Archive for May, 2012

COCONUT CAKE

This is one of my favorite cakes to bake.  It is not difficult to make but it will take a little bit of time . . . good things come to those who wait . . . only in this case you will be baking while you wait.  Anyway, this coconut cake is for coconut lovers and non-coconut lovers alike.  My husband, Pat is a died-in-the-wool NON-coconut lover . . . and even he loves this cake!  Another recipe from our “Lady’s Tea” cooking class, I think you will like this one as much as I do.

COCONUT CAKE

PREP: 35 minutes

INACTIVE PREP TIME: 30 MINUTES

BAKING TIME: 50 MINUTES

SERVES: 10 – 12

Ingredients

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans

2 cups sugar

5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk

4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted

6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don’t be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth (don’t whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

ENJOY!!!

As always, thank you for your amazing support and thank you for reading!

Kris

Don’t forget that Spring and Summer are the perfect time to come to The Flint Hills of Kansas and just chill . . . go to a gourmet cooking class . . . or enjoy all the culture, history and architecture here. Please Visit Our Website if you would like more information.

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CLEMENTINE APRICOT-GINGER SCONES

Scones are one of my favorite things to make.  They taste great, they are relatively easy to make and they freeze and store easily!  It seems that no matter what I make for guests, I always get the most positive response from my scones.  I have always made an apricot scone and it is fabulous so I was a bit reluctant to try this one adding in the ginger.  This one with the ginger is different but every bit as good as my praise-earning apricot scones.

Let’s get started making scones this morning!

CLEMENTINE APRICOT-GINGER SCONES

 

PREP: 15 MINUTES

CHILLING TIME: 20 MINUTES

BAKING TIME: 30 MINUTES

OVEN TEMP: 350 DEGREES

SERVES –8 SCONES

Ingredients:

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour

1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick butter, frozen, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup diced dried apricots

1/3 cup diced candied ginger

1 cup whipping cream, divided

4 teaspoons sugar

Directions:

1. Place the pastry flour, one-fourth cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until fine crumbs form.

2. Spoon the mixture into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the apricots and ginger. Pour in three-fourths cup plus 2 tablespoons cream and fold with a spatula until the cream is incorporated, then use your hands to mix gently. Do not overwork the dough; it will be crumbly.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, pressing it together. Flatten into a 7 1/2-inch-square, 1-inch thick. Cut into quarters. Cut each quarter in half to form two triangles. Place the scones on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 to 3 inches apart, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm.

4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 tablespoons whipping cream and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 4 teaspoons sugar. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from the parchment.

Now the best part as always . . . ENJOY!

Thank you for reading, following and subscribing to my blog. Share the wealth . . . forward and share this with others!

Kris

For information about our upcoming cooking class which will feature grilling with my husband Pat Check Our Website

Also, we have a few vacancies left in July . . . a great time to visit the Flint Hills of Kansas.  Check Us Out and come and chill!

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MIXED BERRY AND THYME JAM

When I decided to start offering cooking classes at our little guesthouses in the Flint Hills of Kansas, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I sort of figured that interested folks would go to one class and see what it was about and that would be that.  But that wasn’t how is was to be.  I have been very blessed that every time I offer a new cooking class, I have more people wanting to attend than at the last one!  There seem to be two distinct groups who attend . . . my lovely regulars . . . and my ever-interesting newbees.  In fact we are considering presenting one or two of our regulars with a perfect attendance award . . . but alas . . . the two top contenders have each missed one class! Perhaps a “Near Perfect Attendance Award” would be in order!

The classes are so much fun and exciting because the dynamics of the people attending is always different.  Different levels of cooking skills and knowledge and . . . whooda thunk it . . . different people!

I don’t intend this as an advertisement but as friendly advice . . . if you are ever thinking about being in our area . . . Check our Cooking Class Schedule . . . see if it works with yours.  You owe it to yourself to come to one of our cooking classes . . . it is soooo much fun!!

OK, enough about that.  Let’s make some Mixed Berry and Thyme jam!

MIXED BERRY AND THYME JAM

PREP: 8 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 55 MINUTES

COOLING TIME:  1 ½ HOURS

SERVES – 1 ½ CUP

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 4 cups)
  • 8 ounces blueberries (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1/2 a large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions

Place the berries in a medium saucepan. Using a potato masher, lightly mash the berries. Add the maple syrup, lemon juice, orange juice, and thyme.

