Cinnamon streusel coffee cake

I love coffee cake. Especially Starbucks’ coffee cake. I found this recipe and tried it out, and it’s delicious. I screwed it up and did it backwards but it still turned out marvelous!

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Time required: 1 hour

Yields: uh, it’s hard to tell cause it’s round, a fair amount?

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $62

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Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the Kitchen Aid
  • two 9″ round pans
  • tin foil

INGREDIENTS:

Streusel topping:

  • ⅔ C granulated white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ C flour
  • ½ TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 1½ TBSP ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Cake:

  • ¾ C butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1½ C granulated white sugar
  • ⅓ C golden brown sugar
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coffee extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1¼ C milk
  • 3¾ C flour

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 176°C or 350°F. Line pan with foil and grease it.

2. Make topping; in a bowl combine sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add melted butter, stir and set aside.

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3. Make filling; in a bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder, and set aside.

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WTF. Okay, next time check if your brown sugar has solidified. Toss a piece of bread in and hope for the best. We’ll come back to this later.

4. Make the cake; this is where I screwed up. You’re suppose to cream everything except the flour and eggs together. I put all the dry ingredients plus flour together first. Ooops. Then add the eggs one at a time.

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5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and milk till well combined, don’t worry if it’s lumpy.

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6. Add half the flour (hah) to butter mixture, half the milk, repeat. Beat til just combined. Get a face shot of milk when the mixer goes crazy.

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7. Spread half the batter into the pans. Shake it to even it out.

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8. Sprinkle the filling on top.

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9. Add the rest of the batter.

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10. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.

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11. Use a butter knife and swirl it through, don’t worry about being even.

12. Bake 55 min if using 2 rounds (or 55-60 if a 9 x 13).
When it’s done, if you lightly press on the top it will spring back up.

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13. Leave in pan, place on wire rack for 20 min to cool before slicing.

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Verdict: This was great. I didn’t realize how much sugar was in coffee cake. Also surprised by the high cost of ingredients. You could omit the coffee extract but I wanted to try it. I’d use more of that next time, and I’d check the brown sugar first and soften it ahead of time. Chipping out brown sugar like you’ve got a pickaxe is lame.

Playlist:

Corey Hart – Sunglasses at Night

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Pumpkin muffins – round 2

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After being slightly underwhelmed by my first attempt at making pumpkin muffins, I went back to the drawing board.  I made some changes to the ingredient proportions and baking time:

  • 2½ C of flour (instead of 1½ C)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom (didn’t have this last time)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp all spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C packed golden brown sugar (instead of dark brown sugar)
  • pods from half of a vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 1 C of pure pumpkin (instead of 2 C)
  • a sprinkle of turbinado sugar

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The batter was really dry. I was a bit worried they wouldn’t settle into the muffin cups but I think they look cute.

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These were baked 18 minutes (the original ones were in for 25). In retrospect 18 minutes was not quite enough, I’ll try 20 next time.

They were cooled in the pan 1 minute before being transferred to the rack.

Now this is the fun part. Use a cupcake corer (thank you M!) and stuff them with cream cheese frosting.

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Woah this thing works way better than a knife.

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And voila!

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Verdict: Hmm. I liked this much more than round 1. Boyfriend-Unit loved them. I think there is still room for improvement however, so next time I’ll up the pumpkin ratio a bit, and decrease the cardamom.

Playlist: Katatonia – Into the White

Patty’s pumpkin cream cheese muffins – round 1

I decided to reverse-engineer a pumpkin cream cheese muffin after the underwhelming experience of buying one from StarBucks. This is my first attempt at making pumpkin muffins, and I made them the morning after seeing Nine Inch Nails live, which really has nothing to do with making muffins, but there you go. The muffins were edible, but have room for improvement. Trent Reznor, I am happy to report, does not require any improvement.

(Update Oct 19: round 2 is much better)

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I was surprised to see that the ingredient cost of this made this the most expensive thing I have ever baked, even steeper than the the Bailey’s chocolate cheesecake. Yikes.

