Monday, October 31, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes - made October 23, 2011 from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes


Another recipe from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book, mostly because I had it out and when I was flipping through it and saw the Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcake recipe, I also saw this recipe and wanted to try it as well.  Martha's version called for frosting it with vanilla frosting and dusting it with sugar and cinnamon on top.  I've included the frosting recipe below in case you want to try it Martha's way.  Or you can follow my version to make it a little more snickerdoodle-y.  That is to say, I brushed the top with melted butter then dunked it in a cinnamon sugar mixture, rolling it right around to get that mixture adhering to the melted butter.  YUM.  I liked my way better, not only because I'm not a frosting person but also because the cinnamon sugar topping really makes it more of a snickerdoodle cupcake to me.  The cupcake itself is a nice cinnamon-flavored cupcake, great texture, soft, moist and all a cupcake is meant to be.  But the melted butter-cinnamon-sugar combo really made the cupcake.  The only thing I would do differently next time is make these as mini cupcakes.  They'd be smaller but then you could roll the whole thing in cinnamon sugar rather than just the top for more all-over goodness.


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, plus ½ teaspoon for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for dusting
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, and beating until combined after each.
3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 2 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months.
4. To finish, combine remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip (Ateco #809 or Wilton #1A), pipe frosting on each cupcake. Hold bag over cupcake with tip just above top, and squeeze to create a dome of frosting then release pressure and pull up to form a peak. Using a small, fine sieve, dust peaks with cinnamon sugar. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are frosted; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners’ sugar, ½ cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Caramel Coconut Oreo Brownies - Take 2

Caramel Coconut Oreo Brownies revisited - made October 24, 2011, adapted brownie recipe from Cooking with Convection by Beatrice Ojakangas (book #173)


If at first you don't succeed, try another recipe.  I was determined to conquer this brownie since I pseudo-invented it for my Oreo fixation and it had to be better than my last attempt.  I think I finally got it right with this version or at least better.  I made the changes I suggested last time in that I baked them in a 9" baking pan so they wouldn't be so thick and take so long to bake and I tried a different brownie recipe.  This one is still fudgy but not so much as to be mousse- or pudding-like.  It also helped that I baked it longer than I might normally have if I was making this as standalone brownie.  This took about 40 minutes in my oven before I was satisfied with the toothpick test.

The Oreo crust makes a crisp contrast to the brownie and the chewy coconut caramel layer in between also offers a good texture contrast.  It did seem a trifle too sweet to me though but that's possibly because I've now tried variations of this brownie a couple of times and I was overloading on the sugar.  But at least this version has three distinct layers that you can see instead of everything mushing together.

Brownie baking tip: To make cleanup more easy, every time I bake brownies or bar cookies, no matter what the recipe says, I line the baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  When the brownie is done, all you have to do is lift it out using the foil and lay it out on a cutting board to cool and cut.

Oreo Cookie crust
1 regular-size package of Oreos (minus the 3 or 4 - cough - that I ate), processed to crumbs in a food processor
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla

Caramel Coconut layer
1 11-ounce package of caramel bits
3-4 tablespoons of milk (I didn't measure exactly but you want the caramel to be fairly free-flowing liquid, not too thick)
1 cup of coconut (add more if you're a coconut freak like me)

Brownie layer
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup flour

1.    Preheat the oven to convection bake at 325F (or 350F for a non-convection setting).  Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2.   Combine crust ingredients and spread evenly in the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 10 minutes. 
3.   Melt the caramels and milk.  Add coconut.  Spread carefully over hot crust, taking care not to disturb the cookie crumb crust.  It's easier if you drop in small dollops over the crust rather than trying to spread it out from one big clump.
4.    Place the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over the lowest heat and stir until melted together.
5.   With an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt on low speed in a mixing bowl until light.  Add the chocolate and butter mixture.  Stir in the flour.  Pour the batter into the baking pan. over the caramel layer.
4.    Bake on the center rack for 35-40 minutes or until the brownies are just barely set.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cocoa Fudge Cake

Cocoa Fudge Cake - made October 23, 2011 from Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

You can see the moist layer where the frosting melts into the cake - yum....
My cousin Christine asked me to bake for her son's school's bake sale and of course I said I would.  I fell back on this recipe for chocolate cake because it's both easy to make and it called for spreading the frosting on top of warm cake.  I have two other recipes that call for the same thing and both of them are "bomb" as my niece would say so I thought this recipe would follow in their footsteps.  Plus it comes from the same Hannah Swensen culinary mystery book that I got the red velvet cookies from so it needed no other endorsement.

I also discovered Joanne Fluke has a new book out that aggregates all the recipes from her previous Hannah Swensen books.  I barely managed to control my "we wants The Precious!" response and diverted my hand, twitching to click "Buy It Now", to click on "Add To My Wish List" instead.  But that's just a delaying tactic.  You know it's just a matter of time before I buy the darn thing.  I have to keep reminding myself of the baking challenge I haven't finished yet that's supposed to preclude me from buying anymore new baking books until I've made at least one recipe from the ones I already own.  Not to mention the fact that I already have all of Joanne Fluke's Hannah Swensen mystery books so it's not like I don't already have these recipes ("but it would be all conveniently in one book instead of multiple ones", inner Gollum whines).

