Caramel Apple Dapple Cake

I love a quick cake. I have made this one on a couple of occasions! It is a wonderful seasonal treat. Apparently, it is named a “dapple” cake because the apple chunks create a rippled effect on the surface of the cake where the glaze can settle. The coffee in the batter balances the sweetness and gives it a beautiful brown color.

This recipe is from Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever. I weighed the ingredients and used heavy cream in the glaze. We ate it for dessert but it could also be served as a coffee cake. Super moist and yummy.

Yield: One 9×13 cake, about 12 to 15 servings

For the Cake:

  • nonstick cooking for pan
  • 320 g (2 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 170 g (3/4 cup) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (4 T, 57 g) canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 3/4 cup (170 g) lukewarm brewed coffee
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, and chopped Honeycrisp apples (cut into 1/2-inch/1.25 cm pieces)(I used 2 very large apples)

For the Glaze:

  • 170 g (3/4 cup) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 T (57 g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup (57 g) whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

To Make the Cake:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees (180 C), preferably on convection.
  2. Spray a 9×13-inch light-colored metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. (I use binder clips to hold the parchment overhang in place to prevent it from falling onto the surface of the cake.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy.
  5. Add the granulated and brown sugars and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly stream in the oil until well blended.
  7. One at a time, beat in the eggs.
  8. On low-speed, spoon in half of the flour mixture.
  9. Slowly pour in the coffee.
  10. Stir in the remaining flour until the batter is smooth.
  11. Fold in the apples by hand.
  12. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth evenly.
  13. Bake until the cake is deeply golden all over, begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. (I baked mine for 40 minutes but may check it even earlier next time.)
  14. Let cool slightly in the pan set on a wire rack.

To Make the Glaze:

  1. In a 1 to 1 1/2-quart (1 to 1.4 L) saucepan over high heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, milk, and salt.
  2. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring often, and boil until you can see it has thickened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes depending on your pan.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. (I forgot to do this every time- by accident, of course :/ )
  4. Let the glaze cool just until it stops bubbling.
  5. Pour the hot glaze over the still-warm cake. Working quickly, use a spatula to spread the glaze so thinly and evenly that it covers the entire the surface of the cake.
  6. Let the cake cool completely, uncovered, on the rack.

Note: Leftover cake can be stored loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Creamy Corn Ice Cream with Caramel

Caramel corn ice cream? Yes! Sweet summer corn is puréed, strained, and cooked down into a sweet pudding before it is incorporated into the ice cream base. The caramel drizzle was an essential finishing touch.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jesse Houston. The original recipe was “no churn” but I did churn it to expedite the freezing process.

After using a Vitamix to purée the corn and significantly increasing the cooking time, I had double the volume of corn pudding required for the ice cream. I’m planning to use it for another batch. 🙂 I may layer it with caramel or dulce de leche prior to freezing next time so that it will have a caramel swirl.

Yield: about 8 cups (2 quarts)

Vanilla Flan

After gobbling up a double batch of chips and guacamole followed by Sam Sifton’s Middle School Tacos, we ate this flan as our celebratory Cinco de Mayo dessert this year.

A while ago, my son read a book that mentioned flan and he really wanted to make it. We actually made it together at that time. 🙂  It really is quite simple to prepare, and he felt like he had achieved a great accomplishment when it came out well. He’s been asking to have it again ever since!

I think that it is particularly delicious served with strawberries. This recipe is a blend of multiple flan recipes- including one from my grandmother.

Yield: One 8-inch flan

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk (low fat can be substituted)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of coarse salt
  • strawberries, for serving, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan; bring to a simmer and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, without stirring, occasionally swirling, until amber, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Pour into a 1 1/2 to 2 qt (8-in) ceramic baking dish or 8-in cake pan, tilting to cover the bottom surface and halfway up the sides of the dish.
  5. Place the prepared dish on a dish towel or a silicone pot holder (to prevent it from shifting) inside a roasting pan. (I used an enameled cast iron lasagna pan.)
  6. Place the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, and salt in a Vitamix. Blend for 20 seconds. (Alternatively, mixture can be whisked in a bowl until combined.)
  7. Pour through a fine strainer into the prepared pan.
  8. Slide the oven rack out and place the roasting pan on the hot rack.
  9. Fill the outside of the pan with HOT water halfway up the sides of the flan dish.
  10. Bake for 60-70+ minutes, or until the center is wobbly.
  11. Remove from the oven; let cool to room temperature.
  12. Remove flan from the water bath. Cool and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  13. Dip the bottom of the dish in warm water, then invert onto a rimmed platter. Serve.

