Well, Hello there!
Katie from Katie at the Kitchen Door and I are joining forces today. If you have never been to her blog – you must, you just have to head over there. Katie is oh so talented…her talents in the kitchen and behind the camera are out of this world. When she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, while she is on vacation, I couldn’t but jump at the chance.
And if you are visiting my little space on the Internet because you are wandering over here from Katie’s blog….then you totally know what I am talking about. She is awesome, right?!? And welcome! I am so very glad to have you here today.
Let’s get going!
The sun is shining. The trees are budding. Daffodils are waving ever so slightly in the breeze. Tulips are testing the waters…soon to be in full bloom. The grass is growing fast and furious, aided by the April showers. Spring is starting to slowly and finally roll into Ohio. It has been a long winter and we want nothing more than warm afternoons and long lazy evenings. Spring in Ohio requires us to practice patience.
In the spring, we have this internal urge to clean out the old and bring in new. Start fresh – Spring, to me, has always represented a new year more so than January 1st ever has. Something takes hold and before we know it windows are being cleaned, floor boards scrubbed, closets sorted and organized, and if you are me – fridges and freezers are overhauled. It has been a long winter – heaven only knows what I have stocked and stored away over the cold months. I am like a squirrel hoarding nuts. So it was no surprise to me when I found 2 extra bags of fresh frozen cranberries in my freezer last week. Left over from Thanksgiving/Christmas. Stored away just in case. Just in case I needed to whip up a cranberry sauce. Or jam. Or needed a another loaf of orange cranberry bread.
Honestly, I had forgotten about them. Big Surprise. So, when Katie asked me to guest blog and I was scratching my head and standing in front of my refrigerator wondering what recipe I would offer her readers…I spotted the cranberries. And instantly thought…I bet there are more people out there like me. Spring cleaning and finding extra bags of cranberries (among many other things… why do I buy so many packages of frozen spinach?!?).
I know, I know…cranberries are generally eaten around winter holidays, but I think they are perfect this time of year ( and I am not just saying this because I have an abundance). They have a bright tart flavor, matching the feeling of an early spring afternoon. A coffee cake with a thin layer of sweetened cranberries and a coconut streusel top is just what a Sunday afternoon calls for. A lazy Sunday afternoon spent on your porch, soaking up the sunshine, getting lost in a good book, with baseball on the radio in the back ground. All while you nibble away on an extra large piece of coffee cake that is studded with little flecks of vanilla bean. And coffee. Lots of coffee. Always coffee.
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1¾ cups sugar, divided
- 2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
- 2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk
- ⅓ Cup Flaked Coconut, unsweetened
- 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Grease a 9 inch round cake pan with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Grease parchment.
- Make vanilla sugar: With the tip of a paring knife, scrape out the seeds from the vanilla bean and place in a food processor with 1+3/4 Cup of sugar. Pulse to combine. Transfer to another bowl – you will need the food processor again.
- Place cranberries and ½ Cup of vanilla sugar in food processor and pulse until chopped but NOT pureed.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt – set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 stick of butter and 1 cup of vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down side and bottom of bowl.
- With mixer on low, add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.
- Pour ½ of batter into bottom of prepare pan – the batter will be very thick, so spread it out with a butter knife.
- Spoon cranberries over the batter, leaving a ½ inch border around edge. Spread the remaining batter over cranberries. (With the batter being so thick, the best way to do this is by dolloping spoonfuls of batter all over cranberry filling and very carefully with a buttered knife, gradually spreading the batter over the filling)
- Prepare crumble topping : In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup of vanilla sugar, flaked coconut, tablespoon of butter, and tablespoon of flour. Crumble with fingers or fork until pebble like.
- Spread evenly over top of cake.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (don’t test into cranberry filling).
- Let cool in pan for about 30 minutes before removing from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
- Serve with coffee and good conversation.
Adapted from Gourmet December 2008Read More
OK…I am obsessed. (with things other than ice cream and the color of this bowl…seriously, if only I could paint my world in that color, then I would be content.)
