As with every IMAX Thanksgiving potluck, I test out my annual holiday dessert that I make a number of times across the various social gatherings. This year, I picked a not-so-seasonal dessert and went with the chocolate and earl grey combination. I had seen a number of different recipes pairing those two flavors together, but the Real Simple one caught my eye.
The texture of the bundt cake is great. You get a nice crust that’s reminiscent of a brownie, though no where near as thick, and the inside is moist. I’ve made this with full-fat sour cream subbed for the yogurt, used nonfat greek yogurt, and whole fat regular. There wasn’t a big difference in flavor with any of those versions.
Heat oven to 350° F. Coat an 8-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray.
Brew the tea in the water 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags or strain the leaves and set the brewed tea aside.
Using a mixer, beat the butter, eggs, and granulated sugar until fluffy. Blend in the chocolate.
Beat in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, yogurt, and brewed tea. [NOTE: If you use a stand mixer to blend the ingredients in this step, it will make a huge mess even if you start it on low. I’ve made this four times to date, and it’s happened every single time. I would recommend whisking everything in until everything is just combined.]
Pour into pan. The batter will be a little runny.
Bake 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Turn out of pan and cool.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
I ended up making 5 of these between Thanksgiving and Christmas between all of the family dinners and potlucks. I would say the only pain is cleaning the crevices of the bundt pan that ALWAYS have crumbs stuck to them!
Proud to finally share my first double-crust pie with a really great apple filling! I made my first attempt was last Thanksgiving (photos are from that time), and I made it again for Christmas as adapted in the recipe below. I found the filling recipe in the New York Times. I thought there was a bit too much apple cider vinegar the first time I made this, so I’d recommend cutting it down from 1 tablespoon to 2 teaspoons. Here’s the recipe as adapted:
2 T unsalted butter
2 ½pounds apples, peeled and cored, then cut into wedges (5 large honeycrisps will do it)
Melt butter in a large saute pan set over medium-high heat and add apples to the pan. Stir to coat fruit with butter and cook, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, whisk together the spices, salt and 3/4 cup sugar, and sprinkle this over the pan, stirring to combine. Lower heat and cook until apples have started to soften, approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk flour and cornstarch together while the apples are cooking.
Sprinkle flour mixture little by little over the apples while stirring to prevent lumps, cooking another 3 to 5 minutes. I hate having lumps, so I used a mesh colander to sift it over the filling. Remove pan from heat, add cider vinegar, stir and scrape fruit mixture into a bowl and allow to cool completely. NOTE: The fruit mixture will cool faster if spread out on a rimmed baking sheet – line with parchment paper for easier clean up.
Place a large baking sheet on the middle rack of oven and preheat to 425 degrees Farenheit. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12″ in diameter. Fit this crust into a 9-inch pie plate, trimming it to leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Place this plate, with the dough, in the freezer.
Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 10 or 11 inches in diameter.
Remove pie crust from freezer and put the cooled pie filling into it. Cover with remaining dough. Press the edges together, trim the excess, then crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Using a sharp knife, cut three or four steam vents in the top of the crust. Lightly brush the top of the pie with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar.
Place pie in oven and bake on hot baking sheet for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 375. Continue to cook until the interior is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes more. Remove and allow to cool on a kitchen rack, about two hours.
I made this for a two different parties, one with and one without the peppermint and I did find some people just don’t like mint and chocolate together, while others just do. If I made this again, I’d make half the batch with the mint and half plain. I found the Cookies and Cups’ version to be a little too sweet, so the second time around, I added a wee bit of salt to mellow it out a little.
1/2 C butter, room temperature
4 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C dry hot chocolate mix (about 2 packets; without mini marshmallows)
1/3 C + 1 TBSP heavy whipping cream
In a small saucepan combine hot chocolate mix and cream. Heat over medium until hot and steaming…not quite boiling, stirring consistently. You want the sugar in the hot chocolate to dissolve. Set aside to cool.
In large mixing bowl cream butter until smooth.
Add in powdered sugar and salt, and mix until combined. It will be very dry.
