Posts Tagged ‘dessert’

The summary of cranberry consumption over the course of my life is as follows:

1%        freshly harvested whole cranberries!

10%     dried cranberries – usually in harvest salads

89%     cosmopolitan martini’s

I must go on record.  I love everything about cranberries – the bright vibrant red color, the intense, acidic pop in your mouth when you eat them and let’s not forget they grow in BOGS!!

You may think my Cosmo consumption percentage is a bit high.  Let me go on record.  Freshly harvested, whole cranberries are always my first choice.  I wish these delightful, refreshing, sour nuggets of deliciousness were available more often.  But alas…..the only time I see fresh, whole cranberries in our produce section is around the Holidays.  The rest of the year I am relegated to Cosmo consumption.

When the fresh whole cranberries arrive each Fall in the produce section, I always make this sour cream streusel coffee cake first.  This light, fluffy sour cream laced coffee cake topped with contrasting bright, acidic, whole fresh cranberries and pecan caramel streusel makes your mouth water.  It’s great as a morning coffee cake, but is so satisfying and rich it makes a great dessert too.

Fresh Cranberry Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

From Nantucket’s Sarah Leah Chase


Coffee Cake

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) @ room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs @ room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBSP freshly grated orange zest

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sour cream

12 oz whole fresh cranberries

Streusel Ingredients

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter and lightly flour a 9 by 13 inch baking pan.

To prepare the coffee cake, cream 1 stick of butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy.

Add 1 cup sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and freshly grated orange zest.

On the side, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.  I like to sift my dry ingredients together onto a sheet of parchment paper.  Then when it is time to add the flour mixture to the batter, I pick up two sides of the parchment paper, position it over the mixer and pour the flour mixture in.  Flour can compact and become dense when it sits in the storage container, that’s why it is important to sift.  Sifting makes it light and fluffy again before using it in the batter.

The flour mixture and sour cream are then added to the batter in alternating stages, mixing after each addition.  This is another essential step to ensure a light and fluffy coffee cake.

The easiest way for me to remember how to add them to the batter is in this sequence:

1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 cup of sour cream, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, then 1/2 cup of sour cream, then 1/3 of the flour mixture.

After each addition mix on medium speed for a few seconds until it is incorporated into the dough.

The batter will now be very thick and creamy.

 Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the fresh whole cranberries on top of the batter.

In separate bowl, prepare the Streusel Topping next.  Slice 4 TBSP of butter into pats.  Toss the butter, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a small mixing bowl.

Cut in the butter with two knives or a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are the size of a small pea.

Stir in the chopped walnuts or pecans.

Sprinkle the Streusel Topping over the cranberries on the coffee cake.

Bake the coffee cake for about 45 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cut into squares.  Enjoy!


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Gang, we are in this together today.  I’ve never made a chocolate truffle before in my life.

I haven’t posted in a few weeks because I lost my Dad late last month.  Much like becoming a new parent, you can never really understand what losing a parent feels like until it happens to you.  My Dad was a man of deep faith and integrity.  He had been very sick, was completely at peace and knew exactly where he was going next.  Still makes it crazy hard to lose him.

What a humbling moment talking to the 600 plus folks who came through the receiving line at the wake.  My Dad touched my life incredibly during our years together, now I understand just how much he touched others.

So why the chocolate truffles you ask?

Well, frankly because my dad loved, loved, loved chocolate.  Everyone says I look more like my Mom but have my Dad’s personality.  My Dad was eternally optimistic, always had many interests and pursuits, loved to laugh and share his life with friends and family.  He traveled frequently and was always up for an adventure.   And like me, had quite a sweet tooth.  Chocolate in particular.

A few years back my friend Donna, who is a VERY accomplished truffle maker by the way, brought over all these wonderful different homemade truffles.  She put a toothpick in each truffle and made a truffle topiary tree.  (I love to surround myself with talented and inspired friends!)  I was too busy popping truffles in my mouth to snap a picture at the time, but if you click on the link you’ll kind of get the idea of how cute and adorable a truffle topiary is.  Chocolate Truffle Topiary

Having never made truffles from scratch before, I was intrigued. The truffles were so chocolatey, decadent and delicious.  I decided to make them myself sometime and of course  share them with my chief chocolate-partner-in-crime.

I never did get around to making the chocolate truffles and sharing them with my Dad before he died.  Probably procrastinating because I thought truffles would be time consuming and challenging to create.  (Now I know they are really actually quite quick and easy to make…oh well, my bad.)  Do I regret it?  I could, but I decided not to because my Dad always taught me never to live your life from a position of regret.

So this post is dedicated to you, Dad.  I hope they have decadent, gooey, handcrafted chocolate truffles in heaven for you.  And for those of you who are lucky enough to still have your Dad around…..give him a big hug and some chocolate truffles on me!

Chocolate Truffles

recipe from Ina Garten


1/2 pound good bittersweet chocolate

1/2 pound good semisweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream

2 TBSP Grand Marnier Liqueur (optional)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 TBSP instant espresso granules (also optional)

cocoa powder


Chop up both types of chocolate finely with a sharp knife.  Remember, the better the chocolate you use, the better the truffles will taste.  Place the chocolate  in a glass bowl.

Heat the heavy whipping cream up in a small saucepan until it just starts to boil.  (Scalded)  Pour the hot whipping cream through a sieve over the chopped chocolate.

With a wire whisk, slowly stir the cream and chocolate together until all the chocolate melts.  Whisk in the vanilla extract, Grand Marnier and espresso.  Place in refrigerator until mixture is set enough to scoop.

Using a melon scooper or 2 teaspoons, scoop out a dollop of the chocolate mixture. Roll each dollop of chocolate around in your palm to make a ball.  Roll chocolate ball in cocoa powder to finish.  Line up finished balls on a cookie sheet.  Refrigerate until firm and serve!


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