Monday, December 29, 2014

Gingerbread Bundt Cake

It is not often I take on a recipe like this.  From scratch, more than 10 ingredients, definitely not a KTC recipe.

I promise you there is nothing difficult about this recipe and it truly is delicious with all the flavors of Christmas mixed in there.

Gingerbread Bundt Cake
Adapted From Smitten Kitchen

1 cup stout beer, I used Left Hand Nitro Stout
1 cup molasses
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter and flour a bundt pan, knock out the excess flour.
2. Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Cool to room temperature.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl mix oil and sugars. Then whisk in oil and molasses mixture. Combine wet and dry ingredients.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan, bang on the counter a few times to release air bubbles. Bake 50 minutes, until toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool cake 5 minutes before removing from pan.
5. Dust cooled cake with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

This cake goes perfectly with a cup of tea.  You can also eat it for breakfast like I have been doing for the passed few days!

I wish you all a happy new year! I'll be back here in 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Cookie Party

It cookie time folks! This is my second year hosting a cookie swap party.  The first was back in 2012 and can be seen here.

I decided to make treasure cookies.  They have all the ingredients of a magic square in cookie form.

Treasure Cookies

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cup flaked coconut
2 cups chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Toss it all into a big bowl and mix it up.  Sorry, I just can be bothered with that whole separate bowl for dry and wet ingredients.
3. Scoop tablespoons of dough onto prepared pan leaving and inch or two for the cookies to spread. Bake 9-11 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
4.  Allow cookies to cool 3-4 minutes on the pan before removing them to a cooling rack.
5. Eat them all!!

So excited to use some new bake-ware!

Treasure cookies stay soft and chewy even days later.

Those are gingersnaps covered with marshmallow fluff, caramel, and pecans!

These are snowball cookies made with ground peanuts and filled with chocolate chips and peanut butter cups!

These are chocolate cookies filled with crushed peppermint and chocolate ganache!

Another successful evening of nonstop eating. I hope to do it all over again next year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Potato Gratin with Brie and Pumpkin

I was given some fresh, roasted pumpkin a few weeks back.  I had never cooked with actual pumpkin before and was excited to put it into a savory dish.

Potato Gratin with Pumpkin and Brie
2 lb potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup heavy cream, I used half and half and things worked out just fine
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 oz brie, cubed into small pieces
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375.  In a small saucepan, heat cream, pumpkin, thyme, and nutmeg.  Whisk until combined.
2.  Grease a 2 qt casserole dish, line with first layer of potatoes and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon 1/3 of sauce of potatoes and top with both cheeses.  Repeat process, making 2 more potato later.
3. Bake for 50 minutes, until potatoes have browned and are tender.

My mandolin was fitted with the ridged blade at the time and I didn't really have the energy to change it to the flat blade.  That's why you see the ridges there, it is not intentional or integral to the recipe.

Love this side dish!!! It's a fun spin on a classic and of course with the brie in there it's way fancy.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Honeymoon Cruise Food Fest!

A few weeks ago I went on my honeymoon.  We cruised to Aruba, Colombia, Panama Canal, Costa Rica, and the Cayman Islands.  The scenery and adventures were incredible, but we know what you guys are here for...the food!

Princess Cruises did not let us down with their menu choices.  If you want a little run-down of a typical food filled day it goes a little something like this:

Breakfast at the buffet
Iced coffees/lattes at La Patisserie
Lunch at the buffet, or pizza, or the grill
Formal dinner: 3 courses, plus dessert each night
Post dinner snacks: a visit to the buffet, popcorn, ice cream, possible room service

Created with flickr slideshow.

Some of my favorites were:
Grilled calamari steak, I had it for a dinner entree and it was just incredible
Goat cheese and apple soup, served chilled, so interesting
Pistachio Chocolate Journey dessert, this is a limited edition 50th anniversary Princess cruise dessert. It was gorgeous and easily the most delicious dessert we had on the cruise.
Popcorn! All the time! It was like dreams coming true.

It was the trip of a lifetime, food and adventures all rolled into one.