Apfel Kaffee Kuchen (Apple Coffee Cake)

Originally posted on October 9, 2011

“Dass ist Apfelkuchen? Nein, dass ist kein Apfelkuchen.  Dass ist Kirchkuchen.”

Usually you learn another language before you go and visit a foreign speaking  country.  Well… I’m doing the opposite.  After returning from my trip, I downloaded a few “Learn German by Podcasts” to listen to on my way to and from school each day.  It is quite entertaining!  My favorite podcast is, shockingly, the visit to the bakery.

A man walks into the bakery and asks for a piece of cake and then asks what kind of cake it is.  “Is that apple cake?  No, it is not apple cake.  It is cherry cake.”

Apple cake??  What in the world is apple cake?  I had to find out.  I did a little research, and found a few examples including this one on smittenkitchen.  Apple cake looked…ok, but I wanted my apple cake to be different.  I wanted it to be along the lines of coffee cake.  Solution: make an apple coffee cake!

I used my favorite coffee cake recipe from the Waldemar cookbook and added a layer of apples at the bottom.  I had some leftover buttermilk, so I replaced the regular milk with that.  Instead of using all of the butter in the cake (it is pretty rich), I substituted ¾ of the butter with unsweetened apple sauce.  It came out delicious!

I just want to make it clear, that if you walk into a bakery in Germany and ask for a piece of apple cake (“Ich möchte ein Stück Apfelkuchen”) that what you get will likely not be anything like this cake.  **Sidenote: I went back to Germany this past May and could not find any apple cake!  I finally settled on ordering Apple Strudel (in German I might add) which only led to more confusion because for the rest of the meal the waitress thought I spoke German. **

As for my German, I can ask for apple cake, but I still can’t count to ten.  I’m not sure how this is going to help me the next time I’m in a panic at a train station in Austria at 6:45 in the morning because I don’t know any German and I got off at the wrong train stop.  (Don’t worry, I still made it to the airport in time for my flight despite running to another train station with 3 bags and missing my train by one minute – silly Germans and their punctuality!)

Apple Coffee Cake (Adapted from the Waldemar Coffee Cake)

Bottom Layer
3 apples pealed and chopped
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cake Batter
3/8 cup applesauce
1/8 cup butter (2 Tbsp.)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
½ Tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Topping
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup butter, cold

Preheat oven to 375.
Toss the apples with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside
In a mixing bowl, cream applesauce, softened butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and continue to beat.
Sift together in a separate bowl: flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir in flour mixture and milk, alternating.
Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Put the apples at the bottom of a 9×9 pan.
Add cake batter on top.
Bake in oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together sugar and cinnamon for the topping.  Cut in the butter.

Take the cake out of oven and sprinkle the topping over the cake.
Bake for an additional 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies

Originally posted on June 26, 2011

I was throwing a dessert party for a couple of friends who were moving to Utah last week (we miss you already, Alison and Ryan!!).  Everything was under control, and I was going to have all of the desserts ready in plenty of time for the party.  I had already made a strawberry shortcake, and my brownies were cooling on the counter.  I went to flip the brownie onto a plate… and it came out mush!  I don’t know what happened… maybe the oven had gotten turned off, or I messed up the timer, I’m not sure.  I love my brownies a little gooey, so I didn’t think anything of it when I took them out of the oven.  These, however, were un-servable.  What do I do next?

I opened up my cooking notebook and flipped to the page for almond glazed sugar cookies, and settled on them immediately.  I put the butter in the microwave, went to scoop some flour in the bowl… and I was out of flour!  I’m never out of flour.  I usually have multiple bags in the lazy susan (hehe, I love that name).  Forty five minutes before the party was to begin, I ran to the store, picked up some flour, and by the time people arrived the cookies were on the plate.  These cookies have an amazing almond flavor in both the cookie and the icing and were definitely a hit.

It is not a typo in the recipe – you do not need eggs – it makes them extra flakey and delicious.  So, the next time you are in a bind because your brownies did not cook, or you don’t have any eggs, try out this recipe.  You won’t be disappointed.

Citation: My best friend in college, Alison Shermeta, gave me this recipe.  Her mom used to make them – both she and her mom are amazing cooks, and these cookies prove it.  Alison has the most beautiful food blog (http://threehundredfiftydegrees.wordpress.com/).

Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine (no need to use a mixer):
1 cup soft butter
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder

Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet.  Then flatten with a buttered glass dipped in sugar (or use your fingers to flatten).
Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Cool 1 minute and remove from cookie sheet.  Cool completely.

Icing:
Stir together glaze with wire wisk:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
4 to 5 tsp. water

Decorate cooled cookies with glaze as desired.

Jaffa Cookies

Originally posted on September 13, 2011

This is only the second cookie I have ever made that is dipped in chocolate.  It just happens that I am making them back-to-back.  Besides both being dipped in chocolate, they were also both inspired by my trip to Europe.  Eventually this inspiration will stop, but I still have a couple more things up my sleeve all stemming from the trip.  What can I say?  It was a pretty awesome trip.

