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Chocolate-Glazed Honey Macaroons

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Once upon a time I entered some honey macaroons into the Kansas state fair and won a  blue ribbon for them.  Then I promised you I would share the recipe.  Well I may be a bit slow, but a promise is a promise!  I thought this was the perfect time since I’m giving away a gallon of coconut oil and this recipe has some in it.  I figured one of you guys would need a lot of ways to use up that coconut oil once the giveaway was over.  (I’m still packing just in case the winner agrees to let me move in until the oil is gone. hehehe)

We have a special honey class in our state fair baking competition and I won for the cookies last year.  I had never entered the honey cookies category before, but knew from looking at past year’s cookies what I wasn’t going to do, which was a flour-based cookie.  I wanted to do something different that the other bakers hadn’t.  I did lots of brainstorming and finally decided that a honey coconut macaroon might be nice.  Luckily I found a great recipe at Gourmande in the Kitchen and all I had to do was create a glaze for them.

Less heavy than a normal macaroon, these are light, sweet, tender, and very moist.  And the coconut-flavored chocolate just puts them over the top.  I love these cookies because not only are they tasty, they also are allergy friendly (gluten-free, dairy-free) and healthy (good fat & naturally sweetened).  I do hope you enjoy them!

For more coconut oil recipes, check out my Coconut Oil Coffee, Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Vegan Gluten-Free Mounds Cake, Dairy-Free White Cupcakes, Homemade Magic Shell, and Vegan Dark Chocolate Cake Pops.

Honey Coconut Macaroons

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Cookies
2 ¼ cups (180 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
¼ cup (60 g) raw local honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt

Honey & Coconut Chocolate Glaze
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon local raw honey

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Process the coconut in a food processor until very fine.  Whisk together egg whites, honey, vanilla, and salt until combined, then stir in the coconut until completely moistened.  Using a small cookie scoop, portion out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake until pale golden in spots, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make the Glaze: Place the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Stir, then repeat. Stir until residual heats melts the chocolate completely, then stir in the coconut oil and honey. Drizzle over the cooled macaroons and serve immediately, or allow to set before storing.  It takes this glaze several hours to set up, but the cookies are so moist they will  not suffer for being left out.

Recipe source: adapted from Gourmande in the Kitchen

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Butterscotch Swirl Cake

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After taking pictures of the red velvet cake and forgetting to pose the blue ribbon I won for it in any of the photos before it was devoured, I smacked myself on the forehead and vowed I’d use the ribbons in future photos with award-winning recipes.  Well, oops, I did it again.  (I played with your heart, got lost in the game.  Oh baby, baby…)  Not a big deal, but annoying that I have these ribbons and have never shown them off!  And this was my last blue-ribbon recipe I needed to share. Oh well.

So as you may have guessed after my little rant, I won first place for this cake in the “bundt cakes” class this year, and Marina, my foodie Mama who gave me the recipe, has won multiple blue ribbons for it before me.  It is visually impressive with pretty swirls running through the cake, and the cake itself is very moist with a great butterscotch flavor.

A tip on making the swirls is to fold your knife or spatula across from the short ends of the pan and not in a line down the middle.  This is hard to explain.  Let me see if I can do better.  Make a folding motion from one side of the pan across to the other side and keep doing it that way all the way around.   If you start at the front with it facing  you, you will plunk your knife down one one side, pull it under and toward you, then back up right before it hits the other side, in a circular motion, then turn your pan and repeat the folding motion all the way around.  Is that clear as mud?  Good, let’s do this.

BUTTERSCOTCH SWIRL CAKE

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1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 eggs, divided use
1 tablespoon rum extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 (3.5 oz) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
¾ cup butterscotch ice cream topping*

Butterscotch Glaze
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, cubed
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F and grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan (I used Miracle Pan Release). Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 5 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in extracts. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine; gradually add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition.

Transfer 2 cups of batter to another large bowl; beat in the pudding mix, butterscotch topping and remaining egg until well blended. Pour half of the plain batter into prepared pan. Top with half of the butterscotch batter; cut through with a knife or spatula to swirl. Repeat layers and swirl.

Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat; add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy. Drizzle over cake; sprinkle with pecans.

*I made my own butterscotch topping by bringing ½ cup packed brown sugar, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup unsalted butter, and ½ teaspoon kosher salt (use only ¼ teaspoon if you only have table salt) to a gentle boil and cooking 5 minutes before adding 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla and cooling completely.

***

Reminder: Tonight I will be doing the drawing for both the Eggland’s Best prize pack (enter here) and the chocolate chip cookies for The Postcard Project.  If you signed up for the Postcard Project and have sent at least one piece of mail, be sure to return to the spreadsheet to indicate how many pieces of mail you sent, as I will be drawing from those that have put a number in that column only.  If you have sent mail this week and haven’t added your name, be sure to do so for a chance to win. Thanks to everyone who participated this week!

