“Mexican Chocolate” Dobos Torte

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This was a fun one to make! It was different, but I enjoyed the process of pulling it all together.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is my all time favorite chef to watch on television. She’s such a boss lady and I love it. I always see her post pictures of this cake on her social media and knew I’d one day have to make it.

So basically, I learned that this cake is her adaptation of a Dobos Torte. Dobos in Hungarian means “like a drum” but the cake is actually named after Hungarian pastry chef Joseph Dobos.

The concept is that the cake should have hot caramel poured over the top, right off of the stove so that it goops over the cake and hardens as it cools. After the caramel becomes hard, it’s suppose to crackle once you cut Into it! It does get kind of messy!! I had to knock it with the back of my knife to loosen it up before cutting into it.

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Anyway, as I was crafting this recipe together, I thought “what if I put a Mexican chocolate spin on this?!” The idea of that being paired with the hard caramel just sounded like music to my ears! Like I’ve mentioned before I always keep my Mexican vanilla stocked in the pantry, and by incorporating that with some cinnamon, mmmmm it would taste just like abuelitas hot chocolate! Never had that? Click here and thank me later.

My husband Luke said he enjoyed the cake and frosting, but he’d rather have the caramel not be hard. I told him that was the whole concept of this recipe, but he wasn’t really interested, lol. Now that I’ve made this, I feel inspired to make an entirely different Mexican chocolate cake. Possibly with the same frosting but with moist dark chocolate cake? Would anyone be interested in that? Hmmm, maybe I could do that and possibly have it served with a soft caramel vs. the hard crackly kind. Let me know if that sounds good!!

I ended up burning myself while tempering with the hot caramel. Please be careful if you make caramel. The sugar has to get very very hot to melt down and to become amber in color. After my sugar was dark in color, I let it rest for a few minutes, then I poured it into a bowl to cool more. I let it rest for a couple more minutes, and it was still scorching hot when I touched it!! Ugh, I burned my left pointer finger and my lip lol. 😭

So there you have it. Here is my “Mexican chocolate” version of the Dobos Torte. Hope you enjoy

Also, stay tuned for another dessert entry tomorrow. My aunt came by with some home grown “Poteet” strawberries that my grandfather planted. I can’t wait to use them!!

Ingredients:

For the cake

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 2 cups of sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tsp Mexican vanilla 
- 2 tsp cinnamon

 

For the frosting:

- 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate
- 2 tbs heavy whipping cream
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 Mexican Vanilla

For the caramel topping:

- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp light corn syrup

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9 inch cake pans, then lightly dust with flour. To prepare the cake batter, sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon in one medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, begin beating the butter until creamy with mixer. Then add the sugar and continue mixing until fluffy. Next, add in the eggs slowly as you continue mixing. Then you will add the vanilla into the batter. Take the flour mixture from the separate bowl and slowly blend the dry into the wet ingredients. Careful not to over mix.

Take 1 1/2 cup of batter into each of the cake pans. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick is inserted into the center that comes out clean. Anywhere between 15-25 minutes. Remove from the oven when they are done and set on baking rack to cool. Once cooled, flip cakes over onto parchment paper. Clean off the pans, re-grease and flour them, then pour the remaining batter evenly into the pans. You can use this method to achieve having four layers, or you can carefully slice your two large cakes in half horizontally. I lost my knife that allows me to be able to do that, so I had to bake my four layers separately in my two baking pans, lol.

Clean the paddles for your mixer as you will need to use them for your chocolate frosting.

For the frosting, in a medium bowl, add the chocolate with heavy cream and simmer over a double broiler. (this is when you use a pot filled 1/4 of the way up with water and boil over medium high heat, then you set your bowl over the pot and allow the contents to cook slowly without having them submerged into the water or in the pan.) When your water is rapidly boiling, you may want to reduce heat down some, place the bowl over the pot and stir your chocolate around until it melts. When the chocolate is melted, set aside and allow to completely cool.

Take the cooled chocolate and cream in the 2 sticks of butter with mixer. Once well combined, add in the 2 cups of confectioners sugar 1/2 of a cup at a time. Then finally add cinnamon and vanilla.

Time to stack your cakes. Begin by placing first layer on your cake stand. Add about 1/2 cup of frosting to the top of layer and spread evenly over, continue by adding the second layer of cake to the top of the chocolate and repeat method of adding another 1/2 cup of frosting to the top, spreading around evenly. Continue till the last layer of cake is added. Frost the top of the cake and all around the sides.

