mazariner

OK, I am officially in major baking mode for the holiday season. But Molly, aren’t you always in major baking mode?? Well, uh, yes, but consider this major baking mode plus because these days I’m not just testing blog recipes and baking the occasional birthday cake, but I’m also cranking out tasty lil gift boxes for people around town and my entries for the various cookie swaps that I’m going to this month. 

So what does baking mode plus look like? There is a steady supply of butter softening on my counter at all times, my fridge is filled with stacks of discs of dough wrapped in plastic wrap, two stand mixers are out on the counter, I have a regular container of well beaten egg wash sitting in my fridge ready to go at a moment’s notice, the smell of almond and vanilla is in the air, there is probably flour on my face, and I am dressed warmly in fluffy socks and sweaters because I like keeping it kind of cool in the kitchen so that doughs are easier to handle. Also, Christmas movies or ice skating are always always on the TV. And water is in my cup. Because cold Midwest tap water has been at the top of my cravings list and also because everything I read about drinking tea while preggo is kind of a question mark?? I can’t really keep it straight, so I’ve pretty much been avoiding it altogether, even though I realllly want to complete this vibe with sugar cookie Christmas tea, which is probably just vanilla flavored water, but I’m just that paranoid. 

One treat I’ve been baking a ton of has been Mazariner, Swedish almond tarts. They are basically a buttery crunchy cookie cup filled with dense almond cake. In my mind, they’re marzipan in tart form, and you know how marzipan runs through my veins this time of year. I always used to get them for dessert at IKEA when my mom and I would go eat Swedish meatballs. They weren’t the prettiest dessert because they were unglazed and just two shades of brown, but they were by far the tastiest. I don’t actually know if they serve them anymore, but still to this day, I just cannot get enough of the texture of the filling. It’s a texture that I don’t see too often in desserts because even though it’s cakey, the only leavening agent in it is eggs, so it’s extra dense, almost as if it wants to be a blondie when it grows up. The whole tart is quite sturdy, which is one reason why I plan to gift a bunch of these this month. I’ve been topping them with a powdered sugar and heavy cream glaze, which makes a thick cloud-like topping, and to some of them I’ve been adding cranberry juice for bright natural color. And it’s kewt to decorate all of them differently, with fresh cranberries, herbs, sprinkles, etc., you know the drill!

And I’ve partnered with Pampered Chef on this post because their tools have been such amazing help during my big long baking days. I seriously use their stackable cooling racks every single day because of how much I can fit on them and how much space I save. I also love their medium sheet pans because of how sturdy and heavy duty they are. Other tools of theirs that rock are their pretty marble rolling pin, small spreaders (perfect for decorating these tarts), medium scoops (great for distributing the tart filling evenly), sturdy serving spatulas, heavy duty silicon-coated sauce whisks, classic batter bowls, muffin pan, small glass mixing bowls, and stainless steel mixing bowl set. All of the bowls I’ve used in this post have lids, which are so great because sometimes I need to keep glazes and egg washes going for a couple of days, or prep fillings and such a day in advance. Thank you so much, Pampered Chef, for providing these tools and sponsoring this post!!


mazariner

makes 12

Ingredients

Shells:

1/3 c (67g) sugar

1 3/4 c (228g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 c (168g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

2 large eggs, separated

Filling:

1 c (120g) almond meal

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

Glaze:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/4 c (60 ml) heavy cream or 2 tb cranberry juice

1/4 tsp almond extract

To decorate: sprinkles, fresh herbs, sliced almonds, fresh cranberries

Clues

To make the shells, in a food processor, pulse together the sugar, flour, and salt to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until mealy. Add the egg yolks (reserve the egg whites for the filling) and pulse until the dough comes together. Press the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

To make the filling, combine the almond meal, sugar, salt, and butter, either by blending it in the food processor (no need to clean it out after making the dough, you can just use it immediately for this step), or by stirring it together in a large bowl (I find it’s easiest to get in there with my hands). Add the almond extract, egg, and the reserved egg whites from the shells, and continue to blend/stir until smooth and combined. Set aside while you mold the shells. 

