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)
Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°, preferably on convection.
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.)
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.
Pour ¼ cup reduced cider into a small measuring glass or bowl and set aside.
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.
Melt 8 tablespoons of butter in same saucepan (no need to clean) over low heat. Let cool slightly.
Whisk flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a medium bowl to combine.
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.)
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).
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.
Scrape into pan and set on a rimmed baking sheet.
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.)
Transfer pan to a wire rack and poke top of cake all over with a toothpick.
Spoon 3 tablespoons of the reserved reduced cider over; let cool 10 minutes.
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.
Using parchment paper, lift cake onto rack and set rack inside rimmed baking sheet. Peel away parchment from sides.
Brush warm butter-cider mixture over top and sides of cake.
Sprinkle generously with sugar mixture to coat every surface (use parchment to help rotate cake and collect any excess sugar).
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.
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.
½cup/120 grams crème fraîche, Greek yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
½cup/120 milliliters pure maple syrup
5 tablespoons/⅓cup/80 milliliters buttermilk, at room temperature
1large egg yolk, at room temperature
1cup/125 grams fresh blueberries
For the Maple Glaze:
½cup/60 grams confectioners’ sugar
4 to 5tablespoons maple syrup
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly mix both flours, the baking powder, baking soda and salt on low speed.
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.)
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.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, maple syrup, buttermilk and yolk until thoroughly mixed.
Stir in the blueberries.
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.
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.
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.)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, and position a rack in the center. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
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.)
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.
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.
Remove the scones from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before drizzling with glaze.
I made these super light and slightly tangy waffles for my husband’s birthday breakfast. They were absolutely amazing topped with fresh berries and sliced bananas and drizzled with pure maple syrup.
The wonderful recipe was adapted from theperfectloaf.com. I weighed the ingredients and incorporated whole wheat flour into the batter. According to the original recipe, these waffles also freeze incredibly well. Perfect.
Yield: 14 to 15 waffles
460g (2 cups) buttermilk
126g(1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
Add buttermilk and the melted and cooled butter to a large mixing bowl.
Add your ripe sourdough starter and mix thoroughly (use a whisk and your hands if needed).
Sprinkle the sugar on top and whisk in your flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.
If necessary, use some of the 110g (1/2 cup) reserved water to break up the batter until it resembles a traditional pancake batter. If you have a 100% hydration starter, you probably won’t need to add any water, but if your flour is extra “thirsty” or you have a stiff starter it might be necessary. (I didn’t add any water.)
Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature overnight.
In the morning:
Warm your whole eggs to room temperature by letting them sit for a few minutes in a bowl of warm water.
Sift the baking soda and salt onto the top of the batter.
Crack the eggs and place the whites in one clean bowl and the yolks in another.
Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Lightly scramble up the egg yolks in the second bowl.
Pour the yolks into the batter and gently stir through.
Then, using a spatula, fold the eggs whites into the mixture until just incorporated (and no more).
Cook in your smoking hot waffle iron until done to your liking. (I cook mine for 5 minutes.)
Note: If you want to increase the amount of sourness you could hold back some of the sugar in the mix, let the batter ferment longer, or ferment the same time but at a slightly warmer temperature.
I have another special breakfast to share. Having a treat to start the day brings a little sunshine. 🙂
I am not really a bread person, but I do really enjoy English muffins. I often have a whole wheat “British muffin” from Trader Joe’s for breakfast. Naturally, this bread full of nooks and crannies caught my eye.
The recipe is from Shauna Sever’s Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland. It is easy and relatively quick to prepare, with only one rising time. She suggests baking the loaf in a German Rehrucken (crimp loaf pan) or standard loaf pan. I baked the loaf in my favorite Pullman loaf pan and modified the baking time accordingly.
The original recipe recommends making it a day ahead to serve it toasted the next day. We ate warm from the oven, slathered with salted Irish butter and our homemade strawberry-vanilla bean jam. We did toast the leftovers! Perfect.
Yield: One loaf
nonstick cooking spray, for pan
3 T (30 g) yellow cornmeal, divided
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1/3 cup (75 g) warm water (110° to 115°F/43° to 46°C)
3 tsp granulated sugar, divided
3 cups (384 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup (225 g) well-shaken buttermilk, at room temperature
2 T plus 1 tsp (32 g) vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 T unsalted butter, melted
Lightly spray a 9×5-inch (23×12.7 cm) metal loaf pan, German Rehrucken crimp loaf pan, or Pullman loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Wipe away any excess that pools in the edges.
Dust the pan all over with about 2 tablespoons of cornmeal; tap out the excess.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let rest for a couple of minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk together the flour, the remaining 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar, salt, and baking soda.
On low-speed, stir in the buttermilk, oil, and finally the yeast mixture. Mix until incorporated. (It is very important that the buttermilk is at room temperature so that the dough can rise well.)
Increase the speed to high and mix for 1 minute, stopping halfway through to scrape down the bowl. The dough will be soft and sticky.
Scrape the dough into the prepared pan.
Oil your hands lightly and pat the dough gently and evenly into the pan.
Sprinkle the top with the remaining tablespoon of cornmeal.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled and the dough comes about 1 inch from the top of the pan, about 1 hour. (I used a proofing oven.)
During the rise, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 400°F/200°C.
Bake the bread until golden and risen, with a hollow sound when tapped int he center, 22 to 25 minutes for a standard or crimped loaf pan, or 18 to 20 minutes for a Pullman loaf pan. The internal temperature should register at least 190°F/88°C on an instant-read thermometer.