Obsessed with the new Mumford and Sons album, Babel. I know it just came out Tuesday, but since Tuesday morning, I have listened to nothing but Mumford and his sons (who aren’t really his sons…it is just the band name, figured I should clarify that since my mom asked this question and she may not be the only one wondering about their relationship.) It is on constant repeat or shuffle or whatever Apple is calling it these days. I have been looking forward to this week since they first announced the release date earlier in the summer. Pre-ordered the extended version as soon as it was possible. Was giddy with pure excitement and adoration when I saw them in concert in August….where they played nearly half of their new album along with most of their first. I have told everyone with ears about them and kidnapped several, making them listen or watch youtube videos of them. I even have my dad listening to them…this my friends is a big feat…he is not a fan of newbies in the music world. I stayed up well past my bedtime last Saturday to catch them on Saturday Night Live…keeping myself up, but also a good friend…who was kind enough to set his phone alarm to make sure we didn’t miss them … you see, SNL has way too many commercials and my eyes become quite heavy between segments. My foot sleepily tapping along during both performances…knowing full well that I looked ridiculous tapping my foot while in my pajamas at midnight while laying on the couch on a Saturday night. I could seriously sit and listen/watch them for hours at a time…the voice, the lyrics, the instrumentals…I am hooked. People, I actually look forward to driving TO work…new music will do that to you.
So there, go and buy the album…I am 99.78654% sure you will love it…especially if you enjoyed their first album and if you are new to them (which I understand, there is a ton of music out there) get your butt over to itunes and thank me later! suppose they need a spokeswoman?
On a completely different note … I made you coffee ice cream. No bigs.
Coffee ice cream is a flavor I have recently started to correlate with fall. A few years of repeat trips to Rhode Island, where cool September evenings were spent wolfing down waffle cones overflowing with a deliciously rich and strong coffee ice cream, are partly to blame. If you are ever near Narragansett, Rhode Island…check out Brickleys. If you are near Point Judith…check out Aunt Carries Ice Cream. I have done extensive research and neither one will disappoint. This I know. But beyond trips to RI, coffee flavored treats are more welcoming in the fall and winter than mid-summer….and coffee ice cream is no exception.
Personally, I think coffee ice cream is best when eaten while lounging in sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt while watching the new NCIS or Grey’s Anatomy or New Girl or on cool Saturday afternoons while watching college football from the comfort of your couch. Or my favorite, sitting on a beach, in jeans and a sweatshirt, where the salty air is slowly rejuvenating your summer weary soul, and the wind is whipping your hair…where you sit with your mom, aunt, and grandma, shoulder to shoulder. Where words are not spoken beyond the ‘oh my Gods‘ or ‘why can’t we get this in Ohio?‘ or ‘I don’t think I should have eaten that last clam cake‘ or ‘suppose anyone would notice if I unbuttoned my jeans…I seriously might explode‘…
There are many recipes out there for coffee ice cream…but when I saw Ina Garten (an east coaster) steep whole coffee beans years ago on her show and then saw the same step repeated in David Lebovitz’s recipe … I knew this was the most important step … a step necessary in getting that uninhibited strong coffee flavor that is key to a true coffee ice cream. Therefore, I should warn you, if you don’t like the taste of coffee…or prefer just a hint of coffee flavor…this is probably not for you. Just sayin’.
And…I have a dream of making ice cream sandwiches with this ice cream…but instead of chocolate cookie, how about glazed donuts? Yeah. I went there. And I don’t plan on returning.
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups whole coffee beans (I used espresso roast, as that is what I had on hand and I truly wanted intense flavor. Can also use decaf)
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon heaping Espresso Powder
- In a medium saucepan, combine whole milk, sugar, whole coffee beans, salt, and ½ cup heavy cream. Place over medium heat and cook until mixture is warm and steamy, but not boiling. Stir occasionally.
- Once warm and steamy, remove from heat and cover. Let mixture steep for 1 hour at room temperature.
- Meanwhile, place remaining cup of cream in a medium sized bowl, and place entire bowl over ice in a larger bowl. Place a mesh strainer over bowls. Set aside.
- One hour later, place coffee bean/milk mixture back over medium heat and reheat mixture until warm and steamy again, do not boil!
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together egg yolks. SLOWLY pour in coffee bean/milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly so the eggs are tempered and not cooked.
- Pour egg/coffee bean/milk mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Constantly stir mixture with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour mixture through mesh strainer into the bowl containing the cream. Stir to combine.
- Press the coffee beans with the back of your wooden spoon into the mesh strainer, extracting as much coffee flavor as possible. Discard beans.
- Stir in vanilla extract and espresso powder.
- Cover and place in fridge. Chill thoroughly ( at least a few hours) and then freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.
Coffee. I am addicted. I am totally cool with it.
Just coffee, plain ol’ drip coffee…coffee snob, I am not. Snobs are no fun and make other people feel like crap. I try not to make people feel like crap. No one deserves that, especially when they are just trying to enjoy a cup of coffee.
But if you want to make me a freshly ground cup of coffee or perhaps an espresso. I wouldn’t turn it down. No way Jose…I may not be a coffee snob, but I do enjoy quality joe. I mean, I am not stupid. I just don’t believe my taste buds are above anyone else’s.
Beyond a simple cup of coffee…I love when coffee is combined with, say ice cream. Coffee ice cream on a hot summer night…Oh, summer can’t get here fast enough! I plan on making cookies and cream coffee ice cream. Yep…totally going to happen.
Or did you know that the flavor of chocolate can be enhanced by coffee? Fun fact of the day. That is why you see the addition of coffee to chocolate cakes and brownies. It is glorious. Even if you don’t like coffee, I wouldn’t omit the addition of coffee to recipes…chocolate is what you will taste, not coffee. Scout’s honor. I was never in girl scouts and I think boy scouts are the only ones that say scout’s honor and I was never a boy, so, I could be lying for all you know…but I am not. Pinky swear…I do have pinkies, so we are good. Following? No, neither am I.
Chocolate covered espresso beans? fyi…there is no such thing as an espresso bean, espresso is a type of drink, but from a marketing stand point, espresso bean is just more sexy. I get it, I don’t like it, but I get it. So, pretty much they are chocolate covered roasted coffee beans. Nothing fancy.
Okay, these aren’t for everyone. You seriously better love the taste of coffee. These aren’t for the occasional coffee drinker, who piles loads of sugar and cream into their coffee, with the end result looking, tasting, nor smelling like coffee. The coffee shop in the hospital sells these little gems … we eat them like M & M’s.
And what did I do with them? I of course, crushed them up, and mixed them into cookies. I am pretty sure brownies will be next…but for now it is cookies. An espresso shortbread cookie sprinkled with chocolate and coffee bean chunks. Flakey, buttery, crisp, and full of coffee flavor…we are talking an adult cookie, made by an adult, for adults, to be eaten during coffee break with other adults.
To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to share them at work, because not everyone likes the chocolate covered espresso (ahem, roasted coffee) beans. I was sure they would be polite and say they were gooooood, in that sweet way nice people say things are good, when said thing actually kind of stinks. But guess what? They actually enjoyed them. Especially the true coffee drinkers. My point? You will like them even if you had a bad bean once in your life. Awesome!
And I just had a thought, these beans would be lovely in biscotti. Taking note.
Chocolate Espresso Bean Shortbread Cookies
Makes 2 dozen
adapted from Baking:from my home to yours
1 Tablespoon Instant Espresso Powder
1 Tablespoon Very Hot Tap Water
2 Sticks Butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups All – Purpose Flour
4 ounces Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans, roughly chopped (or crushed with a rolling pin)
In a small bowl, dissolve instant espresso powder in hot tap water. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together softened butter and powdered sugar until mixture is smooth ( a few minutes). Mix in the vanilla extract and dissolved espresso. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly add in flour. Mix until flour is incorporated, don’t over mix. Fold in chopped/crushed chocolate covered espresso beans.
Now, this is ingenious and totally unnecessary, but totally helpful. Scoop sticky dough into a 1 gallon Ziplock bag and place on a flat surface, leaving the bag ‘unzipped’. Roll dough out to the size of the ziplock bag making sure to keep the thickness consistent throughout. Refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours ( keep it flat in the fridge).