I was visiting Louisville over Memorial Day weekend, and Erin’s mom gave me a recipe for some “Orange-Chocolate Cookies.”  Their family loves them, and they thought the cookies would be perfect for the blog.  While I was sure that some people would find them tasty, they didn’t sound up my alley.  Orange marmalade in a cookie?  I put the recipe aside to make for Erin’s birthday in October.

While I was in London, my friend Dave asked me to pick up some “Jaffa Cakes” and sent me the following description: “Jaffa is in the shape of a circle, about 3in. in diameter, flat, and made of golden cake w/ chocolate icing and an orange filing.  A delicious after-dinner treat.” I couldn’t find the cakes in London but did manage to find a knock-off brand in Germany.

After returning home from my trip and delivering Dave his cakes, I was cleaning off my desk and ran across the orange cookie recipe.  Sure enough, it was exactly like the Jaffa cakes but with a cookie base instead of a cake base.  Since TWO of my good friends loved this flavor combination, I thought I had better test it out.  As they promised, it was amazing.  I had one cookie, waited a few minutes, and picked up another.  I had to pack up the cookies on plates to give away in order to avoid eating the entire batch.  That night, I walked in my door after dinner and immediately regretted my decision not to save just one more for myself.  They really would be a “delicious after-dinner treat” (or really and “any-time-of-the-day treat”).

Oh, and one last tid-bit that makes this story even better: Erin and Dave are dating.  Must be because of their shared love of orange marmalade.

CITATION: I adapted these cookies from an April 2005 “Traditional Home” recipe for “Kosta House Orange-Chocolate Cookies.”  It is apparently a Swedish cookie.  I added some sea salt to the cookie dough as well as a little more orange juice to give it an additional orange flavor.  I substituted dark chocolate for bittersweet chocolate and finished it off with just a sprinkle of salt at the end.

Jaffa Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

orange peel from 1 orange

juice from 1 orange

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

½ cup (approximate) Orange marmalade

3 oz. Dark Chocolate, chopped

1 tsp. shortening

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolk, orange peel, and orange juice.
Slowly add the flour and salt, stirring instead of beating for the last edition.
Roll the dough in to a log.  At this point, I put the dough in the refrigerator, and I think it made them easier to work with.  When ready, cut the dough into slices, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and stick your thumb into each cookie, making an indent.
Fill the thumbprint with marmalade.
Bake cookies in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool.
In a microwavable bowl, put the dark chocolate and a spoonful of shortening.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted, stirring after each round.  Dip each cookie into the chocolate, covering about ½ of the cookie.  Sprinkle with sea salt (optional).

Eat dinner and then enjoy a cookie or two.

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Originally posted on June 13, 2011

Nothing says summer like strawberries and whipped cream.

I made pound cake last week (see Nina’s Pound Cake).  I took some to school for friends, but I still had about half of it left over, so I popped it in the freezer.  My mom gave me a trifle dish a few years ago which I have used to serve fruit salad on numerous occasions, but I had never used it for it’s real purpose: a trifle.  Since I already had the pound cake, this was the perfect opportunity.  I searched around the internet and found a good recipe for cream that wouldn’t liquefy in the fridge.

The whole process is super easy.

Cut up some strawberries.  Sprinkle with Sugar.

Cut up sound pound cake (homemade or store bought)

3.     Beat together 1 cup of heavy cream, 8 oz. of cream cheese, and 2 tsp. of vanilla.  In the future, I’d probably add a little sugar.

4.   Assemble:
Place a layer of pound cake on the bottom of your trifle dish.

Add a layer of whipped cream.


Top of with strawberries.


Repeat.

You’re done!

Citation: I had the idea for the whipped cream / cream cheese mixture from here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/patriotic-berry-trifle-recipe/index.html

Nina’s Pound Cake

Originally posted on June 1st, 2011

In 8th grade, our entire class took a 14-hour bus trip across Texas (yes, Texas is that big) to Big Bend National Park to camp out for the week.  The longest and hardest hike of the week was the “Blue Creek.”  We packed PB & Jelly sandwiches and a few snacks to carry us through the hike, but the last couple hours of the hike were especially brutal: the pretty sights were over, we were all hungry, and the hike consisted of switch-back after switch-back.   In order to pass time, we started brainstorming different foods I would sell if I owned a restaurant at the bottom of the mountain – I think the name was going to be “Blue Creek Café” or something equally as creative.  After awhile, the conversation evolved into us just naming all of our favorite foods.  Someone brought up pound cake.  Alex T. then said that the way you can determine whether a pound cake is good or not is if you smash your fork into it and the pound cake squishes through the fork.   Every time I have pound cake now, I have to do the test.  This recipe passes with flying colors.

