Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another coffeecake...

This recipe is from Food. com, but I'm sharing it because it is SOOO good! I find coffeecakes to be very involved and time consuming, but our family loves to eat it above other baked goods, so I don't mind making it for us. Enjoy!

Not much narrative to add tonight; X Factor is on! :O) I creamed the butter and sugar with a spoon. Obviously, go ahead with a mixer. I'm so muffin-minded that I do everything by hand!

Coffeecake batter is always so thick! I did follow directions and put more than half (2/3?) of the batter at the bottom. Greased the 9x13 with just butter.

Brief peek at the filling ingredients... 2 packs cream cheese, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla. Beat with mixer (recipe doesn't specify).

Spread whole bowl of filling over the batter in the pan. Taste some! It'll get your taste buds going for the end result! Spread remaining batter over filling (will look like not enough).

Mix the topping- flour, butter, sugar. My butter wasn't soft enough, so it didn't produce the right end result. but after baking, it looks fine.

Sprinkle (pour) topping over batter.  
I sprinkled nutmeg and cardamom over the top STRICTLY for picture purposes. :) All of my photos are white and yellow. I'm sure the flavors will accentuate the vanilla cream cheese flavor! 


1 cup butter (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 (8 oz) pkgs cream cheese (softened)
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
14 cup (half stick) butter (semi softened)

Preheat oven 350F(oven rack set to second lowest position)
Grease 13.9 inch pan
CAKE: Cream butter with sugar (3-4 minutes). Add eggs and sour cream; beat well (another 3 minutes). In seperate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture; beat well until combined (batter will be thick). Spread more than half the batter in prepared pan.
FILLING: In another bowl, cream together all filling ingredients, then carefully spread over cake batter.
Spoon remaining cake batter over top of cheese mixture (it won't cover the cake batter completely).
TOPPING: Mix all ingredients and sprinkle over cake.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until middle feels set (not jiggly).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A bit of a tangent from the muffins... COFFEECAKE ANYONE?


This is my favorite breakfast 'bread' to make for my family. Because we prefer the sweet joined by tart, this recipe creates the perfect combination for our peculiar tastebuds! I'll admit, it's a bit involved, but if you're in the mood to really bake (not just throw some flour into a bowl and mix with wet ingredients), you will enjoy making this delicious coffeecake. So, grab your measuring cups and bowls, and let's get baking!

First, place in a small saucepan 1-1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until berries start to pop, then remove from heat and set aside. 

 See here, my four-year-old helping me pound the walnuts into chunks for the streusel (which is next on our task list). You don't have to pound your walnuts into the right size. I usually use a chopper or knife, but she really wanted to help, and this was the safe alternative.
Combine in a small bowl 1/2 cup of walnut pieces, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons softened butter. Mix together with a fork until it's crumbly and set aside.

Stir together 1-1/2 cups flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Cream 6 tablespoons butter (softened), 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons grated orange rind. Then, add two eggs (ONE at a time), beating well after each. Stir in flour mixture alternately with 3/4 cup milk, beginning and ending with flour.

Spread half of the batter over the bottom of a greased and floured square pan. Sprinkle half the streusel,
then spoon half the cranberry filling. So beautiful!!!!
Cover with remaining batter; top batter with remaining filling

 & sprinkle with remaining streusel.
 Bake 50-60 minutes in preheated oven (350F) or until knife comes out clean. Clean on wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature!
 This is my 2nd time to make the cake. It comes out lighter if you use LIGHT brown sugar. I only have dark brown sugar, which I use for my muffins, but it still tastes great!

Friday, November 18, 2011

This experiment was started  to lure the client who loves cranberry flavors and is tired of pumpkin by now. I stumbled upon a basic recipe like it, but, as I am prone to do with all recipes, I altered a few things to my taste. Please note that the key to maintaining the tart side of this sweet-tart muffin is using fresh or frozen cranberries, NOT dried or candied.
Chop your cranberries roughly in half or quarters (coarse chopping) for tart flavor that pops! Chop them even smaller if you prefer the flavor to blend a little more. Coat the chopped cranberries in the 2 T flour to keep them from floating to the bottom of the batter in the muffin cups!
A side note while you premeasure those wet ingredients to reach room temperature *wink*: for this recipe, lightly spray the INSIDE of your muffin cups with PAM. Even when cooled, this particular recipe sticks to the cups after cooking. I'm still working on a solution for that one!   
Melt your butter RIGHT before you are ready to pour into the wet mixture. 
When your batter looks about like this, add the cranberries. Adding "fold in" ingredients at this stage (rather than when the mixture is completely combined) will keep the muffins that much more moist/tender. 

