Fresh Strawberry Scones

Sometimes I make a recipe and just know that it needs to be shared. Immediately! Fresh Strawberry Scones are incredibly delicious and with Kentucky’s too short strawberry season I knew this recipe needed to be posted ASAP so you can enjoy some of these delicious scones before the freshly picked strawberries are gone for the season. I’m sure these scones would be delicious with store-bought berries too but there’s just something about picking your own strawberries or grabbing a gallon or two of freshly picked strawberries from a local farm. You just can’t beat those sun-ripened strawberries in the middle of May and the fresh strawberry flavor really comes through in these scones.

Fresh Strawberry Filling

Fresh strawberries are magical. Bursting with beautiful flavor, I love how these scones highlight the fresh flavor of strawberry. After picking your fresh strawberries or grabbing some from your local farm, dice up two cups of strawberries and put them in a liquid measuring cup. Using a potato masher or fork/spoon, smash the strawberries in the liquid measuring cup. The goal here is to release the juices from the berries until the liquid measuring cup has reduced to 1 1/2 cups of smushed strawberries. Too much liquid in scones can make the scones taste “bready” and not flaky. Place a fine mesh strainer on top of a bowl. Pour the juicy, 1 1/2 cups of strawberries into the fine mesh strainer and push the strawberry mixture back and forth to strain out about 1/2 cup of juice. Dump the strawberries in the strainer back into the liquid measuring cup. Set the strawberry liquid to the side to use in the glaze. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 3 Tablespoons of flour to the strawberries in the liquid measuring cup and mix it up. Set aside while you make the strawberry scones.

Preheat the Oven

I used to be the kind of baker who would forget to preheat my oven. ALL. THE. TIME. As a busy mom, I never thought I had the time to wait for my oven to fully preheat. While that might work for some recipes (I’ll often put loaves of bread into a preheating oven to finish the rise while the oven comes to temperature), it does not work well for others. These scones really benefit from a properly preheated oven. Baking scones at a high heat activates the baking powder for a beautiful rise and turns the chilled butter into steamy air pockets which make for a light and airy scone. Basically, for this recipe, you won’t want to cut corners. Preheat the oven as you’re pulling the ingredients out for these fresh strawberry scones and you won’t regret it!

Grate the Butter

One of my favorite tips when working with pastry, scones or biscuits is to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Start with butter straight from the freezer or refrigerator. Grate it into a pile and add the small bits of grated butter to the flour mixture. This grated butter is the perfect size for most recipes calling to “cut in” butter. You can also use a pastry cutter (affiliate link) to get pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout the flour mixture.

Scone Dough: Keep Ingredients Chilled

Scone dough comes together fast. Use an all purpose or low protein content (8-10%) flour, whisked with the sugar, baking powder and salt. Grate in the cold butter and toss it together before adding in the chilled liquid ingredients (egg, milk and cream). The colder the ingredients, the better the scones (ie: flaky, higher rise, better texture). After mixing together the scone dough, spreading the filling on top and pinching them closed, I’ll stick the cut scones into the freezer to chill for a few minutes before baking. Pre-made scones can also be frozen and then baked at your convenience. Just add a couple minutes of baking time.

Use a Light Hand and Laminate the Dough

Scone dough is very similar to biscuits or pie crust. If the dough is overworked, the gluten starts to develop, which results in tough, not tender scones. To achieve a tender scone, do your best to use a light hand when working the dough. I use a fork to mix the dough together until it has just barely come together. Then turn the dough out on the countertop and separate it into two pieces of dough and pat each piece into a square. To “laminate” the dough, fold the square in half and then in half again. Laminating creates more tender and flaky layers of scone dough. That’s about all you’ll want to “work” this dough.

Assembling the Scones

Typically, scone dough is rolled out, cut and baked. This recipe differs because you actually cut the dough in half. I based these fresh strawberry scones off of our favorite King Cake Scones which are also delicious. Roll out both halves of the dough into equal eight inch circles. Then add sweet strawberry filling on top of one of the circles of scone dough. Smooth it around, leaving a little bit of space at the edge of the circle of dough. Then sandwich the other piece of dough on top. You get a nice thick layer of strawberry filling in the middle of the scone. Pinch the edges of the scone dough closed together, moving around the edges of the dough. Initially I thought the scones would be oozing out filling but the filling holds pretty well when baked. A little strawberry mixture will ooze out a bit, but it is easily removed from the scone after the scone cools if desired. At this point the scones can be baked immediately or chilled a little longer in the freezer before baking.

Bake and Top the Scones with Glaze

Once you put the scones into the oven, it’s time to use the strawberry juice you set to the side after making the strawberry filling. This juice is full of sweet strawberry flavor. It will also have a beautiful pink hue without using any food coloring. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to about 1/4 cup of reserved strawberry juice. Whisk together while the scones bake, and drizzle the scones with this beautiful glaze once they have baked and cooled about 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use fresh strawberries in these scones? Can I use strawberry jam instead?

These scones taste best with freshly picked strawberries. If fresh strawberries are not in season, choose strawberries that have good flavor. You can also try substituting about 1/2 cup strawberry jam mixed with a Tablespoon of flour for the strawberry filling if you’re in a bind.

Why should I bake scones at a high temperature?

The high temperature activates the baking powder to give a beautiful rise to the scone. It also turns the butter into steamy pockets of air without leaving butter oozing on the baking sheet.

How do I store leftover strawberry scones?

Scones can be left at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After 24 hours, place in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Looking for Other Favorite Fresh Strawberry Recipes?

Try our favorite strawberry buttermilk cake, the best strawberry shortcake, delicious strawberry fruit pizza or these strawberry orange muffins.

Fresh Strawberry Scones

Delicious scones made with freshly picked, ripe strawberries and drizzled with sweet strawberry glaze. These are the perfect scones to make for a weekend brunch or after going strawberry picking!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 scones

Ingredients
  

Fresh Strawberry Scones

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour see recipe notes
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter chilled or frozen
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk

Strawberry Scone Filling

  • 2 cups diced strawberries freshly picked is best
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour

Scone Glaze

  • 1/4 cup reserved strawberry juice
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions
 

Strawberry Scone Filling

  • Put two cups of diced strawberries in a liquid measuring cup. Smush the strawberries, extracting some of the juices from the berries until the strawberries reduce a bit and the liquid measuring cup shows 1 1/2 cups.
  • Place a fine mesh strainer on top of a bowl. Pour the juicy, 1 1/2 cups of strawberries into the fine mesh strainer and push the strawberry mixture back and forth to strain out about 1/2 cup of juice.
  • Dump the strawberries in the strainer back into the liquid measuring cup. Set the strawberry liquid to the side to use in the glaze. Add 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 3 Tablespoons of flour to the strawberries in the liquid measuring cup and mix it up. Set aside while you make the strawberry scones.

Strawberry Scone Dough

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Grate the entire stick of cold butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until little pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout. Alternatively you can "cut" the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter into pea sized shapes.
  • Mix together the eggs, heavy cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into the butter/flour mixture and mix together until it is just combined and forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a countertop or pastry mat and knead two or three times. Cut the dough into two equal sections.
  • Lightly flour both balls of dough. Roll both balls out into equal sized 8 inch circles. Spread the strawberry filling on top of one of the circles, leaving a little gap on the edges.
  • Place the other 8 inch circle of dough on top of the strawberry filling, sandwiching the scone dough together. Pinch the seams closed.
  • Cut the dough into 8 triangular sections and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake scones for 14-16 minutes until baked through and a little brown on top.
  • While the scones bake, mix up the glaze. Whisk together 1/4 cup of the reserved strawberry juice with 1 cup powdered sugar. After the scones have cooled a bit, top each scone with glaze. Enjoy!

Notes

Flour: This recipe works great with all purpose flour. If you happen to have a soft flour (protein content of 8.5-10%), that will work the best for a softer, melt-in-your-mouth scone. I buy my flour from Weisenberger Mills.
Strawberry Filling: I prefer this recipe with fresh strawberries. If you don’t have fresh strawberries on hand, you can use your favorite strawberry jam in place of the fresh strawberry filling. Use 1/2 cup of your favorite strawberry jam and mix 1 Tablespoon of flour with the jam before spreading on the scone dough.
Keyword fresh strawberries, Scones, strawberry scone

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a very small amount from qualifying purchases.

Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas. Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

Chocolate Banana Sourdough Muffins

Brown bananas and sourdough discard are two things that I am constantly looking for ways to use up in my kitchen. I’ve got a good sourdough discard banana bread recipe but this recipe for chocolate banana sourdough muffins hits me straight in my chocolate-loving heart. Chock full of banana, oats and sourdough I can at least pretend the health benefits outweigh the brown sugar. But seriously, these are decadent, delicious and you probably have all the ingredients you need on hand to make them today.

