Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

I’ve got a bad case of the winter blah blah blahsss. I’m dreaming of sunny skies, cool night breezes-the kind that beckon sleeping with the windows open, tart red cherries, and sipping cold lemonade on a hot summer day… I thought this coffee cake would lighten the mood with it’s tart burst of cherries and crunchy sugary top it’s just the thing to remind me of summer. I used frozen (thawed) sour cherries. Growing up my Mother used to squirrel away frozen fruit in a huge freezer so we would have any kind of berry or fruit all Winter long for such a baking occasion. I like to squirrel away fruit too- I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…

 

cherry streusel cake

 cherry streusel coffee cake

cherry almond coffee cake

Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

Cake:

1/2 Cup milk

1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon zest

3/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 granulated sugar

1 lg. egg

1 3/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/2 Cup (generous) cherry preserves, divided (I like Smuckers)

2/3 Cup frozen tart cherries, thawed (If you can’t find frozen tart cherries- you can substitute 1 Cup of dried tart cherries)

1. Make the streusel as per below and set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Prepare an 8 inch pan by lining with a parchment sling so that all sides have an overhang of about 1 1/2 inches. Spray the parchment with baking spray or lightly butter.

3. In a small bowl combine the milk and lemon juice and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and lemon zest and combine well. Add the vanilla and almond extract. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients and whisk with a fork.

4. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients alternating with the milk mixture in two additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Take 1/2 of the batter (it will be thick) and spread it evenly in the pan. Take 1/4 C of the jam and heat it slightly in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Spread the jam evenly over the batter, then sprinkle 1/3 Cup of the cherries over the preserves. Note: I blot the cherries dry first with a paper towel to prevent too much liquid in the batter. Take the remaining batter and dot spoonfuls of the batter over the first layer, then carefully spread batter, repeat by spreading the other half of the (warmed) cherry preserves, and sprinkle with remaining cherries.

Note: If you can’t find frozen cherries; you can fold in 1 Cup or more of dried cherries into the batter before spreading batter into the pan. (Still spread the cherry preserves onto the batter as called for in the recipe).

5. Sprinkle the streusel on top and bake in a preheated 350° F oven for 50-55 minutes until the streusel is set (doesn’t look too wet or loose) and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. If the top of the cake gets too brown you can cover with tinfoil for the last 5-10 minutes as needed. Let the cake cool in the pan set over a wire rack.

 

Almond Streusel

1/4 Cup sugar

1/4 Cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

5 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/3 Cup sliced almonds

1. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a fork) combine all the ingredients except the almonds until appears crumbly. Stir in the almonds.

 


Blackberry Berliner Donuts

I don’t know why but for the last 2 weeks I’ve been craving a donut.  I pushed it back into the corners of my mind and tried to wage war on it by eating yogurt every day. Then I added granola with berries to my yogurt.  That SO did NOT work. On about the 8th day I woke up again and craved a donut. On the 9th day I started fantasizing about what kind of donut exactly it was that I needed. Not just any donut would do. However, I like my donuts simple. Nothing too crazy usually. That does not mean that for time to time I won’t experiment and come up with something outrageous; it’s just that when it comes to a donut craving it’s usually a simple sugar rolled donut or an “old fashioned” donut that calls me. I like my donuts pillowy soft and somewhat plush.  I knew that a cake donut would not do. It had to be yeast, soft, and FRESH. The kind of donut you sink your teeth into.

This is that donut-a pillowy soft, fluffy interior kind of donut. When you bite into it, the sides envelope you like a feather bed kind of hug, then the sweet and tangy blackberry filling oozes just enough in contrast to the grainy sugar crystals that dance across your lips. Uh huh. You reach for your slightly bitter coffee to wash it down. Yep, I know. Some things are worth waiting for….

Happiness is a blackberry filled donut; pillowy soft on the inside and rolled in sugar

blackbery berliners

Make them large or small; below are donut hole sizeblackberry filled donut holes

Blackberry Berliners

yield: about 1 dozen

recipe: adapted from “Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped” by Stephen Collucci

 

3 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 1/2 Cups (room temp-slightly warm) whole milk

3 Cups bread flour

3/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/4 Cup sugar + more for rolling donuts in

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/ tsp. nutmeg

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Vegetable oil for frying

Blackberry seedless preserves for filling (I like Dickensons)

 

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine the milk and yeast on low speed for 2-3 minutes. You should see bubbling on the surface.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt, and nutmeg with a fork. Add the mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook, add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add in the butter and mix on medium speed until well combined. Mix the dough for about 5-8 minutes until the dough gathers on the hook and pulls away from the bowl. The dough should feel mostly smooth but a little sticky. Form the dough into a smooth ball by gently working it with your hands or with a little floured work surface.

