ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lemon Ginger Bars

Gorgeous, right? I'm kinda proud of them. Almost obsessed, really, with their perfect crumb and fantastically zingy citrus-spice...zing. I was putting a plate together for some friends, so I was glad to see they would travel well. But in the end I put not-as-many-as-I-could on that plate, and kept the rest for myself. They're a lot like lemon ginger tea, which I love, but way sweeter and much more substantial. Obviously.

I think these may become one of my signature dishes (even though I didn't invent them.) Wow, they are really that good.

Lemon Ginger Bars (print recipe)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 T ground ginger
2 tsp baking powder
16 T (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 T honey
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 2 tsp)

2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted after measuring
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon (3 T; strained before measuring)
Water, optional

1. For the bars, preheat oven to 375. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

3. Melt the 16 T butter in the microwave; use a little of the butter to grease the foil-lined baking dish. Immediately add the remaining melted butter to the dry ingredients, using a flexible spatula to blend. Add the egg, crystallized ginger, honey and lemon zest; beat vigorously to make a smooth dough. Scrape it into the baking dish. Use the palm of your hands to press it evenly over the bottom of the pan. Don't be concerned if the dough looks greasy, or as though some of the butter has separated out.

4. Bake the bars until firm and lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. They will rise slightly.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze: use a small flexible spatula to mix the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl to form a smooth glaze. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/2 tsp water or lemon juice.

6. As soon as the dough has baked, place a cutting board over the baking dish and use oven mitts to invert the hot slab onto the board. Remove the pan and foil and replace with a separate cutting board. Turn right side up and remove the top board. Immediately brush on the lemon glaze so that it sets as the slab cools. When it is completely cool, cut into 2-inch squares or triangles.

Recipe from Bake! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking by Nick Malgieri

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chewy, Fudgy Triple-Chocolate Brownies

How about some more chocolate? Here, have a perfect brownie. Thick, fudgy (but sturdy!), with that crackly top I love. No chunks, nuts, chips, bits or mix-ins (though I'm not saying you can't.) Just simply the definitive brownie, just what your inner chocoholic needs.
And while the brownie speaks for itself, I would like to additionally applaud this recipe for its reliable even bake! Often when I make bars/brownies/blondies in an 8x8 pan the edges rise up above the center; it makes nice crunchy edges, but looks stupid! I am in love with how even these brownies bake in the pan.

This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen, who made more than 50 batches of brownies on the quest for the ideal chewy, fudgy texture and rich chocolate flavor. So when they say to use part bittersweet, part unsweetened, and part cocoa powder, believe them. And when they say to use a stick of buttah and 3 eggs, just do it. Because, if you do, THIS is what you'll get:
Chewy, Fudgy Triple-Chocolate Brownies (print recipe)
5 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 T cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of foil or parchment paper lengthwise to measure 8 inches wide. Fit one sheet in the bottom of the greased pan, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan. Fit the second sheet in the pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread into the corners, and level the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. (Do not cut until ready to serve; uncut brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated up to 5 days) Makes 64 1-inch brownies or 16 2-inch brownies

Recipe from Baking Illustrated: The Practical Kitchen Companion for the Home Baker (with 350 recipes you can trust) by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Sticks

Hi, there. Here's a little Friday morning breakfast treat for you. Although, as with most yeasty things, you'd have to get up awfully early to serve these for breakfast. A lot of times you can let cinnamon rolls do their second rise slowly in the fridge overnight, so you can bake them for breakfast...I haven't tried that with these but maybe that would work?

What you've got here is just some yummy awesome twisty pain au chocolat sticks. Perfect for breakfast or snack on the run, or for dunking in a monster mug of something steamy. I've made these twice, both on cold stay-in-all-day days. I love staying home all day. And I love twisty chocolate bread. I love eating the cooled melty overflow chocolate pieces off the parchment. I love the way the filling is just bursting out of the peekaboo twists.

The author wants you to put plumped raisins in these with the chocolate chips, so you can if you like, but I'm pretty particular about raisins, and to me they just don't belong here.

