Extreme desserts: Chocolate zucchini bread and peanut-butter bread pudding




Given the abundance of zucchini this time of year, I would like to see a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake. Do you have one?
A. This recipe, from the Zim, Minn., church cookbook “Welcome to New Discoveries in Cooking,” is baked in two loaf pans so you can keep one loaf and give one away.
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE
Makes 2 loaf cakes.

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour milk
2 1/2 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 cups grated zucchini
To prepare oven, pans: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.
To make cake: In mixing bowl, cream butter, oil and sugar. Add salt, eggs, vanilla and sour milk. In separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Add flour mix and zucchini to creamed mixture. Blend well.
To bake cake: Pour into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
ZUCCHINI BARS
Makes 24 bars.
Bars:
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium), drained
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Spice frosting:
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
To prepare oven, pan: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 9-inch or 8-inch square pan.
To make bars: In large bowl, combine brown sugar, margarine, vanilla and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Spread in pan.
To bake bars: Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with spice frosting.
To make frosting: Mix together confectioners’ sugar, butter, cloves and milk until spreadable.
Q. Years ago, TV Guide published a bread pudding recipe made with peanut butter. You couldn’t really taste the peanut butter, it just made the bread pudding moist. I wrote to TV Guide, but the staff was unable to locate the recipe for me. Do you have one?
A. I found this bread pudding recipe on the Epicurious But it’s not subtle; it’s for lovers of peanut butter and jelly. The Pullman loaf is a square loaf of bread traditionally served on Pullman railroad cars.
PEANUT BUTTER BREAD PUDDING
Makes 4 large servings or 16 small servings.

2 Pullman loaves or other square loaves of sweet bread

Custard:
4 1/2 cups whole milk
4 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans, split and scraped
15 egg yolks

Peanut-butter mix:
4 cups creamy peanut butter
2 cups honey
3 cups strawberry jam, divided
To prepare bread: Remove crust of desired. Cut into 1-inch-wide slices.
To make custard: In heavy pot, combine milk, sugar and vanilla beans. Bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat. Steep for 30 minutes. Whisk yolks until smooth. Slowly temper hot-milk mixture into eggs, whisking continuously. Immediately add cream. Place in ice bath until cool.
To make peanut-butter mix: With standing mixer or by hand, mix peanut butter and honey until homogenous. Reserve 1/2 cup of mixture.
To assemble: Line 8- by 10-inch Pyrex or metal pan with parchment paper to cover bottom. Place one-third of bread in pan. Spread half of peanut-butter mix on bread. Top with 1 cup jam. Cover with layer of bread. Repeat layers, finishing with bread layer. Press down firmly. Using knife or skewer, poke holes through top of pudding. Pour 2 cups custard over bread. Let soak for 10 minutes. Repeat until all custard has been used. Chill for a few hours or overnight.
To bake pudding: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with lightly buttered foil. Place pudding in water bath so water reaches halfway up sides of pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until fully set. (Note: Press finger into middle of pudding; it should come away dry without any custard on it.) If pudding isn’t set, bake 10 minutes longer. Check again. Remove foil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is brown and crunchy.
To chill: Remove from oven and water bath. Refrigerate until cool.
To serve: Run sharp knife around edges of pudding. Place pan over top of pudding. Quickly invert it. Cut into 8 slices. Invert again so crust is on top. Warm pieces in 400-degree oven for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat reserved sauce. In separate pan, heat remaining 1 cup jam. Drizzle plates with sauce and jam. Top each with warm piece of pudding. Serve immediately with dollop of whipped cream or just dash of confectioners’ sugar.
Q. I was wondering if you could obtain the recipe for tempeh tarragon from the Wedge Co-op in Minneapolis?
A. Wedge deli manager Jim Taglia doesn’t usually share recipes, but he made this exception. Tempeh, for the uninitiated, is a fermented soybean-grain mix usually formed into flat blocks.
TEMPEH TARRAGON
Makes 6 servings.

2 pounds tempeh
1/2 cup olive oil
2 2/3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup tamari
2 2/3 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon tarragon
2 1/4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups water
1 pound green cabbage, chopped
1/4 bunch celery, chopped
1/2 bunch scallions, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 3/4 cups mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon
To bake tempeh: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tempeh into cubes. Mix together oil, vinegar, tamari, honey, mustard, tarragon and garlic. Add tempeh. Toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned and crispy on edges. Let cool.
To prepare rice: Meanwhile, cook basmati rice in water about 30 minutes. Chill.
To assemble: Chop cabbage, celery, scallions, parsley and bell pepper. Place in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, salt, pepper and tarragon. Add rice and tempeh cubes. Toss everything together.

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