coffee cake

Applesauce Yogurt Coffee Cake with Oat Streusel

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I cooked a lot of applesauce lately. We ate some. I froze some.

There was still more, so I used some of it for cake and muffins.

This was one of the best. Crunchy on top, moist underneath, not too sweet.

Applesauce Yogurt Coffee Cake with Oat Streusel

cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup applesauce

  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup milk

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Mix the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8” square cake pan. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside. Beat the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer or electric mixer at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the applesauce, yogurt, egg and vanilla extract and beat for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat until well blended. Add half the milk and beat until well blended. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare the streusel and sprinkle over the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack. Turn the cake right side up to cool completely.

 

Makes 8-10 servings

 

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I used to bake a fresh pumpkin when it was time to make the usual seasonal pumpkin pies and cakes. I'd buy one of those small, round, sweet "sugar" pumpkins, carve it up, sprinkle the pieces with salt and give it a roast until the flesh was tender.

It was all good. The house smelled like autumn, the pumpkin was nice and dry -- perfect for baked goods.

But.

I got busy. And sometimes I couldn't find the right variety of pumpkin.

So I switched to canned.

You know what? We didn't even notice the difference when it came to my favorite pumpkin coffee cake.

So, make it easy on yourself. Use canned pumpkin if you wish (but not pumpkin pie mix, which is pre-seasoned). Or fresh baked pumpkin of course, if you can find a good variety and have the time to roast it. 

Either way, this cake is rich and gently fragrant. It has a wonderful salty-sweet balance.

You can freeze it too.

Pumpkin Sour Cream Coffee Cake

STREUSEL TOPPING:

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter

cake:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup mashed pumpkin (canned is fine; not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated orange peel
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup milk

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease an 8" square cake pan. Make the streusel: place the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Set the streusel aside.

Make the cake batter: beat the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer or electric mixer set at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the pumpkin, sour cream, egg and orange peel and beat the ingredients for 1-2 minutes or until they are smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat the ingredients until they are blended. Add 1/2 of the milk and beat this in until it is well blended. Repeat this process again until all the flour and milk have been used up. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully invert the cake onto a cake rack, carefully flip it right side up. Let cool completely.

Makes one cake serving 8-10 people

 

Can you guess what this is?

It resembles a yellowish tomato, is as crisp as a new-crop apple and tastes like a sweet pumpkin.

This:

 

You guessed it: a Fuyu persimmon, now in season and at your supermarket if you're lucky and the produce manager ordered some. Buy them soon -- unlike strawberries and asparagus, which used to be seasonal items but are now always available, you can only get persimmons for a short time.

If you aren't familiar with persimmons you should know there are several kinds. Check out my article at The Jewish Week, where I explain the differences.

Because the Fuyu variety is sturdy, you can use it for salads and salsas. But I processed some to a fare-thee-well in my food processor and used the pulp to make this fabulous, moist and gently spicy cake, which got rave reviews from one and all. This is a good snack but also, dressed up a bit with ice cream or sorbet, makes a simple and lovely dessert too.

Here's what the cake looks like:

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Here's the recipe:

PERSIMMON COFFEE CAKE

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Fuyu persimmons (1 cup pureed pulp)
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch bundt pan. Place the flour with one teaspoon baking soda, the baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly. Chop the persimmons and puree them in a food processor. Place the pulp in a bowl and add the remaining teaspoon baking soda. Mix the ingredients and set aside. Place the butter and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the butter mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the flour mixture in parts, alternating with the yogurt, then the persimmon puree. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spoon the batter into the bundt pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Note: adding some of the baking soda to the persimmon pulp keeps the cake tender and crumbly; otherwise the texture will be too dense and "wet." 

