Tag Archives: America’s Test Kitchen

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

So apparently it was National Chocolate Cake Day this past week?? Is that right? I cannot and don’t even try to keep up with all these arbitrary food holidays. And, I personally don’t think chocolate cake needs any reason whatsoever, actually…

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I picked up one of America’s Test Kitchen compilation magazines last summer and was delighted to find this gem in there. I’d actually been hunting down such a recipe for purely nostalgic reasons. One of the BEST things my mom made while we were kids was this amazing chocolate bundt cake. It had sour cream in it, plus chocolate chips, and it was always made from a boxed cake mix and a boxed pudding mix. I’ve always wanted to make it from scratch, but could never find a recipe that exactly matched its intense chocolate flavor and fudgy texture.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Until now, that is! I mean, I should’ve looked to ATK first. Lesson learned…

This was everything I fondly remember about that childhood cake, made from scratch. I grinned stupidly with every bite. This will forever be my go-to chocolate bundt cake. I’m officially done looking. And whether chocolate bundt cake is nostalgic to you or not, I highly, highly recommend that you start baking this one and make it a nostalgic part of your life. It’s SO good.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition Best Ingredients Recipes, 2015

1 tbs plus ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
12 tbs unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant espresso powder
¾ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
5 large eggs
12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix 1 tbs cocoa powder and the melted butter into paste. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the interior of a standard Bundt pan. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat your oven to 350 F.
Combine the chocolate, espresso powder, and remaining ¾ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth. Let cool completely, then whisk in the sour cream. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating the chocolate-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in the chocolate chips, and give the batter a final quick stir by hand to incorporate the chips.
Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan once halfway through baking. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 3 hours.

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans “Barbecue” Butter

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

New Jersey is nicknamed The Garden State, and until moving to the NYC region, I never knew (or cared – gotta be totally frank here) why. You know why? It’s because of all the gorgeous summer produce those farmers spin out every year! I am suddenly feeling rather lucky to live here and have access to all of this – the tomatoes! The peaches! The corn!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Once you taste this Jersey sweet corn, you have to take back every single bad thing you’ve ever said about this state. I’m serious. (And if you’re not originally from here and you’ve lived in New York for the past ten years, you *might* (cough, cough) have said something bad about the ol’ NJ).

This corn is so perfect that all it really needs is salt and maybe a pat of butter after grilling it. But that’s a hideously dull “recipe” to blog. And since I try my hardest to keep this space from being the culinary equivalent of watching paint dry, we have to jazz up that corn somehow.

corn on the cob with New Orleans "barbecue" butter

I chose to try out a corn recipe that is reminiscent of New Orleans barbecued shrimp, a classic dish which involves no actual barbecue sauce, but rather spices and an utterly obscene amount of butter. Since corn loves butter, and since the sweetness of corn can take on the very assertive spices of New Orleans quite nicely, this is actually a genius idea. One I didn’t think of myself, I’ll freely admit. Go America’s Test Kitchen!

The cooking method used here is also pretty genius. You’ll need a 9 by 13-inch aluminum roasting pan, and a grill surface large enough to accommodate it. Indoor or outdoor grill, either is perfectly fine as long as it’s big enough. This may be my new favorite corn on the cob recipe. I hope you love it too!

Corn on the Cob with New Orleans "Barbecue" Butter

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition: Best Ingredients, Best Recipes

6 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp tomato paste
½ tsp minced fresh rosemary
½ tsp minced fresh thyme
½ tsp cayenne pepper
8 ears of corn, husks and silks removed
2 tbs canola or vegetable oil
Salt and black pepper

In a small bowl, use a fork to thoroughly combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, tomato paste, rosemary, thyme, and cayenne.
In a 9 by 13-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan, place the butter all over the bottom of the pan, in small spoonfuls. Set aside at room temperature.
Brush the corn evenly with the canola oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill the corn over medium-high to high heat (indoor or outdoor grill is fine), until lightly charred on all sides, 5 to 9 minutes. Transfer corn the aluminum roasting pan and cover tightly with foil.
Place the roasting pan on the grill and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until butter is sizzling, about 3 minutes.
Remove the pan from the grill and carefully remove the foil, allowing steam to escape away from your face. Serve the corn immediately, spooning the excess butter in the pan over the individual ears.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder #SundaySupper

Butternut Squash and Spinach Chowder 4712

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme this week is Fabulous Fall Foods! I’ve met the theme requirements – this chowder features butternut squash (a fall produce item), and it tastes amazingly fabulous. Thank goodness the theme wasn’t Fabulous Fall Food Photography, because then I would have a major problem.

butternut squash 4701

I found this recipe in one of my many cookbooks, “Slow Cooker Revolution” by America’s Test Kitchen. In the cookbook, there is no picture of this recipe. I now understand that. When you think about any kind of butternut squash chowder, you think of it being a gorgeous orange-ish color. But as you can plainly see, this chowder is rather green, thanks to the spinach. So I’m left with the problem of the pictures not entirely matching the recipe description, which is probably precisely why ATK didn’t include a photograph in their cookbook!

