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Very Raspberry Very Merry Coffee Cake with Chocolate

Raspberry Coffee Cake with Chocolate
The good life is about good relationships, with others and of course with God. Here is another recipe designed to share with someone else, to be part of the means for beginning or improving a relationship. "To make a friend, be a friend," as the saying is, and what better way to make a friend than to invite that person over for some nice hot tea and a slice or two of this coffee cake? Everyone has a story, and many people have many stories. If you listen carefully, you can learn a lot about life from the experiences of others--and in the process, you'll be deemed a great conversationalist, even though you mostly listen and react with sympathy or encouragement.

We could have called this a "kneadless indulgence," but then we might be accused of engaging in punny business. So, straight up, then, this is a no-kneading needed coffee cake.  It's easy to make.  Even a novice baker can turn out this delightful coffee cake. One of the secrets is the use of yeast and eggs; together they produce a body consistency in between that of a cake (light and fluffy) and that of bread (substantial and firm). The result is a perfect texture on your palate as you eat this while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee. So smooth and delicious. You'll want seconds. And don't worry about using yeast. It's really easy and works great. If you've never used yeast in a recipe before, this is an excellent first recipe to try.

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast (or 1 package yeast = 1/4 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of butter, cubed
2 eggs (room temperature)
2/3 cup of raspberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman)
1/4 cup of milk chocolate chips (add more if you are a chocolate lover)

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk

Rspberry Coffee Cake with Chocolate 2
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt.  In a small saucepan, heat the water, milk, and butter to 120-130 degrees.  Add to the dry ingredients.  Beat just until moistened.  Beat in the eggs until the overall texture is smooth (using a mixer is fine).  Continue to beat in the remaining flour to form a soft dough.  The dough will be sticky. 

Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and put the bowl in a warm place to let it rise. It should double in size in about 40 to 50 minutes.

The dough will be filled with air bubbles from the action of the yeast. Stir the dough down, releasing the air. Spoon 1/2 of the dough into a greased, 9-inch springform pan.  Spread 1/3 of a cup of the raspberry preserves over the top of the dough.  Sprinkle the milk chocolate chips over the top, too.  Add the remaining dough and spread evenly over the filling.  Then spread the remaining raspberry preserves over the top of the dough.

Place the pan in the oven, uncovered, and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Remove the coffee cake and let it cool.  Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.

Combine confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency.

A really dramatic presentation might be to put fresh fruit on top of the cake. That is, put a handful of fresh raspberries on top in the drizzle before it solidifies (to help the berries stay put and not roll off when you serve slices). Another idea is to try blackberry or boysenberry preserves in place of raspberry, or some more unusual berry preserves (loganberry?) or health conscious (blueberry?)

Yes, I know. It seems as if life has gotten so busy that we don't have time to get together for simple friendship anymore. In his bachelor days in graduate school, Bob tried to combine study and friendship by suggesting to a young woman he was interested in at the time that the two of them get together and study. She laughed at him. Graduate students are pretty busy, but they usually find time for some sort of fellowship. Check your schedule again and see if you can't fit in a friend here and there. And instead of offering to study, offer to share some raspberry and chocolate coffee cake. Who could resist that appeal?

In his book Pensees, Blaise Pascal reminds us, "We do not grow tired of eating and sleeping day after day, because hunger and fatigue return; without them we should be bored." He goes on to add, "It would be the same without hunger for spiritual things: we should be bored" (Lafuma 725). Hmm. Two hungers that require regular feeding. Add to that the fact that we're communal beings, designed to be in relationship. "Whoever isolates himself pursues selfish ends," the Book of Proverbs tells us; "he resists all sound advice" (Proverbs 18:1, International Standard Version). So, food (of course raspberry chocolate coffee cake is food), fellowship, and faith make a great combination for satisfying the soul richly and robustly.

Other recipes of note
Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Chicken Salad Tea Sandwiches
Very Raspberry Very Merry Coffee Cake with Chocolate
Spinach and Bacon Quiche
Lemon Cupcake Surprise
Quadruple Chocolate Brownies
Intensely Lemon Cookies
Macaroni and Cheese Supreme

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