Wednesday, August 27, 2014

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI BREAD

Do you have a lot of zucchini this summer? If so, this is a great way to use it. This treat is super chocolate-y, super moist (in fact it gets even more moist on day two), super easy to make and freezes very well.


(2) one ounce squares of unsweetened chocolate (melted)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 cups shredded zucchini (squeezed dry then measured)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 + 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Things to do first:
1. Preheat your oven to 350°
2. Toss the chocolate chips into the measured flour to get them well coated,that way they won't sink to the bottom of the bread as it cooks.
3. Grease two large (9" x 5") loaf pans. I lined mine with parchment and then greased the parchment (this bread tries to stick to the pan if you go light on this step, but with the parchment paper, the zucchini bread tips right out.


4. Shred the zucchini then squeeze some of the water out of it (with your hands) before you measure it.

Directions:

In large mixing bowl (I used my stand mixer), combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and melted chocolate. Mix until smooth.

Next, add flour (that you've stirred the chocolate chips into), cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix until well combined, smooth and shiny (just takes a 30 seconds or so).

Pour batter into 2 well greased large loaf pans and bake at 350­° for 60 to 70 minutes (my electric oven takes exactly 60 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into tallest part of the bread comes out clean. Don't over cook.

Cool in pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pans. Wrap the bread in plastic wrap while they are still hot.  This keeps a lot of the moisture inside of the zucchini bread as it cools.  Don't slice the bread until it cools down completely.


If you are going to freeze them, cool completely, then double wrap them or wrap them in plastic wrap and put in a Ziploc freezer bag.

FUN TIP: If your children are picky eaters, just peel the zucchini before you shred them, that way you won't hear "Mom, what are these green specs?" They won't even know that the zucchini is in there!!



ENJOY !!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

BEST EVER STRAWBERRY TOPPING

This topping rates 5 out of 5 stars for an ice cream topping, but it is also DELICIOUS over pancakes, pound cake, cheesecake and right out of the jar with a big spoon!! It is nice and thick and bright red (not a hint of watery-ness........is that a word?) 

It is economic to make for a large crowd and it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Only TWO ingredients!!
 
 
2 pounds of frozen strawberries
1 cup of sugar
 
I buy large bags of bulk frozen strawberries from our local discount store. I let them thaw for about 1/2 hour or so, then I pulse them in the food processor several times until you get a fairly small dice.
 
Add 1 cup of sugar, stir and put it in a heavy bottom kettle (heavy bottom kettles help it cook but not scorch). Cook on medium high heat until you get a good boil going, then turn down the heat to a medium low boil and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
 
After 20 minutes, remove from heat and skim off any pink foam. That's it!!  Chill in the fridge before using. Makes 4 cups of topping.
 
 
ENJOY !!


Friday, August 15, 2014

SUPER EASY FLOUR TORTILLAS

I throw away a lot of tortillas, do you? I use 5 or 6 out of a package and freeze the rest with good intentions of using them later, but I never do. Before long they are covered with ice crystals and hiding in a dark corner in the freezer.

So I recently decided to teach myself how to make flour tortillas.
I was pleased to discover that they are very easy to make in the food processor and very inexpensive as well. They also taste worlds better than the ones from the store, I promise!! It is like the difference between store bread and bread out of the oven.


This recipe makes (8) 8" tortillas

1+3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil (see note below)
1/2 cup of hot tap water

In a food processor, place the flour, baking powder, salt and vegetable oil.  Pulse several times until it looks like coarse corn meal.

While the food process is still running, stream in the hot water (it doesn't have to be super hot, just hot right from the sink). When dough starts to form a ball, stop the food processor and dump the mixture out on the counter.

Knead it together with your hands a few times until it makes a  nice smooth ball (only takes a minute or so). Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball (cover them and only roll out and cook one at a time).

Using a rolling pin, roll each ball (I don't use extra flour, but some people do) out into a large circle. Roll it as thin as you can, then roll it even more. My rule of thumb is to roll them thin enough so you can see the color of your counter just a little........well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much (wink) the thinner the better

DO NOT WORRY IF THEY ARE NOT PERFECTLY ROUND,
THAT WILL COME WITH EXPERIENCE

One at a time, cook on hot UNGREASED pan (I use my electric griddle at 375F, for about one minute a side or until bubbles start to appear like this
 
 
 
As the bubbles appear, very gently press them down a little with a spatula. After it has cooked for about a minute (peak under and make sure that there are little golden brown spots on the underside), then flip it over and cook the other side for another minute. Keep them warm inside of a clean dish towel until you get them all cooked.


These tortillas are truly delicious.  Now, if you want to live really dangerously, you can replace the heart healthy canola oil with un-healthy but over-the-top delicious bacon fat.  Talk about WOW!!  I don't recommend this very often, but on a special occasion, you just have to try it with the bacon fat, it is excellent. (Note: on the days I fry bacon, I put the bacon fat into a clean jam jar and keep it in the fridge or freezer).


ENJOY !!