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Chocolate waffles with warm cherry sauce & whipped cream

February 26, 2011

Chocolate Waffles with Sweet Cherry Sauce

Wow.  If you’re looking for a crazy decadent way to start your day, this is it.  I can’t begin to describe how much Jim and I enjoyed these waffles, and they make a delicious foundation for so many variations.  Anything you would normally pair with dark chocolate is fair game here.

This amazing breakfast is the creation of my boyfriend, my husband, and me.  Yeah, yeah, I know it’s not exactly proper to admit you have a boyfriend and a husband, but let me explain.  Around here, Alton Brown is jokingly (and adoringly) known as my boyfriend.  Jim gets the husband title fair and square.  After all, he’s the one who put the ring on my finger.  I just crush on AB from afar.  Like through my tv.  Don’t judge me.

Anyway, back to the waffles.  We topped these with a warm cherry sauce and some sweetened whipped cream.  They were stellar.  And I’m talking about the oohing and ahhing kind of stellar.  So much so that Sam declared we were “acting like old people” and to stop talking about waffles.  Ha!

{This recipe is part of a tasty roundup at Sweet as Sugar Cookies.  Check it out!}

{one year ago:  bagels}
{two years ago:  pasta with mascarpone cheese and homemade pesto}

Recipe:  Chocolate Waffles with Sweet Cherry Sauce

(my boyfriend’s waffles are from Food Network)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3 whole eggs, beaten

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

16 oz. buttermilk, room temperature

3/4 c. chocolate chips

vegetable spray for waffle iron

sweet cherry sauce (recipe follows), powdered sugar, sweetened whipped cream for toppings

Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  In another bowl, beat together the eggs, melted butter and vanilla.  Add the buttermilk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in the chocolate chips just until combined.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the center of the iron. Close the iron top and cook until the waffle is crispy on both sides and is easily removed from iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Makes 6 waffles.

Recipe:  Sweet Cherry Sauce

16 oz. bag of frozen sweet cherries

1/4 c. cherry juice (found in the juice aisle of the grocery store)

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil.  As mixture cooks, mash some of the cherries with the back of a wooden spoon.  Let mixture bubble and thicken while waffles are cooking and being kept warm in the oven.


Buttermilk muffins

February 22, 2011

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Muffins

If you read this blog much, you may have noticed that if I mention breakfast, it usually has something to do with Jim and his pancakes.  Or maybe the fact that our kids barely manage to get through a day if there aren’t any of those said pancakes in the freezer.  These muffins were born on one of those days.  Desperate to get my kids out the door without listening to them fuss over a breakfast they couldn’t have, I whipped these together and had them baked in short order.  Sounds very June Cleaver of me, doesn’t it?

All kidding aside, I made some of these buttermilk muffins with mini chocolate chips for the kids and some without, for me.  I really loved the plain ones, though they’d also be delicious with some berries tucked inside.  The hint of orange zest was great, and I’ve become a real fan of the texture you get when you bake with buttermilk.  Definitely a pretty versatile recipe and a good base for whatever add-ins you’d like.  A good remedy for whiny kids too.

{one year ago:  chocolate sour cream cake}
{two years ago:  pulled pork barbecue}

Recipe:  Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Muffins

(adapted from Joy of Baking)

2 1/2 c. King Arthur white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

zest of one orange

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3/4 c. buttermilk

2/3 c. canola oil

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.  Fold in chocolate chips.  With a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined, being careful to not overmix.

Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter.  Bake about 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool in pan for 5 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Makes 12 muffins.

Tangerine meringue pie

February 19, 2011

Tangerine Meringue Pie

Winter seemed to have loosened its icy grip on us the past couple days.  There was just enough hint of the warmth to come to make the slap in the face of waking up to a bitter wind and a “feels like” 31º day sting all the more.

But my Spring voice refuses to be stifled by my down coat and wool scarf.  I’m rebelling.  Bring me some tangerines!  {hehe}  Please.  I’ve never been much of a rebel.  I just really want a taste of summer sun, so tangerine meringue pie it is.

I gotta tell you that in my rush to snub all things Winter, I really messed up here.  Someone called while I was in the middle of cooking the filling, and I’m pretty sure I added an entire stick of melted butter.  I didn’t realize it until we tried the pie, but it would explain the caramel kind of texture, wouldn’t it?  That flub actually ruined the pie, though it sure looked mighty pretty.  It ended up being a tangerine-caramel-meringue pie.  Not so good, and definitely not what I had in mind.  Dang-git.

