Chocolate Cherry-Almond Biscotti

adapted from Butter-Pecan Biscotti by King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

3 Tablespoons vegetable shortening

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted*

2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped

2/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the almond extract, baking powder, and salt.

4. Mix in the flour, one cup at a time, until well blended.

5. Add nuts, fruit, and chips, and mix until they are well-distributed throughout the dough.

6. Place dough down the center of a lightly greased baking sheet.  With wet hands, pat dough into the shape of a log, about 12 by 4 1/2 inches.  Shape dough so that it is slightly mounded in the center, and lower on the sides.

7. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove dough from the oven and allow it to cool for about 45 minutes.  Lower oven temperature to 300°F.

8. Place log on a cutting board and, using a serrated blade, slice on the diagonal into 1 inch wide slices.  Place slices, cut side up, on an ungreased baking sheet.

9. Bake for about 20 minutes, turn them over, and bake for about 20 minutes more, or until they are golden and toasty.

* To Toast Nuts- Place nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan and bake at 350°F.  for about 7-9 minutes, or until they are golden brown and yummy smelling.  Watch them carefully so that they do not burn.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-cake-on-plate

Recipe adapted from The Complete Book of Baking by Pillsbury

published by The Penguin Group, New York,NY

Elizabeth’s Chocolate Glaze by Elizabeth Levesque

Four days ago I bought these lovely zucchini with the intention of baking zucchini bread, and then I forgot all about them.  Normally I would have left the peels on, but they are not as lovely now, and that is why I peeled them before cutting and grating them for the cake.  The food processor made quick work of these pieces of zucchini; it took me less than 2 minutes to grate about 8 zucchini.  Then I “sweated” them for about 40 minutes.

According to Baking Illustrated , you are supposed to sweat the zucchini before using it in zucchini bread, and so I thought it would be best to do the same when using them in a cake recipe.  If you are using a food processor to grate your zucchini, add the 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar right down the chute .  If you are using a box grater, just mix in the sugar with the grated zucchini.  Place a fine sieve or colander over a bowl, and allow the grated zucchini to drain for at least 30 minutes.  You will be amazed at how much liquid is sweated out (at the end I pressed the zucchini to get even more liquid out).  Half of the zucchini were used in this cake and I froze the other half to use in a cake or loaf of bread later.  Enjoy!

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-zucchini

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts

2 teaspoons granulated sugar- for “sweating” the zucchini

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-chopped-zucchini-250x250

Directions

1. Grate and sweat the zucchini.

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-shredded-zucchini

2. Heat oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a 13×9 inch pan.

3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, butter, oil, vanilla and eggs; beat well.

4. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda and buttermilk; blend well.

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-batter

5. Fold in zucchini, chocolate chips and nuts.  Spread in the greased and floured pan.

6. Bake at 350 ° F. for 35- 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

7. This can be served unfrosted ( and it really is good without frosting), or with just a glaze ( I chose to glaze it- the recipe follows).  You can also use a chocolate frosting to bring out more of the chocolate flavor.

Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-cake-on-plate

Elizabeth’s Dark Chocolate Glaze

1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 dark unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp vanilla

about 4-5 Tablespoons water

1. Mix together powdered sugar, cocoa,vanilla and enough water to make your glaze pourable, but yet still somewhat thick.

2. Pour glaze over cooled cake and quickly spread it evenly (a small off-set spatula works great for this).  Allow glaze to set before cutting the cake.

P.S… I’m not the only one who cooks in this house, this is a sample of Mark’s handiwork.

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Chocolate-Chip-Zucchini-Cake-bbq-open

Chocolate Chip Scone Nibbles

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-scones-on-plate

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour-The Baker’s Catalogue

 

Scone Ingredients

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pats

12 oz. bag mini chocolate chips

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup half & half, or milk

 

Glaze Ingredients

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

7 Tablespoons water, enough to make a thin glaze

1 teaspoon vanilla, optional

 

Directions

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-flour-with-butter

1. Whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Work in the butter just until the mixture is evenly crumbly.  Stir in the mini chocolate chips.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and half and half.  Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Do not over beat, just stir it until they are combined.

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-scone-square

3. Scrape the dough onto a well-floured work surface, and pat it into an 8 inch square, about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut the square into 16- 2 inch squares, then cut each square in half diagonally, to make 32 small triangular scones.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-square-of-16

4. Transfer the scones to a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet (or use a Silpat).  Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, uncovered.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-raw-scones

5. Bake the scones in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool completely. Cut each scone in half once again, to make a total of 64 tiny triangles.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-scones-on-plate

6. Stir together the glaze ingredients.  Coat the scones with the glaze, place them on a rack to set.  I made a half recipe of the glaze and that was plenty for my scones.  I brushed the glaze on with a pastry brush.

7. If this is too many scones for one meal at your house, just bake the number of scones you need and store the others in the freezer.  After they have been in the freezer for 20 minutes uncovered, you can then easily move them into storage bags or containers for a longer freeze.

Chocolate-Chip-Scone-Nibbles-Mika-in-the-yard

This is our girl, Mika, sitting so pretty on the lawn.  One hour before this photo was taken, she managed to chew a big hole in our wooden fence while I was busy baking scones.

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-cake-slices

Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking

Pillsbury Publications, ©The Pillsbury Company 1993

Published by Viking and The Penguin Group, New York, N.Y.

 

The glue in the binding of this book gave way years ago, and everything is held together with staples and a big rubber band, but it is still one of my favorite cookbooks, full of great bread and cookie recipes.  For this cake to turn out the way you want it to; grease your Bundt pan well, or the cake will stick (I use Baker’s Joy), and to achieve a fluffy batter, the butter and cream cheese must be very soft (not liquid).

For the glaze, the recipe suggests that you melt canned, ready-to-spread frosting.  It would also be easy and convenient to use the ice cream topping sold in the squirt bottle.  If you’re not really a chocolate lover, the recipe can be modified and flavored so many ways.  Just substitute whichever flavor extract you wish for the vanilla, and add a little of that same extract to a plain white glaze for the top of the cake.  If you are making a citrus flavor, you can also add the juice of the fruit to the glaze, and the zest of the fruit to the cake and the glaze.  Enjoy!

 

 Cake Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Glaze Ingredients

1/3 cup ready-to spread chocolate frosting, melted

 

Directions 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-grease-the-pan

1. Heat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan really well (including the creases) so that the cake does not stick.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-light-and-fluffy

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-dry-ingredients

3. Combine remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk them together.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-mix-dry-with-wet

4. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mix well.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-batter-in-pan

5. Stir in milk and chocolate chips, mixture will be very thick.  Spread in greased pan (I used the back of a spoon to spread the batter).

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-baked-cake

6. Bake for 30-40 minutes (I baked mine for 35 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-let-it-cool

7. Invert cake onto a serving plate and allow to cool.

 

Chocolate-Chip-Cake-add-the-glaze

8. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the frosting.  Drizzle melted frosting over the cooled cake.