Old fashioned doughnut bundt cake

A point of clarification up front so that you don’t make the same mistake I did.  When I saw the words “old fashioned donut bundt cake” strung together, I made the leap to a cake inspired by the categorical old fashioned donut.  You know, the one that sort of looks like a star, has a sour cream base and is best with the clear glaze (don’t talk to me about chocolate)?

Alas, this is not that recipe.  Instead this is a nod to the temporal old fashioned donut.  As in, old timey.  Both are delicious.  But, sometimes it’s disappointing to think you are about to enjoy one thing when it’s really (per user error) another.

Nutmeg forward and dense, this cake would be a ringer as a Christmas morning treat.  Sub-in egg nog for the buttermilk and you’ve got yourself Christmas dessert.

The original recipe calls for a cinnamon sugar topping,  which is, of course, delightful.  But, I opted for a tender, rich brown butter glaze.

Either way, you’ve got a winner.  Especially if you aren’t confused about your donut varieties.

Old Fashioned Doughnut Bundt Cake

adapted from Erin Jeanne McDowell

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 1 C (225g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 C (300g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 C (445g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 C (240 ml) buttermilk, room temp

for the icing

  • 6 TBS (85g) unsalted butter
  • XX (350g) confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBS hot water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions

for the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease (butter or spray) a 10-12 cup bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes)
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix until well incorporated, scraping down bowl after each addition.  Beat-in vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture to butter mixture and mix on low until just combined.  Add half of the butter milk and mix to combine.  Repeat.  Scrape down bowl making sure batter is well mixed.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Rap pan on counter a couple of times to remove air pockets.
  7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with only fine crumbs, 45-55 minutes.
  8. Cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Then invert onto a wire cooling rack and remove from pan.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

For icing

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan.  Bring up heat and allow to medium and let simmer until it reaches a deep golden brown and smells nutty.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift confectioners sugar and salt.  Whisk-in brown butter, vanilla and corn syrup.  Add hot water up to six tablespoons one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired consistency (more water for glaze, less for a thicker icing).
  3. Pour icing over cake and allow to cool completely before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Baking 2020: Get your Recipes Here!

This year’s holiday baking featured seven treats–with five favorites and two new comers.  When all was said and done, I made about 1750 units, mailed 29 boxes and hand delivered 9.

Labels buy the talented and fellow Bruin,  Erin Condren.

Sugar Pointsettias and Leaves

Almond Butter Crunch

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Rum Butter Nuts

Peanut Butter Balls

Triple Gingersnaps

Brown Butter Caramel Crispies

Now I’m gonna go make some pie.

 

Chocolate Espresso Cookies

As I’m sure I’ve covered during my written navel gazing a time or two, I put a lot of thought into what gets included in each year’s holiday baking.  My hope is that there is a little something for everyone.  So, always sugar cookies (kids), something fruity, something nutty and something chocolate (that doesn’t also include nuts).

Last year’s chocolate crinkles while popular, were not the wisest choice from a baking perspective.  With oil rather than butter as the fat source, I found myself having to roll and reroll hundreds of chocolate balls again and again (with butter, the dough stiffens up and holds its shape).  And though world peace cookies are a favorite of mine personally,   I’m afraid their simplicity gets lost in all of the other flashier offerings.

So, this year I was on the hunt for a new chocolatey cookie. After trying a few candidates (I know, it’s tough eating all that chocolate), I finally landed on Sarah Kieffer’s double chocolate espresso cookies.  They are simple enough that kids  like them, but fancy and complex enough thanks to the addition of cacao nibs, to be holiday-worthy.

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

Sarah Kieffer

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C (213g) AP flour
  • 1/2 C (50g) Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 tsps ground espresso
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 14 TBS (198g) unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 3/4 C (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 C (150g) golden brown sugar
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 5 ounces (142g) semisweet chocolate chopped into bite-sized pieces (I like using mini chocolate chips)
  • 2 TBS cacao nibs.  I found mine on Amazon: cacao nibs.

