Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sugar And Swirls of Spice for the Cake Slice Bakers

It's often sad to finish up with a cookbook, but each October the Cake Slice Bakers do just that. We have been baking since last November from Maida Heatter's Cake book and I've enjoyed all of the cakes I chose to make during that time. This month we get to choose our own recipe. With it finally feeling like Fall, I decided to go with a cake that has a spicy component and a vanilla/almond component. This marble cake is delicious, the crumb is moist and light and tight and it looks pretty, too.

If you make this cake be prepared to use a lot of bowls. You make the spice batter and, unless you have multiple stand mixer bowls, you scrape it out into another bowl, clean up the mixer bowl and use it to make the vanilla/almond batter. For that batter you need to whip egg another bowl. A three bowl cake, but it is well worth it (but just wanted you to know).

In the past I've made marble cakes where you put in the batter in sections and then swirled the two batters together with a knife. The recipe didn't indicate that we should do that, but I wish I had. This way the batters are more like ribbons than marbling. Still yummy, but next time I'd do a swirl or two. I also changed the directions a bit because, unless you have many stand mixer bowls, it is easier to beat the egg whites first and then mix up the light batter so that the whites are ready to fold in as soon as the white batter is mixed. You might even want to beat the whites before you do the dark batter...

Do try this one if you want a pretty, spicy, wonderful tube or Bundt cake. You'll be glad you did.

Marbelized Spice Cake
adapted from Maida Heatter's Cakes
12-16 portions

Note: This is a three bowl recipe - 1 bowl for the dark batter, 1 for the light batter, and 1 to whip the egg whites in. If you have three stand mixer bowls, great. If not, be prepared to transfer batters and wash and dry bowls as you go along. You'll need to wash and dry the beaters either way.

Dark Batter

2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon EACH: baking soda and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon EACH: nutmeg and ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
4 oz. (1 stick) margarine, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup dark molasses
1 cup unflavored plain yogurt

Adjust a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven and, once you have everything ready to go, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a large tube pan with a 14 cup capacity, then dust it all over with fine, dry bread crumbs to coat. Use your fingers to sprinkle crumbs on the inner tube. Invert the pan over paper and tap to shake out excess. Set the pan aside. (I used two small decorative Bundt pans and a 6 cup capacity standard Bundt pan and there was just a little too much batter. Allow some room for the cake(s) to rise.)

Sift the cake flour, then sift it again with the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, cocoa powder and espresso powder; set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat the margarine until soft, add the sugar, and beat to mix; then add the yolks all at once along with the molasses. Beat  until smooth and slightly lighter in color; a couple of minutes.

On low speed add the sifted dry ingredients in three additions alternating dry ingredients with the yogurt in two additions. Beat batter as you go. Scrape the bowl and beaters as you go to keep everything incorporated well.

Set aside or transfer batter to another bowl if you only have one bowl as I do. In that case, clean and dry the bowl and beaters.

Light Batter

4 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar

In the clean, dry bowl, with clean beaters, preferably the whisk beaters, beat the egg whites until they hold a soft shape. Reduce the speed to moderate and gradually add the sugar. Increase the speed again and beat briefly only until the whites hold a definite shape. Transfer beaten whites to a clean bowl, then re-clean the stand mixer bowl and beaters and dry them.

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz. (1 stick) margarine at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup soy milk

Sift the flour, then sift it again with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the clean stand mixer bowl, beat the margarine until soft. Add both extracts and the 3/4 cup sugar and beat until thoroughly mixed. On low speed add the dry ingredients in three additional alternately with the soy milk in two additions. Beat, scraping the bowl and beaters as necessary, until the ingredients are smooth.

With a flexible rubber or silicon spatula, fold in the beaten egg whites, a third at a time...don't fold thoroughly until the last addition.

Take the prepared pan and two large serving spoons. Scoop dark batter into the prepared pan(s), leaving space between the scoops. Fill the space, using the other spoon, with light batter. Scoop dark batter on top of the light batter and, using the light batter spoons, scoop light batter on top of the first layer's dark batter. Keep going, alternating dark and light, until pan is almost full, but leave room at the top for the cake to rise.

Rotate the pan briskly and tap it on the counter to release air bubbles and even the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour. When don a cake tester inserted gently to the bottom will come out clean.

Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Then cover with a rack, turn the pan and the rack over, remove the pan and let your gorgeous cake cool on the rack.

