Monday, November 30, 2015

Candy Cane Bundt Cake

It's the 5th Monday of November, so that means it's time for the Secret Recipe Club Holiday Treats Edition!

I've been thinking about seasonal treats for quite some time now, and have made my list of what I'm going to make and bake in December. This lovely Candy Cane Bundt Cake was a perfect way to start off my holiday baking!

Lauren, from Sew You Think You Can Cook, was involved in a bundt cake challenge a while back and this cake was one of the ones she made. I knew it was the right choice - a pound cake laced with peppermint extract, and beautifully colored white and pink (you should make yours more red, I certainly regret that mine is not redder!) with a white chocolate icing and crushed candy canes for decoration - rings in the Christmas season wonderfully. I shared this with family and with church friends and it was a big hit with every audience.

I adore Christmas cookies, but sometimes, you just need a CAKE, am I right? This is the cake you need. Happy baking!

Find more great stuff at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me.

Candy Cane Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. peppermint extract
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
6-8 drops red food coloring

3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. heavy cream (milk is ok)
3/4 cups powdered sugar (may need more or less)
2 candy canes, crushed

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil and sugar and beat until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Mix in vanilla and peppermint extracts.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Mix in 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, the last of the buttermilk, and ending with the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients.

Put 2 C of the batter into a separate bowl and add the red food coloring, then stir well.

Pour half of the white batter into a greased bundt pan, top with the red batter, and finish with the rest of the white batter.

Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool in bundt pan before removing to a cooling rack.

For the icing, melt white chocolate with heavy cream in the microwave at 50% power. Stir until smooth. Whisk in powdered sugar until it has the consistency you desire. Glaze cake. Top cake with crushed candy canes.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Raspberry Poppyseed Bread

We take a break from all the pumpkin goodness of the last few weeks (crepes, danish, muffins, oh my!) to bring you this glorious quick bread - raspberries with poppyseeds, and a lovely lemon glaze to top it off. This recipe is for two standard sized loaves - but feel free to adapt to those adorable little paper loaf pans and give them as gifts! These make a lovely holiday presentation since they are studded with raspberries - and who doesn't love a wonderful quick bread for Christmas?

And if you choose to bake these traditionally in regular loaf pans and keep them both for yourself, well I wouldn't blame you. This bread is spectacular. And you could freeze one loaf for later, if you prefer. Lots of options here, folks! But your best option is to make this bread, and right away. You won't be sorry.

Find more great recipes at Inspiration Monday, Mix It Up, Inspire Me, Full Plate, Clever Chicks, Try a New Recipe, Fabulous, Show and Share, Hearth and Soul, What's Cooking, Wow Us, Wow Me.

Raspberry Poppyseed Bread

4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
3 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. coarse salt
2 cups frozen raspberries

3 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs. Add oil and sugar and beat until combined. Mix in lemon zest, vanilla, milk and poppy seeds. Sift in flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low just until combined. Fold in raspberries.

Pour into two greased 8 or 9" loaf pans and bake at 300 until golden and a toothpick inserted into middle of bread comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove to a cooling rack. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely.
Once bread is completely cooled, stir together lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar. Spoon over top of bread.

Recipe Source: Imperial Sugar

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New England Fish Chowder

The weather is just starting to turn here, and with it, my longing for soup and stew. Chowder is the perfect middle ground between soup and stew - hearty, hot and full of delicious ingredients and enough to fill you up as you contemplate hibernation. I've made this chowder now twice in the last two weeks - it is just THAT good.

And here's a little secret: once it's cooked, it's difficult to detect the fish - SO, if you have people who "claim" to not like fish, but you want them to eat it anyway (ahem), this is the perfect recipe. They will be distracted by the bacon, potatoes, carrots and corn and not even realize the other goodness that is in their bowls. And for those of us who love fish, we can just happily eat it without saying a word.

This chowder uses an interesting ingredient - oyster crackers. (These are not crackers made of oysters, but rather, the name of those little white hexagon shaped things that come in small cellophane packages at diners and the like.) The crackers help to thicken the soup and also add a dimension of flavor.

So if you need to warm up, make this soup! Leftovers are great for lunch the next day, if your crew doesn't "chow (der) it down." Tee hee.

Find more great ideas at Hearth and Soul, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Show and Share, Create, Link, Inspire, Wow Me, Wow Us, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Favorite Things, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

New England Fish Chowder

6 slices bacon, cut in 1" pieces
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups peeled & cubed potatoes
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup finely crushed oyster crackers
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 lb. mild, white fish fillets, chopped (cod, sole, haddock, etc.)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can evaporated milk

In Dutch oven, brown bacon over medium-high heat, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon grease, then add onions and garlic to the pot and saute until soft.

