Saturday, August 23, 2014

Giada's Lemon Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Candied Lemon


Ahh, the joys of baking.  It's my therapy.  :)

Today, I'm bringing you a gorgeous, mouth-watering concoction that you will love.  This beautiful, lemon-flavored bundt cake is smothered in a delectable chocolate glaze that falls over the edges and wraps the entire cake in an oozy, goozy hug.  The cake itself is studded with little bits of candied lemons that give it both a satisfying and surprising twist with each bite.

This cake is so unexpected, thanks to the lemon.  Yet, somehow, the flavors are perfect together.  The addition of buttermilk in the cake batter helps to keep it moist and lends a wonderful texture.  I love baking with buttermilk and substitute it into all kinds of recipes whenever I can.  

Although the recipe might seem a little long, I promise it's not complicated.  It would be an ideal baking session for a lazy weekend afternoon, when you can take your time and enjoy the process.  A few tips to keep in mind would be to not cut the lemon slices too thin, and don't cook them longer than the recipe calls for. 

This cake was a big hit around our house, and I'll definitely be making this little gem again.

Bon Appetit, my friends!  :)



Lemon Bundt Cake with Chocolate Glaze and Candied Lemon
Adapted from:  Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:
Candied Lemon:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
2 lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

Cake:
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream

Directions:
For the candied lemon: Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon slices and simmer until tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to drain. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Finely chop the candied lemon slices. Set aside.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a nonstick Bundt pan with vegetable spray.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. On low speed, slowly add the buttermilk and the vanilla. Stop the mixer, add the lemon zest and juice, and mix to incorporate. With the mixer on low, add the flour, one cup at a time, until combined. Finally, add the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Raise to medium speed and mix for 1 minute, until the batter is fluffy and smooth. Mix in the chopped candied lemons. With a spatula or wooden spoon, transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and smooth out the top. Set the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden and a cake tester comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.

For the glaze: Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Once bubbles have formed around the edges of the cream, pour it over the chocolate. Whisk the cream and chocolate together until smooth. Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, using a spatula or spoon to push the glaze down the sides and center of the cake.


Candied Lemon Slices

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kale, Mushroom & Tomato Saute with Polenta



Simple weeknight meals are something that I'm always on the lookout for.  After all, it's way too easy to get in a routine of making the same old things every week (I'm totally guilty of this!).  This meal from Whole Foods Market is a great example...It's one of their highest rated recipes on their website, plus it looked super easy.  So, I decided to give it a try.

I'm a big fan of kale lately, so it's no surprise I was drawn to this recipe.  I jokingly say that I'm going to turn green one day from eating it so much.  I mean, it IS healthy!  :)  I love it, because it's pretty versatile and has a great flavor.  The ingredients for this meal are also inexpensive, and I ended up with LOTS of extra kale from the 32oz bag to use in other recipes.

This dish did indeed  come together quickly.  It's as simple as sauting a skillet full of mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and kale.  Then, slices of polenta are quickly sauted in a separate skillet until golden.  Easy peasy.  You can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, from start to finish.

Of course, the first question out of my husband's mouth when I placed his plate in front of him was, "But, where's the meat?!?"  That silly man.  I should have known.  If your hubby is anything like mine, crumbled bacon would make a perfect add-on to this quick dinner.

Bon Appetit, my friends!


***This post is brought to you by the great folks at Whole Foods Market.***



Kale, Mushroom & Tomato Saute with Polenta
Adapted from:  Whole Foods Market

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 pound sliced button mushrooms
Salt and pepper
8 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 (18-ounce) roll precooked polenta, cut into 8 rounds
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in kale and 1/4 cup water, cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale begins to wilt, about 2 minutes. Toss well, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes more. Cover and set aside.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Arrange polenta in skillet in a single layer (working in batches, if needed) and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer polenta to a paper towel-lined plate as done.

Arrange polenta on plates, spoon kale and mushroom mixture over the top, garnish with cheese and serve.



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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes





I just love it when my little nieces spend the night.  We always have such a fun time.  The last time they both spent the night with us, we drug the telescope out of retirement and gazed up at space, while the cicadas hummed and sang from the trees all around us.  They learned all about the craters on the moon, Saturn's rings, constellations and Mars.  Talk about a picture perfect summer evening!

We have a tradition of waking up on Sunday morning and baking something fun together.  I've written about the Buttermilk Biscuits and Chocolate Chip Muffins we've made before here on the blog.  Well, these gorgeous, mouth-watering pancakes are the results of one such recent sleep-over.

These pancakes are amazingly easy, yet so delicious you'll go back for seconds (okay, maybe thirds!).  I mean, who can resist a breakfast that's filled with ooey gooey chocolate chips and is covered with sweet syrup?!?

Bon Appetit, my friends!



Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from:  Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, pg. 137

Ingredients:
1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1  1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
Strawberries & Blueberries (optional)
Desired syrup

Directions:
In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, use a fork to combine egg, buttermilk and oil.  Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened (batter should be slightly lumpy).  Stir in chocolate chips.

For each stand-size pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet, spreading batter if necessary.  

