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coffee cake, with a twist

October 21st, 2010 | 1 Comment »

I love finding new purposes for old, familiar products. Like Rice Krispies.

I loved this cereal as a kid, and of course, who doesn’t love the gooey marshmallow treats made with it? Loved those too, and my sisters and I would easily make pans of them to devour, as well as my friends and I as we got older. I recently was gifted with a large sack of Rice Krispies and have been searching for ways to use them up. Even if it’s free, waste is not something I’m comfortable with.

Griffin and I made a pan of Rice Krispie treats, and as an added flavor, I stirred about a half cup of butterscotch sauce into the butter/marshmallow mix. What a nice flavor! It added a lot of warmth and depth to them. We’re going to try hot fudge next and are expecting those to be equally as decadent.

I also love finding new recipes for old favorites. Coffee cake and I go wayyyyyy back; back to the little girl who quizzically looked at her Mom when offered a piece of coffee cake and said something to the extent of  “But Mommy, I don’t drink coffee.” We had a tried and true Blueberry Coffee Cake recipe growing up. It was a stalwart, a non-negotiable breakfast/dessert that we trusted and utilized without question. Once my Mom found something in recipe format that she could trust, that her five darlings would eat without some form of revolt or complaint, she rarely deviated from it. But it’s been a while since I made that particular recipe of Mom’s because the last time I stirred it together and baked it, I found that I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I remember. It was good, but it wasn’t what I wanted in a coffee cake. I wanted moist and crunchy to work together; I wanted cake but I wanted muffin too, and I wanted fruit but I wanted more than just fruit. In short, I didn’t know what the heck I wanted. Or even how to make it happen.

Then the past, the present and the coincidence of having 2 pounds of Rice Krispies on hand to use up all came crashing together in one perfect serendipitous event.

I’m not sure where I came across this recipe for a Coffee Cake made with Rice Krispies as part of the base, but I printed it off and finally got mixing on it one morning. It’s certainly a simple concept; make a batter, top it with prepared jam, a bit more batter and then a crumb topping. Simple!

And delicious too! Here it was, the perfect, angels singing, clouds parting for the blazing sunshine coffee cake that my mind had conjured up before my hands had known how to create it. The Universe made it happen. Amen and amen. With this recipe, and the moist yet crunchy, cakey but sort of more muffin like, fruit but a whole lot more coffee cake that came from it will now be a regular occurrence in our kitchen. And the bonus part is, I know that Mom would agree. It was alchemy, magic and flavor all rolled into one.

Although the recipe called for blueberry jam, you could use any fruit spread you wish, and I imagine that pie filling would also be an acceptable substitute. It’s a perfect brunch option, or weekend treat and makes for an excellent dessert as well. We all agreed that it was a terrific way to use up some of the excess Rice Krispies we had on hand.

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

3 c. Rice Krispies (or similar type) cereal
1-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
2 T. ground flaxseed (optional)
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 t. each baking soda and baking powder
1/4 t. sea salt
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 T. grated lemon peel
2 t. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 c. prepared blueberry jam
1 c. frozen blueberries (optional)

Spray a 9” springform cake pan with cooking spray. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine cereal, flour and sugar. With a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in butter until crumbly. Remove 3/4 c. and set aside.

To remaining cereal/flour mixture, add the baking soda, powder and salt and blend thoroughly.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, lemon peel and juice. Pour into the larger amount of cereal/flour mix and stir only until just combined. Spread about 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Evenly spread jam over batter to 1/2” of pan edge. Sprinkle blueberries over jam (if using). Dot remaining batter over fruit and gently spread to edge of pan. Sprinkle with reserved cereal/flour mix.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 20-30 minutes, then release spring and gently slide cake onto platter.

oatmeal pancakes

March 5th, 2010 | 10 Comments »

I hope that I never get to a point in my life where I think I’ve seen it all. Especially when it comes to pancakes.

