Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf

I am going to take a break from my quick weeknight dinner posts (I have several more) to post a few sweet treats. Back to school treats are very important in our house. 🙂

This cake can be served for dessert or as a very special snack or breakfast. We ate it for breakfast. I recommend eating it as soon as possible 😉 , but, it should keep fresh for several days in an airtight container at room temperature. I made it in a standard loaf pan this time, but I plan to make it in my fluted loaf pan on the next occasion.

The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Sarah Jampel. I weighed the dry ingredients and reduced the baking time. Just as yummy as a farmstand apple cider doughnut!

Yield: One 9-inch loaf

For the Cake:

  • 8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or buttermilk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 T (172 g) all-purpose flour (can substitute 63 g with whole wheat flour)
  • 2 T (15 g) cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

For the Topping:

  • big pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 T reserved reduced apple cider (from above)
  1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°, preferably on convection.
  2. Lightly butter an 8½ x 4½” or 9×5″ loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on both long sides. Lightly butter the parchment. (I used cooking oil spray and a metal loaf pan.)
  3. Bring cider to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cider is reduced to ¾ cup, 8–10 minutes.
  4. Pour ¼ cup reduced cider into a small measuring glass or bowl and set aside.
  5. Transfer remaining reduced cider to a small bowl or glass measuring cup and let cool 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream and vanilla and set aside.
  6. Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in same saucepan (no need to clean) over low heat. Let cool slightly.
  7. Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a medium bowl to combine.
  8. Vigorously whisk eggs and 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar in a large bowl until pale, voluminous, and frothy, about 2 minutes. (I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.)
  9. Whisking constantly (with the mixer on low-speed), gradually add melted butter in a steady stream; continue to whisk until fully combined and emulsified (no spots of fat should remain). Reserve saucepan (no need to clean).
  10. Whisk dry ingredients into egg mixture in 3 additions, alternating with reserved sour cream mixture in 2 additions; whisk just until no lumps remain. Batter will be thin.
  11. Scrape into pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet.
  12. Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until deep golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–80 minutes. (I baked mine for 55 minutes.)
  13. Transfer pan to a wire rack and poke top of cake all over with a toothpick.
  14. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the reserved reduced cider over; let cool 10 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, make the topping: Mix a big pinch of salt, remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a small bowl. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in reserved saucepan and mix into remaining 1 tablespoon reduced cider.
  16. Using parchment paper, lift cake onto rack and set rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Peel away parchment from sides.
  17. Brush warm butter-cider mixture over top and sides of cake.
  18. Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture to coat every surface (use parchment to help rotate cake and collect any excess sugar).
  19. Remove parchment and let cool completely before slicing.

Do ahead: Cake can be made 4 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped or in an airtight container at room temperature.

Sourdough English Muffins

As a big fan of English muffins, I tried a few sourdough versions before finally finding this successful one. It was worth it!

This recipe is from Emilie Raffa’s book, Artisan Dough Made Simple, via thelemonapron.com. I may need this book. 🙂 I cooked the muffins in a large cast iron skillet but may try to expedite the process by using a griddle next time. They were equally delicious with mustard egg and cheese as with butter and jam.

Yield: 12 to 14 muffins

  • 245 grams (1 cup plus 1 tsp) milk, whole or 2%
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) water
  • 56 grams (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 75 grams (heaped 1/2 cup) bubbly active starter
  • 24 grams (2 tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 500 grams (4 cups plus 2 tbsp) all purpose flour
  • 9 grams (1 1/2 tsp) salt
  • Cornmeal or semolina flour, for dusting

To Make the Dough:

  1. In a small saucepan, warm the milk, water and butter together over low heat, or in the microwave. Cool slightly before adding to the dough.
  2. Add the starter and sugar to a large bowl. Slowly pour in the warm milk mixture, while whisking to combine.
  3. Add the flour and salt. Mix with a fork to form a rough dough, then finish by hand to fully incorporate the flour. Cover with a damp towel and let rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile replenish your starter and store according to preference.
  4. After the dough has rested, work the mass into a semi-smooth ball, about 15-20 seconds. (I did this on a lightly floured piece of plastic wrap.)