To make the caramel, heat the sugar with the corn syrup in a large pan over low heat. Allow the sugar to melt down, stirring often so it doesn’t stick and burn. Whisk around the entire pan making sure the sugar is cooking evenly throughout. Continue to cook the sugar until smooth and it has turned to the brown caramel color.

Take the skillet and allow to cool for a couple of minutes. I poured my caramel into a second bowl, and it didn’t really help the cooling process and just made me have another dish to wash. So i’d suggest pouring the caramel onto the cake straight from the skillet. Allow to goop over the tops and side of cake. Try to make the caramel a thin layer all over.

If the caramel becomes cool or hard, warm it gently over low heat to loosen it again. Let the caramel cool and completely harden on top of the cake before serving.

Thank you for reading!!

 

 

Spicy Pork Meatballs with Spaghetti

All the time I ask my husband what his favorite dish that I make is. He always says “everything” and then I demand that he be more specific, to which he replies “probably your spaghetti”.

Honestly, that is so weird to me because I feel like I have made some pretty darn good meals for us, so how could my spaghetti be the first to top that list??

I started thinking about it, and I realized, that it is pretty good lol. I guess I kind of had this stigma against spaghetti growing up because it was such a repeat meal in our household. Mostly because, you can throw a basic spaghetti together super quickly and kids usually like it, so I get it. But, I was burnt out from it.

I guess subconsciously I started making spaghetti to be a little more interesting and I didn’t really take the time to start disassociating the stigma against it, in my mind.

But I have now, and I’m happy to share some tips with you about it. Truth be told, I make adjustments all the time to my spaghetti, but I tried marking down my favorite things about it and told my self to start being consistent with making it the way I did tonight. Here is what I have come up with! I hope you enjoy 🙂

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This cute serving platter you can find here

Ingredients:

- 1 lb. Spicy Italian Pork Sausage- remove 
  casing. 
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1-2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion 
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 TBS tomato paste
- 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes or about a 
  dozen fresh tomatoes diced (you can do 
  a combination 1/2 fresh & 1/2 can)
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 TBS brown sugar
- 1 TBS fresh basil 
- 2 TBS fresh parsley 
- 12-14 ounces of thin spaghetti noodles 
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- parmesan cheese for topping

Instructions:

First begin by constructing your meatballs. I ALWAYS use this sausage for my spaghetti. You could use any Italian ground pork (spicy or non spicy), but the HEB Hot Italian Link Sausage is my favorite.

Remove sausage from the casing and set into a medium sized bowl. Add in garlic powder, onion powder and only 1/2 tablespoon of fresh parsley finely chopped. Start mixing the meat with the spices and begin to form meatballs using your hands. Grab enough to form a meatball about the size of a golfball.

Heat olive oil in pan over medium- high heat. Begin browning all the meatballs in the pan, turning them over from side to side. Once the meatballs are browned, add in chopped onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Next, add in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water and set the temperature down to a low simmering heat. Add in the brown sugar, 1 table spoon of the fresh basil, and the remaining 1 1/2 of fresh parsley. If you want additional spice in the sauce go ahead and add the red pepper flakes at this point. The longer you let the sauce cook down, the more flavorful it will be. Also, the more tender your meatballs will be.

I usually at least let it cook down for an hour. Always keep an eye on your sauce, if you let it simmer for a long period of time. You want to watch that it doesn’t dry out and start to burn, if it does begin to thicken and dry out, add another 1/2 – 1 cup of water.

Once the sauce is set to your liking, you can begin boiling a large pot of water for the pasta. Salt the water to the point that it tastes like salt water from the ocean. Once it’s up to a roaring boil, add the thin spaghetti pasta and cook till al dente. Which means to take it out of the water just before it’s fully cooked, because we want it to finish cooking in the sauce.

When your pasta is al dente, add the spaghetti noddles into the sauce dish with meatballs. Toss around and combine the pasta into the sauce. Let the pasta cook for a few minutes over the low simmer. If your sauce is needing a little more liquid at this point, use the water from large pot that you cooked your spaghetti in.

Turn heat off when pasta is completely cooked through. Let it sit for a few minutes so the flavors can sink in even more. Chop remaining fresh basil and add some parmesan cheese over and serve!

