Tags: baking, biscuits, breakfast
The weekend before last, my husband and I managed to briefly (or should I say too briefly) escape Brooklyn to meet up with my parents in Santa Fe. Lots of sun during the day, lots of stars out at night (wow–I forget how breathtaking a sky full of stars is), lots of enchiladas and tamales. On Saturday, I insisted that we go to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market to pick up some edible souvenirs. In my suitcase, I brought back chile powder, honey and a bag of blue cornmeal. Thankfully no glass broke and no bags burst…I would have had quite a mess!
That blue cornmeal is what gives the funky color to my Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits. These were easy to make for breakfast…even half asleep, like I was. No rolling or cutting required, although I do think using an ice cream scoop to portion the sticky dough makes things easier than messy spoons. And you can make bigger, rounder biscuits that way, too! They are slightly sweet and have that nice little gritty corn crunch, especially on their crispy tops. They were delish with strawberry jam (mine was NYC-made), and I’m sure would have been just as tasty with yellow cornmeal as with blue.
Tags: baking, breakfast, muffins
Muffins– two weeks in a row! I actually made and ate last week’s muffins two+ years ago, so I was glad to have another batch pop up this week. These may look as sunny and yellow as last Tuesday’s, but that’s because of orange and lemon instead of corn. A good citrus kick keeps these muffins from being too sweet, so you don’t feel so guilty having them for brekkie. I swapped out spelt flour for about a third of the AP, just to health them up a bit more. And if my currants look a little purple, it’s because they’re actually dried wild blueberries. I would have used currants if I had them, but blueberries go well with the citrus anyway.
And, in case you missed it, Olive Oil Citrus Cake is another good way to brighten your day with Vitamin C.
Boy howdy, did I ever jump the gun on this recipe. I made these Corniest Corn Muffins all the way back in 2008. We were still living in Sydeny…sheesh. But I do remember them. Even remember that we ate them with turkey chili instead of for breakfast (I reduced the sugar to 4 tablespoons for that reason).
Corn muffins are really little cornbreads. I’m well aware of the North vs South cornbread rivalry that divides a large chunk of our nation. I, however, did not grow up in a home with fierce opinions about “proper” cornbread. My parents were raised in the Midwest, and I don’t think this debate ever even crossed their minds, so, as a result, I, too, am a bit of an agnostic when it comes to cornbread. I’ll tell you what I liked about these muffins, though. I liked the kernels of fresh corn that gave them extra texture and craggy, golden tops. I liked their crumbly, grainy crumb and their little bit of sweetness. I’ve inherited my Grandpa W’s old cornstick molds (like these only vintage!)…perhaps I should see if these muffins make good sticks, too?
For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here on Diner’s Journal) or read My Next Life, as it was Jill’s pick this week. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
A warm scone and a hot cup of coffee (and a giant bowl of fruit salad!) sounds great to me on a chilly morning. Good call on the Toasted Almond Scones, Mike! These scones, with their trifecta of almond flavor (ground, chopped and extract), sounded so appealing to me that instead of making my usual half-batch, I went nuts and did a whole thing. Freezer food is oh-so conveinent.
I haven’t had the best luck getting my scones and biscuits to rise mightily (in fact, some could be mistaken for pancakes), so I patted these out a little bigger and fatter than Dorie suggests. As a result, I didn’t get the full twelve the recipe yields, but I did get my most successful batch of scones to date! Flaky and tall. These are sooo much better than the coffee shop variety. They are barely sweet, and we ate ours with blueberry jam.
Tags: breakfast, muffins
Usually, when I make muffins, I’m trying to sneak a little whole wheat flour into the mix and hoping my husband won’t care. Well, here’s a muffin that’s supposed to be full of grains…whole wheat, corn and oats. Good for you stuff, but with a little AP flour so it doesn’t feel like a brick. I did sneak something else in, though….a tablespoon of ground flaxseed (although wheat germ would be good, too). For dried fruit, I used blueberries and apricots. These aren’t big, high-doming muffins, but I’d be happy to wake up to them anytime. In the book, they’re pictured with a big hunk of cheese, but I think they’re pretty good with a little jam.
Tags: breakfast, waffles
Since we moved back to Brooklyn, I’ve been going out for a lot of Sunday brunches with my BFF, who handily lives about a twenty minute walk away. I like having breakfast made for me, and a spicy bloody Mary in my hand while I catch up with a friend. But, truth be told, most of what I shell out hard-earned $$ for at brunch, I could make just as well (and sometimes better) at home. When it’s too cold out and the snowbanks are too high to scramble over, I do just that.
I don’t take my waffle maker out of its box very often (in fact, the last time I did, it was to make these apple ones), but sometimes the urge strikes to switch things up from eggs or pancakes. I always have yogurt in the fridge, so I wanted to give this recipe a try. The warm spices and pecans also sounded pretty good to me on a chilly morning. I read that some folks thought they didn’t turn out crispy enough, so I gave mine a few extra seconds in the iron to make sure that wasn’t an issue. Bring on the maple syrup, and I think I just may keep the waffle maker out for another week!!
Spiced Yogurt Waffles with Toasted-Pecan Maple Syrup– makes about 10 waffles
adapted from Fine Cooking, Issue 108
Steph’s Note: The number of waffles you get will depend upon the size of your maker. This recipe halves well, but I like to wrap up extra waffles individually and freeze them. They can then be re-heated and crisped-up in the toaster or oven.
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1-1/2 cups plain full-fat or low-fat yogurt
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, separated
3 Tbs. vegetable oil; more for the waffle iron
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
-Heat the oven to 200°F and heat a waffle iron, preferably a Belgian waffle iron. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, egg yolks, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
-In a medium bowl, with a wire whisk or electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites to soft peaks.
-With a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture until just combined (the batter should be a little lumpy). Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until just incorporated.
-Brush the waffle iron with a little vegetable oil. Working in batches, cook the batter in the waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions until crisp and golden. Set the waffles directly on the oven rack to keep warm. Do not stack them.
-Meanwhile, in a 2-quart saucepan, warm the maple syrup over medium heat. Stir in the pecans and keep warm.
-Serve the waffles with the syrup.
I made these muffins– oh, wow– more than a year ago, and have been waiting patently for someone, like Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness, to choose them for TWD. Lemons and poppy seeds are one of the classic combos of the muffin world, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a cup of coffee and a little lemon cake? In addition to super-cuteness, poppy seeds give a little crunch. Dorie’s recipe has a lemon glaze that is sweet and puckery at the same time…and I was generous with it. I have the world’s biggest jar of poppy seeds (seriously, it’s like PB jar sized!), so I’ll make these again, and when I do, I’m going to try the jam-filled variation.
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!