Sour Cream–Applesauce Coffee Cake or Muffins

Use store-bought or upgrade to scratch-made ingredients in this streamlined recipe. Learn to make Sour Cream–Applesauce Coffee Cake or Muffins. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
I offered up a streamlined version of one of my favorite coffee cakes in my Twice as Tasty column this week for the Flathead Beacon. The simplified recipe is easy to make with store-bought ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your kitchen. It’s also easy to pour the batter into a muffin pan and bake it into muffins.

Both shapes have their pluses and minuses. It’s attractive as a coffee cake for a group brunch, especially if you bake it in a springform pan, which makes it easy to release and shows off the streusel layers as you cut and serve it at the table. But that shape may be less ideal for an outdoor gathering or if the coffee cake will be eaten over several days at home. That’s when muffins make sense: They’re more informal but easy to eat on the go and keep well in the fridge or freezer. With either shape, you can upgrade my streamlined recipe by using scratch-made ingredients, like Homemade Sour Cream.
Learn to make Sour Cream–Applesauce Coffee Cake or Muffins

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Biscotti

Biscotti pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. Get biscotti recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
At some point in my childhood, my mom started making biscotti at Christmas. As a kid, it was low on my priority list—there were so many other, sweeter cookies in the house. But even though my mom was the household’s master baker, my dad, sister, and I ate most of her creations before she had a chance to enjoy them with a cup of tea and a good book. She probably made biscotti because we tended to leave it for her.

Now that I’m older, I’ve come to appreciate these twice-baked cookies. They pair well with tea, coffee, or even an evening alcoholic sipper. When I traveled in Italy, I ate them with straight espresso and once with a dry Italian dessert wine I assumed was a type of sherry but later discovered was called vin santo (holy wine). The Italians are biscotti masters, traditionally flavoring them with almonds. But the technique works with many flavors, from nuts and dried fruit to my mom’s favorite gingerbread biscotti. And because they’re so dry, they can be stored a long time, making them ideal for sending to others.
Learn to make my Biscotti Master Recipe and several flavors

Oatmeal Cookies

I think oatmeal cookie should pack as much flavor as possible into each bite. Get cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Have you ever eaten an oatmeal cookie that tastes like overly sweet yet bland hot cereal? I have. So when I set out to create oatmeal cookie recipes, I wanted to pack as much flavor as possible into each bite. If the ingredient lists for this week’s recipes seem long, it’s intentional: Good cookies contain layers of flavors and textures.

I started by thinking about how to bring out the best flavor from the rolled oats. As I’ve shared elsewhere, I’ve never been a fan of plain oatmeal and instead mix several grains into my hot cereal and granola blends. But cookies bake so quickly that some grains don’t have time to soften. So I stuck with rolled oats (never instant) and used browned butter to boost the nutty flavor of the cookies—all without actually adding nuts.

Several blends build on this base layer of flavor and texture. Blending white and whole-wheat flours balances the oat flakes. Using baking soda and baking powder gives cookies Goldilocks cred—not too flat, not too tall. Blending spices or using smoky salt deepens their flavor. Finally, combining sweeteners enhances flavor and hits the happy medium between too chewy and too crispy.

If you have a cookie craving and limited supplies, you can replace these blends with all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon and regular salt, and white sugar. If you’re in a rush, just cream room-temperature butter instead of browning it. Try simplifying each recipe sometime as an experiment: You’ll still make cookies, but they’ll taste a little one-dimensional.
Learn to make Smoky Oatmeal–Cranberry Cookies and Oatmeal–Pumpkin Cookies

Coffee Cake

The name “coffee cake” says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it before 10 am. Get coffee cake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Because I tend to enjoy sweet things more for breakfast than after-dinner dessert, coffee cake has always been high on my list. The name says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it in the morning.

Although the sugar and fat in granola and muffin recipes might be scaled down or up to make them healthier or more like candy or cupcakes, coffee cakes tend to be both sweet and buttery. They have far more sugar than your standard “sweet” breakfast fare, from a pinch in crepes, to molasses-sweetened Gingerbread Pancakes, to a few tablespoons in scones. So I save my longtime coffee cake favorites for special occasions, tweaking them where I can to cut back on the richness but mostly just enjoying every bite.

Learn to make Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake and Big Berry Coffee Cake