Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake - Piece of Cake Cookbook
Peanut Butter Crunch Cake from Piece of Cake Cookbook

Last week, I went to Smart & Final (a mini warehouse type store with more restaurant stuff than Costco) and picked up two giant jars of peanut butter. Thus, the peanut butter kick is on.

The recipe is from From Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz and David Lesniak. Published by Rizzoli, the cookbook is filled with homey favorites. Beautiful photographs, easy to understand instructions, and weight measurements are highlights. When do I know that I like a cookbook? When there are multiple post-it tabs peeking from the last count, there were 10 tabs showing!

Americans David and David opened the Outsider Tart in London. Their book says it is the first American bakery in London. Have you been? Sounds like a fun place...more places to visit on my wish list of travel!

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake - Piece of Cake Cookbook
This coffee cake has two layers of melted chocolate chips & peanut butter. Yes, two layers of goodness. And the cake batter has peanut butter. As well as the topping. Um, any craving you have for peanut butter is satisfied with this cake.

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake - Piece of Cake Cookbook
I made this in the morning, but measured what I could the night before and laid out the ingredients - mise en place.

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake collage 1
For this recipe, you mix soft butters (unsalted butter and peanut butter) together with the sugar and flour. This makes a crumble. Pull out some of that for the topping and then add the liquid ingredients to complete the cake batter.

In the meantime, you melt chocolate chips with even more peanut butter. Then the whole thing gets assembled with two layers of batter and melted chocolate mixture. It's easy to put together! P.S. A small offset spatula is your friend to smooth out the batter.

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake - Piece of Cake Cookbook
Two layers of chocolate/peanut butter makes for a delightful coffeecake. I didn't let my cake fully cool (I was heading to work!) so the cutting was a bit messy. I image a cool cake might be nicer.

Peanut Butter Crunch Coffee Cake - Piece of Cake Cookbook
Everyone at work really enjoyed this cake! I think adults and kids alike will love this tasty cake.

Peanut Butter Crunch Cake
From Piece of Cake: Home Baking Made Simple by David Muniz and David Lesniak of Outsider Tart, London

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Swirl:
2 cups / 12 ounces / 340 grams - semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup / 4 ounces / 115 grams - smooth peanut butter (I used Skippy)

Crumb & Batter:
3 cups / 16 ounces / 450 grams - all-purpose flour
2 cups packed / 16 ounces / 450 grams - light brown sugar
1 cup / 8 ounces / 225 grams / two sticks - unsalted butter, softened
1 cup / 8 ounces / 225 grams - smooth peanut butter
4 - large eggs, room temp
1 cup / 8 fluid ounces / 240 ml - whole milk (I used low-fat milk...I don't drink regular milk so I have those little kids cartons in the house to use one cup at a time. Some bakery aisles also have whole milk in shelf stable one-cup cartons)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a pan by lining it with parchment and/or butter & flour. The cookbook uses a 9 x 12 pan, but I used a 9 x 13 pan. If you use a bigger pan, be sure to check it a few minutes earlier.

2. Make the swirl by melting the chocolate chips and peanut butter until smooth. I used a double boiler, but the cookbook says to use low heat in a small saucepan. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the rest of the batter.

3. For the crumb and batter, mix the flour, sugar, butter and peanut butter in an electric mixture with paddle attachment on LOW speed until coarse crumbs form.

4. Topping: Pull out 3 packed cups of the mixture and set aside.

5. Batter: Add eggs, one at a time, then add milk, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the remaining mixture. Turn up to medium speed and beat for 2-3 minutes until smooth.

6. Assembly: Spread half the batter in the pan. Drizzle half the melted chocolate mixture on top. Spread the remaining batter on top. Drizzle the remaining chocolate mixture, followed by the crumb topping. Gently press the crumbs into the cake.

7. Bake at 50-60 minutes (if you are making this in a 9 x 13 pan, start checking at 40-45 minutes). It's done when a toothpick comes out clean. If the topping starts getting too brown, you can loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let cake cool on wire rack and then cut into squares. Enjoy!

