Butter Crumb Coffee Cake with Vanilla Drizzle

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A steaming hot cup of tea and a warm slice of coffee cake are the perfect snack on a chilly fall afternoon. This delicious recipe comes right from a wonderful cookbook that I own entitled, Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More: 200 Anytime Treats and Special Sweets for Morning to Midnight  by Carole Walter. It’s chock full of amazing recipes for all kinds of sweetly baked treats. Her recipe calls for a dusting of confectioners sugar on top of the finished cake but I decided to go for a vanilla drizzle instead because in all honesty, everything is just a little better with some icing!

I followed the recipe as written but like I so often do, I increased the amount of vanilla and I used vanilla paste instead so I got that nice flecking throughout the cake. I also added a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon to the batter for a little extra flavor and warmth. The highlight of any good crumb cake is the crumbs and these don’t disappoint. If you like a really thick layer of crumbs don’t hesitate to make and add more to the top. The crumbs are super easy to make and they are something that you can make ahead of time, freeze and just grab a few chunks whenever you need them. They are also delicious added to the top of a vanilla or pound cake, muffins or even pancakes! Throw some warm cinnamon apples on those pancakes as well and you have yourself an Apple Strudel pancake breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the streusel

  • 2/3 cup ( 10 2/3 tbs) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

For the cake

  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature cut into small cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the vanilla drizzle

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 to 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or paste
  • 6 to 7 tsp half-n-half

Instructions

For the streusel – Place the butter in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat until almost melted. Remove from the heat and cool to tepid.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and nuts. Add to the butter and stir with a fork until blended and mixture begins to form crumbs. Gently squeeze the mixture with hands to form larger clumps and then break apart into smaller crumbs. Let the streusel sit for 10-15 minutes before using.

For the cake – Position the rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Generously butter a 10″ springform pan, line the bottom with parchment and butter that as well. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the room temperature butter and work with your fingertips until fine crumbs are formed, the mixture should look “sandy”.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the liquid. Gradually push the crumbs into the liquid beginning with the crumbs in the center of the bowl. Beat on low for about a minute or until the batter is smooth. Take note, the batter will be very thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Take a handful of the streusel crumbs and squeeze them to form a large clump, break the clump apart and sprinkle all over the top of the batter. Repeat until all of the streusel has been used. Lightly press the streusel into the batter.

Set the pan on a 12″ strip of aluminum foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 25 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edge to help release the cake the remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Place a piece of aluminum foil directly over the top of the cake cupping it around the side to hold the crumbs in place. Cover with a cooling rack and gently invert the cake. Lift the bottom of the pan off and remove the parchment paper. Cover with another cooking rack and invert one last time. Remove the aluminum foil allow the cake to cool completely right side up.

For the vanilla drizzle – Combine all of the ingredient and stir until well combined. If the drizzle is a little too thick, add a touch more half-n-half.

To finish the cake – Using a spoon or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off, drizzle the cooled cake with the icing. Allow to set for a few minutes and then serve.

Autumn Spiced Apples

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Spiced apples are absolutely one of my most favorite things in the whole world. They are warm, delicious, cozy and remind me of everything autumn which in my opinion is the best time of the year! This is one of those recipes where being accurate and measuring is completely unnecessary, I like to fly by the seat of my pants with this one. I add a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that” until I stumble upon the perfect amount of spice and flavor. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and apples, you simply cannot go wrong here. Since this is such an easy recipe to master, try letting your kids in the kitchen with you so they can give it a whirl themselves!

My favorite apples to use when I am making this recipe is a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. The Granny Smith apples add just the right amount of tartness to balance the sweetness and they hold up well when cooking. Honeycrisp apples are the perfect blend of sweet and tart and work really well in cooking as well but are also excellent apples to grab and eat raw. When making spiced cooked apples you can slice them up in nice big wedges or dice them up as I did above. To get nice, even pieces and speed up the cooking process I used my Vidalia Chop Wizard . It’s a great little gadget to quickly chop and dice veggies and fruit and it’s worth the small investment especially for those who aren’t comfortable with their knife skills.

I love to top my pancakes with a huge scoop of warm spiced apples, drizzle them with a little Apple Butter Syrup and then top it off with a nice dusting of confectioners sugar. It is the perfect Sunday morning treat especially on those cool, crisp fall days. They are also delicious stirred into yogurt or as a topping on your vanilla ice cream. Serve alongside pork, top your chicken, spread on toast or even eat them straight! They are so delicious no matter how you eat them and they are the perfect accompaniment to many dishes. Turn on your creativity and whip up a batch today. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 apples, any combination of varieties
  • 1-2 tbs unsalted butter
  • splash of apple cider OR apple juice
  • few sprinkles of granulated sugar
  • few pinches of ground cinnamon, apple pie spice, baking spice, nutmeg OR other spice
  • dash of pure vanilla extract

Instructions

Wash, peel and core the apples then slice or dice them up. In a small saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Add the apples, cider or juice, sugar, spices and vanilla extract. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender but not falling apart. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve warm or store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Steve’s “Special Pancakes”

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My husband does not how to cook. In fact, aside from eggs and toast he’s pretty much clueless in the kitchen but nonetheless, he was inspired one day to make us breakfast. Countless questions, a sink full of dishes, one big mess, and an empty box of pancake mix later and he served me what he called his, “special pancakes“. The “special” in the “special pancakes” was because he decided to add his own little touch to them by sprinkling each one with cinnamon and sugar and cooking them on the griddle with loads of melted butter. Bold and innovative, right? lol Although they were just box mix pancakes he did a good job!! I won’t lie, the cinnamon and sugar ended up being a nice touch to the overall flavor! That breakfast was over 20 years ago, and the last time he’s ever attempted to “cook”, but whenever I make pancakes for us and the kids he always asks if I’ll be making HIS “special pancakes“.

Below is my version of Steve’s “Special Pancakes” but instead of a crummy box mix this is a from scratch recipe that yields delicious light and fluffy pancakes. The baking powder in the recipe really helps the pancake batter to rise nicely which results in a thick, fluffy pancake. Letting the batter rest for 10 minutes is important because it allows the baking powder to do its job. Skipping this step will result in the batter being very thin and watery and the pancakes will not be as good.

For the cinnamon and sugar sprinkle, you can use a pre-made cinnamon sugar mix or you can make your own by combining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 tbs cinnamon. Mix well and store any leftovers in a small jar.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • cinnamon and sugar sprinkle, to taste

Instructions

Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Combine the eggs, vanilla, and milk together in a medium bowl or large measuring cup.

Slowly add in the cooled melted butter and stir to combine.

Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined. Allow the batter to sit for 10 minutes, it should rise and bubble slightly. When the batter is ready to use it will be light and airy.

Scoop about 1/3 cup of batter onto a hot griddle coated in melted butter. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mix. Once the pancake begins to bubble, flip and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

**Tip** – Make a double batch, allow the pancakes to cook on wire racks, and then freeze. They will keep for months and you’ll always have fresh, homemade pancakes on hand for breakfast.