The first thing I did was mix up a coffeecake to take to a friend. This is a quick recipe, but I thought it would make a nice snack this afternoon at her business. My Mom taught me this tradition of bringing food gifts when you "went visiting." At Christmas, especially, she did wonderful Stolen, Fruit Cakes, and Cookies for all the people she wanted to say thank you to. I decided to try the Blueberry Jammy Bits along with sliced almonds, but like the cookies yesterday, this basic coffee cake allows you to exchange with what your favorite ingredients are.
Blueberry Jammy Bits & Almond Coffee Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. Vanilla powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup Blueberry Jammy Bits (you could also use dried blueberries)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. light Karo syrup
1 to 2 tsp. hot water
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Grease and flour a 10-cup bundt cake, 9-inch round cake pan, or a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
In the KitchenAid, using a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy. Add the dry ingredients, alternatively with the sour cream. Mix well.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan; sprinkle half of the almonds and Blueberry Jammy Bits over the batter. Spread with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining almonds and Blueberry Jammy Bits. Smooth with an off-set spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes (depending on the pan you use) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.
Stir together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle over the cooled cake.
4 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup cold water
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
In the KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment, place all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Mix briefly just to combine. Cut the shortening into 1/2-inch chunks and while the mixer is running, add to the bowl.
It will resemble sand, with some lumps still present. In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, add water, the egg, and the vinegar and whisk together. Turn on the mixer and slowly add the "wet" ingredients. Mix until well combined. You will notice, this pie dough appears "stickier" but don't be concerned.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured bowl and knead into a roll.
Cut the log in half, then, half again. You will have four pieces.
Form each section into a disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, then place into freezer bags. I use a quart-size freezer bag and mark the date on the front of the bag.
Lastly, I came across a recipe for Fast & Easy Puff Pastry on the King Arthur Flour website. I love puff pastry, but it takes a little time to make and lots of time to set in the refrigerator. However, if you've avoided making puff pastry and opted for the "packaged freezer" version, this will change your life. It's great for making tarts, appetizer cheese straws, or a crust for your favorite fruit medley or pot-pie.
Fast & Easy Puff Pastry
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a spoon.
Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
Mix in the sour cream and turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly. Dust both sides and roll out to a 8 x 10-inch rectangle. Fold dough, like an envelop into thirds.
Flip the dough over and turn it 90-degrees. Roll again into a 8 x 10-inch rectangle. Repeat the envelop fold into thirds.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes. Yes, just 30 minutes! You can freeze the dough for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Roll the dough out in the desired shape for your recipe. I plan on baking Pear~Cranberry tarts!
The key to being organized for holiday baking is doing things ahead. I hope I've given you a start to impress your family, but more importantly, be part of the celebration and memories. Enjoy!