Johnny’s Crumb Cake

Johnny's crumb cake

I think the first time I saw or even heard of Johnny Iuzzini was when he was a judge on Top Chef.  To me, there isn’t anything much cooler than a motorcycle riding, modern-day Elvis looking guy with tattoos who also happens to be a pastry chef.  Super cool!  I saw Johnny wrote a new book, Sugar Rush, but unfortunately, I was not able to cross it off my Christmas wish list. Luckily I came across this crumb cake recipe from his book, so I thought I would try a recipe before I bought it.  Since it will probably be a long time before I get to taste one of his actual desserts, making one of Johnny’s recipes is the next best thing. And, crumb cake is a perfect place to start because everyone in my family loves coffee cake. What I love about this recipe is that as a pastry chef, besides the traditional measurements, all the ingredients are given by weight. Baking is about being precise and if you say you aren’t a baker, this is the way to get good results every time as long as you have a good, reliable recipe. No measuring cups are needed, you just keep adding ingredients and zeroing out the scale for each new ingredient. I had my scale for like a year before I used it because for some reason, even as a pharmacist, using it was intimidating probably because it was just different from what I was used to. But now, if there are weight measurements, I use them.  You won’t believe the difference.

A few notes about this recipe. First, the batter barely covers the pan. I checked the pan size like five times, but it is 13×9.  I was worried that I would have a really short cake. Second, the crumb is very wet and heavy and there is a ton of it compared to the cake. Given those two things, I didn’t think there was any way this recipe would work out. But, I knew I measured everything correctly, so I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the cake rose. The cake is really fluffy and light, compared to some crumb cakes that can be a little dense. The crumb gets really crunchy on top, providing a perfect texture contrast to the cake.  Honestly, no joke, this one of the best crumb cakes I ever had.

Johnny Iuzzini’s Crumb Cake
Yield: 13×9 cake
Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
5½ tablespoons (1/3 cup) unsalted butter (75g)
½ cup granulated sugar (100g)
1 large egg, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream, at room temperature (60g)
⅔ cup milk, at room temperature (160g)
1 tablespoon vanilla (15g)
1 tablespoon baking powder (12g)
pinch of kosher salt
Crumb topping
2¼ cups all-purpose flour (280g)
1¼ cups packed light brown sugar (290g)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (6g)
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (226g)
Instructions:
Take out and measure the ingredients that need to be at room temperature: sour cream, milk, eggs and butter.
Make sure the baking rack is in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350ºF.
Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking pan (I used a metal pan) with Pam. Lightly dust with flour and tap out any excess
In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat the butter and sugar with the paddle until light and fluffy, ~ 3 minutes.
Add in the egg and sour cream. Mix until combined.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the milk and the vanilla.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Sprinkle in the pinch of salt
With the mixer on low, alternately add the wet and dry ingredients. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, unless you a have a beater blade that does this for you
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Note: this barely covers the bottom of the pan.
Now, for the crumb topping:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until uniform.
Pour in the melted butter. Stir until completely moistened. This will be heavy, wet and lots of it. Make sure to use it all.
Roll the mixture between the tips of your fingers to make small balls of crumb
Scatter the topping evenly over the top of the batter in the pan, right from your hands as you roll it. Completely cover the cake batter. It will be about half cake to half crumb.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch and it springs back lightly when pressed.
Note: If the cake is not done in 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 325ºF and continue to bake until done- checking frequently
Remove the cake from the oven. Lightly dust the cake with powdered sugar.
Allow the cake to cool completely and give it a generous dusting of powdered sugar
Source: Sugar Rush by Johnny Iuzzini, as seen on Taste and Tell
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Snickerdoodle Bars

Snickerdoodle bars

Yes, you guessed it, another Pinterest find.  Whenever I see the word snickerdoodle and it’s not a cookie, I am immediately interested. Why? Well, because it’s my husband’s favorite cookie.  But, you can only have so many snickerdoodle cookies.  Or, maybe not, if you are a die-hard snickerdoodle fan.  I have seen quick breads, cupcakes, muffins, even pancakes.  All are worth trying because who doesn’t like just about anything covered in cinnamon sugar?

