Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Raw Spice Bar Giveaway

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I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but around here the weather has been amazing. Spring has sprung! I love this time of year for a lot of reasons, fresh produce, longer days, warm yet breezy days, and it’s the time of year we start firing up the grill with more frequency. I mentioned last week that we’re building a patio in our backyard for the ultimate lounge/grilling area, but this work-in-progress isn’t stopping me from grilling our dinners outdoors. I love grilling because it tastes great, it’s usually quick, and EASY. I love easy.

Even though I love dinner to be easy, I also love to experiment and try new things…which can be daunting at times, you know? I’ll read a recipe and sometimes shy away from it simply because it calls for a lot of ingredients and spices that I don’t want to commit to or just because I am hesitant to stuff one, or five, more bottles into my already cramped spice cabinet. Enter the genius people at Raw Spice Bar. They offer a subscription service for a mere $6 a month…chump change when you consider sometimes a bottle of a single spice can cost even more than that and will probably end up just expiring in your pantry (no, just me?). In the subscription you get 3-5 freshly ground spice blends from a single geographical region–enough to make about 3 dishes and serve several people–plus recipe cards, and possibly my favorite thing next to the spices, a little note on the spice blends, origins, and history. It feeds the nerd in me.

I really love the idea behind Raw Spice Bar–it satisfies my desire to try new things without the commitment of purchasing lots of stuff that will further clutter the cluster that is my pantry, PLUS it’s totally affordable. I also see this being a great gift and can already think of a few people in my life who would appreciate it.

I collaborated with Raw Spice Bar to bring you a little giveaway, a 3-month trial subscription of their spice boxes, in addition to this recipe using the Advieh Koresht from their Persian Spice Box from March.  I came to love Middle Eastern flavors when I was living in Michigan and these blends did not disappoint. They are so fragrant and flavorful. The Advieh Koresht contains a number of spices–including ROSE PETALS! plus, cinnamon, cardamom, angelica, persian lime powder, coriander, cumin, and black pepper. I paired it with creamy-tangy yogurt, lemon, and garlic in a marinade for chicken skewers that I then grilled. These were so easy to make and absolutely delicious. April’s box was a Japanese theme and I am so excited to try a few recipes with the spice blends.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below about whatever–springtime, grilling, favorite spices, spice cabinet organizing. Easy, breezy. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (apologies to my international friends!) and will end Thursday, April 30th.

Raw Spice Bar did provide me with a complimentary sampling of their spices, however I was not further compensated for this post. I just really think it’s a cool concept and wanted to share the giveaway with you all. As always, words and opinions are my own. Thanks, always, for visiting. 

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Grilled Chicken Skewers

2-4 servings

2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons of Advieh Khoresht spice blend (or other spice blend)

kosher salt

1 lemon

5 bamboo skewers soaked for 1 hour (or use metal skewers)

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt.

In another bowl, combine the  yogurt, garlic, Advieh Khoresht, a pinch of salt, and the juice of half of the lemon. Reserve the other half. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture in a small dish and set aside. Pour the remaining yogurt over the chicken and mix to coat the chicken pieces. Let the chicken marinate in the yogurt mixture for at 20 minutes.

Cut the remaining half lemon into think half moons. Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers, alternating with some slices of lemon. Prepare your grill and cook the chicken skewers directly over high heat, 2-3 minutes on all sides, or until the chicken in cooked through. Remove from the grill and allow to rest under a foil tent for 5 minutes before serving. Serve drizzled with the reserved yogurt mixture. [/recipe]

 

 

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Guys, cake!

Yesterday was a day that called for cake…even though I didn’t have any left, I wish I did. It was one of those frustrating, frantic, half-assed days where you’re pulled in different directions and nothing gets accomplished. Days like that deserve something sweet. In my case it was a Reese’s pumpkin eaten over the sink with a gulp of cold coffee between ringing doorbells, barking dogs, a startled baby, and a project I just couldn’t seem to get through. But I wanted it to be a piece of this cake with a side of coffee…that was still warm.

This cake is a moist pumpkin and spice number with little bits of hazelnut suspended in the batter, iced with a brown butter + cream cheese concoction, and sprinkled with crunchy hazelnut candy. It’s got it all: tender-spiced cake, a buttery-tangy frosting, and lots of crunchy-sweet texture. It’s a dream boat and a sure-fire cure for one of those kinda days.

