Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge- Filled Meringue Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.

I haven’t had a lot of luck when making yeast breads in the past, so I was a little nervous about this challenge.  It turned out that I had nothing to worry about!  The recipe is simple, the dough was rich and delicious, and the meringue layer was absorbed by the dough while baking, adding moisture.  I chose to fill my coffee cake with cinnamon sugar, pecans, and chocolate chips, and the resulting cake was perfect for either breakfast or dessert! 

Mixing the dough

I allowed the dough to rise for one hour

I rolled the dough into a rectangle and added the meringue, cinnamon sugar, pecans and chocolate chips

I rolled up the dough with the filling, and formed a ring

I allowed the filled dough to rise for another hour

After baking, I dusted the cake with powdered sugar just before serving

Filled Meringue Coffee Cake
Makes 2 coffee cakes
For the yeast coffee cake dough:
4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz.) water
½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter (room temperature)
2 large eggs (room temperature)

1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans
2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips

3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
Egg Wash:
1 egg

To Finish Coffee Cake:
Powdered sugar

Mix the yeast with ¼ cup lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon sugar.  Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, until it doubles in volume.
Combine 1 ½ cups of the flour, the sugar, the salt and the yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the milk, water and butter in a saucepan, and warm over medium heat until the butter is just melted. Slowly add the warm liquid to the flour mixture, beating with an electric mixture at low speed.  Once mixture is well blended, increase mixer speed and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup of flour and the eggs and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
Stir in the remaining flour with a wooden spoon, adding enough flour as necessary to form a dough that holds together.  Knead dough on a floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes, adding extra flour if needed. 
Place the dough in a bowl, lightly greased with vegetable oil.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a small towel, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour.
Prepare filling by mixing the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.
Once dough has doubled in size, make the meringue by placing the egg whites and salt in a clean plastic or metal bowl, and beat with an electric mixture at low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is foamy.  Add the vanilla, and continue beating at high speed while slowly adding the sugar.  Beat mixture until it holds stiff peaks.
Punch down the dough and divide it into 2 equal halves.  Roll out each half into a 20 x 10 inch rectangle.  Spread half of the meringue over each rectangle, and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar, pecans and chocolate chips.  Roll up the rectangles jelly-roll style, lengthwise, and pinch the seams to seal the roll.  Transfer the filled rolls to a lined baking sheet, and carefully bring the ends of the roll together to make a ring.  Pinch the ends together to seal.  Use a sharp knife to make cuts along the top of the ring, spacing the cuts 1 inch apart.
Cover the cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.  Beat an egg for the egg wash.  Brush the cakes with egg wash and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and well risen.  Allow cake to cool on a wire rack.  Dust the tops of the cakes with powdered sugar just before serving.

Adapted from the recipe for Filled Meringue Coffee Cake at
-Posted by Jennifer

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mint Oreo Truffles

Sooo, I wanted to make something to post for St. Patricks Day.  I did manage to make these in time, but somehow never could find the time to upload everything until now.  But I promise these will be delicious no matter when you make them!

Place 1 box Mint Oreos in food processor and process until finely ground
Mix in cream cheese using the back of a spoon
Using your hands, shape into balls - it can get quite messy
Place on wax-paper lined baking sheet and place in freezer
Once firm, dip in melted candy coating/almond bark/chocolate

Refrigerate until firm; add decorations if desired
I got the recipe from Bakerella but had to make a few minor changes.  The packages have been downsized, so I didn't quite have 32 cookies.  Also, I couldn't find Double Stuf Mint, so I decided to just use all the cream centers.
-Posted by Karen 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Flu Fighter Cookies

Would you rather go to the doctor's office and get a flu shot or eat one of these beauties?  Well, they may not be that effective, but when you combine the antiviral compounds of ginger, antioxidants of cranberries, selenium of oats, zinc of walnuts, and active cultures of yogurt, your immune system will get one hefty boost! 

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt
Cream the butter and brown sugar.  Then add the eggs, one at a time
Add molasses, yogurt, ginger and lemon zest and beat until smooth
Fold in the oats
Combine the toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, and golden raisins; mix half into dough
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet
Use the remaining cranberry/walnut/raisin mixture to top each cookie
Chill for 30 minutes, then bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Flu-Fighter Cookies

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes: about 30 cookies

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
½ cup old-fashioned oats
1 ¼ cups golden raisins
1 ¼ cups dried cranberries
1 ¼ cups roughly chopped walnuts, toasted

1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together.

2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the molasses, yogurt, ginger, and lemon zest.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour, being careful not to overmix (batter will be sticky).  Fold in the oats.  Mix the dried fruit and nuts in a small bowl; fold half the nut/fruit mixture into the batter.

3.  Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the parchment-lined baking sheets.  Use the remaining fruit/nut mixture to top each cookie.  Place in the refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes while your oven heats up to 375 degrees.

4.  Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes, or until dark golden but still soft.  Let cool on a wire rack.

-Adapted from the recipe in the October 2009 issue of Food Network Magazine or it can be found here on their website.