Cake for Breakfast

I made a very bad coffeecake last weekend.  I wanted to give you a hearty breakfast cake that would get you through the day – spelt flour, cranberries, nuts. It was such a good plan. It was a such a failure. There’s only one way to redeem myself. Here’s a very scrumptious chocolate cake. I see nothing wrong with eating cake for breakfast – cake with streusel for that matter. Go ahead, you deserve it. You had a long week.

Chocolate Swirl Coffeecake

cake:
1/2 c. butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 c. AP
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

chocolate swirl:
2 tbls. cocoa powder, preferably dutch process
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbls. sugar

streusel topping:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. hazelnuts
1/2 c. AP
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 tbls. butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a bundt pan and dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. To  mix cake, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in eggs.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together in a small bowl. Add these to the batter, alternating with the yogurt. Add vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, mix cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar.
  5. Add half of the cake batter to the bundt pan. Sprinkle on swirl mixture. Add remaining cake batter. Using a knife, swirl the batter up and down and around the tube. This will create your swirl.
  6. Make the topping in a food processor. Grind the nuts and sugar together. Add the sugar, and then add the butter.
  7. Grab up some streusel with your fingers, and clump it together loosely. Sprinkle on top of your cake. Sprinkle as much as you like, then pat it down gently. (You may have some extra topping. Go ahead and freeze this.)
  8. Bake for 35 minutes.

Two other coffeecakes that I like:

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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Well,  after posts on gruel, cabbage, and root vegetables, I figure it’s time for a little dessert!

Here’s a good, quick cake to make for dessert when you don’t know what else to make (and find yourself out of eggs). When served warm, it’s a cake with its own fudge sauce. When served at room temperature, it’s pudding and cake.  It easily comes together with no mess in just a few minutes. In fact, it’s one of my favorite recipes to teach to kids. Here’s a printer-friendly recipe just for them. I’ve written the directions so that they can read and cook independently.

What to do:

1. Rub a piece of butter all over a 9-inch round or square cake pan. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together:

1 cup of flour
¾ cup of the sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cocoa.

3. Stir in:

½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted shortening or vegetable oil

4. Mix it until it is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

5. In a clean bowl, mix:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa

6. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter. Do not mix.

7. Heat 1 ¾ cup water in the microwave or in a teapot.

8. Drizzle the water over top of the batter. Do not mix it in.

9. Bake the cake at 350F for 40 minutes. Serve the cake hot or cool.

Makes about 8 servings

Notes:  For extra fun, sprinkle on a few chocolate chips with your cocoa/sugar mixture. Top with ice cream.

Serious Hot Chocolate

It’s cold. Get serious about hot chocolate. Try this one, and you’ll find it hard to go back to powdered mixes. Tis the season to indulge.

In a heavy saucepan, bring 1 cup cream to a low boil. Remove from from heat and whisk in 8 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips. When thouroughly mixed, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass container. This ganache mixture can be refrigerated for about 2 weeks.

When you’re ready to relax, heat 8 ounces milk. Whisk in 2 ounces of the ganache mixture. Add a few drops of vanilla in the bottom of your mug. Stir your hot chocolate in your mug.

  • For extra spunk, add a sprinkling of cinnamon.
  • For rich ‘french style’ hot chocolate, mix 4 ounces of milk with 4 ounces of ganache (or any other amount in a one to one ratio.) Can you handle this decadence?? (Made in this way, your hot chocolate will taste like the good stuff at B&O.)

How to Make Cream Puffs

Mm. Cream puff.

Here’s a delicious dessert to enjoy when you have plenty of eggs. Cream puffs are actually easier than they look! Give them a try.

one batch of double chocolate pudding (or pudding of your choice)

1 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbls. unsalted butter
1 cup AP
4 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, mix the water, salt, and butter. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. As soon as it boils, remove from heat and sift in the flour. (A fine mesh strainer works well here. Measure your flour into the strainer and then shake it over the mixture.)
  4. Stir with a rubber spatula and return to the medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly over the heat for about 3 minutes. It should come together in one piece and begin to look a little drier.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and let cool for 1 minute.
  6. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. (This will become easier, though it’s tricky after the first egg.)
  7. Fill a pastry bag with your pastry mixture and fit it with a large, round tip. (Alternatively, you can improvise with a plastic bag. Cut the corner off and it will work just fine.) Pipe your cream puff onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Begin by making a tight spiral of your desired width, and then continue adding about two smaller spirals on top. (You want to do this all in one continuous piping motion. If you do not make a complete disc on the bottom, you may wind up with a hole in the bottom of your cream puff.) For larger, single serving cream puffs, begin with a bottom disc of about 3 1/2  inches. For dainty ‘tea size’ servings, being with a disc about 2 inches.
  8. baked cream puffsBake these cream puff shells for 20 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 350F degrees and bake for 20 minutes longer. Cool on a rack.
  9. When cool, cut the top off the cream puff and fill the bottom with pudding. Put the ‘lid’ back on and finish by sprinkling with powder sugar.

