Ingredient: granulated sugar

Red Velvet Redux

Growth comes in so many forms and even when you are not looking. Recently, I overheard women talking about red velvet cake, at the farmer’s market. Okay let’s be honest, I was totally eavesdropping. Anyway, one of them was looking for beets because she wanted to make an authentic, old-fashioned red velvet cake.  I said that my recipe was the best (with food coloring) and we started laughing. She asked for my recipe and I quickly said, “It’s on my blog.”.

I was inspired to make my red velvet cake too. I was in the grocery store and wanted to just confirm that I had all the ingredients. I pulled up my blog, on my phone. Wait, what? All the ingredients are carefully listed and then no directions. Ugh! This was one of my first posts with a new recipe template, and I was learning how to input everything. How many of you came here and couldn’t figure out what the heck I was thinking?

So, in the interest of accuracy, I am reposting the red-velvet cake recipe. I’ve included, in the side notes, for making it with beets, instead of food coloring. In this day and age, it is super important to make the healthy choices that feel good for you and your family.  I hope you enjoy this recipe!


Red Velvet Redux
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Red Velvet Redux
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Ingredients
Cake
Cream Cheese Frosting
Servings:
Instructions
For Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare 2 or 3 cake pans with butter, flour and parchment paper.
  2. Beat shortening, until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, then eggs. Stir in food coloring and vanilla.
  3. Combine flour, salt, and cocoa powder in medium bowl. In another bowl combine buttermilk, vinegar and baking soda. Don't be alarmed, it will bubble.
  4. Alternating with buttermilk mixture, add flour mixture to shortening mixture. Beat Well for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. Pour into prepared cake [ans and bake for 25 minutes or until tester comes out, almost, clean.
Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat all ingredients together until fluffy. It is easier to spread while still soft. Refrigerate before serving
Recipe Notes

Okay stay with me here this can get a little complicated. Using the ingredient changes noted, on the side, prepare as follows.:

1- Combine beet puree, buttermilk, vinegar, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor, until smooth.

2- Beat together, until fluffy, shortening and butter. Then add eggs, one at a time.

3- Sift dry ingredients together.

4- Alternating with beet mixture, fold flour mixture into butter mixture until all ingredients are well blended.

5- Pour into prepared pans, as above, and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, until tester comes out, almost, clean.

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Two Times the Passover

This year I am making Passover seder both nights. While that may seem daunting, I am doing a lot of it ahead of time. This is new for me. I am no martyr. I give out assignments, everyone brings and I make the recipes that are better if they don’t travel. My point is I usually do everything the day of. This year I will join legions of cooks, some that started weeks ago, and freeze and thaw.

I am making my matzoh ball soup early in the week. As long as you freeze the balls in the soup and defrost in the refrigerator, it will still be delicious. Same for the brisket, chicken, macaroons, and popovers. I can make my hard boiled eggs early in the week and even get my tables set. The only things I’ll have to do the day of is put together my seder plates and make my desserts. This year’s desserts won’t necessarily work better made ahead of time.

When going gluten-free became popular, it opened a world of recipes for Passover, too. Not all gluten-free recipes are kosher for Passover, but the flourless chocolate cake is. The one bummer of some of the flourless cakes is they tend to collapse int he middle, after baking. This year I will use that collapse to my advantage and fill with a mascarpone chantilly cream. You can dust it with some chocolate shavings or add some fresh fruit and mint for garnish. It is beautiful a tastes divine.

This cake can be made a day ahead of time. I am making this on Thursday so picture to come

Chocolate Cloud Cake
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Chocolate Cloud Cake
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Ingredients
Topping
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° and lightly butter springform pan and dust with extra sugar. Be sure to tap out excess.
  2. Combine chocolate, oil and butter in heat proof bowl and place over simmering water. Water should not be touching bowl. Stir until chocolae is melted and incorporated. Remove from heat.
  3. In a bowl whisk the 4 yolks plus 2 whole eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Temper the chocolate with the egg mixture then whisk all together, until smooth.
  4. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until frothy then gradually start adding 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue beat until you have firm peaks. Fold egg whites into chocolate mix, until just incorporated. You may want to do this in two steps.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top level. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbs. sugar.
  6. I like to put pan on a baking sheet and then bake for 35-45 minutes. The top of the cake should be cracking and the edges pulling away, slightly. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dont worry the cake is suppose to fall inthe center.
Topping
  1. Use an electric mixer, start beating the mascarpone then add the heavy cream and sugar. Beat until soft, cloud-like, peaks form.
  2. Once cake is completely cooled, loosen sides of springform and remove from cake.
  3. Mound whipped cream in center of cake and garnish with chocolate shavings or fresh fruit and mint leaves. Enjoy!
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Grandmother’s Fudgy Frosted Brownies

Oh, my Grandmother’s brownies! I remember and crave them still. She never made any secret about using a box mix for the brownies. I vaguely remember a Betty Crocker box. But she always made this frosting. It was more like fudge, but she wouldn’t put fudge on a brownie, or would she?

