Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

Chocolate + Espresso + Amazing Crown Bundt Pan = Simply Delicious!

You know that "Japanese Clutter" book (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo)? Well, she tells you to hold up every single item you own and ask, "Does this bring me joy?" If not, you toss it without regret because you only want to surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Therefore, I just want to tell you... I want to surround myself with this new Nordic Ware Bundt pan (and its cousins, all my other Bundt pans). This Crown Bundt is the diva of my Bundt world - totally cool and layered in gold.

(As an aside, I found the book interesting although sometimes crazy, but she has revolutionized my drawers so I now "stand up my folded clothes" and it saves so much space. Really.)

I'm excited to show you the new 70th Anniversary Nordic Ware Crown Bundt pan. Isn't it pretty? It's amazing that family-owned Nordic Ware has been making bakeware for 70 years! Most of their pans are made in America too.

As I've said for years on this blog, the best Bundt pans are made by Nordic Ware. And as you've seen over the years, I only have Nordic Ware in my kitchen!


Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
Inside the Nordic Ware Crown BundtI really appreciate Nordic Ware's crisp lines in all their pans. The humps in the traditional bundts are well-defined and the designs really hold in the finished cake.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
This design was made specifically for the 70th Anniversary Celebration and honor Nordic Ware’s Scandinavian roots. It's a great 10 cup Bundt pan to add to your collection. And look at it!!! It's gold! For the first time ever, it has a limited edition sparkling gold-metallic finish. They have two other Bundts in the collection that have gold finishes too.

Hey, it's an Olympic year, so you deserve a Gold Bundt in your collection.


Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
Here's a side view of the cake. This was a big hit at work. It's a perfect Bundt for a meeting or brunch - goes nicely with coffee or tea.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
For this recipe, I was inspired by my favorite Chocolate Cinnamon Bundt, but switched up the flavors. I added some instant espresso powder to highlight the chocolate flavor, and used butter and coconut oil. It's super easy to make - you just need to melt some ingredients and mix. No KitchenAid mixer is needed.

Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake in Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
If this new Crown Bundt pan doesn't spark joy in your life, then you are doing it wrong :)
Get the pan from Nordic Ware!

Disclosures: The nice folks at Nordic Ware gifted me the Crown Bundt product. Opinions are my own. Also, I'm in the Amazon Affiliate program and make a few cents if you click on some product links. 

Recipe: Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup coconut oil (it was solid when I measured it)
5 T cocoa powder (I use 30 grams of Hershey's cocoa)
1 cup water (it goes faster if you use hot water)

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (350 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions:
Prepare 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan (I prefer to use a baking spray (with flour) but you can also butter and flour the pan). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
2. Place water, coconut oil, butter, instant espresso powder and cocoa in a small pot and heat until melted, whisking to combine together. Remove from heat.
3. Add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture, and whisk by hand until combined.
4. In a small bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and vanilla. Add to the batter and combine.
5. Add the sour cream and combine with the whisk.
6. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. It will be a runny batter.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven and pan), until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
8. Remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack and let cool completely.
9. Eat plain or dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.
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Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola

Friday, March 25, 2016

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola

I love granola! It's perfect on yogurt, cottage cheese or with some milk. I love the combo of toasted oats, nuts and dried fruit. I don't make it enough...but that'll change because I really like this recipe for Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola! It's simple, fast, and tasty!

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
This granola is filled with sweet, spicy and all things in between! It has old fashioned oats, Dried Pineapple, Crystallized Ginger, Dried Cranberries, Pepita Seeds, Walnuts, and Ground Cinnamon, Ground Ginger, and Nutmeg. The secret sauce is a combo of honey and coconut oil.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
This recipe is inspired by "Honey and Hazelnut Granola" that Valerie Bertinelli made on her Food Network show. She used hazelnuts and dried apricots. Also, her batch was larger (I halved the basic ingredients).

