Category Archives: Chocolate

Dark Chocolate and Anise Biscotti from Joy the Baker Cookbook

 Joy the Baker Chocolate and Anise BiscottiJoy the Baker Dark Chocolate Anise Biscotti

 

I learned something today. I learned that dark chocolate is "synonymous with" semi-sweet chocolate.

I thought dark chocolate was dark chocolate and semi-sweet was semi-sweet.  Dang.  I was going to

correct Joy the Baker for offering up a Dark Chocolate and Anise Biscotti recipe, then listing semi-sweet

chocolate chunks in the ingredients list. 

 

Chocolate Anise Biscotti

 

I've only made biscotti once before, about 7 years ago.  I've avoided it for some reason.  I guess it was a

scary experience.  Wait.  I just remembered it was from a Mary Engelbreit's Cookies Cookbook.  So it

can't be that.  I am not askeered of Mary Engelbreit.

Anyway, Joy the Baker is an up and coming baker, blogger and cookbook author.  She's cute.  And she has

tattoos.  So….gosh I'm feeling really old right now.

 

Here's the Recipe Overview

 

Anise Seeds Mortar Pestle

 

Lightly crush anise seeds with mortar and pestle, or put in a baggie and use a rolling pin, or place it on

your driveway and run over it. Come back in the house and mix anise with dry ingredients in a bowl.

 

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Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, add eggs and mix thoroughly.

 

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Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

 

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Mix in chocolate chips.  I used Enjoy Life Vegan Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.  I like them better than

regular chips. I have my reasons. 

 

Dark Chocolate Anise Biscotti Dough

 
Divide dough and place the halves on separate baking sheets. I actually used a scale to be accurate.

One half was about 12.5 ounces.

 

Anise Chocolate Biscotti

 

Shape each half into a log about 8 inches long and 1 1/2" tall.  The width may be about 2 inches. 

Beat an egg and brush lightly onto each half.  Sprinkle logs with sugar.  Bake awhile, switch the two trays

around in the oven, bake a bit longer.

 

How to Make Biscotti

 

This reminds me of a crocodile.  Remove logs from oven to cool until able to handle.  Cut in 3/4" to 1"

widths.  Note to self: 1" thick was a tad too wide for me.  Another note to self:  1 cup of mini chocolate

chips would have been enough vs. the 1 1/2 cups called for.  Either way.

 

Joy the Baker Dark Chocolate Anise Biscotti

 

Lay these biscottis cut side down on baking sheet and place back in oven to finish baking.  Let cool.

And yer done.

 

Dark Chocolate and Anise Biscotti
Compliments of JennaDish

from Joy the Baker Cookbook, 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes

MAKES ABOUT 3 DOZEN BISCOTTI (depends on size of logs – mine made less)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds, slightly crushed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (I used Enjoy Life mini vegan choc chips)

Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, anise seeds, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low, and add 1 of the eggs and egg yolk and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. 

Add the flour mixture, all at once, to the butter mixture and beat on low speed until well combined.  Mixture may seem a bit dry, but that's ok. (Mine didn't.)  Add chocolate chunks and blend.

Divide the dough between the prepared pans,  If the dough is shaggy and crumbly, that's fine – just knead it together.  Shape dough into logs about 1 1/2 inches wide (high) by 8 inches long. (This is where I felt uncomfortable with the directions.  I think it could easily be about 10"-12" long by 1 1/2" wide).  Beat the remaining egg and brush over the logs, and sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake biscotti on both racks for 20 minutes.  Swap racks and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and baked through.  (Since I used my convection oven at 300 degrees, I probably didn't need to swap the sheets, but I did need to rotate them 180o because the back browned more than the front). 

Let biscotti rest until cool enough to handle. (Careful, it looks sturdy but will break easily if you lift it by it's ends.)  Use a serrated knife to gently slice biscotti into (3/4" thick) slices. Flip cut side up onto the baking sheet and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Biscotti will still be slightly soft to the touch (mine eventually cooled to a very firm bite, so…less time?)

Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks. 

 

 

 

Vegan Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Finally found some vegan chocolate chips.  That means only one thing.  Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

 

Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookie

 

… and heart-shaped chocolate chip cookies …

 

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…and big, fat round chocolate chip cookies.

These are cakey cookies, which I love.

 

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN COOKIES

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup almond milk (or nondairy milk of choice)
2 Tablespoons tapioca flour (you can sub arrowroot powder or cornstarch – I used arrowroot)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350oF.

