baked sunday mornings: double chocolate loaf

bakers note: this recipe is part of the baked sunday mornings group – which means that we (participating bloggers) don’t include the recipe.  I have included the group homepage in a link below – so if you’re tempted – click on it and you’ll be able to make this loaf at home too ;0)

Oh my.  This loaf is YUM.

How can you go wrong when you’re asked to combine chocolate with peanut butter and cream cheese?  You really can’t.  Go wrong that is.

This loaf proves that (in case you were doubting me).

The spread – well it’s more of a frosting – is creamy and a little tangy thanks to the cream cheese.  My only complaint would be that it’s a little too sweet … I think I would omit the added sugar next time … but really – it’s still delicious.

I decided to make this recipe last night – I was meeting up with some friends and had promised to bring along some sort of baked good – kill two birds with one stone: bake my assigned recipe and provide a movie treat for friends.  Perfect!

Since I was short on time, I decided to turn the one 9-by-5-inch loaf into 8 mini loaves.  They wouldn’t require as much baking time, ensuring that I could bake them, cool them slightly, and frost them prior to heading out.

Only … I over baked them.

Note to self – and to anyone interested – bake the mini loaves for 24 minutes.  Not 26 minutes.

Sigh.

The result was still delicious.  The loaves were incredibly moist and crumbly in the centre … just a little over-baked on the base and sides.  Nothing a good smear of peanut butter cream cheese spread doesn’t fix :0)

Oh yes … and since I always end up trying the raw batter – I can attest that this batter is awesome.  It’s nice and thick and super chocolaty rich.  It’s actually pretty divine.

And so my friends … here is my 5th blog entry for baked sunday mornings.  It’s kinda the perfect blog entry since you should do the following after reading it:

– click on the link that leads you to the recipe.

– ensure that you have all the necessary ingredients.

– whip up a loaf (or double it as recommended in the book itself).

– make this next week a very good week by starting every day with a thick slice of the loaf topped with the peanut butter cream cheese spread.

– starting each day in such a manner will ensure the following … you will have a wonderful week.  Or at the very least you’ll look forward to breakfast.

If you still aren’t sure … just scroll down and see how (1) easy this loaf is to make, and (2) how delicious it looks.

Can’t you just picture yourself enjoying this with a nice cup of coffee tomorrow morning?  I bet you can … so do it.  Go out and bake this (I promise, this is a ridiculously simple recipe).

And for the record … I ate that entire mini loaf and loved every single bite (even the over-baked edges).

Advertisements

marmalade-walnut brownies

I love marmalade.  I didn’t use to.  Actually – I thought it was vile.  I’d get upset if I mistakenly selected the jar of marmalade from the fridge and slathered it on my toast.  But my grandmother loved it – and loved making it.  Every year, she would spend a weekend making her marmalade, jarring it up and passing it out.  She even did this while she was in Spain (it’s true – she went out and picked her own oranges that year and made some jam while on vacation).  Now that I am older and wiser and have developed an appreciation for marmalade, I think of my grandmother.  That’s a good thing :0)

This time round however I didn’t think of my grandmother.  I thought of Chloé’s mom, Céline.  Céline gifted me with a jar of her homemade marmalade last year – she had made a particularly good batch and was spreading the love :0)  Since today is Céline’s birthday – I thought it would be appropriate to make these brownies – and use her marmalade.

This recipe is worth making (even if you aren’t a marmalade lover).  Why? 

Because …

1.  My entire kitchen smelled of oranges and chocolate.  Not a bad thing.

2.  The brownies are really dark and gooey. 

3.  The batter tastes AMAZING (yes … I’m admitting to eating more raw batter … I honestly just licked the spoon… I was super curious to see how it would taste).

I played around with the recipe a bit … I wanted to add a little more punch to the flavour – dried cherries and orange zest did the trick. 

marmalade-walnut brownies

ingredients:

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 cup butter, melted

3 eggs

1/2 c. orange marmalade

1 tsp vanilla

1 c. flour, sifted

3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Line your rectangular baking pan with parchment paper or foil, spray the liner with non-stick spray; and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.

In a large bowl stir together the sugar and melted butter. 

Stir in the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Add the marmalade and the vanilla, beat well into the batter.  Fold in the flour mixture until well combined.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and all of the nuts.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evenly spreading it out. 

