Abby’s Greek Yogurt Coffee Cakes

Coffee Cake Muffin

I know that’s a helluva long title.  But each and every word is important.  Lemme break it down for you.

Abby = Abby Dodge.  Seriously credentialed baking guru.  Author of multiple cookbooks, contributing editor to Fine Cooking, blogger, and teacher.  If we were somehow plopped down in the middle of The Karate Kid, Abby would be Mr. Miyagi.  She would be the sensei to my Daniel-san.  I might also add that she is a lovely human being that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.  Do I sound like a fan-girl?  Probably, and that’s ok.  A girl has to have someone to admire.

Greek Yogurt = low fat, tangy deliciousness.  But let’s keep it real…the greek yogurt doesn’t make this a diet recipe.  You’ve still got a whole stick of butter and more than one cup of sugar going into your batter.  In the words of Mr. Miyagi, “You remember lesson about balance?  Lesson not just karate only.  Lesson for whole life.  Whole life have a balance.  Everything be better.  Understand?”  So yeah, some butter and sugar are ok.  Just remember to look for some balance.

Coffee Cake = snack cake perfection.  Tender cake topped with buttery crumble. Perfect with a cup of coffee in the morning or as a late night snack. I’ve had a life long love affair with coffee cake thanks to the folks at Tastykake.  They like to say that “nobody bakes a cake as tasty as a Tastykake”.  I say maybe it’s time for a new slogan.

Individually, these are three good things.  Combined, they are a trifecta of perfect.  They are Daniel-san seeing the wisdom in Mr. Myiagi’s teachings, winning the competition, and getting the girl….minus a soft rock soundtrack.

*Note, all Karate Kid references are to the original 1984 movie.  Why anyone would try to fix what wasn’t broken, I don’t understand.

Abby’s Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake

Adapted from Abby Dodge, Mini Treats and Handheld Sweets

BAH Note:  I think the only thing I would do differently in the future is to double the amount of topping and stir some into the batter.  The topping is my favorite part of coffee cake, so I will always looks for ways to get more of it in my mouth.

Topping

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

Muffins

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt

Combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl.  Stir in the melted butter until you get smallish crumbs.  Transfer the topping to the fridge while you make the cakes.

Heat the oven to 350 and line 16 muffin cups with baking papers.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl.  In the workbowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter for approximately 1 minute.  Add the brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until nicely creamed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.  Add half of the flour mixture and stir on low speed until just combined.  Stir in the yogurt and vanilla and mix until just blended.  Fold in the rest of the flour mixture with a rubber spatula.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Add the chilled topping and use the back of a spoon to gently press the topping into the batter (and then set that spoon aside for your enjoyment).

Bake for approximately 18 to 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely…or just long enough so that you don’t scorch the top of your mouth as you cram some coffee cake goodness in your face.

{printable recipe}

Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip

Disclaimer:  The good folks at Kerrygold provided me with a copy of Coldagh’s Kitchen Diaries and coupons for their fantabulous butter.  I highly recommend both.

I have found a new outlet to get baked goods out of my house….it’s called daycare.  Not that my coworkers have tired of being on the receiving end of what comes out of my kitchen.  It’s just that it’s good to have options. And now that my daily activities include daycare drop-off and pick-up, I can spread the love (and the calories) around a little further.

When The Mistah and I became parents, it was with less than 48 hours notice.  So where most parents have nine months to plan, prepare, and make arrangement for life after a baby arrives, we were winging it.  Our heads were still  spinning at the idea of a baby as we swept through the aisles at Target and Babies R Us to get the stuff that we thought we might need.  And even though the list of what you really need to bring a baby home can be rather short, those carts filled up pretty damn quickly.

So the buying tons of stuff part of becoming parents got taken care of.  And then we brought Lib home.  And the taking care of a little person got underway.  Which led to buying more stuff to take care of our little person.  It went on like this for a while.  And then one day, two and a half months had gone by and I needed to go back to work.

It was only after we became parents that I had any understanding about how hard it is to get an infant into daycare.  When you are able to estimate your child’s arrival in the world, you’ve got the luxury of time on your side.  You can go to a daycare and get a spot in their infant program.  When your family grows by +1 overnight, the stars need to align, the Universe needs to smile on you, and you need to make a wish upon a falling star to find a daycare center that has openings for an infant.

And as if I needed further proof that the Universe was smiling on our adoption, we managed to do just that. Now our child is charming her way into the hearts of the folks at daycare, one day at a time.  Seriously, she has her own fanclub at daycare…teachers from other classrooms come by to see her and say hello.

As her parent, I want to make sure I acknowledge the people who spend their day caring for my child so that I can spend my day at work.  And it never hurts to build a little goodwill for those days when my normally charming child chooses to be a devilish handful.

