I think I have finally accepted that winter is upon us. Two nights ago I was standing in my kitchen, washing dishes, and I noticed that the sidewalk outside looked wet. “It must be raining…”, I had thought.
Twenty minutes later, another glance revealed a few inches of powdery white snow. I turned off the kitchen lights and stared out at the frenzy of flakes. It was enchanting and a tiny bit exciting. We ended up getting about 6 inches that night. Our warm Colorado sunshine melted most of it the next day.
Seeing that kind of snowfall makes me think of all the upcoming things this winter season that we are looking forward to. In about a month from now Zack and I will go to the US Forest Service station to get our Christmas tree permit, and start the hunt for our tree. Then it will be Thanksgiving, one of my favorite food holidays. I love feeding people. Before we know it, there will be Christmas shopping, holiday lights, and abundant food. This time of year always goes so fast. Right after the holidays, we are bringing a new puppy into our home! Something we have been waiting quite awhile for. I’m curious how Bennycat will take it all.
The last few days have been busy busy. See what I’ve been up to? Cookie testing! Thanks again to everyone who has given their input and sent in recipes. I think you all will really enjoy this upcoming book. I know how powerful food memories can be, and I hope that this enables some of you to experience your high altitude holidays in a new light.
Because you can’t eat cookies for breakfast all the time, I made this coffeecake yesterday. Driving back from Denver last week, I’d stopped and bought some beautiful organic pears. We haven’t been eating them as quickly as I had thought, so this cake was the perfect way to use them up.
The best coffeecakes have a tender batter that is moistened by something thick and creamy- like sour cream, yogurt, or buttermilk. Add a ribbon of pears, cinnamon, and brown sugar, plus a crumbly topping and toasted walnuts. The result is a pleasant cake that’s not too sweet. Also take note- in one of the photos it looks like it sticks to the cake pan a lot – not the case, rather, this was an impatient me trying to cut the cake hot from the oven.
While we’re on the holiday theme, this would be a fitting treat to serve these next three months- add some candied ginger, nutmeg, and a handful of fresh cranberries before you bake it. Yum!
Happy baking, all.
How to make this high altitude adjusted recipe:
Walnut Pear Coffeecake
Adapted from Taste of Home magazine
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 pears, peeled and cut into ¼" slices
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- Preheat your oven to 350 F.
- Grease a 10" springform pan.
- Make the filling by combining the brown sugar and cinnamon. Have the walnuts and sliced pears ready and set aside.
- To make the topping, blend the cold butter cubes into the flour with a pastry cutter or two forks, until crumbly. Set aside with the walnuts.
- Start the cake by creaming the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at time, and beat well after each addition.
- Add the vanilla.
- In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the batter alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour.
- Mix until just combined.
- Spread half the batter into the bottom of the prepared springform pan.
- Fan the pear slices on top of the batter. This will seem like a lot of pear but it works.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of the pears, followed by the walnuts.
- Spread the remaining batter over the brown sugar-pear layer.
- Sprinkle the topping over the batter, along with the remaining walnuts.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is a light golden brown and the center springs back when lightly touched.
Note: This recipe was adjusted for high altitude baking. To make at sea level, increase the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon, and increase baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon. Baking times may vary.