Can’t Get No Satisfaction?! Try These -Black Cocoa Brownies

Can’t Get No Satisfaction?! Try These -Black Cocoa Brownies

Recreating The Bake Feed Brownies
Black Cocoa Brownies

 

The Rolling Stones sing about it, companies make billions of dollars off it, and advertisers convince us daily of it.  What is it?  Satisfaction!

Without even realizing it we are constantly being brainwashed to be dissatisfied with ourselves.  Business is booming because we are convinced we cannot possibly reach our potential without more stuff.

The newest running shoe will make us jump higher and despite the fact we have no athletic ability we can become a super star.  The big brush mascara will make our eyes so incredible we will mesmerize everyone we meet and be hired for some incredible job somewhere.  Don’t have the latest colour palate on your walls, in your shoe selection or your clothes, why how lame are you?  Not having the right colour jacket may impact your ability to secure an apartment rental.  Everyday someone, who will make money and benefit from making us feel less than perfect, will convince us we are not enough.  Not enough for ourselves and not enough for others and if we happen to be content and  satisfied we must not be enlightened enough to know we are lacking.  Wow, how sad, I probably don’t even realize how bad off I must be because I’ve been feeling pretty happy lately.  Does this mean I’m really lacking in more areas of my life than the average Joe.  OMG, maybe I should have bought those plaid pants.  Plaid is in this year, right?  If I have new pants I’ll be more interesting, right?

My therapy for problems of the world (first world) such as this, why chocolate or caramel or peanutbutter or butter or, any combination resulting in a dessert!  Whip yourself up some sweet satisfaction in the form of Black Cocoa Brownies and when enjoying one or three make a mental list of all the things you’re content with.  Number 1 should be the fact you made such amazing brownies.

Improving ourselves is never a negative but not enjoying or embracing what we are in the quest for the unattainable seems sad and a waste of precious time.  Time that, perhaps, might be spent in the kitchen baking up today’s recipe from the July/August 2018 Bake from Scratch magazine.

Ingredients
Black Cocoa Brownies – Ingredients
Dark Chocolate
Folding in Dark Chocolate

 

Black Cocoa Brownies
Black Cocoa Brownies with a little Hallowe’en Sprinkle (Photo Credit @wavesdigitalca.com)

 

Black Cocoa Brownies

(Black Cocoa is Ultra-Dutch process black cocoa which means the cocoa beans have been rinsed in an alkaline solution, eliminating its natural acidity, darkening the colour and making the flavour more concentrated.  Black cocoa has been processed to the most extreme.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 13×9-inch pan and line with parchment paper.  Have an overhang on the sides to easily lift brownies out of pan.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups dark chocolate morsels, divided

1 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup black cocoa powder

2 tsp kosher salt

5 eggs, large

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method:

In top of a double boiler, melt 1 1/3 cups chocolate with the butter until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Stir occasionally while melting.  Turn off heat and whisk in sugars.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk the eggs.  Add half of beaten egg to cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.  Whisk in remaining egg and vanilla.

Fold in flour mixture until only a few streaks of flour remain.  Fold in remaining chocolate pieces.

Spread batter into prepared pan.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in centre has only a few crumbs.  Cool competely in pan before removing to cut.

Store well wrapped on counter.  These freeze well.

Pumpkin Biscotti

Pumpkin Biscotti

 

Pumpkin Biscotti
Pumpkin Biscotti

Pumpkin seems to be the flavour of Fall here in Canada.  The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove combine beautifully to flavour pies, cupcakes and, of course, the ever popular Pumpkin Spice Latte.

If you love PSL’s and biscotti then you will love this crisp, Fall flavoured treat which can be eaten as is or dipped in your PSL.   And if you don’t bake maybe a little subtle hinting to your friends who do will result in you being their taste tester!