3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let dough rise until tripled in size. Line a sheet pan with wax paper- you will use this to place the cut donuts onto. Line another sheet pan with paper towels and place a wire rack over the towels.

4. Turn the risen dough onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top of dough and roll gently into about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circular shapes or smaller if desired, place on prepared sheet pan lined with wax paper.

5. Fry donuts 1-3 at a time in a 350° F oil for about 1-2 mins per side until donuts are golden brown. Resist the urge to over fry donuts too dark as that will take away from the dough staying pillowy soft. Allow donuts to cool slightly over a sheet pan lined with paper towels over a wire rack. While donuts are still warm poke a hole in the side of each donut. Roll donuts in sugar and allow donuts to cool completely. When cooled then fill donuts with blackberry (seedless) preserves.

6. To fill donuts use a pastry bag fitted with a start tip (I used Ateco 822 size) and gently fill the donuts by squeezing the filling inside the holes of each donut.


New Years Eve Champagne Cocktails

I’m not one to go out on New Years Eve. This does not mean I don’t drink champagne; that is a MUST.  I’ve just never been one to go out and party on New Year’s Eve; for some reason I enjoy staying at home and making a special meal and celebrating with the ones I love.

With champagne.

I know that sounds incredibly boring. I love champagne. I know a lot of people do not really care for the taste of it, so I have made it my mission to come up with a few ideas for you. Yes, there was some serious tasting and research involved. Someone has got to do it. You see the lengths I go to for you?! . The first champagne cocktail is a turquoise sip. I just made that up.  Perhaps it is a rif on a blue angel-so I’ll just call it the New Years Eve Champagne Cocktail, or maybe I’ll call it the turquoise sip. That sounds kinda cool; or maybe it’s because it’s a Sunday morning and I just have had waaayyy too much champagne taking photos and making cocktails…yep, that’s it for sure.

The second cocktail is really a process and less of a recipe and that is filling a champagne flute with different flavors of sorbet or sherbet and then filling with champagne. You could totally use 7-up or a lemon line soda in place of in both these drinks so your young-ins can partake.  For the Turquoise sip; just remove the blue curacao and use blue Hawaiian punch instead.  I totally dorked out and forgot to rim the glass with sugar for the turquoise sip, but definitely do that with silver, blue or regular sugar if you have some.

turquoise sip champagne cocktail

New Year's Eve Champagne Cocktail

New Years Eve Champagne Cocktails

“Turquoise Sip”

yield: one drink

1 oz. pineapple juice (cold)

1/2 oz. blue curacao (1 Tbsp.)

sparkling wine or champagne

sparkling sugar for rim (optional)

In a champagne glass pour the juice and blue curacao, add the champagne and serve cold.

For kids Non Alcohol version:

1 oz. pineapple juice

1-2 oz. blue Hawaiian punch

7-up  or Sprite

 

Sherbet/Sorbet Cocktail

mixed sorbet cocktail

mixed sorbet cocktail prep

lime, mango, raspberry sorbet and champagne cocktail

sorbet champagne cocktail

Sherbet/Sorbet Cocktail

Per cocktail/mocktail

1 small scoop lime sherbet

1 small scoop raspberry sorbet

1 small scoop mango sorbet

Champagne, Asti Spumante, or sparkling wine (7-up or Sprite for non Alcohol version)


Salted Caramel-Chocolate Truffles

 

I know a lot of people do not consider themselves a baker, or they get intimidated with complicated multi step recipes. Holiday time is a time to have fun and TRY to decrease your stress by just having fun in the kitchen and making tasty treats that you enjoy but are comfortable with. If you are not one to knock out a Buche de Noel then- by all means this easy truffle recipe is something you can certainly do. I love anything caramel and especially SALTED caramel. I HATE tempering chocolate so these truffles are covered in cocoa, but you could certainly dip them in tempered chocolate if you like a more formal looking truffle.