If I had to pick a favorite breakfast option, pancakes might be fighting for top billing. While I do really enjoy pan roasted potatoes, especially with onion and pepper and topped with a soft egg, there is something so versatile and endlessly appealing about the simple pancake. With your standard batter, you can create an enormous palette of tastes and flavors- apple and spice, banana and pecan, chocolate-cherry, blueberry buckwheat, peach with almonds, mango and coconut….. I mean, wow. What can’t you put in a pancake? Or maybe more so, what wouldn’t you put in??

Oatmeal is the same blank breakfast slate. A simple bowl can be doctored in dozens of ways, and yes, many of them in the same manner as listed above. They all work, so why wouldn’t oatmeal and pancakes work together? I’m here to tell you, with much enthusiasm and horn-trumpeting that they absolutely do. It’s a happy breakfast marriage.

These oatmeal pancakes, courtesy of Molly, were the epitome of hearty and satisfying, and so easily zipped into what breakfast should be all about, with maybe the tiny exception that you have to plan just slightly ahead with this recipe. While you probably could use quick oats and get away with it, I strongly recommend using the thick cut version to get the best affect that these stick-to-your-ribs cakes can offer, such as a breakfast that lasts for a good long time. Really, there isn’t much point to eating in the morning if your tummy doesn’t remember it even a few short hours later.

And there’s no better idea on a chilly Saturday morning than to pull a bowl of soaked oats from the fridge and quickly mix them into a substantial batter that sizzles from your griddle, filling the house with the aroma of ‘Come and get it!’.

If you’ve ever had Baked Oatmeal, where you mix your oats with eggs, brown sugar and spices and bake them into a thick pudding, then the flavor of these pancakes will be familiar to your mouth. The oats, so soft and tender from their overnight soak in buttermilk, bake into a firm pancake that happily soaks up your maple syrup. I’m really not up for much on any given Friday night, and I owe all the remaining energy from the week to dinner prep and a bit of couch time with Netflix on Demand and my two favorite guys, but I somehow managed to stop myself from climbing the stairs to my bedroom, at 9:15 no doubt- and whoa does that make me sound OLD-  and instead turning around to the kitchen to prep the oats for the next morning. I even washed and grated an apple into the mix, shredded in some lemon zest and then cleaned up my little mess. That’s motivation. It made the trip up the stairs to bed even better knowing that I was set for morning, because, you know there’s just something about Saturday morning that begs and whispers just the slightest bit for something special, something that clearly says “Oh yes. It’s the weekend.”

Oatmeal Pancakes

2 c. rolled or thick oats
2 c. buttermilk (or like I did, soy milk with lemon juice and zest mixed in- yum!)
3/4 c. AP flour (I subbed whole wheat)
2 T. sugar (I used turbinado, but brown I think would be best)
1 t. EACH baking powder and baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. melted butter (equiv. to 1 stick. I only used 4 T., or half a stick and it was almost too much for my taste)

The night before, mix oats and buttermilk in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and stir gently.

Blend the flour, sugar, powder and soda and salt together in a large measuring cup. Add the eggs and melted butter to the oat mixture and stir well. Then gently fold in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Heat your griddle or skillet and add about 1/4 cup of the batter. Allow to cook until browned on one side, then carefully flip and cook until golden brown on the second size. Serve topped with maple syrup or fresh fruit.

KATE’S NOTE’S- There isn’t much that I think can improve these pancakes, but I do feel that a bit of cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg would really be stellar. As I mentioned, I grated an apple into the oats the night before. It could also be done in the morning too.

perfect cornmeal waffles

January 27th, 2010 | 25 Comments »

Winter weekends sure can be a mixed blessing. You’ve got an entire day spread out in front of  you with endless possibilities; time on your hands and hours to make just the way you want, and yet, if you’re like those of us in Minnesota, you often wake on those long days to crackling cold air and sunshine thats full of promise but delivers nothing in warmth.

Those are the days that just require waffles.

There’s something about a crisp and aromatic waffle that deems it a culinary perfection for a chilly winter morning. A morning that you know needs to lead to a productive day. A morning where the coffee pot seems to be endlessly working, where your pajamas are often more desirable than a pair of blue jeans, mornings such as one that finds you casually sipping your brew, and noticing that the bright sunshine has highlighted your neglect of the vacuum cleaner, the dustmop and a Swiffer cloth or two.

