Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

Happy Baking Ya'll!

Banana’s Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffin

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Coffee Crumb Bake Muffin

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As I was reviewing this weeks assigned baking recipe, I was also planning my vacation to New Orleans; Funny how sometimes Kismet happens to effect my creative culinary juices…

The brilliant concept Rose has in this recipe is to create Large Texas Size Muffins by using a large 6 count muffin tin and slicing cored apples 1/8th inch thick.  The idea was to mix some of the crumb topping into the batter in the muffin liner, and then gently press the apple slice into the batter, covering the apple completely.  Then adding more of the crumb topping..

…Like I said, Brilliant.

Please see the recipe for specific details:

 

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Well, as I pondered my trip to New Orleans, I made lunch reservations at John Besh’s Restaurant August and also for another day, I made dinner reservations at Restaurant R’evolution .

I tried to also fit in one of Donald Link’s restaurants LINK Restaurant Groupspecifically  Peche for his dessert selection on his Dessert Menu, but couldn’t find a reservation on Open Table that would accommodate my schedule.   This was such an extreme disappointment as I really wanted to experience his Blueberry Pistachio Tart with Lemon Curd Blueberry Compote served with the recommended Bruit Champaign.

In my journey to discover the diversity of New Orleans [NOLA] cuisine, I fell in love with Boudin Sausage from the moment I understood Link’s take on the local favorite, of which he published in his cook book Real Cajun as My Boudin.

When I understood his parings of flavor, it literally touched my culinary soul, hugged it and stayed there a while, like a life-long friend’s embrace that

finally understood my culinary viewpoint.

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I know I digress profusely, but bear with me here as it will all make sense in just a bit as how a savory sausage in ANY way lead me to my inspiration based on Rose’s recipe at the moment I engaged with her brilliance.

I found myself, now, in a bit of a melancholy spirit as this moment took me back to my culinary school days as I had selected New Orleans for many of my research projects and specifically the recipes from John Besh from his cook book My New Orleans

JOHN BESH Cookbook COVER.place slideshow

I have SO longed to taste his handmade potato gnocchi made with fresh blue crab and black truffle since I first laid eyes on the recipe and then I actually saw him cook this dish on his cooking show on PBS.

Yes, I have of course this episode saved on TIVO as Save until I delete!

So, based on my melancholy state,  I was personally influenced quite strongly to bake a little New Orleans into this weeks recipe.

During our working finals, as chef’s one of our deliverables was to serve table side service Banana’s Foster to the guest at the Culinary Schools Restaurant. 

Being rather dramatic myself, I loved the opportunity to flambe live in front of a crowd.

So I began processing Rose’s recipe for Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins in my chef’s brain and I came up with the idea to make 3 muffins specifically as Rose has listed in her recipe but for the remaining three jumbo muffins, I would replace the tart apples with Banana’s Foster

So for three of the muffins, I used the following ingredients based loosely on the recipe from Brennan’s Restaurant who created this dish we all know today which can be found on the New Orleans Official Guide

Bananas Foster
(Serves 4)

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 4 bananas, cut in half, lengthwise, then halved
  • 4 scoops vanilla ice cream

Combine the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the rum. Continue to cook the sauce until the rum is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the rum. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place [ on a plate and cool before adding to muffin batter ]

Scaling the recipe to accommodate my desired quantity and replacing the brown sugar with Muscovado sugar and using spice rum for added flavor as well as a tequila based coffee liquor, I created my version of

Bananas Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

The Muffins will be served with a side of:

vanilla ice cream

which works well for both the apple and the banana

I so love to create…..

So we begin by weighing the Walnuts and a specific type of flavorful brown sugar

So we begin by weighing the Walnuts and a specific type of flavorful brown sugar

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So we process the nuts and mixture named so far for the crumb to a specified texture

Crumb topping has been reserved and the mixture is set in the refrigerator to allow the melted butter cool to form the crumb

Crumb topping has been reserved and the mixture is set in the refrigerator to allow the melted butter cool to form the crumb

The bananas were not the texture I wanted so I let them set over night in two brown paper bags to ripen

The bananas were not the texture I wanted so I let them set over night in two brown paper bags to ripen

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Just where I wanted them

I placed on of the large cupcake liners to give me a gauge as to what would fit in each muffin after cooking in the Carmel sauce

I placed on of the large cupcake liners to give me a gauge as to what would fit in each muffin after cooking in the Carmel sauce

The butter, specific type of brown sugar and spices were added to the cast iron skillet

The butter, specific type of brown sugar and spices were added to the cast iron skillet

