Signature Coffee Cake
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 package active dry yeast (use rapid rise for the overnight option)
1¼ cups milk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (see note)
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan.
For the topping: In medium bowl, stir brown sugar, flour and ground cinnamon. Add butter pieces and rub mixture between fingers until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.
For the batter: In large mixing bowl combine 2 cups all-purpose flour and yeast. Set aside.
In medium saucepan combine milk, butter, sugar and salt. Warm over medium heat just until butter melts and mixture feels warm to touch (110-120 degrees). Whisk until combined.
Add warm mixture and eggs to flour/yeast in large bowl and beat on low speed 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium high and beat 2½ minutes. Scrape bowl at 30 second intervals. Add remaining 1 cup flour and beat on low speed until combined. Cover and rest dough at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Spread dough into prepared pan. Evenly distribute desired fruit/nuts (see below) and sprinkle topping over all. Cover and rise until dough is doubled in size (1 hour for active dry yeast and 30 minutes for rapid rise yeast.)
Bake 30-35 minutes until evenly browned. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
For overnight rising: Before adding the toppings, cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle on fruit/nut of choice and topping and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until evenly browned.
Variations: Holiday Berry: To the batter add 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract. In a small bowl combine 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, ½ cup frozen cherries and ¼ cup dried cranberries. Omit ground cinnamon in the topping; add ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, if desired.
Blueberry Citrus: Add 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest to the milk/butter mixture and stir well while heating. Evenly distribute 1½-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries on top of dough before sprinkling with topping.
Nutty Cinnamon and Chocolate Chip: Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg to flour/yeast mixture. Increase ground cinnamon to ¾ teaspoon in the topping. Mix ¾ cup chopped nuts and ¾ cup miniature chocolate chips. Sprinkle nuts and chips on dough, then topping.
Baker's hint: Do not use salted butter; the increased salt will slow down yeast.
Nutrition values per serving for base recipe: 281 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 39 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein, 59 mg cholesterol, 59 mg sodium.