Butternut Squash and Spinach chowder 4734

Ah well, what are you gonna do? I promise from the bottom of my heart that it’s delicious, misleading color and all. And when I make it again, I will include the spinach again! Other than it messing up the chowder’s color, I actually do love it in there. It adds significant healthful properties, and it really cuts the squash’s sweetness.

Butternut squash and spinach chowder 4722

I have to admit, I don’t love it when winter squash soups are too sweet. I never add any brown sugar, and I love ingredients like bacon bits, bacon fat, and salty cheeses to cut the richness. The spinach only adds to that. So in the end, I really love this chowder, even if I don’t love my pictures all that much. I hope you will love it too!

Butternut Squash and spinach chowder 4724

Oh, and be sure you check out all my other Sunday Supper peeps – they’ve brought some drool-worthy perfect-for-fall recipes to the table today!

{One Year Ago: Funnel Cakes}
{Two Years Ago: Chocolate Crepes with Rum Whipped Cream, Shrimp and Grits}

Source: adapted from Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen

At least 4 oz. bacon, chopped, more if you want it
1 onion, chopped
3-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 bunch (roughly 8 oz.) adult spinach, stemmed
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbs minced fresh sage
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Cook the bacon in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it is nice and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve for later.
Pour out all but about 2 tbs bacon fat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened. Add the thyme, nutmeg, plus salt and pepper. Stir and cook 1 minute. Now add the flour and stir for about 1 minute to cook out the pasty, raw flour taste. Slowly add up to 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring out any lumps and letting the whole thing thicken up nicely. Shut off the heat and add this mixture to your slow cooker insert. Also add to the slow cooker, the remaining chicken stock, vegetable stock, half the squash, and the bay leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Toss the remaining squash with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper. Lay a large piece of aluminum foil on a flat work surface and carefully transfer the squash to the center of it. Gather it in the center and fold the foil up around it to create a foil packet and lays somewhat flat. Lay the foil packet on top of the soup in the slow cooker. Close the lid and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the squash in the slow cooker is tender and completely cooked.
Transfer the foil packet to a plate. Open it, being cautious of steam hitting you in the face, and then pour the squash and the juices into the slow cooker. Add the spinach leaves. Stir them in, then cover the slow cooker again and cook another 30 minutes, until the spinach is nicely wilted.
Shut off the heat. Discard the bay leaves. Then hit the soup with an immersion blender. Take your time and be sure the soup is really well-pureed. Now stir in the cream and sage, and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or nutmeg as needed.
Serve in bowls garnished with the bacon bits and grated parmesan.

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Guinness Beef Stew


New York is very gray and yucky today. Mother Nature has sent us chilly temperatures, gray skies and sideways rain, which is of course the loveliest kind of rain (NOT!!). You know sideways rain, right? Where the umbrella just doesn’t matter… No two ways about it, if you go outside, you’re getting soaked. Period. I am never a fan of this weather. I know some people love rain or a good thunderstorm, but I’m really not one of them. These days always leave me feeling a bit listless and sluggish. Fortunately, I have some very tasty leftover beef stew to keep me company!



A few days ago I made some amazing Guinness beef stew, and since the recipe made a ton, we’re still enjoying it. This stew is so lovely – beautiful grass-fed beef chuck, hearty root vegetables, bay leaves, deep stout beer, rich beef stock, and the secret ingredient – unsweetened chocolate! – all simmered together for 10 hours in my slow cooker. The house smelled wonderful and the result was delicious, warm, comforting stew.


Guinness beef stew, one of Ireland’s most iconic dishes, is different from regular beef stew, because Guinness beer has such a distinctive malty taste. If you use too much in the stew, the end result can be one of bitterness. I think probably everyone has been there at least once. The key is moderation in the amount of beer you add – a little goes a long way. And the secret ingredient of unsweetened chocolate was just genius! Its richness mellows the slight harshness from the beer and makes the whole stew very rich and smooth.


So wherever you live, I hope you are not having dreary weather, but if you are, consider warming up with this delicious stew!


Source: adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen: Best Reviews and Recipes 2008

4 lbs. boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs canola oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups low-sodium beef stock
1 ½ cups Guinness stout, divided
1 tbs light brown sugar
1 tsp dried thyme
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
2 bay leaves
5 small carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped
24 baby red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tbs minced fresh parsley, for garnish

Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half the beef until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to your slow cooker with a slotted spoon and repeat with 2 more teaspoons of canola oil and the remaining beef.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and sauté the onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and garlic and cook a minute more. Now add the stock, 1 ¼ cups beer, brown sugar, thyme, chocolate (no need to chop it), and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker.
Now add the carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 9 to 10 hours, until the meat is very tender. Whisk the flour and the remaining ¼ cup beer in a small bowl. Make sure there are no lumps, then pour it into the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine, but try not to break up the meat chunks. Cook, covered, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve the stew garnished with parsley.