My son started his first job this week. It’s a sucky job, but I’m sure everyone’s first job is sucky. I mean, my first job was cleaning houses for friends of my parents. It was Saturday mornings. Strike one. The pay was awful. Strike two. And I had to clean toilets. Strike three. To this day I HATE cleaning toilets. But it was my first real job.
Of course I’ve had a multitude of crappy jobs since that one but I think that’s par for the course. It’s part of growing up. Figuring out what you want and don’t want to do for the rest of your life. And there’s nothing like cleaning toilets to figure that one out real quick.
So he came home from his first day completely stressed out and feeling lost and overwhelmed and looking in the pantry for comfort. His go to comfort food happens to be cereal. Not just any cereal, it has to be sugar-laden, teeth rotting French Toast Crunch drowning in copious amounts of 2%.
So, like any good mother, I stocked the pantry with two boxes this week. I most definitely remember my first job.
Quick And Easy Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
This coffee cake lives up to its name - Quick and Easy! And it's so deliciously tasty they'll never know that it all started with a cake mix!
1 box vanilla cake mix (any brand)
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Use butter or cooking spray to grease and and then lightly flour a bundt pan. Set it aside.
With an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix with the water, vegetable oil, whole eggs, egg yolk, flour, and vanilla until the batter is smooth. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and espresso powder.
Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bundt pan. Sprinkle half of the cocoa sugar mixture over the batter. Pour another 1/3 of batter over the cocoa sugar mixture. Sprinkle the other half of the cocoa sugar mixture and then pour the remainder of the batter to cover.
Use a knife to swirl the batter and sugar mixture by inserting the knife into the cake and turning the knife before pulling up. Repeat all the way around the cake.
Bake the cake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool before turning it out.
I can smell the fresh Spring air after a light misting of rain. I can hear the chirps of various birds and the melodious sounds of waves lapping against the sides of boats as they casually float along enjoying a leisurely Sunday afternoon. There is a definite calmness that surrounds me as I close my eyes and savor the beauty that is around me.
I am perched on a wrought iron chair, seated at a little table covered in crisp, white linen. My newly purchased sunglasses shade my eyes from the sun while its gentle rays warm my skin. Coming from somewhere behind me is the distant sound of a scooter that I imagine is carrying a young couple away from the bustle of the city to a special place where they will spend the afternoon gazing into each others eyes, dreaming of the future before them.
I sip on my expertly made cappuccino and revel in the sights, sounds and smells that can only be experienced while in this one spot, next to the River Seine. At this time, there are a few tourists resting their weary feet a few tables away, as well as a few others taking a moment or two to enjoy the afternoon with a coffee and a treat. But I am alone in my thoughts. I am alone to wait and watch, to smell and taste, and to enjoy, without anything or anyone to take me away from here, this spot. To just sit and be.
I am surrounded with a hug of beauty and inner peace in this small slice of Heaven.. It feels like a dream… like a dream… like a dream… shit, it’s a dream.
Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? It is simply a delicious, buttery treat like only the French can make!
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest from 2 limes
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup butter, melted, plus additional butter for pan
1/4 cup icing (powdered, confectionery) sugar
zest of 1 lime
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat together the honey and sugar to ensure that there are no lumps when combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a couple of minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture thickens slightly and begins to turn pale yellow in color. Mix in the vanilla extract, lime zest, lime juice, and coconut extract.
Gently fold in, by hand, half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Add the remaining half of the flour mixture and repeat, careful not to over mix.
Separate the batter into two bowls. Add half of the melted butter into one of the bowls of batter and use a rubber spatula to fold the butter into the batter until the batter is glossy and homogenous. Transfer this batter into the bowl with the other batter and mix gently. Add the remaining butter and fold it in until it is well incorporated and the batter is glossy and smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap, directly onto the surface, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Brush a madeleine pan lightly with melted butter and then dust lightly with flour. Tap out any excess flour. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons of batter. The batter is quite thick so you can use a piping bag to pipe the batter into the shell, or simply transfer batter with a spoon. Use a lightly buttered finger to gently press the batter into the shell. The batter will rise and fill the shell, so you don't need to press all the way to the edges.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden brown and madeleines spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and immediately flip the madeleines onto a tea towel or cooling rack to cool completely.
Sprinkle icing (powdered, confectionery) sugar and the zest of a lime over each madeleine to serve.
Best served the same day they are made, however, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.