Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry streusel muffins

Ever since I saw these delicious looking blueberry muffins, I have been wanting to make them. But, blueberries have been expensive, so I haven’t.  When I went to the grocery store the other day though, they were $4 for a pint. Not too bad, so I bought them. I was excited to finally make these muffins. But, then I did what I usually do and didn’t read the whole recipe.  Damn. I realized I didn’t have any Sugar in the Raw and I wanted to follow the recipe as written. So, alas, I had to wait another day to go to the store AGAIN. But, actually it is okay because I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with marshmallow fluff frosting that I want to make…so I grabbed some Fluff too. I haven’t made the cookies yet, but I cannot imagine them to be anything short of amazing. Of course, I will share. Anyways, back to the muffins. They were easy to put together and baked up beautifully with perfect rounded tops.  The cake part is fluffy and not too sweet, the blueberries are juicy, and the raw sugar gives the buttery streusel a wonderful crunch.  Oh, the muffins were just as I hoped they would be.

My picky family won’t eat these muffins as they don’t like cooked fruit. But, they sure tear the heck out of any kind of raw fruit, so I can’t complain.  As much as I love blueberry muffins, I can’t shouldn’t eat all 12 muffins myself. So, I will be bringing them to work tomorrow. Too bad there are only 12 though. Actually, make that 11 because I ate one for quality control. I mean, how else could I tell you about them? But, 11 muffins and about 30 coworkers?  Those are bad odds.  I know it will be Monday morning, but they better move fast 🙂

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Yield: 12 standard size muffins

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar     I used vanilla bean sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced into small cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw

In the bowl of your food processor: Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and the cold butter cubes.

Pulse for a few seconds, just until the butter is evenly distributed throughout and the crumbs just come together in tiny crumbles. Note: The crumb mixture should still be fluffy. If you pulse too much, the crumbs become heavy and sink.

Pour the crumb mixture into a small bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar lightly with your fingers. Set crumb mixture aside.

Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
7 Tbsp vegetable oil     (you can measure 1/2 cup, then remove 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup buttermilk   shake well
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large egg eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries    Washed, dried, and all stems removed

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a wire whisk, mix for ~30 seconds or so. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and eggs. With a wire whisk, mix until well blended, ~30 seconds. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Note: the batter should still be a bit lumpy. If you over mix, you will not have fluffy, tender muffins. Who wants that?

Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

With a large ice cream scoop, divide muffin batter evenly into 12 paper lined muffin cups. Take the the crumb topping, fluff it a bit with your fingers and sprinkle the entire top of each muffin (about 1 tbsp per muffin).

Bake muffins about 18 – 22 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through the baking time, until they are lightly golden and pass the toothpick test.

Cool the muffins several minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool.

Source: Cooking Classy

Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Blueberry lemon cream cheese coffee cake

Cream cheese coffee cake has been the most popular recipe on Just Baked, by far.  Again, thank you Mother Thyme for a wonderful recipe.  Every time I make this cake, everyone says it is the best coffee cake they ever had and asks for the recipe. It really is delicious with the buttery cake, cheesecake-like filling, streusel and sweet glaze.  As good as it is, I decided to change it up this time by adding lemon and blueberries.  Don’t you just love how lemon brightens the flavor of blueberries?  The changes were simple. I added lemon extract to the cream cheese filling, subbed lemon juice for milk in the glaze  and added lemon zest to the cake.  I pressed about 1/2 pint of blueberries into the cream cheese layer. With a great, basic recipe like this, the flavor possibilities are endless.  I brought the cake to work as a treat for my coworkers and came home with an empty pan.  Empty pan = success.

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

1/4 tsp lemon extract  optional

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

zest of 1 lemon

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

1/2 to 1 T lemon juice

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, vanilla and lemon extract (if using) 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 and lemon zest.  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. Arrange as many blueberries as you like, I did about 1/2 pint, on top of the filling. 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 lemon juice until it is the right consistency for drizzling.  Drizzle over cake.

Source: Mother Thyme; Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

I was looking for a recipe to use up some leftover blueberries and well, this recipe had me at brown butter. Okay, at streusel too.  You know how I am a sucker for streusel!  Please don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It sounds fancy, but really you just melt butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown.  As long as you don’t burn it, that’s all there is to it.  The first time I made brown butter, I was nervous.  I almost dumped it because there was a bunch of brown specks.  I thought for sure I messed up.  It sure wouldn’t be the first time. But after a quick check online, I realized that’s just right.