I’m sure others can relate, right?

I grew up with Sunday morning waffles. It was eagerly anticipated to come down the stairs to the pungent scent of the percolator on the stove as it bubbled away, competing with the creaky old waffle iron, hissing emphatically, cranking out perfect rectangles of golden hued delectable treats. I do love pancakes, especially ones that stray off the beaten track of breakfast food; pancakes with shredded apples and yogurt in them, bananas and pecans in a whole wheat pancake, chocolate chip flecked ovals cooked to soft perfection and then topped with summer cherry sauce. Pancakes even spread with peanut butter and eaten out of hand. Oh, do we know about pancakes in this house, yes we do. But waffles, why there is really no other means needed to enjoy them other than good butter and syrup, because the waffle, in all it’s dented glory is the perfect palate to top with a few slices of cold butter and then drizzle warm maple syrup over to run through tunnels, cubes and edges to dress them in sweet buttery delight. Those edges crunch, the syrup absorbs and the bites come together in the mouth, a marriage to linger over, knife and fork in hand, coffee to the side. I’ll eat pancakes for dinner, and often we do, but waffles are strictly breakfast, and best on the weekends when their sturdy personality buoys you up for the long day ahead.

And who wouldn’t love the crunchy and wholesome addition of some cornmeal to the waffle?

I’ve made cornmeal studded pancakes before, and really, they’re pretty good and all, but there’s something about the added crunch of cornmeal on batter placed in the waffle iron that just sort of gets me right there. I don’t know how to describe it any more than that. And when I came across the recipe for these crunchy beauties on Kristin’s lovely blog, somehow I knew I would adore them like a treasured memory so I put together a double batch. People, I made waffles for hours, it seems. Hours. Did I care? Oh no, not at all. You see, after I made the first one and dressed it appropriately, I consumed it with gusto. My tummy, loving the introduction of it, politely asked for another. And I complied. The batter seemed endless, but I stockpiled waffles for the next few days and two packs to go into the freezer. We are happily away in waffle ecstasy. Don’t bother to look for us, ok? We’ll be fine, really and I will come back when they’re gone and do it all over again.

Oh yeah, and after I ate that delicious breakfast, it spurred me on to clean my house from top to bottom and boy, did it look nice in the dazzling but cold winter sunshine then. All thanks to a perfect little cornmeal waffle.

Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles
(from Kristin at The Kitchen Sink Recipes, slightly adapted from Gourmet magazine)

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (sift before measuring)
1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stoneground
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
6 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional oil for brushing waffle iron

Into a large bowl sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Repeat sifting 2 more times.

In another large bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Add flour mixture all at once and whisk just until combined.

Preheat a waffle iron and preheat oven to 200 °F.

Brush waffle iron lightly with additional oil. Spoon batter into waffle iron, using 1/4 cup batter for each 4-inch-square standard waffle and spreading batter evenly, and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm, uncovered, in middle of oven. Make more waffles with remaining batter in same manner, brushing waffle iron with more oil before adding each batch.

Serve waffles with syrup.

Sweet Potato Love…..and a muffin

September 30th, 2009 | 12 Comments »

sweet potato

You’re not a potato, my chalky tuber. You are not even really considered a yam, by the true means of the word. But to avoid confusion and misunderstanding, you are required to carry the moniker ‘Sweet Potato’. You are golden, bright orange, pale yellow and the color of a sunrise, at once starchy and dry, as well as moist and tender. You make amazing oven fries, stunning side dishes, distinct risottos and perfect pies. You have that multiple personality trait down to a science, don’t you? Who would have thought that you were distantly related to gorgeous Morning Glory flowers? And aren’t you the healthy one? Rich in antioxidants like beta carotene and Vitamin A, complex carbs and fiber, you rank awfully high on the nutritional value chart, giving us iron and calcium to boot. Oprah is a big fan of you, lucky spud. That pretty much guarantees you’ll be the talk of the town, doesn’t it?  We can come by you quite inexpensively too, although no one can call you cheap- you are a class act, my friend. You hold up well to storage too. And thankfully, you are in great supply, for our demand for you is high and you’re readily available all year round. And if we choose to cook you, mash you and store you in the freezer, you never complain. And patiently you wait for us to bring you back out and make something wonderful from you.

