Sunday, December 22, 2013

Baking For All Occasions Lemon-Scented Pull Apart Coffee Cake

Joel wrote in my cookbook under this recipe, "This is in the same class as those orange rolls Toni makes: UNTOUCHABLE! I hid the leftovers away and ate the entire loaf all by myself with-in the two to three days after Toni baked this. I could eat this EVERY DAY for the rest of my life (with milk) a NEW FAVE!!! Love Joel July 2011" See my first post.

Read about the author of his great cookbook, Flo Braker.  This is a wonderful cookbook. I don't know why I don't use it more than I do but when I do we are always impressed.

Just so you have a heads up about the time this recipe takes:
2 raise times at 1 hour each
30 minute cook time
15 minute rest time
20 minute mix time
The pizza cutter makes quick work of this coffee cake.

Before it raises..

and after..

I made candied lemons to garnish the coffee cake. Recipe from Martha Stewart.

190 degrees is perfection for bread!!

I had to prop this would not stay in its shape.

The frosting is fantastic also.

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Lemon-Scented Pull-Apart Coffee Cake Recipe

Sweet dough

  • About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
 Lemon filling
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (from 2 to 3 lemons, preferably organic)
  • 1 tablespoons finely grated orange zest, preferably organic
  • 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
 Cream cheese icing
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Sweet Dough

  • 1. Stir together 2 cups (9 ounces) of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter over low heat just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and set aside until warm (120 to 130°F [49 to 54°C]), about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract.
  • 2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing just until incorporated after each addition. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.
  • 3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tablespoon flour and turn the dough onto the flour. Knead gently until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons flour only if the dough is unworkably sticky. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in a warm place (about 70°F [21°C]) until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for the next step. 
Lemon Filling
  • 4. While the dough is rising, in a small bowl, mix together the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. Set aside. (The sugar draws out moisture from the zests to create a sandy-wet consistency, so don’t be alarmed when you see this.)
  • Assemble the coffee cake
  • 5. Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
  • 6. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted butter generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture over a buttered rectangle. Top with a second rectangle and sprinkle it with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the zest-sugar mixture. Repeat with the remaining dough rectangles and zest-sugar mixture, ending with a stack of 5 rectangles. Work carefully when adding the crumbly zest filling, or it will fall off when you have to lift the stacked pastry later.
  • 7. Slice the stack crosswise through the 5 layers to create 6 equal strips, each about 4 by 2 inches. Fit these layered strips into the prepared loaf pan, cut edges up and side by side. (While there is plenty of space on either side of the 6 strips width wise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking.) Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. Press the dough gently with a fingertip. If the indentation remains, the dough is ready for baking.
  • 8. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 9. In a medium bowl with a rubber spatula, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  • 10. To remove the coffee cake from the pan, tilt and rotate the pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the coffee cake, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully lift off the pan. Invert another rack on top, invert the cake so it is right side up, and remove the original rack.
  • 11. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the icing. Using a pastry brush, coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it. (Cover and refrigerate the leftover icing for another use. It will keep for up to 2 days.)
  • 12. Serve the coffee cake warm or at room temperature. To serve, you can pull apart the layers, or you can cut the cake into 1-inch-thick slices on a slight diagonal with a long, serrated knife. If you decide to cut the cake, don’t attempt to cut it until it is almost completely cool.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Eggnog Cheesecake for Christmas

Notes on the side of my cookbook say, "I don't remember ever enjoying a cheese cake like this! This is so fulfilling." -Joel

"The most wonderful texture! Even if I am still not a fan of eggnog flavor." -Toni

This is yet another great recipe out of  The Pastry Queen Christmas. See list of wonderful recipes on my sticky toffee page.

Chocolate Cookie Crusted Eggnog Cheesecake



  • 40 Oreo cookies, processed to form crumbs (about 3 3/4 cups crumbs)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted


  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 3/4 cups high-quality eggnog
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap a single sheet of aluminum foil around the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent leakage.
  3. In large bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter, stir until combined.
  4. Firmly press the crumb mixture into the springform pan to cover the bottom and about three-fourths of the way up the sides.

  5. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. (be sure to scrape down sides of bowl).
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, then the egg yolk, beating on medium-low speed after each addition until combined.
  7. Add the sour cream and eggnog separately, beating on low speed after each addition.
  8. Stir in the nutmeg and salt.
  9. Pour the batter into the crumb-lined pan.
  10. Set the pan a larger baking pan and place it in the oven. Use a teakettle to pur enough boiling water into the baking pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  11. Bake for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges and is a light golden brown; the filling should jiggle slightly in the middle.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving (and up to 4 days.).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Baked Barley from "Pinch of Salt Lake"

Simple ingredients to make a mouthwatering side dish. Fresh mushrooms are great but in a pinch we use canned and it is just fine. Makes for a wonderful left over.

After it is baked, I feel like it is the most unattractive side but give it a stir and it becomes beautiful.

Deliciously Simple Baked Barley

1/2 cup butter (I used 1/4 cup last time and it was fine)
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (or 2 cans drained)
1 cup instant barely
2 cup canned french onion soup (I use 1 can and the rest water with beef buillion)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup grated cheese (I have never put the cheese on)

In a large skillet saute mushrooms in butter; add barley and let it brown. Pour soup into a buttered 2 quart baking dish. Add water, barley, and mushrooms. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-75 minutes. Just before serving top with grated cheese.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cook's Illustrated Stew

 Beef Stew

Serves 6 to 8.   Published January 1, 2010.   From Cook's Illustrated.

medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
anchovy fillets , finely minced (about 2 teaspoons)
tablespoon tomato paste
boneless beef chuck-eye roast (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (see note and step by step below)
tablespoons vegetable oil
large onion , halved and cut from pole to pole into 1/8-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
medium carrots , peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
cups red wine (see note)
bay leaves
sprigs fresh thyme
ounces salt pork , rinsed of excess salt (see note)
pound Yukon gold potatoes , scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2
cups frozen pearl onions , thawed
teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin (about 1 packet)
cup water
cup frozen peas , thawed

Table salt and ground black pepper 

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine garlic and anchovies in small bowl; press with back of fork to form paste. Stir in tomato paste and set mixture aside.
  2.  Pat meat dry with paper towels. Do not season. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over high heat until just starting to smoke. Add half of beef and cook until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total, reducing heat if oil begins to smoke or fond begins to burn. Transfer beef to large plate. Repeat with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, leaving second batch of meat in pot after browning.
  3.  Reduce heat to medium and return first batch of beef to pot. Add onion and carrots to Dutch oven and stir to combine with beef. Cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits, until onion is softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until no dry flour remains, about 30 seconds.
  4.  Slowly add wine, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any browned bits. Increase heat to high and allow wine to simmer until thickened and slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, bay leaves, thyme, and salt pork. Bring to simmer, cover, transfer to oven, and cook for 11/2 hours.
  5. Remove pot from oven; remove and discard bay leaves and salt pork. Stir in potatoes, cover, return to oven, and cook until potatoes are almost tender, about 45 minutes.
  6. Using large spoon, skim any excess fat from surface of stew. Stir in pearl onions; cook over medium heat until potatoes and onions are cooked through and meat offers little resistance when poked with fork (meat should not be falling apart), about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
  7. Increase heat to high, stir in softened gelatin mixture and peas; simmer until gelatin is fully dissolved and stew is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.