 Add the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the tops of your batter. More topping makes for a more even 'tart-sweet' muffin. Less topping will REALLY make the cranberries stand out!
This batter makes about 5 tall jumbo muffins or 6 nearly flat jumbo muffins. 


1 egg
3/4 C milk
3/4 C sweetened applesauce
1/4 C butter, melted
1 3/4 C flour
1 C fresh cranberries, chopped (coarse)
2 T flour (to mix with cranberries)
1/4 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine flour, sugar, bak. powder, bak.soda, salt in a medium bowl. In seperate bowl, combine milk, egg, applesauce, melted butter. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Do not overmix (batter will be lumpy). Toss cranberries in a bowl with 2 T flour. Fold into batter. Spoon evenly into lightly sprayed muffin cups. Mix topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over tops of muffins. Bake 20-25 minutes until slightly golden. Cool on wire rack.  

We haven't baked all week, which is highly unusual. Today, though, I mustered up scrapings of motivation to bring you this special flavor so that you can perfect it before your holiday season is in full swing! It's a favorite for my chocolate-loving husband and daughter, and it will make a great  treat for whoever you bake for in December! I enjoyed baking today, because it wasn't a pumpkin apple muffin, and it took thought to execute.
Remember to premeasure your wet ingredients first, so that they have time to reach room temperature. Also, premeasure and coat your mint candies in flour in a seperate bowl.

 This is one of my favorite egg mixtures, because it is so smooth!Again, I melt the butter right before I'm ready to add it to the wet mixture. It helps the butter stay smooth, rather than reforming into cold butter chunks.

Working with cocoa powder is interesting. It's so light and flighty that mixing it with smooth wet mixtures takes a bit more time. And I always have some on my apron or on the table. LOL! When combined, the batter will be thick, almost like brownies.

When the mixture is nearly combined, add your creme de menthe baking candies (pre-chopped mint chocolates) or mint chocolate kisses.
This recipe rises amazingly high compared to others, so filling your cups 2/3 full will give you a nice size muffin top.
Your muffins should come out with a cracked top, like these. You won't be able to judge 'doneness' with a toothpick, because of the cocoa powder. Take the muffins out of the oven when the tops present with somewhat of a firmness.

See the muffin tops on this batch? I filled them a little higher than 2/3 full. BEAUTIFUL!


1 3/4 c flour
1/3 C cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C oil
3 T butter, melted
3/4 C sour cream
3/4 C sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp mint extract
1 C creme de menthe baking chunks (or chop your own Andes mint candies)

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.  Combine oil, sour cream, sugar, eggs, mint extract, and melted butter in a separate small bowl. Coat mint candies in a bit of flour and add to mixture. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (or more). Bake for 18-20 minutesw (25 minutes for jumbo muffins). Muffins are done when they are well-risen and firm to a gentle touch. Let stand in pan for 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.

ENJOY! And let me know how you liked them!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The Apple Spice Muffin was supposed to be my first post, but I haven't made them in a few months! This is an Autumn AND Winter flavor (heck, it's an all year-round flavor!), and it doesn't take as long as other recipes that I've posted.

So, grab your baking tools and print this one, because you're going to want to add this to your collection!

Here's how your topping should look once you've blended it. I use a blending tool, but a fork works fine, too.

I tend to pour my wet ingredients first in order to help them reach room temperature.

Wet into dry....

When your mixture is like this, add your grated apples. I used thinly sliced and chopped apples today, because I have several bags of frozen, already-prepared apples, but I highly suggest the grated apple in this recipe.

Just a sneak peak of both of us baking today...for the Fam on the west coast!

