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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Cinnamon Bread Twists

I think I may have mentioned this in the past, but I love Mondays.  Now, I can already hear the grumbling coming from the Northern Hemisphere, but this is my day off.  And it’s such a beautiful day.  It’s the only day that I do not leave the house.  Seriously, I don’t step a foot out the house.  My hair stays a comfortable rat’s nest, my contacts have an extra day to sleep in their solution watery bed, and a blanket is carried around my shoulders wherever I go in the house.  Sigh.  It’s true bliss.

Another part of my Mondays that I love, that involves you, is that I write my new blog posts!  For this very reason your grumbles about Mondays should turn to giddy shrieks and playful dances.  Mondays are a blessed day. 

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These are the pretty, pretty, twisty, yummy cinnamon sticks you’ll make this week, right?  They are pretty simple to make also!  Yummmmm

Cinnamon Bread Twists

Bread Twists
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze
2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoon hot water

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NOTE: Warm buttermilk looks curdled… that’s normal.
NOTE: These go really well with coffee too.
NOTE: You’re going to love these and maybe eat them all by yourself.

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water and let sit 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.  (If you want to learn about yeast go to my last post).  Then add the buttermilk, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and baking soda and mix well.  I used a fork to cut in the butter. 

Stir in the flour bit by bit until a soft dough is formed and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Put the dough in a bowl and let rise for 1-1/2 hours in a warm place. 

When the dough has risen double it’s original size punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half.  Roll out each half into a 16”x9” rectangle.  Brush the melted butter on the dough leaving about a half inch untouched along the side that measures 16”.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture overtop and press down with the palm of your hand lightly.  This is just to secure the sugar on the dough and make sure it’s sticking.  Fold the dough in half lengthwise.  Your dough will now be 16”x 4 1/2”.  Along the 16” side pinch the dough to seal the edge.  Then cut into 4 1/2×1” rectangles.  Each strip you cut, twist two or three times and set on a pre-greased cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  While cooling mix the glaze ingredients and then spoon over the warm twists.

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That’s right… so easy, so yummy.

Pie Tarts: What to Do With Extra Crust

I made these tarts about a week ago and haven’t had the time to put up the post until now.  I don’t actually know what to classify them as, because they technically are not tarts.  Buuuuut, since that’s what my mom always called them, that’s what they are.  So, there.

I hate wasting pie scraps… even when cookie recipes call for not rolling out the dough twice, I do not listen.  So, make these after your next pie!  OR, you can be as irrational as I and just cut the pie dough recipe you use regularly in half and make a whole big batch! They really are just that good.

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Buttermilk Pie Dough (already cut in half)

1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shortening/butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup buttermilk (cold cold cold cold)

Follow the directions for mixing the pie dough from this post.

Tart Filling

maybe 1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
(that’s it! SOOOO EASY!)
Note: this recipe is not exact.  It’s more like… “Well, that looks like enough sugar” or “Gee, I think I’ll have to give this to the dog.”  Especially if you are using your scraps, then you won’t have to use as much for the filling.

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Preheat your oven to 350F.  Divide your pie dough into three parts.  Roll out your pie dough.  It’s probably not as necessary to let your pie dough chill as long as the recipe says for this little project if you’re only making the tarts minus the pie.  Do your best to roll the dough out into a long rectangle.  You want to roll everything up when you’re done length-wise, so keep that in mind.

Once your dough is rolled out nice and thin then, spread on enough butter.  Enough to make you think future heart problems but NOT instant heart attack.  Okay?  Then sprinkle brown sugar over top, enough to hide all that frightening butter.  THEN, shake on some cinnamon, enough to almost cover all the sugar.  Cinnamon is dangerous.  You can go overboard.

Then, carefully, pull up one side of the pie dough with your fingers and start to roll everything up into a long tube.  Remember, to do this length-wise, so you don’t have super fat tarts, but rather a long roll.  Then, cut up the roll into about one inch rolls.

Put foil over a cookie-sheet and then arrange the tarts on it.  Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the dough feels firm to the touch OR until the sugar starts to turn a deeeeeep brown almost black.  I like to let my sugar and butter caramelize almost to the point of burning.  It makes for a AWESOME crunchy layer on the bottom!

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Make some coffee, sit down with a book and eat eat eat eat eat!  You won’t be able to stop.
-Trev