To mold the shells, grease a muffin tin. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4” thick, dusting with more flour as needed. Cut out 3” circles and press them into the muffin cups, pressing so that the dough comes all the way up the sides. No worries if the dough tears, just patch it up additional dough. Freeze the shells for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Fill the frozen shells with the filling so that it comes up about 1/4” from the top. Bake until the tops and edges are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then use a small offset spatula or a knife to remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the glaze, combine the powdered sugar and heavy cream or cranberry juice until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or liquid to thicken it up or thin it out so that you get the consistency of a thick glue. Spread the glaze over the cooled tarts and decorate with sprinkles, herbs, cranberries, almonds, and anything else you’d like! These will keep for several days at room temperature or in the fridge. 


-yeh!

thank you, pampered chef, for sponsoring this post!!

photos by chantell and brett!

butterscotch pudding dirt cups

It is October 8th, which, in most other years, would mean that sugar beet harvest is about halfway done. I’d be making my grocery lists and putting together recipes for the end of harvest party and waiting for Eggboy to give me the go ahead to start prepping the brisket and baking the cakes. The light at the end of the sleep deprived tunnel would be near and visions of Thanksgiving in sunny Florida would be filling up our brains. 

But this year is not like other years!

Winter came so unfashionably early, with two snowfalls already and an expected four inches of snow on Wednesday, that harvest has been at a total standstill for almost a week. It’s wild! I’ve never seen so much October Eggboy before in my life. We’ve been eating lunch together, we went to an art fest this weekend, and tonight we’re making squash soup! We’re cramming in all of the fun fall things now because as soon as the ground dries, it will be back to crazy harvest hours. At this point though, it’s really hard to tell when that will be. All of my fingers and toes are crossed that when harvest can get back up and running it will run smoothly, and that this insane weather delay hasn’t caused too much of a raucous. 

And, ok, I’m not that superstitious, but I meant to post these sugar beet butterscotch pudding dirt cups last week as a celebration of the beginning of harvest but because of my quick bop out to New York I couldn’t get to it until the weather shutdown, so I never posted my annual beginning of harvest sugar beet thing and what if I jinxed it??? What if I disrupted the tradition and that set a wave of bad luck into the air and mother nature was like screw it, we’re going in?? 

Or maybe I’m giving too much power to marzipan shaped into beets. 

This pudding is just one of the many beet-centric sweets that I made this year in celebration of harvest. Our deep freeze right now is packed with sugar beet cookies, cupcakes, blondies, and donuts, waiting to be defrosted for all of the drivers and other folks who help out this time of year. Most of these sweets were made from old standby recipes but I made this pudding as the new official 2018 harvest dessert.

Growing up, butterscotch pudding was always Stoopie’s thing, and it turns out that Eggboy is also a butterscotch person, so I’m going to attribute this to the fact that Stoopie and E-boy both have November birthdays. The November birthstone is kind of butterscotch-esque in some lights? I think I wasn’t too into butterscotch when I was little because it tends to be so cloyingly sweet and one-noted but when Eggboy suggested it with these cute little marzipan beets I couldn’t say no. 

So I brainstormed and brainstormed and somehow came across a very specific lightly caramelized flavor with a fuzzy mouthfeel that was buried deep somewhere in my memory. It occurred to me that I’d had what I wanted in a butterscotch pudding, I just needed to remember where. I sat on my couch, listing everywhere I could have eaten this thing I was thinking of, and a few more thinks later realized that I was dreaming of the pumpkin pie filling that Eggboy totally nailed last year at Thanksgiving. Up front it was creamy and milky, and it was backed up by a faint yet complex caramel flavor. It was very lightly spiced because he couldn’t find most of the spices in my mom’s house and he used Sarah’s recipe but made a few substitutions, namely he substituted more heavy cream for crème fraiche because he wasn’t confident enough in his pronunciation of crème fraiche to ask what it was or if we had it. I realize that pumpkin pie filling is not butterscotch pudding but there are so many similarities that I’d have been remiss not to use that as inspiration. So I tinkered with that filling and came up with this pudding. It doesn’t have pumpkin, but it does have brown sugar which gets caramelized, so that makes this butterscotch. (Did you know that?? Caramelized white sugar = caramel, caramelized brown sugar = butterscotch.) 

