Archive for the Category ◊ Breakfast & Brunch ◊

03 Mar 2017 Double Chocolate Marble Loaf

double-chocolate-marble-loaf

Weekend Cake!  Isn’t that a delightful subcategory of dessert? According to Dorrie Greenspan it’s a French concept. Weekend Cake is good for anything from breakfast through late night snacking.  Weekend Cake travels well, is long lasting and is best if left to sit a day before eating.

This recipe for Double Chocolate Marble Loaf, a “weekend cake” is from her cookbook, “Baking Chez Moi” . I’ve never been much for Marble Cake, often finding it to be dry and muddled.  Not this one! It’s truly delicious.  I’ve only made the orange chocolate-white chocolate version, but I am dying to make the mocha-cardamom version and the chocolate-mint version.

Double Chocolate Marble Loaf

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (272 grams)
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ sticks (12 tablespoons or 6 ounces/170 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces best-quality white chocolate, melted and cooled (Lindt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange or peppermint oil (I used a bittersweet chocolate-orange chocolate bar, so no oil)
  • 4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Pull out an insulated baking sheet or stack two regular baking sheets one on top of the other. Line the (top) baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, dust with flour and tap out the excess; set it on the baking sheet(s).
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
  3. Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until smooth. Add sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, scrape sides. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each one goes in. The batter may curdle, but you needn’t worry.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in the vanilla. Still on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing only until each addition is incorporated.
  5. Scrape half of the batter into another bowl. Using a flexible spatula, gently stir the white chocolate into half of the batter. If you’re using the orange oil, stir it in as well. Stir the dark chocolate into the other half of the batter.
  6. Using a spoon or scoop, drop dollops of the light and dark batters randomly into the prepared pan — don’t think too much about the pattern — and then plunge a table knife deep into the batter and zigzag it across the pan. It’s best to move forward and not to backtrack. Don’t overdo it — 6 to 8 zigzags should suffice.
  7. Bake the cake for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a tester inserted deep into the center comes out clean. (My cake was done in 70 minutes, and I might have taken it out 5 minutes sooner.) Check the cake at the halfway mark, turn it around and, if it’s getting too brown, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 10 minutes, then unmold it, turn right side up on the rack and let come to room temperature.
  8. Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 4 days. It can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; defrost it in its wrapper.

Spiced Mocha Variation: add 1 tsp. ground cardamom into the white chocolate portion and 2 ½ tsp. instant coffee or espresso mixed with 1 T. hot water to the dark chocolate portion. Omit the orange oil.

Mint Chocolate Variation: stir ¼ tsp. peppermint oil into the white chocolate portion and use only regular semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate in the dark chocolate portion. Omit the orange oil.

20 Jul 2014 Toasted Coconut Waffles

coconut-waffle01 They taste like a tropical vacation!  I liked them with butter and apricot jam.  My kids were hollering for pineapple, mango, and some toasted nuts but I gave them what I had on hand, maple syrup and whipped cream (poor, poor deprived children). I cut this recipe out of a Bon Appetit magazine in December, 2013 but didn’t make them until July 2014. I’m glad I don’t clear my refrigerator of assorted clippings and notes and pictures all that often, and I am glad I saved this recipe for seven months! The note above the recipe states the recipe is from Elmwood Cafe in Berkeley.  I wonder what they serve them with… You’ll need some coconut oil for this recipe.  I don’t think it affects the taste much, but I think it adds to the delightful crunch.  I did make one change to the recipe, I reduced the amount of toasted coconut. Only ¾ cup of toasted coconut is incorporated into the batter, but the recipe stated to toast 1 ½ cups, using the extra ¾  to sprinkle on top of the cooked waffles, that’s way too much coconut for sprinkling, an extra ¼ cup will do you. I toasted the coconut and mixed up the dry ingredients before I went to bed, which made Sunday morning a bit easier.  I just had to stir in the eggs, milk, and coconut oil and heat up the waffle iron. The batter made 7 large, round waffles (which leaves some for us to throw in the toaster tomorrow morning). Word of advice, if you like waffles, and want to enjoy them on a regular basis, get two waffle irons.  The horrible thing about waffles is that it’s hard to get everyone a hot waffle at the same time.  Two waffles irons solves this problem–unless you have a really large family and need three waffle irons… It goes without saying that you have to like coconut (and the Hawaiian mojo) to like these waffles. But who doesn’t like coconut…, or Hawaii!? Toasted Coconut Waffles, take me awayyyyy. . . .

