31 August 2009

losing scones

Wait! Don't out click! This may or may not be the last post about scones for a while since I"m scone'ed out, but these I entered in a local baking contest sponsored by a local restaurant that I decided on entering.

I used the same recipe as in the oatmeal scone post, except with a few changes. Those changes were toasting the oats; just blueberries; adding 1 1/2 bars diced chocolate-covered marzipan; orange extract; freezing the formed scones for 15 minutes prior to baking; brushing the tops with a beaten egg and a tablespoon of milk and sprinkling with sanding sugar. Incredibly delicious and one of the best scones I've made in a long time. You couldn't quite taste the orange extract, but it blended wonderfully with the nutmeg and almond flavors. It wasn't a case of too many flavors since there was just enough of each flavor to create a medley that wasn't overpowering itself.
As for the texture, this recipe delivers: flaky and light, with a melt-in-your-mouth quality. It crumbles somewhat, but only in a tender manner and not because it's too dry, which it wasn't in the least bit. No need for additional butter or jam unless you can't eat a scone without it.

Besides scones, the other categories were Irish soda bread, brown bread, and Scottish shortbread -- I'll get to that in a bit. In the scone category there were 9 or 10 entries. Unfortunately, I was a bit camera shy and didn't take any pictures. You'll have to take my word, or not, that many of the other scones seemed like your typical, anemically pale, standard scones studded with fruit, drizzled with icing, and cut into perfect triangles. One was interesting and it seemed to be a peanut flavor of some sort, though I don't know for sure; it just had peanuts on top. There was a scone that resembled a giant thumbprint cookie filled with jam, though it still didn't have the wow factor based on its looks. Many looked like they might have been pasty.

Anyhow, I did not win. I did not even place 3rd. I don't necessarily care, although I'd like to know out of curiosity. My type-A personality came out in full swing and I started going through the various reasons why I might not have placed (and this is about to sound extremely pretentious) I honestly couldn't come up with many. Like you all are to some extent, I'm sure, when it comes to my baking I am my harshest critic. I know by experience what I want things to taste like, based on trial, error, and eats at restaurants and cafes, and I thought these would have had a shot, as I had that "moment" when I made the first batch that I didn't get with the scones I made before (I didn't blog those). So, I have no clue, basically, and must defer to the judges on this matter.

You may now be thinking that this girl has a rather big opinion of her skillz. I don't know, maybe I do, but I can sum my skillz up in one nifty sentence if need be, and that's not big at all. It's more that in many of the activities I do, baking including, it's easy to spot your errors and figure out how it was caused, and that's what was going on up there.

For a brief moment of digression, this cute apron came from CakeSpy. I won a giveaway sponsored by Carolyn's Kitchen back in July. Cupcakes on an apron! Thanks, Jessie and Carolyn!

Back to the topic, my mom decided to enter the brown bread division at the last moment, baking up a blue cheese-onion brown bread. While the scone category had 9-10 entries, Mom was the sole entry. Whether she placed first truly because her bread tasted excellent or simply by default, she says, doesn't matter to her since in the end she's now and forever an award-winning baker. She then went on to say that it doesn't matter what the judges thought, just that her family thought it was good.

That is me with her ribbon and her bread. =D

On another note, this Augusts marks the second year I've been blogging. My first post was an introduction to this place the direction of my blog. Yeah, yeah, I don't really post much about running, and I'm going to actually do something about that, try and even talk about various topics that pertain specifically to running that will help anyone seeking advice. Also, I don't use that dish nearly enough.
My second real food post was about the cinnamon rolls and coffee at the Victorian Pantry.

Looking back through the posts since then, I feel I have grown both in blogging and experience, though I'll never stop learning. I know what makes for a good photograph even if I don't always take them correctly, and as for the "stress" of blogging, I sort of have a handle on that. My tendency is to take too many unintended lapses because I had too many epic posts containing more than five pictures that I needed to edit on my laptop that has a speed between watching paint dry and grass growing and it just became a bit overwhelming. Sometimes I get in a rut and I don't want to have a photo shoot with anything. I just want to eat, readers!