The frosting was thick and chocolatey. It had a graininess that let you know how much sugar was in the frosting, but it was so good. The whole brownie was sweet yet not cloying. My Grandmother always put nuts in her brownies., usually walnuts or pecans. I know that cooks are hesitant with nuts these days. I say give nuts a chance!

I tried many “southern” fudge frosting recipes and none matched my grandmother’s. So, I went to a good old-fashioned fudge recipe and changed it up a little.

It’s not too late for a quick Valentine’s Day bake so quickly run to the store and get your ingredients and get to it!

Follow the directions on the box for your brownies. While they are baking get started on your frosting. If you can pour the frosting over the brownies when they come out of the oven its great!

 


Grandmother's Fudgy Frosted Brownies
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Grandmother's Fudgy Frosted Brownies
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine sugar, milk, and butter in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Let boil for 4 minutes, while constantly stirring.
  3. Remove from heat and add in chocolate chips, salt and vanilla.
  4. Stir until chocolate has melted and it is smooth.
  5. Pour over brownies and let set-up for 2 hours. You can refrigetrate them, but it is optional. Let them cool completely before cutting.
  6. Cut into 24 brownies and serve.
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Chico Malo – Nana’s Drunken French Toast

While visiting friends in Phoenix, we had brunch at Chico Malo. For now, it is just the local Mexican/South American restaurant around the corner but keep an eye on this one. The Group that owns it is about to explode on the scene. Chico Malo literally means “bad boy” in Spanish. The menu is only good things but with a bad boy edge. The food was AMAZING!! Each item on the menu sounded better than the next. I loved that they aren’t trying to re-invent who they are with a whole new menu, for brunch.  There are things like burritos and Chimichangas and in some cases, they turn those up.

Everything we ordered was great, but I can’t get my mind off the Nana Marcella’s Drunken French Toast. I’m going to do my best to duplicate. The presentation was so beautiful and the melding of flavors so incredible. The long pieces of baguette and caramelized bananas were stacked as if building a campfire. I learned from the menu that the bread had been soaked in a tres leches bath that not only enhanced the flavor but softened the tough crust to make it easy to cut with a fork. The 5-spice butter was the perfect balance of flavors to cut the fat in the butter while giving a blend of spices that danced all around my tongue, finally landing at the back with just a hint of heat. I had my idea of what the spices were but a quick visit with the General Manager confirmed allspice, cloves, nutmeg, mace, and cinnamon.

These two hints gave me the start I needed to play mad scientist in the kitchen. I mixed eggs into the tres leches bath and I let the bread soak overnight. I did the same thing with the butter.  I played around with amounts of each spice until I felt they all shined but the heat from the cinnamon was what you remembered. And so, I began.  A couple of things I would be sure of before I started. When cutting your baguette, make sure your pieces will fit comfortably in the pan. You want them long but not so long that they fall apart when they are in the pan. Have everything you need to “build” the dish ready to go before you start cooking. This dish is better served hot, so don’t waste time getting everything together at the end. I noticed when I looked at the picture of the recipe again that there is a pool of tres leches under the toast then syrup. I ordered the Aged Rum Syrup and piloncillo from Amazon. You can probably get the piloncillo at a Latin market and make your own rum syrup by adding rum to maple syrup and reducing until the right thickness.

This dish was such a decadent start to the day. It was rich and the Mimosa I had helped to ease the richness. This is a great breakfast to share or even multiply for a breakfast buffet.


Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
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Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Chico Malo - Nana's Drunken French Toast
Print Recipe
Servings
1 but share
Servings
1 but share
Ingredients
5-spice butter
Garnish
Servings: but share
Instructions
  1. Slice the baguette, lengthwise, about 1/2" thick
  2. Whisk together milks and heavy cream with eggs.
  3. Soak bread in mixture for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  4. Cream together spices and salted butter. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together extra condensed milk and heavy cream. Set aside.
  6. Heat 1 T. vegetable oil and 1 T. butter, in pan, over medium heat. If you have a griddle it is better.
  7. Cook bread until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
  8. Flood serving plate with extra cream/milk mixture.
  9. Stack "toast" upward, as if you were building a campfire, over sauce.
  10. Place sliced bananas on "toast" and sprinkle, just bananas, with granulated sugar.
  11. Using a kitchen torch, caramelized sugar on bananas.
  12. Pour some aged rum syrup over whole dish and add a dollop of 5-spice butter on side of plate. Grate some extra piloncillo over whole dish.
  13. Serve immediately!
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