I used walnuts and pepitas seeds, along with 2 cups of old fashioned oatmeal. I never have quick-cooking oats that were called for in the original recipe, but everything turned out fine with the old fashioned oatmeal.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
The nice folks at Costco sent over some products to try including Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil and Kirkland Organic Honey. I've noticed that Costco is carrying a lot more organic products, including fresh produce. I made the Carrot Ginger Soup earlier with the Coconut Oil, and I've been using it to make popcorn practically every day. I already use the Kirkland Organic Honey (comes in a three pack). When I get sick, the first thing that usually hits me is a sore throat. I always reach for my honey bear (shouldn't honey ALWAYS come in a honey bear?), lemon juice and lots of hot water. My folks use the honey as well - my dad likes honey as the sweetener in his coffee.

I chose to include dried pineapple, crystallized ginger and dried cranberries in the granola. You can have any dried fruit you want, although the crystallized ginger adds a special ginger flavor.

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
How do you eat your granola? I like mine on top of plain yogurt or cottage cheese!

Honey Pineapple Ginger Granola
Makes 3 cups of granola
Inspired by "Honey and Hazelnut Granola" by Valerie Bertinelli

2 cups oats (I used old fashioned oats)
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup (2 Tablespoons) pepitas/pumpkin seeds
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried diced pineapple
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 pieces of crystallized ginger

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and nuts.
4. In a small saucepan, heat the honey and coconut oil until melted. Remove from heat.
5. Add spices and salt to the honey mixture, and stir to combine.
6. Pour hot mixture over the oats and nuts and stir until everything is well coated.
7. Spread oats onto baking sheet.
8. Bake until toasted, about 25-30 minutes. Mix at half-way point.
9. Let cool then add the chopped dried fruit. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Disclosure: Costco sent me some products to try including Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil and Kirkland Organic Honey. I was not paid for this post. Opinions are my own.
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Dried Persimmons or My Mom Makes Dried Kaki That Are Crack

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
Persimmon Tree + Dehydrator + My Mom = Dried Persimmons or Natural Crack

This is one of those combo posts...journaling a memory and writing a little bit about food. I wanted to wish my mom a Happy 73rd Birthday and show you her dried persimmons ("kaki" in Japanese). My parents have a tree in their backyard that is probably 40 years old. My paternal grandmother gave each son a persimmon tree back in the day and my parent's is still going strong.

By the way, these are some of my favorite pictures of my mom and I think it really captures her spirit. She's always in a happy mood. When she retired a few years ago from 30+ years as a teacher's aide and "the cafeteria money taker lady", the teachers invited our family to attend her surprise retirement assembly. The kids treated her like a rock star - she was giving high-fives on her walk up to accept hundreds of homemade cards from all the kids in the school.

IMG_2437
These dried persimmons are totally crack. Persimmons are already a very sweet fruit. And when you dry them? Glory be. The intense sweetness of the dried persimmon is incredible.

In the fall, my mom makes tons of batches...she figures she dried at least 300 persimmons this season! I mail them to friends on the east coast, gift them to local friends, and eat soooo many myself.

Cousin Stan and husband David (together I've named them Stavid) tried them for the first time this year and, it's true, just once and you're hooked. They say, "We're lucky if any of the dried persimmons make it home. We gobble them up in the car and wind up with an empty or near-empty zip lock bag."

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Happy Birthday Mom!

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Last fall, the crop was very good. And, OMG, we finally learned about and bought a fruit picker. CHANGED OUR LIVES. No more ladders! The first time we used it, both my mom and I yelled, "Why haven't we had this for the last 40 years?" If you have a fruit tree, you have to get one of these. It's awesomesauce. 

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
The persimmons need to be FUYU persimmons, not the Hachiya persimmons (Hachiyas need to be totally soft before eating them, while the Fuyu can be eaten hard or soft). The fuyu rules!

First, peel fuyu persimmons. Mom's pretty quick at this...lots of practice over the years!

Mom's Dried Persimmons / Kaki
Second, slice the persimmons the same thickness. That way, they'll dry at about the same time. 