Another reason is because I don't really have a direction, and I feel I should; I simply don't know which way I want to go in the sense of how my blog might be viewed because of it. Do I blog randomly on what makes the cut? Do I have a running theme I blog about a few times a month? And of course, I should actually blog about running. It's just quite a bit to think about, and this isn't even a job! While it always will remain a hobby, both baking/cooking and running are two things I'm very passionate about and if something comes out of this I would be thrilled. Basically, I'm open to the idea of taking this in another direction that what I had originally conceived.

Readers, friends, and anyone lurking, please share your tips. Also, please share what you'd like to see on She Runs, She Eats. I blog for myself, yes, but I also want to be of use to anyone happening upon this blog, and I like to share what I know with others. I also aim to make this as informative as I possibly can, because cooking is something that I feel is about growing and that occurs through experience and help. Where running is concerned, it's pretty much the same; you can learn so much by listening to what others share, and I know that to be true thanks to the many runners who have given me advice.

And finally, this long-winded post must come to an end. Thank you guys for reading, for sharing my foodie-ing with me thus far, and for letting me into your kitchens via your blogs. =)

29 August 2009

chicken satay

"No more spoons! Use your hands!" Says the charming schnitzel man!

Gosh, how I love that movie. And how I love chicken on a stick. In fact, many people like to eat with their hands, so you would probably enjoy satay, which is usually made by skewering raw chicken onto wooden skewers before cooking.

The marinade consists of yogurt, five spice powder, salt, raw garlic, cilantro, and possibly something else, but since I can't find the notebook I took notes in I'm not entirely certain.

Zucchini strips.

Orange peanut sauce.

Chicken skewered with a zucchini slice. The bummer part is that I should have blanched the strips because they kept breaking and falling apart as I was skewering them.

FIRE -- a necessary element. Half of the peanut sauce goes to baste the chicken strips.

Remember the zucchini strips? Many of them went as a sacrifice to the flames. And many of the skewers burnt to a crisp, although I soaked them for quite a while.

This is just beautiful stuff, right here.

Now, I don't like eating with my hands. They get all messy, I start up feeling claustrophobic, reaching for anything dry and soft to wipe my hands on, I just cannot unleash the inner kid that I keep locked away in the depths of my soul.

Balancing the chicken, here we have a simple cucumber-tomato salad with a miso vinaigrette. I believe I keep saying I will blog about the vinaigrette, and I will. Eventually.

Salad, chicken on a stick with orange peanut sauce and cilantro, and jasmine rice.

27 August 2009

devil's food white-out cake

Everyone loves cake. And if you don't, forget about being my friend. There are a few cakes I make more than once, and there are those I want to try because of the pretty pictures, Devil's Food White-Out Cake being one of those.

Featuring a cake made with both melted chocolate and cocoa powder (and chocolate chips, but I didn't add those), it's really the type of chocolate cake everyone wants and dreams about. In fact, it's rather light. I bet I could have eaten at least an entire half cake all by myself.

A three-layer cake with the fourth layer crumbled and pressed on the outside of the marshmallowy frosting, it's also quite unique. Mine isn't as impressive since I only have one 8-inch pan and had to bake in two 9-inch pans instead, but that doesn't detract from the deliciousness one bit.

What I particularly liked about the cake itself was the sturdiness without being dense. Since you slice each layer in half, the sturdiness makes that much easier to handle.

Dorie Greenspan (yes, another one) says that many people like this cake chilled since the the layers take on a fudginess, but keep in mind that this frosting is similar to a 7-minute cake except that the sugar syrup is added to beaten egg whites. Take note: Egg whites. After a day, the frosting starts to dissolve. I don't know if this is me or the fact I didn't have cream of tartar, it's just that every time I make an egg white-based frosting without a crapton of butter (read: Swiss meringue buttercream), it dissolved. For impressionism, serve the day you finish frosting.

