I love big, fluffy, and eggy popovers. There is something innately elegant about this oh so simple treats. Served in their simplest form with a dab of butter and a dollop of jam they are the perfect breakfast treat. Or you can follow an old Maine tradition and eat popovers and chowder on the lawn of the Jordan Pond House in Acadia National Park. In college I discovered Judie’s Restaurant in Amherst, Massachusetts where oversized popovers were served as the foundation for hearty sandwiches, as an accompaniment for soup or salad or all on their own. (When I was back in Amherst this past summer I went to Judie’s with the sole purpose of eating a popover).
I tend to forget how easy popovers are to make. This recipe from America’s Test Kitchen only has six ingredients. Instead of using a blender I use a stick mixer which makes cleanup a breeze. With a little prior planning (the batter needs to rest before baking) they are a snap to make. If you want to serve them for breakfast you can even make the batter the night before and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. If you do this there isn’t any excuse for not serving them for breakfast.
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Blend the eggs and milk in a blender until smooth. Add the flour, melted butter, and salt and continue to blend on high speed until the batter is bubbly and smooth, about 1 minute. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, measure 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil into each cup of a popover pan. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place the pan in the oven, and heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- After the batter has rested, pour it into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Working quickly, remove the pan from the oven and divide the batter evenly among the 6 cups in the pan. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door.
- Lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake until golden brown all over, 15 to 18 minutes more. Gently tip the popovers out onto a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving, about 2 minutes.
One of the unfortunate side effects of living in a hotel for a month was each morning’s complementary breakfast. It sounded good but in reality the meal consisted of cold cereal, instant oatmeal, and pre-packaged muffins. Sidney quickly discovered the tasteless chocolate muffins wrapped in cellophane and for him was complete without his eating one. I had hoped that he would forget about them once we moved out of the hotel and into our house but no such luck. Morning after morning Sidney continued to ask for a chocolate muffin. Because he wasn’t going to give up I decided that I could make a muffin that, while still fulfilling Sidney’s chocolate craving, would be healthier than the pre-packaged ones he had fallen in love with.
This recipe is (ironically enough) adapted from Writing With Chocolate‘s Belgian Chocolate Muffin recipe. To add complexity and depth I used three different types of chocolate; bittersweet, unsweetened, and semi-sweet. The chocolate chips add a nice surprise to every bite and if you use miniature chips as I did, it feels like there is extra chocolate. I’ve also used low-fat unsweetened yogurt instead of milk. The result is a chocolate filled muffin without the customary sweetness. The recipe makes either 12 large muffins of nine jumbo muffins but you could also make mini bite sized muffins as well. If you do, simply reduce the baking time to 12 to 15 minutes.
SIDNEY’S TRIPLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
8 ounces dark chocolate (I used Belgian Cote d’Or)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 whole eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake papers. Alternatively, lightly spray each cup with non-stick cooking spray.
- Slowly melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler set of medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until smooth. When the chocolate is completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Fold in the yogurt and vanilla extract.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg and yogurt mixture until just combined. You shouldn’t see any flour streaks.
- Stir in the melted chocolate then then chocolate chips, again stirring to just combine.
- Evenly distribute batter between the prepared baking cups.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake the muffins for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Yields 9 or 12 muffins depending on their size
If you are a fan of breakfast and you love apple pie, these pancakes are for you. The whole wheat adds fiver and a bit of bulk without making them heavy. The apples and pie spice make them sweet and spicy. If you don’t have apple pie spice you can substitute two teaspoons of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.
As an added bonus these pancakes come together quickly meaning you can have breakfast on the table without a lot of fuss. You can easily double the recipe and have extra pancakes to enjoy all week. Simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days then pop them in the toaster for one cycle to re-heat them.
APPLE PIE PANCAKES
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon apple pie spice
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 large Gala apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- Lightly grease a griddle and pre-heat it to medium-high. It is ready when a drop of water immediately sizzles when placed on the griddle.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and apple pie spice. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, eggs, and milk.
- Make a small well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Fold gently to combine. Do not over mix.
- Add the apples and fold to combine. You should have some small lumps in the batter.
- Drop the batter by the ladle onto the hot griddle.
- Cook until small bubbles form around the edges of the pancakes, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until browned.
- Repeat the process until all of the remaining batter has been used.
- Serve with butter and warmed maple syrup or molasses if desired.
Yields: 15-16 pancakes
Breakfast on weekday mornings usually involves coffee on the run. Since breakfast really is my favorite meal of the day I try to make something special for those weekend mornings when we are home and have the time to eat a leisurely meal. Because it is the first meal of the day and I’m not fully functional until the first cup of coffee has kicked it, whatever I make needs to be relatively easy and quick; I don’t do multi bowl recipes first thing in the morning.
This dish, adapted from Cooking Light Magazine, is essentially a giant popover doctored up with chocolate chips and bananas. It reminds me of the German pancakes my mom used to make when I was growing up. For a simpler presentation you can omit the chocolate chips and top the pancake with fresh berries once it comes out of the oven. I’ve used strawberries, blueberries, and peaches when they are in season. When fresh berries aren’t available, bananas work nicely with the addition of coffee liqueur kicking the dish up a notch. Because it is breakfast, after all, I forgo the whipped cream but add it and this pancake could easily be served as dessert at the end of a dinner.