It was Thursday night and I was supposed to make these snickerdoodle bars for a coworker’s last day in my department.  But, my husband is back coaching volleyball, so by the time I fed and bathed the kids, and then prepared everything for school the next day, I was way too tired.  My husband gets up for work at 5am and I couldn’t go back to sleep.  I don’t start work until 9, so I got up to make the bars.  Let me warn you, the first layer of batter is really hard to spread.  The problem is sticky batter and a well-greased pan are not conducive to spreading.  But, by dolloping and a lot of patience, something I didn’t have much of at 5am, it will spread.  The rest is easy. You just cover it with a generous layer of cinnamon sugar and dollop on the remaining batter.  Luckily, there is no more spreading. You want to see that cinnamon peaking through.  After the bars bake and cool, you drizzle them with a quick vanilla-scented, powdered sugar glaze.  That’s it.

Everyone at work was raving about these bars. I had to grab a small piece, you know, for quality control.  How else could I tell you how they taste?  And, I must say, they taste pretty amazing.  Hands down one of the best things I’ve baked in a while. So, good in fact, I made a another pan for my husband the very next day because I just couldn’t keep the deliciousness of these bars from him.  Justin proceeded to eat 6 bars for dessert, stuffing himself until he was sick.  These bars are so good, he went ahead and did the same thing at breakfast. I guess they’re worth it.

Snickerdoodle Bars
Yield: 13×9 pan

2 1/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon filling

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 tsp of melted butter  Optional   (Note tsp not tbsp)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom only of a 13×9-inch baking pan with Pam. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your KitchenAid, beat butter on high until creamy. Beat in both sugars.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  On low, beat in dry ingredients until combined.

Spoon half of the batter into pan by the dollop.  Spread evenly. It takes awhile to spread the batter since it is sticky and the pan is slick. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly over batter.

Dollop the remaining batter by the teaspoon evenly over cinnamon-sugar

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, turning the pan at 10 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in center. The bars are done when the toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely, ~ 1 hour.

In small bowl, stir glaze ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.  I put the glaze in a Ziploc bag, cut off the corner, and drizzled over the bars.

Source:  Betty Crocker

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Hello everyone!  I feel like I have been gone forever.  We have had a terrible cold virus taking us out one at a time.  First it was my daughter, then baby Alex got croup, then me and now my husband.   Somehow, only Jack was spared, knock on wood.

This month, my friend Eva at Eva Bakes picked pumpkin and sweet potatoes as the theme for What’s Baking.  I am so grateful for the support Eva has always given me and my blog.  Us bakers stick together!  So, if you get a chance, head over to Eva’s wonderful blog and check out her oh so fabulous looking desserts!

As I have said before, my husband is a super picky eater.  But surprisingly, at least to me, he loves sweet potatoes.  I have never baked with them before because I am not really a big fan.  So, I decided to go with pumpkin instead, since we both like it.  I made pumpkin bread a few weeks ago and it was delicious.  But, I wanted to do something different.  I came across these pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing and thought…pumpkin, spices, brown butter, frosting?  Umm..yum!

The batter of these cookies is simple to put together, but then Martha recommends piping the dough onto a cookie sheet.  Well, for 6 dozen cookies, that sounded like it would take forever.  I thought the batter was definitely thick enough to use a cookie scoop for portioning.  They may end up looking a bit nicer Martha’s way (doesn’t it always?), but I thought my way turned out just fine and was a heck of a lot faster.  Although these are called cookies, they have a cake-like texture, more like a whoopie pie.  If you have never made brown butter before, it’s really easy.  You just melt butter in a pan until, you guessed it, it is brown.  You just have to be careful to not go to far and have the bits turn black.  Then, I’m sorry, you will have to start over.  The addition of brown butter to the frosting, instead of the usual softened butter, gave it almost a butterscotch flavor that was crazy delicious!  When I was done frosting the cookies, I let Jack and Sammie eat the last bit of frosting in the bowl while I cleaned up.  All I could hear was Mmmm….Mmmmm  and when I took the bowl away it was almost clean enough to put back in the cabinet.  Sammie didn’t even want to taste the cookies because she hates pumpkin, she says.  Yet, after some convincing, she ate two before I cut her off.   Jack kept saying “These are so good mom”, baby Alex kept pointing to the container to ask for more, and all Justin could say was “Oh.My.God”.  So, yeah, I think my family liked them okay.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Yield:  6 dozen  (I got 4 dozen)

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)   Almost a whole 15 oz can

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time.  Reduce the speed to low.  Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until well blended, ~ 2 minutes. Note:  The mixture will look curdled, don’t worry.  Add flour mixture and mix until combined.  It shouldn’t look curdled anymore.