Makes one cake; 12-16 servings

German Apple Cake

I was away recently, travelling through Germany and the Czech Republic, which means two things.  First, it was a great trip and I had a good time, learned a lot, saw a lot and met a lot of nice people.  Two, I gained weight.  Of course I gained weight. That’s what happens on a vacation.  Is it just me or does everyone add a few pounds this way?  I gained weight even though I walked probably 6-8 miles each day. Think of what would have happened if I taxi-ed all over the place!  But when you’re in a place that’s famous for its Apple Kuchen,  schlag , dark beer and potatoes, well, you’re gonna gain weight. Especially if you like Apple Kuchen,  schlag , dark beer and potatoes.  Which I do.  Okay, so I have to lose four pounds that got added on over 22 days.  But how do I do that when I felt absolutely compelled to try out recipes for Apple Kuchen?  Like the kind we had at a marvelous little coffee house in Potsdam.  The cake was tender and vaguely lemony, with a layer of soft baked sliced apples and crusted with mocha-brown crumbles of streusel.  Perfect.  Like this:         German Apple Cake       Streusel:      1/4 pound unsalted butter  1/4 cup granulated sugar  1/4 cup packed brown sugar  1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg     Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Place the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and mix until well blended. Pour in the butter and blend it in. Let stand for 4-5 minutes, then crumble the mixture using your fingers. Set aside.         Cake:      1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled  2 cups all-purpose flour  1/2 cup sugar  1 tablespoon baking powder  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1 teaspoon salt  1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel  2 large eggs  1 cup milk  2 tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the streusel and set it aside. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the apple slices. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the outer ring from the pan and let the cake cool completely.  Makes one cake      

I was away recently, travelling through Germany and the Czech Republic, which means two things.

First, it was a great trip and I had a good time, learned a lot, saw a lot and met a lot of nice people.

Two, I gained weight.

Of course I gained weight. That’s what happens on a vacation.

Is it just me or does everyone add a few pounds this way?

I gained weight even though I walked probably 6-8 miles each day. Think of what would have happened if I taxi-ed all over the place!

But when you’re in a place that’s famous for its Apple Kuchen, schlag, dark beer and potatoes, well, you’re gonna gain weight. Especially if you like Apple Kuchen, schlag, dark beer and potatoes.

Which I do.

Okay, so I have to lose four pounds that got added on over 22 days.

But how do I do that when I felt absolutely compelled to try out recipes for Apple Kuchen?

Like the kind we had at a marvelous little coffee house in Potsdam.

The cake was tender and vaguely lemony, with a layer of soft baked sliced apples and crusted with mocha-brown crumbles of streusel.

Perfect.

Like this:

 

 

German Apple Cake

 

Streusel:

 

1/4 pound unsalted butter

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Place the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and mix until well blended. Pour in the butter and blend it in. Let stand for 4-5 minutes, then crumble the mixture using your fingers. Set aside.

 

 

Cake:

 

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 tart apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the streusel and set it aside. Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the apple slices. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the outer ring from the pan and let the cake cool completely.

Makes one cake

 

 

Nutmeg Whiskey Cake

Yesterday, when I wrote about spice blends and gave a recipe for Baharat, a specialty from the Middle East, I said that I usually buy pre-ground spices and mix them, rather than grind my own.

Well, I realized that’s not quite the case. There are certain spices that I never buy pre-ground because as soon as you grind them they start to deteriorate and lose flavor.

Like nutmeg.

I never buy ground nutmeg. By the time you get it in the tin it is a mere shadow of itself and never gives you that rich, heady, mysterious quality that you get from freshly grated nutmeg. Neither the fragrance or the flavor is right.

Take this tip: buy a nutmeg grater and grate your own nutmeg. There are cheap, old fashioned ones (see the first photo) and fancier ones that work more or less like peppermills (second photo).

I buy nutmegs by the bag. The whole ones last forever I think. Every time I need nutmeg for a recipe I grate it just when it’s called for in the instructions. Most of the time you just need a little bit of it to bring out the flavor of a dish, so it’s not as if you will have to spend oodles of time grinding. It’s worth doing and even a tiny grating or two makes an enormous difference to foods as different as macaroni and cheese, gingerbread and squash soup.