Like these muffins. Thanks for offering up all your golden glory to a humble breakfast and snack food.

Sweet Potato Muffins6385

You and I, though, we haven’t always been friends, and I’m sorry I ignored you all those years. Think of the fun we would have had! But no matter. We’re tight now, and that’s all that counts. I love it hanging out with you, and am so glad I introduced you to my good pal oatmeal. The two of you make quite a pair in this delicious and stout muffin, don’t you?

Sweet Potato Muffins6383

I’m not at all jealous that you get along so well, in fact, I really like it when my friends find something good about each other, something they enjoy that has little to do with me. I was happy to introduce you two; it seems to be a match made in heaven, and how easy is it to get you two to hang out? Really, it takes little effort, and for my gain I get delightful and simple muffins that speak poetically of Fall, warm with cinnamon and nutmeg and the hearty toothsome bite of whole oats. Not to mention that sweet tender tang of you, my tuberous pal. I’m so glad I gave you more than a passing glance. We’re great friends for life, yes we are.

Oh by the way, have you met another good friend of mine, her name is sweet cream butter?

Sweet Potato Muffins6387

Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins
from the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1 c. flour (AP or Whole Wheat, or both)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 T. ground flaxseed
1 c. cooked and mashed sweet potato
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/4 c. skim milk
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°. Line two standard muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk oatmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and flaxseed. In another small bowl, combine sweet potato, brown sugar, oil, egg, milk and vanilla, whisking to blend well. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to combine. Mix until just moistened. Scoop into muffin tins and back for 15-20 minutes. Check at the 15 minute mark- these bake up quickly.

KATE’S NOTES:
This recipe doubles really easily. I doubled it using both AP and whole wheat flour and the result was nice and firm. You can substitute pumpkin for the sweet potato, or use garnet yams. Be sure that the vegetable is cooked and mashed well. I used soy milk in mine and it works just fine. For one batch of these, I added 1/2 c. of flaked coconut, and I think chopped and toasted pecans would be wonderful in these.

For an extra level of flavor, you can top these with a crumb topping made from 1/4 c. oats, 1/4 c. flour, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1-2 T. softened butter and 1 t. vanilla extract. Combine these well and sprinkle over the muffins before baking. I have not used it, but imagine it would be excellent.

Overnight Muesli

September 29th, 2008 | 8 Comments »

Overnight Apple-Date Muesli
By Robin Asbell, The New Whole Grains Cookbook

1/2 c. slivered almonds
2 medium apples
1 1/2 c. nut milk, or other milk
2 T. maple syrup
1 1/2 c. thick rolled oats
1/4 c. soy protein powder (optional)
1/2 c. pitted dates

Preheat oven to 325 and spread almonds on a baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Get out a large storage tub or bowl with a lid. Quarter the apples and core, then shred right into the bowl, skin and all. Add remaining ingredients, including almonds, and stir well to combine. Cover tightly and place in refrigerator overnight.

In the morning, stir thoroughly. Spoon desired amount into individual bowls and serve cold, or warm in the microwave for up to 2 minutes per bowl.

KATE’S NOTES:
I tried this the first time with the protein powder and decided I didn’t care for it, but that’s just me. I always, always, always add in about 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to this, regardless. I double it and we enjoy it for several days. It will get softer and a bit less flavorful the longer it sits, but if you’re like us, it rarely lasts that long.

I am not a fan of dates but I. Love. Figs. so I chop those up into it instead. The variations on this, like I said, are infinite. Use raisins, currants, dried cherries, craisins, dried apricots or any type of dried fruit you like in any combination; vary the apple flavor by going tart or sweet; add in a multitude of nuts, use other cereal flakes, like barley. Skip the maple syrup or use an alternative, like raw or maple sugar sprinkled over the top before you eat it. Give it your own fingerprint and I’m sure it will also become a favorite for you.