Martha says:  Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806) and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart. I used a cookie scoop and it worked great.  Bake the cookies, rotating sheets halfway through baking.  When done, the tops should spring back, ~ 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the brown butter icing:

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk    Save the remaining milk to thin the frosting out if it thickens too much while frosting all the cookies

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract     I used vanilla bean paste….I love those specks!

Measure the confectioners’ sugar and put into a large bowl.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Cook the butter, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, ~ 3 minutes. Watch carefully, you want brown bits, not black.  Immediately pour the browned butter into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar.  Make sure to scrape any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan.  Pour in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.   Let sit for a few hours to set before packing up for storage.  Make sure to place wax paper in between each layer to prevent sticking.

Source:  Martha Stewart

Really Good Pumpkin Bread

Fall is here, so that means the wait is finally over.  It is now time to break out the pumpkin!  And just in time, I got the new Cook’s Illustrated magazine and saw a recipe for “really good pumpkin bread”.  Well, that sounds like a challenge to me.  Is it really good pumpkin bread?  I need to find out.  The weird thing about this recipe is that you actually cook the canned pumpkin.  This sort of takes the quick out of quick bread, but according to CI, it is supposed to remove the raw, tinny taste of canned pumpkin.  I never noticed that before, but whatever, I went with it.  I’m sure it also concentrates the pumpkin flavor, which can only be a good thing.  You add the usual fall spices of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, which together make the house smell absolutely amazing as the bread bakes.  You then sprinkle the batter with a delicious cinnamon streusel which gives a nice crunch and spicy sweetness to the top of the bread.

Jack and Sammie wouldn’t even try it.  Oh well, their loss.  My husband, Justin, a pumpkin bread connoisseur, loved it.  He said it wasn’t as dense as other pumpkin breads, but in a good way.  The baby also loved it.  I gave Alex a small piece at a time, so as not to make a big mess.  He kept coming back and enthusiastically using his hands to sign for more.  So is this really good pumpkin bread?  Yes, of course.  I mean, at least in my experience, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated are never wrong.

Really Good Pumpkin Bread

Yield: two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaves (or you can use two 9×5 inch pans, but check for doneness 5 minutes early)

For the Topping: 

5 tablespoons packed (2 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Using your fingers, mix all five ingredients together in small bowl until well combined.  The topping should look like wet sand.  Set aside.

For the bread:

2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine   I omitted

Adjust oven rack to the middle and preheat to 350F. Spray two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray (Pam).  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, ~ 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes so the cream cheese can melt. Whisk until you can’t see pieces of cream cheese and mixture is homogeneous.

Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add the egg mixture to pumpkin mixture. Whisk to combine. Gently fold the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just combined (some small lumps of flour are okay). Fold walnuts into batter, if using. Scrape the batter, half into each of the two sprayed pans. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, ~ 45 to 50 minutes. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove the breads from the pans. Let cool for at least 1½ hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated September/October 2012

Flour Bakery’s Famous Banana Bread

It’s that time again where I have a bunch of brown bananas sitting on my counter, seemingly growing browner by the minute if I don’t finally go and bake something with them.  On most days I would look for a bar or cake recipe, you know, something different.  But, there is something comforting about plain old banana bread and I felt like I could use that today.  Hmmm…what recipe to try is always the question.  I have heard that Flour Bakery makes a mean banana bread.  After all, it must be called Famous Banana Bread for a reason, right?  Everything I have made from the Flour Bakery cookbook has been delicious, so I decided to go with it.

I love to make quick breads because, I guess as the name implies, they are quick. 😀 No yeast and no waiting for dough to rise.  Nope, you just mix your batter, pour it into the pan and pop it into the oven.  It is so easy, that I had the batter mixed and the bread baked while Alex took his morning nap.  Heck, I even had time to take pictures before he was woken up by our dog, who apparently decided Alex had slept enough and plowed through his bedroom door.  I mean, what the heck Walter?  You don’t even like the baby, unless he is eating and dropping food as you wait impatiently below his high chair.  Sorry to get off track, but I am still not happy about that.  Back to the bread. What you end up with is a delicious, moist (Ugh. I hate that word, but I can’t think of another word to describe it) bread packed with banana flavor, just waiting to be slathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar.  Delicious. I can see why it is famous. ;D

Flour Bakery’s Famous Banana Bread

Yield: one 9 x 5 loaf

1 1/2 cups  (210 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (230 grams) sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup (100 grams) canola oil

3 1/2 very ripe, medium bananas, peeled and mashed (1 1/2 cups mashed/340 grams)

2 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream   I used sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup (75 grams) walnut halves, toasted and chopped   I omitted

Position rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 325 F.  Butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat sugar and eggs on medium x 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

On low, slowly drizzle in oil.  Don’t pour it all in at once. You want to pour it in over 1 minute, to keep all the air you just beat into the egg-sugar mixture.  Add the mashed bananas, creme fraiche, and vanilla. Continue to mix on low just until combined.

