Tags: baking, breakfast, muffins
What a weird week last week was. Weird and scary…and not just because of wacky Halloween costumes. We count ourselves very lucky at our house, and if you live on the East coast, I hope the same is true at yours. Some minor disruptions and inconveniences were all that Sandy really dealt us and our neighborhood. Still, it was nice to have something comforting to bake after just emerging from the supposed storm of the century.
Like the name says, Marion Cunningham’s Buttermilk Crumb Muffins are made with buttermilk and have a little crumb on top. They also have some warm spices and brown sugar. They were tasty, simple and homey. Nothing that will knock your socks off, but we ate them all just a few minutes out of the oven. Maybe you don’t always need your socks knocked off at breakfast anyway, right? The original recipe makes sixteen muffins and uses all shortening as the fat. When I said we ate them all, I should clarify (so you don’t think my husband and I are complete pigs) that I made one-quarter recipe for just four muffins, using 2 tablespoons of butter and one whole egg. I went a little heavy on the spices and a little scant on the sugar.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read easier than pie (it’s also here). And there’s even a video of Julia and Marion making these together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
I eat my fair share of bagels. Frankly it’s hard not to when you live in New York City and there are bagel shops all over the place (Bergen Bagels being my favorite close-to-home joint). I’m not just a bagel-eater, I’ve actually made a lot of bagels, too, at my first restaurant job where we’d get slammed with weekend brunch crowds who all seemed to want the smoked trout with quail egg and a mini bagel….so Lauren Groveman’s recipe wasn’t totally Greek (or should I say Yiddish?) to me.
There were a couple of things I did differently than the recipe, just out of old habits. After boiling the bagels for about a minute on each side, I removed them from the water and placed them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. I baked them on the rack as well, because it allows the oven heat to circulate underneath the bagels. I didn’t bother brushing them with the egg white glaze before baking. They may not have been laquer-shiny, but they still browned very nicely and the toppings held in place. Also, in the bagel dough, I used half sugar and half barley malt syrup for the sweetener, which Groveman did on the TV show, but did a little differently in the book (which calls for only sugar).
I wasn’t super-prepared in the toppings department, so I just went with poppy seeds on some and grey salt on others. The salt ones were my favorite. I stirred some dill and chives into cream cheese to jazz up my schmear a bit. These were chewy and had a nice crust….with a cup of coffee, these bagels made for a perfect New York breakfast.
If you’ve never had a super-fresh, warm bagel before, you can really make great ones at home, so give it a go! You can make the dough the night before and it’s ready to shape and cook off the next morning. For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Heather’s Bytes (it’s also here). And there’s even a video of Julia and Lauren making bagels together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: jam, preserves
We’re at the point in the summer (the end of it, I mean), when I’m freaking out a little about the prospect of a winter full of rutabagas and turnips. My reaction to this, apparently, is to stash little jars of summery things on the top shelf of my fridge.
I made this peach butter recipe last year, and then promptly ate up without a word to you about it. So I just made it again. It’s thicker and more intense than jam. It’s not only what’s in it (peaches!) that makes it delicious, but also what’s not– no spices and not too much sugar. I think it’s what crumpets were made for..
Peach Butter— makes about four cups
from Smitten Kitchen
Steph’s Note: This can be “properly” canned if you want to store it longer-term. See the original recipe for tips on that process.
4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) peaches
1 cup (237 ml) water
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
juice of one lemon
-If you are not using a food mill: Cut a small “x” in the bottom of each peach. Dip each into a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds, and then into a bowl of cold water for a minute. Slip off the peels.
-Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits, then cut each half into quarters (8 chunks from each peach). Place peach chunks and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until peaches are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. If you have a food mill, run them through it to puree them and remove the skins. Use a disk with smaller holes if you want a smoother puree. If you don’t have a food mill — i.e. you already peeled your peaches — you can puree in a food processor, blender or with an immersion blender.
-Return the peaches to the pot, add the sugar and lemon juice and bring the mixture to a good strong simmer/gentle boil, cooking them at this level for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more often near the end, as it thickens up and the fruit masses risk scorching on the bottom of the pot.
-There are several methods to test for doneness: You can drizzle a ribbon of sauce across the surface; when that ribbon holds its shape before dissolve into the pot, it is done. Some people use cold or frozen plates; dollop a spoonful in the middle of one and if no water forms a ring around it in a couple of minutes, it is done. Others use a spoon; if the butter remains rounded on a spoon for two minutes, it is done. You can also check the pot itself; the butter is usually done when a wooden spoon leaves a clear train when scraped across the bottom.
-Spoon the peach butter into clean 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 butter in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Tags: baking, breakfast
My first couple of years at Wellesley, there was a restaurant in “the Vill” called Popovers. Popovers served, you guessed it, popovers…giant, bowl-sized popovers that could be ordered on their own with butter and jam or used as a vessel for one of a zillion different (mostly mayo-based) salads. This place was clearly an old-school institution and I thought the concept was so entertaining, that when I returned from my junior year abroad, I was kind of confused and heartbroken to see it had closed. (I have heard that there’s something similar here in NYC, but I haven’t been.)
