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Coconut Oil Coffee


Growing up, my Mom used to go through “nervous break downs” in the summer when we were home from school and one summer, her breakdown took on a whole new level of crazy when she went entirely mental for raw garlic.  This was obsession, I tell you.  You couldn’t get her to shut up about the garlic, and she’d be talking to you about the benefits of raw garlic while rubbing a clove that had been cut in half on the soles of her feet.  It was definitely an aromatic summer as she seemed to be convinced that rubbing her entire body in garlic cloves 24/7 was the cure to all her ills.

I love this photo of Mom! The huge glasses! The t-shirt without pants! The totally rad high top tennis shoes with neon orange laces! Caught her in all her glory, and as you can tell, she was thrilled.

That’s kinda how I feel about coconut oil.  I’m obsessed with it in an eat it, drink it, rub it all over my body kind of way.  It started with my first jar of extra-virgin organic coconut oil.  Oh mah goodness, have you ever tasted pure unadulterated extra-virgin organic coconut oil?!  You can just eat a spoonful of it straight and the delicate & pure coconut flavor is heaven and the solid oil melts instantly in your mouth–it’s like candy to me.  But I only allow myself half a spoonful a day and unlike real candy, it’s not addictive so I don’t have to keep going back for more.

I also have been using a teensy bit on the dry parts of my face and it works better than any moisturizer and it absorbs without leaving a greasy shine behind.  I’ve also taken to rubbing it into my hair and sleeping in a shower cap from time to time and my hair is always so soft and silky after washing it the next day.  And I know it sounds so weird, but I use it to scramble my eggs.  I know coconut and eggs sound so wrong together, but my Grandpa cooked them that way for us when he visited last summer and although weird, I loved it and now don’t use any other oil to cook my eggs.

Grandpa cooked us eggs to show off his porcelain skillet. He says nothing sticks to it, and it’s safer than regular non-stick pans.

Needless to say, when I ran across this recipe for coconut oil coffee, I knew I had to  have it immediately!  Whose ever heard of putting coconut oil in their coffee, right?  So weird! But hello, I have a family obligation to be a freak!  Is being weird going to stop the woman whose mother once rubbed her entire body with raw garlic for a week? I think not!

So try it I did.  Love!  Blending the coconut oil into the hot coffee makes it so creamy…without any cream!  I mean look at that cup up there, that was black coffee, and look how creamy it is with the coconut oil blended in.  Love the frothy top & the coconut flavor too.  :)  With a little stevia, this was so much better than any Starbucks $$$ cuppa, IMHO.  So good, you guys.  I hope you try it!  Just don’t use refined coconut oil, that stuff doesn’t have the health benefits of extra-virgin, nor the flavor (you can read the original post where I found this recipe to learn all about the health benefits).

Coconut Oil Coffee

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/4 cup Cold-Brewed Coffee + 3/4 cup hot hot water or 1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin coconut oil
Stevia or another sweetener, if desired

Place all ingredients in blender and blend!

Recipe source: The Veggie Nook

I love my CW! Thanks for teaching me all the best ways to embrace the crazy. :)

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Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte


Happy Thanksgiving! OK, so I’m early, but I’m headed out of town for the holiday and won’t have internet access on the big day.  Before we head north, I’m going to share a little gem I’ve been enjoying often but have been selfishly keeping to myself.

I’m sure your jaw dropped when you read the “Skinny” part of the title since I have posted very few healthy or low-calorie recipes in the past several months.  Well, believe it or not, despite all the fattening stuff I post on here I’ve been working on losing weight since May and this delicious latte is one of the things that has helped me shed twenty-five pounds along the way.

I’m not a big coffee drinker but I absolutely adore this Pumpkin Spiced Latte and have been making it at least once a week since the beginning of October.  It is sweet, spiced with a hint of pumpkin flavor, and it’s soooo wonderful topped with whipped cream or, my recent favorite, gingerbread mallows.  For the above photo, I plopped them on top so you could tell what they were, but I prefer to put them in the empty cup, then pour the hot latte on top so that they begin to puff and melt (as in the photo below) and create a gingerbread flavored foam on top that I get a little bit of with each sip.

OK, I’m off to whip one up right now!  Today I’m grateful for so many things, including you.  Thanks for reading and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  I’ll see you back here on Saturday when I announce the spices giveaway winner!

