Coca Cola Cake

I was headed to a meeting after work last week and wanted to take some cake to this group of folks with whom I’d been working.  I saw this recipe for Coca-Cola cake, which seemed super intriguing to me, so I thought it would be fun to make.  I saw the recipe in the Linn County Fair Cookbook.  It looked pretty and tasted delicious.  All was going according to plan until two hours before the meeting, it was canceled.  So, I took some cake to a couple neighbors, including some students who were raking their leaves down the block from me.  It seemed like a good way to spread some cheer on a Monday afternoon.

Coca Cola Cake.jpg

Coca-Cola Cake

2 c flour
2 c sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 c coca cola
1 c butter
1 1/2 c miniature marshmallows
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting

1/2 c butter
1 Tbsp cocoa
6 Tbsp coca cola
1 lb powdered sugar
1/2 c pecans, chopped

Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar.  In a saucepan, combine cocoa, Coca-Cola, butter, and marshmallows; bring to a boil.  Combine the boiled mixture with the flour and sugar mixture.  In a separate bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla; add to the first mixture.  Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, until cake tests done.

Frosting: In a saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola to a boil.  Stir in the nuts.  Spread over cake while both cake and frosting are still warm.

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Daisy Bars

This recipe from the 1966 Minnesota Catholic Daughters Cookbook was submitted by someone from my hometown, so I knew I wanted to make it.  I ended up bringing them to the office one day when there were far too many meetings and I wanted to help us make it through the day.  So, this recipe that had been hanging out in my “to-make” pile for months made it to the top.

Daisy Bars

Daisy Bars

1st Layer:
1/2 c sugar
1 beaten egg
4 Tbsp cocoa
1/4 lb butter
2 c graham crackers
1 1/2 c coconut
1 c walnut meats

2nd Layer:
1/4 lb butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 c powdered sugar
Small amount of cream

3rd Layer:
7 plain Hershey bars

For the first layer, mix sugar, egg, cocoa, and butter in a double boiler and cook until smooth.  Take it off the stove and add the graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts.  Pat in a 9×13 buttered pan.

For the second layer, cream the butter, add powdered sugar, vanilla, and enough cream to spread easily.  Spread on the first layer.

For the third layer, melt the Hershey bars.  Spread on top of the bars, making sure the first and second layers are chilled really well before putting on the melted chocolate.

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

In the quest to use up things in the house (have I mentioned that a friend of the family once told my parents they were pretty sure we cooked in bulk — and it has become abundantly clear that I’ve assumed these qualities as well), I came across some white chocolate chips and started to think about how I might be able to use these up.  In the Relay for Life cookbook, I saw this recipe for white chip chocolate cookies and decided to make a batch, and then freeze the dough for baking when people came over.

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

White Chip Chocolate Cookies

2 1/4 c flour
2/3 c cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c butter or margarine, softened
3/4 c sugar
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c white chocolate chips

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.  Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large mixer bowl until creamy.  Beat in eggs.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in white chocolate chips.  Drop well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes, or until centers are soft.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Zin Ice Cream

When I was going through my cupboards, I found a bottle of Zin and this sparked a recollection of seeing a recipe from Izzy’s Ice Cream shop, a great little ice cream shop in St. Paul in the Scoop Adventures cookbook, so I thought it was time to go grab this recipe and try it out.

By the way, if you get a chance to visit Izzy’s, you should definitely do it.  Not only is it close to where I went to college, but they have a great little add-on, called the Izzy scoop.

When I reviewed the ice cream and saw that it was egg yolk-based, I questioned for a moment whether I wanted to make it.  As I shared a month or so ago, I didn’t love the egg-based ice cream base I had previously attempted, but it seemed worth another shot.  Overall, I’m very happy with the recipe itself and the ice cream — the taste of the dark chocolate is strong and the zinfandel in relatively faint in the background.  My only complaint/frustration is that the ice cream is VERY soft.  It hardly firmed up.  I’m hoping that the returning it to the freezer after some scooping will help with the firmness.  That being said, it’s not so soft that it’s not servable, but in the hot summer days we’ve been having, I wouldn’t trust it to travel very far and not melt.

Dark Chocolate Zin Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Zin Ice Cream

Chocolate Liquor
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/3 c water
1/3 c red zinfandel
1/4 c sugar
1 oz dark chocolate, chopped

Ice Cream Base
3 egg yolks
2 1/4 c heavy cream, divided
1 c whole milk
1/2 c sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 c red zinfandel

To make the chocolate liquor, combine the cocoa powder, water, wine, and sugar in a small saucepan.  Place the saucepan over low heat and bring to a low boil, whisking constantly.  As soon as you see bubbles, remove from the heat and add the dark chocolate.  Let sit for 2 minutes, and then stir the chocolate liquor until smooth.  Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.

