Monday, April 22, 2013

Tate's Bake Shop

Long Island bakery Tate's Bake Shop is famous for its chocolate chip cookies. How do I know this? Well, the press release said so. Apparently bakery founder Kathleen King's recipe has received recognition from Consumer Reports, and Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. Hmpf. You all know Rachael doesn't impress me. But what is impressive is that King won the Specialty Food Association's 2011 sofi Gold award for Outstanding Cookie. But what does this all mean? Do the cookies taste good?

The answer is...drumroll please...yes!

Tate's sent us a sample bag of their gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, and I must say - they are pretty damn good. Crispy and buttery-tasting, Tate's cookies contain a goodly amount of chocolate, and are pretty much indistinguishable from a gluten-full cookie apart from a slightly sandy after-texture.

These cookies are hitting the Baltimore area and should be available at Whole Foods, MOM's - My Organic Market, Fresh Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wegman's. If you'd rather make your own cookies, there's also a new cookbook. Called Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends, it contains recipes for scones, tarts, and quick breads as well as about 40 cookie recipes.

What struck my fancy as I perused the book for the first time was the recipe for pineapple upside-down cake. Kathleen King used a lovely cheat for the topping - toffee bits - which add more caramelly flavor than the usual brown sugar and a bonus of tiny almond bits. The other thing I liked about the recipe was that the eggs were added whole. So many traditional recipes for pineapple upside-down cake require that the eggs be separated and the whites whipped before adding. King's recipe is completely un-fussy and produces a moist and tender cake that might be the best pineapple upside-down cake I've ever tried.

I have to add one important direction to the recipe - place the skillet or baking pan on a cookie sheet! I didn't do this and the toffee oozed up one side of the pan and over onto the bottom of the stove, sending plumes of smoke everywhere as it burnt. Fortunately, I keep a sheet of heavy-duty foil on the bottom of the oven and was able to whisk it out of there and replace it (carefully) while the cake was still baking.

Pineapple Toffee Upside-Down Cake (adapted from Tate's Bake Shop: Baking for Friends)

1 20-oz can pineapple rings
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, 4 tablespoons sliced, 8 at room temperature
1 cup toffee bits (I used Heath Bits 'O' Brickle baking pieces)
7 maraschino cherries, drained, stems removed
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain nonfat or low-fat Greek yogurt

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350F.

Drain the pineapple, discarding the juice (theminx says: make a pina colada!). Reserve seven pineapple rings. Coarsely chop the rest and set aside.

Melt the 4 tablespoons of sliced butter in a 9" ovenproof skillet (or a 9x2 round cake pan - I used a 9" square glass pan) over medium heat. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the toffee bits evenly into the skillet. Arrange the pineapple rings in the skillet, placing a cherry in the center of each one.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and 8 tablespoons of room temperature butter with an electric mixer set to high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, followed by the vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the yogurt in 2 equal additions, mixing until just smooth after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix. Stir in the chopped pineapple. Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple rings and cherries in the skillet.

Bake until the top is golden brown and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the inside of the skillet to loosen the cake. Place a serving plate over the skillet, and, using pot holders, invert the skillet and plate together to unmold the cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats.

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