Friday, September 22, 2017

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Today is White Chocolate Day. Not many people, including the FDA, consider white chocolate to be chocolate. It is made with cocoa butter, but combined with sugar and milk, and sometimes vanilla, so I'm including it as chocolate for the purposes of this blog. It doesn't taste like chocolate, but it does taste like 'white' chocolate! I love the flavor. I have two favorite white chocolates for baking: Guittard and Green & Black. What ever you do, don't use the 'white wafers' you get at crafts stores. Be sure you use 'real' white chocolate in this recipe. The cheaper white chocolates have most of the cocoa butter replaced by vegetable fats. Not tasty at all. The amazing Ad in the photo is from Green & Black.

So for today's holiday, here's a recipe for White Chocolate Bundt Cake. You can always drizzle with dark chocolate, if you're so inclined, but I like my Bundt cakes plain.

WHITE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp unsalted butter to coat pan
2 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar for sugaring pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
5 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces white chocolate, melted, still warm
4 ounces white chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips
1 cup sour cream

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon butter, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
In medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Put remaining 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar in large bowl and cream with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs, one at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Slowly beat in 4 ounces melted white chocolate. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with sour cream. Beat 45 seconds after each addition.
Place batter in prepared pan in 3 layers, separating each layer with remaining 4 ounces white chocolate chunks or chips.
Bake in preheated oven 55 to 60 minutes or until done. DON'T OVERBAKE!
Top browns and cake tester inserted into center will come out with a few crumbs on it.
Remove cake to wire rack to cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Honey Chocolate Brownies

September is National Honey Month. I'm a huge fan of HONEY, so feel free to make this Honey Chocolate Brownie recipe this month or any month of the year. And since its Rosh Hashana, this is a great way to celebrate a sweet New Year.

This Honey Chocolate Brownies recipe won the 2000 Huron County Fair Blue Ribbon. I've adapted it slightly. Just as different cocoa will change the taste of these brownies, so will the honey. Try these brownies with different honey and chocolate combinations. I get my local honey from my favorite beekeepers.

HONEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

Ingredients
1 cup softened unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup DARK cocoa

Directions
In mixer, beat butter until creamy.
Slowly add honey, mixing constantly.
Add eggs, vanilla, and salt.
Add cocoa.
Add flour.
Fold in nuts.
Make sure the batter is mixed completely.
Pour batter into greased 9x13x2 inch. deep pan and bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake


I love Fall with its infinite variety of apples.  Here's a great way to make the most of the apple harvest. This fabulous Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake (recipe originally from Sunset Magazine) is a great way to celebrate the Fall Equinox and/or Rosh Hashana. I use tart apples in this recipe because I like the combination of tart and sweet. Try different apple varieties. Also, you can use your favorite dark chocolate instead of chocolate chips. Chop into chips.

Chocolate Chip Apple Bundt Cake

Ingredients 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chunks)

Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease and flour one 9 or 10 inch Bundt Pan.
In large bowl, cream butter with sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and vanilla.
Stir flour, cocoa, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg together. Beat this mixture into creamed mixture.
Fold in chopped apples and semisweet chocolate chips (or chocolate chocolate chunks).
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 325 degrees F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tests done when toothpick is inserted near center. Do not overbake. Start checking at one hour.
Transfer to a rack to cool.

Photo: Sunset Magazine

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds for Rosh Hashana

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts tomorrow night. I've already posted a recipe for Chocolate Honey Cake for a sweet New Year, but here's another. This time for Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah,  a "new fruit" is eaten. It's usually a fruit that has recently come into season but that you haven't yet had the opportunity to eat. Traditionally, one says the shehechiyanu blessing thanking God for keeping you and yours alive and bringing you to this season. This ritual reminds everyone to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them.

A pomegranate is often the new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot (commandments). Another reason given for blessing and eating pomegranate on Rosh Hashanah is that one wishes that good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate.

For this recipe for Dark Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds, I buy packages of Pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe's, but you can always go the old fashioned way and buy two whole pomegranates and remove the seeds. For an easy way to deseed pomegranates, see this post. Rich bittersweet dark chocolate goes very well with the tart pomegranate flavor, and the textures meld well. Even if you're not celebrating the Jewish New Year, Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Seeds make a great snack, and you'll enjoy the benefits of both sources of antioxidants. 

DARK CHOCOLATE COVERED POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients
Pomegranate Seeds
About 7 ounces (depending how many seeds you have) of good quality Dark Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped

Directions
Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or saucepan on top of saucepan of simmering water. Stir to make sure chocolate doesn't burn.
Add dry pomegranate seeds (so if they've been in the refrigerator make sure to dry them) to melted chocolate and fold gently with rubber spatula until seeds are thoroughly covered.
Spoon clusters of mixture onto wax or parchment paper.
Place wax or parchment papered cookie sheet in refrigerator and let chocolate covered seeds cool for several hours or overnight.
Keep refrigerated. Will last 3-4 days.

No time to cook? 
Trader Joe's sells chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.