Tag Archives: Chocolate

Whole Wheat Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake

December 2014

It had been too long, and he had missed making music, so the Urban Farmer strummed his guitar at the dining room table, where I worked on something far less poetic. His fingers and his voice learned their way through the latest Billy Bragg song. My Farmer’s smoother voice joined the deeper, raspier words of the recording. He played and repeated, played and repeated, but the poignant lyrics merited the repetition:

Deep down in the underground, atoms spinning round and round. Scientists monitor readings. Searching for the Holy Grail, the particle or at least the tale of the one who gives the universe its meaning. But what if there’s nothing, no big answer to find? What if we’re just passing through time?

Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake by WTG

Aside from a stint of piano lessons and a brief spell in the middle school orchestra, the only music these hands play is on Spotify. I’ve always been fascinated by words, writing and literature. Guiding a thought from mind to paper in a compelling way is challenging enough. These minds, who combine thought-provoking concepts with pleasing rhythms, harmonies and all the finer details of music making that escape me, these brilliant minds leave me awed and inspired like a child watching a magic routine for the very first time. A lack of technical understanding and raw talent might explain why many attribute these music maker’s talents to a higher power. Magic. God. Gumption. Who knows? It all leaves me pleasantly transfixed and inspired.

Chocolate Gingerbread Layer Cake

Music may not be my conduit for expression, but the baking and sharing of food is one of the ways I translate the stories in my head into something real. Some people regard baking as I regard music. It seems magical, daunting, impossible, the equivalent of a chemistry experiment, or maybe even divinely inspired. There is a lot of magic to this process of transforming disparate pantry items into inspired layers of wholesome decadence, but at a fundamental level, music and baking stem from a willingness to try.

Time and technique are required for full mastery, but to start, if you can reach the pedals or read the directions, you can make the layer cake. Whereas early tinkering might make for unpleasant melodies, a baking mistake here and there can still yield deliciousness. I may never find my voice through song, or strings, or keys. However, sharing these sentiments, these food inspired stories, and these images is the way I share my voice, and this tale tastes of chocolate, gingerbread and the most memorable moments of the holidays.

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Flourless Chocolate Honey Cake with @WigleWhiskey Mole Bitters

November 2014

The lunch table was a spread of pad thai, see yew, woon sen and more. My friend, whose wife consistently pulls him kicking and screaming to the zero level, took full advantage of her absence and had ordered a 10 on the spice scale. As he spooned up the flavorful thai food, a rouge color overtook his cheeks. His tear ducts drained. His nose ran. His brow glistened with sweat, and a crazed look overtook his eyes. He spoke nonsense and gesticulated wildly. He was in the throes of a spice high.

Flourless Choc Wigle Mole Cake copy

I’m no 10 on the spice scale. I’m a comfortable 6. I like a little kick here and there, but only as a flavor accent, not as a testament to my tolerance or a feat of strength. This cake is just that. Accented with Wigle Whiskey’s Organic Molé Bitters, this cake is a little kick here and there. I erred on the side of caution, adding a modest 3 teaspoons. I would suggest a bolder portion for even more of that molé flavor in each chocolaty bite. The use of raw wildflower honey as the sweetener added a floral note, and incidentally helps keep this cake moist and fresh for a while…if it lasts that long. The coconut topping toasts as the cake bakes, making for a nutty finish to this floral, spicy, chocolate cake. It’s full of nuances.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread

November 2014

Do you need this recipe in your life?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Bread 01

Editing these photos made me crave this bread anew, so I argue yes. However, I am a reasonable person, and I understand you can’t please all people all the time. For the sake of busy holiday schedules, venturing through madhouse grocery stores, waiting in long-ass turkey lines and the constantly nagging fear of snowflake graphics on iPhone weather reports, I’ll help you expedite this decision making process for yourself. Proceed.

Do you even enjoy baking?
I hope so. I hope that’s why you’re here. If yes, continue!

Are you still craving pumpkin goodness?
If yes, continue!