Chewy Chocolate Sticks (print recipe)
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 T rapid-rise yeast
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dry milk powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour

1 cup sugar
4 T cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 cup chocolate chips

Finishing Touches:
Egg white, beaten
Sugar, for dusting

1. Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper. You will need to repeat this procedure for each batch.

2. In a mixer bowl, hand-whisk water and yeast together and let stand 2 minutes dissolve yeast. Briskly whisk in eggs, sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, milk powder, and most of flours and blend well. Attach dough hook and knead on lowest speed of mixer 8 to 10 minutes, adding remaining flour as necessary to form a soft dough.

3. Remove dough hook and spray dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover bowl or entire mixer with a large clear plastic bag or plastic wrap. Let dough rise 30 to 60 minutes or until almost doubled.

4. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate.

5. Press or roll out dough to a 20-by-10-inch rectangle. Blend sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon and scatter over dough. Dot with butter and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

6. Roll up dough into a log; then flatten gently so it is a flattened log. Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut into 12 cylinders or logs and place on prepared baking sheets, stretching each a little bit and twisting. Brush pastries with beaten egg white and dust with sugar. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sticks rise 30 to 40 minutes or until almost doubled. (If you want them puffier, let them rise longer.)

7. Preheat oven to 350. Bake until well-browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let them cool on baking sheets.

Recipe from A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Orange-Chocolate Gingerbread

It doesn't happen that often, but last week I was truly jonesing for some gingerbread. Then I realized I don't think I actually have a go-to recipe, at least not for a loaf, which I wanted to make so we could call it bread and have it for breakfast. So I hopped on the net, compared a few recipes, scoured my cupboards, and came up with this YUMMMiness.

It might not surprise you to learn I have an extensive collection of chocolate in my baking cupboard. Some I buy, some people give me, some I can't remember how I got them. They're nice to have for that quick nibble-fix, but especially fun to use in baking! For example, I wanted to put some chocolate in my gingerbread. Chocolate chips would be fine. If I had to. But what did I have that might be more interesting? Hmm...
Well, gee, I had some Green & Black's Ginger Dark Chocolate! And a bar of Lindt Intense Orange Dark. Since I was doubling the recipe (2 loaves), these together made the perfect amount (and flavors!)

Whipped them up, baked them to amber, and drizzled (slathered) with a delicate citrus glaze of sugar and orange juice. I totally improvised so you can, and should, too. I don't know, dried fruit, zests, extract, nuts, white chocolate?, pepper, candied peel, chocolate drizzle? Whatever you like, however you like it, will probably be great with this bread. But I (and my girls, who have excellent taste) thought it was pretty much fabulously perfect the way I made it, so I'm sticking to it like this.

Orange-Chocolate Gingerbread (print recipe)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup well-shaken low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, with orange or ginger if you have it

Orange Glaze:

3/4 to 1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 to 2 1/2 T fresh squeezed orange juice
  1. Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle. Coat a 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pan with butter, dust with flour, and tap out excess.
  2. Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and cloves in a large bowl. Whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside. In a separate medium bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
  3. Combine butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in molasses until well combined then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.
  4. Stop mixer and scrape bowl and paddle (mixture will look separated and curdled). Add one third flour mixture beating on low speed just until flour is incorporated. Add half buttermilk mixture and once batter is smooth add another third flour mixture. Add remaining buttermilk and mix until incorporated. Add remaining flour mixture, and beat until incorporated and smooth. Stir in chopped chocolate.
  5. Pour into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and cake is pulling away from sides of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  6. Prepare glaze by whisking sugar and juice until smooth spreading consistency. Pour/spread/brush glaze on warm loaf and allow to set while bread cools. Cool completely, or nearly, before slicing.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Chocolate Chunk Nutella Cookies

Can you see those chocolate chunks or are you blind? SO chunky. SO chocolatey. SO hazelnutty (you can see them, too.) And on top of it all, there is NUTELLA in the batter. Oh, it's like heaven in a cookie! I was at Costco the other day and saw a big old two-pack of Nutella vats. I immediately thought, That would make a lot of cookies. But you can never have too many.