Sourdough Discard in Baked Goods

If you’re new around here, you may not know that I love baking with sourdough. I’ve got a whole bunch of recipes that use sourdough discard and sourdough starter. Because I refresh my sourdough starter often, I end up with quite a bit of leftover discard in my fridge. I don’t like this discard to go to waste, so I find muffins, waffles, crackers, pretzels and rolls to put it into. The sourdough discard enhances the flavor and creates less kitchen waste.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last?

Typically sourdough discard can last a couple of weeks in your refrigerator. The longer the discard sits in your fridge, the more fermented and sour it will taste. If you like this flavor in your baked goods, use discard that is older. For a more mellow flavor, use discard that is only a day or two old. If you love baking with sourdough but don’t want any sour flavor, use bubbly sourdough starter instead of the discard. You can use what you prefer. I typically use a 100% hydration sourdough discard–equal weights of water and flour mixed with the starter. If your discard is maintained at a different hydration you may need a splash of milk for a thicker discard or a little extra flour for a thinner discard.

Overripe Bananas and Ground Oats

Anytime you bake with bananas, whether it’s banana bread, banana muffins or these chocolate sourdough banana muffins, you will want to use overripe bananas. These brown or black bananas add a lot of flavor and moisture to the recipe. I also love the use of oats in this recipe. It gives an added punch of whole grains and combined with the flour gives a melt-in-your-mouth muffin texture. Grind up one cup of oats in a blender and mix it right in with the flour mixture. I haven’t used whole wheat flour or gluten-free flour in this recipe, but I bet either would substitute really well.

Good Quality Cocoa Powder

One of the key flavors in this recipe comes from the cocoa powder. I love this cocoa powder and buy it in bulk at Costco. It is deep, rich and flavorful. Use whatever cocoa powder you love, preferably one that has a rich flavor that will transfer through to the muffins. I also always use semi-sweet chocolate chips in this recipe. I prefer the rich taste of chocolate to come through. Good quality chocolate also helps mellow the sourdough discard flavor if you are using an older discard.

Mixing the Muffin Batter

Most of the time when I mix together this muffin batter I’ll smash the bananas, add the brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and sourdough discard. I’ll mix that together really well until combined. Then I’ll add in the cocoa powder and mix it until incorporated. I’ll add the flour on top of the mixture and pour the salt and baking powder right on top of the flour, taking care not to get the salt/powder in the liquid mixture. I like to fluff the salt and baking powder using a fork to mix it into the flour (this saves me a bowl and makes clean up easier). Then I’ll add the ground oats on top and gently mix together the batter. Over-mixing muffing batter leads to gummy and dense muffins. I like my muffins light and airy so I don’t mind leaving a few little streaks of flour. Add in the chocolate chips for the perfect chocolatey banana muffin and stir gently before scooping and filling a 12 cup muffin tin.

Baking Temperature is The Key to a Nicely Risen Muffin

This recipe calls for baking the muffins at a high temperature of 400 degrees for the first 5 minutes and then reducing the temperature to 325 degrees for the last 15 minutes of baking. The reason: a perfectly risen muffin. The high heat helps activate the baking powder in the muffin which gives the muffin the perfect rise. If you don’t want to do this step, go ahead and bake the muffins at 325 degrees for the whole 20-22 minutes. You may not have quite the same bakery-quality rise, but they will still be delicious.

Don’t wait on these muffins! They are delicious warm and make for the perfect after school snack. Your family won’t even guess they have sourdough discard and whole grains in them. I hope you enjoy these chocolate banana sourdough muffins as much as we do!

These little fingers couldn’t wait to grab a muffin!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is my sourdough discard good for?

Sourdough discard is good for a couple of weeks refrigerated. After a couple of weeks my starter is a little too strong for me to enjoy in baked goods. If I haven’t used it up I will throw it away and start again.

Can I freeze brown and black bananas?

Yes! I love freezing my over-ripe bananas. They can stay good in the freezer for a couple of months. Before you use them in a recipe bring them back to room temperature and discard a bit of the liquid that collects before using in your recipe.

Can I make muffins in a blender?

You may think to use a blender to mix up all the ingredients of this recipe, but I would not. I’ve actually made this recipe in a blender and the muffins turned out gummy and dense. I prefer to mix lightly by hand which results in a light and fluffy muffin.

How do I store extra muffins?

Once muffins have cooled, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you’d like to eat on, reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or let sit at room temperature until thawed.

Does this recipe make mini muffins?

This muffin recipe works great for mini muffins. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes more.

Chocolate Banana Sourdough Muffins

Amy
Chock full of banana, oats and sourdough discard, these chocolate banana sourdough muffins are decadent and delicious. These muffins can be whipped up quickly and make the perfect sweet treat, breakfast or after school snack.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Bread, Breakfast, Muffins
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats ground
  • 2 bananas over-ripe are best: brown or black bananas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard 100% hydration (see recipe notes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pour 1 cup of old fashioned oats into a blender. Process about 30 seconds until the oats are ground into a fine powder. Set aside.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, mash the brown/black bananas. Add the brown sugar, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract. Stir together to combine. Add the sourdough discard and stir until combined.
  • To a small bowl, whisk together the ground oats, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Add this dry mixture to the wet banana mixture. Stir until just combined. You should still see some streaks of flour throughout the batter.
  • Add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and gently stir again until just incorporated. Over-mixing the batter can result in rubbery muffins. We are looking for light and tender muffins, so stir until just combined.
  • Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan. If using muffin liners, spray the muffin liners as well. Using a cookie scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. After 5 minutes reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
  • Let muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Notes

Sourdough Discard: I feed my starter with equal weights of water and flour for a 100% hydration starter. If your starter is fed differently, you will want to adjust the amount of flour called for in the recipe; adding more flour for a starter that is fed with a higher percentage of water and less flour for a lower hydration starter. The longer your discard sits in the fridge, the more “tang” it will have. I prefer using a younger discard in this recipe to balance with the other flavors.
Mini Muffins: This muffin recipe works great for mini muffins. Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 10-12 minutes more.
Storage: Once muffins have cooled, store in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When you’d like to eat one, reheat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or let sit at room temperature until thawed.
Keyword banana bread, banana muffins, chocolate banana bread, sourdough banana bread, sourdough muffins

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a very small amount from qualifying purchases.

Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas. Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

Easy Apple Crisp

Apple picking is on the top of our family’s list as a favorite fall activity. We spent Labor Day weekend in Michigan this year and enjoyed a day at Crane’s Orchard where we picked over 100 pounds of apples! We’ve been enjoying this apple crisp recipe on repeat. It is delightful and full of our favorite fall flavors. This apple crisp is so easy to throw together, the hardest part is deciding if you want to take the time to peel the apples! Eat it warm with a scoop of ice cream for dessert or room temperature for breakfast the next day. No judgement here! This easy apple crisp is a crowd pleaser and a family favorite.

Peeling and Slicing the Apples

We prefer our apple crisp with peeled apples, though if you don’t mind the texture and taste of the skin, it would save you a bit of time and still taste good leaving them on. You can use a vegetable peeler to peel apples but if you really want something that makes peeling apples easy and fun, I highly recommend one of these apple peelers (affiliate link). They work perfectly to peel and slice your apples. I love the uniform slices for baking and dehydrating. Side Note: we love this dehydrator for apples. Once the apples are peeled and sliced, I cut them into small chunks and pour them in a baking dish. Keep the apple chunks about the same size as you chop them for even baking.

One Bowl, One Baking Dish

As a busy mom, I love recipes that only require one bowl. These one-bowl pumpkin muffins or this sourdough gingerbread cake are some of my favorite one-bowl recipes. Less dishes to wash just makes me love a recipe even more. In this apple crisp, I mix the apples together with the sugar and spices directly in the baking pan. Sometimes I’ll use a bowl to mix the apples together, dump that mixture in the baking pan and then use the same bowl to mix up the crumb topping. Either way, one bowl is the way to go for this simple apple crisp.

Soft or Melted Butter

For the apple crisp topping, I like to use very soft or melted butter. Mix the butter with the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, flour and oats until you get a crumbly topping. If your topping feels too dry you can add another small pat of butter to help moisten it a bit. Crumble the topping on top of the apple crisp.

Glass Pan or Metal Pan?

