Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolate Malt Cake

Today is Aaron's birthday! We celebrated over the weekend by going to dinner with family and coming back to our house for this Chocolate Malt Cake. I was looking for something different to make, but knew it had to be chocolate. That was his only request. I had a few cakes in mind, but after hearing him say how good a chocolate malt sounded last week, I decided that would be the flavor of the cake.  Everyone loved the malt flavor. It tasted just like the chocolate malts we get from UDF in the Summer. I decided to add a layer of ganache on top. Besides making your cake that much more fancy, it will also cover up any unsmooth frosting. :)

I wish I had more time to get a decent picture, but we had a rushed day and I took this at the last second before cutting into the cake. I'm sure we'll make this again and hopefully I can get a better picture then!

Happy Birthday, Aaron!

Source: Paula Deen as seen on Bakergirl

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup malted milk powder
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Malt Frosting
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • Garnish: malted milk balls
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixture, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, combine milk and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add milk mixture, oil, and eggs to flour mixture, beating at medium speed until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combined. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on wire racks.

To make the frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and cocoa powder at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

In a small bowl, combine cream and malted milk powder, stirring to dissolve. Add cream mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed to combine. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.

Heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.  Let the ganache cool and thicken.
Spread the frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Carefully pour the ganache over the top and spread to the edges to let it drip down the sides of the cake. Garish with malted milk balls, if desired.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chili Cheese Burritos

Requested by Aaron this week: recreate a Taco Bell Chili Cheese Burrito at home. From what I hear, not all Taco Bells have these on the menu anymore (sometimes called Chilito), but in Ohio, they are still available. If you've ever had one, this recipe comes very close to the real thing, but made a little bit healthier.  I made a few modifications from the original, as noted below. Use just 1/2 the can of refried beans to make it more like the orignal. Use the whole can if you're like me and would let the other half go to waste in the refrigerator if you didn't use it now.  I added just 1/4 tsp of the cayenne because I didn't want too much heat.  1/4 tsp was perfect for us, but adjust to your tastes. I used store-bought tortillas. Someday I will make my own.

Source: Adapted from CDKitchen

  • 1/2 - 1 can fat free refried beans
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 16 oz.  shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (6 ounce size) tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced dried onions
  • fresh burrito tortilla shells

Brown the ground beef in a pan, finely breaking up the meat with a fork.

Combine the tomato paste with the water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Add the cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, cornstarch, vinegar, and dried onion and stir. Heat the mixture to boiling. Continue to stir about 3 minutes and remove from heat.

Once the beef is cooked drain all of the fat out. Add half of the refried beans to the beef. Slowly add the tomato sauce mixture. Add half of the cheese, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Warm the tortillas. Spoon 3/4 cup of the chili into each tortilla, add cheese as desired and wrap up the tortilla.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Baked Tacos for Amy's Virtual Baby Shower

Today is a very special day. Amy, from Amy's Kitchen Creations, and her husband are expecting their first baby (a girl! - in just a few days!) and today is their virtual baby shower. I'm so excited for her! I can remember what a fun time that was for us and all of the joy that has come since that they will experience soon, too.

Our hostess, Carrie, asked that we share simple meals for new moms.  As a working mom of two small kids myself, I have had some time to figure out what works for us and what doesn't. If your baby is easy-going and chill, like my first, then things might not change too much in the beginning. I still had plenty of time to cook, but it was more fun to hold the baby or play :) That is where these baked tacos come in.

Taco night has always been popular in our house. I never used to like making crispy tacos at home, though. Either the shell broke, the filling fell out, or they just weren't very crispy. Then, I came across this idea of baking the hard shells with the meat and cheese already filled and it's our new favorite way to eat tacos. They stay warm longer, don't seem to fall apart as easily, and it just makes sense. I can spend a little time in the kitchen prepping the meat one day, and then freeze extra portions for other meals down the road. You'll have dinner ready in 15-20 minutes. Serve these with whatever toppings you like - lettuce, cheese, tomato, sour cream, or homemade rockamole as my daughter likes to call it.

I modified the recipe slightly, but the original measurements are below.  I used 3 lbs of extra lean ground beef instead of two to make it a little less beany, and put a little extra of each of the seasonings to make up for it.

Congratulations Amy & Matt! I can't wait to hear about your baby girl's arrival! Be sure to check out the other party recipes for Amy's Shower at Carrie's Sweet Life. Thanks for hosting Carrie!

Source:  BlogChef

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 teaspoons dried minced onion
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-jack cheese
  • 18-20 hard taco shells
  • Optional Condiments-
  • lettuce (shredded)
  • tomato (diced)
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl combine dried minced onion, chili powder, cornstarch, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Mix well and set aside.

In a large skillet brown ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess liquid. Add refried beans, tomato sauce, and prepared taco seasoning. Mix well.

Spoon the taco meat mixture into the taco shells and place into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, standing up. Sprinkle cheese over the top of the taco meat in each shell. Place into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. Remove from the oven and top with any optional condiments for serving.

(Makes 8-10 Servings)

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