Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Mocha Icing

I made this bundt cake for a picnic I went to a few weeks ago. It was super moist and had a nice, chocolatey, coffee flavor. Some of the reviews I read online did not care for the mocha frosting, but I liked it. One reviewer said a piece of this cake would be excellent with a glass of milk and I could not agree more. It is easy to make and most, if not all, of the ingredients are pantry staples.
Chocolate-Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Mocha Icing
Adapted from Bon Appetit
12-16 servings

1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp. instant espresso powder, divided
2 c. unbleached all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar, divided
1 c. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
(Note: regular sized chips fall to the bottom of the cake)
1/4 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bundt cake pan with cooking spray. Whisk boiling water, cocoa powder and 2 tsp. espresso powder in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk 2 cups flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil, and 1 tbsp. vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Add eggs; beat to blend. Beat mixture until smooth. Beat in half of flour mixture, then cocoa mixture. Add remaining flour mixture; beat to blend. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Transfer batter to bundt pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake 10 minutes, invert cake onto rack, and cool 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile, stir 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. espresso powder and 2 tbsp water in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add butter and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stir until butter and chocolate melt. Cool slightly. Using spoon, drizzle icing over cake. Cool completely, slice and serve.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Grilled Lemon-Oregano Chicken

I have made this recipe a couple of times and I get rave reviews each time. These drumsticks are super easy and so tasty. I have no doubt you can substitute white meat if you prefer it over dark. I paired the chicken with an old standby recipe from Cooking Light (circa December 2003) which is also quick, easy and delicious.

Grilled Lemon-Oregano Chicken Drumsticks
Adapted from Bon Appetit
4-6 servings

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
8 chicken drumsticks

Whisk the first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper. Pour marinade into a 1 gallon resealable plastic bag; add chicken and seal. Turn bag to coat chicken. Marinate at room temperature 30 minutes or in a refrigerator up to 2 days, turning occasionally.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place chicken, with some marinade still clinging, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill chicken until cooked through and golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 30 minutes.

Spicy Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus
Adapted from Cooking Light
2 servings

2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
1/8 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 small red potatoes (about 3/4 lb), quartered
Cooking spray
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic, divided
1/2 lb. asparagus spears, tough ends removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 450. Combine oil, salt, thyme, peppers and potatoes in an 11x7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese, garlic and asparagus. Bake for 10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.

Monday, October 12, 2009

TWD: All Spice Muffins

I made these muffins for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. They are a good sweet and peppery combination and the streusel topping is a nice crunchy addition. A few other TWD bakers recommended substituting cinnamon for all spice (which makes for a Snikerdoodle tasting muffin), which I will definitely try the next time I make these to see which I prefer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lemon Bars

I have been in a lemon bar frenzy lately. I am typically a chocolate kind of girl, but as I get older I have started to progress into more fruit type desserts. I feel like my mother, who I always remember saying that she disliked desserts that were "too sweet." Growing up I thought that statement was absurd, but I am beginning to understand what she was talking about!
Needless to say, I can still stomach a whole lot of sweet. In the past few weeks, I have tried a few lemon bar recipes, but by far my favorite has been these Toasted Almond Lemon Bars I found on one of my favorite cooking blogs, She's Becoming DoughMessTic ( I thought they were even better frozen, which was the way I served them. They are definitely not to sweet and unfortunately, they are super addictive. So pass them on to friends if you decide to make them (which you most definitely should) or you might gain a few pounds... or ten. I received a million comlipents on them from both a large get together and a bunch of out of towners this past weekend.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

One of my best friends...

Growing up, my Grandmother loved to bake and she did it often. She was always making cakes, cookies, cookie bars, brownies - you name it, she made it. When my family first moved to Virginia when I was in elementary school, I remember sitting in my Grandparent's kitchen and watching my Grandmother create masterpieces with her trusty Kitchen-Aid mixer. Many out there have sung the praises of Kitchen-Aid mixers and my Grandmother was one of them. Ever since I was in high school, I wanted one. I finally got my wish one Christmas from my now-husband. I am not joking when I tell you that one of my good girlfriends got engaged that same Christmas. When I told her I received the Kitchen-Aid as a gift, she told her fiance that she would have been just as excited to get the mixer! Needless to say, they have been happily married for 4 years and she eventually did get her Kitchen-Aid.
Now that I stay at home taking care of my 2 year old, the mixer is so wonderful in helping me to manage more than one recipe at a time while also making sure my house is not destroyed in the process. I also praise anything that allows me time to do other things rather than hold a hand held mixer for five minutes while stiff peaks form. I love you my little red Kitchen Aid, you are one of the best friend's any girl (or guy) could ever have.