Category Archives: cinnamon

Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

Between the burnout and a holiday case of COVID that set me way behind, this year has not had my best Christmas content. Not every December can be a winner, you know? But I’m back this week with a couple more recipes before the real festivities begin. I’m doing my best in this moment, and my best is this Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree.

Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

It’s flaky. It’s tasty. It’s CUTE.

Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

It can be served in place of cinnamon rolls at your Christmas breakfast, or it can be a part of a tea or dessert spread.

It can be made savory by swapping the pfilling with pesto or pimento cheese.

It can be made even easier with ready-made puff pastry instead of homemade rough puff.

Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree

Basically it can do it all, even when I can’t. That’s the kind of Christmas treat (tree-t?) I can get behind.

Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Christmas Tree
makes one tree

Rough Puff Pastry (makes 2 sheets):
2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
10 ounces (20 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter, very cold, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup water or milk, very cold

Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Egg Wash:
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water

Garnish (optional):
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

If you do not wish to make the Rough Puff Pastry, you may use two sheets of frozen all-butter puff pastry that you have thawed according to package directions. Begin the recipe at “Make the cinnamon sugar filling.”

Make the rough puff pastry. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Pour in cold water or milk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms.

Use your hands to give the dough a couple of kneads in the bowl, then divide it in half. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Place one half on the floured surface. Place the other in the bowl in the refrigerator.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough out onto surface, and use your hands to pat it into a rough rectangle. Roll the dough into an 8x10" rectangle. Fold dough in thirds, and give it one quarter turn. Roll into an 8x10" rectangle again, fold, and turn. Repeat rolling, folding, and turning until it has been done six times total. Wrap folded dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 48 hours. Repeat the mixing, rolling, folding and chilling process with remaining half of the dough.

Make the cinnamon sugar filling. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt. Mix in melted butter until a paste forms. Set aside.

Make the tree. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with parchment.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Unfold one sheet of dough. Roll out to 12x15-inch rectangle, or a bit larger. Transfer to the parchment lined baking sheet.

Use a knife or straight edge to score a large tree shape in the dough. Spread the cinnamon-sugar filling into the tree shape, leaving 1/2-inch border on all sides. Brush a tiny amount of water on the exposed border.

Retrieve the other sheet of dough and repeat the rolling and transfer process. Press down the dough so that you have “sealed” the filled tree shape. Use a large sharp chef’s knife or a straight edge to trim off all the excess dough, leaving behind the tree shape. If desired, return dough scraps to the floured surface and cut out stars or other shapes for decoration. Otherwise refrigerate dough and save for another purpose.

Use a straight edge to score a 1-1 1/2-inch length vertically down the center of your tree. Starting at the base of the tree, use a sharp knife to cut 1-inch strips all the way up on both sides, leaving them connected in the center.

Taking one strip of dough at a time, gently twist it a few times. Repeat with all strips up to the top; as they get shorter, they will accept fewer twists.

Make egg wash. Combine egg and water in a small bowl and whisk together with a fork. Use a pastry brush to paint egg wash over the entire tree. If you cut stars from the excess, add them to the pan and paint with egg wash.

Bake tree for 28-30 minutes, until completely golden. Let cool 10 minutes before carefully removing to a serving plate. I found this easiest to do by lifting it on the parchment, placing it on the serving dish, then sliding out the parchment from underneath. Arrange stars, if using.

Sift confectioners sugar over all or part of the tree (I did the stars and then placed them). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake {Seven Year Anniversary}

In years past, I might have gone with a flashier recipe to celebrate seven years of this blog, but this year I’m keeping it low key and doing what comes naturally. I’m just glad to be here.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake​

I’ve been open about needing a break this past summer. Though the baking never stopped, I’m very much getting back into the swing of posting. I am currently writing to you on a Friday afternoon from the New York City subway—it’s not the first time and certainly not the last. E2 Bakes has always been a little bit of a patchwork. A little time here, a little time there. Late nights, early mornings, set baking hours with a little wiggle room, writing content on public transit between appointments—it all makes this place function.

Of all of that, the baking and recipe testing is obviously the most important. I need to spend time making the things that I want to make not just because it’s enjoyable for me, but because those things are just better. See exhibits A, B & C of many (many, many). I am not one of those who thinks being “made with love” is crucial for success (I have made plenty of delicious things while absolutely furious), but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake​

This Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake was made with joy, on the fly, in pajamas, on a Monday morning in my kitchen. I didn’t shop for any specific ingredients or make a plan; I just saw what I had (a fridge drawer full of apples) and went from there. It was, to be frank, my ideal baking situation.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake​

The cake itself is the slightest variation on the summery Peach Upside-Down Cake I made in 2020, but updated for fall with a little more comforting spice. It’s a simple torte batter poured over a mix of brown sugar, butter, and sliced apples that bakes up to tender butterscotch-edged perfection.

