Monday, April 19, 2010


Nutritionists say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when I was a teenager, I balked a breakfast like a filly approaching a jump. There was no amount of cajoling that would get me to eat. Eggs were slimy, cereal soggy, and pancakes, French toast and waffles set-my-teeth-on-edge sweet. My mother, the saint that she is, whisked an egg into a cup of whole milk augmented with sugar and vanilla, and she barricaded the front door until I gulped it down. Mind you, these were the days before anyone worried about cholesterol, and e. coli and salmonella poisoning had not been invented. And those were the days that no amount of food added an ounce to my skinny frame.

Today I don't need any coaxing to eat breakfast. I'm spoiled for choice. Maybe oatmeal, topped with raisins and walnuts, sweetened with brown sugar. Maybe Rice Krispies with a sliced banana. Maybe a fresh pear with a big dollop of ricotta cheese. Maybe a sliced orange sprinkled with toasted coconut and a slice of Italian toast slathered with Plugra. Maybe a hard-boiled egg with French sea salt and some thinly-sliced radishes from Saturday's Growers Market. Maybe a slab of sour cream coffee cake and a mug of caffe latte with a thick cap of foam dusted with cinnamon sugar. See what I mean? What's a girl to do when she is on sabbatical and the kitchen is open?

Here's my latest favorite coffee cake recipe. It starts with a version found in The Scholarly Chef: The University of Richmond Cooks, but I've modified it. It's buttery and decadent!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Chips
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup good quality plain yogurt
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper or a paper plate. Reserve. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually and beat until light. Add eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla. Mix sour cream and yogurt. Reserve. Add the flour to the creamed butter mixture in three portions, alternating with the sour cream and yogurt (use the waxed paper or paper plate to make a funnel to pour the flour into the mixing bowl). Pour half of batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon chips. Top with remaining batter and smooth. Combine topping ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle topping over cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. You get to decide how many servings!

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It's certainly the most versatile.

Bon App├ętit!

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