Add celery, carrots and potatoes, and cook and stir for several minutes, being sure to scrape up all the brown bits leftover from the bacon.

Add chicken broth, water, cracker crumbs, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are soft (7-10 minutes).

Add fish and cook until fish is cooked throughout (5-6 minutes). Add milk, bacon and corn and heat through. Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve! Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from The Yummy Life

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins

We're on a bit of a pumpkin roll here at Cook with Sara - and that's nothing to apologize for, in my opinion. Crepes, danish and muffins, oh my! When I received my assignment for Secret Recipe Club this month, I was glad to see that Chelsey is equally pumpkin crazy as I am. There were lots of great things to choose from on her blog, Mangia, but ultimately I landed on this recipe for Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins. And I'm glad I did.

Chelsey's recipes feature ingredients for gluten free, nut free, dairy free, paleo, etc. I don't need to cook and bake that way, so I adapted this recipe a bit. If you have dietary restrictions, you should definitely check out all of Chelsey's great recipes. And if you don't have restrictions, you should still check them out! And in any case, make these great muffins.

Get more ideas at Mix it Up, Inspiration Monday, Inspire Me.

Pumpkin Coffeecake Muffins

1/4 c. canola oil
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt

For the streusel:
3 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon

For glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 Tbsp. milk

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, pumpkin, egg, milk, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.
Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.

Divide batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups.

For the streusel, in a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter using your fingers, a pastry blender or two forks until the butter is incorporated. Sprinkle the streusel over the muffin batter.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean.

For the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until a good consistency is achieved. Drizzle over the cooled muffins. Serves 12.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

It's pumpkin time - last week it was crepes and this week it's danish. And stay tuned for next week, too! I made this danish for a birthday celebration at work and it was a huge hit. And why it shouldn't it be? Pumpkin, spices and cream cheese baked inside crescent roll dough - I'm already dreaming about the next time I get to eat this. It would make a perfect Thanksgiving morning breakfast - or a great way to wake up on Black Friday.

No matter when you serve it, everyone will love it. It's just that good.

Find more great ideas at Inspiration Monday, Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Create Link Inspire, Clever Chicks, Fabulous, Turn it Up, What's Cooking, Hearth and Soul, Showcase Your Talent, Full Plate, Show and Share, Wow Us, Favorite Things, Wow Me, Foodie Friday, Friday Frenzy.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Danish

1 tube crescent rolls (or crescent sheet)
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. flour

2/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and flour. Stir well until all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside.

Pop open crescent roll dough and unroll, leaving crescents in rectangles. On an ungreased baking sheet, lay the crescent roll rectangles together, then press edges together to even out edges and seal any holes.

Carefully spread cream cheese filling down the center of the dough to be about 2-3 inches wide. Cut 1/2 inch diagonal strips up each side of the dough. Fold 1/2 inch dough pieces up over filling alternating sides to get a braided pattern. Fold up the edges on the ends.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and crescent dough is golden in color. Cool before removing from baking sheet.

Once danish has cooled, remove to serving platter. In a small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, vanilla and milk to create icing. Drizzle icing over danish. Cut into pieces and serve.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Lauren's Latest

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pumpkin Crepes

Here's a fun and different way to incorporate pumpkin into your breakfast or brunches - I love crepes cause they're a bit lighter than pancakes. And you can dress them up in so many ways - these I kept relatively simple - no filling, just topped with some cooked apples and real maple syrup. With a side of salty breakfast meat, it made a wonderful autumn breakfast.

If you've never made crepes before, don't be nervous! They're really easy - check out my step by step directions on caramel banana crepes. (And then add these to your list for your next dessert!)

Find more great recipes at Mix it Up, Inspire Me, Inspiration Monday, Hearth and Soul, Clever Chicks, Create Link Inspire, What's Cooking, Full Plate, Showcase Your Talent, Foodie Friday.

Pumpkin Crepes

2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the milk and butter until the butter is melted. While the milk is warming, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. Gradually stir the warm milk in the pumpkin mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking until totally smooth.

Pour about 1/3 cup batter into a hot crepe pan or nonstick skillet coated with nonstick spray. Cook over medium heat for about a minute or until crepes look somewhat dry on top; flip over and cook for another 30 seconds. Folk crepes into quarters and place onto serving plate. Continue with remaining batter.

Top with apples and maple syrup. Serves 6.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Eats Well with Others
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