9/15/14

peanut butter chocolate bundt cake

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Here on the cape we've already started with the cooler weather.
Yesterday it didn't get above 66 degrees, and then nighttime brought 49-50 degrees.
I am not ready for this. Last year at this time our summer lasted a bit longer--well into the end of September.  I was so happy, the beaches were fairly empty and the ocean was definitely still swimmable.  A refreshing swimmable I should say. I also remember that last year my full-blown carb cravings didn't start until the second week of October. And now those cravings started this weekend.
What is it about the first onset of cooler weather that instantly brings on those cravings for sweet foods, greasy foods, fried foods?  It has to be a brain-chemical thing?
I literally found myself reaching for a third another slice of this cake, where normally I was content with a bite or three.
Summer has me religiously eating my berries, drinking my beet juice, downing my water, and happily eating my salad.  Whereas fall has me ditching all of those in replace of spicy buffalo wings with extra blue cheese sauce to drink eat with a fork celery.
And then going home to eat the frosting off three slices of this peanut butter chocolate cake!
As I write this post, all that's on my mind is salty potato chips.  I have to go to the store today, so I have to make sure I walk right past those wonderful bags of salty, greasy goodness.
Someone said to help combat these fall carbs cravings is to eat more protein in the am.
Is this true?
Do any of you have these crazy carb cravings right at the beginning of fall?
Should we start a support group?
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Vultures I tell you...vultures!

This recipe is from The Little Epicurean who I love & adore!
But eat something before you go to her food blog.
(my changes to the recipe are minimal and in parenthesis).

peanut butter-chocolate bundt cake
recipe from The Little Epicurean
print recipe

Chocolate Cake:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (I used bittersweet chocolate)
3 TB instant espresso powder (I used 1 Starbuck Via)
2 TB unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 3 TB)
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used 1 cup)
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
3/4 ts sea salt

Peanut Butter Cake Filling:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 TB granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 ts sea salt

Chocolate Glaze:
4 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 TB light corn syrup

Peanut Butter Glaze:
2 TB smooth peanut butter
2 -3 TB whole milk (I used heavy cream)
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt

Chocolate Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously butter a 10-cup bundt pan and set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat unsweetened chocolate at half power at 30 second intervals.  Stir often.  Heat until chocolate is melted.  Set aside.
In a glass measuring cup, stir together instant espresso powder and cocoa powder.  Add enough hot water until liquid mixture measures 1 cup.  Stir until powders are dissolved.  Add milk and let cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, making sure egg is incorporated before adding the next.  Scrape down bowl as needed.
Add slightly cooled melted chocolate. Continue to mix on low-medium speed until combined.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer on low, add 1/3 of milk mixture, then 1/2 of flour mixture.  Repeat, ending with the milk mixture.  Mix until combined.

Peanut Butter Cake Filling:
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Add sugar and mix until combined.  Add half of the beaten egg.  Discard other half of egg.  Mix until combined.
Fold in flour and salt.  Add milk and stir to combine.  Mix until flour is incorporated.

Cake Assembly:
Add half of chocolate batter to prepared bundt pan.  Distribute peanut butter cake filling on top of chocolate layer.  Swirl with knife to spread out peanut butter batter.  Add remaining chocolate batter to cover peanut butter batter.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for a couple of minutes before unmolding.  Let cool to room temperature of wire rack.

Chocolate Glaze:
Over a double boiled, melt together chocolate and butter until smooth.  Alternatively, you can microwave it at half power at 30 second intervals until melted.
Remove from heat and whisk in glucose.  Pour over cooled bundt cake.

Peanut Butter Glaze:
Stir together sifted powdered sugar, peanut butter, and salt.  Add milk and stir until smooth.  Add additional milk if glaze is too dry.  If glaze is too thick, add additional sifted powdered sugar.  Drizzle peanut butter glaze over chocolate glazed bundt cake. (I got greedy with the glaze and added all of it on, did not swirl it on in lines. If you want it more decorative/pretty then use a plastic bag and pipe on the peanut butter glaze).

9/12/14

friday links

Happy Friday!

I'm really trying hard to pretend that summer is still here and that it's not 60 degrees outside.
Ok it's sunny and I should be thankful, but we had such a great summer weather-wise and it's really hard to let it go. It's like September came in with real Fall temps, normally we get a September with summer temps and it's lovely because we get more summer!
Looking ahead at the weather, we are having 40 degree nights next week?
No.
No, no, not ready. It was just 80 degrees, humid and we were all having a wonderful swim in the ocean.
And with that said, I have more recent ocean photos for you, I know you love these and always ask me for more.  Enjoy!

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south yarmouth, ma

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Enjoying the ocean one more time before the real chill of fall sets in. Dennis, MA

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Dennis, MA
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Macarons are so pretty (and tasty). From Whole Foods in Hyannis, MA.