I don’t mean to get all complain-y, but some days are better than others and cake days are definitely the best!

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Hazelnut Crunch Pumpkin Cake

Makes 1, double layer, 6 inch round cake OR 1, 9-inch square cake.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teapoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cups finely chopped, toasted hazelnuts

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, browned*

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup bourbon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease 2 6-inch round cake pans and line with parchment circles (you can also bake this cake in a 9-inch square pan).

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and hazelnuts. In another bowl whisk together the browned butter, brown sugar, bourbon, eggs, and pumpkin puree until combined. Fold the butter-pumpkin mixture into the flour and spice mixture until just combined and there are no longer streaks of flour throughout. Divide the cake batter between the two cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks for 15 minutes before turning out the cakes and cooling completely. Cool the cakes completely before frosting—it is even better to wrap the cooled cakes in plastic and place them in the refrigerator to chill before frosting.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, browned*

4 ounces softened cream cheese

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

Using a mixer, beat the browned butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add in the salt and beat in the confectioner’s sugar gradually until smooth and spreadable.

Hazelnut Crunch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

1 heaping cup toasted hazelnuts

Place a sheet of parchment on a sheet pan and set aside.

Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium high heat until the sugar dissolves and becomes a deep golden amber color—don’t stir it, but you can swirl the pan if you need to. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and hazelnuts. Pour the mixture onto the sheet pan and cool completely. Chop the cooled hazelnut crunch coarsely and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To assemble the cake:

Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake stand, spread a heaping scoop of frosting on top of the layer and spread evenly, then sprinkle with a handful of the hazelnut crunch. Place the other cake layer on top, pressing down lightly to adhere to the first layer. Pile several heaping scoops of frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly to the edges of the cake, spread the excess frosting over the sides of the cake, evenly. Scrape any excess frosting off with an off set spatula for a “naked-cake” effect, or spread thickly for a more traditional look.

*To brown the butter, place it in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat, let it melt. It will bubble and foam. Once it begins to foam, whisk it constantly until deep brown bits begin to appear and the butter smells nutty like toffee. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before using. [/recipe]

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Brown Butter Malt Donuts

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I’ve had the idea for these donuts rolling around in my brain for days, ya’ll. And I JUST got to making them yesterday and jeeeeez…what took me so long?! These donuts are the baked variety making them a touch less indulgent than their fried brothers, but also a little easier to execute. BONUS. They are soft and spiced and laced with delicious brown butter and the subtle-sweet maltiness of malted milk powder.

I’ve smashed pumpkin with brown butter and malt before (with these amazeballs cookies) and let me tell you, it’s a winning combination. Brown butter goes into the batter AND gets brushed onto theses babies…which makes the perfect glue for a glittering of spiced sugar. And, not to get all braggy on you, but that picture of those butter drenched donuts above makes my heart melt…donut swoon! So, basically, I urge you to make these and honor pumpkin season with donuts. It’s only the logical thing to do.

[recipe]

Print Recipe

Pumpkin Brown Butter Malt Donuts

Adapted from Take A Megabite

Makes 4-5 dozen minis

These donuts can be baked in a standard size donut pan as well, or even a mini muffin tin. When shopping for the malt powder, I usually find it near the hot cocoa mixes or near the powdered and evaporated milk. I find it easier to brown the butter for the donuts seperately from the butter for the coating. Don’t bother to use a different skillet, just brown the butter for coating in the same skillet while the donuts bake.

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons malted milk powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

For the Spiced Sugar + Brown Butter Coating:

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned

Preheat the oven to 325˚F and spray a mini donut pan lightly with cooking spray.

Brown the butter for the donuts in a skillet over medium heat until the butter separates and the solids become a deep, toffee brown and smell nutty and fragrant. Pour the browned butter into a ramekin and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, malt powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and sugar. Whisk to blend. In another bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla until well combined. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture, followed by the brown butter, fold until just combined. Either spoon or pipe the batter about halfway up the donut pan molds and bake in the center of the oven for 6-7 minutes. Donuts are done when the tops are dry and spring back to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on a rack slightly before turning out. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Brown the butter for coating while the donuts bake.

In a wide dish whisk together the sugar and spices for the coating, brush the baked donuts with browned butter and roll in the spiced sugar to coat completely. [/recipe]