We are famous in these parts for cherries – tart cherries in particular. Because I like dried tart cherries WAY better than raisins, I decided to come up with a way to showcase them in a different style. This is based on a kugelhopf, a yeast-based cake often baked in a bundt or taller mold.
I was after a version that would come together quickly, and could be on the table for a Sunday brunch. It has dried tart cherries throughout, and a lovely crunchy cinnamon sugar top. It is not super-sweet, although you could always drizzle it with a powdered sugar glaze if you wanted.
Leelanau Cherry Cinnamon Coffeecake, Makes one 9″ cake
1/3 c. dried tart cherries
2 T. orange juice
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
3/4 c. lukewarm whole milk
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
5 T. butter, at room temperature
2 t. almond extract
1 egg yolk
1 T. cream
1/2 c. greek yogurt
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
2 T. cold butter
Mix and set aside: 2 t. ground cinnamon + 1/4 c. granulated sugar
Make the dough:
Combine the cherries and orange juice, set aside. Measure the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl. Put on the dough hook.
Stir until combined, add the milk and almond extract. Mix to a soft dough. When all the ingredients are combined, turn the speed to medium and beat for five minutes. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and beat for three minutes.
Drain the orange juice from the cherries, and knead them into the dough by hand. Pat the dough into a 9″ pie plate, preheat the oven to 375, and set the dough aside to raise for 30 minutes.
Stir topping ingredients together, except for the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Spread the topping over the raised dough.
Then cover it evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, dot with butter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Serve warm or at room temperature. I like to warm any leftovers a few seconds in the microwave before serving.
There are lots of bread recipes out there, and lots of them are good but few of them meet my main criteria – happily, this one does! If I’m making bread for everyday use I want two nice, full loaves that taste great, slice neatly, keep well, and are at least partly whole grain.
This recipe is based on a recipe in Farm Journal’s County Fair Award-Winning Recipes cookbook. I’ve tinkered with it to good effect – I changed the original ingredients a bit and simplified the mixing method. The sugar gives it a nice brown crust, which you can leave as-is or brush with melted butter if you like a softer outer crust.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread, Makes two 8″ x 4″ loaves
1 pkg. quick-rise active dry yeast
1-1/2 c. lukewarm water
3-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 T. local honey
2 t. salt
1/2 c. hot water
1/3 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
3 T. butter
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
Melted butter for brushing
Combine the whole wheat flour, lukewarm water, yeast, and honey in a mixing bowl. Stir to a shaggy dough and rest for 15 minutes.
Combine the hot water, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Add to the bowl along with the all-purpose flour.
Stir until the ingredients are well-incorporated.
Let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down and knead for five minutes on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Pat each half to a disk, roll up like a jellyroll and put into greased loaf pans.
Let rise until the dough has reached the top of the pans. Preheat the oven to 375.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when you thump the top lightly.
Set the pans on a rack and brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter if desired. After five minutes turn the loaves out of the pans to cool completely.
Your house will smell terrific and you will have amazing fresh sandwich bread for a week. These loaves freeze well, just make sure to double wrap them (once in plastic wrap and then with an outer covering of freezer paper).
This is a variation of what is purported to be Queen Elizabeth’s favorite tea cake. It’s a very easy and quick dessert to make. Just throw it together a day or two before, and then dress it up or down as needed. This is a fantastic choice for guests who aren’t into super-sweet, sugary desserts. The key ingredient is McVitie’s Wheat Biscuits, which my major grocery shelves in the International aisle:
I know, wheat cookies – weird. But if you are anything like me you will quickly acquire a taste for them – especially in combination with chocolate!
Mocha Torte, Makes one 5″ x 8″ torte (Approx. 8 slices)
1 8-oz package of high-quality chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60%)
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 8 oz. package McVitie’s Wheat Biscuits
1 c. of coffee with extra cream (use your favorite coffee here)
1 pint of fresh berries
Pour the heavy cream into a saucepan and put it on medium heat. Add the chocolate chips and butter.
Add the butter and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool to room temperature. Line a loaf pan with two layers of aluminum foil, leaving an overhang, and set that aside. Make up the cup of coffee and break the McVitie’s into pieces about the size of a quarter.
Now spread a thin layer of chocolate over the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Cover that with 1/3 of the crumbled cookies, and spoon the creamy coffee over the cookies. I drizzle rather than drench, but how much coffee you add is up to you! Continue until you’ve used up the cookies, ending with a layer of chocolate on top. (I’m sorry I didn’t get pictures of the layering, I got carried away #badblogger.)
Put the cake into the refrigerator until set. When the top is set you can cover it lightly. Take the cake out of the fridge about an hour before you’re ready to serve it. Lift up on the top of the foil, pull the cake up out of the pan, and peel off the foil.
Cut the cake into 1″ slices and serve with fresh berries.