Chocolate Cherry Loaf

Chocolate Cherry Loaf

As much as it pains me to turn my oven on in the summer, giving off unnecessary heat when the goal is to keep the house cool, I just can’t stop baking for months.  I ask myself who could?  I guess as a food blogger the thought astonishes me and as I write this I’m shaking my head and thinking, “nope, it can’t be done”.  Lucky for both you and me that I feel this way, because out of the heat rises the most amazing Chocolate Cherry Loaf.

I’m a big fan of loaves!  Not because they’re moist, tender, buttery, filled with nuts or chocolate, it’s because they’re simple, versatile and generally quite easy to prepare.  I also like the ability to cut the loaf into thick slices, wrap individually and grab and go right from the freezer.  My husband Mark calls them “loafcicles” and sometimes can’t wait long enough to let it thaw completely before munching away.  You could say he’s got a bit of a sweet tooth.  That makes this Chocolate Cherry Loaf right up his alley.  It’s a little indulgent with cream cheese, chunky cherry sauce and chocolate chips, and a small slice is all you need to battle that sweet craving.  You’ll find Chocolate Cherry Loaf a yummy change from banana or lemon and worth turning your oven on for.  Enjoy!

Recipe source for Chocolate Cherry Loaf:  Inspired by Roti n’ Rice Raspberry Swirl Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Chocolate Cherry Loaf
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    1 loaf 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    55-65 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    1 loaf 30 minutes
    Cook Time
    55-65 minutes
    Chocolate Cherry Loaf
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      1 loaf 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      55-65 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      1 loaf 30 minutes
      Cook Time
      55-65 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: loaf
      Instructions
      1. Combine cherries and sugar in a small sauce pan and heat to a simmer over medium heat. Stir water and cornstarch together in a small bowl and add to cherries, stirring constantly until combine and mixture returns to a full simmer. Remove from heat and allow to cool to slightly warm or room temperature. Continue with recipe as cherries cool.
      2. Preheat oven to 350℉ and prepare a 9"x5"x3"loaf pan by spraying with non stick spray or lightly greasing with butter and lining with parchment that overhangs the long edges.
      3. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
      4. Beat together butter, cream cheese and sugar until smooth, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add eggs one at a time, scraping bowl and beating after each until incorporated. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Pour in half the milk and half the flour and beat until just combined. Repeat with remaining milk and flour. Scrape the bowl and add chocolate chips and mix to combine.
      5. Pour half the batter into prepared pan and spread smooth. Top with half the cherry sauce, remaining batter and cherry sauce again on the top. Using a table knife, swirl batter in a figure eight pattern two or three times to create nice swirls of cherry sauce. No need to over swirl.
      6. Bake in preheated oven for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely in pan prior to lifting out and slicing.

      Pineapple Salsa

      Pineapple Salsa

      With summer creeping upon us, I felt compelled to update one of my first posts as a food blogger and one of my favourite snacks, Pineapple Salsa!!  A fantastic summer snack that’s worth repeating with a couple photos cleaned up.  The original post was done for Cinco Da Mayo, however this fantastic recipe goes far beyond into the warm summer months with its perfect balance of sweet and spicy.  Fresh and vibrant with fresh pineapple and lots of cilantro makes it a recipe I’ve made over and over. It’s always a hit, whether it be at work, at home or a social gathering. Serve with plenty of lime tortilla chips and watch it disappear.  Enjoy!

      Get the recipe ⬇️

      Pineapple Salsa
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        4 cups 30 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        4 cups 30 minutes
        Pineapple Salsa
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          4 cups 30 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          4 cups 30 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: cups
          Instructions
          1. Peel and core pineapple. Chop pineapple along with the tomatoes, red onion, and cucumber into 1/4 inch dice. Set aside together in a large bowl.
          2. Cut jalapeño peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out seeds, finely chop into 1/8 inch dice. Add to bowl. Coarsely chop cilantro and add to bowl.
          3. Cut limes in half and squeeze juice over mixture. Sprinkle with salt and stir to combine. Serve immediately with lime tortilla chips.
          Recipe Notes

          Resting the salsa for an hour will allow the lime juice to cut the bite in the jalapeño and red onion. It is strongly recommended to cut all ingredients by hand to retain the fresh appearance and prevent over processing the ingredients.

