Yesterday was Parent-Teacher conference day. In our small school the Parent Volunteers feed the teachers dinner for their evening meal, since conferences go all day, up until 8pm. The school kitchen is closed and in our small town there are not very many dining options, so the teachers get a homemade meal from the parents. Last semester the meal was a baked potato bar. If you ever need to know how to bake potatoes for 50 – 100 people, let me know! I learned a great secret (involving a cooler).
The menu for yesterday was soup and salad. I volunteered to make dessert. Not knowing people’s dietary restrictions we decided that fruit would be a great idea. I also wanted to make something a little bit more fun and dessert-y. I’m sure not everyone would be watching their weight, chocolate, sugar, gluten, etc.
I’m a huge fan of chocolate. In fact, the chocolatier the better, I always say. I chose a Devil’s Food cake recipe that I found in The Joy of Cooking. I had never made it, but it sounded delicious. After I had poured the fluffy nougat like batter into the cupcake pans I (of course) let the girls lick the beaters. I may be sorry one day, but up ‘til now, I have not suffered any ill effects from eating a few tastes of uncooked cake batter nor have my children. In case you were wondering.
When the cupcakes came out I was really disappointed. They were totally flat and the tops were cracked. Dejected about my failed cupcakes and knowing that I had to bake a new batch for the teachers, I did what any self-respecting, chocolate-loving baker would do. I ate one. Wow. It was delicious. The girls all agreed. I’m not really sure on why this particular cake had the texture and consistency that it had, but it would be amazing in a tube pan. I will be making it again, but not in cupcake form. It does not lend itself to that.
I chose a Devil’s food cake recipe from another cookbook, and whipped those up. They baked just as they should have.
When they were cooled, I made a chocolate mint glaze. I found it on a blog. It was amazing and they turned out better than I expected. I topped them with some chopped Andes mints and… voila. Very elegant looking cupcakes.
While I was whipping up the second batch of cupcakes I decided to throw a batch of granola into the oven. My previous batch did not come out to my expectations. I really felt like I must make a better batch. This batch of granola was the best I have ever made. Truly amazing. I adapted a recipe from http://www.thewednesdaychef.com/the_wednesday_chef/2008/06/molly-wizenberg.html.
Here is my adapted recipe.
- 3 cups extra thick rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups steel cut oats
- 1 cup raw almonds, about ½ each whole and chopped
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, and coconut. Stir well to blend. In a small glass bowl, microwave the honey, sugar, oil in 15 second increments, stirring until the honey is loose. Pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to combine well. Spread the mixture evenly on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan. Press down with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes and flip with a spatula. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and flip again, to avoid clumping. When cool, add the chopped chocolate and transfer your granola to an airtight storage container.
Again, I have to say, this was the absolute best granola I have made. I really like the crunch that the steel cut oats add. This was awesome over some Greek yogurt for breakfast this a.m. with some fresh blackberries.
Check back tomorrow for the Devil’s food cake recipes and a link to the Andes Mint Glaze!