 

salted caramel_chocolate truffles 1

salted caramel chocolate truffles

Salted Caramel-Chocolate Truffles

yield: about 72-80 truffles

2 Cups sugar

1/2 Cup water

16 oz. (1 pound) semi-sweet chocolate chips (about 2 1/2 Cups)

1 1/2 Cups heavy cream

2 tsp. kosher salt

Cocoa powder (natural-unsweetened) for coating (such as Hershey’s)

1. In a heat proof medium bowl place the chocolate chips and set aside.

2. Place a small glass of water and insert a pastry brush inside the glass (I prefer a silicon brush for this) and set next to the stove. Measure the salt and have next to the stove as well.

3.  In a 3 quart (medium) saucepan place the sugar and carefully pour the water over the sugar to combine. Heat the sugar and water over medium high heat and bring to a boil until sugar turns amber in color. DO NOT stir the caramel- but rather swirl the pan from time to time to ensure color stays even. If sugar crystals form around the edges of the pan- take the wet pastry/silicon brush and let water drip down the sides of pan to dissolve any crystals. Once sugar is almost amber microwave the heavy cream for about 30-40 seconds until warm. Once sugar is amber color, remove from heat and pour in the warm cream and kosher salt and whisk to combine. Caution- with the adding of the cream it will bubble up and spit so be careful not to get burned. Combine well and then pour the caramel over the chocolate chips until combined and the chips are melted. Pour the mixture into a shallow cake pan or heat proof container. Chill the mixture (uncovered) in the refrigerator until it becomes set; about 50-60 minutes.

4. Remove chilled and set truffle mixture and scoop out small amounts (about 1 inch) and roll in your hands until smooth. If you have a small scoop this works well. Roll the balls in cocoa powder and place in a wax paper or parchment lined container. Once the truffles are all rolled, chill again to help the cocoa meld a bit to the chocolate. Serve at room temperature.


Buttery Crescent Dinner Rolls

Okay, I have a confession. I buy crescent rolls from a can. Sometimes. I know, I know…. Probably only twice a year. My son loves them and I admit I kind of like them too. I know I preach about not buying cinnamon rolls from a can so I feel kind of weird admitting this. Wednesday I accidently forgot to buy the can of rolls; and there was no way in heck I was going to maneuver the gauntlet store on Thanksgiving day just for a can of silly rolls. I always have packages of yeast in my cupboard, so I did what I should have planned from the beginning. I made rolls from scratch, and I’m so glad I did.

 

crescent rolls

 

crescent rolls ready for the oven

proofed, pillowy soft,  and ready for the oven…

tray of crescent rolls

out of the oven and ready for melted butter to be brushed onto each one…

buttery crescent rolls

Crescent Rolls

original recipe from: thekitchenmccabe

yield: 24 rolls

3/4 Cup milk (2 % is fine)

1/2 Cup  unsalted butter, divided

1/2 Cup (scant) sugar

1/2 an egg: (whisk and egg w/ a fork in a small bowl, then use 1/2-comes out to about 2 Tbsp. if you measure it).

4 1/2-5 1/2 Cup flour, divided

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1 Cup warm tap water

1 1/2 tsp. sugar

 

1. In a small saucepan combine the milk, 1/4 Cup butter, and scant 1/2 Cup sugar until the milk is very warm (scalded) but not boiling. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

2.  To the mixer: Add 1 C. of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and the 1/2 egg to the milk mixture and quickly stir together with a dough hook attachment. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn on to low speed to help the mixture cool down while  you quickly prepare the  yeast

3. To prepare the yeast: in a small bowl combine the 1 Tbsp. yeast, 1 Cup warm (not too hot-or you will kill the yeast) water and 1 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Stir quickly to combine then let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and appears foamy. Once yeast has bubbled, add it to the mixer bowl and continue to mix on slow/stir mode while you prepare to add remaining flour.

4. Add 3 C. of flour and mix together on medium/low speed. When mixed together, slowly add in enough remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is just slightly sticky. The dough should gather around the dough hook.