Serve as is or with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

A Festive Fete

We'll be leaving fascinating Paris soon, but we we able to enjoy some street food before leaving. This weekend Montmartre is having a Fete at Sacre Cour a few blocks uphill from our apartment. We took the fununcular up and looked back as we rose to view the city spread below, subdued due to gray cloud cover.
The previous day had been clear, cool and breezy with a bright blue sky - perfect fall weather! We took the Metro to the Musee d'Orsay to spend time with my favorite artists' works, then took a jaunt on the Seine down to Notre Dame and St. Chapelle. Time just flew by!
So the cloudy coolness of Friday's Fete was a big change. For some reason it made it difficult to get photos of the stained glass while inside the church, but it didn't matter because this church is a holy place not just a tourist attraction.
Outside the festival included street performers, an assortment of food stalls and lots of wineries stalls. There were also people dressed in costumes from the Napolionic era.
My favorite food stalls to look at included the raclette sandwich stall where heaters warmed the top of a wheels of cheese and the bottom of a half baguette until a customer ordered. Then the melted cheese was scraped onto the warm bread and ham or other toppings added.
Another had an aprons young man stirring a mass of melted cheese in a large pot with a long handled stirrer who kept the mass of hot cheese moving and occasionally he lifted some up, showing thick strands of deliciousness looping from the sturdy stirrer. Sweetie bought a traditional potato dish that combined potatoes, bacon, olive oil, cheese and pepper. One stand served that mixture in small containers made from bent thin wooden strips. I enjoyed som macarons with no filling - just two cookies with bottoms pushed together. The apricot was especially intensely flavored, although they were all delicious!
It was the day when high school aged students were invited to come, so there were lots of young people around with their youthful energy. We walked down s series of broad steps through the Willette Gardens, directly below the church. Despite the gray day it was a fine excursion to end our trip to Ireland and France.
A little later we visited the weekly market across the street from the apartment and purchased some roasted chicken for our dinner. I cooked up onions, garlic, red pepper, carrots and zucchini with some thyme for a veg, and roasted cooked fingerling orators in the onion and garlic scented oil left from the veg dish. A green salad with house made balsamic dressing completed the meal. Hard to believe that it's time to go home!

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Off to Paris!

I've wanted to visit Paris for a very long time. Since I started reading Vogue magazine when I was about 9 years old, the idea of Paris as the fashion capital of the world is long standing. I'm not as interested in fashion anymore, but it is still one of those 'bucket list' places to visit while we can.

 As a baker I am thrilled that I might visit Patisseries while in Paris and see the delights master pastry chefs have created.

 Tasting the true Polaine boule is another goal for this trip (partially fulfilled). We have been having delightful baguettes daily (and a few croissants have been devoured by Sweetie).

Then, as an artist, I hope to visit art museums, plus take lots of photos to inspire my own art once home.

Best of all, I' m here in Paris with Sweetie.

We took a wonderful, clean and comfortable high speed train from Avignon to Paris this morning. Once we arrived we took either the Metro or the RER subway to the Gare du Nord, a few blocks from where we are staying. Any time we were confused, there were extremely helpful French people. Not sure where the rumor came from that the French are unkind or dismissive. Maybe in some past time,but we have not experienced that at all on this trip so far.

Finding and getting into our apartment (the building at the top of the post) was like doing some kind of puzzle, but it was worth it. It is lovely and overlooks a neighborhood park where children were playing with joyful noises all afternoon...actually all day from about 9 am until about 7 pm.

We had a simple dinner at the cafe on the corner, then enjoyed the street performance nearby. The crowds around the Metro stop nearby are dense. A far cry from our quiet rural life at home! Love it.

On the way back to our apartment in the Montmartre neighborhood, we stopped at a green grocer and stocked up on fruits and vegetables. Sweetie came home and enjoyed a perfectly ripe fig and an Asian pear that tasted like a cross between a pear and a lemon. Very refreshing!

Never did figure out how to add photos from my phone, so I've added 'em now that I've returned home. Bon soir!

Monday, October 03, 2016


The last two days have been relaxed, with a visit to Pont du Garde yesterday and a close look at the Avignon bridge, St. Benedict's Bridge (I think), the one in the nursery rhyme.

The experience at Pont du Garde was a bridge of sorts, too. Their excellent museum really communicated the Roman experience of creating the aquaduct that carried water for 300 years from the mountains all the way to Nimes. It was a marvel of Roman engineering. The bridge is taller than the Statue of Liberty, long enough to match three modern jetliners parked nose to tail. It has three graceful sets of arches and the museum exhibits showed what went in to making those successive arches.  By the time that we walked to the bridge, it was raining, but since neither Sweetie nor I melt, we were fine. If you look you can see the umbrellas of other visitors. Look for the umbrellas on high, found during our walk through the old town of Avignon later.

