Friday, October 25, 2013

Chocolate Chile Bundt Cake

It's fall!

Ok - maybe not here in Northern California, but we do have some parking lots that have sprung forth pumpkins and dried corn stalks....

Don't look at the floating fingers. I couldn't get my hand out of the way fast enough. This was the first in the series (she was asleep and I just set her down). The next several were various faces of shock, frustration, and all-out mutiny. Needless to say, this is the best of the bunch. 

We did have a nice lady offer to take a family photo. Pay no attention to the cars and chain link fence in the background. Ahhh, city living!

Next year we're going to a bonafide farm. 

In any case, it's fall. So it's time for spice, sugar, and decadence. An alternative to the typical fall flavors, this cake has heat from the chile and warms you up - not to mention giving quite the sugar rush. 

The trick is to make it while keeping the Bean asleep - which means strapping her to me like you truss a turkey. She loves it. Promise.

Dry ingredients into the sifter. Flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, 2 kinds of chile.

Cream the butter and sugar. 

Beat in the eggs ONE AT A TIME. Seriously. I mean it. Then beat in the vanilla.

Dump a third of your sifted dries into the bowl and beat. 

Add a third of the sour cream and beat. 

Repeat alternating thirds of dries and sour cream until fully mixed. Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake until a skewer comes out clean. 

Serve with ice cream! 

Chocolate Chile Bundt Cake
Adapted from Food & Wine and The Amateur Gourmet

2 c. flour
1 c. dutch process cocoa
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tbsp ancho chile
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
3 c. sugar
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, cayenne, ancho, and cinnamon. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time - I mean it! - beating well after each. Beat in vanilla. In 3 additions, mix in the sifted dry ingredients alternating each addition with a third of the sour cream. 

Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake low in the oven - move your rack to the slot above the bottom - for 65 minutes, until a inserted straw comes out clean. 

Admire the sleeping child, and then cut a big old wedge and eat with ice cream!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

No-Fuss Granola (aka - New Mom Granola)

Hello Internet! Long time, no blog. Sorry about that! Some people write their posts in advance when they know they won't be around for awhile. I just let the blog sit stagnant...

But I've been having much more fun hanging out with my favorite new human being. 

And by hanging out, I mean staring dreamily into those big gray-blue eyes while running on little sleep and feeling so incredibly inadequate to be responsible for the well-being of this little person. 

Not that that has stopped any of you from visiting. Somehow, I've managed to accrue more visitors while I've been away than when I was feverishly blogging. The blame goes to Pinterest, where my chili colorado, tamales, and toasted coconut ice cream are apparently causing quite a stir. 

But back to the Bean. She's incredible. Resilient, inquisitive, and incredibly sarcastic. (It's all in the eyes. Trust me, I know.)

She also has decided that my life is now to be lived in 3-hour increments. She eats for an hour. Might sleep for an hour (or more! Praise the Lord!). Enjoys being awake for about an hour (if she's not asleep). And then decides she's hungry again and the cycle begins anew. 

What can you do in such a rhythm? Cookies are out of the question. I can't guarantee that in 12 minutes I'll be able to pull them out of the oven. I could be changing a diaper or trying to soothe a screaming banshee. Bread? Far too involved. And requires mental faculties that are elusive currently. 

Enter: Granola. The perfect thing to make when your brain is more like a sieve than a bodily organ. 

Drag out the nuts, dried fruits, etc. that you've got squirreled away. 

I'm using a jar of mixed nuts. Cause I have them. But I needed to whack them with a mallet to break them up into smaller bits for the granola.

Perk: The Bean likes loud noises, so thwacking away with a meat mallet on a ziploc bag full of nut mix didn't phase her one bit. 

Into the bowl goes oats, nuts, coconut, and sugar. Measurements were inexact, at best.

Into another bowl goes oil, salt, molasses, and honey. Stir.

Then the wets go into the dries - mix well!

Toss onto a silpat-lined baking sheet. Line it with something, trust me on this one.

Bake. For around 2 hours. Stir when you can, in 30 minute increments. Ish. 

Take out and throw in the dried fruit. Stir. Let sit on the counter until you can get back to it.

Crumble, eat, store, toss over yogurt!

Perfect as an afternoon snack, breakfast, or a 3 am nibble when you're up filling a bottle with formula for someone else's 3 am meal....

No-Fuss Granola
Adapted from my Red & Green Granola

3 healthy (overflowing) cups oats
2 healthy cups nut pieces (whatever kind and size you want)
1 healthy c. unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1/3 c. vegetable oil (I estimated using the 1/2 c measure)
1 healthy tbsp molasses (a good dollop)
1/2 tsp salt
a few handfuls of dried fruit, in small pieces

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar. In a smaller bowl, combine the honey, oil, molasses and salt. 

Pour the wets over the dries. Mix well - hands work best. Spread out on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Toss in the oven and stir every half hour, ish, for 2 hours, ish, until brown. It's not crisp at this point, just brown and smelling delicious! It hardens up as it cools. Pull out of the oven and stir in the dried fruit. Let cool for 10 minutes, at least. Break apart into chunks and enjoy!