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Chicken & Chorizo Paella

One pot dinners are my absolute favorite, especially when I can manage to get multiple components and have the end result be a really yummy dish. For this recipe, everything gets cooked in one pan! That means you only have to wash ONE PAN!!! haha yes, this gets me so excited because washing the dishes sucks lol.

So usually when I develop a recipe, I pull tons of recipes I can find online or in a book, to guide me as I try to build off of each of them, to develop my own dish to my liking. However with this dish, I didn’t do that at all! I think because I cook a TON of rice all the time and I just wanted to have fun with it. Immediately I wrote everything down on my iPhone because I knew I was going to love this and I didn’t want to forget one step, lol. So beyond glad I did that.

Little back story on this dish, my dad, when he was alive, made this amazing Puerto Rican inspired rice. He made it at every family function! I’m half hispanic, so typically the rice we eat is Mexican/Spanish styled rice. But my dad had a really good friend who was from Puerto Rico, and he shared his moms famous rice recipe with my father! Needless to say, from that point on, at every Sunday bbq, we had Puerto Rican rice lol, everyone loved it.

My dad passed away in the summer of 2014, and all the time I wish I had asked him to share his recipe with me. I wish I could continue sharing the wonderful dish that we all miss so much! I’ve tried several times to recreate it, and I just can not seem to perfect it like he could.

So when I ended up developing this dish, it turned out to almost (accidentally) taste just like my dad’s rice!! I don’t know how, because I wasn’t meaning for it to! Although I did add a bunch of extra things like chorizo, and chicken, (his dish was only rice, no meat) however the actual rice came out SO delicious and it reminded me so much of my father, that it truly just brings me so much joy!! I hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients:

- 6-7 Chicken thighs with skin (can be bone 
  in or bone-less, *bone-in will be more flavor. 
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp paprika 
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 12-14 ounces chorizo
- 12 ounces Kiolbassa beef sausage
- 1 large tomato 
- 1 large yellow onion 
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 cups long grain rice 
- 2 heaping TBS of Goya Sofrito
- 4 1/4 cups chicken broth
- 2 packets of Goya Sazon Coriander and 
  Annatto seasoning 
- 1 cup frozen corn 
- 1 can Goya green pigeon peas 
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 tbs fresh parsley (optional)

Instructions

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder. Sauté the chicken thighs in oil over medium to high heat in pan. Cook the chicken until golden brown, it does not have to be entirely cooked on the inside at this point. (The chicken will later boil in the rice) Once browned, set aside.

In the pan of chicken drippings, cook the chorizo and sausage through. Once done, add in diced tomato, garlic cloves and onion. Continue to cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Now add in the rice and sofrito, then stir to combine. Once stirred, pour in the chicken broth. Add the corn, peas and goya seasoning packets. Take a spoon and taste the broth, add the salt and pepper to taste BEFORE adding the chicken back into the pot. After salted, put the chicken skin side up, atop the rice mixture.

Bring rice to a boil. Once boiling consistently throughout the pan, cover and set heat down to a low simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Check the mixture at around 15 minutes to make sure the bottom isn’t burning or getting stuck to the bottom of the pan. Traditional paella will have a burnt crust at the bottom of the dish, if you want the bottom to crust, you don’t have to stir at the 15 minute mark.

When rice is entirely cooked, let it cool for a few minutes to let all the flavors sink in. Chop some fresh parsley over the dish and serve.

NOTES***

I apologize to anyone who comes across this recipe and does not recognize a few of these ingredients. I will link the ingredients below, so you can hopefully find and order them if you’re interested! I am a Texas girl, so I will link items to HEB’s website and for anyone who might not shop at HEB, I will also link to Amazon.

For this dish I recommend using a large shallow cooking pan!

Seafood is also typically added in Paella, my husband and I both do not like eating seafood. Shrimp is often added! I wanted to add the second component of beef (kiolbassa) along with the chorizo, but it is optional. Paella is a good recipe to play around with to your liking!!

Saffron is typically used in paella, and it gives the rice the beautiful yellow color. Saffron is one of the more expensive seasonings, so the Goya Sazon is a nice and cheaper alternative to using Saffron.

Sofrito*- Mixture of Green peppers, onions, culantro, and garlic in olive oil. For rice, beans, soups, chili & stews. Link will take you to HEB, if you are not from Texas, click here. 