In a mixing bowl, mix together the sugars and oil for about a minute.  Add the almond milk and tapioca flour and beat vigorously until there are no clumps of tapioca left.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add half the flour, the baking soda, and salt and mix well.  Mix in the remaining flour.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, or lightly greased.  Space the cookies about 2 inches apart and flatten them down a bit with your fingers.

Bake 10 minutes for soft, chewy cookies, 12 minutes for crispier ones.  When they're done baking, let th cookies rest on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to finish cooling.

 

Vegan Banana Everything Cookies

 Vegan Banana Everything Cookies

I'm not vegan, but I'm intrigued by the idea of making cookies out of ingredients that don't rely on animals. Allen likes to mispronounce vegan just to get on my nerves.  His version sounds like they are cookies from Las Vegas.

These are from a neat little cookbook called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. Some of the vegan ingredients are foreign to me, so I started with a recipe that called for common cookie ingredients.

 Banana Everything Cookie Variations

And just to prove I had a limited social schedule on January 15, 2012, the day I made these, I made 8 variations of Banana Everything Cookies. 

All had chopped pecans.  So my variable ingredients were cinnamon chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips,  bittersweet chocolate chunks …

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 … or rolling them in crushed pretzels, or ground nuts/sugar.

Here's the basic recipe, then I'll reveal my findings.  The bottom line is, out of my 8 versions, 2 really shined.  This test kitchen method really helps you to learn, with one dough mix and one sitting, what works and what doesn't as far as combinations, so that you can learn those basic rules and transfer that knowledge to other similar recipes.

P.S. I did not use vegan chocolate chips because I just hadn't found them yet, and I don't think they make vegan cinnamon chips at all.  There is one maker of vegan white chocolate chips but you will likely have to order them online. 

Banana Everything Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero

MAKES ABOUT 2 DOZEN

1 very ripe medium banana (I used 1 small frozen ripe banana + 1/4 ripe fresh)
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar (I used raw sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla (whoops forgot this, and lived to tell about it)
3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
2 cups quick-cooking (not instant) oats or old-fashioned rolled oats (I used the latter)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (or cinnamon chips if you're not really vegan, or white chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350o.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.

In a mixing bowl, mash the banana well.  You can use a fork for this, or your hands (I used a potato masher).  Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla and mix with a strong fork.  Add the flour baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Add the oatmeal, walnuts, and chocolate chips and mix well.  It's actually good to use your hands for misxing when using oatmeal, that way you make sure that the oats get nice and moist.  If the dough is very slippery, you might want to add a few tablespoons extra flour – it depends on how big your banana was.

Clean your hands and roll the dough into balls slightly smaller than a golf ball.  Flatten it a bit in your hands and place each ball about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack.

******************************

*Variation 1: with cinnamon chips only
Very good, consider using less chips to allow banana flavor to come through. Careful to tuck in chips so they don't get burnt.

Variation 2: no chips, just pecans
More banana taste, but plainer and dryer.

Variation 3: no chips, but rolled in mixture of wheat germ, ground nuts, brown sugar
Much better than #2 but would be better with raisins for sweetness and texture.

*Variation 4: no chips, rolled in crushed pretzels
Very good, pretzels are better to roll in.  The salt helps, no raisins needed because you can taste the banana more.

Variation 5: with chocolate chips only
Very good but chocolate overpowers.  Hardly any banana taste.

Variation 6:  with cinnamon chips and bittersweet chocolate chunks
YUK.

Variation 7:  with only bitterweet chocolate chunks
Better than above but too bitter and no banana taste.

Variation 8: with chocolate chips, rolled in crushed pretzels
No, can't taste banana much, the salt is nice though.

Texas Sheet Cake

 

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake is like a giant cakey, iced brownie.  I like this version with a little bit of cinnamon, and using lighter ingredients where you can, without sacrificing taste.

 

This is my dessert offering for our 2nd Annual Nephrology Chili Cookoff tomorrow to benefit Artswave.

Here's a sneak peak of my entry, Jenna's Cha-Cha-Cha Chili. 

 

Cha Cha Cha Chili

 

Texas Sheet Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Cooking Light

Cooking spray
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
 
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (more below)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, divided
2 large eggs
 
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup fat-free milk
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 375°.

Coat a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 teaspoons flour. Set aside.

Weigh or lightly spoon 9 ounces (2 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Pour into flour mixture. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and eggs; beat well. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 375° for 17 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack.

