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Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Light, Moist Fruitcake Bundt

Sour Cream Fruitcake

Dried Cranberries

Sultanas

[1] A light, moist fruitcake for people who don’t like the dense ones, from King Arthur Flour. [2] No candied citron here, just dried fruits! Use dried cranberries instead of cherries for a seasonal touch (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). In Merrie Olde England, where fruitcake began, they didn’t have cranberries. [3] Sultanas, or golden raisins, add more brightness than their dark purple relatives (photo courtesy BT.com).

 

Today is National Cake Day. What cake should you consider?

Fruitcake of course! Even though National Fruitcake Day isn’t for another month, on December 27th, why should you wait?

We love a good fruitcake. While most people have had bad experiences with commercial fruitcakes, here’s a quick and easy solution from King Arthur Flour that is both light and moist, thanks to sour cream.

This tasty fruitcake from King Arthur Flour features a sour cream pound cake base and a filling of dried fruits: cherries, apricots, pineapple and golden raisins. If you don’t like candied fruits, this is the cake for you! Pecans or walnuts complete the picture.

  • For a more colorful cake, add 1 to 1-3/4 cups of red candied cherries to the other fruit.
  • If you’d just like a simple pound cake, omit the fruits altogether and bake it in two pans instead of three.
  • If you’re an aficionado of citron and other candied fruits, feel free to substitute them.
  •  
    TIPS

  • If using a 10-cup (10″) bundt-style pan or several smaller pans, adjust the baking time accordingly. No matter what pan(s) you use, don’t fill them more than three-quarters full, or you’ll be cleaning blackened cake batter off the floor of your oven.
  • If you’re making the cakes well ahead of serving, brush them with brandy or rum before wrapping tightly and storing at room temperature. If desired, sprinkle with glazing sugar or frost with a light glaze before serving.
  •  
    RECIPE: SOUR CREAM FRUITCAKE

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or cherries, sour or sweet
  • 1 cup dried apricots, diced, or slivered dried apricots
  • 2 cups golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup brandy or rum, for soaking the fruit
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening or 1 cup (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup brandy or rum, to add to the cake batter
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • Optional: vanilla or rum raisin ice cream for serving
  • Preparation

    1. SOAK the fruit: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together the dried fruits and the 1/2 cup brandy or rum.
    Set the fruit aside for 2 hours or longer. Stir occasionally, so the fruit absorbs the liquor evenly.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour three 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans. Alternately, line them with parchment, leaving an overhang on each side and securing the paper with metal binder clips.

    3. MAKE the cakes: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the shortening, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy after each addition. Stir in the brandy or rum.

    4. WHISK together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add half the flour to the shortening mixture, and mix well. Add the sour cream, beating all the time, then add the remaining flour and blend well. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally to be sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

    5. STIR in the fruits (they should have absorbed all the liquid; if not, don’t drain them) and the nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.

    6. BAKE the cakes for 55 to 65 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

    7. STORE, well-wrapped, for 5 days at room temperature. Freeze for up to 3 months.

     
      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Spicy Brownies

    Sea Salt Brownie

    Sea Salt Brownie

    We [heart] spicy Mayan brownies (photos courtesy The Grommet).

     

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery is an artisanal baked goods company that re-imagines classic treats, by adding finishing salts and exotic spices.

    These extras turn the cookies and brownies into decidedly adult fare.

    We love brownies—great ones—and are always on the prowl for what’s different and delicious.

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery makes five brownie flavors. The one that called out to us was the Mayan, “the brownie that bites you back.”

    Seasoned as the original Mayan chocolate was, with cinnamon, and cayenne, it’s topped with Halen Môn (Anglesey), crunchy sea salt flakes.

    In the Mayan and later Aztec cultures, chocolate* was only available to the nobility, wealthy merchants and honored warriors.

    Unleash your inner warrior and try a few.

