Apple Eclairs

Who doesn’t like apples? And who doesn’t like eclairs? Nobody, of course! From my Introduction to Philosophy classes in college I deduce that everyone must also like Apple Eclairs. Boom, your mind is blown and your mouth is watering.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Halloween is at the corner we just passed. I can’t believe what time of year it is! This past year has gone by so quickly. I was gone this past year in Ecuador and never got to meet my nephew, who was born only several weeks after I left for work. To be back and see little Judah walking has been pretty incredible. He’s a cutie and just had his birthday party yesterday.

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Somebody’s one!!!

It was a blast to watch him eat his cake. He made such a mess! His older siblings helped him blow out the candles and lick the decorations clean from off his cake -of course they were helpful for sweets!

For the birthday party I wanted to make something fall-esque so I made Apple Eclairs, something of an invention when I couldn’t make what I really wanted to make. I used a basic pate a choux. I had tried making this before in Puno, Peru but it’s at 12,000 feet above sea level so it was almost instantly a fail. So, for the first time making pate a choux at an acceptable altitude I was stoked watching them rise in the oven. I’m telling you, baking is magic.

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Apple Eclairs

Pate a Choux 
Julia Childs says that pate a choux is an easy staple that every cook ought to have in their kitchen repertoire. I agree, it is easy –once you understand the ground rules- and there’s a lot you can do with pate a choux, which makes it sure to surprise every time you serve it. I did not use her recipe exactly, but when I read it afterward I wish that I had.

Ingredients Important things you’ll need
1 cup water  1 1/2 quart pot
3 oz butter (3/4 stick)  mixing bowl
1 teaspoon sugar  parchment paper
1 pinch of salt  two cookie sheets
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour  piping bag
4 eggs    1/2 inch piping tip
1 egg beaten w/ 1/2 tsp water  pastry brush

Boil water in a 1 1/2 quart heavy bottom pan along with butter, sugar and salt. Boil until butter is melted. While that is going on measure out the flour.Remove from heat and add all the flour to the water at once and beat immediately and vigorously for several seconds until it is well blended.

Bring the pan back to the burner and place on moderately high heat and beat for 1-2 minutes until the mixture leaves the sides of the pans and does not stick to the spoon and a film appears on the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat and place in a mixing bowl. Spread out flat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes, but not much longer. If you don’t you will end up cooking your eggs then and there in the dough. Once slightly cooled break in one egg and stir until well incorporated into the dough. Do this one egg at a time; however, for the last egg add it a little at a time as needed to make sure the dough doesn’t become too runny. It should resemble heavy mayonnaise.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper and set aside. Start to put the pate a choux in your piping bag and put on piping tip. If you do not have a piping bag you can make one out of parchment paper. Fill piping bag and start to pipe your eclairs onto the baking sheets. I made mine about 1 1/2 inch wide and about 6-7 inches long each. Make sure to space by about 2 or more inches as they will puff up quite a bit. Dip pastry brush in beaten egg with a bit of water and smooth over tops of the eclairs. Place the sheets side-by-side in the oven in the upper third portion of your oven. Bake for 20 minutes. They are done when they are doubled in size and are nice and golden and crusty to the touch. Remove from the oven and working quickly pierce the sides with a fork and place back in the oven and let cool with the door slightly open for 10 minutes. Cool the eclairs on cooling racks.

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Apple Filling

Ingredients Important stuff you’ll need
2-3 apples medium sauce pan
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 cup water

I used McIntosh apples, which I just think are great baking apples and they turn into mush so easily, which is needed for this recipe. Peel and core the apples then dice them up and throw them in the sauce pan over medium high heat. Throw in the sugar, butter and cinnamon (I’m not going to lie I didn’t measure the cinnamon I put in, I just threw in what I thought looked and smelled right, adjust as you see fit) and allow to sautee for a few minutes. Turn heat down and let the apple simmer down until they are soft enough to mash. If you like to keep a bit of chunk in your apples at this point that’s fine. Mash with a fork, then add 2 tbsp flour and 1 cup of water and allow to cook for 5 minutes until things are nice and goopy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Glaze

Ingredients Important things you’ll need
4 oz cream cheese mixer 
1 cup powdered sugar   
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter   
1/2 tsp vanilla  

Cream together cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar until fluffy and then stir in vanilla.