 

 

 

 

 

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours (the jam will continue to thicken as it cools). Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.

 

 

 

Pretty Simple huh.

This jam is good on nearly anything.  In fact one of my lovely people in one of our classes said: “This would be good on a roof shingle!”

I think that pretty well says it all!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

Kris

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LA BREA BAKERY CHOCOLATE-WALNUT SCONES

LA BREA BAKERY CHOCOLATE-WALNUT SCONES

PREP: 20 MINUTES

CHILLING TIME: 1 HOUR

BAKING TIME: 30 MINUTES

OVEN TEMP:  350 DEGREES

SERVES – 12

Ingredients:

1 ¼ CUP TOASTED WALNUTS, DIVIDED

7 TABLESPOONS GRANULATED SUGAR, DIVIDED

2 ¾ CUP UNBLEACHED PASTRY FLOUR OR UNBLEACHED ALL- PURPOSE FLOUR

1 TABLESPOON PLUS 1 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER

PINCH OF SALT

½ CUP (1 STICK) PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER, CUT INTO 1 INCH CUBES AND FROZEN

1 CUP (6 OUNCES) FINELY CHOPPED BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE

1 CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS WHIPPING CREAM, DIVIDED

¼ CUP CRÈME FRAICHE OR SOUR CREAM

1 TABLESPOON VANILLA EXTRACT

Directions:

1.  In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine 1 cup of the nuts with 3 tablespoons sugar and process until the mixture is the consistency of fine meal.   Add 3 more tablespoons sugar with the flour, baking powder and salt and pulse to incorporate.  Add the butter and pulse on and off until the mixture is the consistency of fine meal.
2.  Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the chocolate pieces.  Make a large well in the center and pour in 1 cup whipping cream, the crème fraiche and the vanilla.  Whisk the liquids together.  Using one hand, draw in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  The mixture will be crumbly.
3.  Wash and dry your hands and dust them with flour.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead gently a few times, then gather it into a ball.  Roll or pat the dough into a circle 1½ inches thick.  Spray the inside of a 1½ inch round cutter with nonstick spray and cut out circles, cutting them as close together as possible and keeping the trimmings intact.
4.  Gather the scraps, press them back together and cut out additional circles.  (If the dough gets too soft to cut refrigerate it for 15 minutes) lace the circles in groups of three on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the groups 1 inch apart and gently pressing the edges together to form clovers.  Freeze until firm about 1 hour.
5.  Brush the tops with the remaining 2 T. cream and sprinkle with the remaining 1 T. sugar and ¼ cup ground nuts. Bake for 30 -34 minutes until light brown and slightly firm to touch.

These scones are very large and rich.  In our second cooking class, because of the amount of food we prepared, we opted to bake these as each individual circle rather than the clover cluster of 3.  This might be something for you to consider if you are serving these with other foods.  If they will stand alone . . . I vote for the clover clusters.

ENJOY!

Kris

For information about our upcoming cooking classes or for awesome accommodations in the picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas, Visit our Website!

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CITRUS COMPOTE WITH HONEY AND GOLDEN RAISINS

This Citrus Compote with Honey and Golden Raisins is excellent served on its own for a weekend brunch, this compote can also be warmed over low heat and spooned over ice cream or sorbet. For the best flavor and most juice, choose pink, red or white grapefruits that are relatively heavy for their size and springy to the touch. The compote can also be made with tangerines, tangelos or blood oranges in place of the oranges and grapefruits.

Let’s get started!

CITRUS COMPOTE WITH HONEY AND GOLDEN RAISINS

 

PREP TIME: 20 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 15 MINUTES

COOLING TIME: 30 MINUTES

SERVES –6

 

Ingredients:

2 cups sweet dessert wine, such as late-harvest
Gewürztraminer, late-harvest Riesling, French
Sauternes or Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise

1 cup fresh orange juice

2 Tbs. honey

1/2 vanilla bean

1/2 cup golden raisins

5 seedless oranges

2 grapefruits

3 kiwifruits

 

Directions:

In a saucepan, combine the wine, orange juice and honey. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and, using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds into the pan. Add the pod and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the raisins. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

Using a sharp knife, cut a thick slice off the top and bottom of each orange to reveal the flesh. Then, standing each orange upright on a cutting surface, cut off the peel and white membrane in thick, wide strips. Working with 1 orange at a time, hold the orange over a bowl and cut along either side of each segment to free it from the membrane, letting the segments drop into the bowl. Repeat this same technique with the grapefruits, using the tip of the knife to remove any seeds.

