This is my favorite coffee cake and it just might become yours too! Filled with sweet cranberries and a ribbon of cinnamon-scented chocolate, this Chocolate Cranberry Coffee Cake (C4?) adds another layer of flavors to a dense sour cream coffee cake. This is a BIG cake and it will stay fresh in an airtight container for a few days, so you might find yourself looking for occasions to make it even if you aren’t having a crowd over for brunch.
We all drink our coffee black at my house (which a friend of mine once said was barbaric) but strong black coffee is the perfect thing to drink with a slice of this coffee cake. My dad, who has the hugest sweet tooth of anyone I’ve met, says that it’s sweet enough even though it doesn’t have any frosting, haha! I’ve made it for number of holidays at home and the incredible baking smells of cinnamon and chocolate (and the whole process of getting covered in flour while I make the batter), is one of the things that means “home” to me.
As with Grandma Mary’s Banana Bread, a key element of this recipe is making sure that after the dry ingredients are incorporated the batter is thick enough to hold its shape but loose enough so that it doesn’t stick to the beaters of your mixer. If your batter looks too thick add some milk a couple tablespoons at a time until you have the right consistency.
Layering can also be a bit of a challenge with this recipe, be sure to save enough batter so that there are a couple distinct layers of chocolate, this will give you that pretty marbled effect. To get an even layer of chocolate I use a spatula to spread out the chocolate chips as much as possible after sprinkling them into the pan.
To cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the bundt pan, I remove the center portion of the pan and trace around it on the parchment. Then I fold it in half and cut a semi-circle out of the center.
I made this cake as part of our Easter festivities this past weekend, along with Eggs Benedict for our late in the day brunch. What are some of your favorite brunch foods?
Chocolate Cranberry Coffeecake
1 ½ cups semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 2/3 cups sugar, divided use
1 ½ sticks (¾ cup) butter, softened
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 lb sour cream, light or regular
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a 10” Bundt pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper to .fit the bottom of the pan and place it in the pan. Grease the top of the parchment, then flour the entire pan.
Combine chocolate chips, cocoa, cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar, set aside.
In separate bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In another large bowl beat together butter with remaining sugar. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Gradually add vanilla, sour cream and eggs to butter and sugar mixture, beating to incorporate each new addition to the batter.
Beat for another 2 minutes at medium speed. Batter should be thick enough to hold its shape but loose enough so that it doesn’t stick to the beaters. If the batter is too thick beat in some milk 2 tablespoons at a time until batter reaches desired consistency.
Gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in dried cranberries.
Pour 1/3 of batter into Bundt pan, sprinkle with half of the chocolate chip mixture. Top with half the remaining batter followed by the rest of the chocolate chip mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top.
Bake for about 1 hour and 16 minutes, or until the top of a cake is an even golden brown and a tester inserted into the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack. Invert cake to remove it from pan.
Cute, bite-size and healthy, these Blackberry Froyo Bites make a perfect quick snack or breakfast (yes, frozen yogurt for breakfast!) They get a huge boost of blackberry flavor from a homemade blackberry coulis- which is a fancy name for blackberry syrup. This post is really two recipes in one because extra coulis comes in handy for all sorts of fun applications, use it when you’re making cocktails (Blackberry mojito or gin and tonic anyone?) salad dressings, pour it on pancakes or waffles, you name it! Let me know in the comments if there’s another way to use the blackberry coulis that I’ve missed.
Another fun thing about this recipe is that it’s really customizable. For starters, any type of berry will work well for making the coulis and garnishing the froyo bites, swap out the graham crackers for vanilla wafers or Oreos for another take on the crust. I think for my next batch I might even try making a peanut butter chocolate chip version by adding powdered peanut butter to the yogurt along with some chocolate shavings. Next time I might also opt for silicone rather than metal cupcake pans to make the process of getting individual froyo bites out of the pan easier.
Using low-fat Greek yogurt and plenty of fresh fruit while keeping added sugar to a minimum makes these mini froyo bites a healthy frozen treat for any time of day. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks?
