I need to confess. This is my last post on Acquired Taste.
Now for those of you that haven't been around, calm down. It's ok. This is a GOOD thing.
"Why is it a good thing?" You might ask.
It's a good thing because this means I have finally (FINALLY!!) gotten the new blog design and home ready for Acquired Life! After three months (will be four when it gets up) I have managed to do a blog redesign and move to WordPress ( I wanted to stay at Blogger but it just wasn't working. I'm sorry blogger it's not you, it's me...).
What does this mean for Acquired Taste? Well, Acquired Taste will continue to be around but over at Acquired Life instead as a category. You see, I have many interests and food is a big one, but I also have a love for photography and acquiring knowledge and learning to do new things. I wanted a way to do that and Acquired Taste just wasn't enough to support that. I wanted to have a way to incorporate more of my love for creativity as well as more about my life with out it having to always revolve around food. Acquired Life will do this for me.
Some may say, "Why not just have another blog?" I say, because to manage two blogs or three or four is just too much for me. I'm just not that good. I have been slacking considerably in the blogging department in the past year because I just didn't have it in me to write constantly about food. I want to give my readers something to look at on a regular basis, preferably twice a week even if it's just a pretty photo I took and want to share.
I will be moving to Portugal at the end of April (May 1st is to be my first day in another foreign land) and I will be 29 the day Acquired Life (April 4th, 2011) goes live. I figure my new year and new life will be coinciding within less than a month from each other and I want to share that with everyone that wants to see.
If you're curious about what Acquired Life will have, I can tell you there will still be food, recipes, and food photos. I will also be including photos of Portugal and moments of my life that I'm able to capture. I will also probably jot down my thoughts on things. This blog will be a major connection with my native continent in a strange place where most people speak a completely different language.
I hope everyone that comes to visit here will also visit the new home. It's not for everyone, but hey it's an Acquired Life!
Now for those who are here for the food and the 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.
I have always wanted to make a coffee cake, but haven't for some silly reason. This means I was pretty freaking happy when I saw that this months challenge was to make coffee cake!
The recipe is big enough to make two (that's right TWO) coffee cakes, so you don't have to make them exactly the same and can play with the filling a bit like I did.
FILLED MERINGUE COFFEE CAKE
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:
- Jamie’s version:
- 1 cup (110 g / 4 oz.) chopped pecans or walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons (30 g / 1 oz.) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (170 g / 6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped chocolate
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. Ria’s version: add the 10 saffron threads to the warmed liquid and allow to steep off of the heat for 10 minutes. This will give the mixture a distinct aroma and flavor and a yellowish-orange hue.
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 use 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 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 of choice 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.
Remove from the oven and slide the parchment paper off the cookie sheets onto the table. Very gently loosen the coffee cakes from the paper with a large spatula and carefully slide the cakes off onto cooling racks. Allow to cool.
Just before serving, dust the tops of the coffee cakes with confectioner’s sugar as well as cocoa powder if using chocolate in the filling. These are best eaten fresh, the same day or the next day.
The recipes above are straight from The Daring Kitchen post for this month's challenge. If you would like to check out what the others have done and the recipes please go to The Daring Kitchen website! The only change it it was that I omitted the parts to make it like Ria's with saffron, garam masala and other goodies.
One of my cakes, I choose to add a bit of instant coffee grounds to the filling and sprinkled it with a mix of sugar and more instant coffee grounds. It wound up being less sweet and had a bite of bitter thanks to the coffee. It was perfect for adults who don't want something too sweet and when great with a cup of java.
The other I made like the recipe but didn't add anything on top. It was sweeter but still very yummy.
I also used a mix of pecan and walnuts in both coffee cakes.
The meringue filling was fabulous! It made the sweet filling with nuts have a gooey texture but wasn't overwhelming like I thought it might be. The nuts gave it that soft bite that they give when you bake with them. This has got to be one of my favorite baked items so far, it goes great with coffee and milk and is good as a breakfast as well as dessert!
Definitely a winner and will be made many more times in my kitchen.