Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Individual Coffee Cakes

A little note about this recipe.  I used honest-to-goodness REAL butter for this.  Not because I thought anything special about it, but because I had it and wanted to bake with it.  And OH HEAVENS!  It's good.  Now, I haven't made it without and taste-tested it with margarine.  But if you'd like to splurge and make it extra rich and buttery, try real butter!

Oh, and I've decided to make these as mini loaves for gifts. This may be one of my new signature breads!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
4 cups flour
2 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 T baking powder
1 t salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups milk

1 cup packed brown sugar
8 T melted butter
1 t cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375*. 

Cream together butter and sugar, beat in egg.  Add dry ingredients (flour, pudding, baking powder, salt) and mix.  Slowly add the milk until creamy. Place in paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full (or I also used the Pampered Chef mini muffin pans and small scoop - as it gave me just the right amount).

Mix together the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and nuts, place a small amount on top of each muffin.
*Note: The melted butter will create a more more glaze over the muffin than a streudel type topping.  Just use softened butter, and a little less of it and mix it w/ a fork for crumbles if you prefer.*

Bake regular sized muffins for 20-25 minutes, and mini muffins for 15-18 minutes, until it passes the toothpick test.

Cool briefly, then remove from pan and place on wire rack and let them cool.  If you can wait that long...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Delightful Indulgence - Baked Brie

Brie is a soft, creamy cheese that is rich with flavor.  It is often used as a dessert cheese and can compliment breads and fruit.  You won't find this near your every-day cheeses at your grocery store, so check in the deli area.

1/2 green apple, diced
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1T packed brown sugar
1/4t cinnamon
1T melted butter

1 cup diced mushrooms
1 green onion, diced
1T oil

1 round of Brie

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Sautee mushrooms and onions in small saucepan.  Mix apples, craisings, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Add melted butter and mix until just moistened.

Slice brie in half lengthwise so you have two rounds.  Place one half in a small baking dish, rind side down.  Place half of the apple mixture, and then half of the mushroom mixture on this half and cover with the other half of brie, rind side up.  Place the other half of the apple mixture, then the mushroom mixture over the brie.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese starts to soften and melt.  Serve with all kind of deliscous breads, crackers, etc.

Topping variations
Personally, I like a mix of sweet and savory, so I love this blend.  You can always go without the mushrooms if you prefer a pure sweet version.  Or double the mushrooms, add a couple of cloves of garlic and maybe toss in some pesto for a more savory version.  I've seen the use of raspberry jam and almonds as well.  The ideas are endless, you know what you love - so experiment and find the right blend for you.

Or don't.  Because really, it could be dangerous.