Dad’s favorite Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Dad's Favorite Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake by Two Carolines

This version is without almond extract or slivered almonds due to my stepson’s tree nut allergies. It’s really great either way.

It’s a King family tradition for birthdays and celebrations that the person of honor gets to pick their favorite meals for the day. That means a favorite breakfast, dinner and dessert. We all had our different favorites and go-tos, but this coffee cake was probably the most requested by all of us, especially my dad. It’s best when made the night before, or if it has hours to cool to room temperature, ’cause the cream cheese can fall a bit if it’s too warm. But let’s be honest; a pool of creamy, jammy goodness can’t be a bad thing, can it? Also, Creamy Jammy Goodness sounds like a 70’s cover band, amiright?

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
3/4 cup sour cream (or substitute with plain greek yogurt)
1 egg
1 t. almond extract
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup sliced almonds

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bottom and sides of 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Using pastry blender or fork, cut butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture.
  2. To remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, salt, sour cream, 1 egg and almond extract. Blend well. Spread batter over bottom and two inches up sides of prepared pan. (Batter should be about 1/4 inch thick on sides)
  3. In small bowl, combine cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and 1 egg; blend well. Pour over batter in pan. Carefully spoon preserves evenly over cream cheese filling.
  4. In small bowl, combine 1 cup reserved crumb mixture and sliced almonds. Sprinkle over top.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45- 55 minutes or until cream cheese filling is set and crust is deep golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Remove sides of pan. Serve warm or cool, cut into wedges.

-CK 1.0

Chocolate Date Nut Bars

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Chocolate Date Nut Bars by twocarolines.com

These are the best breakfast treat/ energy bar/ snack your kids will actually eat / straight up chocolate dessert EVER!  You don’t officially bake them, however you do need to toast the oats and nuts, so there’s an oven involved, but they are conspicuously missing flour and sugar, which is something you’ll notice happens almost never times in my posts, and probably don’t get used to it.  But seriously, I love these too much not to share.   After I cut them into the above squares I cut many of those in half so I can have some smaller portions for when a little afternoon pick-me-up is needed, because an entire square is quite filling.  I especially love sharing these with Mom’s of new babies because I haven’t met a better nursing snack.  And who doesn’t love a treat of the chocolate variety that is still giving you fruity fiber from dates, whole grain oats, plus the satisfying protein of nuts?  I invite you to get creative with this recipe, my guess is they would taste great replacing pecans with cashews or even pistachios.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 (heaping) cup pecans
1 cup slivered almonds (I usually use sliced which work great)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pitted dates chopped in half
1 1/3 cup dark chopped chocolate (chocolate chips work, but I love using decadent rich chocolate like this Scharffen Berger chocolate that has incredible flavor)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 and line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Toast pecans on one and oats on the other rotating them a time or two.  I do this for about 10 minutes on the oats and 7 or so with the nuts because you only want them fragrant, not burnt.  The original recipe says to toast the almonds as well, but mine always burn so if I do put almonds in it’s only for a few minutes – the bars are fantastic even if your almonds aren’t toasted.
  2. Put the oats and the nuts into a large capacity food processor (save parchment). Let cool about 20 minutes then add the dates and salt and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Next add the chopped chocolate and vanilla and mix until all combined.  You may need to take a spatula and mix some of the dry into the chocolate here and there, but usually it all just comes together after a few long sessions in the food processor.
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    wrapped date nut bars by twocarolines.com

    Use the parchment from toasting nuts to line an 8×8 both ways so you can lift the ends up to easily deliver your bars.  If you don’t have parchment around it’s not that big a deal, just spray your 8×8 and they should come out pretty well.  Push your mixture into the pan pressing the top to make it all flat and uniform then put in the fridge for a good hour or so.  Once they are cold they are easy to cut into bars and I then wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until I need a perfect snack.  

 

Blueberry Cream Scones

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Blueberry cream scones by twocarolines.com

Given the many choices of morning pastries scones aren’t always my first choice, they often seem like a less yummy, more dry, wannabe muffin.  However, these Blueberry Cream Scones were just sweet enough, more moist because of the brush of butter and beautifully balanced with lemon zest and delicious fresh blueberry flavor.  Everyone I introduced them too ended up eating more than one and they were gone in a day!  You can use any berries you have on hand by the way so get your summer fruit supply in check and start baking!

