What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Health Nut Coffee Cake | TahoeDailyTribune.com

What’s Cookin’ at Callie’s Cabin: Health Nut Coffee Cake

Cal Orey

A few years ago, I took my Brittany Simon with me to a book lecture/signing up north at Chico, and after the event my gal-pal and I spent the night at a dog-friendly inn in Paradise. It boasted perks from a swimming pool and unforgettable breakfast buffet. I admit that sneaking the pooch into the no dogs allowed water after 10 p.m. and the breakfast area were the two highlights of the literary trip. And, the array of breakfast foods was nothing to shake off either. It was the coffee cake, moist with streusel topping paired with fresh fruit that I remember. I was in breakfast utopia.

On Sunday, I stopped at Starbucks at our local Safeway. While I did purchase those irresistible petite vanilla scones (these may be a challenge to duplicate) my eyes feasted on a single slice of berry coffee cake. It was a sign. It was a cue for me to hit the kitchen and make Callie’s version(s) with fresh strawberries, wholesome low-fat ingredients and crunchy nuts (with good monounsaturated fat). It was the look of the coffee cake and big berries on the cheap and displayed nicely in the produce section that sealed the deal for me. It’s the season to bake up a batch of tasty coffee cake – a mix of the old-fashioned kind made from a store-bought mix and a few 21st century healthful twists.

2 cups wheat all purpose pancake and baking mix

2/3 cup 2% low-fat buttermilk

1/3 cup 2% low-fat organic milk

1 brown egg

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup strawberries, sliced (optional)

1/2 cup wheat all purpose pancake and baking mix

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon allspice

2 tablespoons European style butter

1/8 cup each of walnuts and almonds, sliced

Combine dry ingredients. Mix streusel in another bowl. Spread batter in a 9-inch round cake pan. Top with streusel. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool. This is good to go plain but you can dress it up. Drizzle with a mixture of 1 to 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 cup 2% low-fat organic milk (or to preferred consistency), and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond pure extract (either flavor adds a sweet touch and taste). Serves eight.

So, after two attempts of making coffee cake from scratch, I finally mastered the art of making it turn out right. The plain one is nice and is easy on the eyes. The one with frosting applied in fancy swirls is pretty and something I’d like to serve to friends and family (not the dogs). And now I’ve got my own sweet berry one to add to my coffee cake collection, and it’s super for health nuts like me. The berries teamed with nuts give the cake a moist, sweet, crunchy and healthful flair.

Tomorrow morning I’ll wake up to a cup of coffee, a warmed-up square of berry coffee cake, fresh fruit and a cup of plain yogurt with a bit of honey. No need to go to Paradise. I’m already here and the dogs are allowed.

How can you resist these red, sweet and juicy gems? Strawberries are a superfood full of Vitamin C, low in calories and great for getting and keeping in shape for summer. Strawberries used for a homemade pie, scones, shortcake, on top of whole grain cereal or a dish of plain berries sprinkled with raw organic sugar are a health nut’s dream. These big berries (they do seem larger this year) are colorful as a splash of springtime flowers that’ll be popping up in the Sierra sooner than later.

Cal Orey is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate) published by Kensington. Her Web site is http://www.calorey.com.

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