Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Imperial Sugar returned as the Choctoberfest Gold Sponsor this year – and if you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen the amazing package they sent. I’m not sure who was more excited about it – me or the kids. (PS – if you want to win your own year’s supply of sugar, check out their Scary Scramble Contest going on now!)

When I started planning recipes for this week, I asked Jake if there was anything special he wanted to make, and without hesitation he told me, “Chocolate cake”. So, it went out our list.

It was also a great excuse to try out roasting sugar. Have you heard of this technique? I’ve seen it on a few food sites and I was super intrigued – you cook the sugar for a few hours and it gives the sugar a caramel-like flavor but you can still use it like you would regular white sugar. The results in this cake were pretty amazing – it’s more or less a regular chocolate cake, but then you get this beautiful caramel flavor at the end of the bite. I can’t overstate how awesome that touch is!

Roasting the sugar was also the only part of the cake that Jake didn’t have a hand in. He was particularly excited about helping frost the cake – and overrode my plans of topping it off with dark chocolate curls in favor of  mini chocolate chips.

RoastedSugarChocolateCakeLogo

I absolutely love how excited he was to see the end result – and hear again and again from friends and family we shared the cake with how awesome it was. Jake kept telling me, “I made that! I’m Baker Jake!” and they recreated the cake a million times over in his play kitchen. In the middle of a crazy week, it was such a good reminder to slow down and savor the moment. Thank you, Imperial Sugar, for helping create such a fun memory with my little guy!

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Roasted Sugar Chocolate Cake
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 1 9″ 3 layer cake

4 lbs. white sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)

3 cups of flour
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
7 cups powdered sugar (I used Imperial brand Sugar)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt

Start by roasting the sugar. Pour 4 pounds of sugar into a glass or ceramic 9×13″ baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees for 2 hours, stirring well every 20 minutes. You want the sugar to start to turn a lightly browned color, but not to melt. Once done, cool completely and store in an airtight container.

To make the cake, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of the cooled roasted sugar. Add in the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Grease 3 9″ cake pans and divide cake batter evenly between pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let cake layers cool completely before assembling the cake.

To make the frosting, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Once the cake layers are cool, frost and decorate as desired.

See the rest of today’s #Choctoberfest recipes here:

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Mint Chocolate Mousse #Choctoberfest

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

Choctoberfest is, by default, a pretty indulgent event. Barlean’s is a great, healthy spin on the chocolate theme so I’m always excited to work with them as a sponsor.

This recipe is a dessert – but it’s not one you’ll feel guilty indulging in. Once chilled, the texture of this mousse is perfectly fluffy. It gets it’s flavor from two Barlean’s products – and they also pack it with flaxseed oil, greens, and other good stuff. A total win-win – especially when you have chocolate-loving little ones.

This also can be easily adjusted to your taste – leave out the mint, go light on the mint, make it super minty – do what you love!

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Mint Chocolate Mousse
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 4

1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp. Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor
1/4 cup Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor
1 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

In a stand mixer, whip together the coconut milk, Barlean’s Essential Woman Omega Swirl Chocolate Mint Flavor, and Barlean’s Greens Powder Chocolate Silk Flavor until light and fluffy. Pour into four small bowls or ramekins. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips. Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.

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See today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Chocolate Marshmallows #Choctoberfest #MadeWithRodelle

Note: I received complimentary products for this post. All opinions are my own.

I first made homemade marshmallows for Christmas a few years ago. They were amazing and I absolutely adored them floating in a mug of cocoa. And while vanilla marshmallows have been my go-to, I kept dreaming about chocolate ones.

Fluffy chocolate marshmallows floating in rich chocolate cocoa. Sounds heavenly, right?

It took a few tries to figure out how to make it work – trying to mix in cocoa powder never gave me the result I was hoping for but mixing the cocoa powder into a chocolate paste makes them just right.

I used gourmet baking cocoa from Choctoberfest sponsor Rodelle for this and it was such a great choice – the rich flavor is perfect for decadent marshmallows!

As we were sampling these, Jake requested making them into s’mores using chocolate graham crackers too – I’m pretty sure that will be our next project!