Chocolate Chunk Nutella Cookies (print recipe)
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup Nutella or hazelnut paste
2 large eggs, room temperature
Scrapings from 1 split vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
3 cups (12 oz.) bittersweet chocolate (60-66%), coarsely chopped into 1/4-inch pieces or larger
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts, optional (I used 14 oz. of a large dark chocolate bar with almonds, chopped up in big ol' nice hunks)

1. Position oven racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat to 375. Line two or three rimmed baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper.

3. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer; beat on medium speed until creamy. Reduce the speed to medium-low, then add the Nutella and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, then add the vanilla bean scrapings, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until the dough comes together. Stir in the chocolate pieces and, if desired, the nuts.

4. Drop heaping tablespoons of the dough 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets, flattening them slightly by hand as needed. (At this point the mounds of dough can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to a month.)

5. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back*. Bake for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing. Repeat to use all of dough. Makes 38 to 42 cookies

*If you like a chewier cookie, underbake them a little. If you like crispy, then bake away.

Recipe from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mint Chocolate Chip Cake

Alrighty, here is your St. Patrick's Day recipe for tomorrow. It's green, it's minty, it's slathered with the most silky buttercream I've ever made (melted chocolate is the secret!) And it is impressive as heck. The color might be a little washed out by the light in the picture, but follow the recipe - 5 drops of coloring is just right for a bold-but-not-disgusting green!

The obvious pairing here is mint chocolate chip ice cream, if you've got some mint lovers in your midst. But if not all you really need is a big glass of milk. And a clean finger, to swipe some extra frosting!

Last year: Luck o' the Irish Gold Bricks
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake (print recipe)
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting pans
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp mint extract
5 drops green food coloring
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
12 T unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray, dust with flour, and tap pans to remove excess flour. Mix milk, egg whites, vanilla, mint and food coloring together in 2-cup measuring cup. (If you forgot to bring them to room temperature, place measuring cup in a sink of warm water until mixture is cool, not cold, about 65 degrees.)

2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl of electric mixer at low speed. Add butter and beat at low speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no powdery streaks remaining.

3. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed (or high speed if using handheld mixer) for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides of bowl. Return mixer to medium (or high) speed and beat 20 seconds longer. Stir in 1 cup mini chocolate chips.

4. Divide batter evenly between three prepared cake pans and using rubber spatula, spread into even layer. Arrange pans at least 3 inches from the oven walls and 3 inches apart. (If oven is small, place pans on upper middle and lower middle racks in staggered fashion to allow for air circulation.) Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 21 to 25 minutes.

5. Rest cakes in pans 10 minutes, then loosen from sides of pans with a knife. Invert onto large plate, reinvert onto wire racks. Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

Luscious Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
20 T (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 20 pieces and softened
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

1. With electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat butter, melted chocolate, vanilla, and salt on medium-high speed until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low. With machine running slowly, add confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. To assemble: Place 1 cake round on serving platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake round. Spread another 3/4 cup frosting over cake, then top with third cake round. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Press mini chocolate chips onto sides of cake. Serve.

Recipe from Cook's Country, February 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gateau Sans Rival

Here is the amazing winner of Dessert Club Internationale. Dessert Club member CC got the recipe from a friend that makes it every Christmas. "I always can't wait for her holiday party so I can gobble this up!" It was equally sans rival at Dessert Club, winning with a landslide 5 votes.

From City Muse - "It means "without equal". Sans Rival is a type of mille feuille or cake napoleon with alternating layers of meringue, buttercream icing and ground nuts. Biting into this flourless cake is a combination of crunchy, creamy, chewy goodness. Pure decadence." Even though it has a French name, it comes to us from the Philippines, probably via Spain.Gateau Sans Rival
5 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups chopped cashews (I added a bit of Kosher salt to the cashews)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites until stiff. Add sugar gradually. Add cashews and vanilla. Spread thin on well-greased pan in the size you want for layers (at least 4 layers). (I usually line a baking sheet with foil, and butter well before spreading each layers.) Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.

