Well friends and readers, the story of the stollen is winding down. In fact, all day four requires is coating the two loaves with 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar, wrapping them well in plastic, and storing for two days before finally serving. Really – the story reached it’s climax in day two – the mixing stage.

The loaves aren’t very pretty (see above), but Chris and I were both tempted to cut into the bread before it had time to “ripen.” We waited.

And you will be waiting too! See you in two days.

Day Four: “Holiday Stollen” by Melissa Clark

After the loaves have sat for 8 hours or overnight, sift 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar over loaves, rolling to coat bottom and sides evenly with sugar. Wrap each loaf in plastic and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 days before serving.

Now it’s day three of the holiday stollen baking extravaganza!

After mixing the dough and letting it rise and rest, it is now time to bake the bread. As I mentioned yesterday, I might have been able to do this on the second day but I ran out of time.  Here’s what you do when you are ready to the bake the bread.

Day Three: “Holiday Stollen” by Melissa Clark

If you refrigerated the dough overnight, take out of the refrigerator and let come to room temperature, about 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic covering loaves and bake for about 1 hour. Loaves should look uniformly dark golden brown. As you might notice in the picture above, my loaves ended up a little darker than dark golden brown. I wasn’t too worried because of the vast quantities of butter involved.

While the bread is baking, whisk together  3/4 cup sugar and 2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger.

When stollen is done, transfer top pan holding loaves to a wire rack (leave stollen on pan). While still hot, brush stollen with remaining 1 cup of melted butter, letting butter soak into loaves. Sprinkle ginger sugar on tops and sides of loaves.

When loaves are completely cool, cover loosely with waxed or parchment paper or foil and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

Welcome back for the second installment of my adventures in holiday baking featuring stollen. After shopping for ingredients and letting the nuts and dried fruit soak overnight – I was now ready to actually mix the dough for the bread.

I started mixing the bread last Saturday – but I had a very strict window of time between 10:30 and 3:30 to mix the dough, let it rise, bake it, and glaze it. It was ambitious but doing the math in my head accounting for the rising and baking time, I thought I could make it work in between my spinning class and a play Chris and I were going to attend.

All was going well. I had even mixed up the spices, including grinding cardamom and grating nutmeg the night before to cut down on that time on the mixing day. Then – in my effort to hurry, I misread the recipe and added a full 2 cups (!!!) of melted butter to the dough instead of the one cup. It was ruined.

(By the way – two cups of a butter is a lot! See:

This holiday stollen is certainly an exercise in indulgence. Oh well, it is the holiday season)

Luckily, I had enough spices and flour, and 1/2 of a vanilla bean left, to mix the dough again – paying close attention to the amount of butter added. Then the next challenge arose.

My dough was not coming together. I’ve never wished for a brand-new, super fancy Kitchenaid mixer before last weekend. The recipe says to use a paddle attachment on a standing mixer to mix the dough. Well, I have my mom’s old stand mixer that just has the regular old beater attachments. So that’s what I used. Well the dough was so dry and stiff that it was just not holding together. I even transferred it to my food processor with the dough blade to mix it – but it was way too thick. I was splattering dough everywhere, and working quickly, I was not cleaning as I went. My kitchen turned quickly into a disaster.

And the time kept ticking away. At this rate I was not going to be done with everything in time to leave for the play.

I ended up mixing the dough by hand, slowly… and adding all of the almonds and dried fruits and ginger by hand as well. It was hard work, but it did work.

Finally, the dough was mixed and ready to rise – but I did not have time for it to rise and bake it too. I ended up taking it through the final resting time and then wrapping it in plastic and refrigerating it overnight and planned to bake it the next day. I learned this trick in this helpful post from The Kitchn.

So – plan to spend about 5 or 6 hours putting this bread together today. If you don’t want to continue you could always use those rum-soaked raisins and almonds for bread pudding… or oatmeal?

Day Two: “Holiday Stollen” by Melissa Clark

For planning purposes, I’m posting all of the ingredients here. For those of you in Louisville, you can find find all of the nuts, dried fruit, vanilla beans, and candied ginger (as well as any of the spices and flours you might need), at Nuts n Stuff.

