Fall Breakfast Cake

So I’m surfing around this morning, grazing on Laura Werlin’s blog, CheeseChickChat, Madame Fromage and the like, and I stumbled upon a blog I’d forgotten about, “It’s not you, it’s Brie.” From there, I got to Know Whey, and look what I found there:

Praline Squash Applesauce Breakfast Cake

YUM! Just what I needed to use up a bunch of surplus ingredients, and just perfect for a 5-day party coming up next weekend. My mom turns 80, and we kids are gathering to throw her a party. Breakfast noshes are always needed whenever the family gets together, and this one looks divine. No cheese in it, though. Sorry.

In Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350F
Spray a 9″ square pan (mine is the classic round tart pan with removable bottom) with cooking spray.
For the cake:
Wet ingredients:
2 eggs plus 2 additional egg whites
1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark), packed
1/3 cup sugar
(Optional)1 Tablespoon Vermont maple Syrup, grade B
1/4 cup Thick Cinnamon Applesauce (or use finely chopped apples and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon)
1/2 cup cooked squash, scooped out of the skin
1/4 cup light cream (or milk)
2 ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
Dry Ingredients:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/4 cups flour
Nuts and Fruit:
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
(Optional) 1/4 cup currants or golden raisins
For the topping:
2 ounces unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark), packed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
5 Tablespoons flour
(Optional) 1 Tablespoon Toasted Hazelnut Flour
  1. Make the Topping: In food processor bowl with blade attached, combine all topping ingredients and pulse until crumbly.  Remove this to a covered bowl while preparing the cake.
  2. Make the Cake: In the food processor, combine Wet Ingredients, pulsing to combine after each addition.
  3. Add the shortening, pulsing to combine well
  4. Add the Dry Ingedients, pulsing to just combine (do not overwork).
  5. With a spoon, Stir in the Nuts and Fruit.    Batter is now ready to use.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes at 350F, then open oven door and sprinkle topping on the cake.  Resume baking and continue for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the cake is browned and slightly puffed.  Check for doneness in the center of the cake with a toothpick, which should come out clean.
  8. When done, remove cake to rack to cool for 15 minutes, then remove the outer pan, if using a removable-bottom pan.
Thanks to Sue of Know Whey for the recipe and pix. We are going to have a blast!

Dulce de Leche Goat Cheese Cookies

The Latin American afajores cookie is the inspiration for this recipe. Adding goat cheese to the dulce de leche puts a fun twist on a classic and offers something savory to an otherwise very sweet cookie. To ensure that the base was not too delicate for the goat cheese and caramelized-milk filling,  Dorie Greenspan’s sturdy sable cookie recipe was used, as well as dulce de leche from the Latin American aisle of the supermarket. Goat cheese is perishable, so keep the filling cold and only sandwich cookies that will be consumed within a day.

Goat Cheese 

Enlarge Kirstin Jackson for NPR

Makes about 2 dozen sandwich cookies

2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

7 ounces (from a 14-ounce can) dulce de leche

3 to 5 ounces fresh goat cheese (chevre)

Powdered sugar for dusting

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugars together until light and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time and whisk well. Fold the flour into the bowl with a rubber spatula, mixing until the dough is all the same texture. It will be moist and clump together, but will not be as smooth as chocolate-chip cookie dough. It will be a little crumbly. Lightly stir in the pecans.

Divide the dough into 2 balls. One at a time, place each ball on a sheet of plastic wrap. Use the wrap to roll the dough balls into 8-inch logs. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap tight and refrigerate the dough from 2 hours to overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and unwrap. Starting from the center and working out, score (or mark) the log beforehand to identify where to cut the 24 cookie pieces. Mark the center first, then in quarters, then 6 on each quarter. Then, slice the log into 24 pieces.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon mats and space the cookies so they are an inch apart. Rotating the sheets after 10 minutes, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

While the cookies are cooling, warm the dulce de leche over low heat in a small saucepan, stirring and being careful not to let the caramel bubble. When just warm, take off heat. Add from 3 to 5 ounces goat cheese to your taste, and stir until well mixed. Cool.

Sandwich about a teaspoon of the dulce de leche mixture between 2 cookies and continue with the rest of the cookies until finished. Dust with powdered sugar.

Thank you to Kirsten Jackson of NPR for the recipe:)

Fresh Yogurt with Muesli and Fruit

We are addicted to a breakfast bowl of cool goat yogurt with a scoop of bircher muesli and a couple spoonfuls of home-canned peaches, plums, apricots or pears. If you are not in possession of home-canned fruits, no worries…you can add whatever fresh or frozen fruits you like, instead! Here are the simple details for making bircher muesli the way we do, and assembling the breakfast of champions.

For the muesli:

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not the quick-cook kind), uncooked

4 cups rolled barley (you can usually get these at a bulk dry goods store, an organic food store, or order online)

1 cup ground flax seed

1 cup broken walnut pieces

1 cup yellow or red raisins or currants

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped dried cherries or blueberries

Or anything non-perishable that you want to toss in, to improve the taste, chewiness and fiber value!

Mix well in a large mixing bowl and put into an airtight cereal container, preferably with a pour spout or large opening so that you can get a scoop in for serving.

For a breakfast serving, pour a cup of plain yogurt into a bowl. Sweeten to taste either with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (our favorite), honey, molasses or fruit syrup. Add the canned or fresh fruit (1/2 cup),

Spooning red joy into a cloud of white yogurt!

then pour or scoop between 1/2 and 1 cup of muesli on top of the yogurt and fruit.

Stir and enjoy!

You can either let the muesli soak in the yogurt for a couple minutes, or eat immediately. This is a very filling breakfast, and we don’t eat it every day, but it is wonderful every other day or as a special treat when you need lots of fiber and an energy boost. And it’s full of Omega 3, healthy amino acids and a great blend of flavors. Thousands of alpine shepherds, hikers and country folk who’ve eaten bircher muesli for generations can’t be wrong!