Should apple crisp be baked in a glass pan or a metal pan? I love my metal USA pans but apple crisp is really best baked in a glass pan. Metal pans are perfect for cakes, brownies, cookies and biscuits while cobblers and fruit crisps fare better with glass pans. Glass pans take longer to heat up, which make them perfect for anything you bake for a longer length of time at a moderate heat (in this case, about an hour). This is the glass pan that I use most frequently in my kitchen (affiliate link). If you don’t have a glass pan, a metal pan will work in a pinch.

I hope you enjoy this delicious treat. It’s quick, easy and perfect to share with family or friends on a cold fall night. We love dolloping a big scoop of ice cream on top for an extra indulgent dessert.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Apples Should I use in Apple Crisp?

Any tart apple or a combination of tart apples work well in this apple crisp. I’ve used Granny Smith, Honeycrisp and McIntosh with great results.

How should I store leftover apple crisp?

Leftover apple crisp can be covered and left on the counter for 24 hours. After that, stick it in the fridge for a couple of days and reheat as needed.

Do I have to add almond extract?

You don’t have to add the almond extract, but it adds a subtle flavor that complements the apples and enhances the flavor.

Can I use other fruit instead of apples?

This crisp would work well for a variety of fruits. Berries would be great and you could even use peaches during peach season. We love mixing cranberries in with the apples for a beautiful tart flavor. It’s perfect for fall.

Easy Apple Crisp

The perfect fall dessert. Sweet, tart apples topped with a delicious oat topping and baked low and slow. Top this apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and you have the perfect taste of fall!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 people

Ingredients
  

Apple Filling

  • 4 large apples see recipe notes
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice squeeze of about half a lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract optional but delicious
  • pinch of salt

Apple Crisp Topping

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened or melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 by 8 glass baking dish (affiliate link) with butter or non-stick cooking spray . Set aside.
  • Using an apple peeler (affiliate link), peel, core and slice the apples. Chop into chunks and pour into the glass pan.
  • Sprinkle the brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt over the top of the chopped apples. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and almond extract. Toss together with a spoon until the apples are completely coated.
  • To a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, flour and oats until it forms a crumbly topping. The mixture will be crumbly but should clump together. If it is too crumbly, add another half Tablespoon of butter. Press the crumb mixture on top of the chopped apples. Place in preheated oven.
  • Bake apple crisp for 50-60 minutes until the juices from the apples are bubbling around the edges. Pull out and serve warm with a scoop of ice cream if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Apples: My favorite apples to use are Honeycrisp or Granny Smith. Sometimes I will mix a few of these tart and tangy apples with a few Fuji or Gala apples (really any apples I have in my fridge). 
Keyword apple crisp

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a very small amount from qualifying purchases.

Follow me on Instagram @amybakesbread, like Amy Bakes Bread on Facebook or follow me on Pinterest for more baking ideas. Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake.

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Chocolate, sourdough and zucchini. At first I wasn’t sure those three words belong together, but after making this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake on repeat…they do! After baking and sampling with dollops of the ethereal chocolate whipped cream, I kept coming back throughout the day for just one more nibble. I couldn’t stop after just one piece. This chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is rich with a deep chocolate flavor and has a perfectly moist crumb (thank you zucchini).Top it with chocolate whipped cream and it’s pretty much perfection.

Jump to Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake Recipe

Sourdough Discard

If you’ve followed my site for long, you know how much I love sourdough. I have many favorite sourdough recipes using sourdough starter. This Babka or my favorite no-knead bread are, well, favorites. This zucchini cake benefits from the leftover sourdough discard that I almost always have hanging out in the back of my fridge. I don’t like to waste the excess flour/water from feeding my sourdough starter. Instead I find ways to incorporate discard into baked goods. The older the discard (the longer it’s been sitting out), the stronger the sourdough flavor. I typically prefer a mild sourdough flavor in sweet baked goods, like this sourdough blueberry crumb cake or these brown butter sourdough chocolate chip cookies. I don’t mind as strong of a flavor in these discard rolls or these amazing sourdough pretzel bites. Whatever your preference, this is the perfect cake to add some sourdough discard. It is moist, fluffy and delicious.

Zucchini

We love zucchini at our house. I make this favorite zucchini bread often and we love sautéd zucchini as a side for our dinner many weeknights. When we want to use zucchini in a dessert, though, this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is it. I love that this recipe has you shred the zucchini and immediately toss it into the batter—no squeezing out excess water required. It definitely makes it super quick to throw together. And don’t worry, zucchini is the perfect vehicle to increase the moistness of the cake. If you shred it finely on a box grater, you (or your picky eaters) won’t even know it’s there. Promise!

Chocolate Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is my favorite in all forms, but this chocolate whipped cream topping takes it up a notch. While this chocolate zucchini cake can definitely stand on its own, the chocolate whipped cream is absolutely amazing. It is the perfect deep chocolate flavor, not too sweet and so good you won’t mind the extra step of pulling out the beaters and licking them clean! We love to top each slice of cake with a scoop of chocolate whipped cream for an extra decadent bite.

9 by 13 pan

My favorite pan to bake this zucchini cake in is a 9 by 13 pan. I love this USA pan (affiliate link), because it is non-stick and bakes the cake so evenly. I typically like to bake desserts in smaller pans (too tempting!), but this one is worth the larger pan. It is perfect for a crowd and I can even trick myself into thinking this is healthy…it’s mostly vegetable, right?!

If you’re looking for the perfect way to use up zucchini and sourdough discard, this chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is it. Perfect to serve at a family gathering or just for fun, it is worth picking up some zucchini and starting up your sourdough starter again just for this cake. Chocolate sourdough zucchini heaven!

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I substitute for sourdough discard?

If you want to make this recipe without sourdough discard, you can increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups and increase the buttermilk to 3/4 cup.

Can this sourdough zucchini cake be made in a smaller pan?

Yes. This recipe works well in an 8 by 8 pan, (affiliate link). Just cut the ingredients in half and bake at the same temperature. Check for readiness of the zucchini cake a few minutes early. The smaller size may bake a bit quicker.

Should I squeeze out the liquid from my zucchini?

Some recipes call for squeezing out the excess liquid and water in zucchini, like this zucchini bread. Zucchini has a very high water content (over 90%) which can affect the texture of some baked goods if not squeezed dry. This is a very moist zucchini cake and one of the benefits of it is not having to wring dry the shredded zucchini (though you can if you want to).

What are the best recipes to use sourdough discard?

Sourdough discard (the byproduct of sourdough starter) can be used in small quantities in most baked goods. I don’t like to waste food or discard, so I add it to many of my recipes. Some of my favorite discard recipes are these sourdough discard rolls or pretzel bites. This sourdough discard blueberry crumb cake is delicious too. It’s so easy to add some discard to pancakes or waffles for breakfast. Sourdough discard works especially well in these sourdough cheddar biscuits with a nice hearty soup.


Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

Amy
Chocolate sourdough zucchini cake is rich with a deep chocolate flavor, perfectly moist crumb and topped with a downright delicious chocolate whipped cream. The perfect cake for a party or family gathering.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 9 by 13 cake

Ingredients
  

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk see recipe notes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or any neutral flavored oil
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe notes
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour about 5 oz
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups finely shredded zucchini

Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Chocolate Sourdough Zucchini Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 by 13 pan, affiliate link, by spraying with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Finely shred the zucchini on a box grater until you have 2 cups of shredded zucchini. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the buttermilk, oil and granulated sugar. Whisk to combine. Pour in the sourdough discard and vanilla extract. Whisk until completely incorporated and smooth.
  • In a small bowl, use a fork to incorporate the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Fluff with a fork until completely combined.
  • Pour the dry ingredients on top of the liquid ingredients and mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the shredded zucchini and mix together until just incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Stick a knife or toothpick in the middle of the cake to check for doneness. The cake will be very moist, rise and spring back lightly when touched with your finger. Once baked through, allow the cake to cool.

Chocolate Whipped Cream topping

  • Using wire beaters, whip together the heavy cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Dollop on top of each slice of cake.

