Monday, July 23, 2018

Blueberry-Nut Loaf Cake

Blueberry-Nut Loaf Cake (Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed., pg. 168).

Blueberry season has arrived. They are abundant in our region. I have thought about going to one of the local farms where you can pick them yourself but they are readily available at grocery stores and farmer's markets. I purchased berries that were grown in Salem, Oregon and that had already been frozen. They were delicious!

Maida Heatter has several other blueberry cake recipes that I want to try.

1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup orange juice
Grated zest of two large oranges
1 1/4 cups walnut pieces

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 10 1/2 x 4 x 3 inch or 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Dust with fine bread crumbs.

Wash the berries and allow them to completely dry. When dry, toss the berries with one teaspoon of flour.

Sift together the remaining flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

Beat the egg and mix in the orange juice and butter. On low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients. Stir in the orange rind and the nuts.

Place 1/4 of the mixture in the pan. Fold the berries into the remaining batter. Place this mixture over the first layer and smooth the top.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing it from the pan. Allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's Chocolate Cookies

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's Chocolate Cookies 
Source: Maida Heatter's Cookies (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 17.

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was an American writer who wrote novels and short stories based on her life in rural Florida. She won the Pulitzer Prize for "The Yearling" in 1939. In 1942, she published the autobiographical "Cross Creek" (it was made into a movie starring Mary Steenbergen in 1983). Rawlings was also an avid cook and "Cross Creek Cookery" (published the same year) is a book that Maida Heatter often mentions.

While traveling through Cross Creek, Maida and her husband stopped at a gas station and purchased some homemade brownies that the owner's wife had made. He said the recipe came from Rawlings, who his mother-in-law had worked for. The brownies were actually drop cookies and Maida found the recipe in "Cross Creek Cookery". She omitted the baking powder and added the coffee (the gas station owner's wife had added the chocolate morsels.

The cookies are chewy and very chocolate-y. And best of all, they are very easy to make.

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Scant 2 tsp. instant coffee
1/4 cup boiling water
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups walnuts, broken into large pieces
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat the oven to 350 and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper. Sift together the flour and salt and set aside.

Dissolve the instant coffee in the boiling water. Add the chocolate, place over low heat, and stir until smooth.

In a mixer bowl, beat the butter until soft. Add the vanilla and then gradually add the sugar, beating until mixed. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well (it is okay if the mixture is still warm).

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in well. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until mixed.

Stir in the raisins, nuts and chocolate morsels.

Place tablespoons of the mixture on the parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Bake for 13-15 minutes, reversing the pans halfway through baking. The cookies are done when they barely spring back when pressed. Do not overbake. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

The recipe makes 25 large cookies (you can make smaller ones if desired). Store in an airtight container. They keep well.