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, espresso and baking soda.
  3. Set aside 4 TBS (57g) butter in a medium bowl.
  4. Melt remaining 10 TBS butter (142g) in a medium saucepan.  Brown the butter until it is dark, golden brown and gives off a nutty aroma (2-3 minutes).
  5. Pour browned butter (and any bits) into the bowl with the set aside butter.  Stir until all butter is melted and combined.  Stir in the granulated and brown sugars, vanilla and salt.
  6. Whisk-in the egg and egg yolk until fully combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.  Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes, then whisk again for another 45 seconds.
  7. Add-in the flour mixture and fold to combine.  Fold-in the chocolate and nibs.
  8. Form the dough into 2 TBS balls (or scoop).  Please 8 balls on each sheet.
  9. Bake cookies, one pan at a time until the centers are puffed, about 8-9 minutes.
  10. Transfer pan to wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Sore in an air-time container.

As a note–I like to refrigerate the dough balls over night to develop the flavor and texture.  If you do as well, just add on a minute extra to bake the cold dough.

 

 

The holy grail of butter crunch

Like the rest of 2020, the holidays this year have been and will continue to be different.  I know, call me Captain Obvious.  At this writing, the Misanthropic Hostess’s 2020 holiday baking is in the books.  The scope was greatly reduced–I only made about 60% of what I usually make.  I also spent a lot of time worrying about how to include as many people as I could while under a stay at home order.  As a result, there were no baking analytics and very little in the way of social media engagement along the way.

Even so, I did find a couple of new great additions I wanted to share.   This year’s almond butter crunch is one of them.

When people learn that baking is my jam (in addition to making bad puns), they often ask what my specialty is.  The truth is that I don’t have one.  I like to bake because for me, its about trying new things and improving my skills.  I’m always on the lookout for the next best method or technique.  So, I’m always on the search for the “better” recipe.  It’s an important part of the fun for me.

I can’t tell you how many toffee/ butter crunch recipes I’ve tried over the years in search of the perfect texture and flavor.  To me, it’s about a deep, almost burnt caramel flavor that starts out hard but quickly melts and crumbles at the bite.

Well, I think I’ve found my holy grail of butter crunch.  At least for now.  Ingredients are important.  But, so is technique.  As such, the recipe below is heavily annotated with my own bits and pieces on what I think make for a superlative butter crunch.

Almond (though use whatever nuts you want) Butter Crunch

adapted from King Arthur Flour

Ingredients

  • 16 TBS (227g) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1 /2 C (298g) sugar
  • 3 TBS  (43g) water
  • 1 TBS (21g) light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 C (227g) toasted nuts (chopped, sliced or slivered)
  • 2 2/3 C (454g) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In large, deep saucepan (3 quart), melt butter over low heat.  Stir in water, corn syrup and salt to combine.  Then stir-in sugar.  Insert candy thermometer.
  2. Bring mixture to boil over medium to medium lowish heat.  It will take longer at lower hear but this way but also reduces the chance that your candy will burn.
  3. Line 9X13 inch pan with parchment paper.  Sprinkle half the nuts and half the chocolate evenly throughout the pan.
  4. Allow mixture to reach 290 degrees.  Do no stir!  If caramel begins to brown unevenly, gently swirl pan.
  5. Once the mixture get to 290 degrees, pull from heat and gently stir-in vanilla with a wooden spoon.  Then stir in baking soda.  Caramel will become momentarily angry and puff up.  This is good.
  6. Pour caramel mixture into prepared pan, gently coaxing the last bits out with a heat-proof spatula.
  7. Sprinkle remaining chocolate across hot caramel.  Let sit for 5 minutes and then spread evenly across top.  Sprinkle on remaining nuts, then gently push the nuts into the chocolate.
  8. Allow toffee/caramel and chocolate to set/cool completely.  Break into pieces and store in an air tight bag or container.
  9. The butter crunch will become more tender in the next 24 hours and should keep for at least a month.

