28 February 2014

Chocolate Stout Cake

This recipe redefines the term "omg". I have made many a chocolate cake and by far this is the most moist and chocolate-y of them all. Even my chocoholic family members agree. So chocolate-y it doesn't even need frosting...but you may be the judge of that. My first thought is whipped cream or swiss meringue buttercream if you need to dress it up! Enjoy!

Chocolate Stout Cake

1 cup stout (I used Left Hand Milk Stout)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup +3 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (I used half ditched and half natural cocoa powder)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, butter 2 9 inch cake pans, line bottoms with parchment.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring butter and stout to a simmer, but not boiling. Add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and stir to combine.

In a large mixing bowl beat eggs and sour cream until smooth, slowly add stout/butter mixture and beat until just combined. Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans and place on large baking sheet in case of spill overs in the oven. Bake 35 minutes or until skewer in middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans 20 minutes then turn out onto parchment.

Can be made into a layer cake with a thin layer of raspberry preserves, whipped cream or chocolate ganache.

17 February 2014

Fun & Easy Flatbread Pizzas

We recently hosted a night of pizza at The Market and I think guests were a bit surprised when I didn't pull out traditional pepperoni laden pies. I love them too, but felt like I needed to create a little something interesting to get folks talking! I decided to make a couple different flatbread pizzas that showcased cheeses that really make tasty pizzas! The flatbread pizzas cook up quickly and are easy to make individual portions with a variety of toppings to serve a crowd as a main dish or appetizer.

I used the same crust recipe for each as it's super easy and always turns out great and crispy. This recipe also lasts in the refrigerator for about a week so you can have on hand for hungry teenagers or add to another meal as bread sticks or seasoned flatbread.

1 cup hot tap water
1 pkg quick acting yeast (I use a Tablespoon of instant yeast)
1 tsp. salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2-3 cups flour

In my KitchenAid mixer, I throw everything together with the dough hook on and allow to knead about 5 minutes until a smooth, somewhat sticky, dough has climbed up the dough hook and all flour is incorporated. I allow to rise about 15-30 minutes (that's the beauty of instant yeast) until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Using a small amount of flour, roll your dough out to desired flatbread size about 1/3 of an inch thick. Mine measure about 4X12. Bake until dough is no longer shiny but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and top being careful not to overfill or they lose the crispiness. Bake an additional 5+ minutes until dough is browned and cheeses are melted. You can also choose to bake flatbread a little longer and after topping, throw under the broiler to melt cheeses. I did this recently for a dish-to-pass and browned them at the host home, it turned out really well.

TRUFFLE BIANCO FLATBREAD: ( I loved the California Pizza Kitchen one SO much, I did a bit of a copycat on this)
1 ball fresh mozzarella, grated
1/4 lb. Dolce latta Gorgonzola, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Pinch of truffle salt per pizza
several fresh sage leaves

In a small saute pan, bring about 1/2 inch of olive oil to heat and fry sage leaves until crispy. Drain on paper towel and set aside. Top each cooked flatbread with a few tablespoons of fresh mozz, a few chunks of Gorgonzola, a good pinch of truffle salt and lay out 3-4 sage leaves on top depending on size.

Whole Grain Mustard (I used Maille brand)
1 Apple, grated and juice squeezed out a bit (I used Honeycrisp)
1/2 lb. camembert or brie cheese, sliced into 1/4 thick slices, rind left on but could be removed
3 slices Proscuitto, sliced into ribbons

On cooked flatbread, spread a thin layer of mustard as evenly as possible but not too thick. Top with a thin layer of grated apples that you have gently squeezed the juice from, a few slices of Camembert or Brie cheese (they are the same thing) and a few ribbons of proscuitto. I like to put this one under the broiler to crisp up the proscuitto, so I bake the crusts a bit longer before topping.

I had a pizza with similar toppings in France and we all fell in love with it! A bit unusual, but definitely a favorite from our tasting :) Our favorite wine to pair with both pizzas was a White Bordeaux (100% Sauvignon Blanc) but the Sicilian red, Nero d'Avola was also great!