The delicate bananas were added to the pan using a fish spatula

The delicate bananas were added to the pan using a fish spatula

Liquors and rum added to the mix

Liquors and rum added to the mix

The mixture was slowly brought to a nice boil to create the Rum Carmel Sauce

The mixture was slowly brought to a nice boil to create the Rum Carmel Sauce

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Delicious

Delicious

Mise en Place

Mise en Place

Sour Cream and Superfine Sugar measured

Sour Cream and Superfine Sugar measured

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Apples sliced per recipe

Apples sliced per recipe

Butter and Sour Cream added to the flour mixture

Butter and Sour Cream added to the flour mixture

Batter is incorporated

Batter is incorporated

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Batter is spooned into the liners using an ice cream scoop

Batter is spooned into the liners using an ice cream scoop

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Topped with crumb mixture and incorporated

Apples are added

Apples are added

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Bananas Foster added

Bananas Foster added

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Crumb added evenly

Crumb added evenly

Baked for specified time however I had to add 5 more minutes

Baked for specified time however I had to add 5 more minutes

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Cooled

Cooled

 

 

Happy Baking Ya'll!

Happy Baking Ya’ll!

So I had another taste tasters and the muffins were a hit

First we tried Rose’s Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins

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Next we tried the Bananas Foster Coffee Crumb Cake Muffin

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Cree’s Red Velvet Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting

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MAIN

MAIN2.

I was fortunate enough to have a client request Birthday cupcakes this week.  When the request was for Red Velvet from a client from Chicago, I knew I had to bring the South, flavor and elegance…So I turned to Rose Levy Beranbaum’s cookbooks for assistance..I pulled out my collection of Rose’s baking books and decided on Rose’s Heavenly Cakes..After further review of my client’s request and my need for a challenge, I decided to take Rose’s Red Velvet Cake recipe and turn it into cupcakes…The frosting was such a wonderful adventure as a pastry chef, baker and as a deliverable to my client’s consultation of her desires for her “BIRTHDAY” order…

So I began by reviewing and editing to exceed my client’s request.

First we weighed the butter

First we weighed the butter

The buttermilk

The egg whites

Buttermilk

Buttermilk

and welcomed the STAR of our show

and welcomed the STAR of our show

such an impressionistic experience as we bake....maybe that's why I love it

such an impressionistic experience as we bake….maybe that’s why I love it so much

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

The batter was such a brilliant experience to create

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

With a number 30 ice cream scoop, which is 1 oz, the prepared cupcake liners were filled

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes cake out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Baked until a paring knife inserted into the middle of the cupcakes come out clean and the cupcakes bounced back when touching in the center

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

Out of the oven to cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the cupcake pan

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created

After cooling, the delightful frosting is created – I saw a Greek Cream Cheese mixed with Greek Yogurt that intrigued me and I thought what a wonderful depth of flavor this would create, so I chose that.  Rose highly recommended the Green and Black’s white chocolate with Vanilla.  I was so pleased when the frosting showed specs of the vanilla bean that I jumped for joy in my kitchen – TRUE STORY

The white chocolate was measured

The white chocolate was measured

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

I find that chocolate melts best, no matter the kind, if it is first cut into a dice cut; my technique is to first cut in one direction and then the other to achieve a small dice cut for melting

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While Rose list a few options for melting the chocolate, I always opt for the microwave version as I can control the heat and end product

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My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

My client requested walnuts to top the cupcakes, and Rose has taught us that the skins are quite bitter and undesirable in a high quality pastry

In learning from Rose, I have found that the walnut skins can be very bitter and impair the quality and taste of the dessert outcome, competing with the other delicate flavors and textures.  By thoroughly removing the walnut skins, you reduce the negative quality in taste and enhance the flavors allowing them to support and compliment your dessert. Likewise, by toasting the walnuts, you are bringing the earthly, nutty quality to the dessert adding a refined, dimension of flavor.

Rose gives us guides to the temperature, timing, etc… in her baking books, however, I have developed a technique that for me works every time in removing the skins.

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins

Immediately after you toast the walnuts and directly from the oven, place the nuts in a glass container with a lid and as if you were shaking a cocktail, shake for 60 seconds, to aid in the removal of the bitter skins.  As you can see, a majority of the skins have been removed

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However, being a perfectionist, I take it a step further and gently remove the nuts from the jar onto a kitchen terry cloth tea towel – non-terry cloth tea towels do not pull the skins as well, I find…. and then rub the nuts again to remove as much of the outer skins as you possibly can

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It’s amazing at the amount of skins that still need to be removed

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Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Nuts are chopped and reserved for decoration

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

Next the cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are added to the food processor for blending and incorporation

The melted white chocolate is added

The melted white chocolate is added

and the frosting is prepared for piping

and the frosting is prepared for piping

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The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

The cupcakes are then decorated per plan

Happy Baking!

Happy Baking!