it is holiday season and time for special breakfast treats.  during the months of November and December, i seem to try more breakfast and brunch recipes than any other time of the year.  i think the cold weather encourages comfort food, starting with the first meal of the day.

this recipe can actually be used year-round and it perfect to take on a picnic.  a variety of chopped nuts could be used.  the printed recipe calls for walnuts, although i substituted pecans without any change in outcome.

to make the coffee cake:

preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  spray an 8 inch square or round cake pan with cooking oil.  in a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour with one cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

mix and make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  in another bowl, mix 1 cup applesauce, 1/2 cup whole milk or fat-free half and half, 2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter, 1 large egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  combine the two mixtures together until well blended.  pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.

during the baking time, mix the topping ingredients.  about 1/3 cup of chopped nuts, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  when the cake is done, remove from the oven and while it is still warm, sprinkle the nut topping over the cake.

cool the cake before cutting.


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