Do you live your life by the philosophy “chocolate makes everything better?”
If yes, continue!

Do you enjoy a slice of something wholesome and sweet with your morning coffee and maybe a sliver for dessert?
If yes, continue!

Do you need to bake for a gathering or visiting guests?
If yes, continue!

Pumpkin Choc Chunk Bread 02

You made it!

As I mentioned before, pumpkin haters gonna hate, but I’m all about pumpkin, and I obviously live my life by the add-chocolate-make-better principle. As such an adamant disciple of said chocolate philosophy, I may have even gone a little overboard here, but when you bite into the dark chocolate chunks and the spiced pumpkin flavor, you’ll be floating in a lifesaver right along with me. This bread’s natural ingredients make it a wholesome breakfast choice, but it’s also sweet and cake-like enough to satisfy a dessert craving.

Pumpkin Choc Chunk 03

Lastly, this is a recipe that gives and gives and keeps too. Initially, I thought the batter would become two loaves, but it divided magically into three- a real Thanksgiving miracle! You’ll be able to keep a loaf for your own breakfast slices (and dessert bites) and still have plenty to share, which comes in handy this time of year.

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Instagram Lately & Whole Wheat Pumpkin & Chocolate Swirl Bread

November 2014

This past weekend, moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief all swirled in me simultaneously. Amidst long to-do lists and last-minute rushing, I had to remind myself to be excited about a very thrilling new venture. Once I allowed that excitement to surpass my chaotic nearsightedness, it was like the floodgates released. I had to play It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia quotes in my head to balance the sappiness I was exuding. I couldn’t arrive to our preview with watery eyes!

Opening and Julep

With to-do lists and enthusiasm still swirling wildly inside me, I decided to escape everything and focus on my Julep. Before I knew it, my perfect fall afternoon was a tumble of dogs and human, with one aggressive dog’s jaw fixed firmly on my dog’s neck. These things happen with animals, and I couldn’t blame anyone, but I had a mini breakdown nonetheless. I had expected to see my Julep’s neck ripped open, and though she was still in one piece, my mind had already begun to reel with the worst case scenario. I felt helpless as I watched her in fear and pain, feelings prolonged by a cautionary vet visit. Shaved, injected and medicated, Julep is returning to her normal self, but talk about a reminder to squeeze the ones you love!

Swirl bread

I had reminded myself to be excited for the opening of 4121 MAIN, but in the case of the dog park, the universe had reminded me to cherish all those near and dear to me. Moments of stress, excitement, fear, sadness and relief will continue to swirl. That’s life, and those swirls are beyond my control. That doesn’t mean I can’t embrace life’s roller coaster in a wholesome and delicious way.

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Bread

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Vestiges of Brooklyn

September 2014

Oh Brooklyn!

If I were more into the idea of 3+ roommates, I’d probably already be shacking up with said 3+ persons and absorbing all the inspiration that borough has to offer. That being said, my styling partner and I recently packed his Subaru to the brim and journeyed to Brooklyn for an amazing event design opportunity with Brooklyn Brewery. This job was merely one of the many plates we have spinning in the air, so the trip was very consolidated and approximately 99.9% focused on the venue/job. However, we took a very brief moment to soak up some inspiration via a sunset stroll through Redhook. The few blocks of shops and restaurants melted my heart in that way that progressive cities do, and it whet my appetite for a more immersive trip.

Brooklyn Recap

Ace Hotel; Art Installation by Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels at Pioneer Works; our event design for Brooklyn Brewery & Dinner Lab at Pioneer Works; Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Until I have the opportunity to return for a jam packed Brooklyn adventure, I at least have a few vestiges of Brooklyn to hold me over…

Vestiges of Brooklyn

This weekend the fella and I will be French pressing these fragrant Stumptown beans, sharing and savoring every single bite of this $10 Mast Brothers chocolate bar, and sipping some Brooklyn Brewery Local 2.

What will you be savoring this weekend?