Cook over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning to second side when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry.  Serve warm.  If desired, top with syrup.

 

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seattle's Best So Simple Iced Coffee


Have I ever told you the story of how Brad and I met?  Well, our little love story started out like this...

One fateful summer day, I stumbled into a little coffee shop right down the street from my new college apartment.  It was smack in the middle of an ideallyic little area called English Village and was called Joe Muggs Newsstand.  I had just moved to Birmingham, AL with one of my best friends, Mary Katherine, to go to college.  We wanted part-time jobs, and low and behold, Joe Muggs was hiring!

We filled out our applications and both got hired.  What a massively fun job that was!  I became a "Master Barista" and could make a mean iced coffee, cappuccino, mocha, or whatever your coffee-lovin' heart desired.  Those were such fun times that I'll never forget.  I could go on and on with stories about working in that little shop.

Shortly after I started the job, I met a handsome fellow that also happened to work there.  Yep, you guessed it...His name was Brad.  I had a crush on this Brad guy and eventually talked one of my co-workers into talking to him on my behalf.  I know, I know...the easy way out, right??  :)

Well, their conversation went well, and Brad and I started dating.  The rest folks, is history.  We've been happily married for over 8 years now.  I can't believe it...My, how time flies!

Joe Muggs Newsstand
 
That hubby of mine is always goofing off!
As you can imagine, coffee holds a special place in our hearts.  In fact, the favors at our wedding were coffee packets with custom labels - "Brad & Celeste, The Perfect Blend."  We even had a custom coffee-chocolate groom's cake!


So, when the great folks at Seattle's Best Coffee recently contacted me to let me know that their House Blend Coffee was now available at Publix stores, I was thrilled to hear this news and so excited to give it a try...especially this particular Iced Coffee recipe.  With summer *officially* here, the temperatures in Alabama are rising quickly, and iced coffee is a refreshing substitute on these sweltering days.

This recipe brings backs memories of the Iced Coffee we used to serve at Joe Muggs.  The flavor is rich, yet smooth.  It's really quite delicious!!  Plus, it's made from high quality, Latin American, arabica beans.  Even the coffee connoisseur hubby of mine was impressed.  After just one sip, he was in love!

 Also, from 6/14/14 to 7/4/14, House Blend is on special at Publix: Roast and Ground House Blend packaged coffee is just $4.99, and House Blend K-cup® Packs are $5.99.  You can't beat that!

You can find more information and additional recipes at  www.seattlesbest.com.

Bon Appetit, my friends!


Seattle's Best So Simple Iced Coffee
Source:  Seattle's Best Coffee

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 1/2 cups ground Seattle’s Best Coffee® House Blend


Supplies:
Bowl
Mixing spoon
Coffee filter or cheese cloth
Strainer
Carafe or bowl with lid

Directions:
Pour grounds into a bowl. Add 1 cup cold water and stir gently. Slowly add remaining 1 1/2 cups cold water, agitating the grounds as little as possible.

Cover, steep at room temperature for 12 hours.

Strain the coffee grounds through a filter. Store concentrate in refrigerator up to 5 days.

To serve, add 1 part coffee concentrate to 3 parts water over ice. Enjoy your smooth-tasting iced coffee with your favorite mix-ins or toppings

Yields 1 cup / 300m



I’m participating in a Seattle’s Best Coffee® blogger campaign and received compensation as part of the program.  However, all opinions and reviews are 100% my own. 


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Friday, June 6, 2014

An Exciting Giveaway - $50 Southern Bite Cookbook Prize Package!


Okay, friends...How about another awesome cookbook giveaway?  This one is a new favorite and is authored by my food blogging friend, Stacey Little, from The Southern Bite.  

The Southern Bite prize package features a signed copy of the cookbook in a Southern Bite bag, along with an assortment of fun kitchen utensils/gadgets. The prize package is valued at over $50!

I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey at the 2013 Southern Baking Retreat in Nashville, TN.  I'm a big fan of his blog, and I'm thrilled to offer a copy of his long-awaited cookbook, The Southern Bite Cookbook, to one lucky reader.

Stacey's work has been featured on The Today Show, Fox & Friends, Southern Lady Magazine, as well as many other print and online publications.  His new book is filled with luscious photos of some of the most mouth-wateringly southern food you can imagine.   I also love the personal stories and family shots that fill the pages.  This book is best enjoyed with a glass of ice-cold sweet tea, a porch swing and a long, lazy summer afternoon. 

Just feast your eyes on these recipes (which are all really easy!):

Succotash
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com

Fresh Corn Salad
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com
Sour Cream Chicken Enchilada Pie
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com
Turnip Green Dip
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com
Okra Fritters
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com
Red Velvet Brownies
Photo courtesy of The Southern Bite Cookbook, via al.com


Is your mouth watering yet??

If you'd like a copy of this great cookbook, please enter my rafflecopter giveaway below...It's super duper easy to cast your entry!
Good luck, friends!  :)
IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you enter by leaving a blog comment, don't forget to click the "I Commented" green tab on the rafflecopter widget below.  If you don't, it will not count your entry.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sugar & Spice by Celeste