Cinnamon “Toast” Cloudcakes

March 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Posted in breakfast things, pancakes & waffles | 13 Comments
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cinnamon toast cloudcakes

Weekend mornings are made for laziness and pancakes.  Unfortunately for the last few weeks, Saturdays here have not been so lazy.  We’re getting the windows replaced in our house, and it’s been a long and messy process that, six days a week, starts with contractors coming over at 8:30 and ends in me finding at least one new ding in our carefully refinished original wood floors.  Seriously, that makes me want to pull my hair out.  Thankfully, there’s Sunday.  A day when I don’t have to worry about being changed out of my Hello Kitty pajama pants before nine.  A day when I can make Cinnamon “Toast” Cloudcakes for breakfast!

Cloudcakes require a little extra effort than regular pancakes, but if I can handle it in the morning, then I promise you can, too.  Really, you just need to whip and fold some egg whites…that’s what makes them puffy and cloud-light.  The “cinnamon toast” here just refers to spicing in the batter.  If you want plain cloudcakes, simply axe the cinnamon.  The recipe sounds like it makes a ton, but they are just little silver dollar-sized things, so a tall stack is what you’re after.  I made a half-recipe for just the two of us.  And some turkey bacon, which I see now looks totally weird in pictures.

Cinnamon “Toast” Cloudcakes- makes twenty-five 3-inch pancakes, serving 4 to 6
from Cook’s Country (April/May 2005)

Home stovetops vary, so you may need to adjust the burner setting between medium-low and medium. For maximum rise, allow the eggs and buttermilk to come up to room temperature before using them. Low-fat buttermilk works best here; if using fat-free buttermilk, reduce the amount to 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons. Although these pancakes are at their puffiest when served in batches, they can be kept warm on a cooling rack coated with cooking spray and placed over a sheet pan in a 200°F oven for up to 20 minutes.

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk (see headnote)
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 extra egg whites
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 – 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

-Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in large bowl. Stir buttermilk and sour cream together in medium bowl until combined. Add egg yolks and butter to buttermilk mixture, and stir well to combine. With electric mixer or balloon whisk, beat all 4 egg whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Pour buttermilk mixture over dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. (Batter should be lumpy, with visible streaks of flour.) Using spatula, carefully fold whites into batter until just combined. Do not overmix–a few streaks of whites should be visible.

-Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Using 1/8-cup measure or small ladle, spoon batter into pan. Cook until bottoms are evenly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve, cooking remaining batter and using more vegetable oil as needed to grease pan.

French Fridays with Dorie: Nutella Tartine

February 10, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Posted in breakfast things, french fridays with dorie, groups, other sweet, sweet things | 14 Comments
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nutella tartine

It was hard for me not to make this week’s FFWD recipe.  It’s toast– heck, I can make time for that!  Toast with yummy stuff on top, that is.  This tartine is a thick slice of brioche with butter, marmalade, Nutella, nuts and salt.  You could buy everything and simply assemble it, but I happened to have a couple of the components in homemade form (but already on hand).  I still had some homemade brioche in the freezer, and over the holidays, my BFF and I made a big pot of mixed-citrus marmalade to give to family.  A bit of sweet, a bit of sour and a bit of salt…this is toast at its finest.  Dorie says this is a typical after-school snack for French children, but I ate mine for breakfast.  Then I went to the dentist and he found no cavities.  Breakfast of champions.

For the recipe, see Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out my fellow francophiles’ posts.

TWD Rewind: Raisin Swirl Bread

January 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Posted in breakfast things, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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raisin swirl bread

Bread is definitely my favorite food group.  I’m not sure why, then, I skipped Raisin Swirl Bread when Susan picked it for TWD over the summer.  Maybe I was away…maybe it was too hot out for bread baking…I can’t remember.  Anyway, now is prefect bread baking weather, so I thought I’d give it a try.  Also, I wanted to brush up on my yeast skills before we get going on the white loaves from Baking with Julia in a couple of weeks.

This is just a straight-forward dough technique (no sponge or starter) with a couple of proofs.  I used my mixer for it, so I didn’t even break a sweat.  Scented with a little orange zest and of course a cinnamon-raisin swirl, it smelled really good baking.  I was so proud of myself for waiting until the bread had cooled completely before cutting into it.  I was even more proud of its perfect texture and beautifully hypnotic swirl.  There was a time when I would have skipped the raisins altogether and this would just have been a cinnamon swirl bread, but raisins and I have gradually made peace over the last couple of years.  We’re good now…I’m glad I gave them a second chance.

This makes fabulous toast (with a little salty butter, of course)!  I could probably have downed the whole loaf that way, but I tried it out as French toast, too.  Good stuff.  Really, I can’t wait to make this again.  For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Food Baby, as it was Susan’s pick from back in June.

