For TWD this week, fellow blogger Ulrike of Kuchenlatein chose Grandma's All Occasion Sugar Cookies. I was not sure at first whether to attempt this recipe as I have yet to make sugar cookies that I liked. The cookies somehow always fell short in the taste and crumb department. But since it was TWD, I decided to give it a shot. I also added a little twist to the cookie dough, I used 1 teaspoon of pure rose water instead of vanilla extract. I was not disappointed. The cookies baked up beautifully and the lovely aroma ( just a hint, nothing overpowering) of roses filled my kitchen. These cookies are wonderfully crispy ( that is the way I like my cookies) and I think I will be making another batch very soon!
Moving right along, in the spirit of the season, I am giving away an annual subscription for Gourmet magazine! I have enjoyed this lovely magazine for years and look forward to it every month. And now I would like to share it with one lucky reader of my blog. Just leave a comment here and I will pick out one lucky blogger! Dateline is Wednesday, December 17th and is open to US readers only ( just this one time :)
I have made this cranberry coffee cake from this month's issue of Gourmet. You could make this cake in a round cake pan or in little loaf pans and give them away as gifts. I have used fresh cranberries for this cake. I am sure that you will be able to use frozen cranberries as well. But I am not sure if you are able to substitute it canned or dried cranberries. Canned cranberries would be too wet and too sweet for this recipe. The original recipe in the magazine called for half a vanilla bean. I do not usually stock vanilla beans in my pantry, but what I did have was pure Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract and used one teaspoon of it for the cake.
Cranberry Coffee Cake adapted from Gourmet
Please read the instructions carefully before making the cake. The amount of sugar that needs to be reserved and added in various stages could be a little confusing - well it was to me anyways! The cake turned out beautifully in the end!
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups plus 2 Tb all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 stick plus 2 Tb unsalted butter - at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line and butter a 9 by 2 inch cake pan ( line bottom and sides on pan) and set aside.
Whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder , salt and set aside. Mix sugar with 1 tsp pure vanilla extract and set aside( you will be using the vanilla sugar for the cake as well as the topping of the cake)
Pulse cranberries with 1/2 cup of vanilla sugar in a food processor till finely chopped and set aside.
Cream 1 stick butter and 1 cup of vanilla sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time and beat well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternately with milk until mixture is well combined.
Spread half the batter in the lined pan and spoon the cranberry and sugar mixture over the batter, leaving half an inch border around the edge. Spread the rest of the batter over the fruit mixture and smooth the top.
Using a fork, blend the remaining 1/4 of the vanilla sugar with remaining 2 tablespoons of softened butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Crumble this mixture over the cake. Place cake in a preheated oven in the middle of the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester ( in this case a wooden pick) comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake. Cool cake on a rack. Serves 8 and can be made one day ahead.