Martha Mondays: Chocolate Beet Cake

October 31, 2011

This week’s project was chosen by yours truly: Chocolate Beet Cake (from November Living, not online yet). Wow! The gold standard for chocolate cake in my house is my grandmother’s Miracle Whip cake and this was just as good. It was incredibly moist and you would never know there were beets in it. It just tasted like a delicious, very moist chocolate cake – it looked just like a chocolate cake too.

I don’t know how often I would make this though, because beets are just a pain to work with! You have to peel them, then cut into pieces then boil then puree. I have an off-white Corian sink and was totally paranoid about it getting stained. I was able to find a pair of medical gloves to wear so I didn’t stain my hands. I peeled the beets on top of newspaper. I drained them out in the yard to avoid the sink issue entirely.

Other than the beets, the cake was easy to make and had an easy chocolate glaze, only one layer which I appreciated. It was so good I sent it away with Mr. MarthaAndMe this morning – can’t have that in the house AND the Halloween candy!

As you can see, I took it out of the oven a smidge too early – the very center didn’t quite cook all the way. I took it out with5 minutes remaining because it seemed done. I should have tested it with a cake tester.

I’m wondering if this would work with roasted beets (where you roast them whole, then just rub the skin off with a paper towel), or even canned beets so you wouldn’t have to cook them yourself at all.


Baked Donuts

January 4, 2011

I got a donut pan for Christmas and I could hardly wait to use it! My family loves donuts, but they’re just not a very healthy breakfast option. Baking donuts with ingredients I could control really appealed to me. I used a recipe I had been saving from Health Magazine since October:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp melted butter

1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 425 and spray the donut pan with cooking spray. Mix buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter and vanilla. Then add dry ingredients. Put the batter in the pan, filling each space about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 7 minutes and let it cool for about 2-3 minutes, then roll each donut in cinnamon and sugar (a half and half mixture). Serve immediately. If you reheat the next day, roll in the cinnamon sugar mix again before serving.Makes about 12 donuts.

This was a huge hit here. The donuts are moist and have a nice texture. The wheat flour gives it a heartiness I really appreciate. I’m going to be tweaking this one, trying some wheat germ or flaxseed in it and then experimenting with adding some apples, so I can have some different varieties in my repertoire. I may have to buy a second donut pan since mine makes only 6!

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Iced Thumprint Cookies

December 6, 2010

Thanks to Pru at Perfecting Pru for choosing Iced Thumbprint Cookies for today’s project. Pru, I was thinking of you while I was making this because you said you chose this because you tried to make some other thumbprint cookies and they ended up in the trash. I was hoping that would not happen with mine or yours this time!

Mine did not go spectacularly well, I have to admit! First of all, the dough was just crumbs. I tried to make it into a disk and it just wouldn’t. I refrigerated it and tried again. I gave up on that and then tried to make the balls. I had some success. But when I pushed in the middle with my thumb, some of them just fell apart. Yikes. I put them in the oven and then pushed the spoon handle in them and that went ok.

These are iced with just milk and powdered sugar (and food coloring). I’ve never had thumbprints that didn’t have jelly/jam or a cherry in the middle, so this was sort of weird. Everyone agreed they were pretty, but we missed the center filling we’re used to. I liked the taste of the cookie itself, so if I made these again, I would put jelly in the middle – probably strawberry.

Thank you Pru for getting me started on my holiday baking. I have so much to do and only 2 weekends left before Christmas. Yikes! I will be baking chocolate chip, sugar cookie cut-outs, gingerbread men, Russian teacakes (which most people call Mexican wedding cakes), fruitcake (there is a secret family recipe for this and I make one to give to my in-laws and one for us), and I need to make and freeze our Christmas morning donuts. I’ve got a giant index to get done before Christmas and I haven’t wrapped a thing. The shopping is mostly done though at least! How are you doing with your holiday baking and preparations?