2/3 c. black raisins

2/3 c. golden raisins

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/3 c. dark rum

1 c. slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)

1/2 c. milk, at room temperature

4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. plus 3 T. sugar

2 3/4 t. ground ginger

1 t. kosher salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cardamom

1 t. freshly grated nutmeg

1 t. freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved

2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 large egg yolk

1/2 c. chopped candied ginger

1/2 c. mixed candied citrus peel (optional, you could omit this and use one cup of the candied ginger)

2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

In an electric mixer with paddle (or mixers! – but if you have a paddle, use it), set on low speed, mix yeast with milk until dissolved.

Add 1 cup flour and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 minutes. This is the “starter.” Transfer starter to a lightly greased bowl, cover with greased plastic, and let rest for 40 minutes at room temperature.

In an electric mixer with paddle and set on low speed, mix remaining 3 cups of flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, lemon zest and vanilla seeds. With motor running, pour in 1 cup (not 2!) melted butter. Mix on slow for 1 minute, then add egg yolk. Mix until liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute more.

Divide starter dough into 3 pieces. Add starter to mixture in bowl, 1 piece at a time, mixing on slow until each addition is thoroughly combined, 2 to 3 minutes after each addition. After starter is absorbed, mix dough on a medium speed until glossy, 4 to 5 minutes. As I mentioned above, my dough never reached this point. It was a crumbly mess – so I turned it out onto a board and kneaded it until it became softer and a little glossier.

Add almonds, candied ginger and citrus peel if using, and mix on slow until combined, 2 to 3 minutes. Add raisins, cherries, and rum and mix on slow until combined, 2 to 3 minutes more (or knead by hand).

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until fruit and nuts are inside dough rather than stuck on surface, and dough is smooth and glossy, about 5 minutes. Place dough in a medium bowl and cover with plastic. Rest for 1 hour to let rise slightly. Then knead it once or twice, cover with plastic and let rest for another hour.

Divide into 2 equal pieces and shape each into an oval loaf about 8 inches long. Stack 2 rimmed baking sheets on top of each other, lining top pan with parchment. Place loaves on doubled pans and cover with plastic. Allow loaves to rest 1 more hour at room temperature.

By this time, I ran out of time. If you run out of time too – just refrigerate the dough after the final rest. You can bring it to room temperature and bake it the next day.

Tomorrow – we’ll bake the bread. But don’t get too excited, you will still have to wait several days before consuming.

This last weekend, I embarked on a holiday cooking adventure — I started a six-day project (seven-day if you count the day I bought the ingredients) baking a holiday treat that my mom would not make for me because it was too much of a pain.  This is holiday stollen, a dense, German fruitcake flavored with cardamom, rum, and lots of dried fruit and slivered almonds.

I’d never had a fruit cake I liked until this. Two years ago I saw it featured in the New York Times and knew I wanted to try it. My mom usually takes requests for her holiday baking, and my sister, brother and I each get to choose a treat for her to make. Michael, before his tastes matured, used to request the slice-and-bake Pillsbury sugar cookies. Now he requests peanut butter cookies filled with a mini peanut butter cup. Kristen chooses peanut clusters (right?). That year I chose the stollen. My mom agreed to make it, not realizing what a pain it would be at the time. It was delicious, but I didn’t really appreciate it and all of its complexity. Since then I’ve been baking significantly more and now realize the time and work (and love) my mom put into that holiday bread – just for me.

This year – I found myself craving stollen, so I asked my mom to make it. She said, “Hell no,” or something akin to that. I decided to embark on the culinary adventure myself.

So – in the next several days, I’m going to post pieces of the recipe. In six days, you will have the whole thing. And stay tuned, because I ended up averting what could have been a disaster last weekend.

For those of you that can’t wait 6 days, here’s a link to the original New York Times article. Melissa Clark, one of my favorite recipe-authors, wrote the article and adapted the recipe, so you know it’s going to be good, if you have the patience.

Day One: “Holiday Stollen” by Melissa Clark

For planning purposes, I’m posting all of the ingredients here. For those of you in Louisville, you can find find all of the nuts, dried fruit, vanilla beans, and candied ginger (as well as any of the spices and flours you might need), at Nuts n Stuff.

