Food Columnist Judi Leaming finds a few delicious ways to start the day, including Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins, Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake and the Clone of a Cinnabon.


Whether you take the time to make a yeast bread (Clone of a Cinnabon), a quicker-to-assemble coffee cake (Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake) or something made from left-over baked sweet potatoes (Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins), you’ll be pleased to serve your guests (or yourself) any of this column’s recipes.

Besides the incredible waterfront views, one of the things friends and family find the most exciting about our river retreat is the large, wide-open kitchen with expansive countertop space. There’s even room to keep a bread machine with plenty of room left over for rolling out the dough for cinnamon buns.

During the August week we spend as a family in Cape May, someone usually gets up early enough to walk to the bakery and return with a selection of day-old breakfast rolls and pastries. Soon after we came back, the recipe for Clone of a Cinnabon appeared on www.allrecipes.com and I felt compelled to experiment. However, once the bread machine beeped to let me know the dough was ready to be worked, I realized I had not yet added a rolling pin to my kitchen accessories at the river. To once again prove the old adage of necessity being the mother of invention, I grabbed a large bottle of wine, wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap and called husband Spicer to come and help me. He cheerfully rolled out the dough, sprinkled on the filling and soon that wonderful smell of baking yeast bread wafted through the entire house.

Next up for testing was the recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake (also from www.allrecipes.com) I planned to make, freeze and take along to our RV rally. The baked coffee cake slid cleanly out of the pan and the prepared cake looked picture perfect. I wrapped it carefully, placed it in the freezer — and realized several hundred miles up the road the coffee cake was still in Dover in the freezer. No problem — this was a special treat when we got home.

When I was baking sweet potatoes as a vegetable to go with another recipe I was testing, I baked two extra potatoes so I’d have them ready to test the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission’s recipe for Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins. I stirred this together as I cleaned up after dinner and very quickly I had prepared breakfast for the next morning. You can do that, too. These would have been a nice dinner muffin if we’d been having company, too.

Clone of a Cinnabon
Dough:
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Filling:
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
Icing (*):
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients for dough into the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle and press start. After the dough is ready (doubled in size) turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into a 16-by-21-inch rectangle. Spread dough with the 1/3 cup softened butter and then sprinkle evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise again until nearly doubled — about 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake risen rolls until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together the icing ingredients. Spread on warm rolls before serving.
(*) I tested this recipe using a can of Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Icing.

Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Coffee Cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream or buttermilk
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Filling:
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Cream together the granulated sugar and eggs until well blended. Add sour cream, softened butter and vanilla and beat well. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and nuts and mix well. Mix together filling ingredients. Pour one-third of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with one-half the filling ingredients. Top with another third of the batter, remaining half of the filling ingredients, then the last third of the batter. Gently swirl with a knife blade. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
Immediately lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes. Cool for about 15 minutes on wire rack before turning out on another wire rack to cool completely.

Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins
Muffins:
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potatoes, about two 5-inch sweet potatoes
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Crumble Topping:
1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 18 regular size muffin tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together oatmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to mix. In another bowl combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, oil, milk, egg and vanilla. Add sweet potato muffins to flour mixture and mix until just moistened. Fill prepared muffin tins 3/4 full. Prepare Crumble Topping by combining ingredients until crumbly. Sprinkle with muffins with topping. Bake for 18 minutes. Cool in tins for about three minutes then remove individual muffins to wire rack to cool completely.