BTW, my notoriously picky 5 year old grandson, who at last count eats only 27 different foods (he has some sort of selective eating disorder), ate half a waffle and told me it was GOOD.  Hooray! I might be making these on a regular basis now, especially since scrambled eggs, a long time favorite, has slipped off of his list.  I just might have this recipe committed to memory by next month 🙂

Toasted Coconut Waffles

  • 1 cup shredded coconut (original recipe specified unsweetened, but I didn’t have any, so used sweetened coconut)
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch (yes, my eyes popped, too.  Not a misprint.  On-half a cup of cornstarch!)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or soured milk)
  • 1 cup whole milk (I had whole milk on hand, so I used it, but I am sure 2% would be fine, too)
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup sugar (use 2 tablespoons less if you are using sweetened shredded coconut)
  1. The original recipe said to preheat oven to 400°F, toast coconut on a rimmed baking sheet until golden brown, 2 minutes. then let cool. I find it easier to toast the coconut in a dry frying pan over medium heat.  Just keep stirring and then watch closely.  Once the coconut is a nice golden brown remove it from the pan and let cool on a plate.
  2. Whisk flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl (I did this the night before, covered, and left on counter).
  3. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, milk, oil, and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients (do not over mix). Mix in ¾ cup coconut; set aside remaining ¼ cup coconut for sprinkling on waffles.
  4. Heat a waffle iron until very hot.
  5. Ladle approx 2/3 cup of batter onto hot waffle iron, close lid, and cook waffles until golden brown (each waffle iron is different, but usually 4-6 minutes).
  6. Serve topped with your choice of toppings: butter, syrup, apricot/pineapple jam, diced fresh bananas/mango/pineapple, toasted pecans, whipped cream and reserved coconut.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope you I’ll be offering up some recipes on a more regular basis now. I am home from an extended European vacation and pretty much convinced that what I make at home is better than anything anywhere else 🙂

18 Jan 2014 Russian Tea

Russian-Tea-1a

Are you old enough to remember the “Russian Tea” phase back in the 70’s?  I was a teenager then, a very young teenager, and our Moms and Grandmas were mixing up batches of Russian Tea like crazy and giving everyone little jars of the stuff.  I think the mix had instant tea, Tang (remember Tang? Astronauts drank it!), powdered lemonade, and some spices.  You opened up your gift jar, spooned some mix into a cup, added hot water, stirred it up and  you were drinking Russian Tea!  I liked it. It was a different hot drink.  I wasn’t into coffee yet, Hot Chocolate was too childish, English tea with milk was OK, but boring. Russian Tea was fun and different–and a bit exotic.

Fast forward to February 7th, 2014, Opening Ceremonies for The XXII Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia and I will be hosting a Russian Themed Winter Olympic Dinner.  What to have to drink after dinner? My daughter suggested Vodka shots off the tip of a sword.  Umm, no.  A citrus-y, sweet, slightly spicy version of Russian Tea is more up my alley — but not made of Tang, Country Time Lemonade and Nestea. So I hit the Internet.  First spoiler, the so-called “Russian Tea” of the 70’s isn’t Russian at all. It’s an American concoction! The only thing Russian about it is it’s name.  Shhhhhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone!  Real Russian tea is “Russian Caravan” tea, because tea used to be imported to Russia from China, via a 16-18 month caravan, and it acquired a smokey flavor from all of the caravan campfires, according to Wikipedia.  So, I went to my local Russian grocery store, yes, we have one in San Jose, and I couldn’t find “Russian Caravan” tea anywhere (nor anyone to help me), but lots of Earl Grey.  I am not serving Earl Grey tea at my Russian Dinner.  Early Gray Tea is English and I don’t like it, it’s too smokey!