2/3 c. black raisins

2/3 c. golden raisins

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/3 c. dark rum

1 c. slivered almonds, lightly toasted

1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)

1/2 c. milk, at room temperature

4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. plus 3 T. sugar

2 3/4 t. ground ginger

1 t. kosher salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cardamom

1 t. freshly grated nutmeg

1 t. freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved

2 c. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, divided

1 large egg yolk

1/2 c. chopped candied ginger

1/2 c. mixed candied citrus peel (optional, you could omit this and use one cup of the candied ginger)

2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

The day before baking, make sure you have all of your ingredients. And pick a day for baking that you have at least 6 hours to spare.

The night before, mix raisins, cherries and rum in a small container. Mix almonds with 1/4 cup water in another container. Cover both and let sit overnight at room temperature.

That’s it! Now get some rest, you have a big day ahead of you tomorrow.

When I saw my family in Indiana over Thanksgiving, my mom brought an early Christmas present for me… a new cast iron skillet. I was thrilled and eager to use it. I was also eager (with Chris’s constant prodding) to start clearing out our freezer of the CSA meat shares we had piling up. This is a warm, one-skillet, stove-top to oven meal perfect for busy and chilly/cold pre-holiday nights. It comes together quickly, tastes great, and makes great leftovers.

It does contain a potentially contentious ingredient – anchovies. The first time I ever had anchovies, besides in Caesar salad dressing, was on a cheap take-out pizza during a history seminar in college. I accidentally picked up a piece of the fishy-speckled pizza, thinking it was cheese. The anchovies were buried beneath. The first time to have anchovies is probably not on a cheap, take-out pizza. I’m not one to be picky, and tend to be adventurous when it comes to food, but this was gross.

Then I started appreciating them more as I read more about cooking that included anchovies. I think my first adventure in cooking them was adding them to a pasta sauce of broccoli and Parmesan. The anchovies dissolve in the sauce, creating a salty bite. They added the same when they dissolve into this simple sauce of rosemary, tomatoes, red onions and garlic.

The original recipe says it serves two, but Chris and I had it for dinner along with a salad and again for dinner the next night.

braised pork chops with tomatoes and rosemary (and anchovies), from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by Melissa Clark

serves 2 for dinner with leftovers

2 thick bone-in pork loin chops (about 1 1/2 pounds total)

kosher salt

ground black pepper

1 T. extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

3 large rosemary sprigs

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

6 anchovy fillets

Polenta, pasta, or rice for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper. In a large, ovenproof skillet, like a cast iron skillet, over medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon oil. Sear chops until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes each side Transfer to a plate.

Add onions and rosemary to the skillet and saute until onions are golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Add anchovies, additional salt and pepper, and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to break down, about 8 minutes.

Add pork chops to skillet, covering with the sauce.

Cover skillet with a lid or tightly with foil and transfer to oven to bake until a thermometer inserted into center of meat reads 145 degrees, about 15 minutes. Allow chops to rest for 5 minutes in pan. Serve with polenta, noodles or rice to soak up sauce. I served it with polenta which was a nice, quick side dish.

turnip casserole

After a tumultuous November, I’m trying to settle back into a somewhat normal work and life routine. This means catching up on my growing stack of papers at work, and the growing supply of hearty CSA vegetables at home. I say “hearty” because these are the vegetables I chose not to cook during particularly busy weeks, opting to first cook the more perishable veggies, like kale and mustard greens.

Because of this logic, I now have four large winter squash sitting on my counter, and I had a produce drawer full of turnips, some shriveled, some still cookable.

I set out to use the turnips, because they were shriveling faster than the almost forever-lasting squash. I think I’ve talked before about how I can fall into cooking and cookbook ruts. Last Christmas, my cohabitant’s mother gave me a wonderful gift basket full of goods from New Orleans and Louisiana, including spices, beignet mix, and Tabasco. The overflowing basket also included the cookbook Crescent City Famers Market Cookbook, by Poppy Tooker. It’s full of Cajun and Creole-inspired recipes with a fresh, seasonal spin. I’ve looked through it before, but kept turning to my “usual” cookbooks for meals. I had yet to make anything from it until this week, and I’m sorry I waited so long.

