In addition to the Grand Prize, one SWAG pack will be given away on Amanda Usen’s blog on each day of the hop. Visit each day for an AUTHOR spotlight and more FALL GLEE.
Now, about those Marmalade Cookies mentioned in the title of this post….
I’ve been on an ice cream making kick lately. Today’s creation is the best one yet! It tastes like pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream. Totally yummy! And seeing as there’s a bit of pumpkin in it I think it counts as a serving of fruits/veggies! Enjoy!
Pumpkin Maple Ice Cream
1 3/4 cups heavy cream (whipping cream or full cream, depending on where you live)
1 1/4 cups 1% milk
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup (or amber grade A maple syrup)
3/4 to 1 cup of canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 pinches of salt
Whisk ingredients together in a bowl or in a large measuring cup with a spout (for easier pouring). Chill in fridge until cold (at least a half hour). Whisk again briefly, just to combine, then place in ice cream machine. It took roughly 22 minutes in my Cuisinart ice cream maker. Makes 1 quart.
In honor of the season finale of The Bachelor I have decided to give up my Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe. Why? Because it is SO (drink) AMAZING (drink)! Seriously, I know I haven’t posted a recipe in a while, and I know I’ve promised some of you that I would eventually post the absolute best chocolate cake recipe, ever (I don’t mean to brag, but really, this one’s that good), so without further ado…. It sounds complicated, and I’ll admit there are quite a lot of steps and it’s a bit time consuming, but follow the directions and I really think you’ll enjoy the outcome. This is the culmination of years worth of frosting, filling and cake batter experimentation and a combination of several recipes—the result is a super moist, ultra chocolaty cake with a rich creamy ganache filling and the perfect buttery, sweet fudge frosting. Try it. You’ll love it.
Chocolate cake recipe
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup cocoa
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Kahlua
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour two 8” or 9” round cake pans (or one 9×13 metal pan).
In a large bowl combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
Set some water to boil, you’ll need it at the end.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and brown sugar. Start at a slow speed to get it combined, otherwise the mixture is too dry and will fly out of the bowl. Once they are starting to cream together, turn the speed to high and beat for 3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on high for one minute after each egg is added.
On medium speed add a scoop of the flower mixture, mix, add a scoop of the sour cream, mix, add the vanilla and kahlua, mix… continue alternating between wet and dry ingredients until they are all combined.
On low speed mix in the ¾ cup of boiling water. Stop mixing as soon as it is combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
Bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Allow cakes to cool in pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edge of the cake to separate it from the pan and turn it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
WHILE THE CAKE IS BAKING AND COOLING MAKE YOUR FROSTING AND FILLING!
Chocolate Ganache Filling
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces of semisweet baking chocolate, broken into chunks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
EITHER 1 tablespoon of Kahlua OR 2-3 Tablespoons raspberry jam (your choice)
Place chunks of chocolate in a small mixing bowl.
In a small heavy-bottomed pot bring cream, butter and sugar to a boil (stir mixture as it heats so that butter is completely melted and sugar is dissolved).
As soon as the cream starts to boil remove it from the heat and pour it directly over the chocolate chunks. Cover the bowl with a plate (to trap in the heat) and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Remove plate and stir the cream/chocolate, in one direction, until chocolate is completely melted.
Place bowl in freezer. Check every ten minutes and give it a good stir until it reaches a thick, frosting-like consistency. It will firm on the edges first, so make sure to stir the firmer edge parts into the still-soft center when you mix it.
Once it reaches the desired texture you can leave it at room temperature.
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
3 oz semisweet chocolate (I use Nestle’s semisweet baking bars, but others will do—DO NOT USE CHOCOLATE CHIPS)
1 1/8 cups cocoa (I use Hershey’s)
3 3/8 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
7-8 tablespoons milk
In large mixing bowl melt butter and chocolate on HIGH in microwave for two minutes. Stir until all chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool.
Sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa.
When melted butter/chocolate mixtures is room temperature begin stirring in the cocoa/sugar, roughly a half cup at a time. When it starts to get thick switch to a handheld electric mixture and alternate adding the milk, sugar/cocoa/ and vanilla until all the ingredients are combined. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if you want the frosting to have a fluffier consistency. If you accidentally add too much milk, don’t panic, just add a tiny bit of cocoa and powdered sugar until it firms to the desired texture.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE!
Place one layer of cake on whatever cake tray/plate/server you want to use. Spread on the ganache (it will be thick, so spread gently so you don’t shred/break the cake). Place the second layer of cake on top. Frost with the desired amount of frosting. (Note: the frosting recipe is actually a batch and a half of my original recipe, but I find this is a good amount of frosting to generously frost a cake this size and still have a little frosting left over for eating, bribing spouse/children/significant other/roommate/neighbors into doing favors, etc.) Cover with a cake dome and store at room temperature, but not in sunlight. (If you don’t have a cake dome, strategically place toothpicks on the top and sides of cake and tent it with plastic wrap until you have the whole thing covered— the toothpicks will prevent the plastic wrap from touching the frosting.)
Eat any leftover frosting or ganache.
(Sometimes I have to make a double batch, which yields a large, two-layer sheet cake. Somehow it always disappears….)