**you don’t have to have a Ziplock bag, roll it out and plastic wrap it, that’ll work too!**
And 2 hours later…
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Remove cookie dough from fridge and cut away the plastic bag. Cut dough into squares, measuring about 2 inches by 2 inches. Place cookies onto a cookie sheet (parchment lined is preferred) and with a fork, poke holes all the way through the cookies, repeat twice to each cookie. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Do not let the cookies can much color. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Dust with extra powder sugar if you would like.Read More
I made cookies. Cookies to be enjoyed with coffee. And on Mondays, coffee is essential. But if you are like me, coffee is essential each and every day…(as are cookies!) Not because you need the jolt of caffeine to get you going in the morning or through the dreaded afternoon lag…but because you truly enjoy the flavor.
I have loved coffee since I was a small kiddo – which makes me think that the old wives tail about coffee stunting one’s growth is, well spot on. On Sunday mornings, after church, grandma and grandpa would come by for a visit and a cup of coffee. Grandma and Grandpa took theirs black, while mom and dad took theirs with a splash of milk. How cute, right? I wonder if each couple always drank their coffee alike or if one conformed to the other.
On these Sunday mornings, I would beg for a cup of coffee. And on most occassions I would be granted my request. I took mine with lots of milk. It was more like coffee flavored milk, but it was warm, in a coffee cup, and I got to sit at the table and listen to the grown ups talk. Plus, if I didn’t slurp, I could drink it with a spoon. I don’t ever remember my brothers begging for coffee…which is why to this day they are over six feet tall and don’t drink coffee, and neither do their wives…I am starting to think that if and how one takes his/her coffee is a pretty strong indicator of a couples compatibility.
Just recently I have began drinking espresso in the morning. All thanks to Jenna over on Eat, Live, Run (an AMAZING blog, give it a go, you will love her too)…I read her blog daily and a few weeks ago she turned me onto stove top espresso makers. I was always under the impression that you needed a fancy shmancy top of the line Italian counter top hogging machine to make espresso. Boy was I wrong. Like way wrong. Let’s just say I now cruise into work on a true caffeine high…Italian style, double espresso style.
Whichever way it is brewed , in the afternoon, I like to enjoy my caffeine with a bit of something sweet. I don’t think I am alone on this one. My go to is most generally chocolate. A square of dark chocolate or a Hershey Kiss…small and simple. But sometimes I want something a bit more special. Something a bit more substantial. Something dunkable. Enter in biscotti.
Chocolate biscotti to be exact.
On Saturaday morning, I woke up with biscotti on the brain and by the time the sun was up…biscotti was in the oven and the coffee was brewing. When it comes to coffee and cookies, I mean business! Traditional recipes for biscotti do not contain butter – a cookie without butter…what?!?- instead eggs are used as the binder and since biscotti are supposed to have a considerable ‘snap’ or ‘crunch’ to them, butter is not needed to keep things moist. These chocolate walnut biscotti are not overly sweet and are for the true chocolate lover…containing a good dose of cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips. I will be packing one of these in my lunch all week to enjoy with my afternoon coffee…
Oh and for those wondering…I like my coffee strong with a splash of cream or half and half.
Walnut Chocolate Biscotti
Makes about 2 dozen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 Cup Walnuts
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
pinch of salt ( about 1/4 teaspoon)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup White Sugar
1 Cup Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
3 Large Eggs
1 Large Egg
2 Tablespoons Water
1-2 Tablespoon Sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place walnuts in small skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. You will smell them once they are done, trust me! Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool, roughly chop walnuts and set aside.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In a mixing bowl, beat together 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla. With mixer on low, gradually mix in the dry ingredients. Once those are well incorporated, stir in the walnuts and mini chocolate chips – you may have to forgo the mixer and use a wooden spatula.
Empty out contents onto a lightly floured surface and divide dough into two equal parts. Form each half into a log of sorts, measuring about 12-15 inches long and 2 inches wide. Gently pat the tops of the logs to flatten them a bit. Transfer logs to a parchment lined baking sheet, several inches apart – they will rise and spread just a bit!
Prepare egg wash…combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk until frothy.