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
Mom has them sit in the dehydrator for 8-10 hours...depending on thickness and ripeness. Mom usually has them go overnight and turns off the machine in the morning. She has a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator.

Dried Persimmons made by Mom
All the persimmons are gone and most of the dried persimmons have been eaten... I'm looking forward to next year!
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Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Oil

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Carrot Ginger Soup
Carrot Ginger Soup with Coconut Oil

Soup for you! You have to make this delicious and yet easy to make soup! It's super fast too...in 30 minutes you get soup! And it reheats nicely in the microwave so it's perfect to bring to work too. The carrots have a little sweetness, the sweet potato adds body, and the ginger gives it such good flavor.

Carrot Ginger Soup
And why is there a huge tub of Organic Coconut Oil in this mise en place? Well, the nice folks at Costco reached out to me and gave me a few items from the store. I haven't used coconut oil before so it was a treat to get this. My family has been a member of Costco since the Price Club days. There are so many things I buy at Costco - contact lenses, gasoline, tires for my car, blueberries, raspberries, that rotisserie chicken, photo center for prints, King's Hawaiian rolls, Nestle Chocolate Chips, hella oral hygiene stuff (Sonicare toothbrushes, floss and those little pick things for between your teeth...yeah, a little TMI there), paper towels, TP, dog beds for Cidney, televisions (I've bought three for my family over the years), and yes, on occasion, the famous food court's frozen yogurt, slice of pizza and a hot dog with sauerkraut (yes, ask for the sauerkraut - it's on their secret menu). I can go on and on... what are your favorite items at Costco?

I'm extra excited because my Costco is getting a bigger Costco! The Torrance Costco is always so busy - it needs more room. They are building a bigger Costco right next door to the existing one...with more parking! It will even have a car wash!

Costco's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil makes your kitchen smell very tropical when you are cooking with it. (By the way, you may read about me hatin' on the coconut, but I only hate the coconut strands and flakes because they feel like dental floss. I love coconut flavored stuff.) Coconut oil has no cholesterol and can be used in place of oils and butter. It has a low melting temperature so although it is solid, it melts really quickly in your pan. I'm excited to try some new recipes - including a cake where the coconut oil replaces butter, and coconut oil popcorn! I'll post those when I attempt them!

Carrot Ginger Soup
The Carrot Ginger soup is so easy to make, and it takes about 30 minutes total!! You just saute the shallots and ginger in coconut oil, then put in the carrots, sweet potato and water. Cook until tender and then go crazy with your immersion blender!

This recipe can be vegan if you skip the optional yogurt or sour cream topping.
~ mary

P.S. NPR's Planet Money Show (my favorite!) did a great piece on the history of Costco and membership shopping. You should listen to it - it's very interesting!

FCC Disclosure: Costco gifted me Virgin Coconut Oil. Opinions are my own. Dude, I love Costco. 

Carrot Ginger Soup

Young ginger at the farmers market.
I used Young Ginger I purchase from the Torrance Farmer's Market. It comes with big stalks and you can boil the leaves to make tea (photo from 2012 on the left). Young Ginger isn't as fibrous as regular ginger, and it is much more mellow than its older sibling. I love young ginger! It's only available for a short time so I buy a bunch and freeze it. NPR wrote a piece about young ginger you might want to read...and try to find some!

Carrot Ginger Soup

Carrot Ginger Soup
Adapted from: Martha Stewart Carrot Ginger Soup
Makes 6 cups, about 8 servings

1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon or more minced ginger (I used young ginger that isn't as strong so I used a little more)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups water
Sea salt
Optional: Yogurt or sour cream

1. In a medium post, melt coconut oil and then add shallots and ginger. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.
2. Add carrots, sweet potato, water and a 1 teaspoon sea salt.
3. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until the veggies are cooked and tender.
4. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth. You can also use a blender to puree the soup. Add salt to taste.
5. Serve soup with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream.
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