Assembling Eclairs

Once the eclairs have cooled used a bread knife to cut them lengthwise in half. I placed that all on the countertop open and spooned out the apple filling into each evenly between them all. At then end if there was left over apple filling I split it evenly between them topping them off. Place the tops back on the eclairs and frost with the cream cheese frosting. You’ll have extra frosting probably, so find some graham crackers to snack on too! You can powder the tops of the eclairs with a touch of cinnamon to finish up.

What other kinds of things can you think of to make with pate a choux? Cream puffs is an obvious choice, but what else?!

Enjoy!

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Maicillos – Cornstarch Cookies

“You don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone,” is not a phrase that stands true only for hot-shot guys who take their women for granted.  It’s true for many occasions.

Do you have a favorite season?  Mine used to be Spring, only because my birthday was in Spring.  But then, I went to Costa Rica during my Junior Fall Semester of college and I missed Autumn.  I was going mad, calling my parents telling them to send me really, honest-to-goodness, authentic autumn leaves.  I need to smell them and crunch them in my hands.  When I got back from C.R. and the next year came around I found that Autumn was my favorite season.

Well, now I’m in a real pickle.  My whole equilibrium is out of wack.  I’ve missed every Northern Hemisphere season.  I’m in danger of having four favorite seasons.  And right now it’s winter I’m missing.  Has it snowed yet?!  I don’t even really want to know… because I’m madly missing winter.  I had never missed a winter until these two years.  It’s been two years since I’ve walked out into the cold and felt my nose hairs instantly freeze to each other.  It’s been two years since I’ve held a snowball.  It’s been two years since I’ve heard the crunch of dry snow under my feet.  It’s been two years since I’ve fallen on ice.  It’s been two years since I’ve spent Christmas with my family.  Ohhhhhh, you never thought you’d hear me say it… but I miss everything about snow from watching it fall ever-so softly from the heavens to the adrenaline-filled drives on black ice.  Could someone send me a box of snow?

There is no snow here… even though it’s cold enough sometimes to actually have snow.  You would think being in Peru it wouldn’t be cold, but then I’d give you a swift slap to the face and remind you… I’m at 12,000 ft.  There are nice days too, though.  And on one such nice day the team went out to Sillustani.

 I’m the guy on the far right whose eyebrows unfortunately look like they were misplaced or shaven off.  I’ll tell you though, I have eyebrows.  That sun is such a prankster!  I’ll let you read about Sillustani here.

I had been asked to do a post on a typical dessert in Peru.  It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time now too, so being asked was the extra push that led me to Maicillos.

Maicillos’ name comes from maiz which means corn in Spanish.  The corn influence in this recipe is from the maizena… or cornstarch!  I’ve seen other recipes that call for cornstarch in cookies and call them melting cookies.  They really do seem to melt in your mouth.

And here’s something I’d like you to see from the culture.

Say you’re fat.  The people are going to tell you so.  Oh, they’ll say “Hey little fatty!”  And they won’t blink twice.  Say you have a mole on your forehead you’re a little self-conscience about.  Forget forgetting about it, they’ll remind you it’s there.  Say you’re white or black, they’ll say so!  Negrita is a common household product brand and it means “little black lady.”  It’s striking in the name alone, but with it’s logo it was rather offending to the us, the North Americans.

Back to cookies… These maicillos are typically made around Halloween for Todos los Santos (All-Saints Day).  But, I’m bringing them to you a little late.  Oops.  As a side-note, I believe these cookies to be best the day after!

Maicillos

1 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove
6 tbsp butter or shortening
egg yolks
1 tbsp vodka
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

In a bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.  Then cut in the butter/shortening until it seems even.  It’s not going to look like pie crust dough, the butter/shortening will get pretty lost in all the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and put in all the wet ingredients.  It will seem hard for the dough to come together.  You may have to add 2-4 tbsp of milk to get it to come together into a ball.

 Break off pieces of the dough with floured hands and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Then, smash them flat in the palm of your hands and place on a foil lined cookie sheet.  Note: you do want to smash them down pretty thin.

Then put them in the oven and let bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Pull them out of the oven and remove carefully from the cookies sheet lest ye break them and have to eat hot cookies that burn your tongue.  I speak from experience.

Voila!  You have a Peruvian cookie.  Enjoy!

Monkey Bread

First and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving!  What are you thankful for?  Two years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say anything.  In the States, we take everything for granted.  I don’t even mean material things either.  As I go through my list of things I’m thankful for (my family, my family away from family, my relationship with God, this blog and the joy it brings me, seeing people’s lives change before my eyes, the lessons I’m learning about relationships) I realize that very few of them are material!  What are you thankful for?  Think hard now!  Don’t tell me something like… my car.  Pshh.  What are you really thankful for that if you didn’t have you would be a different person or seriously altered?