To make the ice cream base, fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.  Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.  Combine 1 cup of the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat.

Warm to dissolve the sugar, about 5 minutes (do not boil).  Temper the eggs by slowly pouring the warmed cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly until combined.  Return the custard to the pan and stir in the remaining 1 1/4 c cream.  Warm over medium-low heat, stirring until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 8 minutes.

Remove the custard from the heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into the chocolate liquor.  Add the vanilla and whisk to combine.  Set the bowl into the ice water bath to cool, 20 minutes, whisking occasionally.  Once cool, add 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and stir to incorporate.  Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once chilled, pour the ice cream base into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  When the ice cream has begun to freeze but is not completely frozen, slowly pour in the remaining 2 teaspoons vinegar and wine.  Complete churning.  Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze overnight.

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I think Ohio must have been working on perfecting ice cream for the past several years.  Because every time I go to see my sister or friends in Ohio, I am eating it at Jeni’s or Graeter’s or one of the myriads of other delicious ice cream stores.  One of the favorites from Graeter’s is their black raspberry chocolate chip, so when I started to make ice cream this summer, I was searching for copycat recipes and found this one from the Last Ingredient website.  I also had not yet made a recipe using egg yolks and decided it was time to do that.  This one was okay, but not great.  The flavor tastes fine, but the consistency of it didn’t scoop as nicely as other recipes I had made.  I’m not convinced I want to stick with egg-based ice creams when the cream cheese base has worked so well for me.

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Makes about 1-1/2 quarts

10 ounces raspberries, fresh or frozen (partially thawed)
10 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen (partially thawed)
1 cup whole milk
6 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate

Puree the raspberries and blackberries in a blender.

Pour the milk into a large bowl and set aside.

Whisk the yolks in a small bowl.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, simmer the heavy cream, sugar, and salt until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk half the cream mixture into the egg yolks and then pour it back into the saucepan. Stir continuously until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Pour the cream mixture followed by the berry puree through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the milk. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine.

Cool the mixture over an ice bath and refrigerate until cooled completely.

Churn in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions. Stir in the chopped chocolate. Freeze the ice cream in an airtight container and allow it to harden before serving.

Midnight Munchers

Last week I was asked to bring in treats for one of the staffs who had won an award earlier in the year.  The students asked for something ooey-gooey-caramel-chocolatey.  I was a little bit befuddled about what to make because I wasn’t feeling inspired.  However, when I was home with my family over Easter, I explored an old standby cookbook: Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran cookbook.  In it, I came across this recipe for the Midnight Munchers, labeled as a Senior Choir favorite.  And, I’m a sucker for anything that’s a favorite, so this recipe looked promising.  The cookie bottom portion was thicker than I expected and the middle frosting layer was thinner than expected, but I think they turned out well.  I haven’t heard negative comments from the students, at least.Midnight Munchers

Midnight Munchers

Bar:

1 1/2 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
Dash salt
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

Filling:

1 can ready-to-spread caramel pecan frosting

Topping:

1 c sugar
5 Tbsp butter
1/3 c milk
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream brown sugar and 1/2 c margarine together.  Blend in vanilla and eggs; mix well.  Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off.  Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt; mix well.  Divide dough into two parts.  Stir chocolate into half of dough.  Drop each dough by large tablespoonfuls randomly into greased 9×13 pan.  Spread evenly.  Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.  Spread filling over bars.  Freeze bars for about 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, 5 Tbsp margarine and milk.  Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat; stir in chips until melted and smooth.  Pour topping over bars.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Store in refrigerator.

Blizzard Bars

Being from the Midwest, there is no doubt that the weather is a frequent discussion item.  We joke, but ti’s pretty easy to talk about rain, or the need for rain, or how the crops are doing, or if snow is expected, among other things.  One such type of weather is the blizzard.  For those of you unfamiliar with the blizzard, it’s a combination of snowfall and wind in a way that makes visibility challenging, and often times resulting in the cancellation of classes, church, or community gatherings.  So, when I came across this recipe for Blizzard Bars in the From Minnesota with Love cookbook, I knew I wanted to make it.

Blizzard Bars.jpg

Blizzard Bars

1 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
4 c rolled oats
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
6 oz chocolate chips
3/4 c peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all bar ingredients until crumbly; press into 15x10x1 inch pan.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes; cool.  Heat frosting ingredients in double boiler over hot water until chips are melted.  Spread over bars; cut into squares.