Salted Chocolate Pear Pound Cake

Jump to Recipe

I am taking part in the “USA Pears Blogger Recipe Challenge”. It’s holiday time and I am delighted to share my delicious recipe entries with you! 

USA Pears are at the peak of freshness right now, so I’m simply happy to accept this challenge using this beautiful versatile fruit. The fact that northwest pears come in 10 varieties and work well in both savory and sweet dishes got my creative juices flowing. I personally love Bosc and Anjou pears for baking. 

First up in the Baking category is what I like to call my “bake two share one” recipe. This recipe allows you to indulge yourself as well as a friend. Friendsgiving is a thing. Wrapped and tied with a bow it makes the perfect hostess gift or teacher present. No better way to show your gratitude than with this stunning homemade cake.

I can’t tell you how much I love this gorgeous moist and flavorful Salted Chocolate Pear Pound Cake. Scented with the warmth of cardamom, coffee and a burst of chocolate flavor this cake is filled with chunks of juicy pears and simply dusted with flaked salt and powdered sugar.

Salted Chocolate Pear Pound Cake

4 firm ripe USA Pears, 2 Bosc pear plus 2 Anjou

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups hot water

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

Flaked finishing salt

Powdered sugar

Heat oven 350F. Spray two 8-9 inch x 5-inch loaf pans with baking spray. Line pans with strips of parchment paper and lightly spray paper. Slice the Bosc pears in half lengthwise just off center from the stem. Do not peel. Place the pear, cut-side down, on a mandoline and thinly slice. You will need 6 slices of pear for each pan. (I like to cut 3 slices from each half.) Remove seeds from slices, if needed. Gently press 3 slices of pear along each side of the long side of loaf pan. Peel, core and small dice the Anjou pears. Toss diced pears with 2 tablespoons of flour until coated; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt; set aside. Stir water and espresso powder together until espresso is dissolved; set aside. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until well combined. Add eggs; blend well. With mixer at low speed, gradually add half of the dry ingredients. Slowly add coffee until combined. Add remaining dry mixture; blend well scraping down sides of bowl and beater as needed. Fold in diced pears and excess flour. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 65 to 70 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan before turning out on a wire rack to cool. Remove parchment and turn cakes upright. Sprinkle top of cake with flaked salt while cake is still warm. Coll completely. Dust with powdered sugar just before slicing and serving.

And here is a tip on how to tell if a pear is ripe. Just press your finger into the neck end of the pear. If the stem moves it’s perfectly ripe, juicy and delicious. For more pear tips and delicious recipes check out the USA pear website at: https://www.usapears.org and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram) @usapears.

Wild Blueberry Frozen Hot Chocolate Smoothie

img_5114

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

What I enjoy most about recipe challenges are the memories they conjure up. That creative process of mixing something new and different comes from a place deep in the heart and brain. It usually hits about 3 am and reminds me that those I love and where I have been inspire my food.

img_5106

From the time the kids were small we vacationed in Maine. In summer, we joined friends at Pine Point beach searching for and discovering sand dollars. The wild wonders of Mother Nature enticing the kids to dig deeper into the numbing cold ocean water always did my heart good. Then pre-Christmas shopping in Freeport, Maine enjoying a cozy fire at a quaint B&B and in spring and fall girls’ weekends to Ogunquit and guys’ fishing trips to Rangeley, respectively. Suffice to say lots of wonderful family time was spent in the Pine Tree state.

img_5108

William & Caitlin 11/26/1991

If nothing else entering recipe contests brings some good food to the table and a reminder of just how blessed I have been with great memories. It’s been a real pleasure creating this final entry for the #wildyoursmoothie recipe contest which could potentially bring me back to Maine to learn more about wild blueberries. Here is what I already know.

  • wild blueberries have been growing in Maine and Canada for about 10,000 year
  • wild blueberries have 2x the antioxidants of larger cultivated blueberries
  • wild blueberries are part of a heart healthy diet and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • wild blueberries have a well balanced sweet-tart flavor

img_5118

In my latest inspired recipe wild blueberries and dark organic chocolate blend with coconut water to make a powerful antioxidant drink that will energize the day or replenish after a work-out. Freezing the coconut water into ice cubes is a bit of flavorful genius that allows that sweet-tart balance of the wild blueberries to shine through the richness of the chocolate. Share it with someone you love. Happy Valentine’s Day.

img_5153

 

Wild Blueberry  Frozen Hot Chocolate Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 ½ cups pure coconut water

2 ounces organic dark chocolate (72% cacao or greater), chopped

1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao

3 pitted medjool dates

1 cup frozen wild blueberries, plus additional for garnish

2 heart shaped marshmallows, optional

Pour 1 cup of coconut water into an ice cube tray and freeze. Place chocolate and cocoa in a small heatproof 1-cup measure. In a small saucepan bring remaining coconut water to a boil; pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Stir mixture until chocolate is melted. Add dates to hot chocolate and let cool to room temperature. In high-speed blender, combine cooled chocolate-date-coconut water mixture, frozen wild blueberries and frozen coconut water cubes; blend until smooth. Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with marshmallow and wild blueberries, if desired.

img_5132

Frozen at harvest to lock in nutrition individually quick frozen (IQF) wild blueberries are available all your round in the frozen food section of the grocery store. Check the package for the word “wild” or feel it for pea-sized wild blueberries to insure you are buying wild and not cultivated blueberries.

Simply Sesame Holiday Fudge

img_3649

“Take the challenge and share your creativity using Simply Sesame’s Vanilla with Almond Bits, Pistachio Morsels with a hint of Cardamom or its Pure Roasted Sesame where there are (almost) no rules, only originality and the pursuit of great taste!”

img_3544Oh my!  You are in for a treat with this blogger recipe challenge sponsored by Bonelli Fine Food. I am always on board to try a product made from sesame seeds as the ingredient is well-known as an antioxidant and for its blood pressure and cholesterol lowering effects. As a lover of all things vanilla and almond it was a no brainer to dive into this flavor.

img_3540

I first tried mixing Simply Sesame into a homemade pumpkin waffle batter. The waffles baked up with a toasted, nutty crunch and the spread drizzled beautifully over the top. I think kids will love Simply Sesame as a fresh fruit dip, too, while parents will appreciate it being non GMO and safe to eat for those with a peanut allergy. But then my mind went to chocolate. Simply Sesame sure is versatile.

img_3608

Why not combine this nutritious and delicious creamy spread flavored with vanilla and almond bits with the health benefits of dark chocolate? Does a happy holiday fudge sound like something You can get on board with? With only 5 simple ingredients and a prep of maybe 5 minutes this creamy nutty fudge makes the perfect holiday gift for friends, family, teachers….and all the people you love or need to thank. MWAH!

img_3652

Simple Sesame Holiday Fudge

2 cups bittersweet 60% cacao chocolate chips

1 (14 oz.) can chocolate flavored sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

½ cup Simply Sesame Vanilla with Almond Bits

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil leaving an overhang. Spray foil lightly with non-stick cooking spray. In medium saucepan, over low heat, stir chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in Simply Sesame until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared dish; smooth top. Sprinkle almonds evenly over top gently pressing into fudge. Chill about 2 hours or until firm. Lift fudge from pan. Slice into bite-size squares. Makes about 32 pieces. Store in airtight container in the fridge.

img_3660

For more Simply Sesame recipes, information and beautiful photos check out these links.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SimplySesame/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimplySesame

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/imsimplysesame/