Spring Blossoms

Friday, January 25, 2008

Chocolate Cake

When a chocolate cake is this delectable, it makes parting such sweet sorrow.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
6 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup very hot water

4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon very hot water

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and diced
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15 1/2" x 10 1/2" jelly-roll pan with parchment paper; spray paper with nonstick cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt at medium speed until blended. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Gradually beat egg mixture into flour mixture, about 5 minutes. Shift mixer to low speed; add hot water until blended. Pour batter into pan. Bake until toothpick comes out of the center clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cake completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg yolks at medium speed until they become lemon colored and ribbonlike when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until sugar completely dissolves and syrup just comes to a boil. Increase heat to high; boil syrup until it registers 238°F on a candy thermometer. With the mixer on medium speed, immediately add syrup to beaten egg yolks in a thin, steady stream. Beat mixture until it cools to room temperature and is light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Gradually add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. In a cup, dissolve espresso powder in hot water; beat into buttercream.

In a large bowl, combine chocolate and butter. In a small saucepan, heat cream and sugar over medium-high flame, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles appear around edge of pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate; stir until chocolate and butter melt and mixture is completely smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until thickened but not pasty, about 15 minutes.

Invert cake onto a large wire rack; peel off parchment paper. Invert cake again onto a large cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut cake into equal thirds.

Set a large wire rack over a sheet of waxed paper. Arrange one cake layer on rack; spread half of buttercream evenly over top. Add another cake layer; spread top with remaining buttercream. Place remaining cake layer on top.

Pour ganache over top of cake, spreading with a spatula so it coats the sides. If ganache does not cover sides completely, pour any excess that has collected on the waxed paper back into bowl and spread again. Refrigerate cake until ganache sets, about 1 hour. Use two large spatulas to transfer cake onto a serving platter.

Recipe from: The Oprah Magazine

Pineapple Crush Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) box pineapple or lemon cake mix
8 ounces cream cheese
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups chilled milk
1 (4 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

Make cake according to directions on package. Bake in a 13 x 9-inch
pan which has been greased and lined with wax paper. Let cake cool
and place in refrigerator for several hours. Split the cake, making 2
layers. Cooling makes it easier to split.

For the filling, beat cream cheese until fluffy; add to this the
package of instant vanilla pudding and 2 cups cold milk. Mix or beat
mixture in a small bowl for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spread on
cooled half of cake. Spoon over filling mixture the can of drained
crushed pineapple. Top with the other half of the cake. Spread
whipped topping over sides and top of cake. Store in refrigerator
overnight. This is better made the day before you serve it

Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt and pepper
6 chicken legs
6 chicken thighs
10 cups chicken stock
6 large carrots, diced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons mashed roasted garlic cloves
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons baking powder
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons kosher salt


1. Heat the stock in a large, heavy pot and cook the chicken thighs and legs over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool, reserving the stock in its pot. Remove the chicken and discard the skin. Pick the chicken from the bones and set meat aside.

2. To make the dumplings, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the heavy cream to mixture, stirring just utnil dough is thick and sticky. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead the dough until you can roll it out to a thickness of 1/16 inch.

3. Add the garlic, onion, and carrots to the stock and reheat over medium heat just until boiling. Cut the dough into dumplings that measure 1 by 1-inch. Add the dumplings to boiling stock, cover, and simmer, cooking for about 20 minutes. Add the chicken meat and salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro. Serve hot.

Recipe courtesy of The Texas Cowboy Kitchen

Beef Stroganoff

Copied from an old Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt 1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed beef consomme or broth (I like the added richness of consomme)
1 pound beef sirloin steak, cut across the grain, diagonally in 1/4-inch-wide strips 1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
5 tablespoons butter, divided 2 tablespoons sherry or cognac
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced 3 cups hot cooked egg noodles
1/2 cup onion, chopped paprika and parsley, for garnish
1 clove garlic, minced

Instructions for Beef Stroganoff
Combine 1 tablespoon flour and the salt. Dredge the meat in the flour mixture. Heat a large skillet, then add 2 tablespoons butter. When melted, add the sirloin strips and brown quickly on all sides. Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onion is barely tender.

Remove the meat and mushrooms from the skillet. Add 3 tablespoons butter to the pan drippings. When melted, blend in 3 tablespoons flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Slowly pour in the consomme. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Return the meat and mushrooms to the skillet and simmer until meat is heated through, about 2 minutes. Combine sour cream with a little of the hot broth (this tempers the sour cream and helps to prevent curdling), then stir in the sour cream mixture and sherry. Stir briefly. Heat through but do not let boil, just simmer for a few minutes before serving.

Serve over hot buttered noodles. Garnish with paprika and parsley, if desired.

Strawberry Dump Cake

This is so quick and Easy. For anyones busy schedule ! If unexpected company arrives, this is a great dessert.

2 cans of Crushed Pineapple
1 Pie Filling Strawberry Comstock
1 box of Yellow Cake Mix Duncan
2 cups of Walnuts/Pecans

Pre-heat Oven at 350 Spray 10 X 13 Pan with PAM Pour Pineapple Pour Pie Filling Cover evenly with Cake Mix and Pat down a bit Pour Nuts Put in Oven for 45 Minutes Let cool for 15 minutes


Cream of Potato Soup

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup water
1 celery rib, diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
In a small saucepan, bring the potato and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender.
In a small skillet, saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Add to potato mixture. Stir in the milk, parsley, salt and pepper; heat through. Yield: 2 servings.

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