BeerBerry Pancakes

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If you’ve been reading for a while, you may already know I have a thing for putting beer in my waffle batter. Not just because it’s a fun excuse to have booze in the AM (it IS fun, though…), but because the effervescence of the beer gives the batter lift and a yeasty-malted flavor that I find irresistible and the perfect foil for copious amounts of maple syrup.

The resounding reason why these pancakes are not waffles is because sometimes I just don’t want to dig my waffle maker out of the recesses of the cabinet. That’s just true life and laziness at it’s finest…thus, the pancake. These pancakes take the griddle-standard blueberry and pairs it with zesty orange and yeasty beer. While the beer and baking powder give these pancakes their lift, the buttermilk brings tenderness, and coconut oil adds a bit of richness, while a teensy bit of cinnamon brings a little interest to the background. Blueberries and citrus are already friends, adding an orange-friendly beer to the mix just makes it a party.

BeerBerry Pancakes

Adapted from THIS recipe. 

I added a dash of Cook’s orange extract and vanilla paste* for a creamy-sweet-citrus note–both are totally optional, but fun additions. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup beer (I used Blue Moon Valencia Grove Amber)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon orange zest

1/2 teaspoon each vanilla paste/extract and orange extract (optional)

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 200˚F and set an oven safe dish inside.

In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a large measuring cup combine the buttermilk, egg, zest, and extracts, whisk to combine well, whisk in the beer. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the beer/buttermilk mix, fold gently for a few turns and add the coconut oil. Continue to fold until just combined–some lumps and streaks of flour are okay, do not overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries.

In a non-stick pan or griddle over medium-high heat, ladle out as many pancakes as you will fit in the pan and cook until bubbles begin to appear around the edges and the surface of the pancakes and the bottoms are golden-brown, flip and continue to cook through. Place cooked pancakes on the dish in the preheated oven and repeat with the remaining batter. Serve with butter and syrup.

 

 

*Cook’s provided me with a complimentary sample of some of their extracts. Though the products were provided to me, free of charge, all opinions expressed are my own. 

Marble Cake

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Marble cake speaks to the gemini and the indecisive-crazy-person in me. I mean it’s two different cakes in ONE CAKE.

There really isn’t a way to lose.

This cake is dense yet tender in the crumb and manages to be moist yet sturdy. The light batter is fragrant with vanilla and butter, the dark batter is rich and dense with dark chocolate. I think it’s key not to go too crazy with the marbling, so you can taste the two distinct flavors–just a few swirls with a knife or a toothpick through the batter give you just enough marble, leaving you with dedicated sections of vanilla and chocolate cake. This cake has the character of a pound cake–it’s dense and rests well, getting even better the 2nd and 3rd day. It’s totally the kind of cake to have around for impromptu coffee dates and, I have a hunch, would probably ship well–a theory I plan to test this holiday season.

Marble Cake

Adapted from Baking: from My Home to Yours

The original recipe calls for a little less butter, but I was being a bit of a space-cadet and just chucked two whole sticks of butter into my mixer–the batter was made before I realized my mistake, but the cake definitely didn’t suffer from the extra butter. I used an 80% dark chocolate bar–this made for a super-dense and rich chocolate batter–use a good quality chocolate, whatever is your fave will work great.

2 cups, plus 2 Tablespooons, all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 sticks unsalted butter (8 ounces), room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1/2 cup milk

4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 325*F. Grease and line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment, place the pan on top of a sheet pan. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Working with a stand or hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat another 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. The batter may look curdled at this point, but that is okay. Scrape the bowl and beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Reduce speed to low and alternately add flour and milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Place 1/2 of the batter in a separate bowl and fold in the melted chocolate so you have a vanilla batter and a chocolate batter.

Alternately drop spoonfuls of batter into the loaf pan until the pan is filled with the batter and plunge a butter knife into the batter, making a zig-zag pattern from one end of the pan to the other. Do this only once for a perfectly marbled batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes uncovered. Cover loosely with foil and continue to bake another 30-40 minutes, until the vanilla batter on top is golden brown, the top is cracked, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely. Wrap cool cake well with plastic. Can be kept, wrapped well, at room temperature for several days.

 

 

 

Crepes with Homemade Ricotta, Lemon, & Sugar

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Crepes are just so dang good, right?

I mean, have you ever heard anyone say, “Meh, crepes…” shrug…

No, I don’t think you have. I haven’t anyway.

Crepes are like fancy pancakes that you can fill with just about whatever you want. You can make them dinner, or dessert, or breakfast…even brunch or lunch.

Crepes are versatile that way. They’re laid back, they do what you wanna do.

As I tasted the first one, I thought, “WHY DON’T I MAKE THESE ALL THE TIME????”

My thoughts were yelling they were so good. All caps.

Then I figured out why…

…I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM.

Seriously, I just shoved like 6 in my face.

Roll one, take it’s photo, devour.

That’s what I did.

I wrapped up the rest and stowed them in the far reaches of the refrigerator.

I mean, I do want to save some for Sean…plus I want to save me from myself and my insatiable need to eat ALL OF THE CREPES EVER.

I have a problem.

A delicious problem.

Crepes

So, I was definitely watching Mad Hungry on TV the other day and saw Lucinda Scala Quinn make these. Then, I saw that Deb from Smitten Kitchen made crepes too. Then, I needed crepes. That is the story of these crepes…super thrilling. I used the Smitten Kitchen recipe, except less honey. 

As for the ricotta, I made it! I used Tracy from Shutterbean’s recipe. It is solid as cheese curds…which is to say, mighty solid. I used fancy-glass-bottle milk and cream from Calder Dairy here in Michigan. I am so glad I splurged on it, that stuff is darn good pre-cheese AND post-cheese. 

To fill, I just spooned some of that crazy-good ricotta into the crepe, sprinkled with a little plain-old granulated sucre, squeezed a little lemon over it, and rolled it up. I did this 6 times before I, painstakingly, stopped myself.

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1/2 cup milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup flour

big ol’ pinch of salt

a few gratings of nutmeg

2 teaspoons honey

Using a blender, an immersion blender (my choice), or your sick whisking skillz, combine all of the above ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, thin batter. Place batter into a vessel and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour to 2 days.

Heat a medium non-stick skillet over a medium flame. If you have a crepe pan, use that. Brush the heated pan with oil or butter and pour in about 1/4 cup of batter. Swirl the pan to coat thinly and evenly. Allow the crepe to cook for about 2 minutes, flip, and cook another 10 seconds or so. Transfer to a plate, repeat until all the batter is gone.

Crepes can be eaten immediately, smeared with whatever is edible and delicious, OR you can wrap them up and store in the refrigerator for a few days. Just reheat in a skillet.