Turn mixer to low and slowly pour in your hot chocolate mixture (I learned the second time around that it’s easier than throwing it all in and then mixing it together). Once all is added turn mixer up to medium and beat for about a minute until light and fluffy, scarping down sides of bowl when necessary.
Spread or pipe on cupcakes.
(OPTIONAL): If you want to make mint hot chocolate frosting, just pulverize some of your leftover candy canes in a food processor and sprinkle over the top. I saw these pink mint-flavored marshmallows at Target and thought it sounded good but it didn’t look that appealing (see gallery).
In thinking about some of my posts from the last year, I realized that I have really just gotten all about the food and less about…anything else! Time to sit, reflect, and put pen to paper has definitely dissipated greatly but I fully intend to get back into it and soon!
But for now, another food post.
I made this as part of the 2013 Holiday Bake-A-Thon to give away as packaged gifts, and munchies for a housewarming get-together Kev and I had recently and the Super Bowl. The sweet and savory flavors make this snack seriously addicting, and it makes a huge batch that is perfect for gifting or sharing.
Shirley sent me the original recipe a few years ago, and I’ve adapted it as such:
1/2 C light corn syrup (I used Karo brand)
1/2 C of sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C butter (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 T soy sauce
2 bags of microwavable popcorn (I used kettle corn)
1 box of Rice Chex cereal
1 box of Corn Chex cereal
1 lb bag of mini pretzels
1 lb mixed nuts (optional)
1 bottle of Furikake
You can also sub half of both of the chex cereals for a box of honeycomb, or whatever combination you like. It’s totally customizable to whatever cereal, popcorn, chips, etc. you feel like throwing in. Just make sure you’re not overdoing it with the dry ingredients, or there will be too much for the wet ingredients to coat evenly.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat and melt the first 5 ingredients above in a pan or small pot. A nonstick pan or pot will make clean-up easier.
In two extra large aluminum pans (or two large roasting pans if you have them), divide and mix all the dry ingredients together EXCEPT the Furikake.
Pour a fourth of the wet mixture over the cereal in both pans and mix well. Then divide and pour the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
Place both trays in the oven for an hour, mixing about every 10-15 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, divide and pour the Furikake over the cereal mix and mix well.
Butternut squash and pumpkin are the two produce staples that make transitioning into cold weather so much easier. Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite go-to’s on a cold day. I personally am not a fan of the cream-based version, as it feels like I’m eating ice cream without the satisfaction of…eating ice cream. The butternut squash soup at Fresh Corn Grill in West LA is hands down my favorite butternut squash soup – dairy-free, not too sweet, not too salty – perfect every time. I wanted to try and recreate it as one of the courses for the Christmas dinner I made for my dad and I last year (yes, this post is VERY late). The ingredients in a recipe I found on Simply Recipes seemed like it would taste pretty similar to FCG’s.
Let me just start by saying – ANYONE can make butternut squash soup. You basically just chop up a bunch of veggies, cook it in broth, and then blend it all together. If you overcook it, it doesn’t matter! I broke out the blender I had been neglecting since I bought it on black Friday a couple years ago.
Here’s the recipe!
Note that the smaller you chop your vegetables, the faster they will cook. 1/2-inch chunks work just fine for the apple and butternut squash, but I would recommend finely dicing the onion, celery, and carrot.
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
Pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper
Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and heat the butter for 1-2 minutes. Do not let it turn brown. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, taking care to turn the heat down if the vegetables begin to brown.
Add squash, apple, broth and water. Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until squash and carrots soften. Puree, and return to a clean pot.
Add salt and spices to taste, and garnish with chives or parsley.
I paired this as an opener to the Filet Mignon with Balsamic Pan Sauce and Truffle Oil that we had at Christmas dinner. It was definitely sweeter than Fresh Corn Grill’s – probably because of the apple. I think if I were to make this again in an effort to mimic FCG’s, I would nix the apple and triple the amount of celery and carrot and lessen the amount of spice. I was definitely heavy-handed with the latter. I still couldn’t get enough of this recipe though – I’ve made it two more times since.