Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

The last few years we have gone to my father in law’s for Halloween because we live in a townhouse and no one really trick or treats here.  We use Karl’s house to get everyone dressed (this year as a ninja, Princess Tiana and a gnome), trick or treat as long as the cold Chicago weather permits, and stop back for dinner and dessert.  I was trying to decide what to bring and then it came to me.  My FIL loves coffee cake (given the opportunity, he could eat the whole thing himself) and I had just pinned the perfect recipe a few weeks ago.  I knew that the kids wouldn’t eat it, but they would be too preoccupied with sorting and eating candy to even notice.  So, coffee cake it was.

Halloween was a super busy day.  We went to Sammie’s parade in the morning and then went back again at 1 for Jack’s parade.  Immediately after that,  I planned on making the coffee cake.  But the problem was I neglected to notice  that there were four steps and a 45 minute baking time.  I took the cake out of the oven just 15 minutes before we had to leave.  It was supposed to cool before glazing, but there was no time for that. So I glazed it anyway.  The pan was too hot to hold so I had to carry it by the cooling rack and put it on the floor of the car.  Luckily, it didn’t burn into the rug.

I couldn’t wait for dessert to taste this cake. I love coffee cake too, especially those without cinnamon.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cinnamon, but I just prefer my coffee cake without.  I save cinnamon for the rolls 😀  I have to say, this cake was so worth the wait.  The cake is moist and buttery, with a cheesecake like swirl in the middle, some texture from the streusel and sweetness from the powdered sugar glaze.  I mean, really, how could you go wrong with this combination?

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Yield: 13 x 9 cake

For the filling:

Two 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened (light or regular)   I used regular

½ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream (light or regular)

For the streusel topping:

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoons butter, chilled and cubed

For the glaze:

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ½ teaspoons milk

Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease/flour or spray a 9 x 13 cake pan. Set aside.

Make the filling:  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla on medium-low speed until creamy.  Set aside for the filling.  (If you have 1 bowl and paddle, you will need to put this mixture in a separate bowl, and wash them to use to make the cake batter)

Make the cake batter:  In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla extract.  Slowly pour in the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream until it is all combined.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared cake pan with a spatula.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly on top. Top with remaining cake batter and smooth with a spatula.  Using a butter knife, gently swirl in the batter.

Make the topping:  Add the sugar, flour and chilled butter in a small bowl.  Stir using a fork or pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle the streusel on top of cake batter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack.

To make the glaze:  In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk until creamy.  Drizzle over cake.

Source: Mother Thyme

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies

A few days ago, my sister-in-law was wonderful enough to take all three of my children so my husband and I could spend a day in the city kid-free!  I ♥ her.  We went to Bleeding Heart Bakery for a late breakfast and after looking at cases upon cases of delicious looking cupcakes, cookies and other sweets, I chose a broccoli quiche.  My husband couldn’t believe it.  But, with all the desserts that I bake, I really wanted something savory and it was delicious.   My husband chose a giant whoopie pie, but was disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as mine.   I tasted a bite and couldn’t help but agree.  😀 After breakfast, we had time before the movie, so we decided to browse some at Barnes and Noble.  Of course, I made a beeline straight for the cookbook section.  It is there that I came across the book The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, flipped through a few pages and decided that I needed it.  But, it is so hard for me to buy books at the bookstore, when I know I am able to get them so much cheaper on Amazon.  So, somehow I restrained myself and noted the title so I could order it that night.

When the book arrived, I was flipping through it and  I knew that I had to make the chocolate chip cookie dough filled sandwich cookies immediately.  I mean, are you kidding me?  My favorite cookie, sandwiched together with cookie dough filling, which I may like even more than the cookie itself?  Now, that is genius!  The cookie batter comes together easily, just like any other chocolate chip cookie dough.  The cookies bake up flat, and a bit crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle.  The cookie dough frosting tastes so much like cookie dough, I had a hard time not eating it all right out of the bowl.  Okay, I admit it.  I ate some.  But, I still had enough to fill the cookies…well, most of them anyways.   Filled or not, these cookies are simply delicious.  As if there was any doubt.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwich Cookies

Yield: 20 to 24 sandwich cookies

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

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips

For Cookie Dough Filling:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until no lumps remain, 1-2 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Add flour, baking soda, salt, and mix until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll chilled dough into smooth, tablespoon-size balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Flatten balls slightly into 3/4-inch disks.  Arrange about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. These flatten and spread quite a bit.  I suggest baking 9 cookies/sheet for your first batch so you can gauge size and spacing.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until cookie edges are lightly golden. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To prepare the cookie dough filling, beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in flour, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed until incorporated. Slowly add heavy cream and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

