Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

George Hirsch Muffin Mondays

Would you like a bite of old-fashioned-style cake that is equally as good for a morning coffee break, mid-day snack and even dessert? If so, then this is it. 

What I really like about this coffee cake recipe is it isn't overly sweet. I created this recipe using all purpose flour, not cake flour, which makes a denser crumb with nice texture. The dairy mix of sour cream, yogurt, and milk is a harmonious trifecta in achieving a light and flavorful addition to every slice. Use good fresh eggs + butter and you'll have a hit. 

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

 chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes about 18 muffins

For the Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

6 Tablespoons sweet butter, softened

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Place the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl and crumble together with your fingers until it forms a crumb mixture. Add in the nuts. Reserve and mix muffin batter.

For the Cake:

1/2 cup sweet butter, one stick softened 

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (175 degrees C). Note: If using a dark colored muffin pan, reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Dark colored pans absorb more heat while baking in the oven and become hotter and carry heat faster than light colored pans. 

Cream together the butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Mix in eggs, vanilla and orange zest, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, yogurt and milk together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately in three stages with the sour cream, yogurt, and milk mixture; stirring and scraping the bowl with spatula after each addition. Mix until just blended. Do not over mix.

Add half the batter into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with half the topping mixture. With the back of butter knife swirl the batter slightly to mix the crumb mixture slightly into the bottom of muffin cups. 3/4 filled. Add remaining batter, then the crumb topping and bake.

Bake muffins in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins tests done. Cool for 15-20 minutes, and then remove muffins from pan. 

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Piri-piri

George Hirsch Know Your Fire Fridays

I can’t think of anything better than this sauce for this week's Know Your Fire Friday. Yes you will still be lighting the grill - this is just a different kind of heat to top your grilled foods with.

Piri-piri is a Portuguese name of Brazilian origin for the African bird's eye chili. Piri-piri sauce is made by soaking dried or fresh chili’s in lemon and vinegar to make a condiment much like the Argentine chimichurri, but only with a really fiery kick. When using fresh and very ripened red chilies - you'll know they are ready to pick when the ends of pepper point straight up. 

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A piri-piri sauce is a robust topping when used on seafood and fried fish. But you don’t have to stop there, you can also use on beef, lamb and poultry. Also, this piri-piri sauce can be added to marinades for a little extra kick. Below is a basic version, but experiment by adding a Tablespoon of coconut, coconut milk, cream, ginger and Thai basil for a Far East style. Or, you may add ketchup, brown sugar and extra vinegar for southern flavored heat.  

Using a food processor, add about 4-5 (more or less depends on your fire wish) chilies that have been roughly chopped (suggestion: use gloves), 6 peeled garlic cloves, 1/4 cup mixed cilantro and flat leaf parsley, juice of 2 lemons, 1 Tablespoon white vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sugar, pinch of sea salt and puree 30 seconds or until smooth. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil until blended. Pour sauce into a glass or ceramic container. Use a drop or two at a time until you’ve mastered the fire. Sauce will keep for 2-3 weeks in fridge. 

You can add a few drops of piri-piri sauce to these recipes:

Sword Fish Skewers

Chicken Tikka

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Summer Time Whoopie

The whoopie pie aka black moon, gob, black-and-white, bob, or the round Devil Dog borders on a cookie, cake and pie. My recipe for a Summer Time Whoopie Pie with grilled pineapple Piña Colada version is worth all the steps. How can you go wrong with chocolate pastry sandwiching a grilled rum infused pineapple in coconut cream? 

Summer Time Piña Colada Whoopie Pies

Make 15 small Dessert Burgers

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

For Grilled Pineapple

1 ripe Pineapple

2 Tablespoons Brown sugar

¼ cup Dark Rum, such as Myers

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 Tablespoon mint, chopped

Cut off top, bottom, peel outside skin of a ripe pineapple. Cut horizontally into 1/2-inch slices, remove center core. Pour marinade over top of pineapple for 3-4 hours prior to grilling.

Remove pineapple from marinade. Grill at medium-high temperature for 2 to 3 minutes basting on each side with marinade. Remove and cool.

Chocolate Pies/Cookies

Makes 30 small cookies to make 15 whoopee pies

3½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1¼ teaspoons baking powder

1¼ teaspoons baking soda

¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Valrhona)

½ cup good strong warm coffee

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

¾ cup canola oil

1 large egg, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk, *or ½ cup milk with 1/4 teaspoon vinegar

2 Tablespoons Shredded coconut, lightly toasted

*Add white vinegar to milk to make the buttermilk. Allow to sit 5 minutes to sour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside. 

In another large bowl, mix the cocoa powder and brown sugar. Add warm coffee and whisk until completely dissolved. Add oil, egg, vanilla, and buttermilk and whisk until smooth. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as you fold.

Use a small ice cream scoop to drop a heaping tablespoon of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. 

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes  until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and can be lifted off the; use caution not to over bake. Let the cookies cool completely before removing from the pan.

