Friday, August 23, 2013

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

The sweltering humidity here in Cincinnati is no indication, but we are quickly nearing the end of summer.  I certainly couldn't let the season come to a close without trying out a frosting which claimed to taste exactly like mint chocolate chip ice cream.  With a few minor adjustments, I'd say it comes pretty close.  Chocolate ganache is completely unnecessary, but delightful addition to this refreshing, yet rich cake.  And 9.95/10 of my resident physician colleagues would agree.  It isn't every day you get that sort of consensus from doctors.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake (adapted from Shugary Sweets)
serves 8-16

Cake Batter
Your favorite chocolate cake recipe (or box mix).
Substitute hot, freshly brewed coffee for the water.
Bake in two 9-inch rounds per recipe.

Mint Frosting
1 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
8-10 drops of green food coloring (because everyone knows green mint chocolate chip ice cream is best!)
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
Combine with powdered sugar, adding 2 cups at a time.
Stir in peppermint and food coloring.
Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Frost cooled cake.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
splash of peppermint extract

In a double boiler, heat half and half to near boiling.
Remove half and half from heat and stir in chocolate chips until completely melted.
Add peppermint extract.
Allow to cool before pouring over frosted cake.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Fresh-picked Blueberry and Peach Pie

There are many, many things I miss about home.  In summertime, its watching a sunset over Lake Michigan and the endless amount of fresh produce everywhere you turn.  While home a few weeks ago we went blueberry picking.  Mom and Dad and purchased a flat of peaches grown across the street from our house.  Obviously, I needed to bake a pie.  Using the every trustworthy Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook I whipped up a blueberry peach pie which was served warm and a la mode shortly after pulling it out of the oven.  I also must admit, it was was probably more delicious eaten for breakfast the following morning.
Blueberry Peach Pie (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
serves 6-8

Pie Filling
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons  flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cloves
4 cups peeled, thinly sliced peaches
2 cups blueberries
Mix together the sugar and spices.
Gently fold in fruit. Set aside until pie crust is ready.

Pie Crust
2 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
8-10 tablespoons cold water
Mix together flour and salt.
Cut in shortening until pieces are pea size.
Sprinkle 1 T of the water at a time over flour mixture and toss with a fork.  Repeat until flour mixture is moistened.
Divide in half and form into balls.
On lightly floured surface roll one ball into 12 inch circle.  Use rolling pin to carefully transfer into pie pan.  Trim pastry.  Add filling.
Roll out  top crust. Cut into strips.  Weave strips on top of pie and press down edges.
Bake in 375 degree oven on top of a cookie sheet for 45-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown.