Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Retro Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake

A couple weeks ago I got a Keurig K65 Coffee Maker. Normally, I'm not a big coffee drinker, but in our last six months in South Carolina, Michael and I lived in a very quaint guest house/cabin owned by a friend. We got in the habit of having coffee each morning during that autumn and winter. We really enjoyed that time sitting and sipping coffee each day.

So, when I had a chance to get a new coffee maker, I decided to try out one of these newfangled "single cup" brewers. I have to say I'm hooked. We don't drink coffee by the pots, usually it's a cup and then if we have another it might be hours later. Traditional coffee brewers entail a lot of waste therefore and as you know, I'm loathe to waste food.

I can have a cup in the morning and Michael can have one before work. Then we can share another when he comes home for lunch. No wasted pots of coffee and no horrible pots where I put in too much or too little. Each cup is delicious.

Anyway, enough with the advertisement. Along with the coffee I wanted something sweet. I've been doing really great with my diet and actually am having to remind myself to eat something so I don't shave too many calories during the day. A little calorie splurge on a sweet treat would be good.

I love old cookbooks and old recipes. I began leafing through a vintage cookbook from 1959 entitled The General Foods Kitchens Cookbook. It's a hefty tome full of line drawings and the odd color page. There are lots of little gems in this book, one of which I stumbled upon. The actual title of the recipe is "Novelty Coffee Cake." I don't know exactly what is novel about it, but it is easy to make and mouth wateringly delicious with your morning coffee.

The flavor profile reminds me of that Fair Food favorite, Elephant Ears. Lots of cinnamon and sugar that melt together for a great topping and a vanilla base that is somewhere between a doughnut and a cake. In fact, the batter or dough reminds me of a very sticky bread dough. You don't pour this cake in the pan, you pat it into the pan.

If you need a quick morning treat, this is perfect. About half an hour from start to finish and served warm with a great cup of Joe and a little whipped cream, well let's just say, your day will start off right!

Retro Cinnamon Sugar Coffee Cake

A great morning treat with coffee from the 1950's and reminiscent of a great Fair Food favorite- Elephant Ears!

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. milk
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round layer cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add egg and beat thoroughly.
  4. Add the flour mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup of milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared 9-inch cake pan and spread evenly to edges. Using a sharp knife form deep ridges in the batter.
  6. Sprinkle with mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Bake for 20 minutes.
  7. Pour the milk and melted butter over the top of the cake and bake for another 10-15 minutes longer until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 6 pieces
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Coconut Nougat Bon-Bons

Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In this case I managed to both win and lose. My intention was to make a Brazilian treat called Cocada. I found a lovely recipe online at It looked incredibly simple so I set to work.

I gathered all my ingredients and pulled out my trusty medium saucepan. In went the butter, in went the condensed milk, in went the whole milk and coconut. I turned on my stove burner to medium, pulled out my favorite wooden spoon and started stirring. About 3 minutes later I realized I'd forgotten to dump in the sugar. Whoops! Oh well, we weren't that far along what could it hurt? I dumped in my sugar and went back to stirring.

The directions told me that in 5-10 minutes my mixture would thicken and begin to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan. OK....

Stirring the pot for what seemed forever!
5 minutes. Nothing.

10 minutes. Nothing

15 minutes. Nothing

20 minutes. Nothing

25 minutes. Maybe something? Or am I just wishing and hoping?

30 minutes. OK, I'm pretty sure it's getting thicker.

35 minutes. Bubbly and decidedly thicker. It's beginning to pull away from the bottom like a thick gravy. Is this where I'm supposed to be?

At 35 minutes I'd had enough. Stirring constantly my arm was aching and I was tired of standing. I poured out my mixture on the prepared cookie sheet as directed. It was sort of thick. Maybe it will thicken up more as it sits. Right?

2 hours later. It's sort of like taffy. 24 hours later. Still like taffy. I pull a piece off. Tastes great, but still not a crunchy "coconut bark" in sight. Hmmm....

What to do? Much like my Mama I'm loathe to chunk perfectly good food in the trash. Suddenly, inspiration hit. Why not pull out some melting chocolate and some powdered coconut and make bon-bons (or truffles or whatever you want to call them)? Would it work, though?

