Coffee cake to please a bacon lover
We were opening Christmas gifts when my much better half dropped a package on my lap - a cold, heavy package. Curious (and suddenly chilly), I opened it. Bacon. Six pounds of artisan bacon, from thick-cut hickory-smoked to jalapeño-spiced and apple-cinnamon, varieties hailing from Virginia to Upstate New York, Texas to Tennessee. Now if that's not true love, I don't know what is. I'm a bacon fanatic. In or out of the kitchen, sometimes it's all I can think about: the vibrant red as it cooks, the smokiness, the subtle crunch, the sizzle, the wonderful aroma that will not be denied. And bacon works so well in so many dishes, from soups and salads to chili and stuffed pork chops. Layer it in burgers or use it as garnish, wrapped seductively around fillets or brats for a little extra flavor.
Apple Bacon Coffee CakeMakes 16 servings 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk 1 package active dry yeast (21/2 teaspoons) 1/3 cup sugar, divided 3 eggs, divided 10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 31/2 cups bread flour, divided 1/2 teaspoon salt 11/2 pounds thick-cut bacon, preferably applewood- smoked, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces 1 pound tart apples, such as Granny Smith (about 2 large) 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup maple syrup, divided 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur 1/3 cup sliced almonds 2 tablespoons cream cheese 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, sifted 1. In a small pan, heat the milk over medium heat just until warmed. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, then set aside until the yeast is activated and the milk is foamy, about 10 minutes. 2. Whisk two of the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Stir in the yeast mixture and remaining sugar until fully incorporated. 3. With the mixer running, add the butter, one or two pieces at a time, until all of it has been incorporated. 4. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the bread flour and the salt. With the mixer running, add the flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, until all of it has been incorporated into the dough. 5. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and elastic with a silky texture, 5 to 7 minutes. Knead in additional bread flour as needed, up to the remaining 1/2 cup. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 11/2 hours. 6. While the dough is rising, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently so the bacon cooks evenly and does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1/4 cup of the grease for the remainder of the recipe. 7. Peel and core the apples, and slice each into eight pieces. Cut each slice crosswise into 1/8-inch pieces. 8. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons bacon grease over medium heat. Stir in the apple slices and cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 tablespoons maple syrup and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender, another 2 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the amaretto. Place the pan back over medium heat and cook until the liqueur is mostly absorbed, about 1 minute, stirring to scrape any bits of flavoring from the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. 9. When the dough is doubled, punch it down and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the apples and bacon bits evenly over the dough. 10. Roll the dough lengthwise into a tube (like a cinnamon roll), making sure the seam is on the bottom of the roll. Make 15 slits over the length of the roll, a little over 1 inch apart and three-fourths of the way through. Carefully transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Form the dough into the shape of a wreath, with the cut sides on the outside of the wreath. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside until almost doubled in volume, 45 minutes to an hour. Alternatively, loosely cover and refrigerate the dough overnight; remove from the refrigerator about 1 hour before baking for the dough to come to room temperature. 11. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon maple syrup with the remaining egg. Brush the egg wash over the outside of the wreath. Sprinkle the sliced almonds over the wreath and place the pan in the oven. 12. Bake the coffee cake until it's golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through baking for even coloring. 13. While the coffee cake is baking, make the glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon bacon grease and maple syrup. 14. Remove the cake and brush the top with the remaining tablespoon bacon grease. Allow the cake to cool slightly. 15. Drizzle the glaze over the warm coffee cake. Slice and serve. The cake will keep for up to two days if refrigerated, but cover it and bring it to room temperature before serving.
- From the Los Angeles TimesNote: Grade B maple syrup is recommended for this recipe; the syrup is less filtered, so it has more pronounced flavor. The coffee cake can be made through Step 10 the night before; loosely cover and refrigerate the dough overnight, then warm at room temperature for one hour before baking. Per serving: 373 calories, 11 grams protein, 37 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams fat, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 427 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Roasted Potato SaladMakes 8-10 servings 4 pounds new or fingerling potatoes, cleaned and halved lengthwise 3/4 teaspoon chopped garlic 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 pound thick-cut bacon 1 cup mayonnaise 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard, or to taste 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste 1/2 red onion, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 1/8-inch slices 1/4 cup capers 1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the garlic, olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Place the potatoes in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the potatoes until golden brown and tender, about 1 hour, tossing occasionally. Remove and cool. 2. While the potatoes are roasting, cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 15 minutes. Stir frequently, watching that the bacon does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and drain the bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate, reserving the grease from the pan for another use. 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and red wine vinegar. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Taste and adjust mustard, vinegar and seasoning if desired.
- From the Los Angeles TimesPer serving: 420 calories, 11 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams fat, 29 milligrams cholesterol, 696 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.