Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Texas Sheet Cake

273.  If you love chocolate and fudge...this is the dessert for you!  Rich, chocolaty and so satisfying.
Growing up, I remember this cake but hadn't tasted it in many, many years.  Till I saw a recipe for it the other day.  The steps are very different from most cakes but the end result is divine!

Texas Sheet Cake
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 stick, 1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup strong brewed coffee or hot water
1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar.  In a heavy saucepan, combine butter, shortening, coffee or water and cocoa.  Stir and heat to boiling.  Pour boiling mixture over the flour and sugar in the mixing bowl .  Add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda and vanilla.
 Mix well and pour into a well buttered 171/2 by 11 inch jelly roll pan.  Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes until cake tests done in the center.
 Prepare the frosting while the cake is baking.  In a saucepan combine the butter, cocoa and milk. Heat to boiling and stirring.  Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla until the frosting is smooth.  Toast chopped almonds or walnuts if you so desire.
 Pour and spread warm frosting over cake as soon as you take it out of the oven.
 Cool or serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.  This cake is unlike any other cake and so tender.  The best part is the shallowness of the cake...just means you will have more frosting per inch!!!  Now that's a good thing.
 AHHHHHHH, heavenly!!!
"Chocolate is the answer.  Who cares what the question is."
  ~Author Unknown

Empanadas Galore!

272.  Empanadas!!!  The word evokes happy thoughts!!!
Recently, a group of my friends got together to make empanadas.  It was for a fund raiser.  Everyone took orders from friends and family and we set to work.  
We counted out all the orders and came to realize, we needed to make over 1000!!!  in one day!!!!
 We started at 9:00a.m. and had such a great time visiting, talking and yes...eating empanadas.
 We made three huge batches of beef filling with great spices.  It was easier for us to use pre-made empanada dough rounds.
 We also made two huge batches of chicken filling along with mixed cheese filling.
 Half way through the day, our hosts served us a beautiful meal of roast pork "Pernil" and fantastic rice and pigeon peas,  "Arroz Con Gandules" and a beautiful salad.
 Along with that...a steady flow of espresso (as you can see my little cup in this picture), to keep us going!
This was quite the experience and so enjoyable.  By 11:00p.m. we finally finished and were all throughly exhausted, but so happy to work together.  Our hosts were amazing!!!!
These empanadas we fried in hot oil.  What tasty little things they are.  I officially know all about empanadas now...but realized that day...I do not want to work in an empanada factory, I'll stick with my day job!!!

"Have a Great Empanada Day!"
~The Empanada Chef

Hot Cross Buns

 271.  Warm, soft, sweet, freshly made rolls just bring a smile to my face.  Each year for Easter, I like to bake fresh bread in some shape or form.  This year, it was Hot Cross Buns.  I am amazed, when you begin to search, how many recipes there are available for bread.  But, how do you know if the recipe you select is the one that will taste the best.  What I usually look for first is the ingredients.  If they are fresh and not prepackaged ingredients, you can be sure the recipe will have great flavor.

Hot Cross Buns

Bread Machine Method
In a glass measuring cup place:
1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoons butter
Microwave on high or heat in a small saucepan till butter has melted.

Pour into bread machine bowl/basket.  Add in the following order:
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast

Set the bread machine to the "dough" setting and "start".

After an hour, add to the dough:
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins

When dough is finished, remove from machine and place on lightly floured surface.
Cut dough in half and cut each half into 6 pieces yielding 12 rolls.  Shape into round rolls and
place on parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise at room temperature until they have doubled 45 minutes to an hour. Brush before baking with an egg wash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon warm water
 Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack.

Prepare icing in a small bowl:
1/2 cup confectioner sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons milk

Mix and place in a small piping bag or zip lock bag with edge trimmed.  Pipe a cross symbol across the top of each roll.


"Hot cross buns! 
Hot cross buns! 
One a penny, two a penny, 
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns! 
Hot cross buns!
 If you haven’t any daughters, 
Give them to your sons!
 One a penny, two a penny, 
Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
 Hot cross buns!
 If you haven’t got a penny
 A ha’penny will do.
 If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
 Well God bless you"
~Nursery Rhyme 


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