My first Tuesday with Dorie

blueberry-crumb-cake

I mentioned a while ago that I had gotten a great deal on Dorie Greenspan’s newest book and that I was trying a few of her recipes. I was inspired to even buy the book and learn more about who Dorie was after seeing many of the food bloggers I read link to the Tuesdays with Dorie  group.  Week after week they would post these tasty looking treats.  I debated joining the group, hemmed and hawed about it long enough that the group was closed to new members.  Then something happy happy happy happened.  Last week they opened the group to new members. 

I greatly fear failure, which perhaps seems to not match with joining a baking group in which you post your results each week.  At the same time I like trying new things so I pushed myself into joining and begin posting my 2-4 recipes a month.  I want to try new things and have any excuse to bake.  But I worry that I will not be able to keep up and then feel such guilt that I won’t maintain my member status.  So I worry.  If you know me though, I worry about pretty much everything so this is nothing new. 

On to my cooking adventure for this week.  Dorie’s Blueberry Crumb Cake.  In the easiest sense it is a coffee cake.  I am never a huge fan of coffee cake which doesn’t mean that I won’t eat it, it just means that I am not apt to grab it on the breakfast buffet.  One of the things that I like most about Dorie’s recipes is that she offers adaptations and variations to many of her recipes.  I always want to try something a little different to make my recipe stand out from the rest and I loved the option of adding orange zest instead of lemon zest.  The orange zest really gave the blueberry cake a bright little pop of flavor but I think I should have measured the quantity a little better instead of guestimating, which I tend to do a lot! 

My only issue with the cake was the topping.  Mine had a pool of butter in the center while baking even though the edges were browning and finished.  Even I, who eats pretty much anything under the sun with flour, sugar and butter, don’t like a dry cake, so I pull it out of the oven with the pool of butter.  There were suggestions of chilling the topping mixture before placing on top of the cake but I have decided that I would just lessen the amount of butter in the topping if I were to make it again. 

butter

I also felt that the topping was a bit more crunchy than the typical crumb topping. I envision crumb topping to be crumbs not a firm layer of sweetness.  The recipe was quite tasty and if you are looking for a good standby blueberry crumb cake recipe, this is one to try.  The recipe can be found at Zihan’s website, as she chose the recipe for the week.

Advertisements

KA Freezer Blueberry Muffins

muffin-in-hand

During the summer I bought a ten pound box of blueberries.  You are probably imagining all kinds of giant boxes but in reality the blueberries arrived in a box no bigger than a typical running shoe box.  We ate less than half of the box and froze the rest.  As we approach spring and I think about things in the freezer that should be used, I think about those blueberries.  I could make blueberry pancakes every day and be happy, but I figured that may get a little boring. 

Yesterday I decided a container of those blueberries needed to be used and what better way to use them than muffins.  Everyone likes muffins.  The only problem with blueberry muffins is that many times the recipe calls for fresh blueberries and when you use frozen the recipe just doesn’t come out quite right.  In comes the King Arthur “Freezer Case” mufins.  If you have never visited the King r website and you like to bake anything under the sun, run there now!  They even have a baking blog which I love.  Bakers’ Banter has a ton of recipes that I have printed out and plan to use soon as I just recently discovered the site myself.  The blog gives a description of why they did what to the recipe and then typically walks you through each step of the recipe.  Then they always link the recipe in printable form.  Perfect! 

What I liked most about this recipe is that it explained what to do to prevent your muffins from getting that blueish-grey color from the frozen berries.  Those girls over at Baker’s Banter are bright ones!  Take a look at these beauties. 

blueberry-muffin

I was nervous when I scooped the batter into my muffin wrappers.  It seemed to have too many blueberries and the dough was very stiff.  I actually pressed down on the muffin batter to get it into the muffin cup.  But in the end, they turned out lovely.  The taste was so naturally blueberry.  I think that the large granule sugar that they recommend for the top of these muffins would throw it over the top.  Use the full two cups of blueberries if not a bit more and don’t worry about incorporating them into the dough perfectly.  I pressed several of the remaining frozen berries onto the top of some of the batter and they still came out gorgeous. 