Goya Sazon Coriander and Annatto seasoning- special blend of seasonings from Goya. For every 4 people your recipe serves, just add one packet of Sazon Goya. Two packets for a dish for 8.  Use it for meats, stews, soups, poultry, pasta, rice, beans, vegetables – everything.

For people not from Texas or for those who don’t shop at HEB click here.

Thank you so much for reading!!

Beef Bourguignon

Okay confession time. When I was a freshman in college at TLU, I saw the movie Julie and Julia and was completely inspired to learn how to cook. That movie was what kicked off everything for me! I even made a ‘cooking’ blog back then and had one reader LOL!! No it wasn’t my mom, it was one of my good college friends Steven. Steven thank you for believing in me! haha. Anyway, one of the dishes that Julie recreates is Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon, a fancy name for a beef and wine dish! I was so so so excited to finally try this recipe out for myself.

It was a tad daunting following Julia Child’s recipe from her Mastering the Art of French Cooking vol. 1… it’s a lot of information to take in, and while I was reading it over and prepping for this dish, my one year old was screaming bloody murder while clinging on to my ankles. Luke was at work when I started this dish, it takes a while to cook, so it was the early afternoon and I think I threw my child off putting so much time into making dinner, that early in the day.

If you like to cook, and I mean really like to cook, I’d suggest investing in this cookbook. It’s unlike any other I have read. As you read a recipe, you’ll find yourself referring back and forth between different pages on references of  methods and techniques. Even while you read a recipe, there is often tips that are thrown in, that stick with you. Everything is explained SO well, the step by step directions make you feel like even the toughest of dishes can truly be done AT HOME!

I tried adapting her original recipe into something a tad easier (with just a few tweaks here and there) without messing up the integrity of the original dish’s flavor! Trust me, there is sooooo much delicious flavor in this recipe! When Luke first took a bite, he was like “oh my God” lol, that’s how I know this will be a keeper in our house hold for years to come. I omitted a few techniques, upped a few ingredients for added flavor– oh and I don’t add mushrooms to my food! Luke doesn’t like them!! I hope you enjoy!!

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Recipe’s Ingredients:

- 2 Lbs of stewing meat cut into 2 inch chunks (I used Sirloin) 
- 6 Ounces thick cut bacon 
- 1 -2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Onion
- 3-4 Large Onions 
- 6 Garlic Cloves 
- 1 Bottle of wine (Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chianti) 
- 1 Container of Beef Stock
- 12-20 Pearl Onions
- 2 TBS Fresh Parsley
- 1 TBS Fresh Thyme
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Beef Bouillon Cube
- Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Set your oven to 325 Degrees. I used a dutch oven, cooking method starts over the stove and finishes in the oven. Coat bottom of dish with EVOO,  and set heat to medium- high, cook your bacon until browned and crispy. Remove Bacon from dish and set on plate with napkin to catch the grease.

Next you will need to pat dry your meat with a paper towel, Julia says that beef does not brown properly if the meat is damp. Cook your beef in the bacon grease, in batches, rotating till each side is browned, then remove the beef and add onto the plate with the bacon. Continue until all the beef is browned. Next, make sure all the beef is out of the dish and toss in the chopped carrots and onion. Cook the vegetables until translucent, 3-5 minutes, then you will throw in chopped garlic for a couple minutes. Let the vegetables cook together until fragrant.

Now, put the beef and bacon back into the pot with the vegetables. Sprinkle in a little bit of flour to coat the meat and help brown everything up a little bit, stirring for 3-5 minutes. Add the pearl onions, (I used a bag of frozen pearls) . I bought a $8 bottle of Pinot Noir from my local HEB… I truly think it’s what made this dish, which just goes to show you do not need an expensive bottle of wine to add depth and flavor to this classic recipe. Wine suggestions often paired for this recipe are a Pinot Noir, Chianti or Merlot. I poured enough wine to come up to about 1/2 to 3/4 the way up to the food in the pot. I then poured enough beef stock to fully cover just about the rest of the food, making sure no peaks of beef were poking through (everything needs to be submerged under liquid).

Finely chop the parsley and thyme then add into the pot, crush the beef bouillon and throw in, then finally salt and pepper to taste. Now it is time to cover the pot with the lid and put into the oven. Cooking time can range anywhere between 3-4 hours, or until the beef is fall apart tender.

Once the beef is tender, take the pot out of the oven and strain all the juice into a separate sauce pan. Boil the juice on high, to thicken stirring often. I threw in a few sprinkles of flour to help with this process. Once the juice is thick enough to stick to the back of your spoon (sauce like consistency), pour the sauce back into the pot of food. Give it a stir to combine well, let stand for a few minutes then serve.

