Saturday, April 15, 2017

Date Pecan Brunch Cake


Are you ready for Easter?  It's a gorgeous weekend here and I hope you are having the same.

Here is a very simple and unique date nut cake that you can whip together in no time at all.  This cake makes a wonderful brunch cake or coffee/tea cake.  It doesn't need any embellishments whatsoever. 


You could dust it with powdered sugar but I chose not to so you could see the meringue-like topping to this cake.  The texture of this cake is so interesting and delicious! The recipe was found in one of my oldest cookbooks.  It's called, American Cooks by the General Federation of Women's Clubs and was recommended to me by a chef who married my college roommate.  I would venture to say that it's still one of the most valuable cookbooks in my collection!


You still have time to make this for brunch tomorrow!

I also have some flower ideas for your Easter buffet or table.  Take a shallow dish and put some water in it.  Add any flowers you like, trimming the stems as necessary, and cover with a pretty bowl or upside down vase. 


Use pretty wine glasses to display blooms.  Here is a glass I saved from my mother's home that brings back wonderful memories of her. 


Another favorite is to use egg cups as vases.  Easy to find at World Market, Bed Bath and Beyond or Target.  They make charming little floral displays.   


If you have some early spring blooms in your yard, this is a great way to use them!


Whatever your plans for tomorrow, I hope you have a wonderful day!

Date and Pecan Brunch Cake

Printable Recipe

1 cup presifted flour (I used AP flour)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
16-24 ounces dates, pitted and chopped (I used 16 ounces)
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper or waxed paper.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the pecans and dates.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and vanilla until light yellow.

In large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites. Fold in the flour mixture and pour out into the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove onto a wire rack to cool completely. (Place wire rack upside down over pan and tip both over to remove cake).

Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Perfect Stamped or Rolling Pin Cookies


I do not excel at cookie decorating.  It's time consuming and, normally, I'm not a fan of icing on cookies anyway.  Cookie stamps or rollers are the perfect alternative to having a 'cute' cookie but one that doesn't takes a lot of time to decorate! The problem with stamped or pressed cookies is often the design isn't clear because the cookies either spread out or rise too much and the cookie design disappears. 

This past month, I received a special surprise from my very long-time and dear friend, Monique of La Table de Nana.  It was a beautiful, wooden rolling pin engraving with the name of my blog.  You can visit Monique's post here to find out more about the artist and the lovely variety of engraved rolling pins.  They are the perfect gift for a friend or family member who enjoys baking!



Monique and I have been cyber friends for many years going WAY back to the GardenWeb forum (2002?) that is now owned by Houzz and then, at Gardenbuddies.  Over the years, we discovered that we share many of the same interests, which not only included gardening, but also art, painting, cooking and baking.  We have also found similarities in our lives...husbands whose first names start with 'J' who both enjoyed golf.  We both have two daughters and we both have three grandsons from one of our daughters, whom we adore.  

Monique suggested a recipe to use and very good instructions, however, I failed at my first attempt and asked for a little more help. Monique went above and beyond the call of duty and sent a sample of her dough for consistency and a cookie from Canada just so I could see how it should look and feel! Isn't she amazing?


With her help,  I was able to create the perfect stamped cookies! We won't mention the batch I burned because I forgot to set my timer :(


These cookies are so delicious and the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee or just a glass of milk!  A little almond flour, a hint of lemon...delicious! 


Speaking of garden, I have a few early spring flowers in my Midwest garden! Always a joy to see the first blooms of the season ♥

Perfect Stamped or Rolling Pin Cookies

Printable Recipe

Adapted from: https://latabledenana.blogspot.com/2017/03/oh-goody.html and,
http://www.cavolettodibruxelles.it/2012/01/homemade-cookies

This is a halved recipe which makes about a dozen cookies, depending on size.
I recommend using a digital scale set to grams for the perfect consistency.

Butter - 80 grams (just shy of 6 tablespoons)
Brown Sugar, 60 grams (about 1/2 cup)
Flour, 125 grams, (about 1/2 cup)
Almond Flour, 50 grams (about 1/4 cup or so)
Lemon Zest from 1 organic lemon
Pinch of salt

Place the brown sugar and butter in the bowl of a a food processor and give it a few pulses until combined. Add the flour, almond flour, lemon zest and pinch of salt and pulse until the dough begins to 'come together'.

Pour out the dough onto a work surface and knead until the dough feels like Play Doh. Wet your hands slightly, if necessary to bring the dough to this consistency.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Then, place dough on a lightly floured work surface, cover with the plastic wrap and roll into a rectangle.

Dust the surface of the dough with sufficient flour to cover. Spread over the dough with your hands.

Press or roll dough with cookie stamps or engraved rolling pin. Cut out shapes with round cutters or use a knife and ruler to make rectangles.

Place on parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet and refrigerate again for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.

Bake for about 12-18 minutes, depending on your oven. Check early and then often toward the end of baking time.  Remove when golden around the edges.

Cool and store for several days if you don't eat them all immediately.