Blackberry Froyo Bites
Recipe Note: If left in the freezer overnight or longer, froyo bites may need to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before they’re soft enough to eat.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
about 2 cups low-fat plain greek yogurt
about 3/4 cup blackberry coulis (recipe follows)
1/4 cup honey
36 whole blackberries (from about 2 pints)
Line 36 mini muffin cups with paper liners. Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press enough of the graham cracker mixture into each muffin cup to just cover the bottom. Reserve remaining graham cracker crumbs and set aside.
Combine yogurt, blackberry coulis and honey, divide mixture evenly among muffin cups. (Reserve extra coulis for another use.) Place a whole blackberry in each cup and sprinkle all with remaining graham cracker crumbs.
Cover froyo bites with plastic wrap and freeze 3-4 hours or until firm.
Fresh Blackberry Coulis
2 pints blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Mash all ingredients together using a food processor or potato masher and strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a large bowl. Allow juice to drain through the sieve for about 30 minutes, gently pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon every few minutes to release more juice. Discard any remaining solids.
Want to make something special for St. Patrick’s Day that isn’t corned beef and cabbage or soda bread? Then I recommend these savory and oh so cheesy Dubliner scones!
Dubliner is an Irish cheese made by Kerrygold and is similar to white cheddar but with a hint of sweetness that makes it a slam dunk for baked goods. It’s also great on its own, grated over soups, melted into mac and cheese or… you get the idea.
To make your scones even more festive, serve them with Irish Breakfast tea spiked with a little Irish whiskey- Sláinte! (Cheers!).
Everyone in my family is a huge fan of these scones, and they’re one of my mom’s favorites. This adorable illustration of our pets having their own tea time is her work. Her support and collaboration on the more visual aspects of the blog (she also helps out with photo shoots) has been a huge help and so much fun. Thanks mom!
Thanks to buttermilk, a generous amount of cheese, fresh oregano, and a dash of cayenne, these scones have a savory kick that sets them apart- even people who don’t usually go in for sweet and savory combinations will love them! A warm Dubliner scone not only makes a great afternoon snack but also works for breakfast or a side for more traditional St. Patrick’s Day fare. (Well, they might not go with green beer, but everything else is good!)
Getting the texture of the dough just right can be tricky, I actually had to put the dough back in the bowl and add more buttermilk after my first attempt at forming the dough into disks. The important thing to remember is that the dough shouldn’t crumble when you try to form it into a disk or cut it into wedges, but it also shouldn’t feel wet. (A little sticky is fine, but if you find the dough is sticking to your hands after you form it into disks add more flour.) I recommend freezing the scones on the baking sheet before baking because the bottoms of the scones tend to brown very quickly, and we want to give the baking powder and baking soda time to do their jobs in the oven and let the scones rise.
I hope however you choose to celebrate that all of you have a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day! What are some of your favorite St. Paddy’s foods and traditions?
4 ½ cups flour, + more for work surface
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, roughly torn
1 1/2 cups grated Dubliner cheese (or sharp white cheddar cheese), divided use
3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups buttermilk, + more for egg wash
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray them with butter flavored cooking spray.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cayenne pepper and oregano. Cut in the butter and 3/4 cup grated cheese until just combined. (The mixture should resemble dry bread crumbs with a few pea-sized lumps remaining.)
Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients, pour in the buttermilk and mix until just combined. Shape the dough into a ball, adding more flour as needed if the dough is too sticky or more buttermilk if it’s too dry. Dough may be a little sticky but should not be wet, or so dry that it crumbles.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and shape it into two 6” rounds 1 ½” thick.
Cut each round in half, then cut each half into 3 wedges. Place scones on cookie sheets and freeze for at least 20 min. (It’s important to freeze the scones on the baking sheet that will go into the oven, so that the baking sheet doesn’t get hot too quickly and burn the bottoms of the scones.)
Add two tablespoons buttermilk to the beaten egg. After removing scones from the freezer brush them liberally with egg wash.
