Have I told you what I have been up to lately? I started November wishing I could find a part-time job, and now I have two part-time jobs, totaling way more hours than a typical full-time one. I get very anxious about waking up for job #1 at 5:45 in the morning after I’ve been at job #2 until 11:00 at night. How do I get myself into these things, and why have I started every new food job I’ve had during the super-busy holiday season? Oh well, it won’t last forever…job #2 is only for another few weeks.
For the time being, I do really look forward to the one morning a week when I can drink coffee out of a proper cup and stuff my face with things like Cardamom Crumb Cake for breakfast. I get really happy when folks like Jill pick a breakfast recipe for TWD, and this coffee cake highlights one of my favorite spices. I’d say that this is a simple, plain cake, but cardamom is an interesting flavor and is something a bit more unexpected than cinnamon. Combine it with orange zest, espresso powder and walnut crumb topping, and you’ve got a cake I’d eat any day of the week. Happily, the second half of mine is tucked away in the freezer until Saturday.
Before I’m able to face the slew of holidays that are fast-approaching, I need to clear my cupboard of the ghosts of holidays past. Here, I’m talking about a freakin’ can of pumpkin pie “mix” I bought at some point last year, thinking it was straight-up pumpkin. I always think I must be losing it when I do stuff like that, but gosh, don’t those cans look so similar? That slip-up is far more understandable than the times I’ve returned from the grocery store and put my purse in the fridge!
I had to get rid of that can, because it’s been taunting me for almost a year now. I didn’t know what to do with pumpkin pie mix, though, because I have no idea how much sugar is really in there, so I turned to the expert source, none other than the Libby’s website, for a little help.
What I came away with was a great pumpkin bread recipe that promises it can be made “anyway you like it.” Hmmm…I like it with chocolate chips (I am always surprised by how good the pumpkin-chocolate combination is) and spinkled with a little spice sugar, so I don’t mind if I do. This bread may not have quite the texture you’d normally expect for pumpkin bread, but that’s because it really has very little added fat. It’s still quite moist, and kept just fine for three days, so I’d gladly trade the reduced oil for reduced guilt (and chocolate chips!).
“Anyway You Like It” Pumpkin Bread- makes one 8 x 4-inch loaf
adapted from Very Best Baking
Steph’s Note: The recipe below is half the size of the one on the website, which makes two loaves and uses a big 30 oz can of pie mix. If you’re more in the mood for mini-loaves or muffins, those variations are at the end.
1 3/4 c + 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c stir-ins (raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, chopped dates, nuts or chocolate chips)
1 15 oz can of pumpkin pie mix (the stuff with some sugar and spices added)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice, apple juice, skim milk or water
1 large egg
1 to 1 1/2 T sprinkle-ons (chopped nuts, cinnamon sugar, seeds such as: poppy, sesame or sunflower, optional)
-Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.
-Combine flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Combine pumpkin pie mix, oil, orange juice and eggs in another large bowl. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture; stir just until moistened. Fold in stir-ins. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with your choice of sprinkle-ons.
-Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.
for four 5 1/2 x 3 1/4-inch mini-loaf pans:
-Prepare as above. Bake for 38 to 42 minutes.
for one dozen muffin cups:
-Preheat oven to 400° F. Prepare as above. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes.
There are some mornings when one cup of coffee just won’t do the trick. That’s what these Coffee-Break Muffins are for. They are chock full o’ brewed coffee (Chock Full o’Nuts, perhaps??) and instant espresso, and give you that double-shot kick in the pants that’s sometimes needed.
I’ve been having a lot of these mornings lately. Remember when I said I was busy? Well, I still am…running around so much during the day, my brain can’t switch off when it’s time to go to bed. The reason I haven’t been working this summer is that my husband and I have finally found our own place! Seriously, House Hunters could have done a freakin’ multi-year series on just us, but now we’ve closed the deal on a cool old house in Brooklyn. “Old” being the key word…there are a zillion things that need fixing up, so I’ve been shuttling back and forth to get estimates from painters, plumbers, contractors, floor refinishers, you name it…reasearching and meeting these guys is a full time-time job itself. The work has hardly begun, but our apartment lease is almost up, so we move this weekend–yikes! Oh yeah, and we have almost no furniture…we’ll be eating dinner in camping chairs in the middle of a construction zone for awhile. Should be an adventure!