To assemble, sandwich 1 heaping tablespoon of filling between two cookies. Press cookies lightly until filling spreads to the edges. Repeat with remaining cookies.  Sandwiches can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.  Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Source:  The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

Banana Bottom Pineapple Cheesecake Swirl Cupcakes

I had a pile of brown bananas on the counter, teetering the fine line between perfect for baking and perfect for the garbage. So, what could I do, but make some banana cupcakes?  But, not just any banana cupcake would do.  No, these ones have a pineapple cheesecake swirl.  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  I hadn’t and it sure sounded amazing.  Besides, the recipe is from Flo Braker.  No doubt it was going to be delicious.  The banana cake batter and the pineapple cheesecake filling are both easy to put together. Just be prepared for lots of dishes.   You then layer banana cake batter, followed by pineapple cheesecake, and top with more banana batter and bake.   Because of the cake flour, these cupcakes bake up super light and fluffy.  I love how you can see the lighter swirl of cheesecake on the outside of the muffin, giving you just a hint of what’s inside.  The cheesecake filling is creamy and when you bite into a tiny chunk of sweet pineapple, you get a burst of flavor.  It is just perfect in combination with the light banana cake.

Are you trying to figure out what to do with your brown bananas too? I think you just found it.  😀

Banana Bottom Pineapple Cheesecake Swirl Cupcake

Yield: 15 cupcakes

Pineapple Swirl Filling:

One 8-ounce (225 gram) can of crushed pineapple
6 ounces (170 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt

Banana Cupcakes:

1 3/4 cups (200 grams) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (255 grams/9 oz) mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas or 3 small)
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature

Before baking:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour.  I used Pam for Baking because it already has flour in it.  Or, butter and flour the cups. Or, line the muffin pans with fluted paper or foil liners.  Repeat with a second muffin pan, preparing only 3 cups and spacing them evenly around the pan. Spacing the cups promotes even baking when not all of the cups are filled.  Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make the pineapple swirl filling:  Drain the pineapple in a sieve over a small bowl. Press the pineapple against the sieve with the back of a spoon to release as much of the juice as possible. Drain the pineapple further on a few sheets of paper toweling. Discard the liquid.  I put the pineapple into a clean, super thin dishtowel, closed it around the pineapple and twisted it until most of the liquid was gone.  

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a handheld mixer), beat the cream cheese on very low speed until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and salt, mixing just until the ingredients are blended and creamy.  Gently twist the paper towels around the crushed pineapple to absorb any additional juice, and then stir in 1/3 cup of the pineapple. Save the remainder if you have any for another use.  I saved the leftover juice and pineapple in a container and froze it to put in smoothies for the kids.

To make the banana cupcakes: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.  Put the mashed bananas into a medium bowl, add the milk and vanilla and mix together with a rubber spatula.  In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg just until incorporated. Add the banana mixture (it will look curdled but that’s okay; it won’t after you add the flour mixture) and beat on medium-low speed until it is incorporated. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in two or three additions, mixing just until smooth after each addition.

Spoon 1 tablespoon of the cupcake batter into each prepared muffin cup, spoon 1 tablespoon of the pineapple filling over the batter and then top each with 2 more tablespoons of the banana batter.  If your oven is wide enough, bake 2 muffin pans side by side, spacing them about 1 inch apart. If not, put the second pan on a rack in the upper third of the oven. Bake the cupcakes until they are golden and spring back without leaving an impression when gently pressed, 22 to 24 minutes.  I would start checking at about 17 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Gently tap the pan on the counter to see if the cupcakes release from the side.  If not, trace around each form with a small knife to free the cupcakes.  Invert a rack on top of the cupcakes, invert the cupcakes onto it, and carefully lift off the pan.  Place the cupcakes right side up on the rack and let cool completely.

According to Flo Braker, these freeze beautifully.  Place them in a sturdy covered container, label with the contents and date, and freeze up to 10 days.  Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.  I put some in the freezer, so I guess I will have to test this.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

Cream filled chocolate cookies

It’s no secret that I love Oreos.  Actually, it’s the only crisp cookie that I like.  Then again, I dip them in milk, so I guess I turn them into soft cookies.  I was flipping through Martha’s (another love) Cookie book and couldn’t flip another page when I saw these Oreo looking cookies.   I had to make them today!  The cookie dough comes together easily and rolls by hand nicely.  No refrigeration, no rolling with a rolling pin or cutting out with cookie cutters.  I love how these cookies bake up with the old fashioned looking cracks, glistening from a heavy coating of sugar on the outside.  Unlike Oreos though, these are only crisp on the outside and more chewy on the inside.  But, the filling is more like the original than other recipes I have tried because it contains shortening.   To me, Oreos for eating are the double stuff, as opposed to baking Oreos, the regular.  So, you better believe I filled these cookies to capacity with icing.  While these aren’t exact Oreo replicas, they do replicate the flavors.  The intense chocolate cookie, the creamy filling…..Now I need milk. 😀

Cream Filled Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 2 1/2 dozen    I got 15 sandwich cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder   I used Valrhona

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for flattening cookies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Into a medium-size bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg; beat to combine. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture; continue beating until dough is well combined.

