Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake - March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. 

This is was a great Daring Baker's Challenge. I usually leave bread making to my bread machine so it was definitely a new experience for me to make a yeast bread from scratch.

Although the recipe looks tough, it is really straight forward and not all that difficult. Feel free to change up the filling - flavours, spices, fruit etc. Lots of Daring Bakers did a more savoury take on this recipe too ...think pizza flavours etc. Go wild!

My coffee cake was sweet and the bread itself is very moist thanks to the meringue. It got rave reviews from the office and kids. Enjoy.

The recipe below is from James and Ria.


Makes 2 round coffee cakes, each approximately 10 inches in diameter. The recipe can easily be halved to make one round coffee cake.


For the yeast coffee cake dough:
  • 4 cups (600 g / 1.5 lbs.) flour
  • ¼ cup (55 g / 2 oz.) sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon (5 g / ¼ oz.) salt
  • 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons / 7 g / less than an ounce) active dried yeast
  • ¾ cup (180 ml / 6 fl. oz.) whole milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml / 2 fl. oz. water (doesn’t matter what temperature)
  • ½ cup (135 g / 4.75 oz.) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
For the meringue:
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup (110 g / 4 oz.) sugar
For the filling:

1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped walnuts
1/3 cup Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup toffee bits

Prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups (230 g) of the flour, the sugar, salt and yeast.

In a saucepan, combine the milk, water and butter and heat over medium heat until warm and the butter is just melted.

With an electric mixer on low speed, gradually add the warm liquid to the flour/yeast mixture, beating until well blended. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 cup (150 g) flour and beat for 2 more minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn out onto a floured surface (use any of the 1 ½ cups of flour remaining) and knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, sexy and elastic, keeping the work surface floured and adding extra flour as needed.

Place the dough in a lightly greased (I used vegetable oil) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rise until double in bulk, 45 – 60 minutes. The rising time will depend on the type of yeast you use.

Prepare your filling. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar for the filling if using. You can add the chopped nuts to this if you like, but I find it easier to sprinkle on both the nuts and the chocolate, chips and toffee bits separately.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue: In a clean mixing bowl – ideally a plastic or metal bowl so the egg whites adhere to the side (they slip on glass) and you don’t end up with liquid remaining in the bottom – beat the egg whites with the salt, first on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high and continue beating until foamy and opaque. Add the vanilla then start adding the ½ cup sugar, a tablespoon at a time as you beat, until very stiff, glossy peaks form.

Assemble the Coffee Cakes:

Line 2 baking/cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, working one piece of the dough at a time (keep the other half of the dough wrapped in plastic), roll out the dough into a 20 x 10-inch (about 51 x 25 ½ cm) rectangle. Spread half of the meringue evenly over the rectangle up to about 1/2-inch (3/4 cm) from the edges. Sprinkle half of your filling evenly over the meringue (ex: half of the cinnamon-sugar followed by half the chopped nuts and half of the chocolate chips/chopped chocolate).

Now, roll up the dough jellyroll style, from the long side. Pinch the seam closed to seal. Very carefully transfer the filled log to one of the lined cookie sheets, seam side down. Bring the ends of the log around and seal the ends together, forming a ring, tucking one end into the other and pinching to seal.

Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife (although scissors are easier), make cuts along the outside edge at 1-inch (2 ½ cm) intervals. Make them as shallow or as deep as desired but don’t be afraid to cut deep into the ring.

Repeat with the remaining dough, meringue and fillings. Cover the 2 coffee cakes with plastic wrap and allow them to rise again for 45 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Brush the tops of the coffee cakes with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. The dough should sound hollow when tapped.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mango-Berry Crisp

My kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this dessert - "delicious", "the best ever", "mmmm" were all used in describing it and they each ate two servings. My  4 year old son plans on having it for breakfast :) Note: They did have it for breakfast (with yogourt) and begged me to make another.
Some tips: I prefer to use a shallow longer dish rather than a deep casserole dish that way you get to enjoy more crispy topping per serving!
  • Also, any fruit pretty much works and the quantities are just guide lines. Just don't over pack the dish or you may experience juice overflow and make a mess of your oven!
  • I coated the blueberries in flour so they wouldn't become too juicy.
  • Coarse sugar sprinkled on top before baking adds a great touch to this dish!

  • 2 mangos
  • 2 apples
  • 1-1/2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

What to do
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Chop up mango, apples, and strawberries.
  • Place chopped fruit in medium baking dish.
  • Place blue berries in bowl and throw in a table spoon of flour. Coat berries.
  • Place berries with other fruit.
  • In another bowl, whisk flour, spices, and sugar.
  • Add oats.
  • Pour butter over flour mixture and stir until combined.
  • Drop in small amounts over fruit base until fruit is well covered.
  • If you have any course sugar, sprinkle over topping along with an extra shake of cinnamon.
  • Place in oven and bake for 1 hour or until golden brown.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

This recipe makes enough to feed a large crowd! They are delicious but not too sweet. They are also known as Mrs. Larson Bars and very similar to the oat fudge bars found at Starbucks.

Side Story:
My 4 year-old son loves to help out in the kitchen. As soon as he hears me rummaging through my pans he is running into the kitchen and grabbing our little step ladder so he has a good view of whatever recipe is about to come to life.

Most weekends we bake something up - cookies, bars, muffins etc and he loves stirring, beating, picking flavours, measuring ingredients ...pretty much everything except cleaning up :)

Anyways, last week his preschool teacher told my husband that when my son was asked what his Mom did...he replied "she's a chef!" And while I really work in the non-profit sector, in his eyes I'm a chef...and, according to him, a pretty good one at that. And isn't it great that not only am I chef, I happily share my "office" with him where we bake up special treats and create memories that will hopefully last forever.

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups oats
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
  • Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.
  • Combine the butter mixture and the dry ingredients.
  • Mix in oats.

12 ounces chocolate chips (this is 1 pack plus about 3 oz).
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (I use Eagle Brand)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup peanut butter (optional)

  • Melt butter in large sauce pan over low heat.
  • Add rest of ingredients.
  • Stir constantly until melted.
Putting it all together:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Spread and press 3/4 of oat mixture into a jelly roll pan (or two 9 x 13 pans)
  • Spread chocolate mixture on top and spread until even.
  • Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top of chocolate.
  • Bake for approximately 22 minutes until oats are golden brown.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chocolate Blast Mint Brownies

Brownies have been around since the late 1800s although the exact moment of creation of these chocolatey treats is surrounded in a bit of mystery (read this for more info on its history).

Although there are cakey brownie recipes and fudgey brownie recipes, I prefer the dense, chewy, fudgey type. This recipe is adapted from Michael Smith recipe. I've added more chocolate and added mint chips for some fun.

  • 350 grams of good quality dark chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract (preferably pure)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark, milk, or white)
  • 1/2 cup mint flavoured chocolate chips

What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch pan. Note: I use extra cocoa instead of flour so there is no white flour color on the brownies when baked.
  • Melt butter and chocolate over low heat. Stir until smooth and remove from heat to cool.
  • Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
  • Once melted chocolate mixture has a cooled a bit, add sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir well.
  • Add the chocolate mixture to the flour bowl and mix until incorporated.
  • Add both types of chocolate chips.
  • Spread batter into the pan.
  • Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!