Baking Adventures

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal Bar

Photo: K. Henriques

I love cinnamon toast crunch and saw this on Instagram and thought I’d use what I had left to make these cereal bars. This definitely is an easy recipe as you basically just heat the butter and marshmallows over heat, add vanilla, then pour that over the cereal. I kind of eyed the marshmallows and think I added a little too much as it was super marshmallow-y and not necessarily in a good way. I tried to eat a bite about they had set for over 30 minutes and it was still very sticky. Definitely better later, but still too much marshmallow. Moral of the story – don’t be lazy and eye the marshmallows.

Super easy – very fun. I’d make these again and just be sure I follow the recipe correctly. It’s a nice variation on rice krispy treats, especially if you like cinnamon toast crunch!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
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Recipe Used: Kick Ass Baker

Golden Pita Bread

Photo by: K. Henriques

I ran across a recipe online for Greek chicken and decided this past weekend to go all out with dinner. So I made my own hummus, grilled potato salad, feta tzatziki sauce, Greek chicken and then thought it would be fun to make my own pita bread too. I knew it could be a little tricky but figured as long as it was edible it would be fine. Since this was a new endeavor I decided to use King Arthur’s recipe and was surprised to see it wasn’t quite as time intensive as I had imagined.

Like many bread recipes, you mainly just mix all of the ingredients together and them knead them (or let the stand mixture do the work!). Once the 5 minutes was up I let the dough rest and it actually ended up resting a little over an hour since I got busy making the hummus.

I divided the dough and then began rolling the dough out. I ended up with three on a large baking pan and then popped them into the 500 degree oven. They don’t bake long; 5 minutes on the bottom rack and then 2 minutes on the top rack. My first round were a little harder than I would have liked and didn’t puff up at all. I think I left them in there a little longer on the bottom than I was supposed to, hence the slightly crispier texture. I decided these would be perfect for the hummus and started on round two but since they didn’t puff up I decided to bump up the oven temperature to 515 degrees. I was able to get two of the three from this batch to puff up, which was exciting! My last two didn’t puff up either but weren’t quite as hard as round one.

I was a little disappointed I only got two of the eight to actually puff up like pita, but they tasted great so it wasn’t a huge loss. I think it’ll take a little more testing to consistently get puffy pita’s, but I would definitely make these again and they were perfect with our Mediterranean inspired dinner and the hummus.

Baking Ease8
Time Spent8
Taste10
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Recipe Used: King Arthur

Oreo Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I’m a big fan of Oreo’s, though we only get them occasionally since we end up eating a whole package in one weekend. I decided to make these Oreo Cupcakes for my brother’s birthday since they looked fun and he likes Oreo’s as well.

This isn’t a difficult recipe, but it does require whipping egg whites into the cake mix. This isn’t super difficult, but if you’ve read some of my posts before you’ll know this isn’t something I’ve fully mastered. I honestly think this time was my best attempt as the cupcakes were normal size and didn’t deflate (which would mean I stirred too much). Besides this step, the rest of the cupcake base isn’t difficult; though I’d recommend using normal Oreo’s since you’re crushing them up.

The cream cheese frosting recipe is also easy. Normally I don’t make cream cheese frostings just because buttercream is my go-to, but this is what the recipe called for and since I don’t make it very often I figured it would be a nice change. I think I used 8 Oreo cookies rather than 6 because I wanted more Oreo. The only thing about this recipe is it’s super thick, so I struggled to pipe it using a tip. I ended up cutting off the end and “piping” it out that way because of it’s thickness. I gave myself a lower visual ranking for this reason but I would definitely add a little milk next time so I could pipe it and have it look a little nicer.

I chose to top with another Oreo as a final touch. All in all these were very good but also quite rich! A little more time consuming than just a basic cupcake recipe, but if you want to add a little extra (a.k.a Oreo’s) then it’ll take a little more time and I think it was worth it.

Baking Ease9
Time Spent9
Taste10
Visual8

Recipe Used: Sugar Spun Run

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

For my final coffee cake recipe for this month I decided to try this Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. I don’t think I’ve made coffee cake in a loaf pan before but I’m not sure why because that seems super fun and makes it easier to serve (in my humble opinion).

I made the streusel first and I’ll be honest, I was a little unsure of things since I wasn’t sure how the cinnamon and chocolate would mesh together. I know it’s not an uncommon combination by any means, but it’s not normally my favorite together so I wasn’t sure how I’d like the end result. I chose to use pecans since those are usually my favorite with paired with chocolate.