          Recipe Source: Inspired by The Pampered Chef Pineapple Salsa

          Catalina Wings

          Catalina Wings

          A long, long time ago I used to make wings similar to these piquant Catalina Wings.  I was in college and had a summer job cooking at a golf and country club.  The food was basic fair, nothing too over the top, catering to the golfing crowd, small banquets and business meetings. It was a fun job, good people to work with and a happy crowd, because they’re golfing of course.  It wasn’t unusual for the dining room to be filled with thirsty golfers looking for a mid afternoon snack and beverage.

          Like many places of the time, we offered hot wings, but not everyone liked there wings “hot”. So to please the masses we mixed the hot sauce with Catalina Dressing to lighten some of the heat.  The ratio of dressing to hot sauce was adapted to make the wings mild, medium or hot.  We didn’t have a formula, it was always eye balled, so I doubt anyone ever got the same plate of wings twice.  It’s the memory of this job and the tossing of bowl after bowl of chicken wings that Catalina Wings are derived.  Not new in concept but these Catalina Wings are made with fresh Catalina dressing, making them zesty and sticky.  You’ll love them! 

          Recipe source for Catalina Wings:  Compelled To Cook

          Catalina Wings
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            30 wings 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            16-18 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            30 wings 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            16-18 minutes
            Catalina Wings
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              30 wings 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              16-18 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              30 wings 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              16-18 minutes
              Ingredients
              Dressing
              Wings
              Servings: wings
              Instructions
              Dressing
              1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes about 1 cup of dressing. Refrigerate extra dressing for up to 1 week.
              Wings
              1. In a large heavy duty pot fitted with a clip on thermometer, heat a minimum of 3" of canola oil to 350℉ 375℉. (oil will cool when wings are added)
              2. Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Add half the wings to the hot oil, dropping them in one by one. Cook for 5-6 minutes, depending on size, until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted scoop to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining wings.
              3. Preheat broiler and line a large baking tray with foil. In a large bowl stir together Catalina Dressing and Franks Red Hot sauce. Add wings and toss to evenly coat.
              4. Arrange wings in a single layer on baking tray and broil 8" from broiler for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
              Recipe Notes

              Wings can be made hotter if desired by decreasing the amount of dressing and increasing hot sauce to your preference.

              Parsnip Spice Muffins

              Parsnip Spice Muffins

              Give your carrot muffins a makeover with these wonderfully spiced and tender Parsnip Spice Muffins. Just like carrots, parsnips cook down to provide moisture, flavour and sweetness to baked goods. Already having a sweet note, parsnips readily take on an array of spices such as cloves, ginger and cinnamon. So get ready to fill your kitchen with the scent of baked goods and glorious spices with these gorgeous muffins.

              Inspired by Bon Appetit’s Parsnip Spice Cake, I chose to lighten up the batter with applesauce and use less oil, sugar and eggs to create a relatively healthy muffin. Tender and moist with a spicy aroma and flavour. They’re particularly good with a drizzle of sweetened cream cheese for a little sweet treat, but eaten plain with a cup of tea is also a pleasure.

              Parsnip Spice Muffins
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                12 muffins 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                25-28 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                12 muffins 20 minutes
                Cook Time
                25-28 minutes
                Parsnip Spice Muffins
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  12 muffins 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  25-28 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  12 muffins 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  25-28 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: muffins
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 12 muffin tins with parchment or muffin liners. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.
                  2. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating after each. Whisk in applesauce, milk and vanilla to combine. Whisk in flour mixture and parsnips until just combined. Stir in pecans.
                  3. Divide batter equally between prepared muffin tins using a generous 1/4 cup of batter each. Bake in preheated oven for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.
                  4. In a small bowl stir together cream cheese, icing sugar, milk and vanilla to form a smooth texture. Drizzle or spread onto cooled muffins.