Single-Grain

Happy Weekend!
-Quelcy

Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

September 2014

A Kogel Family Value: Ice cream knows no season.

If your family raised you to limit your frozen treats to the summer months, firstly, my sympathies.  Secondly, you better make these cookies soon! Then go ahead, and find that moment in the afternoon, when the sun is still beaming, the clouds are cotton candy, the breeze is warm, and eat an ice cream sandwich like a child who ignores ice cream rules. Hell, have that ice cream sammie for breakfast if you feel so inclined! I won’t tell your parents.

Coconut Cookies for Ice Cream Sandwiches

I made these cookies with a certain Hawaii transplant in mind, so coconut was heavy on my brain when scheming this recipe. Said surfer-turned-farmer boy inspired my first use of coconut flour, and it worked perfectly. The cookies were soft and chewy with a faint hint of coconut. As we move into crisper, fall temperatures, these cookies would also pair well with hot chocolate, but again, ice cream is eternal love in my book.

Gluten-Free, Chocolate, Coconut Cookies (for Ice Cream Sandwiches)

Ingredients

1/2 pound organic semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon organic coconut oil

3/4 cup organic coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 organic, cage-free eggs
3/4 cup organic raw cane sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pink himalayan sea salt for sprinkling

For Assembly

Organic vanilla bean ice cream
Unsweetened, shredded coconut

Directions

Melt the chocolate,butter and coconut oil together over a double boiler. Stir it occasionally until the mixture is completely smooth, then remove it from the heat and set it aside while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In a small bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Slowly add in the sugar, and beat until the mixture is light in color and the eggs have tripled in volume.

Stir in the vanilla extract, followed by the melted chocolate mixture.

Fold in the flour mixture until well combined.

The dough will be very soft, almost batter-like in texture. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes or until it’s firm enough to scoop.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and portion the cookies into heaping tablespoons.

Sprinkle each cookie with salt, and bake them for 10-12 minutes, or until their tops are puffed.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then move to a rack to cool completely.

Assembly

Scoop your favorite, all-natural, ice cream onto the flat side of one cookie. Top with a second cookie. Sprinkle the exposed ice cream with shredded coconut, and enjoy!

Single-Grain

Here’s to Ice Cream All Year Long!
-Quelcy

A CSA Inspired Cake: Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries

August 2014

Back when the corn was barely knee-high, the Urban Farmer and his truck were stranded beyond the urban limits awaiting a mechanic’s touch. The con of this scenario was waiting a week for that boy. The pro of this scenario was scoring that boy’s CSA basket of summer goodness! Many a recipe developer may have seized this opportunity to create a savory plate, but I saw a zucchini and gooseberries, and my mind went straight to layer cake.

Cake Stand

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Lemon Rosette

Whole-Wheat Chocolate Zucchini Layer Cake with Gooseberries

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup pure cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoons instant coffee
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup organic, unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 large organic eggs

1 cup organic whole-fat yogurt

3 cups shredded zucchini

1/2 cup organic semi-sweet chocolate chips

Local Gooseberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Raspberries, tossed in organic cane sugar
Local Mint or Fresh Herbs
Lemon Peel
Organic powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease a 9-inch springform cake pan with butter or olive oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Alternately, stir in the flour mixture and the yogurt, starting and stopping with the flour.

Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top springs back lightly when touched, and it seems set.

Allow cake to cool completely before removing from the springform pan. Use a serrated knife and a lazy susan to cut the cake into two layers.

Spread an even layer of the whipped cream (recipe below) over the base layer of cake. Top with the remaining layer. Add more whipped cream to the center, and top with berries and lemon garnish. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Single-Grain

Whipped Cream Filling

Ingredients

1 cup organic heavy cream, chilled
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 lemons, zested

Directions

In the chilled bowl of a standing mixer, whip the heavy cream until it thickens slightly. Add the remaining ingredients, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to use.

Single-Grain

Here’s to Community Sponsored Cakes!
-Quelcy