*Full disclosure: I get a small % from Amazon if you purchase the book from this link.
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Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

Monday, April 22, 2013

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

During a time of incomprehensibly tragic news (Boston Marathon, Texas refinery explosion...), I find that baking provides a small sense of relief. Creating comfort food for you and your friends.

I made a couple things last week (will post them soon), but I think Banana Bread defines comfort food. I made this last Sunday, and enjoyed it at a meeting on Monday morning.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
My loaf didn't come out very tall...the loaf pan was wider than the instructions. However, it was still yummy.

Chocolate chunks or chips and walnuts give the loaf texture and sweetness. And I believe that bread with "good fat" nuts and fruits in them push them into a good breakfast food category. :)

Have you been to Dahlia Bakery in Seattle? I haven't but can't wait to visit. The cookbook is beautiful.

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Last week was also National Library Week. For the past few years, I've celebrated on the blog with a week of posts and giveaways. But last week just didn't feel right. I do hope that you visit your library soon, and celebrate all things library...and librarian!

Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf
Adapted from: The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle*
Find it in your library with WorldCat

1/2 c (2 3/4 ounces / 79 grams) bittersweet chocolate chunks (I used dark chocolate chips)
1/3 c (1 1/4 ounces / 35 grams) walnuts, toasted, cooled and roughly chopped
1 1/4 c (6 3/8 ounces / 180 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t kosher salt
About 1 pound of very ripe bananas (2-3)
1/4 c canola oil
1/2 c (3 1/2 ounces / 100 grams) sugar
1 large egg
1/4 c (2 ounces / 58 grams) sour cream

Preheat oven to 350. Prep a loaf pan (they recommend 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches) with butter & flour, or spray with non-stick spray. I line my pan with parchment paper to make it easier to remove from the pan.

Mix chocolate chunks and walnuts in a small bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons flour and toss to coat. Set aside.

Sift together the remaining flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl or some parchment paper.

Peel the bananas, cut into chunks and place them into the bowl of an electric mixer. On low speed, beat the bananas to a smooth puree until no large lumps remain. Measure the puree - you should have 1 cup (discard or add as necessary) On low speed, add the oil, sugar, egg and sour cream. Mix until everything is combined and the banana is well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Fold in reserved chocolate-walnut mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until skewer inserted into the loaf comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging but no batter, 65-70 minutes (if you use a different size pan, start checking early). For the best rise, do not open the oven door  while the banana bread is baking. The loaf will be dark golden brown and there will probably be a crack running through the top. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Unmold the banana bread, then cool on a wire rack to slightly warm or room temperature before slicing and serving.

 * I'm part of Amazon Affiliates and get a small % if you purchase from this link.
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Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake - Back in the Day Bakery

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake

Coffee Cake is one of my favorites things to eat and make. No frosting, easy to cut and share, and usually just a few pans to clean up. And, you can eat it morning, noon and night.

I picked up The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook from the library. The owners of this Savannah bakery wrote a fun cookbook filled with lots of comfort food. I can't wait to try more recipes, and placed the book on my Amazon wishlist. Have you been to the bakery? If I ever visit Savannah, I definitely want to go!

Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
This is a really easy recipe. You combine the butter, flour, and sugar until crumbly in a mixer, and then pull out 3/4 cup of the mixture and combine with the rest of the topping: pecans, chopped chocolate and pecans. The remaining batter is mixed with the eggs, buttermilk, leavening (baking soda), and extracts. Just a few items to wash up so it is simple to make in the morning.

Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
The pecans and espresso powder are a lovely addition to your typical coffee cake. Everyone's favorites are included: nuts, chocolate and coffee. A winner.

Pecan Chocolate Espresso Coffee Cake
Adapted from "The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook," by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day (Artisan, 2012), page 47. Find it in your library or on Amazon.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I didn't toast mine)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I omitted this because I couldn't find the bottle of extract...)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray or butter, and line with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, both sugars, butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low speed, then on medium speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Pull out 3/4 cup of the mixture and place in another mixing bowl. Stir in the pecans, chocolate and espresso powder to form the crumb topping.

Sprinkle the baking soda onto the remaining flour-butter-sugar mixture; add the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed just until combined. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle the crumb topping on top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

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