Day 21: Cardamom Crumb Cake

10-20-08 039 copy

I’m going to cheat a bit today and use my TWD post as Day 21’s treat.

I miss baking with TWD, although I haven’t really missed more than 2 assignments (I think) but life gets busy and sometimes you gotta kill two birds with one stone.

Metaphorically, of course. Killing birds isn’t up my alley. It makes me sad.

No birdies were harmed in the making of this crumb cake.

10-20-08 030 copy

If you like cardamom, orange and coffee flavors, this crumb cake is for you! Whip it up for brunch or for breakfast or even for company that drops by. It comes together quickly and is best served warm the day it’s made with some coffee and a side of cinnamon infused freshly whipped cream.

Jill chose this cake and made the comment that this is a good holiday cake… and I agree. That’s why it is for Day 21 of my Christmas baking extravaganza!

I have never done anything with cardamom before but I went ahead and bought some cardamom and I can’t wait to find new ways to use it. I halved this recipe and made it in a 8×5 loaf pan, which is why it’s a bit on the thin side, but it still worked.

1 2

You can find the recipe on her blog. Click here to be taken directly to it.

Day 13 – Cranberry Dark Cherry Coffee Cake

10-20-08 164 copy

Cleaning out the freezer always seems like a treasure hunt!! Or should I say an adventure…? Would adventure make you feel better?

Treasure implies finding something fantastic rather than the only-god-knows-how-old bananas you’ve pulled out of the back. Or the sticky neon blue and orange mess you have to clean up from busted Pop-Ices. Or frost bitten ground beef that you’re SURE you just bought a few weeks ago.

2 1 3

None-the-less, sometimes cleaning out that frozen garbage disposal can yield some great things! Like a bag of frozen cranberries that you were smart enough to wash and freeze at their prime, or black berries, blueberries even rhubarb!

I tell ya, sometimes… I’m a pretty smart cookie!

And if you are a smart cookie and tucked away some cranberries, you should be an even smarter cookie and make this coffee cake. It’s divine.

It’s day 13 of my Christmas baking Extravaganza!! And cranberries are quintessential on my holiday table. And this is such a lovely coffee cake. Fluffy, tender, not too sweet cake bursting with plump red berries and topped with a clinically insane amount of pecan crumble. Yep, it’s pretty much perfect!!

10-20-08 162 copy

Cranberry Coffee Cake
Adapted from Joy The Baker

Cake:
4 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 Tablespoons of milk
3 cups cranberries (frozen works great)
1 cup halved black cherries (frozen works great)

Crumble Topping:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, well-softened
2/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/3 cup quick oats (optional, but I skipped it cus I was out)

Put a rack in middle oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9×13-inch pan and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.

Combine butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla extract.

Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and sour cream mixture in alternate batches, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and mixing until just incorporated. Fold in cranberries. Spoon batter into baking dish and spread evenly.

For the topping, place the flour, brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and oats in a large bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed. Take two full handful of the topping and spread it over the cake batter. Use a knife to swirl the topping into the batter. No need to massacre it, just a few swirls and you’re good to go. Spread the rest of the topping evenly over the cranberry cake batter.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Serve in big warm slices with a cup of creamy coffee.

Shipping Safe: NO. This is a make and share treat. Make this for your family on a coooold morning.
Make ahead and Freeze: NO, but not certain. There could be a loss in cake texture if you were to freeze it. This is best enjoyed the day it is made :)

Vegan Pumpkin Bread with Brown Sugar-Walnut ‘Crumble’

10-20-08 058 copy

Confession time:

I am not a vegan. But this quick bread is.

This quick bread is WAY cooler than I am. Way more delicious too.

But if I were to be classified as delicious we’d have problems. You see, that’s called cannibalism. And it’s illegal, albeit creepy as hell.

Say it with me now kids: cannibalism is creepy and totally illegal. Vegan bread is delicious and TOTALLY legal.

Can’t you just picture this lesson Sesame Street? I’d be a great teacher.*

This bread is vegan which in a nutshell means no butter, no eggs, no dairy. Are you having a panic attack at the sight of ‘no butter?’ Don’t.  It is moist and flavorful and downright amazing! Whips up quick too! And just think, this is something you can make when you are out of eggs and butter and you have a gazillion things to do before your in-laws, friends, or mailman arrives. So hop to! You don’t want to miss out!