 

 

 

The only cocktail snack you need: Gougeres

I think I’ve said this before.  But, it bares repeating.  If you aren’t following David Lebovitz on Instagram (@davidlebovitz) you are missing out on some of the most gorgeous Parisian instagramming out there.  I enjoy following his daily life as much as I enjoy his recipes and cooking.

The first time I made choux pastry, this blog wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye.  TD and I were newly married and had finally settled into our  house in Westchester (we closed escrow and walked down the aisle within six weeks of one another).  I’d made a turkey and wild rice soup and was following a recipe for what I thought was a wreath of dinner rolls (oh the enthusiasm of newly minted matrimony).

The technique seemed unusual: melt butter and water together and stir in flour almost like a roux.

Then add seasonings and cheese.  Lots of cheese.

I had no idea I was about to fall in love with pate a choux by way of gougeres.  This is actually the first of three weeks of recipes involving pate a choux, the ever versatile puff of crunchy, airy pastry.  It started this summer with a recipe for Paris Brest (the third I’ll post) and then I realized I didn’t have a gougeres recipe on here.  So, we’re going to go backwards to go forwards.

Options with these cheese puffs are expansive (and very satisfying to think about).  Here, I’ve used grueyre and cayenne. But, I’ve made them with blue cheese and black pepper and even cheddar and chili powder (to surprisingly good…if not very French results).  My friend Ann Mah’s favorite version uses Comte.

Gourgeres

makes about 20

adapted just a bit from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C (125ml) water
  • 3 TBS (40g) butter, cut into cubes (he says salted or unsalted, your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • big pinch of chili powder, a few turns of black ground pepper or my favorite, a nice shake of cayenne
  • 1/2 C (70g) flour
  • 2 large eggs at room temp
  • 2 tsp minced chives or other fresh herbs
  • 3/4 C (about 3 ounces, 90g) grated cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.  Have a pastry bag at the ready.  Use a 1/2 inch tip if you like, I don’t bother (any piping will be lost) and just snip the end at just under 1/2 inch.
  2. Grate your cheese, set aside. Set up your stand mixer.  Also, a ziplock bag works just fine if you don’t have a pastry bag.
  3. Heat water, butter, salt and pepper (or other dry seasonings) in a saucepan until butter is melted.
  4. Dump in the flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture pulls away from the sides into a smooth ball.  Remove from heat and let rest two minutes to cool down.
  5. Scrape dough into the standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can do this next bit by hand, but you don’t really want to).
  6. With the mixer on medium, add the eggs, one at a time.  The batter will look lumpy at first but will smooth out.
  7. Add 3/4 of the cheese and your fresh herbs.  Stir until well mixed.
  8. Scrape the dough into your prepared pastry bag.  Pup the dough onto your prepared sheet into mounds about the size of unshelled walnuts.
  9. Top each puff with a sprinkling of the remaining cheese.
  10. Into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.  Then, turn down over to 375 degrees and back for an additional 20-25 minutes, until they’re completely golden brown.  Don’t be afraid to let them get a little dark (darker than the ones pictured above).  Toasty cheese is superlative.
  11. These are best served warm.  If made in advance, crisp up before serving in a 350 degree oven.

Pan Thumped Snickerdoodles

There are times when I think I’ve done, baked, eaten and shared every cookie there is.

Luckily, each time my ego begins to slip in this direction, I stand corrected by something new and innovative that someone other than me thought up.

Case in point: pan thumping (and now you too will have the 1997  one hit wonder genius, Tub Thumping in your head).