2/3 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup water (less 1 tablespoon)
1/2 lb butter

Boil sugar and water until it spins into threads. Beat egg yolks well. Pour sugar into yolks and continue beating. Allow to cool. Cream butter, then add egg mixture a little at a time, creaming all the while. Spread layers and sides of cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

(The meringue layers are really fragile, but if a layer cracks while you work with it, you can just use that layer in the middle. Served the same day you make it, the meringue stays crunchy. If you serve it the next day, the meringue and filling have had a chance to meld flavors, which is better, but the meringue isn't as crunchy anymore. I use a serrated knife to cut it, since a regular knife will just crush the meringue layers as you try and cut it. If it stays out of the refrigerator too long, the filling will become really soft and the butter might start to separate.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dessert Club - "Internationale"

Bon jour! This month Dessert Club's theme was "Internationale" and I added the -e just so you would understand we are serious. And that flag collage above was not just randomly snagged from Google; I made it moi-meme because those are really the countries represented at our meeting. You won't believe the spread - I think it was 15 in all - and you may also be surprised by the winner.It was the first time in DC's short history that we did not have a tie for first place. Not that everything wasn't good - at least 9 dishes got votes - but CC's Sans Rivale (Philippines) was truly "without equal." One woman exclaimed, "It tastes like peanut brittle and popcorn with a creamy center!" (The prize was a copy of Nick Malgieri's A Baker's Tour: Favorite Baking Recipes from Around the World.)

And we also had...

Salted Caramel-Pecan Ebelskivers (Denmark - guess who?)
Danish Kringle (Denmark), Coconut Babingka with Passion Fruit Curd (Asian Fusion), Chocolate-Hazelnut Gelato (Italy)
Rum Cake (Puerto Rico), Almond Cookies (China, my favorite), Layered Mud Cake with Chocolate Mousse Mascarpone and Bittersweet Ganache Frosting (Italy)

Rice Pudding (Finland)

Chocolate Truffles (France), Japanese Cheesecake, "Frushi" (Japan-ish)
Black Forest Cake (Switzerland), Pavlova (Australia), Creme Schnitte (Austria)

I'm pretty sure it was our best Dessert Club yet, and that is saying something. But internationale is such a fabulous theme, tough enough to get us out of our comfort zones, and broad enough to offer a vast selection, but safe enough to guarantee yumminess. Seriously, you should use it for your next DC meeting. And if you haven't started your own chapter, maybe it's time.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tunnel of Fudge Cake (from unbeknownst guest blogger Maren)

My sister in Vermont is having the late-winter blues. And burying them in a Tunnel of Fudge.

Pancake Week #7 Hazelnut Pancakes with Raspberry Coulis

Well here is Pancake Week's final, and possibly best, recipe. There are pulverized hazelnuts, lots of them. Nutmeg, one of my favorites. And I think the special secret is the browned butter, adding that rich toasty taste you can't get any other way.

As for the Raspberry Coulis (coulis just means a thick pureed sauce), I could just eat it with a spoon. I added extra sugar but just make it to your taste. It is cool and tart in contrast to the warm sweet pancakes, and together they are divine. I love the suggestion at the end to serve with chocolate and creme fraiche as well - because these pancakes, and anyone who makes them, deserve the very best. Happy Pancake Week!

Hazelnut Pancakes (print recipe)
4 T unsalted butter
1/2 cup hazelnuts, skinned*
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Continue cooking, keeping a watchful eye on the pan, until the butter turns a deep, dark, nutty brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. The butter should become very brown and there will be some solid bits in the pan - that's OK - but you must not let it burn. Set the pan aside.

2. Put the hazelnuts and sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process to pulverize the nuts. Don't worry if small bits of nuts remain - it's better to have a few crunchy pieces of nut than to turn the mass into hazelnut butter, which is what you'll get if you process the mixture too long. Transfer the nuts and sugar to a medium bowl, add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt, and whisk to combine.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, extracts and brown butter, scraping the dark bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix with the whisk, stopping when everything is just combined. Don't worry if batter is a bit lumpy.

4. If necessary, lightly butter or spray your griddle or skillet. Preheat over medium heat or 350. If you want to hold the pancakes until serving time, preheat oven to 200.

5. Spoon 2 T batter onto griddle for each pancake, allowing ample space for spreading. When the undersides are very brown and the tops are lightly speckled with bubbles that pop and stay open, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula and cook until the other sides are light brown. Serve immediately, or keep the finished pancakes in the preheated oven while you make the rest of the batch. Makes about 15 pancakes.