5. Prepare a large bowl greased with butter. (I used the paper from the butter to do this). Scrape the dough into the prepared bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place to proof until mixture appears to have doubled. This should take about 40 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each ball into a circle on a floured surface so that the thickness is a little less thick than 1/4 inch. Rub the circle with 2 Tbsp. of softened butter. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedge portions (like you would a slice of pizza). Roll each wedge crescent style starting from the back edge and place on a greased baking sheet. You want the tip end of the rolls turned under when you place them on the sheet pan. Place rolls on sheet pan so that across you have 3, and length wise; 8 deep.  Prepare and roll out the 2nd ball of dough the same, and  place rolls until all 24 rolls are placed on sheet tray. Curve the ends of the rolls forward slightly. Cover tray lightly with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled. The rolls will push each other and touch until snug. This is what you want.

7. Bake the rolls in a preheated 350° F oven for about 15-20  minutes or until rolls are just turning lightly golden. Remove from the oven and brush top of rolls with melted butter. Let cool and serve warm or at room temp.

 


Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

What do you do when you can’t decide between raisins and chocolate chips in your oatmeal cookie? You stir in raisinets. To ensure the cookies are moist and chewy I added a lit bit of desiccated unsweetened coconut. You don’t really taste the coconut but the moisture from the coconut ensures the cookie is chewy. The cookies are crisp on the edges with a nice chewy bite. If you like walnuts in your cookies you can also stir in a bit of chopped walnuts for extra texture.

oatmeal raisinet cookies

oatmeal raisinet cookies 3

oatmeal raisinet cookies 2

Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

yield: about 3 dozen cookies

1 Cup unsalted butter, room temp

1 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 Cup Lt. brown sugar, packed + 1/2 Cup dark brown sugar, packed (I eyeballed this and used a 1 cup measuring cup to pack it as one).

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 Cup all purpose flour

1/2 Cup (scant) unsweetened desiccated coconut

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. + 1/8 tsp. cinnamon

3 Cups old fashioned (rolled oats)

1 Cup raisinets (chocolate covered raisins)

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Cream the butter and sugars (I used the stand mixer) until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the vanilla and combine. In a medium bowl with a fork, whisk the flour and the next 4 ingredients. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir to combine. Add the oats and mix well. add the raisinets and stir gently to combine.

2. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the cookie dough with a scoop or spoon full; I used 1 1/2 Tablespoon size scoop. Flatten the top of each scoop of dough slightly with your fingertips. Allow 2 inches space between each cookie Bake for 15-16 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still very soft. Don’t overbake as the cookies will firm up once they cool. Allow cookies to cool completely on the warm tray over a wire rack until cool.


Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf

A few years ago I used to work around the corner from a Starbucks. Yes, seriously right around the corner. It was a dangerous thing- and yes, I became a little addicted to gingerbread loaf. Okay, a lot addicted. That was in the past and I’ve moved on. Sort of. Okay-I’m still craving that darn bread, but I decided to make my own and it’s pretty smack close. Matter of fact, I don’t think they sell it anymore-but don’t quote me. The bread- I’m satisfied with it. Really satisfied-so much so that I now need to get it out of my house and give some away to friends. Tis the season to get your gingerbread on.

starbucks copycat gingerbread loaf

gingerbread loaf

Copycat Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf

1/2 Cup melted unsalted butter

1/4 Cup vegetable oil

1/2 Cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 Cup sugar

1 large egg

finely grated zest of one tangerine “cutie” (or 1 tsp. orange zest)

1 Cup vanilla Greek yogurt

1 tsp. baking soda

1  1/2 Cup all purpose flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2  1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4  tsp. ground mace

Cream Cheese Icing: recipe below

Candied orange peel

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9×5 inch loaf pan by spraying with baking spray and lining with a parchment paper to cover bottom and long sides of loaf pan with at least a 2 inch overhang. Spray lightly one more time all sides and bottom of loaf pan.

2. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine the melted butter, oil, and sugars. Add in the egg and mix for one minute at medium speed. Combine the yogurt and baking soda well in a small bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the flour and next 5 ingredients. Add the yogurt mixture to the mixer bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes; making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined. Spread the batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350° F for about 45-50 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Allow gingerbread to cool in pan over a wire rack. Frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with finely diced candied orange peel.

Cream Cheese Icing:

4 oz. cream cheese, room temp

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 Cups confectioners sugar

Combine the first three ingredients until smooth. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.


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