Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cinnamon Squares



Have you ever made something that was exactly what you wanted to eat? These cinnamon squares were that for me. It was the start of a weekend where I OD'd on cake (homemade coffee cake, my birthday, valentine's day, church potluck) but it was amazing. I was looking for something to bake without going to the store and I had all of this stuff in the cupboard.

The filling in the middle is awesome. I put too much batter on the bottom and had trouble covering the filling with the batter I had left so next time I'd pay more attention to that. I didn't make the chocolate frosting (but I'll include it in the recipe) and it was perfect with a cup of tea (oh, I miss coffee).

Cinnamon Squares
from Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan

Cake
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and the espresso together in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a homogenous batter. Now, using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth, shiny batter.

Scrape half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean.

To Make the Frosting: Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it thins out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable. (If it thins, leave the frosting at room temperature for a bit, until it thickens a little.)

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