bake

Crumb Cake

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One of my favorite treats to have growing up was crumb cake. It was usually something we had on the weekend, when we could just take our time enjoy a slice. I’ve had a few days off for the holidays, so I woke up one morning feeling like I needed to recreate those leisurely mornings from my childhood. I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it may be even better than the boxed kind I used to eat. The touch of almond extract really adds extra flavor, and it is extra crumbly.

Ingredients

Crumb Topping:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix dry ingredients for crumb topping together in a large bowl. Create a well in the center and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together butter, vanilla, and almond extract for crumb topping. Pour into well of dry ingredients. Pull dry ingredients into wet with a fork, and begin to form crumbs. You want some larger and some smaller, but no larger than a 1/2 inch. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar for cake until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add in vanilla extract and sour cream, scraping sides to make sure it is well combined. In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Add mixture to butter mixture, and beat on low until just combined.

Pour cake mixture into a greased 9×13 inch pan and spread evenly. Pour crumb mixture on top, and bake for 30-35 minutes.

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White Chocolate Dipped Pistachio + Apricot Cookies

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One of the easiest homemade gifts to give at the holidays is something baked from scratch. Whether it be an old family recipe, a personal favorite, or just a simple batch of cookies, putting the extra effort into a gift goes a long way to show you care. I pulled this recipe from one of my favorite books, TrEATs, by April Carter, and haven’t been able to stop eating them! They are easy to make, and a nice festive option to wrap up and give out as gifts this holiday season.

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter

1 c caster sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

3 3/5 c flour

5 g dried apricots, roughly chopped

5 g pistachios, roughly chopped, plus extra for topping

7 oz white chocolate

Recipe

Preheat oven to 340 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in egg, mix well, then add vanilla, and mix until well combined.

Add in half of the flour mix and combine well, then stir in apricots and pistachios. Add second half of flour mixture, beat until just combined.

Remove dough from bowl, and knead slightly. On a floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4″ thick. Using a circle cutter, cut out cookies. Place on baking sheets, and place in freezer for about 10 minutes prior to baking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt white chocolate in a double boiler. Immediately dip cookies into melted chocolate, and sprinkle with pistachios. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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Cranberry + Lemon Dutch Babies

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I have a true addiction to breakfast foods – especially the sweet ones. If I could eat pancakes, french toast, or waffles for every meal, I may just be okay with it. Today is the first day of my mini-vacation, and I started my day off by making these adorable dutch babies. I added some cranberries to make them a bit more festive (as I also decorated for Christmas this morning). They taste as good as they look – it’s a gigantic, thick and fluffy pancake, and takes much less work and time. Here’s my variation of the recipe I used (original found here).

Ingredients

2/3 c sifted flour

2/3 c whole milk

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 stick butter, sliced

Handful of fresh cranberries

Powdered sugar and lemon zest for seasoning

Recipe

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place 10″ cast iron pan in oven.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, milk, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Remove cast iron pan from oven, and place sliced butter in it. Swirl it around to ensure the entire pan is coated. Pour in batter, sprinkle cranberries gently on top, and place immediately back in oven.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with powdered sugar and lemon zest, and serve immediately.

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Maple Frosted Donuts

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When I bought my donut pan months ago to make these, I promised myself donuts wouldn’t become an addiction. I swore I’d only make them every so often, on special occasions, or if I was having a bad day. To avoid the temptation, I put the pan in the very back of my cabinet. And well, it worked. It wasn’t until I was cleaning the other morning that I remembered I even had the pan. I looked up a fall inspired recipe, and found this recipe for maple frosted donuts.

Here’s the thing – these donuts are amazing highly addictive. I can’t stop eating them. If you don’t want to become a full-fledged donut addict, I highly suggest not making these. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Ingredients

MAPLE GLAZE

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup  pure maple syrup

  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract (optional)

SPICE DONUTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Recipe

Make the glaze first. Melt butter and maple syrup together in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and sift in confectioner’s sugar. Whisk until well combined. If you desire a stronger maple flavor, add maple extract.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, milk and yogurt until well combined. Add in milk and yogurt, and mix completely. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and combined until just mixed. Batter will be thick, do not over mix.

Pour batter into a piping bag (or ziplock bag with the corner cut out) and fill donut molds 2/3 of the way full. Slam against counter a few times to get it evenly spread, and then make for 9-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for a few moments before transferring them to the cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before dipping them into the maple glaze. Donuts stay fresh for two days, or freeze for up to two months.