One Year Ago: Cheesy Enchilada Skillet

Two Years Ago: Cinco de Mayo Chicken-Chipotle Tacos

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Ina Garten’s Salted Caramel Brownies

My daughter has loved a book series about a girl named “Kylie Jean” since she starting reading them in first grade. In one of the books, Kylie Jean Fashion Queen, Kylie’s mom bakes caramel brownies. My daughter has been asking for them ever since. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to comply! (She’s in 5th grade this year. :/ )

The recipe for these super rich, moist and delicious brownies was adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof via Food Network.com. I used large eggs, espresso powder, salted caramel sauce, and omitted the sprinkling of sea salt. We ate them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Decadent. Thanks, Kylie Jean! 🙂

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 T instant espresso or 1½ T instant coffee granules, such as Nescafé
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce (I used Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt, such as Maldon (I omitted this because I used salted caramel sauce)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Butter and flour a 9 x 13 x 1½-inch baking pan.
  2. Melt the butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together in a medium bowl set over simmering water. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar.
  4. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together ½ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt and add to the chocolate mixture.
  6. Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them to the chocolate mixture.
  7. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  8. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
  9. As soon as the brownies are out of the oven, place the jar of caramel sauce without the lid in a microwave and heat just until it’s pourable. Stir until smooth. Drizzle the caramel evenly over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt.
  10. Cool completely and cut into bars.

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Dulce de Leche-Hazelnut Macaroons

These one-bowl cookies were quick to make and called for one of my favorite ingredients- dulce de leche. The crunchy roasted hazelnuts and chewy coconut provided nice contrasting textures as well.

This recipe was adapted from Quick-Shop-&-Prep 5 Ingredient Baking by Jennifer McHenry, via Scott Suchman of The Washington Post. I roasted and peeled the hazelnuts and adjusted the cookie size and resulting baking time. I double the recipe below and included them in my Christmas cookie assortment.

Yield: about 36 cookies

  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 cup dulce de leche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Set aside a third rimmed baking sheet, unlined, for the hazelnuts.
  3. Spread hazelnuts on the unlined, rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the 350-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until you see the skins crack.
  4. Immediately transfer the nuts to a clean dish towel; wrap up and vigorously massage the mass of nuts (through the towel) until the skins have loosened and fallen away. Discard the skins.
  5. When cool enough to handle, chop the hazelnuts.
  6. Combine the coconut, chopped hazelnuts, dulce de leche, vanilla extract and salt in a mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop by spoonfuls (about 36) on the baking sheets, spacing the spoonfuls an inch apart.
  8. Bake, on the middle rack, one sheet at a time for 7 to 12 minutes, or until just set.
  9. Cool completely on the sheet; repeat with the remaining macaroons.

Make Ahead: The macaroons can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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Samoa Brownies

When I first saw photos of these brownies, I knew that I needed some reason to make them. Making a fabulous upgraded version of our favorite girl scout cookies was absolutely irresistible. Then I realized that all we needed were friends to share them with! Needless to say, that was easy. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Host the Toast, via Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. I modified the baking times and used jarred dulce de leche instead of caramel sauce. I also combined dark and semi-sweet chocolate for the drizzle. Yummy!

For the Cookie Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

For the Brownies:

  • 1⅓ cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 T water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt

For the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (I used dulce de leche)

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

To Make the Cookie Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, preferably on convection.
  2. Line an 9 x 9 baking pan parchment paper hanging on the sides (for easier removal) and spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a bowl, combine all ingredients for the cookie crust. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, pulse or mix the dough until crumbly.
  4. Evenly spread and pat the cookie crust into the bottom of the parchment-lined baking pan. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookie crust turns light golden brown.
  5. Keep in the fridge to cool.

Meanwhile, Make the Brownies:

  1. In a bowl, place the dark chocolate chips. Set aside. IMG_3361
  2. In a small saucepan, add butter, water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Pour onto the chocolate chips and stir the mixture until chocolate has completely melted. Let cool for a bit.
  3. When the chocolate mixture has cooled down, mix in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add in flour and salt. Mix to incorporate well.
  5. Once the cookie crust has cooled, pour the brownie batter onto the top. Bake for about 25 (on convection) or up to 35 minutes (standard oven), or until toothpick inserted comes out with few crumbs (but not wet) batter.
  6. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack and transfer to the freezer to chill up quickly. (Do not remove from the pan.)

While waiting for the brownies to firm up…

Make the Caramel-Coconut Topping:

  1. Spread your sweetened flaked coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 7 minutes at 350 F, on convection. Watch carefully as the coconut may turn very quickly from beautiful golden from to burnt. Make sure stir the coconut once in a while to avoid burning.
  2. Mix the toasted coconut and the dulce de leche/caramel sauce. (If you just took your caramel sauce out from the fridge, you can microwave it first to thin it a bit. I heated mine for about 30 seconds and stirred it prior to using.)
  3. Spread the caramel-coconut topping over the chilled brownies.
  4. Place back in the fridge to chill again for at least an hour.

