Pinterest Test Kitchen #100 ~ Flourless Chocolate Cake

I’ve been sitting on this recipe for just the right time to share it and I think posting my 100th Pinterest Test Kitchen qualifies, don’t you?

It’s rich.

It’s decadent.

It’s a chocolate lover’s dream.

It even gets points for being naturally gluten free.

It’s also versatile. I’ve made it as a single layer cake in a torte pan and I’ve made little minis too.

And unless you are having a no good very bad day like the one I was having here while making it, it is super simple and you probably have everything you need on hand to make it and that is a big bonus right there.

What you’ll need for the cake:
 1 cup chocolate chips (I’ve used semi sweet and dark chocolate, either is fine)
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup cocoa powder (again I have used regular cocoa powder and dark chocolate)
2 tsp espresso powder or instant coffee (made it with and without and it’s tasty either way)
For the ganache:
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
What you’ll do:
Preheat over to 375 degrees
Melt chocolate chips and butter until combined
Pour into a bowl and add the sugar and espresso powder if you’re using it, stirring until thoroughly mixed
Add eggs and whisk until batter is smooth
Add in cocoa powder and stir
Pour into a well greased cake pan (you may want to use parchment paper but I’ve not had any problems just using Baker’s Joy)
Bake for 20 minutes (I’ve started cooking mine for 18 minutes because I noticed my edges getting too done at the full 20 minutes.)
While the cake is baking make your ganache by heating your heavy whipping cream and chocolate chips until smooth and well blended (be careful not to allow your cream to get too hot and keep stirring as the chocolate melts)
Let the cake cool for ten minutes and them flip it onto a plate
Pour ganache over the top and allow it to drizzle over the sides
Let the cake sit out for about 30 minutes before refrigerating for at least an hour before serving
Top with a dollop of whipped topping and garnish with raspberries

Grab a fork and bite into that deliciously chocolate dream and sigh with utter satisfaction.

I realize that a one layer cake doesn’t seem like much but this dessert is really rich so a little slice will do ya. Also, to make the mini cakes I’ve used the silicone pan and I’ve also used just a regular mini muffin pan. I think once I got really crazy and used the mini bunt cake pan I have but decided that was a wee bit more work than I wanted to put into it with not much return.

I’ve also learned that while you do need to refrigerate it so the ganache can set you want to take it out and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

So yeah, this is my 100th post that I’ve tagged (or tried to remember to tag) as either Pinterest Test Kitchen or simply Test Kitchen. You can enter either of those into the search bar near the bottom of the blog to pull up all the post in the series or you can go here to where I have most of them saved onto a pinterest board.

I’d love to know what you have found on pinterest and tried!


Mindful Work

She started unloading the dishwasher with a heavy sigh and droopy shoulders. She was obviously not happy with the task at hand and truthfully hadn’t been happy with any task lately, content to only do what she wanted to do.

I stopped her and reminded her that part of being in a family is taking part in the tending of that family and it’s stuff. And I also encouraged her to remember that she should be grateful that there were dishes to put away because that meant we’d had food to eat. And the very fact that she was unloading a dishwasher meant that the task of actually washing dishes had been done for her and she had the easy part. We talked a few minutes about not despising the work that often times comes with the gifts we receive in our lives.

And right then and there my own gentle words that I was hoping to encourage and teach my daughter gratitude with turned around and smacked me in the face.

We’ve had a busy six weeks. I mean ridiculously busy and things keep crowding in on my to-do list.  I realized that while individually I did not mind the tasks at hand, cumulatively I was drowning. And I was letting the feelings of overwhelmedness (I think I just made a new word) wash me down a river of resentment. I couldn’t enjoy anything because it was all beginning to look like just one more than thing that had to be tended.

So I hugged my girl and took a minute to rejoice in the work of parenting and for the ways our Father uses those situations to parent me. And instead of looking at a great big pile of must take care ofs I needed to look at each task as the gift of work from the hand of a loving Father who has given me much. The work my friends, represents the blessings of family and friends and clients, home and church and school activity. And I don’t want to fall prey to despising His generosity.

So whatever is crowding your to-do list at the beginning of this week, whatever crazy holiday schedule is looming on the horizon, remind yourself that God is the giver of good gifts and that the work that can sometimes come from those blessings and opportunities is a gift in and of itself.

Pinterest Test Kitchen #99 ~ Cordon Bleu Bubble Up

This is crowd pleasing comfort food at it’s best. Biscuits and cheese are two of the main ingredients so seriously, how could it not be? I cannot even remember how I found the recipe, or when, but I know since I pinned it and started making it it’s a favorite at every potluck I bring it to. I was actually surprised to realize I hadn’t blogged it already.

What you’ll need:
2 cans Grands biscuits, cut into pieces
1 jar of Alfredo sauce (I like the family size jar but the regular works fine)
2 cups Swiss cheese, separated 
(I have only found shredded Swiss once, the rest of the time I just use sliced and chop it up)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 garlic salt
2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 lb deli ham, shredded

What you’ll do:
Toss the biscuit pieces with the Alfredo sauce and garlic seasonings
Add chicken, ham, and 1 cup of cheese
Stir until everything is well blended and coated with Alfredo sauce
Place into a 9×13 that has been coated with non stick cooking spray
Top with the remaining cup of cheese
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until biscuits are done.

Serve with a Caesar salad or steamed green beans so you’re at least giving a nod to the healthy life and enjoy!

Tearing Apart

A few weeks ago, like hundreds of pastors and preachers across the country, Rob preached a Reformation sermon. Our worship was a little extra that day since not only were we marking the 500th celebration of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, we were celebrating paying off a mortgage in less than three years in a joint service with a sister church. Another layer was added to the sweetness of the day as we contemplated the history of two churches that used to be one and how God had gifted friendship and genuine love where before there had been angst and turmoil.

The whole sermon was good and even though the themes of death and Resurrection are familiar to me viewing it as being torn apart and reformed into something else, something more, was beautiful. Rob sent me a copy of it so I could share part of it here.

God loves to tear things apart. We don’t often think about God in these terms, perhaps, but the biblical record (and what we observe in history and in our own experience) shows us that it is so.

If we go back to the creation narrative we can see that God is immediately about the business of tearing things apart – of separating thing from thing. He divides the day into light and dark – day and night. He made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse.

When we get to man, God separated some of the dirt he had made and formed it into a man and breathed life into him with his own Spirit. Then he took the man and put him into a deep sleep – a kind of death – and tore from him through a hole in his side part of his body. And from the rib he took from the man he formed the woman.

He loves tearing things apart. But notice that he doesn’t just rip them apart because he’s dissatisfied with them. Rather, he tears them apart in order to re-form them. The things divided become complements of each other, making a new thing. The one day is made up of day and night. The two humans (male and female) are then brought together and become one flesh.

Even in the case of our Lord who is Life itself, God separated his Son from life and in a sense from himself (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?). But, of course, he was raised from death and was reunited with life in a new, glorified way.

God separated Abraham from the other nations to create a unique people for himself, but even here we see in Ephesians (and elsewhere, of course) that God is remaking from the two one new man.

Even we ourselves are subjected to separation from ourselves (God killing in us that which separates us from him) in order to be put back together, to be human in the way our Lord would have us be human.

Sometimes in the midst of busy seasons it’s easy to get caught up in the finish the thing move on to the next thing moments. But always I want to be mindful of how God is at work and, like the woman at the end of the pregnancy yearns to feel the pain of contractions that she knows will bring about the arrival of her babe, I long to feel the pains of God at work tearing me apart and reforming me more and more into the image of His Son.