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Wee Maple Walnut Coffee Cakes

I’m on a bit of a coffee kick, and it has become chilly enough to make me want to turn the oven on again and start baking — coffee cakes and muffins in particular, which do double duty as breakfast, after-school snacks and a little something to tuck into the lunchbox. These tender, buttery, wee coffee cakes are perfect for nibbling — and the sweet maple and crunchy walnuts make them taste like fall. (And perfect with coffee to get me over that mid-afternoon hump.)

I like to substitute half canola oil for the butter to cut back on the saturated fat content — 1/4 cup each of butter and oil works just as well in this recipe.

Wee Maple Walnut Coffee Cakes

Recipe courtesy of California Walnuts

Cakes:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup California walnuts, ground
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp maple extract

Streusel:
1 cup California walnuts, toasted
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 cup maple sugar or brown sugar
2 tbsp melted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 12 large muffin tins. Set aside. In small bowl, whisk together flour, ground California walnuts, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.

2. Beat in sour cream and maple extract until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes (2 minutes with a standing mixer). Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl and mixing just to combine. In food processor, pulse together California walnuts, cinnamon, ginger and sugar until nuts are chopped.

3. Drizzle in butter and pulse once just to combine. Spoon half of the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle with half the walnut streusel. Spoon in remaining batter and top with streusel.

4. Bake in the center of the oven until cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the tin, the tops are golden and set, and a tester comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes on rack in pan for 1 hour. Run a thin knife around edges to loosen and transfer to rack to cool completely or serve warm sprinkled with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

* Photo credit: California Walnuts

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