Saturday, September 29, 2012

Early Morning Baking Buddy

One thing I really missed during the last trimester of my pregnancy was baking.  Quite frankly, I didn't have the energy before I was put on bedrest, and afterwards I sure wasn't going to risk Caylee jumping the gun just to bake!  The fact that she did jump the gun completely aside, of course lol.  So, while Caylee has been sleeping, I've been reintroducing myself to my bakeware, spices, and baking cabinets!

My first post-pregnancy projects were basic banana bread and pumpkin bread loaves.  They turned out quite nicely, but I was wanting something a little sweeter.  So, I found a recipe online for a cream cheese layer to go with pumpkin bread and gave it a go!  So far, it hasn't quite worked with the pumpkin bread--mostly it either rises to the top or mixes with the rest of the batter.  Oh well, it sure tastes good!

My next project was an amazing Blueberries and Cream Coffee Cake Pie recipe by Cleo Coyle!  She is the author of my first and favorite mystery series--The Coffeehouse Mysteries.  I've read all of them on my Kindle and loved each one!  One amazing aspect of her books is all of the scrumptious foods she describes therein--even more amazing, she includes the recipes in the back of each volume!  Out of respect, I'm not going to post the recipe for the Coffee Cake Pie here, but you can find it in her book Roast Mortem.  And yes, all of her titles are plays on aspects of coffee!  While I won't include the recipe, I will include the picture of my pie--and boy was it yummy!  I made it for Caylee's first outing to Uncle Ethan and Aunt Julie's house for a play date with Lucy, and it was quite a hit!

My other baking project was a loaf of Cinnamon Blueberry Cream Cheese Bread.  Last Saturday, I threw the recipe together myself, modifying my basic pumpkin bread recipe and combining and modifying several of the cream cheese filling recipes I had found online.  My first step, of course, was to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Of course, I had my baking buddy on deck.  

I wasn't sure how long she'd stay asleep, so I measured out all of my dry ingredients for the bread first:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon (next time I'm going to up that to 1 Tbsp--I wanted more cinnamon taste!)
I then measured out the ingredients for the cream cheese layer:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, microwaved for 15 seconds
1 egg
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Next, I mixed all of the cream cheese layer ingredients in my mixer until mostly smooth.  Caylee-bear woke up at that point lol.  We took a break for a diaper change and then got back to work!  I poured the cream cheese mix into a giant measuring cup with a spout and then washed out the mixer.

Once it was dry, I poured the dry bread ingredients in and used the mixer to blend them.  Next, I measured out the non-dry ingredients for the bread:
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water

I poured all of that into my blender and mixed it together with the dry ingredients until smooth.  While that was blending, I pulled out my 9 ounces (1 1/2 small tubs) of frozen blueberries and tossed them in about 1 Tbsp of flour.  This is a trick I learned from Cleo Coyle's recipes to help absorb excess moisture from the blueberries while they bake!  Next time I might use more blueberries, but this time I carefully folded the flour-coated blueberries into the bread mix.  I definitely didn't want to smoosh them!

After that was done, I carefully poured some of the batter into my already-Pamed and floured bread pan.  I then added a layer of the cream cheese mix.  I could tell right away that the cream cheese mix was not going to layer as I had originally intended.  The blueberries make the bread batter thicker, but the cream cheese mix was especially runny.  Next time I'll refrigerate it for a bit.  This time I went ahead and added more blueberry bread mix, then cream cheese and topped it off with the remaining bread mix.

In my oven, it ended up taking 70-75 minutes to bake at 350 degrees.  The blueberries sunk, resulting in a fruit layer at the bottom, which I rather enjoyed.  The cream cheese marbled instead of layering, but it still looked pretty and tasted pretty darn good!  At least, my little brother Austin and his girlfriend Fanny both enjoyed it!  I was glad to be able to make them something yummy while they were in town, especially since they watched Caylee-bear Saturday night so Bryan and I could go on a dinner date!

All in all, it was a success even with with modifications I'll make next time.  It's so good to be baking again!


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