Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Coffeecake Wishes and French Toast Dreams

This morning, I had a dream that my husband brought me breakfast in bed. I could see it perfectly, a beautiful plate of french toast studded with raspberries, swimming in lemon zest-flecked maple syrup. Then I woke up. Those of you who know my husband are probably laughing right now, because that is about as likely as...well, let's just say it's not very likely. As soon as I got up, I knew I had to have that french toast though, so I made it myself. For some reason, although I love french toast, I'm not very good at making it. I think I need to let the bread soak longer. I hate it when it comes out with those little dry patches in it. Overall it was pretty good though. It certainly looked good!

I dunked two slices of brioche in a mixture of eggs (three eggs for two slices) a little lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and half and half. A drop of lemon oil might have been good too, but you have to be careful because it can start to taste a little pledge-y (adding a citrus oil has the same effect of zest.) I opted for no lemon oil here, but I think one drop might have been good. A little vanilla extract would also probably work.

I shaved a few pieces of zest off a lemon, and dropped them in the syrup before popping it in the microwave to heat. This was a good thing, but don't make the mistake I did and try to eat the pieces of zest, even after soaking in the syrup. I had some perfect raspberries, which I sprinkled on the top, and voila! This whole thing can also be made with orange instead of lemon - I just wanted to try something different.

This past weekend, I indulged another craving and baked a coffeecake. This is one of my favorite recipes, because it is quick and easy enough to throw together the same morning you want to eat it, and it is actually relatively light. (Unlike most recipes, this one allows you to melt the butter, instead of beating it or cutting it in.) I think it tastes best warm, so I recommend eating it straight out of the oven. The berries give it sort of a jammy flavor, and the streusel is spiced with cinnamon and ginger. The best part might actually be how spectacular it makes the house smell while it is baking.

Blackberry Streusel Coffee Cake
1 ½ cups of flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1/4 cup oil
zest of one orange, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup buttermilk or nonfat plain yogurt thinned with a little milk
1 cup of fresh, ripe blackberries

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 375
2. Line the bottom of an 8 inch cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides
3. Melt the 5 Tablespoons of butter and set aside
4. Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder
5. Mix 2 Tablespoons of the melted butter and the remaining Streusel ingredients until crumbly and set aside
6. In a medium sized bowl - whisk together eggs, oil, remaining melted butter, zest and buttermilk or yogurt. Gently stir in flour mixture.
7. Pour half of the batter into the pan, and add sprinkle with half of the streusel. Add the rest of the batter, spreading to the sides. Top with the remaining streusel and scatter the berries over the top.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack for ten minutes, then turn out onto a plate or rack to cool completely.

Serves 8.


  1. That's it. I'm making French toast for dinner. Hope its as good as yours! And your fabulous sounding coffee cake is going on my "to make" list because blackberries just rule.

  2. I'm the same way with French toast. Although I'm picky about my French toast..I don't like it eggy. I think the key to French toast is letting it sit overnight like the French do.