Notes

Buttermilk Substitution: Mix together 1/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup milk and replace for the buttermilk if you don’t have it on hand.
Sourdough Discard: The discard I use is 100% hydration. I prefer using discard that has not been sitting long in my fridge in this recipe for less sour undertones. You can also substitute sourdough starter for the discard.
Flour: When I measure flour, my 1 cup weighs about 5.3 ounces.
Keyword beginner sourdough, chocolate cake, chocolate zucchini, sourdough discard, sourdough zucchini cake,, zucchini cake

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Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I think it was at the beginning of the pandemic a year and a half ago – when people were going crazy putting sourdough discard in everything – that I first heard of adding sourdough discard to cookies. Now I don’t bat an eye at adding sourdough discard into recipes and it has produced some pretty amazing bakes i.e.: sourdough blueberry crumb cake, I’m looking at you! In the beginning, I did have a few misses with an overly-sour flavor that just wasn’t the flavor I wanted. As I’ve baked more and more with sourdough discard, I love creating recipes with the addition of discard. These brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are no exception. The brown butter combined with the sourdough discard (or bubbly starter) adds such a complex and delicious flavor. I wish I was eating one right now! Thin and crispy or thick and chewy, these brown butter sourdough cookies are only about half an hour away from this screen to your stomach.

Jump to Brown Butter Sourdough Discard Cookies

Brown Butter in Sourdough Discard Cookies

Browning the butter is one of the key steps to these sourdough cookies. If you’ve never browned butter before, it’s a pretty simple process. Heat butter over medium heat, stirring every couple minutes. It is easiest to use a pan with a white bottom, but you can also use a darker bottom pan. As the butter heats it will start to brown. This can take 5-10 minutes, so it’s important to watch closely. Brown butter can easily turn into burned butter if you don’t watch it and that is no good for cookies! Once you notice little brown bits on the bottom of the pan take it off the heat. It will smell nutty and delicious. Pour the butter with the brown bits into a bowl to cool a bit before using in the cookie dough.

Sourdough Discard in Cookies

In working with sourdough discard recipes, I have found some recipes complement the discard and enhance the flavor. Other recipes don’t necessarily need sourdough discard, but they are a great vehicle for using up sourdough discard so it doesn’t go to waste while still tasting delicious. This is the case with these Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies. Brown butter cookies don’t necessarily need sourdough discard (plenty of recipes out there don’t call for sourdough discard in their cookies) but these cookies taste amazing with the discard. The brown butter complements the discard and makes for a deliciously complex cookie that you can feel good about. No waste, plus a delicious flavor. The sourdough discard in this recipe is made from starter that is 100% hydration. If you use discard that is fed at a different hydration, you may need to add more or less flour to the cookie dough.

Thin and Crispy or Thick and Chewy Cookies?

There is one simple trick for turning a thick and chewy cookie into a thinner and crispier cookie. Less flour! I prefer my cookies to puff up, be a little bit thick and gooey in the middle with crispy edges. The flour called for in this recipe is the perfect amount for a thick and chewy cookie. If you want to make these thinner and crispier…which is also super delicious, reduce the flour by 1/3 cup. Only add 1 cup of flour instead of the 1 1/3 cups flour and you will get cookies that look like this. Still delicious, just spread a bit thinner with a crispier bite. Either way, these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are delish.

Convection Bake for Cookies

I have waxed poetic before about using convection bake when baking cookies. I make a lot of cookies (my kids run a little bake shop that sells awesome cookies and yours truly helps them create the recipes, etc…). Convection bake is one of the secrets to a delicious crispy edge with a gooey or chewy middle. If you have convection bake on your oven, use it! If you don’t have convection, you can increase the temperature by 25 degrees (400 degrees Fahrenheit for this recipe) and preheat your oven for 15-20 minutes to get it really hot. 

Chilling the Dough

The brown butter in the dough is warm and melted which means that these cookies will spread even more in the oven if you don’t chill the dough. If I’m in a hurry, which let’s face it, I usually am when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, I’ll stick the bowl of dough into the freezer for 15 minutes. It is just long enough for the dough to firm up a bit, which helps solidify the fats. This will help the cookies hold their shape while baking. If you want even better flavor, you can chill the dough for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. This dough also freezes well. Shape the dough into balls and freeze. When you’re ready to bake, pull the dough balls out of the freezer and set them out for 10-15 minutes to thaw a bit, then bake according to the recipe directions. 

Chocolate Chunks, Dark Brown Sugar and Sea Salt

I love using dark chocolate chunks in these cookies. They add a yummy pop of rich chocolate flavor that complements the brown butter. Dark brown sugar is another key ingredient to these cookies. Can you use light brown? Yes, you can. However, the dark brown sugar complements the sourdough and brown butter flavor much better than regular brown sugar. If you can grab some dark brown sugar, do it (though not having any wouldn’t keep me from making these cookies). Adding a sprinkle of flaky sea salt (affiliate link) also takes these cookies to next-level deliciousness! You can also use chocolate chips in these cookies if you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand.

Cookie Scoop

My grandma gifted me this cookie scoop many, many years ago (affiliate link). It has made hundreds and thousands of cookies and held up so well. I use it for scooping mini muffin batter with these banana muffins, scooping meatballs and of course cookies. It is the perfect size and I highly recommend investing in one of these if you are cookie connoisseur. And if you don’t have sourdough discard on hand and want some awesome chocolate chip cookies, check these favorites out here.

If you love using sourdough discard and a deep, complex cookie flavor, these cookies are for you! They are chewy, rich and downright delicious. These cookies are kind of addicting, it was hard to stop at one or two. My kids gobbled them up and didn’t even know they had sourdough discard in them. I hope you love them too!

Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Thick, chewy and deep flavor – these brown butter sourdough chocolate chunk cookies are perfect to satisfy your sweet tooth. Add a sprinkle of sea salt for a more complex flavor or a little less flour for a thinner, crispier cookie.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 7 mins
Chill Time 15 mins
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 20 cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe notes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour see recipe notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
  • flaky sea salt if desired

Instructions
 

  • Brown Butter: Heat the butter in a pan or pot on the stove over medium heat. Swirl the butter around and stir every few minutes until little brown flecks are on the bottom of the pan and the butter smells nutty and delicious. Be careful not to overheat as it can burn the butter. Pour the brown butter along with all the little brown bits on the bottom of the pan into a medium sized bowl and let sit for 5 minutes to cool.
  • Add the dark brown sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl with the brown butter. Stir to combine.
  • Mix in the egg yolk, sourdough discard and vanilla extract. Mix together with a spoon until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to the middle of the bowl. Mix together using a light hand so the flour mixture is evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
  • Add chocolate chunks (or chips) and stir into the dough.
  • Place the whole bowl into the freezer and chill the dough for 15 minutes. It is possible to bake these cookies right away, but they will not be quite as puffy and will spread a lot more than the chilled dough. You can also chill the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or freeze the dough in small balls. Let the balls come back to "chilled" temperature before baking.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees convection. Scoop the dough into balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet (my favorite linked here, affiliate link), about 12 cookies per baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with flaky sea salt if desired.
  • Bake cookies at 375 degrees convection for 6 minutes until cookies are puffed up and the edges are a little crispy. Let the cookies sit for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet to set up before removing. If your oven doesn't have a convection setting, preheat oven for 20 minutes and bake cookies at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
  • Repeat with the remaining cookie dough and enjoy!

Notes

Substitutions: This recipe has the best flavor with dark brown sugar. You can substitute for light brown sugar, but the cookies may have a little more sourdough tang.
Sourdough Discard: I feed my starter with equal weights of water and flour for a 100% hydration starter. If your starter is fed differently, you will want to adjust the amount of flour called for in the recipe; adding more flour for a starter that is fed with a higher percentage of water and less flour for a lower hydration starter. The longer your discard sits in the fridge, the more “tang” it will have. I prefer using a younger discard in this recipe to balance with the other flavors.
Flour: This recipe has been tested with more and less flour. If you want a thinner and crispier cookie, use 1 cup of flour. If you prefer a thicker cookie, use 1 2/3 cup flour. I’ve found 1 1/3 cup flour to be perfect for the way we like our cookies. FYI: When I scoop flour, 1 cup is about 5 oz.
Keyword beginner sourdough, chocolate chip cookie, cookies, sourdough discard

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Perfect Peach Cobbler

We are at the tail end of peach season, but this recipe is one I’ve been working on perfecting over the summer – and I’ve got it just where I wanted it. This perfect peach cobbler is a combination of biscuit/cake topping, perfectly spiced peaches and absolutely divine with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream. Even though I may be a bit late to the game posting it for this season, I want it somewhere I can come back to again and again, because it tastes like summer in a pan. While I love fall and have many pounds of apples sitting on my kitchen counter, I’m still holding on to the tail end of our warm days while I can.

Jump to Recipe

Cake or Biscuit?

Peach cobbler is often made with a biscuit topping or a cake topping. Both are delicious in their own right. This peach cobbler combines the flavor of a biscuit topping with the spreadability of the cake topping. It is not overly sweet like cake toppings sometimes are, allowing the fresh peaches to really shine through. The cake topping benefits from baking powder and buttermilk which give it a beautiful rise and the combination of a crispy crust with tender cake and mixed with fresh peach…it can’t be beat!