Although most of the time you only use a grating or two of nutmeg, there are recipes where it plays a prominent role. This Whiskey Cake, for example. It’s a nice snack, tea bread type of cake that you’re supposed to eat plain, but you could certainly dress it up with fresh berries and whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream or Creme Anglaise sauce.

Nutmeg Whiskey Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice or cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (or butter)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3 large eggs, separated

1/2 cup whiskey

1/3 cup coconut milk (or regular milk)

1 cup finely chopped nuts

1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5”x3” loaf pan. Sift the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice and salt into a bowl. Set aside. Place the spread or butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Combine 1/3 cup of the whiskey with the milk and add this liquid to the brown sugar mixture alternating with the flour mixture and continue to blend the ingredients at medium speed until the batter is smooth, creamy and well blended. Stir in the nuts. In another bowl, beat the egg whites at medium speed until they are foamy. While still beating, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy and stands in stiff peaks. Fold the beaten whites into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and brush the top with the remaining whiskey. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Makes one loaf

My Mom's Famous and Fabulous Nut Roll

Today would have been my mother’s 100th birthday and although she and my Dad died many years ago, I think about them a lot. You can’t possibly realize how much you’re going to miss people when they’re in your life. You only understand when they aren’t. And what happens from time to time is that something comes up during the day that reminds you of them. A smell. Or a magazine picture of a scarf in your mother’s favorite color. Or a song you hear on your car radio.

The memories can be sad or poignant or funny or thrillingly happy.

Today my memories are happy. I am celebrating with my brother and toasting our Mom, who was was funny and sometimes controversial and more than occasionally provocative, which would make us furious, but also make us think.

She was smart and interesting too. A feminist before the word feminist existed. I am sure that had she been born at an even earlier time, she would have been a Suffragette.

My mother was also a good cook. She mostly stuck to what she knew and wasn’t much for experimenting. She’d say “why change a good recipe?”

There is some wisdom to that, although I don’t follow it. My family never gets to eat the same thing too many times, except maybe for holiday dinners.

But for Mom, a winner was a winner, and she had so many it’s difficult to choose among her recipes to make one special thing for her birthday celebration.

I considered my Mom’s fried chicken (which was better than anyone’s, even Colonel Sanders) together with a dozen or so of the crispy-edged corn fritters she served with it.

For dessert? Her apple pie of course. It was legendary. We still talk about it every autumn, when I make a batch of my own.

Then again, speaking of apples, I remember how often she made that most wonderful apple crisp that was my Dad’s favorite and I would come in to their house through the garage and the perfume from the baking apples and the crunchy cereal crust would greet me before even they did.

Maybe I should choose that?

Or her rice pudding? It was baked custard actually, with a smooth inside and crispy top. I haven’t cooked it in a while.

I could go on and on. About her most comforting and wonderful chicken soup. Or her family-famous cookies that we all called Fannies, but are actually plain old butter thumbprint cookies. Or her most welcome roast beef hash which she made out of leftover meat and mashed potatoes and more sauteed onions than you can imagine.

She said she hated to use leftovers, a consequence of having struggled through the Great Depression and never wanting the memories.

And yet she used leftovers. Cleverly and creatively but for simple, uncomplicated, unsophisticated dishes that became our favorites. Like her Macaroni and Cheese, put together with scraps and bits from the fridge.

There was only one dish she ever made that I didn’t like (potato salad).

And one dish — Nut Roll — I could never get the hang of, even though she told me how and showed me how to make it many many times. Mine just never tasted as good.

That’s the one.

That’s the one I decided it had to be. I’d give this one another try.

Which I did this morning (I made the dough yesterday because it has to sit in the fridge for a few hours).

It’s almost as good as hers. Maybe it is as good but the memories of hers are too good to let me think it is.

But my Nut Roll is enough like it, anyway, to celebrate with. Superb with coffee or maybe a glass of dessert wine.

My Mom used walnuts in her Nut Roll; because of allergies in my family I never cook with walnuts, so I used almonds. 