The rest of the ingredients, mainly the spices and the maple syrup, contribute to making this one helluva a butterscotch pudding. Does it need the cookie dirt and marzipan sugar beets buried within? No. But it needs a topping, something crunchy like a cookie or pie crust crumble would work, or a dollop of fresh whip, and perhaps a sprinkle of flaky salt. Oooooh yeah. Consider me a butterscotch pudding convert. 


butterscotch pudding dirt cups

serves 8

ingredients

1/4 c (56g) unsalted butter

½ c (100g) brown sugar

¼ c (50g) granulated sugar

¼ c (78g) maple syrup

¾ tsp kosher salt

2 1/2 c (600g) heavy cream

½ c (118g) whole milk

2 tb (14g) cornstarch

3 large eggs plus 2 large yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg


To decorate:

Sprinkles

Crushed chocolate cookies

Marzipan and rosemary “sugar beets”

clues

Combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, and salt in a large heavy pot, stirring until it begins to bubble, and then stop stirring. Cook over medium high for 7-8 minutes, until it turns a dark amber color and begins to smoke slightly. Carefully add heavy cream and whole milk (it will get a lil wild when you pour this in) and stir gently until the caramel melts back down (it will firm up when the milk goes in). Reduce heat to medium. In a separate heat safe bowl, whisk together cornstarch, eggs, and egg yolks. When the milk/caramel mixture is steaming, add a ladle of it to the egg mixture, whisking vigorously, and then pour the egg mixture into the pudding while whisking. Whisk continuously for a few minutes, until it thickens. When it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from heat and add vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into serving glasses, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight, until cool and set. 

To serve top with sprinkles, crushed chocolate cookies, and hide some marzipan beets in the cookie dirt.


rhubarb cake!

It is my birthday! And also Doug’s and the eve of my Dad’s and the dawn after Stefani’s. And maybe also yours??? Happy birthday to all of us! It’s a great day to turn 29. 28 was honestly starting to feel a little stale, although it was a great year! It had a solid ratio of time spent doing things I love (making cake! traveling about! sitting on the couch with Eggboy watching tv eating dinner with my favorite spoon!) to things I don’t love (brushing my hair! cleaning the fridge!) so I’ll try to keep that going. Overall I think one big takeaway from this year was that I learned to like doing healthy things more, like drinking green juice and being up to date on my dentist visits. Kind of vanilla, right?!? My 22-year-old self would have felt so ashamed that this was my big birthday takeaway but well here it is. It’s probably just that my older wiser brain can now see further into the future and know more easily when something that feels fun at the time, like putting too much mayonnaise on my french fries, isn’t going to feel good in my belly after an hour. Which doesn’t mean I don’t do that anymore I just do it less. 

So with that I’d like to announce a temporary hold on my birthday breakfast sandwich tradition, for I will be having a green juice. And then I’ll be working out, and then getting a massage with the strongest masseuse in town, then I’m going to lunch at the museum cafe, and then I’m going to sit down with my favorite cookbooks and plan really awesome dinners for the rest of the week until dinner time when I’m going to make chèvre chaud salads for Eggboy and me. A salad! For my birthday dinner! I barely recognize myself. I’ve just been craving it soo hard since Paris (omg cannot wait to tell you about Paris) and fried cheese on a salad is my favorite form of balance. 