Bake scones 22-25 min, sprinkling the tops of scones with remaining cheese during last 3 minutes of baking time. When done, the bottoms of the scones should be an even golden brown and the tops will be golden brown in places. The scones are best warm from the oven but will keep for 1 day in a sealed bag or container.
This week I tried something new, making potstickers with homemade wrappers using recipes from Ellen Leong Blonder’s Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch. I know this was starting to look like a baking blog but never fear, we have savory recipes too! This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge, which connects food bloggers and inspires us to try new things! This month’s link up is hosted by Mr Fitz from Cooking with Mr Fitz.
For those of you who’ve never tried postickers, they’re little packages of pan fried delicousness that are crispy on the bottom, chewy, and filled with ground meat, tofu or veggies seasoned with ginger and sesame oil. I love dumplings of all kinds, and I was first drawn to Ellen Blonder’s book by its beautiful watercolor illustrations (by the author!) and thoughtful explanations of ingredients that were new to me. While I used the dumpling shape shown above for my potstickers, I developed my own filling based on another recipe in this book for vegetarian potstickers with a flour wrapper.
I’ve made pasta before and I’ve made potstickers using store bought wrappers, but making potstickers with homemade wrappers is a little bit different than either of those. As with homemade vs. store bought pasta, the homemade wrapper dough has a very different texture and cooking time than a store bought wrapper. The homemade dough is tender and translucent enough to hint at the filling inside, while store bought wrappers are much chewier and more sturdy.
The dough for the wrappers is STICKY. It’s also one of the most finicky, high maintenance doughs I’ve ever worked with. Is is worth it? Yes, once you figure out a method for wrapping the postickers that works for you and accept that (sadly) not all of your potstickers are going to make it. In this post I’ll walk you through all the mistakes I made as a dim sum newbie to help you start making beautiful, tasty dumplings from the get go. I would love to hear in the comments from those of you experienced with dim sum and those who are starting with this recipe about tips and tricks that you’ve learned along the way.
Things don’t always go as planned when you’re trying a new recipe, here’s what worked for me and what didn’t:
The recipe I followed indicated to let the dough rest for 20 minutes before rolling out. I actually had better results without resting the dough (it was more pliable and easier to work with.)
With my first batch of dough I tried rolling half of the batch out very thin and using a cookie cutter to cut out the individual wrappers. The dough was so thin that it just stuck to itself when I tried to peel it off the counter. Cutting the dough into small pieces and then rolling out each piece was much more successful.
If you have a wrapper that splits after wrapping it around the filling, just use an extra piece of dough to patch it up, the taste will be the same and as far as appearance goes it won’t be noticeable.
To make potstickers ahead, freeze them before pan-frying. However, do as I say and not as I did. Be sure to freeze them on a piece of parchment or wax paper rather than directly on a plate. If you freeze your potstickers, allow them to thaw for 45 minutes before frying.
Mushroom and Tofu Potstickers with Broccoli Rabe
Make it Vegan: Saute the mushrooms and onion in Canola oil rather than butter and deglaze the pan using water in place of chicken broth.
Recipe Notes: In the filling it’s very important to use coarse salt (such as kosher salt) rather than fine table salt so that the filling isn’t overly salty. Do not use a non-stick pan to cook potstickers.
For the Filling:
8 oz finely shredded Napa cabbage (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (divided use)
About 1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons crushed or finely minced peeled fresh ginger
4 oz firm tofu, mashed
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
For the Wrappers and Preparing the Potstickers:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
For the Broccoli Rabe and Soy-Vinegar Sauce:
1 bunch broccoli rabe, large leaves removed, ends trimmed
6 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
a pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons scallions, very thinly sliced on the bias
Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, toss Napa cabbage with 1 tablespoon salt and let stand for about 30 minutes, or until cabbage wilts. Rinse the cabbage and squeeze out as much water as possible. You should have about 2 cups cabbage.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon salt and saute until mushrooms and onion are tender, 5-7 minutes. Slowly add sherry and cook, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
In a large bowl, combine mushroom mixture with cabbage, tofu, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and white pepper. Set filling aside
Make the wrappers 1 batch of dough at a time. Two batches should be sufficient for this recipe. For each batch of dough combine 3/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 4 minutes, working in additional flour as you go (dough will be very sticky.) When finished kneading the dough will be fairly stiff and you’ll be able to form it into a smooth ball.