Peel the kiwifruits. Cut each into 8 wedges and add to the oranges and grapefruits. Add the cooled liquid and raisins, remove the vanilla pod and stir.

To serve, spoon the fruit into individual bowls. Serves 6.

Excellent served on its own for a weekend brunch, this compote can also be warmed over low heat and spooned over ice cream or sorbet. For the best flavor and most juice, choose pink, red or white grapefruits that are relatively heavy for their size and springy to the touch. The compote can also be made with tangerines, tangelos or blood oranges in place of the oranges and grapefruits.

Enjoy!

As always, thank you for reading!

Kris

Tell your friends, we will be starting our series of grilling classes at our Lark Inn Cooking Classes in May.  Visit our website to learn more.

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CRUMPETS

Ever hear of tea and crumpets?  At our “Lady’s Tea” cooking class at The Lark Inn we had tea and made wonderful crumpets.  They involve a yeast batter and while they are not particularly difficult, they do involve a couple of extra steps to produce these delectable treats!  Let’s make crumpets!

CRUMPETS

PREP: 15 minutes

GRILLING TIME: 7-8 minutes

EQUIPMENT NEEDED: CAST-IRON SKILLET OR GRIDDLE AND 4 CRUMPET RINGS OR 4 TUNA CANS

SERVES –12 CRUMPETS

Ingredients:

2 cups (230g) unbleached white bread flour

1 2/3 cups (230g) unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons) plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water

3 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup lukewarm milk

 

Directions:

Sift together the flours and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Mix the dry yeast, mixing the granules and the sugar with 3/4 cup lukewarm water and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining lukewarm water.

Mix the yeast mixture into the flour to make a very thick, but smooth batter, beating vigor

ously with your hand or a wooden spoon for two minutes. It should have the consistency of batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap

and let stand in a warm spot until the batter rises and then falls, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the salt and beat the batter for about 1 minute. Then cover the bowl and let stand in a warm spot for 15 to 20 minutes, so the batter can rest.

Dissolve the baking soda in the lukewarm milk. Then gently stir it into the batter. The batter should not be too stiff or your crumpets will be “blind” — without holes — so it is best to test one before cooking the whole batch.

Heat a very clean griddle or frying pan over moderately low heat for about 3 minutes until very hot. Put a well-greased crumpet ring on the griddle. Spoon or pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the ring. The amount of batter will depend on the size of your crumpet ring.

As soon as the batter is poured into the ring, it should begin to form holes. If holes do not form, add a little more lukewarm water, a tablespoon at a time, to the batter in the bowl and try again. If the batter is too thin and runs out under the ring, gently work in a little more all-purpose flour and try again. Once the batter is the proper consistency, continue with the remaining batter, cooking the crumpets in batches, three or four at a time. As soon as the top surface is set and covered with holes, 7 to 8 minutes, the crumpet is ready to flip over.

To flip the crumpet, remove the ring with a towel or tongs, then turn the crumpet carefully with a spatula. The top, cooked side should be chestnut brown. Cook the second, holey side of the crumpet for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale golden. The crumpet should be about 3/4 inch thick. Remove the crumpet from the griddle. Grease the crumpet rings well after each use.

The only even slightly tricky part of the actual crumpet-making is that you have to remember to butter the crumpet rings (or tuna cans or whatever) very well inside and on the edges between each batch. When you’re ready to turn the crumpets, though the recipe suggests using tongs, it’s just as easy to use a flat knife to nudge the rings up and off the crumpets as soon as the outsides are solid. That way you can set them aside to cool so you can handle them as soon as the crumpets presently in the skillet or on the griddle are done.

Pour a nice cup of tea and enjoy your crumpets . . . slathered with butter and jam!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

CHECK OUR WEBSITE for availability of room at our next cooking class or availability of our get-a-way guesthouses in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

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