There’s this awesome coffee cake recipe from Yankee magazine that’ really ingenious because you mix the flour, sugars, and oil and then take out 1/2 cup of that to be the crumb topping. So very New England no-nonsense. That’s the base for this, I just put in some fruit this time.
Apple Cranberry Crumb Cake
Easy and delicious, scented with cinnamon, with lots of crumbly topping and moist apple inside.
2 medium apples, peeled and diced and tossed in 2 Tbsp. AP flour mixed with 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
1/2 c. raisins or dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugars, salt, nutmeg, and oil by hand or on the lowest speed of a mixer. Reserve 1/2 cup for the topping.
To the flour mixture left in the mixing bowl, add the eggs, soda, and buttermilk.
Mix on the lowest speed until just blended.
Pour half into the baking dish.
Sprinkled with the apples and the cranberries.
Spoon the rest of the batter on top - drop the spoonfuls of batter next to each other on the top, like you were making a bunch of dots. Then, when it's all on there, gently smooth it out to cover the fruit.
Sprinkle with the reserved topping, the nuts, and the cinnamon.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, or serve completely cooled.
For this batch, I decided to make two 8" round cakes instead of one large rectangle. I made some extra crumb topping (6 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp white sugar, 2Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp oil, dash salt). I put a parchment collar in the pan in case it overflowed and increased the baking time to 50-60 minutes. (because this version of the cake is taller, which means the middle will take longer to cook.)
It’s an unpost this week. Just one pic of a mini triple chocolate layer cake for one my favorite co-worker’s birthdays. This is Ina’s recipe (well, half a recipe, actually), and it is a smashing success every time.
I split the recipe in half, and used two 6″ layer pans. Baking time was about 27 minutes total. Once I’d removed the layers from the pan, I poked them with a toothpick and sprinkled them with Kahlua. Because Kahlua.
I had some white and semi-sweet chocolate chips lying about, so I melted about 1/3 cup each in their own ziplock sammich sack in the ‘wave for about 30 seconds, then snipped off a corner to squeeze the tempered chocolates in to this candy mold. Ten minutes in the freezer, and poof! Cake decorations! Plus, to demold the hearts, you get to WHACK the mold on the counter really hard and they just pop out. Fun!! (Directions come with the mold.)
This is my go-to cake recipe. People go nuts over it every time. Give it a try.
So, we all know about Billy’s diet restrictions. Coming up with a starch-resembling food item at dinner is a challenge. He can eat winter squash, so lately it’s been 101 ways to eat butternut. This is one we like. And it is literally three-ingredients and ten minutes.
The biggest pain to this is peeling the squash. Sometimes Sprouts will have it already peeled and cubed at essentially the same per-pound price, but not always. So, when I have to (gasp) prep my own, this is what I do: Slice the knob off the top and the bottom, so it will stand up on the cutting board. Then, I just take a veg peeler in long strokes down the length of the squash. (There is nothing pervy about this, unless your husband is watching you do it so make him leave the room.)
Once the peel’s off, it’s just a matter of slicing it in half longitudinally and then cubing.
So – to make it. For the two of us, I put half the cubes in a microwave-safe bowl. That’s about a pound of squash. Cover it with Saran, and microwave it. Do NOT add any liquid of any kind, or you will wind up with squash soup instead of puree. If you don’t have a microwave, roast it. Do not steam or boil because that will add too much moisture and again you’ll have soup.
Take it out, drain it if needed, add a tablespoon of butter and one half of a whole chipotle in adobo. Dump all that in the cuisinart and pulse til it’s gorgeous. Then it’s ready to go!
This is a new favorite at our house. It is fantastic with some grilled pork chops and collard greens, or a nice chicken breast and roasted broccoli.
Butternut Squash Purée with Chipotle
Tasty, easy, fast side dish with only three ingredients.
Put the squash in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high for 4-6 minutes until soft. Do not add any liquid or seasoning to the squash before cooking it.
Put the cooked squash, butter and hot pepper in the food processor and pulse til puréed.
We've tried this with Sriracha, and although it was delicious, my mouth was on fire for a long time. Wait until it is done to see if you need any salt or pepper - that chipotle adds all the seasoning we needed, but you may want some more.
Lemon. Yum. When it comes to sweets, lemon really is my favorite. Even more than chocolate. A while back, S. at work asked if she could buy some scones from me for a family member in her 90’s. I always say no to these requests – being paid takes away the fun – but it was really hard to refuse. So, I found a vanilla scone recipe at Joy of Baking, and of course tweeked it a bit. They turned out nicely, and the grandma sent me a hand-written thank you card. Got me a little verklempt.
So…..today I made a double batch to take to work tomorrow, one for the office and one for S. to take to Grandma’s.
Lemon Pistachio Vanilla Scones
Tender and lemony - a delightful not-too-sweet treat for breakfast, brunch or an afternoon coffee.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped and mixed with the liquids).
For the glaze
Zest of the other half of that lemon
Juice of one lemon (about 3-4 Tbsp)
1 c. confectioner's sugar
For the garnish
1/2 c. pistachios, finely chopped
Preheat your oven to 400*.
Line a standard size cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In your mixer or your food processer, put all the dry ingredients. Pulse a couple times to mix. Cube the cold butter and drop it in the dry mix. Pulse until the mix looks like coarse corn meal.
Whisk together the egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk.
Flour your counter, barely stir the liquid in to the dry, then put it on your floured counter to barely, gently work the dough to a cohesive ball. With plenty of flour on your hands (this dough is quite sticky), gently, gently flatten the ball in to a disc about 8" across and 1" high. (or, divide the ball in two and flatten both those in to discs about 1" high). Heavily flouring your board knife or a large chef's knife, cut the circle in to 8 triangles.
Use the heavily floured knife to help life the triangles to the baking tray. The dough is really soft and will lose its shape if you try to just pick it up and move it with your hand. If the scones are a little flourly, don't worry about. You can brush that off after they bake, and the glaze will hide imperfections.
Bake 20-22 minutes, until they are golden brown and sound hollow when thumped.
Remove from the oven and let cool almost completely.
Make the glaze: mix the lemon zest, juice and confectioner's sugar. It should be the consistency of crepe batter.
Use a pastry brush to glaze the scones (right in the pan, if you like) and while it is still wet sprinkle on the chopped pistachios. Gently press them in to the glaze so they stick.