The cake portion is quite very simple to throw together. Because this recipe makes two loaves, I decided to make a half batch because I don’t need that much coffee cake lying around the house. I knew it was going to be a little tricky since the full recipe calls for three eggs, but I went did it anyway and used two. I spooned about half of the mixture in the loaf pan and then sprinkled some of the streusel on; then you spoon the rest of the cake portion and top with the remaining streusel. I threw a couple more chocolate chips on top for good measure.

I let it cool just a little bit before cutting a piece and ate my while it was warm since that was recommended in the recipe. I didn’t love the cinnamon in this recipe, but it wasn’t as weird as I thought. I’d probably leave it out the next time I make this though and am giving it a 9 for taste merely because it’s not my favorite. I definitely would make this again though and I loved the crunchiness of the pecans and the chocolate!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
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Recipe Used: Beyond Frosting

Gluten-Free Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

I have several friends who can’t have gluten so I thought it would be fun to try a gluten-free coffee cake. As you can imagine, there were no shortage of recipes online, but I chose this one because it looked easy and I wanted to do a half recipe and this seemed easy to do.

Not to sound like a broken record, but this isn’t difficult to throw together. I’ll spare everyone from reading what is basically me walking you through my process; just follow the recipe. I used Measure for Measure gluten-free flour by King Arthur and then unsweetened almond milk since I had some on hand. If you want to make this dairy-free as well I imagine you can use vegan butter and dairy-free sour cream, but I just used real butter and regular sour cream.

I might have gotten a little too carried away marbling the cake and filling layer but at least I didn’t forget it this time! Instead of doing an 8 inch cake pan I used a 6 inch and baked this for 30 minutes. I thought this ended up tasting really good and it was easy to half so it’s perfect if you are only making this for 2-3 people (depending on how big you cut your cake!).

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
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Recipe Used: Food Faith Fitness

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Photo by: K. Henriques

Side note, I’m not coffee cake connoisseur, but I always assumed coffee cake just meant it had the brown sugar/cinnamon/butter filling in a middle layer. I’ve noticed a lot of recipe call themselves coffee cake even if they don’t have that and opt for the streusel topping. Regardless of what actually defines coffee cake I’m still on a quest to try various coffee cake recipes. I love blueberry muffins so I got excited when I ran across this particular recipe.

For starters, it’s very easy. Again, you’re making a cake so you cream the butter and sugar together, add eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and then add your pre-mixed dry ingredients (alternating with the milk). Once everything is mixed then fold in the fresh blueberries and add the streusel.

I decided to make a half batch and since there were only 2 eggs it was super easy. It ended up making an 8×8 pan and I cooked it for 35 minutes rather than what was listed. I looked really pretty and so far has been my personal favorite, but again, I love blueberry muffins so I had a feeling this might be a favorite!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste10
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Recipe Used: Once Upon a Chef

Bananas Foster Coffee Cake with Vanilla Rum Sauce

Photo by: K. Henriques

I should probably start off by noting that I actually have never had Bananas Foster. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but there aren’t a lot of restaurants I’ve been to serving it so I just haven’t had the chance yet. I ran across this recipe while searching for different coffee cake recipes since I was wanting to shake things up a little. I’ve really enjoyed doing various themes, such as coffee cake, because it showcases all of the different ways you can make something. Plus, it’s fun to try so many similar in theme, but different in taste recipes. Just as an FYI, they’ve got a video you at the beginning of this recipe that shows everything from start to finish.

I felt like this recipe was a little complicated to read, mainly because so many of the ingredients are divided. You’ll want to pay close attention to the amounts as you follow the instructions because if you’re not paying attention you could accidentally add too much of something. I am usually terrible about missing stuff like that, but I guess multiple mistakes have made me more cautious so thankfully I didn’t mess anything up this time. I found it was easier for me to just follow the steps instructions since they list a lot of the amounts there.

This recipe takes a little more time than other coffee cake recipes since you do cook the banana mixture. I actually had some bananas in the freezer so I thawed those and used them instead of fresh ones since that’s what I do for banana bread or muffins. Other than cooking the bananas, this recipe is fairly standard; however, this is the first time I’ve used cream cheese in a coffee cake recipe. I loved that this recipe called for pecans as part of the streusel since I really love pecans and feel like they always add a nice texture. The vanilla-rum sauce wasn’t difficult to make and smelled amazing while it was cooking! It also made a LOT so if I made this again I would probably half the sauce recipe.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect taste wise but this was really good. The bananas weren’t overpowering but added a nice flavor to the coffee cake and I loved the pecan streusel on top. Adding the vanilla-rum sauce was literally the icing on the cake since I could have eaten that by the spoonful! I made the coffee cake the night before and then just heated up the sauce to pour on top and that worked great so I’d definitely do that again.

