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

“If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons.”

These didn’t come out quite as intended but they were delicious any way. I wanted to make Mini Egg cookies for Easter, and a test run was needed. (I was surprised how easily Boyfriend Unit accepted this flimsy excuse as justification to add a jumbo bag of Mini Eggs to the grocery list, but there you have it.) On a whim I dyed them green because I thought they would look cuter, like dino eggs in grass.

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Except now that I’m more awake, I remember that dinosaurs roamed before grass covered the ground, which I learned from the making-of features in Walking with Dinosaurs. Whatever. The grass effect is artistic. Moving right along.

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Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 24?

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $40

Cost per cookie: $1.70

Ingredients:

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C brown sugar, packed
  • ½ C white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 TBSP vanilla
  • 2 C white flour + 1 C cake flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • drop of kelly green fondant colouring
  • 1 C of Mini Eggs (do not use “Eggies” they are not the same)

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat to 176° C / 350°F.

2. Beat the butter until it’s fluffy. When Boyfriend Unit comes to photograph for me I will always give a thumbs up. Cause I am a very cheesy person.

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3. Before you add the eggs, beat them (one at a time) in a small cup, then pour in, and blend. Hmm. Something’s not right here. Attempt to cream the sugar now and fail miserable.

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Cheer on glorious mixer, spin like a hurricane! (Yes, I really talk to my appliance, in exactly that tone.)

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4. Hmmm, actually it seems salvageable now. Meanwhile…

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… combine the dry ingredients (both flours, baking soda, baking power, salt), give it a stir, and then add it to the wet in thirds.

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Struggle to mix it. Nemo started to make a chugging sound, this dough was very thick.

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5. Almost add the eggs. Change your mind.

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Add fondant colouring instead.

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6. Introduce your dragons! Giggle like a fool.

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7. Bake 12-15 min, checked at 10 but too jiggly, gave them another 2-3 min. Cool on rack a few min and consume hot.

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Verdict:

Hmm. These are pretty good! And fun to make. I wasn’t sure how a Mini Egg would hold up to being baked in the oven, they still had the snap when you bit into them although the shells cracked in the oven.

“He was no dragon. Fire cannot kill a dragon.”

I intended to cream the sugar into the butter before adding the eggs but I forgot. I’m not sure yet how these feel or taste after cooling, I only made 4 to test them.

I added cake flour to regular flour because I’ve had cake flour sitting around forever not doing anything with it and was curious how it would affect texture. It gave the cookies a nice consistency. I think I will tinker a bit and add some more flavouring, maybe cardamom. Something spicy for dragon eggs. A cookie fit for a khaleesi.

Playlist: Lit – My Own Worst Enemy

Great Aunt Lucy’s tea biscuits

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I love tea biscuits. Most everyone in my family does. Perhaps it’s genetic. It’s dreadfully cold here and I thought Sunday would be improved greatly if we had a slow-cooked dinner with tea biscuits. Prior to rolling up my sleeves, I called Mom to inquire about some of the finer points of biscuit-making since this was new territory for me.

“Now hunni, it’s a very wet batter. And if it doesn’t work out, don’t get discouraged.”

“That sounds ominous. Are these really tricky?”

(insert pause)

“No… just… don’t get discouraged, that’s all.”

With that fateful prediction in mind I got to work.

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Time required: 1  hour

Yields: 9  (supposed to be 12)

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

Cost per biscuit: $2

Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the KitchenAid
  • baking trays lined with parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 TBSP white sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ C white shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1 C milk

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F / 204°C and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine the dry stuff. Now, if you have never run a stand mixer with only dry ingredients: DON’T. I forgot this crucial information.

3. Beat in the shortening until coarse crumbs form.

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4. Add beaten egg and milk, stir in with a fork.

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5. Turn batter onto floured surface. Get caught in the act of making mildly sorcerous hand gestures. WARNING. WARNING. Do not set wax paper on the surface. Put the flour right onto the cutting board or the counter top. Or you will be sorry.

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Puzzle over next part of the instructions.

6. Knead 20 times. Knead?

“Boyfriend, what does knead mean here? What do I do?”

“Um… it’s what the cat does when he sits on your lap, just try that.”

“Okay then!”

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7. Cut out biscuits with a roundish shape. I didn’t want another dish to clean so I didn’t do that, and tore off pieces by hand, and plopped them onto the trays.

8. Bake 10-14 minutes. I checked at 10, not done. Gave it 2 more minutes, 2 more, 2 more, and at 16 they finally had that golden edge.

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9. Remove from oven and immediately take off tray and transfer to cooling rack. Wait 5 min before eating.

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Very nice with a cup of tea. Or with dinner.

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Verdict: Success!  Thank you Aunt Lucy.