If you find yourself hankering for a little mint chocolate fix, wanting to say say thank you, or maybe even apologizing in advance for something that your child may or may not do in the days to come, these cupcakes have your back.

Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

BAH Note:  If you don’t have self rising flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt.  My cupcakes sank in the middle as they cooled….that could have been my doing or not….I just used the frosting to camouflage that and nobody was the wiser.

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 ounces mini chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 9 or 10 baking cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next one.  Add the mint extract and then use a spatula to fold in the flour mixture until combined.

Divide the batter among the baking cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before turning the cupcakes out and cooling completely on a rack.

{printable recipe}

Mint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Abby Dodge

BAH Note:  If you want a richer frosting, add up to an additional 1/2 stick butter.  Taste the frosting and if you want a mintier flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon extract.

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1  teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • green food coloring (optional)

Combine butter and marshmallow in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium until completely smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, mint extract, and salt.  Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.  If using food color, add it a few drops at a time and mix until the color is distributed.  Add more food color to get your desired shade of green.

Frost your cupcakes, garnish with mini chocolate chips, and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

Toffee Shortbread Bites

I find it somewhat ironic that for someone who has a hobby devoted to stringing together words into sentences and stories, I am sometimes completely unable to find the right words to express the thoughts in my head.  Usually, this bit of irony rears its head when I am trying to convey my gratitude to someone.  Too often the words “thank you” just don’t seem enough.  Thank you is what I say when someone holds a door open for me or tells me to have a nice day.  It’s what I say without even thinking.  90% of the time, it’s enough.  But there are moments, the other 10%, when it falls short.

Because expressing my gratitude, especially when someone’s kindness has touched me beyond words, is an affirmation. An affirmation that I am not alone.  An affirmation that I am worthy.  An affirmation that no matter what the challenge may be, there is grace and compassion in the world.  But Hallmark hasn’t come out with that line of cards yet.  So until they do, I fall back on a tried and true trick….I wrap my thanks in butter, sugar, and flour.

In my experience, the language of baked goods is universal.

Toffee Shortbread Bites

Adapted from Desserts 4 Today, Abby Dodge

BAH Note: These shortbready cookies have a crumbly dough that should come together in your hands.  If you go to form the dough and it will not hold together, add more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until it will.  Because of this diversion from Abby Dodge’s ratio, and some smaller portioning on my part, I squeezed nearly 48 of these beauties out of what should have been a batch of 24 (below).

  • 10 tablespoons room temperature butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 8 ounces chocolate covered toffee candy bar, chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a mini muffin pan with paper liners.

On low speed, beat together the butter and sugar in the workbowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for approximately 1 minute or until combined.

Add the flour and mix on low for another minute or just until all the flour is combined with the butter and sugar.  Stir in the chopped candy bar bits on low just until t hey are mixed into the dough.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place into the prepared pan.  Work quickly so that the buttery dough does not start to get soft and melty in your hands.  Bake for 15 – 19 minutes, turning the pan halfway through, until the cookies have puffed and the tops look cracked and just a little dry.

Cool on a rack completely before serving or storing in an airtight container.

{printable recipe}

Killer Chocolate Sauce

Did you happen to notice in the picture of the Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecake that the serving plate was gently kissed with chocolate sauce?  No?  Click that link above and take a look.  There, did you see it in the corners?  That, my friends, is Killer Chocolate Sauce.  What the picture didn’t show is how we spooned that sauce on the top of our cheesecakes for a D4T Double Threat.  Ok, maybe it was more like piled on top.

And that chocolate streaked dish up there?  That’s what happens when you leave a batch of Killer Chocolate Sauce on the table and three good friends spend an hour, or two, dipping spoons, forks, and fingers in for just one more taste.  That’s all that was left. Do you need any more evidence that this is some seriously good stuff?  I can sum it up in two little words – Abby Dodge.

You’ve heard me talk about Abby here.  Or if you’re new to BAH thanks for stopping by and you should ask the Googly about Abby.  This is another Desserts 4 Today recipe with which you need to acquaint yourself…stat.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I can get just one more taste out of that bowl before it hits the dishwasher.

Killer Chocolate Sauce

Adapted from Desserts 4 Today by Abby Dodge

BAH Note: I scaled the recipe down by half because exposure to mass quantities of Killer Chocolate Sauce is hazardous to my relationship with the skinnier jeans.  I call this 3 Minute Killer Chocolate Sauce because that’s how quick it is to make…just in case you needed still one more reason why this recipe rocks.

  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Combine the chocolate, butter, and corn syrup in a small nonstick sauce pan.  Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted.  Whisk until the sauce is completely smooth.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  If the sauce sets up and thickens, or if you cover and refrigerate it, reheat it in the microwave in 30 second intervals on low power.

