Saturday, July 23, 2016

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

I'm not usually a huge fan of white chocolate. I'm not sure why.... it's kind of a weird flavor I think.
Plus... milk chocolate is just THE best. So... there's really no comparison.
Why did we make a white chocolate cake then? Well... because of the Nutella frosting. It just pairs amazingly, ridiculously well with white chocolate.
Who knew?
Well.... now y'all do.
Your welcome.

White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

6 oz of white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

Nutella Buttercream
1 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup Nutella
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups icing sugar
2 - 3 Tbsp cream

1 cup hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Line 3 X 8 inch pans with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside
In a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate and water over low heat. Stir until smooth and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the cake.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients alternating with the buttermilk. 
Stir in the white chocolate mixture.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, it will be thick. 

Bake at 350 until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen it. Invert cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. 
Prepare frosting - In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy, scraping sides as needed. Beat in Nutella and vanilla. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in cream, a tablespoon at a time, until desired spreading consistency is reached.  

Place one layer of cake on a serving platter and top with a scoop of the frosting. Spread the frosting to cover the cake.

Repeat with remaining 2 layers of cake.
Frost sides of cake. You can fancy it up by piping on some swirls or just frost it flat - totally up to you. Finish decorating by using some whole hazelnuts and some chopped hazelnuts. 

Cake is fine at room temp or can be chilled until ready to serve. It can also be made a day ahead and kept, covered, in the fridge overnight. 

I didn't get a photo of the cake cut so I'm going to use that as my excuse to have to make this cake again soon. I mean.... it wouldn't be right to not have a photo of a lovely big slice of cake for our readers. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Loco Moco

Not too long ago Sue was telling me about this delicious Hawaiian dish called Loco Moco. 
To be honest, when she first told me the ingredients I was thinking it sounded a little crazy. I mean, I've had an egg on a hamburger before (delicious) but an egg with gravy and rice? Craziness. 
But then I decided to give it a go. 
Best. Decision. Ever.
I don't think it would be wrong for me to eat this every day for dinner for the next few weeks. 
I'll let you know.

Loco Moco

hamburger patties
white rice
fried eggs
beef gravy

Cook hamburger patties your favorite way. (Now, my favorite way would be on the BBQ but a bear destroyed my BBQ so now I prepare them in the oven. Still good. )

While burgers are cooking prepare the rice. 
When the rice and burgers are almost ready, prepare the eggs and gravy.

**NOTE ** I cook my burgers at 375 for a total of about 15 - 20 minutes (flipping over at the half way mark). The rice takes about 20 minutes so I start them at the same time. 
The eggs and gravy (I used a package mix!) only take about 3 or 4 minutes so I just throw them on at the end. 
When everything is ready, place a scoop of rice on a plate. Top with a burger patty and a generous scoop of gravy.

Top with a fried egg.

Serve immediately. 

This is a fairly heavy dinner so I didn't add any other sides. Just this big ol' bowl of protein and carbs, thank you very much. 
So tasty.
Yet another reason to love Hawaii. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

Watermelon Smoothie Bowl

If you are a fan of Pinterest or Instagram then you have probably noticed that smoothie bowls are the new "in" thing. 
It took me a while to get interested in smoothie bowls. I mean.... smoothies in a cup, sure, I've been having those forever. Why on earth do you need to have them in a bowl topped with extra things?
And then.... I actually made a smoothie bowl. 
Holy heck!
Yes. They are worth all the hype. 
For realz. I'm hooked. 
Something magical happens when you pour a smoothie in a bowl instead of a cup. 
Even more so when you pour it into a bowl made of watermelon. 
Plus.... *cue angels singing* healthified deliciousness is always a plus.
According to MyFitnessPal, this bad boy is: 183 calories, 30 carbs, 3 fat, 10 protein. (Recipe makes 2 servings)

Watermelon Smoothie Bowl

1 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt (I use lactose free)
1 small watermelon (yields about 3 - 4 cups of diced watermelon)
2 Tbsp shredded coconut
8 fresh cherries, quartered
1/3 cup blueberries

Freeze the Greek yogurt until it is solid. (**I usually freeze 1 cup portions in Ziploc baggies so they are ready to go when I want them.**)
Cut watermelon in half and scoop out the insides. Remove seeds if there is any. Drain off excess juice. 
Place watermelon in a blender and pulse briefly. Add in the frozen Greek yogurt and blend until smooth. (**If you find it too runny - you can blend in ice to thicken it up.**)
Pour the mixture into the watermelon halves.

Top with the coconut, cherries, and blueberries. 

