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Archive for the ‘Breakfast/Brunch’ Category

68 Days of Gourmet: Day 39

At 10 p.m. last night, after a long day of cooking and prep for my niece’s 2nd birthday party, I announced that I was tired and over cooking for a while. I told Brandon if he wanted breakfast this morning he would have to brave the icy road conditions to go get bagels. And then I woke up and found myself in the kitchen making muffins and a frittata. Guess I just needed a good night’s sleep to turn my attitude around!

We got several inches of snow/ice in Charlotte this weekend. That pretty much means that normal life comes to a halt in the South. The roads are super icy and I was worried that the birthday party would be cancelled. They decided to go ahead and have it so I spent all of yesterday preparing the butterfly cupcakes, ham and cheddar pretzel bites and fruit skewers. Blog updates to come soon with the butterfly cupcakes and pretzel bites. Cannot wait to share the cupcakes – they came out better than I hoped and were a huge hit!

I took yesterday as a rest day – the weather was terrible and I had so much cooking to do. We took Sullie for a walk this morning. She had so much fun playing in the snow. This afternoon I went to my favorite yoga class at Charlotte Yoga. Just the best way to wrap up the weekend and get my mind ready for the week ahead.

I made a lot of modifications to the Applesauce Spice muffins. The original recipe called for almost a stick and a half of butter. That just was not happening this morning! I ended up using about 4 tablespoons of  butter (half a stick) and subbing 1/3 cup of plain yogurt for the rest of the butter. Also, I used half wheat flour and reduced the sugar. Felt much better about eating two of these delicious muffins this morning with those changes. They are tender, not too sweet and have a great apple spice flavor. A great way to mix up my normal banana muffin routine! The recipe below is my modification so check out the link below for the original recipe.

Applesauce Spice Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Gourmet, November 2003)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

FOR THE MUFFINS
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup pecans or walnuts (3 1/2 ounces), coarsely chopped

FOR THE TOPPING
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preaheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 12-muffin pan with cooking spray or cupcake liners.

Stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar and yogurt until well-combined. Slowly stir in butter, whisking until mixture is creamy. Stir in applesauce, then fold in flour mixture until flour is just moistened. Stir in nuts and divide batter among muffin cups.

Mix together topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins. Bake about 20 minutes, until tops are puffed and golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 12 muffins

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 33

Greetings from Mema’s house! We arrived last night around 9 and were starving. Lucky for us, Mema had made cabbage rolls “deconstructed,” rice and green beans. So good and comforting – totally hit the spot. Finished dinner off with some ooey gooey bars (which I have had TOO many of while we’ve been here) and then fell into bed stuffed and exhausted.

This morning we enjoyed some of this Pear Cranberry Cake for breakfast along with a  fresh orange/grapefruit mixture. After breakfast, I headed upstairs to do a Dave Farmar power yoga podcast. I set up a space heater and felt right at home with my yoga practice! After yoga I was ready for lunch. I whipped up a potato/veggie/turkey kilebasa soup that Mema wanted to try while she made some pimento cheese. The soup was perfect for the rainy, cool day and Mema’s pimento cheese is always a hit! Of course I had to finish it off with another ooey gooey bar.

After lunch I decided it would be a good idea to demonstrate some yoga poses to Mema and practice tripod headstands. Yeah, maybe not the best idea after my big lunch. :oops:

After a lazy afternoon of getting Mema’s Christmas Nook set up and playing Scrabble, Brandon and I picked up a Mellow Mushroom pizza for dinner. Mellow Mushroom was our favorite pizza in college but they don’t have one in Charlotte. It was a yummy treat. They have the BEST dough!

Mema had a piece of the Pear Cranberry Cake for dessert. Overall I was pleased with it but I definitely thought it could have used more cranberries. The cranberry to pear ratio didn’t seem quite right. Also, the original recipe calls for a glaze but since we were traveling with the cake, I left it off. Good thing I did because Mema says she much prefers cakes without glazes. I thought the pears were a nice change of pace from your traditional apple cake.

We’re heading home tomorrow. I’m hoping to get a nice run in and attack some leftovers from the weekend before we leave!