So now I am back to my original “Russian” Tea quest.  I found some recipes on the Internet, checked out their star ratings, and tried a few.  One was truly horrid; it involved extracting the juice from oranges and lemons, then boiling the  rinds in sugar and water then adding  the liquid to cold tea. I was skeptical, but the very attractive, very sincere lady on the YouTube video seemed nice, and she was raving over her tea! So I tried it.  She was not honest. Her tea was bitter and horrid.  Of COURSE it was.  Boiling all that pith then adding it to the tea? I should have known better. Why do people post bad recipes?

Eventually, I came up with this version for fresh Russian Tea.  I like it.  I really like it. I served it to five friends and two relatives, and they all said they liked it.  Then I served it to another relative, the daughter who suggested I serve vodka shots off the end of a sword, and she hated it.  I was SHOCKED.  I tied her down and make her try it again.  She STILL didn’t like it.  Harrumph.  She’s no longer my favorite child.  My son loved the tea.  He said, “That’s good.  That’s really, really good.”  He’s a good boy. He’s my favorite child now.

This “Russian” tea is in the same family as hot tea with lemon and honey, but with orange added, and some cinnamon, and a few cloves, it’s a bit more complex (there’s no honey in this tea though).  I’m going to serve it at my Russian themed Winter Olympic dinner, but I’ll brew a pot of Earl Grey, too… for the weirdos.

You all know I am not a photographer, right?  I thought I was being deliciously creative setting up a picture to look like hot, citrus-y, Russian tea in cold, stark, white snow.  Epic fail.  What I got looks like tea in bubbles, oh, not even that, it looks like tea in pillow stuffing, which it is.  Can you overlook that?  Can you just try this hot, citrus-y, slightly spiced, American-Russian tea?  I think you will be glad you did.  Just make the tea once, and put it in the refrigerator to reheat as needed. Ponyat’? Da?

I am really getting into the Olympic/Russian thing now. I made Pierogi for dinner last night, and I ordered a Pierogi press and a Pierogi cookbook written by a real babuska from Amazon.  I am trying to find a Russian outfit to wear. It seems I should go as a babushka.  I already have all the right clothes in my closet…and you know, Vodka shots from the end of a sword might not be too far fetched!

Russian Tea

  • 4 strong black tea bags
  • 1 quart (4 cups boiling water)
  • Zest of 1 1/2 oranges
  • Juice of 1 1/2 oranges (about 2/3 cup)
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 6 cloves (0k to double for spicier drink)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (ok to use 2 for spicier drink)
  • 1 cup sugar (might be ok to reduce to 3/4 cup for a less sweet drink)
  • 2 cups cold water 
  1. Make 1 quart of tea by pouring 1 quart of boiling water over 4 teabags and seep for 5 minutes.  Remove tea bags from hot tea and set tea aside.
  2. Zest the oranges and lemon. Put the zest in a small saucepan.
  3. Add 1 cup sugar and 2 cups cold water to the zest in the small saucepan.
  4. Bring water, sugar, and zest to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Juice the oranges and lemon. Pour the juice into the brewed tea.
  6. Strain the  boiled water, sugar, spices and zest mixture the add to tea and juice mixture.
  7. Stir well and serve or refrigerate mixture until ready to use. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
  8. Enjoy the Olympics!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  BTW, I tried one more drink in my quest for my Olympic dinner, but I think that one qualifies as a dessert (and a gold medal)!  White Hot Chocolate.  Too, too, too decadent to post…I must keep my fans from sinning…I must…I must…OK, OK, I’ll post it soon!

31 Jul 2013 Blueberry Heaven

 

Do you ever go into a bakery?  Of COURSE you do!  Do you ever buy a pastry that looks delicious, but then are seriously disappointed in the taste…? And then, to top it off, are you overwhelmed by the amount of  fat you’ve just consumed for something that really wasn’t that all that great?  Me, too 🙁 Do you ever wish, on a weekend morning with your second cup of coffee, for that imagined deliciousness, without all greasy pastry and sugary icing?  Me, too 🙂 Pssssst…  Come here! No, come closer! I am going to tell you how to make a breakfast pastry as delicious as the one you are dreaming of…, and without the load upon load of grease and sugar!

Now. Seriously…, am I your best friend, or what?!