I only used half the amount of the blueberries called for in the recipe because that was all baby Alex would spare.  But, I liked it this way because the berries didn’t overwhelm the taste of the muffin. And, oh my goodness, the muffin itself is delicious.  I am the only one in the family who likes blueberry muffins.  I have told you before that my family is a little crazy, right?  I didn’t want to eat all the muffins, so I brought them to work and had some very happy coworkers.  As I was eating my muffin, I was thinking how good it was, even without the blueberries.  It would make a lovely crumb cake muffin that my coffeecake-loving husband would go crazy for.  I think I’ll try that next time, maybe even with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar or sweet cream cheese?  This is the perfect base for experimenting with different flavors. But, I have to say, blueberry is a darn good place to start.

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffin:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into a few pieces

1/3 cup buttermilk    I used regular milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries   I used about 1 cup

Place rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Place a small skillet (not nonstick or you won’t see the color change) over medium heat.  Add the 7 tablespoons of butter.  Move the butter around with a spoon until it is melted, turns a medium brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat right away, before it turns black.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cooled brown butter.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in all the milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Do not over mix. Carefully fold in the blueberries then divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin pan.  I used a medium cookie scoop.   Make the streusel topping.

For the streusel topping:
3 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.

Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a little golden.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Joy the Baker Cookbook via Pennies on a Platter

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

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

Blueberry Swirl Streusel Muffins

When I was at the grocery store Monday night, I bought a bunch of blueberries because they were buy one pint get one free.  The kids love them and ate a bunch, but I wanted to bake something with them too.  The problem is, my kids won’t eat anything with cooked blueberries in it.  But, I saw these blueberry swirl muffins in Cook’s Illustrated and I really wanted to make them.  The recipe makes 12 muffins, too many for just me to eat (though I would give it a valiant effort :D) and too few for Justin to bring to school.  Shoot.  But, then I remembered that on Wednesday, my parents were coming over to have a picnic in the park with the kids and me.  Perfect.  I could unload some of my muffins on them.  A peace offering of sorts.

These blueberry muffins bake up to look the way I always hoped they would.  Just perfect.  Honestly, they look and taste straight from the bakery.  But, they do require a few steps.  First you make a quick blueberry jam.  That may sound hard, but I promise, it isn’t at all.  You just simmer and reduce down some blueberries and sugar until it is thick.  Then you make an easy muffin batter, mixed by hand, that serves as a base for the fresh blueberries and jam.  Next, you make a 5 ingredient streusel, mixed together in a bowl with a fork.  Finally, you scoop the batter in the cupcake wells, swirl some jam on top with a skewer, top generously with streusel, and bake.   In the end, you get this delicious muffin that you are going to look at, eat and then say, “Wow, I can’t believe I made this”.  I love when that happens.

Blueberry Swirl Muffins with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Streusel

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (7 3/4 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar   divided
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup vegetable oil    I used canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the muffins: 

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425F.   Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with your spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.  Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined.  Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour.  Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).  Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.  Using a chopstick or skewer, even a toothpick, gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion.  Make streusel topping, recipe below, and pile evenly onto muffins.  Or, prepare the alternative topping, lemon sugar, recipe below, and sprinkle onto muffins.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

For the streusel topping:

Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea sized pieces throughout.  Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking.

Alternative topping, Lemon sugar:

1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar

1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Stir together the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined.  Set aside.  The sugar is sprinkled on top of the muffins just before baking (on top of the swirled jam).

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook 

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

Banana Streusel Snack Cake

My 10 month old son, Alex, loves bananas, so I bought him a big bunch on my last shopping trip.  The next day, my parents visited and they brought us a bunch of fruit, which included more bananas.  As much as Alex loves them, a baby can only eat so many bananas…although he did give a valiant effort.  So, I have been staring at several very brown bananas the last few days and I finally decided it was time to use them or toss them.  I hate to waste food, so it was decided. I am baking something with bananas today.  I wanted to make something new and I was leaning toward bars.  But, after looking through the index under banana of about a dozen cookbooks, I couldn’t find a bar recipe.  But, when I got to Baking For All Occasions, the recipe for Banana Streusel Snack Cake made me forget the bar idea.  I had to make this cake.  I just love streusel, especially if it has cinnamon because it really is a perfect complement to banana.    The cake comes together easily, but you will need to drag out your Kitchen Aid on this one.  The cake is very tender from the addition of cake flour and the sweet streusel provides great texture.  It is very moist, with just the right amount of banana flavor with subtle cinnamon spice.  My parents stopped by again today at the perfect time.  Upon opening the door they were welcomed with the delicious smell of freshly baked banana cake.  And, I had just finished taking my photos.  So, the cake was still warm and ready to eat.  They loved it so much, I had to send some home with them.  There are definitely some advantages to having a daughter who loves to bake, especially to parents who love to eat!

