Archives for October 2007

Special Request: Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

Dark, moist cake with a spiced sugary topping
A and I had a girls-only shopping expedition last weekend. Her little powder-blue shoulder bag was stuffed full of gift-card loot from a recent (10 years old) birthday, so we headed off to the mall, one of my least favorite destinations in this world.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy shopping. I do! It’s just that malls have a numbing and dumbing effect on me; I get as overstimulated and disoriented as a wayward bluejay on acid.

I must have been born without the intricate inner GPS system needed to navigate oneself in large public shopping areas, because inevitably I get lost looking for the bathroom or take a right turn out of Bath & Body Works instead of a left, finding myself miles away from the exit that leads out to the parking garage.

So it was good that A was with me. Since were focused on two stores, Limited Too and Gap, we safely pointed ourselves in their direction…right past a Starbucks counter that pulled me over like a dustball succumbing to the strong suck of a Dyson D17. I decided I really needed the fortification of a Grande Green Tea Latte (nonfat, two pump) to get me through the whole mall thing.

While standing in line, we drooled over the Chocolate Cinnamon Bread, a new addition to the Starbucks pastry array, developed by the hot Swedish-New York-Ethiopian-born chef Marcus Samuelsson.

It turns out that other food bloggers tracked down the recipe and baked it at home with good results, including Foodaphilia and Nicole at Baking Bites.

I made A very happy yesterday when I made this cake, and I have to admit it was worth a trip to the mall for the inspiration.

However, despite the word “bread” in the recipe title, be aware that this is not in any way a quick bread, but more like the dark, dense chocolate pound cake of your dreams. The crunchy spiced sugar on top is a nice touch.

Starbucks Chocolate Cinnamon Bread

From the kitchen of Marcus Samuelsson

Chocolate Batter:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
11?4 cups Dutch-processed cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1?2 teaspoon baking powder
1?2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1?4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust:
1?4 cup granulated sugar
3?4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1?2 teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1?4 cup white decorating sugar

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and line the bottom of the pans with overhanging sheets of parchment paper (this will make it easier to remove the baked cakes.)

Make the Chocolate Batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed, until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next and scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, water and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to butter, beginning and ending with the flour and beating just until blended. Divide the batter between the two pans, shake the pans to even the tops and set aside.

Make the Cocoa-Spice Sugar Crust: In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cocoa, ginger and cloves. Sprinkle the surfaces of both batters with the decorating sugar. Sprinkle with the cocoa sugar mixture, dividing evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely, run a thin knife around the sides to release the breads and remove from pans.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Peanut Shrimp Salad – It’s a Winner!

My peanut-crusted shrimp salad with basil-lime dressing (photo:

Wow! I’m back after a great trip to Birmingham, where I was lucky to be chosen as a $10,000 category winner in the Southern Living Cook-Off.

All I can say is that the folks at Southern Progress, who also publish Cooking Light, Cottage Living, Sunset and numerous other lifestyle magazines, not only know how to throw a cook-off, but are an amazingly talented, passionate and hospitable group. You get the feeling that they love going to work every day.

I made some new friends, caught up with some old ones and even got that relaxing massage.

The grand prize winning recipe, Roasted Banana Ice Cream with Warm Peanut Butter Sauce, looks wonderfully decadent with lots of Southern style. My only problem with it is that I have an allergy to bananas and I won’t be able to try it!

Peanut Crunch Shrimp Salad with Basil-Lime Dressing
Makes 4 servings

Basil-Lime Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Peanut Oil
1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon Domino Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Asian chili garlic sauce
1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced

Shrimp Salad:
1 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup USA-Grown Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Red Curry Powder
20 jumbo Certified Wild American Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Crisco Pure Peanut Oil
3 cups mixed baby salad greens
1 cup diced English cucumber
1 cup peeled diced mango
1/2 cup mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
3 green onions, trimmed; white and light green parts sliced into matchsticks
1/4 cup USA-Grown Dry Roasted Salted Peanuts, chopped

1. To prepare Basil-Lime Dressing, puree all ingredients in a food processor. Set aside.

2. Pulse panko, peanuts, cornstarch and curry powder in food processor until fine crumbs form; transfer to a pie plate.

3. Toss shrimp with the egg in a large bowl. Dredge shrimp in peanut mixture to coat.

4. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in skillet; cook shrimp 3 minutes per side, or until golden.

5. Gently toss greens, cucumber, mango, bean sprouts, mint and onions in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons Basil-Lime Dressing. Arrange salad on individual serving plates; top each with 5 shrimp; sprinkle with peanuts and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food

Fall Flavor: Warm Spiced Root Vegetable Salad with Feta

Ready for a new season with a warm autumn salad


Ahem — so I have a few exciting announcements. I apologize for the suspense, but I wanted to time it just right.

First, starting with this salad recipe from the October issue (On Newstands Now!), I’ll be contributing occasional recipe features to Sauce Magazine. I’m thrilled about this – I’ve long wanted to share more of my recipes with people, hopefully enticing them into the kitchen to get cooking. Plus, flexing my writing muscles seems like a good idea.

As of this moment, there’s no link to my piece on their site, but I’ll direct you there if and when it’s up.

The next bit of news is that I’m off to Birmingham, Alabama to compete as one of 15 finalists in the Southern Living Cook-Off. It’s a biggie – the largest annual cooking contest in the United States with a cash award of a cool 100k for the Grand Prize winner.

I’m long past counting on winning anything; that way lies disappointment and intermittent spells of bitter growling. Not very becoming behavior for a yoga mama like me! Also, T hates to be around a sore loser. Just wish me luck and hope that I can squeeze in time for a hot-rock massage at the hotel “spalon”.

Last but not least, I’ve spent the past few months planning a new career – I’m starting a personal chef business, called DinnerStyle.

Now that J has started first grade, all previous bets are off. I’m free for six-and-a-half beautiful hours each and every weekday: I’m ready to join the few, the proud and the self-employed.

So, I’ve equipped myself with a traveling cooking toolbox, a rolling cooler and good liability insurance. Call me! I’ll happily come to your house and cook up a feast or two.

See you in a few…


Spiced Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Feta and Pumpkin Seeds

Makes 4 servings
1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1 pound parsnips
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups prewashed baby arugula or baby spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds), toasted*
2 tablespoons pumpkin-seed oil
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons red wine vinegarHeat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, trim off the top and bottom and slice in half. Scoop out the strings and seeds with a large spoon and discard. Slice the squash into 1/2-inch pieces and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Peel the parsnips and slice into 1/2-inch pieces. Add to the squash on the baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, orange zest and juice and olive oil. Pour over the vegetables and toss to coat evenly.

Roast the vegetables 20-25 minutes, stirring once or until tender and lightly caramelized.
Add the arugula (or spinach) to the warm vegetables and toss to wilt slightly.
Transfer to a large platter or serving bowl. Crumble feta cheese over salad and sprinkle with pepitas.

Whisk together the oil, honey and vinegar and drizzle over the salad.

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Copyright (c) 2007 FamilyStyle Food