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Chocolate Marshmallows
(a Kate’s Recipe box original)
Makes about 2 dozen

1/4 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 c. cocoa powder, divided (I used Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa)
Vegetable oil
2 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 c. white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup

In a bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, cornstarch, and 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

Oil an 8×8″ baking pan with vegetable oil and then dust with powdered sugar mixture.

Mix remaining 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. hot water to make a paste.

In another bowl, put 1/2 cup cold water and sprinkle gelatin over. Set aside.

In a saucepan with a candy thermometer, combine the sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Cook until it reaches 240 degrees then remove from heat.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the gelatin mixture and beat for a minute, until broken up. Add the chocolate paste and beat until well incorporated. While the mixer is going, slowly pour the corn syrup mixture in. Beat on high for about 15 minutes, until thick and doubled in size.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover top with more of the cornstarch mixture. Set aside overnight.

The next day, invert the pan to remove the marshmallows. Cut into squares and then roll in remaining cornstarch mixture to coat all sides. Stir in an airtight container.

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You can see today’s other #Choctoberfest recipes here:

Here we go! It’s #choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar!

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Today is one of my favorite days of the year, because it is the official start of #Choctoberfest. This is the third annual food blogger celebration of all things chocolate, made possible thanks to our gold sponsor, Imperial Sugar, and the other sponsors listed below.

Over 70 bloggers are participating in #Choctoberfest 2017 and will be posting 200+ chocolate recipes over the next week. Keep your eyes peeled, visit any of the blogs listed below, or use the #Choctoberfest hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to follow along. You can also check out our #Choctoberfest Pinterest board, where we post chocolate recipes all year long.

You can also enter to win our #Choctoberfest prize pack. Thank to our amazing sponsors who are contributing the following items for the prize:

  • $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 1 case of granulated white sugar (40 pounds), 1 case of light brown sugar (24 pounds), 1 case of dark brown sugar (24 pounds), and 1 case of powdered sugar (24 pounds) from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar
  • 16 oz Barlean’s Butter-Flavored Coconut Oil, 9.52 oz canister of Chocolate Silk Greens, and 8oz bottle of Essential Women Omega-Swirl Chocolate Mint from our silver sponsor Barlean’s
  • 300-piece Lindt LINDOR Truffles gift bag (you choose the flavors!) from blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen

This prize pack is valued at over $450! To enter, simply follow participating sponsors and bloggers using the below giveaway widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stay tuned to see the delicious recipes bloggers have cooked up using Imperial Sugar and Barlean’s products. Thank you also to Davis Chocolate and Rodelle for being #Choctoberfest shoutout sponsors! Watch Instagram and Facebook to find out more about about their chocolate products.

Here is a complete list of all the bloggers participating in #Choctoberfest 2017, so you can see the recipes they are posting throughout the week:

The PinterTest KitchenFix Me a Little LunchSavory MomentsCrumbs in my MustachioHouse of Nash EatsBake It With LoveThat RecipeHardly A GoddessCooking With CarleeA Kitchen Hoor’s AdventuresBody RebootedCindy’s Recipes and WritingsThe Redhead BakerFaith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered AccompliceSweet CoraliceSeduction in The KitchenCooks&Books&RecipesEveryday EileenUnder My Apple TreeFamily Around The TableBottom Left of the MittenThe Spiffy CookieFairyburgerJoin Us, Pull up a ChairJonesin’ For TasteJane’s Adventures in DinnerTake Two TapasJennifer BakesThe Unlikely BakerHostess At HeartKaren’s Kitchen StoriesKate’s Recipe BoxKelly Lynns Sweets and TreatsWildflour’s Cottage KitchenChocolate SlopesLittle House Big AlaskaMakes, Bakes and Decor2 Cookin MamasThat Skinny Chick Can BakeBooks n’ CooksMildly MeanderingLiving IdeasRestless ChipotleGet the Good Stuff!The Weekday GourmetAn Affair from the HeartWest Via MidwestCookie Dough and Oven MittThe Bitter Side of SweetCookaholic WifeDaily Dish RecipesFor the Love of FoodThe Saucy SouthernerCook’s HideoutBy the PoundsTramplingrose: Cooking, Baking & Ranting in Small-Town South DakotaSarah Cooks the BooksChef Sarah ElizabethFantastical Sharing of RecipesSarah’s Bake StudioThe Pajama ChefFrankly EntertainingLong Distance BakingPalatable PastimeThe Freshman CookThe Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine ♥ A Day in the Life on the FarmWendy PolisiTampa Cake GirlMy Southern Sweet ToothCanning and Cooking at HomeFull Belly SistersSuperSizeGuy.comOur Good LifeThe Life Jolie

