Tag Archives: quarantine baking

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeIn keeping with social distancing, baking with what I have, considering what you might have, thinking up swaps, and trying to make something Easter-appropriate, I present to you this Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake. It’s made with the last of a container of sour cream I found in my fridge, poppy seeds leftover from Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and sliced almonds from Almond Boterkoek. The rest of the ingredients are baking basics/things I normally have around. Oh, and it only requires one egg—score!Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeAs far as Easter goes, this is not my norm. This cake is not pastel or coconut or coated in my nemesis, poured fondant, but it feels decidedly springlike anyway. I mean, I know we eat almond things at other times of year, but doesn’t Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake scream springtime Sunday morning?Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeThe cake is just my usual coffee/crumb cake base, but perfumed with almond extract and studding with crunchy poppy seeds. It’s super moist and tender thanks to sour cream, milk and softened butter.Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeI skipped the traditional coffee cake crumble here because I felt like it was competing with the poppy seeds—too much crunch, ya know? Instead, I’ve taken the easy way out and topped this sucker with sliced almonds, put it in the oven and called it a day.

You might think you’ll miss the crumble, but once this cake is baked and golden, I promise you’ll be like “Crumble who?” Or, more likely, you’ll be too busy eating soft almond poppy seed cake to care.Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeAs with every recipe I’m posting right now, Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake has plenty of room for substitutions and swaps.

-don’t have poppy seeds? Leave them out. You won’t have same crispy, crunchy texture, but your coffee cake will still be delicious.
-if you don’t have a round cake pan, use a square pan. I haven’t tried it, but I have a sneaking suspicion this will work in a loaf pan too, though you may want to let it bake for more like 50-60 minutes.
-don’t have both granulated and brown sugars? You can use all of one or the other. This will change the color and flavor of the cake a little in either direction, but not in a bad way.
-no almond extract? Well, your cake won’t be Almond Poppy Seed without it, but it also will be fine. If you have citrus at home, feel free to zest a lemon (or whatever) into the sugar. If you leave it plain though, I promise it will still be good.Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake
-no vanilla? Not ideal, of course, but it can be left out.
-our of sour cream? Use yogurt. No yogurt? Swap all the sour cream & milk in the recipe for 1 1/4 cup buttermilk. For DIY buttermilk, see here.
-I bake almost exclusively with whole milk, but feel free to sub whatever you have. With the quantity of sour cream in this recipe, plant-based milks should work without issue.
-if you don’t have sliced almonds for the top, use slivered or chopped almonds, or leave them off entirely. If you feel like your cake needs more adornment, make a glaze or sift confectioners sugar over the top.

That’s every substitution I can think of, but feel free to ask questions in the comments if you think of another. “Make it work” is the name of the game this Easter.Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Almond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake, about 10 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, poppy seeds, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg, sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts; mixture will be a bit lumpy. Mix in half the dry ingredients followed by half the milk. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by remaining milk.

Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Use your fingers to scatter sliced almonds over the top. Tap full pan a few times on the countertop to release any large air bubbles. Bake cake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 20 minutes in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before inverting onto a plate to release. Revert cake onto a serving plate. Cake may be served warm or room temperature. Serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.Almond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeAlmond Poppy Seed Coffee CakeAlmond Poppy Seed Coffee Cake

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut MacaroonsDid you know that the world is still turning and Easter is happening next weekend? How is that even possible?

Ash Wednesday seems like it was five years ago, but it was at the end of February, back when when eggs were not a hyper-precious commodity. It was a time I would have gladly posted a recipe requiring two egg whites and maybe—big maybe—given you an idea of something to do with the yolks. But that was then. Now, the idea of asking you to separate eggs for a non-essential recipe and then leaving you to find something to do with egg yolks is just…well, I’m not going to do it. Not today.Coconut MacaroonsIn keeping with my stay-at-home, work with what you have, waste not/want not approach to baking (and literally everything) right now, I’m taking a note from a recipe I posted last Easter: Chocolate Macaroon Tart. In case you missed it, it’s basically a giant coconut macaroon filled with chocolate ganache…except that it’s not a macaroon at all! Or not the way most people think of a macaroon, anyway. I mean, it’s coconutty and all, but where macaroons are traditionally made with egg whites and sugar, this tart crust is made with sweetened condensed milk. And, since that mixture worked so unbelievably well pressed into a pan, why not mound it like regular macaroons and bake until golden?