*Skinning hazelnuts: Toast them in a skillet over medium-low or on a baking sheet in a 350 oven for a few minutes, until fragrant and the skins start to crack. You will both see and hear them crackling. Then pour them onto half of a clean textured dishtowel (terry cloth or waffle weave are good.) Fold the other half of the towel over the nuts and rub them - the cracked skins will flake/rub off pretty easily.

Raspberry Coulis
1/2 pint (about 1 1/4 cups) fresh or unthawed frozen unsweetened raspberries
2 T sugar, or more to taste
1 tsp fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
2 tsp orange juice or orange liqueur

Puree the berries with the sugar and lemon juice in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Taste and add more sugar and/or lemon juice if needed. Add the orange juice. Pour into a covered container and chill until ready to serve. Can be made up to 1 day in advance.

To Serve:
Serve Hazelnut Pancakes hot off the griddle simply with a drizzle of Raspberry Coulis
- OR -
Spread each pancake with a little melted bittersweet chocolate and a spoonful of lightly sweetened Creme Fraiche. Add a drizzle of Raspberry Coulis and a shower of finely chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Recipe from Pancakes: from Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pancake Week #6 Yeast-Raised Pancakes

These pancakes are just plain cool! "Yeast-raised" may make you think of something like bread dough; yes, it's yeasty, but it stays thin like pancake batter. And super yummy-fermenty. As I cooked these up on the griddle, the scent wafted upstairs and Hazel came down, saying, "Mmm, Mommy, I smell bread!" Yes. And no.

They look and feel like pancakes. They smell like bread. And they taste like both. You've never had anything like them. If you've got time, they are definitely worth trying. What a delicious and truly unique twist on a classic!

Yeast-Raised Pancakes
1 1/2 cups milk
2 T sugar
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 T unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks

1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until lukewarm. Transfer milk to a large bowl and stir in sugar and yeast. Let stand until creamy, about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk in flour, salt, butter and egg yolks until batter is smooth. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Transfer bowl to a warm place; let dough rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

3. Heat griddle to 375 degrees and oven to 175 degrees. Using a 2-ounce (1/4-cup) ladle, pour batter onto griddle, creating several pools, 2 inches apart. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on the top and the edges are slightly dry, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip pancakes; cook until golden on bottom, about 1 1/2 minutes. Transfer to a heatproof plate; keep in warm oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with butter and syrup or jam. Makes 2 dozen.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living, February 1998

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Pancake Week #5 Crunchy Cinnamon Ebelskivers

As some of you may know, ebelskivers (pronounced ABLE-SKEEVERS) are tasty little sphere-shaped pancakes traditional to Denmark. They can be sweet or savory, solid or filled with something yummy. And since I just happened to get my very own special seven-welled ebelskiver pan for my birthday, I am making this one exception to traditional flat griddle cakes for pancake week.
There aren't a lot of ebelskiver cookbooks out there; in fact, there's only one widely available - it's by Kevin Crafts and it's really all one could ever need, with over 40 recipes from honey-glazed buttermilk ebelskivers to smoked salmon & dill ebelskivers to molten chocolate ebelskivers and everything in between (like fig & prosciutto.)

These were the first ones I made in my new pan. The "crunchy" comes from cooking a bit of brown sugar and butter in the wells before adding the cinnamon batter; it hardens up just enough to be crunchy but not burnt. They were sweet & spicy three-bite delights, just perfect for the spontaneous Saturday morning tea party I made them for.
Crunchy Cinnamon Ebelskivers (print recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk
3 T unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled, divided
3 1/2 T light brown sugar

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and 2 T melted butter. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well blended. The batter will be lumpy.

2. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Using a silicone spatula, fold about one-third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then fold in the rest just until no white streaks remain.

3. Brush the wells of the ebelskiver pan with some of the remaining 1 T melted butter and place over medium heat. Working quickly, put 1/2 tsp of the brown sugar in each well and cook until the sugar melts and turns dark and syrupy, 3-5 minutes. Add about 3 T batter to each well.

4. Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are lightly browned and crisp, 3-5 minutes. Use 2 short wooden skewers to turn all the pancakes and cook until lightly browned on the second side, about 3 minutes longer.

5. Transfer the finished pancakes to a platter, let cool for 5 minutes, and serve slightly warm. Repeat to make 2 more batches, cooling each batch for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 21 pancakes, 4 to 7 servings
Recipe from Ebelskivers: Danish-style filled pancakes and other sweet and savory treats by Kevin Crafts

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pancake Week #4 Bacon Pancakes (Oh, Yes)

Wow. I should have thought of this in college; I definitely could have used it in grad school. Sometimes it takes a subscription to Everyday Food to have the obvious pointed out to me. Bacon and pancakes and syrup - it doesn't get more classic and comforting than that and here they are all together. Genius, right? Thank you, Martha. Thank you.

Now's also a good time to mention my new griddle. For years I've been cooking my pancakes 3 at a time in a stove-top skillet. Which is quaint if you have all the time in the world and only need to make 6 pancakes. It was time to upgrade, and preparing for Pancake Week was the perfect excuse. So in December I got myself a little early Christmas present - the biggest griddle I could find with excellent reviews and a reasonable price tag: the Presto Tilt n' Drain Cool Touch Big Griddle. It's on my Well-Stocked Kitchen List. I love it and obviously have used it a ton - and not just for pancakes but also bacon (both for this recipe!), eggs, and sandwiches. I love the enormous nonstick surface and reliably even heat. And no, they're not paying me to say it. I wish.

Bacon Pancakes
(print recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
8 slices bacon
Maple syrup, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 200. In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and egg. Whisk flour mixture into buttermilk mixture just until moistened, with small to medium lumps remaining.

2. In a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet or on a griddle, cook 8 slices bacon over medium-high until fat is rendered and bacon is browned on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and cook until golden and crisp on underside, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels; pour off all but 1 tsp fat from skillet.
3. Heat skillet over medium. Pour 1/4-cupfuls batter into skillet and top each with a bacon slice. Cook until some bubbles appear on top of pancakes and a few have burst, about 2 minutes. With a spatula, carefully flip pancakes and cook until browned on underside, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter, bacon side up, and loosely tent with foil. Keep pancakes warm in oven and repeat with remaining batter, addint more bacon fat if needed. Serve with pure maple syrup. Makes 8 pancakesRecipe from Everyday Food, a few months ago

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pancake Week #3 Carrot Cake Pancakes with Honey Butter

Are you kidding me??? Why has it taken me three years to get these sweeties made and posted? There is no excuse; it is ridiculous and I apologize. In addition, why couldn't Snooze, the Denver-based eatery from whence these are inspired, have been around when I lived there? The pancake world is full of injustices.

These comforting cakey flapjacks feature warm spices and bright carrot color and flavor. My family gobbled them up and asked for more. And after yesterday's indulgence, these are even kinda sorta healthy. I mean, there are vegetables! And no ice cream! So, you know, they're healthy!

And before I end the commentary, please take a quick look at Snooze's other offerings. Seriously? I'll have a "Sandwich I Am", Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes (gotta get that recipe!), and a Vanilla Almond Oatmeal Brulee. For starters.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Honey Butter (print recipe)
5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of ground ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups finely grated carrot (about 1 pound)
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 7 ingredients (through ginger) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through eggs); add sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in 2 cups carrot.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Spoon 4 (1/4 cup) batter mounds onto pan, spreading with a spatula. Cook for 2 minutes or until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Carefully turn pancakes over; cook 1 minute or until bottoms are lightly browned. Repeat procedure twice with remaining batter. Combine butter and honey in a small bowl; serve with pancakes.

Recipe from Cooking Light, January 2010

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pancake Week #2 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Dark Chocolate Sauce

I'm sorry, did you want something plain to eat? Because you AIN'T gonna find it here, at least not this week!

There are a few combinations I go to over and over because I just can't get enough (love that song), and peanut-butter-and-chocolate is one of them. Here you have a delectably delicate tender-cake-like peanut butter pancake freckled and speckled with melty mini chocolate chips. I admit, I did not plan ahead enough to make the cinnamon ice cream (this time of year my freezer bowl is tucked away deep in the back of a cupboard), but we had vanilla and it was awesome and I can only imagine how amazing cinnamon would be. I know these seem kind of desserty, but remember they are pancakes, and pancakes can be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. More pancakes for dessert is optional.

