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Monday, January 19, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Another Barefoot Contessa recipe from her Parties cookbook.  After typing up this recipe I realized I put in more sour cream than called for but it's very tasty.  I also doubled the streusel recipe which I think worked out better.  

The weather is forecasting 2-4 inches for Inauguration Day so I'm already looking forward to sitting on my couch with my cup of coffee and coffee cake to watch Obama take his oath of office.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
~Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa Parties!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Streusel:
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 ground cinnamon
1/4 kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 1o inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light.  Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream.  In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined.  Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.  

For the streusel, place brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble.  Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it around with a spatula.  Sprinkle with 3/4 of streusel.  Spoon the rest of the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.  

Let cool on rack at least 30 minutes.  Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate.  Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary to make the glaze runny.  Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

Here is another new recipe I tried out for the New Years party.  Instead of peppermint candies I used some "Peppermint Snow" from William-Sonoma that I had bought earlier but not used yet.  

It came out really well.  By far one of the easiest things I made during the holidays.  Use good white chocolate!  It's sorta hard to find but Ghiradelli makes white chocolate bars and chips (use the bars for this one).  It's the best white chocolate I've found.  Everything else I've ever seen is called "premiere white" or something and seems really sketch in my opinion.  The rice krispies made it very light and crispy.  I'd like to try out a few variations of this recipe at some point.

White Chocolate Peppermint Bark

1 lb white chocolate, chopped
2 cups rice cereal
1 bag (7.5 oz) peppermint candies, crushed

1. Spray a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; line with a piece of waxed paper.

2. Place white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in rice cereal.

3. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; with a spatula, spread to edges of pan.

4. Sprinkle with crushed candy; with a piece of waxed paper covering the entire surface, press in gently. Chill until firm, 20 to 30 minutes (no longer, as candy will begin to soften).

5. Peel waxed paper off. Break bark into 2-inch pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year, New Recipes

I've thought and thought about a good New Year's Resolutions.  So besides being more productive with my lesson plans I'm thinking of trying out a new recipe every week.  I did this for a while last year but after moving to my new apartment and having computer issues I got off track.  

So, Happy New Year.  My first recipe I actually made yesterday for my New Year's gathering at my apartment and it's another Ina classic.  I bought another Barefoot Contessa cookbook several days ago with some Christmas money and this recipe had to be tried out immediately.  
They were just the right amount of sweetness and very chewy.  I have to admit I don't even think I've ever eaten a Macaroon until I made these but I'm pretty sure these are better than all the rest.  

Coconut Macaroons
~Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Makes 20-22 cookies
14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut 
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature 
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or 2 teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.