“Quals” + Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

So, this is the second time I’ll be writing this entire post. UGH I wrote the entire thing then clicked some stupid button: “insert more tag” –I don’t even know what that means, but it deleted everything. Hmph.

Most of my posts in the future will consist of complaining about law school and some baking inbetween. I go back to school on 1.12.11.

This post is going to do a little complaining for Brett. He is currently studying for his PhD qualifying exam. Basically this is a test that is required before a graduate student is permitted to begin working on a doctoral dissertation, and he will be tested on classes that he hasn’t taken in years! There is no guide book, no practice problems, just his old class notes and text books. Our roles are a little reversed right now, because usually I’m the one studying and Brett is doing a lot of…uhm…facebooking?

I have a lot of sympathy for anyone sitting in a room all day for weeks at a time studying for anything. Given that, I wanted to make him and his office mate Pablo some goodies to get them through these days. (sidenote: I always end up giving them most of what I bake. I have no self control and would never be able to fit in my jeans if I left all these baked goods within arms reach)

I wanted to make something that Brett really likes: Grandma Millers Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I knew I won’t ever be able to get close to the greatness that is Grandma Millers, but I can try!

I scoured every baking blog out there and decided upon using Ina Garten’s recipe. I followed her directions for the most part, making three changes:

1. I turned these into muffins because I felt that it would be easier for the boys to eat in the office.

2. After reading all the reviews I followed the advice of others who have made this before me, and doubled the struesel.

3. Instead of her glaze, I made a cinnamon glaze (didn’t have any maple syrup)

Steps (visit the link above for the barefoot contessa’s complete instructions)

First preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease your muffin tin. I always use Pam for baking it has flour in it, and is awesome.

Next, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then add in the eggs one at a time. After all the eggs are mixed in, add the vanilla and sour cream.

In a separate bowl mix together the dry stuff: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then add this to the wet stuff until combined. Don’t over mix this!

To make the struesel: mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter in a bowl and moosh this together with your fingers, pinching until it gets crumbly. You’re going to need to get your hands dirty for this, it won’t “crumble” with a fork.

Next I spooned some batter into the muffin tins only filling them up half way. Then a generous layer of struesel, and then another layer of batter, and some struesel on top of the muffins. This way each muffin had a ribbon of struesel in the middle, and a crumble topping.

I reduced the baking time for these to 30 mins because muffins require less time in the oven. This was the part I messed up. I think I slightly overcooked these. They were still very delicious but I think they could have been better if cooked for 5-10 minutes less. There’s my excuse to make these again soon!

While these were cooling I made the cinnamon glaze:


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons milk

Whisk these together and drizzle with a fork.

I ended up having some extra ingredients so I threw those into a loaf pan to save for myself. This little loaf turned out MUCH better than the muffins, it was more moist. (sorry Brett and Pablo!) It cooked for less time than the muffins, which is how I realized I had overcooked the muffins.

If you talk to Brett in the near future. You should probably stop, he has a hard time focusing. But if you do, wish him luck. He takes the quals on the 21st and 24th. I’m so proud of him!!!


This is totally unrelated but I had a little dinner disaster and am unsure why. I was hoping that someone would be able to tell me where I went wrong.

I had a chicken that I decided to roast for dinner.

I combined onions, potatoes, chopped cilantro and lemon slices and laid these ingredients under the chicken as well as inside of it for flavor. I then loosened the skin and put some butter, cilantro and lemon wedges between the skin and the meat.

I then salted and peppered the chicken and liberally applied olive oil. I put in a little white whine for flavor as well.  And then I let it cook at for a little over an hour at 475 degrees.

It came out looking like this. I thought it looked pretty yummy, and it was yummy… until while cutting it up we hit a vein…. and it was REALLY gross. At that point Brett and I were turned off by the entire dish, tossed it and had some muffins for dessert 🙂

Does anyone know what’s up with the veins? Did I not cook this for long enough? where did I go wrong?!


One thought on ““Quals” + Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

  1. I asked my mom, who is a chicken master… she says:
    Don’t rush the chicken! Maybe put it in for 425 for a half hour, then drop the temp down to 375ish for another hour or so. Also, putting veggies in alongside the chicken will also slow down the cooking process.

    But the muffins looked delicious 😀

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