Using a spatula, fold in dry ingredients and nuts (if using) just until thoroughly combined. No flour streaks should be visible and the nuts evenly distributed.  Pour into the greased loaf pan and smooth top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until golden on top and the center springs back when pressed.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes, then pop out of the pan to finish cooling.

The banana bread can be stored tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temp up to 3 days.  Or, it can be well wrapped and frozen up to 2 weeks.

Source: Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Cafe

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

A few years ago, I came across this snickerdoodle bundt cake recipe.  I knew that my husband would love it because it looked like a cross between his favorite cookie and his favorite cake, pound cake.  But, silly me, I printed out the recipe and filed it into my giant recipe box.  So, of course, it got lost in my abyss of recipes.  Well, I knew my obsession with Pinterest would payoff eventually and it did.  I came across this recipe again and this time, I wasn’t going to take any chances.  I would make it right away!

This cake has the taste and texture of pound cake, but with a hint of brown sugar.  And, who wouldn’t love a ribbon of cinnamon sugar running through the middle?  But, the best part is the coating of cinnamon sugar on the outside.  Not only does this give the cake its snickerdoodle flavor, but it also gives the outside a crispy, cinnamon sugar crust.  Unfortunately, I have had quite a few baking failures past 2 weeks.  So, I was nervous that the problem here would be in the release.  A broken cake can be so frustrating.  But usually for me, it is the bottom that sticks.  So, I just flip it upside down and hide it with whipped cream and strawberries.  It still tastes delicious.  But, to my surprise, this cake released super easily.  It must have been the sugar crust.  Hmmm…maybe I’ll sprinkle a bit of sugar on the pan of my next pound cake?

When I take pictures, I usually take them outside because I have such trouble with light if it isn’t natural.  So, I left a piece of cake on the table for my husband while I took my pictures outside, in the heat, like a crazy person.  (I wonder what my neighbors think?)  All of a sudden, our sliding door swings open and my husband yells, “Oh. My. God!  This has to be the best thing you ever made!”  So, I guess he liked it okay. 😀  Usually, I give out most of what I bake.  But, for this, Justin was not going to share. Nope, he said he’ll eat the whole thing himself by Saturday.  Well, he might have some competition though.  My son, Jack, just had two pieces and was asking if two was all he was allowed to have.   Yes, two is plenty and besides, I think dad is keeping tabs.

Snickerdoodle Bundt Cake

For the cinnamon sugar topping/swirl
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup white sugar

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Mix together until uniformly combined.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 325F.

To make the cinnamon sugar crust: Using a nonstick spray product,  generously spray a 9 inch Bundt pan.  Be careful to spray into all the creases and coat the tube.  Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the cinnamon sugar.  You want to try and evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.  (Pour some cinnamon sugar into the pan and turn the pan like a steering wheel to get it all around the pan.)  Set aside the remaining cinnamon sugar.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat just the butter on medium x 1 minute. Add the white sugar and mix x 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and blade.  Add the brown sugar.  Mix x 2 minutes until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each x 1 minute.  Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream (I did flour-sour cream-flour-sour cream-flour). Beat well until all incorporated.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture over top the batter. Spread the rest of the batter into the pan and sprinkle any remaining sugar mixture over the top.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Source:  Dozen Flours

Blueberry Buckle

Holy cow! Pretty soon I will have made so many recipes from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, you won’t even have to buy it! 😀  The book really is that good.  The other day, I bought three pints of blueberries because they were super cheap.  We ate some, froze some, and  I decided that I had to make the Back in the Day Bakery’s blueberry buckle with the rest.  But, I had to get rid of at least half of this cake or else I would be eating the whole dang thing.  There are worse problems I suppose.  But, I convinced my father in law to swing by and pick some up.  It really didn’t take much convincing.  And, he was nice enough to give me some raspberries that he picked from his garden in exchange.  Sounds like a fair trade to me.