Combine 6 tablespoons butter, fat-free milk, and 1/4 cup cocoa in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Gradually stir in powdered sugar; stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla and pecans. Spread over hot cake. Cool completely on wire rack.

 

Double Chocolate Brownies

 Birthday Brownies!!!

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Alyssa requested for her birthday either an apple pie, Rice Krispie treats, or brownies.

Double Chocolate Brownie w Spumoni

 I chose to make her Brownies.

Double Chocolate Brownies
She and her sister thought they were too chocolatey.  I haven't found one person (other than my two daughters) who thinks anything can be too chocolatey.

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Oh well.  My friends and I (and Allen) thought they were awesome.  Especially with spumoni ice cream after an Italian dinner.

Double Chocolate Brownies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart Cookies

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used bittersweet)
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang.  Butter lining (not overhang).  Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring until melted.  Let cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salit in a bowl.  Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes.  Add chocolate mixture; mix until combined.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combines.

Pour batter into pan; spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet about 35 minutes.  Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes.  Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake

 

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake Lights

Christmas Spiced Flourless Chocolate Cake II

Popped into the Walnut Hills Library to renew my library card.  Spotted Nigella Christmas propped up on a display.  Grabbed it. 

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake
Found this cake recipe and couldn't wait to try it.  So I decided this would be my offering for the church Christmas Party.  

Tasted great.  Would do a few minor things different next time.

Christmas Spiced Chocolate Cake III
Here's what it looked like the next day.  This is a flourless chocolate cake, made with 6 eggs.  So it's like a cross between a brownie (top) and a custard pie (bottom).  And just like many cakes and pies, it can be better the next day.  You can pick this up and eat it like a brownie.  You make it in a 9" spring form pan.

Notes to Self
1) Serving the cake on the bottom of the spring form pan with wet parchment paper left on bottom works fine, but is not the greatest when taking to a party.  People who don't understand this cake will likely think it's soggy and maybe even underdone. To resolve:  Plate the cake.  Flip the cake after it's cooled enough, remove the parchment, place on flat serving plate.

2) Caramelized almond slivers stick together in clumps.  Makes a pretty presentation but impractical for cutting through them.  You can easily scoot them over and cut the cake, but other ideas are:  when ready to serve, take the cake into the kitchen, remove the clumps of glued-together almonds, slice all the cake and place on plates.  As it's time to serve each person, plop some whipped cream on each piece and top with the almonds.  Or slice the cake without the almonds on it while leaving it on the serving plate, then toss the almonds back on.  

3) The batter leaks a bit through the bottom.  To resolve:  When preparing pan, before pouring batter in, put the pan on a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom and come up over the seams about 2 inches.  Form the foil around the bottom tightly.

Some prep photos…

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Christmas-Spiced Chocolate Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Lawson's Nigella Christmas 

MAKES 10-12 SLICES

Nigella recommends serving with Cointreau Cream – whisk 1 cup heavy cream until softly whipped, with about 3 Tablespoons of Cointreau Cream (or Triple Sec or Grand Marnier).

For the Cake:
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 stick plus 3 Tablespoons butter
6 eggs
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup almond flour (meal)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
pinch of ground cloves
zest of 1 clementine (I used 2 teaspoons granulated orange peel)
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder

For the Topping:
juice of zested clementine (I used 3/4 the juice of an orange)
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Bring eggs to room temperature (cover in bowl of warm water for 10 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350o. Butter or spray the sides and cover the bottom of a 9" spring form pan with parchment paper.  Cover the bottom of the pan with foil and bring half way up pan to keep batter from leaking onto oven floor.

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave or on the stove top in a double boiler or similar method.  Set aside.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until thick, pale and moussy.  They should have at least doubled in volume.  Using a stand mixer makes this much easier.

Gently fold in the almond flour, cinnamon, cloves, clementine zest and espresso powder, taking care not to lose the air you have whisked in, then add the melted, slightly cooled, chocolate and butter, folding gently again.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.  The top will have a have firmed while the underneath will still be gooey (but you won't know what the bottom is like until later.)

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.  

To make the almond topping, put the clementine juice into a small, non-stick frying pan with the butter, sugar and cinnamon and melt everything together over medium low heat, then let it sizzle for a minute or two in order to caramelize before adding the almonds.  Keep stirring over until the extra liquid (beyond what is clinging to the nuts) has disappeared.  Gently scoot almonds onto a plate or wax paper, not allowing them to clump  all together because once they cool, they will be glued together in this pattern.

