It's back to school for a lot of my neighbors, clients, friends, and even hubby is back to school this coming week. Another year of grad school; let's just throw another $15K to the ever-growing pile of debt shall we? Seems like we'll be paying student loans for the rest of our lives: mine and his. And now we're buying our first home...are we crazy? No, we're just like every other person on this planet living and breathing debt.
But the good side to back to school is the fact that Fall is just around the corner. I love Fall. It's my favorite time of year in New England. I'm from California, so my favorite season there is summer, but summers for me are rough in New England as the humidity just melts me. :::zap::: energy gone. With the oncoming of Fall means it's time to really start baking and I love that. Something about baking in a kitchen with the smells of cinnamon, fragrant hearty stews, buttery crusty pies, even warming apple cider in kettle are all smells that remind me of the crisp cool refreshing aires of Fall. I love to have my kitchen window open slightly to feel that crisp cool air blowing in mixing with the aromatic smell of what's cooking. (my neighbors love the smells of my cooking too!). Even at night I love to sleep with a window slightly open to feel the slightly chilly air brush across my face as I drift off to sleep in my cocoon of comforters.
To me the beginning of back to school means peanut butter and jelly. I can't remember the last time I had crumb cake, but I wanted to experiment and make a PB & J crumb cake for the longest time. It came out pretty good. It's really rich, a lot of that has to do with the thick peanut buttery crumb topping. I would love to hear from you on what meals remind you of Fall and what are you excited to bake/cook/experiment with this coming Fall season?
peanut butter & jelly crumb cake
recipe by dawn finicane
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 cup crunchy peanut butter, room temp. (not natural)
for jam drizzle:
1 jar of strawberry or raspberry jam/jelly (I used raspberry: seedless)
Confectioners’ sugar for decoration (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour an 8x8 square baking pan.
In a large bowl mix the flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using a mixer (or by hand), beat in the softened butter until mixture resembles wet sand. No large lumps. If using a mixer, do not over beat. Remove between ¾ - 1 cup of the mixture to a medium bowl and set aside. (I did about a cup since I wanted a lot of crumb topping and thin cake; just like a crumb cake).
With the remaining mixture add in the buttermilk and egg, mix well. Then pour into the greased pan, spreading evenly. There is not a lot of batter; it does rise when baking so don’t worry. Take the remaining flour mixture that was set aside and add the cup of peanut butter to it. Recipe by dawn finicane of vanillakitchen.blogspot.com Mix until you have a nice, almost dry crumbly mix.
Then drop or crumble large chunks of this onto the cake. Do not press the crumbs into the batter; just let them sit on top.
Bake for about 30 -35 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. While cake bakes make the jelly reduction. Take a small jar of strawberry or raspberry jam/jelly, and let gently melt in saucepan over low heat. Do not boil. To make the reduction slightly thicker add a bit of cornstarch (a TB or so). But you shouldn’t need to do this as after it’s melted it does thicken a bit.
When slightly cooled drizzle cake with the melted jam. Then dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.