A couple of years ago I tested out several pumpkin biscotti recipes and after a little trial and error this has become my go-to recipe.  This biscotti has pumpkin pie spice for the flavour and NO pumpkin puree.  I found the spice gives the biscotti the flavour required but leaving out puree allows the cookie to crisp up nicely.  I save the pumpkin puree for things like muffins and cakes (check out other pumpkin recipes on my blog).

Like all biscotti these will last in an airtight container for a couple of weeks and freeze well.  Keep these in mind for holiday and Christmas gifts.  They travel well and look pretty in festive cello bags.

No pumpkin pie spice in your cupboard?  Just combine 4 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.  Make sure your spices are fresh for the best flavour.

Pumpkin Biscotti

Preheat oven to 325F.  Parchment line a large cookie sheet or 2 small cookie sheets.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts

Method:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in eggs one at a time beating after each until incorporated and beat in vanilla.

Stir in flour in 3 additions on low or by hand until mixed in.  Add in nuts and mix well.  You may find using your hands to combine the nuts into the batter works well.

Divide batter into 2 equal portions and shape each into a 2-inch by 3/4-inch log.  Place on baking sheets.  If using one sheet space about 3-inches apart to allow for spreading.

Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes until golden brown around edges (top will still look fairly light in colour).  Remove from oven and let cool 15-20 minutes until cool and easy to handle.

TURN OVEN DOWN TO 275F WHILE BISCOTTI COOLS.

perfect-pumpkin-biscotti-bakingUse a serrated or bread knife and cut into 1/2-inch slices.  Lay slices on cookie sheets and bake for approximately 8 minutes and then turn and lay on other side and bake for another 8 minutes until firm and golden brown.  Remove and cool completely.

For an extra hit of sweet, melt a little white chocolate (over low heat, of course, so you don’t burn it!) and drizzle over cooled biscotti.

Whether you dip or not is up to you but I think you’ll have to agree store bought biscotti cannot compare with these!

 

 

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Once per year we have a statutory holiday to give thanks, spend time with family and/or friends and expand our waistlines.  I do hope everyone reading this has an opportunity to hug or be hugged by someone they care about whether it’s a friend, co-worker, family member or a loved pet.

For me, baking is my hug to everyone.  Hopefully you will pass on a hug by giving today’s recipe a try and sharing it!

Use real lemons not bottled lemon juice for this recipe for the freshest flavours.  Room temperature lemons will provide more juice than those straight from the fridge.  When zesting make sure to only grate the yellow not the bitter white (the pith) underneath.  If you have lemons you won’t use up quickly, zest them and put the zest in a ziploc bag in the freezer and squeeze out the juice for future use.

Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

 Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Preheat oven to 350F.  Makes 2 9×5-inch loaf pans.  Grease and flour loaf pans and set aside.

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup buttermilk

Zest of 2 lemons

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 cups sugar

5 eggs

Lemon Glaze:

Mix approximately 1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice with 1 cup of icing sugar until pourable consistency.  Add a bit more lemon juice or icing sugar until desired consistency reached. Drizzle over cooled loafs.

Method:

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each.

Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, using 3 flour additions and 2 buttermilk additions.  Don’t overmix just beat on low until smooth and combined.

 

Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth tops.  Bake for approximately 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted centre comes out clean.  Cool cakes about 15 minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely on a rack.

If desired, when cool, drizzle with lemon glaze.

White Chocolate Orange Scones

White Chocolate Orange Scones

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White Chocolate Orange Scones

White Chocolate Orange Scones

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

12 tablespoons (3/4 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces

4 ounces white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a 2nd baking sheet under lined sheet.  (This helps to prevent the bottom from over baking.)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, orange zest and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, orange juice, vanilla and egg.

Add the butter to the dry ingredients and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to cut the cold butter in.  Pieces should be the size of peas OR use a box grater and grate the butter into the flour mixture and toss lightly until butter pieces are coated with the flour mixture.

Add the wet ingredients and fold in until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead (adding flour as necessary) until it comes together.  Pat dough into a square and then roll it out to a 12-inch square.  Now fold it together in thirds (it will resemble a letter) and then fold into thirds again, (now it will look like a nice little square pacakge) adding flour as necessary to prevent sticking.  Put on alightly floured plate and freeze for about 10 minutes.

