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Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

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“This cake is my favorite way to eat chocolate.  It is easy to make and contains only three essential ingredients: the very best chocolate, for a full, rich flavor and smooth, creamy texture; unsalted butter to soften the chocolate and release the flavor; and eggs to lighten it.  The result is like the creamiest truffle wedded to the purest chocolate mousse.  It is chocolate at its most intense flavor and perfect consistency.” -Rose Levy Beranbaum, creator of the Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

That pretty much says it all!  I would like to add that although it seems there are many steps to the recipe, it is very simple to make.  Think of it this way: all you have to do is melt the butter and chocolate together, beat the eggs to death and fold them into the chocolate mixture and bake.  The reason the instructions are so long is that they are very detailed so you are sure to have success with this cake.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

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1 lb. semisweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 large eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8″x2″ cake pan and place a circle of parchment or wax paper in the bottom, then butter the top of it.

In a large metal bowl set over a pan of hot, not simmering, water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water), combine the chocolate and butter and let stand, stirring occasionally until smooth and melted. (The mixture can be melted in the microwave on high power, stirring every 15 seconds. Remove when there are still a few lumps of chocolate and stir until fully melted.)

In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs, stirring constantly to prevent curdling, until just warm to the touch. Remove from the heat and beat with an electric mixer until tripled in volume and soft peaks form when the beater is raised, about 5 minutes.

Using a large wire whisk or rubber spatula, fold half the eggs into the chocolate mixture until almost incorporated. Fold in the remaining eggs until just blended and no streaks remaining. Finish by using a rubber spatula to ensure that the heavier mixture at the bottom is incorporated. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth with the spatula. Set the pan in a larger pan and surround it with 1 inch of very hot water. Bake 5 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of foil and bake 10 minutes. The cake will look soft, but this is as it should be.

Let the cake cool on a rack for 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very firm, about three hours.

To unmold, have ready a serving plate and a flat plate at least 8 inches in diameter, covered with plastic wrap. Wipe the sides of the pan with a hot, damp towel, then run a thin metal knife around the sides of the cake. Submerge the bottom in hot water for 10-20 seconds, then invert onto the plastic wrap-lined plate. Remove the parchment from the bottom, then invert onto the serving plate and peel off the plastic wrap.

If desired, you can spread good-quality raspberry or strawberry jam over the top of the cake.  (I have an excellent recipe for raspberry jam here.)  Allow to come to room temperature before serving.  Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe source: The Cake Bible

***Reminder***

Today is the day to return to the Postcard Project spreadsheet and make sure you report how many pieces of mail you sent this week.  I will be drawing only from the names that have a number in the “completed” column for this week (not last week).  I’m SO thrilled that so many more have signed up and hope you will be able to return to report your goal completed before I draw for the cookies tonight at midnight. Good luck and thank you!

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Creamed Corn

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Until I married Dennis, I defined creamed corn as that uber-sweet yuck that comes in a can.  My first Thanksgiving with my in-laws, however, brought to light the real stuff that puts the canned goop to shame.  My sister-in-law, Joan, is in charge of the creamed corn in the Miller family, and she brings it to every single family gathering we have, for which my husband is eternally rejoicing and thankful.

It’s a Miller-family staple, and one of Dennis’ favorite foods.  At Thanksgiving, the creamed corn is just as important to him as the turkey.  Although I’ve brought it to my own family reunion before, I rarely make it at home (I prefer to indulge in desserts rather than side dishes), so he is super excited to pile it on his plate at every holiday gathering.  He got lucky recently, however, because I decided to make it in lieu of the usual mashed potatoes to go with our meatloaf.

Creamed corn the Miller way (OK, I know lots of you already make it this way, but to me, it will always be the Miller way) is buttery, creamy, has just a bit of tang to offset the sweet corn, and is crazy delicious.  It’s homestyle comfort food at it’s finest!  If you want to do it up completely Miller-style for a big gathering, triple the corn, double the other ingredients, and throw it in a crockpot to heat all day, stirring to combine everything once it’s hot, until it’s time to eat.