It’s a good thing I made a full batch of these muffins. They are great freezer food and can be defrosted in a matter of seconds for a quick caffeine jolt! For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Chocoholic Anonymous, as it was Rhiani’s choice for TWD. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
Thank you, Natalie of Oven Love, for choosing Oatmeal Breakfast Bread for TWD! I have dropped a couple of hints in the past that this is one recipe I’ve been itching to make…not only that, but I’m always happy when someone chooses a brekkie thing, as I kinda feel we ignore this section of the book.
I’m pleased to report that this oatmeal bread was everything I hoped it would be! It’s really soft and nicely spiced, and completely perfect with coffee…you can cut into slices like a bread or bigger chunks like a coffee cake. I used dried apples and pecans in mine, and baked it the night before (who wants to get up at 5am to do it, especially when it keeps so well?). I baked a half recipe, and it took a little less time to cook than Dorie indicated for a full batch. I can’t wait to make it again in cooler weather…a whole recipe next time, for sure!
Hey– Happy Father’s Day! Why not do something nice for pops and make him a Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake today?? It’s super easy, I promise. You can even make it by hand without breaking a sweat. I’d make it for my dad, but he lives clear across the county.
This cake is nothing fancy…plain, but soft and good. It reminds me of a blueberry muffin, which made it perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
Here’s a printable link to the recipe. Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I made a couple of tiny tweaks…a little spelt flour in place of some of the AP, and a bit of lemon zest for extra flavor. Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our blueberry cakes this month!
If I’ve learned anything from this week’s TWD, it’s that I make lousy biscuits. Well, let me clear that up…these Sweet Cream Biscuits (chosen by Melissa of Love At First Bite for TWD) tasted good, especially topped with some homemade strawberry-vanilla bean smoosh, but they were not the high, flaky biscuits of my dreams. Overworking must have been the culprit, although after seven years of baking professionally, I like to think that I know when to stop.
But I won’t let you get me down, biscuits. No, no…I will master you yet. You just wait and see.
I am finally starting to see a few leafy green things (look out ramps and asparagus!) at the Greenmarket, but where the heck are the fruity things? Yeah, rhubarb, you may technically be veg, but I’m talking about you. It’s still nothing but the same sad apples I’ve been seeing for the past six months…which of course I bought last week. And because they tasted like apples from six months ago, they sat in the fridge for another week, until a feeling of guilt swept over me and I had to think of ways to use them up.
R’s mum gave us a waffle iron for Christmas. A great present (it makes two at a time!), but I’ve no place to put it in our little kitchen, so it lives in its box in the back of the coat closet. Most of the time it’s out of sight, out of mind, but once in a while I like to pry the iron from its styrofoam protectors and switch-up the pancake routine. Why the heck not make apple waffles?
I didn’t have it so together that morning that I was able to make waffles and saute apples to go on top…instead I simply poured a little cider and a little maple syrup into a sauce pan, and let it reduce for a couple of minutes. Voila…cider-maple syrup atop a golden spiced apple waffle. Perfect for spring– hehe.
Apple Waffles- makes about six 6.5″ round waffles
from a recipe in Waffles: From Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan
Steph’s note: The recipe halves wonderfully if you don’t need six. You can also individually freeze any extra waffles for later breakfasts.
3 T unsalted butter
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 t double-acting baking powder
1 t cinnamon
¼ t allspice
pinch of nutmeg
¼ c sugar
¼ c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ c milk
2 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 medium-sized apple, peeled and grated
maple syrup, or applesauce, and butter, for serving
-Preheat waffle iron. If you want to hold the waffles until serving time, preheat your oven to 200°F.
-Melt the butter; reserve. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and sugars (make sure the brown sugar is free of lumps). In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, whisking until they are just combined. Fold in the grated apple and melted butter.
-Lightly butter or spray the grids of your iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.
-Spoon out ½ cup of batter, (or amount recommended by your waffler’s manufacturer) onto the hot iron. Spread it over the grids with a metal spatula or wooden spoon. Close the lid and bake until browned and crisp. They are soft, so you may have to gently peel them off the iron with a fork and spatula.
-Serve immediately with suggested toppings, or keep the finished waffles, in a single layer, on a rack in the preheated oven while you make the rest of the batch.
