Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Divine Chocolate Cake With Magical Frosting

After seeing this recipe in Cook's Country Magazine and on Melanie's blog I decided I just had to try it. First the frosting. Let me tell you, it's a keeper. Although it does take a little extra time the effort is well worth it. Creamy, buttery and unbelievably delicious.Please ignore the fact that there are 3, yes 3 sticks of butter. I know this frosting is going to be making a lot more appearances around these parts. As if that isn't enough, there is also a chocolate version which I suspect will be just as delicious.

The cake, don't even get me started. Rich, dark and bursting with tons of chocolate flavor. This cake was so moist and when combined with the amazing frosting, let's just say I ate more than my fair share and then shuttled the rest off to neighbors before I devoured all the leftovers.

**Note: this frosting takes a bit of advance planning since the frosting needs time to cool so plan ahead! Also, the frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. When ready to use, let the frosting stand at room temperature until softened, about 2 hours. Beat with stand mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about one minute. **

Magical Frosting
My Kitchen Cafe and Cook's Country Magazine

*Makes about 4 cups frosting (plenty for two 9-inch cake layers)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1 % and it was delish)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) butter, cut into 24 pieces and softened at room temperature

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and pour the milk mixture through the strainer into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and is thick enough that it starts to become difficult to easily whisk. This could take anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on your stove, heat, etc. It should bubble quite a bit at the end (be careful of the splatters) and thicken considerably.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool to room temperature – this is extremely important! If it is even slightly warm, the frosting won’t beat up properly. I refrigerated my initial mixture overnight. If you do this, make sure to pull it out in time to let it warm back up to room temperature. If you try to proceed with the rest of the recipe and the mixture is too cold, the butter won’t absorb into the frosting like it should.

Once the frosting is completely cooled to room temperature (it should have no hint of warmth at all!), beat the mixture with the vanilla on low speed until it is well combined, about 30 seconds (a stand mixer will work best for this). Add the butter, one piece at a time, and beat the frosting until all the butter has been incorporated fully, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and let the mixer work it’s magic. Beat the frosting for five minutes, until it is light and fluffy. Let the frosting sit at room temperature until it is a bit more stiff, about 1 hour. I suspect if you chill it for an hour or so, it would be stiff enough to actually pipe with instead of frosting with a rubber spatula.

Chocolate Version: Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder to the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt mixture in the first step. Once the frosting has been mixed for five minutes and is light and fluffy, mix in 3-4 ounces of semisweet chocolate that has been melted and completely cooled to room temperature.

*Makes two 8-inch or 9-inch cake layers or a 9X13-inch pan*

Divine Chocolate Cake
My Kitchen Cafe and Martha Stewart

1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare your cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of the pan. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottom of the pan and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.

Using a fine mesh strainer, sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed (with a handheld mixer or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer) until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack.

Trim the tops of the cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them level. Frost as desired.

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thai Basil Chicken

Last nights dinner was a complete disaster. It came from one of my favorite magazines and looked absolutely delicious but it was terrible. Bland, boring and just plain gross. There is nothing I hate worse that spending time and ingredients on something that once you take one bite of, you were wishing you would have just eaten a bowl or cereal or picked up Little Caesars.

I was more than a little skeptical trying another new recipe after last nights disappointment. This however was the complete opposite! The kind of dinner that has you going back for seconds and hoarding all the leftovers.The flavors of the sweet coconut milk blended with spicy chili sauce, tender onions and peppers & juicy chicken were out of this world. It does use a few ingredients you might not have on hand but I easily found all of them at my local grocery store. This is the first recipe I have tried from this cookbook and now I'm itching to try more.

Thai Basil Chicken
adapted from Entertaining at Home Cookbook

Serves 6

1 1/2 cups uncooked Jasmine or other long grain white rice
1 15 oz. can coconut milk, 2 tbsp. reserved
1 cup fresh Thai Basil leaves (I used regular basil)
2 tbsp. Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tbsp. Chinese chili sauce with garlic *I would start out with 1 tbsp. 2 is quite spicy*
1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large walla walla or other sweet onion, sliced into thin slivers
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4 in. cubes
2 red bell peppers, seeded, deribbed, and sliced
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the rice according to package directions. When it has finished cooking, stir in 2 tbsp. of the coconut milk.
While the rice is cooking, in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the basil, fish sauce, and chile sauce. Pulse until the basil is coarsely chopped and the mixture has a pestolike consistency. Add the remaining coconut milk and process just until blended. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the sesame oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it turns light tan, about 1 minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to turn golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook just until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the basil-coconut sauce, reduce the heat to low, and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes to meld the flavors. Add the salt and pepper, stir well, and then remove from the heat.
Divide the rice among warmed dinner plates and spoon the chicken mixture over the top. Serve immeadiately.

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Streusel Topped Banana Bread

Pictures from

Bananas are one of my favorite fruits and I usually eat one everyday. That being said I am very picky about my bananas.I don't like to eat bananas that are more than two or 3 days old. They must be firm, unbruised and basically perfect. This makes for a lot of leftover bananas if the rest of the family doesn't eat them quick enough. I know you can relate.

This leave me with a 2 options
1- cut them into chunks and freeze them for smoothies


2-make banana bread/muffins/cake.

Being the great wife/mother/friend that I am, I decided to go with option #2.