Julia says you can serve over potatoes, rice or noodles. I boiled red potatoes then mashed them with garlic, butter and milk.

I made this two days ago, and we are still enjoying the left overs. I’d say we got a good 6 servings out of, just as Julia said we would.

Thank you for reading!

Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping

 

Thank you for reading! Welcome to my first blog post. First off, I’m not much of a writer, so I will make this short- or try to. If you’re even interested in this post, you’re probably looking for the recipe and not what I have to say about it, lol. And that’s pretty much the purpose of this blog, I just want an outlet to share my recipes with family and friends!

Typical coffee cake doesn’t have actual coffee in it, it could I guess, but it get’s to be called ‘coffee cake’ because you’re suppose to drink coffee while you eat it! When I first made it, I might have accidentally devoured two healthy portions. It’s a really moist cake because of the sour cream added into the batter. My favorite part is probably the crumble though. It adds nice texture and is not too sweet.

Coffee cake is good for breakfast on the go too. You could easily bag it and munch on it during your commute to work. Or for other stay at home mamas like me, it’s perfect for a make ahead breakfast for the week. I just made this cake yesterday so I will probably give pieces of it to my mom and Luke’s mom to take.

If you attempt making this cake, please read my notes on the recipe.

COFFE CAKE

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For the Cake
- 1 Stick of unsalted butter
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups Flour 
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt (omit this step if you use salted butter)
- 2 Teaspoons Mexican Vanilla 
- 1 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
For the Filling
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar 
- 1 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
For the Topping
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Cup Sugar 
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon 
- 1 Teaspoon Salt 
- 1 Stick of Unsalted Butter- Melted
Instructions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

I started my crumble topping before working on my batter. To start, just combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Melt your stick of butter and combine the melted butter to the dry ingredients. You can mix around with a fork, or your hands. Once everything is combined and kind of crumbly, stick the topping in the refrigerator and don’t bring out, until your cake is ready to stick in the oven.

Now to start on the cake batter. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until well combined. Next beat in the two large eggs. A cup at a time, mix in the flour. Once well combined, mix in at once the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Again, you can omit the salt if you are using salted butter. Combine all ingredients with mixer and then add your vanilla and sour cream. Set aside your cake batter and start onto the filling.

This part can be omitted if you’re tired at this point. It’s just an extra added part of sugary cinnamon, a lot of coffee cakes don’t add this at all. But it’s also pretty to look at once you start slicing your cake. Simply combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small to medium bowl, then set aside.

Now it’s time to add your cake into the pan. I used a 7×11 pyrex, because I like my cakes to be thick, a 9×13 I believe is more traditional. I am strict on believing that coffee cakes should not be done in round pans lol. It has to be sliced and served in a square. Looking at my photo it kind of looks like it’s a triangle, but it’s not I promise. Grease your pan and pour half of the batter mixture in. Use a spatula to push the batter against the baking dish. Next spread your cinnamon filling over the batter, again use a knife or spatula to evenly cover. Then you pour the remaining cake batter over the filling. Once poured and evenly covered, it is time to bring out the crumble topping from the fridge. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the entire dish.

Take your cake and stick into the oven for 50-60 minutes. Kind of a long cooking time, I think because of the sized dish I used.

Notes!!

You do not have to use Mexican vanilla for the cake batter. If you continue to follow my recipes, you will see that I use Mexican vanilla in just about every baking dish I create. However, regular vanilla is fine! My husband got me a large container of Mexican vanilla the last time he went to the valley for work, and i Loveeeee using it!

The 7×11 Pyrex is not a traditional size, a 9 x 13 is a lot more common and it will reduce your baking time by a lot I imagine. Whatever size baking dish you use, I would set your timer to 30 minutes. At some point between 30-40 minutes, my cake was perfectly brown, but it was NOT cooked on the inside all the way, so I covered the dish with foil to prevent it from browning more. This allowed the dish to not burn and to continue cooking on the inside! My entire baking time was 55 minutes with this dish. Again, set your timer to 30 minutes and keep an eye on how it’s looking. Insert a toothpick inside to see if it comes out clear or still wet. A clear toothpick will indicate the cake is done. I stab it a few times around the center to make sure it’s done.

Thanks for reading! 🙂