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The new Hello Kitty Baking Book is out!
And it's so cute.  I mean seriously, the cutest cookbook I've seen.
By Michele Chen Chock a self-taught baker and the creator of I Heart Baking: a popular baking blog with a heavy dose of Hello Kitty desserts. She is also the original creator of the Hello Kitty macaron. Her work has appeared online for publications such as Glamour, Wedding Bells, and The Huffington Post. She lives in California with her husband and three young kids.

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The light of summer is changing :-(

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Never seen a black heirloom--have you?

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The new Tory Burch backpack bag is out. And she's gorgeous (and pricey).

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Yoga frogs. I seriously almost bought these but was held back by the price.
But I could have my morning coffee with these two everyday, couldn't you?

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Three foot Buddha.  Yes please.

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Have you seen the new Duncan Hines fall baking lineup?
The caramel-apple cupcakes are pretty good.
Plus they are so easy to make into whoopie pies too (recipe on the side of the box).
Just follow the directions and add a pinch of salt to the frosting, and a handful
of chopped pecans to the cake batter.
I also baked them a bit longer to get crispy edges.

around the web:

how to eat sushi
linking 'natural mutants' and evolution
travel habits of americans: almost half didn't take a day off this summer
airline seating experts: true cost of the "knee defender"
french bread taco pizza
11 secrets supermarkets don't want you to know
a little cookie business brings very sweet success
how to keep raccoons out of your yard
pumpkin coffee cake donuts
facebook for toddlers
creme brulee cheesecake bars
35 genius life hacks (these are really good!)
and the selfie brush is here
zombie ice molds for your halloween party!
how you eat on instagram vs. real life
peppermint patty tart
homemade salted oreo popcorn
animals being jerks
3-ingredient pineapple whip
new test for early detection of pancreatic cancer
12 signs you need to eat more protein
handy baking ingredient substitution chart
must have breakfast gadgets
this serious respiratory illness has me worried
love these 'twist & detox' yoga moves
chorizo cheese puffs!
homemade apple cider donuts (this is the only thing I like about Fall)
how to make paris brest
peanut butter chocolate bundt cake (this is being made Saturday--can't wait!)
smokey roasted chickpeas
pumpkin spice Oreo is coming!
how to bake perfectly round cookies
homemade chocolate hazelnut spread
sweetened condensed coconut milk
healthy fruit/veggie smoothie for good skin
how do you grow giant pumpkins?
savory tomato-thyme shortbread crackers

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Have a wonderful weekend!

9/8/14

peanut butter-caramel cups

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True conversation (I swear). 
hubby: can you make me some pb cups?
me: yes!  can I kick it up a notch?
hubby: what does that mean? it won't be infused with lavender and goat's milk?
me: :::wheels in motion, wondering if I've done goat milk brownies yet::::
No, it won't be, I just want to make a batch of pb cups with caramel, and maybe some sea salt, and--
hubby: can I have a plain one in there?
me: why do you want the same thing?
hubby: because it's good & dependable! why do you always want to kick things up a notch?
me: because my blog readers I want it that way! I am their recipe guinea pig, their experimentor!
hubby: really? experimentor?
me: yeah, it's a word....
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I married a non-foodie.  
My darling husband when I met him ate his same dinner out of a cardboard box--a pizza, almost
every night from "whatever sucky pizza joint".
Reese's pb cups were 'gourmet' to him.
Fresh strawberries or berries were something he'd see on TV.
Broccoli would be eaten if it was boiled to the 'smushy' stage.
Yep.  Imagine the challenge there?
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I was asked to try the New York Baking Co. silicone baking cups.
And I have to say I'm so glad I said yes. 
These are hands down the best idea for making candy cups, muffins, anything sticky too like caramel sticky buns! Very easy to clean, but my favorite part is the BPA-free
I highly recommend these. Well worth the $12.95 price on Amazon.
They have a lifetime guarantee too! Highest rated in satisfaction on Amazon!
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So far pretty easy to make right?
I love those caramel bits.
If you remember, I found those with my last recipe the butter-caramel bars.
These melt perfectly, just follow the instructions on the back.
You need to use a tiny amount of water in with the caramel bits.
Also, it doesn't stress this, but I will, make sure to keep stirring (a lot) while heating these up
in the microwave.  Heat for 15-20 seconds, then stir, heat for 15-20 seconds then stir, repeat, repeat
until they are melted.
When they are done the caramel will be thin, so let this sit a bit (5 minutes or more?) and it does
thicken right up.  Patience is key here.
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See how easy the silicone baking cups come off?
Love this.
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peanut butter-caramel cups

chocolate base & topping:
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, divided (60-70% cocoa is best)

pb filling:
8 ounces crunchy peanut butter (I used half a 16 ounce jar of crunchy peanut butter)
1-2 TB confectioners’ sugar
½ cup crushed graham crackers (course chop not chunks)
2 pinches of sea salt

caramel filling:
5-6 ounces (use half a 10 ounce bag) of caramel bits 
they melt better in the microwave if you add in 1-2 ts of water + stir a lot!

cook notes:  
these silicone molds made this so much easier.  Not only for holding up a firm pb cup but for ease of use for removing the cups.  Plus you don’t need a pastry brush for coating the sides, you just fill with melted chocolate and turn the cups to coat!  So easy!
You don’t have to use crunchy peanut butter, smooth is good too.  
I just love the extra crunch and texture.  
I found that using the caramel bits made melting so much easier.  
You really need to stir the caramel (a lot) in order for it to melt right. 