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Final Giveaway

December 5, 2010

This is my final Martha giveaway of the year. 10 lucky winners will get a Martha Stewart Holidays double-edged snowflake trim punch (this creates a strip of die-cut paper to use as a decorative strip) AND a set of Martha Stewart Holidays treat bags (each package includes 8 bags, 8 paper boxes/trays that go at the bottom, 8 tags, 8 pieces of ribbon, and 16 adhesive strips). The paper cutter is super fun to use and makes such pretty strips of snowflakes. It’s perfect for scrapbooking, crafts or making cards. The treat bags are a great way to package candy or small cookies. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the bags have tiny white dots on them which are really cute.  The prizes are courtesy of MSLO and they will mail them out. Previous winners of my other contests have written to tell me how much they liked the punches and treat boxes they received, so I know you’ll love them!

Here’s how to win. Follow me on Twitter. Then leave a comment here with your Twitter handle, so I can match you up. If you are already following me on Twitter, just leave a comment here with your Twitter handle. You must enter by midnight ET on Friday December 10, 2010. I’ll randomly and blindly select ten winners by random number drawing (numbers assigned in order of comments here). Sorry, offer limited to U.S. addresses only and entrants age 18 and up only. One entry per person. Winners notified by email given when entering, not responsible for email transmission problems. You are responsible for notifying me of your correct  address if you are selected as a winner. Contest closes at midnight Eastern time on 12/10/10. Prize is nontransferable and may not be redeemed for cash. MarthaAndMe reserves the right to announce the name of the winners on the blog. Prizes will be sent by MSLO to winners and MarthaAndMe is not liable for any failure of MSLO to deliver.


Pumpkin Donut Muffins

December 1, 2010

I’ve seen a few recipes for donut muffins, but have never actually made any. I saw this one in Nov Everyday Food and the pumpkin part drew me in, so I decided to make them. This was super easy. Just mix it all up in a bowl, bake in muffin tins and then roll in melted butter and cinnamon/sugar. They were really tasty and smelled great while they were baking. The family gave this a thumbs up all the way. You need to eat them with a fork though, because they’re kind of crumbly.

10 tbsp butter

3 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1/4 allspice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/4 pumpkin puree

3/4 cup brown sugar

 

for sugar coating:

3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 c butter

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a muffin tin. Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl. Whisk buttermilk and pumpkin in another.  In yet another bowl, mix butter and brown sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add flour in 3 additions, alternating with the pumpkin mix.

Put 1/3 c batter in each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 30 min.

Mix sugar and cinnamon. and melt butter. Let muffins cool 10 min then roll in butter then cinnamon sugar.

Now, you know me, I did this all in one bowl. I have no patience for Martha’s methods. I also used a little less nutmeg and allspice and added some cinnamon into the batter itself.

I ended up with more than 12  – I think I had about 18 of these. I would definitely make this again. All the yumminess of a donut with the ease of a muffin.


Blondies

November 30, 2010

I have a special place in my heart for blondies. I shared my favorite recipe for them previously on this blog. Lately I’ve been obsessed with The Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook. I love the idea of this cookbook – that the editors tried every conceivable way of making recipes until they hit upon the very best method. The book has a blondie recipe and I had to check it out to see if it is better than my recipe

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

12 tbsp melted butter

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup pecans

1 /2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk brown sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Fold dry ingredients in. Fold in nuts and chips. Place in 13×9 pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Bake 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Mine took longer to cook. These were delicious. I used only chocolate chips and did not add nuts or white chocolate, which I think would make it even better. This had that rich, buttery taste that blondies have and it was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside. It’s definitely in close contention with my recipe!

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Martha Mondays: Cheese Straws

November 22, 2010

Well, as you can see, I didn’t exactly end up with cheese straws! Thanks to Megan at Megan’s Cookin for choosing this one. This was really easy to make – dump it all in a food processor and away you go. I couldn’t get the dough to come together though. I tried pressing it with my hands, but I could not get it to make logs which I could roll out. So I ended up making little crackers instead, which worked out fine. I really, really liked the way these tasted, but next time I would to make them thinner. These would be great at a party. I’m keeping this recipe!

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