In the photos you can see the lump of one section of dough that I started with, then, in the second photo, rolled it thin. The third photo shows how to scatter the sugar and nuts over the dough and the fourth photo, how to roll the Nut Roll. The fifth photo shows what the rolls look like when it comes out of the oven. The last photo is a plate of slices — let the rolls cool, then use a serrated knife to cut the pieces.

Enjoy. Btw, the rolls freeze beautifully.

Happy Birthday Mom!

 

Lily Vail’s Nut Roll

 dough:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 1/2 cup dairy sour cream

  • 2 tablespoons milk

filling:

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 12 ounces chopped nuts (about 3 cups)

Cut the butter into chunks and place in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix (using the flat paddle if your machine has one) at slow speed until the ingredients are blended and crumbly looking. Make a well in the center and add the egg yolks, sour cream and milk. Mix the ingredients at medium speed until a smooth, uniform dough has formed. Knead the dough 3-4 times on a floured surface; shape into a cylinder, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Cut the cylinder into 3 parts. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Working with one dough part at a time, roll out on a floured surface into a circle about 1/16-inch (very thin). Sprinkle each circle with 1/3 of the cinnamon-sugar and 1/3 of the chopped nuts. Roll up tightly into a compact roll, tucking in the sides. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the rolls in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Brush the rolls with some of the egg white. Bake the rolls for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool and slice.

Makes 3 Nut Rolls 

Squash Muffins

It only took two months to gain about 10 pounds after I started my first full-time job. 
 Back then, even back then, in the dinosaur era, when the only yogurt you could find easily was Dannon (in maybe 6-7 flavors), I brought a yogurt to the office. I was a freshman attorney in a big, bustling law office on Wall Street. I was so clueless then I didn’t realize that the proper office hours were NOT from 8:00 a.m., when I liked to get in (so I could also leave early and have a life), but 10:00 or 10:30 (and then have dinner with the team and come home late). 
 I brought in my yogurt and ate it early, but then, when the rest of the lawyers came to work, they would bring like a full American breakfast: eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast. 
 So, in order to try to be part of the team and a little less clueless, I ordered in breakfast too. Usually it was a blueberry muffin and some juice. Those blueberry muffins cost me 10 pounds. 
 But I did learn three things. One, I could never consume an “American breakfast” at my desk. It always reminded me of how bad your car smells when you have french fries wrapped up in a paper bag getting all soft and steamy. 
 Two, that food writing pays a   lot less   but has been an infinitely better career for me than working day and night as a lawyer. 
 Three, that I love, love, love muffins.  Blueberry muffins  sometimes, pumpkin or squash muffins now, when the scent of autumn spices is so alluring. 
 Squash Muffins 
 4 tablespoons butter 
 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
 1/2 cup sugar 
 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
 3/4 teaspoon salt 
 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 
 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger 
 1 cup buttermilk 
 1 cup mashed squash 
 1 large egg 
 1/2 cup golden raisins, optional 
 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin tin cups. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Place the buttermilk, squash, egg and melted butter in a second bowl and beat to blend ingredients thoroughly.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix just until combined. Fold in the raisins if used. Fill muffin cups evenly with the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 15 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and serve warm or let cool to room temperature. Makes 10

It only took two months to gain about 10 pounds after I started my first full-time job.

Back then, even back then, in the dinosaur era, when the only yogurt you could find easily was Dannon (in maybe 6-7 flavors), I brought a yogurt to the office. I was a freshman attorney in a big, bustling law office on Wall Street. I was so clueless then I didn’t realize that the proper office hours were NOT from 8:00 a.m., when I liked to get in (so I could also leave early and have a life), but 10:00 or 10:30 (and then have dinner with the team and come home late).

I brought in my yogurt and ate it early, but then, when the rest of the lawyers came to work, they would bring like a full American breakfast: eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast.

So, in order to try to be part of the team and a little less clueless, I ordered in breakfast too. Usually it was a blueberry muffin and some juice. Those blueberry muffins cost me 10 pounds.

