Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Overnight Cold Water Buns


You know that saying, everything looks better in the morning? That is certainly the case for these poorly named but absolutely delicious rolls. Overnight Cold Water Buns, while requiring a bit of planning, greet you in the morning with their rich, buttery and brioche-like goodness.  

Yeast-risen baked goods take time, and it was fairly common in the mid-20th century for housewives to make dough the day before in order to have the waiting time occur overnight. This recipe dates from about 1945.

Begin with yeast (even though Michael Pollen in his Cooked series on Netflix does not believe in commercial yeast).  Yeast is your true friend -- no matter how much (within reason) you abuse it or ignore it, it almost always comes through. Just make sure the water you soak it in is pleasantly lukewarm, about 110 to 115 F.

When it begins to foam and bubble, it's ready. The only way your true friend will fail is if the yeast is too old (dead), or the water you add is too hot.  If it fails to "grow," the simply start with a new package of yeast.

Mix in the butter, flour and and other ingredients. Put the dough in a bowl to let it rise.

My dough was too I added some flour late in the game. (I should have added it during the mixing phase.) It was still too sticky, but the end result didn't suffer.

Put some dough in greased muffin tins.

I decided to go with the muffin tins when I realized the dough was too sticky to maintain the bun shape.

Let them rise overnight on the counter.

So the buns did form a loaf instead of maintaining their individuality. No problem in the end -- it was delicious sliced and used for French toast!

Production notes: I didn't begin these until after 5 p.m. (instead of the 3 p.m.instruction) and still had plenty of time. I added the recommended 7 1/2 cups of flour and it wasn't enough. Next time, I'd add more flour. I used two sticks of softened butter. I formed the rolls and left them sitting on the counter as instructed, and baked them the next morning in a 400 F oven.  Even though these are called cold water buns, there's no cold water in them!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Chocolate Chip Bars

The name of this recipe -- Chocolate Chip Bars -- sounded so pedestrian that I'd passed over the vintage recipe card many times while searching for something to bake.. But last week, I finally read it carefully and discovered that it was rather unique, not the bar-cookie-shortcut for traditional chocolate chips that I'd imagined.

Instead, this recipe yields a delicious, moist (almost gooey) chocolate-coconut filling that is light, sweet and and unusual. It's crispy top, moist interior and buttery crust create a bar cookie that's worth the effort.

They are reminiscent of the famous Toll House Cupcakes, but are much easier!

Start by making the crust, a simple mixture of butter, flour and brown sugar.

Place the mixture on a cookie sheet. I lined mine with foil, so the whole thing could be easily lifted from the cookie sheet for ease of cutting at the end.

Using your hands (I always wear latex-free gloves), press the dough into the pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, begin the filling by mixing the ingredients together.

Pour the filling atop the crust (I cooled it first) and, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, move it to the edges so that the crust is entirely covered.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is nicely browned.

Cool, and using the foil, lift the entire cake from the pan and onto your counter.  Cut into serving portions.

Below is the original card. And below that, I've typed the recipe and added some production notes.

Chocolate Chip Bars

Preheat the oven to 350F
Line a cookie sheet with foil so that it extends over the edges. I used a quarter sheet pan, approximately 10 x 12.

Bottom crust
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick (1/2 c.) room-temperature butter
2 tbls. brown sugar, packed

Mix well (I used a hand-mixer). Pack into a cookie sheet, flattening so it reaches the edges.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool slightly.

3 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
2/3 t. baking powder
1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 c. flaked, sweetened coconut
1 c. chocolate chips

Beat eggs in a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) very, very well, until almost light in color.
Add the rest of the ingredients -- except for the chips and coconut -- and combine.
Add the coconut and chips; combine until mixed.
Pour the mixture atop the crust, using an offset spatula to coax to the edges so that the entire crust is covered.
Bake about 20 - 25 minutes until the top is brown, darker than golden brown.  The toothpick test won't work well -- the interior should be somewhat gooey.

Cool, move to a flat surface and cut into squares.
Day one, the bars will be gooey; after that, they will not be so gooey, but still delicious!