Bulk Rise:

  1. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl.
  2. Cover the bowl with the damp towel and let rise until double is size, about 8-10 hours at 70 degrees F. (21C) (I let the dough rise for about 5 hours in a proofing oven.)
  3. Once fully risen, cover the dough in lightly oiled plastic wrap and chill in fridge overnight.

To Shape:

  1. In the morning, remove the cold dough from the fridge onto a floured surface. Let it rest 10 minutes.
  2. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal all over them. This will prevent the dough from sticking.
  3. With floured hands, pat the dough into a rectangle or oval, about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
  4. Cut rounds about 3 inches in diameter (you can use the rim of a drinking glass: use a rim that isn’t too thick) You should get 10-12 rounds. (I used a Bonne Maman jam jar.)
  5. Place them onto the cornmeal on the baking sheets. Sprinkle tops with more cornmeal.

For the Second Rise:

  1. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest till puffy, about 1 hour depending on the temperature of your kitchen. (I used a proofing oven.)

To Cook the Muffins:

  1. Warm a large cast iron or non-stick skillet (you can also use a cast iron griddle) over low to medium-low heat.
  2. Place a few rounds of dough into the pan to fit comfortably. Don’t worry, they really won’t spread.
  3. Cook on one side for about 8 to 10 minutes, checking at the halfway mark for even browning. Adjust the heat if necessary. Flip the muffins over and continue to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes. When ready, the muffins should feel lightweight and the sides should spring back when pressed gently.
  4. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool. Continue cooking the remaining rounds.
  5. When ready to eat, split them open using a fork piercing into the equator of each all the way around and gently prying open.

Recipe Notes:

Muffins will stay fresh 2 days, stored in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature.

The tip to cooking English muffins is to find balanced heat.  If the flame is too high, the outside will brown too quickly leaving the center undercooked.  If you find this has happened, finish baking the muffins in a low heat oven (about 250F) until cooked through.

You can avoid this by doing a test run with one or two muffins to begin with to help guide your stove top heat.

You can make the dough Friday morning before you leave the house for the day, put it in the fridge at the end of the day, and then bake them on Saturday morning for a great treat.

Maple-Blueberry Scones

These scones were absolutely fabulous- very tender and flaky. Half of the butter is fully incorporated into the dough, making them tender, and the remaining butter is kept intact and only dusted with flour, as in a traditional scone, resulting in flakiness. I loved that they were sweetened with maple syrup and incorporated whole wheat flour.

This recipe was adapted from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery + Café in Boston, via The New York Times, contributed by Dorie Greenspan. I drizzled the glaze and modified the size and baking time. Amazing.

Yield: 18 scones

  • 1 ⅔ cups/240 grams whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup/130 grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup/170 grams unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • ½ cup/120 grams crème fraîche, Greek yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • ½ cup/120 milliliters pure maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons/⅓ cup/80 milliliters buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup/125 grams fresh blueberries

For the Maple Glaze:

  • ½ cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix both flours, the baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed.
  2. Add half the butter and paddle until fully mixed into the flour, 2 to 3 minutes. (This will coat the flour with butter so the scones are tender.)
  3. Add the remaining butter to the bowl of the stand mixer. Pulse the mixer three or four times to mix the pieces into the dough while keeping them whole. (This step will give you small pieces of butter in the dough, which will help the scones be a bit flaky.)
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, maple syrup, buttermilk and yolk until thoroughly mixed.
  5. Stir in the blueberries.
  6. With the mixer on low, pour the blueberry mixture into the flour mixture, and paddle on low for about 10 seconds to get some of the liquid mixed into the flour.
  7. Stop the mixer, and mix the rest of the loose flour into the dough by hand: Gather and lift the dough with your hands and turn it over in the bowl several times until all the loose flour is mixed in.
  8. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap it well and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 1 day. (This gives the flour time to fully absorb the liquid.)
  9. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, and position a rack in the center. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  10. Using a 3 tablespoon ice cream scoop, scoop out 18 mounds of chilled dough, and place them on the prepared baking sheets a few inches apart. (I placed 6 per sheet.)
  11. Bake scones for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway through the baking time, until the scones are evenly golden brown and firm when you press them.
  12. While the scones are baking, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and enough maple syrup to make a drizzle-able glaze. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. Rewhisk before using.
  13. Remove the scones from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before drizzling with glaze.
  14. Using a spoon, drizzle with maple glaze. Serve.