Before the CSA, I rarely purchased and cooked turnips. I think I once made a roast chicken with roasted turnips, potatoes, and rutabaga. I also braised them with other root vegetables once. I was looking for a way to use up all my turnips in a substantial, main-dinner-dish kind of way. Then I found this recipe from the above-mentioned cookbook. It combined cooked turnips with a flavorful, cheesy white sauce, and topped with breadcrumbs. It sounded great.

And it was. Warm, filling, and healthful. I used low-fat milk and a moderate amount of cheese. This is a great meatless main-dish recipe to make if you are drowning in turnips, or want a new way to try them.

turnips casserole, from Crescent City Famers Market Cookbook, by Poppy Tooker

Serves about 6 as a light main dish

1 1/2 lbs. turnips, peeled and thinly sliced

2 T. butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1/3 c. chopped celery (about 1 stalk)

3 T. flour

1 1/4 c. milk

1/2 c. grated sharp cheddar

1/4 c. grated Asiago

salt and pepper

3 T. fresh bread crumbs

creole seasoning, like Tony Chachere’s

First, cook your turnips. Place them in  a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender – mine took about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

If you haven’t grated the cheese, do that while the turnips are cooking. You can chop up the other vegetables during this time too if you haven’t yet done that.

Preheat the oven to 400. In the same pot you used to cook the turnips, heat the butter. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery. Saute until tender. Sprinkle with flour and stir to blend. Cook for about 2 minutes.

While stirring, add the milk. Cook and continue to stir until the mixture thickens. Stir in cheese and some salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir until smooth.

Add the drained turnips to the cheese sauce in the pot and stir to combine. Then put mixture into a greased baking dish and top with bread crumbs and some shakes/sprinkles of creole seasoning. Cook until browned and bubble – about 15 minutes.

As my readers know, I am passionate about cooking delicious, (sometimes) healthy food. But when it comes to expressing that passion on a blog, sometimes life gets in the way.

A busy workload in October, which included a trip to Baltimore, culminated in the deadline for a major project in November. Then I got word that my grandmother’s death was imminent, and I rushed home to Iowa to be with her during her final days. While my amazing, dedicated, and hard-working coworkers picking up the slack, I was able to focus on my family during a difficult week.

Suffice to say, tending to the blog has been the last thing on my mind. Of course, ignoring one’s blog violates the cardinal rule of blogging.

I figure I’ll start back with a simple classic — chocolate chip cookies. What is it about chocolate chip cookies? They are so comforting and wonderful and there are as many variations as there are personal tastes. After my Nanny died, my mom’s three cousins brought over a lasagna dinner, which included homemade chocolate chips cookies (in addition to salad, bread, and huge pans of lasagna). These cookies were amazing. They were pale in color and crisp, without being hard. They were also thick, without being too dry or cake-like. That evening I asked the cousin for the recipe. She said she uses the traditional, Nestle Toll House recipe, but ups the amount of baking soda and swaps Crisco for the butter.

After the Thanksgiving festivities, Chris and I returned to Louisville Thursday night, and deciding we did not indulge enough in turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, I decided to try the tweaked recipe for the cookies.

They were good, but did not have the same thick, dense, but not too-dense consistency I remembered. They were thinner, like the batter may have been thinner from the start. Next time, I’ll try adding a little more flour and will report back.

Thanks for sticking with me through this.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup Crisco, vegetable shortening

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I actually used Ghirardelli chocolate chips instead of Nestle)

1 cup chopped pecans (nuts are optional, could also use walnuts or another nut of your choice)

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually beat in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by overflowing tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets.Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

I’m by no means an expert baker. I consider myself more of a cook than a baker. I know people who swear they can’t cook but can bake up a storm – and vice versa. While I think I’m capable of both, pie crusts, in particular, intimidate me.

My mom rarely made pies when I was growing up. While I learned much about cooking (and the subsequent cleaning!) from her, I made my first pie under the watchful eye of my grandmother, who was known for her blueberry pies. Using an all-Crisco crust, she baked the crust first. Then added a cooked mixture of blueberries, sugar, and cornstarch. It was a simple combination that consistently led to the best blueberry pie I’ve ever had. It was a staple during my summer visits to my grandparents’ farm in Indiana. I was probably 11 or 12 when my grandmother showed me how to make the pie. Sadly, I’ve never made it since.