Pan thumping’s (well, actually, banging…I just wanted you to join me in my Chumbawumba misery) mistress, Sarah Kieffer gives the fully skinny on the technique in her new book: 100 cookies: The baking book for every kitchen.  Arthur of the popular blog, The Vanilla Bean Blog, she discovered the ripply-edge effect of picking up and (gently) banging the edge of the pan of cookies starting at the half-baked mark while on a quest to find the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

It’s a little like cookie dough whack-a-mole.  About halfway through the bake, you go in for the first bang, allow the cookies to puff up and then repeat at two (or so) minute intervals until your cookies are to desired doneness.  The result is a crispy ripply edge and chewy center.

Ms. Kieffer’s original pan banging recipe was for chocolate chip cookies.  I haven’t tried that recipe yet, but did jump right in with the snickerdoodle version.  Because it’s fall.  And cinnamon = fall.

The verdict: delicious and gorgeous.  The pan banging takes a little more attention (and time–you have to bake them one pan at a time), but the results were thin, crispy and chewy.  Basically snickerdoodle nirvana.

I did make one slight adjustment to the recipe, that I’d recommend if you already have the ingredient on hand.  Right before these cookies, I made a couple of my favorite chocolate cakes, Lori’s Chocolate Midnight Cake and used up the last of my vanilla.  Not willing to stop my baking process to run to the store, I subbed in a reduced amount of almond extract.  If you have some, try it out.  The difference is subtle but enough to make them a little unique.

And, just in case it’s still not stuck in your head.  I’ll leave this here:

(Pan Banged) Snickerdoodles

adapted just slightly from Sarah Kieffer

Ingredients

  • 2 C (184g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 C (227 g) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 3/4 C (350g) granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or 1/2 tsp almond extract)
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to center and pre-heat to 350 degrees.  Line three sheet pans with parchment (or aluminum foil, dull-side up).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and nutmeg.
  3. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter on medium until creamy (about 1 minuye).  Add 1 1/2 C  (300g) of the sugar and beat until very light, 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla (or almond extract) and mix on low to combine.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together remaining sugar and cinnamon.
  5. For the dough into balls.  The original recipe calls for 3 oz balls.  I prefer a smaller cookie and used a 1 ounce scoop.  Roll each dough ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. Place on pan an equal distance apart (if 3 oz balls, you’ll fit about 4 on half-sheet pan.  Twice that if using 1 oz scooper).
  7. Bake the cookies one pan at a time.  Bake until the dough balls have flattened but are puffed slightly,  8 minutes (closer to 7 in my own oven).  Life one side of the sheet pan up about 4 inches and gently let it drop against the oven rack.  After the cookies puff up again, repeat.  Repeat a few more times, baking 14-15 minutes total, until the edges are golden brown but the centers are still lightish.
  8. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes.  After this, move to rack (no pan) to cool completely.

Variation on a TMH Favorite: Coconut Sesame Sugar Cookies

The idea for this was not my own.  I can’t give attribution because I don’t know who came up with it–or where I came across the idea, but creating a love triangle between the sugar cookie, coconut and sesame seemed like a really good idea when I saw it.

Sugar cookies, like love triangles, come in all shapes and sizes (well, except love triangles are only one shape…technically).  Some are soft.  Some are chewy.  Some are crunchy (I’m talking about the cookies now…not love triangles).

For this recipe, I decided to use my favorite no-fail cut-out cookie recipe as the base.  When it comes to texture, this version is buttery and tender but with enough structure to hold its shape.

I played with several finishes: coconut, coconut and sesame, coconut, sesame and sanding sugar.  Plain.

The best by far in my opinion was the sanding sugar version.

