Chocolate Guinness Cake – Nigella

I cannot help myself, but I really like Nigella. I know people get weird about the “domestic goddess” thing, but she has always seemed like my kind of cook – do not take it too seriously and have a good time, and that is what I really try to do.

I have her cookbooks “How to Eat,” and “How to be a domestic goddess.” Oh, and “Nigella Summer.” I would love to have such a cool name. When you have a name that many people have – my name, it is kind of annoying. Thankfully my mom was ahead of the curve. There were no other Jennifers in my classes, but lord help you if you were a few years younger than me, there were Jennifers aplenty. Sometimes it helps to be in the forefront of a popular name. And then it is still kind of a thing that I would like a unique name. I guess that is why Jj works for me.

D&D_1945I am always looking for the ultimate version of a Guinness cake, so let’s see how this one stacks up to the other I made last year. I know it is not strictly the Guinness time of year (March), but I don’t really care. It’s what I want to make so it is what shall be made.

Butter for pan
1 cup Guinness stout
10 Tbs unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 ozs cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″ 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 on wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Break up any lumps in confectioners’ sugar – I sift. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream, and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on platter. Ice top of cake only to resemble a pint of Guinness. Because that is just really cool.

Chocolate Fudge Chip Cookies

I am, as I mention on a regular basis, not a huge chocolate person, but this looked like something everyone I know would like, so I decided to go for it. It falls in line with my “brownie” cookie phase that I have been working on for the last 6 months or so. While not a “brownie” cookie itself, the flavors will be similar and best of all, I have everything on hand to make it. My favorite kind of recipe. It helps that my freezer is mostly stocked with unsalted butter and chips of all flavors. Freezers are wonderful things … especially when you are cheap like me and buy things on sale that you will use later. Chocolate is not cheap, so I try to make sure to get the very good stuff on sale and then store it properly. Butter, another thing that is not cheap, is the same for me. I don’t really know what I would do if I ran out – to be honest, I can’t remember that ever happening. Guess that’s how you know you are a baker. I really like being a baker.D&D_1926

This is another Trisha Yearwood recipe, but I think I would try it no matter whose original idea it was. I’m pretty sure the Boy will be all over it. Hopefully all the choco-holics at the office will enjoy them as well.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
6 ozs  semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 ozs white chocolate bar, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt over a piece of waxed paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together butter and both sugars until combined. Add eggs, one at a time and incorporate. Add flour mixture and just combine – do not over mix. By hand, mix in the walnuts and both chocolates until just combined.

Drop a 20 scoop of dough on baking sheet. Bake, turning the pan half way through, until cookies are set, about 12 minutes. And do it again and again until your are done. Yep.

Source: Trisha Yearwood
12 June 2017

Notes: Mixed up and baked up really easy. I let the dough sit in the fridge overnight so all I had to do was bake when I got home from work. I like to do this – mix one night – bake the next. Or alternatively, get dry ingredients together one day and then finish and bake the next day – especially for cakes. I learned this from my mom because she used to mix all the dry ingredients for banana nut bread that she made by the dozens for Christmas presents.

 

Pinwheel Cookies

I’ve been making cookies / desserts at the suggestions of others just to get me to try new things, and one suggestion a couple of weeks ago was a pinwheel cookie. The guy that asked for it said his mom used to make them for him, but had not in a while.

Well, after I checked into what a pinwheel is, I understand why his mom doesn’t make it anymore. You have to really love someone (which I suggested his mom may not do any more – which was mean, but funny) to do this amount of work … And this much frigign’ math. But, since I have never 1) eaten a pinwheel or 2) made a pinwheel. I took it as some sadistic challenge. And so far that seems to be an accurate statement of the experience. I’ve gone so far as to clock the active time involved in putting this damn cookie together. I even made templates – who what nerd does that?? Me. sigh.D&D_0854

Yields about 10 dozen 2-inch cookies. If you can roll everything in the correct dimension. Yep that was wasn’t me.

13 1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbs. boiling water
3 Tbs. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted but still warm

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 min. Add the sugar in a steady stream and mix for another 2 min. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until combined. Remove 2 cups less 2 Tbs. of the dough and set aside.

Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water and set aside briefly to cool. Then mix the espresso and cocoa powder into the remaining dough. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the warm melted chocolate and mix just until thoroughly combined.

Portion each flavor of dough into three equal pieces. (For accuracy, use a scale – yes, do this) Shape each piece into a 5×5-inch square on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. The chocolate will be thicker than the vanilla. Refrigerate the dough for 30 min. (If the dough becomes too hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling) = 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, tear off twelve 12-inch squares of waxed paper. Roll each piece of dough into a 7×7-inch square between two sheets of the waxed paper. Without removing the waxed paper, layer the squares of dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 to 15 min. Have ready three 15-inch sheets of plastic wrap = 20 more minutes.

To shape the cookies, remove one square of the vanilla dough and one square of the chocolate dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from each. Invert the chocolate square over the vanilla square (or vanilla can go on top of chocolate; try some of each for variety), taking care to align the two layers as evenly as possible. Using your rolling pin, gently roll over the dough to seal the layers together. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, carefully curl the edge of the dough up and over with your fingertips, so no space is visible in the center of the pinwheel.

Using the waxed paper as an aid, continue rolling the dough into a tight cylinder. After the cylinder is formed, roll it back and forth on the counter to slightly elongate it and compact it. And then roll is really crunchy sparkling sugar (not in the original recipe, but so worth it). Transfer the log to the plastic wrap, centering it on the long edge closest to you. Roll tightly, twisting the ends of the plastic firmly to seal. With your hands on either end of the log, push firmly toward the center to compact the dough. It should be about 9 inches long and 1-1/2 inches thick – or whatever it is – really.  Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate the logs until firm enough to slice, about 3 hours, or freeze for up to three months = 20 more minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Working with one log at a time, roll the long in large grain sparkling sugar. Then, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to slice the dough into 3/16-inch rounds (I used my tomato knife, not thin, but beyond sharp). Set the rounds about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans and bake until the tops of the cookies feel set, 12 to 14 minutes, making sure to rotate pan halfway through. Let the baked cookies stand for 1 minute on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to three months = 12 – 13 minutes x 6 =78 minutes.

Total time, roughly, since I’m not good at math = 2 hours & 20 minutes, not including time in the fridge.

Fine Cooking

With this all said and done, now that I have experience doing it, I will make these again. Nothing is particularly daunting. There are just many steps and it takes time. It’s fairly forgiving too because my measurements of the squares were not correct. I just made them match and tried to make it close and it worked. As a not huge chocolate fan, this chocolate part of the cookie reminds me of Guinness – coffee, dark chocolate, lovely.

 

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Guinness is the first beer I ever drank as a regular grown-up thing. I was not a beer drinker, with a few exception of quarters in high school (I was terrible and everyone knew it – surprise?!), until I was in my 30s and then not so much beer drinker until I visited England for interviews and realized EVERYBODY (mostly) had a beer w/lunch and my beer stout of choice was Guinness – hell, that’s a meal in itself. Right?

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Guinness Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

But I have learned over the years that Guinness is great in lots of dishes. Beef stew (yeah!), brownies  – totally not kidding, and cake. Guinness has that chocolate / coffee thing going on – if I were some food channel person, I would say, “a depth of flavor.”  And that really fits. Need to make the brownies again – both the Boy and the MotH like them. I’m not a brownie person, but I like to make things for the men in my life and make them happy which makes me happy too. I’m a huge fan of buttermilk or sour cream in a cake – it makes for a tender cake.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup Guinness
1/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9 inch springform pan.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.
In a large measuring cup, mix together oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Add to dry mixture and combine. Add Guinness and buttermilk and whisk until combined. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes clean or with only a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan before unfolding it on to a cake plate.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ozs cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 7 oz. container marshmallow cream*
2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and marshmallow cream. Beat with a mixer at high speed for 2-3 minutes, until very smooth and fluffy. Beat in vanilla, if using (what – must use). Spread onto cake or cupcakes. Frosts 12 cupcakes or one 9 inch cake.

Source: Baking Bites with some adjustments.

* I am not sure I understand the difference between marshmallow cream and marshmallow fluff – but for my fluffer-nutter** it was always marshmallow cream. So I’m going with that.

** A favorite school room sandwich, but it was always a bit of a mess – sticks to the sandwich bag.