Friday, November 26, 2010

TWD: Caramelized Apple Shortbread Cake

A few days ago I discovered Dorie Greenspan's Cranberry Shortbread Cake, and I like it so much I decided to make it again, this time with apples.

First I caramelized the apples with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I wish you could get a whiff of the smells coming from this skillet. Warm, spicy and oh-so Fall-like. Happy, happy, days.

After the apples had cooled, I grated my frozen shortbread cake dough into the pan and topped it with the apples. Yes, grated. I read somewhere that grating the dough creates a lighter, more delicate crust and it is true. Next time give it a try, you won't be sorry. Just watch those finger-tips!

A layer of Apple Butter...

And the rest of the grated shortbread dough. Note: I used too much dough on the bottom, so the top layer looks a little bare.

And if it wasn't sweet enough I topped the finished cake with cinnamon glaze. Can anyone say sugar coma? But hey, what a way to go.

Caramelized Apple Shortbread Cake

Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours pg 208-209 & 408

For the Cake:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • With an electric mixer beat the butter on medium speed until soft and smooth.
  • Add the sugar and continue to beat until the sugar dissolves into the butter.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the eat, beating until it is absorbed.
  • Beat in the vanilla.
  • Add the flour mixture and using a sturdy rubber spatula mix only until it is incorporated.
  • Divide the dough in half, pat into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until solid.

For the Caramelized Apples:

3 medium apples, cored, peeled and sliced
3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Ginger

1/4 - 1/2 cup Apple Butter (optional)

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt the butter, then sprinkle the sugar over the melted butter.
  • Cook the butter and sugar for 1 minute or so. You want the sugar to caramelize but not burn.
  • Add the sliced apples and spices to the skillet and toss to evenly coat the apples with the spices, and butter/sugar. Cook until they are tender but not soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the apples and buttery liquid to a plate.

  • When the dough is frozen solid, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line the bottom and 2 sides of a 9 x 5" loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing 2-3 inches to extend over the 2 sides. Lightly butter the parchment paper and non-covered side of the pan.
  • Remove one ball of frozen dough and grate into the prepared pan. Distribute evenly.
  • Spoon the caramelized apple on top of the bottom layer of dough.
  • Cover the caramelized apples with the Apple Butter (optional).
  • Grate the other half of the dough on top of the apples.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, or until the top of the cake is lightly golden brown.
  • Cool for 20 minutes. Run a blunt knife on the two sides of the cake not covered by parchment paper. Lift the cake from the pan using the parchment paper sides as handles.
  • Add a glaze if desired.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

TWD: Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry Shortbread Cake

I just got back from vacation ( a Carnival cruise but thankfully not the one that was stranded at sea with no power and water), so I had to scramble to get this week’s assignment finished on time.

Not-Just-For-Thanksgiving Cranberry (Blueberry) Shortbread Cake

This week’s TWD selection was made by Jessica of The Singleton in the Kitchen (click here for recipe). Way to go Jessica, you made a delicious choice.

Because of my late return I didn’t have time to go to the store and get cranberries, so I had to raid the refrigerator and use what was on hand. The only non-moldy fruit I could find in the frig was some slightly expired blueberry fruit spread. It wasn't too, too expired so I decide to take a chance. (I'm such a rebel.)

Like many other TWD bakers, I grated the dough instead of trying to roll it out to the correct size. The grating was a lot easier but also a lot messier.

So how did it taste?

Pretty darn good.

Kinda like a cross between a sugar cookie and a scone. Crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside. Not too sweet, with a little tartness from the fruit. In the book Dorie also suggest using caramelized apples instead of cranberries. I think I’ll give that a try for Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TWD: Pea-NOT-tiest Blondies

I made my last Houston-New Orleans commute on Friday, October 29th and the next morning I pulled out my pans and started BAKING. Yahoo! An almost two month exile from my kitchen and my weekly Tuesdays with Dorie fix was finally at an end.

And what was I fortunate enough to get to bake?
Peanuttiest Blondies.
Lucky Me. One of my favorites.

This week’s selection was made by Nicole of Bakeologie. The recipe can be found on page 119 of Dorie Greenspan’s book: BAKING From My Home to Yours, or on Nicole's blog site.

Now I’m a great lover of Peanuts and Peanut Butter, but my family falls more on the “great hater” side of the Peanut Butter fence. So I had to make some minor adjustment to Dorie’s fabulous recipe. I subbed Almond Butter for the Peanut Butter and replaced the peanuts with a medley of four nuts: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans.

It was yummy. Moist, chewy and oh-so nutty... So my version my not be Peanuttiest Blondies, but they are certainty the Nuttiest Blondies.