There will also be this rhubarb cake but not until the weekend when I defrost this sucker for some friends!! It was going to be an alpaca cake until I realized that llama has a silent “l” at the beginning and that’s way more quirky and cool than the trendy alpaca. No offense, alpacas. So this is a happy llama cake! It was inspired by this embroidered llama and I used this cookie cutter. My biggest challenge was making it not look like a baby shower cake, hence the mustard yellow frosting. 

I’m so happy that I could use some of our backyard rhubarb in this. Before it even popped up, I knew I wanted to make a pink fluffy buttery cake. Just like Stella's and Adrianna’s strawberry cakes but rhubarby. Only when I googled rhubarb cake the only things that came up were cakes with entire stalks of rhubarb in the batter or upside down cakes. So I experimented, using my sprinkle cake as a general roadmap and turning to Stella's and Adrianna’s cake as examples for incorporating fruit purée. I thought I’d have a long road of hibiscus-cake-style tweaking ahead of me since rhubarb is quite sour and anytime you change the pH of a batter you need to pay attention to the leavening amounts, but it turns out strawberry and rhubarb have extremely similar pH levels. So the first go was deeelicious! Fluffy, buttery, fruity, and bright. A handful of moisture tweaks later and here it is! It's so tasty and the sourness of the rhubarb balances the sweetness really nicely. To emphasis the rhubarb flavor, I’ve added a layer of rhubarb jam between the layers, along with buttercream. I like a basic vanilla buttercream with this but if rhubarb buttercream is speaking to you then go for it!


rhubarb cake

makes one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

cake:

10 oz (284g) rhubarb, chopped

1/4 c water 

1/2 c whole milk

2 3/4 c (352g) cake flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c (50g) flavorless oil

1 1/2 c (300g) sugar

Red or pink food coloring, optional

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

 

assembly:

vanilla frosting (recipe here) or rhubarb frosting (recipe below)

rhubarb jam (1/4 c per layer)

sprinkles, marzipan, optional but recommended

 

clues

Preheat the oven to 350°f. Grease and line the bottoms of two 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside. 

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then combine with the milk in a blender and purée until very smooth.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, oil, sugar, and food coloring, if using, and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the egg whites one at a time, mixing after each, and then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry ingredients and rhubarb purée in three alternating additions, mixing just until incorporated. Do not over-beat. Divide the batter between the two cake pans and spread it out evenly. Give them a tap on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles and then bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make your frosting of choice! 

Stack up the layers with a thin layer of frosting and rhubarb jam in the middle. If you want to get really fancy and have more rhubarb jam distributed throughout you can slice the layers in half to make four very thin layers. To make the cake pictured, add a layer of funfetti cake in the middle.

Decorate with sprinkles and a marzipan llama. Or alpaca. Up to you.


rhubarb frosting

makes enough for one 2-layer 8" cake

ingredients

8 oz (226g) rhubarb, chopped

2 tb water

1 1/2 c (338g) unsalted butter, softened

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1/4 tsp rosewater, optional

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 tb heavy cream

pink food coloring, optional
 

clues

Combine the rhubarb and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium high. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let it cool and then purée in a blender.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the powdered sugar gradually and mix until combined. Add the vanilla, rosewater (if using), and salt and then gradually mix in the cooled rhubarb puree. It may look curdled but continue to beat for 3-5 minutes until combined. Add the heavy cream and food coloring (if using) and beat until combined.


-yeh!

Photos by Chantell and Brett Quernemoen

Pictured: Sweater (cuyana), Funfetti socks (old navy), cake stand (mosser glass)



P.S. Thank you, friends, soooooooooooo much for all of your sweet messages about Girl Meets Farm!! I am so darn thankful for your support and I cannot wait to show you behind the scenes pics and vids and tell you all about the process of filming. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for June 24th, 11am eastern/10am central/11am pacific!
 