Now, secondly, aren’t traditions lovely?  When I have a family I want to make lots of traditions for my kids. I wanna have pancakes on weekends, birthday donuts, birthday week, cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, hot chocolate at midnight on Christmas eve, fireworks on Christmas Eve!  There’s something special about having that connection with a particular time of year.  Oh I LOVE traditions.  My parents didn’t do a whole lot of traditions for Thanksgiving or Christmas, which I think is sad.  And the things that we did used to do all the time we don’t do anymore… because my mom is getting more relaxed.  “Come on Mom!  Let’s make some Christmas cookies.”  “No Trev, it’s too much work.”  Pooooo!

In Chad and Amanda’s family it was a tradition to make Monkey Bread for Thanksgiving breakfast.  It’s now my future family tradition as well.

What are some of your holiday or yearly traditions?  I need to know!  My future family depends upon it!

Monkey Bread

Dough
1/2 pound mashed potato (russet)
1 cup warm milk (110F)
1/3 cup warm water (110 F)
2 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (or 1 packet) yeast
3 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt

Sugar coat
1 cup white sugar
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cup butter

Sauce
2 sticks butter (1 cup)
1/2 cup brown sugar

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk

How this baby is done

Grease a bundt cake pan and set aside.

Melt your butter for the dough in the microwave.  Put in a mixing bowl the warm water (110 F) and dissolve the yeast.  Let sit 5 minutes or until foamy.  If you’re yeast didn’t foam you may have killed it with too hot of water, or your yeast is dead (to learn more about yeast go here).  Then mix in the warm milk, melted butter, mashed potato, and 1/4 cup sugar.  I add potato because it gives it an incredible moist factor!  In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and salt and then slowly mix in the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  If the dough isn’t coming together mix in 2 to 4 tbsp more of flour.  Turn out onto a floured surface and work in a little bit more flour. Form the dough into a ball and put into a greased dish.  Cover and place in a warm area.  I turned on the oven on 400 F for a few minutes and then turned it off and put my dough in there.  Let rise for 50-60 minutes so it’s double in size.

Take your dough out of the greased  bowl and cut into four pieces.  Then cut those pieces into 16 pieces each (you should have 64 pieces).  Melt the 1 3/4 cup butter in a bowl in the microwave.  In a separate bowl mix together the 1 cup sugar and cinnamon so it’s equally distributed.  Then roll the dough pieces into little balls, dip them in the butter and then roll them in the sugar mix you made.  Then, put these into the bundt pan and let rise another 50-60 minutes.  They may rise almost over the pan.

While the dough is rising again, get the sauce ready.  Melt the two sticks of butter and then add the 1/2 cup brown sugar and work that together over medium high heat until they become one.  When the dough is done rising, pour this magic juice evenly over the dough.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Then get that bread in there.  Let bake for 30-40 minutes or until nice and brown on top.  Remove from the oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes and then plop that baby on out onto your serving platter.

Whip up real quick that glaze with a whisk.  Just whisk together the milk and powdered sugar til there aren’t any lumps.  I also added a 3/4 tsp of vanilla to this.  That gave it a little extra flavor.  Yumm!  Then drizzle this over your monkey bread.

You’re supposed to serve this warm and gooey.  I’d have to agree that is the best way to serve this.  Good luck!  And don’t forget to let me know what your family traditions are! Aaaand don’t forget to LIKE me on Facebook.  www.facebook.com/thkblog

https://thehandicappedkitchen.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/alive-or-dead-how-to-proof-your-yeast/

Choux à la Citrouille: Pumpkin Cream Puffs

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Oh glorious fall, how I miss you.  There is nothing quite like the smell of rotting leaves hanging on the air.  That and the many smells that spill out of kitchens nation-wide.  It’s something dear to me, but unfortunately, Peru only experiences two seasons, neither of which include fall.  So, I only get to live out fall precariously through desserts.  That’s not too bad right?

When I first embarked upon this  idea of using pâte à choux I was  planning on making éclairs, if you had seen my posts via Facebook you would´ve seen that.  I wanted to make éclairs with a pumpkin filling and cream cheese glaze.  However, I was quickly brought back to the reality of where it is that I actually live.  I live at 12,000 feet above sea level.  I was excited to start up on THK again.  It has been too long that I haven´t posted anything new, mostly because I burnt myself out.  Well, this recipe about did that in one strike.