Piña Colada Filling:

5 large egg whites

1½ cups sugar

2 cups (4 sticks) sweet butter, room temperature cut into ½-inch cubes

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure coconut extract 

Whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a medium bowl. Set the bowl over a double boiler with simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky-white, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment and start slowly at first, beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add salt and coconut flavoring; then the cubed butter. Starting slowly at first, beat on medium-high speed until filling is light and creamy, about 5 minutes. 

Chef George Hirsch Grilled Piña Colada Whoopie Pies

To assemble Summer Piña Colada Whoopie Pies:

Turn half the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up). With a pastry bag or spoon, drop a teaspoon of Piña Colada icing onto the flat side of the cookie. Top with grilled pineapple, a teaspoon of Piña Colada icing on top, and sprinkle a small amount of coconut on top. 

Place the cookie with the flat side down, on top of the filled bottom. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the pies. Repeat until all the pies are used. Put the assembled pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up icing before serving.

Allow the Piña Colada Whoopie Pies to adjust to room temperature before serving.

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Chill Out

Chef George Hirsch Heirloom Tomato Salad

The entire country is feeling the summer heat. Keep it cool today with salads fresh from the garden!

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Rosé Peach Pie

Fresh peaches as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

George Hirsch's Rosé Peach Pie

Makes 8 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 recipe pastry for George’s Favorite 3, 2, 1 Pie Crust, see below

George Hirsch Lifestyle Peach Pie

There are three main ingredients in a Pate Brisee, basic pie crust: 3 parts flour, 2 parts fat and 1 part liquid. 

Flour forms the structure of the crust, fat adds flavor and a flaky texture while the liquid binds the dough. 

Chill the fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or lard) and liquids (milk or water) before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. Next, mix the flour, cut the chilled fat into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The resulting mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the flour is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork after each addition. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of fat into the flour, as a crust without lumps of fat will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will affect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two equal parts. Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

To make the pie shell:
Dust a clean, dry surface with flour; caution to not use too much flour or you will dry out the crust. Remove and unwrap one of the discs of dough from the refrigerator. Flatten the dough slightly with your hands and dust the dough lightly with flour before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards.

Working quickly, roll the dough into a circle a quarter inch thick. The size of the dough round should be wider in diameter than your pie pan; the amount will vary depending upon the depth of your pie plate. Use a dry pastry brush to sweep away any excess flour.

Gently roll the dough around the rolling pin and roll it out, over the pie plate. Without stretching the dough, press the pastry firmly into the pan and trim any excess dough from the edge. Leave a one-inch overhang to make a decorative fluted edge or trim it to a half-inch if you're adding a top crust. If the dough cracks a little during this process, press it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with a bit of dough from the outer edges.

Place filling in bottom crust, unwrap the second ball of dough. Repeat the above step to roll out the pie dough. Brush the bottom pie dough around the edges lightly with water to seal the edges of crust. Lay the top piece of pie dough carefully over the filled pie. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the lower crust and press together lightly. Using the rim of the pie plate as a guide, create a fluted edge with your fingers or the back of a fork. 

For the peach pie, cut a small hole to vent the top allowing excess steam to escape during baking. Brush the surface with egg wash; made of one egg and one teaspoon of water and bake as directed.

George Hirsch Rosé Peach Pie

This recipe made with butter will result in a lighter and more flavorful crust. 

George’s Favorite Pie Crust Recipe
Makes one pie or two bottom crusts

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold milk

Chill the butter and milk before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. 

Next, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie crust in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the milk is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of butter into the flour. A crust without lumps of butter will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will effect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two equal parts. Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

George Hirsch's Rosé Peach Pie

To Make Peach Filling with Rosé Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan add, 3/4 bottle Rosé wine, ¼ cup pure cane granulated sugar. Simmer and reduce to about 1 cup. Chill. Pour rosé reduction over 8 sliced peaches and marinate overnight covered in refrigerator. 

Drain the rosé simple syrup after the 8 sliced peaches have marinated in rosé overnight. *Reserve the peach flavored rosé syrup. Add the additional 2 sliced peaches.

8 medium size fresh ripe peaches, cut into 1 inch slices 

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 medium size fresh ripe peaches, cut into 1 inch slices

½ cup cake crumbs, use pound cake, or sponge cake, etc.

Mix flour and brown sugar together, add to peaches and toss until fully combined. 

Roll out pie dough and place the bottom in a 9 inch pie pan. Cover bottom with cake crumbs. 

Fill with peaches, mounded slightly. Roll out top pie dough, cover with a top crust or a lattice crust. To add a richer color to a double-crust or lattice-topped pie, brush the top crust with an egg wash (1 egg beaten with teaspoon of water) before baking. Refrigerate peach pie before baking for 1 hour to slightly chill dough.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Bake directly on oven rack, do not use a sheet pan. After 15 minutes at 425 degrees F, reduce temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking for 30 additional minutes or until done. To test doneness, tap the edge of the crust lightly with finger, and you should hear a hollow sound. 

Chefs Note: *The drained marinated peach syrup can be added to Prosecco or club soda for the best Bellini or peach mimosa!

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