Really I'll be honest. This is coffee cake in banana bread form and it is heavenly! Moist and dense without being too heavy, and just the right amount of banana flavor. I loved the delicious crumbs of stresusel topping ribboned throught the bread and on top. Not only is the bread amazingly delicious it's also beautiful. This would be a great neighbor, teacher, just because I like you gift. It would also be a great addition to any brunch.

Streusel Topped Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
3 or 4 very ripe bananas
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk

Stresuel Topping

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease four mini loaf pans.

Either in a stand mixer (or bowl with hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar. Breat in eggs, bananas, and vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to the butter mixture. With the mixer running, add the buttermilk and mix until completely combined and smooth (about 1 minute on medium speed.)

Prepare the streusel topping. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and work into coarse crumbs. (I used a hand pastry blender I have but two forks or your hands will work nicely.)

Fill each prepared pan about 1/3 full and divide half of the topping among the 4 pans. Fill with remaining batter and top with remaining struesel. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack about 10 minutes. With a thin knife loosen edges and carefully remove from pans. Cool a bit more and then slice to serve. Makes 4 mini loaves.

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Creamy Cheesecake Squares with Chocolate Ganache

My family and I were able to visit my sister, her husband and their adorable daughter Anillie for the Labor Day Weekend. Although my sister and I like to be adventerous in the kitchen, sometimes you just need a break and so we went with some old stand bys.  Our Mom's tried and true Famous ribs (although we did do baby back which were just as delicious as the country style), potato salad, and corn on the cob.

The afternoon of we realized we hadn't planned a dessert. A major crime! Searching through recipes we found these cheesecake bars and boy were they good. A delicious graham cracker crust topped with a creamy and slightly tangy cheesecake layer and the ultimate topping a decadent chocolate ganache. I might have just found one of my new favorite desserts!

Cook's Note *Although the recipe states to chill overnight (and they are better that way) we put this dessert together from start to finish in 5 hours and they were still heavenly.*

The original recipe called for Biscoff cookies but we weren't able to find them. We both agreed the crust needed to be doubled (which is reflected in the recipe below) and that it would taste better cooked first.

Plan ahead. These bars need to chill overnight
3 cups Crushed Graham Crackers
4 1/2  Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
12 Tablespoons Melted Butter

1 cup Sugar
3 packages Cream Cheese (8 Oz Size)
2 Tablespoons Flour
3 whole Eggs
8 ounces, weight Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
8 ounces, fluid Heavy Whipping Cream
¼ cups Butter
8 ounces, weight Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
¼ cups Confectioner's Sugar
Mix graham crackers and sugar together. Add butter and stir until combined. Press mixture into a 13 X 9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown about 10 minutes. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy. On medium-low speed, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined. Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes.Remove and cool. Prepare ganache.

Chocolate Ganache
Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.Remove from stove and pour the mixture over the top of the chocolate. Stir until completely combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth. Pour over cooled cheesecake.Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Cut into bars and serve.Makes about 30 bars.

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!

Crispy Garlic Bread

This is another recipe that has been lurking in the infamous "recipe pile" and all I can say is I wish I would have found it sooner!

Totally easy, totally buttery, totally garlicky and absolutely divine! The big bonus with this recipe is that you can even make the bread ahead of time and freeze it for up to 1 month. When you're ready to serve it just pop it in the oven and bake. It doesn't get any easier than that.

Crispy Garlic Bread
Cook's Country

Makes 12 slices

*For the smoothest texture, grate the garlic cloves on a rasp-style grater. *
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
4 cloves garlic , grated (see note) or minced (I put mine through a press and it turned out great)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 slices (1-inch-thick) slice Italian bread

1. MAKE PASTE Adjust oven rack to middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using fork, beat butter, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in small bowl until combined. Spread butter mixture evenly over both sides of bread.
2. TOAST BREAD Arrange buttered bread on heated baking sheet and bake until golden brown on first side, 8 to 10 minutes. Flip and bake until golden brown on second side, about 5 minutes. Serve.

*Freezer-Ready Garlic Bread After spreading the bread with the butter mixture in step 1, freeze the slices on a large plate until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer bread to zipper-lock freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, bake as directed, adding 2 to 5 minutes to cooking time. *

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Butter Chicken

Who could resist making something with a name like butter chicken? Unlike it's name implies, the recipe doesn't use a lot of butter. It's actually an Indian Food also known as Chicken Makhani or Murg Makhani. Chicken marinated over night with garlic and spices, then cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and finished off with cream. I cut the cayenne back a tad to tone it down for the kids and it was perfect. It came together really quickly and was a fabulous, flavorful meal that will be appearing often in our house!

Picture from Tasty Kitchen

Butter Chicken

Tasty Kitchen

*The chicken needs to marinate overnight so plan accordingly*

4 pieces Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (cut Into Bite Sized Pieces or left whole if you prefer)
5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Black Pepper
½ teaspoons Cayenne Pepper (I used 1/4 tsp.)
¼ teaspoons Ground Coriander
¼ teaspoons Cumin
¼ teaspoons Cardamom
1 whole Lime, Juiced
1 whole Onion, Diced
¼ cups Butter
1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Tomato Sauce
1 can (14.5 Oz. Can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 pint Whipping Cream
1 bunch Chopped Cilantro, to taste
2 cups Basmati Rice (or However Much You Want. I used Jasmine and it was great)

Preparation Instructions

Combine first 9 ingredients and marinate overnight.
Saute the onion in the butter until soft. Add marinated chicken and cook about 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat with the lid on. Add the whipping cream (I have used light cream or half-and-half also) and cilantro just before serving over Basmati rice.

Posted by: Sallie
Pin It!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...