This is a really simple cake to put together.  The batter is similar to other coffee cake batters.  But, I love the addition of the sour cream and lemon zest for a bit of tang.  The recipe makes a ton of streusel.  It may seem like too much, but don’t be tempted to not use it all.  Come on, the cinnamon streusel is the best part!  I ate it warm out of the oven for breakfast and it was delicious.  My mother in law enjoyed hers with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Why didn’t I think of that?  Okay, maybe not for the piece I ate for breakfast but on one of the other two pieces I ate that day.  And, now I have none left.  Oh well, I will have to keep this in mind for next time.

Back in the Day Bakery’s Blueberry Buckle

Yield:  one 9 inch round cake

For the crumble:

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
8 Tbsp (1 stick ) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the cake:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp cardamom  I omitted
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 granulated cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries

Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350F.  Butter the sides of a 9 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

Make the crumb topping:  Combine the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour in a small bowl and mix until well blended.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the crumbs are the size of peas.  Put the topping in a covered container and set in the freezer to chill while you make the cake batter.

To make the buckle:  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar on high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low,  and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Add the vanilla, lemon zest and sour cream.

With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch.  Sprinkle the top lightly with powdered sugar if desired.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Wrapped in plastic, the buckle will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Back in the Day Bakery’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

I’m sure I have said this before, but I am in love with The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  Everything I have made from it has been amazing and there are still so many more recipes I have bookmarked to try.  While looking through the book again, I saw these cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins.  Now, a few months ago, I made a similar recipe from the famed Downtown Bakery and Creamery.  But, those were so good that I figured I would give this recipe a try and see how they compare.   Two great things about doughnut muffins are 1. you don’t need a special pan and 2. they are baked, not fried (can we just pretend there aren’t 2 sticks of butter?).  The batter is super easy to prepare and comes together quickly- even with a baby at your feet pulling everything out of every cabinet within his reach.  After they bake, you are supposed to let them cool before coating them in melted butter and then rolling them in cinnamon sugar.  You know I couldn’t wait.  Okay, so I burned my fingers. but just a little.  Oh well, it was worth it.  Besides, I had to have breakfast on the table ASAP before Jack and Sammie started whining that they were hungry and wanted cereal instead.  Why is it so hard to compete with Frosted Flakes?  Damn you Tony! 😀

I have to say, these tasted just as good as those muffins from Downtown Bakery and Creamery.  But in Back in the Day Bakery’s favor, I think theirs baked up a bit taller, fluffier and more tender.  So, I may have found a new favorite doughnut muffin.  But, to be fair, I haven’t had the Downtown Bakery and Creamery’s muffins in awhile.  So, I am going by memory…which I’ll admit, some days isn’t so good.  I think this calls for a head-to-head competition.

Back in the Day Bakery’s Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffins:

3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg    I used ground nutmeg from a jar

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom   I omitted because I didn’t have any

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

For the coating:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 cup sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

To make the muffins: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350◦F. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cardamom. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.

In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. I used my Kitchen Aid.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth; do not overmix- or they will be dense.

With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately two-thirds full. I had a bit of leftover batter.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.

While the muffins bake, set up two bowls to dunk them in. In one bowl you will have the melted butter, and in the other bowl you will have the cinnamon sugar.

Let the doughnuts cool completely on a wire rack. If you can wait, I couldn’t 😀 Dunk them in the melted butter, then coat them with the cinnamon sugar. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source:  The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

When I was looking for a recipe to use up my very brown bananas, I came across this recipe for blueberry muffins with doughnut topping.  Now, with a name like that, you have to agree that these muffins had to be made.   And soon. But, as was the problem with the last batch of blueberry muffins I made, no one here will eat them.  Ugh.  Luckily, I was going to my parents in the morning to help them with their garage sale.  So, I got to unload both my muffins and a bunch of the old clothes Sammie and Alex outgrew.  When I got there, my sister and her two kids attacked me for muffins before I even got in the door.  At least her kids loved them.  But, I have to admit, they mostly ate off the cinnamon sugar top, giving the half eaten bottoms to papa. 😀 My poor dad.  He didn’t even get the best part.

Like most muffins, these were simple to prepare.  You just need to make sure to mix with a gentle hand and not overdo it or you will have tough muffins.  And, no one wants that!  I love the lemon flavor in combination with the sweet blueberries.  I didn’t think just the lemon zest was enough, so I added a bit of lemon extract to make the lemon flavor a bit more pronounced.   When the muffins are warm, you dip their tops in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar crust is a perfect texture contrast to the fluffy, lemon scented cake.  If you have some blueberries on hand, these are a must make.  If you don’t, buy some….

