Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eggnog Coffee Cake

This is in response to a 'special request for Amy Bouchard's Eggnog Coffee Cake recipe. It's good, as are all things Amy. For a video to accompany the recipe you can click here 'Coffee Cake'. I'm sure it's healthy or they wouldn't give out the recipe.(hehehehe) Happy munching!

Amy's EggNog Coffee Cake

1 ½ stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup egg nog
2 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

The streusel:

½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
½ cup all purpose flour
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg

The glaze:

½ cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Cream the butter and sugar together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly addd eggs, then vanilla and egg nog. In a separate bowl, add all the dry ingredients: cake flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (sift together).
Slowly add flour mixture to the batter on low speed until it is completely combined (set aside).

Mix streusel: mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter together in a separate bowl with your hands until it forms a crumble. You can mix in some walnuts if you wish.
In a greased and floured 10? tube pan, sprinkle ½ the streusel then pour ½ the batter. Add the rest of the streusel then the rest of the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.

If you make individual small cakes in a muffin tin or pre-formed shapes, you will bake for 15-20 min depending on the size.

Let cool for 20-30 minutes.
Beat confectioners sugar and hot water together to make the glaze. Drizzle with a spoon over the cake.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

My Favorite Snack

It is amazing the little things I missed most about Maine all the years I was away. Simple things such as red hot dogs, or Oxford relish, which became Cains, and is now made to the old relish specifications by a new third company, but marketed still as Cains. And, as you can see by the 'dog' ad above, I wasn't alone. They actually charge something like $80 for two packs of them shipped to you! A hot dog bun fairly unique to New England is another. Top sliced with flat sides begging to be buttered and grilled, that holds the dog firmly so it doesn't fall apart like some side cut buns. This same style of bun is also served steamed lightly in Maine, which results in a soft, warm, feels great in your mouth sensation. The buns, grilled or steamed, get relish and onions that are grilled, steamed, or even fine chopped and raw on bottom and mustard on top, making for an easily held and almost spill proof treat. Some add a light amount of celery salt as well.
The most popular variety of hot dog in Maine is one made with a natural casing. The casing is colored red, and they're commonly referred to as 'red dogs'. Red hot dogs, also called "red snappers," get their red color from a natural food coloring in the form of FD&C reds that don't sound too natural to me, but I eat a ton of'em yearly and I'm still here, and old to boot. And why are they called red snappers? Because the casing has a firmness to it that makes the dog snap when you bite it. They're not to be confused with 'red hots', which is a spicy sausage also popular in places here. They're brighter red than the photos. You have to have red hot dogs when you are in Maine! It's part of the experience. Might even be a law here, although I've never met anyone who hasn't tried them and few who don't want more. They claim you should never order 'one' dog at a stand here as it'll mark you automatically as 'from away' and likely a tourist who'll just have to order a second time in a minute. It happens time after time at every 'dog stand' every summer.
Although many purists, myself not among them, will swear that unless the dogs are steamed they're not properly prepared. I myself like them either steamed or with a nice grill mark adorning two opposite sides. They should NEVER be cooked until they split open and it's sacrilege to boil or 'nuke' a 'snap dog'. Ketchup is pretty much sure to get you amazed looks accompanied by rolling eyes and shaking heads. They're actually a bit closer to an old-fashioned hot dog in that they have a consistency closer to a sausage than to the mass-produced cereal and chicken bit filled dogs available anywhere. Having 'red dogs' in your refrigerator is better than having money in the bank and clean socks in the drawer. You get to decide whether to share them, or keep them secret and just sneak down in the middle of the night to steam one up, load it with your favorite 'gahnishes', and savor every crispy-skinned bite. This, if you're from Maine, will revive memories of years past and GREAT lunches of two Jordan's red dye hot-dogs, a bag of Humpty Dumpty potato chips, and a can of Moxie soda with a whoopie pie for desert. It doesn't get much better than that!
Until next we meet, happy snacking and take care. Thanks for letting me share my mixed up recollections with you.