Creamed Corn

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1 bag frozen sweet yellow corn
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
1 stick salted butter*

Melt the cream cheese and butter together in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once they are melted and pretty smooth, stir in the corn. Continue cooking, stirring every few minutes, until heated through. Serve hot.

*If using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

**The above recipe is the long-loved and family-approved version, but I tried adding 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to the latest batch since Teri adds it to hers, and Dennis loved it. He doesn’t like sweet in his savory foods and usually adds extra salt to combat the corn’s sweetness, but he didn’t have to do that with the addition of garlic powder.  I like this corn either way, so it’s up to you.

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes


I recently checked out Baked Explorations from the library and immediately honed in on the Cornmeal Griddle Cakes recipe because I’ve been wanting to try them for a long time.  I think it took me all of two days to get to it.  It was urgent!  And I’m so glad I finally got to try some.

I don’t know if all cornmeal pancakes are this good, but if so, I was really missing out!  Both my husband and I are awfully tempted to call them not just great pancakes but the best. ever.  The best pancakes of all types that we’ve ever had.  But, alas, we can not.  The glorious fluffy buttermilk pancake will always hold the #1 spot, but these are just as good in a different way.

First of all, I was surprised by the texture.  I expected that the cornmeal would make the cakes dry and more dense.  Not so.  They were extremely fluffy, moist and light.  I don’t get it, but I won’t question it.  The corn flavor comes through and just tastes so good with butter, maple syrup and pecans on top.  Seriously.  You must try this!

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

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1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in medium bowl. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Place cornmeal in a large metal or glass bowl. Stirring continuously, slowly pour the boiling water over the cornmeal. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, almost room temperature. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Whisk eggs until pale yellow in separate bowl. Add buttermilk and whisk until blended. Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk mixture, to the cornmeal in three parts (beginning and ending with the flour mixture), stirring after each addition until just combined. Heat a skillet or griddle pan over medium-low heat. Spray with cooking spray and drop batter in 1/4 cup batches onto skillet. Cook until medium-brown, about 3 minutes, and the tops are bubbly, then flip the griddle cakes over and cook the other side for about 2 minutes and serve immediately. Serve with butter, pecans and maple syrup.

Makes 20 small pancakes. Per pancake: 85 calories; 2 g fat; 15.3 g carb; 1 g fiber; 2 g protein

Recipe source: slightly tweaked from Baked Explorations


Pumpkin Spice Bagels & Pumpkin Butter

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Dave from My Year on the Grill chose leftovers as this week’s “ingredient” for the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest (aka BSI).  Since I often make dishes with leftovers, I had a tough choice choosing which one I’ve made lately to post.  And since the things I made with 28 egg yolks leftover from my huge white birthday cake all included lemon, I chose to post something more season-appropriate.

Don’t you hate it when a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of pumpkin, or any other measurement other than the entire can?  Drives me crazy!  After using 1/2 cup for some yummy bagels, I decided to use the leftover to make pumpkin butter so I could smear that on the bagels with some cream cheese.  The bagels are good by themselves, but even better with the pumpkin butter!  And don’t worry,  your pumpkin bagels will not be as dark or flat because you will not mess up the recipe by adding so much water that you have to add in 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to stiffen it back up, and you will not forget to put in half the yeast.  Although these mistakes made the bagels more dense than I would have liked, they were still quite tasty and I will definitely make them again.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels
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Printable recipe with picture

2/3 cup warm water 110°)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups bread flour (I used all-purpose)
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 egg white
1 tbsp cornmeal

In bread machine pan, place water, pumpkin, brown sugar, salt, spices, flour and yeast in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting (check dough after 5 minutes of mixing; add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water or flour if needed). When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into nine balls. Push thumb through centers to form a 1-in. hole. Stretch and shape dough to form an even ring. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Fill a Dutch oven two-thirds full with water; bring to a boil. Drop bagels, two at a time, into rapidly boiling water. Cook for 45 seconds; turn and cook 45 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Whisk egg white and remaining water; brush over bagels. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place bagels 2 in. apart on prepared pan. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: 9 servings.