I´m going to share with you some things about pâte à choux that I learned in my three different attempts that carried me through several stages of insanity.  I was ticked that out of all the different recipes I found only one included what I thought was key to making pâte à choux.  Only use the amount of eggs you need to get the consistency you need.  Seriously, I was so mad when I found this after two failed attempts.   Well, I gave up on the éclair idea, so I did a fall rendition of choux à la crème instead.  Though, still with paté à choux and the pumpking and cream cheese!  Even then, our elevation effected how much the dough would rise. 

 

I certainly wish that they had puffed up more, but I did what I could.  I spent unspeakable hours slaving in the kitchen today.  I started at 10 am and didn’t get done until 5 pm.  I’m not being dramatic when I say that I have near blisters on my hands from stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon today.  I do not want to scare you away from making these cream puffs though!  They were actually well worth the trouble.  Next time, I’ll know exactly what to do and I won’t have to utilize as much prayer as I did today. 

At one point of this process I really was sitting in front of my oven praying to God that He would make my PUFFS PUFF! 

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There are three parts of the recipe: dough, filling and glaze.

Dough
You know, I’m just going to refer you to the site I got the dough recipe from.  They explain it rather well, probably better than I could.  http://www.annamariavolpi.com/pate_a_choux.html  But, read on first.

I will note that it’s key you follow every step closely.  It is rather technical.  The consistency of the dough in the end should be not of mayo, like that site says, but rather between mayo and playdough.  It should hold it’s shape if you spoon it out onto a surface, but it should not be extremely stiff. 

Something else that made me want to rip out my hair was that the majority of pâte à choux recipes I found were all in METRIC.  I despise you metric.  Only because I have nothing to measure you out with. 

Filling
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove (ground)

If you’re using pumpkin pie filling, like Libby’s then you shouldn’t have to worry about the spices, you could add a little more, because you’re practically deluding it in the cream you’re creating.

In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a large sauce pan.  Then mix in milk slowly as not to create lumps.  Put over heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and set aside. 

I roasted my own pumpkin, because finding canned pumpkin in Peru would cause an aneurism.  It’s no problem finding pumpkin here either.  The pumpkin in the first picture in this post is zapallo, what I used for this recipe and yields a great substitute for any recipes that call for the convention pumpkin one might find in the States. 

If you already have you pumpkin puree seasoned dump it in with the cream and stir.  If not, measure out your pumpkin puree and add the seasonings.  You may want to put this over a medium heat and add milk so the flavors set into the puree.  Then add to the cream.  Add more spices as needed. 

When the puffs are cooled and ready cut them open with a serrated knife and spoon pumpkin cream into the centers and put the tops over the cream to form sandwiches. 

Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth.  I put this over a low heat until the frosting melted and then spooned this out over the puffs.  You can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top for garnish.

Pumpkin Butter–Mantequilla de Zapallo

Are you sick of me yet?  I know, right!  When I am I going to get over fall?  But, seriously.  How could you not look at this and think anything negative or ill-willed toward something so lovely.  I found this by accident and thought maybe I would be inventing something when I typed in the words, “pumpkin butter.”  Que sorpresa! It actually exists!

There are some things about having The Handicapped Kitchen in Peru that are an advantage.  One of those things would be that there is pumpkin all year long.  The word for pumpkin in Spanish is calabaza, but calabaza here refers mostly to anything in the squash family (even zucchini which is Italian squash if you translate it literally).  The closest thing that we could find here in Peru that’s verdaderamente pumpkin is something called zapallo.  It’s a really ugly looking thing, but it’s the exact consistency and color of the pumpkin I know in the States.

Regardless what the pumpkin was, this turned out delicioso.  It’s great for toast and I even read a review where it said you could put it on pancakes… I have yet to try that, but it sounds really really good.  I could even tell you that I thought about eating this stuff straight from the spoon, but that would be irrational and would only be getting half the delight by missing out on crunchy toast texture!  A mi me encanta la textura.

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Pumpkin Butter

1 can (29 oz/3 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 cup sugar

I’ll tell you how easy this was to make.  I woke up and it was the first thing I did… before making myself a cup of coffee.  Yea, it’s that simple.

My handicap was that my pumpkin puree only turned out to be about half of what it should’ve been.  Simple enough, I cut the recipe in half.

