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Sunday, October 30, 2022


My daughter and I fell in love with the most scrumptious almond filled croissant in Los Angeles last year and I've been on a mission to continue looking/enjoying them as I find them.   The version we had in Vermont, just wasn't the had almond flavor, but also apple in it.    

In the meantime, I stumbled across an Almond Coffee Cake recipe that included an almond filling, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I knew it wasn't going to have the flaky pastry on top, but the almond filling and struesel caught my attention.  Plus, the recipe was already adjusted for high altitude baking!


3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp
4 oz. almond paste (not almond pastry filling)

1/3 cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup almonds, finely chopped (or ¼ cup almond flour)

1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk)
½ tsp. almond extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.  In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla, and almond extracts.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk briefly just to combine.  Set aside while you make the filling.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and almond paste for about 30 seconds until combined.  Spread half the coffee cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spoon the filling over the batter, then use a small icing spatula to spread the filling out.  Spread the remainder of the batter over the filling.

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt and melted butter until moistened and crumbly.  Stir in the almonds, reserving 1-2 Tbsp. to sprinkle over the icing later if you'd like).  Sprinkle the struesel over the batter. 

Bake the cake on the center oven rack for about 45-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool while you make the icing.

In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract until smooth and has a thick drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over the hot cake and sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds.  Let cool 20-30 minutes.  

NOTES:  I had an 8x8 and a 9x9 square pan.  I opted to use the 9x9 pan and made a parchment sling to ensure I could get it out of the pan nicely.  I did not need to adjust the baking time, and the cake plumped up nicely.  

I didn't make as much icing as it called for and I waited until it had cooled some before I drizzled it so it wouldn't melt into the cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed this coffee cake.  It has a great almond flavor.


recipe c/o:

Thursday, October 13, 2022


Spending some time in New England in the Fall has always been on the proverbial list.  I've never been to that part of the country and from the pictures I'd seen over the years, I knew it would be memorable....especially for a gal whose favorite season is Fall.

For those who know me, I do A LOT of research prior to my travel.  Not knowing when I may return, I try to make my trips a totally immersive experience and take in as much as I can.   It also makes it extra special when it's our annual Mother/Daughter vacation.  

I knew Fall color in that part of the country is later than here in Colorado, so I landed on September 26-October 5.  As it turned out, Mother Nature did a fantastic job of showing off for us!

Here's the itinerary I developed: 
  • Day 1 - Fly from Denver to Boston
  • Day 2 - Explore Salem, then drive to Lincoln, New Hampshire
  • Day 3 - Scenic drive to Manchester, Vermont
  • Day 4 - Scenic drive to Stowe, Vermont (stay 3 trips)
  • Day 5 - Scenic drive to Burlington, Vermont and Shelburne Farms
  • Day 6 - Scenic drive around Stowe/Mt. Mansfield/covered bridges
  • Day 7 - Scenic drive Stowe, Vermont to North Woodstock, New Hampshire
  • Day 8 - Scenic drive via the Kancamangus highway to Kennebunkport, Maine
  • Day 9 - Scenic drive via Coastal Route 1 to Boston
  • Day 10 - Fly Boston to Denver  
FYI- My scenic drives have multiple stops along the way                       


Must See's:
Salem (self-guided historical walking tour)
Montpelier State House
Hildene- Lincoln Home
Echo Lake
Woodstock, VT
Vermont Country Store
Granville Gulf Reservation State Forest
Flume Gorge (trip highlight)
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne winery
Ben and Jerry's 
Von Trapp Bierhall and Brewery
Mt. Mansfield 
Covered bridges (so many between New Hampshire and VT.....I narrowed it down to five in Stowe)
Cafe' Lafayette dinner train (trip highlight-it's a splurge)
Driving the Kancamangus Hwy
Rockport, New Hampshire

Skip It:
(we did all these and would skip them based upon our experience)
Salem Witch Museum
Burlington, VT
Gondola ride at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe

Kennebunkport, Maine (many stores/restaurants were closed...bus loads of people being dropped off)
Stowe (as a place to stay....find lodging elsewhere...DEFINITELY do a day trip to the area)                                                                                       

We learned the hard way that many restaurants close at 2 or 3p.   Most of the lodges/inns I booked provided some type of breakfast.  So we'd eat and take off on the scenic ride I had planned for the day....then, by the time we finished it would be mid-afternoon and we had a hard time finding somewhere to have lunch.  No fun being hangry on vacation.  TIP- Do a little research...and pack some snacks in the car.  

Kennebunkport was a disappointment as I shared....but the seafood was amazing.  We split a lobster roll and each had a cup of clam chowder from the one restaurant we found open for lunch.   We chose to go back to the same place (Mabel's) for dinner and split lobster mac and cheese and crab cakes.  Both meals were delicious!

We drove a total of 1,361 miles on this trip, and were mesmerized by the color.  I love Fall in Colorado, don't get me wrong...but the east coast Fall is completely different and you just have to experience it to understand what I mean.  

I did well with the lodges/inns I booked in Vermont and New Hampshire...they were pricey, but I expected that based upon the time of year.   The two worst hotels were those I booked in the Boston area on the outbound and return.   The meals prices caught me completely off guard...but dining out everywhere right now is crazy.  

We both enjoyed New Hampshire more than Vermont was a little quainter, quieter, and the scenery was better, probably because of the terrain.  It's very hilly, and the drives through the state were breathtaking!                                                                                                                                        

The 2023 Mother/Daughter trip is seven months from now.  Flights and hotels are booked and I've already got a pretty well planned itinerary.  Can't come soon enough for me!