Skinny Pumpkin Spiced Latte

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute (to taste)
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
fat-free whipped topping or gingerbread mallows
pumpkin pie spice for topping

In a small pan whisk together milk, pumpkin butter and sugar until pumpkin butter is completely dissolved in the milk. Continue whisking and cook on medium until boiling. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and coffee. Pour into a mug, add desired topping and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. Serve hot.

Nutrition information (calculated without topping, using my own pumpkin butter (26.3 calories per tablespoon), and Splenda): Servings: 1 • Weight Watcher Points: 2 pts • Calories: 102.7 • Fat: 0.4 g • Sodium: 101.5 • Potassium: 418.1 • Carb: 17.8 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Protein: 6.6 g

1/4 cup Cool Whip Free adds 30 calories, 4 gingerbread mallows adds 45 calories

Recipe source: Gina’s Skinny Recipes

 

THE Mocha Crunch Cake


Although I have made this recipe my own, I must give credit where it is due.  Early in my cake-making days, I purchased Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible and used recipes out of it to make the first stages of this cake.  I’ve continually changed and evolved the recipe since then, and while I always ultimately preferred to use a Betty Crocker devil’s food cake mix rather than bake the cake from scratch, I have now found THE chocolate cake recipe that I actually prefer over the mix, and I have Mel of My Kitchen Cafe to thank for that.

Let’s talk about the current stage of this cake.  The cake itself is light, moist, deeply chocolatey.  An excellent crumb.  Really, the best texture I’ve ever gotten from a chocolate cake recipe, except for this one.  It’s perfect.  The cake is enveloped in a  buttercream that is deceptively light and almost mousse-like with a great balance of sweet coffee and chocolate flavor.  The flavor combined with the velvety smooth texture makes it so good that I have been known to scoop the leftover frosting into a bowl and eat it straight.  I chose to press chopped toffee into the sides of the cake because, to me, the flavor of toffee has always been a perfect compliment to chocolate and coffee, and it adds a nice contrast of texture to the bite.  Finally, I eventually began smothering the whole finished cake in ganache to make it more visually appealing and to intensify the chocolate flavor.  It is an immensely pleasurable treat that can be dangerous because it doesn’t feel fattening when it’s in your mouth and it’s easy to overindulge because it is so light.  Do not be decieved!  My thighs are a testament to the immense caloric level of each bite.

This cake is time consuming to prepare, but very much worth the effort, especially if you are making it for a birthday.  And fear not that the little ones won’t enjoy it.  My nephew has been devouring it since he was old enough to be allowed chocolate.  And one of the ladies present at a birthday party where it was served told me that her daughter hates chocolate and she ate an enormous piece all by herself.  I had to laugh, because that little girl is not the only one who has enjoyed the cake despite their aversions to aspects of it.

My Dad is a dessert hater.  Honestly, I don’t know how he could have spawned me, the Dessert Queen, but it doesn’t change the fact that he doesn’t have a sweet tooth.  But he loves this cake.  My youngest sister is a frosting hater.  She scrapes it off the cake.  When I make this one she gets excited if I put extra frosting in the middle.  And she licks the plate clean, frosting and all.  My middle sister is a cake hater, and really just a hater of all things not raw and rich in antioxidants.  But she scarfs this cake every time I make it and it is the only cake she will let me make for her birthday.  My husband?  A coffee hater.  An intense coffee hater.  And yet he perks up on the rare occasion I make a morning cup of Joe, hoping the smell means I’m making this cake.  My Mom likes everything I make, but this is her favorite cake and also the one she prefers on her birthday.  And not to toot my own horn or anything, but Michael Jackson left instructions in his will to be buried with three of these cakes.  Or at least, I think he would have if he’d ever tried one. :)

A friend recently told me that this cake would be one of the only things she thought she would miss in heaven.  Of course she said it to be funny since I doubt we’ll miss anything in heaven, but if were possible to miss something…I think I would miss it too.