The KA website says that this will make 12 very large muffins but since I don’t have the “Texas” size muffin tins, I ended up with 17 regular sized muffins.  If you are using a regular size muffin pan, be sure to err on the side of caution with baking times.  I only baked mine for intial 25 minutes and I had exceptionally large frozen berries.  Mine were only slightly brown on the edges and the center remained so tender and moist.

These would be great for a work or shower breakfast as they come together quick and aren’t fussy.  Perfect for a weekend breakfast as well.

 

Freezer Case Blueberry Muffins – King Arthur

2 cups (8 ounces) frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at  room temperature
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (4 ounces) sour cream or plain  yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Sparkling sugar for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with papers, and grease the papers.

1.  First, assess your frozen blueberries. If they’re the big fat ones you usually find in the freezer case at the supermarket, go ahead and use them as is; no need to thaw. If they’re tiny wild ones, ones you may have picked yourself, they may be fragile enough that they’ll bleed a lot of color into your muffins. If you don’t mind blueberry muffins with streaks of blue from the frozen berries, go ahead and use them right from the freezer. If you want less blue streaking in your muffins, rinse the berries gently, till the water lightens in color. Drain them thoroughly, and gently drain/blot them on paper towels. Don’t squash them; you won’t be able to really dry them off, but just blot up any excess liquid.
2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until well combined. Beat in the eggs; then the vanilla and almond extracts, sour cream or yogurt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.  Add the flour, mixing till everything is evenly moistened. Gently stir in the blueberries with a spatula, mixing just until they’re mostly incorporated. Don’t worry about distributing them evenly throughout the batter.
4.  Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups; a muffin scoop or large ice cream scoop works well here. Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar, if desired.
5.  Bake the muffins for 25 minutes. Gently lay a piece of foil across the top of the pan, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes (the longer amount of time for larger frozen berries), until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan to finish cooling on a rack.
 

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Having guests on the weekends is a great way excuse to make a big breakfast.  My husband and I have a big breakfast at least one day of the weekend.  It is a nice way for us to catch a few moments together and let us reconnect after a busy week.  We always eat our big breakfast at the table, dog snuggled at our feet and end with our bellies bursting full. 

This particular breakfast treat only seems to be made when we have guests, since it is easily made into a large portion.  It is a great way to use up old loaf bread and it looks pretty enough that your guests will never know that it took only a bit of time.  This breakfast can be made the night before so that you can enjoy your time with your guests.  Be sure to use a good baking apple, like those recommended in my last post. You want the apples to soften in the oven. 

If you have a favorite recipe for the egg mixture portion of french toast, feel free to use that.  I love a recipe that is adapted from BHG and have used this one to make the recipe. 

 

Baked Apple Cinnamon French Toast – serves 4

8 – 1 inch thick slices of French bread
4 eggs
1 cup milk
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium baking apples
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1.  Spray pan with cooking spray or grease with butter depending on your preference. 

2.  Place french bread slices in 13×9 pan

3. Mix eggs, milk, 4 tbsp sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract in bowl and pour over bread in baking pan.

4.  Peel, core and slice apples as thin as possible and layer on top of bread and egg mixture.

5.  In a small bowl mix 6 tbsp of sugar and 1 tsp sugar.  Sprinkle half of mixture over the apples. 

6. Place remaining apples on top and sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.

7.  At this point, either place in the fridge overnite or until egg mixture is absorbed (approx. 1 hour)

7.  Bake uncovered for 35 minutes. 

 

Optional additions

If you wanted to make this treat even more decadent, you could slice the bread into 16, 1/2 inch slices and start by placing 8 down in the pan.  Mix one softened 8 oz package of cream cheese with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and spread over layer of bread. Place remaining slices of bread on top of cream cheese mixture.  Continue as directed in step 3.