Anyway, this is a very liquid batter so it doesn't take long to bake and has a soft texture, like from a box mix but better tasting. This is similar to the other chocolate sheet-cake type recipes I've made before and I like it just as well.  It's soft and moist and the frosting melting into the top of the cake is the perfect touch.  When you need something quick and easy to satisfy a chocolate fix, this is a good go-to recipe.  Another winner from Carrot Cake Murder.

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour (dip and sweep method)
1 cup butter
1 cup water
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, beaten

1.    Preheat oven to 350⁰F.  Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2.    In a large bowl, stir the sugar and the flour together.  Set it aside on the counter.
3.    Put the butter, water and cocoa powder into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
4.    Pour the cocoa mixture over the sugar and flour, and mix it all up together.
5.    Whisk the milk, vanilla extract, baking soda and eggs together in a small bowl.
6.    Add the egg mixture to the large bowl.  Stir until thoroughly incorporated.
7.    Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting
½ cup butter
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 one-pound box of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.    Place the butter, cocoa powder, and milk in a medium-size saucepan.  Bring them to a boil, stirring constantly.
2.    Remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla.  Stir in the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time, until the frosting is thickened, but still “pourable”.
3.    Pour the frosting on the hot cake and spread it out quickly with a spoon.

 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting - made October 22, 2011 from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes


I love this cookbook. Half of it is very "Martha", as in filled with fancy things to do with cupcakes that no normal, decorating-impaired person like myself, can actually do.  And some are decorated so fancy that most people would probably rather admire them than eat them.  But the recipes are usually very reliably good and there are some simple, straightforward ones sprinkled in with the fancy.  I usually stick to those.

I didn't start liking pumpkin until recently and although I still don't like pumpkin pie (it's a texture thing), I do enjoy other pumpkin baked goods, namely anything cakey.  Or cupcakey.  Plus I've already established I love the flavor of browned butter.  Add a cinnamon cream cheese frosting and this shrieks "it's fall" to me.  The original recipe calls for glazing it with a brown butter icing but I was in the mood for something more "frosting" than "icing" so I went with my own version of a cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

These came out slightly more dense than a typical cupcake, probably because not a lot of air gets beaten into the batter.  The browned butter flavor wasn't very pronounced and would probably have been brought out more with the brown butter icing.  The pumpkin flavor tended to dominate.  But overall, I liked this cupcake.  It was moist and tasted like a good little pumpkin cake.  More importantly, it wasn't overly spiced like some pumpkin baked goods tend to be.  For the cinnamon cream cheese frosting,  I used 4 tablespoons of butter, 8 tablespoons of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and enough powdered sugar to make it the consistency I wanted.  I never measure but it was probably in the neighborhood of 2 1/2 to 3 cups.

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup fresh sage leaves, cut into chiffonade (optional - I left it out)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Brush standard muffin tins with butter; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the sage, if desired, and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown. Skim foam from the top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups; filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

4. To finish, dip top of each cupcake in icing, then turn over quickly and let set. Cupcakes are best eaten the day they are glazed; keep at room temperature until ready to serve.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Twix Brownie Bars

Twix Brownie Bars - made October 22, 2011 and modified from Delicious Discoveries blog with brownie recipe adapted from Ultimate Chocolate by Patricia Lousada (book #172)


When you think of Halloween, many people think about the costumes and dressing up, spooky decorations, orange, black, and scary movies.  For me, it's always been about the candy.  I hated dressing up in costumes, even when I was a kid.  It was just so unnatural to put on some get up and pretend to be someone else or something that you're not. What was the point??  It wasn't my thing.  I think I was just born old.  However, in that wonderful American tradition of trick or treating every October 31st, I would shamelessly set aside those scruples and head out into the neighborhood with my friends in the name of candy gathering. I'd have my plastic pumpkin pail and chant out "trick or treat!" with the best of them.  The "good houses" were the ones who gave out snack-size Snickers, Twix, Almond Joys and Kit Kats.  The BEST house in the neighborhood was the one who gave out the full-size bars.  Serious joy.  You have to understand, my parents never bought candy.  It was bad for our teeth, bad for our health,  a waste of money, blah blah.  So Halloween to a kid with my sweet tooth was probably better than Christmas.

Now, as an adult, I don't really buy the Halloween candy except to give out and/or to use in baking.  My sweet tooth has evolved to a higher level of snobbishness than "grocery store chocolate".  But I still have fond memories of the candy I used to enjoy during Halloween time.  Twix was one of them, mostly because of the shortbread.  And the caramel.  Plus the chocolate.  Okay, I liked all of it.  So naturally, I also liked the concept of the homemade Twix bar that's made with a shortbread base, a brownie layer, topped with a caramel layer and enrobed in chocolate.  Now this is right up my alley.