Put dough on lightly floured surface and roll out to a large circle about 1/2 thick and score into 8 portions.

If desired, brush to tops with a little cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 18-25 minutes until golden brown on top and bottom.

Best eaten day of baking but wrap well and microwave for 5-10 seconds on the second day IF there are any leftovers.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

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Perfect Pumpkin Cupcake – Sweetenufblog.ca

Continuing where I sort of left off on last weeks blog (Spiced Pumpkin Loaf) , as I’m not one to use up my calories on pumpkin flavoured beverages, here is another scrumptious, simple and sweetenuf recipe containing the flavour of Fall…pumpkin.

If you didn’t see this weeks Instagram (sweet_enuf) here is how to make your own pumpkin puree if you prefer fresh to canned.  Cut 2 small or 1 medium Pie Pumpkin in half and clean out the seeds and membrane.  Place cut side down in a baking pan and fill with 1-inch of water.  Bake in preheated 375F oven for 30-40 minutes.  Cool completely and scoop out cooked pumpkin.  Puree slightly in a food processor.  This pumpkin will look more yellow that the canned version and any unused pumpkin can be frozen.  I yielded about 1-cup of puree from a small pie pumpkin.

Now back to these light, moist and mildly spiced cupcakes.  This recipe is virtually made in one mixing bowl so there is no excuse not to whip these up the next time you have a hankering for some sweet pumpkin flavour. Frost these cupcakes with the tradition Cream Cheese Frosting or any of your favourites.  I made an icing with butter, icing sugar, vanilla and whipping cream, which I know is a hit in my house.  Add a little pumpkin pie spice or some cinnamon for more Fall flavour.

For Cream Cheese Frosting:  Using an electric mixer, combine 3 tbsps of softened butter with 2 1/3 cups of icing sugar and mix well.  Add in 4 ounces of softened cream cheese and beat until incorporated.  Turn up mixer to medium speed and mix until frosting is light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Yeilds 12.  Preheat oven to 325F.  Paper line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt

3 tbsp butter, room temperature

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Method:

In the bowl of an electric mixer put flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and butter and mix on low until mixture has a sandy consistency.

Add 1/2 of the milk and beat until well mixed then add remainder of milk and mix well.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl.  Stir in pumpkin puree by hand until evenly distributed.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full and bake in preheated oven for aproximatley 20 minutes until tops spring back lightly when touched or a tooth pick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool for about 10 minutes then remove cupcakes to cool completely before icing.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin Cupcakes a la Sweetenuf – Sweetenufblog.ca

 

 

 

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf – Let the Holiday Baking Begin!

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf – Let the Holiday Baking Begin!

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Spiced Pumpkin Loaf

True confessions…I believe I may be one of the few people who don’t go over the moon when the PSL hits Starbucks.  I’d much rather have my pumpkin in a moist, sweetly spiced muffin or cake or loaf or scone and I don’t waste my ‘indulgence’ calories on beverages.  And a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte made with whole milk and whip has over 400 calories…so one more reason to enjoy a nice slice of this Spiced Pumpkin Loaf.

This delicious pumpkin loaf is slightly spiced with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup. Maple drizzle adds some flare and a little more sweetness and can be omitted as this loaf is great as is but I’d go for the flare and sweetness!  I just saved 420 calories not drinking the PSL remember!!

Daphna Rabinovitch shares this recipe in her baking book, “The Baker In Me”, and I’m going to share it with you today.  Any leftover pumpkin can be saved in a zip lock bag for use in either the pumpkin muffin or pumpkin scone recipes you can check out in my earlier blogs.  Make sure to buy pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling and check to make sure the container is 100% pure pumpkin.

