Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze

pumpkin-bundt-cake-with-chocolate-glaze

My daughter has joined the blogging generation – and she is only 10.  She has been watching me do this almost her entire life, but the other week she came home from school and told us that she decided she is starting a blog.  What kind of blog you wonder?  Well, not a food blog – a bunny blog.  A blog dedicated to all things bunny related – called Bunnies 101.  It is adorable – and some would say that she is learning and loving every minute of it.  She researches her topics, writes them up like she is writing an “essay,”  finds fun colorful pictures, practices her typing – and then waits to see what people think.  I love it.

If you can take a break from all of your Thanksgiving planning, check out her blog.  The little bunnies will put a smile on your face.  And here is something else that will put a smile on your face – a nice pumpkin bundt cake.  Yep, it is still that time of year – thank goodness.  I love a good bundt cake, and this one definitely did not disappoint.  This month the folks at King Arthur sent over a couple of different varieties of flour for me to try.  Little did they know, I am already completely sold on their products.  I have tried other varieties of flour, but none compare to King Arthur.  In addition to my favorite flour, this bundt cake recipe I found in Cooking Light has less than half the amount of butter normally found in a bundt cake, and just a small amount of yogurt (Stonyfield Farms of course) to keep it moist.  With the addition of the whole wheat flour – I actually felt like I was eating something good for me – which is perfect going into the Thanksgiving holiday!

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about Stonyfield Farm’s products and King Arthur’s products are always my own.

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces all-purpose King Arthur flour (about 2 cups)
  • 7.1 ounces white whole-wheat King Arthur flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain Smooth & Creamy Stonyfield Farms yogurt
  • 1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
  • Baking spray
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup or golden cane syrup (such as Lyle’s)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, baking powder, and next 5 ingredients (through nutmeg) in a large bowl.

Place butter and sugars in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine yogurt and pumpkin in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter into a 12-cup Bundt pan coated with baking spray. Bake at 325°F for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes; remove cake from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Combine milk, corn syrup, and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 1 minute or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Slowly pour chocolate mixture over cooled cake.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  pumpkin-bundt-cake-with-chocolate-glaze

UnReal Peanut Butter Brownies

unreal-peanut-butter-brownies

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is Halloween already!  I feel like the girls just finished their candy from last Halloween – that is the goal anyway, to make that candy last as long as possible.  They are already strategizing hard for tomorrow – making sure that they get their fair share.

Fall is my favorite season – particularly for baking – although this year, for some reason, it didn’t really happen.  The weekends are filled with shuttling here and there, and catching up from the week – it’s amazing how much piles up these days.  Thankfully this weekend, I didn’t have a choice – I had to get a post out – and I am so glad.

The folks from Unreal Candy sent me a wonderful care package the other week, with three types of candy to try.  I loved the Candy Coated Milk Chocolate and the Almond Butter Cups – but I must say, my favorite were the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  I have never been much of a peanut butter cup fan, because they are just too sweet for me – but with the dark chocolate – they were perfect!  So when it was time to decide which ones to showcase – those were the ones I chose.

My girls have been wondering where all the baked goods have gone – although they know I have been busy, and haven’t been complaining – but when I asked if they would like me to make brownies, there were smiles all over the place.  I even got cheers from my little one when I told her my idea – peanut butter brownies…  I decided to try these without using eggs, but with yogurt as a substitute – thanks to my friends at Stonyfield Farms.  These were UnReal – just like the candy – so chocolatey and delicious, with a layer of peanut better in the middle. UnReal, that’s just about all I can say.

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about Stonyfield Farm’s products and Bob’s Red Mill products are always my own.

Ingredients

Brownies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt

Peanut Butter Layer

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 5 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • UnReal peanut butter cups, roughly chopped, for topping

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x9x2-inch metal baking pan.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips and butter in a large stainless-steel bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat; whisk in sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and yogurt. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients.

In another small mixing bowl, mix together the peanut butter, 1 tablespoon butter and powdered sugar until smooth.

Pour half the brownie the batter into the prepared pan. Next, dollop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter then layer the remaining batter on top of the other layers. Gently spread the batter to the sides if needed. Don’t worry if all the batter does not cover the whole surface area, it will smooth out as the brownies bake.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the brownies are set on top. Allow the brownies to cool completely before frosting.

Meanwhile, to make the frosting, heat the cream in a saucepan until just below a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and peanut butter until melted and smooth. Add the vanilla until smooth and creamy. Set the frosting aside until the brownies are cool enough to frost.

Once the brownies are cool, spread the frosting over top. Sprinkle with chopped peanut butter cups. Allow the frosting to set about 30 minutes then slice into bars. Brownies can be stored at room temp or in the fridge for about four days.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: unreal-peanut-butter-brownies

 

Steel-Cut Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Muffins

 oatmeal-muffins

Back to school means MUFFINS!!  When I am really in the running for “Mom of the Year” award, it is because I took a couple of hours on Sunday to make something absolutely delicious for breakfast.  Something homemade that is easy enough to eat on the go, or warmed up in the microwave with some melted butter.  Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as much as they would like (or I would for that matter).  I had every intention of making some fresh scones today, but it is now close to 9:00pm, and that didn’t happen.