Divide dough in half and roll each half into a 8-9″ log. Working with one log at a time, (cover dough you aren’t using with plastic wrap or a damp paper towel) cut the dough into pieces about 3/4″ long. Cover remaining dough pieces while you’re rolling out the wrapper for each potsticker.
Roll each piece of dough into a circle about 3″ wide, flouring the dough and turning it over a few times as you go. The dough will be very thin and may appear translucent in places. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon of filling into the lower half of the wrapper and fold the top half over filling. Working from the right to the left, fold the seam of the wrapper over in a series of overlapping pleats to seal. Cover finished potstickers while working.
Meanwhile, steam broccoli rabe for 3-4 minutes or until bright green and tender. Immediately transfer broccoli rabe to a bowl of cold water and allow to cool to room temperature. Drain broccoli rabe, dry it off and set aside.
Set a pie plate in oven and set oven to warm or 200°. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The pan is hot enough to add potstickers when a few drops of water sizzle loudly when added to the pan. Working in batches, add 5-6 potsickers to the pan, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Pan-fry potstickers until they are a deep, even golden brown on the bottom.
Slowly add 1/2 cup water to the pan and cover, allow postickers to steam for 3-5 minutes or until translucent in places on top and an even golden color.
Uncover and raise heat to high. Cook potstickers until most (but not all) of the liquid evaporates, 2-3 minutes. Transfer potstickers to oven, browned side up, and keep warm while cooking remaining potstickers.
While potstickers are steaming, whisk together ingredients for sauce: soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and scallions. Serve potstickers and broccoli rabe with soy-vinegar sauce on the side. (Dip postickers and broccoli rabe in the sauce or pour a small amount over the food.)
This banana bread was one of the first things I learned how to bake and to this day is still one of my favorites. My mom makes banana bread using a recipe she wrote down while watching my Great-Grandma Mary bake. (She says my great-grandma was a superb baker who measured everything using the palm of her hand- which is impressive but not the most helpful when it comes to recreating her food.) Grandma Mary was also able to sew clothes without a pattern, which is amazing to me.
When I was in college I made the banana bread using my mom’s recipe because it used up leftover bananas, kept well and reminded me of home. Over time I began adding in nuts and chocolate chips, and eventually began throwing in a few tablespoons of rum because it improves the texture and, seriously, what dessert isn’t better with rum? It’s been an ingredient in two out of the three recipes posted on this blog so far!
This banana bread is moist and indulgent without being too sweet. Make it ahead for those breakfasts on busy mornings or packing in a bag lunch (I bet it would also make some epic french toast Mwahahah!)
The key to achieving a dense but not heavy texture in this banana bread is to beat the butter, sugar and together until light and fluffy, along with making sure the batter is just “loose” enough before folding in the nuts and chocolate chips. I found there’s a little bit of variation in how much liquid you’ll get from adding 1 cup of mashed bananas to the batter, so sometimes it’s a good idea to add more milk.
Grandma Mary’s Banana Bread
Recipe Notes: Overripe bananas work best in this recipe, you can freeze yours whenever you happen to have them around. You’ll need about 3 bananas. If you wish to omit the rum, just increase the milk to 6 tablespoons.
2 scant cups flour
1teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnut pieces, plus about 1/4 cup walnuts for garnishing the top of loaf, if desired
½ cup/a stick of butter
1 cup mashed bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 tablespoons dark rum
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9x5x3” loaf pan. Stir together first 3 ingredients.
In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar well. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat mixture on medium speed for about two minutes until bright yellow and fluffy. Beat in milk, vanilla and rum.