That place is what sprang to mind when it was announced we’d be baking the late, great Marion Cunningham’s popovers this week. There’s something fun and kind of magical about popovers–how does such a runny, crepe-like batter explode and mushroom like that in the oven? And because they are hollow inside, eating them is kind of like eating air. They do take a while to crisp and dry out, and there’s no peeking in the oven (unless you have a working oven light), so if you are an impatient type, these may test you a bit. But that’s the only hard part….the batter is sooo easy to make…a 15 second blender blitz and it’s done. I happen to have a popover tin that was gifted to me, but you certainly don’t need one. A muffin tin works, and Marion even used custard cups in the BWJ episode.
We had ours for breakfast…some with honey, some with jam. I heard a savory twist with cheese and herbs is tasty, too.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Paula’s Vintage Kitchen Notes and Amy’s Bake With Amy. A short version is also here. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: baking, bread, breakfast
I’ve been getting a lot of practice making breakfast pastries lately. A couple of months ago, the owners of the shop I work for decided that we should open three hours earlier and have a menu of morning baked stuff. I now have to wake up basically in the middle of the night to walk to work and make this happen. I’m thinking about quitting soon….but you didn’t hear me say that, and you certainly didn’t come here for banal griping. You came for Nancy Silverton’s Pecan Sticky Buns!
It’s pretty much a given that sticky buns have a lot of butter in them, but this recipe uses a sh*t-ton of butter. There’s brioche dough..no, make that laminated brioche dough (unlike the other sticky buns we did about–yikes– four years ago)…and then there’s the sticky top part. The only component without butter is the pecan-cinnamon swirl inside. When everything’s tallied up, it comes to five sticks for a whole recipe!! My mind immediately went to work wondering where I could shave off a few tablespoons. First off, a whole recipe makes two 9-inch pans, or 14 buns, and I certainly didn’t need that many for the two of us. A quarter of a recipe would be fine…I knew I could squeeze four slightly smaller buns out of that and bake them in a 6-inch pan. I ultimately decided on making a half recipe of brioche dough, and only taking half of that to make buns with (I’m saving the other half for another project). I kept the full amount of butter in the dough itself. Best not to mess around with that. I used about two-thirds the butter called for in the laminating step and half for the topping. I don’t think I missed out too much…my buns were sweet and soft and flaky. I plan to experiment more with this laminated brioche thing later on…it’s a cool technique.
By the way brioche is a lovely dough to work with…if you can keep it cool enough while you shape it, that is. It’s so soft and nice to touch. And it rises beautifully.
It took me like an hour to figure out how to put two pics side-by-side in Photoshop, btw…wow.
I made my base dough on day one, parked it in the fridge overnight after its first rise, and finished off the laminating and rolling the next day. I did my dough in my stand mixer. Since I just made a half a batch, my KA had no problem cranking it out. It was really such a small about of dough, though, that I think even the whole recipe would have been just fine. Despite my earlier talk about breakfast pastries, my husband and I actually ate two of these sticky buns for dessert. After getting up so early for work now everyday, I can’t manage to get up early enough on the weekends to have buns proofed, baked and cooled before brekkie. The other two baked buns were wrapped up tight and stuck the freezer, to be defrosted and enjoyed properly one weekend morning with a cup of coffee.
For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan or read Lynn’s Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole’s Cookies on Friday. There’s also a video of Nancy and Julia making the buns together. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
Tags: breakfast, waffles
Usually I don’t work on Fridays. Typically I have the day to myself. Sometimes I do errands or shopping. Occasionally I can find a friend to escape work and have lunch with me. Always I eat breakfast and watch episodes of House Hunters.
Breakfast du jour was a Savory Cheddar and Scallion waffle topped with salsa, sour cream and an egg. I treat myself right, don’t I? Actually I just pulled the waffle out of the freezer and reheated it. It was leftover from a “breakfast for dinner” night earlier in the week. That’s the beauty of a savory waffle…perfect for brekkie or dinner. It’s not weird, trust me. This one has a bit of a Southwestern twist to it– some cornmeal, scallions, cheddar, cilantro and hot sauce (I use a heavy hand with the Crystal). I was worried that the cheese might adhere to the waffle iron and act like superglue…it didn’t. I had beautifully formed, crisp-edged waffles with buttermilk tang and a savory flavor.
I’m trying to use my waffle iron more often. After I get past the annoyance of removing it from its styrofoam and box (yes, OK, I am an original packaging hoarder), making waffles is really fun. And eating them, even more.
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c cornmeal (coarse, if you have it)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vegetable oil
couple dashes of hot sauce, to taste
1 1/4 c buttermilk
1/2 c finely grated cheddar cheese
1 chopped scallion, white and green parts
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
-Heat your oven to 200°F and heat your waffle iron, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Grease it with a little vegetable oil if it needs it.
-In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, black pepper, sugar and salt.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, hot sauce and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, then add the cheese, scallions and cilantro. Stir until just incorporated. Try not to over-mix the batter.
-Cook according to your waffle machine instructions. Hold the finished waffles in the warm oven while you make the rest.
-Garnish as you wish (for me, it was salsa, sour cream, an egg and some extra cilantro) and serve immediately. If you have extra waffles, wrap them well and freeze them…they can be recrisped in the toaster or oven.
Tags: breakfast, pancakes
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.
Tags: breakfast, snacks
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.
Tags: baking, 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!
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
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.