Thursday, August 20, 2009

Huge News!

Sorry guys, no recipes today. I just wanted to share my exciting news. This past Monday I closed on my first house and I got engaged! I am sure I will share with you more house and wedding details in future posts.

Thanks for reading Baked Perfection!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Homemade Milanos

Much better than store bought

As you all know if you have been reading my blog, I am an auditor. There are few perks that come with the job, but depending on the client you sometimes get lucky. Back in May and June I was working on a client that had an endless supply of snacks. This was both a blessing and a curse because it became extremely hard to avoid the drawers of cookies and chips every afternoon. When I was scavenging in the snack drawer one day I noticed a package of Milanos cookies. I used to love Milanos when I was a kid. My sister and I would go crazy for them. Of course I could not resist the temptation so I had a couple. Although I did enjoy those cookies that afternoon, I knew I could make something better. I played a round with a few ideas in my head and I think I came up with a great replica. Believe me, these cookies are 100% better than the store bought Milanos and they really are not that hard to make. If you are a Milano lover like me, then you should definitely give them a try!

Homemade Milanos
adapted from Williams Sonoma Vanilla Cookies Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and beat until well mixed. Using a spoon, stir in the flour until well blended.

Fill the cookie press with dough according to the instructions and fit with the desired shape disk (preferably something oval to replicate the Milano shape). Press the dough out onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Once cool, spread the bottom side of one cookie with melted chocolate and place a second cookie on top. Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched. Makes 20-30 sandwich cookies.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Yogurt Cake

The lazy days of summer.

I have been a bad blogger lately. I am really not sure what has gotten into me. I just have not felt like baking or blogging lately. I am sure it is just a phase, but I feel bad since I know so many of you enjoy checking my blog for the latest updates. I am going to do my best to get back to my weekly updates.

I am currently in a hotel room in Montvale, NJ as I write this. I am in a training all week for work, so I figured I would use the down time to catch up on some old posts. I actually made this cake ages ago, when I made the Orange Yogurt Cake. I did not want to post it then because it was too similar a cake. When I made these cakes I really could not decide which cake I liked more. I would taste the orange and then think it was my favorite and then change my mind when I had a bite of this cake. My friends who enjoy coconut loved this cake, but since several of them are not coconut people they preferred the Orange. If your friends are anything like mine, then you can go ahead and make this cake and just leave out the coconut. This cake is really forgiving (I forgot to add the egg and had to add it right before I poured it in the pan), store and ships well, and is extremely delicious!

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Yogurt Cake (a.k.a The Perfect Slice of Summer)

adapted from The Cooking Photographer

For the cake:

1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggsZest of
4 limes or 8 key limes
1 tsp real vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup toasted coconut, separated (see Note 1)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan.In a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. In a separate large bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, eggs, lime zest, vanilla extract, salt, and butter. Stir in the yogurt until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fold in toasted coconut.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for 10 minutes and carefully remove to a cooling rack.

For soaking warm cake:

1/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

While the cake is cooking, add the lime juice and granulated sugar to a small sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and the liquid is mainly clear. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.Place the cooling rack on top of a piece of wax paper. Spoon the mixture over the cake. Allow the cake to finish cooling.

For glazing cooled cake:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed key lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/3 cup toasted coconut

Mix together powdered sugar and lime juice. Spoon glaze over the top and garnish with lime zest and toasted coconut; let the cake set up overnight before serving.

(I baked the cake in 4 miniature loaf pans as opposed to 1 large pan. It took approximately 30 minutes to bake, but you will need to monitor your cakes based on your oven).

Note 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread flaked coconut on non-greased cookie sheet. Toast in oven, stirring every five minutes, until it turns light golden, about 20 minutes. Remove coconut from cookie sheet and set aside.