Not to be forgotten is our lunch that day. We still are not used to French business times. Shopping is done in the early morning and after 4 or 4:30 pm until about 7 (at least in Provence) and lunch is from noon to 2 pm. We left the Pont du Garde site about 2:30, forgetting to eat, so turned off at a grocery store only to find it closed since it wasn't shopping time. The only place we could find still open for eating was a McDonald's! I hadn't eaten at McDonald's in the States for something like 20 years. But I was grateful that they were open, that they had touch screens so we didn't have to order in fractured French, and the McNuggets tasted about the same, as did the frites (fries). Here is a near by building set showing the juxtaposition of old and new.

Today we walked around Avignon's old section

and had a picnic lunch in the gardens by the Palais du Pape. Plums, local cheese, pate and baguette...very French.

It was sunny but quite windy at the top of the garden where we could see all the way from the Luberon mountains where we were last week to the Rhone river and ramparts nearby.

Saturday, October 01, 2016


Yes, there is a bridge, an old one (although it is only partial and hasn't been used for a long time as an actual bridge...they build a modern one). The Rhone River runs under it, right next to the walled city of Avignon. Prior to 1309 it was a tiny town, but then the Catholic Church had their first French Pope. He didn't think that Rome was safe enough, so he moved the whole organization to Avignon and turned it into a real town! For almost 100 years the Popes lived here and all the administration of the Church took place from here. That required the building of a massive fort/palace for protection and to house all the workers. It took decades with 400-500 men working all the time to create the Palais du Papes, or papal palace.

The papal palace is enormous, stately and sort of brooding. It was eventually used for a state prison sometime after the Pope left and returned to Rome at the insistence of the Romans. In the early 20th century they started to reconstruct the building, and that work is still going on as you can see if you look at the large arch in the photo below.

As you can imagine after centuries of neglect, some of the frescoes are damaged, but even fragmented or faded, they are still beautiful.

Inside the Palais there were numerous gargoyles. I spotted this fellow and he reminded me a lot of a similar creature hiding under the Fremont bridge near Seattle. What do you think?

We are staying a very short walk away from the Palais and can see the bell tower from our room in the hotel in the old section.

We hear the bells peal every hour. Since the same happened at our last place, I'm thinking this is the trip of the bells.

The plaza in front of the Palais du Papes has lovely cafes and one of the days we were there an amazing musician was playing jazz. One of the days we were here we walked up to the gardens just to the right of the building behind the cafe in the photo below and had a picnic. We were pretty fortunate with the weather. It only got cloudy the morning that we left town.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


A bus ride at sunrise through San Francisco to catch a plane to Boston.

One day in Boston.

Two days in Ireland,

then yesterday with a lot of time on airplanes and in the car brought us to the magical tiny hill town in the Luberon in France where our dear friend Naomi lives with her man Pete.

Sweetie and I have never been to la belle France, but are quite taken with the beauty. This morning at breakfast the host of our BandB, Francis, we stumbled along with my broken French and his halting English but we had a satisfying exchange all in all. Some words and phrases returned like fish floating up in a pool...suddenly there.

The reason this post is headed Raspberries is that we had amazing dark red freshly picked raspberries in Ireland with pre-dinner drinks and then Naomi served darling tarts for dessert last night that had bright red and equally tasty raspberries on top. Naturally I didn't take photos of either, but their intense red hues stay in my memory.

When I return home I'll do many posts, with photos, of our journey, but today just wanted to say that all is well and we are having such a good time traveling with our daughter.

Haven't figured out how to add photos yet from this phone, so plain words today! (Some photos added when I got home.)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pecan Tart

Natasha's favorite dessert is probably pecan pie. Pecan pie is often requested when I ask if I can bring a dessert when we are invited to her beautiful home for dinner. This time I decided to mash together two recipes to see if I could get the beauty and flavor of a pecan pie, but a crust which is easier to serve and not as prone to leaking. Fortunately it worked and now I can share with you how to make a wonderful, delicious to eat and easy to serve pecan tart. Natasha liked it a lot!