What I liked about this manner of making the frosting is that it doesn't get as grainy as I've found 7-minute frosting to get, that being due to the sugar being thoroughly dissolved. It's also a fun frosting to spread. And eat.

Recipe after the jump

Devil's Food White-Out Cake
From Baking ~ from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the cake ~

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For the filling and frosting ~

1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. GETTING READY: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

  2. TO MAKE THE CAKE: Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don't worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

  5. When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. With the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside.

  6. TO MAKE THE FILLING AND FROSTING: Put the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

  7. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.

  8. When the syrup is at about 235 degrees F, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable -- don't try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge in a pinch, it's really better to use it right now.

  9. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don't worry about smoothing the frosting -- it should be swirly. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.

  10. Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving. (If it's more convenient, you can chill the cake for 8 hours or more; cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.)

SERVING: I think the cake is best at room temperature or just cool, but many people prefer it cold (the texture of the cake becomes fudgier after it has been refrigerated). No matter the temperature, the cake is so pretty it should be cut at the table, so bring it out on a platter and cut it into generous wedges using a serrated knife and a sawing motion.

STORING: The frosted cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving, or longer if you have the time.

25 August 2009

billy, eat your... oatmeal scones

Let's talk about moronic children. We all know the Pediasure commercial with the mom and girl, mom strolling along, pushing brat in shopping cart (instead of making her walk). Mom reaches for broccoli, brat says she hates it. Mom reaches for chicken breasts, brat again declares her disdain for it, which is kind of unbelievable since children will eat chicken over most meats. I'd have thought she was a little vegetarian and it would have made sense, but she denied the broccoli. So again, the mom reaches for waffle mix and the brat, you guessed it, tells the mom waffle suck. Really? Waffles? Clearly this child is Damian-a.

Then there's the fish stick commercial. "YOU'RE SERVING ME MINCED FISH? HOW CAN YOU CATCH A MINCED FISH!?" A) No kid knows what a minced fish is. B) Again it's a mom and a daughter who's acting like a little twerp. The mom then gives the kid name-brand fish sticks that aren't minced. What you don't see in the commercial is the cut clip of the mom banging the plate on the table, telling the girl, "HERE'S YOUR NON-MINCED FISH. EAT IT AND BE GRATEFUL, INGRATE."

(Thanks, Jez.)

Summing up, if you're kid won't eat oatmeal then you should try these. But I'd refrain from mentioning the starving-kids-in-China part if they are inclined to be precocious -- "What will the starving kids in China eat if I eat the oatmeal?"

I've been mixing up scones quite a bit lately. I've gone through too much unsalted butter to even think about. But I saw these and needed to give them a go. This is another Dorie Greenspan recipe, and it combines oatmeal with fresh nutmeg, bananas and blueberries, all four things I enjoy, but in scone form. It also uses buttermilk as the liquid, which I find delightful since I like baking with buttermilk. And so does Dorie, apparently. Booya!

Perfect for breakfast, these were just sweet enough without being better for dessert. The texture of the oatmeal complimented the flakiness of the scone, which I thought gave it a nice mouth feel. These would be great toasted the next day.

oatmeal nutmeg scones
From Baking ~ from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

ingredients ~
1 large egg
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

directions ~
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat (I just greased the sheet).

  2. Stir the egg and buttermilk together.

  3. Whisk the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces the size of everything in between ~~ and that's just right.

  4. Pour the egg and buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a fork just until the dough, which will be wet and sticky, comes together. Don't overdo it.

  5. Still in the bowl, gently knead the dough by hand, or turn it with a rubber spatula 8 to 10 times. turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into a rough circle that's about 5 inches in diameter, cut it into 6 wedges and place on the baking sheet. (At this point, the scones can be frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight. Don't defrost before baking ~~ just add about 2 minutes to the baking time.)