THE Mocha Crunch Cake

Printable recipe

Printable recipe with picture

Cake
1 ¼ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Mocha Buttercream

¼ cup Kahlua
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals
10 oz semisweet chocolate
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup corn syrup

1 lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter

Ganache
4 oz semisweet chocolate
½ cup heavy cream

Additional

1-1  ½ cups toffee bits
2 toffee candy bars (such as Heath)

Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, making sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Prepare two 9” round cake pans by cutting out a piece of parchment or wax paper to line the bottom of them. Grease the pans, place the parchment or wax paper in the bottoms and lightly grease again. Dust the pans with flour (or cocoa powder if you don’t want the white dusting on the finished cakes). Set the pans aside.

Sift together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the eggs, yolk, warm water, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Do not overbake! Remove the pans from the oven and set the pans on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Gently run a thin knife around the edges of the pans and unmold the cakes, removing the parchment paper liners from the bottom of the cakes. Let them cool completely, top sides ups, on a wire rack.  Trim the tops of the cake layers with a long serrated knife to make them level.

Make the buttercream: Put Kahlua in a microwave safe dish and heat until boiling.  Remove and add instant coffee.  Mixture will immediately boil up high and once it goes back down, gently stir it until the coffee is dissolved.  Set aside to come to room temperature.  Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and heat for 30 seconds and stir.  Continue heating in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is almost melted.  Stir and allow the residual heat to melt it completely.  Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks until light and mixer blades make tracks in them.  Spray a 1-cup glass measure with cooking spray and set beside the stove.  Combine sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it comes to a full rolling boil.  Immediately remove from heat and pour into the prepared measuring cup to stop the cooking.  While mixer is running, pour the syrup in a steady stream into the egg yolks, careful not to pour it onto the beaters.  Continue beating until mixture is room temperature.  Beat the butter in a small bowl until fluffy, then begin adding it to the egg mixture a tablespoon or two at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.  Once the chocolate is cooled, turn the mixer back on and add the chocolate to the buttercream, beating until smooth.  Add the cooled Kahlua mixture and beat until uniform & smooth.

Make the ganache: Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe dish and heat for a minute; stir.  Continue heating in 15-30 second intervals until the chocolate emulsifies and the mixture is shiny, dark, uniform, and smooth.  Allow to come to room temperature.

Assemble: Place one cake layer on plate and spread about 1 cup of mocha buttercream over the top.  Put second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides with the remaining buttercream.  Take handfuls of toffee bits and press them into the sides of the cake.  Chop the candy bars into four pieces each and place with a pointed side up around the edge of the cake.  Slowly pour the cooled ganache over the top of the cake and use a spatula to spread to the edges so that it will ooze out between the candy bars and down the sides a little.  Sprinkle some toffee bits in the middle of the cake.  Serve at room temperature.

Veronica’s notes: As many people have had trouble with the cake batter overflowing the pans during baking, I recommend you do what I did and only fill your pans 1/2-2/3 full and use the extra batter for cupcakes.

Recipe by Veronica Miller, with help from this recipe, and The Cake Bible.

And now, a photographic timeline to show the evolution of the Mocha Crunch Cake.

1st stage: three layers of (from scratch) devil’s food cake with mocha frosting and chocolate curls.

https://i1.wp.com/a4.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/95/f9cd0f2d1d22fe34c95e7de7b9c8609b/l.jpg

Stage 2: same as stage 1, except with toffee on the sides.

https://i0.wp.com/a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/38/ac907196cb9ff40fb9a696bab3be4fca/l.jpg

Stage 3: using a cake mix and with much shorter layers to make the frosting to cake ratio more equal, as my sister likes it.  Mom wasn’t complaining! (On a side note, this is before I learned how to pipe roses and I was holding the tip upside down so the petals are backwards, which makes them look too fluffy–LOL!)

https://i2.wp.com/a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/42/7494dfe1bcacea15227f7e59dd603eb1/l.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/a3.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/8/32c4e9c0f2c65d00f1bc4cc169013511/l.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/a3.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/54/3394fe553e4f8a1b0c76b7d1c1efaec8/l.jpg

Stage 4: toffee removed and baked in a sheet pan to turn into a baby shower cake.

https://i1.wp.com/a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/112/aa921b50709e40e7a982e13f6bf80c84/l.jpg

Stage 5: a ganache drizzle is added.

https://i1.wp.com/a2.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/10/96fffba6177c4c18b674f57653b3be75/l.jpg

Stage 6: no more pussyfooting around.  I slathered on a whole cup of ganache and embellished with candy bars!

And everyone rejoiced.  The end.

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