I started with the recipe from a loooooong time ago from a post from 2007. That February I posted each day from the first until Valentines day, with the theme of 'How Do I Love You?". If you have time check it out...there are some good recipes there. For that day, I think it was the fifth, but not sure now, I was making a mosaic nut tart and it was similar enough that it seemed it would work for the pecan tart. At the time I was still able to eat butter. It really does taste better with butter, so if you can, use a good quality butter and make sure that whichever fat you use is well chilled. It really helps to have cold butter or margarine. It makes a stable and tasty crust somewhat like a cookie. The filling rarely seeps through, but I bake it on a cookie sheet just in case. Baked on sugar and syrup filling is no fun to clean off the oven floor.

This tart crust uses a food processor, but if you don't have on, just put the dry ingredients in a bowl, cut the fat in with a pastry blender or two knives held close together, then, when the fat is cut into the flour mixture so that most pieces are tiny, stir in the yolk with a fork.

The pecan filling is straight from the dark Karo syrup bottle. Eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and Karo (plus some melted butter if your remember to add it, which I didn't) are stirred together. The nuts are added and the mixture turned into the cold, but unbaked, tart shell. I turned all my pecans with the curved side up and arranged them a bit in a nice pattern. As you might have guessed, I love playing with my food! It will taste just fine if you pour in the filling and put it right into the oven. A nice helping of whipped cream on top and no one will be the wiser.

If you've never had pecan pie or tart I should warn you that this is a very sweet dessert. You could reduce the sugar by a bit, but if you take out too much it will change the consistency and you might get a filling that is too loose or too grainy. Unsweetened whipped cream cuts the sweetness in a very rich but lovely way, if you do dairy.

By the way, very early tomorrow morning Sweetie and I will be headed off for a vacation. If I can I'll post while I'm gone, although it will most likely be about the trip rather than food. Otherwise I'll do posts and food once I come back. If you get bored, there are over 1,000 recipes on this blog...try a few. Some of the ones from the early years (ten years ago in a handful of days!) are really good. Just sayin'.

Pecan Tart
Makes one 9-inch tart

Combine 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, and ½ cup very cold butter (or margarine), cut into pieces. Whirl in a food processor or cut butter in with a pastry blender or two knives until coarse crumbs form. Add 1 egg yolk; process or sir until dough sticks together.

Using a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, put chunks of the dough over the bottom and use your clean fingers to smoosh the dough over the bottom and up the sides into a fairly smooth layer. Freeze for 30 minutes or more.

3 eggs
1 cup dark Karo corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl beat the eggs to break them up, then add the corn syrup, sugar, vanilla and butter.

Add the pecans and stir to coat. Pour the filling into the prepared, chilled tart pan. Arrange the nuts if you like. Put the tart on a cookie sheet and put into the preheated oven. Bake approximately 50 minutes. Finished tart will have browned nuts and the filling will be only slightly jiggly in the center.

Cool on a rack for 2 hours. Remove the tart sides and chill in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Bring to room temperature to serve.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dessert For A Queen

The Cake Slice Bakers are almost finished with the wonderful Maida Heatter's Cakes book, with this month being the last for sets of recipes to choose from. Be sure to come back October 20th to see which recipe I choose for the final bake from this book!

This month I chose the lovely Queen Mother Cake, a rich flourless chocolate cake with a chocolate ganache. I wasn't really sure that I could make a nice ganache with soy creamer, but it worked beautifully and no one knew that I didn't use whipping cream.

The original recipe calls for toasting almonds and grinding them in a food processor with sugar to create a fine flour. I've done this, but the particles of almond are variable. The flavor may have been different by just using the pre-made almond flour which isn't toasted, but the texture is then uniform, especially if you sift the almond flour as I do.

I found that the soy creamer worked just fine instead of whipping cream for the icing. I used two-thirds of a package of Scharffen Berger's chocolate for the cake and the remaining third, plus 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips for the icing. This worked well, too. You really taste the chocolate in this cake, so use the chocolate you most enjoy eating out of hand.

The original recipe had some instructions for cooling the cake on a damp towel. I skipped that and let it cool for a while on a wire rack in the pan. This seemed to work just fine. I also baked it on Friday night for a Saturday dinner, so I wrapped the cooled cake up in a plastic bag, with the pan bottom still attached, and put it in the fridge until the next afternoon. That made it very easy to handle because the chilled cake wasn't at all delicate. I always make a mess and create a mass of crumb when I trim the top of a cake as called for in the recipe, so I skipped that step and iced it right side up.

This is a rich cake. Small pieces are just fine. A bowl of berries (strawberries in my case) passed with the cake and some whipped cream are nice. The strawberries cut the richness a bit, for a thoroughly enjoyable serving of a very pretty cake. I already have requests to make it again.

