Friday, January 28, 2011

My new favorite pancake recipe

Breakfast for dinner is a common occurrence in our house (at least once a week!) and I have used the same basic pancake recipe since I "perfected" it a few years ago.  I'd venture a new one every so often just to see if there were any better out there, and while most others have been GOOD, I've always returned to my basic stand-by.  Maybe one day I'll post that here too.  But last night I discovered a new recipe that was soooooooooooo good and so perfect -- just a little crispy on the outside, nice and tender on the inside, and oh, so light and fluffy!

The kids, of course, got sprinkles on theirs:

The grown ups had ours a little more plain, with just a drizzle of syrup:

See how fluffy?  And PERFECTLY done all the way through!
Now, I have to whine a little up front:  My griddle bit the dust last week.  I have one of those Presto 19" electric griddles, and it is used A LOT in my kitchen!!  Several times a week, at least!  It finally had enough of our abuse and refused to heat up last week.  I must go find a new one.  BUT, because of that, I had to resort to using my 10" skillet on the stovetop.  It's been a very long time since I've had to do that.  And it takes a lot longer to make dinner, only able to make 3 pancakes at a time.    But it worked, and they still turned out perfectly!

1 1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/4 c. butter, melted (I recommend REAL Butter!)

Mix milk with lemon juice and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder & soda, and salt.
With a fork or whisk, combine eggs and butter with milk mixture.
Add wet mixture to dry mixture, mixing thoroughly but being careful to not overmix.
Heat griddle or nonstick skillet over medium heat (DO NOT SPRAY!)
Drop by approx. 1/4 cupfuls onto hot surface.  When edges are dry and surface is covered in bubbles, flip.  Cook an additional minute or so, until done.  Do not flip more than once!
This should make about 14 regular sized pancakes.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

National Chocolate Cake Day ~ Part Deaux

I had to share my love National Chocolate Cake Day with my family too -- and a mug of cake will only go so far.  So I whipped up one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes:  CHOCOLATE PUDDING CAKE!!!  Sooooo gooooood!  This is where you layer the ingredients in such a way that it creates a saucy pudding bottom layer and a yummy cake layer on top.  This is most delicious warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream!
adapted from

1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 pkt Starbucks Via (instant coffee)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. cocoa powder

3/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large egg
4 Tbs. butter, melted (slightly cooled)
1/3 c. white sugar
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease/Spray an 8" square (or round) cake pan.

Mix instant coffee into boiling water and set aside.  In separate bowl, mix together 1/3 c. white sugar, brown sugar and cocoa powder; set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 c. cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
Separately, whisk together egg, melted butter, sugar, milk and vanilla.  Slowly add in flour mixture.  Spread into prepared pan.  Sprinkle sugar mixture on top.  Very carefully, pour coffee mixture over sugars. 

Bake 25 minutes, until edges are pulling apart from edges of pan and top looks mostly dry.
Remove from oven, let sit on wire rack.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Leftovers (hahaha) can be stored in the refrigerator.


National Chocolate Cake Day! Hooray!

See this?

It's going to become a cake in just THREE minutes!  A single-serving (or two if you want to be generous with your loved one) of yummy, warm, chocolately goodness just for YOU, in less than five minutes!!

See?  Mmmmm!
Here's how you do it:

4 Tbs flour
4 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1 egg
3 Tbs milk
3 Tbs oil
3 Tbs dark chocolate chips
dash of vanilla

Mix the flour, sugar and cocoa in a large, microwave-safe mug.  Add egg and mix well.  Add milk and oil, stir until fully combined.  Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips.  Cook in microwave for 3 minutes (for 1000-1100 Watt oven -- it's OKAY if the cake rises above the edge of the mug!).  Let cool for a minute or two and then invert onto plate.  Share with a friend if you like, or enjoy it all by yourself!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

I feel like I'm on a lifelong journey to discover a homemade, from-scratch, recipe for blueberry muffins that look & taste like those huge bakery-style muffins!!  Mine always end up too dense, or too dry, or too flat.  I'm still on that journey, but this morning I discovered a pretty good recipe.  They did not puff up as big as I wanted and they didn't end up looking as pretty as I thought they should, but they taste DIVINE!!!!!!!  I've already polished off two, and if I keep this up, there won't be any left to share with my family when they get home!!  :)

2 eggs
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. blueberries (toss with flour)

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. flour
1/4 c. cold butter, cut up
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

For topping, combine 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. flour and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; add in cold butter, mix with fork until crumbly.  Set aside.