Pear Cranberry Cake
(Recipe source Gourmet, November 2009)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 Bosc pears (1 1/2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup cranberries (thawed if frozen)

FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 (3-inch-long) cinnamon sticks

Directions:

FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a bundt or angel food cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium high speed until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in pears and cranberries. Once combined, slowly mix in flour mixture until all flour has been incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.

Cool in pan 30 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

FOR THE GLAZE (OPTIONAL)
Bring cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, cinnamon sticks and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Cool glaze 5 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks, then pour glaze over cake, letting some drip down sides.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 32

It’s been a busy week! I’m so looking forward to the weekend. We are heading to Georgia to visit my grandmother – can’t wait to see her! Growing up and in college I was usually able to visit once every week or two. Since graduating college, we’ve lived 4+ hours away so we don’t get down there nearly as much as we’d like to.

One of my favorite things my grandmother made growing up was French toast. It was a breakfast treat when I visited! I made an overnight French toast last weekend for breakfast. We usually try to have more traditional, sit down breakfasts on the weekends. This recipe is great because it’s very simple, requires minimal prep work and results in a nice Sunday breakfast.

Tonight’s been busy, busy trying to prep for our visit. I taught BodyPump at the Y after work. It was my first night teaching at the Y. I’m so excited to finally have my own class! I taught in Birmingham and have been waiting for a class to open up here.  I’m teaching twice a week – Monday mornings at 6 (eek!) and Thursday evenings.

I have a Cranberry Pear Cake in the oven (will be blogged about soon!) to take down to my grandmonther’s. I always like to take a treat :) I’m heading to yoga tomorrow morning to get one last class in before we leave. I will most likely miss my Sunday class that I always attend but Mema’s worth it!

Overnight Baked French Toast
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

1 (13-14 inch) long loaf soft Italian or French bread)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons butter) softened
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar

Maple syrup
Powdered sugar

Directions:

Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut 12 diagonal slices of bread. Reserve ends for another use (I made croutons for our salads this week). Generously butter one side of each piece of bread. Arrange bread buttered sides up in one layer in prepared dish. It will be a pretty tight fit.

Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until combined. Pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate until bread has absorbed all of custard, at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bring soaked bread to room temperature. Sprinkle bread with sugar and bake until puffed and golden, about 20-25 mintues. Serve immediately sprinkled with powdered sugar and with maple syrup.

Yield: 6 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 27

I love, love, love banana bread and banana muffins – one of my favorite things to bake! So naturally, I had to try Gourmet’s Banana Bread recipe for 68 Days of Gourmet. I usually just make a small batch of banana muffins because I rarely have three ripe bananas on hand. But a couple weeks ago I found myself with three ripe bananas and knew it was the perfect opportunity to make this bread.

We enjoyed this banana bread but decided that our favorite recipe is still Cooking Light’s Classic Banana Bread. The Gourmet recipe is very moist and has a great banana flavor but I think the Cooking Light recipe produces a more tender cake with a nice crust.

I sliced this bread into individual slices, wrapped and froze them for a great breakfast on the go. I just pop it in the microwave at work for 20 seconds or so and I have warm homemade banana bread for breakfast!

Check out my other banana muffins:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
Easy Banana Muffins
Banana Nutella Muffins

Banana Bread
(Recipe source Gourmet, August 2003)

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
2 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
1/4 cup crème fraîche, sour cream or plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 (9 x 5) loaf pans.

Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until the mixture is thick and pale and forms a ribbon when paddle is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream. Then mix in bananas, creme fraiche (or sour cream or yogurt) and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and walnuts until just combined.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly. Bake until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center  comes out clean, about 60-75 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack to cool completely.

Yield: 2 loaves

*Note: I halved the recipe for 1 loaf.

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 12

I came across this recipe while flipping through the Breakfast/Brunch section of The Gourmet Cookbook. I thought it would be perfect to have on hand during the holidays, as a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack. Brandon and I decided that this bread is definitely less coffee cake and more pound cake. The flavor of the cake itself was extremely reminiscent of pound cake. The fresh cranberry ripple added a nice touch of fruit flavor. This would be perfect to have around the house for guests to snack on or as part of a holiday breakfast or brunch. I sliced and wrapped the bread in individual slices and put them in the freezer for a quick (and indulgent) snack on the go.

Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
(Recipe source The Gourmet Cookbook)
Printable Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
1 3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
Optional: confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Place cranberries and 1/2 cup of sugar in food processor and pulse until cranberries are finely chopped and sugar is incorporated, careful not to puree. Place in a sieve and let drain while you prepare the cake batter.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand held mixer, cream together butter and remaining 1 1/3 cup sugar for about 3 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to medium and add in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and alternately add flour mixture and milk in three parts, beginning and ending with flour.

Spread 1/3 of the batter in bottom of prepared loaf pan. Spoon 1/2 of the cranberries over the batter, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges (see picture below). Top with another 1/3 of batter and remaining cranberries and finally, top with last 1/3 of batter.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Yield: 8 servings

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68 Days of Gourmet: Day 6

buttermilkbiscuit

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is cook a big breakfast. We usually either have waffles or pancakes and bacon or eggs, grits, biscuits and sausage or bacon. I’ve been trying different biscuit recipes the last couple months in an attempt to perfect my biscuit making skills. I figured I’d try one from Gourmet since I’m doing 68 Days of Gourmet.

Overall, I was pleased with how these buttermilk biscuits turned out. I loved the size of them and they were a nice mix of tender on the inside and sturdy on the outside. You could definitely make a breakfast sandwich biscuit out of these and they wouldn’t crumble or fall apart.

They were a nice accompaniment to our breakfast and very tasty topped with apple butter. Brandon has requested an egg and cheese biscuit tomorrow morning with the leftovers.

biscuitdough

Buttermilk Biscuits
(Recipe source Gourmet, June 2005)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon milk or cream for brushing tops of biscuits

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Sift together twice flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir with a fork until dough just forms (dough will be moist). Do not over mix.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead gently 6 times with floured hands. Pat out dough into an 8- by 5 1/2-inch rectangle, reflouring work surface if necessary. Using a floured knife, cut rectangle in half lengthwise, then into thirds crosswise to form 6 (2 1/2-inch) squares. Using a spatula, transfer biscuits to an ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each biscuit. Brush tops with milk or cream and bake on middle rack until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Yield: 6 biscuits

biscuitapplebutter

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waffleCI

Is there anything better than waffles for breakfast on the weekends? When I was growing up it was always a treat when my dad made waffles. I confess that I cannot take credit for the waffles in this post. My dad made these last week while we were visiting. I couldn’t resist taking a couple shots so I could share them.

We were all shocked when he told us he was trying a new recipe. I haven’t shared his standby recipe yet (and the one I always use now) on the blog but I will soon. They are delicious so we were perplexed that he was trying a new recipe.  He decided to try these buttermilk waffles from Cooks Illustrated (note you must have a subscription to view).

These waffles were really different. There is definitely a strong buttermilk taste and they are not as light as traditional waffles. I almost compared them to a buttermilk pancake in a waffle. I think my mom won the description contest when she called them “rib stickin’ waffles.” You have to spread the batter on the waffle iron because it’s so thick.

If you’re a waffle fan who likes buttermilk or if you’re looking for a fluffy cake-like waffle this recipe is for you!

wafflesyrupCI

Buttermilk Waffles
(Recipe source Cooks Illustrated)

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1  teaspoon baking soda
1 egg , separated
7/8 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

Directions:

Heat waffle iron. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk egg yolk with buttermilk and butter. Using a hand mixer, beat egg white on high speed just until stiff peaks hold (do not skip this step – beating your egg whites separately makes a huge difference in the end product) .

Slowly add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients while gently mixing. Do not add liquid faster than you can incorporate it. Once all liquid has been added, gently fold egg whites into batter.

Spread batter onto waffle iron (enough to cover) and cook waffle until golden brown. This should take about 3-5 minutes depending on your waffle iron. As a general rule of thumb, your waffle is ready to come off the iron when it stops steaming.

Serve immediately.

Yield: 3-4 waffles (note, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you’re feeding a family or a crowd)

waffleiron

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applecake1

One of my all-time favorite cakes is Apple Spice Cake. I loved when my mom baked them growing up. My favorite two desserts that she made were apple cake and banana pudding. I always requested them and my chances that she’d make them got a lot better when I moved away from home :).

