Written on November 4, 2013 at 5:00 am , by Naomi Robinson
I’m just going to start off by telling you that this Banana-Coconut Coffee Cake was a huge hit in my family. Although that’s no surprise since they love banana bread and coffee in any variation.
Along with that, the crunchy sweet streusel was an added plus that actually made it everyone’s favorite part.
For this recipe the only tweak I made was to swap out the macadamia nuts for pecans in the streusel and I added a ½ cup of mini chocolate chips. Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe. And just for the record, when I do get my hands on some macadamias, I will be making this recipe with it. I think the combination of macadamia and bananas in a coffee cake is gonna be killer.
For now, I can guarantee you, whatever nut you go with for the streusel, the bananas and coconut add so much that this recipe will end up in your regular rotation for coffee cake variations.
Written on October 29, 2013 at 11:02 am , by Naomi Robinson
Since it’s pumpkin season, I thought I’d hit some of the classics. This is one I’ve made several times and has pretty much become standard issue for my family during the holidays. Sure you can go do a pumpkin cheesecake straight up, or you can do this Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake with a brulee top.
The brulee top is a tweak I added. My family likes the contrast of the creamy cheesecake against the layer of crunchy carmelized sugar. Of course you can skip that and just top it with some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. If you do decide to go with the brulee top, make sure that it is done just prior to serving, for maximum crunch. And on that note, to stay ahead, this Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake can be made up to two days in advance and kept loosely covered in the refrigerator.
To brulee the top, hold your kitchen torch two inches above the sugar and move it in a circular motion until the sugar creates a carmelized top. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can use the broiler for two to three minutes—just make sure you keep a watchful eye while so the top doesn’t burn and you may need to rotate it to prevent “spotted” burning.
As for what type of sugar to use to create the brulee top, my preference is for demerara sugar, it has a slight molasses flavor and because the grain is slightly smaller than raw sugar, it melts faster and more evenly. Want to knowhow I know that? Take a look at the picture above, I used raw sugar, and you can see the brulee top is spotty and not even. You can also use granulated sugar, but if you do, I would suggest using a torch and not the broiler, since it takes slightly longer to caramelize and you will have more control with a kitchen torch.
Written on October 21, 2013 at 6:00 am , by Naomi Robinson
Sometimes cake is in order. For me that happens more often than for most people. That said, it should be no surprise when I tell you cake is my favorite food. The problem arises when I want it is—what kind?
Sure a classic chocolate is what I usually grab for, but this time around I wanted something different. Something I’ve had before but never actually made myself, well at least not in a cake form.
The order: Boston Cream Pie.
Let me just be straight with you—make this. It’s lovely and rich in vanilla with the pastry cream. Perfect in texture—bodied, but not heavy, light but not airy. Of course I did give it a chocolate ganache vs. a chocolate glaze – for an added chocolate rich.
Along with all that, it’s extremely easy to make and assemble. I would suggest that you make the pastry a day in advance, so you aren’t waiting around for it chill and set before using. For that matter, the cake can easily be made a day ahead and brought to room temperature prior to serving.
Written on October 13, 2013 at 1:00 am , by Naomi Robinson
Since Halloween is around the corner, I’m jumping ahead and staying on track with retailers by thinking Christmas. Yes, Christmas—and my annual holiday cookie boxes for gifting. Yep, the box just got a new addition with these Brown Sugar Ice-box Cookies.
This is also a recipe featured in Better Homes and Gardens new book Baking, which I should mention is a must-have for any baker. It’s full of recipes that are modern classics with notes for twists, turns and adaptations to making some of them your own. Along with that, it also contains a great chapter on baking basics, tips for success and suggestions for a few quick short cuts.
This recipe is one of those highly adaptable ones that uses filberts in the recipes, but as suggested, any nuts will do. I used almonds, instead of filberts and I rimmed mine with sugar crystals rather than crushed nuts. And the only methodology I changed, if you can even call that, is instead of placing my rolled cookie dough log in a glass to keep its shape—I took my rolled dough log and stuffed it in a paper towel tube. I learned this trick a few years back and have since found it works beautifully and is a great way for freezing ice-box style cookie dough.
As for the taste, it’s nutty, with a subtle taste of caramel from the brown sugar and the texture is moist and crumbly like an ice-box cookie should be. The other thing I really like about it is, it’s the kind of cookie to hold-up well during shipping—another reason it is being added into the rotation for my annual holiday cookie box
Written on October 9, 2013 at 11:12 am , by Naomi Robinson
This pumpkin roll is the kind of classic dessert that deserves a spot in your traditional repertoire. It’s a dessert that is simple in preparation and composition.
Admittedly, I made this recipe for the first time this year and have since made it three more times. And I’m betting that there will be another before the holidays are over.
For a slight variation on this recipe be sure to check out the Pumpkin Roll with Crunchy Butter Cream.
Written on September 30, 2013 at 8:21 am , by Naomi Robinson
One of the great things about BHG’s recipe index, is it provides a lot of basic recipes that can be used as building blocks. For this recipe, I started with this easy-to-make bread pudding found here. From there, I swapped out the french bread for cinnamon rolls that I cut into 1/4 inch slices and toasted. Next I decided to pair it with the caramel sauce found in this recipe, but I had to swap out the bourbon for rum, since rum is what I had on hand.
And yes, it would have been perfectly great just to slice and serve it like that, but I’m already thinking ahead to the holidays and wanted to try this as a trifle. I’m not exactly sure what it is about trifles—but I love them—maybe it’s the layered look, maybe it’s the individualized preparation and serving.
Whatever it maybe for you, make this. Because it’s not going to matter if you layer it in a trifle or slice, serve and then top it with whipped cream, your guests will probably only care about the taste. And let me say, the taste does not fail, the cinnamon rolls as the bread pairs beautifully with the caramel rum and whipped cream.