Bake for about 30 minutes – the centre should be set.   FYI you kitchen will start smelling of chocolate orange.  This is when you should attempt to sell your house :0)

Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.   Once they have cooled down, you need to dress these babies up a little.

topping

ingredients:

1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 c.  dried cherries, chopped

zest of 2 oranges

In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the chocolate chips and vegetable oil – it should get nice and smooth.

Cool slightly.  Then grab a whisk and dip the end in the melted chocolate.  Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled brownies.  Top the melted chocolate with the dried cherries and the orange zest.

These make for a truly festive treat.  Perfect to chase those winter blues away … or to celebrate a birthday.

Joyeuse anniversaire Céline.  Et merci bien pour la marmelade.

pumpkin loaf (5 ways)

Seriously.  This is THE BEST LOAF in the history of all loaves.  I lie not.  Heck… Between October 14th and October 24th I baked it 5 times.  5 times! And you get 2 good-sized loaves out of each recipe.

I was flipping through the recipe book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Polafito when I spotted this gem of a recipe.  It looked good… and what better way to know for certain than to try it right?

OMG I am so happy I decided to bake it.  It is OUTSTANDING!

Bye-bye banana loaf.

Sayōnara zucchini bread.

Hello pumpkin loaf.  Oh how I heart you… and so does everyone else who tastes you.

You might wonder… how can I still love this recipe after making it so often (and yes, I have tried every single loaf that has come out of my oven)?  Easy.  I switch it up a little.  The basis of the loaf is always the same – but then I add to it: nuts, dried fruit, types of chocolate chips, other fruit.  It’s ridiculous how versitile this recipe is – and every single time it’s a winner.  Every. Single. Time.

Let me count the ways I love this recipe:

1.  No stand mixer required.  Just a whisk, a couple of bowls and a rubber spatula.

2.  It smells AMAZING – from the moment you start on the batter until you take it out of the oven – you will be in heaven.

3.  It makes 2 loaves at once.  You can share the love among friends and family… and still keep one all to yourself.

4.  It tastes great with bre cheese.  Seriously … ask Julie.

5.  It’s just delish.  ‘Nuf said.

(baked) pumpkin chocolate chip loaf (original version – with my little “twists”)

ingredients:

3 1/4 c. flour, sifted

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp group allspice (I used ground cloves)

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp salt

1 3/4 c. pumpkin purée (one 15 oz. can)

1 c. vegetable oil

3 c. sugar (I used 1 c. white & 2 c. brown sugars)

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 c. water, room temperature

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (I used half white & half semisweet chocolate chips)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spray two 9 inch loaf pans with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon nutmeg, allspice (cloves), ginger, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In another, larger bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée and the oil until combined.  Add the sugar(s) and whisk again. 

It’ll thicken nicely – now add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition, and the vanilla.  Add the water and whisk until combined.  Grab your rubber spatula and stir in the chocolate chips.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients – try not to overmix.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans.  Gently tap the pans against the counter – it’ll remove any air bubbles and level out the top of each loaf.

Bake at the centre of the oven – about 1 hour 20 minutes (give or take) – a toothstick or tip of knife should come out clean when inserted in the centre.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack, cool for about 15 minutes; then invert the loaves and cool completely.  And then slice into it. 

As you can tell from my enthusiasim – there are many more ways to make this loaf. 

Here are my 4 alternatives:

pumpkin chocolate chip pecan mini loaves

*add 3/4 c. chopped pecans to the batter at the same time as the chocolate chips.  Otherwise – everything remains the same.

apple spice pumpkin chocolate chip loaf

*add a large apple (peeled, cored, diced, sautéed) to the batter as the same time as the chocolate chips.

*next time I will grate the apple into the batter … but it still tasted good in chunks.

pumpkin date walnut loaf

* replace the cloves with pumpkin spice, replace the chocolate chips with chopped dates and toss in 3/4 c. walnuts to the batter.

pumpkin peanut butter chocolate chip loaf

*decrease the vegetable oil to 1/2 c. and add 1 c. natural peanut butter.  Add the peanut butter at the same time as the pumpkin purée.

*my mother’s favourite version – she loved how much it tasted of peanut butter