Now that the weather is getting cooler and apples are coming into season I found myself craving an apple cake. The recipe my mom uses calls for a lot of vegetable oil and I decided to try a new recipe that featured butter instead. I researched recipes for a while and found this recipe from Cooking Light that sounded great and had received awesome reviews since it was originally printed in 1997. Now, I kind of disagree that this is a light recipe but if they say so…I guess I’ll let myself feel better about it. But how can a cake be light when the recipe includes a stick of butter and cream cheese?

All that matters is that this cake is so good I ended up baking it three times last week. Once for us, once for my sister-in-law (who is expecting her second soon!) and once for my mom. The cake received outstanding reviews from everyone. My sister-in-law texted me the day after it was dropped off and said she’d already had two pieces for dessert and one for breakfast. And she used it as a bargaining tool to get our niece to eat her meals. She said that Emerson loved it so much she would tell her she could have one bite of cake if she ate a bite of her dinner. And I’m very happy to report that my mom approved of the new recipe and even asked for it. So it was a success all around.

The directions call for baking this cake in a springform pan and it gives it a great height that you can’t get from a standard cake pan. I changed the recipe up a bit by changing the mixing method and adding extra cream cheese, nutmeg and chopped pecans. I think the pecans are a must in this cake.

This Apple Cinnamon Cake stays moist for days and is definitely a fall crowd pleaser.I admit that I ate it for breakfast and dessert! It’s delicious served warm with ice cream!

Apple Cinnamon Cake
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1 1/2  cups  sugar, plus extra for cinnamon sugar mixture for pan
8 ounces (1 block) 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1/2  cup  butter (1 stick), softened
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
2  large eggs
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2  teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus extra for cinnamon sugar mixture for pan
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
3  cups chopped peeled Fuji apples (about 2 large)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together a little bit of cinnamon and sugar (about 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar). Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter wrapper or cooking spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture and tap sides to evenly distribute. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt. Whisk together well to incorporate. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place 1 1/2 cups sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture a little at a time, beating at low speed until well blended.

Mix in apples and pecans. Pour batter prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 servings

applecake

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pbccbananamuffins

I know, I know…it’s been all about the baking posts lately. I promise I’ll get back to real food soon but I’ve just been in the mood to bake lately. Also, I recognize that I have a slight addiction to baking muffins that involve banana. I’ve shared the story before but I am a total peanut butter addict and peanut butter and banana sandwiches are one of my favorite lunches. But sometimes I just don’t use my bananas for the week and find myself making muffins with the overripe bananas. I’m a little strange because I cannot eat a banana plain. It literally makes me sick to my stomach but I love them in things…like PB&B sandwiches and banana pudding!

So I decided I was ready for a change from my standby banana muffin recipe and wanted to try to incorporate my favorite sandwich in a muffin. I found this recipe on Baking Bites. It was simple and so delicious…especially with a glass of milk! I will definitely be making these often!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Baking Bites)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
6 tablespoons peanut butter (I used all natural crunchy but you can use anything you have on hand)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin tin or prepare with liners.

Whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together vegetable oil, brown sugar, eggs, mashed banana, peanut butter and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in flour mixture flour mixture mix well.

Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin pans, filling about 3/4 full.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Remove muffins frompan and cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 12 muffins

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easybananamuffins

You can almost always find banana muffins in my freezer. I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches but sometimes I don’t get around to using all the bananas. I hate to waste them so I usually end up making muffins with the overly ripe bananas.

My favorite recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light Banana Bread recipe. I like that the recipe is easily cut in half and is perfect to use one banana and make six muffins (of course you can make the full recipe too).

It takes no time at all to get these in the oven. You don’t even have to break out a mixer! Everything can be done by hand. The muffins are soft with a nice crispy crumb when they’re fresh out of the oven. They freeze well and are perfect for an on the go breakfast.

Easy Banana Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/4  teaspoon  salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 large egg
1 large banana, mashed
2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons of plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

Mix together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together sugars, oil, egg, banana, yogurt or sour cream and vanilla.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just moist and incorporated. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins, filling about 2/3 of the way full.

Bake for about 18-22 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Yield: 6 muffins

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