Fluffy Pancakes

Happy New Year, and hello again friends! As you can see, I’m back from my unplanned hiatus. I was sick pretty much the entire month of December. Like, sick enough to take 3 sick days in 1 week sick. (Which for me is an anomaly… I never take sick days.) I don’t really know what was wrong with me, but I kept to myself and just tried to get better over the past month. I figured all of my regular readers would understand that being sick = no blog posts.

Either way, to start off a new year, you have to start with the first meal of the day. The first meal means breakfast, and pancakes are the perfect breakfast vehicle, so I decided to come back with a nice, simple recipe that everyone should have up their sleeve.

I found this recipe last May, when I was planning a staff lunch with some coworkers. We decided to host a breakfast-for-lunch (instead of dinner) staff lunch, and these pancakes were a HIT. I especially liked them because they were easy to make, and didn’t need any special ingredients – not even buttermilk, and they were SUPER fluffy and satisfying. I made a 12x recipe of these pancakes (because you never know how many pancakes you will need!), and they all turned out beautifully, and filled an entire roaster and then some. I’ve also made these a time or two in smaller quanities, and every time I make them, I am so happy with how easy they are and how flawlessly they turn out.

If you are a pancake fan, go make these! Breakfast, anyone?

Ingredients

Yield: 6-8 pancakes, depending on size

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
Oil or non-stick spray, for cooking

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Make sure the butter isn’t too hot when you add it or you could cook the eggs.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mostly combined. The batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but with no visible streaks of flour. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat and spray with oil or cooking spray. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop and drop the batter into the pan. Cook until small bubbles form on the top surface of the pancake and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat. Serve while still hot with your favourite toppings!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It’s pumpkin spice season! Fall is my personal favourite season. It helps that my birthday is in Fall. It’s winding into Winter, but we have had a mild November and I am pretty thankful for it. These muffins help me to remember that there are good things in abundance even when the weather is freezing cold.

These muffins are really easy and taste great. If you want something a little less sweet, you can skip the cinnamon sugar garnish at the end, but I like it as it adds a little more texture. I got the recipe here, and it was great: simple, straightforward, and high reward.

I used two bowls and ten minutes to get these muffins going, and they are incredible. I’m going to stop writing, because you need to go make these!

Ingredients

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffins:

1½ c. flour
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. vegetable oil
½ c. white sugar
½ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. pumpkin puree

For the garnish:

¼ c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tray with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, white and brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and combine until no lumps remain. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest muffins comes out clean.

While the muffins bake, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon and prepare the butter.

Remove muffins from the oven, let cool for five minutes. Dip the muffin tops in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

French Toast Cookies

If you have ever wanted cookies for breakfast, well these are the perfect excuse. These are a cross between french toast and warm, chewy cookies.

I don’t have much to say about these, except that they are really easy to make, and only took me about 10 minutes or so. All in all, I had cookies all ready in less than an hour.

There were a few changes I made to the original recipe because of things that I had on hand. For instance, I used maple syrup instead of maple extract, and I used a full egg instead of just an egg yolk. If/when I make these again, I would definitely use maple extract instead. I wanted a bit more of a punch of maple flavour. I also decided to change up the sugar rolling. Instead of just using plain sugar, I divided the dough into thirds, and rolled a third of them in regular granulated sugar, a third in brown sugar, and the last third in cinnamon sugar.

I was partial to the cinnamon sugar, and Paul liked the brown sugar, but really, they were all good. The last change I made was to the corn syrup. Instead of using just light corn syrup as the recipe called for, I actually used half light corn syrup, and half golden corn syrup. When I was little, I used to have corn syrup on my breakfasts, not maple syrup, because my parents didn’t buy maple syrup. Adding a little bit of golden syrup brought me back to those childhood breakfasts.

Try your cookies all three ways, and let me know which one you prefer!

Ingredients

Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

½ c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
½ c. brown sugar
1 egg
½ c. light corn syrup (or ¼ c. light corn syrup and ¼ c. golden corn syrup)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. maple extract
2 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. white sugar, cinnamon sugar, and brown sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, corn syrup, vanilla and maple extract. Mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Add in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Roll into balls, and roll into the various sugars. Place on prepared cookie sheets, and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

Remove from oven, and let sit on pan for 2 minutes (DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!). Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Cherry Crumb Bars

As summer turns into fall, more and more fruit are in season, and being eaten. Fruit season is short and sweet – pun intended!

I bought a bag of cherries to enjoy while Paul was camping, and I couldn’t finish them all alone, so I had to find a recipe to help them keep for a little longer. This recipe was the perfect solution.

It uses about 2 cups of fresh cherries, which was pretty much exactly what I had left. The whole thing took no longer than an hour to put together and bake. I’m pretty sure I spent more time pitting the cherries than actually mixing the crumb topping and filling.

The original recipe I used is here, and it was so easy. If you are a cherry lover, this is a great recipe that is low-risk, high-reward. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel (I seem to prefer fresh, raw cherries as opposed to cooked cherries), but they maintain a lot of their fresh texture and taste. These really hit the spot! I just cut them into 16 pieces instead of 9.

Apparently these bars really go well with any kind of fruit, so if you don’t like cherries, sub in your favourite fruit and go crazy!

Ingredients

Yield: 16 bars

For the crumb topping:

½ c. butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
½ c. sugar
1½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

For the cherry filling:

2 c. cherries, pitted and halved
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8 square pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir until cherries are thoroughly coated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled melted butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a fork to combine, and keep in some chunks.

Reserve about ¾ of a cup of the crumb, and press the rest into an even layer into the prepared pan. Spoon the cherry filling over the base crumb layer. Sprinkle the reserved crumb layer over the cherry filling, and bake in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, until the top crumb layer is beginning to turn golden brown.

Remove from oven, and cool completely before slicing and serving.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

So, I made this cake a few weeks ago when Paul brought home an entire bucket of apples that were given to him by a co-worker. I pinned a bunch of apple recipes, and then decided on this cake because it was so easy.

Seriously, this cake took about 15 minutes to put together and get in the oven. It was another really easy recipe, that had big flavour and a soft, tender cake crumb.

I don’t want to talk too much about this recipe, so this post will be short and sweet – just like this cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the caramel base:

¼ c. butter, softened
1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced thinly)

For the cake:

¼ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar until well-mixed. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the cake pan. Cover the butter mixture with the sliced apples.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla, and whip until fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix again.

Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beat until combined, and pour batter over apple slices. Spread out the batter evenly, and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake platter and let cool. Slice and serve cake warm.