Just a little bit. Not really on purpose, either. I just got a little busy sharing other recipes, and I might’ve gotten somehow distracted from telling you about the most amazing dessert that we had for Valentine’s Day. Also the fabulous dessert from a girl’s night a few weeks ago. They both come from the amazing Smitten Kitchen, so it’s really no surprise that they’re incredible.
The Valentine’s dessert comes first. It’s a super moist pound cake that gathers together the great flavors of cannoli: pistachios, chocolate chips, ricotta, and orange. Honestly, when I first cut into it, I thought it was good, but not great. But the next day….aMAzing! So, if you can keep from devouring it right out of the oven (it smells SO good), then it will just get better. It’s not an awesome that hits you the moment you taste it, it’s more of something you can’t define that keeps you coming back for more. As an extra bonus, it’s a super easy cake to pull together. Here’s how:
Cannoli Pound Cake (from Smitten Kitchen)
1 c. sugar
Zest from 1 orange (I love orange so much, that next time I might do the zest of 2 oranges instead of any lemon.)
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 c. olive oil
1 c. whole milk ricotta
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 pinches allspice
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. chopped pistachios (I’d take even more!)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 loaf pan.
- Place the sugar and zests in a large bowl; rub together with your fingers til the sugar is completely scented. Whisk in the oil, ricotta, and eggs. Gently stir in the flour, then fold in the chocolate chips and pistachios.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 55-65 minutes or til a skewer inserted in the center removes cleanly. (I’d check it around 35-40 minutes to make sure it isn’t getting to brown. If it is, just cover it with some foil til it’s done cooking.) Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely.
The girl’s night dessert was something that I was slightly intimidated about trying, but they turned out great. We made churros!! After seeing Smitten Kitchen make them look so easy, my best friend and I decided we could give it a try. As it turns out, there are several steps, but none of them are hard. Although now we might be slightly addicted to them. We only made half the batch, but it still made about 1 1/2 dozen nice sized churros.
Churros (from Smitten Kitchen)
For the churros:
2 c. water
3 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1 1/2-2 quarts veggie oil (So, we were both leery about deep-frying, so we ended up shallow frying them. It worked really well, and we didn’t need quarts of oil. Yay!)
For the coating:
2/3 c. sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
For the chocolate sauce:
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
5 oz. chopped semisweet or bitter chocolate
- In a medium saucepan, heat the water, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt til simmering and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, dump all the flour in at once, and mix together vigorously til it forms a smooth ball with no visible floury bits.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes then add the eggs one at a time. Beat them in by hand or with a stand mixer.
- Move the dough to a pastry bag with a large closed star tip. If you’re not frying them right away, you can pip them onto a lightly greased sheet of parchment. Chill them for at least 15 minutes, but you can keep them in the fridge for several hours. (Read: you can do this part ahead of time, then fry them right before you need them. It was really nice to have them all piped out, so we didn’t have to worry about splattering in the oil or anything.)
- Heat the oven up to 200 degrees to keep the churros warm. Line a large plate with a couple layers of paper towels. Add the oil to a Dutch oven or cast iron skillet til it measures 1 1/2 inches deep. Heat it over medium to medium-high heat til it reaches 375 degrees. (We used a regular cast iron skillet and filled it maybe halfway, just deep enough so the thermometer would work.)
- Drop the churros in the oil a few at a time and fry til deep golden brown on all sides, turning frequently, about 6 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the oil between 350 and 375 degrees. Once cooked, place the churros on the paper towel lined plate, then move to the oven to keep warm. Repeat til all the churros are cooked.
- Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish. Once all the churros are cooked, roll them in the sugar mix one at a time til completely coated, tap off the excess.
- In a medium bowl, heat the cream and chocolate with a pinch of salt in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, til the chocolate melts. Serve with the churros.
What amazing desserts have you had or made recently?