The other week though, thanks to Bob’s Red Mill – I did have an opportunity to apply for the award, after making these scrumptious morsels.  The oatmeal and coconut sugar did not disappoint…although the star of the show was the mini-chocolate chips.  Both girls loved the muffins, I didn’t even have to remind them to eat the muffins for breakfast – which is when I know they are a total hit.

So this year, why not make waking up for school something to look forward to – I know it is not time for resolutions just yet, but this is going on my list – to bake something at least once a month – which takes care of an entire week of breakfasts. Then I know that at least 25% of the month, I can look forward to that red carpet award ceremony…

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about Stonyfield Farm’s products and Bob’s Red Mill products are always my own.

Ingredients

Preparation

To cook the steel-cut oats, boil 3 cups of water, then add 1 cup steel-cut oats with 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  When the oats are done, stir in 1/4 cup coconut sugar.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack positioned in the upper third. Oil, spray or butter 12 muffin cups.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 cup coconut sugar. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Quickly stir in the dry ingredients with a whisk or a spatula. Do not beat, just mix, stirring up from the bottom until you can no longer see flour. A few lumps are fine. Fold in the cooked oats and the chocolate chips.

Spoon into muffin cups, filling them to just below the top. Sprinkle coconut sugar on top if desired.  Place in the oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until nicely browned. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool on a rack, or serve warm.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: steel-cut-oatmeal-and-chocolate-chip-muffins

oatmeal-muffins-2

Fig and Fennel Flower Shrub

fig-and-fennel-shrub

I am still waiting for shrubs to be the “in” thing – but I feel like it is getting close.  Once a week the farmer’s market comes to the campus where I work – I swear that is the day when everything comes alive.  There is definitely something to be said for little white tents and crowds everywhere.  There is a vibrancy that exists, you can feel it in the air.

Although there are a lot of great vendors that come, the one I like the most is the jam and shrub vendor.  Their products are excellent, and wish I could buy a different variety each week – but then I remind myself how easy it is to make them myself…both the jam and the shrubs.  I have had to slow down on the jam making this year – work is creeping into my weekend time, but there are no excuses when it comes to shrubs.  They are seriously so simple and easy – and store beautifully in the refrigerator.

The other week I got some figs in my market basket along with fennel flowers.  There are always so many ways to use up the figs, but it was the fennel flowers that I wanted to make the most of – so there I went experimenting – with shrubs this time.  I am in love with this variety – it definitely makes the most delicious cocktails. And look at that color – who wouldn’t want to drink something that is that beautiful?  Who cares if others haven’t picked up on this craze, shrubs are definitely “in” at my house.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped figs
  • chopped fennel flowers
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Cook on medium heat until the sugar dissolved, and the fruit starts to break down.  Simmer for 10 minutes, then strain with cheese cloth into a container.  Store in the refrigerator for a few months.

Use the fig and fennel shrub in a cocktail with gin, vermouth and lemon, or just serve with sparking water for a refreshing summer drink.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  fig-and-fennel-flower-shrub

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake 2

Before I get into this post – I want to apologize again for my sporadic postings these days…and although I might not post as much as I used to, I am posting a lot more on Instagram.  So please, if you are as excited as I am these days about Instagram, please take a look @firstlookthencook.  I will often preview what I will be posting…like this weekend’s Fig and Fennel Shrub.

I have been baking cakes for a long time – I started when I was very little with my Easy Bake Oven – but there have only been a couple of cakes over the years that have really rocked my world.  One of them is a coconut cake that is exceptional, but it is a little stressful to make.  Whenever you are dealing with more than one layer, things can get a little dicey.  One day I remember making this cake, then having to drive 13 miles to work in the hot sun – by the time I got there, the cake looked like the leaning tower of Pisa. Of course it still tasted great, but I definitely grew some gray hairs during the process.

This is the other cake that falls in that category – I have made this cake more times than I can count.  It is my go-to-cake for any occasion because it is quick, easy, and unbelievable moist and delicious.  I haven’t done much experimenting with this cake – but when I was asked to come up with a recipe that incorporates Justin’s All-Natural Peanut Butter with Stonyfield yogurt, there was only one idea that I kept coming back to…it was time to change it up a bit.  This cake was every bit delicious with yogurt than it is with milk – and using Justin’s Peanut Butter took off a little bit of the sweetness, which in my mind is always a good thing.  Once again, this cake did not disappoint – and now I have a great excuse to make another with the leftover ingredients…

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about StonyField Farm’s products and Justin’s All-Natural Peanut Butter are always my own.