Playlist: Vampire Hunter D, OST

Ganache gone wild – WTF just happened

Ugh. On Sunday I spent 2.5 hours making a perfectly emulsified ganache for an experiment. I let it chill overnight, and it solidified. I am so steamed.

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Ganache is typically equal parts scalded cream to chopped chocolate, in this case Toblerone.  To achieve a proper ganache that doesn’t crack or separate, you need to emulsify it.  Emulsification is the process of combining two or more liquids, which normally don’t combine, into one. (Basically you stir and rest, stir and rest, chill, pass Go, collect two hundred dollars.) It was all going so well…

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I poured the heated cream onto the chocolate and let it sit for bit, and then stirred every 15 minutes, for 2 hours.

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The hell with stirring by hand. I’ll let Nemo do the work for me. After all that is what I have a stand mixer for, who wants to stand there the entire time? I have video games to play.

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After 2 hours, it had lightened considerably, and had a smooth texture. All okay so far.

So I covered it with saran, and stupidly forgot to press it down to the surface, so the surface hardened.

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I intended to use it on Monday but I was busy. I took it out of the fridge today, and lo and behold.

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What. Is. This? I tried to save it by reheating but the fat started to separate. Wuah! This is no good.

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I figured it might be salvageable if I could stir heated cream into it, and miracle of miracles, it seemed to recover.

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Alright, we’re cooking with gas now. As to what I made this for, well, just stay right there and find out. Next year.

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

Peanut butter blossoms (by Boyfriend!)

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This recipe comes from BHG: New Cookbook: 12th edition which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

Time required: 1 hr

Yields: 54

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $48

Cost per cookie: 88 cents

Spring is in the air folks… The cats are acting like kittens, my allergies are flaring up in huge raging hives, and the bake sales at work have begun for another season.

I was asked if SpatulaGoddess could make something for the bake sale fundraiser for whichever cancer research thing was going on at the time, and I said “No. but I can make something for you.”, not offended by this but it seems my colleagues forget that I was baking my own goods before I met SpatulaGoddess.  I won’t say that I have ever made anything as exquisite as my lovely, but I have never served anything that lasted, and the compliments abound… maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve baked for them… BAH!!!

I love peanut butter cookies who doesn’t?   I know the ones I love are in the Red Checkered Cookbook that my mom used, and also got for me when I moved out, so I went looking there, my original plan was to make peanut butter ninjamen cookies, but once I found page 218 in that wonderful book my plans changed BIG TIME, beside the cookie recipe I was looking for I saw the recipe I used.  I changed the hershey kisses with Reese’s mini peanut butter cups… ENJOY.

Kitchen implements I used:

  • Nemo the KitchenAid
  • large baking sheet
  • parchment paper
Ingredients

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • ½ C white shortening
  • ½ C smooth peanut butter
  • ½ C granulated white sugar
  • ½ C golden brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ C white flour
  • ¼ C granulated sugar (reserved)
  • 1 package of mini peanut butter cups

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 176°C / 350°F 

Step 1-4

Flour, milk/egg/vanilla, sugars/baking powder/soda, shortening/peanut butter

1. Put shortening and peanut butter into mixing bowl.

2. Put the ½ cup of granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda, in a separate bowl.

3. Put milk, egg, and vanilla in a separate container.

4. Put flour in a separate bowl.

Nemo doing his thing

Nemo doing his thing

5. Beat “Step 1” ingredients with an electric mixer for 30 seconds.

6. Add “Step 2” ingredients and beat until combined, scraping the bowl.

7. Beat in “Step 3” ingredients.

8. Beat in as much of “Step 4” ingredient as you can, stir in the rest.  I am guessing this was written for those that do not have access to a Kitchen Aid… cuz Nemo KICKS ASSSSSS and has no issues mixing in almost 2 cups of flour.

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm  Peanut butter balls in sugar

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Peanut butter balls in sugar.

9. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll them in the rest of the sugar.

10. Place balls 2 inches apart, (ballroom) am I right fellas?  Ahem.. anyways back to the topic at hand.  2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

11. Bake at 350°F for 10 – 12 mins or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned.

12. Immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into the middle of each cookie, and transfer to a wire rack and let cool

Cooling

Cooling

Verdict:  As I said to my buddy from work whom I sent a pic of these to after making them… “I AM A MUTHER$&#*^$ GENIUS!!!”  These far exceeded my expectations, I was thrilled with how great these  turned out.  SpatulaGoddess was so impressed she wants me to make more… But isn’t willing to let me play with the centres.  I know there are other great things to stick in the middle of a peanut butter cookie.

Playlist: Godsmack, Disturbed, Slipknot, Random J-pop… that’s how I roll