Alternating between flour mixture and mashed bananas, add both in batches to wet ingredients, beating until just combined after each addition. Batter should be light and fluffy, if it appears heavy add additional milk 2 tablespoons at a time. Fold in nuts or chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and sprinkle the extra nuts on top (if using.) Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let bread cool completely in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of pan and invert to remove banana bread from pan.
Valentine’s Day means an abundance of sweets at my house and an extra-special dinner from my dad, who made pasta with homemade meat sauce in honor of my mom and I- awwww. My dad’s sauce is one of those recipes I’d love to post on this blog, but I haven’t mastered the knack of balancing the tartness of the tomatoes and the sweetness from sugar and red wine. The other day my dad said, “Everyone has their own sauce, you start off with someone else’s and then make it your own.” I’m not there yet but I know what I like in a tomato sauce, so hopefully with practice and patience I’ll be able to create my own unique version and share it with you all.
My contribution to Valentine’s Day dinner was a chocolate cake that’s one of my go-tos for special occasions. Easy to throw together but with a huge chocolate taste and moist, dense and fudgy texture, this cake dresses up chocolate cake mix in a way that will wow your friends, family (or Valentine!) any time of year.
As for frosting, I used store-bought (cookies and cream flavor) this time and it turned out great. Feel free to use your favorite homemade or store-bought frosting for this recipe, either way you’ll have a cake that’s way more chocolaty and rich than your usual box cake.
All Dressed Up Chocolate Cake
Recipe Notes: Be sure to check the capacity of your bundt pan, since many of them will only hold 8-10 cups. Flour the sides of your bundt pan by placing about of tablespoon of flour in the bottom, then turning the pan on its side and slowly rotating it. If you wish to omit the rum just increase the amount of milk to 1/2 cup.
I tried blood oranges for the first time this year and they’re one of my new favorite fruits- even though they only stick around for a little while. If you’ve never had one they’re totally worth picking up a few, the flavor is more complex than a navel orange and the colors are gorgeous. I especially like the variation in colors from reddish purple to bright orange.
When I was looking for new recipes so I could try out the blood oranges I’d just bought, I stumbled across Rachel’s blog Ice-cream in the rain. I adapted her Blood Orange, Almond and Brown Sugar Tea Cakes to what ingredients I had on hand (I swapped ground walnuts in the cakes for ground almonds) and to U.S. measurements.
The result was a moist, dense, not overly sweet cake that is wonderful on a “meh” winter day with a mug of hot tea.Taste tested and approved by people who go out of their way for bittersweet (like me) and those with a major sweet tooth (like my dad), these cakes are a great way to make use of a fruit that becomes widely available only in late winter.
Blood Orange Tea Cakes
2 blood oranges
10 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/8 tsp coarse salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, plus more for dusting
2 1/3 cups ground walnuts or almonds
6 tablespoons flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
About ¼ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons bittersweet marmalade
Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Zest both oranges and set zest aside. Remove peel and pith and slice oranges into ¼” thick rounds.
Place orange slices on baking sheet and bake (at 400°) for 20-23 minutes, or until orange slices begin to caramelize. Allow orange slices to cool fully on baking sheet.
Meanwhile, beat together brown sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time (batter may appear grainy at this point but this is ok.) Fold in four and nuts
Grease 10 standard-size muffin cups and divide batter among them.
Using a plastic or silicone spatula, very carefully remove orange slices from baking sheet and divide fruit among cakes. (Each cake will have 1-2 slices of fruit on top.)
Top each cake with a few sliced almonds and sprinkle with a little bit of brown sugar.
Bake tea cakes at 400° for 13-15 minutes, rotating muffin pans halfway through baking time. The cakes are done when the edges are a deep golden brown and a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.
During the last few minutes of baking time, combine marmalade with a few drops of water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 15-25 seconds until marmalade is runny but not bubbling.
Immediately after taking cakes out of the oven, brush the tops with marmalade glaze. Allow cakes to cool for about 4 minutes in pan. Run a knife around the edges of each cake then remove from pan. Serve cakes warm or at room temperature.