Overnight Coffee Cake

In case you still haven’t set your Christmas breakfast menu, let me offer this delicious coffee cake! My favorite part is that you make it the night before and refrigerate it overnight before baking. In the morning you can stick it in the oven and hit snooze a couple more times or send your significant other down to stick it in while you stay asleep – I would, of course, never  do that (hehehe). This recipe is delicious and you are a total rockstar for effortlessly serving a warm cake.

I like to pair this with egg casserole which can also be made the night before AND they can be baked at the same time. WIN! Now you will actually need to accept an award for your fabulous, organized, awesome breakfast – I promise I’ll keep the easiness a secret from your admirers… 🙂 The awesome thing about this egg casserole is that you can customize it for your taste – you can add veggies, herbs, different meats, or various kinds of cheese – it is an all-time family favorite!

You will thank your self for getting it done the night before and you will love the results! I serve with coffee and tea and with fruit juice and/or fruit salad. Since it’s the holidays, sometimes we will sneak in some of our favorite(!) eggnog from the local creamery or a wonderful champagne cocktail or sparkling wine. Delish!

OVERNIGHT COFFEE CAKE
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3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. yogurt (or sour cream)
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with yogurt. Pour into a greased 9×13 in. baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon; sprinkle over coffee cake. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes. Combine confectioners’ sugar and milk; drizzle over warm coffee cake.

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Cinnamon-Honey Truffles

Any chocolate loving person is bound to enjoy truffles. They are so deeply rich and chocolatey. I was intrigued by this particular recipe (which I found in some cookbook or other and promptly forgot the name) because the cream is steeped in spices and honey. I loved the idea; however, the spices were very subtle in the end result. If you want more of the cinnamon to shine through, I’d try doubling the amount of cinnamon stick. Or, you can do like I did and sprinkle a little cinnamon into the cocoa powder that you roll the truffles in. Either way, these are delicious drops of chocolate, perfect for a holiday goody tray.

CINNAMON-HONEY TRUFFLES
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8 ounces dark bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao), very finely chopped
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-1 cinnamon stick, 1 1/2-3 inches long (depending on the depth of spice you want)
2 whole cloves
pinch of sea salt
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted

Place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. (It is very important to chop the chocolate very finely to allow it to melt properly.)

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, honey, vanilla, cinnamon stick, cloves, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Pour the cream through a fine-mesh sieve held over the chocolate, discarding the contents of the sieve, and let stand for 2 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate mixture in a circular motion until it has completely melted. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. Then refrigerate the chocolate for 30 minutes, or until the chocolate is able to be scooped and rolled into balls.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Using a small spoon or scoop, scoop out 1-inch balls of chocolate and gently roll them into irregularly shaped truffles. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Return the truffles to the refrigerator and chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Place the sifted cocoa powder in a shallow bowl. One at a time, roll the truffles in the cocoa, coating evenly. Makes about 30 truffles.

Cook’s Note: The truffles will keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Baker’s Delight: Cinnamon-Apple Cake

I seriously just want to bake when the weather gets cold! This cake was a perfect fall dessert for a gathering. You could also serve it for brunch. It was delicious served warm or at room temperature.

Look for our November magazine reviews next Wednesday! I love the Thanksgiving issues – I’ve been browsing them for a couple of weeks as they have trickled in – can’t wait to try the recipes!

CINNAMON-APPLE CAKE
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3/4  c.  sugar, divided
1 – 8 oz. block-style cream cheese, softened
1/2  c.  butter or stick margarine, softened
1  tsp. vanilla extract
2  large eggs
1 1/2  c.  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  tsp.  baking powder
1/4  tsp.  salt
2  tsp.  ground cinnamon
3  c.  chopped peeled apples

Preheat oven to 350°.

Beat 1/2 c. sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture, and beat at low speed until blended. Combine 1/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Combine 2 Tb. of the cinnamon mixture and apple in a bowl; stir apple mixture into batter. Pour batter into an 8 or 9-inch springform pan (you could use a regular cake pan also) coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes-1 hour or until cake pulls away from the sides of pan. Cool cake completely on a wire rack, and cut using a serrated knife.

Baker’s Delight: Pumpkin Cupcakes

My husband’s favorite cake is pumpkin spice and so it is an annual tradition for his October birthday. This year, I decided to switch it up and develop a new recipe. I think we might have a new favorite! Instead of a cake, I made cupcakes (adapting a recipe from allrecipes.com) and filled them with a maple cream and then frosted them with a cinnamon maple buttercream. I considered just making a cinnamon frosting but when I tasted it, I thought the maple syrup would be a good element to add…and it was. These take a little bit of time and effort but they are worth it!

PUMPKIN CUPCAKES w/Maple Cream Filling & Cinnamon Maple Buttercream Frosting
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2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. milk
1 c. pumpkin puree

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Combine together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Divide the batter into the prepared muffin cups (I use an ice cream scoop).

Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20- 25 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. While still a little warm gently hollow out a portion in the center of each cake (I used a cylinder to remove the centers).

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, make the filling and frosting (recipes below). Once the cupcakes are cool, fill with the maple cream and frost.

FILLING

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 Tb.  pure maple syrup, divided
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream

Using an electric mixer, mix the cream until light and fluffy. Add 2 Tb. maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add 1 Tb. maple syrup and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the maple whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Chill until ready to fill.

FROSTING

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tb. pure maple syrup
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. milk (may need a little more)
pinch of salt

Cream butter, vanilla, and maple syrup until light an fluffy. Add sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add milk until desired consistency is reached.

Weekend Fare: Stuffed French Toast

My husband and I lived in West Palm Beach, FL for a year when we were first married. Only a year but we loved it! And we had a favorite breakfast/brunch spot – John G’s. The omelets were delicious and the fresh squeezed juice always amazing but the french toast…oh the french toast! We, too often, made weekend treks down to the beach front restaurant to stand outside and wait in line for a seat in the popular restaurant. It was worth it…every time.

So today, I’m sharing my version of a stuffed french toast which reminded us very much of the Raisin Cream Cheese French Toast. This recipe received rave reviews from my loyal fan club of my three boys and husband. They loved it!

CINNAMON RAISIN STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
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8 slices cinnamon raisin bread
3 eggs
1/4 c. milk or cream
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tb. butter

In a pie plate, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat until fully mixed.

CREAM CHEESE FILLING
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. honey
2 tsp. milk or cream
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium size bowl, combine cream cheese, honey, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Melt butter on a griddle on medium-high heat. Spread 4 slices of bread with cream cheese mixture. Top with remaining slices of bread to create four sandwiches. Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture – front and back. Place in pan and cook until browned turning once. Top with powdered sugar if desired. Serve with pure maple syrup.

Serves 2-4.