Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

There’s something simply irresistible about the smell of warm cinnamon and buttery pecans emanating from the oven.  And with that thought in mind, this weekend I made my first foray into the world of sweet rolls from scratch, making a homemade, self-kneaded yeast-based dough.  The result was an delightfully soft roll — golden crusted outside, warm fluffy inside — filled with cinnamon, brown sugar, and pecans.

Surprisingly, this recipe took less than three hours from start to finish, including rising and baking time. And it was a lot of fun in the process. I followed this recipe, from the Pecan St. Bakery & Cafe in Blanco, Texas, care of a 1999 Bon Appetit. I modified it slightly, using 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar instead of all white sugar, and I also used a smaller baking dish, 16×9 glass.  Finally, I topped mine off with a little homemade vanilla icing for a creamy kick.


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These two recipes produce fantastic muffins — and both use buttermilk!, one of my favorite ingredients and the “after” in the title of this blog.   The oatmeal blueberry are actually quite healthy, using whole wheat flour, oat bran and wheat germ or flaxseed meal.  The rhubarb are super moist and tangy, topped with a crunchy sweet streusel.

Oatmeal Blueberry Muffins

2 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons oat bran

2 tablespoons wheat germ or flaxseed meal

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup canola oil

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

(1) Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl. Then, add buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla.  Whisk all together.

(2) Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes (to cook the oats a little bit).

(3) Fold in blueberries.  Then, divide the batter between muffin cups.

(4) Bake at 375 for 20-28 minutes.

*Adapted from Tazzaria in Visalia, Calif., via Bon Appetit

Rhubarb Muffins with Streusel Topping

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter or oil

1 egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups finely cut rhubarb

1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Topping: 1 teaspoon melted butter, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon

(1) Combine sugar, melted butter, egg and vanilla and mix well in large bowl.  In separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder.

(2) Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk in a small bowl or measuring cup.

(3) To the sugar/butter mix, alternate flour and buttermilk, stirring well.   Then fold in rhubarb and nuts. Divide between muffin cups.

(4) Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of muffins before baking at 350 for 20 minutes.

*An Aunt Mary Klehr family recipe from Jordan, Minn.

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When it comes to breakfast treats – pastries, breads, cakes, rolls – I’ve never been a fan of the ultra-sweet. Partly this is because I don’t like the cloying, sugary taste and inevitable energy crash that follows. But I also like to feel like I’m getting at least some nutritional value — maybe some oatmeal or bran baked in, or healthy nuts on top.

This blueberry cornmeal cake is a perfect balance of what I like in a morning coffee accompaniment. It’s hearty and super-moist with slightly sweet cake – almost like a cornbread, except made more flavorful by ricotta cheese, yogurt and honey baked in! — and bursts of tangy, fresh blueberries throughout.

The recipe, adapted by Bon Appetit from the Huckleberry Bakery & Cafe in Santa Monica, is like a sister to the to-die-for Orange Polenta Cake I wrote about last year and is one of my top five favorite desserts.

Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

1 1/3 cups flour

2/3 cups yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/4 sticks butter at room temp

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/3 cup plain yogurt

3 cups fresh blueberries

(1) Preheat oven to 325 and butter/flour 10-inch diameter springform pan.

(2) Whisk flour, cornmeal and baking powder/soda in small bowl.  Whisk oil, eggs, vanilla, and honey in another.

(3) Use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar (reserve one tablespoon) until creamy. Then slowly add wet mixture and blend. Followed by dry mixture to blend. Add ricotta and yogurt and beat on low speed just to blend.

(4) Pour half the batter into pan. Scatter 1 1/2 cups blueberries over to cover.  Then pour remaining batter over and sprinkle remaining blueberries on top.  Sprinkle with reserved sugar.

(5) Bake until golden brown — about 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on oven. Cool completely before cutting.

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Scones — like the best part of muffins — are crispy on the outside and around the edges, buttery and flaky on the inside and not overly sweet. And when knocked up with tangy raspberries and white chocolate chips, they’re to die for.   This recipe is easy to make and the result is sooo much better than the soggy, sad bakery items hanging out in the case at your neighborhood coffee shop.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones

2 cups flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter (1/4 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

3/4 cup white chocolate chips

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 egg

(1) Mix dry ingredients and cut in butter.  Then add berries, tossing to mix.