It might seem like a lot of directions, but read it through a few times and then just take it slowly and have fun with it :)

Be sure to check out the choices that my fellow Cake Slice Bakers have made. Look at the bottom of the post!

Queen Mother's Cake
Adapted from Maida Heatter's Cakes
12 portions

6 eggs, separated
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 oz. almond flour (I used King Arthur Flour's)
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (I used Scharffen Berger's)
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
6 oz. (1 1/2 sticks) non-dairy margarine or butter, at room temperature

Note: I don't have two stand mixer bowls, so I changed the directions so that I whipped the egg whites first. If you have two bowls, you can make the chocolate mixture, then whip the whites.

Adjust a rack one-third up in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 3-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of baking-pan liner (parchment works well) cut to fit. Grease the paper. Dust the pan all over the inside with fine, dry bread crumbs. Invert the pan over paper, and tap lightly to shake out excess crumbs. Set the prepared pan aside.

Place the chocolate in the top of a small double boiler over warm water on moderate heat. Cover until partially melted, then uncover and stir until just melted and smooth. Remove top pan from double boiler and set it aside until tepid or room temperature.

Sift the almond flour into a small bowl and stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Set aside.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, with clean beaters (I used the whisk attachment) beat the whites with the salt and lemon juice, starting on low speed and increasing it gradually. When the whites barely hold a soft shape, reduce the speed a bit and gradually add 1/4 cup granulated sugar. On high speed continue to beat until the whites hold a straight point when the beaters are slowly raised. Do not overbeat. Transfer the beaten whites to another bowl and set aside.

Rinse and dry the stand mixer bowl. Put in the butter. Beat the butter until soft. Add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and beat to mix. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating and scarping the sides of the bowl as necessary until smooth. On low speed add the chocolate and beat until mixed. Then add the almond flour/sugar mixture and beat, scraping the bowl, until incorporated.

Stir a large spoonful of the beaten whites into the chocolate mixture to soften it a bit. Then, in three additions, fold in the remaining whites. Do not fold thoroughly until the last addition and do not handle any more than necessary.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Rotate the pan a bit briskly from left to right in order to level the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. and continue to bake for an additional 50 minutes (total baking time is 1 hour and 10 minutes). Do not over bake; the cake should remain soft and moist in the center. (The top might crack a bit, but that is OK.)

Let cake stand on cooling rack until tepid, 50 - 60 minutes.

Release and remove the sides of the pan. Do not cut around the sides with a knife - it will make the rim of the cake messy. Let the cake stand until it is completely cool, or longer if you wish.

The cake will sink a little in the middle as it cools. Use a long, thin, sharp knife and cut the top level, removing the higher sides. Brush away loose crumbs. (I skipped this part, iced the cake right side up, and was very happy with the results. When the icing goes on its a little thicker in the center, which we found to be fine.)

Place a rack or a small board over the cake and carefully invert. Remove the bottom of the pan and the paper lining. The cake is now upside down; that is the way it will be iced (unless you do as I did and ice the top). Place four strips of baking-pan liner paper (each about 3 x 12 inches) around the edges of a cake plate. With a large, wide spatula, carefully  transfer the cake to the plate; check to be sure that the cake is touching the papers all around. The paper help to keep the icing off the plate when you ice the cake. (I chilled the cake, still on the springform pan bottom, overnight, then turned it out onto my hand, finger spread, removed the pan bottom & the paper and set the cake on a cake plate. Because it was cold it wasn't difficult to work with.)

1/2 cup soy creamer (or whipping cream)
1 teaspoon powdered espresso powder
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, cut into small pieces (I used half Scharffen Berger semisweet and half chocolate chips)

Scald the soy creamer  or whipping cream in a 5-6 cup saucepan over moderate heat until it begins to form small bubbles around the edges. Add the dry espresso powder and whisk to dissolve. Add the chocolate and stir occasionally over heat for 1 minutes. Then remove the pan from the heat and whisk or stir until the chocolate is all melted and the mixture is smooth.

Let the icing stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until the icing barely begins to thicken.

Stir to  mix the icing and pour it slowly over the top of the cake, pouring onto the middle. Use a long, narrow metal spatula to smooth the top and spread the icing until a little runs down the sides, then use a small, narrow metal spatula to smooth that icing over the sides. The icing on the sides should be thinner than that on the top.