{printable recipe}

Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes

I know that the blogosphere is jam packed with every imaginable treat this time of year.  Bloggers have never made butter, sugar, and eggs look so damn good.  So I apologize in advance for the gratuitous posting of this Weapon of (M)ass Destruction.  But stick with me.  Because I don’t want you to make Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes right now.  No.  I want you to wait until after the holidays when all the blogs are posting lighter, healthier recipes for the New Year.

Deep in the heart of January or February when you can’t look at another recipe extolling the praises of kale or chard, when it’s too cold for you to venture out and it’s too cold for rational people to come to you, that’s when you pull out this gem.  In those dark days when you’re all alone with the Lifetime Movie Marathon, Mini Chocolate Cheesecake will be your friend.  Your velvety chocolate, light as a dream friend.

You’re welcome.

Mini Bittersweet Chocolate Cheesecakes

Adapted from Desserts 4 Today by Abby Dodge

BAH Note: I chose to add some of the optional flavorings to the basic recipe.  If you want to strip it down, omit the orange zest, vanilla, and espresso powder.  According to D4T, this recipe serves six.  I say that what you do with those six servings is between you and your conscience.  Those dark days of winter can be a lonely place. Just in case you want to get a jump start and have some of these stashed away, Abby says that these can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 orange, approximately 1 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder

Heat your oven to 300 degrees, line a muffin tin with  6 foil baking cups leaving the rest of the tin empty, and spray the liners lightly with cooking spray.

Place the chocolate and espresso powder in a small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals on low power, stirring in between, until the chocolate is completely melted.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, orange zest, and vanilla with an electric hand mixer for approximately 2 minutes or until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add the sugar and melted chocolate and beat on medium low for about a minute or until blended, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the egg and mix until just incorporated.  Use a spatula to give the batter one or two final folds to make sure all ingredients are mixed.

Spoon the better into the foil liners and use the back of a spoon to smooth out the tops.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the centers of the cheesecakes barely wobble when you move the pan.  Set the muffin tin on a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.

{printable recipe}

Desserts 4 Today Just Peachy Ice Cream

Dear Abby Dodge,

Thank you for giving some less than pretty, late in the season peaches a chance to shine.

xoxox,

Me

What happens when what’s left of your last flat of peaches from Trader Joe’s don’t age well? You can either take the loss or get creative.  With the help of Abby Dodge, and her recipe for Just Peachy Ice Cream in Desserts 4 Today, I got creative.

Do yourself a favor, ask my friend Googley about Abby Dodge and how you can get your hands on Desserts 4 Today.  Because it’s pretty crazy what you can do with just 4 ingredients.  Go.  Ask. Googley.

Emergency Cupcakes and Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

How do people find time to bake during the week?  In my world, baking is usually a weekend only activity because I just can not make the time to rock out the cookies, cakes, and other sweets after a full day of work.  My patience and attention are spent by the time I get home and baking is not something you want to only sort of pay attention to.  When I’m not paying full attention I do things like mix up baking soda and baking powder, or intend to scale a recipe down but don’t think through all the steps and put in half the sugar but all the flour.  If I’m going to be producing baked goods on a weeknight, it better be an emergency, and the recipe better be Wendiproof.

I just so happened to find myself in a situation during the week where cupcakes were called for and I had what turned out to be a Wendiproof recipe at my disposal.  And let me tell you something, you NEED to have this recipe in your repertoire. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about anything.  But these cupcakes and marshmallow buttercream frosting are the perfect solution to any baked good emergency that you could encounter.  The method is beautifully simple, the ingredients are pantry staples, and the results are amazing.  This recipe will wow people into thinking you slaved away in the name of cupcakes.  The truth, that these cupcakes nearly make themselves, can stay our secret.

Emergency Cupcakes

Adapted from Abby Dodge

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper or foil liners.

Whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl until well combined.  Combine the water, oil, and vanilla in a measuring cup or small bowl and add to the dry mixture.  Add the egg and stir until blended, about 1 minute.

Using an ice cream disher, fill each liner about 3/4 full of batter.  Bake for 19 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the cupcakes out and placing them on a rack to cool completely.

{printable recipe}

Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Abby Dodge

BAH Note:  This may become my favorite, go to frosting.  It is ridiculously easy to make, the texture is exquisite, and even I managed to pipe it decently. Although I’d like to see what happens if I reduce the amount of butter down to a stick or maybe a stick and a half.  Two sticks of butter gives you a very rich frosting.  Not that it’s a bad thing.  I bet that if you had a mind to fill your cupcakes as well, this frosting would oblige.

  • 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
  • 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the butter and marshmallow in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium until completely smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.

{printable recipe}