Pear Crumb Coffee Cake

When I bake, I end up making more than I could possibly consume, so I end up wrapping up items in wax paper, then foil and then a zip top bag and pop it in the freezer (currently, my freezer is close to over-flowing and I would kill for a larger one). Well, I just noticed that I had half of a pear crumb coffee cake in my freezer. Total score! I’d totally forgotten about it, and I forgot that I had started to write a post about it last fall. So, here it is…later than I’d wanted. I just adapted my blueberry coffee cake recipe from my mom and adapted another recipe I found online on Cooks dot com. It’s simple and you don’t even need a mixer. You can use milk (or even buttermilk) in the recipe, but I substituted unsweetened vanilla almond milk because that’s all I had on hand. Oh, and don’t over do it on the cinnamon or cardamon, as that is a lesson I learned a long time ago.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Coffee Cake

  • 1 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1/2 C. light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 C. almond milk
  • 4 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe pears, cored, peeled (if you want) and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces


  • 1/2 C. white sugar
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 C. chopped pecans

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, cooled melted butter,
vanilla, and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and add pears, stir to combine. Add mixture to baking dish.

For the crumb topping, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and cut in cold butter either with a pastry cutter or your hands. Break up butter until it’s the size of tiny peas (it’s okay if some pieces are bigger). Add chopped pecans. Evenly sprinkle streusel on top of cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and when a toothpick comes out clean.

X-Mas Cookies Invasion

Just a heads up: Christmas cookies are coming! I’m trying to figure out what I should bake this year though. I love the process: put on some jazz (Oscar Peterson and Louie Armstrong or John Coltrane) or this Christmas cd from my friend Jen and bake away. I make dozens of cookies, usually about 4-5 kinds and then give them away to friends. Last year I dove into dark chocolate truffle making. That went fairly well for a novice. Anyway, I’ll be back to share my recipes…

Sweet Potato Cookies with Raisins

I had one rather large sweet potato and considered making a small amount of baked sweet potato fries, but decided upon trying out this cookie recipe my friend found on youtube for mbatata cookies found here.

I did tweak it a bit by adding vanilla and a little bit of white sugar and pecans. My apartment smells like sweet potato pie. Oh, man!

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4TB melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2C dark brown sugar
  • 1/2tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 C flour
  • 2tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2C raisins
  • 2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon
  • 1/4 – 1/2C chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Peel the sweet potato and cut into somewhat large pieces, put in glass bowl with a little bit of water, cook in microwave for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Mash potato with a fork, set aside to cool slightly. Using a stand mixer, add cooled potato, melted/cooled butter and mix for about a minute. Add brown sugar, vanilla, beaten egg, mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix for about 2-3 minutes until everything is well combined. At this interval, taste the batter, if you want it a bit more sweet, add 1/8-1/4 cup of white sugar and mix again. Stir in raisins with spatula. At this point you’ll notice the dough is more muffin-like in consistency, that’s ok, that is what it’s supposed to look like.

Using a large cookie scoop, place dough on parchment paper covered baking sheets and bake for 18-20 minutes. These cookies don’t flatten out and are soft in texture and more cake like. Not too sweet either.
A very tasty and healthy fall treat.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

I love fall. Getting up before the sun rises and the moon is still out, cooler temperatures, not sweating to death or passing out while waiting for the subway at Jay Street, wearing a jacket, college football, baseball playoffs, hockey (sad face here) fall vegetables….

It seems almost cliche to write about using pumpkin in the fall. But, I really do love pumpkin: cookies, waffles, pancakes, brownies, muffins, bread, you name it. Recently, I came upon a vegan recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook that I tweaked a bit. I used dark brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, low fat maple syrup and added some unsweetened vanilla almond milk while combining the wet and dry ingredients because the dough was too thick. I thought about adding cherries or cranberries too, but wanted to taste the pumpkin and not be distracted. So, perhaps next time I’ll add some dried cherries. I think I like the vegan version of the bread over any non-vegan versions I’ve ever made. It’s delicious. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease (or use cooking spray) two 8x4x3 inch loaf pans and set aside.

  • 3 1/4C. all-purpose flour
  • 2C dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of each: Vietnamese cinnamon (or regular), freshly grated nutmeg, and allspice.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1C canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3C lite maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C almond milk
  • 1 can of pureed pumpkin (15oz)
  • 1C chopped, toasted pecans

Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the oil, pumpkin puree, syrup, water and vanilla in another bowl. Mix until well combined and it resembles applesauce. I prefer a fork over a whisk for this task because it’s easier. (Oh, and a note about apple sauce: You could swap out half a cup of oil for 1/2 cup of apple sauce). Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix well with a spatula. At this point you might want to add a little bit of almond milk if the mixture becomes too thick/dry. You be the judge. After well combined, add the toasted pecans, mix and then divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 for about an hour and ten minutes, or, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the bread.

Let bread cool in pans and then when pans are ok to handle, pop bread out onto a plate or a cooling rack and cool completely. Or, if you’re like me, cut off the end of the pumpkin bread and gobble up with a slather of soy margarine. Or, if you want to be completely non-vegan: some butter. Whoops! Haha.

Coconut Lime Bread

I love coconut: fresh, shredded, coconut milk, water–it doesn’t matter. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I had bought this (unopened) 6oz. bag of unsweetened, shredded coconut that I found in my fridge. I thought, ‘Was it for cookies? Cupcakes?’ Honestly, I have no clue. I got inspired this morning and I knew that I wanted to make more bread, because, well, I’m on an easy-peasy recipe kick lately. Easy, as in I don’t have to use my Kitchenaid mixer. Don’t get me wrong, I love that mixer, but if I can get away without using it at times, then cool. It’s a more hands on baking experience for me. I like lime zest/juice in this recipe. I think you could also make a lime syrup and top it, or, toasted pecans would be a nice addition as well. Now that I think of it, you could reduce the sugar and add a mashed banana too or, some applesauce for sweetness. I’ll have to experiment some more with this and get back to you. Ooh, maybe next time I’ll add some blackberries!.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×5 loaf pan with cooking spray or Crisco.

  • 2 and 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (I used Vietnamese cinnamon)
  • 1 C. sugar (I think you could get away with 3/4C.)
  • 2 C. sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut (I used unsweetened)
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 and 1/4 cups milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk. You could use another non-dairy milk too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • Zest and juice of one lime (or more if you want)

Combine the first six ingredients in a large bowl. In another smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, vanilla, milk and cooled melted butter together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Add mixture to loaf pan (at this point you can sprinkle some turbino sugar/sugar in the raw on top too) and bake for approximately 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate or wire rack to cool completely.

I think I could also use this recipe in mini loaf pans or in muffin tins too. I’ve been cutting the loaf of bread in half and wrapping up one half and putting it in the freezer and keeping the other half for myself in the fridge. It’s a nice addition to my morning cup of coffee.

Oh, and sorry for the lack of a picture, but my iphone photo wasn’t up to par.