Emeril’s Apple Coffee Cake

The Banker is not one for big breakfasts.  I gave up even asking if he wanted me to make anything years ago.  Now, Saturday mornings finds him running to the donut shop for the kids while I sleep in my warm, cozy bed.  So really, I’m thankful he doesn’t want me to cook in the morning.  I didn’t need the extra calories from pancakes anyway.

However, there is the occasional event that warrants something a little more special.  Like when you have house guests you want to impress.  Thank you JennyRambles for introducing me to the wonderful world of Apple Coffee Cake a la Emeril Legasse.

I’ll admit that this is a labor of love kind of dish.  It doesn’t exactly throw itself together and I seem to create plenty of dirty dishes in the process.  But a few dishes in the sink isn’t enough to scare me off.  Plus, The Banker normally starts in on those before I’m even putting the dish into the oven.

This wonderful breakfast treat will surely make your kitchen smell heavenly.  Whether you have house guests to impress, an occasion to celebrate or you just want a delicious apple cake, this is the recipe for you.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Emeril’s Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping

Prep time: 30-60 minutes (depends on how good you are in the kitchen)
Baking time: 45 minutes
Serves: 12 (or 8 really hungry people)

Original Recipe from Food Network

Cake:

  • 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.
  • For the topping, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl and mix with a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.
  • Bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

BTS Tip:

I have always skipped the Brown Sugar Glaze found in the original recipe.  I find the cake to be perfect without it and my leftovers aren’t soggy when I heat it up.

Chocolate Chubbies

Recently I was forced to take a day off from work and stay home to nurse Marshmellow’s nasty cold.

[Side note: as a mom, I have the hardest time deciding when a kid should stay home.  I mean…it’s a cold, right?  And the germs were more potent the week before we even knew there was an illness looming.  But the cough that morning sounded kinda nasty and she gave me sad puppy dog eyes.  So I changed back into my pajamas.]

The time at home gave me a chance to catch up on old emails and all of the blogs I like to follow.   Blogs are like a drug.  And they feed into the HGTV syndrome.  You know the one.  The one where you watch other people being creative and awesome and you immediately want to do it yourself, but you know in the long run it will never turn out as good so you don’t even bother.  Yeah, that one.  But baking is something I can do!

“Hey Marshmellow, what feel-better treat would you like mommy to make you?”

“What are my choices?”

“Anything you want!  Cookies, cake, bars, a special lunch.  Anything.”

“I do like cake…but…I like cookies too.  What kind of cookies would you make?”

“That’s up to you sweetie.  What ingredient do you want?”

“CHOCOLATE!”

Back to the computer I went in search of different chocolate cookie recipes.  Marshmellow quickly followed and helped in the selection process.  We eventually came down to two choices: Chocolate Chubbies and Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies, both found on Serious Eats.

We determined that there was TONS of chocolate in the Chocolate Chubbies, so they won.  This time.

After a quick run to the grocery store, I was back in the kitchen.  I sent Marshmellow to the couch for some rest, which allowed me to go about my merry way.  All. By.  Myself.

I find the whole baking process to be very therapeutic.  Especially if I am allowed to do it without kids fighting over which ingredient they get to pour in, who gets to stir, they’ve had the spoon longer, I wanted that one….  I also find the smell of melting chocolate intoxicating.  And who can resist warm cookies?

I never can remember.  Is is starve a cold, feed a fever or feed a cold, starve a fever? Actually, who cares?  I find both of them to be ridiculous.  Who ever thought starving a sick person was a good idea anyway?

Marshmellow and I enjoyed a few warm Chocolate Chubbies and snuggled together on the couch.  I’d say the feel-better treat was a big hit.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Chocolate Chubbies

Makes: 2 dozen cookies

Recipe from Serious Eats

1 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • Preheat over to 350° F
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment paper
  • Melt the butter on the stove using a double-boiler.  Add the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate, stirring often, until all chocolate is melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Sift the flour, baking powers and salt together in a medium bowl.
  • Whip the eggs using the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then vanilla.  Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
  • Reduce speed to medium and add the cooled chocolate until incorporated.
  • Place the paddle attachment on the mixer and reduce speed to low.  Slowly add the flour mixture.
  • Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in the chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts until well mixed.  The dough will be soft.
  • Scoop batter onto pans about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake immediately if you want your cookies to look shiny.
  • Bake 17 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through.  The cookies will be done with the edges release easily, even if the center seems underdone.

BTS Tip:

My first batch I just dropped the dough on the pans.  The second batch I rolled them.  I personally like the look of the rolled ones better.

Since these were the feel-better treat, I went all out and bought Ghiradelli chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate bars.  This made this little cookies ridiculous expensive.  Next time, I’ll try the store brand chocolate.  I bet they taste just as awesome.