Wow, I just said “macaroon” like 478 times.Coconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsAnyway, here is a pantry-friendly version of Coconut Macaroons, a springtime classic. You’d never know these aren’t made with the usual egg whites and sugar—they’re just as toasty-edged, soft-centered and delightfully chewy as their traditional counterparts.Coconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsThe ingredient list is short: a bag of sweetened shredded coconut, about half a can of sweetened condensed milk, some vanilla and salt. No vanilla? Leave it out. Wish they had a little lime or orange to offset the sweetness? Zest some into the sweetened condensed milk before mixing. Like your macaroons dipped in chocolate? Cool them and then dip away!Coconut MacaroonsAnd if you, perhaps, have egg whites leftover from—I don’t know—making Lazy Lemon Curd, and are looking for traditional macaroons, you can double this recipe and swap the potato chips for 3 cups of coconut.Coconut MacaroonsAs for this recipe, all you’ll have leftover is a half a can of sweetened condensed milk, and if you’re not already drizzling that into your weekend coffee…well, you’re in a pandemic and this is the time to start.Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons
makes about 1.5 dozen

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce bag (5 cups) sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.

Place coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Pour in sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

Wet your hands. Scoop coconut mixture in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and form into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 15 minutes, or until light golden and slightly puffed. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Coconut Macaroons will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Small Batch Banana Muffins

Small Batch Banana MuffinsJust in case you were wondering, if you decide to take my One-Banana Banana Bread recipe and make it into Small Batch Banana Muffins, it will work. It will work well.Small Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use non-dairy milk or whole milk. It will work if you use lemon juice or white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use dark brown sugar instead of light brown. It will work if all you have is granulated sugar.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work if you use canola oil or coconut oil or melted butter.Small Batch Banana MuffinsIt will work even when you get distracted by a Zoom call with friends and forget the (flax or regular) egg. In fact, your muffins will actually be better *because* you skipped the egg. I swear.

That never happens. It’s a quarantine miracle.Small Batch Banana MuffinsEr, *six* quarantine miracles.Small Batch Banana Muffins

Small Batch Banana Muffins
makes 6 standard muffins

1/3 cup milk of choice (non-dairy for vegan muffins)
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large very ripe banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease or use muffin liners in 6 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.

In a measuring cup or small bowl, use a fork to whisk together milk and apple cider vinegar.

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

Whisk oil into milk mixture, followed by mashed banana. Add dry ingredients. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold ingredients together (20 strokes maximum). Batter will be thick.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350F and bake another 14-16 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.Small Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana MuffinsSmall Batch Banana Muffins

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsSome recipes I’m posting during this time are going to be super pared-down and simple, and others are…well…not. What can I say? Bakers gonna bake.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsThese Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns came to be because I went into this time of quarantine with a ton of heavy cream in my fridge. It’s usually reserved for making buttercream for the various layer cakes I make every month, but there are no cakes on my calendar for…who knows how long.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsSo, what to do with all that cream? Whip it, make ice cream, make biscuits, and—oh yeah—combine it with the giant bag of pecans in my pantry and roll it all into super soft, tender sticky buns. Yesssss.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsThis is not the first time I’ve used biscuit dough to make sweet rolls on here, but it is certainly the prettiest (forgive those photos—I was a baby blogger). Assembly is super simple and, aside from the lack of rise, pretty similar to regular sweet rolls. Make a dough, make a filling, roll it all up, slice, arrange, bake over a lake of sticky pecan stuff, invert, eat. Boom, done.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsI’ve designed this recipe to be for just nine rolls. I figure most of us don’t need more than that sitting around to taunt us from the kitchen counter. If nine still seems like too many, know that these keep remarkably well in the fridge for a few days and can be reheated on demand.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsNow for the social distancing swaps so you don’t have to go to the store.

-Have nuts that aren’t pecans? Use ‘em.

-Don’t like nuts? Leave ‘em out entirely. Nothing terrible will happen.

-Don’t have honey for the topping? Use maple syrup, agave, light corn syrup, or golden syrup.

-Use any milk you like for the topping. I went with almond. In a pinch, you can swap the milk for 2 tablespoons of cream and 3 of water.