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup heavy cream (you can also use yogurt, but I prefer cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind (zest), or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing on top (optional)
2 tablespoons demerara or raw sugar, for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line with parchment.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is unevenly crumbly; use your fingers, a pastry blender, or an electric mixer. Gently mix the blueberries with the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla extract, lemon zest or oil, and almond extract if using. Add to the dry ingredients and stir very gently, just until combined. The dough will be quite moist, like cookie dough.IMG_2491
  4. I decided to shape my dough into a rectangle on a floured surface then I cut out squares using my pastry cutter, but you could also use a large scoop and drop the dough onto the prepared sheet in scant 1/4-cupfuls, leaving about 2″ between each.
  5. Brush each ball or square of dough with melted butter (or you can use milk or cream), and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
  6. Bake the scones for 18-23 minutes, or until lightly browned and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into a scone comes out dry. Remove from the oven, and serve warm. To reheat, wrap loosely in aluminum foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Store scones, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days. Freeze

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour Fresh Blueberry Scones

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

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Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake by twocarolines.com

The makings of a perfect weekend must include breakfast sweets, a fact well supported by our ever growing plethora of sweet breads, muffins and coffee cakes.  The one I make the most is our Apple Cake, which is awesome, and in the summer I like to use fruit and will often do a blueberry crumb cake which is also a treat.  But this weekend I wanted something substantial and classic, and this cake is the ultimate brunchy crunchy chewy cinnamony streusel and glaze topped champion of all great coffee cakes!  There’s so much that’s right about it – I really felt like I was staying at a fancy New York hotel or something with every bite- it’s simple, but has an elegant balanced delicious taste and the heavy crumb on top is the key to all breakfast cake successes.  -CK 2.0

For the Streusel:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (Martha calls for an entire teaspoon, but I like it better with just a touch of the coarse salt then you get just that tingle of salty sweet, but you could also do 1/2 teaspoon of table salt)
3/4 cup cold butter cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (to toast – but on a cookie sheet in a 350 oven for about 7-9 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant)

For the Cake:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (or 1/2 table salt)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

For the Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk (I used 2 buttermilk and one whole milk)

 

  1. Make the Streusel top and middle layers: Mix together flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender or rub in with your fingers until small to medium clumps form.  Mix in 1/2 cup nuts.  Refrigerate topping until ready to use.  Make the streusel center:  Mix together remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup nuts, reserve for layering into the center of the batter.
  2. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9-inch tube pan with a removable bottom (you can use a springform pan also.  I used a 9×13 which is trickier to get the layer in the center to work out so I recommend a round pan).  Sift flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. With an electric mixer on medium beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Add flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 batches of the sour cream.  Beat until well combined.
  4. Transfer half of the batter to the prepared pan.  Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.  Top with remaining batter; spread evenly with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle streusel topping evenly onto batter.
  5. Bake until cake is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes.  Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Remove cake from pan; transfer to a parchment lined work surface or serving platter.
  6. Make the Glaze: Mix together the confectioners sugar and milk.  drizzle over cake allowing glaze to drop down the sides.  Let sit a few minutes before serving.
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Cinnamon Coffee Cake by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake – Martha Stewart Cakes Book

 

Butterscotch Cinnamon Twists with Grandma Ruth’s Icing

Two Carolines Butterscotch Cinnamon Twists with Grandma Ruth's Icing.jpg

I have a well-documented history of food experimentation, and this is the latest in my pursuit of kitchen Dr. Frankenstein madness. I love cinnamon rolls, but sometimes they can be a bit too bready or dry, so I wanted to try a twist, rather than a roll, with really goopy filling and tons of glaze. What is a more gooey filling than sticky-buns? My mom’s recipe kills, so I went with that for the filling and the ever-famous Grandma Ruth’s icing (with one minor tweak). I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m going to say that these twists may have broken a friends’s long-standing diet, and received their fair share of accolades. These will be the perfect weekend baking project, so get crackin’ y’all!

Ingredients

        Butterscotch Cinnamon filling:

  • 1 small pkg. butterscotch pudding (regular or instant)
  • 1 ½ cubes butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 t. cinnamon

    Brioche:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups soft butter

    Grandma Ruth’s Icing (barely altered):

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Butterscotch filling:

In a saucepan melt butter and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and butterscotch pudding and mix until combined. Cover and let ingredients “settle” for 4 hours or overnight. (You want the butterscotch pudding mix to have time to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients.)

Brioche dough:

Heat milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In a large bowl lightly whisk together sugar and warm milk. Add 1 cup of flour, mix until smooth. Lightly beat the eggs then mix into the milk mixture until combined. Add in instant yeast and another cup of flour and continue to mix, adding salt and a half a cup of flour and mix till the dough comes together. Knead dough in machine for 3 minutes, incrementally adding the rest of the flour—dough should be sticky. Add 1/4 of the soft butter, mix until the the butter is completely incorporated, then add another 1/4 of butter, continue till all 1 1/2 c. of the butter is mixed in. Pour dough into greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to approximately a 18×12″ rectangle. (To be honest, I totally eyeballed all of these measurements and they can be adjusted to whatever you find easiest) Spread butterscotch filling evenly all over the dough. On the wide side, cut dough into three portions, then cut about 8 strips in each of those three portions. To assemble, lay two strips together—the filling facing inward—then twist. Place each twist on a prepared baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake twists for 15-20 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool twists on a tray (could be a two spatula job to transfer while hot). Drizzle generously with icing while still warm.