Yesterday was the messiest, snowiest, slushiest day New York City has seen all winter. A yucky day outside makes for the perfect day to hibernate inside (luckily, I usually have Wednesdays off from work)…and the perfect day to make homemade pancakes! Ummm….have I told you that I love pancakes? I may have mentioned it a few times, right?
I’ve been noticing a lot of buckwheaty recipes lately, so I picked up a bag of buckwheat flour at the shop the other day. I put it to quick work in my first batch of buckwheat pancakes. Normally when I think of buckwheat pancakes, I imagine little yeast-risen blini with caviar or smoked salmon, but these guys are more in-line with buttermilk breakfast pancakes. The buckwheat flour gives them an earthy color and slighty nutty taste. These pancakes are hearty and delicious, and just the thing to make you feel cozy on a snowy day.
P.S.: My friend Lauren and I met up with Dorie Greenspan at her pop-up CookieBar today. She is nicer that I even imagined her to be, and her cookies are damn good, too! I was so excited that I forgot to tell her I’d made (and devoured) these pancakes…the recipe is hers!
Winter Buckwheat Pancakes- makes 4 servings (about 12 pancakes)
from a recipe in Pancakes: From Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan
Steph’s note: You can reduce the butter in the recipe (I used 3T) if you’d like. The recipe halves wonderfully if you are just feeding two.
3/4 c buckwheat flour
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 c milk
3/4 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T honey
maple syrup or honey and butter, for serving
-In a medium bowl, whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. In another bowl, thoroughly whisk the milk, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and honey together. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk, stopping when everything is just combined (don’t worry if the batter is a bit lumpy). You will have a thick, dark batter that looks as though powdered coffee has been sprinkled through it; as the batter sits, it will become thicker, stickier and more elastic—that is fine.
-Lightly butter, oil or spray your griddle or skillet; preheat over medium heat or, if using an electric griddle, set to 350°F; if you want to hold the pancakes until serving time, preheat your oven to 200°F.
-Spoon 1/3 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, allowing space for spreading and use a spatula or the back of your spoon to lightly press the batter into rounds. When the undersides of the pancakes are golden and the tops are speckled with bubbles that pop and stay open, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula and cook until the other sides are brown.
-Serve immediately with suggested toppings, or keep the finished pancakes in the preheated oven while you make the rest of the batch.
Wow–super-busy week at work. If I hadn’t made this Cocoa-Nana Bread, chosen for TWD by fellow Steph of Obsessed with Baking, early last week, it just wouldn’t have happened for me. The bakery I work for was featured in a segment on national TV a few days ago, and it sent mail orders pouring in all weekend. Terrific for business, but the owners neglected to give the kitchen the heads-up that it was airing! Saying we we’ve been in the weeds would be an understatement, and my arms are about to fall off from so much brownie mixing. Anyway, back to matters at hand…
A healthy dose of cocoa powder makes this loaf pumpernickel-dark. And bananas make it moist. It’s really much more cocoa than nana….and also more loaf cake than bread. Dorie intends it to be for breakfast, but we thought it made a fine dessert. Leftovers are a yummy trifle base, BTW.
To all my Aussie friends–happy Australia Day! I’ll be celebrating here with homemade sausage rolls, a Cooper’s Sparkling and some good tennis!
The Cake Slice Bakers have shifted gears, and we’re now baking from the book Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I’ve actually had this book for quite sometime, so it will be nice to do more than just admire its words and pictures. Although I’ll miss making a fancy layer cake each month just for the heck of it, this book has cakes of all types– like this here Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake, for instance.
This was a nice cake to wake up to (it freezes well, so you really can make it ahead and save it for a weekend morning). It has a whopping amount of cinnamon and pecans, so you know right there that it’ll be tasty. I replaced the raisins in the recipe with dried wild blueberries (they came from TJ’s and I was surprised at how flavorful they were!), and subbed in a bit of whole wheat flour for some of the AP. Makes me feel better about eating cake in the morning if there’s a little whole wheat in there! And it didn’t seem to harm the nice texture of the buttery crumb at all. So that I wouldn’t be tempted to gobble up too much cake, I made a third of the recipe and baked it in a loaf pan.
Here’s a printable link to the recipe. Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our coffee cakes this month!