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Recipe Source:

In the Sweet Kitchen:
The Definitive Baker's Companion

by Regan Daley, 2001, Artisan, a division of
Workman Publishing Co., Inc.

This professional-quality, 704-page reference was singled out
by the International Association of Culinary Professionals as the
2001 Cookbook of the Year, in addition to being  chosen as the
best book of its category (Bread, Other Baking and Sweets).

“The recipes I’ve included in this book are both simple and seductive. My own desserts have never been highly structural, elaborate and precarious creations;
I leave those to the frustrated architects among my professional colleagues. I
think the best desserts are those that are satisfying and exciting enough to serve
in the most festive situations, but not out of place on a plain old Tuesday night
when you really need a taste of something wicked. Most of the recipes can be
made in little time, with minimal equipment and by even the most novice baker.
Others may take more time to prepare, but are nevertheless straightforward and easily made by the home cook.”

From “Cakes and Tea Cakes”

Pecan Toffee Coffee Cake

Serves 12 to 15

“Rich with the flavours of pecans, sweet butter and creamy toffee, this simple
coffee cake exceeds all expectations. It has a velvety fine crumb and just enough sweetness to be the perfect complement to a strong cup of espresso. Toffee bits
are a fairly new addition to the baking section of many supermarkets and I have already found about two dozen uses for them (muffins, cookies, pancakes…snacking…). Here, they add a distinctly caramel-like flavour, without the need
to go to the trouble of making butter toffee yourself.”

1/2 tightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened
cocoa powder, sifted
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3/4 cup (half of a 225-gram package)
English toffee pieces for baking,
such as Skor Bits

Cake Batter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups full-fat sour cream
3/4 cup (or the other half of the package)
English toffee pieces for baking,
such as Skor Bits

3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for decoration

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees [F.]  Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube or Kugelhopf Bundt pan and tap out excess flour. Prepare the filling:
in the bowl of a food processor or a clean coffee or spice mill, combine
the brown and granulated sugars with the espresso powder. Pulse several
times to grind the mixture quite finely and transfer to a small bowl. Add
the sifted cocoa and spices and mix with a fork until well blended. Add
the nuts and toffee pieces and stir to combine. Set aside.
2. Prepare the cake batter: sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium-sized bowl; set aside. In the bowl of
an electric mixer, or a large bowl if mixing by hand, combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Cream on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or about 5 minutes by hand, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, beating in
vanilla with the last egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically
to make sure the mixture gets evenly blended.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just to blend after each addition and be careful not to overbeat at this point, or the crumb of the cake with be tough, not delicate and fine. When
the last of the flour has been incorporated, fold in the toffee bits.
4. Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Using
a teaspoon, spread the batter evenly over the bottom and make a little
moat all the way around the centre to cradle the filling. Spoon 1/2 the
filling into the groove, being careful not to have any of the filling touch
the center tube or the sides of the pan, or it could scorch, making a
graceful unmoulding very difficult!  Smooth the filling down a bit, then
add another 1/3 of the batter. Again, spread the batter over the filling
and up the sides of the pan, creating another moat. Fill this groove with
the last of the filling and cover it with the remaining batter. Using the
spoon or a rubber spatula, spread the batter smoothly and evenly, mak-
ing sure it goes right to the edges of the pan, blanketing any exposed
filling. The two layers of filling must be well separated by batter, or
the resulting cake will have an unpleasantly sugary and crunchy centre.
Rap the pan on the counter once or twice to remove any trapped air
5. Place pan on the centre rack of the preheated oven and bake for 50 to
65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and the centre springs
back when lightly touched. A wooden skewer inserted about 2 inches
into the centre of the ring should come out clean, except for any stray
toffee that it may have speared. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for
5 to 7 minutes, then invert the cake onto another rack and leave to cool
completely. This cake must be absolutely cool before you attempt to slice
it, or you’ll end up with one pile of cake and another of nutty toffee!
The cake keeps very well for 2 or 3 days, well wrapped at room
temperature. To serve, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top.


White Chocolate Tropical Chunk Cookies

22 to 25 cookies

“I love the combination of white chocolate and dried tropical fruit, and these
chewy, chunk colourful cookies are positively addictive. I use dried mango
in this recipe, but papaya would work, too. The freshness and quality of the
dried fruit and nuts is what makes or breaks these cookies. Try to find moist, preferably unsulphered fruit, sweet-tasting nuts and make sure the white
chocolate is good.
For a change, substitute cashews or pistachios for the macadamia nuts and
dried pineapple, banana or even dates for the mango. The cookies could be
made smaller, but because there is so much good stuff in the dough, I like
the hearty size!”

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup good-quality white chocolate chips
(or white chocolate chopped to about
the size of chips)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts,
preferably raw and unsalted
3/4 cup (about 18 to 20) dried apricots,
chopped  about the size of chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped dried mango, sweetened or
unsweetened, preferably unsulphured
(or substitute dried papaya), chopped to
about the size of chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees [F.] Line a heavy, not non-stick, baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly butter it. In the bowl of an electric
or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl if mixing
the cookie dough by hand, cream the butter and brown sugar together until well blended and smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla and scrape down the
sides of the bowl.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to
the creamed mixture in two additions, blending well after each. Fold in
the coconut, white chocolate chips or chunks, macadamia nuts and dried
fruit. At this point, there is nothing better with which to mix the dough
than your hands. Get in there and scrunch the ingredients together until
the chunky bits are evenly distributed and there are no clumps of un-
studded batter.
3. Pinch off a piece of dough somewhere between the size of a walnut and
a golf ball and roll it into a ball, packing tightly. Place it on the prepared
baking sheet and repeat until the sheet is full, leaving 2 inches between
each ball. Slightly flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass, then set
the sheet on the middle rack of the oven.
4. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown, the bottoms are slightly darker and the tops still yield when
touched in the centre. For chewier cookies, bake for a little less time,
for crunchier ones, leave them in a little longer – watch closely,
through, the fruit, nuts and chocolate can burn easily if left too long.
These cookies will keep in airtight containers at room temperature
for up to 1 week, if they aren’t devoured before then!

Featured Archive Recipes:
Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan Bourbon Cake
Cinnamon-Walnut Coffee Cake
Harvest Mix-Ups
Martha's Vineyard Hermits
Oatmeal Trail Mix Cookies
Sour Cream and Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake
Southern Pecan Pound Cake
Spiced Pecan Cake with Pecan
Frosting (Paul Prudhomme)

Walnut Ginger Cake (Craig Claiborne)
White Chocolate Chip Fudge Cookies

More Lagniappe Recipes!
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