July 25, 2011

sis goombah!

Calling all Grace fans!!


Placing all modesty aside, I wanted to share that my blog was recently named one of the top ten Southern food blogs by Garden and Gun Magazine!

I'm so flattered. Note to self: Purchase subscription to magazine for brother, as weaponry and digging around in the ground are two of his favorite things. To celebrate, I'm sharing my latest, greatest discovery: goombah. Butterscotch goombah, to be specific. I have no idea of the origins of the name, but I do know this: It's amazing. Thick and rich and melt-in-your-mouth decadent, it's a must-try.

The original recipe (from this book-- paired the goombah (come on--it's just fun to say, am I right?) with a cream-cheese-swirled cocoa-based cake, and while it was okay, it's not worth the effort of typing out. So I won't. The goombah would work well with any chocolate cake, or even a caramel or spice cake, or, if you're in a crunch, plain yellow cake. It's that good.


If any of you proud Southerners care to enter the G&G 2011 Made in the South Awards celebrating the rich cultural tradition of Southern craft, design, and ingenuity, go for it. They're looking for unique products in one of four different categories: Food, Fashion, Sporting, and Home. The four winners will receive a $500 cash prize and on-page editorial mention. The contest closes on July 31st, so get crackin'!

Butterscotch Goombah
1 lb butter (16 oz), softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, tightly-packed
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toffee bits

Beat 15 oz. of the butter for 5 minutes, until completely and utterly soft and smooth. While this is happening, heat the brown sugar, cream, and remaining butter in a saucepan until a boil is reached and a thick syrup forms, about 5 minutes. Let this cool in a glass bowl over a water bath for a bit, then add it to the butter and beat for about a minute. Fold the toffee bits into your thick, luscious spread.

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July 19, 2011

still lovin' the cinnamon

Woefully, cinnamon hasn't been featured on this blog in quite some time. Lest you think I've abandoned my love for the stellar spice, I've concocted two batches of cupcakes to refocus the spotlight on its rightful place.


The first cupcake I bring you is of the snickerdoodle variety. The cookies are grand and the blondies are delicious, but these beauties have cream cheese frosting! Cinnamon cream cheese frosting, to be exact. I was thrilled to death with these, and that's coming from a somewhat modest cinnamon connoisseur. Well done, Martha Stewart and friends. Well done. (I used her recipe, replacing the seven minute frosting with cream cheese frosting with cinnamon added. Obviously.)


The second batch of cupcakes wasn't quite as successful, but it's still definitely worth mentioning. I took a recipe for Mexican chocolate cake and used it to make cupcakes with no adaptations.


The resulting cakes were tasty, but flat and crumbly in appearance. The frosting I used in lieu of the original glaze was killer, though--buttercream with a smidgen of cayenne incorporated. The whole cinnamon-chocolate-cayenne theme will most certainly be revisited.


No, cinnamon will not be leaving my center stage any time soon.

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July 12, 2011

abracadabra? pshaw.

Presto-change-o? Nah.


Streusel is my magic word.

If you've been a reader of this blog for long, you know that I was never the biggest fan of cheesecake. Somewhere along the line, things started to change, and now I'm excited to bring you the most impressive, most tasty, most complex cheesecake I've ever encountered.


Folks, we're talking layers involving oatmeal cookie streusel, creamy cheesecake, cinnamon chips, and caramel--it doesn't get much better than that. I can definitely appreciate so many flavors and textures going on in one bite. My only complaint would be that because of that crumble, the entire cake held together poorly, but let's be honest--it's all going to the same place anyway. Structure is the least of my concerns when streusel is involved.

Hocus pocus. Alakazam. Voila.

Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake
(based on a recipe by Marcy Goldman)
Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground cinnamon-raisin cookies
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream or whipping cream
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cinnamon-raisin cookies
1/3 cup cinnamon chips, optional (but not really)
1/4 cup butterscotch or caramel sundae topping (or a sauce of your own making)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To make the crust, toss cookie crumbs, butter, and brown sugar together in bottom of one 10-inch springform pan (or two 8-inchers). Press the crust into bottom of the pan(s) and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Wrap the pan(s) with three layers of foil to keep out the water from the water bath.
To make the filling, in a mixer bowl, blend the cream cheese, sugar, and sour cream until smooth, scraping bottom and sides of bowl to incorporate everything, about 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and flour and blend well, 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon one-third of the filling into the prepared pan and top with half each of the ground cookies and cinnamon chips. Drizzle on some butterscotch topping and dust on some cinnamon sugar. Cover with another third of the cream cheese filling and then dust on more cookies, more cinnamon chips, and more cinnamon sugar.
Add the last bit of filling and finish the top of the cake with cookie crumbs, cinnamon chips, and a nice dusting of cinnamon sugar. You want to end up with a streusel-ized topping.
Place the pan in a water bath such that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the pan(s) and bake 65 to 75 minutes (for a 10-inch pan; 55-65 minutes for 8-inchers). Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for 1 hour before removing to fridge. Chill cheesecake at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

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July 4, 2011

jingo! jingo! jingo!

A zealous patriot, I am not. That's not to say that I don't sometimes like the Patriots (or, er...one Patriot in particular) and I did enjoy the flick. It's also not to say that I'm not proud to be an American; I'm just not overzealous about it.


I am pretty zealous about this cake, though. It's the perfect dessert for a 4th of July celebration, as it consists of the appropriate colors and tastes fantastic. All I did was make a regular red velvet cake and normal cream cheese frosting and swirl in a bit of blue coloring between the layers.


Perhaps I'm more patriotic than I thought. Happy Independence Day (incidentally, that's another great movie), everyone!

Not-So-Patriotic Patriot's Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz. red food coloring
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food coloring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps; set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. (Enjoy the fizz show.) Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake pans and place them in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. To remove the cakes from the pan, place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, then gently lift the pan. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. Frost oh-so-generously with cream cheese frosting.

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