This recipe is nothing like my grandmothers, but it still results in a tasty, seasonable pie with a delicious crust – that I MADE. The pie here, from Melissa Clark, originally calls for all pears. I only had a few pears though, so I added some frozen blueberries to my CSA pears to bulk up the fruit filling.

The crust is the real star here – a rich, flavorful crust made of almond paste, butter, and flour is the perfect vehicle for fresh, seasonable pears. While the final result doesn’t look that pretty and was a little burnt, it still tasted pretty great. Although this was not an all-crisco, simple crust, I think my grandmother would have been proud.

Pear-Almond Pie with Blueberries, from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite from Melissa Clark

For the crust

1/2 c. plus 2 T. almond paste (availabe in small cans in the baking aisle of your grocery store)

1/2 c. plus 1 T. unsalted butter

1/4 t. kosher salt

1 large egg yolk

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

For the filling

3 pears (Ms. Clark specifies Bartlett)

1 c. or so of blueberries (frozen are fine)

juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 T.)

1 T. cornstarch

1 T. sugar

1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. ground clovers

1/4 t. ginger

1/4 c. sliced almonds

cream or half and half for brushing the crust

First, make the crust. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a food processor, cream together the almond paste, butter, and salt until smooth, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the yolk and combine. Mix in the flour on slow speed in three additions , until just combined. Turn the dough onto a board and press into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Once the dough has chilled, remove from the refrigerator and allow to sit while you make the filling – allowing for easier roll out.

To make the filling, combine the pears, blueberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, sugar, and spices in a large bowl. Allow to sit while you roll out the dough.

Place the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll out into a 1/4-in. thick round. Line a 9-in. pie pan. there should be about an inch of dough hanging off the sides. Scrape the filling into the pie and pan and sprinkle with almonds. Fold the overhang over the filling. Place the pie in the refrigerator to chill while the oven heats.

Preheat the oven to 375. Brush the top of the crust with heavy cream or half and half and sprinkle with sugar if you’d like. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the edes of the pie are gold and brown and the fruit is tender.

While the pie is baking, make sure to check on it to ensure the crust doesn’t brown too quickly. If it starts to brown too quickly after about 20 minutes or so, cover the crust with foil and allow to continue baking.

My crust definitely browned too quickly. It was still delicious – but would have been even better if I had covered it with foil sooner.


firecracker red beans

So much for  reporting all my cooking adventures with the weekly CSA bounty. Time has clearly gotten away from me – which is my excuse for neglecting my blog. I haven’t stopped cooking – but I have stopped regularly taking pictures every step of the way.

In the last few weeks, we entertained Chris’s parents, I visited dear friends for a lovely wedding in Massachusetts, stopped drinking coffee, became hooked on the Hunger Games, etc., etc. I’ve also been cooking.

One of the things in my backlog of recipes may sound strange. The list of ingedients certainly looks all-over-the-place. Onion, ginger and garlic – great, standard. Thyme and fennel… still ok, but with ginger? Mustard and ketchup? Vermouth? Almond butter and brown sugar? It’s like the recipe doesn’t exactly know what flavor profile it’s going for.

However, the author is Mollie Katzen. And I had just about everything in my pantry/ refrigerator. It was a recipe for cheap meal that didn’t require any produce – which was actually a good thing because I’ve been using everything up quickly – that promised to reheat well. And I trust Ms. Katzen… and I’m so happy I did.

The final dish doesn’t look very pretty (Chris said it looked like something partiuclarly unappetizing) but the strange mix of ingredients all meld to create an enticing dish that I found myself craving throughout the week. It was delicious. Sweet, spicy, creamy and nutty… It would be a great think to make with the promise of fall in the air, if you are a little brave.

Also – the recipe list may look long – but a lot of the things are pretty standard spices.

If you don’t trust me, just trust Mollie Katzen.