Strawberry Ricotta Muffins

When I saw these strawberry muffins, I knew that they would be a perfect addition to my tried and true strawberry recipes. They were very tender and minimally sweet- a perfect summer breakfast.

This recipe was adapted from Bake from Scratch, via Cooking with Aunt Juju.com. I incorporated whole wheat flour and modified the topping. The recipe also included a ricotta glaze for the topping which would also be a tasty option (see link above). Nice.

Yield: 16 muffins

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice or 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups diced fresh strawberries
  • turbinado sugar, for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Spray 16 regular muffin wells with cooking spray or use liners.
  3. Whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk the ricotta cheese until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs, milk and lemon zest or juice; whisk until smooth.
  6. Add the oil and vanilla and stir until combined.
  7. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and fold in with a spatula; gently fold in the strawberries.
  8. Divide the batter among the 16 prepared wells, filling about three-fourths full.
  9. Sprinkle the top of the batter in each well with turbinado sugar.
  10. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. (mine were ready in about 17 minutes.)
  11. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes; remove. Finish cooling on the racks.

Sourdough Muffins: Oatmeal Raisin & Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon

I love making muffins with my sourdough starter discard. Both of these muffins were very wholesome, minimally sweet, and had a wonderful crumb/texture. I incorporated whole wheat flour into both varieties and also sprinkled the top with cinnamon sugar prior to baking. I think that the sweetness on top was an essential addition.

The Oatmeal Raisin Muffin recipe was adapted from Food.com, contributed by Yankiwi. I weighed the ingredients, incorporated whole wheat flour and cinnamon in the batter, and sprinkled the tops with cinnamon sugar prior to baking. I also reduced the baking time for a convection oven.

Sourdough Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 90 g (1 cup) rolled oats
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 113 g (1/2 cup) sourdough starter, unfed
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 120 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 57 g (1/2 cup) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling (see Note)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C), preferably on convection.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine rolled oats and milk. Set aside to soak.
  3. Grease 12 muffin cups; set aside. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  4. Stir sourdough starter, oil, egg and raisins into soaked oats; set aside.
  5. In a large bowl mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and brown sugar.
  6. Add oats mixture. Stir until dry ingredients are just moistened; don’t over mix.
  7. Divide batter among the 12 cups. (I used a cookie scoop.)
  8. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar.
  9. Bake in preheated oven 15 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove promptly from muffin cups.
  10. Can be served hot or cold.

Whole Wheat Sourdough Apple Cinnamon Muffins

The Whole Wheat Sourdough Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe was adapted from tastykitchen.com, contributed by baking barrister. I weighed the ingredients, added salt, incorporated brown sugar and reduced the total amount of sugar by half, modified the proportions and baking time, and used a Pink Lady apple. They were very moist and tasty.

Yield: 12 muffins

  • 170 g (3/4 cup) sourdough starter, unfed
  • 113 g (1 cup) whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 T (1/4 cup) canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch chunks (I used a Pink Lady apple)
  • cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling (see Note)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F, preferably on convection.
  2. Thoroughly mix the starter, flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, egg, vanilla extract, and oil.
  3. Fold in the apple chunks.
  4. Using cooking oil spray, generously grease a muffin tin.
  5. Divide batter among the 12 cups. (I used a cookie scoop.)
  6. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar or turbinado sugar.
  7. Bake for 17 to 24 minutes, until they pass the toothpick test. Promptly remove from muffin cups.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature. Let cool completely before storing.

