Devil’s Food Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Take a Seat at the Table: Devil’s Food Cake! Sometimes all you crave is a slice of good old-fashioned chocolate cake like your grandma used to make, before Betty Crocker introduced the world to cake mixes. It’s very simple, really. Take a walk down Memory Lane with a recipe that recaptures youthful musings.

DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup salad oil

1 cup boiling water

1 cup milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add salad oil and boiling water. Stir until lumps are gone. Gradually add milk; stir. Add eggs and vanilla; stir. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Invert onto serving platter. Cool before frosting or sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Peanut Butter Chocolate Hummus! You don’t have to be vegan to appreciate the benefits of hummus, especially this version. It’s more like a reward than a punishment. The peanut-ty taste combined with dark chocolate makes it only a few steps removed from eating a candy bar. But that’s where the dippers come in handy to turn it into a healthy appetizer or afternoon snack. Think celery, gluten-free pretzels, and juicy apple slices. I couldn’t resist a dollop of hummus between two shortbread cookies. Graham crackers would work just as well. Think of the fun you’ll have coming up with more ways to “spread the joy”!

PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE HUMMUS

Ingredients:

15-ounce chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup natural peanut butter, creamy

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Once chickpeas are drained and rinsed well, add to a food processor. Pulse to mix. Combine remaining ingredients: natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, milk, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Blend together until hummus is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a covered dish. Refrigerate one hour. Serve with pretzel sticks, apple slices, shortbread cookies, and celery.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter B

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Clean Plate Club: Brownie Cherry Bomb! Nothing taste more decadent than rich dark chocolate and naturally sweet cherries. Is it any wonder it’s a popular combination? What you won’t end up with is a dry chocolate cake-like dessert. Instead it’ll be dense, moist, and gooey. Sink your teeth into the glossy, crisp outer shell. Mmmm. You may even find yourself licking your fingers. This cherry fudge brownie truly is as good as it sounds. It’s the bomb!

BROWNIE CHERRY BOMB

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/8 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup cherries, halved

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

Set oven rack on highest setting. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 8-inch square pan with nonstick oil. Line with parchment paper. Set aside. Combine melted butter, olive oil, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat one minute longer for best results. The color will change to a lighter color. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, and sea salt. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients just until combined. Fold in cut cherries. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Top with mini chocolate chips. Bake for about 25 minutes until center is slightly set. Insert a toothpick into the center and it should still come out coated with chocolate. That’s okay. Remove from oven and cool for a couple hours on a wire rack. Lift and transfer the parchment paper to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Chow Down: Marble Loaf Quick Bread! When I was a little girl one of my favorite memories was making marble cake from a box mix. Not necessarily the ease of preparation, but the fact that I could be very artistic with the chocolate and vanilla swirls. There’s no way to get it wrong. And it’s pretty. Today’s version is a buttery classic with a moist center using plain yogurt. Just remember to have the melted butter, eggs, and yogurt at room temperature. If not, they won’t blend properly and you may end up with slightly cooked eggs and chunky batter. Nobody wants that, especially the one who licks the bowl. 
MARBLE LOAF QUICK BREAD
Ingredients:

2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 eggs, room temperature 

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

1/2 cup butter, melted 

1 cup Greek yogurt, room temperature 

2 tablespoons cocoa powder 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick oil. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Mix well. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, butter, and Greek yogurt. Whisk until blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Do not over mix. Pour half the batter into a medium bowl. Gently fold in cocoa powder until mixed. Alternate spoonfuls of plain batter and cocoa batter into the prepared loaf pan. Take a table knife and swirl the two mixtures together. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not burn. Remove from oven and cool slightly on a wire rack before removing from pan. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter N

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Nutella Fudge Brownies! If you haven’t been introduced to Nutella lately, allow me to take a moment to introduce you. Nutella is a distant cousin to peanut butter, the difference being its two main ingredients of heart-healthy hazelnuts and nutritious cocoa chocolate. Like peanut butter, portion control is key. That being said, love it or leave it. A little Nutella goes a long way, in my opinion. I topped a batch of fudge brownies with Nutella frosting and crushed salted pretzels for a super-yummy dessert. I have grandkids, after all, and my job is to spoil them silly. 
NUTELLA FUDGE BROWNIES 
Ingredients for Pretzel Crust:

1 1/2 cup pretzels 

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, melted
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray an 8″x8″ square pan with nonstick oil. Set aside. Using a food processor, pulse pretzels into small pieces. Add brown sugar and pulse until mixed. Pour in melted butter and continue until mixed. Press pretzel mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12-14 minutes until crust is firm. Remove and set aside. 
Ingredients for Fudge Brownies:

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup sugar 

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread
Ingredients for Frosting:

1/3-1/2 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread

Crushed pretzels for garnish

1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Instructions:

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, combine sugar and melted butter, stirring thoroughly. Add one egg. Mix well. Repeat with second egg. Add vanilla extract and 1/3 cup Nutella Hazelnut Spread. Stir until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredients, mixing well. Pour batter onto prepared crust. Spread evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow fudge brownies to cool 30 minutes. Frost with Nutella Hazelnut Spread, according to taste. Garnish with crushed pretzel pieces and sea salt.  

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter M

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Mexican Spiced Brownies! Olé! If you’re as crazy about adding a “kick” to your palate, look no further. (And if you’re not, the recipe can be modified.) The wild ride adrenaline rush you get from chili peppers can be addictive. I like the fact that your immune system can get a boost. The color of red chili peppers signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Combine the chili with dark chocolate and there you have it…..permission to eat brownies!
MEXICAN SPICED BROWNIES
Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or a smidgen of cayenne pepper)

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Preheat oven to 350°. Melt the butter and add to the sugar. Stir until blended. Add the eggs, vanilla, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon powder to the sugar mixture. Mix well. Slowly add the flour and cocoa powder. Stir until smooth. Pour into a greased 9 x 9 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
***For regular brownies, omit crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. 
Chocolate Icing:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons butter, softened 

1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract

2 tablespoons warm milk
Gently mix butter, powdered sugar, cocoa powder until smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and milk until frosting is of spreading consistency. Spread evenly on cooled brownies. Sprinkle top with semi-sweet mini chocolate morsels.