Liberally brush on egg wash onto the tops of each log ( you will not use all of it ). Sprinkle the tops with about 1 tablespoon of sugar per log.
Place tray into preheated oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for about 15 minutes. Once cool to the touch, transfer logs to a cutting board and with a serrated knife cut each log into 1/2 inch cookies on the diagonal. Lay cookies back onto baking sheet, cut side up, and return them to the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. The longer they stay in the crisper they will be. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks.
Happy dunking!!!Read More
I love coffee. I enjoy it for breakfast, I enjoy it mid-day, I enjoy it after dinner. I like it black. I like it with cream. I like it with cream and sugar. I like it. A lot. You know what I don’t like? Hot coffee on a hot summer day. Ugh. I can’t do it. I miss my coffee in the summer. Or I should say missed.
I have always been a fan of iced coffee. However, until recently I couldn’t get my iced version to taste anything like that of any coffee shop. What were they doing differently? I don’t like mine stuffed with heavy artificial sugar loaded syrups, so that wasn’t the problem. Mine seemed bitter and well, gross. So, I was driven to spend my hard earned money on overpriced iced coffee if I wanted to indulge. It really gets my goat when I spend $3 to $4 on basically a cup of ice with a splash of coffee. Anyone with me? Well, that ended earlier this summer. Dear Starbucks, please return my goats ….
While reading The Pioneer Woman blog. – quick note here, take a minute to read a bit of her blog. She is awesome and their ranch is amazing. It makes the country girl in me want to run out and buy a farm and a few horses, a cow, a pig, goats, and a few dogs…and then I wake up and find myself in Cleveland and I give a little sigh. Oh! and she has great recipes, swear. And her photos are top notch. All in all…great. Anywho…she is a lover of iced coffee too and she discovered a method to making this wonderful elixir that is comparable if not better than say Starbucks…
The trick to it all? The grounds are never heated. Ever. Heating the grounds creates that unwanted bitterness that is quite evident when the coffee is cooled and poured over ice. Eck…Gross.
So are you ready to brew some of your own? Lets roll…
First, get yourself some coffee…Notice how it says 12oz…that used to say 16oz or 1lb. I don’t like change.
Mix it into some cold water and stir…
Until it looks like the above…now we wait. Cover and let it sit on the counter for at least 8 hours. Takes forever and is kind of messy, but totally worth it!
And 8 hours later…voila.
Prepare your strainer, line it with cheese cloth and place over a large container.
And you strain. I like to ladle at the beginning rather than pour because I am clumsy.
Final product. Hooray!!!
Transfer the glorius liquid to your best pitcher. If you are like me and do not have a fancy schmancy pitcher, drop by Target and get yourself one of the above. I only spent 5 bucks on it, it looks hideous, and it works like a charm. Let this chill in the fridge before you make your first glass.
(adapted from The Pioneer Woman/Imbibe Magazine)
Double this recipe if you are a serious coffee fan. Just remember that many coffee brands have decreased their pound coffee bags to just 12 ounces…so beware! ARGH! There goes another goat…
1/2 lb Ground Coffee – strong and bold works best. I prefer a french roast.
1 Gallon Cold Water
1 +1/2 to 2 Gallon container w/ lid
Another large container – no lid needed
Fine mesh strainer
Into a large container ( 1 + 1/2 to 2 Gallon is a must), combine ground coffee and cold water. Stir to combine. Cover and let sit on counter top for at least 8 hours. I prefer mine after 10 hours, it is strong and glorious. The longer it sits, the stronger it will be…
Line fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth (2 layers works well) and place strainer over large pitcher or another large container. Pour coffee/water mixture through cheesecloth lined strainer and let drain completely. Discard grounds.
Transfer to dispenser or pitcher and refrigerate until chilled. Drink whenever you have the urge.
Pink straws make everything better…fact.
To prepare iced coffee. Fill glass/mason jar with ice. Pour chilled coffee over ice. You can dress this up as you like. I prefer mine with a splash of half & half and a packet of Truvia. If I truly want to indulge, a spoonful of sweetened condensed milk in place of the Truvia is quite tasty. Or for a nice weekend brunch…add some Bailey’s Irish Cream. Make it your own and enjoy!Read More