Banana Streusel Snack Cake

Yield: one 9 x 5 loaf ( I used the Williams Sonoma gold bread pan which is a bit smaller – 8.5 x 4.5)  or one 8 inch square cake

Streusel:
6 tablespoons (50g) all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons firmly packed (75g) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake:
2 cups (225g) cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (255g) mashed ripe bananas (2 medium or 3 small)-  mash by hand, do not puree
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (200g) sugar       
1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temp

Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon with your fingertips until the mixture is lumpy; set aside.

Before baking:  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly coat a 9 x 5 x 3 in loaf pan with nonstick spray (or an 8 in square pan) then flour the pan, tapping out excess flour. Or, butter and flour the pan.  I used Pam spray with flour. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

To make the cake:  Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of wax paper; set aside. Put the mashed bananas in a medium bowl and stir in the milk and vanilla; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until completely incorporated. Add the banana mixture (it will look curdled, but that’s okay) and beat until combined. Reduce the mixer to its lowest speed and gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until incorporated. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the batter.
Bake the cake until it springs back when gently pressed in the center and a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out free of batter, 40 to 50 minutes (35 minutes if you use an 8 x 8 pan). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Release the cake from the pan onto a rack, then invert onto another rack so it is streusel side up.  Let it cool completely before cutting.

The recipe states that this cake freezes beautifully.  Just wrap it securely in plastic wrap, overwrap with foil, and freeze up to 2 weeks.  To thaw, remove the foil and leave at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Source:  Baking For All Occasions

Black and White Cookie Ripple Coffee Cake

Today I was reading through a stack of baking cookbooks, looking for the perfect recipe for my first blog post. I came across cookie after cookie, and brownie after brownie recipe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love cookies and brownies. But, they just didn’t seem special enough. Then, while paging through A Passion for Baking, I came across the recipe for Black and White Cookie Ripple Coffee Cake and suddenly my search was over.  The name is quite a mouthful I know, but I can assure you that this is quite a cake. The cake bakes up tall, moist and golden, developing an almost pound cake like texture.  There is a fudgy marbling through the center, a topping of crushed Oreos and vanilla glaze drizzle. Some of my favorite desserts are coffee cake and Oreos with milk. But, this recipe combines them into one cake, and I have to say, that is just brilliant! The resulting cake is quite a showstopper, but it really isn’t difficult to make.  The hardest part, honestly, is chopping the Oreos without them flying all over the kitchen.  The cake is a basic batter, divided into two layers by the chopped Oreo cookies, creating a beautiful, dark swirl throughout the middle of the cake. The usual butter, flour and sugar streusel of most coffeecakes is replaced by chopped Oreos, which retain some of their crunchiness and add some texture to the cake. Finally a powdered sugar glaze finishes the cake with a hint of vanilla and just the right amount of sweetness.  As much as I love Oreos dipped in milk, a big slice of this cake and a cup of coffee….Well, let’s just say there is now some competition.


Black and White Cookie Ripple Coffee Cake:

Yield: 12-16 servings

Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

30 Oreos, coarsely chopped

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 to 6 Tbsp water, as required

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Generously spray a 9 inch tube pan with cooking spray and place on prepared sheet.

Mixer bowl:  Cream butter and sugar on medium until well combined. Add 2 eggs at a time, blending on medium, scraping down sides of the bowl, until well blended. Add vanilla and buttermilk, blending well.  Fold in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and blend until smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Pour 2/3s of the batter into the tube pan and sprinkle with 2/3s of the Oreo pieces- placing more on the outside than the middle (so they stay in place). Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle the remaining cookie pieces evenly on top.

Bake for 45 minutes @ 350°F, then reduce temperature to 325°F. Finish baking until a toothpick tests almost clean, about 15- 20 minutes (Mine took much longer, more towards 30 minutes). Cool 10 minutes in pan, before turning out onto a cake plate.

For Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, water (start with 2 Tbsp) and vanilla together. Add more water, a little at a time, until it reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cake with a whisk or fork, allowing some to run down the sides of the cake for the best appearance.

Source:  A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Helpful Hints:

  • I had a hard time getting the center cone to lift out of the tube pan frame because some of the batter leaked at the bottom, and baked, sealing them together. I just lifted the pan so I could see the underside, and ran a thin, sharp knife between the two metal parts.
  • Once you remove the cake from the frame, it is still on the middle cone. I ran a sharp knife between the cake and the cone’s flat bottom. I placed the cake, still attached to the cone, on a large plate and put a large plate on top. Quickly with one hand holding each plate in place, I flipped the cake out onto what was the top plate. But, now the cake is streusel side down, so you have to flip it again.
  • During the cake removal/flipping process, the cake loses quite a bit of streusel. I saved it and sprinkled it back onto the cake, which then was set in place with the glaze.
  • When I was making the cake, it seemed like there were a ton of Oreos in the middle, but some of them disappeared in the ripple. So, I think I would increase the amount of Oreos in the middle of the cake.
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