter Cups

Filed under: Uncategorized — Emily @ 12:22 am

Much thanks to bakingblonde for helping me come up with an idea for blondies with some awesome mix-ins. I used her basic blondie recipe with some adaptations and they were awesome!

These were seriously some of the best things I have ever put in my mouth! The perfect combination of peanut butter and chocolate:

Peanut Butter Blondies with Peanut Butter Cup

6 Tbs. melted butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder (optional, but creates a lighter texture)

1/3 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but you could use crunchy)

1/2-1 cup peanut butter cups (I used the miniature ones from Trader Joe’s)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8×8 pan with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Mix the brown sugar with the melted butter and beat until smooth. Beat in egg and then vanilla. Then mix in peanut butter. Add salt, flour and baking powder. By hand, mix in peanut butter cups (I put mine in the freezer for a few minutes so they wouldn’t melt while I tried to chop them).

Pour into prepared pan and use a greased spatula to evenly spread mixture in pan and level the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set in the middle. Cook on rack before cutting.

Another suggestion—drizzle the top with chocolate!

July 16, 2008

Chocolate Pudding

Filed under: dessert, Tuesdays with Dorie — Emily @ 4:26 am

Yay! I am finally back in the kitchen (limited–but I’m there) and ready to get back into my Tuesdays with Dorie baking group! This recipe was delicious! I had to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer because I wasn’t able to get my food processor down from the top shelf (still can’t lift heavy things) and Aaron was out of town—but it still turned out great. I served it with homemade whipped cream (made with heavy cream, powdered sugar and a splash of vanilla) and some crunch chocolate pearls that I got at one of my favorite stores, Surfa’s in Culver City.

(Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

2 1/4 cups whole milk

6 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and still warm

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Getting ready: Have six ramekins or pudding cups, each holding 4 to 6 ounces (1/2 to 3/4 cup), at hand.

Bring 2 cups of the milk and 3 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. While the milk is heating, put the cocoa, cornstarch and salt into a food processor and whir to blend. Turn them out onto a piece of wax paper, put the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the egg and egg yolks into the processor and blend for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk and pulse just to mix, then add the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to blend.

With the machine running, very slowly pour in the hot milk mixture. Process for a few seconds, then put everything back into the saucepan. Whisk without stopping over medium heat–making sure to get into the edges of the pan–until the pudding thickens and a couple of bubbles burble up to the surface and pop (about 2 minutes). You want the pudding to thicken, but you don’t want it to boil, so lower the heat if necessary.

Scrape the pudding back into the processor (if there’s a scorched spot, avoid it as you scrape) and pulse a couple of times. Add the chocolate, butter and vanilla and pulse until everything is evenly blended.

Pour the pudding into the ramekins. If you don’t want a skin to form (some people think that skin is the best part), press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of each pudding to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Marinated Skirt Steak (carne asada)

Filed under: beef — Emily @ 3:53 am

I know the picture leaves a little to be desired—but this recipe is AMAZING!! So simple and tasty. Ready for it:

Equal parts:

Italian dressing

Soy sauce

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (or any other sweet sauce)

Marinade for approximately 10-20 minutes and then grill.

String Beans with Shallots

Filed under: side dish, vegetables — Emily @ 3:50 am

This is my go-to green bean recipe. Fast, easy and delicious! Always a winner—I’ve been making it for years.

(Source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten)

1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon good olive oil

3 large shallots, large-diced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only (if using regular string beans, blanch for about 3 minutes until they’re crisp-tender). Drain immediately and immerse in bowl of ice water.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan (12-inch diameter) or large pot and saute the shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot.

Mexican Pizza

Filed under: beef — Emily @ 3:34 am

4 large tortillas
1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 (7 oz) can green chiles
1 can black beans
shredded cheese
taco seasoning
enchilada sauce

First brush the tortilla’s with olive oil and bake in a 350 oven for 7 minutes or until slightly crispy.
In a large skillet brown the ground beef and onion together. Once they are cooked drain the grease and add the taco seasoning. mix in tomatoes, green chiles and black beans. Top the baked tortilla’s with the enchilada sauce (instead of pizza sauce)…then top with the ground beef mixture and cheese. Bake for another 5 to 6 minutes or until cheese is melted.

I served this with refried beans and crumbled chihuahua cheese on top. Very quick and delicious.

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