Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is truly beautiful. My husband and I both fell in love with it. I made it to serve to my book club on Tuesday and my family has demanded I make it again.


It is by no means low fat or low calorie, but it lacks nothing in taste and exquisiteness.

This recipe is from Ina Garten's
Barefoot Contessa Parties.

Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 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:

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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 tablespoons real maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-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 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 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 the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

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

Let cool on a wire rack for 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.

Then eat. Lots of it!

Slow Cooker Yam and Red Pepper Soup

This soup is absolutely divine!! It is so easy to make (slow cooker - so perfect for my life - chop it up in the morning and dinner is ready at supper time with no effort!) it is not funny. Most of my soups I tend to pour into the blender and mix in batches, but this one I just used my hand blender right inside the crock pot!

Can you tell I'm excited?

Slow Cooker Yam and Red Pepper Soup

Makes 6 to 8 servings

2 lbs yams, peeled and cubed

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cubed

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup orange juice mixed with 2 tablespoons flour

5 1/2 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

whipping cream

Combine the first 10 ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting 4 hours. (I actually left it a couple hours longer, and it tasted fantastic.)

Puree the soup with a hand-held blender.

Season the soup with salt and pepper. Garnish servings of the soup with a drizzle of the cream.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Kitchen Sink Cookies

These cookies are a family favourite and are absolutely delicious!!! Packed with everything except the "kitchen sink" . . .

Kitchen Sink Cookies (adapted from Martha Stewart)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and baking soda.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.
  4. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.
  5. Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.
  6. Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Birthday Cake

Thing 3 had her birthday on Friday and I decided to bake her a birthday cake. I started baking birthday cakes a couple years ago after I realized that it was MUCH cheaper than buying one and usually tasted better too.

Well, not always, but I am certainly getting better at baking cakes!

I went with this sheet cake recipe from Ina Garten. It turned out far from perfect but tasted quite yummy. I even borrowed my MIL's stand mixer so that I could follow all the steps to a "T".

The actual cake part turned out fairly bumpy - I wondered if it was because the size of my pan was slightly smaller than what they called for (I assure you, this is a gigantic cake).

Then I whipped up the icing - which also tasted delicious but was a little liquidy when I spread it. It firmed up nicely after I put it in the garage for 30 minutes.

I wanted to add cute pink letters for her on top of the cake. Yeah, that idea went down the drain as I remembered how hard it is to print with ICING.

But, all in all, the cake was delicious and she had a lovely little birthday.

I don't recommend you bake this cake unless you are having an actual birthday party with many kids attending. It's one BIG cake. We will be eating for days to come!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week of January 10, 2010

The weather is cold and I'm really looking forward to some warm, toasty crock pot meals this week! I have a couple new recipes on the menu this week, as I was in the mood to try something new.

I'm going to make a batch of these Kitchen Sink Cookies for the family this week - hopefully I will be able to keep my own fingers out of the cookie jar!

Sunday: Seared Beef and Oranges with Arugula
Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Chili
Tuesday: BLT Salad
Wednesday: Seared Red Chard, Crackers and Parmesan-Crusted Fish Fillets
Thursday: Leftovers/Freezer meal
Friday: Beef Stew
Saturday: Out for dinner

Monday, January 4, 2010

Week of January 4, 2010

Late getting my Menu Plan Monday in this week . . . been busy trying to get life all organized for the New Year! Most of these menus are for my kids and husband as I am trying to do a healthy detox plan for the next few days. We'll see how THAT works out (coming from the ultimate food lover!).

Monday: Macaroni and Cheese
Tuesday: Quesadillas
Wednesday: Easy and Kid-Friendly Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Chili (from freezer)
Friday: Salmon Pasta
Saturday: Seared Beef and Oranges with Arugula