Put the pumpkin puree and spices and apple juice all in a pot and bring to a boil.  This is strange because the mixture is rather thick and may not boil like you would picture a rolling boil.  Once it starts to bubble and spit, turn down the heat to let it simmer.  Let it simmer for 30 minutes.  If it starts out looking really thick and want to thin it out just add some more apple juice.  As you simmer, the mixture will turn darker and darker.

When it’s simmered 30 minutes or if it’s cooked down to the consistency you want it (keep in mind it may thicken up even as it cools) remove from the heat and spoon into sterile jars.  Put in the fridge and chill before serving.

Spread this stuff on some toast or some cookies or… whatever you can think of.  Maybe ice-cream?  Does that sound good?  Just don’t put it on Pumpkin Pie… that would be dumb.  What will you put it on?

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Chocolate Dipped Banana Cake Balls (C.D.B.C.B.)

When you fall your supposed to pull yourself up and try again, right?  And the advice goes that even if you fall again you pull yourself up again.  One, I don’t like failing.  Two, if I fail I hate repeating something I feel should’ve worked the first time.  Baking at high altitudes is a great exercise for me in this department. 

A week ago I tried making Carrot Cake Rolls.  M-mmm.  It sounds good, right?  My inspiration was the classic Pumpkin Roll.  So, I found a Carrot Cake recipe and a Pumpkin Roll recipe and combined the two.  What happened?  I got a cookie sheet full of goop that didn’t set until an hour of baking (it should have only been 15 minutes). 

“What did you want to do, Trevor?” you ask.  I wanted to take the cookie sheet and chuck it out the front door hoping to catch a passing taxi in my baking-gone-wrong rage and bust out his window.  But, instead I slopped on the cream cheese frosting (which at this point I was feeling was a waste of good cream cheese) and rolled it up.  Later, everyone told me it wasn’t very pretty but it was the best thing I had made so far.  Can you imagine how upset I was?  Argh!

So, I decided to try it again, except this time instead of using carrot I would do a banana variation.  Mashed banana is similar to pumpkin puree, so I thought it might turn out better… nope.  It was practically identical the result.  This time I even adjusted the amount of flour, sugar, and leavening crap.  It got me nowhere.  So, looking at my kitchen towel with my sad excuse of a Banana Cake Roll with cream cheese oozing out everywhere, instead of getting upset and wishing doom on the 12,000 foot high city of Puno and all it’s residents, I threw it all in a bowl and mashed it together.  This is what it became. 

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I was really happy to have them turn out and actually hand them to somebody feeling proud of what I was giving them.  Cracked and brittle Carrot or Banana Cake Rolls are just not acceptable. 

Banana Ball Base

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup mashed banana

The Binder

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
1 tsp vanilla extract
———
1/2 cup oatmeal (if needed)

Chocolate … about 175 grams (or 6 oz) of bittersweet chocolate. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and grease a pan… I think you could use a 9×9 pan just fine.  I used a cookie sheet, but that was when I was making a Banana Cake Roll… now you’re making C.D.B.C.B. 

Make the flour mixture by whisking together in a bowl all the dry ingredients except the sugar.  In your mixing bowl mix the eggs and sugar until thick then beat in the mashed banana.  Then stir in the flour mixture.  It’s fine if it’s still lumpy.  Then, pour into the pre-greased pan and put in the over for 15-20 minutes or until when pressed slightly with your finger the cake springs back. 

While baking prepare the cream cheese frosting.  In a mixing bowl blend together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add the vanilla extract and then gradually add the powdered sugar. 

When the cake is cooked turn out, scoop out, or whatever, just get it out of the pan into a bowl and mix it together with the cream cheese frosting and also, at this point, dump in the 1/2 cup oatmeal as a further bonding agent.  If you feel the cake and cream cheese frosting will bind together fine without the oatmeal then leave it out.

Melt the 6 oz of chocolate over simmering water.  Here’s a link that can give you further advice on how to melt your chocolate correctly.  Melting Chocolate.     

Once your chocolate is ready spoon out some of the “dough” you now have and roll it into a ball with your hands.  Stick it on the end of a fork and dip it into the chocolate only covering the bottom part… if you want to cover the whole thing with chocolate you’ll just need more chocolate.  Then place on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap.  Once you’ve got your pan full place in the freezer for a couple hours and voila!  You’ve got my mistake made delicious.

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Moravian Sugar Cake… but it’s really bread

When I moved out into my own apartment, the very first opportunity I got, I went to the Humane Society and adopted a cat.  He was perfect.  He was black and white, the classic tuxedo kitty look.  I named him Chopin after my favorite piano genius.  And I loved him very much.