Coconut Sesame Sugar Cookies

makes about 30 thick cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, at room temp
  • 2 C all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 C finely ground and then toasted coconut (I used the food processor here.  I bet you could sub-in actual coconut flour, just make sure to toast it first)
  • 1 C toasted sesame seeds (I used regular because that’s what I had, but these would be really pretty with black sesame seeds or a combination)
  • Sanding sugar for topping

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder.  Whisk-in coconut.
  2. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy (I prefer to use a standing mixer for this recipe, but can be done with a hand mixer), about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla, beat another 2 minutes.
  4. Dump dry ingredients into butter and egg mixture, mix on low until well combined.  Add-in sesame seeds and mix until incorporated.
  5. Divide dough in half.  One at a time, roll out each half between two pieces of parchment paper.  Allow to chill in fridge for at least an hour, even better over night.
  6. When you are ready to bake, preheat over to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Pour sanding sugar into a shallow dish wide enough so that you drop your entire cut-out cookie into it face-down.
  8. Cut cookies into desired shapes.  Re-roll leftover dough and pop into the fridge to chill or cut-out.  I like to cut out all the dough and allow cut cookies to chill for another hour but you don’t need to.
  9. One by one, place each cut-out cookie face down into sanding sugar. Push gently to get sanding sugar to stick to the entire surface of the cut out.
  10. Bake two sheets at a time for 10-12 minutes (depending on how thickly you rolled-out the dough) or until the edges of the cookies are light gold.  Rotate baking sheets halfway through.
  11. Allow to cool on a rack.  These will freeze really well in double-bagged ziplocks.

 

Things I Made with Sourdough Discard

Okay, I admit it, I jumped on the sourdough starter train.  It started just as it did with most people:  lockdown (well, and because my college friend Ann Mah was doing it too).

For two weeks, Stevie the Starter lived in our guest bedroom (warmest room in the house) and I lovingly fed him and cleaned up after him.  I nurtured his little yeasty smells as he went from “dirty feet” to “good funky” (not my words).  And when he was “ready” I split him, saved half to the fridge and tried my hand at sourdough bread.

My first attempt wasn’t great, but I kept caring for Stevie week after week.  My second, third and fourth attempts weren’t spectacular either.

Setting aside my bread failures, I did successfully make a handful of tasty recipes with the weekly sourdough discard.  I’ve since put Stevie into the deep freeze (literally: I dried him out, flaked him and had him cryogenically stored [and by that, I mean in the freezer in the garage]). But, in case you are on the sourdough bus, I thought I’d share some of the best things we made with his weekly ‘leftovers.’

The Sourdough Crackers from King Arthur are dangerous. Like CheezIt dangerous.  I only made a half batch which turned out to be a good thing since I ate every single one of them.

Also from King Arthur, who doesn’t love a soft buttery Sourdough Pretzel?

Two words: sourdough naan (from Breadtopia).

Finally, I’d be completely remiss if I left out the queen of sourdough discard recipes: focaccia.  I have to admit, I’ve lost track of the recipe I used in this picture.  I think I might have just modified a Cook’s Illustrated recipe I’ve used before, but I can’t remember.  So,  I’m linking to the King Arthur recipe for Focaccia because I know their recipes reign supreme.

bon appetit’s Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake

I know you’ve seen it.

Page 56 of September’s bon appetit; the delicious looking but ridiculously named apple cider doughnut loaf cake (after the third word I was like ‘now you’re just stringing words together’).

Enrobed in melted butter and then liberally dusted with cinnamon sugar, this doughnut loaf cake tart pie may actually scream autumn louder than pumpkin spice latte.

I took it as a sign that I was meant to make this sooner rather than later when, on my first trip to Trader Joe’s since March, I laid eyes on their Pink Lady Cider.

The cider, reduced to a thick, fragrant syrup is what gives this doughnut cake loaf  brownie cookie its apple-y flavor.

I have to admit, I’ve never actually had an apple cider doughnut, so I can’t make comparison.  But, this moist, spiced treat holds up on its own regardless of how much it might taste like its namesake.

I appreciate that the magazine’s editors had space constraints and only so many inches to write-up the recipe (perhaps a more succinct name would have helped).  However, I found the recipe disjointed as originally printed (and even rewritten, be forewarned, it’s fiddly).  So, I’ve reorganized it a bit in my own version.