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Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 14

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $79 if iced, $54 if plain

Cost per muffin: $5.64 if iced, $3.85 if plain

Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the KitchenAid
  • muffin tin + large liners

Muffin ingredients:

  • 1½ C flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp all spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C packed brown sugar
  • pods from half of a vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 C of pure pumpkin
  • a sprinkle of turbinado sugar

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP milk
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 C icing sugar

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F / 176°C and put muffin liners into pan.

2. Combine in a bowl: flour and spices.

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3. In mixer; cream the eggs and sugar until smooth.

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4. Mix in canned pumpkin, vegetable oil, and vanilla bean pods. (Reserve the shell for something else).

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5. Gradually add flour mixture to wet, and don’t overbeat.

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6. Spoon into tray, and dust with turbinado sugar.

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7. Bake 25 min. (Checked at 20 and but still too springy.)

8. Cool in pan 5 min before transferring to rack.

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9. Make the icing by combining everything in one bowl. This is precise science, people.

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10. Use a knife to score a circle around the muffin tops and press the knife down, then lift up, and pry out the top. You will have a little muffin cone lid. Slice off the bottom part until you have a thin top remaining. Now stuff that bad boy with cream cheese and replace the top.

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Verdict: They were good, but the muffin texture really changed overnight, they seem overly moist today. I tried one without icing, and the pumpkin was a bit too strong. Then again cream cheese icing is also a very strong flavour, so… hard to say. I sent my friend home with one but forgot to ice it. Oops. Overall I was pleased with how it turned out, and I think for round 2 I’ll add a few more spices, and cut back on the pumpkin and see how that goes.

Playlist: Nine Inch Nails – Terrible Lie

Patty’s apple strudel explosion

If a pastry explodes in the oven, does it make a sound? More importantly, does it still taste good?

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I researched how to make traditional strudel pastry but it sounds like a nightmare so, not today. I trawled the entire grocery store looking for phyllo pastry and discovered it’s kept near the frozen berries. This is my first strudel and I’m pleased with the results, however next time I’ll add raisins and reduce the lemon juice.

Shout-out to Boyfriend for being my camera man.

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Time required: 1.5 hours

Yields: 6 pieces

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $24

Cost per piece: $4

Kitchen implements I used:

  • large baking sheet
  • parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 3 apples
  • 3 TBSP golden brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP water
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 TBSP powdered corn starch
  • ¼ C lemon juice
  • 4 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 2 TBSP melted butter
  • 3 tsp finely ground bread crumbs

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F / 176°C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and dust with flour.

2. Peel, core, and mince the apples. Toss them in a sauce pan with the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook on Med-Low for 10 min, stirring often.

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3. Combine corn starch and lemon juice, whisk until smooth, then add to cooked apple mixture and simmer for 1 more minute before removing from heat.

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We do not want juicy strudel.

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4. Place one piece of phyllo on the baking tray. Brush with butter, and sprinkle one teaspoon of breadcrumbs. Don’t stress about making this even, doesn’t really matter.

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Do this two more times, then add fourth and final layer (do not add butter or crumbs to top layer).

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5. Spoon the filling down one side vertically, leaving room at the edges.

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Give camera man 2 thumbs up.

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6. Use the parchment paper to support the pastry as you lift it, you’re trying to tuck it over and under the apple filling, and then carefully roll it over like so. Once you’ve got the first turn, peel the parchment paper back towards you.

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Keep turning it, and between turns try to smooth it with your hands to an even shape.

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This was a little nerve-wracking, worried about tearing it.

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Roll it up 3-4 times until it’s at the edge.

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7. Brush butter inside the open edge then flip it so the seam is on the bottom. Tuck the ends in.

8. Dust with a cinnamon sugar mix.

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9. Bake 20-25 min until golden brown.

10. Cool on rack at least 5 min before serving. Mein gott! What is this?

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Verdict:

You want to get judged harshly? Tell people in advance you are using phyllo instead of making the pastry yourself. 

Response from best friend: “0_0 That is really shocking.”

This was fairly simple to make. Aside from the explosion, it turned out great. I may have had a tantrum when I saw that, but I cut it in thirds first, and got 4 nicely sliced pieces, and 2 messy pieces. Cutting through the strudel after it’s baked it harder than I anticipated.

Playlist: Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes

Ninjabread men

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CHUCK NORRIS! These ninjas are cut out for action!