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Pancakes (print recipe)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (we used mini)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat the peanut butter and eggs with an electric mixer until softened and well combined. Gradually add the milk and melted butter, beating until well blended. Use a rubber spatula to stir in the dry ingredients, then gently fold in the chocolate chips.

2. If necessary, lightly oil your griddle. Preheat over medium heat (350F). If you will be holding pancakes to warm, preheat oven to 200F.

3. Spoon 1/3 cup of batter onto griddle for each pancake, allowing space for spreading and use a spatula or back of spoon to lightly press batter into rounds. When the undersides of pancakes are golden and the tops are speckled with bubbles that pop, flip the pancakes over with a wide spatula and cook until the other sides are light brown. Serve immediately or keep warm on an oven-proof plate in the warm oven. Serve with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Makes about 16 pancakes.

Cinnamon Ice Cream
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 T cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. While the mixture is heating, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat the egg yolks, sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl until very thick.

2. Beating constantly, gradually add the hot milk and cream to the yolk mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens, 2 to 5 minutes. The custard should coat the back of the spoon and leave a track when you run your finger through. Strain into a clean bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract and cool to room temperature.

3. Freeze the custard in the ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions. Pack into a freezer container and freeze to firm and ripen. The ice cream should be ready to scoop in about 2 hours, but ti will keep in the freezer for 2 weeks. Makes 1 quart

Dark Chocolate Sauce
3 oz. best-quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder, optional
Pinch of salt
1 T unsalted butter, room temperature

1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl or large measuring cup; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, mix the cream, milk, sugar, espresso powder, and salt together and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk into the chocolate until absolutely smooth. Whisk in the butter. Serve or cover and chill until needed. The sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks; warm before using.

Recipes from Pancakes: From Morning to Midnight by Dorie Greenspan

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pancake Week #1 Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and Roasted Prosciutto

Let's start off the week with something impressive, shall we? I don't want you to think I've been dinking around, not taking Pancake Week seriously. You have no idea the time I put into it, seeking out the most interesting and delicious-sounding flapjacks I can find.

These fit that description to a T. You know Tyler Florence, right? (Love his line of Sprout baby food.) Well this is his recipe, so between him and me, you know we won't steer you wrong.

Though I admit, this is one of the most involved recipes this week. But it's an entire meal - it's got starch, fruit, and meat! So cook it up and serve it for dinner and love every bite.

Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and Roasted Prosciutto (print recipe)
For the Topping:
12 slices prosciutto
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
4 Golden Delicious apples
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the Pancakes:
2 cups ricotta
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
Butter, for cooking
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting, optional
1 cup maple syrup, warmed on stove-top

1. For the topping: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On 1 tray lay the slices of prosciutto out in a single flat layer. Season with some salt and freshly ground black pepper, if desired, and pop into the oven. Roast the prosciutto until crispy, about 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Cut each apple into thirds, remove the cheeks and discard the core. Slice each piece into 4 and toss with butter and maple syrup in a large bowl. Transfer to a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast the apples until they are fork-tender and slightly caramelized on the top, about 30 to 45 minutes depending on ripeness of the fruit.

3. For the pancakes: Combine the ricotta, egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Sift the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together into the ricotta mixture and stir until fully combined. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then gently fold into the batter.

4. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add a little butter. Cook 2 to 3 pancakes at a time using a 6-ounce ladle or measuring cup to pour the batter into the pan. The trick to perfect round pancakes to carefully pour all the batter in the same spot and let it roll out to a complete circle. Cook the pancakes on 1 side until they set. When small bubbles appear on the uncooked surface, flip the pancakes and cook until golden on both sides, about 6 minutes. Keep the pancakes on a plate set at the back of the stove under a dry towel to keep warm while you make the rest.

5. To serve, lay the pancakes on a plate and dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve with roasted apples, crispy prosciutto strips and warm maple syrup. Makes 4 servings

Recipe from Tyler Florence,
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