Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Jan 28, 2006 at 7:53pm

Whew. Home from Willmar (not fun driving on Highway 12, in the dark, in the rain). Amanda’s shower was fun and cozy at LuLu Bean’s coffee house, if you happen to be in Willmar looking for a cup of coffee, go there, it’s adorable. Amanda (pictured here with her future mother-in-law, my aunt Mary) got lots of cool presents. The collection of various coffee cakes and fruit came together beautifully and we all had plenty of sweets! The Norwegian Wedding Cake (in pic), crafted by my aunt Mary’s friend Rachel Wilcox, was not just gorgeous, but delicious. None of us could keep our hands off of it. Almond pastry, sigh, I’m such a sucker for almond pastry. And then afterward – before and after my call in to Chowhounds at 1:45 p.m. – we had lunch at Green Mill. Which is pretty funny, since we had dinner there last night, too. And I ordered the same thing both days, it was so good. A Killian’s Red beer with a side of Pub Steak Sandwich. Naughty thing, but quite delicious, obviously, or I wouldn’t have ordered it two days in a row.

I don’t know if you caught my little interview with Chef Andrew Zimmern on Chowhounds FM107, but it sure was fun to do. I was insanely nervous (and giggly as a result, irritating) which is silly given how cool and easy to talk to Andrew is. He’s awesome. And so sweet for having me on. If you listened today, thank you! That makes me feel great! And thank you for reading my blog. And checking out the recipes. And cooking them and telling me about it. I’m truly honored and excited. And lucky. Wow.

So, I promised a picture of and recipe from my aunt Marge, and I acquired both (recipe for Cranberry Cream Coffee Cake is in comments, below; it is incredible). I stayed at her, and her husband, my uncle Jim’s, house last night. Marge is the tidiest person I know and you know what? It is a pleasure to stay in someone else’s tidy home. Beautiful room, super-comfy bed, pile of soft pillows, with sheets that smelled clean and fresh. I slept like a rock, which I don’t often do in someone else’s home. She also has the BEST collection of scented soaps and lotions of anyone I know. I sampled Thymes Ginger Milk and Crabtree & Evelyn Lavender lotions, both fab. Most people think, oh, that’s too bad, you’re going to Willmar (and then they think, wherever that is…). But not me. Between my two beautiful, awesome aunts, and their beautiful awesome homes (and my cool uncles too, of course!), I LOVE going out to Willmar.

It feels like Sunday night, but I’m so glad it’s not! A day to chill out a bit tomorrow, make a plan for dinner, hit Byerly’s, get back in my swing. We’re having friends for dinner, and Stacey too. Can’t wait to see how much soon-to-be-born Baby Boom Boom has grown!

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  1. By Marge on January 29, 2006 at 8:41PM

    Stephanie the soup was delicious! I will definitely make that again. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. By Stephanie on January 29, 2006 at 11:05AM

    Cranberry Cream Coffee Cake
    Marge Andresen
    Makes two coffee cakes, 12 slices each

    ½ c. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
    2 envelopes active dry yeast
    ¾ c. sifted powdered sugar
    1 tsp. salt
    ½ c. dairy sour cream
    ½ c. (1 stick) butter, melted
    2 eggs
    4 ½ c. unsifted all-purpose flour
    Cream Cheese Filling (recipe follows)
    Cranberry Filling (recipe follows)
    Powdered Sugar Glaze (recipe follows)

    Pour warm water into large bowl (water should feel comfortably warm to fingertips). Sprinkle yeast over water; stir to dissolve. Let stand 5 minutes.

    Add powdered sugar, salt, sour cream, butter, eggs and 2 cups of the flour. Mix at low speed until thoroughly blended; then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 more cups of flour, ½ cup at a time.

    Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes, adding up to ½ cup of the remaining flour, until smooth and elastic. Place dough in large oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover and let rise in warm place, away from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (Marge’s tip for tender, moist bread: to prevent sticking while kneading, coat your hands and kneading surface with soft butter, instead of adding lots more flour. Works beautifully.)

    Punch dough down; knead briefly. Divide dough in half. Roll out one-half into 12 x 10 inch rectangle. Spread half the Cream Cheese Filling in 3-inch wide strip lengthwise down the center. Spread half the Cranberry Filling over the Cream Cheese Filling. Cut 3 inch long strips toward center at 1 inch intervals on each of the long sides. Twist strips twice; bring strips over filling, alternating from one side to the other; seal tightly. Place on greased cookie sheet.

    Repeat with remaining dough and fillings, to make a second coffee cake. Cover and let rise in warm place, away from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

    Bake in preheated 350 degrees to 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool coffee cakes slightly on wire racks. Drizzle with glaze.

    (Stephanie’s note: I know my aunt has frozen this very successfully. Because I’ve eaten it after thawing, and it was delicious.)

    Cream Cheese Filling
    1 (8-oz.) pckg. softened cream cheese
    ½ c. unsifted powdered sugar

    Combine cream cheese and sugar; mix until blended.

    Cranberry Filling
    1 can (16 oz.) whole berry cranberry sauce
    2 Tbsp. cornstarch
    ¼ tsp. almond extract

    Combine cranberry sauce and cornstarch in small saucepan; stir to mix well. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. Cool to room temperature.

    Powdered Sugar Glaze
    1 c. unsifted powdered sugar
    1 tsp. butter, softened
    ¼ tsp. almond extract
    1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

    Combine powdered sugar, butter, and almond extract in small bowl until well blended. Gradually stir in milk until good glazing consistency.

  3. By Stephanie on January 29, 2006 at 11:03AM

    Hi Marge! You're so welcome, I had such a good time. I published the coffee cake recipe, below. Can't wait to make it myself. The grocery store is Costco, address is 5801 16th Street West
    St. Louis Park, 55416.

    Hmm...on the printing. You could try highlighting what you want to print, then choose print, and then choose to print the selection. Or, you could highlight the recipe, copy it, and paste it into a new Word document, then print it out of Word. You can save it there too, with your other recipes. Let me know if that works. And how the soup is! Talk to you soon, and thanks again, love, Stephanie

  4. By Marge Andresen on January 29, 2006 at 10:45AM

    Good Morning Stephanie,
    Thanks for all the kind words said about me and our home. It is a pleasure to have you stay with us. You're the BEST!

    I need your help. I'm trying to find the address of the wholesale grocery store in St.Louis Park. It is the store Susanna shope, Cusco's or Kusco's, I don't know. Help!

    I plan on serving your Tortilla Soup tonight for supper. I am looking forward to it.

    When I try and print your recipes, only the first page prints, and then I just get the border and no words. What I'm I doing wrong?

    Enjoy today, and give Stacey a hug for me.

    Love ya, Marge