Entries in Baked (4)


Coconut Oil Granola 

Even as a kid I loved granola. But back then it was Quaker granola out of a box. I remember my mom buying it for my dad and it was supposed to be hands off for the kids since it was expensive on our family budget. I always snuck a little when I was up early and loved to shake the box to find the large clumps and pick them out. 

I baked my first batch of granola about 10 years ago, giving it as holiday gifts. Ever since then I have been hooked on having my own homemade granola in the house. It is incredibly simple to make and can be customized with so many spices, nuts and dried fruits. I love it with milk as cereal or topping yogurt and fruit. So versatile. 

Today I needed to fill my granola jar and decided to bake up a quick batch using what I had on hand. The only nuts I had on hand were cashews and for dried fruit I pulled out some cranberries. I always toast my nuts on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until fragrant. Watch them so you don'r burn them. Once they cool give them a rough chop. You will add the fruit and nuts once the granola is baked and cool.

Coconut Oil Granola

4 cups thick rolled oats

1/2 cup flaxseed meal

1/2 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 

2/3 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup honey

1 cup toasted nuts

1 cup dried fruit 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Line baking tray with parchment paper

In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients. Warm the oil and honey in a small pan over medium heat. Pour warm oil/honey mixture over dry ingredients and mix to combine. Spread over baking tray. 

Bake for 10 minutes then stir and turn granola on tray. Bake for another 10 minutes. 

Let cool completely then add dried fruit and nuts. Mix thoroughly and store in an airtight container for 2 weeks. 


Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

I was excited to receive a baking book for Christmas from Mr. Ramon - Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients. I have already been baking my way through another of their books - Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented for the last year. In my eyes Matt and Renato of Baked can do no wrong. They continue to push the envelope of flavor and texture and always amaze me. I love to follow them on Facebook - when I am just waking up they are already posting delicious pictures of what the bakery is offering for the day. If you love drooling over baked goods - I recommend following them! 

I have several clients that I bake assorted cookies and bars for regularly so I scanned through my new book for something to add in to my rotation. I came across their recipe for Brown Butter Snickerdoodles. I love a snickerdoodle. This is a cookie that I remember often from my childhood. When I bake classic cookies I like to see how to take them to the next level - make them the adult version of what you remember as a child. That could mean adding rum, a little more salt or in this case browning the butter for a deeper flavor. 

I am always happy with the results of the Baked recipes and this was no exception. My house was filled with the scent of brown butter and cinnamon. Yum! I hope you get a chance to make these - you will enjoy them as much as my clients did!

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Makes about 24 cookies

For the cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

For the cinnamon-sugar:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Place butter in a medium skillet. Cook over medium heat, swirling occasionally, until butter melts and foams. Continue cooking until the foam subsides, brown specks form in the bottom of the pan, and the butter turns nut brown (8-10 minutes).

Pour butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-low speed for 5-7 minutes to cool the butter to room temperature.

Whisk together flour, cream of tartar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Combine eggs and milk in a small bowl. Whisk lightly.

Turn off mixer when butter has cooled to room temperature. Add sugar and brown sugar. Beat at medium for about 2 minutes. Stop Mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. Turn mixer speed to low and pour in egg mixture. Beat until well-combined.

Add flour mixture in three portions, beating just until combined after each addition.

Gather dough into a mound in the bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least an hour, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Stir together cinnamon-sugar ingredients in a wide-mouth bowl.

Using about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, roll dough into balls. Roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place cookies about 1 & 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are cracked and set. Let cool on sheets for 10 minutes then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. 

Recipe modified from: Baked Elements


Crumb Coffee Cake

This picture is nothing special. In fact it is quite unattractive. We hosted an Easter weekend brunch and I wanted to make a coffee cake. No time for pictures before the brunch and then the work week started and I was on my regular race through it - that left plenty of time to eat this delicious cake but no time to properly photograph it. But in the last ditch effort to capture this amazing coffee cake, I threw the last piece on a plate and took this picture. 

I have a love affair with coffee cakes. They speak to me of a time when there was time. When people sat down for coffee and cake and took a moment to connect with themselves or someone special. I think that in my ideal world there would always be a coffee cake on hand for when a neighbor or friend stops in to chat. 

I adore funnel pans and bundt pans. Big cakes that cut unto hefty wedges of butter, cinnamon, fruit and glaze. Great on their own and even better with a cup of coffee. I have been eying the New York Crumb Cake recipe in the Baked Explorations recipe book. If you don't know about the gentlemen from Baked let me introduce you. "Matt and Renato really, really like dessert. Perhaps, a little too much." With a love a baking and bakeries on the side of their regular day jobs they eventually were able to open Baked in NYC. They still run this bakery as well as continue to write beautiful cookbooks. To say I have a crush would be putting it mildly. They are to me, the Justin Bieber of the baking world and I am a great fan. 

Crumb Coffee cake baking has eluded me until now. I have eaten my fair share and appreciate the ratio of crumb to cake. Far more crumb than cake. This is what makes a NY crumb cake different. My good friend Jessie of CakeSpy and an East Coast native loves some crumb cake. If possible the more crumb the better. She had been on my mind lately and that was part of my decision to tackle this cake. 

An easy recipe to follow as all the Baked recipes are. Be warned - I do know that some of my crumb topping never made it to the cake. It was irresistible. I don't like to talk out loud about how much butter went into it either. 

New York Crumb Cake
recipe from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis & Renalto Poliafito

Crumb Topping
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (and still warm)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  

To make the crumb topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour.

To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, letting the first incorporate fully before adding the second.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the sour cream and vanilla to the mixer and beat until just incorporated.  Finally, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating just until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.  The batter will be thick, use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Pick up the crumb topping by handfuls, and break off chunks, scattering them over the top of the batter.  Use all of the topping.

Bake for 45-55 minutes (rotating the pan at 15 minute intervals), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

Banana Bread Trial Recipe #1

I am on the hunt for the perfect banana bread. I feel a bit like Goldilocks. This one it too sweet and this one is too dry and this one is too greasy. I think I know what I want in the perfect Banana Bread - nice crumb, moist without being soggy and a pronounced banana flavor. Join me on this search. You may be looking for something else in a banana bread and one of these recipes just might fit the bill.

This recipe was adapted from a recipe on Epicurious. It makes 2 standard size loaves. 

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek style yogurt)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Whisk together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Put eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium-high speed until very thick and a pale ribbon is formed when the beater is lifted, about 10 minutes.

Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, yogurt, and vanilla.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and raisins gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 60 - 75 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Immediately turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

This is what I got - 2 dark brown loaves slightly sunken in the middle. Not the prettiest baked goods. But maybe it's what is inside that counts.

Once I cut into them I found them to be very moist and flavorful. I still am not a fan of the dark crispy exterior. The banana flavor was nice and overall a really good bread.

So onward we go to find the perfect banana bread!