Notes:

  • Have fun with fillings! Ice cream and chocolate sauce would be extra decadent. A fruit filling is intriguing. How about a savory cream puff with fromage blanc and herbs?
  • Pastry shells are best used on the same day. Fill right before serving. After a day, they will taste just as delicious, but be a little less crunchy. Store by wrapping tightly in plastic or by freezer.
  • When I made these the second time, I used a pastry tip to fill the cream puffs from the side. It worked very well and I’ve been told has a more ‘sophisticated’ result.
  • Here’s an easy chocolate pudding recipe for those days you are in a hurry.

Zucchini Bread – Two Ways

chocolate zucchini bread and regularWe didn’t want to appear to be novice gardeners. Even though this was our first year for a real garden, we knew enough to try to avoid the onslaught of a vigorous zucchini harvest. And so, in our wisdom, we decided to only plant two zucchini plants. Little did we know that even that would produce way more zucchini than two people could eat.  And thus, I found myself one Saturday morning, facing off against this giant veg.  My task: eliminate the zucchini. Both of these recipes are a little different than traditional zucchini bread and can be easily scaled up if you’re going to wage your own war against this prolific squash.

Chocolate Hazelnut Zucchini Bread

This recipe produces a moist chocolate loaf. Serve with fromage blanc or just plain.

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbls. butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla
7 tbls. cocoa powder
2 cups AP flour + 2 tbls.
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups prepared zucchini
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Prepare the zucchini: Cut off the top and bottom. Decide if you are going to peel your zucchini. If you have a larger, tougher squash, you will want to peel it. I prefer to do so, as it makes the bread lighter and less vegetal. If a strong zucchini taste is what you want, then don’t peel. Grate your zucchini on the large side of a box grater. Place it in a colander and place this over a large bowl. Weight your zucchini down, so that it will begin to drain. (A glass bowl works well.) Let drain for 30 minutes to an hour.

  1. With a mixer, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce together. In a small bowl, mix butter, vanilla, and cocoa. Whisk this into the egg mixture.
  2. Add the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the zucchini.
  4. Toss the extra 2 tbls. of flour with the mini chips and nuts. Add to mixture.
  5. Fill two greased and floured loaf pans half full. Bake at 350F for 60 minutes. (Test with toothpick – if your zucchini was really wet, you may need some more time.)

Zucchini Bread

If you peel the zucchini, this bread could almost pass for a lighter type of pound cake. It goes well with jam or under mixed berries.

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tbls. lemon juice (optional)
6 tbls. butter, melted and cooled
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 – 2 1/2 c. prepared zucchini

Follow the above directions for preparing the zucchini and assembling the bread. Bake at 375F for 60 minutes.

Serious Chocolate Craving?

I have been in denial. I’ve been deluding myself into thinking that it was actually spring. Today’s snow and hail were hard to imagine away. Before winter ends for real, let’s  squeeze in a little more comfort food. This recipe will do the trick for whatever ails you, whether it be gray days or general stress. Got any kind of problem? Try making some homemade chocolate pudding. (Or better yet, get someone else to make it for you.)

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Double Chocolate Pudding

adapted from The Best Recipe

2 tbls. cocoa
2 tbls. cornstarch
2/3 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. cream
3 egg yolks
2 cups milk
6 oz. chocolate chips (bittersweet, semisweet, or a mix)
1 tbls. unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla

  1. Melt chocolate chips. You can do this over low, if you’ve got a good pan. If your pans are thin, place the chips in a bowl, set over boiling water, and whisk often. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk cocoa, cornstarch sugar, and salt.
  3. Whisk in the cream, then the yolks, then the milk.
  4. Whisk in melted chocolate.
  5. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir constantly with a whisk. When the pudding darkens or begins to thicken, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring gently for about 2 minutes.
  6. Press the pudding through a fine mesh strainer with the back of a spoon. (This step makes a smoother pudding. You could skip it, if you want to be less fussy.)
  7. Off heat, add butter and vanilla.
  8. Pour into ramekins (or larger bowl). Press parchment (or plastic wrap) into tops and refrigerate for about 3 hours or more.

Notes:

  • Pudding will keep for about 2 days.
  • This would make a great cake filling.

Righteous Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s been raining for five days, so I thought a comfort food was in order. These cookies aren’t made with any local food items, but they are necessary to survival this time of the year. You can feel ‘righteous’ because there isn’t any white flour in here. You might be surprised, but I really think they’re the best chocolate chip cookie around. They’ve got a great consistency. These cookies freeze well after baking, so double the recipe and keep a tub in the freezer for those crummy (ha ha) days.

Cookies before baking

Cookies before baking

4 tbls unsalted butter
1/2 cup palm oil shortening, melted (or substitute vegetable oil)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbls cider vinegar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup barley flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare cookie sheets with parchement paper or lightly grease. Set the butter out to reach room temperature or melt it a little in the preheating oven.
  2. Cream the butter, shortening, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the vinegar and egg. Stir in the flours, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the chocolate chips.
  3. Blop the cookie dough on the sheets, about a tablespoon at a time. The cookies will spread out a little, so leave some space. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on pan for a few minutes and then move to rack.
  4. Serve to your friends and don’t tell them that they’re made with whole wheat. (Then, when they’re enjoying them, you can wiggle your eyebrows and play the ‘you’ll never guess what is in my cookies’ game. They’ll be relieved it’s only funny flour.