Mix together 2 c. flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In large bowl, beat together eggs and both sugars.  Add in oil, vanilla and cream.  Slowly add in dry mixture, be careful not to overmix.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Line or grease 12 muffin cups.  Fill with batter to the top.  Sprinkle with topping.
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sugared Almonds

Do you have those vendors in your mall around Christmas time?  The ones who make the fresh roasted sugared nuts??  I miss those.  We don't have them around here.  But when we lived in Michigan, they were everywhere!  And I loooooooooved the smell of the roasting and the cinnamon...mmmm.... Oh.  Sorry, got lost there for a moment.  

So I've been craving these since before Christmas!  There was a holiday version out by Planters (Creme Brulee Almonds, I believe) and I ate almost an entire container by myself.  I figured there MUST be a way I can make these myself whenever I want!  And THERE IS!!  I figured it out, and I made these tonight...and let me tell you: my kitchen smelled DIVINE!!!  So very, very yummy.

Baking in the oven...mmmm....can you smell it??

The Final Product, after baking, cooling & breaking into pieces:

1 lb. nuts (I used almonds, but you can substitute whatever kind you like)
1 egg white
1 Tbs. water
1 c. sugar
1/2 Tbs. cinnamon
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300.
In large bowl, whisk together egg white and water.  Add nuts and stir together.  Add sugar, cinnamon and salt and stir until nuts are completely coated with mixture.  Spread onto foil-lined pan.

Bake for 15 minutes; stir and then bake an additional 15 minutes.  Let cool and break up with a spoon.  Keep in airtight container.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cinnamon Bread (Quick Bread)

A friend of mine had posted the other day that she was attempting yeast dough for the first time.  I had forwarded her some tips, and then it made me WANT homemade bread.  Unfortunately there was not enough yeast in my cupboard, so I decided to make a quick bread.  I found a new recipe I wanted to try and it looked easy AND good.  Of course as I went along, I realized I was missing some of the important ingredients (like, oh, baking powder) I learned along the way how to substitute for ingredients you may not have known HAD substitutions!!  I will share those after the recipe.


2 c. all purpose flour
1 c. white sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350; grease and flour one 9" loaf pan
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder & soda, cinnamon and salt.
In separate bowl/measuring glass, stir together buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Stir liquids into dry mixture.
In small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Using a fork, incorporate butter until mixture is crumbly.
Pour half of batter into prepared loaf pan.  Sprinkle with half the filling/topping mixture.  Pour remaining batter on top, and sprinkle with the rest of topping mixture.
Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool 5 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Now here is what I ended up having to use in place of some of the ingredients:  out of baking powder?  Did you know you could use a mixture of cream of tartar & baking soda as a substitute?!  It's true!  For every tsp called for, use 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar.
I was also out of buttermilk.  And milk.  Many of you may know that if you don't have buttermilk, you can use 1 Tbs lemon juice + enough milk to = 1 cup for every cup in a recipe.  Well, that is not helpful when there's no milk in the house either!!  So I grabbed what dairy I had -- heavy cream!  Yup, that's what I put in my bread (I'm not going to win any lo-fat, lo-cal, healthy bread awards).

I hope this encourages you...just because you don't have the EXACT ingredients called for in any recipe, doesn't mean you can't still make it!  Especially if you discover you're missing something in the middle of making your recipe (I know, my mother would be chagrined if she knew I hadn't lined up all my ingredients before starting to ensure I wouldn't run into this exact problem!).  There is almost always something you can use as a substitute!!!  :)  And sometimes -- just sometimes -- you'll come up with something even better than the original!!  Happy baking, my friends!

Blog Neglect!

Oh goodness....I had such good intentions for December and the holidays...and I ended up totally neglecting this blog!  I took pictures of a lot of the goodies I made, I just never made it on here to share them with you all.  I'm going to play a little catch up, but will save some of the holiday ones so you don't think I'm completely batty!  :)

In the's a snapshot of my kiddos helping me in the kitchen.  They LOVE decorating cookies & cupcakes, and here they are, helping with some Christmas cookies.  We had a wonderful holiday, and I hope all of you did as well!