Dark Chocolate Walnut Loaf Cake

chocolate cake
Dark Chocolate Walnut Cake

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter and lightly flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, or spray it with a butter-flour spray. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat well, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Don’t worry if the batter looks a little uneven. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt together right into your wet ingredients. Stir together with a spoon until well-blended but do not overmix. Scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for about 30 minutes, at which point you can cool it the rest of the way out of the pan. Slice and serve with whipped cream or even in a bowl with cream.

Raisin Walnut Pie

a dark pie similar in looks to a pecan pie
Nadia’s all-time favorite pie: Raisin Walnut

RAISIN WALNUT PIE
For guilty pleasures, this is my all-time favorite pie. Comfort food and not health food, this recipe has a place at our holiday table. Similar to pecan pie, this is SO good. I saw a version of this recipe in an old cookbook saying it was a Karo Syrup contest winner many years ago. That recipe used margarine instead of butter.

3 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup dark corn syrup
½ c. firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. raisins
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 pie shell (9-inch)

Make your own pie crust or use a pre-made shell. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a mixer, beat eggs, add corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and salt. Mix in the raisins and nuts. Set aside and bake shell 5 minutes only, not until completely done. Remove crust from oven and pour filling into shell. Return to oven (with foil around the edges of crust) and bake approximately 50 minutes or until pie is lightly set to the touch. Cool completely. I usually serve with vanilla ice cream, but the original recipe suggested unsweetened, fresh whipped cream (doesn’t THAT sound good?).

Strawberry Jam Squares

Strawberry Jam bars
Strawberry Jam Squares

STRAWBERRY JAM SQUARES

1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup butter
1 cup strawberry jam
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, flour, brown sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press 3 cups oat mixture firmly onto bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan. Spread jam over crust.

Mix nuts into remaining crumb mixture and sprinkle over jam layer.
Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Note from Nadia: This flawless recipe came from Kraft Foods and I did nothing to change or improve it (as I am known to do). They are called squares and not bars for a good reason: They are meant to be eaten with a fork, not picked up and eaten like snack bars. This is a dessert and we made it with some of Grandma Sylvia’s luscious strawberry jam. Winner!