Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Easy Marble Cake with Chocolate Frosting

So I recently came into an unwanted box of yellow cake mix. With our anniversary coming around I got to thinking how easy it would be to make a marble cake (which was served at our wedding) with a box of mix. Add to that my son conveniently flipping to a page featuring chocolate frosting in the KitchenAid book and Voila! an unending craving for chocolate frosted marble cake appeared. The concept was simple: prepare the mix, pour all but 1 or 2 cups into prepared pans, add hot chocolate mix to remainder and marble. Whip up a simple chocolate frosting recipe courtesy allrecipes.com. Frost. Done. Or maybe not?
After sticking the cake in the oven and creaming the butter for the frosting I discovered we had little more than half a cup of confectioner's sugar. No problem, right? I stuck some sugar and cornstarch in the food processor and processed the heck out of it. Whilst willfully ignoring the shiny glints of sugar crystals in the mix, I made up the frosting recipe. The crunchy and not fluffy frosting recipe. Not to be defeated I spend over an hour trying to cook the glop long enough that the sugar would melt (ha!). Several hours of frustration later my husband was boiling what was now inedible chocolate "candy" out of a pot, a Pyrex dish, and the mixer bowl. (Thank you!)
Still refusing to be conquered by such a simple task as whipping butter, cream, and sugar, I rushed off to the grocery store the next morning. I bought the biggest bag of confectioner's sugar they had and made a silent promise to never run out of it again! And after 5 minutes of easy labor later I had my chocolate frosted cake! And did I mention the frosting is free of hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, or animal lard (gross!) you're likely to find in the store bought variety? Hope you all are inspired by this recipe, though there is very little to it.

1 package of white or yellow cake mix, prepared
1 pkg or 4 tbsp hot cocoa mix

2 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
6 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup cream or evap. milk
1 tsp vanilla

Pour all but 1/3 of prepared cake batter into desired pan(s). Mix hot cocoa into remaining batter. Drop chocolate batter by the spoonful into the cake pans. To marble batter, pull a knife through the batter alternating forward and backward strokes starting at the left of the pan and moving towards the right. Turn pans 90 degrees and repeat. Bake according to directions provided with cake mix. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Cream butter with electric mixer. Combine sugar and cocoa. While mixing on low speed, alternately add sugar mixture and cream until combined. Add vanilla and beat on high until fluffy. Add additional cream or sugar if needed. When cakes are cooled apply frosting as desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ginger-Plum Ice Cream

We had some organic plums in the fridge that weren't getting used so I thought I should make them into an ice cream. The last ice cream we made with a custard base didn't sit too well with me (I swear I could taste the eggs) so I wanted to make a Philadelphia style ice cream. I researched a few recipes and this is what I came up with. A rich, tangy, fruit ice cream with flavors of ginger and cinnamon. Hopefully the addition of honey and rum will keep it soft until we can finish it off in the next day or two.

4 black plums, chopped
1 cup sugar

1 tsp honey

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and diced

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla rum

2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped

Combine plums, ginger, sugar and honey in a saucepan and cook over medium high heat until plums are soft and sugar is absorbed. Puree in a blender or food processor and strain. Discard skins and chill puree thoroughly in the fridge (about 3 hours).

Combine puree, cream, milk, and cinnamon and whip until thickened (a blender or food processor can substitute for an electric mixer). Transfer into the bowl of your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturers instructions. With 2 minutes remaining when ice cream is almost frozen add the alcohol and chocolate. Continue to churn until chocolate is distributed throughout. Remove to a freezer safe container and store in freezer for 1 hour or until ready to eat.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bread Machine Whole Wheat Pizza

Tonight we whipped up a batch of dough that we've used before for pizza. This is adapted from Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust. What I love about it is the versatility of the dough. Thin crust, thick crust, dinner bread, this recipe can do it all.

Rolled thin cracker crust:Hand pulled thick crust:

Here is the recipe:
(Makes two 12-inch pizzas)

1 tbsp honey
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp olive oil
Black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasonings to taste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
6 oz shredded mozzerella
2 oz shredded cheddar
2 oz shredded monterey jack
1/2 oz freshly grated Parmesan

Add ingredients to the bread machine in the following order:
Warm water, honey, and yeast. Olive oil. Whole wheat and AP flour. Salt.
Set to dough cycle. When dough has finished the second rise, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Remove dough with floured hands and set on a well floured surface. Roll or toss as desired.
Evenly coat crust with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings to taste. Bake crust for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove and top with sauce and cheeses. Return to oven for 5 more minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble. Let pizzas cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If anyone tries this dough as a loaf bread or roll please let me know how it turns out!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Peach Waffles with Caramel Sauce

I woke up starving this morning, and with everyone at home for a long 4th of July weekend I wanted to make something special. We had one small peach in the fridge to work with so I thought something with caramelized peaches or peaches and caramel would be perfect. After browsing through a few recipes I came across one for peach waffles on Recipezaar and pulled up their top rated caramel recipe to go with it. The result was a rich and filling breakfast the whole family loved.

Here is my adapted recipe for Whole Wheat Peach Waffles with Caramel Sauce:
Serves 3.

Caramel Sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup white sugar + 1/2 tbsp molasses
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 small peaches, peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Prepare caramel sauce by melting butter in a small saucepan. Add slowly stir in brown sugar. Cook while stirring until thickened, about 2 minutes. (Note: if you are using evaporated cane juice and molasses you may need to cook up to 2 minutes extra until there are no longer large crystals in the syrup). Slowly add cream and mix while cooking 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. Transfer to a serving dish or storage container and chill until ready to use.

To make waffles, preheat waffle iron to a medium high heat. Melt butter and combine with sugar and peaches in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and ginger together and combine with the egg mixture until moist. Add vanilla and stir in milk until a thick batter is formed. Add to greased waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's instructions until lightly browned (about 3 to 5 minutes).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cheesecake Ice Cream

So last week I accidentally made sugarless cheesecake in a rush when my son woke up 30 minutes early from his nap. That is to say, I forgot to add the sugar. Luckily I had used rather sugary cinnamon graham crackers and hot cocoa mix in the crust, and after a coating of powdered sugar the cake was not completely inedible. Nevertheless no one was in a hurry to eat the damned thing. So when I found out our new KitchenAid Ice Cream attachment would be arriving on Monday I was inspired to make something I could put cheesecake peices in. The result, the most delicious cheesecake ice cream I have ever tasted! It literally tastes like creamy frozen cheesecake. Absolutely delicious.

Here are the first shots of the machine at work.

A layer of plastic to protect from ice crystals
and it was off to the freezer to harden.

10 hours later, the first delicious scoops
... and one pleased husband.