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

Yield: 12 muffins

Muffins:
2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) cold buttermilk, well shaken
3 oz. (3/4 stick/85 gram) unsalted butter, melted and tepid
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (8 oz/225g) fresh blueberries, pick over for stems

I added a few drops of lemon extract   optional

Doughnut topping:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 oz (3/4 stick)  unsalted butter, melted-  I used 1/2 stick and it was plenty

Center rack in oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out excess.  Or butter and flour the cups.  Or, line with fluted paper or foil liners.  Have all ingredients at room temperature except the buttermilk.

To make the muffins:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened.  Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture. Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporate them into the batter.  The batter will be very thick,

Using an ice cream scoop ( 2 1/4 inches in diameter/#16), fill the prepared pans with the batter ¾ full. Bake the muffins until golden, spring back when gently pressed in the center, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes.  Cool in the pan just until they can be handled, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time, dip the tops in the melted butter, and roll into the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on a wire rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store at room temperature up to 2 days in an airtight container.  They may be frozen up to 10 days, then thaw at room temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

Cook’s Illustrated Individual Coffeecakes

My kids just love those little Hostess Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cakes.  I have to admit, I kind of love them too. 😀  When I saw this recipe for individual coffeecakes in The Quick Recipe, that’s exactly what it reminded me of.  You get the same soft, fluffy little cakes perfectly complemented by a sweet, cinnamon streusel ribbon.  So good.  I just love that you can have warm coffee cake muffins on the table in a mere 45 minutes!!  I also love that you can just grab one and go and not make a total mess because the streusel is contained on the inside.  You should see my kids faces after they eat, well, just about anything. So, that’s always a plus for me.

My son, Jack, for the first time in his 6 years of life, slept until 9am!  I was upstairs with a hot pad on my aching back from carrying around my little butterball baby, Alex, all the time.  So I didn’t get to see him eat one.  Later, when I asked him if he liked the muffins, he said they were so good.  Who made them?  Come on silly, Jack.  Who do you think made them?  They must be pretty delicious because usually when I try to make a homemade replica of something I buy in the store, my kids don’t like it.  It’s just not the same.  Heck no it isn’t the same….it’s better.  But, they never see it that way.  In this case, I’m sure the chocolate chips and the glaze tipped the scales in my favor.  Sorry, Hostess.

Cook’s Illustrated Individual Coffeecakes

Yield:  12 cakes

1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) unbleached all purpose flour   DIVIDED

1/2 cup  packed (3.5oz) dark brown sugar    DIVIDED    I used light

1 cup (7oz) granulated sugar

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1 inch cubes

3 large eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

semisweet chocolate chips- (to sprinkle on top of the streusel)   optional

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350F.  Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and all of the granulated sugar in the work bowl of a food processor.  Combine the mixture in five 1 second pulses.  Remove 3/4 cup of the mixture and place it in a medium bowl.  Add to it the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and the cinnamon, mix to combine, set aside.

Add the remaining 1 cup flour to the mixture remaining in the food processor work bowl along with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Combine the mixture in five 1 second pulses.  Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture breaks down into small pebbly pieces that resemble wet sand, about ten one second pulses.  Add the eggs and sour cream and process the mixture until it is well combined and thick, about eight 1 second pulses.

Place enough batter (about 2 TBSP) into each muffin cup to cover the bottom surface of the cup, but rise no more than 1/2 inch up the sides.  Sprinkle with about 1 1/2 Tbsp streusel mixture over the batter.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top if using.  I used mini chocolate chips for half the batch.  I didn’t use all the streusel.  Cover with an additional 1 to 2 Tbsp of batter, or enough to fill the cup to 3/4 full.  Bake until light golden brown and the cake feels firm, but springs back when touched, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time.  Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and cool 5 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with Quick Confectioners’ Sugar Icing below..Serve immediately.

Quick Confectioners’ Sugar Icing:

1 cup (4 oz) confectioners’ sugar

2 Tbsp water

I added a splash of vanilla

Whisk the powdered sugar, water and vanilla together (if using) in a medium bowl until smooth.  Place a piece of wax paper underneath the wire rack of cakes. Spoon about 2 tsp glaze on top of each upside down cake (narrow end facing up).  Make an X in the glaze so it runs down the sides of the cake in 4 places.  I prefer to drizzle the glaze on top.

Source The Quick Recipe

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