You want 3 distinct layers: shortbread crust, brownie then caramel layer
I adapted this recipe from Delicious Discoveries' blog and made a couple of modifications, mostly cutting out the initial chilling steps.  You don't want the shortbread to get too brown in the first baking, just a pale golden, since it'll keep on baking when you bake the brownie layer on top of it. But don't underbake it either because you want it to bake enough to provide a crisp texture.  Follow the proportions of the caramel layer I listed below as that set up perfectly when chilled.  If you add too much heavy cream, your caramel won't set up and will be too liquid which will make it difficult to enrobe in chocolate.  Too little cream and your caramel will be too hard and chewy.
The pieces before enrobing, cut into small rectangles and brush off the crumbs

The last step calls for enrobing in chocolate.  Normally, chocolate should be tempered first if you're going to use it as a coating.  By that, I mean it needs to be melted and raised to a certain temperature, depending on the type of chocolate you use but typically it should be to 100-105 degrees F (dark chocolate on the higher end, white chocolate on the lower end, milk chocolate in the middle).  Raising them to the higher temp destabilizes the crystals.  Then you add a "seed" chocolate which is a piece of solid chocolate in the same flavor you're using, i.e. add a milk chocolate seed to melted milk chocolate, dark to dark, etc.  Once you add the seed chocolate, stir the melted chocolate around it until it's in the proper working temperature.  For milk chocolate, that's 86-88 degrees, for dark chocolate 88-90, for white chocolate 80-82.  The seed chocolate allows the melted chocolate a template to re-form their crystals around.  Once your melted chocolate is at the working temperature, you can now use it for enrobing.

They really do look like little Twix bars....from a distance :)
What happens if you don't temper chocolate first?  When your chocolate cools and sets, if isn't tempered properly, you'll see greyish streaks on your enrobed product.  That's the cocoa fat that separated out.  It doesn't affect the taste but your end product won't look as pretty.  Tempering chocolate isn't hard but it can be time consuming and if you don't have a tempering machine, you at least need a good thermometer, preferably an instant-read digital thermometer.  I do have a tempering machine but I don't normally use it unless I'm making a batch of homemade truffles or a lot of things that need enrobing.  My digital thermometer ran out of batteries long ago and I have yet to replace it.  Which means I didn't temper these properly.  Some turned out okay, some came out a little streaky.  But I was in a hurry because I wanted to get these done and set so I could package them up and make the Saturday mail to send them out in a care package.  Hopefully the recipients don't mind.

The close up
Shortbread layer
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

Caramel layer
11 oz bag Kraft caramel bits
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Brownie recipe for 8 x 8 pan
Good quality milk or semisweet chocolate for enrobing

Brownie recipe from Ultimate Chocolate by Patricia Lousada

½ cup butter
1/3 cup (45 g) cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup self-rising flour (I substituted 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt)
¾ cup walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350⁰F.  Line an 8” square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. For the shortbread layer: beat butter until soft and creamy, add sugar and flour and mix until it forms a dough (do not overbeat).  Pat into an even layer in prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  3. While shortbread is baking, prepare brownies: melt the butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan, then stir in the cocoa until blended and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and stir in the chocolate mixture.  Sift the flour over the top and fold it into the mixture.  Fold in the nuts, if using.
  5. Once the shortbread layer is done, pour the brownie mixture over it in an even layer and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just cooked through and springy to the touch. 
  6. Place pan in the refrigerator to cool. Once brownies are firm, heat caramel bits and heavy cream until uniformly liquid. Pour melted caramel over brownies and spread evenly. Refrigerate again until firm. (Do not cheat this step.)
  7. Grab the ends of the foil and remove from pan. Peel the foil off the sides and bottom and place the brownies on a cutting board and cut into thin bars. Melt chocolate for enrobing and dip bars, placing on a wax paper lined baking sheet until chocolate is set.
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    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Caramel Coconut Brownies with Oreo Crust

    Caramel Coconut Brownies with Oreo Crust - made October 16, 2011, base brownie recipe adapted from All About Chocolate by Carole Bloom (book #171)

    After the last 3 kinda ho-hum baking experiments, I needed to go back to my baking bench strength - brownies.  They're my baking comfort zone and I wanted to send another care package to my nieces.  I had already sent one (or 3) to my niece who's at a school further away from us.  My mom had bought her a bunch of mostly Asian food at her request because apparently you can't get coconut juice, ramen noodles, Choco-Pie, Pocky, Yan-Yan and Asian chex mix (my niece's term for it) where she now lives.  But like any Filipino lola (grandmother) who can't bear the idea of her grandchild not having the food she wants, my mom went a little overboard in all the stuff she bought for my niece.  As in, I couldn't fit it all in 1 large priority mail flat rate box.  So I sent one box and promised my niece I'd send the rest later on.


