Apple Pie Braided Danish

My son started t-ball this week. I made the monumental mistake of telling him a month ago that t-ball was starting “soon”. Apparently I have no idea how slowly time moves for a three-year-old. Daily he has looked at me with big hopeful brown eyes “Mommy? Do I have t-ball today?”. Finally, I got to say yes. Of course, I had to make a special treat for him for when he triumphantly arrived home from his first practice. What goes with t-ball? Hmmmm. T-ball is like baseball.  Baseball…Americana…American as apple pie. Bingo! Problem is, apple pie takes a while to prepare and bake. Little munchkin t-ball practices are done in an hour. Which was plenty long enough for Donovan to come home drenched and covered in mud, but not really enough time to throw together a pie.

So, I improvised. Took a look in the fridge/freezer/fruit bowl and came up with this braided danish. It’s kind of like a pie. Except you can hold it in your hand, eat it for breakfast, dessert or a snack and it takes just minutes to throw together. Don’t let the braid part scare you. It’s really easy.

I’ve actually been practicing braiding on my daughter recently. She has incredibly gorgeous long hair that becomes a wild crazy mane if I don’t rein it in. One of her favorite things for me to do is a french braid. Or my attempt at a french braid anyway. It’s a work in progress. I’m not going to lie…I’m braiding challenged. But even I can manage this danish braid.

We start with some puff pastry, thawed. Roll it out a little then cut two triangles out of the bottom and slice off the corners at the top. Like this.

Then, starting at the middle of each side, slice into strips. Cut directly in the middle, towards the center of the dough. Then, cut each half in half. Then cut the four strips in half again. You’ll have 8 mostly even pieces of dough to braid. Repeat on the other side.

Slice some apples and give them a little mix with a some sugar and cinnamon.

Slap on some delicious cream cheese spread sweetened with a little sugar, vanilla and a hit of lemon zest. Right down the middle of your pastry. And top with the apple slices.

Fold up the bottom and top over the lip of the apples.

Then braid. Start with whichever side you want. Bring a piece of the dough up and over to the other side.

Then take a piece from the opposite side, overlapping it over the previous piece of dough.

Repeat all the way down until you’ve used all your dough pieces. Trim the ends if you need to so it’s nice and neat. Repeat with the other piece of pastry.

A little egg wash, a little bake and you have a perfecto danish with rich sweet cream cheese filling and perfectly cinnamony apples. Of course, it needed a drizzle of icing. Mmmmmm.

Cut into pieces and enjoy! My little t-ball star certainly did!

Apple Pie Braided Danish

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, zest and juice used
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 Gala apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 box of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Icing:
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, place the cream cheese, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla, 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, using an electric mixer. Set aside.

Peel and slice your apples into 1/4-inch slices. In a small bowl toss them with 1 tablespoon of sugar, cinnamon and juice from the half a lemon.

Carefully unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry and roll slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s about 1/4-inch in thickness. Transfer the sheet of puff pastry to a piece of parchment.

At an angle, slice off the top corners and cut two notches in the bottom. Slice 1-inch strips diagonally down both sides of the puff pastry, leaving the center uncut. Try to cut the same amount of strips on both sides. I had 8 strips per side. It helps if you start at the middle. Cut in half, then half again, and half again. Then all your pieces will be even.

Add half of cream cheese filling, spreading it evenly down the center of the puff pastry. Top with apple slices.

Fold in the bottom and top flaps. Braid the puff pastry, by folding the strips over the filing, alternating sides, until you’ve worked your way down the puff pastry. Using your knife, trim off any leftover strips or extra dough. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Transfer the danish (with parchment) to a baking sheet, and brush top with egg wash (an egg with 1 tablespoon of water). Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown.

While baking, mix confectioner’s sugar with milk and mix. When the danish comes out of the oven, drizzle top with icing and serve warm.

Double Glazed Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

I simply adore the bright fresh flavor of lemon. It just makes for happy food. I’m not really sure what the right label for this treat is. It’s too sweet to be a bread, too light to be a true pound cake and too bread-like to be a cake. It’s fabulous, whatever it is. Filled with cheery tart lemon and sweet succulent blueberries, this pseudo-pound cake is a taste explosion. It’s double glazed and is absolutely delicious.

I pulled portions from several different recipes to create a version of pound cake that was flavorful without the traditional heaps of butter in it. This version gets its dense richness from non-fat greek yogurt and a little bit of oil. It is perfectly balanced between sweet/tart and rich/light.

