Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chocolate Chili Frosting or Fillng

One of my sister's friends asked me to make a cake in the shape of  a chili pepper (for a HOT and SPICY 40th Birthday Party)...the flavors she wanted for the cake included: Chocolate Cake with a Chocolate Chili Filling. At first I thought this idea might be rather disgusting..but during one of our trips to Cape Cod my son (the adventurous foody) decided to try out Chocolate Chili Ice Cream and it became his new favorite flavor.
SO I gave it a go and it turned out pretty tastey...lip smacking, fire burning tastey. The combination of the sweet rich chocolate and the chili really works. First you get the chocolatey goodness taste then.. a few seconds later you get that little kick..that spice in the back of your throat. It kind of catches you off guard...and then your lips start burning a little!!! Ha.
Ok so I took a classic chocolate frosting recipe, that I use all the time- from which my mom gave me (It's from one of her very old Bon Appetit Magazine's) and kicked it up a major notch in the heat department.

Here's what ya need:
2 (1 ounce) unsweetnened chocolate baking squares
1 (1 ounce) semisweet chocolate baking squares
1 cup of butter (unsalted)
4 cups of powdered sugar (I use a little more)
1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup of milk
2 teaspoon of vanilla (one will work just fine)
4 tablespoons of Chili Powder (you might want to start off with 2 or 3 tablespoons and work your way up...depending on how hot you would like this to be)

Melt the chocolate squares in the microwave. (I usually put  it in for 25 seconds at a time stirring in between- Be CAREFUL the bowl will get hot) Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
Mix the butter (in your mixer) until creamy.
Next add the melted chocolate, sugar, chili powder (*start off small!),cocoa, and vanilla and milk...mix away until you have a nice thick frosting constistancy. *I would start off with the lower amount of chili powder..maybe 2 tablespoons and work your way up until you get the heat you are looking for.
You can then taste your frosting to see if you would like to add more chili powder.

Good Luck..have a glass of milk handy :)

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Sweet Homemade Granola

I love granola! It has a sweet nuttiness, it's more like a healthy candy for me. I like my granola to have a little crunch to it. But not too crunchy. The perfect granola for me has a semi-crunchy (not painfully crunchy) exterior and soft interior. Does that make sense? Basically, I don't want to break a tooth eating it!!
I use to make granola all the time. Around the time when my days started to be filled with millions of things, I happen to find a brand at the grocery store that I really enjoyed. EVEN though it is ridiculously expensive I bought it anyway, to "save time".
When I couldn't find it last week at the store... I decided that I was better off. Why spend $5 on a tiny little bag of granola when I can make it? I made sure to set some time aside for this sweet treat so that I could make a bunch- so that it would last...and by the way it is SO MUCH cheaper!!! However, it didn't last long because everyone at my house can't stop eating it!! That's how good it is! No one seemed to bother with my grocery store granola!
Not only does this disappearing granola taste delish it's pretty healthy too! PLUS I love using local ingredients whenever I can. This recipe happens to call for honey.  I was able to use the delicious honey that my husband brought home from a co-worker-- who is beeee a beekeeper (haha!) and own Brown's Honey Bunny Farm in Greenwich.
The possibilities are endless with this recipe..I think I say that a lot. But it's true. You can add ingredients to this and make it your own! Last week I used this recipe to make sweet granola and peanut butter granola (by switching out a few ingredients). My son & husband are huge fans of the peanut butter granola and I'm head over heels for the sweet granola. (Thank Goodness..I'm not so great at sharing my favorite foods!)

Here's what ya need:
2 cups of rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free..that's what I had in my cabinet)
1/4 cup of special k cereal broken up
1/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup of dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla
3 tablespoons of olive oil (yum)
1/4 cup of slivered almonds
handful of shelled pumpkin seeds
** if you want you can also add: 
handful of semi sweet mini chocolate chips
handful of  dried cranberries

Preheat your oven to 325 (300 if you have a dark pan) and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper... trust me on this one..parchment is the way to go. Oh, and you probably want to set a little time aside for this one. Maybe a half hour. You will want to be near the oven to turn over the granola and watch it so that it doesn't burn! (I burned a batch yesterday..whoops)

First Mix the honey, brown sugar, vanilla and olive oil in a bowl. Mix well make sure all of the sugar is dissolved.
In a separate bowl mix together the oats, special K, salt and cinnamon.
Next, add the oats to the wet mixture and mix together well. Make sure you coat all of the oats with the mixture. You are probably going to have to use your hands at some point to make sure the oats are coated well... it will get a little sticky and messy!!
Now place your oats onto the cookie sheet. I like mine granola a little clumpy, so I squeeze some of the oats together.
Place in the oven and let cook for 10 mins.
After ten minutes, take your pan out of the oven and over your granola with a spatula - THEN, add your slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Put back in the oven for 5 minutes.
Then take out of the oven, again. Turn the granola over one more time.
Place back into the oven and let it bake for about 10 more minutes. (keep an eye on it)
Let granola cool completely...(it will be HOT!)
Then mix in the chocolate chips and dried cranberry's.

SO YUMMY!! Don't forget to share!!

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