This particular recipe comes from Nina who taught me how to cook.  I used to just sit in the kitchen and watch her make banana bread (I once ate a whole (mini) loaf in one sitting and then had to go take a long nap), chicken fried steak (my favorite), and all sorts of other things.  She rarely used a recipe – she just knew what to add.  Most of the time the ingredients were ‘heaping’ and she’d stop adding when it seemed right.  Of the hundreds of things she used to make, I only have a few recipes, and this is one of them.  Nina turned 89 yesterday – happy birthday!!

Citation: Nina Perkins

Nina’s Pound Cake

3 cups flour
3 sticks butter
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 T vanilla
1 cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon baking soda, mixed into the sour cream.

Grease a bunt pan well (I recommend using butter and flour to make sure the cake comes out smoothly).
Mix together all of the ingredients and pour into the pan.
Bake at 325 for 1 hour to 1 ¼ hours.

Serve by itself or with some strawberries.

The sour cream is what makes the cake so moist.

Dark Chocolate Cookies

Originally posted on May 25, 2011

Erin Frankrone (last name best pronounced in a German accent) would like to take credit for my love of salt and chocolate.  While I’m not sure that is true, she can definitely take credit for this cookie recipe.  She made these for my birthday, and I was immediately in love with them.

I actually wrote a history paper in college on chocolate… and I only wish I could recall some interesting facts from it to report here.  Maybe I should dig it up and turn it into my next economics paper.  I’m sure my advisers would love that.  I do know that cocoa is not bad for you, rather it is the sugar, cream, and butter that often goes along with chocolate that gives it the bad name.  On the “Today” show this morning, they even mentioned a little dark chocolate as a healthy snack if you need to satisfy your chocolate craving.  Although, I’m not sure they had these cookies in mind when they said that.  Additionally, I once heard about a study that found that dark chocolate lovers tend to be more
intelligent.  I’d like to see their evidence…

To best take advantage of the dark chocolate this recipe calls for, I went with Trader Joe’s
“The Dark Chocolate Lover Chocolate Bar” which is 85% cocoa (most dark chocolates are just 75%).  It was their cheapest dark chocolate too!!

Citation: This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart Living Chocolate Cookie that calls for milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate.  I sprinkled on some extra sea salt, just to make sure you can’t eat just one.

Tip: If you make these for a boat / water skiing trip, then you might want to bring along some napkins.  If you don’t, the chocolate chunks melt in the sun, leaving you to lick your fingers.

Dark Chocolate Cookies:

1 Cup all purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp sea salt, plus more to sprinkle
½ pound good quality dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
Melt 4 oz. coarsely chopped chocolate with butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. (Alternatively, melt in microwave in 30 second increments.)

Make sure chocolate mixture is not too hot to cook the eggs.  Pour chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer.   Mix on medium speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture.  Fold in 4 oz. of chocolate chunks.

Drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.  Bake about 8 min.

Raspberry Squares

I’m testing out a new blog!  I actually set this domain up prior to starting my old blog, so I’m trying it again!  I’m starting with this old post really because I wanted to pin in on pinterest for some side/dessert ideas I was having about a cookout.

I’m copying and pasting the old post here:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Golden Raspberries.  Ever heard of them?  I had not until last Saturday.  Mixed in with red raspberries, I thought they would be perfect for the cobbler I wanted to make on Sunday night.

Next step: find the perfect cobbler recipe.  I looked up all of my favorite food blogs and pulled out my cookbooks but nothing stood out.  I had something in mind but couldn’t put my finger on it.  Finally, I opened up the Waldemar Cookbook to look for the peach cobbler recipe that I remembered eating at camp.  I couldn’t find it, but what I did find was the cherry squares recipe.  That was it!  That’s what I wanted.  I would simply substitute the cherries with some raspberries, and replace the cherry sauce with some fresh whipped cream.  Done and Done.

Camp Waldemar… where I spent a month every summer for 7 years playing soccer, basketball, golf, tennis, volleyball; shooting archery and riflery; killing myself in war canoe (an 11 person wooden boat); chewing ice instead of drinking water; swimming in the Guadalupe; oh, and eating incredibly well.  I recommend the cookbook, and if you buy it, I’ll tell you all of my favorites (everything except the cheese soufflé).

This recipe is so easy, it’s embarrassing.  It is delicious with raspberries, and my dad loves it with canned cherries.  You really can’t see the golden raspberries once it is cooked, so I’d just stick with whatever is cheaper.

Check out the cookbook for the cherry sauce that is so delicious you will want to eat it by the spoonful.

Raspberry Squares (adopted from Camp Waldemar Cherry Squares)

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Stir together:
3 pints raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add all of these ingredients and pop in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Crust / Topping
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter

Sift together flour and sugar.  I do not own a sifter, so I just stir it with a fork.  Cut in 1 stick of unsalted butter.  Press 1/2 of crust onto the bottom of a square 8×8 or 9×9 inch pan.
Place the raspberries on top.  Sprinkle the rest of the crust on top.
Bake in 375 degree oven for about 45 min. until bubbling and the crust is a golden color (check out the pictures).