Monday, September 10, 2007

A little sneaky, yes - but worth it!

I was going through the pictures from that camera that night and I came across a set from this Cranberry-Hazelnut Coffeecake that we made for Jeff's mom before we left Maryland. I could have sworn that we talked about it, but apparently I didn't get a chance to post it yet!

I had wanted to make at least one more cranberry-filled recipe to use up the last bag that we had in the freezer when I found this recipe. I can't wait until the season hits out here so we can stock up the freezer again! This cake is light, moist and has an almost fluffy texture to it - this comes from the addition of tangy sour cream and soft cake flour. The cranberry layer stuffed inside this cake could not be more simple - it is just simply chopped cranberries! The cake itself is fairly sweet, but with a layer of tart cranberries stuffed in between, it seemed to even out well.

Cranberry-Hazelnut CoffeecakeTo give the cake a special touch, a sweet streusel is sprinkled on top of the cake before it goes in the oven. A quick-to-make combination of cake flour, brown sugar, rich chopped hazelnut and cinnamon is moistened with just a touch of melted butter. We actually made this and froze it a few days before we left to drive up to his mom's house. It took us a few hours to drive up there and by the time we arrived, the cake had defrosted and we were able to have our pieces for quality control. When we sliced into the cake, I loved how the bright ruby-red filling was gleaming against the golden crust and tender buttery-yellow interior. Even though there is only a quarter cup of hazelnuts, their prominent flavor brought such a delicate nutty flavor that added just the extra punch this cake needed.

Cranberry-Hazelnut CoffeecakeI felt slightly evil with tonight's dinner, but I didn't let on until after Jeff had finished his plate of this Hamburger Buddy recipe. This is like a homemade version of boxed hamburger helper (something I've not made in more than a few years), only this was a lot more tasty. It may not win an award for "best looking dish", but it is packed with vegetables and whole wheat pasta.

What makes this recipe appealing is the use of a food processor to finely mince the garlic, carrots and mushrooms allowing the prep work to be done in a snap. Once they have been processed, chunky pieces of onions are tossed in and the mixture is pulsed just until the onions are broken up. Once the veggies are ready, a pound of lean ground sirloin is browned in a large Dutch oven. The minced vegetables are added and the two mingle and bubble until the onions are soft - water, beef broth, the whole wheat noodles and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce are then added to cook until the pasta is tender. The pasta absorbs most of the liquid, but there are juices left behind that are tightened with a mixture of broth and flour. Sour cream stirred in at the end gives the dish a tangy background with a very creamy mouth-feel. This hearty meal gives a healthy makeover to an old-time comfort food dish and is a brilliant way to sneak in some veggies to unsuspecting picky eaters.

Hamburger BuddyI got the dirty look as soon as I picked up the mushrooms at the market this weekend, but said we would be using them much later in the week to ward off any suspicions that we would be having them tonight. Jeff always says he doesn't like mushrooms and won't eat them if he sees them going into any dish. I watched and grinned with evil laughter in my head as he turned to me with a big smile and said "Wow, this was really good! You should make up another batch to throw in the freezer for lunches!" I then watched that smile turn upside down as I let him in on the secret of what he just ate. Is that wrong if I got some sort of sick pleasure out of that? Hee hee! Oh well, maybe he will finally realize they are not so bad after all and he will give them more chances in the future!


  1. Oh, you are SO a fun way. I kinda giggled as I read the post tonight, because I like to do things like that. Safe, secret little quiet fun. That cake looks delicious, so colorful. And I am going to try the dinner recipe, too. Thanks again for your delightful visit. Jancd

  2. Ha! I love that you put mushrooms in! I do that too... I'm convinced I can make people like things they claim not to.

  3. Hee hee, you are so cute!
    As always, a wonderful post accompanied by beautiful pictures.

  4. Joe, both of these recipes I am going to add to my must try list!!! YUM!!!!

  5. This is a riot. Jeph pointed it out to me as a solution to his fussy BF problem. I'm lucky that Conrad eats pretty much anything. It's me, oddly enough, who won't willingly eat button mushrooms. Nasty little things.

    Note to self: be wary of anyone offering me Hamburger Buddy!

  6. That cranberry recipe sounds great. Now that you're in Minneapolis, you may want to take in this cranberry festival. Not too far away.

  7. What a beautiful cake, Joe, I am going to try to find cranberries next time I am out. I have already got a copy of the recipe ready for my friends on the Cape.BTW, yesterday I received a note thanking me for sendig them the recipe for your brownies with the Oreo's in them. They told me that it was the best dessert that was available. They put them in small cupcake papers, cut them small, because they are so rich. It was a huge hit.Now you have another whole family that loves your cooking. Thank you, Rita

  8. Great alternative to Hamburger Helper. I never eat it because despite the sodium content, it lacks any flavor. Flavor is a must.

    You are right! The cranberry layer is a wonderful contrast to the crumb. Quite vibrant and pleasing to look at, as well as eat.

  9. No, it's not wrong at all, it is deliciously sneaky :)

  10. That slice of Cranberry-Hazelnut Coffeecake looks amazing. The cake looks soft and fluffy, the middle look moist and the topping looks decadently sweet. I like the use of tart cranberries!

  11. Jancd - Let me know if you give it a try!

    Brilynn - Yes, Jeff has tried so many things that were on his "I don't like" and found out that maybe he does like them!

    Anon - hee hee! Thanks!

    Pat - I hope you like them as much as we did!

    Peter - Okay, okay so I won't serve Hamburger buddy if I were to ever have a chance to serve you a meal! I don't think this will change Jeff's mind, but that doesn't mean I will stop trying!

    Anon - awesome! Thank you for that link!

    Rita - Very cool! Lots of brownies for everyone!

    Christina - That dish really did win us over compared to that boxed version. I can't completely compare them though since it has been ages since I've even bought a box of that.

    Cynthia - Good!

    Kevin - Thank you!

  12. And absolutely noone comes to my defense...I see how things are!

    So while it was indeed very good, I do not like mushrooms.....

  13. The Cranberry-Hazelnut Coffeecake was superb. I hadn’t tasted anything quite like that, and I loved it.

  14. Just made the Hamburger Buddy last night, and it was a hit with my non-mushroom-loving husband! Six generous servings for sure... I will be passing this recipe along. Thanks for all the healthy ideas you send our way.

  15. Dlaokc - Great! I really like how this turned out while sneaking in those mushrooms!