“Firecracker Red Beans” from Vegetable Heaven, by Mollie Katzen

2 T. olive oile

3 c. minced onion

2 T. minced fresh ginger

2 t. fennel seeds

2 T. minced garlic

1/2 t. allspice

1 t. dried thyme

1 1/2 to 2 t. salt

1 c. dry sherry or vermouth

2 T. prepared mustard (this means the yellow kind)

1/4 c. ketchup

1 t. minced chipotle chiles

1 c. water

1/4 c. almond butter

2 T. brown sugar

1/2 boiling water

About 6 cups cooked small red beans or kidney beans (if using dried, be sure to cook them ahead of time, or use 4 15-oz cans of beans, rinsed well and drained)

wedges of lime

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or a Dutch oven. When it is hot, add the onion, ginger and fennel seeds, and saute over strong heat for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic, allspice, thyme and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat.

Stir in the sherry or vermouth, mustard, ketchup, minced chipotle and 2 cups water. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Place the almond butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the 2/3 cup boiling water, and mash with a spoon until the mixture becomes uniform. Stir this mixture into the sauce, and cook uncovered over low heat for about 5 minutes.

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the beans in a 9- by 13-inch baking dish (or an equivalent casserole) and pour in all the sauce. Cover tightly with foil, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, still tightly covered, so the beans can continue to absorb the liquid. Serve hot or warm, with rice.

Makes 6 servings

blueberry buckle

If you are looking for the perfect coffee cake to serve to  company for breakfast, look no further. This is it.

As I’ve chronicled before, I love egg-y, savory breakfasts, but my frequent dining companion/roommate/cheese-grater extraordinaire/ beloved doesn’t do eggs. Sometimes coffee cake or pastry-filled breakfasts don’t seem filling enough to me. This hearty, yet-light and fluffy, and utterly flavorful and tasty coffee is filling and goes great with plain or vanilla yogurt. You can make it the night before (important in my mind, if you are serving guests for breakfast), and contains whole grain flours. Plus, it has lots of blueberries. It is fantastic. Oh! It reheats well too and keeps for a couple of days in the refrigerator.

So you really don’t have any reason not to try it.

It will probably come as no surprise that this recipe is from Kim Boyce’s lovely book, Good to the Grain. My mom once told me that you only need to find one great recipe from a cookbook to make it a keeper. This buckle, in addition to soft rye pretzels, ginger peach muffins, and two things I still need to blog – whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and double chocolate cookies… this book is well worth purchasing.

A note on the flours: The original recipe calls for whole-grain pastry flour. I used regular whole wheat flour with no ill-effects. You can find the spelt flour in the health or natural foods section of most grocery stores, or for my local Louisville readers, you can find the spelt flour at Nuts n Stuff,

I hope you enjoy this coffee cake as much my family and friends (and I!) have recently.

“(Blueberry) Huckle Buckle” from Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce

Streusel Topping

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1/2 c. spelt flour

3 T. sugar

1 T. dark brown sugar

1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. kosher salt

3 T. cold unsalted butter

1 egg

Dry Mix

1 1/4 c. spelt flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1/2 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

1 t. cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

Wet Mix

3/4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. plain yogurt

4 egg yolks

2 t. vanilla extract

2 c. or so blueberries

Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a 2 1/2 qt. baking dish.

For the streusel topping: mix flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Cut the 3 tablespoons of cold butter in 1/4” chunks and add them to the mix. Press and rub the mix with your hands breaking the butter in to small bits. Continue until the mix is like cornmeal. Do this quickly.

Whisk the egg and use a spatula to scrape it into the streusel mix. Use your hands to mix the egg in. Squeeze handfuls of dough together. The topping should hazelnut-sized clumps with smaller crumbs mixed in. Set aside.

For the Batter

Mix all the dry mix ingredients into a large bowl and whisk. Add the softened butter and using a hand or a stand mixer, blend on medium speed until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg yolks and vanilla until well blended.

Pour the milk mixture in with the dry ingredients and blend on low speed until the batter is smooth and creamy.

Pour half of the batter in to your buttered baking dish. Pour a layer of berries onto the batter. Scrape the rest of the batter onto the berries and spread evenly. Sprinkle the rest of the berries on top of the batter and top with the streusel mix. At this point, you can cover the dish and refrigerate overnight.

Bake for 55 to 65 minutes. If the dish was refrigerated overnight, it might take up to 80 minutes to bake. Test with a skewer and make sure it comes out clean.

Let the Buckle cool in the pan before serving.