Wondering about the title of this post? Turns out hummingbirds and old recipes (such as this one) have one big thing in common-they don't much like organic sugar, which tends to be a bit more granular. In fact, hummingbirds refused to drink from our backyard feeder until we switched to more traditional granulated sugar.
I have no idea where-or when-I found this recipe but it was yellowed and slightly smudged with age, before I typed a new version into my computer files. And when I used organic sugar for this topping, the result had a touch of 'crunchiness,' that didn't complement the cake as well as anticipated. The moral of this story? Do not use organic sugar in this recipe.
9 x 13 glass baking pan
Large mixing bowl
Large mixing spoon
1 cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
11 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 cup sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1. Melt 1 cup of butter, stir in ¼ cocoa and water. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cocoa mixture and beat together well.
3. Stir in 1/3 cup condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour into a greased pan.
4. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back to touch.
5. In a small saucepan, melt ¼ cup butter. Stir in remaining ¼ cup cocoa and condensed milk. Stir in sugar and (optional) nuts. Spread on warm cake.
6. Once completely cooled, refrigerate the cake and topping. Serve at room temperature.
This cake is very tasty and rich (how could it not be with all that butter and condensed milk? :) And you'll be able to treat dozens of friends and family with generous servings!
When was the last time you swooned over a dessert? How about a relatively healthy dessert? This post began after a good friend provided a link to the original recipe, here. From a website called The Iron You, the recipe I started with carried the following labels: Comfort Food, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Easy, Gluten-Free, Grain Free, Low Carb, Paleo, Primal, Recipes, Simple, vegan, Vegetarian, Whole 30.
My version became a bit more decadent (and dropped out of certain label categories) with the addition of dairy whipped cream, but the dusting of cocoa powder comes from the original recipe. And truth be told-now that I've tasted this mousse-I would probably be quite happy making it without whipped cream.
Food processor (or blender)
Large saucepan with
well fitting bowl to melt chocolate
Serving bowls or wine glasses
As always, I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao bittersweet chocolate chips in my recipe, because of their exceptional flavor and the company's commitment to ethically sourced chocolate. As suggested by the author of the original recipe, I added vanilla-using 1 teaspoon for my mousse. I also tweaked the amount of chocolate, from approximately two ounces to 1/3 cup. I'm sure my mousse was a bit more 'liquid' than the original, but it still held together.
My ancient food processor was a must-have as I crafted this dessert, from mashing bananas to blending in the melted chocolate.
When the original recipe suggested putting the finished mousse into two 'bowls' I opted for two stem wine glasses, instead. As the mousse began to solidify, it also reflected some lettering from one glass.
After our dinner and an hour of refrigeration, we indulged - and quickly decided this amazingly easy and tasty mousse could easily become a household staple. Enjoy!
I've had this recipe in my accordion file (yes, I still have one :) for so long that I have no idea where I got it. A great way to incorporate a vegetable into dessert, these muffins benefit from added moisture provided by the zucchini. You could easily enhance the subtle chocolate flavor with the addition of miniature chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
3 muffin pans
2 large bowls
Microplane for zesting orange
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS
Makes 2 ½-3 dozen muffins
½ cup ground oatmeal
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 ½ tsp, baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup mild-flavored olive oil
3 whole eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 tsp. orange zest
3 T juice from the orange
½ cup milk
½-1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans – optional
Above: My manual citrus juicer is 'ancient,' but works really well.
1. Blend dry ingredients together. Set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and incorporate.
3. Stir in vanilla, orange zest and juice, and zucchini.
4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk. Add chopped nuts if using.
5. Pour into lined muffin pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, being careful not to overbake. (V.O.E. - I generally prefer not to use muffin papers but they're necessary here because of how 'wet' the ingredients are. These muffins also have too much moisture for silicone muffin forms. And, when I tried using a thin layer of butter instead, they stuck to the cooking surface.)
Enjoy these muffins after they cool, or freeze them for later use!
In fall 2009, I attended a private media dinner in the Kansas City area, with longtime Gourmet Magazine editor, Ruth Reichl as special guest. Unfortunately the magazine was shutting down before year's end. But a new cookbook, Gourmet Today, had just been released, featuring more than 1,000 recipes, and each of us ended our evening with a signed copy.
I've barely scratched the surface of this massive book. What better time to explore it than during My Chocolate Season 2023? Truffle Fudge is a wonderfully quick recipe to make, with utterly luscious results. Since I couldn't find a link, here's the recipe (minus the introduction) as it appears in my copy of Gourmet Today:
Makes 64 pieces (V.O.E. - This may seem like A LOT of pieces - until you taste them!)
Active time: 15 minutes
Start to Finish: 4 1/2 hours (includes chilling)
3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), finely chopped (V.O.E. - If you chop these in a food processor-as I did-you may want some ear plugs, since the chopping is extremely loud)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, softened
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
Special equipment: parchment paper
(V.O.E. equipment: large saucepan, small metal bowl, food processor, large spoon, rubber spatula)
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
Stir together all ingredients in a metal bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water and heat until chocolate appears to be melted, 5-8 minutes. (above and below)
Gently stir with a rubber spatula occasionally until smooth, letting chocolate rest for a few minutes if it appears to stiffen. Pour mixture into baking pan and refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, about 4 hours.
Run a knife around edges of pan, invert fudge onto a cutting board, peel off paper, and cut fudge into 1-inch squares. Serve cold. (V.O.E. - I started to 'release' the cooled fudge with a table knife but wasn't happy with the results. So I substituted an ultra-thin metal spatula blade. I also flipped the fudge over again to show the original top surface.)
Cook's Note - The fudge keeps refrigerated, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Welcome to Visual Traveler.
I love crafting stories about fantastic food & beverages, must-visit destinations & eco-friendly topics. I wrote a 350+ page book about Kansas. And I've worked with dozens of additional clients - from Fodors.com & AAA magazines to USA Today 10Best & WanderWithWonder.
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