Apple Cider Doughnut Cake Loaf

bon appétit, September 2020

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

  • 9 TBS butter total (8 + 1 TBS) plus more to butter pan (or use 1/2 C neutral oil for brad plus 1 TBS butter for topping)
  • 1 1/2 C apple cider
  • 1/2 C sour cream (buttermilk can be subbed)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 TBS corn starch (or sub in same amount of flour)
  • 1 1/4 C + 2 TBS (172g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, divided: 1/2 + 1/2
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg, divided: 1/4 + 1/4
  • 2 large eggs at room temp
  • 1 C (200g) sugar, divided: 3/4 C, 150g + 1/4 C,  50g

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees with rack in the middle.  Lightly butter an 8 1/2X4 1/2 or 9X5 loaf pan.  Line with parchment so that long ends overhang the sides.
  2. Bring cider to boil, allow to reduce to about 3/4 C.  Add 1/2 C to small bowl and set aside remaining 1/4 C in another bowl or measuring cup.  Set aside saucepan (you’ll use it again in a minute).  Allow cider to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. While apple cider reduces, sift together flour, cornstarch, soda, powder, salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 cut nutmeg (I grind my nutmeg right into the bowl and just eyeball it).  Set aside.
  4. Returning to your small bowl of cider (the 1/2 C), whisk-in sour cream (or buttermilk) and vanilla.
  5. Melt 8 TBS of your butter in the saucepan. Set aside for a couple of minutes.
  6. Whisk together 3/4 C sugar and eggs until pale, volumous and frothy (about 2 minutes).  In a steady stream, whisk melted butter into sugar and egg mixture until butter has emulsified (no visible fat) into the mixture.
  7. Add dry mixture and cider/sour cream mixture to sugar mixture in alternating turns, starting and ending with the dry mixture (3 adds of dry mixture, 2 of the cider).
  8. Bake batter in prepared pan set over a baking sheet for 60-80 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.
  9. Right out of the oven, use the same toothpick to poke lots of holes in the top of the baked load.  Gently spoon 3 TBS of reserved cider over top.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. While loaf is cooling for 10, melt 1 TBS of butter together to remaining cider.  Mix together 1/4 C sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
  11.  Once loaf has cooled for 10 minutes, grab the sides of parchment, carefully lift out of pan and set in a baking pan.  Brush butter-cider mixture all over the loaf.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over entire loaf, using parchment to shift loaf side to side.
  12. Allow loaf to cool completely.

 

Vanilla Ice Cream

I know.  This could not get any more vanilla.  Plain Jane.  Milquetoast. Waspy.

But.

There is a reason you don’t see many ice cream posts on this blog (I think there may be one).

I do not have the ice cream juju.

Every summer, I set out to conquer the beast, and every summer I fail. Regardless of recipe, my attempts turn out chalky, overly rich and just plain sad.  Oh, and expensive.  Last summer’s attempt involved Sicilian pistachios and dozens of hand-pitted cherries.  The result was inedible.

So this summer I decided to dial it back and start with crawling instead of toe picking.  And it worked.  The result was creamy, just sweet enough and perfect for topping a piece of peach pie.

So, I thought I’d share. In case I’m not the only remedial ice cream maker out there.

I don’t really have a recipe for the peach pie, but I live and die by this sour cream pie crust.

I know it’s supposed to be hot this holiday weekend, but speaking of toe picks.

Vanilla Ice Cream

New York Times (I swear I don’t get all of my recipes here)

Ingredients 

  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt (I had this on hand–if you don’t, just use kosher)
  • 6 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar and Salk until everything completely dissolves (about 5 minutes). Remove pot from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk yolks.  Whisking constantly, slowly whisk-in about 1/3 of the hot cream to the yolk mixture.  Then whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining cream in the pot.
  3. Return the pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees).
  4. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.  Cool mixture to room temperature. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better).
  5. Follow directions on your ice cream machine.  Serve directly for soft-serve, store in freezer for a more ice cream like consistency.