With the kitchen in complete disarray, cooking has been a challenge. Not that I am complaining because a little time off is good! I’m sure I will be back at it soon. The house is looking great but Greg could possibly be regretting the decision to paint. My “honey-do” list for him is getting longer by the day! New light fixtures, coffee bar, floating shelves, and the list goes on!
This week I will be sharing a recipe that I tried a while back. I started with Greg’s grandmother’s cream cheese pound cake, one of my all-time favorite cakes. I wanted something coconut though, so I added a little coconut extract and flaked coconut for an excellent cake. It’s moist and with just the perfect amount of coconut. This cake is even better a few days after it’s baked! I like to use a tube pan for this cake rather than a bundt pan. I then place it on my cake plate exactly the way it cooked, with the flat side down. This way all the crunchy goodness does not get smashed under the cake.
Coconut Cream Cheese Pound Cake
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8-oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 c. granulated sugar
- dash salt
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. coconut extract
- 6 lg. eggs, room temperature
- 3 c. cake flour
- 7-oz. bag flaked coconut (or about 2 c.)
- Grease and flour large tube pan, set aside. Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add salt, vanilla extract, and coconut extract, and blend.
- Add one egg at a time, blending well after each addition.
- Add flour, gently stirring to combine.
- Stir in coconut.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven. Check the cake with a long wooden skewer after 1½ hours. If addiditonal baking time is needed check every 10 to 15 minutes until cake tests done.
- Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely.
I have a question for the ladies out there. Do you ever take your purse and dump it out? Dump every little coin, paperclip, hair tie and piece of trash out of it? Then pick through the contents, get rid of those things that are cluttering it up and placing your necessities neatly back inside your purse.
With the painter almost finished here at our house I have been thinking about what I have that is really necessary and what can be considered clutter. It’s as if I have “dumped” it out and I am starting over. Just thinking about the purge makes me feel invigorated. Imagine if you will, how much better our lives would be if we applied “dumping the unnecessary” to ourselves. How much better would we feel to get rid of the negative thoughts that are cluttering our minds every day?
These muffins are wonderfully moist and delicious. The finishing touches are not necessary, but I love the added crunch on top. I promised easy recipes, and that is still my goal. This week’s recipe is easy, but I’m not sure how many of you will have almond paste lying around. These muffins are well worth the trip to the grocery store though. This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks. One that is well worn with plenty of vanilla splashes and creased pages. Almond Poppy Seed Muffins is from Marcy Goldman’s The New Best of Better Baking.com. You may add one teaspoon of lemon extract and a little lemon juice for a fantastic lemon poppy seed muffins.
Almond Poppy Seed Muffins
- 1 c. sugar
- 4-oz. almond paste, minced
- ½ c. finely ground almonds
- ½ c. (4-oz.) unsalted butter
- ¼ c. canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. sour cream
- ⅓ c. milk
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
- 2½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
- FINISHING TOUCHES
- Slivered almonds
- Coarse Sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the sugar and almond paste together well, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add the ground almonds, butter, and oil and blend well. Fold in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds and blend, scraping the bottom of the bowl occasionally to ensure nothing gets stuck in the well of the mixing bowl. If the mixture seems too loose, add a touch more flour. It should be the consistency of thick cake batter.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Top each muffin with some slivered almonds and sugar. Place the muffin cups on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until the muffins are nicely browned and spring back when lightly touched. Let them cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.
Sometimes things happens that awakens an interest that you never imagined having. This particular thing has happened to me, as of late. I find myself wanting to learn as much about beekeeping as I possibly can.
A couple of years ago Greg and I came home, after being out of town for several days, to find hundreds of dead or almost dead honeybees in our living room floor. At the time I wanted nothing to do with them and contacted several beekeepers to rid myself of them. I thought that they were in the walls of our house and not being very fond of bee stings; I could not imagine coexisting with them in the same house.
Now I know that they were swarming and simply looking for a place to start a new hive. As it turned out, they were not in the walls of the house. They had, however, moved into a vacant camper behind the barn. Last year a local beekeeper, Michael, caught a couple of swarms here on the farm. The bees stayed in the camper for a while, but it was evident several weeks ago that they no longer occupied the camper.
I have bought two books but admittedly have only read parts of them. Greg and I will be going to the beach soon, and they are my intended reading material. In the meantime Michael has another nuc here on the farm and is going to help me set up a hive. I am still not too keen on the stings, but I’m excited about this new hobby of ours. If you are a beekeeper yourself, I would appreciate any information that you are willing to share! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today’s recipe has all the goodness of peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. These Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies are delicious, and this recipe makes 10 to 11 dozen cookies. You can freeze a portion of the cookie dough if you do not care to bake so many at one time.
Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 2 c. rolled oats
- 3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 c. butter, softened
- 1 c. chunky peanut butter
- 1½ c. granulated sugar
- 1½ c. packed brown sugar
- 3 egg, room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 c. semisweet chocolate chips (or 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips plus 1 c. peanut butter chips)
- in a large bowl stir together flour, oats, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a very large bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour mixture. Stir in chips.
- Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in a 350°F oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and set. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.