You will love it. Eat it for breakfast, a snack or for dessert. Or, all three! Yum!

Print Recipe for Double Glazed Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

Double Glazed Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh or *frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

    Lemon Sugar

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar

    Lemon Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  • In a large bowl, beat the oil, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with greek yogurt, beating well after each addition. Toss the blueberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour and fold the blueberries and lemon peel into the batter.
  • Transfer to a greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan lined at the bottom with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  • While bread is cooling (in the pan), combine lemon sugar ingredients in a saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved. Cook 2 minutes longer. After removing from pan, poke holes in warm bread and brush lemon sugar on tops and sides. Allow to sink in, then brush again.
  • Combine ingredients for lemon glaze; drizzle over warm bread. Cool completely. Brush with glaze again after cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).

* If using frozen blueberries, use without thawing to avoid discoloring the batter.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I had some leftover cinnamon butter in my fridge from making Snickerdoodle Bread. Not enough to make a full recipe of anything really, so I’ve been pondering how to use it. Then I thought of something I saw a while ago (on Pinterest…yes, all good ideas come from there it seems). After eating these cinnamon roll pancakes, my kids declared that I am “the best Mommy in the whole world”. So, that pretty much made my day. Even if it was a result of buttery goodness on their plates.

If you make the cinnamon butter the night before and pop it in your fridge, these pancakes won’t take any extra time in the morning. Just pop it in the microwave to soften it to a drizzling consistency and then swirl away. I used a ziploc baggie with the end snipped to swirl mine.

The big bonus for me is that instead of messy syrup which always ends up EVERYWHERE, my kids got a homemade cinnamon swirl that cooks right into the breakfast so there’s no sticky mess!

You can use your favorite pancake recipe if you’re making these for a Sunday brunch or if you are crunched for time, just whip up a batch of Krusteaz and make it special with the addition of that gorgeous cinnamon butter.

You will LOVE these. Yum!

Cinnamon Butter

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1-2 tablespoons cream
Pinch of baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and whisk, bringing it up to a boil. Let it boil for about one minute, remove from heat, and whisk in the cream. Add the baking soda and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool slightly. Or, place in the fridge until ready to make pancakes.

Put cinnamon butter into a ziplock bag and snip one corner (microwave if necessary to bring to liquid consistency). Combine ingredients for pancake batter and dollup on hot griddle.  Swirl cinnamon butter around the pancake starting along the outside, moving to the center. Flip pancake. Allow to cook on other side, then serve.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Waffles

It’s time for me to fess up. I adore oatmeal raisin cookies. I know they get no love and, when compared to chocolate chip they are the wallflower of cookies. But I love them. These waffles have all the flavor of plump sun-kissed raisins and hearty oats, AND you get to top them with butter (and syrup if you like). I found them perfectly sweet on their own though. They are a great change of pace from your typical breakfast fare! I froze half this batch and then just popped them in the toaster during the week for a quick breakfast that I felt great giving to my kids.  They got a huge thumbs up from both my munchkins. Yours will love them too!

Delicious and full of raisins and cinnamon. Mmmmm. Yummy.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Waffles
adapted from Cuisinart

3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oatmeal (regular rolled oats, not quick oats)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup raisins

Instructions

Crumble the brown sugar to remove any lumps and place in a medium bowl with flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend. Add buttermilk, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla. Stir until well blended and smooth. Stir in raisins. Let batter rest 5 minutes before using. Preheat your  Waffle Maker. Pour a scant 1/2-cup batter onto the center of the lower grid; spread batter using a heatproof spatula to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the grid. Close lid of waffle maker until indicator shows done. Open lid and remove baked waffle. Repeat with remaining batter. For best results, serve immediately. You may keep waffles warm until ready to serve on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet in a 200°F oven.

5 Minute Candy (Broiled Grapefruit)

Let me begin by asserting that I am NOT one of those skinny girls who thinks grapefruit is the perfect breakfast. I have never liked grapefruit and thought that people who ate it were crazy. <shudder> Sour and tart and just gross. I have tried several times to force myself into consuming this fruit, mostly when I’m “eating healthy”. Ok, let us just call it what it is…dieting. But I’ve never had success finishing even one. Just not my thing at all. Actually, the only grapefruit I’ve ever enjoyed came in the form of a can of Ruby Red Squirt. Until now. Who knew that a tiny (seriously small) sprinkle of brown sugar and a few minutes basking in the light of my broiler would turn nasty grapefruit into candy. I am not joking. The flesh gets soft, sweet and warm. I don’t know what voodoo magic happened in my oven with this thing, but it was incredible. I may eat it every morning until forever.

