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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Waffles! Breakfast's Underrated Son

Lemon-poppy seed waffles
Happy Wednesday everyone! As we cross over hump day and focus on the weekend plans ahead, one such plan might in fact be making brunch. An easy way to impress your friends is by making waffles! As someone who has FINALLY acquired a waffle iron (I didn't know all I had to do was convince my husband I knew where to store it! I know I have a place for least, I'm sure I do. Well, I probably do...), I am ready to get started! We'll be having waffles for dinner tonight, as they taste great anytime of day. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Lemon-Poppy Seed Waffles with Blueberry Sauce
The Little Rooster Cafe

Blueberry Sauce
  • 1 pound frozen blueberries, thawed, undrained
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons apple juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lemon-Poppy Seed Waffles
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
For blueberry sauce:
  1. Bring blueberries, 1/2 cup apple juice and sugar to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 minutes. Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in remaining 2 tablespoons apple juice and add to blueberry mixture. Add lemon juice. Bring to boil, stirring constantly; simmer until thick, about 1 minute. Cool slightly. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before serving.)
For lemon-poppy seed waffles:
  1. Whisk first 6 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and lemon peel in small bowl to blend. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to flour mixture and whisk until just blended. Let mixture stand 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon batter onto waffle iron. Cover and cook until golden and cooked through, about 7 minutes (cooking time will vary, depending on waffle iron). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with warm blueberry sauce.

Cornmeal-and-Ricotta Waffles
Michael Mina

  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (12 ounces)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for serving
  • Pure maple syrup, for serving
  • Crisp bacon strips, for serving
  1. Heat an 8-inch square waffle iron and preheat the oven to 200°. In a large bowl, whisk the ricotta with the milk, egg yolks and sugar. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients into the ricotta mixture until combined. Stir in the melted butter.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the waffle batter until no streaks remain.
  3. Coat the waffle iron with vegetable-oil spray and spoon about 1 1/2 cups of the batter onto the waffle iron. Close and cook until the waffles are golden and crisp. Serve the waffles immediately or transfer them to a rack in the oven to keep warm. Serve the cornmeal waffles with melted butter, maple syrup and crisp bacon.

Belgium Buttermilk Waffles with Glazed Bananas
Gourmet June 2005


For Waffles
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for waffle iron
For Topping
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 firm-ripe large bananas, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch-thick slices
  • 1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
  • Special equipment: a waffle iron (preferably Belgian-style)
  • Accompaniment: sour cream or whipped cream
Make waffles:
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and put a large metal cooling rack directly on it. Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and eggs in another bowl, then whisk into flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Brush hot waffle iron lightly with vegetable oil and pour a slightly rounded 1/2 cup of batter into each waffle mold (see cooks' note, below). Cook waffles according to manufacturer's instructions until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer as cooked to rack in oven to keep warm, keeping waffles in 1 layer to stay crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.
Make topping:
  1. While last batch is cooking, heat butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then add banana slices in 1 layer and cook until golden, about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and add syrup to skillet.
  2. Spoon bananas over waffles, then drizzle with warm syrup before serving.
Note: If using a regular waffle iron (not Belgian), batter will yield about 14 waffles using 1/3 cup per waffle.

Happy baking!

Monday, January 11, 2016

#Trending in 2016

Happy Monday everyone! I've been doing a lot of research lately, trying to see what the pros are doing in 2016. While the lists are abundant, it always begs the question; since it's only the beginning of January, how can we actually know what's trending for the year ahead? I suppose much like with fashion, trends are set by those in the know, and the rest of us follow suit based on what they tell us. So does that make us minions? Lemmings? Does anyone care? New desserts are on the horizon and it's always fun to see what's cooking (pardon the pun)! Unfortunately...everyone has different takes on the matter (no surprise to anyone really). One thing I have noticed everyone agrees upon is that flavors will be complex. That means no vanilla bean ice cream, instead you'll get vanilla bean chili cocoa puff. Instead of chocolate cake you'll get margarita chocolate cream cheese frosting in a tower of whoopie pies stacked like a cake. You can see where I'm going with this. So to commemorate the complexity of flavor, I give you a few recipes that embody a whole lot of - stuff.

Poppy Seed-Topped Semolina Cake with Coconut (Shwekyi Senyinmakin)
Elizabeth Unger

  • 1⁄2 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
  • 2 1⁄4 cups semolina
  • 2 1⁄2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins
  • 2 tbsp. white poppy seeds
  1. Heat oven to 400°. Grease a 9” wide and 3” deep round cake pan; set aside. 
  2. Heat semolina in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium until lightly toasted, 10-12 minutes. Add oil, coconut milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 1⁄2 cups water; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan, 10-12 minutes. 
  3. Add raisins and cook 2 minutes more. Spread evenly into prepared cake pan; sprinkle with poppy seeds and bake 45 minutes. 
  4. Cool, then slice into squares to serve.

