All right, all right - now what you really want to read the blog for:
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Yield: 1 – Bundt CakeIngredients: 2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
½ C canola oil
½ C unsweetened applesauce
2 C granulated sugar
2 C 100% whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour)
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t ground cinnamon
¾ C miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 t Madagascar vanilla extract
(this item I get from King Arthur Flour - you can use regular vanilla extract but I am telling you this makes a difference)
2 C zucchini, grated
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour Bundt pan – set aside.
2. Melt chocolate squares and set aside.
3. In large bowl, combine the sugar, flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; whisk. Stir in chocolate chips to coat and set aside.
4. Combine the oil, applesauce and eggs. Add chocolate and vanilla extract and mix well.
5. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture.
6. Fold in zucchini.
7. Let rest for 5 – 10 minutes (with the addition of the wheat flour it helps to have it sit just a little while to moisten the wheat flour).
8. Pour into greased pan. Bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out cake and allow to finish cooling on wire rack.
This is a great cake! My boys love it and quite frankly I don't bake it that often unless I know I will give it away because I could sit and eat way too much of it. Believe it or not this is the same recipe as the one I took for the same division last year (with some modified tweaking). Last year only earned honorable mention but this year did much better. Sometimes it's a small tweak (or a major overhaul - or you scrap it all together and find a new recipe), sometimes its all in the day's baking conditions and sometimes it's just the judge's particular taste and judgement on the day of judging. But it is a wonderful use of zucchini and has some other healthy ingredients in it too. The sitting before baking with whole wheat flours in quick breads/cakes is something I picked up from my King Arthur Flour Whole Grains cookbook - it does seem to make a difference. Another tip for competition is to get it to raise nice and high I only grease/flour the bottom portion of the bundt up only about a third of the way (or slightly above where the batter will sit). It is more time consuming on a bundt to carefully use a small spatula and work at ensuring the cake will drop but worth it.
Yield: 1 Bundt OR 1 – 9x13” pan OR 2 – 7x3” loaves
1 C mashed banana (~3 medium)
1 C sour cream
¼ C butter
1 1/3 C granulated sugar
1 t Madagascar vanilla extract
2 C all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour one Bundt pan (or 1 9x13” pan or 2 7x3” loaf pans). (I prefer the Bundt pan because it makes a pretty looking treat to take to events or share with friends).
2. Combine the banana and sour cream. Set mixture aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and the banana mixture. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; stir into the banana mixture. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan or pans.
3. Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out bread and allow finishing cooling on wire rack.
For those of you saying to yourself she's nuts about the type of vanilla to use - well, during the banana bread review where the judge discusses the winning entries and announces winners the judge asked me specifically about the type of vanilla used and how she could taste the difference (she actually asked if it was Mexican vanilla - which the judge also believes makes a big difference in flavor even if we aren't supposed to use it - her words). The type I use from KAF is more expensive but it is so worth it. (I also love their vanilla bean paste - yummy!) If you can't get ahold of a high quality vanilla then at least use PURE vanilla extract rather than imitation.
This bread never fails me - it is an awesome recipe. This is actually the second time this bread recipe has won the Overall Banana Bread at the ISF. So even if I thought the first time was a fluke I am now pretty sure it is just a great recipe!
And finally in the recipe category - Alan's Chicken Noodle Soup:
Old Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup
Yield: ~ 10-12 servingsIngredients - Broth:
3 leftover chicken carcasses*
1 med. Unpeeled onion, cut into wedges
2 small Unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
6 – 8 garlic cloves, peeled
4 quarts + 1 cup cold water, divided
*We roast chickens ~ once per week to have chicken for salads and other chicken dishes throughout the week. The carcasses are saved in freezer bags until we have enough saved up for soup. We use our own chickens that we raise and have processed.
Ingredients - Soup:
3 Quarts water
5 C uncooked home style egg noodles
2 C diced carrots
2 C diced celery
3 C diced cooked/roasted chicken
¼ C fresh parsley, minced
2 ½ t salt
2 t dried thyme
1 t pepper
Place the chicken carcasses, onion, carrots and garlic in a 15 x 10 x 1” baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 1 hour, turning once.
Transfer the carcass and vegetables to a large soup kettle. Add 4 quarts cold water; set aside. Pour remaining cold water into baking pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add to kettle. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3 – 4 hours.
Cool slightly. Strain broth; discard bones and vegetables. Set soup kettle in an ice-water bath until cooled, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Skim fat from broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add noodles and carrots; cook for 4 minutes. Add celery; cook 5-7 minutes longer or until noodles and vegetables are tender. Drain; add to simmering broth. Add diced chicken; heat through. Stir in the parsley, salt, thyme and pepper.
By roasting the carcass and vegetables there is a richness added to the soup flavor without additional fats.
This afternoon the boys and I walked down to the mailbox to pick up the mail. Inside was one of my premium checks. It was the one for Horticulture - so I think since we determined Clark was the true owner of the blue ribbon on his pumpkins he deserves the $15.00 first place premium too. Yes, my son planted the pumpkins by bashing the old gourds and pumpkins with a hammer. Now the only garden item that is successfully growing is our backyard gourd/pumpkin patch all from last year's bountiful harvest. The day before horticulture entries were due last week I went out and picked about 12 little white "Baby Boo" pumpkins. Clark helped me sort them and I selected the 3 nicest of the bunch.