Red Velvet Cake



This is the red velvet cake I was telling you about that I won a blue ribbon for at this year’s state fair.  It not only won a blue ribbon for the red velvet cake class, but won second best of all cakes turned in for judging from all classes!  So I guess you could say this one is a winner.  :)

I get 95% of the recipes I use from the web, mainly from other food blogs, but when I saw the recipe for this red velvet cake in Dam Good Sweet, I knew it was the one I had to use for the state fair competition.  I could tell by reading the ingredients that it was going to be killer, and I was right!

Most recipes use white vinegar in addition to the buttermilk, which can cause the crumb to be coarse because there is too much acidity for the baking soda to neutralize.  I learned this from Rose Levy Beranbaum, who has a red velvet cake recipe in Rose’s Heavenly Cakes that I almost used, but decided not to since the amount of cocoa she used was the usual paltry two tablespoons.  After learning about the vinegar, however, I knew what to look for in a red velvet recipe and this one passed the test: buttermilk only.

**Update: upon re-reading Rose’s explanation of why she used buttermilk only, I see I was wrong about the vinegar.  She said that baking soda neutralizes the acidity of the buttermilk which makes a coarser crumb on the cake.  She uses only baking powder to keep the acidity in the cake high, thus making the vinegar unneccessary.  So it’s not the acid that makes the crumb coarse, it’s the lack of it caused by the soda neutralizing the acid.  So this cake DOESN’T pass her test, but now I’m thinking of making it again with baking powder only and seeing if it makes the color brighter and the crumb finer.**

This recipe has a whopping half-cup of Dutch-processed cocoa, which is more than any other red velvet recipe I’ve found, and it gives the cake a nice devil’s food flavor, far superior to the other from-scratch red velvet cakes I’ve made, where the frosting was the best part about them.  With this one, the cake itself is just as good as the creamy frosting.  In fact, the flavor is very similar to the Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix.  This is the only cake I’ve ever made that came as close to a cake-mix taste.  (Some might see this as not ideal, but cake mix cakes are my standard for the best cakes.)  It is not as moist or light as the Duncan Hines red velvet, but it is still very, very good.

Dutch process cocoa has a smoother and deeper chocolate flavor than regular cocoa powder, which means while it makes the cake taste incredible, it also affects the color, making it a deep red.  (I was racing against the sunset to shoot these pictures and due to the low light (and my lack of a good camera & photo editing program), the color of the cake appears darker in the first photos than it really is. The actual color is closer to these last couple photos).  The deeper color doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers you, you might want to go with Rose’s recipe, which is a very bright red.

Red Velvet Cake

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For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (1 lb) box light brown sugar (about 2 ¼ cups)
3 tablespoons red food coloring (about 1.5 oz)
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¾ cups buttermilk, room temperature

For the frosting:
1 ¼ pounds (2 ½ packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (2 lb) bag confectioners’ sugar (about 7 ¼ cups)

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans; set aside. Sift flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar, food coloring, and vanilla on low to combine. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until aerated and pale, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition and using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and add one-third of the dry ingredients followed by half of the buttermilk. Repeat, finishing with the final third of the dry mix. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans, spreading it out as evenly as possible.

Bake until tester inserted in center comes out clean and center of cake resists slight pressure, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a paring knife around the edges of each pan to release the cake from the sides; invert the cakes onto the cooling rack. Cool for 1 hour, then wrap each cake in plastic wrap for at least a few hours.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together with an electric mixer on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and beat  until aerated and light, about two minutes. Stop the mixer and add a few cups of the confectioners’ sugar, incorporating it into the cream cheese mixture on low speed until combined. Repeat with the remaining sugar, adding it to the mixer in two additions. Once all of the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.

To assemble the cake: Unwrap and cut the dome of the tops off the cakes. Break up the cake domes into a food processor fitted with blade attachment and process to crumbs; set aside. Slice each cake in half horizontally to make four layers. Ice between layers of the cakes then over the top and sides. Press the crumbs into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

Veronica’s notes: 1) I omitted the vanilla from the frosting because I’m  used to working with much thicker frosting and didn’t want to thin this recipe any more than it already was.  This kept the color lighter and the flavor didn’t seem to suffer for the omission.  If I’d added it, I’m afraid it would have squooshed out between the layers as I added them, making the appearance of the finished frosted cake not as pretty.  The icing did squoosh out a bit even without the vanilla, but would have been worse with it.  2) I had trouble with the cake crumbs because they were very moist and stuck together pretty badly once I processed them.  I had to add a couple tablespoons of flour and process until incorporated to get them to turn into smaller crumbs.  3) I left this cake in it’s original two layers for the fair, and it made things a lot simpler.  If you don’t have a lot of experience with layer cakes, I’d suggest making it two layers instead of four.  4) I had about a cup of leftover frosting after making this cake.  If you like to make cake pops like I do, freeze the extra in a tub for your next cake pop/ball project.  I use 1/3 cup of frosting per batch, so this will make three batches of cake pops for me.

Recipe source: Dam Good Sweet

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