Sunday, March 27, 2011

Daring Bakers' March Challenge - Filled Meringue Coffee Cake


Oh, heavens to murgatroyd!

I love a good yeast bread. What can I say? I am addicted to the theraputic feeling of kneading.

I adore chocolate. I mean, I am female!

I am a little nutty for nuts and spices, too. So this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge for the Filled Meringue Coffee Cake was very exciting. I just knew it would be fantastic. In fact, I didn't have anything I wanted to change about the filling. Except... I did sneak a few white chocolate chips and bitter chocolate into the mix.

This Month's challenge was courtesy of  Jamie of Life’s a Feast and Ria of Ria’s Collection. . Jamie offered us a chocolate and nut version while Ria had a savory version with Garam Masala and Saffron. Both were tempting, but the chocolate won out in the end. This recipe will make 2 coffee cakes, but you can half the recipe.

For the Coffee Cake You will need:
4 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. water
1/2 c. unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 large eggs, at room temp.

Combine 1 1/2 c. of flour, sugar, salt and your yeast in a bowl and set aside. 

In a small saucepan heat up your milk, water and butter. Just till the butter melts. Add this to the flour mixture. With an electric mixer on low, beat until well blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and 1 c. of flour and beat for another 2 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in enough remaining flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 8 -10 minutes till it is soft, smooth and elastic. Add the remaining 1 1/2 c. of flour only as necessary. A soft and slightly sticky dough will be more tender when baked.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with wrap and then a towel. Allow it to rise for 45-60 minutes until it has doubled in bulk.

At this time you can prepare your filling. 
For the Filling you will need:
1 c. chopped pecans
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a combo of white chocolate, semi-sweet, and bitter)

In a smaller bowl I combined:
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Once the dough has risen, you can make your meringue.

You will need:
3 large egg whites at room temp
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar

Beat the egg whites with the salt. Start at a low speed and then gradually increase it. When you have foamy and opaque egg whites, add the vanilla and slowly add the sugar. Continue beating till you form very stiff, glossy peaks.

Divide your dough in half and wrap your extra half in wrap while you make your first coffee cake.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out your dough to 20" by 10" rectangle. 

Then spread half your meringue on it and sprinkle with half the sugar mixture, and half the chocolate and nuts. Then roll it up like a jellyroll from the long side. Transfer your log to a baking sheet with parchment paper (this will catch any chocolate meringue spill-overs!) and form into a ring. With kitchen shears cut slits into the side of your log.


Repeat this with your remaining ingredients. Cover your coffee cakes with plastic and let them rise for another 45 to 60 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Brush your coffee cakes with an egg wash before baking for 25-35 minutes. They will be golden brown and will sound hollow when tapped. For a finishing touch, you can dust them lightly with powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Enjoy!

Check back every month on the 27th for the Daring Bakers' Challenge reveal. Until then, happy baking!
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