 

Candied Spiced Nuts #improvcooking

Even though it’s October (and the weather is still feeling like August…), I’m starting to think about Thanksgiving. I know, I know, but I get to host this year and I’m pumped! We’re not sure if we’ll have a big crowd or just the four of us, so I’ve got several menus floating around in my head.

I knew this month’s Improv Challenge theme, Sugar and Spice,  was perfect for trying out some of the recipes I’m considering. Sugar and spice is SO fall – apple spice, pumpkin spice – but I couldn’t get these nuts off my mind, so they won out.

This is such an easy recipe – the slow cooker makes it totally hands off. Just mix, let the slow cooker do it’s thing, then spread them out to cool. They were so good – and a perfect pre-Thanksgiving dinner snack!

CandiedSpicedNuts

Candied Spiced Nuts
(adapted from Crunchy, Creamy, Sweet)
Makes 3 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups almonds
2 cups pecans
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves

Grease the crock of a slow cooker and add the nuts. Add the sugars and cinnamon and stir. Add the water and stir until everything is evenly combined and wet.

Cook on high for 3 hours.

Remove nuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle with remaining  seasonings. Once fully cooled, store in an airtight container.

You can check out the other Sugar and Spice themed recipes that bloggers made here:

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders with Dill Pickle Slaw #Crocktober

Fall always seems like the perfect time for slow cooker recipes. It seems like we’re squeezing more and more into these shortening days, and being able to have a warm meal minutes within walking through the door is both convenient and comforting.

Today, I’m linking up with a few other bloggers for #Crocktober! You can check out their perfect-for-fall meals here:

 

BBQ chicken in the slow cooker is nothing new – but a few extra steps and this makes a really special meal. After you pull the chicken, it gets added to slider rolls, covered in glaze, and baked. A quick pickle slaw tops it off.

My pickle-loving crew loved this – a perfect little meal for a busy night or a perfect tailgate dish!

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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sliders with Dill Pickle Slaw
(slightly adapted from Southern Bite)
Makes 12 sliders

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup barbecue sauce
12 sweet Hawaiian rolls
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. barbecue seasoning
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. pickle juice
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Add the chicken to the slow cooker and cover with barbecue sauce. Turn to coat. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove chicken and shred.

Preheat the oven for 350 and spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Leaving the rolls together, cut in half. Place the bottom half in the greased pan. Top with chicken. Add the top half of the rolls.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, barbecue seasoning, Worcestershire, brown sugar, and yellow mustard. Brush evenly over all of the sliders.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, pickle juice, sugar, salt, and garlic powder.

Toss the cabbage and chopped dill pickle with enough of the dressing to coat. Refrigerate until serving.

When the sliders are done, serve with the dill pickle slaw.

Chicken Ranchiladas

Mark and I love Tex-Mex. I used to cook it at home a lot, but then kids happened. We’re lucky that neither of ours are overly-picky eaters, but they’re not into spicy and that nixes a lot of my go-to Tex-Mex.

These were a great in-between. They’re spiced enough that Mark and I enjoyed them, but the kids didn’t find them spicy. (And, served with extra ranch for dipping, they were a huge hit.)

I sped up the prep time by using cooked, shredded chicken (rotisserie works great!), but you could also cook chicken breasts in a pot or slow cooker with the broth and seasoning and shred once cooked.

ChickenRanchiladas

Chicken Ranchiladas
(A Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Serves 4-6

5 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp. taco-ranch seasoning
3/4 cup salsa
3/4 cup ranch dressing + additional for topping
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, divided
10 tortillas
Shredded lettuce, for serving, optional
Chopped tomato, for serving, optional

Taco-ranch seasoning:
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix

Mix all seasonings together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×11″ pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large pot, add chicken, broth and 2 Tbsp. taco-ranch seasoning and heat over low heat until well combined. Remove from heat.