    Other flavors include:

  • The Brownie, a classic with Halen Môn sea salt
  • The Kona, with espresso and Hawaiian Kona sea salt
  • The OMGCB, with caramel and French sel gris
  • The Nutty One, with peanut butter, and French sel gris
  •  
    ABOUT SALT OF THE EARTH PRODUCTS

    The line is all-natural and certified kosher by OK-D. The chocolate is 100% Fair Trade USA certified chocolate from Guittard.

    Salt Of The Earth Bakery is commited to the environment, from sustainable packaging, to recycling to maximizing eco-friendly power sources such as solar and hydro energy.
     
    GET YOUR BROWNIES

    Three boxes of 2 brownies each (1.6 ounces per brownie) are $15.00 at SaltOfTheEarthBakery.com.

    There are also gift packs of brownies and cookies.
     
    ________________
    *For the first few thousand years of its existence, chocolate was a beverage. Solid chocolate was first created in the 19th century, in Europe. Check out the Chocolate Timeline.

     
      

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    RECIPE: Sour Cream Walnut Apple Pie Inspired By The Little Pie Company

    Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

    Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

    Sour Cream Apple Pie Recipe

    Kosher Gourmet Cuisine

    [1] Who doesn’t love an extra-thick layer of streusel (photo The Little Pie Company)? [2] A version with less streusel: hmmm (photo courtesy MyRecipes.com). [3] Fortunately, the recipe makes two of these (photo courtesy Kosher Gourmet Cuisine). [4] The latest cookbook from Esther Deutsch is a gourmet kosher cookbook (photo courtesy Philipp Feldheim).

     

    Denizens of Manhattan can agree on one thing: The Little Pie Company makes the best apple pie in the city. Called Sour Cream Walnut Apple Pie, it is a memorable AP experience.

    Not your basic apple pie, the bakery’s signature pie is made with Granny Smith apples, fresh sour cream and topped with brown sugar, cinnamon and walnut streusel. The sour cream creates a slightly piquant counterpoint to the sweetness of the pie.

    The Little Pie Company recipe is a closely held secret, but some intrepid bakers have done their best to emulate it.

    This version was adapted from a recipe created by Esther Deutsch, a New York–based food stylist, columnist, recipe developer and cookbook author.

    Don’t halve the recipe and make only one pie. Trust us, the first one will disappear and you’ll pine for another.

    You can order them from the Little Pie Company, or visit the stores in the theater district. You can buy small, medium and large pies to go; or sit down with a slice and a beverage of choice.

    RECIPE: SOUR CREAM APPLE WALNUT PIE

    In her recipe, Esther:

  • Uses store-bought frozen pie crusts. If you want to make your own crusts, freeze them because the apples are cooked in frozen crusts…or cook for a shorter period.
  • Uses three different apples in the filling, to provide for different flavors and textures.
  •  
    Ingredients For 2 Pies
     
    For The Crust:

  • 2 9-inch frozen deep-dish pastry shells
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 1¼ cups sour cream
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
  • 3 Cortland apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 Gala or McIntosh apple, thinly sliced
  •  
    For The Streusel

  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. MAKE the filling: In a large bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, egg and vanilla. Stir in the sliced apples. Pour the filling into the two frozen pastry shells and bake for 55 minutes.

     
    3. PREPARE the walnut streusel topping: In a bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add the softened butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the two pies and bake until golden, 30 minutes longer. If the crust gets golden brown before the time is up, tent it with foil.

    4. COOL at room temperature for several hours before serving. If the pie has been refrigerated, bring to room temperature before serving.
     
      

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Gingerbread Scone Mix

    November 21st is National Gingerbread Day…and also a reminder that it’s easy to make gingerbread scones with a $6.95 gourmet boxed mix from King Arthur Flour.

    We typically give small gifts to our Thanksgiving guests, and last year it was these scone mixes (this year it’s the Gingerbread Cake and Cookie Mix).

