We have a passion here for those cobblestone miniature coffee cakes at Panera. Some call them oversized muffins, but that doesn’t do them justice. They’ve got all the components of an excellent coffee cake or bubka – raised dough made with milk, butter, eggs and sugar; filling of raisins, nuts and apples if you wish; a heavy hand with brown sugar and cinnamon, and finished with a drizzling of icing.
I found several knock-off recipes on the web, detemined to try my hand at these with my new Williams-Sonoma gold touch extra large muffin tin – each well holding one full cup of liquid. The perfect vessel for this endeavor. I rejected those that called for a batter rather than a dough – this is definitely NOT a muffin, people!
The inspriration came from Shugary Sweets – another food blog devoted entirely to baked goods. Downsizing and tweaking the recipe yielded almost exactly what I wanted. There were diced apples in the recipe which, next time, I might leave out or minimize:
RONI’S PANERA COBBLESTONE KNOCK-OFFS
Timeline for preparation: You’ll be making a dough that needs at least 60-90 minutes to rise in a warm place, so set that up first, and then continue with the rest of your mise en place. Start-to-finish, including baking and cooling time is close to 3 hours, most of it unattended. But your patience will pay off! This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Just needs some explanation:
DOUGH: In a large mixing bowl, stir 1 pkg quick-rising yeast (12.5 grams) in one cup of warmed skim milk; beat in 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt by hand. Continue beating by hand as you add 4 tbsp unsalted melted butter and then 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour in small increments. Do not overmix. Turn out the dough into a lightly buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place. Tip – when mine wasn’t rising much after 60 minutes, I placed it next to a measuring cup of boiled water inside the microwave, where it could stay warm – and the magic happened!
While your dough is rising, prepare the Coating and Filling:
COATING: 1/2 cup each dark brown sugar and white sugar combined with 2 tbsp cinnamon in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter.
FILLING: Combine in a small bowl 1 medium to large apple diced, not necessarily peeled, and tossed with a bit of lemon juice to keep color; 1/2 cup golden raisins; 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (you can leave out the apples or raisins if you wish, or the nuts; but not all three! For those with a raisin-aversion, do the apples and nuts; nutallergy? apples and raisins. Me? All three)
ASSEMBLY: Preheat oven to 350 and line the bottoms of your oversized muffin tins with cupcake liners. The regular size liners will work if you schmeer the outside with a bit of butter to get them pressed against the insides of the muffin tins. It’s only necessary line the bottom and a little up the sides, as they do at Panera, to hold things together.
Pinch off pieces of the dough about 1-1/2 tbsp, to roll into balls in your hand, dip each into the butter then into the sugar/cinnamon coating, and place three each in the bottom of the muffin tins. Then top all with the filling, using about 2/3 of it. Make four more smaller balls of dough for each one, dipped in butter and coating, and arrange on the top of each. Finally, sprinkle a bit of the remaining filling on top. Press down lightly so it adheres, and bake for about 25 minutes.
Allow to cool on a rack a few minutes, then remove to a platter to cool completely and finally drizzle with icing.
ICING: 1/2 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 tbsp half & half. Make your own powdered sugar in a blender – easy.
WHAT I LEARNED: These taste as good as the original, but next time I would try adding a bit of the filling to each of the dough balls rather than sprinkling it over them. The Panera image looks to have that teatment. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled with how they turned out.
Original Panera Cobblestone