Friday, January 30, 2009

TWD: Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread

This week's recipe had me skeptical. I am not usually a big fan of ginger. It is a strong, spicy flavor. However, I learned this week that when it is used in the right combination of ingredients, ginger can be fabulous.

Now I have to admit because I was previously not a fan of ginger, I skipped the optional ginger. I didn't use the crystallized fresh ginger or the stem ginger in syrup so my bread just had ground ginger in it. I used chocolate chips and just added them instead of melting part of them. I also used dark karo syrup instead of molasses and added a bit of vanilla for flavor. And if you couldn't tell by the picture, I skipped making the chocolate ganache topping as well.

I have to admit that I loved this bread! All my chocolate chips sunk to the bottom and the middle of my cake also sunk. My husband loves the cake including the chocolate layer on the bottom. I preferred the cake by itself. I liked it without the extra ginger but maybe next time I'll double the ground ginger and leave out the chocolate chips altogether.

Our host for this week was, Heather of Sherry Trifle.

Happy Baking!!

PS. TWD authorities, I'm sorry for posting this late, I really did make it on time! :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TWD: Berry Surprise Cake

I really wanted to bail on this week's recipe. Several TWD bakers had tried their hand at whipping up this cake before I got to it and some were not very successful. I was not excited about failing. Particularly because I planned to serve this cake as dessert at my first party this past weekend. Not exactly the first party I've ever planned or hosted but the first in my own home in NYC with new friends. I wanted everything to be perfect. So a tricky cake recipe was calling me chicken.

As you can see from the pictures I baked the cake! Thanks to my husband for pushing me out of my comfort zone (he's good like that!). He reminded me that one of the reasons I joined TWD was to learn to bake out of my comfort zone. Cakes are just not my thing.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work and a lot of work it was. There was several time consuming steps for this recipe. Many TWD bakers complained about the cake sinking in the middle, though it is normal for it to sink slightly, many were disasters. I carefully followed the instructions (I love Dorie's descriptions!). My cake sunk slightly but I considered it normal. Once I had the cake fully assembled, you couldn't even tell it sunk. The filling does a good job of make up for lost cake!

I altered the filling a bit and added more sugar and more vanilla based on a few complaints that it was bland. I loved my end results and have been eating my leftover filling but the fingerful straight out of the fridge! I also had to give in and use frozen berries. I couldn't bear the thought of buying berries out of season; they are too expensive and don't look good! I thawed them before putting them in the middle of my cake.

In the end, I was very pleased with my cake. I was glad I made it and I loved the filling. However, I didn't love the cake. It was bad but just not was I was expecting. A slight disappointment for me in the end BUT my husband LOVED it! And by love I mean, I think he ate half! I was surprised because neither of us really love cake. But, my party was a big success so all is well in the end! :)

Thank you to Mary Anne of Meet me in the Kitchen for challanging me to step out of my comfort zone. You can find the recipe here. Check out the other TWD bakers to see how their cakes turned out!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

CEiMB: Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary and Chocolate

Well, if you follow my blog regularly you know that I have been absent from Craving Ellie in My Belly. But I'm back! I have to confess that my husband actually made this week's recipe but he gave me the approval to claim it for myself. I have such an amazing husband. Work has been physically stressful this week and he knew how much it meant to me to participate in this week's recipe so he offered to make it. I sat at the counter and kept him company.

Ellie mentions in her notes that this really works for any cut of beef. Since it is just the 2 of us, I decided to just pick up 2 steaks. The sauce takes quite a while to reduce down but it was worth the wait. I was very hesitant. If fact the picture above is my husband's plate, my sauce was in a dish on the side in case I didn't like it! I was pleasantly surprised.

The aroma of the sauce with the spices was quite overwhelming and I thought for sure I wouldn't like it but Ellie proved me wrong and I will definitely make this again in the future.

Other than substituting the cut of meat, the only other change we made was using a cooking sherry instead of red wine. I was not interested in making an extra stop to the liquor store this week. I'm not a wine drinker so I can't tell you if it made a huge difference but if it did than I like it better my way!

Thank you to Amanda of Beckett Bakes It for this week's selection. You can find the recipe on her blog. Don't forget to visit CEiMB too!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

TWD: Savory Corn and Pepper Muffins

I'm sure you all thought I abandoned my blog but that is just not true. I am back on board with TWD! I have missed a lot and I hope to catch up on a few of the ones I missed.

This week's recipe was a great one to jump back in with. It was super quick and easy to mix together. I am do not love things too spicy and I have a hate relationship with cilantro so I left out the bell peppers and the jalapeno peppers and the cilantro. My husband likes corn muffins but does not like corn. So, I scooped out 6 muffins for him before stirring in the corn. Since, it was only 1/4 of a cup, I didn't cut it in half for the last 6 muffins and in the end I wished I had doubled the corn for just my 6 muffins. I really liked the sweetness of the corn with the spiciness of the chili powder and wished I had added more of that too.

I made these at the last minute so we just ate them by themselves but they would be a great addition to many meals. Therefore, I will be making these again!

Thanks to Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake for this week's selection! Please visit her blog for the recipe! And if you'd like to see the muffins with peppers, check out the TWD blogroll.