Since my oldest child, Colton, was born 14 years ago, I have been an avid scrapbooker. When I grab one of my older scrapbooks, of course it’s delightful to look back on my children’s milestones and our big family celebrations such as birthdays and Christmas. But, I have the most fun re-living those small, spontaneous moments in our lives. Splashing around in rain puddles while wearing colorful rubber boots. Spending an entire afternoon building a pillow and blanket fort. Rescuing Grandpa’s favorite hat from the lake during an eventful boat ride. It’s these small moments that enrich our lives and build happy memories.
Last night, my 11-year-old daughter, McKenna, studied the term "canyon" for a landforms quiz. I asked her what she had remembered about our visit to the Grand Canyon 5 years earlier. She responded, "I remember the chipmunk who was eating a strawberry where we parked our car." I had to chuckle. She had visited one of the world’s most awe-inspiring sites, but the hungry rodent was her strongest memory. (He was pretty cute!)
On another family vacation, we spent an action-packed week in Colorado. We visited a former gold mine, toured a cavern, and hiked in the mountains. That was just the first two days! What do my kids still rave about from this trip? Why, the resort’s free hot cocoa which was available daily in the gift shop. Once again, those small details matter.
Which brings me to this Scandinavian Almond Puff recipe. My husband and I both grew up eating a variation of this recipe. My mom’s recipe is called, "Danish Puff" and my mother-in-law’s is called, "Doris Engstrom’s Coffee Cake." They both involve a pastry crust, a custard-like filling and a powdered sugar glaze with almond flavoring. There is always a fun garnish, anything from almonds to walnuts to colorful sprinkles.
When I was growing up, this special coffee cake was reserved for Christmas and Easter brunches plus occasional birthday breakfasts. This was the case in Brant’s house, too. I’ve followed suit and serve it on significant holidays as well. But, all this reflection on the small moments in life got me thinking. We don’t need to wait for a special holiday to enjoy a recipe we all love. So I proceeded to make the Scandinavian Almond Puff on a regular (GASP!) Wednesday.
The Scandinavian Almond Puff has 3 layers and some of the ingredients are used more than once. Overall, you will need butter, flour, water, eggs, almond extract, powdered sugar, milk and sliced almonds.
Heat the oven to 350° F degrees. Place 1 cup flour in a large bowl. Cut in ½ cup softened butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. A fork worked very well for me, but a pastry blender can also be used.
Stir in 2 tablespoons of water with the fork until the flour mixture is just moistened.
Shape the dough into a ball.
Pat the dough into a 10-inch circle on an ungreased baking sheet. This is the first time I have made a circular version of this recipe. I usually make it in long, about 6-inch wide, strips.
For the next layer, combine 1 cup water and ½ cup butter in a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a full boil and the butter is melted. This should take about 6 to 8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 cup flour and 1 teaspoon almond extract.
Turn the heat to low. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball. This happens within 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add 1 egg. Beat with a wooden spoon or wire whisk until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Repeat this process with the other two eggs.
Spread the egg mixture over the pastry circle...
And then bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the surface is crisp and golden. Cool completely.
Next up, the glaze. The glaze is our favorite part of the coffee cake. My mother-in-law has been known to double her ingredients for this layer. Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon softened butter and ½ teaspoon almond extract in a small bowl until well mixed. Add enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to obtain the desired consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the puff.
For the garnish, sprinkle the sliced almonds over the top.
We thoroughly enjoyed this recipe on an ordinary Wednesday morning. Our family was not celebrating a momentous occasion, but enjoying a special mid-week breakfast. And the strawberries on our plates are tribute to the Grand Canyon chipmunk, who reminds us to savor life’s small details.
Try Scandinavian Almond Puff for your next family breakfast, and make sure to come back and rate and review the recipe.
Come back when Liz shares about making Spicy Chicken Wings, a favorite of her family.
Tami is paid to write for the Land O’Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.