Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nothing Bundt Cake

Hope you all had a great Christmas! Here's a recipe that you can use to get you through the blah's of January. It would also be a great recipe to use to celebrate New Year's Eve next week. Whenever you choose to serve it, it will be amazing! The recipe for this cake originally called for a cream cheese frosting, but when I made it that way, it seemed as thought the cream cheese and chocolate flavors competed instead of blending. So when I made this for a Christmas party last week, I changed the frosting for a simple chocolate ganache with white chocolate swirls on the top. I loved it, the chocolate just went a lot better than the cream cheese did. 

Nothing Bundt Cake
adapted from Favorite Family Recipes

1 package devil's food cake, German chocolate cake, or chocolate cake mix
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the first 6 ingredients together, you can either use an electric mixer, or use your stand mixer like I did. Stir in the chocolate chips, it's really important to use smaller chips in things like this cake, because larger chips tend to hold together instead of flavoring the whole cake and they also tend to sink in batters. If you don't want to use the mini chocolate chips, you can use the same amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips and chop them coarsely. Pour batter into a greased (I use Pam for baking) Bundt cake pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cook in the pan for 20 minutes, before removing from the pan. Place cake on a plate. Wrap immediately with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I refrigerated mine overnight this time, but you could also bake the cake in the morning and just decorate it right before you're ready to serve it. 

Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl with the stick of butter and microwave on high for one minute. Stir and continue microwaving in 30 second increments until the ganache is smooth and combined. Pour over cake using a spoon, I tried to make this look almost like frosting. You might have a bit of extra, but a little extra ganache is a wonderful thing to eat!

Place the white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave, I started with 30 seconds here, because without the extra fat the butter brings, it could get over-cooked very quickly. Then use 10 to 15 second intervals, stirring in between until smooth. Then using a spoon, you can just drizzle it on. 

Allow to set up until the dark chocolate is no longer shiny. You can stick it in the fridge if you want to accelerate this process. Slice and serve. Mmmmm, heaven!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

You know that Santa Wants These Cookies Next Week!

Guess who's coming in just a few days!!! I know that all of you out there are going to be making cookies for the big guy next week. I also have it on good authority that these are just the ones that he's going to want with a nice big glass of milk. (None of the rest of you are going to complain either!) So here's an early Christmas Gift from Cutler's, an amazing recipe for simply amazing cookies, or you could always just come and buy some from us! Merry Christmas from all of us at Cutler's, hope all of your wishes come true.

Cutler's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla 
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda  3 1/4 cup flour (we use cake, but all-purpose should be about the same)
2 cups (one 12-ounce bag) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I suppose you could add milk 
chocolate chips if you really wanted to!)

Cream sugar and butter/margarine.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Mix until well blended.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Mix.

Cook at 350 for 10-12 minutes.  Cookies are done when lightly browned at the edges and crackled on top.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spinach-Chicken Stromboli

I like to use recipes that use other ingredients that I already have on-hand or know how to make really quickly. This is one of those recipes for me. It starts with a basic bread stick dough and then you add chicken, left-over would work great and a few other things. It comes together really quickly and it tastes amazing! It's kind of like an inside-out pizza.

Spinach-Chicken Stromboli
Our Best Bites, Mormon Moms in the Kitchen by Sara Wells and Kate Jones page 160
1 recipe bread stick dough, or you can use a tube of refrigerated pizza crust
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, divided (I use the pre-shredded kind from the store)
2 cups loosely packed spinach leaves (you can leave them out if you hate them!)
8 ounces shredded, cooked chicken breast (about 2 cups)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
Alfredo Sauce, or Marinara to dip in

Preheat your oven to the temperature the bread stick dough specifies, or if you're using the refrigerated pizza crust, to that temperature. Roll the dough into a 12x15 inch rectangle on a floured surface (I simply spayed our baking sheet with baking spray and used it.)  Spread 1 1/2 teaspoon of the oil over the surface of the crust. Then sprinkle with the Italian Seasoning and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan. Sprinkle them as evenly as you can.

The next toppings that go on will need to be an inch away from the edges, just for ease of rolling up the Stromboli. You also want to get the toppings on as evenly as you can. Spread the spinach leave, chicken and tomatoes over the dough.

Then, rolling from the longer end of the rectangle, roll up like a cinnamon roll. Pinch the seam shut and then pinch each of the ends shut and tuck them under. 

Place the seam side down on your baking sheet, that keeps the pretty side up. Brush the Stromboli with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Cut 3 slits along the top with a sharp knife to let the steam escape. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, you're looking for the top to be golden brown. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 1 inch thick slices. Serve with your favorite Alfredo sauce or Marinara sauce for dipping. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

French Baguettes

I know what you're thinking, but I promise this recipe is super simple and just yummy! You can eat these baguettes plain, with butter, as garlic bread, virtually any thing you can think of bread-wise can be done with these. And the best part, it's only going to take you about 45 minutes total to make these babies!

French Baguettes
The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner
by Liz Edmunds page 225

1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (2 packets)
2 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 3/4 to 3 1/4 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 teaspoons salt
Melted butter, for brushing on loaves (optional)

Proof the yeast in a small bowl, using 1/2 cup water, all of the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir quickly to combine and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plate. Let this stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy. If this mixture doesn't get bubbly, you need to start over. 

In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, blend flour (you usually want to start with the least amount and work up as needed), salt, last teaspoon of sugar and the proofed yeast mixture. Gradually add the water, this is kind of backwards from how you would usually make bread, but I promise that it works great. You can just add all the water and extra flour, whatever makes you happy! :) Gradually add the water, until the dough forms a ball and has pulled all the water and flour into it. If it's sticky you can always add a bit more flour. Turn dough onto a floured surface and gently knead for just a few minutes, you want the dough to be smooth and elastic. 

Time for the fun part! Cut your dough in half and shape into baguettes, kind of just roll into snakes, just like you're playing with playdough! You can use a special baguette pan, if you have one, but they work just fine on a normal cookie sheet. Grease your pan and place the loaves on it. Make a shallow cut down the middle, cover the pan with a clean dish towel and allow to rise in a warm place until they've doubled (about 30 minutes).

While those loaves are rising, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees with a shallow pan of water on the lowest rack to create steam. Bake your baguettes for 15 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped with a knife. You can either brush your loaves with butter when they've baked about halfway (crispier crust) or brush them when they are completely cooked (softer crust).