Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maple Blueberry Coffee Cake

A delicious, wholesome coffee cake with a interesting flavor twist. Adapted from this post on Food Loves Writing - Shannalee calls it "a sparkling blueberry coffee cake, the kind that is dense, with sweet crumbles all over the top and chock full of dark blue berries that stain all the dough they touch, creating bursts of almost-purple throughout." I used frozen Maine blueberries that my roommate picked last summer. Yum!

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of chopped dried thyme
pinch of chopped dried rosemary
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups fresh wild blueberries (or other berries)

for topping:
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup brown sugar
pinch of chopped dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
a couple teaspoons sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, with the rack in the middle. Butter a nine-inch round cake pan or something similar, and line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, thyme and rosemary, and set aside. In a separate large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer or by hand until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Beat in the egg, lemon zest and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again.

Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again a little. Add the rest of the flour and stir, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries. Scrape the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan and set aside.

Make the streusel: whir the flour, butter, brown sugar, thyme and walnuts in a food processor, pulsing about 20 to 30 times until the mixture has gone past crumbly/sandy to slightly moist, like the beginning of a dough. Crumble 2/3 of it over the cake batter, sprinkle the remaining 1/3 cup berries on top of that, and then add the last of the crumble. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.

Place the coffee cake in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. When it is almost finished, sprinkle sugar all over the top to give it that extra sparkle. Let the cake cool for five minutes and then remove it carefully from the pan to cool on a rack.

Serves 12 – 16 modest slices.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yummy, healthy, and satisfyingly-chocolately cookies, adapted from this post on the food blog 101Cookbooks.

5 ounces good-quality semi-sweet chocolate bar
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour (all-purpose is a fine substitute)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts, very, very finely chopped (by hand)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar (light is fine too)
1/4 cup unsweetened, natural applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup large-grain sugar (fex: turbinado)

Preheat your oven to 350F degrees, racks in top and bottom third. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

Finely chop the chocolate bar into 1/8-inch pieces, more like shavings really. Try to avoid big lumps and chunks, which make flattening out the cookie dough later more difficult.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, walnuts, and shaved chocolate. Set aside.

Using a mixer beat the butter until fluffy. Beat in the sugar and mix until it is also light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Beat in the applesauce, then the egg, mixing until both are well incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mix and stir by hand until the ingredients barely come together into a uniform dough.

Scoop out the dough in teaspoons and roll into a ball shape. Place two inches apart on your prepared baking sheets. Gently flatten each dough ball into a thin, round patty with two fingers and then sprinkle the top of each cookie with a pinch of large-grain sugar. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cookies are golden and fragrant. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Kayaking Carrot Cake Cookies (Inside Out)

These cookies are really fun, really good, and (according to Mom) a cinch to put together. Our extended family spent a week vacationing on the Carolina coast over Christmas, and as per tradition, a number of people spent a day kayaking near Wilmington. My mom wasn't going to go kayaking but wanted to contribute to the experience, so she woke up early and made these cookies for the kayakers. Luckily for me, she saved a few for the non-kayakers :-). This recipe is from my new Gourmet cookbook.

  • 1 cup + 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 6 T unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup + 2 T packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 c coarsely grated carrots (2 medium)
  • 1 c (3 oz) walnuts, chopped
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 c raisins
  • 8 oz cream cheese (low-fat is ok)
  • 1/4 c honey


Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in carrots, nuts, and raisins (if using) at low speed. Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and springy to the touch, 12 to 16 minutes total. Cool cookies on sheets on racks for 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

While cookies are baking, blend cream cheese and honey in a food processor until smooth.

Spread a generous tablespoon of cream cheese filling on flat sides of half of cookies and top with remaining cookies.

Makes about 1 dozen sandwich cookies