Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Mini Orange Chocolate Chunk Cakes

April 12, 2012

Every couple of months, I do a juice cleanse.  You know, when you drink about 5-6 juices a day, in a specific order to, supposedly, gain energy and give your digestive system a break.  I love the idea of this right before I’m about to start.  I’m always so pumped to get ready for 5 full days of not eating, not worrying about cooking, and doing something good for myself.

Then, every single time I do a cleanse, after about, say, 1.5 days, when my energy is never up, I start thinking about what I’m going to eat 4 days later.  What will I cook?  Should I eat out?  Can I have cheese?!  This always begins a downward spiral leading me to break the cleanse about 3 days in every time (c’mon!  3 days is a long weekend for your digestive system…it can easily take a road trip!).

Anyway, I just finished a pretty rough cleanse.  I blame this cake for that.  This was the last thing I ate before I was on my liquid diet.  This incredibly moist orange chocolate cake (yes, another one!) with chocolate ganache on top was incredible.  Dreaming of this cake made me get through the (3 day) cleanse (and tortured me throughout), and if I hadn’t eaten all of the cakes pre-cleanse, I would have eaten this immediately after I was done.  Only to feel like I need to do a cleanse again.  Ah, but it’s worth it.

Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake (recipe from Barefoot Contessa)

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 3 ounces (just over 1/3 cup) buttermilk or yogurt, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 4 ounces good semisweet or dark chocolate (chips or chopped from a bar)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a standard 12 cup muffin tin.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the orange zest.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.  Add flour alternately in thirds and buttermilk in halves to the creamed butter, beginning and ending with the flour.  Toss the chocolate chunks with 1 tablespoon flour and stir into the batter. Pour into muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of way up, smooth the tops, and bake for 20 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the molds on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

While the cakes are baking, make the syrup. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the sugar with the orange juice until the sugar dissolves.  Carefully remove the cake from the pans, using an offset spatula, or a butter knife to help them out, and put them upside down on a rack over a tray.  Poke each cake lightly with a toothpick.  Pour the warm syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to soak in the syrup.  Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the ganache, melt the chocolate, cream, and coffee in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, or in a double boiler over simmering water until smooth and warm, stirring occasionally.  Spoon over the top of the cakes.


Cheerio Treats

March 22, 2012

No, people.  I’m not just posting about a regular ol’ cereal treat, and just swapping out the type of cereal.  I’m not just posting a recipe that you’ve made thousands of times in the past.  I’m amping up the volume.  You will want to know about these.  Because these little beauties changed my life.

I kid you not.  While most elementary school children came to school with the run-of-the-mill Rice Krispie treats, my mom made these.  Cheerio treats – with peanut butter, m&m’s and, of course, marshmallows (there was no concern about kids getting too much sugar in those days).  These treats made me instant friends when I switched schools in 5th grade.  These treats allowed me to be the first picked for any teams.  I even think that these treats were the reason I got “most likely to succeed” when graduating.

And you should not be surprised, because these treats do exactly that: they lead you to success.  It’s so unexpected, but when you take a bite, and you taste the mellow peanut butter flavor to cut the usual sweetness of these treats, and then see the colored candies that remind you of your childhood, you just know that you’ve found a winner.  A cereal treat winner.

Cheerio Treats (recipe from my mom)

3 tbsp. butter

1 package marshmallows

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 cups Cheerios

1 cup M&M’s

Lightly butter a 9×13 inch pan.  Set aside.  In a large pot, over low heat, melt butter.  When the butter is melted, add marshmallows and stir until completely melted and smooth.  Add peanut butter and stir to incorporate.  Turn off the heat and stir in Cheerios.  Stir until the marshmallow and peanut butter mixture has coated all of the cereal.  Add the candy and stir to distribute evenly.  Turn out into the prepared pan and pat down.  Cool slightly before cutting.