    The one-pound box makes 8 to 16 scones, depending on size. The mix is certified kosher by CRC.

    They’re whole grain, too, made with white whole wheat flour.

    The mix is certified kosher by CRC.

    The 1-pound box of mix makes 8 to 16 scones, depending on how you portion them.

    And you can use it to make gingerbread loaf, coffeecake, muffins, pancakes and shortcake.

    Get yours at KingArthurFlour.com.

    THE HISTORY OF GINGER

    Since ancient times, the Chinese and Indians used ginger root as medicine. Ginger originated in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia.

    By the first century, it had been introduced in the Mediterranean via India and became a popular spice in Rome. It fell from use with the fall of the Roman Empire fell, to return during medieval times as a spice for baked goods and other sweets.

    Ginger has been traded throughout history longer than most other spices. It was valued for its medicinal merits: it is a popular warming spice, a digestive aid, and sometimes used to treat flatulence and colic. Today, ginger is easily accessible in local grocery stores and throughout markets, but back in the 14th century it cost about the same amount as a live sheep or piece of livestock!

    Used as a medicine in medieval times, ginger became a popular holiday spice (it was too pricey to use year-round), most famously in gingerbread cookies.

    In 11th century northern European countries, it was used to flavor buttermilk drinks and over the next two centuries became used in cooking meats and in ginger pastes.

    During the 13th and 14th centuries, Arabs traders voyaging to Africa and Zanzibar planted the rhizomes, spreading the cultivation of the plant.

    Many ginger-flavored baked goods have evolved since then, from muffins to cakes. Today, we offer this recipe from King Arthur Flour for gingerbread scones: perfect weekend breakfast and brunch fare throughout the holiday season.

    THE HISTORY OF SCONES

    You may have heard two different pronunciations for “scone.” The word is pronounced “skahn” in Scotland and Northern England (rhymes with gone) and “skoan” in the south of England (rhymes with own), the pronunciation adopted by the U.S. and Canada.

    Which is the authentic one? They both are!

    Scones are traditionally connected with Scotland, Ireland and England, but exactly who deserves the honor of invention, no one knows for sure.

    Scones may well have originated in Scotland. The first known print reference, in 1513, is from a Scottish poet. However, in earlier eras, when communications were more limited, the creation of an actual item can have predated the first appearance of printed references by many years.

    Centuries ago, there weren’t newspapers that reported on the minutiae of life the way modern news sources do. There were no food columns in the local papers announcing that “McTavish Bakery has created a new griddle-fried oatcake called a scone—now available at 3 Sheepshead Lane.”

    In fact, there were few newspapers. Much of the population was not literate. So culinary historians rely on cookbooks and mentions in literature and other printed records. Given the perishability of paper, it is logical that many first-printed mentions of foods and other items may not have survived.

    What About The Name?

    One claim, probably not the best, says that scones are named for the Stone of Destiny at the Abbey Of Scone, a town upriver from Perth.

     

    Gingerbread Scones

    Gingerbread Scones

    Gingerbread Scone Mix

    Ginger Root

    Scone Pan

    [1] Triangle scones with icing. [2] Round scones with sparkling sugar. [3] Scones, pancakes, muffins and more come from one box of mix (all photos courtesy King Arthur Flour). [4] Ginger root (photo by Jan Schöne | SXC). [5] Long before baking pans were invented, scone dough was shaped into a round, cooked on a baking stone and cut into wedges. Modern bakers can use scone pans like this one from King Arthur Flour/

     
    It is a stone bench upon which Scottish kings once sat when they were crowned. The original was long ago removed to Westminster Abbey, and a replica stone stands in its place.

    Others say that the word derives from the Gaelic “sgonn” (rhymes with gone), a shapeless mass or large mouthful; the Dutch “schoonbrot,” fine white bread; and the closely-related German “sconbrot,” fine or beautiful bread. The Oxford English Dictionary favors the latter two.