In honor of the Super Bowl I’m posting a recipe for a Super Bowl of Soup. I know. I’m ridiculous. I’m okay with that. This recipe for split pea soup is a favorite among my friends and is often requested even by people who “don’t ever like pea soup.” I’ve always liked pea soup, and this is by far my favorite recipe. It’s made with Canadian bacon, which adds a nice smoky flavor but not a lot of fat (or calories). It’s creamy, smooth, hearty, and reheats well. It’s also one of the only ways I can get my children to eat green vegetables. This recipe can be doubled, and often is at my house.
Super Split Pea Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-2 cups carrots, diced (depending on how much carrot you want in your soup)
6 ounces bacon, diced
1 bag dried split peas (green or yellow), sorted to remove any non-pea items (pebbles, etc.)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
8 cups chicken stock (If you have homemade stock on hand, great, if not you can use boxed or canned or bouillon cubes or some combination of all of them.)
In a large stock pot melt butter in olive oil until butter is completely melted and bubbly. Add diced carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots begin to caramelize a teeny bit (if your carrots are too wet when you add them, this won’t happen, so dry them off first, and if for some reason they still don’t start to caramelize it’s no big deal—the caramelization just adds an extra touch of flavor but it’s not essential).
Add your diced Canadian bacon and stir. Add the split peas and stir.
Pour in your 8 cups of chicken stock. Add the bay leaves and the thyme.
Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for anywhere from one to two hours, until you have a creamy, thick soup. (The time varies depending on the brand of peas, and sometimes depending on the bag of peas. If the soup is getting thick but is still grainy, add more stock or plain water and continue cooking—-it will become creamy eventually!)
Once the proper texture is achieved, fish out the bay leaves (or offer a prize for the diner who finds them) and serve immediately! Note: Pea soup thickens as it cools. If you allow it to thicken, simply thin it out with a tiny bit of water while you reheat it—this will be necessary when reheating any leftover soup and it in no way compromises the flavor of the soup.
I love to serve this soup with warm, toasty sandwiches—some family favorites include grilled ham and cheese, warm cheesy chicken salad on buttered toast (recipe to be given in future blog), or any kind of Panini. It’s also great served with some nice fresh hot bread (or rolls) and butter.
Let me know if you make it and what you choose to serve with it! Enjoy!
I’m a fan of food on a stick, so I generally like anything that can be served on a toothpick. That’s how my quest for a great cocktail meatball started. Years ago I played around with several recipes and couldn’t find one that I really liked, so I made up a recipe instead. It’s similar to Swedish meatballs, but with my own twist. When my kids first asked what it was and I said “it’s kinda like Swedish meatballs” they had no idea what Swedish meatballs were and one of them said “sweet-ish meatballs?” That’s what we’ve called them ever since. It’s fitting because it sounds like Swedish but it’s not…and they’re kinda sweet, but not overly so. Whatever you call them they’re yummy—equally good served over buttered noodles for a winter entrée or on toothpicks for an anytime hors d’oeuvre. They can be kept warm in a crockpot or chafing tray for parties too. Whenever you make them and however you serve them, I hope you like them!
Turkey Meatballs with Apple Butter Gravy (aka Sweet-ish Meatballs)
1 lb ground turkey (I use the 93/7 lean plain ground turkey—NOT seasoned, NOT the all white meat—for some reason the packages are usually 1.25 or 1.33 lbs, that’s fine, don’t adjust the recipe)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups plain bread crumbs
All-purpose flour (for coating)
2 cups chicken stock
½ – 1 cup of apple butter (I always use Musselman’s, but your favorite will work)
2 tablespoon butter (more as needed)
2 tablespoons oil (more as needed)
Place egg, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, pepper, nutmeg and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Mix in the ground turkey (use your hands, it yields a much better texture for the meatballs than stirring with a fork). Add in the bread crumbs (again, hands only). Once combined, form the mixture into meatballs around the size of ping pong balls.
Place a heaping scoop of flour on a plate and season it a little (a few dashes of pepper and salt and a dash of nutmeg will do just fine). Roll each of the meatballs in flour to give them a nice coating. They should look like powdered sugar donut holes when you’re done.
In a large, heavy bottomed frying pan (aim for one that’s the right size to hold all the meatballs in a single layer) melt the butter and oil until they’re bubbly (tilt the pan around to incorporate the butter and oil). Brown the meatballs on all sides.
As you do this you’ll notice that the flour is browning on the bottom of the pan—that’s good—you’re making a roux while you brown the meatballs—this will thicken the sauce as they finish cooking. BE CAREFUL not to burn/scorch the flour. If you see things getting too dark, lower your heat and add a pat of butter or a small amount of oil. (Also, if your meatballs aren’t browned on all sides and the bottom of the pan looks too dry/crusty add a little more butter or oil just to keep things going.) As soon as the meatballs are browned all around add your 2 cups of chicken stock right to the pan (I usually heat the stock in the microwave so it’s warm).
Ideally the meatballs should be about 2/3 submerged in liquid. Cover the frying pan and simmer (it should be bubbling but not a full rolling boil). Stir the meatballs every 5 minutes or so, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. You’ll see that the sauce is thickening as this happens. When the sauce gets to a good gravy consistency (fairly thick and coating all the meatballs), you should be done. This should take anywhere from 35-50 minutes, depending on the size of your pan and how high you had the heat.
Remove the meatballs to a serving bowl and tent with foil to keep warm.
Stir ½ – 1 cup of apple butter into the gravy (I like a lot of apple butter flavor, so I use a cup, if you prefer a less-sweet gravy, use ½ cup—taste as you go to determine your preference). Stir the gravy until heated through then pour it over the meatballs and toss gently to coat.
Let me know if you make them! Enjoy!