One thread you’ll notice if you read here long is that I am consistently completing tasks at the last minute. I loathe being late, but I can’t say I manage to get things done weeks in advance. As usual I needed a last minute Holiday recipe and ummm… Well last year I recommended my chocolate dipped pretzels, which, would have been wonderful IF I had reviewed my recipe. Yeah, I burned chocolate… again.
Since this happens a lot I have a fall back recipe. I think the recipe originally started with one I found in a magazine, but I have tweaked it until it makes a nice moist semi-sweet cake that looks like this:
You can bake in a large bunt pan, but I like to bake them in mini-loaf pans and give them as small gifts. As cakes go this one seems to rise well, not stick, and are predictably tasty. Best part they make a great breakfast treat if there are any left over :).
2 & 3/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Ginger
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
For additional spice you can also add 1 tsp nutmeg.
1 & 1/4 cup Shortening
1/4 cup Packed brown sugar
1/4 cup White sugar
1 cup Molasses
1 cup Water
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl use a hand or stand mixer to whip the shortening until fluffy. Then fully cream in the brown and white sugar. Once completely whipped mix in the eggs and molasses. Then mix the dry and liquid into the creamy ingredients.
It works best to alternate 1/3 dry with 1/3 water. Just mix until everything is incorporated. Try not to over mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for small loaf pans or 50 minutes for single cakes. I spray the pans with non-stick cooking spray. I tried traditional greasing with flour but had it stick a few times. Let it cool at 15 minutes and turn out to finish cooling after that.
For Added Sweetness
It is easy to make a simple lemon glaze to pour across the top.
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Optional candied ginger for garnish.
Mix the sugar with vanilla and lemon juice. If watery add more sugar and if still dry add water until liquid enough to pour. Pour over the cakes and top with crystallized ginger. Let dry to form a hard glaze then wrap cakes to keep moist.
Need a last minute snack or hostess gift to bring to a holiday party in the next couple of weeks? Well I’ve got your answer right here. As we know I’m not much for cooking and a lot of times baking is just out of the question. My answer: Chocolate dipped pretzels.
Bonus: If you’re not a douche-canoe like me then you will really only need a measuring cup and spoon to create this dish. Low Cleanup!
Let’s start with some pretties:
Here’s the recipe (Makes around 24 rods):
1 cup chocolate Chips
1 tbsp butter or crisco
1 bag of pretzel rods
1 candy cane
1 glass of wine
Get all the pent up family-Christmas frustrations out on the candy cane or 4 small candy canes by beating it into small pieces with a mallet or the back of a spoon. I put mine in a sandwich bag to keep the pieces from flying. At this point if you still feel stressed drink the wine and beat more candy canes with mallets.
Open the pretzels and eat any broken ones.
Give your baby kitchen tools (non-sharp) and/or a candy cane to entertain them while your being domestic in the kitchen.
Don’t be a douche-canoe when melting your chocolate chips. I was too lazy to read the directions and hadn’t melted chocolate in a awhile so I burned it not once, not twice, but three times both in a double boiler and microwave. Just don’t do that. Burnt chocolate is no fun. Put 1 cup of chocolate chips in a microwave proof cup or bowl with the tbsp of butter or crisco. Put it in the microwave for one, 1, ONE minute. Even if you have a crappy microwave start with one. Take it out and stir the hell out of it. Then if it still needs more try 10 seconds at a time.
Dip pretzels in chocolate and lay out on a piece of parchment paper/wax paper/ cookie sheet. I always make half mint by sprinkling on crushed candy cane while the chocolate is still melted. I leave the other half plain in case someone doesn’t like mint. Finally, just let them harden. If you need them completed in a hurry just put them on a cookie sheet and stick in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Just a few notes:
I always bring mine to a party the same or next day so I don’t bother tempering the chocolate. Also, they look really pretty wrapped in a small cellophane bag as a small hostess gift.
Anyone else got a quick and easy holiday recipe/gift they would like to share?