Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chocolate Chile Powder

How much fun to have been in the kitchen when this spicy delight was whipped up. What a great idea - the marriage of deep dark chocolate and smoky chipotle. How to use it? This week's Friday Four Gluten Free Chocolate Chile Cake is one great idea - but the possibilities are unlimited - like this adult hot cocoa or "chocolate milk"

1 TB Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp Chocolate Chile Powder

2 TB Water

1 TB Sugar

1 Cup Milk

¼ Cup Coffee Liqueur

Whisk the cocoa powder, chocolate chile powder, water and sugar together in a small pan until smooth. Add the milk and heat to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the coffee liqueur. Serve warm or over crushed ice.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scattered, Smothered and Covered...

I betcha didn’t know there was a Waffle House Museum. A tribute to all the scattered, smothered and covered that have been eaten?

I have a fond spot in my heart for this roadside favorite, having eaten Christmas dinner there in1993. (Long story, trust me.) So, I was excited to join my fellow intrepid Atlanta Culinary Historians on a tour through the past 60 years of waffle history. The fun museum is located in the first ever Waffle House – in Avondale, Georgia, a quick drive from downtown. In 1955, the restaurant was opened by a pair of locals interested in a 24-hour restaurant. In the early years, the chain cooked everything in house except for 3 items: Post Toasties, Ketchup and Coca Cola. Today over 1400 “Good Food Fast” restaurants are open in 25 states.

The outing is fun for nostalgia fans, and great for kids, (okay, I liked the paper hats, too!). You’ll find lots of weird and wonderful info about Waffle House, like what’s the most ordered item on the Waffle House menu? No! It’s not the hash browns. It’s the T-bone steak. Who knew?

Check out my ezine, The Friday Four, for a recipe inspired by the visit. This week's Buttermilk Honey Breakfast Cake with Strawberries is a delicious bite you can enjoy on the days you don't go to Waffle House:)

Chocolate Chubby Cake

Sometimes it just has to be cake. Chocolate Cake, if you are asking my opinion. This cake is called a chubby cake – not because of its implication for our thighs – but for the coconut in the frosting that makes it round and “chubby”. My friend, Ann, the creative cook behind the original chubby recipe, claims anyone can make a cake look good when you add coconut to the frosting. She’s right! The lumpy, bumpy, crinkly coconut makes this cake a snap to frost.

I have tinkered and played around with it to make it a little lighter and a bit less chubby. Make it this weekend and share it with your family and friends.

Chocolate Chubby Cake

4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 60% Cacao)

½ Cup Strong Black Coffee

1 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 ½ Tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature

¾ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

½ Cup Natural Applesauce, (No added Sugar)

2 Large Eggs

8 Egg Whites, Divided

1 Tsp Vanilla

1 Cup Light Buttermilk

Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting

Step One Preheat your oven to 350F. Spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with nonstick spray. Cover the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and spray with the nonstick spray.

Step Two Melt the chocolate and coffee together over very low heat – or in the microwave fpr 1 ½ minutes. Stir to remove any lumps.

Step Three Whisk together the flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Add the applesauce, and beat to incorporate. Add the eggs and 4 of the egg whites to the mixing bowl, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the melted chocolate mixture and the vanilla into the bowl. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

Step Four In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 4 egg whites with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter with long sweeping strokes.

Step Five Place the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the pans. When cool, frost with the Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting

4 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 60% Cacao)

½ Cup Strong Black Coffee, plus more if needed

1 Tsp Vanilla

¼ Cup Cocoa Powder

4 - 6 Cups Confectioners Sugar

2 Cups *Unsweetened Coconut Flakes, Toasted

STEP ONE Melt the chocolate and coffee together over very low heat – or in the microwave fpr 1 ½ minutes. Stir to remove any lumps.

STEP TWO Place the chocolate mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer, add the vanilla and beat on low speed to combine. Add the cocoa powder. Starting with the 4 cups of confectioners sugar, slowly add in the sugar and then the coconut flakes. Check to see the consistency of the frosting, and if more stiffness is needed – add the additional sugar.

*Try to find unsweetened coconut flakes if possible – they taste more like real coconut. To toast, spread the flakes on a sheet pan and place in a 350F for about 10 minutes or until they turn golden.