Turn out the bread onto a wire rack. Brush lightly all over with the melted butter. (I only brushed the top.)
Let cool completely before slicing- if you can wait!
The photo of this special breakfast is on the cover of the April issue of Bon Appétit. I made it almost immediately after seeing the magazine! I really liked the idea of using dates in the filling to add a little bit of natural sweetness and fiber- and to reduce the amount of sugar. Yum.
This recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Molly Baz, Sohla El-Waylly, and Sarah Jampel. It was included in an article titled, “Butter, Sugar, Flour, Magic: A Basically Guide to Better Baking.” There are a lot of other delicious treats included in the article. 🙂 I made the dough and the date filling the day before assembling and baking.
It would be a lovely breakfast to serve on Easter morning.
Yield: 9 sticky buns
For the Dough:
3/4 cup buttermilk or whole-milk plain yogurt
7 T vegetable oil, divided
1 large egg
1/4 cup (50 g) packed dark brown sugar
1/4-oz (2 1/4 tsp) envelope active dry yeast
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
For the Filling and Assembly:
1 cup (180 g) packed Medjool dates, halved, pitted
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1/4 cup (50 g) packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup (83 g) Confectioners’ sugar
3 T buttermilk or plain whole-milk yogurt
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
To Make the Dough:
Combine the buttermilk and 6 tablespoons of oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. (It won’t get smooth.) Heat in the microwave in three 10-second intervals until just about body temperature, or when it registers 98°F with an instant-read thermometer. (Alternatively, the mixture can be heated in a small saucepan on medium-low for about 1 minute.)
Whisk egg, brown sugar, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup to combine, then whisk in the buttermilk mixture.
Pulse the flour, baking soda, and salt in a food processor to combine.
With the motor running, stream in the buttermilk mixture. Process until about 80% of the dough comes together in a ball, about 2 minutes. (The mixture will look very wet at first, then the sides will begin to pull away.)
Using a bowl scraper or rubber spatula, scrape the dough onto an unfloured surface. (It will be wet and sticky.)
Knead, pushing it away from you, then pulling it back toward you, until a smooth ball forms, about 3 minutes. (You can lightly oil your hands if the dough is too sticky.) The dough will grow silkier, tighter, and easier to work with as you knead.
Roll out the dough into a rough 8-inch square.
Fold dough over onto itself to make and 8×4-inch rectangle, then flatten it slightly and fold over once more to make a 4-inch square.
Roll dough back out into an 8-inch square.
Repeat the folding process (Step 8); you will finish with a 4-inch square.
Pour remaining 1 tablespoon of oil into a medium bowl and add dough (still folded); turn to coat.
Cover bowl tightly and chill dough until doubled in volume, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. (I refrigerated my dough overnight.)
To Make the Filling and Assemble:
Place dates in a small bowl and pour in 1 1/2 cups hot water to cover. Let soak until softened, about 10 minutes.
Drain dates and transfer to a food processor; discard soaking liquid.
Add cinnamon, salt, and 2 tablespoons of oil.
Purée, scraping down sides as needed, until smooth, about 4 minutes. (You should have about 1/2 cup purée.)
Grease a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil.
Transfer dough to a clean, unfloured surface and roll out to an 8-inch square.
Fold in half into an 8×4-inch rectangle, then fold rectangle over itself to form a 4-inch square. If dough feels tough and uncooperative, let it sit for about 5 minutes to relax and try again.
Roll out dough into a 12-inch square, about 1/4-inch thick.
Dollop date purée all over. Using a small offset spatula, spread evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border without purée along edge farthest from you.
Sprinkle brown sugar over purée.
Starting at the edge closest to you, roll up dough into a tight log.
Using a sharp serrated knife and long sawing motions, trim about 1/2-inch of dough from both ends. (These ends can be discarded, but I baked them in a separate small ramekin.)
Slice log crosswise into 3 sections, wiping knife clean between cuts.
Slice each section crosswise into 3 buns. (I used a ruler.) You should have 9 buns total that are each about 1-inch thick. Transfer buns to prepared pan as you go.
Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap or foil. Place in a warm, dry spot. (I used plastic wrap so that I could monitor the rising process. I also placed the pan in a warming drawer.)
Let buns rise until they’re doubled in volume and spring back when poked, leaving only a small indentation, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the humidity and warmth of your kitchen.
Remove plastic wrap, if using, and cover pan with foil.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F, preferably on convection.
Bake buns, still covered, until puffed, pale, and mostly set, about 20 minutes. (I baked the small ramekin with the extra end pieces, covered with foil, at the same time.)
Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes if you prefer a soft and squishy bun and up to 25 minutes for a more toasted bun. Let cool slightly. (I baked the small ramekin with the extra end pieces at this point for about 5 minutes- uncovered.)
Meanwhile, whisk powdered sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl to combine.
Brush glaze over warm buns and serve in skillet.
Do Ahead: Purée can be made 3 days ahead. Place in an airtight container, cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day-Eve! I hope that this post finds you healthy and able to use this self-quarantine time to bake.
I typically make a sweeter version of soda bread to serve for breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day. This savory version was a nice change. It was reminiscent of the rosemary biscuits that my husband and I enjoy at our annual anniversary dinner at Volt in Frederick, MD. I loved that it incorporated whole wheat flour.
This recipe is from Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland by Shauna Sever. I used coarse salt and decreased the baking time. We ate it with salted Irish butter. It was wonderful- very moist and tender.
Yield: One 8-inch loaf
2 cups (256 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for dusting