Grandma Ruth’s Icing:

In a large saucepan put evaporated milk, sugar, salt and flour. Mix on medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick. Stirring constantly, add butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Once it’s done—as instructed by 2.0 in the recipe for the original, glorious Cinnamon Rolls—pour it through a strainer and push it with a rubber spatula to get all the lumps out so it’s nice and smooth. Drizzle over warm twists.

-CK 1.0

 

Ultimate Zucchini Bread

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Ultimate Zucchini Bread by twocarolines

I love all the sweet breads and muffins, but for me, none can trump my Mom’s Ultimate Zucchini Bread. The origins of this recipe are quite mysterious, my Mom got it from a neighbor who had a book of desserts for “Navy Wives” – and I guess everything she ever made from this book was incredible.  I follow my Mom’s recipe pretty closely, just switched out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, added another egg, and I substitute some brown sugar for white because I like the flavor with some of both.  It makes two loaves which is handy because people tend to eat it 3 slices at at time, but if you’re not in a house of hungry animals half the recipe or bring a loaf to your neighbor.  I’m guessing they will lay off the next time you need to have a loud backyard dance party if you feed them zucchini bread on the reg.  Plus, the smell this bread permeates your house with is absolutely BONKERS, it’s seriously one of the best smelling baked sweets this world has to offer.  Now hop to it!

1 cup coconut oil melted
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons (or up to 1 tablespoon) cinnamon
2 cups grated zucchini (I grate it finely, but my Mom likes to grate it with the standard grater)
(optional) 1 cup chopped nuts – either pecans or walnuts (I omitted the nuts because my kids are insane, but it tastes awesome with them if you’re into that kind of thing)

  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Prepare two standard loaf pans with cooking spray (I line the bottom with a small rectangle of parchment just to be sure my loaves come out clean every time.)
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix your coconut oil and sugars for 3-4 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time making sure they are totally incorporated.  Mix in vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon together.  Add to the wet ingredients with your mixer on low until all incorporated.
  4. Add shredded zucchini mixing just until there are no dry spots and the zucchini is consistent throughout your batter.  If using add nuts last.
  5. Divide batter into your prepared loaf pans and bake for 65-70 minutes until nicely golden brown and a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.  Let rest in pans 5-10 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool, but get real, you’re going to want to eat this bread as soon as it doesn’t burn your hand!
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Ultimate Zucchini Bread by twocarolines

Recipe courtesy of CK2.0’s Mom’s neighbor and her book of desserts for Navy Wives

Caramelized Banana Coconut Chocolate Bread

You read that right – banana’s, coconuts, AND chocolate! When I see a recipe that combines all of the two Caroline’s very most favorite flavors I pretty much drop everything, turn on the oven and make that dessert with a quickness.  My sister 1.0 discovered this one and seriously, it did not disappoint.  I healthed it up slightly by adding some flax and wheat bran, but you can link to the original if you’d like.  I thought the few changes I made turned out incredible, it had such complexity of flavor with the unique caramelized bananas and the earthy sweetness that’s natural in whole grains like wheat bran and whole wheat flour then theres this melty chocolate and coconut giving you awesome texture and such a great flavor combo.  Yes, caramelizing the bananas is an extra step from regular old banana bread, but trust me, all that dark gooey goodness makes for an incredible loaf of sweet bread.

4 over-ripe bananas 2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour (I used the trader joes “white whole wheat” and it was fantastic)
1/4 cup wheat bran (or wheat germ)
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (I used the almond coconut milk combo because that’s what I had around and it worked great)
2 tablespoons greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup coconut oil (you could sub with any vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-5 ounces chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup sweetned flake coconut (toast if you would like by putting in your hot oven for about 4-5 minutes until lightly brown)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes for the top

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (you could also use a silpat but parchment is handy for getting all the delicious bits into your bread dough).  Peel the bananas and lay them flat on the baking sheet.   Drizzle each with honey and then sprinkle with cinnamon.  Roast them for 20-25 minutes or until the tops of the bananas are very golden brown and caramelized.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes.  Once cool enough to handle, mash the bananas and set aside.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan thoroughly with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, wheat bran, flax, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt, whisking thoroughly. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Add in coconut milk, yogurt (or sour cream) and coconut oil, whisking until combined. Stir in mashed bananas and vanilla until mixed. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate and toasted coconut. Pour batter into the greased loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining unsweetened coconut flakes.

  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set. If the top begins to brown (mine did after about 45 minutes), you may want to tent the bread with aluminum foil.

  5. Remove and let cool a solid 20 minutes before cutting, if you can handle it, the smell is incredible and the taste will rock your world!  Keeps for 3-5 days covered.

Recipe adapted from Half Baked Harvest Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Roasted Banana Bread