Thursday, December 19, 2013

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Sweet and Salty Cake 
This cake takes some time but it is worth it.  I prefer it cold because it is a little too rich warm/room temp.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Whisk Kid. If you have a big crowd to please and aren't afraid of a time commitment you need to try this cake.  Even my husband, who doesn't like chocolate, asked for a few more bites!
(I used special dark cocoa and semi sweet chocolate but milk chocolate would also be awesome!)

Salted Caramel

1/2 c water
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 c heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 c sour cream

Combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan with tall sides, stirring to combine. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture reaches 350F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cream and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until salt has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the cream from the heat and set aside.

When the caramel has reached 350F, remove it from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add half of the hot cream to the caramel (it will bubble) and whisk quickly to combine. Add the remaining half and whisk to combine. Whisk in sour cream. 

Cool the caramel completely and store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Whipped Caramel Ganache

1/4 c water
1 c sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1 lb dark or milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 c butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool

Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan with tall sides, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 350F on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

In another small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the caramel mixture has reached 350F, remove from heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. Carefully add half of the hot cream to the caramel and whisk to combine. Carefully whisk in the remaining caramel and allow to cool for 5 minutes. 

Place the chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer and pour the slightly cooled caramel sauce over the chocolate. Let sit for 1 minute. Slowly begin stirring the mixture, but hand, from the center out until the chocolate is melted and smoothed.

Attach bowl to an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and run on low until the bottom of the bowl is room temperature when touched from the outside. Add butter and increase speed to medium-high, beating until mixture is well combined, thickened, and slightly whipped, about 2 minutes.

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

3/4 c cocoa powder 
1 1/4 c water, hot
2/3 c sour cream
2 2/3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 c  unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Oil and line two 9" x 2" round cake pans. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa, water and sour cream. Set them aside to cool, about 10 minutes. Set aside. 

In another large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Fit your electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat the butter and shortening together until very smooth, about 7 minutes. Add both the brown sugar and white sugar, then continue beating until light and fluffy, about 7 additional minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat each until very well incorporated before adding the next, scraping the bowl often. Add the vanilla, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, and mix again for 30 seconds. Add flour mixture alternating with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Divide the batter evenly among the two prepared pans. Bake until the cake is just firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan on a rack, then de-pan and cool to room temp. 


Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

Salted Caramel
Whipped Caramel Ganache

Place the first layer on the cake plate. Using half of the caramel, spread a layer on the cake. Top the caramel with a layer of about 1 cup of the ganache icing. Add the second layer of cake on top and repeat the process with another layer of caramel followed by a layer of ganache icing. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer with the bottom side on top. Frost the entire cake with the remaining ganache and garnish with sea salt. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip

I love cheese.  Who doesn't?  This dip is a crowd pleaser and goes fast.  I recommend doubling it if more than 6 people will be eating it.

I am not a huge frozen spinach fan.  The texture and taste are very overpowering to me so I decided to freeze fresh spinach and use that instead.  I used a little over a cup and chopped the frozen spinach up right before I added it to the rest of the ingredients.  I love how it turned out.  I don't think I will ever buy prepackage frozen spinach again.

Enjoy this cheesy concoction!!

Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

1 jar (14 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped (I love to use the Cara Mia brand found at any major grocery store)
1 1/2 cups fresh frozen spinach or 1 C frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained.
3/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup mayo
2 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese 
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Paprika and chili powder to taste - I sprinkle this on top before I bake but you could also add it to the dish.  I like the color it gives the dish.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients until well blended.

Spoon into 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish. (or 9x13 for doubled recipe)

Bake 25-30 min. or until bubbly and heated through. 

Serve with french bread or chips!

(Someday I will take pictures of my food before I eat it but until then here is a picture I think the dip looks closest to, thank you applebees

Friday, February 15, 2013

White Chocolate Popcorn

Here is an easy treat that is oh so good and fun to make!

Popcorn ( about 2 cups)
Sea Salt
Hershey's white chocolate chips (you can use other white chocolate but you may need to add some oil or milk to thin it up)

Grab a brown paper lunch sack and put about 1/4 to 1/2 popcorn in the bag. Fold the top and place the bag in the microwave long side down.  Cook for about 2 minutes until the kernels have popped.  Dump popcorn into a garbage bag.  (I like to put the popcorn in a bowl first and shake it so the kernels all fall to the bottom and don't end up in the garbage bag)  After all the popcorn is popped and is in the bag melt the chocolate in microwave safe bowl for about 1 minute 30 seconds.  You may add any color food coloring...our favorite is pink.  Pour the melted chocolate in garbage bag with 1-2 tsp. sea salt.  Shake the bag and mix until the chocolate covers all the popcorn.
Dump the popcorn onto two cookie sheets and let cool.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brown Sugar Salmon

I grew up in Washington where salmon bakes and ward parties were synonymous.  I love the texture, taste and health benefits of salmon.  Growing up we normally stuck to the mayo, lemon juice, chives, and paprika topping, which is delicious; however, I have been addicted to this sweeter marinade for awhile now.  If you like a thicker glaze, add more brown sugar to your mix, if you like more of a tang, add more lemon juice.  I love this recipe as well because you can cook it year round in your oven!

Brown Sugar Salmon
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup lemon
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. lemon pepper
2-3 lbs of salmon (I like to buy my salmon at Costco - it never has a fishy flavor)

Mix all ingredients together in a gallon sized bag.  Add salmon and marinate for at least 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Wrap salmon in a tinfoil tent (I put one piece of tinfoil on bottom and one on the top and seal around the edges), brush with marinade, and bake for 15-25 minutes until flaky and cooked through.

I recommend serving with broiled broccoli and quinoa cooked in veggie or chicken broth!  mmmm...