    It's now later on and I have just enough room left in the new box to squeeze in some brownies.  Plus I wasn't seeing my other niece for a few weeks so it was time she got a care package of brownies from me too.  She had visited earlier and my mom already loaded her up with food a couple of weeks ago so least I didn't have to send her a month's worth of groceries too, lol.

    This time around I experimented with a coconut caramel layer.  First I made an Oreo cookie crust for the bottom layer.  You may notice I'm going through an Oreo crust phase, similar to when I went through the nutella crunch topping phase for all the brownies I was making.  There's nothing more to it than I want to sneak in a few Oreos as a snack but use up the rest of the package in the brownie crust so I don't end up eating the whole package.  Don't ask why I don't just buy the snack pack that comes with 6 Oreos.  Then that would be admitting that I buy Oreos just to consume them whereas if I buy the full package, the primary intent is to use them in brownies to give away, not for direct consumption by me.  Trust me, there's a logic to that which only I can follow.

    The next layer was melted caramels (I melted the 11-ounce bag of Kraft caramel bits with a few tablespoons of heavy cream) to which I mixed in about a cup of coconut.  I love coconut and caramel and this thing already had an Oreo cookie crust so what was another (few) thousand calories?  Lastly, I adapted this brownie recipe from Carole Bloom's book.  The modifications I made is I didn't beat the eggs and sugar like she instructed because I didn't want a lot of air in these brownies and wanted them dense.  I also increased the flour to half a cup so it wouldn't be fudgy soft.
    You can tell the brownie layer isn't well baked
    In an 8-inch pan, this actually makes a fairly thick brownie.  You need to make sure you bake it long enough.  Angle the toothpick for the doneness test so that your toothpick is mostly going through the brownie layer.  If you hit the caramel layer, your toothpick will come out with goo, whether the brownies are fully baked or not.  I wasn't trying to underbake these brownies but I inadvertently did.  The toothpick test wasn't quite clean but the crumbs clinging to it looked right and it wasn't raw batter.  So I took them out after 30 minutes or so.  I should've left them in for longer because the caramel layer keeps the brownies from baking that quickly.  They're still good but would've benefited from a longer baking time.  As it was, I felt only the edges and corners were edible - the middle pieces were too "raw batter" to be nothing more than just barely past liquid stage gooeyness.  If I had been making a chocolate pudding, this would've been a success.  As it is, this now makes the 4th ho-hum baking experiment.  Yikes.  I don't think I've had this bad of a baking streak in awhile.  Now I feel like I have to make it up to my nieces and send them another package soon with better brownies.  I have a reputation to maintain, lol.

    Oh, update to this post because after I wrote all the above, one of my nieces got her package and her thank you text to me read: "Brownies....are heaven.  Quite possibly my new favorite ever."  Huh.  Go figure.

    In any case, learn from my mistakes!  I would recommend doing something like this in a 9-inch pan so the brownies aren't quite so thick and the 3 layers are a bit thinner.  This will help the top brownie layer bake more.  I also want to try this with a different base brownie recipe, one that has a bit more of a dense texture rather than a soft one.  You can tell the brownie will be softer and be more of a mousse-like texture if it has only a small amount of flour in it like the original recipe for this did.  Because the caramel layer is already soft and liquid-y, your brownie layer should be a bit firmer and something you can really sink your teeth into.

    7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
    6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    1 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon dark rum
    1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
    1/3 cup all-purpose flour (I used ½ cup)
    Pinch of salt

    1.     Preheat oven to 350⁰F.  Line an 8” square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
    2.     Place the chocolate and butter together in the top of a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water.  Stir frequently with a rubber spatula so they melt evenly.
    3.     In the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the wire whip attachment, beat the eggs and sugar together until they are very thick, pale colored and hold a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes.  Blend in the vanilla, rum and espresso.
    4.    Combine the flour with the salt and add slowly to the egg mixture with the mixer at low speed.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and mix again.
    5.    Take the double boiler off the heat, remove the top pan from the water and wipe it dry.  Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the mixture and blend thoroughly. 
    6.    Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted 2 inches in from the edge still has moist crumbs clinging to it.  The center will be very moist.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.



    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Cinnamon Apple Bumpy Bread

    Cinnamon Apple Bumpy Bread - made October 16, 2011 from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs by Gale Gand (book #170)


    Although you can get apples year-round, autumn is the best season for them and overcast, rainy days always make me want apple desserts. Apples are my rare exception to including in desserts rather than having the fruit only in its natural form.  Apple cobbler is a favorite comfort dessert and almost the only kind of pie I'll eat is apple.  I normally don't like any kind of fruit in bread either and when we made panettone in culinary school, I persuaded our chef instructor to let me make it with chopped up chunks of milk chocolate instead of the traditional fruit.  (Although I don't necessarily like chocolate and bread together either, that version of panettone turned out pretty well.)

