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Friday, November 27, 2015

Cinnamon apple crumb cake

Thanksgiving was a blur.  B's mom came in town so that we could all celebrate at my parent's, but my work schedule was such that I did a lot of running around.  I ended up leaving work early on Thanksgiving, and making it to my parent's without a hitch, but then working on Friday (and again on Sunday) meant that I was one tired lady come the end of the weekend!

But that's OK, because when I finally did get a chance to sit down and relax, albeit briefly, on Saturday morning, I got to partake in a (leftover) slice of this cinnamon apple crumb cake.  This heavenly cinnamon apple crumb cake.  Loaded with crumbs, there's barely any cake to hold it together...but that's just the way crumb cakes are supposed to be!  (I so wish you could see the delicious middle layer of this cake with cinnamon crumb and apple deliciousness and the tasty cider glaze drizzle in this picture.)

I didn't have an 8" springform pan, so I ended up using a regular 9" cake pan.  Not a worry at all, but it did make my cake layers ever so slightly thinner.  It did not affect the taste at all, but it did make for a not-as-pretty photo op of the cake.  Please, don't go by the look of my photos, this cake is totally a keeper.  And easy.  And delicious.  Well, you get the picture (no pun intended, I swear!)...

Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake


For the cinnamon streusel crumb:

1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (I pretty much use a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon in every recipe that calls for a tsp of cinnamon, so that's what I did here, as well....so good!)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 large (or 2 small) tart apples -- peeled and chopped

For the cake:

4 Tbsp butter -- room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp alt
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the cider glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1.5-2 Tbsp apple cider


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Grease an 8" springform pan (or 8" or 9" cake pan) and line the bottom with the parchment paper.
Set aside.

Make cinnamon streusel crumb mixture.
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Add melted butter and vanilla.
Stir until the mixture if evenly moist.
Set aside.

Peel and dice apples.  
Cover loosely with saran wrap to avoid apple turning brown.
Set aside.

Make the cake.
Cream together 4 Tbsp butter with 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the egg and beat well.
Add vanilla and sour cream.
Beat again.

In another bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, baking soda, alt, and baking powder.
Add to the butter mixture.
Stir until just combined.

Spread half of the cake mixture on the bottom of the pan (it will be a very thin layer).
Spread the apple chunks evenly over the batter.
Sprinkle 1 cup of the cinnamon streusel crumbs over the apples.
Spread the remaining batter over the crumbs.
Top with the remaining crumb mixture.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Before removing from the pan, run a knife around the cake.

Make the glaze.
Whisk together the powdered sugar with apple cider.
Drizzle over the cake.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crisp and chewy chocolate chip cookies

Today I met friends for brunch. Then, I decided I had to come home and bake.  Its the first time in a while I've had more than one day off in a row.  Did I use my free time to catch up on sleep?  No.  Get a massage?  No (though that would've been a smart idea, in retrospect).  Get a much-needed manicure?  Nope.  I baked cookies.  Huge, giant-chocolate-chip-studded, crispy edged, chewy-centered cookies!

Here's the thing you need to know about me (in case you didn't already): when I'm stressed, I bake.  I find it relaxing. Therapeutic, even.  So the fact that I added 25 hours to my schedule last month and another 26 hours this month means I have significantly less free time, yet I've been baking more. B has also been working a ton (as have his colleagues).  So I found the best outlet for my stress-relief/baked goods -- I ship them off to work with B!

I have to say, I was super-impressed with these cookies.  I added them to my "bakery list": the list of things I'd serve in my bakery, if I ever opened one.  These made the list.  They're huge, with the most perfect chewy-crisp edge and a yummy chewy center.  And I used these super huge chocolate chips in them, which just took them over the top!

Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
By none other than Ms. Martha Stewart


2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2.5 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I strongly recommend these, by Guittard)


Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Beat butter and both sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.
Add vanilla.
Reduce speed to low.
Add flour mixture.
Beat until combined.

Mix in chocolate chips.  Because I used the large chips, I folded them in with a spatula instead of using the mixer, since I didn't want them to break up in pieces.

Using a 2 1/4" ice cream scoop (about 3 Tbsp -- I don't know how many inches mine was, but I used a standard issue ice cream scooper), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake until golden around the edges but soft in the middle, about 15 minutes (mine took 14 minutes).
Let cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer cookies to a wire rack.
Let cool completely.

**Dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.  Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days -- but I doubt they'll last that long, anyway!**