CHOCOLATE CHIP DUTCH BABY WITH COFFEE BANANAS
3/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 large firm bananas, sliced into coins
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur (I like Lilly brand)
Whipped cream (if desired)
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Place a 9-inch cast-iron skillet in a 450° oven for 15 minutes.
- Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk until smooth.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in preheated pan until browned, swirling to evenly coat pan.
- Add batter; sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until puffed and browned.
- Cut banana halves into coins. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bananas; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Add liqueur; simmer 1 minute.
- Serve with Dutch baby; top with whipped cream if desired.
French toast is family favorite on weekends. The custard can be made up to an hour ahead of time then I fry up the toast as members of the household awaken and are ready to eat. Topped with real maple syrup, the toast is both sweet and satisfying. Sometimes, however, I like to make the French toast extra special. This easy praline topping, a combination of butter and brown sugar sprinkled with pecans takes ordinary French toast to a whole other level and makes this dish guest worthy. You can adjust the amount of cinnamon in both the custard and the praline sauce to your liking. Be sure to use a thick sliced, hearty bread and allow it to soak up the custard until the entire slice is saturated.
Serve the French toast with fresh fruit and a side of crispy bacon or for an extra special treat, homemade sausage patties. Plan ahead for weekday breakfasts and make a double batch of both the toast and the praline topping. Simply pop the French toast in a toaster or microwave oven to freshen and warm the praline mixture in the microwave for a few seconds until it is warm.
CINNAMON – PRALINE FRENCH TOAST
1 cup whole pecans, toasted
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons heavy cream
8 thick slices hearty bread, challah and country white work well
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Place the pecans in a dry skillet and toast oven medium-high heat until browned and crunchy. Watch carefully so the nuts do not scorch. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and stir until combined. Continue to cook until the sugar is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Cook for one minute.
- Keep warm over low heat until ready to use. Immediately before serving stir in the toasted pecans.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Coat a griddle with cooking spray and set the heat to high.
- In a shallow dish (a pie plate or cake pan works well), combine the eggs, milk, almond extract, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat well with a whisk or a fork until combined.
- Working in batches, place the slices of bread into the dish. Allow to sit for two minutes then turn the bread over and let sit for an additional minute.
- Move the custard soaked bread to the prepared griddle and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until the bread is browned on the outside and heated through.
- Remove the toast from griddle and place in the oven on a heat proof platter while the remainder of the toast cooks.
- When ready to serve, divide the toast between four plates and top with the praline mixture. Serve immediately.
It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
I love breakfast foods and breakfast for dinner is a favorite meal in our house. Breakfast foods like these pancakes are often easy and quick to make; after all when you need to start cooking them before the first cup of coffee, it is important that they aren’t too complicated. Because pancakes are so simple to make they make the perfect dish for an end of the week dinner. Serve these pancakes with warm maple syrup (real of course) and fresh fruit or even juice and you have a dinner in minutes. Add a side of bacon or sausage and it is even better.
BUTTERMILK CORN PANCAKES
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or canned sweet corn kernels
- Generously grease a griddle and preheat to high heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the buttermilk, melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the egg and buttermilk mixture.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined.
- Add corn kernels and stir until evenly distributed. Do not over mix. Some lumps will remain.
- Using a ladle pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle.
- Cook until bubbles form on top of the pancakes and they begin to look dry, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
Yields: 16 4″ pancakes
I think of scones as being fancy biscuits. Whereas a buttermilk biscuit might be served as an accompaniment to a plate of eggs and bacon, a scone deserves something a bit more refined. Perhaps it is served alongside a fruit salad and yogurt for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack with a cup of tea. I think of the classic scone as being one filled with dried currants but that is just the starting point. Nuts, fresh fruits, or even candy chips make for the perfect add-ins to these buttery treats.
This recipe is an adaptation of a classic one from Flour Bakery. Instead of currents, I’ve added fresh sliced strawberries and a bit of orange zest. You could just as easily substitute an equivalent amount of fresh blueberries and lemon zest. Regardless of what you add into the dough, make sure you use cold butter and buttermilk; this will ensure that your scones are flaky and tender.
STRAWBERRY BUTTERMILK SCONES
2 3/4 cups plus 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/2 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into a small dice
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup Greek style yogurt
Zest of one orange
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
Sanding sugar and ground cinnamon (optional)
- Pre-heat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together 2 3/4 cups of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and granulated sugar on low speed for 15 seconds.
- Evenly distribute the butter over the top of the flour mixture and beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- In a small bowl whisk the egg, yogurt, buttermilk, and orange zest until combined.
- With the mixture running on low, pour the buttermilk mixture over the dry ingredients and beat until the dough just comes together.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour over the sliced strawberries. Gently toss to coat.
- Using your hands, gently fold the berries into the dough until just combined. Make sure any loose bits of flour are incorporated into the dough.
- Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking sheet. Pat into an 8-inch circle that is approximately 1 inch thick ensuring that the strawberries are evenly distributed.
- Slice the dough into 8 even wedges. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar and ground cinnamon is desired.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the circle is golden brown Transfer scones to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes before serving.