    Upon reading this recipe, it struck me as a form of monkey bread, something else I also want to make someday.  The basic elements are the same: let the dough do a first rising, break off chunks and roll into dough balls, (for monkey bread, you also roll them in butter/cinnamon/sugar). put together in the pan and do a second rising.  For this recipe, the hardest part was rolling the dough into balls because the apples got in the way and made it messy.  I ended up cutting into chunks and squishing together in the pan without doing a lot of rolling.   Oh and I skipped the apple pie filling - from a can, are you kidding?  When it's the prime season for fresh apples?  Instead, I large-diced 2 Fuji apples, cooked them until crisp-tender with 2 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and used that as the filling.  Skipped the egg yolk entirely.

    View from the top

    After all that, I really want to say that this turned out great and will become an autumn staple in my baking arsenal.  Sigh.  Not so.  This didn't turn out like how I wanted and I'm not sure how much is my fault and how much is due to the recipe since I messed up enough to shoulder the entire burden.  First, I wasn't sure how viable my yeast was and I didn't have enough time to proof it to check before I used it.  Second, since I was short on time, I only let it rise long enough as dictated by the recipe, not by how much I maybe should have depending on how it looked after the first and second rising.  Third, never make any yeasted product when you don't have enough time.  The biggest problem with this bread is, because either my yeast wasn't active enough or I didn't let it rise enough or both, the bread came out too dense and heavy.  The texture wasn't bread-chewy.  It was more like really heavy, dense bread that didn't rise enough..... because that's what it was.

    It also didn't have as much flavor as I expected considering the fresh apples, the melted butter slathered on all over and the cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top of that.  With all that and I still didn't think it was sweet enough, you know there's a problem.  But I really want this recipe or some semblance of it to turn out so I will likely try it again at a later date - when I have more time. Ugh. I almost didn't blog this one and wanted to ignore it so I wouldn't have to admit to the failure but this blog is about my baking odyssey, not about just the ones that turned out.  Failures are important to acknowledge and learn from as well, in baking, blogging and life.  Even when I don't want to admit it :).



    For the bread
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons sugar
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
    1 ½ ounces fresh yeast or 3 ounces dry yeast
    3 cups bread flour
    1 egg

    For the filling
    2 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 ½ tablespoons sugar
    ¾ cup canned apple pie filling
    1 egg yolk

    For the glaze
    4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
    ¼ cup sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1.   Butter a 7-cup loaf pan and place it on a baking sheet.  Butter a large bowl.
    2.   Make the dough: In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix the water, salt, sugar, butter, yeast, flour, and egg at low speed for 8 minutes.  Remove the dough to the buttered bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
    3.   Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a large circle, about 14 inches in diameter and 1/8” thick.
    4.   Add the filling: Place the cinnamon, sugar, apple pie filling and egg yolk in the center of the dough.  Fold one side of the dough over the filling, then the other, as though you are folding a letter.  With a large knife, chop the dough into 1-inch pieces.  Using your hands, lightly toss the dough pieces together, turning them over.  Push the pieces of dough back together into a loose loaf and transfer to the pan.
    5.   Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until the dough is 1 inch above the pan rim, 1 to 1 ½ hours. 
    6.   Heat the oven to 350⁰F.  Bake the loaf until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.  Let cool in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.
    7.   Make the glaze: While the bread is still warm, set the wire rack and bread on a sheet pan.  Thickly brush the bread on all sides, including the bottom, with melted butter.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a large shallow dish and roll the loaf in the cinnamon sugar.  Return the bread to the rack and let cool completely. 

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Butterscotch Shortbread

    Butterscotch Shortbread - made October 15, 2011 from Shortbread by Jann Johnson (book #169)


    I love shortbread.  It's got the whole butter thing going on and good shortbread is worth every (astronomical) calorie.  When you make shortbread, be sure to use fresh butter - it doesn't have to come straight from the dairy farm but don't use butter that's been sitting in your refrigerator for weeks either.  Butter is such a key component of shortbread that its flavor will definitely come through so use the good (fresh) stuff.  When spreading the shortbread dough, you also want to take care to spread it as evenly as possible.  Shortbread isn't just about taste; it's also about texture.  If your shortbread is uneven, the thinnest part will bake faster and may be of a perfect texture while the thickest part may be underbaked and be cakey rather than have the melting-soft-crisp texture of good shortbread.

    My favorite shortbread is from Regan Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen but I wanted to try this recipe as well and see how it stacks up.  Similar to the Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread recipe, it uses rice flour which adds to the tender texture of shortbread.  Although it didn't call for it, I also added chopped up butterscotch chips to give it an additional butterscotch flavor which is what I enjoy from Regan Daley's recipe.

    Despite the addition, this didn't measure up to my favorite shortbread recipe.  It was good but I preferred the other one.  The most common problem with most shortbreads is too much butter and this fell into that category.  I baked it for even longer than the recipe directed since I knew another common problem - and a mistake I've made more often than not - is not baking shortbread long enough and not getting the crisp texture.  Because of the high amount of butter relative to the flour, I don't think baking this even longer would've solved the texture issue.  It's just meant to be a softer and chewier shortbread because of all the butter.  The brown sugar flavor was good and I'm glad I added the butterscotch chips but if you want to try a great shortbread recipe, try the Butter Toffee Crunch Shortbread recipe first.


