11 November


Bittersweet Chocolate

Almond Liqueur Tart

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

November 7: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

Islander’s brother, Kahuna, discovered Highlander’s stash of dark chocolate-covered almonds in our house and could not resist eating them! He felt so guilty afterwards that he went to the grocery store to replace them before Highlander got home from work. Later, when Highlander wanted to snack on them, he noticed his candy did not taste quite right. They were milk chocolate instead of the darker flavor! As a “peace offering,” Kahuna bought another BIGGER bag of bittersweet chocolate almonds so they can both enjoy them together.

Amused by this incident between her husband and only sibling, Islander made a bittersweet chocolate almond tart when the candies were eaten up. Both Highlander and Kahuna liked it—but still prefer slices of this decadent dessert to be garnished with the dark chocolate-covered almonds.

Those who are nuts about dark chocolate and almonds ought to try the tart version. Bittersweet chocolate almond tart is a terrific treat for National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Raleys)

For the crust

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup butter, cold and cut into pieces
  • 1 egg

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and cocoa powder. Cut in pieces of cold butter with a pastry blender or fork. Stir in the egg until dough is well blended.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Press into a 9-inch tart pan (with a removable bottom) on the bottom and sides. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Prick the bottom and sides with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Make the filling.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

For the filling

  • 1 bag (10 ounces) bittersweet chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli brand)
  • 1 container (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 4-6 tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
  • dark chocolate-covered almonds, slivered blanched almonds or whole roasted almonds (optional garnish)

Directions

In a bowl, microwave the bittersweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir until smooth. Cool for about 5 minutes. Fold in the mascarpone cheese. Stir in the amaretto.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Smooth the filling into the crust. Refrigerate for at least an hour to set. Push the bottom up to release the tart from the whole pan. Slice and serve. Garnish with dark chocolate-covered almonds, slivered blanched almonds or whole roasted almonds.

Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Liqueur Tart

Notes

  • Slice the tart into small wedges as this is a rich dessert. Servings may also be topped with whipped cream or berries.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing chocolate and/or almonds.

Lemon Cream Pie

Lemon Cream Pie

November 29: National Lemon Cream Pie Day

Islander loves the lemon fresh taste in cakes. So naturally she likes them in pies, too. Although pumpkin, pecan, apple and sweet potato pies are popular during the current season, lemon cream pie is a nice alternative. The sweet-tart citrus flavor, smooth velvety texture and fluffy whipped cream topping bring to mind sunny and warm days. Make someone’s upcoming holidays happy with a pie and make lemon cream pie on National Lemon Cream Pie Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

For the lemon pie

  • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (5-6 lemons)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pie crust (we used a graham cracker crust)

Directions

Juice the lemons and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. Stir in the sour cream. Add the lemon juice.

Lemon Cream Pie

Mix in the salt and blend well. Pour into the pie crust. Place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. The middle of the filling will still jiggle slightly. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Prepare the cream topping.

Lemon Cream Pie

For the whipped cream topping

  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • lemon peel curls (optional garnish)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the lemon cream pie. Or fill a pastry bag with a decorating tip and pipe designs on top of the pie. Garnish with lemon peel curls (optional). Chill the pie for at least another hour before slicing and serving.

Lemon Cream Pie

Notes

  • If using a frozen pre-made pie shell, bake it in the oven according to the directions on the package until golden brown. Cool before filling.
  • Do not worry if the lemon filling cracks during baking. They will be covered in cream and still taste delicious.
  • The cream topping ingredients yield a generous amount. Feel free to half the recipe to cover/decorate the lemon cream pie.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Guava Chiffon Cake

November 26: National Cake Day

Islander’s all-time favorite cake is the guava chiffon cake from St. Germaine’s/Dee-Lite Bakery in Hawaii. Her Daddy would buy it for the ‘ohana (family) for Valentine’s Day and on Islander’s birthday. The light and fluffy cake is covered in a whipped cream frosting with a guava glaze gel on top. It truly is a delicious and dee-lite-ful dessert!

Apparently, this is also many people’s favorite cake as several have requested the recipe. But the bakery has kept its best-seller a secret! A similar recipe for guava chiffon cake has been posted in the state’s newspaper archives but it just doesn’t taste the same. Several foodie forums have featured frustrations, commentsand suggestions about the elusive recipe. But for now, everyone has to settle for this version. The cake is still good enough for a guava fix!

For National Cake Day, here is a recipe for guava chiffon cake.