But, guess what?  On a happier note, I’ve received several awards!  Big thanks to Jen from Mrs. Goldilocks, Alicia from The Red Deer, and Nourhan from Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen.  That’s a lot of blog love and I want to thank them and encourage you to check out their blogs.  You’ll be glad you did!

{one year ago:  Let’s Move Campaign}
{two years ago:  ground beef stroganoff}

Recipe:  Tangerine Meringue Pie

(filling recipe from and meringue recipe from Food Network)

single shell pie crust  (recipe below)

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 c. fresh tangerine juice (4-6 tangerines)

4 large egg yolks, whites reserved for meringue

1 tsp. finely grated tangerine rind

1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted


4 large egg whites

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

6 Tbsp. powdered sugar

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pie crust and refrigerate 30 minutes. Line crust with wax or parchment paper; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until edges turn light brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove crust from oven; remove paper and pie weights. Reduce oven temperature to 350°, return crust to oven and bake until crust turns golden brown, about another 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack; let cool.

To make filling: In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in tangerine juice until smooth. Whisk in egg yolks until thoroughly combined. Stir in tangerine zest and melted butter. Over medium heat, cook mixture, whisking constantly, gradually reducing the heat as filling begins to bubble and thicken, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat; pour hot filling into pie crust. Set aside.

To Make Meringue:

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beating constantly, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until glossy stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat.  Spread the meringue over the pie filling completely, going out to the pastry edges, so the meringue does not draw up or weep during baking.

To quickly cook the meringue, preheat the broiler with the rack in the highest position. Place the pie under the broiler and cook until the meringue is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes, watching carefully to avoid burning. (My preference is to brown the meringue in a preheated 325 degree oven until set and golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes.)

Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Recipe: Julia Child’s Pie Crust a.k.a. The Best Pie Crust on the Planet

~yields enough dough for two double-crust pies:

(If you make the full recipe, it freezes beautifully, and you’ll have pie crust at your fingertips whenever you want to bake another pie.  Or, you could cut the recipe in half or quarter it.)

5 1/4 c. pastry flour or all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 3/4 c. solid vegetable shortening (11 ounces), chilled

1 c. ice cold water

(I made my dough in my kitchen aid mixer, but you can also do this by hand or in a food processor.)

Fix mixer with paddle attachment (or use a pastry blender).  Put flour and salt in bowl and mix.  Add butter and mix on low until it is cut into dry ingredients and the mixture looks coarse and crumbly.  Add shortening in small bits and continue to mix on low.  When the mixture holds together when a small bit is pressed between your fingers, add the water and mix only until it is incorporated.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface and fold it over on itself two or three times, just to finish the mixing and to gather it together.

Chocolate guinness cake

February 17, 2011

Chocolate Guinness Cake

I can tell St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner because when I popped into McDonald’s for that addicting sweet tea, I noticed my all-time Mickey D’s favorite, the shamrock shake, has returned.  Though I haven’t treated myself to that just yet, you can bet I’ll consume a few before they disappear from the menu for another year.  And while I’m not even the tiniest bit Irish, it seems like a good time to try a Guinness recipe, doesn’t it?

I picked up my first Guinness beer while shopping with my sister and my mom last weekend.  See, if you live in PA, you can’t just grab a 6-pack while you’re grocery shopping.  You have to stop at a beer distributor for a whole case, and I definitely didn’t need a case of Guinness to try a few recipes.  My sisters are so close to NY state that they do much of their grocery shopping there, and lo and behold, to my surprise, you can buy a 6-pack while you’re filling your cart at the local superstore.  I was a little giddy, because I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for ages, so I grabbed some Guinness right quick and off we went.

Most of this cake disappeared before the day was even over.  When you’ve got kids and those kids have friends, chocolate cake doesn’t stick around very long.  My only issue with it was that the middle sank and the edges seemed overbaked.  Definitely didn’t look like Nigella’s did, but it tasted good anyway.  Of course, when you’ve got that big pile of yummy cream cheese frosting on top, just about anything would taste good, don’t ya think?