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Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Poptarts

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Growing up, I feel like I ate pop tarts all the time. While this is probably far from the truth, I  still remember it as one of my favorite snacks/breakfasts. I never ate any of the super fancy kinds though – we always stuck to cinnamon sugar. There were times in college that I would have random cravings for them at 2am – and it’s safe to say that my love for pop tarts hasn’t died off yet. Instead of eating them from a foil wrapper out of a box, I decided it was time to be a bit more sophisticated, and learn how to make them completely from scratch. This recipe is simple as long as you have a couple hours to spare, and will make you start craving pop tarts all the time too.

Ingredients

For Crust:

2 cups + 4 tbsp flour

1 tsp salt

2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, but into 16 pieces

6+ tbsp ice water

For Filling:

1/2 cup  light brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1 large egg

2 tsp milk

For Icing:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tbsp milk, plus more as needed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe

Mix together flour and salt. Cut in butter until clumps are slightly larger than pea size. Add water one tablespoon at a time, and knead dough until well combined. Place in freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove from freezer, divide dough in half. Roll out each half into a 9×12 inch rectangle. Cut into 3×4 inch squares. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, place squares on cookie sheet, and refrigerate for one hour. Repeat with other half of dough.

While dough is cooling, prepare filling by mixing together brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and milk.

Remove dough from fridge, brush one pan with the egg/milk mixture. Place 1 tsp full of the filling onto of brushed side, and spread out so just 1/4″ is left around the edges. Coat the other cookie sheet of squares with the egg mixture, and place it brushed side down onto of the filled squares. Press edges together with a fork, and poke about 9 holes in the top of each poptart with a toothpick. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Use remaining egg/milk mixture to coat the tops of the poptarts. Bake for 22-28 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile mix together all ingredients for icing. Once pop tarts have cooled, apply icing. It should be completely hardened and ready to eat within an hour.

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Maple-Walnut Biscotti

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I made pumpkin spice biscotti last year around this same time after a long day, and I remembered it being one of the most relaxing nights I’d had to myself in a while. After a long day at work the other day, I decided there was no better time to come home and duplicate my relaxing evening. This year, I opted for maple-walnut biscotti (you can find the original recipe here), and turned on Breakfast at Tiffany’s to watch while it was in the oven. Once they cooled, I cozied up on my couch, had some coffee and a biscotti, and was ready to call it a night.

Ingredients (makes about one dozen large biscotti)

2 cups walnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted

2 large eggs

1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed

1/4 c pure maple syrup

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon maple flavor, optional

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 1/2 c all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast walnuts for about 10 minutes, until they have turned golden brown.

Beat together eggs, sugars, maple syrup, and maple flavor. Add melted butter, combine until smooth. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Add the nuts last, and combine well.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape the dough into a rectangle (about 5″ wide, 12″ long, and 1″ thick). Using wet fingers, smooth the sides and top of the rectangle.

Bake the biscotti for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes (this will make cutting it easier). Cut them into 1″ thick slices, and place them back on the baking sheet (try to place them close together, balanced upright). Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until sides have just started to turn a light golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool. Drizzle with royal icing if desired.

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Personal Pumpkin Pies

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One of my problems I always have with pies is that unless I’m bringing it to a dinner party to share, so much of it goes to waste. I’ll eat a couple of slices, and the pie will go bad before I can completely finish it up. I thought up creating mini versions of my favorite pies instead (I used this recipe as a guide), and it fixes all of my issues. I can now keep a couple little pies at home to enjoy for myself, and then distribute the rest in a nice, neat little package. These are perfect for get togethers this fall. Just wrap them up and your guests can get a little dessert to go!

Ingredients

2 pie crusts, rolled out (see recipe on how to make your own here)

2 eggs

1 can pumpkin puree

3/4 c sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 c heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

whipped cream for topping

Recipe

Prepare pie crusts according to directions. Cut each into 4″ in diameter circles. Press each circle into a greased muffin tin so that it just barely hangs over the top. Refrigerate for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare pumpkin pie filling. Beat together two eggs on medium speed, then add in the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour mixture into muffin tin pies, so that it is just below the top of the pie.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from tins and let cool for about two hours, top with a dollop of whipped cream.

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