Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake

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Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines

If you haven’t met Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake, let me introduce you to one of the great loves of my life.  Trust me, this one is for the record books people.  I’ve never served it without loud praise, wide applause, and urgent requests for the recipe.  My husband, who isn’t really a cake guy, calls this his favorite and it’s the only cake he actually requests on the regular.  There is so much that’s right about this cake, the always moist and magical oatmeal texture, the not-to-sweet with brown sugar cinnamon flavor, and the coconut pecan topping just sends it into the prize winning cake hall of fame (that’s a thing, or at least I should make that a thing).  It’s one of those rare combinations of show stopping deliciousness that’s embarrassingly easy to make.  Try it and see!

Cake:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

  1.  Set oven to 350.  Prepare a bundt pan by either spraying with baking spray that has flour or greasing well and tapping in flour to coat.
  2. In a large bowl combine melted butter, oatmeal, and boiling water.  Let sit for 20 minutes.
  3. Add sugars then eggs, one at a time mixing well after each.  Add flour and before mixing just put the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon on top of the flour heap then mix it all together adding vanilla last.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until set and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a dish that can go in the oven.  If you don’t have one put it on a cookie sheet for the application of the topping then transfer to a plate once it’s completed.
  5. For the topping put the sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  When sugar is dissolved and mixture starts bubbling on the sides mix in coconut and pecans then remove from the heat. It will stick on the cake a bit better if you let it cool 10-15 minutes before spreading on the cake.
  6. Once your topping is on put cake under the broiler (I keep it on low) for only a minute or so, just long enough to brown the topping.
  7. Serve anytime, keeps at room temp for a number of days.
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Oatmeal Coconut Pecan Cake by twocarolines

Recipe adapted from A Gathering Of Friends

 

 

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

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This time of year we want ALL the spices. Cloves, allspice, cinnamon and—my personal favorite—ginger! And that’s not just because I get called “Ginger Lady” when I visit Turkey. I want all the ginger drinks and edibles! These cookies are the product of two recipes that I really, really like. So I thought they’d make the ultimate “power cookie”. They are super soft and chewy but you can bake them a little bit longer if you want more of a crisp cookie experience.  -CK 1.0

1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 egg

2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
7 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70% cacao Lindt bars, but you could use chocolate chips in a pinch)
Sugar for rolling

  1. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat brown sugar, oil, ginger and egg, until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.
  3. Slowly combine the wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in chocolate chunks; turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick; seal with wrap; refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Roll in granulated sugar. Bake until just before the surfaces crack, but not too doughy—about 7 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Dark Chocolate Derby Pie

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Dark Chocolate Derby Pie pc @summer_elevate twocarolines.com

I first posted this Dark Chocolate Derby pie last spring on the Elevate Everyday blog, and I’m sharing here now because it’s the perfect addition to any holiday meal.  My need for things of the chocolate mint variety this time of year is insatiable – and this one is the best versions of chocolate, and mint, plus it has a grown up taste that feels so fancy.   With one bite you taste a refreshing hint of peppermint followed by a deep, rich, complex and incredible chocolate flavor that is so smooth and dreamy it just melts in your mouth.  If you don’t enjoy rich desserts please move to the next pie recipe on the list, but if you’re a chocolate kid like me, stock up on some serious bittersweet chocolate and get to chopping, this beauty has 12 ounces of that business and I’m loving every bite!

1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I subbed about 3 ounces semi-sweet just to make sure it wasn’t too bitter and it turned out amazing)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (stick to this – a little goes a long way)
2 tablespoons bourbon (I had never used it before, but you cook it than bake it so you won’t get drunky and it adds a very complex amazing flavor.  You could probably omit it and be fine though)
cocoa powder for dusting

  1. 1 pre-baked 9 inch traditional pie crust.  Our recipe is super easy and perfect for this pie.  Pre-heat oven to 325.
  2. Combine the milk and cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring just to a boil. Put your chopped chocolate into a large bowl and once you see those bubbles coming up with your cream mixture pour it over the top of your chocolate.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Next add salt and whisk steadily until all the chocolate is melted.
  3. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and whisk.  Slowly stream a small amount of the chocolate mixture into the eggs, whisking as you pour.  Continue until the egg mixture feels warm to the touch, and then mix it back into the chocolate mixture.  Add the peppermint extract and bourbon (if using) then whisk until smooth.
  4. Strain the filling through a fine-mesh sieve directly into your pie shell.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes rotating at around 20 minutes for an even bake.  The pie is finished when the edges are set about 2 inches in and puffed slightly and the center is no longer liquid but the filling will continue to cook and set after the pie is removed from the oven.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack 2-3 hours.  Before serving dust with cocoa powder.

Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book 2013

 

 

Gingerbread Cookies

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Gingerbread Cookies by twocarolines.com

3 cheers for the smell of baking ginger and molasses in your house and a gorgeous plate of gingerbread cookies to share with your neighbors and friends.  To me, holiday cookie decorating is all about the kids, so I searched to find a recipe that gave me all the gingerbread flavor I wanted, but not quite as much bite as the most traditional cookies so little kids wouldn’t complain that they are “too spicey” as my 3 year old put it last year.  These ones are called “light spice” but they are HEAVY on delicious holiday flavor and with some bright and festive royal icing they tasted like everything that rules about Christmas.  I hope you enjoy!

For the Cookies:

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the Icing:

  • 3 ounces pasteurized egg whites*
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • food dye (I enjoy the gel kind to keep your consistency, but liquid dye will work) and whatever sprinkles you like

Directions:

  1. For the cookies: In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, shortening, sugars, baking powder, spices, and salt until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.
  3. Mix about half of the flour into the butter mixture. When well combined, add the cornstarch and the remaining flour.
  4. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half slightly to make a disk. Smooth the edges by rolling the disk along a lightly floured work surface. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour (or longer), for easiest rolling.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  6. Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator, and flour a clean work surface, and the dough.
  7. Roll it out as thin or thick as you like. For slightly less crisp cookies, roll it out more thickly. We like to roll these cookies 1/8″ to 1/4″inch thick. Use flour under and on top of the dough to keep it from sticking to the table or rolling pin.
  8. Alternatively, place the dough on parchment, and put a sheet of plastic wrap or another piece of parchment over it as you roll, pulling the plastic or parchment to eliminate wrinkles as necessary when rolling; this will keep dough from sticking without the need for additional flour.

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    rolled out gingerbread by twocarolines.com

  9. Transfer the cookies to ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.
  10. Bake them just until they’re slightly brown around the edges, or until they feel firm, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  11. Remove the cookies from the oven, and let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, or until they’re set. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  12. For the icing: In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites tiny pinch of salt and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes. Add food coloring, if desired. For immediate use, transfer icing to pastry bag or heavy duty storage bag and pipe as desired. If using storage bag, clip corner. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.  I split mine into multiple colors by mixing them in dixie cups and piping them with disposable piping bags.  *Royal icing does contain raw eggs, I’ve never had a problem with this, my husband worked for a huge egg distributor for 5 years and as long as they are pasteurized and not super old, you are likely to be fine, but if you have a crazy sensitive stomach there are other icings you can find.

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    Christmas Cookies by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour light spice holiday cookies and Alton Brown Royal Icing Recipe.

Swedish Sticky Cake – Kladdkaka

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One of the things I miss the most about living in Berlin is my little group of amazing friends. From that group comes one of my favorite people in the world—we’ll call her Girl Swede. She and I used to bake together a lot and she taught me so many of her Swedish traditions and makes the most amazing Swedish treats. This Sticky Cake was the first thing she ever made for me and I was hooked! Girl Swede correctly explained that it was such an easy and quick treat to make and it is commonly enjoyed during Fika (a Swedish coffee break that is accompanied by delectable pastries). So, if you are wanting a super simple but decadent, chocolatey, chewy, kind of sticky treat–make this. I guess you could also invite others to join you, instead of hoarding this all to yourself but, I’ll let you decide…

Swedish Sticky Cake, a.k.a. Kladdkaka

Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • eggs
  • 1 1⁄3cups white sugar
  • 1tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄2cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300ºF. Lightly grease an 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside. Stir the eggs into the sugar until smooth. Add the flour mixture, and stir until combined. Pour in the vanilla extract and butter; stir until well combined. Pour into prepared cake pan.
  3. Bake on the lower rack (important!) of the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the center has slightly set. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour in the pie plate. The cake is equally delicious if served warm or cold, find your sweet spot! Also, this can be good garnished with ice cream or whipped cream or powdered sugar dusted on top—I like how this is like a brownie and I’m a purist, so I served it plain.

Original Swedish recipe found here.
This American version was found from here and very slightly adapted.