Remove the strips of paper by pulling each on out toward a narrow end.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sweet Little Breads With Coconut Delight the Babes

First off, a huge 'Thank you!!' to the lovely Lien  of Notitie van Lien for stepping up and being the Kitchen of the Month even though she was hostess not that long ago. Secondly, another huge 'Thank you!!' to her for choosing this recipe. I had trouble letting these sweet little rolls cool enough to not burn my tongue before I bit in and enjoyed the great coconut filling. I subtracted about 1/4 cup of flour and replaced it with cocoa powder because I know that chocolate and coconut go well together. Even Straight Shooter, who is not a big fan of coconut, ate two of them.

This is an easy to work with dough. It rolled out smoothly and I added raspberry jam...a think smear...

to half the rolls and finely chopped pecans to the other half. I think I prefer the nutty ones. Probably should have done a fancy glaze, too, but they smelled so good that we couldn't wait to try them. Big goof...didn't take photos the evening I made them & gave away the last three today...without taking any photos of the filling!   The rolls are sure plain looking, but then you bite into them and experience that wonderful filling.....

I made a double recipe of the filling just to make sure that I had enough and there was a lot left. Thinking of using it as a filling in brownies. The chocolate-coconut flavor combo is rather like German Chocolate Cake and really delicious. You are going to want to try these. I'll be you can come up with even better variations. If you do make these, send Lien an email with a photo and a few words about your experience and she will send you a Buddy Badge.

Be sure to check out their blogs to see what the other Bread Baking Babes have done this month, too.

A Messy Kitchen – Kelly
Bake My Day – Karen
Blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Bread Experience – Cathy
Judy’s Gross Eats – Judy
Karen’s Kitchen Stories – Karen
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
And our awesome round-up queen…. Thyme for Cooking – Katie 

Coconut rolls
(makes 12)

2 TBsp sugar
160 ml lukewarm water (1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
2 tsp dry instant yeast
300 g bread flour (1 1/4 cup - for chocolate use 1 cup flour & 1/4 cup cocoa powder & increase sugar by 1 tablespoon)
50 ml vegetable oil (a little less than 3.5 tablespoons)
3/4 tsp salt

80 g + 2 TBsp dried, unsweetened, grated coconut (1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons)
(or sweetened coconut, reducing the light brown sugar with 4 TBsp)
120 ml boiling water (1/2 cup)
150 g light brown sugar (generous 1/2 cup)
4 TBsp corn starch
2 TBsp butter (or non-dairy margarine)

Combine all the dough ingredients and stir them together. Knead the dough until smooth and supple. At first it’s very sticky, but after kneading it shouldn’t be very sticky anymore. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to rise for about 1½ hours or doubled in volume.

Now make the filling. When using dried coconut (80 g), it needs to soak in a bowl with boiling water. Leave soaking for 10-15 minutes.

Mix the cornstarch and sugar in a separate little bowl before adding it to the coconut.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the coconut-sugar mixture and keep it on a low heat until it thickens, a few minutes. Keep stirring to avoid it burning.

Take it off the heat and leave to cool. When cooled, place in the fridge.

About 30 minutes before assembling the roll, take the filling out of the fridge.

Stir in the remaining 2 Tablespoon of coconut in. At first the filling might be a bit stiff, but a little stir will soften it enough. Set aside. (Next time I'm going to stir in some finely chopped pecans.)

Divide the dough in two parts. Start with one piece, and roll it out into a rectangle of 30 x 16 cm (12 inches x 6 inches). Now cut it length wise in two equal parts, so you have two long thin strips.

Place a quarter of the filling evenly over the middle of the strip. The filling should be fairly dry, don’t place wet filling on the dough.

Flip over one long side of the dough over the filling, then flip over the other side. The two sides should slightly overlap. Close the seam by pinching the dough together.

Turn the roll seam side down. Cut the roll in three equal parts. Push the filling back a little, so you can close the cut sides, so the filling is no longer to be seen and can’t leak out.

Repeat with the other three strips (the one that you have rolled out and the two strips you make of the remaining dough).

Place the rolls, 4 cm (and inch and a half) apart, on parchment paper placed on two baking sheets. Cover them with lightly greased plastic and leave to rise for 35-45 minutes. They are ready when a light indentation, you make with a finger, stays visible.

While the dough proofs you should preheat the oven to 190ÂșC. (375 degrees F)

Bake the rolls for about 15-18 minutes until they are golden brown.(If you bake on two sheets, exchange them after 8 minutes, so they bake evenly).

Let the rolls cool on a wire rack. Eat them lukewarm or at room temperature.

(Adapted from: “De kunst van het bakken” – J. Alfort & N. Duguid)