(2) Beat together cream and egg, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, stirring gently until dough comes together.  The key is to not over handle!

(3) Divide the dough in half and shape each into a 6-inch round on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into wedges.

(4) Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

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In the wonderful world of breakfast bread baking, rarely have I strayed so far into unfamiliar territory as the amalgamation of ingredients in this recipe.  Grated zucchini, sweet potato, carrots, banana, nuts, raisins, olive oil…. What on earth was all-star New York Front Runner Chris Stoia thinking when he first folded the entire kitchen garden into a sweet bread batter?!

The result, ladies and gentlemen, is an incredible — and healthy — treat packed with moist, hearty flavor.  Slices of the warm “morning glory” goodness are irresistible!

Chris tells me you can tweak the fruit and veggie ingredients as long as you keep the ratio to around 2 cups.  With the 3 cups of flour, feel free to swap in a cup of oats or flaxseed meal or whole wheat flour.

Stoia “Morning Glory” Bread

2 cups sugar — I used 1 cup white, 1 cup brown sugar in the raw

3 eggs

3/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups grated zucchini, sweet potato, carrot, bananas, etc.

3 cups flour — I used 1 cup flaxseed meal

1 cup chopped nuts

1 cup raisins or dried fruit

(1) Cream together eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil in a large bowl.  Add grated veggies and fruits.

(2) In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.  Gradually stir into the wet mixture to create a batter.

(3) Add nuts and dried fruit and combine lightly.

(4) Divide the batter between two greased, floured loaf pans.

(5) Bake at 350 for one hour, or until a knife comes out clean and top is golden brown.

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It’s only early November, but I’m already dreaming of mom’s traditional Christmas morning breakfast: baked spinach and cheese soufflè.  This wonderfully delicate, cheesy egg dish is loaded with fresh chopped spinach leaves and sprinkled with coarse cracked black pepper. I love a generous slice — hot out of the oven — with a couple of crispy pieces of toast on the side and a hot, black cup of coffee. Delic!


I made the souffle recently for dinner and it was a fabulous meal and it reheats well. And although it’s not the healthiest recipe out there, it’s loaded with protein!

Baked Spinach and Cheese Soufflè

1 large container of 2% cottage cheese

6 large eggs

1/4 lb butter, cut in small cubes

1/2 lb velveta cheese cut into thumbnail size pieces (can also use cheddar)

1 lb bag spinach cut into ribbons

6 tablespoons flour

salt and pepper

(1) One at a time, mix the eggs with the cottage cheese in a large bowl. Then, add butter and cheese and combine.

(2) Stir in flour — two tablespoons at a time. Add the spinach and coat with cheese mixture.

(3) Pour the mix into a buttered 9×13 pan and bake for 1 hour or until knife comes out clean (325 glass / 350 metal).

*Soufflè can be made ahead of time and refrigerated before baking.

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I haven’t made it out to pick apples this fall, but I did recently endeavor to do the next best thing: picking apples from among the mounds of varieties in wooden crates that line the tents just outside the Eastern Market on weekends. The apples — Gala, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, and Fuji — are trucked in directly from the orchards of West Virginia and rural Maryland.

Returning home with a bag full of the fall fruit is then the perfect reason to break out the recipe book and cook up all but a handful to be saved for lunchtime eating. This iced apple coffee cake is great for putting your fresh-peck of tart apples to good use and makes an awesome breakfast sweet to accompany your coffee or tea. It’s moist and semi-tart on the inside with a light, vanilla sugar glaze on top. Vanilla yogurt and cinnamon add a dimension of flavor.


Iced Apple Coffee Cake

For the Cake:
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tart cooking apples peeled, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons orange juice
1⁄3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

For the vanilla glaze:
3/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

(1)Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan.

(2) Toss the apples with the juice. Then, in a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cardamom and cinnamon. Add to the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.

(3)  Combine the butter, yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

(4) In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions to the creamed mix. Beat well until smooth before gently folding in the apples until evenly distributed.

(5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.

(6) Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, the  milk and the vanilla until smooth and pourable. While the cake is warm, drizzle with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature.

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