Use a tablespoon measuring tool to sprinkle the topping, mess-free. Today, I didn't use as much as I usually do, which I advise against. You'll see why in the last photo.

Clearly, I've forgotten what "fill cups 3/4 full", because I seem to have a habit, lately of filling them 100% full! That's fine, except this recipe doesn't rise in a high dome form. It spreads and flattens!

Here's today's finished product, with too little topping. It's more appealing, in my opinion, when more evenly covered with topping.

After I finished muffins for the day, I decided to experiment with my bulk raw grains. Today, I went with cous cous. A generic type of taboule, I guess... Raw spinach, raw yellow bell pepper, carrot slices, and tomato.
Cous cous is surprisingly easy to prepare! I'll have to eat it more often. Boil butter and water with salt, remove from heat, add cous cous, stir well. Add whatever vegetables I desire, along with a splash of lemon juice and a whole lot of olive oil!


1 C sugar
1/2 C oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp apple pie spice (allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon)
2 C grated apples (~2 medium apples)
3 T sugar
1/2 C flour
4 T butter, cold (4 T or half a stick)

INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 350F. For topping, use a pastry blender to combine butter, flour and sugar  in a medium bowl. Cream oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Mix flour, baking soda, and spice. Add creamed mixture to dry mixture until ALMOST moistened. Fold in apples. Do not overmix. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full (for smaller muffins, or 3/4 full for overflowing muffins). Spoon evenly (and generously) over batter. Bake 20-30 minutes.


Saturday, October 29, 2011


I'm taking a one-time break from muffin posts (I don't bake most weekends, so there is nothing to share, anyway) to share a manicure I painted in honor of the snowstorm that is invading our beautiful October weather.

Last night, my daughter was so excited to go up to the attic with me to retrieve our snow gear from its box. She has been prancing and dancing around the living room all morning, in anticipation of our late evening field trip to "the back 40". But for now, we're enjoying a cozy morning in our warm little house, cuddled up in alpaca socks and hats, fuzzy pajamas and robes... sipping on hot coffee, eating breakfast sandwiches, and reading together. All the while, snow is blowing every which-way outside. It's a small-time blizzard out there, but the 'best' is still yet to come in an hour from now.

Back to nail color... I chose the same colors that are already on my toes: as an accent, Sephora by OPI's Shiny Dancer (charcoal) layered with Pure Ice's Heart Breaker (shimmery translucent green), and as a main color, Pure Ice's A List (ice blue) . Instead, though, I reversed the colors on my fingernails. I decided on the polka-dot pattern, because my sister recently endeared me to the idea. When I sat back to look at the results as a whole, I realized that it is much like the weather today: the charcoal and ice blue colors are icy cold, slick, and wintery! The polka dots are like a sleet or freezing rain. So, all in all, my last minute decision to repaint nails today turned out to be right in tune with the weather outside. Kinda cool. ;o)

**AN AFTERTHOUGHT: My child sees me painting my nails and casually sweeps over to my side of the couch, hands outstretched, peering down at her plain nailbeds. All at once, she raises her eyes to mine, as if to say, "Could you paint my nails, too? They've lost all the paint from last time." She makes her decision from my bucket of nail colors. I ask her if she is certain of that choice, because history has it that she changes her mind halfway through (or at the end!) and wants a rainbow array instead. But I don't mention the rainbow, because I know she'll then remember that that is what she prefers, and I would love to see something classy for a change. *wink* She convinces me that she is sure of her choice, Pure Ice's Outrageous (shimmery pinkish purple), and I paint five of her nails before she switches gears and tells me that she wanted rainbow (what? You never mentioned that!). I stick to my guns and insist that she not waiver constantly ("because  someone who has a habit of changing their mind doesn't ever get what they want." I quote the Bible *wink*), and I finish painting her nails.
In the end, we decide to use polka dots "like mom's." Her polka dots, though not perfect, are in Sally Hansen's Xtreme wear "Deep Purple", and in the end, my child is pleased with the outcome, as am I.  

Now it's time to take our freshly painted manicures out in the snow!
It has finally begun to accumulate on the ground. Bye!