But I did learn three things. One, I could never consume an “American breakfast” at my desk. It always reminded me of how bad your car smells when you have french fries wrapped up in a paper bag getting all soft and steamy.

Two, that food writing pays a lot less but has been an infinitely better career for me than working day and night as a lawyer.

Three, that I love, love, love muffins. Blueberry muffins sometimes, pumpkin or squash muffins now, when the scent of autumn spices is so alluring.

Squash Muffins

4 tablespoons butter

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup mashed squash

1 large egg

1/2 cup golden raisins, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin tin cups. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Place the buttermilk, squash, egg and melted butter in a second bowl and beat to blend ingredients thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix just until combined. Fold in the raisins if used. Fill muffin cups evenly with the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 15 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and serve warm or let cool to room temperature. Makes 10

Peach Streusel Cake

Some recipes are easy to change and for the sake of variety in my life, I change them. This is one of the areas that my Mom, a really good cook, and I, didn’t see eye to eye. Her philosophy was that if you have a good recipe you should make it over and over because, well, it’s a good recipe. 
 But I like to tamper and see what happens if … 
 So, the worst thing that can happen is that whatever it is you are making doesn’t come out good. Or not as good as you wanted, but still fine. This is the way new recipes get invented (along with maybe some thrown-out stuff along the way). 
 The other day I needed to bring a coffee cake to a neighbor, so I got out my tried-and-true recipe for Blueberry Streusel Cake. Only I didn’t have blueberries. So I made it with peaches and it was just as good as ever, in part thanks to the wondeful peaches this year. 
 Here’s the recipe. Play around with it if you like. For instance, use almond extract in the batter or make it with plums or mixed berries. Or add some grated nutmeg or grated fresh orange peel. 
  Peach Streusel Cake  
 the streusel: 
  2/3 cup sugar  
  1/2 cup flour  
  1 teaspoon cinnamon  
  4 tablespoons cold butter  
  1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional  
     
  the   cake:  
  1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled  
  2 cups all-purpose flour  
  1/2 cup sugar  
  1 tablespoon baking powder  
  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  
  1 teaspoon salt  
  2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel  
  2 large eggs  
  1 cup milk  
  4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced  
     
  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x13” cake pan.   To make the streusel, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. You can also do this by hand, by mixing dry ingredients and working in the butter with your fingers or two knives.  
  To make the cake, melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the peaches and press them down into the batter gently. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12-16 servings  
   

Some recipes are easy to change and for the sake of variety in my life, I change them. This is one of the areas that my Mom, a really good cook, and I, didn’t see eye to eye. Her philosophy was that if you have a good recipe you should make it over and over because, well, it’s a good recipe.

But I like to tamper and see what happens if …

So, the worst thing that can happen is that whatever it is you are making doesn’t come out good. Or not as good as you wanted, but still fine. This is the way new recipes get invented (along with maybe some thrown-out stuff along the way).

The other day I needed to bring a coffee cake to a neighbor, so I got out my tried-and-true recipe for Blueberry Streusel Cake. Only I didn’t have blueberries. So I made it with peaches and it was just as good as ever, in part thanks to the wondeful peaches this year.

Here’s the recipe. Play around with it if you like. For instance, use almond extract in the batter or make it with plums or mixed berries. Or add some grated nutmeg or grated fresh orange peel.

Peach Streusel Cake

the streusel:

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons cold butter

1 cup finely chopped nuts, optional

 

the cake:

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

4 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x13” cake pan. To make the streusel, place ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. You can also do this by hand, by mixing dry ingredients and working in the butter with your fingers or two knives.

To make the cake, melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in the bowl of an electric mixer. In another bowl, combine the eggs, milk and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and stir only to combine: do not overbeat. Turn the batter into the prepared cake pan. Top with the peaches and press them down into the batter gently. Cover with the streusel. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Makes 12-16 servings

 

Quick Sally Lunn

If Republican House members really wanted to follow the Founding Fathers (not including John Quincy Adams of course) they would do as the Founding Fathers did: argue it out in a room while wearing thick wigs in an un-air conditioned room and NO PIZZA.

