B-52 Cake

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I'm posting again!  But be warned because I'm headed to Cincinnati tomorrow for a weekend soccer tournament. So Sunday Dinner this week...will be a no show.  These days, if I'm not working, I'm visiting colleges or on the soccer fields somewhere in the Midwest.  And I thought blogging was going to be easier when my children were older.  Not!

I knew what a B-52 bomber was and I even knew of the band.  But a cake??  Had to do a little homework on that one.  Turns out there was a bartender that created a cocktail with these flavors after his favorite band (that iconic band whose name comes from the beehive hairdo that resembled the nose of said aircraft).  I don't know his reasoning behind layering Kahlúa, Irish Cream, and Grand Marnier, but let's just say he hit it on the nose!  And the cake??  It's the BOMB!  Ok, I'll stop with the puns and let you enjoy the recipe.  

*Note- the alcohol in the recipe is cooked out.  If you don't keep these liqueurs around, just pick up a few mini bottles at the store.

B-52 Cake
serves 14-16

For The Brownie Layer
3-ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For The Filling and Top Layer
3 teaspoons teaspoons unflavored gelatin, divided
1 Tablespoon water
6-ounces white chocolate chopped
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 cup orange juice
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Chocolate Curls

For the Brownie Layer
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan. 

Combine chocolate and butter into a bowl and microwave at 50% power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2-4 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  

Whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl until combined.  Whisk in chocolate mixture until smooth.  Stir in flour until no streaks remain. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges.  Bake for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out with a few crumbs attached.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Filling and Top Layer
Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons of the gelatin and water in a small bowl and let stand until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.  Place the white chocolate in a large bowl.  Heat the Bailey's and espresso powder in a small saucepan over medium heat until just simmering.  Pour Bailey's mixture over the white chocolate, add the gelatin mixture, and whisk until melted; let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or hand-held mixer, whip cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Whisk one-third of whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining cream.  Spread evenly over the cooled brownie layer all the way to the edges of the pan.  Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

Combine the orange juice, Grand Marnier, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin in a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until just simmering.  Transfer to a 2-cup measuring cup and let cool completely, about 1 hour.  Slowly pour juice mixture over cake and refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.  Run a thin knife between cake and side of the pan; remove springform side.  Transfer cake to serving platter and garnish with chocolate curls.  Serve.  Cake can be made and kept refrigerated three days in advance.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, October/November 2015


Sunday Dinner

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Glazed Carrots

B-52 Cake

I've been absent for quite sometime, but the last three Sundays I have felt like a Phoenix rising from the ashes--cue the dramatic visual of regeneration! Since then, I have shared recipes for a savory salad, briny pickles, and now...a bowl or carrots??  I know, I know. I promise that the sugar is coming soon. But glazed carrots have made an appearance on countless Sunday menus and it is high time time for them to make their debut.  

These carrots are simple to prepare and can be made a couple of hours in advance and held at room temperature before reheating and serving.  Feel free to change up the herbs or seasoning according to your taste.  I love to use fresh thyme, but a fresh sprig of rosemary is an excellent essence when the carrots are served with roast pork or beef.  They are a sweet and tender companion to just about main dish.

Glazed Carrots
about 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and trimmed up to 1 1/2" long and 1/2' in diameter
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme or rosemary
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Kosher salt to taste
2 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives

Place the trimmed carrots in a loose layer in a large saucepan.  Add enough cold water to just cover the vegetables.  Add the butter, sugar, thyme, peppercorns and a pinch of salt.  Bring the water to a boil, then adjust the heat to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.  As the liquid reduces, the carrots should finish cooking until tender.  If the carrots are tender before the liquid reduces, remove the carrots and reduce the liquid until there is about 2 tablespoons of glaze.  Then return the vegetables to the glaze.  Season with salt and roll them in the glaze to coat.  Add the parsley and serve.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Bouchon  by Thomas Keller


Good Eats with an Irish Flare

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"Doing anything for the weekend? Well now you have a little reading material and some inspiration to cook up a grand feast for the upcoming week."-  (said in my best Irish accent)



Sunday Dinner

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Smoked Pimento Cheese with Bacon

Nashville-Style Hot Fried Chicken
Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Lemonade Pound Cake

I have had fried chicken on the brain for quite sometime now.  And with a road trip to "the home of country music" right around the corner for a little culture, good eats and maybe a college tour of Vanderbilt University (I can't believe I'm getting ready to send my first born off to college this fall and my middle child to college next year 😩), I thought it would be fun to put a Tennessee twist on my go-to southern fried chicken recipe.  If there is something you need to know about that spicy, Nashville-style chicken, you serve it on a thick slice of white bread with pickles.  

This recipe for pickles could not be any easier. You can make it well in advance (like a month in advance) and you don't have to mess with any canning or preserving.  They are briny, crunchy, and have just the right amount of sweetness.  Our favorite way to enjoy them is with a slice of aged white cheddar on top of a buttery cracker, but tonight...they are hanging out with the cluck and I couldn't be more excited!

*Note--Make sure you use the right variety of cucumber to achieve the best results.  This recipe calls for Kirby or pickling cucumbers.  They are smaller in size with fewer seeds than a traditional cucumber or English hothouse cucumber.

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles
makes about 1 quart

2 cups white distilled vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons dried dill 
5-6 kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and dill in a large jar or container.  Place a lid tightly on the jar and shake vigorously until the sugar and salt have dissolved.  Add the sliced cucumber, pressing them tightly into the jar.  Place the lid on the jar, shake it well, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 month.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Fresh Everyday, by Sara Foster

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