It’s so simple!  You need 2 slices of bread, a bit of cream cheese, and a handful of blueberries. It helps if you have a sandwich maker or a panini press, but if you don’t, use a frying pan and make this Blueberry Heaven just like you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

I found the original recipe here: http://www.fitfromconception.com/2012/06/blueberry-breakfast-grilled-cheese.html  No, I am not pregnant, roflmao.  Neither are any of my children.  I have no idea how I ended up at that website, but I am glad I did.

Blueberry Heaven

[a Stand-in for Fat and Sugar Laden Blueberry Pastries]

For each serving:

  • 2 slices of bread, any kind.  Make it whole wheat if that’s the way you roll.  I use Orrowheat Country Buttermilk Bread.  Cinnamon bread would probably be delicious, as would almost any kind of homemade bread (don’t use homemade rye bread or anything like that!).
  • Plain cream cheese, enough to spread on two slices of bread.
  • a sprinkling of sugar, less than 1/4 tsp, optional
  • a handful of fresh blueberries, about 24 (jam can be substituted)
  • Butter, optional, unless you are using a frying pan

 

  1. Preheat sandwich maker, panini press, or frying pan.
  2. Spread each slice of bread with cream cheese, no measurements here, just coat the slices of bread to your preference. (If you are using a frying pan, spread the other side of the bread with butter)
  3. Sprinkle a bit, and I do mean a bit, less than 1/4 tsp of sugar over the cream cheese, just to sweeten up the cream cheese a little bit. (I’ve made this without the sugar, and it’s just not the same.)
  4. Arrange blueberries on one slice of the cream cheese covered bread.  Use as many as you want, but I think 24 is about perfect.  I like to evenly space the blueberries on the bread so I get an equal number of  blueberries in every bite.
  5. Put the other slice of cream cheese covered bread onto of the blueberries, cream cheese to cream cheese.
  6. Put the sandwich in the press, latch close, and cook for 2 minutes. (If using a frying pan, put the sandwich, butter side down on the preheated frying pan.  When the first side is golden brown, flip, and cook the second side until it is golden brown too.)
  7. Remove sandwich from the press or the pan and let cool a bit, the filing will be mad hot right out of the press. Be careful.
  8. Enjoy! It’s a little slice of heaven, isn’t it?
  9. Repeat.  You’ll want to make one for someone else… 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to drive over to the Olde Time Bakery for a pastry that will only make you feel badly about yourself? Hooray!!

11 Feb 2013 Crunchy Oat Clusters / Granola Bars

oat clusters

Sometimes, I don’t want to cook in the morning.  Sometimes I don’t even want to make toast.  I just want a lovely latte (I am always willing to make a latte) and  something on the side, while I casually drink my coffee and read the newspaper in my recliner. Sometimes that “something on the side” is a graham cracker, sometimes a cookie, sometimes  it’s something even more sinful. For a couple of years now, I’ve been thinking I should figure out a breakfast that works with my morning routine. You are probably thinking, fruit, eat fruit! No. Apples and oranges, pears and bananas do NOT go with coffee.  Dried fruit does, but that causes me to…ummm…make rude noises on a frequent basis, so dried fruit is out, too.  Last year I made a lot of granola.  I like granola.  I made some good ones, but eating granola  while balancing coffee and a newspaper is  inconvenient and messy.  I couldn’t get my granola to clump, and I needed clumps, big clumps, clumps like the size of a graham cracker.  Paring it down even more: I. want. crunchy. oat. clumps.  Now there’s a challenge!  Try running “Crunchy Oat Clumps” through a search engine and see what you get.  Not encouraging.

So! I have figured it out myself!  It took a couple of tries, and I pared down a lot of recipes, to get just want I wanted. And, tada! I have them now! Sweet, crunchy oat clumps, sort of like a Nature’s Valley Granola Bar.  My oats are tossed with a bit of butter, a bit of oil, some honey and some corn syrup, all necessary to get the large, crisp clumps and I added in some vanilla and a bit of cinnamon, too, so these oat clumps taste GOOD! They have none of those nasty additives, no preservatives and none of the excessive packaging that processed granola bars have. Score!