                  Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings

                  Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings

                  Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings are made with fresh onions and are super crunchy and addictive. The delicious buttermilk batter is made with fresh herbs, onion and garlic powder so there’s no dipping sauce required. There’s just enough batter to cover and coat the onion well, but thin enough to yield a good batter to onion ratio.  No one likes too much fried doughy batter on anything….right?  They’re a great side to your burger or piled high and shared with your pals on game day.  However you choose to enjoy them, you’ll want to go back to the plate for more.  Enjoy!

                  Recipe source for Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings:  Compelled To Cook

                   

                  Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings
                  Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 People 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  20 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 People 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  20 minutes
                  Buttermilk Ranch Onion Rings
                  Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 People 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  20 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  4 People 20 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  20 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Flour Dredge
                  Onion Rings
                  Servings: People
                  Instructions
                  Flour Dredge
                  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
                  Onion Rings
                  1. Cut ends off onion and peel, leaving onion whole. Cut onion into generous 1/4" slices. In a large bowl toss onions with a few drops of water to moisten. Sprinkle flour dredge over onion slices and toss to coat. Set aside.
                  2. Preheat a deep fryer to 350℉ or at least 3" of canola oil in a large pot or dutch oven to 350℉ using a thermometer hooked to the edge of the pot.
                  3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, herbs, salt, baking powder, onion powder and garlic powder. Whisk in buttermilk, melted butter and worcestershire sauce until smooth.
                  4. When oil is hot, scoop out 4-6 onion rings and dunk in batter to completely coat. Shake off excess batter and place onion rings in oil one at a time. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove with tongs or a slotted spatula to a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm in a low oven while frying remaining onion rings.
                  Recipe Notes

                  Batter will thicken slightly if left to sit.  Thin with extra buttermilk if necessary.

                  Recipe Source:  Compelled To Cook

                  Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters

                  Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters

                  Yes, It’s back to school and my latest Costco coconut cluster obsession makes a debut as a back to school snack or yogurt topping. I’m not sure how long they’ve actually been sold at Costco, I’ve only purchased them in the last couple months. Being a coconut lover, I was in heaven either snacking straight out of the bag or crumpling them on coconut yogurt. So tasty, addicting, crunchy and sweet, I just had to make my own. Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters are my version, which happens to be very similar but with the addition of almonds. All it really takes is a large bowl, a few great ingredients and 25 minutes for these amazing clusters.

                  I admit I can be a Costco junkie! My last obsession found at Costco was tomatillo salsa, and I practically drowned myself in it before making my own version with grilled vegetables Grilled Tomatillo Avocado Dip But now that I’ve conquered both I look forward to my next great Costco find that I can make at home. So whether you’re just trying to fill the lunch bags or love a good smoothie or yogurt topping, you’ll want to bake a batch of Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters to have on hand without having to run out to Costco. Enjoy!

                  Recipe source for Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters: Compelled To Cook

                   

                  Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    32 clusters 10 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    15 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    32 clusters 10 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    15 minutes
                    Seed and Almond Coconut Clusters
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      32 clusters 10 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      15 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      32 clusters 10 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      15 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Servings: clusters
                      Instructions
                      1. Preheat oven to 325℉ and line baking sheets with parchment. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl, drizzle with corn syrup and toss gently to fully combine. Drop approximately 2 tbsp of mixture onto lined baking sheets and with slightly damp fingers form into low clusters. Bake for 13-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before removing.
                      2. Store clusters in an airtight container for several days or freeze for up to 2 months.
                      Recipe Notes

                      I've tried honey, agave and corn syrup in this recipe.  I found that the corn syrup resulted in a crispier cluster that held up better when frozen and the honey and agave result in a slightly softer cluster that tends to break apart more easily.  All are good options depending on your sugar preference.