  6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until their tops are golden and firmish. Transfer them to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before serving, or wait for the scones to cool to room temperature.

Dorie also likes to add tips to many of her recipes to give you options.

playing around
Fruity oatmeal-nutmeg scones: Scones in general and these in particular are good with a little fruit mixed into them. Try adding small chunks of banana to the dough before you stir in the egg and buttermilk (cut 1/2 banana into 1/2-inch dice). These are also good with about 1/2 cup diced prunes or small cubes of plump dried apricot added to the dough.

23 August 2009

run, jane, run race report and food eats

So today I ran a race, and I'll explain the food and a little about the race itself after each picture.

Aromatic bundle for the lentils I cooked. Many of the more devoted readers might know (unless I never mentioned it..) how I like to eat a steak as a pre-race meal. I don't carbo-load, it's unnecessary for the distances I race, but something about a large source of protein has always affected the way I run the next day for the better, and I've noticed this particularly after a giant hamburger or steak. Well, I hadn't the latter, nor did I feel like getting one, and I have to be in the mood for burgers. I've been on a lentil kick, so I went with the lentil patties I made before.

The spices and herbs in the tea ball are a bay leaf, cloves, thyme, and peppercorns.

Lentil patties cooking up. This is seriously one of the best recipes for meatless patties I've made to date. I changed the flavoring from cumin and oregano to an Chinese flavors, adding sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder (I was out of fresh), ginger powder (I was lazy), hot chili sauce, kosher salt, and I think that was it.

Served atop a bed of brown basmati rice and drizzled with a creamy wasabi dressing. With tomato slices. Delicious.

For breakfast, another Dorie Greenspan recipe, Coffee Break Muffins. Delicious, includes a double shot of coffee in the form of instant espresso powder and a cup of coffee, these are winners. I added half a remaining banana from the black-and-white loaf I previously blogged about.

During the end of the race

As I did last year, this is Run, Jane, Run 2009. I entered the 10k again since you end up running more of the trail than the 5k, obviously. This is my favorite race course since a) it's rare to find a trail race here, and b) it's an incredible feeling to run under a canopy of branches with the sky peeping through.

So. I didn't have very many expectations going into this race, and I wasn't necessarily trying to beat last years' time on account of a few running issues I've been experiencing. My main goal was to enjoy being out there, run it without stopping, and go by how I felt.

While I finished just after one hour, my splits were 9.45 per mile and I'm pretty happy about that. One thing I've noticed about my running is that while I may not necessarily feel like I'm training well enough to accomplish what I'd like to get out of running, I never fail to "bring it" come race time.

Lo and behold, I placed third in my age group! It was an unexpected occurrence, but it's pretty cool considering I got third last year. I wasn't the last person in my age group, though I was 31 seconds from placing second. Ah well!

Besides the watermelon chunks, I just grabbed a bunch of the stuff they had. That's the 'coffee break muffin', which I thought was better. I like the sprinkly sugary top on that one muffin, though.

What irks me, really, is how perfect the crowns are on those muffins, whilst mine never really look like that. Sure, mine taste better, but I'd like to make perfect looking muffins every once in a while.

Afterwards, we breakfasted at a local restaurant called American Pancake House. That is one of the cutest cups I've seen in this type of restaurant, though I'm fairly certain it only holds 6 oz., which means I had fifty refills. That's a ballpark figure.

Complimentary fruit plate.

Freshly squeezed orange juice. They have this machine set up in view of the diners and it's cool to watch. So delicious, sweet, not tart, and a lovely color.

I ordered the "Hey Ricky" omelette, 4 eggs, chorizo, avocado, monterey jack cheese with salsa and sour cream. It came with hash browns and sourdough bread.

And that concludes this report.

22 August 2009

look to the bread ~ black-and-white banana loaf

My brother request Black-and-White Banana Loaf from the aforementioned Dorie Greenspan cookbook.