    What About The Shape?

    Scones are related to the ancient Welsh tradition of cooking small round yeast cakes (leavened breads) on bakestones, and later on griddles. Long before the advent of baking pans, the dough—originally made with oats—was hand-shaped into a clarge round, scored into four or six wedges (triangles) and griddle-baked over an open fire.

    With the advent of stovetop and oven baking, the round of dough was cut into wedges and the scones were baked individually.

    Today’s scones are quick breads, similar to American biscuits. They are traditionally made with wheat flour, sugar, baking powder or baking soda, butter, milk and eggs, and baked in the oven—both in the traditional wedge form and in round, square and diamond shapes. This recipe produces a hard, dry texture.

    Traditional English scones may include raisins or currants, but are often plain, relying on jam, preserves, lemon curd or honey for added flavor—perhaps with a touch of clotted cream.

    Fancy scones—with dried fruit such as cranberries and dates, nuts, orange rind, chocolate morsels and other flavorings—are best enjoyed without butter and jam.

      

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    GIFTS OF THE DAY: Rum Cake, Espresso Cake, Bundt Cake, Gift Cake

    Rum Cake

    Espresso Bundt Cake

    Espresso Bundt Cake

    [1] Divine rum cakes in 6 flavors from Rum Sisters. [2] This expresso cake from 1812 House: a coffee lover’s dream cake. [3] A duo of small espresso bundt cakes with caramel sauce.

     

    GIFT #1: RUM SISTERS, RUM CAKES & MORE

    We’ve tried lots of rum cake. But the Rum Sisters make the best we’ve tried in recent memory.

    The business was begun by two friends who shared a love of baking, cake and alcohol.

    Not to mention the skills to make truly great whiskey-infused cakes.

    Not to mention the premium ingredients, including fine rum, bourbon, Irish whiskey and Kahlúa.

    These rum cakes are so good, we ate the whole sampler box—6 mini bundts-in two days. When there was not a crumb left, we cried plaintively: More! More!

    There’s a tempting selection:

  • Bushwacker: Named after the coastal frozen drink, this rum cake has a delicious infusion of coconut and chocolate..
  • Drunken Monkey: Touted as “the best banana bread ever,” this cake is infused with bourbon.
  • Keel Over: This version of a classic rum cake is infused with dark rum.
  • Spice It Up: Think of the carrot cake with raisin and spiced rum.
  • The Big “O”: Aged Irish Whiskey and Irish Cream distinguish combine in this special flavor.
  • Twisted Sista: This dark chocolate cake is infused with Kahlúa and finished with white chocolate rum, a “twisted” medley of flavors.
  • Gluten Free Cakes: Keel Over and Twisted Sista are both made in GF versions.
  •  
    Cakes are $25 (small) and $50 (large). Get acquainted with all six flavors in the Sumptuous Sampler of mini bundts, $30. (Regular folks might split one with a cup of tea, or eat half at a time.)

    Head to RumSisters.com.
     
    GIFT #2: ESPRESSO CAKE FOR COFFEE LOVERS

    Matthews 1812 House is a second-generation family business. The Matthews family started in 1979 in the family farmhouse in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut (the house was built in 1812).

    From a line of two fruitcakes, “baking racks in the hallways and people sorting apricots and pecans on the dining room table,” the company now has a dedicated facility a mile away, and a full line of specialty cakes into cookies, bars, and other sweet treats.

     
    The flavor we haven’t seen before is the Espresso Bundt Cake. If a cup of espresso can be transformed into a cake, this is it.

    The moist cake has a bold coffee flavor, a hint of cinnamon, and less sugar than most bundt cakes. That’s why you can easily add caramel sauce, ice cream or whipped cream.

    A large bundt cake is $29.00; two mini-bundts, called Duo Cakes, $15.00, are packaged with espresso caramel sauce that fits nicely in the top wells.

    Order at 1812House.com.

      

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