Baking Ease8
Time Spent8
Taste9
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Recipe Used: Southern Living

Cinnamon-Streusal Coffeecake

Photo by: K. Henriques

I have a favorite coffee cake recipe I’ve been using for a few years now, but I figured if I was going to spend a few weeks trying new recipes I ought to start with the basic version first. The topping is honestly the best part of coffee cake (in my opinion) so I set out to find one that went above and beyond. I found several contenders, but after reading The Kitchn do a coffeecake showdown I chose their winner: King Arthur.

Compared to my normal recipe, this one is a little more time intensive. The topping and filling mixtures were easy to throw together; though I was surprised to see a little unsweetened cocoa powder in the filling as that’s unusual. I used dutch processed since that’s what we had on hand. I was also slightly shocked at how much sugar goes in this whole thing! I realize it’s coffee cake, but something about putting a cup of granulated sugar in the topping, a cup of brown sugar in the filling, and then additional brown/granulated sugar in the cake seemed like a lot. I think I could feel my insulin spiking just thinking about it. I digress…

The cake portion isn’t difficult and very standard for an actual cake in that you cream the butter and eggs before adding other ingredients. Once you’ve got everything mixed you start creating the coffeecake. Cake batter, filling, cake batter, topping. Mine was abut 20 minutes into baking when I realized I forgot to do the marbling…. 😦

Despite the marbling, this looked really nice and tasted delicious as well. Personally, I do think you could cut back on the sugar in the cake portion but everyone else that had it said it was great so maybe it’s just me. This was a winner at our house and at least gives me more than one go-to coffee cake recipe when I need it!

Baking Ease9
Time Spent8
Taste9
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Recipe Used: King Arthur

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Photo by: K. Henriques

I’m not normally a fan of german chocolate cake, merely because I don’t love coconut. It’s more of a texture thing rather than taste because I made this Speckled Malted Coconut Cake last year and liked it, but I don’t love strands of coconut in most baked goods. German chocolate fit the theme of a little party we threw though so I thought I’d test out this recipe.

The base for these cupcakes are from the Black Forest Cupcakes I made and they’re honestly my go-to for homemade chocolate cupcakes. They’re easy to make and taste amazing! Since this isn’t the first time I’ve made the cupcakes I’ll move on to talking about the icing. The coconut frosting is pretty easy to throw together and smelled really good while it was cooking. I tasted a bite once it was cooled a little and was surprised at how good it tasted. The chocolate frosting wasn’t difficult either but it will be a little thicker than you might use for a full cake. I piped a circle around the top of my cupcakes and found it held up really well and then took a heaping scoop of the coconut frosting and dropped it in the middle.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these cupcakes. There wasn’t as much coconut as you might find on a full coconut cake so while german chocolate cake/cupcakes wouldn’t be my first choice to have, I’d definitely make these again and would eat one! It wasn’t too difficult and didn’t take a ton of time either so would be pretty easy to make a batch when needed.

Baking Ease10
Time Spent9
Taste10
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Recipe Used: Cupcakes The Kitchn Icing: Tastes Better From Scratch

Irish Soda Bread

Photo by: K. Henriques

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Usually I’d bake some kind of fun dessert but I ran across this recipe for Irish Soda Bread and decided to give it a try. Spoiler alert: this is the easiest bread recipe ever. Well, I take that back, these Cream Biscuits are also super easy.

Basically all you do is mix all of the dry ingredients together, then add the buttermilk and mix until it’s a rough dough. Knead it a few times and then pop it in the oven. Be sure to watch for the varying oven times and temperatures as that’s important.

The bread is quite dense and since there aren’t a ton of ingredients it isn’t super flavorful. It was really good with some Irish butter and leftover pot roast though! I think you can add spices, cheese, and other ingredients to Irish soda bread (this was just the basic version) so that would probably have been really good. I’d definitely try it again and probably add herbs next time!

Baking Ease10
Time Spent10
Taste9
Visual10

Recipe Used: Baking a Moment