I can hardly believe it but Friday marks the end of my third year of medical school! I can remember at the beginning of this year wondering how I was ever going to make it- “working” at the hospital everyday on top of studying for standardized exams every five weeks, and trying to live a somewhat normal life on top of it. Then before I even had time to get really stressed out about it – it’s over! Not complaining one bit . I am finishing up the year with pediatrics, which quite to my surprise turned out to be one of my favorite rotations of the year. I have never been one of those people who thinks, “Awwwwwwwwww, little kids are sooooooooo cute.” In fact, I kind of grouped those people into the “lovers of unicorn and all things rainbow” that I just didn’t fit in with. However, in retrospect I realize that I had never really spent enough time with the little ones in order to make such a judgement. Little kids are pretty amazing little people, and they definitely do say the darndest things. And also, children’s hospitals = 1000x cooler than adult hospitals.
So in order to commemorate the end of another very good rotation, I decided to make coffee cake for the office to enjoy. I wanted something summery yet decadent and something that would work equally well for both breakfast and dessert. I think this cake hit the nail on the head. The lemon in the batter gives it a fresh appeal, and the streusel topping makes it a crumbly delight. I really thought this cake was over the top good – and based on the number of people at the office that asked for the recipe, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. The only thing I might change for the future is to make individual serving sizes. I think it would work well in a muffin tin – just make sure you equally distribute the amazing streusel, otherwise you might cause some fights (at least when there are little kiddos involved).
Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake
Makes a 9-inch round cake
For the Streusel:
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
For the Cake:
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- zest from 1/2 a lemon
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.
For the Streusel: Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir in melted butter, then flour and mix well.
For the Cake: In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 4-5 minutes, until light. Reduce speed to low to add the eggs, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to evenly mix in berries. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread with a knife to level the top. With your fingers, crumble all the topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.
Barely Adapated from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten)
While I don’t really consider myself a breakfast person, getting up before 5 AM has a way of turning anyone into a breakfast person. I’ve found that after 10 weeks of surgery, my ability to sleep in past 10 am on the weekends has seriously diminished. When you’re used to waking up at 4:45, suddenly 8 am becomes a reasonable sleep in and when you find yourself with a whole morning to fill with weekend fun, it doesn’t get much better than a morning run followed by breakfast.
One of my biggest qualms with normal brunch food is that I feel like it sets me up for a day of feeling stuffed, tired and overall unhealthy. Breakfast is the one meal of the day where I always try to have some protein, fiber and fruit – and pancakes with syrup doesn’t really fit the bill. But these pancakes. These pancakes are an entirely different story. Multigrain = fiber. Blueberries = fruit . Yogurt = protein (and calcium!). And to make it even better, I think my favorite part about these pancakes is that they are divine with a dollop of yogurt and a slight drizzle of honey - no butter or syrup needed. I had actually gotten the butter dish out, just in case, and had to laugh out loud when John goes “Why did you even get the butter out for these pancakes?” If you understand John’s obsession with butter, you will understand how shocking this statement was.
These are also quite simple to make, and I’ve made them several weekends in a row. I tried them with some chopped frozen rasberries, and the combination of raspberries + lemon is also really out of this world. If you are looking for something fun, easy and festive to make for Mother’s Day, look no further. I’m pretty sure all Mom’s will appreciate something that is both delicious and healthy for breakfast.
Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
Makes about 6-8 large pancakes (Feeds 3-4)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, (fat free, low fat or greek yogurt are fine)
- 2 -3 tablespoons milk, plus more depending on preference
- 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering skillet
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup barley or rye flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup blueberries, frozen, or rinsed and dried
- Yogurt and Honey for serving
Melt half of butter. Remove from heat and stir in second tablespoon of butter until melted. This helps to cool the butter to room temperature before adding it to the other ingredients.
Whisk egg and yogurt together in the bottom of a medium/large bowl. Add in 2-3 Tablespoons milk.. If you’re using a thick yogurt, 1-2 more Tablespoons of milk. Whisk in melted butter, zest and vanilla extract. In a separate, small bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet only until dry ingredients are moistened. A few remaining lumps is fine. Batter will be thick.
Preheat your oven to 200°F and have a baking sheet ready (to keep pancakes warm). Heat your skillet or saute pan to medium. Melt a pat of butter in the bottom and ladle 1/3 – 1/2 cup of batter at a time. Press a few berries into the top of each pancake. The batter is on the thick side, so you will want to use your spoon or spatula to gently nudge it flat, or you may find that pressing down on the berries does enough to spread the batter. When a few bubbles on the pancakes rise to the surface and pop, (about 3-4 minutes), flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden underneath. . Transfer pancakes to warm oven as they are done cooking, where you can leave them there until you’re ready to serve them.
Serve in a big stack, with yogurt and honey.
Believe it or not, I used to order scones from coffee shops because I thought they were a healthy option. In my defense, they always tasted so dry that I figured they must be healthy. After making these scones, I realized that they don’t exactly get the title of “healthy” but at the same time, they are way tastier than their coffee shop counterparts. Plus making them gives you the right to talk in a fake British accent and pretend you’re Kate Middleton for the day.
While these scones might you feel like British Royalty, they are great for another reason – you can freeze them unbaked, and then bake them from a frozen state. This is a great option if you want to impress some overnight guests without having to wake up at 4 am. Just flash freeze them individually on a baking sheet,wrap, and store in a freezer bag until ready to use.
The only tricky thing with making these is that the dough is a little sticky. I found that forming the dough into a rough square, and cooling it in the freezer for 10 minutes really helped the consistency. I also added quite a bit of flour, but try not to add too much or you might run into the dreaded dryness of a coffee shop scone. This recipe, as shown only makes 8 scones, so I think next time I will double it, and bake one batch to eat, while keeping the others un-baked in the freezer for a later date.
Makes 8 scones
- 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen whole
- 1½ cups fresh blueberries (slightly less than 1 pint container)
- ½ cup whole milk (or see my post tomorrow on good substitues for whole milk)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- zest of half a lemon (or 1 heaping teaspoon)
- For Topping: 2 T. butter, melted and Sugar for sprinling
If you plan on baking the scones immediately, preheat oven to 425˚ F. Wash and dry the blueberries and place in the freezer until needed.
In a larger bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest. Whisk to combine. Add the grated butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers until thoroughly coated.
Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and fold with a spatula just until combined. Transfer the dough to a generously floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour, and knead with well floured hands, 6-8 times, just until the dough holds together in a ragged ball. Form the dough into a rough square, and place on a floured plate to chill in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.
Return the dough to the floured work surface and roll into an approximately 12-inch square. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the surface of the dough, and gently press down so that they are slightly embedded in the dough surface. Roll the dough up to form a tight log, so that the blueberries are in the center. Lay the log seam side down and press the the log into a 12 by 4-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the rectangle crosswise into 4 equal rectangles. If your knife gets sticky, try flouring it. Cut each rectangle diagonally to form 2 triangles. Transfer to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
If you are going to freeze these, flash freeze on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in a freezer bag until needed. To bake, brush the tops of the scones with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18-25 minutes (slightly longer if baking from a frozen state). Let cool on a wire rack before serving.