Monday, December 4, 2017

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

Christmas Day is only three weeks away!  It's a busy and exciting time of year. No doubt, some of you having already begun your Christmas baking.  This is the time of year we like to count our blessings and not our calories ;)

We are blessed with a wonderful family and wonderful friendships.  Last weekend, we were invited to watch the Big Ten football championship game between our Wisconsin Badgers vs Ohio State at the home of one of those good friends.  Sadly, the Badgers lost to Ohio State (congrats to them).  I offered to bring dessert and already knew the cake I wanted to bake to inaugurate my Kugelhopf bundt pan.  The dessert was definitely a winner!

I had recently received a wonderful new cake cookbook called Cake, I Love You that I had won from one of my long-time blogging buddies, Debbie, at Mountain Breaths and wanted to use something from that cookbook also. 

So, I went ahead with the cake I had planned to make and picked a delicious ganache recipe from my new cookbook!  It was truly wonderful dessert that received rave reviews from everyone.

This bundt cake recipe has been adapted by many...Martha Stewart, Betty Crocker, Food and Wine, etc.  It's a chocolate-sour cream cake that is moist and rich.  The ganache is dark and creamy with a hint of Irish Whiskey and Espresso. 

I did make a silly mistake though.  I waited a little to long to pour the ganache over the cake and it 'puddled' in spots.  I can tell you from my experience, do not try to take a hair dryer to soften the ganache.  It starts to separate :(  I should have added a little more warmed cream instead.  It certainly didn't affect the taste though, thankfully.  So good!

Another wonderful recent surprise was receiving this adorable tea cozy from another long-time and dear friend,  She knows how much I love MacKensie-Childs, as you can tell from my cake platter above and Christmas platter in the background of this photo.  Hand made from a talented knitter who created the design for her and just for me! So Stinkin' Cute! ♥ A gift I will cherish for years.

If you need a simple but very delicious recipe to bring to a holiday party that will feed 8-10, this is it!  Add a little whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or raspberries for an very special treat.

And, the whiskey is totally optional :)

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake with Chocolate Whiskey Ganache

For the cake:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
½ cup brewed espresso or, 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved into 1/2 cup water
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Ganache Glaze:

½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
6 oz  60% bittersweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli), chopped
2 tablespoon butter, softened 
1 Tablespoon Lyles Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
1 teaspoon brewed espresso (or ½ teaspoon instant espresso powder)
1 Tablespoon Irish whiskey, such as Jamesons or Bushmills

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Spray a 10-12 cup bundt pan or Kugelhopf pan with nonstick spray (I prefer Bakers Joy).  You may also butter the interior with softened butter and dust with flour.

Over medium heat, melt butter in a large saucepan (large enough to hold all cake ingredients). Add the cocoa powder and whisk until any lumps have disappeared.  Stir in the espresso and remove from heat.

Add the sugar, sour cream, vanilla and eggs to the cocoa mixture and whisk until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Pour it into the cocoa mixture and whisk until well blended, scraping the bottom and sides to incorporate any remaining dry ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in the bundt pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Place a large platter over the bundt pan and carefully invert the cake onto the platter. Allow to rest for a few minutes. The cake should release itself onto the platter at which time the pan cake be carefully removed.  Allow to cool completely before adding the ganache. 

For the Ganache (Adapted from Black Irish Whiskey Cake from Cake, I love You by Jill O’Connor)

Place the chopped chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl 

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the cream and espresso.  Bring just to a boil, and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 to 2 minutes to soften and then stir, starting from the center and stirring outwards, until the chocolate is melted and combined with the cream.

Add the butter, golden syrup and whiskey and stir until combined.   Allow the ganache to cool for about 10 minutes before pouring over the top of the cake allowing it to drip down the sides and interior.  If your ganache is too thick, add a little more warmed cream.

Keeps at room temperature, covered, for 4 days. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The "Everything" Oatmeal Cookie

No doubt you've heard of the Everything Bagel.  I present you with the The Everything Oatmeal Cookie!  I follow a great baker (especially sourdough bread) on Instagram by the name of @dinocurr and recently, he posted a photo of his Chocolate Chip Oatmeal cookies that looked wonderful to me. Inspired by his recipe, I added a whole kitchen sink full of extra goodies based on some web search and also what appealed to my taste buds.

If you have a Thanksgiving table full of young ones that don't like traditional Thanksgiving desserts or cranberries, here is a way to treat them to a dessert that they will love and also get a little bit of cranberry into their holiday that even they will enjoy! These cookies are almost like eating granola bars.  Not too sweet but totally delicious.

They are loaded with chocolate chips, coconut, Brickle Bits, walnuts, plumped dried cranberries and a touch of orange peel and cinnamon, with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt on top.

Add a tall glass of milk and you'll have some very happy kids...and adults too ;)  These will travel well if you are going out of town or across town for Thanksgiving.

The half pint glass that I used in my photo above is from my late mother's antique bottle collection that I cherish.  This particular jar is from a early 1900's dairy in my home town in SE Wisconsin.  Can you imagine these being delivered in horse drawn wagons? 

Over the river and through the woods ;) 

The Everything Oatmeal Cookie

Printable Recipe

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large or extra large egg (should equal at least 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon water
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup rolled oats
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Brickle Bits
1-1/2 teaspoon dried orange peel (I use Penzeys). Can substitute fresh orange zest
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp Kirsch liqueur or rum (optional)
Flaky Sea Salt for Sprinkling over after baking

Rehydrate dried cranberries in a small bowl with enough cranberry juice (or water) to cover. Add Kirsch or rum, if using. Allow to ‘plump’ for about 30 minutes

Pulse rolled oats in a food processor for about 5 seconds. Place in a large bowl. If using extra large flakes of coconut, pulse coconut also for about 5 seconds. Place in same bowl with oats.
Add chocolate chips, chopped walnuts , chocolate chips, Brickle Bits, and orange peel to the same bowl.

Drain the rehydrated cranberries and squeeze excess moisture out with paper toweling and add to the bowl with the chocolate chips, etc.

In a stand mixer with paddle attaching or a mixing bowl by hand, cream shortening and sugars. Add egg, water and vanilla and mix together well.

In a separate small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture gradually.

Add in all of the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix together gently.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon portions and place 3" apart on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately sprinkle the cookies with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack or waxed paper to cool completely.