May 19th, 2008

cheese danishes

cheese danish 9

growing up, danishes were reserved for special occasions – in particular, christmas and easter morning breakfasts. these were never homemade danishes; they usually came in a big plastic container with bear claws and rugelach, but they were special nonetheless. i tried to recreate what i remember having as a kid, but it was surprisingly hard to track down a good recipe that didn’t start out with ready-made puff pastry. i finally found something that seemed to resemble what i was looking for in the Taste of Home Complete Guide to Baking, a gift from my mom.

cheese danish 1cheese danish 2cheese danish 3cheese danish 4

this recipe has several parts to it, so i gave myself pretty much a whole day to tackle the danishes. it turned out to be especially challenging for me, mainly because it’s made with pastry dough, which is not something i often use. it was also my first time using shortening ever – i think i could have replaced it with cold butter, but i decided to stay faithful to the directions.

cheese danish 5 cheese danish 7

the danishes came out looking great (if i do say so myself), but the pastry was not nearly as flaky as i would have liked. i assembled these without a picture reference, basically wrapping lengths of dough into little birds-nest type holders for the cream cheese filling. you could probably replace the dough recipe below with puff pastry and just assemble these any way you think would look great, but it’s a great experience to work with a sweet yeast dough. to be honest, these didn’t quite live up to the store bought pastries i remember, but they came close.

cheese danish 12

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May 17th, 2008

chocolate chip coffee cake

coffee cake 4

what makes a coffee cake a coffee cake? well, either it’s got coffee in it (this one doesn’t, but looking back, it would be a great idea. however i do have an upcoming recipe that contains coffee – prepare yourselves, it’s amazing), or, it’s just a cake that you eat with coffee, probably with breakfast or brunch. it’s usually spiced with cinnamon (check) and got a sort of streusel (check).

coffee cake 1

except this one is chock full of chocolate chips (A LOT of chocolate chips). the cake itself come out super light and fluffy and it couldn’t be simpler to make. this is a great cake to slice up into bite sized pieces for a brunch, or you could do what i do – get a giant glass of milk, a few forks and dig right into the pan.

coffee cake 5

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May 13th, 2008

cinnamon raisin swirl bread

cinnamon raisin swirl bread 2

i used to be very intimidated by foods with swirls in them. not intimidated by the food itself, but by making them. i just couldn’t fathom how someone could shove a swirl of cinnamon and sugar and raisins into a loaf of bread. then i saw a recipe for it and felt like an idiot.

mixer and swirl bread

the dough itself is rolled out with a pin into a rectangle, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and then jelly-rolled from the short end. the loaves come out soft and fluffy. i put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven during the baking so the bread doesn’t dry out.

cinnamon raisin dough

i’ve been eating a few pieces toasted with a pad of butter with pretty much every meal this week. if you don’t think you can eat two loaves, give one to someone you want to be your best friend because this bread is awesome.

cinnamon raisin swirl bread 1

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