    1 cup flour
    2 tablespoons rice flour
    ¾ cup butter, softened
    ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Lightly butter 8” round pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. In a small bowl, whisk the flours together; set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed or a wooden spoon, beat the butter until light in color, about 1 minute. Gradually mix in the brown sugar and salt. Add the vanilla and continue beating until mixture is well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Gradually mix in the flours until just combined. The dough will be soft.
    3. Press the dough evenly into the pan and smooth the surface of the dough. Use a fork to score the dough around the outer edge.
    4. Bake in the center of the oven for about 55 minutes or until pale golden. Place the pan on a rack and let the shortbread cool completely. Transfer the shortbread from the pan to a cutting board. With a sharp, thin knife, cut into 16 wedges.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Triple Chocolate Cookies

    Triple Chocolate Cookies - made October 15, 2011 from The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard

    It's not just the light that makes this look lighter - it really was that pale

    I only made this a double chocolate cookie since I omitted the third chocolate which was supposed to be the white chocolate chunks.  I didn't have enough on hand to really add anything significant to the dough.  I would almost consider this a 1 1/2 chocolate cookie instead since there's actually not that much chocolate in the dough itself, only 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder.  It's chocolate but not really chocolaty, if you know what I mean.  It was still good and baked up moist with a chewy texture in the middle and crisp edges like a good chocolate chip cookie but I don't think that I would consider this a super chocolaty cookie that the name implies.  It was more sweet than chocolate.  Be sure you use a dark chocolate cocoa to at least get some of the chocolate flavor.  The grocery store and generic brands won't cut it.  You can also try increasing the cocoa powder by 2 tablespoons and cutting back on the flour by the same amount to get a darker chocolate flavor.


    1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    ½ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 large egg, at room temperature
    ½ cup ½” chunks white chocolate
    ½ cup ½” chunks bittersweet chocolate

    1.   Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl and set aside.
    2.   Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.  Add the sugar, brown sugar, salt and vanilla.  Cream on medium speed until it is smooth and lump free, about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.
    3.   Add the egg and beat on low speed for 15 seconds, or until fully incorporated.  Do not overbeat.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle.
    4.   On low speed, add the flour mixture.  Beat until all the dry ingredients are incorporated, 15 to 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the white and bittersweet chocolate chunks and mix until they are just incorporated.  If using a hand mixer, use a wooden spoon to stir them in.
    5.   Roll dough into a log about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long on a sheet of parchment paper.  Fold the parchment over, creating a sausage.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Dough can be chilled, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
    6.   When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350⁰F.  Remove dough from parchment and, using a serrated knife, slice 1/3” rounds off the log.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
    7.   Bake one sheet at a time for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cookies look dry and feel firm, turning the sheet front to back halfway through the baking.  Remove the sheet from the oven and carefully slide the parchment directly onto a work surface.  Wait at least 5 minutes before serving or 20 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.





    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Curried Meatballs with Rice Pilaf

    Curried Meatballs with Rice Pilaf - from my cousin Christine, October 8, 2011


    No, you didn't come to the wrong blog by mistake, this really is a non-dessert recipe.  I haven't "cooked" in awhile and this doesn't change my dry spell because this is actually a dish my cousin Christine made for me and one of my nieces when we got together.  Christine knows how limited my cooking skills are so every once in awhile she helps me out by providing real food for my dinner :).  She's also nice enough to include the recipe, probably in hopes that I'd make it myself since they're usually so simple even I could cook them.  So far I haven't but hey, there's always someday, lol.

    In the meantime, I'll post the recipe so you all can enjoy the dish like I did.  Thanks Christine!

    ¼ cup vegetable oil
    2 small onions, chopped fine
    1 cup long-grain white rice
    2 cups water
    1 pound ground chicken
    ½ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
    ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    Salt and pepper
    ½ cup dried apricots, chopped
    ¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted

    1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add rice and cook until mostly opaque, about 4 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, combine chicken, remaining onion, panko, 2 tablespoons cilantro, curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Knead mixture with hands until well mixed. Shape into 1-inch meatballs.
    3. Heat remaining oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Cover and cook through, 4 to 6 additional minutes. Transfer to platter.
    4. Add apricots, ½ cup almonds, and remaining cilantro to rice and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Serve with meatballs.



    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Snickerdoodles and Cookie Baking 101

    Snickerdoodles - from The Magnolia Bakery by Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey


    This is another blog post I've been meaning to write for awhile.  The greatest enjoyment I get from writing my blog is being able to share the recipes I've tried, how they turned out, what I think of them and what, if anything, I would suggest to make them better.  It absolutely makes my day when someone tries a recipe I've blogged about and enjoyed it for themselves.  It also absolutely distresses me when someone tells me they tried something but "it didn't turn out" like mine.  For the longest time, I just didn't get it.  I posted the exact same recipe I followed, I talked about what I did and, depending on the recipe, what mistakes I made that people shouldn't do so they can avoid the problems I had with something and make theirs better than mine.