Fresh, Frozen or Canned Peaches

This perfect peach cobbler is definitely best with in-season, fresh peaches. Can this be made in the “off season” with frozen or canned peaches? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, make sure to drain the canned peaches or for frozen, bring them to room temperature, then drain off the juice and excess water. You may also want to increase a Tablespoon or two of flour in the peach mixture to help thicken the peach mixture. This will help your peach cobbler from turning into peach soup!

Use a Glass Baking Dish

I love USA bakeware metal pans (affiliate link) that I use daily for almost all my baking. Originally I baked this peach cobbler in a metal baking dish but when I switched over to a glass dish (affiliate link), my results were consistently better. Cobbler is baked for a long time and the slow heating of the glass pan helps the cobbler bake evenly and retains the heat when the cobbler is finished baking in the oven. If you can use a glass dish, it will improve your finished cobbler.

One Bowl, One Baking Dish

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know that I love using one bowl when I can. My favorite one bowl pumpkin spice muffins here. Applesauce bread using one bowl is here. This favorite sourdough discard zucchini bread here. Perfect peach cobbler is no different! The less dishes, the better. I mix together the peaches with the sugar, flour and spices right into the baking dish. Then I’ll mix up the cobbler topping in a bowl and spread it on top. I love how simple this recipe is and how you really only need to wash one bowl.

If you’re looking for a way to use up the last of those summer peaches, give this perfect peach cobbler a try. I’m hoping to make this cobbler or my favorite sweet peach bread at least once more this season. Either would be the perfect end-of-summer dessert, and I won’t tell if you happen to have a bowl or two for breakfast!

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Perfect Peach Cobbler

Perfect peach cobbler with fresh peaches, spices and the perfect topping that tastes a little bit biscuit and a little bit cake.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8 by 8 pan

Ingredients
  

Peaches

  • 5-6 cups peaches sliced
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Peach Cobbler Topping

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour about 6 oz
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cut and slice 5-6 cups of fresh, soft peaches. Add them to the bottom of an 8 by 8 glass pan (affiliate link). Add the brown sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon and vanilla to the peaches and stir to combine.
  • To a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and whisk together until no dry streaks remain.
  • Spread the batter over the top of the peaches.
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick is inserted into the center of the cobbler and no batter streaks remain.
  • Serve the cobbler warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Notes

For canned or frozen peaches: Bring frozen peaches to room temperature and drain the excess liquid before using. Drain canned peaches before using. Add a Tablespoon or two of extra flour to the peach mixture before topping with cake topping.
Buttermilk substitution: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, substitute 3 Tablespoons sour cream with 2.5 Tablespoons milk, mixed together.
Peeled or unpeeled: Peaches can be peeled or unpeeled depending on your preference.
Keyword peach, peach cobbler

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Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka

This Babka bread is decadent. It is filled with buttery cinnamon sugar. It is light, soft, tender and uses 100% sourdough to make a really delicious loaf of sweet bread. The sourdough has a bit of a learning curve that includes making a sweet leaven, but when you open the oven door and see two beautifully risen loaves of Babka, all the time is completely worth it. If you’ve never made a Babka before, this advanced sourdough cinnamon sugar babka recipe should make your list.

Jump to Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka Recipe

What is babka?

Babka originated in Eastern Europe and is an enriched bread dough that is usually swirled with a sweet chocolate or cinnamon sugar filling. If you’re looking for a chocolate filling, try out this one I’ve used for a swirled brioche before. It would be delicious with this recipe. Pronounced “bahb-kah,” this bread has become very popular at bakeries and in home kitchens this past year with the beautiful swirl braids and outstanding flavor. I love that this recipe gives two loaves of Babka. If I’m going to trouble with a three day sourdough recipe, I always like to share a loaf or freeze one for later (or who am I kidding…eat the day after we eat the first loaf).

Sample Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka Schedule

I find it personally helpful to see a sample schedule when making sourdough because it does take longer than a traditional dough using commercial yeast. This dough is enriched with a lot of eggs, butter and sugar which takes even a bit longer to rise. 

Day 1 (Make Sweet Leaven)
  • 8 AM: Mix sweet leaven, let rise and bubble
  • 8 PM: Take 120 grams of the sweet leaven and feed it again with the measurements in the recipe. Cover and let it rise and bubble until morning.
Day 2 (Mix Babka Dough, First Rise)
  • 8 AM: Mix together Babka dough ingredients (except salt and butter), rest. Add salt, mix, rest. Add butter a Tablespoon at a time and mix using stand mixer for 10 minutes.
  • 11 AM: First set of Coil Fold
  • 1 PM: Second set of Coil Folds
  • 2 PM: Cover dough and rest in refrigerator overnight (12-24 hours)
Day 3 (Assemble and Bake)
  • 8 AM: Roll out and shape Babka
  • 8:30-3PM: Let Babka rise (the rise time will vary depending on the warmth of your kitchen, but allow for at least 6-8 hours)
  • 3-4PM: Bake Babka

Sweet Leaven

One of the unique things about this sourdough recipe is making a sweet leaven before actually making the bread. Typically with sourdough, the longer the bread rises, the more tang you will taste from sourdough. I love the tang in this recipe in my Basic Country Artisan Loaf or my no-knead sourdough loaf but in a sweet babka, I don’t want to taste the tang. Making a sweet leaven helps temper the tang and mellows the flavors, letting the sweet cinnamon be the overpowering flavor. The addition of sugar to the leaven also helps temper the sour flavor. The taste of the Babka is sweet, light and delicious when using a sweet leaven. You can create this leaven directly from your current sourdough starter and through a series of power feeds (feeding it twice in a 24 hour period before using it), have it ready to mix your Babka in just 24 hours. Sweet leaven is also fairly stiff compared to a regular 100% hydration leaven. Due to the low water content, this stiff leaven ferments slowly and helps the bread keep its texture and maintain the gluten structure. This helps the bread rise slowly to keep the sweet flavor expected from a Babka.

Enriched Dough

Babka is made with an enriched dough. Lots of milk, butter, eggs and sugar go into this beautiful loaf. One of the keys to making a great Babka is the process of incorporating the butter. Once the leaven, flour, milk, eggs, sugar and salt have been mixed together to form a dough, it is time to add the butter. This takes a somewhat thick dough and turns it into a silky, smooth and a little bit sticky enriched dough. Cut the softened butter into chunks and add it to the center of the dough hook as the dough is mixing. Plan to knead the dough for about 10 minutes. I like to set a timer and let my dough get to work developing the gluten and incorporating the butter. I highly recommend using a stand mixer for this process. It can get very sticky and is difficult to knead for the length of time required with cold hands (so the butter doesn’t melt and leak everywhere)

Coil Fold

The coil fold is a technique of picking up the dough from the middle and letting the dough fall down onto and under itself, resulting in a coil. Wet your hands with water. Place your hands under the middle of the dough and pull up. The dough will stretch up (but should not tear) and release from the bottom of the bowl. Once the dough releases, let the dough fall back under itself. Repeat the process for both sides of dough. Then turn the container and repeat the coil fold. This process of folding the dough increases tension and strengthens the strands of gluten in the dough. If you skip this step, the dough can bake up flat because it lacks structure. Watch the coil fold process below to help visualize the process.

Refrigeration

Refrigerating the sourdough cinnamon sugar babka dough overnight or 12-24 hours (not much longer than that) chills the butter, enhances the sweet Babka flavor and makes the dough easy to work with when you pull it out in the morning to shape your Babka. The dough will not double in size and may not even look like it did much rising. Don’t worry! Once it comes back to room temperature it will rise again. When you pull the dough out of the refrigerator to roll out, it will be a little stiff and hard because it is cold. This chill actually makes it easier to work with the Babka dough. Add a little bit of flour on the bottom and on top of the Babka to help roll it out. 

Babka Filling

Babka can be filled with any kind of sweet (or sometimes savory) filling. When mixing the filling, use softened, room temperature butter to mix with the dough. If the butter is too cold, it will not incorporate fully into a paste. If it is melted, it will leak all over the dough and make the Babka difficult to shape. I also love the addition of a bit of flour to the filling. This keeps the filling sticking to the dough and not falling all over your pastry mat. Mix the ingredients together to form a thick paste and set it aside. I have also made this Babka into a strawberry flavored version, using white sugar and crushed up freeze dried strawberries, that was insanely delicious. Check the recipe notes for the full substitution.

