Monday, June 27, 2011

Cinnamon Squares

For my birthday I got two cookbooks: Baking, from my homepage to yours, by Dorie Greenspan and The perfect scoop by David Lebovitz. Although these books are already well known in a lot of countries. Over here they aren't, so I'm very happy with these books. You should probably prepare yourself for a lot of recipes by Dorie and David.

While reading Dorie's book my eye was caught by a lot of yummy looking things, among which these Cinnamon Squares. As we've had a lot of rain these past few days I was in the mood for a heartwarming pick-me-up. These squares called out to me. Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices and one I especially love on cold days.

The recipe was easy to follow and the end result was everything I hoped it would be. Fragrant, flavourful and heartwarming. And although the filling sunk to the bottom (again, I know) it still tasted great. And for a change I know why the filling sunk. I used normal chocolate chips instead of mini ones....

I will definetely make this more often! It's recipes like this one that have me yearning for fall!


Cinnamon Squares

Yield: 9 large, 12 medium or 16 small squares


For the cake:
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. (350 degrees F.).

Butter an 8-inch square baking pan or something close to it. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a small bowl stir together 2 tablespoons of sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and the espresso.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, the remaining sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining cinnamon.

In another bowl whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and whisk gently until you have a homogenous batter.

With a whisk or a rubber spatula fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth, satiny batter.

Scrape half the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, invert it onto the first rack and let cool to room temperature, right side up.

To make the frosting:

Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.

Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it thins out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable.

Using an offset metal icing spatula or a table knife, spread the frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut into squares.

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