Ingredients

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat on low speed until streusel is blended and crumbly. Transfer 1 cup lightly packed streusel to small bowl and reserve. Add eggs, yogurt, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda to remaining streusel in large bowl. Beat at low speed until evenly moist. Increase speed to medium and beat until well blended, scraping bowl occasionally, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chips. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Sprinkle with reserved 1 cup streusel and remaining 1 cup chips.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake

Truffled Deviled Eggs

Truffled Deviled Eggs

Most of the time, this blog is a really nice distraction from real life.  I can immerse myself in cooking, and not even think about what is going on in the rest of the world.  This week, it was a little difficult.  Between the random acts of violence everywhere lately, and then learning about our friend Eden – I would say that not much was a successful distraction.  I am sending good thoughts out everywhere right now, but in particular to Eden, who I believe is a model of strength, dignity and grace.  Eden, if anyone can get through this, you can – we are all sending you lots and lots of love!  And soon some food :)

This month’s awesome opportunity from Stonyfield Farms was just too good to be true.  I feel like I have every kitchen gadget and serving dish that anyone could want – although there was always the missing egg tray.  I love making deviled eggs, but I just never saw the absolute need to get one.  You can find many deviled egg recipes on this blog, with pictures either taken on a regular tray or a slightly interesting shape – but none on a traditional egg tray.  When Le Creuset sent this deviled egg platter – I was beside myself.  But wait, there was more – I also received some amazing kitchen tools from Kitchen IQ.  Some stackable measuring spoons, and cutting boards.  These very flexible cutting boards have a non-slip surface underneath – shear genius. I have been using flexible cutting boards for a while, but I always have to add a non-slip mat underneath so they don’t slide all around.  Both of those came in handy when making these eggs – and now those cutting boards are the ones I go to first when I start chopping.

I had never tried making deviled eggs with yogurt before, but now that I have – I am a convert.  The yogurt made the filling creamy and delicious – although I must say that the truffle mustard stole the show.  Wow.  Needless to say, they didn’t last long – but now that I have a deviled egg tray, I will be making these more often…

Please note: As a Team Stonyfield ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions about StonyField Farm’s products, Le Creuset and Kitchen IQ are always my own.

Ingredients

Preparation

Boil 12 large eggs so the yolks are medium-rare, about 8 minutes. This keeps the mixture rich and not dry. Shock the eggs in a bowl of ice water, then peel and halve the eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each egg. You can just mash the yolks with a fork in a small bowl, but for a totally lumpless filling you can use a food processor.

Add 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1 tablespoon truffled mustard to the mashed yolks. Season the mixture with kosher salt and pepper and stir until creamy. If you’re making the filling ahead, store it in the fridge and fill the egg white halves just before serving.

Spoon or pipe about a tablespoon of filling in each of the egg whites.  Fry the chopped pancetta in a saute pan until crispy.  Drain the fat and let cool on some paper towels then sprinkle on top of egg filling along with the chopped chives. Do this just before serving so the pancetta stays crispy.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Truffled Deviled Eggs

Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup

The last few weeks have been a complete blur to me.  Between a quick trip to NYC for a wedding, our cat on the brink of survival (but has come back!), being without a washing machine for almost 3 weeks, and within 48 hours of school ending then taking our kids to overnight camp – all while working like a crazy woman – it is no wonder I feel this way.  Thank goodness that I am finally able to catch up on life.

It is definitely quiet in the house right now – this is the first time the girls have gone to overnight camp, and they will be gone for 10 days.  I remember going to overnight camp for the first time – although my mother had to remind me that as we were arriving, I decided I didn’t want to go anymore – but thank goodness they didn’t fall for that.  I remember having the time of my life.  I also remember coming home and begging to go back…it was certainly one of the highlights of my childhood.

Back then there were no computers, no Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – and now I can get updates from all of those places – and even send my kids emails.  Although they don’t allow any electronic devices (how would I survive??) they will scan a handwritten letter and send it to you via email (for a small cost of course) so your kids can reply to the email letters they receive.  Amazing.

I learned that their first meal at camp was grilled cheese and tomato soup – sounds perfect.  Funny that I was thinking about another soup – this delicious lemony rice soup – perfect for summertime.  My trusty market basket came with all the ingredients to make this amazing soup, and I know that makes a big difference – using fresh lemons and farm fresh eggs.

Before I forget – we have a winner in the prAna dress giveaway!!  Congratulations to Mari!  She has been a faithful reader for quite sometime, and am so glad I am able to show her some gratitude curtesy of prAna.  Mari – I will be in touch with the details!

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups Farm & Larder chicken stock
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Preparation:

Bring stock to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and stir in rice; cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Whisk eggs and juice in a bowl until frothy, add 1 cup of the simmering stock and whisk to combine; transfer back to the pot.

Cook, while stirring, about 2 minutes more; season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Avgolemono Soup