My office raved about these cookies…so I think these are approved to serve at gatherings.

Naughty Bars

Back in June, I spent a nice weekend with my Great Aunt in Minneapolis and came across her Penzeys Spice magazine and catalog.  There I was, mindlessly flipping through the pages when…BAMNaughty Bars appear on the page.  In between pages of spices are cute little stories from their readers and a recipe they like to make.  Well, Monica likes it naughty.

So what do you do when you come across a Midwestern gem like this?  You snap a picture of the recipe with your phone.

Yes, I’m the freak who takes a picture of just about everything.  Pictures aren’t just for cute kids any more.  I take photos of items and price tags at stores.  I capture the plate of food before I eat it.  I send snapshots of a potential outfit to my best friend for approval.  And anything else I need to remember, but know I will forget without photographic evidence.  Which is increasing in frequency.

My mom says one of the joys of getting old is having the benefit of learning something twice.  Skimming my pictures last week, I came across this recipe and got excited all over again.  But this time…I was at home and was able to do something about it.

The great thing about these Naughty Bars (or brown sugar bars as my mom remembers them), is the simple ingredient list.  No running to the store for some obscure ingredient that none of the sales clerks no what isle it might be in.  Just your basics:  butter, eggs, flour and brown sugar.

Also, it takes just a few minutes to pull all the ingredients out, mix them together an get them in the oven.

Morale of this story:  make some Naughty Bars to have a quick, simple, and comforting dessert.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

sam

Naughty Bars

Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 15

Recipe from Penzeys 

2 sticks butter (1 cup)
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tps vanilla
2 cups flour
2 large eggs

  • Preheat over to 350° F
  • Grease a 9×13 pan with butter
  • In glass bowl, melt butter on high for 30 seconds or until almost completely melted
  • Using a wooden spoon, mix in brown sugar until completed mixed
  • Add baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix well
  • Gradually add the flour and mix well – the batter will be stiff
  • Whisk the eggs well in a small bowl and add them to the batter, mixing well one last time
  • Spread the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden around the edges and the center is still soft, about 30 minutes
  • DO NOT OVER BAKE!
  • Let cool completely before cutting into small squares.

They go together quickly and there are NEVER any left over!

BTS Tip:

Serve a la mode.  Because everything is better with ice cream.

Cell Phone Pic

Sunday Salads

I’ve been a dedicated yo-yo dieter for a good part of my life.  Most of the time, its all-for-not with an end with little result and complete frustration.  Sound familiar?

Then I was talking with a friend who told me how she lost all kinds of weight on a high-end, über expensive diet.  [And since this isn’t a paid advertisement, and not at all the point of this blog, I’m not going to name names.]  For perhaps the first time in my life, I was determined to have real results.  So I committed.  Like, seriously committed.  Committed to the tons of lean protein, tons of green veggies and very minimal dairy and starches.  And it worked!  I lost 20 pounds in 3 months.  And all I did was change how I ate.  Of course, all means all my food was changed.

But life goes on… and so do the pounds.  Because I can’t commit to never eat a brownie again.  Or enjoy adult beverages on the back patio on a hot summer night.  So instead, I’ve repeatedly gained and lost at least ten of those pounds over the last two years.  And while I try to recreate my good diet habits, I’ve never been able to find that solid commitment I had the first go around.

The one habit that I haven’t lost is my daily lunch salad.  It’s one of those salads that the ladies in the lunchroom always ogle over because it looks so much better than their frozen meal or left over dinner that turned kinda mushy.  Nobody likes mushy left overs.  But admit it, you would want to eat this too.

 How do you create this beauty?

Start with fresh ingredients.  I use romaine lettuce, baby spinach, celery, green onions, and red peppers. But you add to your hearts content.

Chop away.  I use 1 to 1 ½ heads of romaine and spread it across four salad bowls.  Then I tear some spinach onto and layer away with the rest of my veggies.  That’s right, I make four salads at a time because who has time to do this in the middle of the week?  Not me.  I avoid too much cooking.

Add some meat.  The Banker is amazingly kind and grills up a bunch of chicken for me every Sunday night.  Regardless what [or where] dinner is that night.  He’s pretty awesome like that.  Then I let it cool of and cut up the meat into chunks.

Garnish.  If I’m feeling extra special, I’ll add some fresh cilantro.  How I love me some cilantro.  And if I’m lucky, I have some feta in the house to enjoy.

Eat.  And enjoy every bite.

And since I’ve already dirtied the cutting board, I generally make a few containers of veggies for the kids to munch on for the week.  Celery slices, red pepper slices and cucumber slices.  It’s a good time saver.

And look at that, I do make more than dessert.  Although those are way yummier.

sam