Wednesday, February 21, 2018

CHOCOLATE CINNAMON BUNS: National Sticky Bun Day!

Today is National Sticky Bun Day! I love Cinnamon Buns, and what could be better than Chocolate Sticky Buns! Here's a great Retro Betty Crocker Gold Medal Flour Advertisement and Recipe for Chocolate Cinnamon Buns.

Chocolate Cinnamon Buns

Ingredients
3/4 cup warm water (not hot - 110 to 115 degrees)
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup cocoa  (use DARK cocoa for richness)
2 and 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 Tablespoon soft unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons sugar
chopped pistachio nuts (or almonds or pecans)

Directions
In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add shortening, salt, sugar, egg, cocoa, and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes, medium speed on mixer or 300 vigorous strokes by hand. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Stir in remaining flour; blend well. Scrape sides of bowl.
Cover with cloth; let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double in bulk, about 1 hour. (If kitchen is cool, place dough on rack over bowl of hot water; cover completely with towel.)
Stir down by beating 25 strokes. Turn soft dough out on well floured cloth-covered board.
Roll into rectangle, 12 x 9". Spread with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll up, beginning at wide side. Pinch edge into roll. Cut 12 pieces.
Place in greased 9" square pan. Let rise in warm place (85 degrees) until double, about 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees (quick mod.). Bake 25 minutes.
Remove from pan, frost top immediately with icing (3/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar moistened with cream or milk to spreading consistency.) Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

CHOCOLATE CHERRY PIE: National Cherry Pie Day

So today is National Cherry Pie Day, but since it's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm not sure why this food holiday shows up in February. Many markets carry cherries from Mexico and countries in South America, so check around. All of my markets have fresh cherries. Or, you can wait and bookmark this recipe to make in the summer.

But, if you can get fresh cherries, I suggest you make Chocolate Cherry Pie today. This recipe is from Allison Arevalo who posted this on Local Lemons several years ago.

This Chocolate Cherry Pie is indeed one of the most decade, and rich dark chocolate with a butter pie crust, this is positively sinful. The directions and photos on Local Lemons are outstanding.

I use pre-made pie crusts from Trader Joe's, but check the link if you want to make an outstanding pie crust that includes graham cracker crumbs as well as a good flour.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY PIE

Ingredients
2 pre-made deep dish pie crusts
2 1/2 pounds fresh cherries (about 2 pounds pitted)
1/2 cup agave nectar
4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded chocolate. (Mostly dark, with some milk chocolate mixed in, also chopped in food processor)

Directions
Filling
Pit cherries using cherry-pitter and put in large bowl. Add chopped chocolate, 4 Tbsp flour, and agave nectar. Gently toss until cherries are well coated.
Preheat oven to 400F.
With pre-made pie dough that's been rolled out. Fit into 9 inch pie dish. Carefully pick up and place in dish, cutting off overhang. Fill dough with cherry mixture. Roll out second piecrust and place on top of pie. Pinch sides closed with thumb and forefinger, and use sharp knife to cut three vents into top of crust. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 25 minutes in middle of oven. Lower heat to 350F and bake for 25 more minutes.  

Photo: Local Lemons with permission

Cartoon of the Day: Flour


Monday, February 19, 2018

MARTHA WASHINGTON'S DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE: Presidents Day!

Martha Washington was known for entertaining, and who better than to put forth a recipe for Devil's Food Cake than the First First Lady. Her Devil's Food Cake is a classic chocolate-buttermilk cake that has been handed down through the generations, republished (with variations) by baking chocolate companies and appearing on thousands of websites. Presidents Day is a celebration of Presidential Birthdays, and this is the perfect Birthday Cake.

This recipe is from Capitol Hill Cooks: Recipes from the White House, Congress and All of the Past Presidents by Linda Bauer (Taylor). The collection of appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts, from two centuries worth of politicos, is a benefit for Homes for Our Troops, which helps injured veterans build or adapt their homes for handicapped accessibility.

Martha Washington's Devil's Food Cake

Ingredients
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, divided
2 -1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9-by-15-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
Melt chocolate in double boiler. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup buttermilk, and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
 Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder, baking soda, and salt and sift together three times.
Cream butter thoroughly. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add about quarter of the flour mixture, mix thoroughly. Add chocolate mixture and blend. Add remaining flour, alternately with buttermilk, a small amount at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add vanilla.
Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until done. Let cool. When completely cooled, trim edges and cut rectangular cake in half crosswise to make a two-layer cake. Fill and frost with icing of your choice.


Illustration: San Jose Mercury News Staff