Occasionally, my friends and I do potluck dinners. It's kinda fun, because only two of us really cook. This weekend, we did an Irish themed dinner to celebrate St. Patricks Day. My friend Gryphon is an excellent cook and made this killer Irish Stew, southern style. Click the link to check out his brand new recipe blog. Our friend Tserof contributed the ingredients to make blue cheese stuffed mushrooms. Tserof, a consummate bachelor, hates to cook, so he'll buy the ingredients, and either me or his mom will make whatever it is. My contribution were these cakes. Although they are not terribly Irish, they were still darn good. I baked them in miniature Bundt cake pans and glazed them with a Dark Chocolate Ganache.
White Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
2 cups sifted self rising flour
2 cups toasted hazelnuts
4 ounces white chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare your pans by either coating them lightly with shortening, then dusting with flour, or using a nonstick spray such as Bakers Joy, which is both the oil and flour in spray form and a product that I love. It makes SOO much less mess!!
2. Grind the hazelnuts with 3/4 cup of the sugar. They should be fairly fine, but not a paste. Stir this together with the flour
3. Melt the chocolate in the top pan of a double boiler. No double boiler? Place the chocolate in a metal or glass bowl and place over a pan of hot, not boiling water. Make sure the water level isn't touching the bottom of the pan/bowl. Stir to make sure it is completely melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until comfortable to touch.
4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and one cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and beaters several times. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
5. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Add the vanilla and white chocolate, blending well.
6. Pour the mixture into your prepared pans. Bake in the lower third of your oven for 40-50 minutes for the sheet cake, 35 to 45 minutes for layers, or until the top is slightly springy and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake(s) to cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Frost as desired.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
8 oz Hershey's Special Dark chocolate Kisses
1 can evaporated milk
Unwrap the Kisses and place in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Add some evaporated milk to fill the spaces between the kisses, just to the top of them. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. If the kisses aren't melted, nuke them in 10 second intervals until you can get a smooth, shiny glaze. Use on anything you want to use a chocolate glaze on. I highly suggest some donuts or the above cake.
Blue cheese stuffed mushrooms
1 lb large button mushrooms
8 oz blue cheese (it needs to be a soft creamy cheese)
8 oz cream cheese
1 clove garlic
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and place on a baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
2. Mash the clove of garlic with a little salt to form a paste.
3. Place the garlic paste, the cream cheese and the blue cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat together to form a smooth mixture.
4. Spoon the mixture in the mushroom caps and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melty and browned and oozy.