How to Shape Babka

Flour a countertop or pastry mat and roll out the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 by 18 inches. Spread half of the cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough and roll up cinnamon-roll style. Take a sharp knife and slice the Babka in half, length-wise. This will leave you with two long, open-faced pieces. Pinch together the ends and twist the dough around each other to form a swirled and braided loaf. Place into a parchment-lined loaf pan and let rise.

A Long Final Rise

I have made the mistake before with this recipe of being a bit impatient and baking the Babka too quickly. This results in a dense, gummy bread that is just not good. It can be hard to be patient with sourdough, but I promise the results are worth it. Wait until the bread has puffed up and mostly filled out the loaf tin which will take 6-8 hours. You can also lightly press the top of the Babka dough and watch as the dough springs back. If it springs back without any indentation, it needs to rise longer. If it springs back just a little and has been at least six hours, then you should be good to bake. The time will vary based on the warmth of your kitchen so it could rise faster or slower. My experience has been six to eight hours generally.

Simple Syrup

What better way to finish off a decadent bread than with some simple syrup, am I right?! To help keep the Babka fresh and moist, whip up this simple syrup while the Babka is baking. I make mine in the microwave, but you could use a pot on the stovetop as well. Mix together the sugar and water. Microwave on high in 1 minute increments until the sugar is dissolved and liquid is boiling. Stir together and let sit while waiting for the Babka to bake. The mixture will thicken as it cools. Pull the Babka out of the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then remove to a baking rack and brush the simple syrup over the top of the Babka. Use all of the simple syrup, even if it looks like it doesn’t need more.

It is hard to let the Babka cool and truthfully, I don’t always wait because it is so tempting! This Babka does slice best when it has cooled and even makes great french toast a day or two later if it lasts that long. Sourdough cinnamon sugar Babka is a showstopper recipe and it tastes even better than it looks! Enjoy!

Sourdough Cinnamon Sugar Babka

A rich and delicious cinnamon sugar babka bread made completely with sourdough
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 55 mins
Rise Time 1 d
Course Bread
Cuisine American, Polish, Ukrainian
Servings 2 loaves

Ingredients
  

Sweet Leaven (feed at least twice before making the Babka dough)

  • 120 grams sourdough starter 100% hydration see recipe notes
  • 100 grams all purpose flour
  • 25 grams granulated sugar
  • 40 grams water

Babka Dough

  • all of the leaven about 300 grams
  • 620 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 grams whole milk see recipe notes
  • 4 large eggs about 200 grams
  • 50 grams granulated sugar
  • 16 grams salt
  • 200 grams unsalted butter, softened about 14 Tablespoons

Babka Filing

  • 160 grams unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 160 grams brown sugar 2/3 cup
  • 2 teaspoons all purpose flour

Egg Wash

  • 1 teaspoon water

Simple Syrup for Babka

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions
 

Sweet Leaven (24 hours)

  • Mix together ripe sourdough starter, flour, granulated sugar and water. Cover and let sit for about 8-12 hours.
  • Take 120 grams of this new leaven and feed it with flour, sugar and water. Cover and let sit for 8-12 hours until bubbly, about doubled in size and passes the float test.

Babka Dough Day 1

  • Set the bowl of a stand mixer on a kitchen scale. Tare the scale and add all of the sweet leaven, flour, whole milk and eggs. Mix together with a spoon or dough whisk. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add the dough hook to the bowl, sprinkle in the salt and mix for 6 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes.
  • Cut the butter into Tablespoon sized chunks. With the dough hook running, add the butter to the center of the dough. The butter will begin to incorporate into the dough. Continue adding chunks of butter until all the butter is added.
  • Knead for a total of ten minutes until the dough is smooth, sticky and silky.
  • Turn the dough out into a rectangular container (I use this 9 by 13 pan, affiliate link). The dough will be sticky. It can help to wet your hands before turning the dough out if it sticks to your fingers. Cover the dough and let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
  • After 2 hours, wet your hands and perform one set of coil folds on the dough by lifting up in the middle of the dough and letting the sides pull up and fall under the dough. Repeat from the other direction. This is one set of coil folds. See video for how to perform a coil fold. Cover and let rest.
  • After another 2 hours, perform a second set of coil folds on the dough. Cover and let rest another hour.
  • Transfer the dough to a container, cover tightly and set in the fridge to chill overnight or 12-24 hours.

Babka Dough Day 2

  • Prepare two 9 by 5 loaf pans (affiliate link) with parchment paper.
  • The next morning, make the Babka filling. Mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour to make a thick paste. Set aside. See recipe notes for strawberry version.
  • Pull the dough out of the refrigerator. Lightly flour a pastry mat or silpat liner (affiliate link). Turn the dough out onto the mat and cut in half.
  • Lightly flour one piece of dough and roll into a 14 by 18 inch rectangle.
  • Divide the Babka paste in two. Use your fingers to spread half the cinnamon sugar mixture over the rectangle of dough. Once the dough is covered, roll the dough up cinnamon-roll style.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half; straight down the middle of the roll the long way. This will leave two long ropes of dough. Beginning on one end, squish the ends of the dough together and then twist the dough around each other forming the Babka loaf. Push the ends of the dough together and place the Babka in the prepared loaf pan. Repeat this process with the second loaf.
  • Cover the loaves and let rise 6-8 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. This bread is made with 100% sourdough and will take much longer than a traditional loaf of bread to rise. Let it rise until it has mostly filled the loaf pan and gets light and puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the egg and a teaspoon of water. Lightly brush the egg wash on top of the bread until covered.
  • Bake Babka for 50-55 minutes until baked all the way through.
  • While the Babka is baking, prepare the simple syrup for the top of the Babka. Mix together the granulated sugar and water in a microwave safe liquid measuring cup. Microwave on high a minute at a time until boiling and all the sugar is dissolved. Mix together with a spoon and let cool until the Babka is out of the oven. The simple syrup can also be made on the stovetop. Boil the sugar and water together for about 1 minute until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cool a bit while the Babka bakes.
  • Pull Babka out of the oven and let rest in the pan for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans using the parchment paper and place on a cooling rack. Pour half of the simple syrup on one loaf and half on the other loaf, using a pastry brush as needed. Let it soak into the warm bread.
  • Let the bread cool before slicing and enjoy!

Notes

Sweet Leaven: I make this leaven with 100% hydration sourdough starter. If you don’t have 100% hydration starter, take a Tablespoon of sourdough starter and add equal weights of water and flour to it. Let it rise and then use it in the recipe for sweet leaven.
Whole Milk: If you don’t have whole milk, you can substitute 180 grams 2% milk and 20 grams heavy cream.
Strawberry Babka:  To make a strawberry filling, replace the brown sugar with white granulated sugar. Replace the cinnamon with 2 Tablespoons of crushed up freeze-dried strawberries. Combine white sugar, softened butter, crushed up freeze-dried strawberries and flour. Mix together into a paste and use in place of the cinnamon-sugar filling for a delicious strawberry flavored Babka.
Keyword babka, Cinnamon sugar

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King Cake Scones

King Cake Scones

A year ago, when starting this blog, I wrote one of my first ever posts about a kid-sized king cake that I enjoy making with my kids during Mardi Gras season. We had so much fun making a traditional king cake into a smaller version to enjoy as a family. This year, Fat Tuesday, the last day of the Mardi Gras season falls a few days after Valentines Day and with all our celebrations and cookie baking, I needed something quick and easy to make this year. These king cake scones take about 30-40 minutes…start to finish! No rise time. No kneading dough. Basically, the perfect sweet treat I was looking for to give us the Mardi Gras feel after a busy weekend of celebrating.

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Cinnamon Flavor

These King Cake Scones are based on the flavors in my kid-sized king cake recipe. Traditionally, king cake is flavored with cinnamon, though you may find other flavors now as well: vanilla, cream cheese, etc… I based the scone recipe off of these chocolate chip scones which we love. The scones themselves are not super sweet with only ⅓ cup of sugar in the dough. The cinnamon sugar filling and the glaze on top really give these king cake scones their sweetness and the balance between the two is perfect.

Grating Butter

One of my favorite tips when working with pastry, scones or biscuits is to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Start with butter straight from the freezer or refrigerator. Grate it into a pile and add the small bits of grated butter to the flour mixture. This grated butter is the perfect size for most recipes calling to “cut in” butter. You can also use a pastry cutter (affiliate link) to get pea-sized pieces of butter sprinkled throughout the flour mixture.