Crunchy Oat Clusters

  • 4 cups Old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup canola oil (or coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.  Stir to combine.
  2. In a small sauce pan combine honey, corn syrup, butter and oil.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. While sauce is simmering, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  4. Remove sauce from heat and pour over the oat mixture.
  5. Pour oat mixture onto a parchment lined baking pan.
  6. With spatula or offset knife, spread oat mixture to an even thickness, and press down slightly.
  7. Place tray into preheated 300° oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Open and turn off oven.  Let oats stay in oven for another hour or so, or until oats and oven are cool.
  9. Remove oats from oven and when completely cool break into pieces.
  10. Store in an airtight container.
  11. Eat whenever.  My son snacks on them after swim practice.  I like them in the morning, with a latte while I read the newspaper, in my recliner 🙂

In am sure these Crunchy Oat Clusters can be gussied up a bit.  You could add some coconut, chopped nuts, dried fruit…, make them yours!  You could probably also substitute real maple syrup for the honey, if you wanted.  You have to keep the corn syrup though (don’t worry too much, the corn syrup you buy at the store is not high fructose corn syrup). As for me, I like them just like this.  Simple, slightly sweet, very crunchy, and full of those good-for-you breakfast oats.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today and have a wonderful morning!

01 Sep 2012 Banana Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

Hmpfff…, just got through looking at the two hundred and seventeen pictures of a recent bride’s Hawaiian honeymoon.  As one of her friends commented, “The envy hurts”!  I went to Hawaii once.  I did.  It was with my kids’ swim team.  I forget exactly how many 8 – 14 year old’s were on that trip, but it was over a hundred. And a handful of chaperones and coaches. I sure know how to vacation in Hawaii.  NOT.

This morning I was inspired, by the aforementioned 217 pictures, to bring a bit of Hawaii to the breakfast table.  One of the few things I remember about my trip to Hawaii, aside from the twelve year old climbing from one balcony to another–yes, balconies on the outside of the building, outside of  the eighth floor no less–were the breakfasts.  Most mornings we had sushi from the ABC store, and I know most of you won’t relish that,  but one morning, I think it was the last one, we had some wonderful coconutty-banana pancakes.  I think by this time we had locked the kids in their rooms, turned on the TV, handed them a box Twinkies, and thrown away the keys. Yes, I am pretty sure it was an adult only breakfast that morning…

Yep…, transported to the tropics with banana pancakes!  If I had sprinkled the top of the pancakes with a bit of toasted coconut or some diced macadamia nuts I could have been transported even closer to the tropics. These pancakes raise high and are wonderfully light.  The syrup is as sweet as maple syrup, but with a lovely caramel flavor that really makes the pancakes shine.  I found this recipe on epicurious.com (love that site).  I shared these pancakes with one of the kids who went on the trip with me.  She’s almost all grown up now, but I will always remember how she loved Hawaii 🙂 Ohhhh, OK, I do have many wonderful memories of a vacation in Hawaii…

A few notes on this recipe.  If you don’t have self-raising flour, add 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to each cup of flour and to make your own homemade self-raising flour.  Don’t have buttermilk?  Stir 1 T lemon juice or 1 T. white vinegar into each cup of milk and let sit for 5 minutes; but next time you are at the store, buy two buttermilk cartons, one to use now and one to store in the freezer for next time (never run out of buttermilk).  Buttermilk powder is also a nice ingredient to have on hand (available on the baking aisle of most larger supermarkets), use as directed. The last option is to substitute yogurt (vanilla, plain, greek, banana) mixed with a little milk until the mixture has a thick pouring consistency for the buttermilk.

Don’t want to go to Hawaii?  Want to go down South?  Substitute peaches for the bananas, and add bourbon to the sauce, and throw some diced pecans over the tops of the pancakes!

Banana Pancakes with Caramel-Banana Syrup 

3 large bananas, peeled, divided use

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided use
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided use
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or rum)
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
toasted coconut, diced macadamia nuts or pecans, optional

Whisk flour 1/4 cup brown sugar in large bowl. In another bowl mash one banana, then stir in buttermilk , eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.  Pour the banana mixture over the dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with melted butter or spray with a cooking spray.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; and place in 200 degree oven to keep warm, if desired.

Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Slice 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and add to syrup along with vanilla extract. Remove syrup from heat and let sit while you finish cooking pancakes.

Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup, and toasted coconut and/or chopped nuts for sprinkling on top of hot pancakes.

Aloha! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!