[Read more…]

Snickerdoodle Bread

A few weeks ago my grandmother gave me four mini loaf pans. She knows me so well. I’ve been trying to use them ever since so I can bring her something delicious as a thank you. Yes, that’s what happens when you give me a baking item as a gift. I use it to make something awesome for you. The problem is, I got fixated on this snickerdoodle bread recipe I found. You may wonder why that’s an issue…and I’ll tell you. It’s because the recipe calls for cinnamon chips which (apparently) are seasonal. Not the season we’re currently in. But it was too late. I wanted to make a cinnamon sugary bread version of one of the best cookies ever. Nothing else would be good enough for the maiden voyage of my new pans. What to do, what to do?

I took some time reading the comments on the original recipe to find that people had substituted white chocolate chips as well as toffee chips in the bread and liked the results. Somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to spoil all that delicious cinnamon sugar goodness with a different flavor. I had just about given up and resigned myself to making some other kind of bread until cinnamon chips were back in stock, but then, a miracle!!

My wonderful cousin came up with a solution for me without even knowing it. She made some cookies today that included a cinnamon butter inside. Basically like a cinnamon sugar caramel kind of deal. As soon as I saw her recipe I knew it was the answer to my dilemma. I could make the bread per the recipe, but instead of using the cinnamon chips, I’d swirl the cinnamon butter through the batter. Genius!

We start by making our cinnamon butter swirl. Some butter and brown sugar are melted together and boiled briefly.

Add a little cream and some cinnamon then set aside to cool while we make our bread batter. Try not to eat with a spoon.

Cream butter, sugar and cinnamon together. Add some eggs, sour cream and dry ingredients. Until it looks like this. It’s very thick.

Spoon into your pans until about a third full.

Then swirl your cinnamon butter around. I did about a tablespoon straight down the center, then swished a butter knife back and forth thru it.

Top with remaining batter and another swish and swirl of the cinnamon butter. Then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the bread is golden with a crusty top.

(worst part of baking) Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy. Lightly spiced sweet bread and that amazing buttery surprise in the middle topped with a craggy cinnamony crust. Yuuuum!

Three of these loaves are headed out the door as gifts. Otherwise I’m at risk of palming one and just walking around all day munching on it.

Have a slice (or a loaf) of this with breakfast. It’s not a cookie. It’s bread. That’s allowed. Just look at that gorgeous ribbon of buttery cinnamon goodness!

Snickerdoodle Bread   
adapted from Rumbly In My Tumbly and Lil Luna

Bread:
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. sour cream

Topping:
3 T. sugar
3 t. cinnamon

Cinnamon Butter Swirl:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2-3 tablespoons cream
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions

For the cinnamon butter swirl:
In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and whisk, bringing it up to a boil. Let it boil for about one minute, remove from heat, and whisk in the cream. Add the baking soda and cinnamon and whisk until combined. Set aside to cool.

For the bread:

Cream butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
Add vanilla and sour cream and mix well.
Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients and mix until all combined.

Spoon batter into 4 mini loaf pans until about 1/3 full. Dollup and swirl the cinnamon butter around in the batter. Add more batter on top til 2/3 full. Dollup some more filling and swirl again.
Mix 3 T. sugar and 3 t. cinnamon in a bowl and sprinkle over the batter in each loaf pan.
Bake at 350 for 38-43 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.

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Cinnamon Toast Twists

Morning people, I salute you. However, I will never truly join your ranks. Mornings are just not my thing. I remembered that today as I dragged my sleepy self out of bed for a 6am yoga class. I’m hitting my stride with my couch-to-5K program and my muscles need a little extra stretching out. Since I already use up the maximum time my kids can be at the Y child-care, the early morning class is my only option. I’m not generally a coordinated person, so yoga has always been a challenge for me. I fall over most classes. Thankfully, the instructor says that’s proof I’m pushing my limits – but I think she’s just being nice.  Trying to force my body into a pretzel at an (in my opinion) ungodly hour of the day was a special treat. The only positive was that I was home and bursting with energy after class. I had enough pep in my step to whip together these tasty little twists for my kids.

These Cinnamon Toast Twists are crisp on the outside, full of buttery-sugary goodness on the inside. They melt in your mouth and are the perfect size for little fingers. My husband called them little cinnamony burritos. My kids simply devoured them. They are far easier than cinnamon buns, but with a lot of the same flavor and deliciousness.