Using a 1 1/4-inch ice cream scoop, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Dip bottom of a glass in sugar; press to flatten cookies to about 1/8 inch thick. (You may need to carefully remove dough from glass with a thin metal spatula.)  After pressing with the glass, I dipped the top of the cookie in more sugar because I like how it sparkles and the extra texture.

Transfer to oven, and bake until cookies are firm, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool completely.

Place cream filling (recipe below)  in a pastry bag fitted with a coupler ( I put into a big Ziploc and snipped the corner), and pipe about 1 tablespoon filling onto the flat side of half the cookies. Place remaining cookies on top, and gently press on each to squeeze filling to edges. Filled cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Vanilla Filling

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening   Use the sticks, so much easier to measure!!

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and shortening until well combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, and beat to combine. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use

Source:  Martha Stewart

Tiramisu Whoopie Pies

My husband has dubbed me the Queen of Whoopie Pies.  I like it.  They are just so cute, and the cake is so soft and the filling is so creamy.  Really, whoopie pies are just delicious. But don’t take my word for it.  If you haven’t had them, you just have to try them!  But, one isn’t enough.  There are so many flavor combinations between mixing and matching cake and filling flavors.  So, please try a few! 😀

Now, my husband has been asking me to make tiramisu.   I’ll make it someday, but I just haven’t yet because it isn’t my favorite dessert.  Then I got an idea. I’ll make tiramisu whoopie pies!  I figured the combination of tiramisu flavors in a whoopie pie would please us both. So, I pulled out the book Whoopie Pies and found the perfect recipe.  Basically you marble together my favorite vanilla and chocolate whoopie pie batters to make the cake and then make a filling of mascarpone, espresso and rum.  Sounds pretty amazing right?  They were. My husband loved them.  And, hopefully they will tide him over at least for a little while before he starts asking me to make him tiramisu again!  😀

Tiramisu Whoopie Pies

Yield: 30  4 inch cakes

Marbled whoopie pie cakes:

1 recipe chocolate whoopie pie batter

1 recipe vanilla whoopie pie batter

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment.

Pour half of the vanilla batter into a large shallow bowl.  Add half of the chocolate batter.  Draw a rubber spatula or large wooden spoon gently through the two batters, swirling them together to get marbling.  DO NOT MIX. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Using an ice cream scoop or 2 Tbsp measuring spoon, drop the swirled batter one scoop at a time onto the prepared sheet, at least 2 inches apart.  Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes each, or until the cakes spring back when pressed gently.  Remove from oven and let the cakes cool on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

Alternative mini whoopies:  makes about 96 two inch cakes (48 mini pies)
Drop 1 Tablespoon of batter onto the prepared sheet, and repeat, keeping 2 inches apart.  Bake one sheet at a time for 8-10minutes.  Start checking at 7 minutes.  The cakes are done when they spring back when lightly pressed.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Tiramisu Filling:

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature

4 Tbsp butter, room temperature

1 Tbsp espresso/strong coffee or 1/2 tsp instant espresso powder  You can adjust according to taste.  I upped the espresso powder a bit.

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp rum or Marsala (optional)

I added a bit of heavy cream until it was of piping consistency probably about 1.5 Tbsp

Sift the sugar onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the mascarpone and the butter.  Add the sifted sugar and beat on low.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, 3 minutes.  Add the espresso, vanilla and rum (if using).  Beat  until combined.  I found the filling to be really thick, so I added some heavy cream, a bit at a time until it was of piping consistency.  I put the filling into a Ziploc bag, cut off a corner, and piped it. 

Helpful hints:

  • I would double the filling recipe- no one likes skimpy filling in their whoopie pies!
  • Piping the filling with a Ziploc bag is really easiest and gives a nice smooth finish.
  • When storing, make sure to put wax paper down first and in between each layer to prevent sticking.  I forgot this step, and my pies stuck terribly! 😦
  • Let the pies sit out for about 2 hours for the filling to set and the cakes to dry.
  • The authors suggest dusting the edges with cocoa powder.

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