There are certainly prettier ways to arrange your apples for this cake, and I know that the finished product could benefit from a drizzle of caramel and a scoop of ice cream, but I like it like this. Thrown together for the fun of it, photographed without a plan, eaten warm before noon on a weekday. It feels authentic, which is exactly how I hope this space comes across.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake​

Thank you for being here and for supporting this little project of mine for so long. It means the world. I hope we bake together for many years to come.

Happy birthday, E2 Bakes.

Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake​
Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake
makes 1 9-inch round cake

For the apples:
2 large baking apples (I used Granny Smith & Pink Lady)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Set aside.

Slice apples in 1/4-inch slices. No need to peel. Discard cores.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and dark brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted and fully homogeneous, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Pour mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan.

Top the brown sugar mixture with single layer of sliced apples, slightly overlapping them for the prettiest effect, in any design you like. Set aside.

In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until very light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in granulated sugar and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, mix in dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Drop batter in spoonfuls over the peaches. Use an offset icing knife or the back of a spoon to spread it in an even layer. Tap the pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs (not wet batter).

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge a couple of times. Place a cake stand or large serving plate upside down over the top of the pan. Holding on to the plate and pan with oven mitts, quickly invert them so that the plate is right-side-up and the pan is now upside-down. Tap the top of the pan a time or two to help the cake release. Lift off the empty pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, just nudge it back onto the cake with your fingers or a spoon.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, if desired.

Cake is best the day it's baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Of all the myriad ways I describe myself and what I do, “bread baker” has consistently been pretty low on the list. I have gotten pretty good with cakes and cookies and even pie, but bread still isn’t an area of my expertise.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

That said, I’ve been slowly getting into bread-making since the start of the pandemic. I didn’t jump on the sourdough starter train or anything (seemed like a huge waste of flour at the time), but I tinkered with no-knead recipes and have since posted two English muffin breads and a dreamy, decadent cheese bread. Today though, I’m tackling one of my favorite things in all of bread-dom, classic Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Oh yes, I have loved Cinnamon Swirl Bread as far back as I can remember. Paired with butter or peanut butter, it was my dad’s go-to “feed the kids” breakfast when I was little, and it’s one of my many go-to “feed yourself before your blood sugar drops further” meals at the ripe age of almost-37. A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at making Cinnamon Swirl Bread at home and it turned out so well! Soft, buttery, cinnamon-scented and perfect for toast.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread is super simple to make and can be put together in about 4 hours. That may seem like a lot, but with two rises and an hour of baking time, the active prep is a little more than 30 minutes.

The base recipe is exactly the same as the one I use for cheese bread—it’s soft and buttery, like a brioche. It comes together in minutes and is soft, pliable and so satisfying to knead. Let it rise once, then roll it out like you’re making cinnamon rolls and scatter it with cinnamon, sugar, and a little flour before rolling it up for a second rise. Flour in the filling may seem strange, but it lends some structure here so that the cinnamon swirl keeps its definition through the second rise and baking time. I can’t take credit for this brilliant tip—shout out to the fine folks at King Arthur Flour.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This bread needs nearly an hour in the oven, until it’s tall and deep brown and smells outrageously delicious. If you want a perfect swirl for toasting and all, you should probably let your Cinnamon Swirl Bread cool completely. I know that’s a big ask and you’re probably (justifiably) going to ignore it, but someone might revoke my newly-minted bread baker card if I don’t say it.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

But for real, if you’re not at least tempted to tear into this like a wild animal, we might fundamentally misunderstand each other.

That’s okay, though. More Cinnamon Swirl Bread for the rest of us.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Cinnamon Roll Bread
makes one loaf

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

For Finishing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, heavily grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter.

Mix the filling. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together sugar, cinnamon and flour. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. When the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto the surface. Roll it out to an 11x14-inch rectangle (about 1/8-inch thick). Sprinkle the filling over the entire surface of the dough, leaving 1/2-inch bare on all sides. Starting from a short edge (an 11 inch edge), tightly roll the dough into a cylinder place it in the prepared pan. Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap. Let loaf rise in a warm, draft-free place for 45-60 minutes, or until it peaks over the top of the pan. If you poke it with your finger, the dent should remain.

Meanwhile, set an oven rack in the central position. Preheat oven to 350F.

When loaf has risen, remove and discard the plastic wrap. Bake loaf for 50-55 minutes, tenting the loaf with foil if it is getting too dark. Test for doneness with a skewer—if it meets any resistance or comes out with dough on it, bake in five minute increments until neither of those things happens. To test for doneness with a thermometer, insert the end into center. If it reads at 190F or above, it’s done.

When the bread is done, brush the entire top with melted butter. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it onto a rack to cool completely.

Slice bread thickly and enjoy warm or room temperature, or use it for toast. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to a week.

Banana Crumb Muffins

Internet, meet my freezer stash of bananas. Freezer stash of bananas, meet the internet.

Banana Crumb Muffins​

These brown bananas have been taking up space in my freezer since Christmas and it’s time to clear them out for…well, honestly, probably more brown bananas. The cycle continues, but that’s beside the point.

(The point is to bake good things with bananas, obviously.)

Banana Crumb Muffins

Of all the things you can make with sad bananas, none will ever beat banana bread/muffins. I’ve posted several recipes for both over the years, and while they all have their strengths, I think these are my best effort yet.