Nutrition Information (provided by a Taste of Home): 1 bagel equals 180 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 273 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein

Recipe source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking, October/November 2010

You can see other spreads I made with leftovers in the background: lemon curd (made with leftover egg yolks) and apple butter (made with leftover applesauce)

Pumpkin Butter
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Leftover pumpkin (you should have a heaping cup)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Whisk together in small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced half.

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

Nutrition information per tablespoon (calculated on Sparkrecipes.com): 19 calories, 0 g fat, 2.4 mg sodium, 36.8 mg potassium, 6 g carbohydrate, 5 g sugar, 0 protein

Recipe by Veronica Miller

Cookie Mondays: Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

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A MySpace friend posted this recipe on her blog last week and I knew as soon as I read it that I had to use it for the following Cookie Monday.

Recognize anything about the title?  You would if you’re half as obsessed with Gooey Butter Cake (my favorite is pumpkin) as I am.  This is Paula Deen’s spin-off of her famous cake, turned into a cookie.  The cake mix makes it simple and the butter and cream cheese helps to create a very moist, almost brownie-like center.  These were another big hit at the office–Den came home with an empty platter and lots of compliments from his co-workers.  Another cookie success. :)

CHOCOLATE GOOEY BUTTER COOKIES
Recipe by Paula Deen

Ingredients
1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (18-ounce) box moist chocolate cake mix
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner’s sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and “gooey.” Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Makes 2 Dozen

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

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I have been making this dessert every fall for about five years because not only is it my favorite fall dessert, but it is usually requested at our Thanksgiving gathering.  Although “Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake” is the official name, I feel that “Pumpkin Bars” is more apt and usually refer to them that way.  The bottom layer is like a cross between cookie and cake and the pumpkin filling is sweet, perfectly spiced and ultra creamy (not what I would call gooey, though it does jiggle when you take it out of the oven).

If you want to know how this recipe rates, here’s is the list of my top five favorite desserts (that I make):
1. Laura’s Cherry Crumble Bars
2. Laura’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
4. Dark chocolate Raspberry Cake
5. Zesty Lemon Pound Cakes

And if you still don’t believe me, here’s further proof that this is a must-try.  I brought this to the charity bake sale at work last week and it sold out faster than anything else.  I watched one woman scrape her container of every crumb after finishing the slice she bought, then go back to buy another only to find they’d all sold in the time it took her to eat it.  When she found out I’d made it, she made me promise to bring more next week!

She is not the first to catch the butter cake fever and won’t be the last.

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Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

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Printable recipe with picture

Cake:
1 (18 1/4-ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well with an electric mixer. Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

To make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes (I usually do 45 minutes). Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with fresh whipped cream.

From Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook

Butter Rum Caramel Cake


This cake originally started out as the base for my dulce de leche bars (I use a cake mix in the crust) but I added too many eggs and instead of throwing out the mixture, I turned it into a rum cake, froze it to use later, and finally removed it and frosted it today.  What began as an “oops” has now officially turned into a “yum!” 

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Butter Rum Caramel Cake

Cake
1 pkg Golden Butter Recipe cake mix
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 cup rum (I used Meyers)

Filling
1 cup dulce de leche

Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Garnish
Black Walnuts

Mix cake ingredients & bake according to package directions.  Cool completely.

Cream and butter and brown sugar, add the remaining ingredients and beat until creamy & fluffy.

Spread 3/4 of the dulce de leche on one cake layer, top with the second, then frost the top and sides.  Sprinkle black walnuts over the top and embellish with the remaining dulce de leche and frosting.  I put mine in a pastry bag, cut the tip off and squeezed it all over the edges.  You could also use a ziploc bag and cut the corner out.

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The cake was still frozen when I cut this slice, but that didn’t keep me from gobbling it in under a minute!

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