Holiday Morning Treats

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake?  Yes, please.  Served this up at my blogging club this morning.  Was a huge hit and very, very tasty.  I’m exploring uses for pureed pumpkin.  You can never go wrong when the recipe says “cream together brown sugar and eggs.”

 

Pumpkin Coffee Cake for the Holidays 2013

Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Here’s the recipe.  Great for year-round morning meetings!

From Williams Sonoma

Pumpkin Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar-Pecan Streusel

Lighter than you would expect, with the rich flavor of pumpkin and spices, and a thick layer of crunchy brown sugar and pecan streusel, this coffee cake would make an ideal dish for the winter holidays or for a festive autumn brunch. Serve with big steaming cups of joe.

Ingredients:

For the streusel:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (see note below)

 

For the batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup sour cream

Baker’s Note:
For more pumpkin pie-like flavor add clove and allspice.

 

For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tsp. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Baker’s Note:
1 tsp milk wasn’t enough.  Add milk until glaze is the consistency of syrup.  Use fork to splatter over coffee cake.

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan or a 9-inch cake pan with 3-inch sides.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss in the butter and, using 2 table knives or a pastry cutter, cut it into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Alternatively, whir the ingredients in a food processor. Stir in the pecans. Set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the pumpkin puree and sour cream and mix with the spatula. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be quite thick.

Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the streusel and spread the thick batter as best you can. Top with the remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.

 

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Drizzle over the top of the cake. Cut into thick wedges and serve. Makes one 9-inch coffee cake

 

Baker’s note: To toast pecans, preheat an oven to 325°F. Spread the nuts out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until fragrant and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes.

 

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).

 

 

Offline Marketing Still Gets Customers

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Shortest way to customers?  Face to face marketing.  Read how:

Shockingly,  the solution for finding new customers quickly these days ISN’T social media.   Customers for local businesses are staring them in the face…literally.  The people who’ll become your client are usually standing across from you at a networking event, are sitting next to you at a BNI meeting, are the customers of someone you know.

I know, I know.  I get plenty of  business owners asking me questions over social media.  Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are invaluable tools in getting your message out.  They’re white-hot in terms of publicity and attention.

But, white-hot media doesn’t make it a great choice I caution local business owners that it’s requires planning and investing time. While the Internet is an invaluable marketing tool, sometimes you need to get customers faster than waiting for someone to like your Facebook page and interact with you.  Gathering followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook can be done rapidly.  Turning them into paying customers is a different proposition.

The highlights the value of “old-fashioned marketing” in their article 13 Traditional Marketing Strategies You Can’t Afford To Ignore, and FIVE of 13 tips cited face to face events to meet potential customers.

Here’s a couple of tips:

On-Site Activities

“When it comes to traditional marketing, I still invest in on-site marketing activities such as events and sponsorships. On-site marketing is not only a great way to make a lasting connection with your target market, but also provides the opportunity to capture great content such as photos and videos which are perfect to release via your social media channels.”

Kevin Tighe II | Co-founder and CEO, WeBRAND

Local Events Pay Off

“Yes, events IRL (in real life) are beneficial for the customer to jumpstart a relationship with the company and to get hands on with the product. This will encourage the customer to spread word of mouth which is the most influential and valuable part of marketing because it is means more if someone else has something to say from their personal experience and familiarity with the product.”

Lane Sutton | Social Media Coach, Social Media from a Teen

Networking in Person

“I don’t budget much for most traditional marketing, but I’m always willing to pay to attend an event or a conference. In-person networking always pays out a major return on my investment.”

Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting

I get it.  Spending a couple of hours working on social media seems more efficient than going out and talking to people.  It’s time consuming developing relationships.  You can’t easily measure the results like you can when you get a new like or follower.  I know.

Yet, all that body language, all those things we see and experience in the presence of others just can’t short cut the marketing process like a live person can.   You’re just going to have to suck it up and get out there, cupcake.

Over the last 2 years, I’ve knuckled down and gone to lots of networking, some times when I wanted to stay home and empty my DVR contents.  I’ve attended conference to better my skills and resources.  All this while I spend time writing this blog, developing my Twitter and Facebook accounts and postings.  Over and over, when I staked my claim in local marketing expertise and got clear about my market, it just got easier and easier to meet people.  My enthusiasm jumped.  It’s really, really starting to pay off in new business and referrals.  All of this coming from developing relationships in person.

Here’s a short list of face to face marketing activities:

  • Structured networking like BNI and Le Tip
  • Informal networking at Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, community events
  • Business showcase or local expo
  • Seminars and conferences you attend
  • Seminars and talks you give

9 Face to Face Marketing Tips

  1. Find the Time Vampires and stay away from them. You never know when you meet people where it will lead but, it’s okay to do a gut-check and not take a business card or make a commitment to follow up.
  2. If you attend an event you didn’t create, be respectful of the event producer by introducing yourself, not hogging the platform.
  3. Create a little goal for yourself at each event: Collect 3 great contacts, introduce 2 people to each other, find someone you can refer.
  4. Respect people in a trade show booth.  They paid to be there.  You don’t get to take advantage of their largesse by running around and advertising to them.  Look for strategic relationships at showcase events. Mnimize the time you spend in their booth. Commit to follow up.
  5. Don’t let others influence your opinion of an event or group.  What’s good for your friend, might not work for you and vice versa.  Look for groups that fit you.
  6. Structured networking can seem daunting but having goals and objectives help keep everyone accountable.
  7. Raising your profile by creating your own events takes work.  Consider partnering with someone or getting professional help.  Don’t let your fear stop you, though.
  8. If you don’t want to create your own events, find out where you be on a panel or speak at someone else’s events.
  9. Lastly, do your face to face with an open heart.  Give to get.  Remember that it’s an imperfect human you’re dealing with.  They may need a little gentleness from you.

Traditional marketing isn’t done.  And, face to face isn’t done either.  Reading body language, listening to tone, seeing what’s in front of you.  Humans will never be done with in-person contact.  We’re smart and smarter than a compute (except for calculating huge equations.)  In a technological world, I say it’s more crucial than ever to keep pursuing interpersonal relationships to push your sales higher.