    In trying to do an autopsy, so to speak, on my friends' and relatives' baking mishaps, I started to ask more detailed questions to get to the root causes of the problems: what ingredients did you use?  How long did you bake it?  What did it look like when you took it out of the oven?  What did your batter or dough look like?  What pan did you use? Did you preheat the oven? The varying answers I got made something really clear to me: it's not just about the recipe, it's also about the technique.  I've blogged before about some simple baking tips so I won't repeat those here.  But I will add further to the list  and, for this post, in the context of cookie making.

    Some weeks ago, my friend Karen was baking batch after batch of cookies but was dissatisfied with her results as they weren't coming out the way she wanted them too.  In making chocolate chip cookies, the different recipes she tried either weren't spreading like she wanted or they were too dry.  The dryness was easy to remedy as I discovered she was baking them until the middles were done.  Oh no.  For chocolate chip cookies and anything of their texture, bake until the edges are done and the middles are just barely not doughy-looking anymore.  They might puff during baking but you want the middles to sink when they cool.  That'll give them their chewy and moist texture.  If you bake until the middles are done, the cookies will be dry.  So that solved the problem of the chocolate chip cookie.  In Karen's own words, "oh the middles are supposed to sink!"  Yep, that's right.

    But bear in mind this doesn't hold true for all cookies because it really depends on what type of cookie you're making.  Once Karen had conquered the chocolate chip cookie issue, she moved on to Snickerdoodles and was trying this recipe from Magnolia Bakery, a cookbook I have and a recipe I've also tried before.  They weren't turning out like she had made them before at a friend's place: the cookies weren't spreading and they were coming out either too dry or too underdone.  I couldn't diagnose the issue virtually so I went over to her house to watch her in action.  The best way to help someone is to have them do it themselves and observe what's happening.

    As near as I can tell, Karen was doing everything right: all her ingredients were at room temperature when she started, she mixed correctly according to the recipe, and she had chilled the dough before baking it.  Yet something was still off.  The only thing I corrected in her mixing of the dough was to teach her the dip and sweep method in measuring the flour.  You never want to tamp the flour down in the measuring cup.  You'll end up with too much flour, too stiff of a dough and dry cookies.  Karen didn't make this mistake but in general, you also want to add the dry ingredients in 2-3 parts, not all at once, so that you can incorporate the dry ingredients well into the dough or batter and let the dough "come together".

    We ended up taking out the cookies on the slight side of underdone to try and avoid the other cause of dryness besides too much flour: overbaking.  The cookies were fine when we took them out of the oven but we left them on the hot cookie sheet while we focused on another batch of dough.  I had forgotten one basic rule of cookie making: cookies will continue to bake on a hot cookie sheet even after they're out of the oven.  Subsequently, the first batch we had left on the cookie sheet baked up a little more than I would've recommended.  Easy remedy to that is to leave them on the cookie sheet for only a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. 

    The basic nature of a snickerdoodle is they tend to be more cakey and not have a chewy-dense-moist texture like a chocolate chip cookie.  It's not to say they're automatically more dry than a chocolate chip cookie but you do have to factor in the type of cookie you're making as well in order to gauge its success.  We ended up with a batch Karen was happy with and she was assured her cookie making skills were fine :).

    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    1 ½ cups sugar
    2 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    6 tablespoons sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon for sprinkling

    1.    In a small bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
    2.    In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
    3.    Preheat oven to 350˚F.
    4.    Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion.  (I recommend leaving extra room between these cookies because they spread more than most.)  Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake for 12-14 minutes.
    5.    Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Coconut and Caramel Blondies

    Coconut and Caramel Blondies - made October 6, 2011 from Chocolatier Magazine, July 1999 issue


    It's fall, it was rainy last week and I'm ready for some "comfort baking".  And it seems like so are a lot of people as I see many cute Halloween treats popping up as well as the autumn flavors of pumpkin and apple.  I'll be getting to those too but one of my favorite flavors year round as well as reminding me of fall is actually caramel.  Maybe it's the color or the association with caramel apples which I also associate with Halloween and holidays.  I don't know why because to be honest, I've had maybe one caramel apple in my life.  I love apples and I love caramel but not together.  Except maybe in a caramel apple pie and that's only when the apples are tart enough to offset the sweetness from the caramel.  Otherwise my teeth just ache thinking about it.  In any case, when I made these coconut blondies and topped them with a layer of melted caramel, while it was dark and gloomy outside, that just made me feel like I was really ushering in my favorite season of the year.

    It didn't hurt either that these were awesome blondies.  I normally don't like blondies as much as brownies as there are some that are too sweet or they dry out easily.  But I liked these because the coconut really gave them a nice texture and helped to keep the texture both moist and chewy.  The caramel layer on top was decadence itself.  Cut these pieces small as they can be rich.