Start with good white bread. Cut the crusts off.

Then roll the bread very thinly.

Spread both sides with melted butter. Yes, both sides. Yes, your counter is going to get a little messy.

Then sprinkle one side with cinnamon sugar. My daughter helped me starting with this step.

Fold both sides in towards the middle. Then roll up tightly and place in a mini-muffin tin.

Repeat with the remaining pieces of flattened bread. These are so easy, even a 5-year-old can do it – aren’t her little hands adorable?

Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon sugar and bake.

The tops get all golden and the bottoms caramelize up a little with the butter/cinnamon/sugar. Mmmmm. So delightful.

They pull apart in gorgeous golden buttery goodness. Yuuuum!

These take just minutes to make and I’ll bet you have everything you need just sitting on your counter. Beware though, they are HIGHLY addictive.

Cinnamon Toast Twists
from Circle B Kitchen

a dozen or so slices of very soft, fresh white bread
melted butter
cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup sugar and 1 T cinnamon)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the crusts from a slice of bread and roll until very thin. Spread both sides of the bread with melted butter and then sprinkle one side with the cinnamon sugar, making sure to cover very well.  Fold each side into the middle and then gently roll up and place in a buttered mini muffin tin.  Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon sugar.

When all of the rolls are made, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are just starting to turn golden brown and get a little crisp.  Remove from the muffin tin to cool slightly before serving.

These freeze really well.  To reheat, place briefly in a microwave to thaw and then bake in a low oven (250 or 300 until warm and slightly crisp.  Alternately, you can reheat them in foil in the oven.

Hot Cross Buns

These light, gently spiced buns are one of my favorite Easter week traditions. I make them every Good Friday, always bringing them to my mom for sharing with a  cup of tea. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen is a little time intensive, but not difficult and, it has never failed me.  You get big, beautifully golden rolls that are a perfect breakfast or brunch treat. Although they are a traditional Easter delight, these buns are delectable (my daughter’s new favorite word) all year round.

I love bread. It’s so gorgeous.

And, it kinda makes me happy in my heart.

I’m sure food shouldn’t do that, but these buns just have that effect on me. Mmmmm.

Hot Cross Buns

* 3/4 C buttermilk, warm (110 degrees)
* 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 3 large eggs
* 4 1/4 C all purpose flour
* 1/4 C sugar
* 1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast
* 1 1/4 t salt
* 1 t ground cinnamon
* 1 C  raisins
* 1 large egg
* 1 T water
Glaze:
* 3/4 C powdered sugar
* 1 t milk
* 1/2 t vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

1. For the buns: Whisk the buttermilk, melted butter and eggs together in a large liquid measuring cup. Combine 4 C of the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and cinnamon in a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
2. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes, more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/4 C flour, 1 T at a time until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.
3. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter, add the raisins and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball with evenly distributed raisins. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place  until doubled in size, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
4. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 12 even pieces. round the pieces of dough into small taut rolls. Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking pan and wrap tightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size and are pressed against on another, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
5. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the egg and water together and brush over the buns. Then, using a sharp knife, cut an X through the top 1/4 inch of each bun. Bake until golden and puffed, 25-30 minutes.
6. For the glaze: Let the rolls cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together then drizzle in an X into the cut groves of the buns. Serve warm.

Bread Pudding with Bailey’s Custard

Warning! This is quite possibly the best, most decadent, delicious and amazing food item I’ve ever created. It is over-the-top rich. I have convinced myself that if I only eat it once a year or so, I don’t have to feel guilty about it. Sort of. I’m already dreaming of when I can make this again. It was heavenly. Here’s the thing about bread pudding. It’s bread. Lots of bread. Soaking with cream and sugar. And butter. Then served with a cream sauce. And, in this case – that cream sauce is drunken with Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqour. Absolutely NOT a diet food. But worth every single incredible calorie. As fancy as bread pudding seems, it’s really easy to throw together. Takes some time, but most of that it’s just sitting there drinking up the delicious creamy goodness or baking in the oven. The time you actually have to spend on creating it is minimal. [Read more…]

Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes

Sorry it’s been a while folks. I have a backlog of recipes to get thru and just haven’t found the time to get them up here. Welcome to all the new folks who’ve found me on Pinterest! A quick little recipe for today that I made recently for a tea party. It combines two of my favorite things. Pancakes and cupcakes. Full of blueberry goodness and topped with a to DIE for maple buttercream. A little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and these beauties are sure to impress whoever you give them to! Absolutely delicious! [Read more…]

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