-CK 1.0

Pfeffernüsse

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Every Christmas growing up, my mom would painstakingly make cookies that we called Peppernuts. They were a household favorite, but the only thing we didn’t like about these cookies is that they have to “age”—it’s pretty much the only cookie that gets better with time. So we would have to wait a week, while looking at that pastel pink glass dish, waiting for the time that we could dig in, but oooooh was it worth it!

Little did I know that years later, I’d be living in Germany, supposedly the home of the Peppernuts, or more accurately, Pfeffernüsse. I have scoured Christmas markets two years in a row now, looking for a freshly baked, truly German Pfeffernüsse cookie to no avail. I’ve quizzed many a German about this and they said they’ve never had a homemade one and they have only seen them in stores. I bought a bag and was sorely disappointed. So, this year I have taken matters in my own hands to make a traditional German cookie that a lot of Germans have never had—funny how things work sometimes.

I did make some adjustments, I added cardamom, since it seems to be such a traditional holiday spice around these parts. The sauce that was always the really hard part was going to be too difficult for me to make with my lo-fi kitchen, so I went with what I saw in every other recipe and did a powdered sugar coating, rather than a divinity glaze like my mom would make. Additionally, these are her favorite cookies in the world, so that is the best endorsement you could ask for! – CK 1.0

Pfeffernüsse cookie batter:
2 ½ cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon  cardamom
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans (it’s hard to find pecans, so used almonds)
Powdered sugar for dipping

Sift flour with cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pepper, and baking soda. In large bowl, with mixer at high speed, beat 2 eggs and brown sugar until light and somewhat glossy, about 5 minutes. At low speed, beat in flour mixture and nuts until well combined. Dough will be a bit sticky.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with baking paper. With wet hands, pinch off dough by tablespoonfuls. Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12-15 minutes, until the tops are just barely cracking. Remove to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. In two batches, place cookies and a good amount of powdered sugar in a large plastic bag. Roll cookies around until well coated then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks and try to let them age a few days before gobbling them up!

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***IF you want to be ambitious and make the divinity glaze, you will want a stand mixer that you can leave on for 10-15 minutes.

Divinity Glaze:
1 cup water
3 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon cream tartar
2 egg whites

In large saucepan, combine sugar, and 1 cup water. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring, 5 minutes, or until mixture forms a 2-inch thread when dropped from spoon or to 235 degrees on candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Pour syrup in continuous stream slowly into egg whites beating constantly. Beat until mixture thickens slightly and starts to lose shine, 6-8 minutes. Drop cookies a few at a time into glaze; with fork, turn to coat all over. Lift out and, using two forks, place on wire rack (with cookie sheet beneath to catch drips) until dry. Store in tightly covered container at least one week before eating.

Dark chocolate sheet cake with chocolate frosting

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Dark chocolate sheet cake with chocolate frosting

If the only thing you want for Christmas is for someone to remember your December birthday, this cake’s for you! Or maybe you know someone who has a birthday competing with Christmas so you need a cake that can stand out.  My daughter and I make a different chocolate cake every few weeks, I don’t post all of them, only the ones we decide are really extra delicious and this one was all that plus it was so easy!  I find it so fascinating how many ways there are to make a chocolate cake – this is an old school texas sheet cake recipe we modernized and I think the water, oil, AND butter make a combo that is not dense and dry as ‘from scratch’ cakes can often be.  The process of making it was really unique and fun.  I often make layer cakes, because they are pretty and I love the frosting to cake ratio on a layer cake, but a 9×13 is a birthday staple, and this is only a few more steps than your box cake and tastes so moist and springy.  Plus it’s poppin off chocolate flavor like no other – and if you add rainbow sprinkles it will make all your chocolate cake dreams come true!

Cake:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (sprinkled with a little flour)

Frosting:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup hot cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
rainbow sprinkles (optional)

  1. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and preheat oven to 375.
  2. Whisk sugar, flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl until well blended.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine water, vegetable oil, butter, and cocoa stirring constantly.  Bring to a boil then pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together just until smooth.  Let it cool slightly then mix in the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
  4. Scrape batter out of pan and spread evenly into 9×13 baking pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.
  5. For the frosting: Melt chocolate and butter either in a pyrex at low heat or in a double boiler.  Remove from heat and pour in your hot cream, stir until combined then add the vanilla and sugar beating until spreadable.  Pile it all on your cooled cake and spread out as you wish.  Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles too!

Recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking chocolate texas sheet cake and fast chocolate butter icing.