Stir together the salsa and ranch dressing. Pour 1/2 cup into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Mix the remaining salsa-ranch mixture into the chicken, along with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir to combine evenly.

Divide chicken mixture between tortillas and wrap up tightly. Place in the pan seam-side down. Top with additional cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Top with lettuce and tomatoes before serving.

Kids in the Kitchen: Sweet Potato Banana Muffins

Today, I’m kicking off a series of kid-friendly recipes – ones they’ll be able to help make and like to eat. I generally get a lot of questions about how I incorporate Jake into the cooking process. There’s nothing really earth-shattering about my approach: I just let him jump in wherever he can. Yes, it’s sometimes a mess. Yes, we have plenty of over-mixed muffins. But, he’s learning – and that’s important.

These mini muffins are a great place to start if you want to get your kids involved in the kitchen. They’re super simple and come together quickly. These definitely ebb on the healthier side of muffins – if your little one has a big sweet tooth, try mixing in 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips.

Kids can:

  • Mash the sweet potato & banana
  • Help measure ingredients
  • Mix
  • Help spoon the batter into muffin wells

Adults will need to:

  • Crack eggs
  • Put the muffins into the oven and take them out

SweetPotatoBananaMuffins

Sweet Potato Banana Muffins
(from The Lean Green Bean)
Makes 1 dozen mini muffins

1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup mashed bananas
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

Mix all ingredients together until well combined. Divide evenly between muffin wells.

Bake for 18 minutes.

 

Lemon Pepper Chicken Kabobs

Despite the leaves starting to change, summer weather has been hanging on around here. We had several days in the 90s this week! I’ve been doing a little scrambling to get in some last-minute summer dishes on our weekly menu, because I know this won’t last.

I’m loving these afternoons where I can let the kids play in the backyard while I get dinner going on the grill. We’ve been eating on the deck a ton. I’m going to miss it terribly when the weather cools down.

LemonPepperKabobs

 

Lemon Pepper Chicken Kabobs
(adapted slightly from The Gunny Sack)
Serves 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning, divided
1 bunch of asparagus
1 lb. new potatoes
2 lemons

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, vinegar, and 2 Tbsp. of lemon pepper seasoning. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While the chicken marinades, cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and add them to another bowl. Toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning.

Poke each potato with a fork and add to a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. If the potatoes are larger than your chunks of chicken, cut in half once they’re cool enough to handle, then toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon pepper.

Cut the lemon into wedges.

When the chicken is finished marinating, thread all the prepared ingredients onto skewers and grill over medium-high heat until the chicken is cooked through.

Everything Bagel Casserole

I have been on a total de-cluttering binge lately. Cook all the things forgotten in the freezer! Clean out the cedar closet! Get rid of all the sippy cups that don’t get used! Purge old purses!

The other night I was watching TV and playing on the laptop and decided to start deleting old, unneeded blog photos from the computer. Buried in the blog folder where the shots of this casserole – and I realized I never actually blogged it! I’m sorry. I was holding out on your guys.

This is amazing – hands down my favorite breakfast casserole. I made this for a Mother’s Day brunch and it was so amazingly well received. It’s easy to see why, though – everything bagels, bacon, melty cream cheese – what’s not to love? And the fact that you can prep it ahead is an added bonus.

If you’re looking for a great, filling brunch dish, this is it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

EverythingBagelCasserole

Everything Bagel Casserole
(adapted from Well Plated)
Serves 8

6 everything bagels, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. ground mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped, divided
8 oz. cream cheese

Spray a 9×11″ casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Spread the bagel pieces evenly in the bottom of the dish and top evenly with bacon crumbles, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, and pepper until well combined and pour over the bagel pieces. Press down lightly on the bagel pieces to make sure they all absorb some of the liquid. Top evenly with half of the fresh chives and the remaining cheddar. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least two hours – overnight is perfect!

Preheat the oven to 350 when ready to bake – let the casserole stand at room temperature during preheating. Cover lightly with foil sprayed with non-stick spray and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the center is set. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.