In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and graham crackers. I put mine in the fridge to harden up a bit, as it’s easier to form into balls.
In a double boiler, carefully melt HALF the chocolate (set a metal bowl on top of a saucepan with boiling water). If you have your own way of melting chocolate then please go right ahead. 
I used regular cupcake silicone molds, so much easier to use.  If you choose to use paper liners, use a couple of liners to help hold the structure of the pb cups.
I placed a generous tablespoon amount of melted chocolate in the cup, and then swirled it around to coat 3/4 of the cup.  Do this for all the cups (8-9) and place on baking sheet to let set up/harden. 
Or if you’re using paper cups then use a pastry brush, brush the melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of mini cupcake liners; when in doubt, add more chocolate, since this will be the base for your candy. 
For the peanut butter mixture, mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge until molds have completely hardened
When ready to fill the cups, form tablespoon balls, place in the molds. 
Spoon more melted chocolate on top of each cup, make sure to get filly in around the sides too.  
Melt the caramel bits according to package directions (or use your own homemade caramel).  I found that adding a bit of water to the caramel bits, and microwaving in 15 second bursts while constantly stirring made the caramel come out perfectly.  It will be thin when it comes right out of the microwave, so let it sit for 5 minutes then it’s perfect!
When ready to pour in the caramel, use a spoon to fill them.  Don’t fill to the top of the cup! Make sure to pour caramel on the sides for even distribution.  Let these sit in fridge for 15-20 minutes to firm up.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining half of the chocolate over double boiler.
When ready to coat the tops of the peanut butter cups, use a spoon to place about ½ a tablespoons size (maybe a little more?) over the tops. Make sure the chocolate gets on the sides.  Let these sit or room temperature to harden.  You can put them in the fridge if you’re in a hurry. 
Just keep in mind the peanut butter cups are best tasting at room temperature.
I put a little sea salt on the tops of the peanut butter cups as decoration and taste; optional of course.

makes 9 regular (cupcake size) pb cups

9/5/14

friday links

Happy Friday!

I don't have a lot of photos to share this week as I've been strapped to my office desk working a lot of hours.
Which means I don't go out and play, research and discover new foods to eat things for you to see.
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Yes really!

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Please don't let summer end.
I'm not ready for snow, cold, snow, cold, snow, cold....
What exactly is the whole point of winter?
It's not like we NEED snow, or we NEED sub-zero temps.
Hello?

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Have you ever had the bucatini noodles instead of spaghetti noodles?
I had these noodles sitting in my cupboard for years wanted to try these noodles.
Really good.

What's been really popular on my blog this week?
top chef cc cookies
The paper thin chocolate chip cookies from Top Chef.

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The peanut butter & jelly cookies.

double chocolate-coconut cookies
Double chocolate-coconut cookies. These are ridiculously good.

around the web:

so you want to be a food writer?
wonderful story on the owner of cape cod's Stage Stop Candy Raymond Hebert, who is also
the grandson of famed Hebert Candies of MA.
how to get new traffic for your website
maine lobsterman catches rare blue lobster
AND maine lobsterman catches VERY rare white lobster!
ways to keep food fresher longer
best neck stretches (fig.4 is lifechanging for me!)
can you put a GoPro in boiling water & film it? Apparently! Not smart though
pumpkin s'mores cupcakes (is it pumpkin season already?)
the orange lobster is at the boston aquarium
18 parents who are doing it all wrong
OXO good grips pineapple slicer--does it work?
DIY touchscreen gloves for winter
the many important roles of protein in the body
pumpkin spice latte donuts
read the produce sticker on all fruits!
10 worst frozen food items you can buy at Trader Joe's
dolphin & dog are best friends (so cute!!!)
pumpkin empanadas!
9 things to know about heart attacks
hurricane evacuation zones (for MA residents)
highest paid models--wow that much?
how to create a shakespereane insult
cakewrecks: the burrito is amazing!
DIY tootsie rolls!
postcards from the edge: spam art
vacations end: classic photo's from cape cod past
health secrets of lemons
the polaroid socialmatic is coming!  (I want one!)
the possible dangers of antibiotic clarithromycin
DIY cheesy kale chips
the nature of new englanders
brownie made into a sundae bowl
how frequent are tornadoes in MA?
handy baking conversions
buffalo chicken dip
croissant ice cream sandwiches!  Stop!
a robot couch can drive you to the fridge and back! HELLO!

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Have a wonderful weekend!


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