Blueberry Bran Muffins

January 1st, 2007 | 3 Comments »

Blueberry Bran Muffins

Mix in bowl until blended: 1 ½ c. buttermilk; 2 large eggs; 2 T. butter, melted; ¼ c. oil; ¼ c. real maple syrup

Add: 1 ½ c. All Bran cereal

Mix to combine and allow to sit at room temp. for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add in: 1/3 c. minced dried apricot, mango OR peaches (I used peaches this time)

In separate bowl, sift together 1 ½ c. AP flour; ½ whole oats, or packaged 7-Grain cereal (like Bob’s Red Mill), ¼ c. brown sugar, 1 t. EACH baking powder and baking soda, ¼ t. salt.

Add in wet ingredients, blend only until incorporated; stir in 1 c. frozen blueberries

Scoop into muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with paper cups. Bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes until tops are firm and slightly browned. Cool 5 min. in pan and remove to cooling rack.

Pumpkin Maple Muffins

October 3rd, 2006 | 2 Comments »

Pumpkin Maple Muffins


*Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 3/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute any whole wheat flour)
1/2 C. pecan meal (1.5 oz. pecans, ground)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon

In a separate bowl, whisk together these ingredients:
1/3 C. maple syrup
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. pumpkin puree (I use canned)
1/2 C. buttermilk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 C. butter, melted
1/3 C. raisins

  1. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  2. Immediately spoon batter into a greased 12-cup muffin tin.
  3. Place in the center of a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Check muffins after 20 minutes, muffins are done when you lightly touch the top of one of the muffins and it springs back.
  5. Let cool for five minutes in the pan and then remove muffins and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Here’s what I did differently. I had no pecans, and I am not a huge fan of them (my mother was the Pecan Queen in a previous life, and then she became my mom and made everything with pecans….I, however, have a choice now) but I did have almonds so I ground up those and used those instead. I had no real buttermilk, so I did the milk/vinegar trick. I used 2 tbsp. of butter instead of 4, and subbed in some unsweetened applesauce and of course, since I am a flaxseed freak, I ground 2 tbsp. of those little beauties and added them too. I skipped the raisins.
FABULOUS…moist, earthy, wholesome, grain-goodness and so flavorful.

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And the best part, naturally, Griffin took one bite of a ‘warm from the oven’ specimen and fell over on the carpet, rolling around moaning. He is following his Mom’s footsteps in his passionnate love for anything food. Plus, he really doesn’t like pecans.

recipe from Nicole, of Pinch My Salt food blog

Sunrise Whole Grain Waffles

September 3rd, 2006 | 1 Comment »

Sunrise Whole Grain Waffles

Mix together: 1 c. flour, 1 c. oat flour, 2 T. ground flaxseed, 1/3 c. rye flour, 1/3 c. cornmeal, 4 t. baking powder, 1 T. sugar and 1/2 t. salt.

Stir together: 2 eggs, 2 c. liquid (i have used buttermilk, straight milk and a milk/water combo- all are great) 2 T. canola oil and 1 t. vanilla extract.

Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.

Simple Granola

September 1st, 2006 | Comments Off

Everyone knows that more whole grain is always a good thing to eat. I love granola, as does Mike and yet I won’t spend the abhorrent amounts of money asked for in a store to buy a 10-oz bag of granola that will disappear in one sitting in my house. I found the origin of this recipe in a Cooking Light magazine and embellished it to include more grain and flavor. It makes a big batch all on it’s own, but I double it because we can eat it on so many things.

Granola

In a large bowl combine 2 c. regular oats, 2 c. barley flakes, 1 c. oat bran, 1/3 c. ground flaxseed, 1/4 c. chopped almonds, 1 t. ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. nutmeg. In a small saucepan stir together 1/3 c. orange juice, 1/3 c. honey, 1/4 c. packed brown sugar and 2 t. canola oil. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 2 t. vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and stir well to coat. Spread on two cookie sheets coated with non-stick spray and bake at 300 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15. Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with dried cranberries and/or dried blueberries to taste. Allow to cool and store in airtight container.