Donna Bell's Bakeshop's Hummingbird Bread Pudding
Donna Bell's Bakeshop

Bread Pudding: 
  • Butter or nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 bananas, 1 mashed, 1 cut into small bites
  • 1 1/4 pounds crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 loaf French bread, cubed or torn into small pieces
Cream Cheese Pecan Sauce:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra if needed
  • 4 tablespoons milk, plus extra if needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted crushed pecans, for sprinkling on top
  1. For the bread pudding: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a casserole pan with butter or cooking spray. Whisk together the eggs.Add the sugar and cinnamon. Mix in the smashed banana. Fold in the banana pieces, pineapple, coconut and pecans. Mix in the bread and let the mixture sit for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring after 5 to 10 minutes. Pour mixture into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes.
  2. For the cream cheese pecan sauce: Meanwhile, whip the cream cheese with a spoon, then slowly add in the sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk and vanilla.
  3. Let the bread pudding cool slightly, and then drizzle the cream cheese sauce over the warm cake. Top with the toasted pecans.

Gulab Jamun (Cardamom Syrup-Soaked Donuts)
Saveur March 2013

  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 2 1⁄2 cups sugar
  • 1⁄8 tsp. saffron
  • 1 tsp. rosewater
  • 8 pods cardamom, cracked
  • 1⁄4 cup (1 1⁄4 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1⁄4 cup semolina flour
  • 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter, plus more for frying
  • 1 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  1. Bring milk to a boil in a 4-qt. nonstick pan. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring, until very thick, about 5 hours. You should have 1½ cups of thickened milk; let cool to room temperature.
  2. Bring sugar, saffron, rosewater, cardamom, and 1¾ cups water to a boil in a 1-qt. saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 8–10 minutes; let cool.
  3. Combine thickened milk, the flours, and baking powder in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; mix. Add ghee, yogurt, and egg; continue to beat until dough forms. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat 2" ghee in a 6-qt. pan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 275°. Using wet hands, divide dough into 16 pieces; roll into balls. Working in batches, fry, stirring to keep donuts submerged until cooked through, 12–15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly; transfer hot donuts to syrup and let soak for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Happy baking!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

One Heavy Cake, Pound for Pound

Happy Thursday everyone! I know we're all in the "post-holiday glutton honeymoon" phase (that's a mouthful), but sometimes you just need to treat yourself to a little cake. Over the holidays, I made one of my FAVORITE classic cakes: pound cake. I can eat it with ice cream, whipped cream, jam sauces, or plain...just give me a fork and and I'm happy. Traditionally a pound cake (from the early 1700s) would consist of a pound each of the main ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, but as you can see times have changed. Let's take a look at what makes a great pound cake today!

Traditiooooon! Tradition! 
King Arthur Flour's Original Pound Cake  
King Arthur's Flour

  • 1 cup (16 tablespoons) salted butter, at room temperature*
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon brandy, sherry, rum, or the liqueur of your choice, optional
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract, almond extract, or a combination; or flavor to taste with other flavors
  • *If you use unsalted butter, increase the salt in the recipe to 1 teaspoon.
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until very light.
  3. Beat in the sugar gradually and then the eggs, one by one. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk, alcohol of your choice, and extract.
  6. Alternately add the wet and dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Stir to combine after each addition.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  8. Bake the cake for 60 to 65 minutes, until it springs back when pressed lightly in on top, and a long toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. If the cake appears to be browning too quickly, tent it with foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven, and loosen its edges. Wait 5 minutes, then carefully turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Store, wrapped in plastic, for a day or two before serving. Wrap well and freeze for longer storage.
Yield: 1 loaf cake, about 18 servings.

Nutella-Swirl Pound Cake
Lauren Chattman

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • One 13-ounce jar Nutella
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, tapping out any excess flour. In a glass measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer at medium-low speed, gradually beat in the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating at low speed between additions until just incorporated. Continue to beat for 30 seconds longer.
  3. Spread one-third of the batter in the prepared pan, then spread half of the Nutella on top. Repeat with another third of the batter and the remaining Nutella. Top with the remaining batter. Lightly swirl the Nutella into the batter with a butter knife. Do not overmix.
  4. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, turn it right side up and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Cut the cake into slices and serve.

Chocolate, of course.
Chocolate-Coconut Pound Cake
Alison Roman

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus more
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter an 8x4" loaf pan; line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat oil, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until pale and fluffy, 5–7 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions; beat until mixture is very light and doubled in volume, 5–8 minutes. Add vanilla.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (do not overmix; it will cause cake to buckle and split). Scrape batter into prepared pan and run a spatula through the center, creating a canal. Sprinkle with coconut and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  4. Bake cake, tenting with foil if coconut browns too much before cake is done (it should be very dark and toasted), until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 70–80 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 20 minutes before turning out.
DO AHEAD: Cake can be baked 5 days ahead. Keep tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Happy baking!