I used 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour in my recipe and I used a combination of pecans and toffee bits instead of walnuts.  This loaf would work without nuts or with the addition of a few butterscotch chips or some pumpkin seeds sprinkled on the glaze.  Wrap a slice of this sweetenuf yumminess to pack in your bag for a quick breakfast at your desk or in the car or for a mid-afternoon snack to tide you over to dinner.  A slice after dinner for a simple dessert with a scoop of frozen yogurt or ice cream would hit the spot as well.  Whatever you do, if you enjoy pumpkin in your baked goods, bake up Daphna’s wonderful recipe.  You won’t be disappointed.

Spiced Pumpkin Loaf with Maple Drizzle

Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease or parchment line a 9-x5-inch loaf pan.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1 1/3 cups packed cooked canned pumpkin

1/2 chopped walnuts

Glaze – Combine 1/3 cup icing sugar with 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method:

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and beat until very light in colour and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, and scraping down sides and bottom of mixing bowl.  Beat in the maple syrup.  The mixture will look curdled at this point!  As you add the flour mixture it will come together.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a wooden spoon stir in half of the flour mixture until combined.  Add in the pumpkin and stir until combined then add in the remaining flour mixture and stir until no streaks of flour remain.  Fold in the nuts.

Turn out the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top with an offset spatula or knife.

To prevent the bottom from overbaking place the loaf pan on 2 stacked cookie sheets and bake for 60-70 minutes until top springs back lightly when touched.  Let cool 30 minutes on rack then remove from pan.

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Maple Glazed Spiced Pumpkin Loaf – recipe on sweetenufblog

Once completely cool drizzle with the maple glaze and enjoy!

Blueberry-Pumpkin Muffins

Blueberry-Pumpkin Muffins

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Blueberry-Pumpkin Muffins – recipe on sweetenuf.ca

It seems everywhere I go people are gearing up for Fall.  The Labour Day weekend hasn’t even passed yet and I’m seeing snow suits in stores and magazines full of ‘Fall’ recipes.

Although I’m definitely not ready for cooler weather and I will hang on to summer until 11:59 pm on Labour Day a pumpkin muffin anytime of the year is moist and delicious.

Add in some small sweet Canadian wild blueberries and they are even better.  Take them up one level higher with a streusel topping and it is win/win/win for everyone.

Bake up a double batch to enjoy on the upcoming last weekend of the summer and freeze a few for those hectic days after Labour Day when everyone is getting back to their ‘normal’ routines.

These moist muffins full of sweet blueberries hint at their pumpkin flavour and if you wish to skip the streusel no one needs to know.

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Blueberry-Pumpkin Muffins with Almond-Oat Streusel

The recipe lists all-purpose flour and I used 1/2 half whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose.  As well, I used frozen blueberries as they are readily available in the grocery stores throughout the year.  Use right from frozen to cut down on colouring the batter purple but you will need to add another couple of minutes to your baking time.

Any leftover pumpkin can be frozen in ziplock bags for the next pumpkin recipe that comes your way.

(This recipe is from 2016 100 Best Pumpkin Recipes, Better Homes and Gardens magazine.)

Blueberry-Pumpkin Muffins with Almond-Oat Streusel

Preheat oven to 350F.  Paper line 15 muffin cups with liners.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Almond-Oat Streusel (recipe follows)

Method:

In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

In a small bowl, combine pumpkin buttermilk and vanilla.

In a large bowl beat the butter and white and brown sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Scrape down bowl and beaters.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alernately, beating on low after each addition.  MIX UNTIL JUST COMBINED.  DO NOT OVER MIX.  OVER MIXING PRODUCES A TOUGHER FINISHED PRODUCT.  (Batter will be stiff.)  Fold in blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  Fill approximately 2/3 full and top with streusel.

Almond-Oat Streusel – In a small bowl stir together 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tbsp rolled oats and 2 tbsp sliced almonds, 4 tsp all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 tsp salt.  Stir in 3 tbsp melted butter and combine.

Bake 18 -21 minutes.  Muffins will spring back when lightly touched, or toothpick will come out clean when inserted into the middle of a muffin.