When matters got really hot and they were hungry, maybe something would get resolved?

And what’s with the pizza?

Hunker down and eat what the Founding Fathers ate!

What did they eat anyway? 

Oh, things like Beef and Kidney Pie, Turtle Soup, Baked Beans.

Maybe one of those dishes would help move things along? Unfortunately, the recipes take too long and we are running out of time.

Of course, Thomas Jefferson was famous for being the first to serve ice cream at the White House. That could cool things down. But I, for one, do not think it is responsible to give ice cream to children who are fighting.

So I suggest bread and water. 

Sally Lunn bread is a colonial American classic. It’s vaguely sweet and lusciously tender. In the old days people ate it as a snack with coffee or tea, more like a sweet bread or coffee cake. The traditional recipe is yeast-based but I have a good alternative quickbread Sally Lunn for you.

Serve this as a snack or at your next Tea Party. Not the political one.

Quick Sally Lunn

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup whole or lowfat milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Butter 2 8-inch square baking pans. Beat the butter and 6 tablespoons of the sugar together in an electric mixer set at medium speed for about 2 minutes or until well blended. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture alternating with the egg mixture to the butter mixture until well blended. Stir in the lemon peel. Spoon the mixture equally into the two pans. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar and a bit of cinnamon. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Makes 2

Pumpkin Bread

My camera must have been knocked unconscious yesterday. I dropped it taking a photo of pumpkin bread. I couldn’t see anything in the frame and the camera wouldn’t turn off. 
 I started to research new cameras. Several hours later though I looked again and the light was off, I pressed the button and — a miracle — the thing was working again. So here’s what the pumpkin bread looks like. It is so fabulously moist and nicely spicy. Great with coffee or tea as a snack or even for breakfast. Give it a try. I’ve reprinted the recipe. 
 If you don’t have yogurt use buttermilk or milk plus a tablespoon of lemon juice. You can add raisins or dried cranberries and/or chopped nuts if you like (half cup of each). 

 Pumpkin Bread 
 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
 3/4 teaspoon salt 
 1 teaspoon baking soda 
 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
 3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 
 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
 1/2 cup sugar 
 1/2 cup brown sugar 
 finely grated rind of one orange (about 1-1/2 teaspoons orange part only) 
 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) 
 1/2 cup plain yogurt 
 1/3 cup vegetable oil 
 1/4 cup orange marmalade 
 2 large eggs 
 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer or sturdy whisk) combine the sugar, brown sugar, orange rind and pumpkin puree and beat at medium speed for about 1/2 minute to combine ingredients thoroughly. Add the yogurt, vegetable oil, marmalade and eggs and beat at medium speed for about 1/2 minute or until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and blend them in thoroughly, beating until smooth, about 1/2 minute. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife. Makes one loaf

My camera must have been knocked unconscious yesterday. I dropped it taking a photo of pumpkin bread. I couldn’t see anything in the frame and the camera wouldn’t turn off.

I started to research new cameras. Several hours later though I looked again and the light was off, I pressed the button and — a miracle — the thing was working again. So here’s what the pumpkin bread looks like. It is so fabulously moist and nicely spicy. Great with coffee or tea as a snack or even for breakfast. Give it a try. I’ve reprinted the recipe.

If you don’t have yogurt use buttermilk or milk plus a tablespoon of lemon juice. You can add raisins or dried cranberries and/or chopped nuts if you like (half cup of each).

Pumpkin Bread

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

finely grated rind of one orange (about 1-1/2 teaspoons orange part only)

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange marmalade

2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9”x5” loaf pan. Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand mixer or sturdy whisk) combine the sugar, brown sugar, orange rind and pumpkin puree and beat at medium speed for about 1/2 minute to combine ingredients thoroughly. Add the yogurt, vegetable oil, marmalade and eggs and beat at medium speed for about 1/2 minute or until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and blend them in thoroughly, beating until smooth, about 1/2 minute. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Slice with a serrated knife. Makes one loaf