Run a knife along the inside edge of the pan before releasing the spring pan.  Once cooled enough, flip the cake over on a plate upside down, carefully remove the bottom of the pan from the gooey cake bottom, place a flat plate against the bottom and carefully flip the cake upright on the plate.  Sprinkle with almond mixture.

MAKE AHEAD TIP:
Make the cake up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container. Make the nut mixture and store on parchment paper in a ssmall airtight container or wrap in a loose bag of foil.

FREEZE AHEAD TIP:
Freeze the cake up to 1 month ahead Thaw overnight in a cool room.   

 

Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins

Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins
These are small cookies.  One and a half inches in diameter.  Tastes deeply chocolatey and melts in your mouth – like shortbread.

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When I look at this picture, I keep wanting lean to the right to move the shadow.  But that doesn't work.  Ah.  Good times. I couldn't take the time to pose my roll because I made 4 cookie doughs this day and if I took the time to get the right lighting, I would be up to my eyeballs in confections til midnight.

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Chocolate Orange Espresso Thins
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart's Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons good-quality instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Coarse sanding sugar, for sprinkling

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt into a medium bowl.

2. Put butter, confectioners' sugar, orange  zest, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium sped until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium-low, and gradually add flour mixture until just combined.

3. Transfer dough to a 12 16-inch piece of parchment paper; shape into a log.  Roll in parchment to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of paper at each turn to narrow the log and force out air.  Transfer in parchment to a paper towel tube; chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

4. Preheat oven to 350oF.  Cut log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Brush tops with water; sprinkle with sanding sugar.  Bake until set, 15 to 17 minutes.  Cool on sheets on wire racks.  Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

Nigella Lawson’s Blondies

Blondies
Blondies with oats and chocolate chips.  Blondes showing their roots, as Nigella puts it.

Blondies 2
Use larger chocolate chips, like I did, and they will sink a bit toward the bottom. Which is fine since you still get chips in every bite. 

Blondies with Chocolate Chips
Great with ice cream, of course. 

Jenna's notes to self.  You can peak if you want:  This was one of the easiest recipes, leaving the least clean up ever.  Used 1/2 bittersweet and 1/2 dark chocolate, large chunks.  I think next time use 1/2 bittersweet and 1/2 semi-sweet, regular size chips.  Don't cook to full 35 mintues.  Do not use foil to line – use parchment or spray. 

Nigella Lawson's Blondies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson

MAKES 13 X 9 PAN, ABOUT 16-20 BARS

2 cups quick-cook oats, not instant
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 sticks (10 Tablespoons) soft unsalted butter
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 14-oz can condensed milk (I used low-fat sweetened)
1 egg
1/2 of 12-oz bag bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate chips (1 cup chips)

Preheat the oven to 350oF and line your cake pan with parchment paper to make it easier to get the Blondies out once they're cooked.  Can use foil but they stick a bit – or use a foil pan.

Combine the oats, flour, and baking soda in a bowl.

In another bowl, mix or beat the soft butter with the sugar until pale and creamy, then beat in condensed milk followed by the oats, flour, and baking soda mixture until well mixed.

Beat in the egg until mixe well, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth with a spatula, then cook up to 35 minutes, checking at about 25 minutes.  They should be very golden brown around the edges, but don't let the whole dish get as dark golden.  Should be light to medium golden brown.  They will feel firm on top yet squishy underneath.  Once out of the oven, this middle will firm up.

 

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Chocolate Cherry Bread

Aaargghhh!! These charred chocolate chips look like bulging frog eyes.  Nasty.  Aside from that small issue, this bread was super!  Impressed some friends at work.  A dusting of confectioner's sugar would help cover the eyes. 

It always surprises me when I take something I baked in to work that I think is flawed, and everyone seems to rave about it. 

I think that when I make this again, I will lose the chips, or I will try to poke them down into the dough.

Chocolate Cherry Bread 2
I also don't like the way the chocolate smears when you cut it.  Untidy.  But again, if your family or guests are not like me – aka normal – these minor imperfections won't be noticed.

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The recipe called for pecans also but I left them out this time.

This is a "start the night before" offering, or start darned early in the day for evening bread.

You can bake it in a bread crock,or any small to medium-sized heavy, oven-safe, covered pot, like a dutch oven.

