Everyday Chocolate Cake

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I’m not sure if it is called “Everyday” because it is a simple cake, or that you should make it every day.  I’m going with the latter.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup  unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 cup  buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted chocolate (whatever leftover chips or scraps you may have)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Fold in melted chocolate. Scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure everything is mixed in.

Pour the batter into loaf pan and bake for 70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes before you turn out.

I got the recipe here.

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Pistachio Topped Brownies

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A nutty twist on a classic.

INGREDIENTS

90 grams of unsweetened chocolate, chopped
115 grams of butter
270 grams of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt + sprinkle flaked salt for topping
90 grams flour
1/4 cup of roasted and chopped pistachio nuts

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 8″x8″ brownie pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

In a medium, microwave safe bowl, combine chopped chocolate and cubed butter. In 30 second intervals, melt butter & chocolate until smooth.  Don’t overheat the chocolate. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Gently stir in flour and scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with pistachios and flaked salt and bake for 30 minutes. Toothpick should come out clean. Let them cool and then cut in big or small pieces.

Eight-Strand Plaited Loaf

I started watching a new season a the Great British Bake Off and I couldn’t resist. Reprinting this recipe from the BBC.

INGREDIENTS

500g/1lb 2oz strong bread flour
7g sachet fast action dried yeast
10g/¼oz fine salt
1½ tbsp olive oil
extra flour for dusting
sunflower oil for greasing bowl
1 free-range egg, beaten lightly with a pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and add the salt on the other side. Salt should not be placed on top of the yeast, as it can kill it and make in in-active. Stir the ingredients together until evenly mixed.

Add a good splash of olive oil. Measure out 340ml/12fl oz water and add three-quarters to the flour mixture, and mix together by hand, then add the rest of the liquid.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead by hand until the dough looks silky and stretchy. This will take approximately 10 minutes.

Oil a medium sized mixing bowl and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with cling film and set aside to rise, for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in size.

When risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead, to knock the dough back. Shape the dough into a ball.

Divide the dough into eight equal pieces then roll out each piece into a strand about 40cm/16in long.

Lay the strands out on the lightly floured surface like an octopus, fanned out from a central point at the top. Stick all the ends at the central point to the table with your thumb.

For the following braiding sequence, number the strands of dough from 1-8 from left to right. Every time you move any strand it will take the new number of its position in the row. Step 1: place 8 under 7 and over 1 Step 2: place 8 over 5 Step 3: place 2 under 3 and over 8 Step 4: place 1 over 4 Step 5: place 7 under 6 and over 1 Repeats step 2-5, until all the dough is braided.

Tuck both ends of the loaf underneath to give a tidy finish.

Place the plaited dough onto a floured baking tray, and leave to prove for another hour, until risen again.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Brush the loaf with the beaten egg wash and bake in the oven for 20-25mins.

Twisted & Stuffed Muffins

I added some strawberry jam and whipped cream when I saw someone else do it!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons butter, softened and cubed + 2 tablespoons softened butter for laminating
1 egg, beaten (for brushing)

Filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom

DIRECTIONS

In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together bread flour, all-purpose flour, instant dry yeast and salt. Add 1/2 cup lukewarm milk and knead on low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a little more milk if it has difficulty coming together.

Add 3 1/2 tablespoons cubed butter, and knead on low for 5 to 7 minutes until incorporated. Increase speed to medium and knead for 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rest for 40 to 45 minutes at room temperature.

Mix the filling by putting all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing until combined.

Roll the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and cut into 8 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, dust dough with a little flour and roll out as thin as possible. Lay the dough flat on the counter and spread some of the the softened compound butter over the dough. Sprinkle on some of the filling. Roll the dough from one small end to the other as tightly as possible. Cut it in half lengthwise. With the cut side facing out, twist it into a knot and tuck the ends underneath. Place in a buttered muffin tin. Twist the other knot. Repeat with the other 7 pieces of dough until you have 16 knots.

Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise for 2 to 3 hours until fully doubled in size or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush cruffins with egg wash, and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool. Cut out a whole in the middle and fill with jam. Top with a dollop of whipped cream.

Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

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It’s like a dulce de leche sandwich on snickerdoodle bread.