For the Chocolate Dip and Drizzle:

  1. Remove the brownies from the fridge.
  2. Grab the sides of the parchment paper and lift the brownies from the pan. Remove the parchment paper and cut them into smallish squares.
  3. Place about 2/3 of the mixed chocolate chips in a bowl and melt in the microwave with 30 seconds interval, stirring in between. You can also melt your chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. (I usually have more success with the double-boiler method.)
  4. Dip each brownie bottom into the melted chocolate and place upside-down on another sheet of parchment paper to let dry.
  5. When the chocolate coating has cooled, turn each piece right side up. Melt the remaining chocolate as directed above.
  6. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the Samoa Brownies. You can eat right away or you can let the chocolate drizzle firm up before serving.

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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

I am actually a fan of heart-shaped Valentine’s Day desserts. ❤ But, after receiving this recipe from Nancy of Feasting With Friends Blog, I knew that I had to make this pie to celebrate with my family this year. I suppose I could have made it more celebratory by dusting the confectioners’ sugar in hearts! Next time…

I have made the Bon Appetit version of this best-selling Momofuku Milk Bar pie a few times in the past. This version is the real deal (I think!). They are both delicious, of course! 😉 Salted caramel-esque. Sweet and salty with an oat cookie crust. Mmmmm!

If I had known it was going to be the coldest Valentine’s Day in 100 years, I may have picked a cozier dessert! :/ This version of the pie is served directly from the freezer… Thankfully, this is purely for texture, the actual pie didn’t taste cold. Whew! The original recipe makes 2 pies, so I divided it in half. (It sounds crazy, but I was scared to have too much of a good thing.)

By the way, there is truth in the name… we all had seconds! 😉 Happy Belated Valentine’s Day! ❤

Yield: One 10-inch pie or 9-inch pie, 8-10 servings

For the Oat Cookie:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 T tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 20 g (1/2 T) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 egg yolk
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (3/4 cups) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 0.25 g (1/16 tsp) baking powder
  • 0.125 g half-pinch baking soda
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • pam or other nonstick cooking spray (optional)

For the Pie Filling:

  • 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 90 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 g (2 T) milk powder
  • 12 g (2 T cup) freeze-dried corn powder
  • 3 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 8 T butter, melted
  • 80 g (1/4 cup plus 2 T) heavy cream
  • 1 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks**
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, to finish

To Complete the Crust:

  • 1 recipe oat cookie (above)
  • 1/2 T (7.5 g) tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 g (1/8 tsp) coarse salt
  • 2 T (27.5 g) unsalted butter, melted, or up to 3/4 T (12.5 g) more, if needed

To Make the Oat Cookie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. Divide the egg yolk in half: Zero a bowl on a digital scale. Add whole egg yolk. Add half of the weight to the bowl.
  4. On low-speed, incorporate the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium­ high and beat for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.
  5. On low-speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment; spray with cooking spray.
  7. Plop the cookie dough in the center of the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and, with a spatula or rolling pin, spread it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. The dough will cover about half of the pan.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie-caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly.
  9. Cool completely before using.

Note: Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until evenly blended.
  2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2 to 3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  3. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2 to 3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disap­peared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogenous. Mix on low-speed until it is.

Note: The filling can be used right away, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To Complete the Pie:

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can fake it till you make it and crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the melted butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 7 to 12 g (1/2 to 3/4 T) butter and knead it in.
  4. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, your fingers and/or the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into the pie dish, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
  5. Put the pie dish on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the filling in the pie crust; the filling should fill them three-quarters of the way full.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly.
  7. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pie in the oven during this process.
  8. When the oven reaches 325°F, close the door and bake the pie for 5 minutes longer. The pie should still be jiggly in the bull’s-eye center but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pie in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.
  9. Gently take the pie out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the fridge or freezer if you’re in a hurry.)
  10. Then freeze the pie for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product—freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie®.
  11. Serve your crack pie® cold! Decorate with confectioners’ sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers.

Note: If not serving the pie right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, it will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, it will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pie from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you’re ready to serve.

**Note: It will be the death of your wildly dense pie filling if there is any bit of egg white in the mixture. The easiest, and best, way to separate an egg is to do so in your hands. You may also use the two half-shells to separate the eggs, but the cracked shells can tear the yolk open, and you may not totally separate all the white. If you do this by hand, you can feel when you get every last bit of white away from the yolk. Remember to wash your hands under warm soapy water for 30 seconds or more before and after you handle raw eggs!

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