Preheat Oven

I used to be the kind of baker who would forget to preheat my oven. ALL. THE. TIME. As a busy mom, I never thought I had the time to wait for my oven to fully preheat. While that might work for some recipes (I’ll often put loaves of bread into a preheating oven to finish the rise while the oven comes to temperature), it does not work well for others. These scones really benefit from a properly preheated oven. They don’t bake very long and the high heat reacts with the baking powder giving them a beautiful rise. Basically, for this recipe, you won’t want to cut corners. Preheat the oven before baking these king cake scones.

Light Hand

Scone dough is very similar to biscuits or pie crust. If the dough is overworked, the gluten starts to develop, which results in tough, not tender scones. To achieve a tender scone, do your best to use a light hand when working the dough. I use a fork to mix the dough together until it has just barely come together. Then turn the dough out on the countertop and fold it over in a kneading motion two-three times. And that’s about all you’ll want to “work” this dough.

Sandwiching the Filling

Typically, scone dough is rolled out, cut and baked. This recipe differs because you actually cut the dough in half. Roll out both halves of the dough into equal eight inch circles. Then add a sweet cinnamon filling on top of one of the circles of scone dough. Smooth it around, leaving a little bit of space at the edge of the circle of dough. Then sandwich the other piece of dough on top. You get a nice thick layer of cinnamon filling in the middle of the scone. Pinch the edges of the scone dough closed together, moving around the edges of the dough. Initially I thought the scones would be oozing out filling but the filling holds pretty well when baked. A little cinnamon mixture will ooze out a bit, but it is easily removed from the scone after the scone cools if desired.

Glazing and Sprinkling Sugar

Once the scones have cooled, spread the glaze over the top. The glaze is meant to be fairly thick to allow the sanding sugar (affiliate link) to stick to it. If you want a thinner glaze, add a little more cream to thin it out. Sprinkle sanding sugar on top of the glaze in the typical Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and yellow. 

My whole family loves these scones. They taste sweet, cinnamony and are super quick to make. My kids all enjoyed helping glaze and sprinkle the sanding sugar on the king cake scones. King Cake Scones are the perfect low-key way to celebrate Mardi Gras this year! Enjoy!

King Cake Scones

King Cake Scones

Quick, fun and super delicious. These King Cake Scones, sandwiched with cinnamon, covered in sweet glaze and sprinkled with sanding sugar are the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 scones

Ingredients
  

King Cake Scones

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cold from the fridge or freezer
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup milk

Scone Filling

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Scone Topping

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • green, yellow and purple sanding sugar

Instructions
 

Scone Dough

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Grate the entire stick of cold butter into small pieces. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix until little pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout. Alternatively you can "cut" the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter into pea sized shapes.
  • Mix together the eggs, heavy cream and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into the butter/flour mixture and mix together until it is just combined and forms a ball.
  • Turn the dough out onto a countertop or pastry mat and knead two or three times. Cut the dough into two equal sections. Let rest while you mix together the filling.
  • To a small bowl, mix together the scone filling: brown sugar, powdered sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Set aside.
  • Lightly flour both balls of dough. Roll both balls out into equal sized 8 inch circles. Spread the cinnamon scone filling on top of one of the circles, leaving a little gap on the edges.
  • Place the other 8 inch circle of dough on top of the cinnamon filling, sandwiching the scone dough together. Pinch the seams closed.
  • Cut the dough into 8 triangular sections and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake scones for 14-16 minutes until baked through and a little brown on top.
  • While the scones bake, mix up the glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract. After the scones have cooled a bit, top each scone with glaze. Sprinkle colorful sanding sugar on top of the scones. Enjoy!
Keyword King Cake, Scones

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Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’m the kind of mom who loves sweet, simple and easy traditions. We like eating this puff oven pancake on special mornings (ie: back to school) and we look forward to this chocolate version every Valentine morning. It is simple enough to throw together on a school morning. It’s sweet enough to be a “Valentine-kid-approved” breakfast and also has enough protein to be “mom-approved.” This chocolate puff oven pancake is the perfect breakfast to start your Valentine’s Day off right.

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Valentine Traditions

In my home while growing up, the tradition was to eat a sugar cookie for breakfast on Valentines Day. Yes. It’s the day I looked forward to every year as a kid because I got to eat a frosted Valentine cookie with my name on it! Sometimes I would save it for when I got home from school, but more often than not I would eat it for breakfast…and savor every bite. You can find the recipe for these best ever sugar cookies here. As I became a mom myself, I still give my kids a cookie with their breakfast (some traditions are hard to break!), but I also like having something that has a little more protein, some fruit and not quite as much sugar as my kids will be consuming throughout the school day. This chocolate puff oven pancake hits all the right spots. It is breakfast decadence at its finest, but also filling and just delicious. It could also be a delicious Valentine dessert, or a fun anytime breakfast for the chocolate lover in your life.

Use a Blender or Whisk by Hand

I love puff oven pancakes because they are so simple. Throw ingredients in a blender, pulse for 20 seconds, pour the batter into a preheated pan and stick it in the oven. We love this recipe for an original puff oven pancake and make it frequently. This chocolate version, made chocolatey with the addition of cocoa powder, really puts a special spin on an old favorite recipe for a special occasion. If you don’t have a blender, you can always whisk the ingredients together in a bowl and it will turn out just fine.

Cocoa Powder in Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

The cocoa powder is what gives the chocolate puff oven pancake its rich, chocolatey flavor. I’ve made it with dark/rich cocoa powder and regular cocoa powder from the grocery store. My family preferred the puff oven pancake made with the dark cocoa powder. The flavor is more intense with a dark cocoa powder and not as subtle. My favorite cocoa powder is this one from Costco, but I also like using the Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder (affiliate link) that you can find in most grocery stores. You can use a dutch-processed cocoa powder in this recipe with no issues.

Make-Ahead Instructions

This year, Valentine’s Day happens to fall on Sunday. We won’t worry about rushing off to school and can enjoy a leisurely Valentine breakfast. On a typical school-day, I like to have all the ingredients set out the night before. I’ll chop the strawberries, whip the cream and get a little bowl of sprinkles all set out. I even set my pan in the oven with a little bit of butter in it so it is ready to be preheated as soon as I get downstairs. Turn on the oven, blend up the ingredients, pop it in the oven. The chocolate puff oven pancake takes 5 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to bake. Then I’m free to wake my kids and help them get ready for the school day. We only have to double and triple check that they still have their bag of Valentines. After twenty minutes of hands-off time, breakfast is ready. I love sending my kids off to school with some protein in their bellies from a filling breakfast.

ALL the Toppings

We top our chocolate puff oven pancake with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, followed by a healthy scoop of freshly whipped cream. Strawberries are up next with some sprinkles for good measure. You can use any type of fresh fruit and whipped cream. I’ve used whipped cream out of a can many times, even though freshly whipped cream makes this breakfast extra special. Chocolate puff oven pancake is so versatile and fun to make. Your kids will thank you for getting to eat chocolate for breakfast!

What are your Valentine traditions? Do you make a special breakfast? Cookies? We love celebrating traditions, and it seems that food often plays a role in them. You can find a few more of my family’s traditional foods on the blog.

Chocolate Puff Oven Pancake

Amy
Rich, chocolatey and full of protein? Chocolate puff oven pancake is the perfect Valentine or any special occasion breakfast.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1 8 by 8 pan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder see recipe note
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for topping
  • sliced strawberries for topping
  • freshly whipped cream for topping

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the 2 Tablespoons of butter in an 8 by 8 pan and set it in the oven to melt while you whip up the ingredients. Once the butter has melted, be careful not to let it sit too long in the oven by itself or it can burn. This usually isn't an issue if you quickly whip up the other ingredients.
  • To a blender add the eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Blend together about 20 seconds until fully combined.
  • Pour the blended mixture into the hot pan with melted butter and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Prepare toppings: slice strawberries, whip cream, sprinkles, etc…
  • Dust with powdered sugar and Enjoy!

Notes

Cocoa Powder: This recipe tastes best and has a more intense chocolate flavor with a rich dark cocoa powder like Hershey’s special dark chocolate cocoa powder (affiliate link). You can substitute regular cocoa powder and it will still taste delicious, just not quite as “chocolatey” in flavor.
Keyword chocolate, Puff Oven Pancake, Valentines

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Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day is the quintessential sugar cookie holiday. It’s the day that I equate with sugar cookies. As long as I can remember, every Valentine’s Day I would wake up to a beautiful, pink sugar cookie with white icing piped around the outside and my name written in the middle. This was no fancy bakery-style cookie. This was a home-made, made-with-love cookie by my mom. My childhood Valentine mornings were more about cookies than any Valentine card I received. That cookie, flavored with almond, topped with a whole lot of buttercream and oh-so-sweet will always be my top Valentine memory.