A little sprinkle of coconut, a little jelly roll log.

I stuck the nougat/taffy/coconut stuff in the fridge for a couple hours all rolled up in a log. Then I got out a bowl and hit the microwave with my chocolate bits. A minute later I was ready to go. I used a cookie scoop to portion out the nougat then rolled each into a ball by hand. I then dipped them in the chocolate and set them on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil to set up. Before each dried I sprinkled them with the powdered coconut.

Know what? They were dang good! Even Michael who doesn't care for coconut said they were great. Take that See's Candies!

So, when life hands you lemons make lemonade and when life hands you nougat instead of Cocada make Bon-Bons!

Coconut Nougat Bon-Bons

Recipe by Buck Bannister adapted from Vanessa Figueiredo
Soft chewy coconut centers enrobed in a decadent blend of dark and milk chocolate.

  • 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 tbs. + extra for work surface butter
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 5 oz. + extra for sprinkling Shredded Coconut
  • 2 cups sugar, sifted
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
Cooking Directions
  1. Line an even surface with non-stick foil and butter. It may be a baking sheet or a kitchen counter.
  2. Over medium heat, in a medium sized saucepan place the condensed milk, whole milk, butter and coconut. Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Add the sugar to the mixture. During this time, keep stirring the mixture.
  3. After 20-35 minutes, the mixture should begin to thicken. When the mixture starts to release from the bottom and from the sides of the saucepan, turn off the heat and spread, evenly, onto the prepared baking sheet/kitchen counter and sprinkle with a little coconut.
  4. Let it cool for 1-2 hours or more. Once it is cooled, it should have a taffy like consistency. (If it is hard, you have successfully made Cocada. Pat yourself on the back and break it into pieces and serve.) Otherwise, roll the nougat up into a roll like a jelly roll, cover with the foil and stick in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. When the nougat has chilled 8-12 hours, take it out of the refrigerator and prepare for the dipping.
  6. Line a baking sheet or flat surface with non-stick foil or wax paper and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl (preferably with steep sides) melt the chocolate and milk chocolate in the microwave. Use 30 second increments and stir between each one until chocolate is smooth. Stir in the espresso powder or coffee crystals.
  8. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop up some of the nougat. Roll into a ball using your hands. (It will be sticky.) Dip the ball into the chocolate and cover completely. Place the covered piece on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a little powdered coconut.
  9. Allow all pieces to cool and then store in a cool, dry area for up to 2 weeks.
  10. Note: To make the powdered coconut place shredded coconut in a blender or spice grinder until finely chopped. If you want a crisper coconut you can toast it before grinding.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: 30 pieces
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Banana and Chocolate Snack Cake

It probably seems like I have abandoned everyone. I assure you that is not the case! For the past few months I have been trying to lose weight and eat a little better. That's sometimes hard to do when I'm baking every day or at least a few times a week.

For that reason, I've cut back on my baking a good bit as I've shifted my "treats" to more fresh ingredients and fruits. The results have been good. I've dropped almost 30 pounds and am feeling better. So, I decided to feature a little recipe that uses one of my favorite fresh fruits, bananas.

While the posts here aren't as frequent, you can always find great recipes, contests and more on the Facebook Page. Be sure to check it out!

This snack cake is really quick and easy. You can have it put together, baked and ready to serve in about 30 minutes. The chocolate and banana together is a delicious combo and adding some hot fudge sauce or caramel to top it off makes this a really nice dessert to share with friends and family. Add a couple banana slices on top or a dollop of cinnamon flavored whipped cream on the side for an even more elegant dress up to this simple cake.

Banana and Chocolate Snack Cake

Quick and easy snack cake made with fresh bananas and chocolate.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup small chocolate chips
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan; set pan aside. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beating until combined. Beat in egg until well combined. Beat in banana and vanilla until combined. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.) Stir in chocolate pieces. Spread in prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes. If desired, serve warm with fudge or caramel topping and banana slices. Makes 9 servings.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yield: 9 pieces
Calories per serving: 232
Fat per serving: 8g
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