    Blondie batter
    1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
    ¼ cup cake flour
    ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
    1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 ¼ cups sweetened flaked coconut
    ¾ cup chopped walnuts

    Caramel topping
    16 vanilla-flavored caramels (5.2 ounces total weight)
    2 tablespoons light cream
    Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

    1.     Make the blondies: Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Coat the inside of an 8” square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  The pan should be thoroughly coated, as the blondie batter tends to stick.  Set aside.
    2.     Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon onto a sheet of waxed paper.
    3.     Blend together the melted butter and dark brown sugar in a medium bowl.  Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract.
    4.     Stir in the sifted mixture, blending until all the particles of flour are absorbed.  Stir in all the coconut and walnuts.  The batter will be thick and slightly glossy.
    5.     Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Spread the batter evenly in the pan.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set.  Let the blondies stand in the pan on a cooling rack while you prepare the topping.
    6.     Make the caramel topping: Place the caramels, cream, and nutmeg in a small heavy saucepan (preferably enameled cast iron).  Set over moderately low heat and cook slowly to dissolve the caramels, stirring from time to time.  When the caramels are completely dissolved (in about 8 minutes) and the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.  The caramel mixture will be thick.
    7.     Immediately spoon the warm caramel topping over the surface of the uncut blondies in wide, patchy drizzles.  Cool completely.  With a small, sharp knife, cut the entire “cake” into 4 quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 pieces.  Store the blondies in an airtight container.

    Also linked to Everday Sisters blog

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    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Almond Joy Brownies

    Dark and Dusky Brownies (original name) - made October 1, 2011 from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson


    I defaulted to the same baking book again for the 4th brownie I made for last weekend's bake sale.  I didn't have much time and couldn't afford a "bad" recipe so I went with the same book I can always rely on for terrific recipes.  This one was meant to be a plain fudge brownie but had I left it as is, I think it still would've been a standout because of the different chocolates it, it really does make a (chocolate) impression.  I did add chopped up bars of Almond Joys to dress it up a little and it was fine but I think this would also meet your needs if you just want a nice, plain, fudgy-chocolate brownie.  Once again, use the good chocolate because you're definitely going to taste it.

    1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
    5 tablespoons bleached cake flour
    ½ cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (I used Pernigotti from Williams Sonoma)
    ¼ teaspoon baking powder
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
    ½ pound (2 sticks, 16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
    4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
    2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
    4 large eggs
    2 large eggs yolks
    2 cups superfine sugar
    2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
    1. Preheat the oven to 325F.  Film the inside of a 10 x 10 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
    2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.  In a small bowl, toss the chocolate chips with 1 teaspoons of the sifted mixture.
    3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter, melted unsweetened chocolate, and melted bittersweet chocolate until smooth.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks slowly until blended, about 15 seconds.  Add the sugar and whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.  Blend in the vanilla extract and melted butter-chocolate mixture.  Sift the flour mixture over and stir to form a batter, mixing thoroughly until the particles of flour are absorbed, using a whisk or flat wooden paddle.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
    4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
    5. Bake the brownies in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until set.  Let the brownies stand in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 hours.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  With a small, sharp knife, cut the sweet into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 squares.  Remove the brownies from the baking pan, using a small, offset metal spatula.  Store in an airtight tin.
    Bake and serve within 3 days



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    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Toffee Pound Cake

    Toffee Pound Cake - made October 1, 2011 from The Complete Book of Baking from Pillsbury (book #168)



    This was the only non-brownie I made for the bake sale and that was for any non-chocolate lovers.  I love toffee and baking with toffee or brickle chips.  For people who like a little crunch in their baked goods but don't like nus (like me), toffee is a good alternative.  This cake was a pretty good pound cake with a nice texture that was also moist.  I didn't think it was particular toffee-tasting though.  It was more like a good vanilla pound cake with just a hint of toffee.  To bring out more of a toffee or butterscotch flavor, next time I'd try substituting dark brown sugar for some of the granulated sugar and adding mini butterscotch chips.  I omitted the glaze from the cake since I was packaging these for sale and didn't want a glaze to get too messy when unwrapping each individual slice.



    Cake
    2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    1 ½ cups sugar
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 ½ cups buttermilk
    ½ cup butter, softened
    ¼ cup shortening
    1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
    3 eggs
    1 (6-oz) package almond brickle baking chips

    Glaze
    1/3 cup butter
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 to 3 tablespoons water

    1.     Heat the oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt or 10-inch tube pan.  In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients except brickle chips at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minute at medium speed.  By hand, stir in brickle chips.  Pour batter into greased and floured pan.
    2.     Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool upright in pan 10 minutes; invert onto serving plate.  Cool completely.
    3.     In medium saucepan, beat 1/3 cup butter until light golden brown; remove from heat.  Blend in powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Add water until glaze is smooth and of drizzling consistency.  Immediately spoon over top of cooled cake, allowing some to run down sides.