Recipe

(Adapted from The Honolulu Advertister)

For the guava chiffon cake

  • 2 ¾ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup guava nectar concentrate (we used Hawaiian Sun brand), thawed
  • 5 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue), slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • 10-15 drops red food coloring

For the meringue

  • 7 egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ cup sugar

Directions

Lightly grease the bottom of a cake pan (9×13-inch rectangle or 12-inch round) with cooking spray. In a mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add the vegetable oil, water and guava nectar.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Beat the egg yolks and add to the mixture. Stir in the vanilla and food coloring.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Make the meringue by beating the egg whites witih the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until stiff.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Gently fold the meringue into the batter. Then spread into the prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Transfer to a cake board or plate. Prepare the frosting and topping.

Guava Chiffon Cake

For the whipped cream frosting

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream until thickened. Add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread a generous amount of the frosting on top of the cake.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Frost the sides of the cake. Add decorative shell borders on the top and bottom edges.

Guava Chiffon Cake

For the guava topping

  • ¾ – 1 cup guava nectar concentrate or juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • red or pink food coloring, if necessary

Directions

In a saucepan, pour the guava nectar/juice and bring to a boil. In a cup, make a paste with the cornstarch and water. Stir this into the guava nectar/juice until thickened. If necessary, tint with food coloring. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Spread the guava topping evenly on the cake insde the frosting shell borders. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Notes

  • This guava chiffon cake recipe yields a dense instead of airy cake. We recommend adding a few drops of guava oil/extract in the batter to boost the fruit flavor.
  • Pink food paste instead of red liquid drops makes a deeper and more vibrant color in the cake batter.
  • Double or triple the recipe for the whipped cream frosting if icing and decorating a multi-layered guava chiffon cake.
  • National Cake Decorating Day is October 17. Search our blog for simple tips and techniques on decorating cakes.
  • Prefer pies over cake? National Pie Day is on December 1 and National Pi (π) Day is March 14 (3.14). Search our blog for more pie recipes.
  • Gaga for guava flavor? Try making guava macarons.

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

November 23: Eat a Cranberry Day

We are blessed with a bounty of food on Thanksgiving Day and appreciate leftovers. Highlander cooks the turkey and gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rice, bread rolls and corn while Islander bakes the pies and makes Oreo turkey cookies in advance for dessert. Sometimes, though, we have an overabundance of side dishes, such as cranberry sauce, because Islander does not eat it and Highlander cannot finish it by himself. So Islander makes “morning-after cranberry sauce muffins.” They are great for breakfast on Black Friday or as a sporty-style snack when watching football games on television. Give new life to leftovers and make cranberry sauce muffins the morning after Thanksgiving and on Eat a Cranberry Day!

Recipe

(Adapted from Serious Eats)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups (or 1 14-ounce can) cranberry sauce
    (we used Ocean Spray brand whole berry cranberry sauce)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

In a medium bowl, combine the cranberry sauce with the milk, oil and egg. Mix well and set aside.

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

In a large bowl, mix the flours, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Fold in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, gently stirring well until moistened. Scoop ¾ full into cupcake papers or the wells of a lightly-greased muffin pan. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks. Yield: Approximately 1 ½ dozen.

Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Notes

  • Add more fruit filling to these moist muffins by adding a half cup of fresh or dried cranberries to the batter. Add sweetness by sprinkling sugar on the top of the batter before baking.
  • Search our blog for other recipes containing cranberries.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

November 20: National Peanut Butter Fudge Day

Need a quick sweet snack to share at a social gathering during the upcoming holidays? Then prepare chocolate peanut butter fudge! It only takes a few minutes to microwave and stir the ingredients together and just an hour to chill the chocolate peanut butter fudge. And a little also goes a long way! Fudge is fabulous as a gourmet gift when presented in a pretty package or on a party platter. For a fast and festive food, make chocolate peanut butter fudge for National Peanut Butter Fudge Day and holiday events.

Recipe

(Adapted from Jif)

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 jar (18 ounces) crunchy peanut butter (we used Jif brand extra crunchy)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Directions

Line an 8×8-inch square pan with foil, leaving some overhang. Mist with cooking spray. In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Microwave on high for a minute or two, stirring until melted.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Add the almond extract and condensed milk and blend well until smooth. Quickly pour into prepared pan.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Refrigerate to set for at least an hour. Remove from the refrigerator. Lift the foil overhang to take the fudge out of the pan. Slice into small squares.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Notes

  • Although we are not fond of fudge, we actually like this recipe because the extra crunchy peanut butter tones down the sweetness of the chocolate.
  • Find more fudge, peanut butter and chocolate recipes on our blog by searching on the sidebar.

Pão Doce (Portuguese Sweet Bread)

Pao Doce

November 17: National Bread Day

With a significant population of Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii, Islander grew up exposed to their culture and cuisine. Her family especially enjoyed eating round loaves of Portuguese sweet bread (pão doce) from Leonard’s Bakery and other lesser known local brands. But King’s Hawaiian Bakery brought sweet bread to the mainland, did marketing miracles and made the rolls and buns world famous.

