Tag Archives: amy sedaris

Recipe: Amy Sedaris Coffee Cake

28 Dec

Years ago, one of my good friends gifted me Amy Sedaris’ book, “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence”. That book is bloody amazing. Not only is Amy Sedaris hilarious (as usual) she has some really great recipes. In fact, I’ve already written about her Srgt. Pepper Cheese Ball on this blog. That cheese ball is beloved by so many that I get requests for it. I’m convinced that it is at least half the reason people invite me to their parties.

Another great recipe in the book is for coffee cake. I don’t know about you, but baking is not something that I can invent. I absolutely have to use a recipe or I’m liable to end up with something inedible. So, I am always searching for the “perfect” baking recipe. You know what I mean. The “perfect” brownie. “Perfect” snickerdoodle. “Perfect” pizza dough. This very well may be the perfect coffee cake, or at least, it is the coffee cake I always turn to.

Keep in mind that you put the prepared cake in a cold oven before setting it to 350˚ and baking.

Ingredients, Cake:

2 sticks of unsalted butter (I know. Just do it).

1 1/4 C sugar

2 eggs

1 C sour cream

2 C sifted flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla

Ingredients, filling:

1 C finely chopped walnuts

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 TB sugar

Prepare your pan by buttering it liberally. I occasionally also like to use parchment or wax paper. The original recipe calls for the use of a bundt pan but I halved the recipe and there was the perfect amount for use in a regular loaf pan.

Beat the sugar, butter and eggs until light and fluffy.

 

Blend in the sour cream, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Once mixed add the vanilla.

A trick to sifting flour if you don’t have a sifter (or are just plain lazy) is to whisk the dry flour.

Now that the batter is ready, make the filling by coarsely grinding (or chopping) the nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. Put half the prepared batter in the pan, followed by half the filling, then the other half of the batter and top with the remaining filling.

Uncooked coffee cake.

Place in a cool oven, set the oven to 350˚, and bake for approximately 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. I would recommend checking for doneness at 30 minutes.

Cooked coffee cake.

Nom nom nom.

Oh yeah.

 

The most amazing thing about coffee cake is that it really doesn’t take long to prepare and cook, so you can make it for breakfast just as easily as you can make pancakes. You’re only an hour away from coffee cake town.

❤ stef

 

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Recipe: Pepper Cheese Ball

21 Nov

I am a vair vair bad food blogger. Keeping up with posting really shouldn’t be as difficult as I make it. I cook EVERY day. Yesterday I made some nom-tastic eggplant parm, without a recipe (which I’m still sort of amazed I can do). Today I’ll probably make some butternut squash soup. I should take pictures, but I probably won’t start until it’s dark and then the pics will be crap (I prefer to use natural light) and I’ll be annoyed. To be perfectly honest, I’m probably only getting around to posting today because I have a paper due tomorrow and I am diligently procrastinating. La de da!

A few years ago my friend Nisi got me a copy of I Like You by Amy Sedaris. It’s one of the most perfect gifts I’ve ever been given. I heart Amy Sedaris, and I heart cooking, and I heart weird humor. Perfecto. There are many different recipes in this book and lots of different ideas for party themes and for party food. (Not to mention a recipe contributed by Stephen Colbert! Squee!) One of the items that is usually always included in a party menu is a cheese ball. First reading the book, I’d never seen a homemade cheese ball before. It was one of those weird retro items I’d only seen strangely prepackaged and sad looking, like fruitcake, and it had never occurred to me that a cheese ball could actually be good. You probably know why. You’ve seen the shrink wrapped monstrosities sold in supermarket deli departments and lurking in holiday gift baskets.

I decided to try making one for a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s house, and the lucky cheese ball was Cluster Haven’s Pepper Mill Cheese Ball, chosen because of a friend’s nut allergy. I didn’t want him to be denied the cheese-y delicious. All went exceptionally well, and hey, turns out cheese balls are AMAZING. Since then (NYE 2006) I’ve made the same cheese ball for almost every party I’m invited to. Once I bring it that first time, people request it! Basically, you want to make this cheese ball. It makes you popular and everyone wants you at their parties. In fact, I am doing myself a great disservice by giving you the recipe at all, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. Because I Like You.

Cluster Haven’s Pepper Mill Cheese Ball

1 stick of butter

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

1.5 C grated cheddar cheese (though really, you could use anything)

2 T grated onion (I usually use 1 tsp onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder)

2 T coarsely ground pepper

The pics in this post are of a cheese ball I made for a Halloween party, so I tried to make it scary. He’s supposed to be some sort of Cthulhu/Octopus hybrid. Mostly he just looks cute. If you want to give you cheese ball a face like I did here, you need some pimiento olives and some carrot shavings.

Make sure your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature, or you’re going to hate your life.

Combine the butter and cream cheese.

Add the grated cheese and the onion (and garlic, if using). Mix thoroughly.

Pop the whole mess back into the fridge to firm up a bit, maybe 20-30 minutes, then take it out and form into a ball. The original recipe says to roll it in the pepper, but that’s never worked exceptionally well for me because I always end up with one side coated in pepper and the other bare. I’ve started just using my regular pepper mill and cracking pepper on one side of the ball, turning, cracking some more, until the whole thing is coated. It really helps if you have someone help you with this, but I live alone and I usually manage so I have faith in you.

Awwww!

If you want to give your cheese ball a face, use two whole pimiento olives for eyes (I used a teeny knife to make two hollows before I inserted the olives) and three olives for the tentacle things. Cut three olives in half and use three halves for each side of the cheese ball. Then, use carrot shavings for the nose and mouth.

I think he looks hilarious in the fridge.

Serve at room temperature with crackers.

❤ stef