10-20-08 062 copy

Vegan Pumpkin Walnut Bread
Slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (or whole wheat flour or only all-purpose flour, I used 100% Whole Wheat)

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I used ground nutmeg)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (or just under two cups)

1 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup water (I forgot to add this and it still worked!)

Handful of chopped walnuts and brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease and flour two loaf pans (mine are 8×4×2) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

In a medium bowl, carefully whisk together pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup and water.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold all of the ingredients together. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl well, finding any stray flour bits to mix in.

Divide the dough between the two greased pans and sprinkle with a few walnut pieces. Repeat with brown sugar (I like to grab a handful of brown sugar and squeeze it in my hand to make it semi-solid and just sprinkle the crumb like pieces on top.) Bake for 1 hour (mine was done in 48 mins), or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let rest in the pans for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Serve warm. Maybe even wrap one loaf up in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for future munching, or tie a bow around it and gift it to a hungry friend.

10-20-08 056 copy

*Disclaimer: Don’t worry parents, I will not be responsible for the shaping of young minds in classroom like surroundings.

Blackberry + Black Cherry Crumb Bars

10-20-08 454 copy

I have a confession to make: I love bar cookies and I don’t make them nearly as often as I’d like.

There’s just something about the forgiveness, the many new variations, the SAME old variations that you’ll never grow tired of, the ease and simplicity of throwing together a few ingredients that you most likely have on hand, adding fruit and voila! Something quick and delicious!

Unless you want to cut these into neat, perfect squares. Then I’d suggest letting them come to room temperature then putting them in the refrigerator for an hour or so and THEN cutting them.

But neat, perfect squares are overrated, right?

10-20-08 455 copy

Let’s take back the ‘scoop it into a bowl and top it with ice cream and forget about the photo op’ days, shall we? Let’s kick it old school.

There are SO many variations for this bar cookie that its silly to try to post them all but here are a few ideas to get the gears grinding: strawberries/rhubarb, apples/cinnamon, blueberries/lemon zest, raspberries/orange zest, pears/dried cranberries… the list really does go on! Use your imagination… or your tummy… or whatever you have on hand. It’ll work :)

10-20-08 456 copy

Blackberry + black cherry crumb bars
Makes about 36 squares

Ingredients:

2 cups blackberries (frozen works great)
2 cups black cherries (again, frozen works)
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cup Granulated Sugar, divided into 1/2 cup
4 teaspoons Cornstarch
½ cups Packed Brown Sugar
3 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Ground Ginger
½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
1 cup Cold Butter
1 whole Egg

Preparation Instructions:

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil and then lightly spritz with cooking spray.
• In a medium bowl, combine the fruit and lemon juice. Stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 4 tsp cornstarch. Set aside.
• In a separate medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup each of granulated sugar and brown sugar. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, ground ginger, and ground nutmeg.
• Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Whisk one egg in a small bowl and stir into the flour mixture.
• Press slightly less than half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the fruit mixture over the crust.
• Sprinkle the rest of the flour mixture over the fruit haphazardly. No need to be perfect.
• Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is light brown and the fruit is thick and bubbly.
• Let the bars cool on a rack and then place the fridge to chill. This will make the bars easier to cut and remove from the pan. But if you could care less about easy cutting, let them cool a bit and dig in with a large spoon and serve in bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
• Enjoy!

TWD – Crunchy and Custardy Peach Tart

10-20-08 501 copy

There are only a few things I’m good at. I know, I know. Me, the master of the universe? Knocks your socks off doesn’t it ;)

Among those few things are: managing my time wisely, folding laundry, cooking gourmet meals everyday, resisting the call of Starbucks, and making a killer tart crust.

Looks like we have a winner, folks!

dh ddsh
ftj fyj

And this is most certainly a winner. A sweet, crumbly tart dough (or pâte sablée, if you’re fancy) filled with fresh sliced peaches (or blueberries, in my case) and a ridiculously simple custard topped with brown sugar/nut crumble. It’s a doozy.