Serve immediately. 
It just looks so darned fancy schmancy, am I right?
Of course smoothie bowls can be easily switched up. I like to use pineapple flavored yogurt with the watermelon for a tropical twist. 
I've also made PB2 smoothies bowls and pumpkin pie smoothie bowls. So many choices. I've been posting pics on Instagram but decided  I'd better actually start sharing the recipes on our blog before I start forgetting these delicious combinations. 
All aboard the smoothie bowl train!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Flourless Brownies (Gluten Free)

I know at first glance these brownies might look a little thin. Trust me - they are just right.
These brownies are so decadent and rich and gooey that they don't need to be any fatter. 
Plus... they don't have any flour so, there's that.
I'm not gluten free but we are often asked to bake for people who are gluten free and I wanted to come up with a recipe that would satisfy everyone. We all know that gluten free can sometimes mean weird texture. These absolutely do NOT have a weird texture. In fact, I'm pretty sure no one would guess that there isn't any flour in them. 
So ooey gooey good.

Flourless Brownies (Gluten Free)

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (6 Tbsp) butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or 8 oz chocolate, chopped)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp baking cocoa
3 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch salt

icing sugar
chocolate dipped strawberries

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 X 8 or 9 X 9 inch pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and add in the sugar. Whisk together until sugar is incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and beat for 2 minutes. Then beat in the eggs and the vanilla. 
Using a sieve (or sifter), sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch and salt into the saucepan. Stir together and then beat vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes - batter will be smooth and shiny. 
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 for 22 - 30 minutes. Brownies will be set in the center. Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan before removing and cutting.

You can serve them as is OR sprinkle with a little icing sugar...

Or top with a chocolate dipped strawberry to completely put them over the top!

They are pretty as well as delicious!

Rich and fudgy as well as gluten free. What's not to love?

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Kung Pao Shrimp

If you are looking for an easy, yet super flavorful dish to serve for dinner tonight then you might just want to keep reading. 
Kung Pao Shrimp (Prawns) takes about 15 minutes from start to finish. Crazy, right?
And it is sooooo good. I've made it about a billion times so far and it never gets old. This recipe is based on traditional Chinese kung pao chicken which has a spicy yet ever-so-slightly sweet taste. 
Nutrition wise, you're not doing too bad with this recipe either. 
It's win win, really. 

Kung Pao Shrimp

3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp veggie broth
2 tsp Thai chili garlic sauce
1 Tbsp chopped, canned green chilies (or to taste)
sprinkle cayenne

3 cups of jumbo shrimp (or prawns), cooked
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 large green pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 scallion, diced
1 Tbsp roasted peanuts

toasted sesame seeds for decoration. 

Prepare sauce - Whisk together sauce ingredients (soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, rice vinegar, sesame oil, broth, Thai chili sauce, green chilies, cayenne) until well combined. Set aside.
Prepare stir fry - Remove the tails from the shrimp/prawns. Cut each shrimp in half. Set aside. 

Prep your vegetables.

Heat sesame oil in a large saucepan or wok. Add green peppers, garlic, ginger, and the scallion.

Cook until peppers soften (about 5 - 8 minutes). Add in the stir fry sauce and mix well. 
Toss in the shrimp.

Cook until heated through.
Lastly, add in the peanuts.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if desired. 

Perfect to accompany rice and noodles for an easy Chinese inspired meal. (Get our recipe for Double Happiness Chow Mein - HERE.) 
It is easy to double the recipe as well - which you will probably have to do because everyone will love it. (True story). 
FYI - if you are using shrimp that is raw, simply cook it in the pan first - before you add the green peppers. Then remove it to a bowl and continue cooking as per the recipe. I used the jumbo shrimp from a frozen shrimp ring so it was already pre-cooked. I just thawed it under warm water and it was good to go. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

One of the great things about running a food blog in a small town is that everyone knows you run a food blog. We get to talk to people about different food and recipes that we normally wouldn't hear about. This cake here is one of those recipes.
Now, we've heard of coffee cake before, obvs... but this one was from a lovely lady at the grocery store we shop at. It has shortening instead of butter and uses sour cream and mini chocolate chips for a rich and dense cake with a crunchy granola topping. 
Hillary graciously gave us permission to share her recipe with our readers and we are excited to do so. This is one of those snack cakes that is soooooo simple to whip up but tastes like it took a lot of time and energy. 

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake
(From Hillary Dingwell)

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup granola
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 squares Baker's semi sweet chocolate
2 tsp shortening

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside. (You can also line the pan with parchment paper if you want to remove the cake from the pan later to serve it.)
Sift together flour and salt. Set aside.
Cream together sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.
Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. 
Alternately blend in flour and sour cream mixtures, one third at a time. Fold in chocolate chips. 
Spread into prepared pan.

Prepare topping - In a small bowl mix together granola, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Sprinkle over top of cake.
Bake in preheated oven until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, about 40 - 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on wire rack.

Prepare drizzle - In a small microwave safe bowl, place the chocolate and shortening. Heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds then stir well. Repeat until melted and smooth. 
Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the cake.

As you can see - I used the parchment paper to remove the cake from the pan to make it easier to cut. This is totally not necessary. You can serve the cake directly from the pan. 
Slice and serve.

Look at all that chocolaty goodness. The crunchy topping goes wonderfully with the dense cake. If you want it to be a bit thicker then you could always bake it in an 8 inch pan. You just have to watch your cooking time!
Thanks for sharing Hillary! 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties - Cookin' and Craftin',