Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coffee Break Muffins (TWD)

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As a self-confessed coffee junkie, this week's Tuesday With Dorie recipe for Coffee Break Muffins is right up my alley. Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous is our hostess this week, and you can find the complete recipe on her blog.

I've been needing this additional boost of caffeine. Insomnia + catching up on DVR backlog = not a lot of sleep.
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Dorie goes bold with the coffee in this recipe. Strong brewed coffee plus a healthy amount of instant espresso gives these muffins its pep.

I thought these muffins needed a little something else, so I topped half of the muffins with a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips.
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These muffins were super yummy! I actually enjoyed the plain muffins over the chocolate chip topped version. The coffee flavor is not shy, but it doesn't overwhelm. I particularly loved the texture of these muffins - a nice tight crumb, but not overly dense.

These babies will definitely make a repeat appearance at my breakfast table.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cranberry Upside Downer (TWD)

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Even with summery weather still going strong in my neck of the woods, I was looking forward to doing some holiday baking with this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe for Cranberry Upside Downer. Chosen by Sabrina of Superfluous, you can find the complete recipe at Dorie Greenspan's website or Sabrina's blog.

In lieu of fresh cranberries, I opted to use Trader Joe's frozen sweetened cranberries. If you have a Trader Joe's in your neighborhood, you've got to run out an grab a bag of these frozen cranberries - they are fantastic! These cranberries are sweetened just a touch, and the bright, tart flavor of the berries shine. I promise that I have not been paid by TJs to write this glowing review - I'm just a raving fan!
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I love the simplicity of this recipe. A healthy amount of butter and sugar is heated, then poured into a cake pan. A generous amont of cranberries and walnuts are spread over this butter mixture. A simple cinnamon-y cake batter is poured over the fruit, then the whole thing is popped in the oven.
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Once the cake is baked and out of the oven, it is time for the dramatic finish - turning the cake out from the pan. I was a bit worried that the fruit would stick to the bottom of the pan, but to my pleasant suprise, this cake unmolded from the pan without a fuss.

My friends, this is one tasty cake! The tender cake is subtly spiced, and it perfectly complements the tart/sweet cranberries perfectly. The walnuts provided a nice textural complement to the cranberries.

I'm looking forward to making this cake again...and again.

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