P.S.:  If you don’t already have it, don’t forget to enter my Baking with Julia BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Cheese-and-Jam French Toast Sandwiches

January 13, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Posted in breakfast things, sweet things | 9 Comments
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cheese-and-jam french toast sandwiches

By the time Wednesday rolls around, I’m usually thinking seriously about my weekend breakfast options.  Geez, that sounds pretty lame, but I eat granola and yogurt every morning during the workweek, so I’m more than ready for a switch-up by the time Saturday arrives.  Usually I’ll go with pancakes over French toast, but last weekend I couldn’t resist the photo of “French toast sandwiches” in a great breakfast cookbook I have.  This is a lot like stuffed French toast, except here you just sandwich together two slices of bread (I used homemade brioche that I had in the freezer) rather than making surgical-style incisions and injections into one fat slice.  The filling is just a schmear of soft cream cheese and your favorite jam.  I think a marmalade or a tart jam works best…I used my homemade plum jam here…especially if you plan to slosh it with maple syrup.

Cheese-and-Jam French Toast Sandwiches– makes four servings
adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts by Rick Rodgers

4 eggs
1 cup milk
finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 slices challah, brioche or other egg bread
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons jam or orange marmalade
canola oil or butter for cooking
unsalted butter, at room temperature, for serving
maple syrup for serving

-Preheat the oven to 350°F.

-In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla. Lay one bread slice on a work surface and spread with one-fourth each of the cream cheese and jam. Top with another bread slice. Repeat with the remaining bread, cream cheese and jam.

-Preheat a griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle.

-One at a time, dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly, keeping the sandwiches intact. Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 30 seconds.

-Remove the sandwiches from the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, and place on the hot griddle. Cook until golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over and cook until browned on the other sides, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet.

-When all four sandwiches are on the sheet, place the sheet in the oven and bake until the cream cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

-Serve the French toast sandwiches immediately with butter and maple syrup.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Basic Buttermilk Biscuits

October 11, 2011 at 12:20 am | Posted in biscuits & scones, breakfast things, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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basic biscuits

…or something like that.  I had intended to make Buttermilk Biscuits.  I had followed the recipe…it said it was “basic.”  I had been having such good luck with scones recently that I thought biscuits would come out of the oven.  I’m pretty sure that, while what came out was delicious, it was technically not a biscuit. It was something more bready, with a bottom that had essentially fried in its own butter on the baking sheet.  More English muffiny maybe.  Whatever happened, this little breakfast roll was great with homemade jam…both apricot and concord grape.  I’ll have to try again for proper biscuits though.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Cooking for Comfort, as it was Jennifer’s pick this week. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Concord Grape Jam

October 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Posted in breakfast things, jams & preserves, sweet things | 3 Comments
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concord grape jam

Is there a food that you were deprived of as a child and now, as mistress of your own grocery list, you can’t get enough of?  Well, I guess I really have a few of them, but one is certainly grape jam.  There was never a jar of Welch’s to be found in our kitchen cupboard growing up.  It was PB&J with raspberry usually standing in for the “J”…good, sure, but not that sweet, sticky intensely purple-black jam that I only had at friends’ houses (thank you Angie and Christy!).

For my now-slightly-less-childish-palate, the storebought stuff is actually too sweet for me.  Luckily it doesn’t take a whole lotta effort to make a few little jars of my own grape jam, with the sugar dialed down a few notches (or the grape dialed up).  And now is the time to do it…the concord grape season is short, but it is now and, for the time being, they are pretty easily found at the greenmarkets here in NYC.

I did a lot of research before making this jam, and the recipe is a hodgepodge of several I found, with the sugar adjusted to my taste.  You’ll get a homemade jam that is very grapey and plenty sweet, without making your cavities zing.  You do have to peel the grapes before you start, but with concords it’s a cinch…just give them a pinch.  The skins practically fall right off.

This recipe makes just a few half-pint jars of jam, so I don’t bother to can it.  If you keep it refrigerated, it should last a couple of months at least.  I will probably eat every last drop just like in the picture…spread with peanut butter over a slice of junky white bread.  With potato chips on top.  I was too embarrassed to show you that part.

Concord Grape Jam– makes about three 1/2-pint jars

Steph’s Notes:  I like the texture from the noticable bits of skin in my final jam.  If you’d rather have a smoother end product, purée the skins with the sugar, salt and lemon juice in the food processor before adding to the saucepan in step 3.

If you have trouble telling if your jam is done, you can pop a small plate into the freezer to chill.  Spoon 1/2 teaspoon fruit mixture onto the cold plate and allow to set for 30 seconds. Tip the plate 45 degrees to one side; jam should be a soft gel that moves slightly.  If mixture is liquid and runs quickly down the plate, return the jam to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, 2-5 minutes longer; then repeat the test.

