Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chocolate Chunk Zucchini Cake w/Coconut Glaze

My niece had a beautiful baby girl last night in Connecticut and we are so happy for the whole family. Babies are so exciting and so much fun.  I can't wait for the holidays when we can have Owen, Madelyn and now Vivienne together.

This recipe is from Gourmet August 2002.  It was so moist and delicious.  I love cakes with vegetables.

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I omitted)

1 cup sweetened coconut
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 3 quart bundt pan by spraying thoroughly with PAM cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl.  Beat together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl of an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy.  Then beat in vanilla.

Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs 1 at a time beating after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently.  Beat mixture until smooth and fluffy.

Add all but 1/2 cup of flour mixture to bowl and mix at low until just combined.  Toss zucchini, chocolate chunks and flour.

Mix batter with rubber spatula.  Batter will be thick.

Spoon batter into bundt pan smoothing the top.  Bake in middle of the oven about 45 to 50 minutes.
Rotate the pan halfway through baking.

Take the batter out of the oven when the sides begin to pull away from the pan and a toothpick tester comes out clean.

Cool the cake in pan on a rack for 30 minutes then run a knife around the edges of pan and the inside of the pan too.  Turn upside down onto plate.  Cool completely before glazing.

Prepare the glaze by mixing the confectioners sugar and heavy cream. Mix until the mixture is the consistency that will make drizzling over the cake possible.  Drizzle and immediately sprinkle coconut everywhere the glaze is.


This is linked to Weekend Potluck

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blueberry Peach Crisp

This is the perfect summertime dessert. I like to think that when I am having fruit in my dessert that no matter how much sugar is in the dessert that its "healthy".  I know its not really but it makes me feel better.  This recipe is adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.   

1-1/2 cups blueberries
1-1/2 cups peeled and sliced peaches (about 3)
1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 all purpose flour

For the topping:
1/2 all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned or instant oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp cold butter, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl combine the blueberries, sliced peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, sugar and flour.  Gently toss until fruit is well coated.  Let fruit mixture sit together while you prepare the topping.

In a large bowl combine flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Stir together with a fork.  Mix in the butter with a fork until the mixture comes together and you have a big crumble.

Place fruit mixture in a 1-1/2 quart glass baking dish.

Sprinkle the topping evenly with your hands over the fruit mixture.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top browns.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or both.  


This is linked to Weekend Potluck

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Homemade English Muffins

It's time for another round of Secret Recipe Club!! This month we were given the blog Smells Like Brownies. Melissa has lots of recipes to chose from and if my mom had her blog this month you'd be hearing about her Onion Tart. Be on the look out for it this fall because it looks so delicious she may still decide to make it. I chose to go with Melissa's English Muffins recipe and I'm really glad that I did. These muffins are easy to make and most likely you have all of the ingredients in your pantry. I enjoyed my English muffin toasted with some black raspberry jam I got from the Donaldson farm on our recent NJ Farm tour. John decided to put nutella and peanut butter on his. I topped one with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese for Owen to have for dinner and we even made them into egg sandwiches over the weekend.  Their only downfall is they require a lot of waiting time. I will say I was amazed when I first read the recipe and realized that English muffins aren't baked!! Did you know that?? I didn't but it makes total sense since both sides are flat and browned, they are cooked in a pan on the stove!!

3 Cups Bread Flour
3/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Lukewarm water
2/3 Cup Lukewarm Skim Milk
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Salt
Pam Spray
3 Tbsp Cornmeal & 3 Tbsp Flour for dusting

Makes 12 English Muffins
Start by activating your yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes until it's foamy. While you are waiting for the yeast to awaken you can combine your dry ingredients in your stand mixer bowl. Combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, sugar and salt. Make a well for the liquids to be poured into the bowl.
When the yeast is ready pour it into your dry ingredients along with the remaining lukewarm water and milk. Set the mixer on a medium speed with the dough hook attachment for 10 minutes. The dough will be very sticky and soft, using a spatula get the dough out, form it into a ball as best you can and place it in a large bowl that has been sprayed with Pam or greased. Place a kitchen towel over the bowl, put it in a warm window and allow it to rise for 1 hour.
After the hour is up, punch the dough down to release the air. You will notice the dough is much less sticky now, using just a pinch or two of flour knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes and then place it back in the bowl covered by the warm sunny window one more time for another 30 minutes.
In a small bowl combine the cornmeal and all purpose flour for the dusting. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust the paper with the mixture. On a cutting board stretch out the dough and using a pizza cutter divide the dough in half and then in half again. Each quarter of dough will make 3 English muffins. Melissa used a scale to make sure her muffins were exactly the same size, I don't own a scale and I know my muffins were exact but they were good enough for me.
Roll each section of dough into a ball and place them on the tray with the cornmeal and flour. Sprinkle the cornmeal and flour mixutre ontop of the dough balls. Cover the tray using a damp kitchen cloth that is not fuzzy and place them back in the sunny window for 30 minutes - 1 hour. 
Now they are ready to be cooked. In nonstick skillets that are over medium to low heat place the muffins about 2 inches a part and allow them to brown about 8-10 minutes on the first side and then flip them over to brown the 2nd side. One of my pans was hotter than the other so be careful if you start to smell something burning your heat is too high. Allow them to get a nice golden brown color.

Cool completely on a baking rack.

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This is linked to Weekend Potluck.
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