Vanilla Butter Cake with Marzipan Buttercream

This is the layer cake version of the mega moist/buttery vanilla cupcakes that I posted this summer! I’ve altered the ratios just slightly from the cupcakes here in order to provide the stability in the batter necessary to hold up a full layer, and it took a zillion test runs, but I’m proud to say that it retains the lusciousness that I was so pleased with in those cupcakes. It’s perfectly vanilla-y and just sooo… whatever the opposite is of those wildly airy grocery store sheet cakes. (Not (!) that there isn’t a time and place for those.) But Eggpop and I share a particular love of two important things: rom coms and very dense cake.

And such a hard earned cake is worthy of an equally lush frosting, no?

Marzipan buttercream is not an idea that I can take credit for, even though I’d like to since, as we’ve already established, my body is made up of 1/2 marzipan around the holidays. Alaina, who I met at my very first Molly on the Range book tour event, made the cutest ever cake earlier this year and added the marzipan butter from MOTR (which is essentially your basic ingredients for marzipan, blanched almonds and sugar, blended into oblivion until silky and spreadable) to the frosting. Brilliant!!!!!! Right??? I immediately knew I had to try it with my favorite go-to buttercream and the results were as I expected: otherworldly. Almondy, buttery, sweet, the best. You know I love a good rustic nut butter frosting, but using a blanched nut butter here makes this frosting so smooth and dreamy. I mean, marzipan on its own is obviously the best thing ever, but how do you make the best thing ever even better? Add butter. Duhhh.

And obviously if you are going to bestow the name “marzipan” onto any type of frosting, you are going to use great butter for it. Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter is what I’m using here and its flavor is so good and pure that if there’s any butter who deserves to be mashed up with marzipan, it is this. And then, rather than making the full marzipan butter recipe (which you can find in Alaina’s post and which also makes a great little gift when put in a cute jar) before adding it to my buttercream, I’ve rearranged the ingredients a bit to make things a little more straightforward and to take it easy on your food processor since it’s already getting quite a workout making the blanched almond butter. 

The decorations here are inspired by embroidery again, just like these cookies! I referenced these awesome trees and then here is a video that goes more in depth with the decorating process:


vanilla butter cake with marzipan buttercream

Makes one 3-layer 8” cake

ingredients

3 1/2 c (450g) all-purpose flour

1 tb baking powder

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/4 c (300g) heavy cream, room temperature

1/2 c (120g) sour cream, room temperature

1 c (225g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, room temperature

1/2 c (100g) refined coconut oil, soft but not melted

2 1/4 c (450g) sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 tb vanilla bean paste or extract

1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

 

Buttercream:

1 c (128g) blanched almonds

1 c (225g) Land O Lakes® European Style Unsalted Butter, room temperature

5 c (600g) powdered sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

1 tsp almond extract, optional

3 tb (45g) heavy cream

clues

To make the cake layers: preheat the oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottoms of three 8” cake pans with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder, and then lightly stir in the salt and set aside. in a large measuring cup, whisk together the heavy cream and sour cream and set aside. 

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, coconut oil, and sugar on medium high for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla and almond extract, if using. Reduce the mixer to medium low and add the dry mixture and cream mixture in 3 alternating additions, mixing until just combined. Distribute the batter evenly between the cake pans and spread it out evenly.

Bake until the  tops of the cakes are thinking about starting to turn brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs on it; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes and try your darnedest not to let it overbake. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To make the buttercream: 

First, make the almond butter. In a high powered food processor, blend the almonds, scraping the sides occasionally, until very creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and almond butter until creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar, and then mix in the salt, vanilla, almond extract, and heavy cream. Mix until creamy.

To frost the cake, level the top of the layers and then stack them up with a layer of frosting in between. Frost all over and decorate as desired (See video!)! Enjoy!


-yeh!

Thank you so much to Land O’Lakes for providing me with the butter and heavy cream for all of my cake baking adventures and for sponsoring this post. Their European style butter is so gosh darn rich and perfect for buttercream.

Videography by Paul Hoplin!