We attempted to prepare pão doce in our bread machine as a project for National Bread Day. Although it is denser and not as light and fluffy as the bakery bread, it still tastes terrific as toast! Bom apetite!

Recipe

(Adapted from More Electric Bread)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup potato flakes
  • 2 tabelspoons frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon yeast, active dry

Directions

In the well of the bread machine pan, place the water, bread flour, milk powder, sugar and salt.

Pao Doce

Layer the butter or margarine, beaten egg, lemon zest and vanilla over the dry mixture.

Pao Doce

Next add the potato flakes (which will soak up the liquids), pineapple juice and yeast. Place the well into the bread machine. Set it for regular loaf, sweet cycle and light crust setting. Press start and allow the machine to knead, rise and bake the bread.

Pao Doce

When the cycle is done, carefully remove the hot well from the machine. Take the bread out of the well. Allow to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve fresh or toasted.

Pao Doce

Notes

  • Pão doce makes excellent French toast. See the recipes for pain perdu or a breakfast casserole.
  • Instead of Portuguese sweet bread, try Portuguese cheese bread (pão de queijo). Refer to the recipe here.
  • An ‘ukulele, introduced to Hawaii by the Portuguese, is a prop in the picture above. Mahalo to Islander’s brother for leaving it in our house to play whenever he comes over (but we claim that uke as ours now!).

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

November 15:
National Bundt Pan Day

Most homestyle bakers have a bundt in their cake pan collection. Islander has ta few—a fancy pineapple-design form and two mini bundt pans—but she borrows a basic one from her brother. The round, ridged mold with a hole in the middle gives cakes a distinctive shape.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

The bundt pan evolved from the Viennese kugelhopf.  Austrians and Germans who immigrated to North America brought their baking traditions—and ring-shaped pans—with them. The word “bund” translates to “community” or “a gathering of people;” hence, the round pan shape for cakes that were meant to be shared during coffee or tea time. The first reference to a recipe for bundt kuchen was found in the turn-of-the-20th-century “Milwaukee Settlement Cookbook.”

Nordic Ware adapted the design to make a bundt pan at the request of members of the Hadassah Society, an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization. The company trademarked the pan in 1950, but sales were slow. A decade later, “Good Housekeeping Cookbook” featured a pound cake recipe baked in a bundt. In 1966, after a “Tunnel of Fudge” bundt cake recipe won second place at a Pillsbury Bake-Off, the bundt became the best-selling cake pan in America!

Nordic Ware and other companies continue to make classic and creative bundt pans in different designs, shapes and sizes. In 2007, some of the original Nordic Ware bundt pans became part of the museum exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute.

Pillsbury licensed the bundt name in 1970 for its line of cake mixes, which are not available as of this post. But we made a version (see Notes) of the Tunnel of Fudge bundt cake to observe National Bundt Pan Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Pillsbury and Busy Cooks via About.com)

For the Tunnel of Fudge cake

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 tub chocolate fudge frosting (we used Pillsbury brand)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and blend well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and cocoa powder. Using a spatula, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix by hand. Fold in the nuts. Generously grease the sides of the bundt pan with vegetable shortening or cooking spray just before adding the batter in it.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Place half the batter into the pan. Spoon a thin ring of the fudge frosting in the middle of the batter, being careful not to let it touch the inner and outer sides of the bundt pan. Place the remaining batter on both sides of the fudge frosting and on top. Smooth it out. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the edges of the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the bundt pan. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about two hours. Invert onto a wire rack over a foil-lined lipped pan to cool completely. Prepare the glaze.

 Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

For the chocolate glaze

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder/unsweetened cocoa
  • 6-8 teaspoons milk

Directions

In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the cocoa. Stir in the milk until it is smooth and has a drizzle-like consistency.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze on top of the bundt cake, letting it drip down the sides. Transfer to a cake platter, slice and serve.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Notes

  • The original Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe included powdered fudge frosting mix, but Pillsbury has discontinued the product. Since the 1966 bake-off, the company has modified the recipe. The fudge from the tunnel is basically the undercooked batter, which is similar to a molten chocolate or lava cake.
  • Other companies, such as Nordic Ware (makers of the bundt pan and a Tunnel of Fudge cake mix) and Sof’Ella, make bundt cake mixes.
  • When we previously attempted to make a Tunnel of Fudge cake, it crumbled when released from the bundt pan (not greased enough) and it did not have fudge oozing out of the tunnel (overbaked). We also modified the recipe by following the concept of filled cupcakes (such as Betty Crocker brand FUN da-Middles). Half the batter is poured into the pan, a syrup filling is squeezed in the middle, then the remaining batter covers the filling before baking.
  • Thanks to Islander’s brother for letting us borrow his basic bundt pan for this Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. who gifted Islander with the adorable “aloha” bundt pan.
  • Search our blog for recipes of other cakes baked in bundt pans.

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