-Don’t have cream at all? You can use another biscuit dough. I’d be careful about making sure the dough stays cold and probably give the sliced & arranged rolls a good chill before baking.

-Feel like making traditional yeasted sticky buns? Click here. (You can leave out the bananas.)Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Even with all those swaps, these buns may not quite qualify as quarantine-friendly for some, but they do for me. In an effort to stay home, I’m baking with things that are already in my pantry and fridge, as we all should be. To see more social distancing bakes, click here. And if you’re more inclined to cook than bake right now, head over to my Instagram. I’m posting easy dinner recipes over there a few times a week.

For now though, have a great weekend, and for the love of yourself and everyone else, stay home and make yourself a special breakfast. You’ve earned it! We all have.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns
makes 9 medium-large buns

Topping:
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup milk of choice
2 tablespoons honey
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, cold

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan with butter. Set aside.

Make the topping. Place pecans on a dry baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for a few minutes. Chop finely. Set aside 1/2 cup pecans for the filling.

Combine butter, brown sugar, milk, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir constantly while mixture boils for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared pan—it will seem thin. Tilt pan slightly to coat evenly. Scatter 1 cup chopped pecans evenly over the topping. Refrigerate full pan while you prepare the rolls.

Make the filling. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until it’s completely combined. Set aside.

Make the biscuit dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in heavy cream, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Dough will be shaggy.

On a floured surface, roll half the dough into a 10×14-inch rectangle so that the edge closest to your body is 14 inches. Drop spoonfuls of filling over dough and use an offset knife (or butter knife) to spread it out, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge. Scatter on reserved pecans. Starting at the long edge furthest away from your body, tightly roll the dough toward you until you have one large cylinder. Slice into 9 pieces, and place close together in the prepared pan. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until light golden and fully cooked.

Let cooked rolls rest in the pan on a rack for 3 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan. Place a large serving plate (or cutting board) upside down on top of the pan. Wearing oven mitts, tightly grab the plate and the pan and flip them over, inverting the rolls onto the plate. Remove pan. Nudge any leftover topping onto the rolls and smooth to distribute evenly. Serve warm. If rolls do not release, return pan to the oven for a minute to warm the topping before trying to invert again.

Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns are best served the day they are made, but may be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.Cream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky BunsCream Biscuit Pecan Sticky Buns

Basic Blondies

Basic BlondiesI almost feel silly posting this recipe—how many variations on blondies does one blog need?

But here I am, doing it anyway, because blondies are easy to make, require limited ingredients, and damn near everyone likes them—perfect for this time when all of us are staying at home.Basic BlondiesThis isn’t so much a variation on blondies as it is a back-to-basics. There are no wild flavors or mix-ins, just pure butterscotch flavor and chocolate chips.Basic BlondiesI’ve essentially used the same blondie recipe since 2010, but recently started cutting the flour in an effort to make them denser and chewier. At Christmas, I reduced the usual 1 cup by 2 tablespoons. Now I’ve taken it 2 tablespoons further, so the recipe requires just 3/4 cup flour. Not bad for a whole pan full of blondies!Basic Blondies
As promised last week, this recipe has a bevy of options for substitutions so you can make them with whatever you have in your kitchen. No brown sugar? Mix 1 cup of granulated with a tablespoon of molasses to make your own. In a pinch, you can sub the molasses with maple syrup, honey, agave, golden syrup or dark corn syrup. And if you don’t have any of those, just use your granulated sugar as-is and call them “platinum” blondies.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesUse whatever salt you have and are comfortable with. If you only have 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla to spare, that’s fine. You could probably get away with nixing it altogether. No parchment for pan-lining? Use foil, or grease & flour the pan.Basic BlondiesRegarding mix-ins, the sky’s the limit! Add whatever you want into your blondies—busted pretzels, chopped nuts, candy bar pieces, swirls of Nutella, a layer of cheesecake—or leave them completely plain. Whatever you want to use is the right thing to use.

As I’ve said many times before, take my recipe and make it yours.Basic Blondies

Basic Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line it with parchment (or foil), leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Check to make sure the batter isn’t too warm to the touch before stirring in chocolate chips (you don’t want them to melt).

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesBasic Blondies