All you apartment renters out there know that pets+apartments don’t always mix.  There are extra fees and papers to sign and I’m thinking, I just want a friend!  So, I decided to hide him from my apartment manager.

At the Humane Society I had to fill out paper work… a ton of it.  I understand why, but at the same time I was looking around the small place and thinking, you have cats hanging off your ceiling fan is this really humane.  The paperwork asked for my apartment’s contact number and I faked it.  The lady behind the counter asked me if I had written permission from my apartment to have a cat.  “Yup,” I said, “The manager is really relaxed and told me he really didn’t care.”  Then, horror of horrors, she looked at my paperwork and saw the contact number and asked if she could call it.  I didn’t know who she was going to call or if she was going to get a hold of anybody!

My friend, Jordan, was there with me and when the lady turned her back she started freaking out.  She called the number and it rang and she left a message saying something like, “This is Sheryl from the K*** County Humane Society and I have Trevor here who wants to adopt a cat.  If you have any questions please call us back, bla bla bla.”  Then, she hung up and turned to me and said, “I’ll let you go with the cat, but if I find out anything funny about this, I’m coming for the cat.”

Out in the car Jordan and I busted up laughing thinking about the sap who would get to listen to that message!  Who’s Trevor and why do I care that he’s adopting a cat?!

*Sigh* I just love pets.  They are such great companions.  And I’m excited to say after much bloodshed and violent warfare the family has somewhat reluctantly agree to get a dog!  Have we gotten one yet?  Nope, but we’ve got our eyes peeled.

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This is a bread that my mom used to make when we were kids.  I asked her for the recipe about four months ago, but I never got a response.  Finally, with a death threat, I got her to respond concerning the bread to find out 1.) she doesn’t have the recipe for it anymore and 2.) it’s called a cake not a bread.  Fine, it’s a cake.  But, I still think of it as a bread.

I love this cake/bread because it’s made with potatoes.  Seriously.  It makes it a very moist cake/bread, which is ballin’.  It’s also moist because evaporated milk is poured over it before putting it in the oven.  M-mm.  This is a great dessert to eat with a cup of coffee.

Moravian Sugar Cake/Bread

The Dough
1 russet baking potatoe (about 1/2 pound)
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp warm water
1 packet or 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

The Topping
6 tbsp unsalted butter (cut into bits)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
A bit of evaporated milk

Making the Dough

Peel and cut up the potato into small 1 inch cubes and boil in a small pot with enough water to cover about an inch over the potatoes.  Boil that for about 10-15 minutes or until very tender.  Drain and mash those babies stirring in the 2 teaspoons of water.

In a separate small bowl proof the yeast in the 1/2 cups of water.  Let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.  In a large bowl combine the yeast mixture with the potatoes and then the butter, sugar, egg, salt, and 2 1/2 cups flour until well combined.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes adding the extra cup of flour to the dough as needed.  You will want the dough to come to a generally bread dough-ish texture, though it might still be sticky.  If you add too much flour you will have a dense cake/bread.

NOTE: I´ll tell you where I botched up, but the recipe still turned out fine!  The recipe I was reading from said 3/4 a stick of butter… which I (reading quickly) read as 3/4 cup!  I put in too much butter, but since I was at high elevation more liquid in a recipe is not a bad thing.  I had to add quite a bit more than just a 1/2 cup flour to get it to a bread dough-ish texture. So, I let it go and it was perfectly fine.  So, for your sake I changed that silliness and have plainly and easily to understand 6 tablespoons in the recipe.

Put the dough into a pre-greased bowl and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.  When doubled it´s size punch down and transfer it into a pre-greased 9/13 inch pan pressing it into all the corners with greased fingers so the dough doesn´t stick to you.  Once the dough is spread evenly cover and let rise another 30 minutes.

Then, use your finger or the handle of a wooden spoon (greased) to poke holes in the dough.  Push down to the bottom of the pan and wiggle your finger or spoon handle so the hole goes all the way through.  Place the butter bits all across the bread.  In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon an sprinkle evenly over the dough.  Then, pour the evaporated milk into each of the holes you poked in the dough until each hole is fuuuuuuuull.  That´s practically one of the most magical parts of this recipe.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until it is dark brown and cooked through.  When pressed the top crust will be very firm and crunchy, but the inside will give like a soft sponge.  Just check the bottom of the pan and if it is a medium brown it´s done.

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