INGREDIENTS

Cookies

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground anise
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup for rolling
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Dulce de leche Filling

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Take the paper label off the can of sweetened condensed milk and place it in a pot large enough to cover it with at least 1 inch of water. Boil for two hours on a low boil always making sure can is covered in water.  Let it cool before opening.

For the cookies: Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and anise. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, until just combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Combine cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a shallow dish. Scooping out the dough 2 teaspoons at a time, roll into 16 balls, roll around in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat, and space them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until edges are firm, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on the sheet for 1 minute and then gently place each warm cookie in the cinnamon sugar and turn to coat evenly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat twice more with the remaining dough.

Please make sure that dulce de leche has cooled before opening and pipe filling over the bottom of half of the cookies then top with the remaining cookies pressing lightly to adhere.

I worked with this recipe.

Ciambellone

Thank you, Smitten Kitchen, for the inspiration for my parent’s Anniversary Cake.

INGREDIENTS

Cake

400 grams sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Finely grated zest of half an orange
325 ml of neutral oil (such as sunflower, safflower, grapeseed or another vegetable oil)
285 grams plain yogurt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
390 grams flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup finely chopped strawberries

GLAZE

120 grams powdered sugar
Scant 2 tablespoons corn syrup
About 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat bundt or tube cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and coat with granulated sugar. Knock out any excess sugar from pan.
Place sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest into it. Whisk in oil, yogurt, and then eggs and vanilla until smooth. Sprinkle baking powder over batter and whisk it thoroughly into the batter, about 10 good turns. Sift flour onto batter and use a rubber spatula to stir just until batter is smooth. Gently fold in strawberries.

Drop batter in large scoopfuls equally around your cake mold, then smooth, and drop on counter a few times to ensure there are no trapped air bubbles. Bake for about 40 minutes (times will range by shape and volume of pan), checking in at the 30 minute mark to rotate the pan for even coloring, and to ensure it’s not baking faster than anticipated. Cake is done when a toothpick or tester comes out batter-free.

Glaze: Whisk sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice together until smooth, adding the last tablespoon of juice just if needed. You want this glaze thick, thicker than your regular drizzle glaze, because we want it to stick to the sides of the cake when it’s hot.

When cake is done, let it rest on a cooling rack for 3 to 5 minutes, then remove it from the pan. Brush glaze evenly over the top of the cake, and sides if you wish.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I ran out of raisins so I tried something new and they are delicious.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, well-packed
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup almond butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 cups of old-fashioned oats

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix butter, sugars, vanilla. and eggs thoroughly until light and fluffy.  Add cinnamon, then mix in nuts and almond butter.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Stir in rolled oats.  Use a small ice cream scoop to form each cookie.  Press down halfway with a fork and bake for 10-12 minutes.  They should be a golden color.

Raspberry Summer Cake

Berry cake and summer go together like Daltry and Townshend.

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and zest. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more.

I got the recipe here.

Kid Cookies

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Cover these cookies with any sprinkles you like.  You will always get a smile.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking large sheets with parchment paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to blend. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yogurt, butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and extracts and blend again. Add flour mixture and beat just until flour disappears. In some cases, this dough will feel too soft to roll into balls in your hands; if so, let it chill in the fridge for 20 minutes or so before using.

Use a small ice cream scoop to make balls of dough and roll them briefly in the palms of your hands before dropping them in a bowl of rainbow sprinkles and gently rolling to coat them evenly.

Transfer balls of sprinkle-coated dough to baking sheets at least two inches apart. Use the palm of your hand to press down on the cookies until they are about 1/4 to 1/2-inch tall. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until they look underbaked but lightly golden underneath. Let set on the baking sheet on a rack for a few minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

MJ’s Sparkly Cupcakes

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When you dear friend celebrates a birthday you make sure you bake.  Amy Sedaris’ recipe for cupcakes is exceptional.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups milk
Amy Sedaris’s Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

PREPARATION

Turn oven on to 375 degrees F.

Put butter in mixer and beat at medium speed until somewhat smooth. Pour in sugar and beat well. Add 2 eggs. Mix well. Add: vanilla, baking powder, salt, flour, and milk. Beat until it looks like it is supposed to and pour into individual baking cups, until they are about 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Follow directions in link for frosting.  This recipe is too good to mess with. Frost and decorate as desired.