I’ve been making this particular recipe weekly for nearly a year now; the people I work for love banana muffins. I make them with bananas from their freezer stash, throwing them in the microwave for a minute or two while I prepare the other ingredients, then squeezing the fruit into a bowl and mashing it to smithereens.

I throw 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips into the batter for work, but lately I am more interested in coffee cake-style crumb topping. I love its crispy texture and pop of buttery cinnamon flavor—it really takes these otherwise plain banana muffins to another level.

Banana Crumb Muffins are easy to make and really delicious. The batter is very straightforward—nothing out of the ordinary—and the crumb is just whisking some melted butter into flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt until, well, crumbly. Break it up with your fingers and distribute it over the muffin batter, then bake until brown and a little craggy.

Banana Crumb Muffins

As with most banana baked goods, these are good the day they’re made, but great with a little time. That said, good luck keeping them around for more than a day or two.

Banana Crumb Muffins
Banana Crumb Muffins
makes 14-16 muffins

Crumb:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Muffin Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease or use muffin liners in 14-16 cups of a standard muffin tin. Fill the remaining cups 1/3-1/2 of the way with water (to keep the pan from warping in the oven). Set aside.

Make the crumb. In a small bowl, which together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add melted butter and whisk until everything is saturated. It should be the texture of damp sand, holding together when pinched. Set aside.

Make the muffin batter. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and buttermilk, followed by eggs and mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together just until combined. Batter will be thick.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling nearly to the top. Tap full pans on the counter 5 times to release large air bubbles. Scatter crumb over the top of the filled cups and press down lightly with your fingers to adhere.

Bake 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375F and bake another 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread

If you’ve never had English Muffin Bread, you’re in for a treat. It’s got all the craggy cornmeal-edged goodness of a quality English muffin, but baked into a loaf that you can slice as thick as you like and toast to golden perfection! It’s wildly easy to make—no proofing yeast or kneading, and only one rise *in the pan*—and it’s so good that I actually really love doing multiple tests on it. Don’t mind me over here packing my freezer with sliced English Muffin Bread. Nothing to see here!

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread

My recipe for plain/classic English Muffin Bread can be found by clicking here. Please treat yourself to a loaf or two, heavily toasted with lots of butter, and then come back for this Cinnamon Raisin version.

Yep, that’s right. Cat’s out of the bag. I’m a raisin person! I like them in cookies, carrot cake, and a chicken stew my mom makes, among many other things (though never with or when I am expecting chocolate). I am sure this is a giant waving red flag for some of you, but we all have our flaws, and mine is that I enjoy the occasional raisin-speckled baked good. I like dried grapes and I like them in stuff and I’m not going to feel bad about it, okay? Okay.

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread

If you are not a raisin person, I’ll get you with the next recipe, but this one’s for my fellow raisin enthusiasts and me. Because we know what’s good, and thickly-sliced, craggy, deeply toasted Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with butter is very good. It’s pretty outstanding with peanut butter, too, if that’s more your speed. I usually go with one slice each way—a single piece of toast is rarely enough.

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread

My favorite part of this recipe? It takes exactly the same amount of time and effort as plain English Muffin Bread, which is to say…not very much. You’ll need all of 10 minutes to measure, stir together and divide the recipe into two loaves, an hour to rise over the top of the pan and 30 minutes to bake. The absolute most important part of this whole process is not slicing into the baked bread until it’s completely cool. Just don’t do it! The bread needs the cooling time to set its hole structure, and will be dense, gummy and otherwise weird if you slice it while it’s warm. Resist the intoxicating smells of fresh bread and cinnamon! It’s for your own good. Your breakfast’s, too.

Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread
Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread
makes 2 loaves

For the pans:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3-4 tablespoons cornmeal

Bread Dough:
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or bread flour)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) instant yeast
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 2/3 cups warm water

For proofing:
plastic wrap
oil, butter or cooking spray

For serving:
butter
peanut butter

Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans with butter. Add cornmeal and rotate pans so that the entire insides are coated in a thin layer. Tap out and discard excess cornmeal.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and instant yeast. Stir in raisins.

In a large liquid measuring cup (or other vessel) whisk together melted butter and warm water. It should be warm to the touch (90-110F) but not hot.

Whisk/stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients in two installments. Stir until a sticky, shaggy dough forms and flour is coated, then stir an additional 30 seconds to make sure things are saturated.

Grease your hands, then divide dough into prepared pans. Grease 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Lay them loosely over the top of each loaf pan.

Place pans in a warm, draft-free environment for 45-60 minutes, or until the dough has risen just above the tops of the pans. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 400F.

When dough is ready, gently peel off and discard plastic wrap. Dough may seem a bit wet and jiggly. Gently place pans in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden all over. The interior temperature should be at least 190F.

Immediately turn bread out onto a rack. Let cool completely so crumb structure can set. Do not slice into bread until it is completely cool.

Slice and toast before serving with butter, peanut butter, or your topping of choice. Leftovers will keep well-wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.