Jump to Best Ever Sugar Cookies Recipe

That childhood Valentine memory has stuck with me so much that even though we are not a “cookies for breakfast” family, I give my kids a homemade Valentine sugar cookie on Valentine’s morning…and they look forward to it all year long. Isn’t it funny how traditions are like that? To think that one simple cookie could evoke so many memories for generations. I love that about food and family and how little simple things repeated every year can mean so much.

Over the years I’ve played around with my mom’s amazing sugar cookie recipe. I love her recipe, but it calls for a lot of Crisco and truthfully, I’m not the biggest fan of baking with shortening and don’t usually keep it in my pantry. Butter on the other hand…I keep many pounds of butter on hand. This best ever sugar cookie recipe has all the nostalgia of Mom’s but with 100% butter. This is the one that my kids will be eating for years to come…and maybe my grandkids too (you know, unless they also decide to change it up 🙂 ).

Thin and Crispy or Thick and Chewy

Which is your favorite? A thin and crispy cookie or a thick and chewy cookie? Whatever way you answer, you are going to love this cookie. My personal preference is thick and chewy. I love a cookie that is ¼ inch or more in thickness and slathered with some buttercream. This cookie fits the bill for a chewy sugar cookie. BUT, if you love a thin and crispy cookie, the recipe works just as well. My kids always seem to roll the dough out paper thin and the cookies come out crispy on the outside with just a little give in the center. They almost have me converted to thin and crispy. Basically, no matter how you roll these, you can get your preference. If you want them crispy, roll them thinner. If you want them chewy, roll them thick.

Tips for Baking with Kids

One of the reasons I love this best ever sugar cookie dough is because it is so simple to make with kids. I have four kids, so I almost always double the recipe. My kids all enjoy cutting out shapes and making their own set of sugar cookies. I find it easiest to portion a section of dough for each child. I set them up with a piece of parchment paper, a little bit of flour and a rolling pin to roll out their own dough while I make my own cookies. This way, I don’t care whatever shapes they cut or how thick or thin their cookies are. They get full autonomy over their cookies and I get to make mine exactly how I like them (especially if I’m planning to gift some to friends and neighbors)

No Chilling Required and Rolling the Dough

A lot of sugar cookie recipes require you to chill the dough. One of the things I love about these best ever sugar cookies is that no chilling is required. If you need to chill the dough for planning purposes, you can, but there is no need. You can go straight from mixing up the dough to having beautiful cookies cooling in just a few minutes. I like to use a pastry mat to roll out my sugar cookie dough. Lightly flour the bottom of your pastry mat (or countertop works too). Set the ball of dough on top of the lightly floured surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough or on the rolling pin and gently roll the dough until it is your desired thickness. Cut out your shapes. You may need to use a spatula to lift the cookie dough onto the baking sheet. If you notice your dough sticking a lot, add a little bit more flour. The scraps of the dough can be re-rolled a few times to use up as much dough as possible.

Almond Extract in Cookie Dough

One of my favorite flavors to add to a sugar cookie is almond extract. I love a hint of almond in these cookies, but you could substitute any other favorite flavor. Some like lemon, or a blend of coconut and almond extracts is also very good. If you want to stick with vanilla extract, they will taste delicious. It’s all about your personal preference. 

Baking with or without Convection

I am a big believer in baking cookies using the convection setting on your oven if possible (read more about that in this cookie recipe here). However, I have baked these cookies for years using a regular bake. Just recently I tried them out on convection and the main difference is that convection bake saves you a couple minutes of bake time if you want a thick, chewy sugar cookie. If you are going for a crispier cookie, using convection would be the way to go to get a crispy edge. You may want to add a minute or two onto the bake time for a crispier cookie. If you choose to use convection, bake at 325 for about 8 minutes or bake on regular heat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting

Sugar cookies taste delicious with any type of icing. I love how pretty royal icing looks, but buttercream always will be my favorite way to top sugar cookies. Growing up, my mom always used Crisco in her buttercream. I loved it as a kid, but now I prefer to use 100% real butter. If you want good piping/hardening consistency you can substitute half Crisco for part of the butter in the buttercream. It is important to whip the butter for a few minutes before adding in the sugar. This helps to lighten the color of the buttercream and give the desired light and fluffy consistency. I like adding heavy cream to the frosting for the extra creamy flavor. You can substitute milk if in a pinch, but it won’t be as creamy. If you are planning to color the buttercream with food coloring, it is best to use a gel color so the buttercream doesn’t change consistency, though drop colors will work in a pinch. The key to good buttercream: whip it, whip it, whip it.

Freezing Best Ever Sugar Cookies

One of my biggest tips for home bakers is: use your freezer. Sometimes I don’t have time to make sugar cookies from start to finish. I often will make the sugar cookie base, freeze the bases and then frost them later. Sometimes I will make and frost the sugar cookies and then freeze the whole cookie. I can pull the frosted cookies out the morning I want to gift them, let them come to room temperature and then give them away. This is a huge time saver for a busy mom and it makes the “project” of sugar cookies less overwhelming. Break the process down into a couple of days. The sugar cookie bases themselves freeze easier than a whole assembled cookie. Stack them, cover in plastic wrap or tin foil or place them in an airtight container to freeze. When you are ready to frost them, pull the cookie bases out of the freezer and frost. No need to let the cookies come to room temperature. They are actually easier to frost frozen and will come to room temperature quickly and taste delicious. If you want to store cookies that have been frosted, lay them out on a cookie sheet after frosting/piping. Freeze in a single layer. Once hardened, add a few more cookies on top of them and freeze. Cover with saran wrap and tin foil to store.

So what are you waiting for? Make a big batch of these amazing best ever sugar cookies and give a few to your Valentine, family, teachers or friends. We make the cookies ahead of time and enjoy frosting them closer to Valentines Day. Who knows, maybe you will even luck out with a cookie for breakfast this year!

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

These best ever sugar cookies are tender, chewy (or crispy…your choice), melt in your mouth and smothered in light, whippy buttercream. No chilling required!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course cookies, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 40 3 inch cookies

Ingredients
  

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter 3 sticks or 24 Tablespoons, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract optional, but we LOVE it
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar see recipe notes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract see recipe notes
  • 2-4 Tablespoons heavy cream see recipe notes

Instructions
 

Best Ever Sugar Cookies

  • To the bowl of stand mixer, mix the butter until light and fluffy. Add the granulated sugar and cream together.
  • Add the eggs an egg at a time and mix. Continue mixing until fully incorporated.
  • Add the vanilla extract and almond extract. Mix together.
  • To a medium-sized bowl, add the dry ingredients: all purpose flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Whisk together with a fork.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined. Don't be too zealous with the mixing, but make sure you have a cohesive mass of dough.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees regular bake or 325 degrees convection. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper (my favorite cookie sheet here, affiliate link)
  • Lightly flour a countertop or pastry mat.
  • Turn the dough out onto the counter and split into a few pieces.
  • Working with a piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/4 of an inch thick, flouring a little as needed, though be careful to not over-flour the dough. If you want a crispier cookie, roll the dough a little thinner to 1/8 of an inch.
  • Using a cookie cutter (affiliate link), cut shapes out of the dough. Try to place your shapes as close together as possible to use up as much dough without needing to re-roll. Place cut cookie dough on a cookie sheet with a little space in between each cookie.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes (or 325 convection for 8 minutes). For a crispier cookie, bake an extra minute or two. Let cookies cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to cool.
  • Continue this process, re-rolling scraps together once or twice until all your cookie dough is used up.
  • Let cookies cool completely before frosting or freezing.
  • To Freeze: Stack cooled cookies. Place cookies in an airtight container and freeze. Pull out when ready to frost, and frost from frozen.

Buttercream Frosting

  • To the bowl of a stand mixer, or to a bowl with a handheld mixer, add the room temperature butter. Whip together with the whisk attachment or beaters. Whip for a few minutes until the butter is light and airy looking.
  • Add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract if desired. Whip together.
  • Add heavy cream as you are whipping the frosting, beginning with 2 Tablespoons and increasing up to 4 Tablespoons depending on how you prefer the consistency of the frosting. Add food coloring if desired.
  • Continue whipping until light, creamy and whiter in color (the buttercream loses its yellow, buttery color and turns more white the longer you whip it for).
  • Frost cooled cookies or frozen cookies with buttercream. Pipe around edges if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

Cream of Tartar: This can be left out of the recipe, but I like the flavor it lends to the cookie. If you don’t have it on hand, leave it out.