Though my marbling skillz clearly are lacking, the flavor was pretty good. You can't go wrong with chocolate and banana, and what was interesting was that the white part tasted like the dough for chocolate chip cookies thanks to the addition of brown sugar. I left out the rum, vital to the "rummy bananas", but it was fine all the same.

Reviews from the testers confirmed that this was good. I forgot to have my standard one-slice-plain-one-slice-toasted. I'll just have to live with that.

That's all, short post. I have a 10k race tomorrow, so look for a race report, along with accounts on pre- and post-race eats on Sunday.

Recipe after the jump

Black-and-White Banana Loaf
from Baking ~ From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

ingredients ~
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 ripe bananas, peeled
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon rum
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

directions ~
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°. Butter an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet, or on two regular baking sheets sheets stacked one on top of the other (or, following the route of many banana bread recipes, bake it sans baking sheet).

  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.

  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with the lemon juice and zest, then stir in the rum.

  4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water (or directly in the saucepan, keeping your eye on it).

  5. In a large bowl, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed or until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 or 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdles, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in th emilk, and when it is blended, ad the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.

  6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

  7. Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.


20 August 2009

cinnamon squares

As many of you already know, Dorie Greenspan has been going around the blogosphere not just by individuals making her recipes, but through the Tuesdays with Dorie group. The recipes they made looked delicious, so of course like most things I'm interested in I put off picking up her book until months after the initial idea struck.

In the library, in the cookbook section, I spotted Baking ~ From my home to yours and remembered how I wanted to check it out.

A few days later, sometime around midnight, I was browsing the epically delicious recipes looking for a simple enough one to make. What I mean by "simple" is that I don't have to wait for the butter to soften to room temperature since I rarely plan that far ahead. When my eyes passed over the recipe for Cinnamon Squares, and my eyes noted that the butter was melted, that settled matters.

Featuring a full on cinnamon flavored cake, this would best be described as a tricked out coffee cake with the layer of chocolate chips that are dusted with a combination of sugar, cinnamon, and espresso powder. After all is assembled and baked, a rich coating of melted chocolate with butter is spread and swirled on top. I never really understood the craze you people have about chocolate (yes, you know who you are) until I woke up around brunch time the next day (or the same day, later on) and licked the melted chocolate-butter spoon.

So the only step that caused me to pause was how the recipe states to place the baking pan on a baking sheet, which I assumed was to promote even distribution of heat. My oven could be off, but after 40 minutes the cake wasn't done, though I took it out and watched the stages of sinking take place. Lesson learned: You may think it's a great idea to bake late at night, but do try to remember that you then cannot become disinterested when the mixing is over and the dishes remain to be washed and the cake needs a few more minutes to bake.

All in all, I will be making this again. Since the cake part wasn't overly sweet and given that I used semisweet chips in place of bittersweet, I enjoyed this for breakfast, although I really ate it for brunch. Perfect at all hours of the day. Perfect for a lazy baker. Or as Dorie said, in a few more words than this, it's as good at a brunch as it is as a midnight snack.

Stay tuned for more to come from this cookbook.

Recipe after the jump

Cinnamon Squares

ingredients ~
1 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

frosting ingredients ~
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

directions ~
  1. To make the cake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper (I think I greased the paper). Place the pan on a baking sheet.

  2. Stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and the espresso powder together in a small bowl.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a homogeneous batter. Now, using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth, satiny batter.

  4. Scrape half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.

  5. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the cake to the cooking rack and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, invert it onto the first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.

  6. To make the frosting: Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. (Now, I just placed the chocolate and butter right in the heatproof bowl because I was lazy when I made this. I understand the point of a double boiler and I use it often, but in case you don't want to go through the trouble I'm here to tell you that as long as you pay close attention, use a little lower heat and stir just as often, the resulting frosting will be fine.) Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it thins out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable. (If it thins, leave the frosting at room temperature for a bit, until it thickens a little.)

  7. Using an offset metal icing spatula or a table knife, spread the frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut the cake into 9 squares, each about 2 1/2 inches on a side.

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