I made the whole tart crust recipe (ample amount for 4 mini tarts, 5 if you make the crust a bit thinner. But this… simply wasn’t an option for me.) I used half of one peach for 3 of the mini tarts and a handful of blueberries for the last tart. I kept all the other amounts the same and it worked perfectly! I used pecans to top the blueberry tart because Emily made it sound irresistible!

1 2

I ate an entire mini tart alone. As did my mom. And my coworker. There’s only one left. We might have to fight for it. True story.

A biiig thanks goes out to Rachel of sweet tarte for choosing this recipe (that I almost didn’t make, psh). Head on over to her blog for the recipe and some beautiful photos. Head on over to the other bakers’ blogs to see the many different variations on this amazing tart!

10-20-08 522 copy

Up next week: Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

TWD – Cran Apple Crisps

S5002804 copy

I think I have a secret apparent love affair with all desserts with funny names. For those of you who need examples:

Crisp

Crumble

Fool

Grunt

Buckle

Slump… Get the picture??

Each incorporates fruits and makes them practically irresistible to me.  Now if only I can invent a fruit dish and call it a “Whoopsy” I think my life would be complete!!

So naturally I was all smiles and sunshine when it came time to make this weeks TWD recipe. I didn’t change much about the recipe: I doubled the cinnamon and subbed the ginger for nutmeg, added some cinnamon to the cran-apple filling, and added chopped almonds to the crumble topping. And boy, let me tell you… this was GOOD!!

S5002803 copy

I don’t think I have ever fully appreciated the cranberry in anything except juice UNTIL NOW! I’m a changed woman. Changed I say.

Their tart tanginess dances beautifully with the sweet apples and crunchy-nutty-aromatic crumble topping.

My only regret? Not having vanilla ice cream to top it off with. ;)

You KNOW you want the recipe, so head on over to Em at The Repressed Pastry Chef and take a gander at her delish goodies.

S5002810 copy

SMS – Apple Orchard Pecan (and almond) Crumble

crumble

Sometimes my train of thought makes no sense to anyone but me. And it ALWAYS makes perfect sense in my head. It’s that when I write it down that I realize how randomly scattered my thoughts are and I must find the link that connects them all.

I wrote it down and then edited it and then deleted it only to attempt it again. Without any chance of you understanding what the hell I was talking about. So I warn you… this might make NO sense :D

I’m going to link celery to crumbles. Stay with me….

I had these vivid flashbacks of eating a red version of celery with sugar as a child —> I set out to find what this “red celery-like” fruit/veggie/whatever was —> Fall upon a rhubarb crumble recipe and have an epiphany —> Aha! Its friggin rhubarb —> Scour the internets for a ridiculous amount of rhubarb recipes in light of said epiphany —> Run to numerous stores over the course of a few months searching for rhubarb and find none. NONE! —> Finally give up the witch hunt for rhubarb and sulk, sadly —> Pick up frozen bag of blueberries and almost fall to my knees with joy of finding a bag of rhubarb —> Purchase ramekins for personal sized crumbles for the rhubarb —> Never make said crumble —> Pine incessantly over wanting crumbles —> Reads this week’s SMS recipe —> REJOICE in crumbly euphoria.

Don’t look at me like that… I told you. I waaaaarned you. It makes NO SENSE. Mention crumble and I somehow come up with celery. But this is what runs through my head when I hear the word crumble. It makes sense to me. That’s all that counts, right? RIGHT?!

crumble

crumble crumble
crumble crumble

This crumble is quick to put together (provided you are an expert apple peeler and your nuts are already chopped) and tastes better the next day at room temperature (strictly my opinion). I am sad to report that there was NO VANILLA ICE CREAM or caramel drizzle ANYWHERE in my apartment, therefore my “perfect crumble” dreams…. crumbled. *sigh*

I think my crumble topping went south somewhere because it was more of a uniform-melty-nutty-caramely-crunchy-MASS than what I imagined. BUT maybe that’s what all of you came up with… or maybe I’m just a complete moron who can’t read and thinks of celery when “crumble” is mentioned. ;)

Please visit Cristine’s delightful blog, Cristine Cooks for the recipe. Visit the SMS blogroll to see how the other bakers fared with this crumble.

crumble

Please excuse the pictures. It was night-time and there was obviously NO NATURAL LIGHT to speak of.