I used my Martha Stewart dutch oven.  And guess what I learned while this was baking …

Chocolate Cherry Bread Dutch Oven
it was recalled.  No, not my bread.  My dutch oven.  Evidently the enamel chips off and could pop off while hot and land on your skin.  I seriously thought about removing my baked bread and pot with some kind of armor … and maybe some goggles (oh wait, I have glasses) or a face mask.  This thought lasted about 3 seconds, then I just shook my head at myself.

No-Knead Chocolate Cherry Bread
Compliments of JennaDish

from King Arthur's Flour online recipes

3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) rye flour, any type
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) cool water
3/4 cup (3 1/4 ounces) chopped dried cherries
1/2 cup (3 ounces) chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) diced pecans, toasted

Mix flours, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Add cherries, chocolate chips, and pecans. Stir well to make a very soft dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will be bubbly and puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times. Let it rest 15 minutes, then form it into a ball. Place it in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.

During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a bread crock (or a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot) in the oven while it heats. When the dough is risen, remove the crock from the oven, and turn the dough out of the bowl and into the crock; the smooth side will be facing up. Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.

Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 30 to 40 minutes (Mine almost burned after about 20-25 minutes, so beware), until the bread is deep brown in color and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.  Remove the crock from the oven, turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing. 

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake Nigella Kitchen
I just bought my first Nigella Lawson cookbook, Nigella Kitchen.  Prior to this Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake, I've only made one Nigella recipe, Apple Cinnamon Tea Cake and it was awesome.  I need to make it again, actually. CORRECTION: the apple tea cake was not a Nigella recipe.  It was a Donna Hay recipe. 

This loaf cake was equally tasty and would be especially great around the holidays because of the mix of chocolate and citrus.  A little reminiscent of other fruited breads and cookies you run into in November and December. 

HOWEVER, I am not a big fan of the sunken loaf, which is exactly what can be expected from this recipe.  Here's what Nigella and company have to say to cooks lamenting their sunken loaves:

In (Nigella) Kitchen on p298 (at the end of the Seed-Cake recipe) Nigella mentions "The centre of the cake will sink a little as the cake cools, but this is the way of the loaf". The photographs in Nigella's books are intended to be real – to show the food as it should be and to reassure that you are not doing anything wrong if certain cakes do sink.

Many loaf cakes do have a tendency to sink on cooling and this is partly due to the loaf tin. The deeper sides of a loaf tin cause the outside of the cake to cook more quickly than the inside, so the cake rises in the oven but the centre of the cake has not cooked quite enough to permanently set the proteins in the cake batter (from the flour and egg) and hold the cake up – so it will sink as it cools.

The batter is also a reason as these cakes are all intended to keep well they may sink but they will remain moist and delicious to eat for longer than a madiera or pound-type cake which may rise but become dry after a day or two.

So if you are not good with the whole feeble looking loaf, try making this as cupcakes.  Keep the temperature at 325 or 350 degrees F and start checking through the glass door at 20 minutes for the visual test before opening the door.  When it looks like the top is firmed up and could be done, do a toothpick test and check for doneness in 5 minute intervals.

Chocolate Orange Loaf Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Nigella Kitchen

MAKES ONE 9" LOAF CAKE or about 10-12 SLICES

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) soft unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
dab flavorless vegetable oil, for greasing syrup spoon
2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle's), or dark corn syrup
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
2 eggs
zest 2 regular oranges and juice of 1
1 x 2-pound loaf pan

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line your loaf pan with parchment paper and grease the sides, or line with a paper loaf-pan liner.
Beat the already soft butter with the syrup — if you dab a little oil on your tablespoon measure with a sheet of paper towel, the syrup shouldn't stick to the spoon — and the sugar until you have a fairly smooth caffe Americano cream, though the sugar will have a bit of grit about it.
Mix the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder together, and beat into the syrup mixture 1 tablespoonful of these dry ingredients before beating in 1 egg. Then add another couple of spoonfuls of the dry ingredients before beating in the second egg.
Carry on beating in the remaining dry ingredients and then add, still beating, the orange zest and finally, gradually, the juice. At this stage, the batter may suddenly look dimpled, as if slightly curdled. No need to panic!
Pour and scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, though check 5 minutes before and be prepared to keep it in the oven 5 minutes longer if need be. A cake tester won't come out entirely clean, as the point of this cake, light though it may be, is to have just a hint of inner stickiness. Let cool a little in its pan on a wire rack, then turn out with care and leave on the rack to cool.

Make Ahead Tip: The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. Will keep for 5 days total.

Freeze Ahead Tip: The cake can be frozen, tightly wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature.