Category Archives: Breakfast

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

The pumpkin saga continues.

I recently went out and bought two more sugar pie pumpkins and a case of 16oz canning jars. Until the making of this recipe, I had four jars full of pumpkin puree. Four jars. Doesn’t seem like that much, until you realize that most recipes might call for one cup. That’s at least eight different recipes I could make. This was the first of those recipes. I had so many rave reviews that I might just have to make it again soon.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

from Williams-Sonoma

Streusel

1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

Batter

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sour cream

Glaze

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

To toast pecans:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted – about 10 minutes.

While these are cooling, preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

To make the streusel, in a bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Alternatively, whir the ingredients in a food processor. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. (My batter was rather thick and a bit unwieldy – it took a lot of work to spread it and make sure it was adequately distributed. I haven’t made it a second time yet, but I might be reposting/editing this once I have a chance to do some more experimenting. I might go for another quarter cup pumpkin to enhance the pumpkin flavor and moisture of the batter.) Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and spread the thick batter as best you can on top. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean – about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.

To make the glaze, in a small bowl whisk together with confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake.

Amazing Pumpkin Scones

I completely forgot about making anything for work today until around ten last night. It just never entered my mind. So I scrambled for this recipe that I’ve had sitting on my desktop for a while now for pumpkin scones. It’s supposed to be a very close approximation for Starbucks pumpkin scones, and I guess I would say that they achieve that. They’re better, actually. More moist. They do get a bit tough to work with – I had to add probably a quarter cup more flour to the recipe once I got it out of the bowl because it was just that sticky. Perhaps it’s because I use fresh pumpkin purée, rather than canned? That’s my bet.

Pumpkin Scones


(This recipe makes 6 Starbucks-sized scones. I doubled it and easily got about 16-18 of varying sizes)
Scones
2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup unsweetened pumpkin purée
3 tbsp half-and-half
1 large egg
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes

Spiced Icing
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease baking sheet and dust with flour or use parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, half-and-half and egg.

Cut butter into dry ingredients. Continue cutting until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.

Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then form dough into a ball. The dough will be wet, but if it seems super sticky just go ahead and sprinkle a bit more flour into the dough until it is easier to handle. Remember, you want it to be somewhat sticky and that’s ok – but you don’t want it to stick to the baking sheet. You also don’t want to overwork it or you’ll lose a lot of the flaky-goodness of scone. Pat dough onto baking sheet into a roughly rectangle shape. (From here I stuck it in the fridge for a bit to help it be a bit more handle-friendly. I would say stick in for half an hour if you’re having trouble.) Cut into rough squares, then cut the squares diagonally to make into triangles. Place ~1 inch apart.

Bake for around 15 minutes, or until lightly brown. Remove scones from baking sheet and let cool completely on cooling rack.

Whisk icing ingredients together and drizzle on top of each scone.

Enjoy the amazing.

A real weekend (at last!)

The last couple of weeks I’ve been picking up an extra 8 hours helping out at one of our new properties. It’s great money, but it was killing me. I was slated for a third week of it, which I would have done, but my wonderful boss told me not to bother. I was kinda bummed (money ; ;), but I needed that time off more than I realized.

This last weekend I had both Sunday -and- Monday off, and it was amazing. Sunday I ended up sitting out by the pool and soaking up some sun, which was awesome, and Monday I baked up a storm. I didn’t really mean to, but we had a lot of stuff in the fridge that was expiring and needed to be used. I made zucchini bread muffins, blueberry scones, and banana cream pie.

Did you know that August 27th is Banana Lover’s Day? We have these odd calendars in the office from the furniture rental company we recommend to our residents, and along with the normal national/religious holidays, it has other sundry observances, usually along the food line – such as Banana Lover’s Day. Apparently I missed Cheese Cake Day a few weeks ago. I’ve been kinda-sorta using it to plot out what I’ll make on Mondays or Thursdays if it’s convenient.

Even after making zucchini bread muffins, I still had about a cup of zucchini left, and as it’s Thursday I decided to query the internets as to the possibility of zucchini scones. I thought it sounded odd, but then people seem to like the combo of chocolate and zucchini. Turns out I’m not the only one who has thought of zucchini scones. I stumbled upon a recipe that does something interesting as far as the butter in the recipe goes. Instead of cutting the butter in, they grate it, freeze it, and then briefly integrate it into the flour mixture before adding zucchini and moving forward. I am intrigued – the scones I made Monday ended up not being flaky enough for my tastes, and I have a feeling the problem was a couple of things: I know I added too much liquid (I just tipped my hand too much the last addition), and I think I made the butter a bit too small when cutting it into the flour. I read in the CIA Baking at Home book that when you’re making pie crusts, you should cut the butter in really well (small crumb-bits) if you’re going to be baking a filling in the crust – apple, cherry, or other hot-filling pie – so that the filling doesn’t break apart and can stand up to the filling; but if you’re going to be filling it after completely baking it, especially if that substance isn’t particularly liquidy/wet, you want to leave larger crumb-bits so that the crust is flaky. It makes sense that if I wanted my scones to be more flaky, I should leave larger crumb-bits. We’ll see how this grating idea works.

Zucchini Scones

4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1 c buttermilk (plus additional, if necessary)
1 c grated zucchini, dried well

Grate the unsalted butter on a box grater over some plastic wrap. Throw the grated butter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. (She seems to like using her hands to combine things – I agree up to the point where my hands start getting sticky-doughy.)

Once the butter is hard, toss it gently with the dry ingredients, being careful not to melt the butter with your body heat. (What I did was I initially broke up the grated butter mass and integrated it into the flour a bit with the fork, then once it was manageable used my fingers to make sure there weren’t any terribly large clumps.)

Add the buttermilk and grated zucchini and mix quickly with your hands. The mixture shouldn’t be dry. (Mine wasn’t, but then I think part of my moisture problem with the last batch of scones was just how much water the zucchini had retained. I squeezed out this batch and let it sit in a sieve for a while to drain, but I have a feeling that still left too much. Maybe I need to keep it out for a few hours or something and really let it dry?)

Using a portion scoop, scoop mounds of scone dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Leave enough space between mounds so that the scones can expand slightly as they bake.

Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly.


The recipe goes on to mention making an icing for the scones, but I’ll have to see how they turn out before I can determine whether they’ll need icing or not.

[later]

They’re certainly interesting. I’ve had to bake them a good 10 minutes longer than the 15 minute mark, perhaps because I have so many on the pan. They do have a nice texture, though not the scone-texture I was hoping for. They’d make a good muffin – nice and light and moist. Eventually I will figure out how to make scones. I have a feeling part of it is that I end up handling the wet dough too much – I keep trying to make sure that the added ingredient (blueberries, zucchini) is fully integrated and not oddly clumped, and I have a feeling that while I’m doing that I’m just working the dough all to hell. I’ll have to try plain scones one of these weeks, because scones are pretty awesome. I’ll also look at my pumpkin scones, because as I remember those turned out decently well.

Dutch Baby with Spiced Peaches

On a totally irrelephant note: I hate my dishwasher. It beeps about once a minute or so when it’s open. Mikal doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, but it annoys the buttons out of me. Seriously.

Anyway….

I’ve been attempting to make a little something to bring to work on Thursdays, since we start an hour later than the rest of the week. It’s a good little idea, it’s a way to get my baked goods eaten by someone other than myself and Mikal, and it’s fun. I like it.

I totally forgot I was starting this little breakfasty-thing until around 6:45 this morning when my alarm went off. I was trying to think of something, anything to make, while fighting off the sluggishness of sleeeeeeeeeepies. Snooze was hit twice. By the time the alarm went off the third time, I had two ideas: I could attempt to make a peach-filled crêpe for each person, or I could utilize the one-inch square cavity silicone pan I have to make brownies. I could even top each brownie bite with either an almond, peanut butter, or nothing. It was a good idea…until I remembered that I still haven’t figured out a good homemade brownie recipe, and I really don’t have anything outside of powdered cocoa in the house for chocolate. The crêpes were still in the running, but I wasn’t sure the peaches were up to it. I had let them sit in the fridge for a bit to ripen, but they were still not quite there, or at least the last batch hadn’t been.

I made some coffee and sat with Mr. Ginger and Baking at Home with the CIA and tried to figure out what I could pull together at the last minute. I could have tried the zucchini bread recipe again, but I did that just last week and wasn’t too excited by it – definitely needs some tweaking. I had also made the peach galette in the book, but the dough had turned out a bit meh, same with the peaches. Not great, though a good idea. And then I came across the dutch baby. Easy, you cook the peaches a bit before using them as a filling, I have all the ingredients, and it’s something that would probably be light enough for everyone: instant winner.

This batch of peaches has so far proven to be more ripe than the last, so I can hope that the peachy flavor will come through a bit more. The filling for the galette didn’t seem quite sweet enough for the under-ripened ones, so it turned out kind of tart and meh. But, as with all of the CIA recipes I have so far encountered, the instructions are straightforward and nicely easy.

Dutch Baby with Spiced Peaches

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole or low-fat milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing

Spiced Peaches
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp lightly packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Place a 1-inch cast-iron skillet or ovenproof sauté pan in the oven and preheat to 450°F. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and set aside.

While the pan heats, put the eggs in a blender and blend at low speed. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, in 3 additions. Scrape down the sides of the blender and continue to blend until smooth, 15-20 seconds. Blend in the melted butter. Brush the hot skillet with additional melted butter and pour in the batter. Bake for 10 minutes without opening the oven. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake until the Dutch baby is very puffy and the edges are starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, 15-20 minutes more.

Meanwhile, prepare the spiced peaches: Melt the butter in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Add the peaches, cinnamon and brown sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until the fruit is just heated through, about 5 minutes.

Remove the Dutch baby from the oven. Drizzle with the lemon juice and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Fill the center of the Dutch baby with the hot fruit mixture. Serve immediately.


I have to say, this is an amazing recipe. Pretty simple, straightforward, and doesn’t take a whole lot of time. I have a feeling the blender helps things go quickly, otherwise one would have to whisk a lot.

These were so good my boss, who usually won’t take terribly much of my sweets, grabbed a second helping right after scarfing the first. Granted she had to leave right away, but still – that’s a pretty good endorsement.