2 1/4 lbs de-stemmed concord grapes, washed
9 oz sugar
1/8 t salt

1-2 T lemon juice

-Working over a large, nonreactive saucepan in which you will be making the jam (to catch juices), skin the grapes by gently squeezing each one between two fingers.  The skins will pop off easily.  Let all of the pulp and any juices fall into the saucepan.  Put the skins into a medium bowl, stir in the sugar, salt and lemon juice and set aside.

-Over medium heat, bring grape pulp to a simmer, cover and cook until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Push through fine strainer and discard seeds.

-Return the strained pulp (now more like juice at this point) to the saucepan and add in the sugar/skin mixture.

-Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn down the heat and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, 20 to 30 minutes.  Skim off any scum that rises to the surface of the jam during the cooking process.

-Spoon the jam into three clean 1/2-pint jars (you can sterilize the jars and lids first with boiling water, if you are so inclined), leaving about 1/4 inch of space at the top.  Close the jars and let the jam cool to room temperature.  Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Apple Nut Muffin Cake

October 4, 2011 at 12:09 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, muffins & quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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apple nut muffin cake

This Apple Nut Muffin Cake is quintessential fall baking…apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts and raisins…all things that make your house smell great.  Rolled oats (and swapping a little whole grain flour for AP) make this easy breakfast cake feel even more wholesome.  It is just like a muffin in terms of technique and texture, but, not that I would ever really call muffin-making fussy, you simply slap the batter into a cake pan and go….ready for coffee in about 35 minutes.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Baking and Boys!, as it was Katrina’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Flip-Over Plum Cake

September 27, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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flip-over plum cake

Plums are one of the last tastes of summer fruit.  Let’s not be too sad to see the summer go…instead, let’s celebrate with plum cake– Flip-Over Plum Cake.  This is the world’s easier batter to throw together…a quick whisk and that’s it.  It doesn’t even have any eggs.  That was kind of a curveball, actually– I had to, like, quadruple check the recipe to make sure I wasn’t missing something.  Scatter the plums over top and toss it in the oven.  The plums magically turn into a sweet-tart jam layer on the bottom, and the bizarrely egg-less batter turns into delicious cake!

Dorie has this in the breakfast section, and it’s so tasty, I’m sure it would be a fabulous way to start the day, but a little whipped cream turns it into a perfectly lovely dessert, which is how we ate it over here.  I’m betting it would also be great with peaches or nectarines, although I am partial to that intense plum-red color bleeding though.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Project Domestication, as it was Becky’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf

August 30, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, muffins & quick breads, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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cornmeal and fruit loaf

An earthquake and a hurricane in the span of a few days– what a weird weather week for New York City!  If it weren’t for Irene cancelling work this weekend and keeping me housebound, I would not have gotten to make this Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf.  Something about baking at home helps calm my nerves if I’m feeling anxious, and wondering if our house would make it through the big storm without any major damage was making me fret (more than just a bit).  Thankfully, a little water in the basement was the extent of it for us.  If you are on the East Coast, I hope you managed to stay safe.

Whether you are baking to take your mind off something, or just because you want a tasty breakfast treat, this loaf works.  It’s totally made by hand…theraputic, quiet and easy.  And it’s hearty and satisfying to eat…cornmeal and apples (fresh and dried) give it great texture.  It’s not too sweet, so it definitely leans more towards a comforting breakfast or snack than dessert.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read the always enjoyable Engineer Baker, as it was Caitlin’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Carrot Spice Muffins (aka Morning Glories)

August 9, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, groups, muffins & quick breads, tuesdays with dorie | 9 Comments
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carrot spice muffins

“Muffin” is a weird word.  And I just realized that I totally spelled it wrong in the titles of my last two muffin posts.  How dumb, and obvious now that I look at those posts again.  (OK, I’ve just gone back and corrected that, so it’s as if it never happened).

These Carrot Spice Muffins are something of a substitute for when your tummy really wants a piece of Bill’s Big Carrot Cake (wow, that cake was awesome…I think about it all the time) for breakfast, but your head just won’t let you.  Like a good carrot cake, they have lots of add-ins beyond carrots…walnuts, coconut, raisins and, of course, a gentle amount of warm spices.  Unlike carrot cake, though, they are sans that decadent cream cheese frosting (but now that I think about it, a thinned out cream cheese glaze would have been fabulous!), and they are a bit dialed down in the oil department.  These seemed like they could be a vehicle for a little fiber boost as well, so I swapped about 25% of the flour with whole wheat.  I also used unsweetened desiccated coconut instead of the sweet stuff.  Then I ate two.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read The Dogs Eat the Crumbs, as it was Nancy’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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