{two years ago:  cauliflower cashew salad}

Recipe:  Chocolate Guinness Cake

(from Feast by Nigella Lawson, found at the kitchn)

For the cake:
1 cup Guinness stout
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar  (Nigella says you can also use regular granulated sugar instead.)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup heavy cream

For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor or by hand, mix confectioners’ sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

February 16, 2011

I have to thank you guys for the outpouring of love and concern you’ve been sending my family’s way.  Bea and her family are settling into a temporary house and can start the process of moving forward with their lives now.  They’re doing better and I know they’re all gonna be okay.  Bea already feels like the fire has blessed their lives in countless ways, because of the overwhelming love and support they’ve received from so many people.  You’re all included in that list of people, and I just want to tell you how awesome you are and how much I appreciate you and this blogging community we’re a part of.  Thank you!



Nutella stuffed french toast

February 10, 2011

Nutella Stuffed French Toast

I know I totally missed that boat when it came to World Nutella Day, but I wanted to share this french toast with you anyway.  After all, who needs a special date on the calendar to eat Nutella?

At first glance, this looks like your run-of-the-mill french toast, but when you dig in, you find a perfectly delicious layer of Nutella goodness tucked inside.  Mmm.  This is some seriously good french toast that tastes like a rich bread pudding.  The best part is that you can eat it for breakfast!

{one year ago:  valentine lollipops}
{two years ago:  breakfast bake}

Recipe:  Nutella Stuffed French Toast

(adapted from Ina Garten)

6 large eggs

1 1/2 c. half and half

1 tsp. grated orange zest

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 large loaf of stale bread  (such as challah, brioche, or French)

Nutella spread

unsalted butter

vegetable oil

confectioners sugar, syrup, or fruit for topping

Preheat oven to 250 degrees, to keep french toast warm until you’re done cooking.  Slice the bread into thick slices.  Carefully cut a slit into the flat side of each slice to create a pocket.  Spread a generous dollop of Nutella into each of these pockets.

In a large glass baking pan, whisk together eggs, half and half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt.  Soak the bread slices in this mixture for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter and 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the soaked bread and cook a couple minutes in each side, until nicely browned.  Place finished french toast on a baking sheet in the warmed oven while you continue cooking.  Add more butter and oil to the pan, as needed.  Serve hot with a dusting of confectioners sugar or fruit or syrup.

Roasted no-knead garlic bread

February 7, 2011
tags: ,

Roasted No-Knead Garlic Bread

When you think about garlic bread, I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is a nice loaf of bread slathered with buttery garlic topping, right?  Well, how about putting bits and pieces of roasted garlic right inside the bread?  How’s that for some garlic bread, eh?  Let me tell you, this is tasty.  So good, in fact, that Jim and I were both hoping our picky eaters wouldn’t even like it.  We would have liked to just cut this bad boy in half and call it a day.

If you’ve never roasted garlic, it’s so easy and so delicious, that I hope you try it asap.  When I made this the first time, I actually bought several heads of garlic, roasted them all up, then froze half when I was finished.  I think the garlic flavor was diminished slightly in the second loaf (when I used the frozen garlic), but I’m going to try it again before I make a final call on that.  I think being able to freeze roasted garlic would be great for adding to breads, soups, mashed potatoes… I definitely want to try it again to see for sure if the garlic loses too much of its goodness during its deep freeze.

{one year ago:  cinnamon roll pancakes with brown sugared apples and glaze}
{two years ago:  whoopie pies with attitude}

Recipe:  Roasted No-Knead Garlic Bread

(recipe adapted from Macheesmo and from Lick the Bowl Good)

4 Cups bread flour (or 2 Cups bread flour and 2 Cups whole wheat flour)
1/2 Teaspoon instant yeast (or active dry yeast)
1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
2 1/4 Cups room-temperature water
2 whole heads of garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil (for roasting garlic)
Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting loaf

Roast the garlic by slicing the tops off of each head of garlic.  Place in the center of a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil.  Fold foil up into a pocket and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly, then squeeze out garlic bulbs and mash with a fork.

For bread dough, combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the roasted garlic and mix it in with your finger tips to make sure it’s evenly distributed.  Add water and stir until blended; dough will be sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 14 -18 hours, at warm room temperature.

When its surface is dotted with bubbles, the dough is ready. Lightly flour a work surface and “pour” the dough onto it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Coat a cotton kitchen towel with semolina flour or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 5- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up.   Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is browned. Cool on a rack.