Note: I usually have leftover cinnamon sugar in my kitchen. Proportions vary, but 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon is a nice start. More sugar can be added to taste.

Blueberry Sourdough Muffins

I am going to share a couple more breakfast recipes that use sourdough starter. I was in LOVE with these muffins! They are sweetened with pure maple syrup, are loaded with blueberries, and incorporate cornmeal. Delicious.

This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour, and added vanilla extract. Wholesome and tasty!

Yield: 12 muffins

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably on convection.
  2. Grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with papers and grease the inside of the papers. (I used cooking oil spray.)
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a second bowl, beat together the starter, milk, egg, melted butter, sweetener, and vanilla.
  5. Blend the wet ingredients with the dry, taking about 20 seconds.
  6. Gently stir in the blueberries just until blended.
  7. Fill the cups of the prepared pan two-thirds full; sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar.
  8. Bake the muffins for 17 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. Don’t let them cool in the pan, or they’ll steam and the outside will become tough.

Note: If using frozen berries, don’t thaw them before adding to the batter; you’ll have fewer blue streaks if they’re added frozen, just before scooping.

Mini Gâteaux Breton

These cake-type cookies are based on the classic French cake. They are buttery, nutty and minimally sweet. Lovely!

This recipe is from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I used granulated sugar, unbleached all-purpose flour, and baked them in regular brioche pans instead of mini pans. I may need to purchase mini brioche pans for my next batch! 😉

Yield: Makes 14 regular or up to 38 mini cookies

  • 25 g (1/4 cup, 0.9 oz) blanched sliced or slivered almonds
  • 75 g (6 T, 2.6 oz) granulated sugar or superfine sugar
  • 1/8 tsp (0.7 g) fine sea salt
  • 9 T (1 1/4 sticks, 4.5 to 5 oz, 128 to 142 g) unsalted butter, preferably high fat
  • 2 large egg yolks (2 T plus 1 tsp, 35 ml, 1/3 oz, 37 g), at room temperature
  • 1/2 T (7.5 ml) kirsch, dark rum, or water
  • 3/4 tsp (3.7 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 125 g (1 cup, 4.4 oz) all-purpose flour
  1. Twenty minutes (or longer) before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160° C).
  2. Toast the almonds: Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until pale gold. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over-browning. Cool completely.
  3. In a food processor, process the almonds with 2 T (25 g, 0.9 ounce) of the sugar and the salt until fairly fine but not powder.
  4. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, mix the remaining sugar and the bittern low-speed for about 1 minute, or until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. On low-speed, beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating for about 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  6. Add the almond mixture, water or liquor, and vanilla and mix on low-speed until the almond mixture is moistened. Beat for about 20 seconds until evenly incorporated.
  7. Add the flour in four parts, turning off the mixer between addition, and beat no the lowest speed for about 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  8. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  9. If using regular brioche pans, use a large cookie scoop (about a tablespoon in volume) to ration the dough. (For mini brioche pans, scoop out rounded teaspoons of the dough (0.3 oz/10 g).
  10. Roll each piece of dough between the floured palms of your hands into a ball and set it into a brioche pan. (The flour will prevent the dough from sticking to the pan.)
  11. Press the dough balls into the pans. Use a finger to press the dough into the fluted edges.
  12. If the dough is sticky, refrigerate the dough until firmer.
  13. Set the dough-lined brioche pans at least 1/2-inch apart on a rimmed baking sheet.
  14. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until golden brown. (An instant-read thermometer should read about 205°F/96°C.
  15. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  16. Using a toothpick (for regular pans) or a needle (for mini pans), loosen one of the edges of the gâteaux to loosen it and invert it onto another wire rack. Cool completely.
  17. Repeat process with remaining dough.

Notes:

  • These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room-temperature for up to 5 days, refrigerated for up to 10 days, or frozen up to 3 months.
  • The regular brioche tins are 8 cm/3 inches in diameter. The mini brioche pans are ~4.5 cm/1 3/4 inches in diameter.

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