My friend M (actually I have two friends named M, but this one is the boy) gave me a very cool gift last year and I have been waiting for December to use it. It’s a set of 3 ninja cookie cutters. M has a penchant for gifting me with ninja-related presents and the cookie cutters were just SO AWESOME.

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Ingredients:

  •  ⅔ C shortening
  • ½ C brown sugar, packed
  • 2 TSP ginger, ground
  • 1 TSP cinnamon
  • ¼ TSP cloves, ground
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ C molasses
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 TSP baking soda
  • ½ TSP baking powder

Instructions:

1. Moving like the wind, pre-heat your oven to 190°C / 375°F.

2. Quietly cream together the shortening, sugar, spices, and salt.

3. Beat in egg, to death. Add molasses and blend into the night.

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4. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add dry mixture to the wet with deadly accuracy. Cream together as if your life depends on it.

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5. Roll the dough to ⅛ thickness, as even and smooth as the deadliest katana. Your hands move like a whisper, cutting the dark shapes into the dough.

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6. Release the ninjas. Transfer them to a baking sheet that has been greased with lightning or lined with parchment paper.

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7. Bake 6-7 min. Cool on rack. (Here is Boyfriend taking them out of the oven for me.)

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Oh noes! The ninjas are burnt. Let’s try another round.

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8. Frost with traditional ninja accessories. (I used my basic butter cream and divided the bowl of frosting in thirds. One part I left plain, and the other two I added highly concentrated no-taste black and no-taste red pigment. To achieve a darker black, I added cocoa to that bowl because it’s a lot easier to get black frosting if you start with chocolate frosting.)

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I didn’t use the red dye yet, I’m going to let it sit overnight to darken. Stay tuned for more ninjas later this weekend.

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Go ninja go!

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Verdict:

Making these was a lot of fun. The first few ninjabread that I rolled did not turn out so well. As I was transferring them to the cookie sheet, I squished them. They ended up misshapen and burnt.

For the second batch I got Boyfriend Unit to hold a piece of parchment paper tightly against the cookie pan, and I  plopped the dough right on to that, and rolled it out, cut the shapes, and then just peeled the excess away so the ninjas did not have to be moved. It worked much better.

The ninjas tasted pretty nice. I’ve never made gingerbreads before, they are tricky to work with. I have new respect for my sister J’s skills.

Playlist: Placebo – Running Up That Hill

Cola molasses cookies

It’s only my favourite thing in the world.

 

I love Coke. I like the way the curved glass bottle fits my hand, I like how frost rimes the neck of the bottle, and my ears perk up when I hear a bottle being opened. I love how Coke tastes, and the way it fizzes going down. I also love molasses cookies and wondered if the two flavours were complimentary. I’ve wanted to try this for awhile.

Efforts to secure Coca-Cola extract failed, so I ordered some of LorAnn’s Cola flavouring and added it to molasses cookies. Afraid to use too much extract, I added 5 drops to a basic molasses recipe, and voila.

So how did it taste?

 

It was weird. You could smell the cola, but when you bit into the cookie, it was very faint. It almost tasted like the cookies had cola hot spots, some bites had a wallop of flavour, and some you couldn’t taste it at all. (Perhaps I under-mixed the batter?)

I wasn’t overly sold on the cookie recipe I started with, so I’m going to tinker around with it.

 

Cinnamon rolls (with assistance from the defender of the universe)

I’ve never made bread without using my breadmaker, and I’ve never made cinnamon rolls at all. However!  Faint heart never won fair dessert, so I thought I’d give it a try today.

This recipe is from Betty Crocker Baking Basics – recipes and tips to bake with confidence, which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. This is definitely a recipe you need to read through a few times before attempting.

Time required: 4 hours

Yields: 15 rolls

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $38.

Cost per roll: $2.54

Kitchen implements I used:

  • KitchenAid mixer
  • small sauce pan
  • candy thermometer
  • 9″ x 13″ pan
  • rolling pin

Dough ingredients:

  • 3½ C to 4C of all-purpose white flour (divided)
  • ⅓ C granulated white sugar
  • 1 TSP salt
  • 4½ TSP fast-acting yeast
  • 1 C milk
  • ¼ C unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • cooking spray

Filling ingredients:

  • ½ C granulated white sugar
  • 2 TSP ground cinnamon
  • ¼ C unsalted butter, softened

Glaze ingredients:

  • 1 C icing sugar
  • 1 TBSP butter, softened
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • 1 to 2 TSP milk

Dough instructions:

1. Make the dough in the bowl for your mixer, combine: 2 C flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. (Measure out another 2 C of flour and set it aside.) Blend ingredients well with wooden spoon. It took not quite two of those little packets to get enough yeast.

 

 

2. Heat milk in a sauce pan on medium until temperature reads between 49°C and 54°C (120°F to 130°F).

3. Add warm milk, egg, and butter to dry ingredients.

4. Beat on low for 1 min, stopping to stir down sides 3 times. Everything should be moistened now.

Beat on medium for 1 min, scrape sides 2 times.

5. Now add the reserved flour, half a cup at a time, and gently beat it in with the wooden spoon. (This was about the time I remembered my KitchenAid has a bread hook, but oh well.)

According to the book, you just stir in the flour as you add it, but my dough was not absorbing the extra flour, the lump of dough kept moving around the bowl but none of the flour got sucked in. Bread dough is kind of weird, I’ve never seen it before. It’s… almost gunky at first, then it gets ropey. Hard to describe.

Anyway I stuck it back in the mixer for a minute and beat the hell out of it. Suggest you uh… find your own path to making bread. Don’t follow my path which is fraught with peril. From the bowl of flour I reserved from the original measuring, I used all but about ½ C.

6. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes.. (What does that even mean?) I decided to put wax paper on a collapsing table, thunk the dough down, and punch the shit out of it. Why? Because I have a teeny tiny amount of counter space and it’s currently all covered in stuff I was too lazy to remove prior to starting this endeavor. In hindsight this may have not been the best idea, but the timer dinged and my 5 minutes were up. Thank God.

7. Spray a bowl with cooking spray, plop the dough in the bowl, and turn it so it gets covered in the cooking spray (I’m not clear why you do this, but that’s what the book said to do).

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (whether to cover loosely, or tightly, is a bone of contention). Leave the bowl alone for 1.5 hours in a draft-free area. I grabbed Voltron to show scale.

8. Behold! The mighty process of fermentation. (That’s what the yeast does to make the bread rise, adding the water re-activates the yeast to produce carbon dioxide, which rises.)

Unwrap the dough and press one finger into it. If the indentation remains in the dough it’s ready. I got so excited about punching the dough I forgot to do this step.

My dough hath risen, am feeling confident, half the battle is won.

Onto the filling!

Filling instructions:

9. Spray the 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray.

10. In a small bowl combine white sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

11. Punch the dough to deflate the gas. (Apparently you aren’t supposed to go Chuck Norris on it, just one or two love taps is enough? Boring!)

12. Flour the counter top or wherever you intend to flatten the dough, and use your hands to spread it out.

13. Roll it into a 10″ x 15″ rectangle.

14. Spread the softened butter over surface, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix.

 

15. Starting with the long side, roll the dough up like a jelly roll.

Try to get an evenly shaped roll of dough. Best of luck with that part.

16. Use a serrated knife to cut into 15 pieces. Or 13, or whatever.

17. Place the pieces into the greased pan.

Cover with plastic wrap again, and leave for 30 min to rise again.

Now it’s time to bake those bad boys.

Baking the rolls:

Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F, and use centre rack.

Take the plastic wrap off the tray of rolls, and bake them for 30 minutes.

18. Remove rolls from the pan immediately and transfer to wire rack. Let cool 5 minutes.

 

Now all that’s left is to make the glaze and you are done. Finally!

Glaze instructions:

19. Combine icing sugar, butter, vanilla, and milk. Stir until smooth and drizzle over warm rolls.

Sit back and enjoy the results of what feels like an entire day’s work.

Verdict: God, this took forever. I think they are a little bit over done, but Boyfriend thinks they are perfect. I’d take 5 minutes off the baking time when I make them again. They tasted great.

Playlist: Song of the Hero  – The Legend of Zelda, Symphony of the Goddesses