Sunday, April 12, 2009

Evan's Waffles

It appears that April is Breakfast Recipe Month here at EATS! Evan has adapted a Fanny Farmer recipe for waffles and we may even like them better than his dad's special Christmas sourdough waffle--at least for everyday baking. Evan's secret is to use three types of flour: all purpose, whole wheat pastry, and cornmeal. This blend works to produce exceptionally light and crispy waffles. In fact, it was her love of them that inspired Elspeth's first four-word sentence (at only a year and half!): I want more waffle. We ended up eating these plain but they'd also be good with the usual accompaniments.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour (3.75 oz)
1/2 c. corn flour (not corn starch)
1/4 c. cornmeal
1 TBSP baking powder
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
3 TBSP oil (vegetable oil or even melted coconut oil)

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat your waffle iron. We've got a Cuisinart (a specially engraved wedding gift, no less) that works perfectly on the number 4 setting
  2. Combine the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and set aside
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, add the milk and oil and mix thoroughly
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat well. Evan thinks the waffles were so light this time because he did incorporate a fair amount of air into the batter at this stage
  5. Bake on your waffle iron as directed; find yourself saying, 'I want more waffle'

Sugar Duster

This is more of a quick tip than a product review, but I was quite proud of my ingenuity. I don't use powdered sugar enough to warrant dedicating a shaker to it, but it is so messy to use a sieve to sprinkle it onto cakes and cookies. I decided to try using my mesh tea spoon strainer. (It's the kind of tea ball that has a handle on it like a spoon. You can see a picture here if you can't imagine what I mean). Just open the strainer and fill it with powdered sugar. Shake it over your target for perfectly applied whiteness. Then just open up the spoon and put back the excess. I was going to try to get a free set of issues from Cook's Illustrated with this tip, but it appears someone beat me to it (though the illustration shows a tea ball rather than the far superior--in my opinion--tea spoon strainer).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Buttermilk Pancakes

This recipe is taken straight from the Darigold buttermilk carton--at least as it appeared many years ago when I stayed at my grandma's house in Seattle. I always loved her pancakes, perhaps in large part because she didn't do anything 'funny' to them.

My dad was the breakfast-maker in our household and he always liked to load any breakfast batter with 'secret ingredients'. Given that I was an extremely picky eater, this was not a match made in heaven. However, breakfast remains my favorite meal. Perhaps it's not surprising that I became a cook quite early. I begged to make the breakfast batter and would often plead (sometimes successfully) for a 'plain' mixture. At Grandma's house, the pancakes were always made from scratch and I learned that it's just as easy and much tastier than using a mix.

These are what I jokingly refer to as 'junk food' pancakes, because they have no extra stuff thrown in like the banana blueberry pancakes. I do use whole wheat pastry flour, however, and do not find any uncomfortable flashbacks to the Krusteaz honey whole wheat horror of childhood.

The most recent batch of these I made yesterday were superb. They don't always turn out so perfectly, so I don't know what was different this time. Perhaps it was that I weighed the flour. I also used a cast iron griddle that straddles two gas burners, which cooks quite evenly. At any rate, the whole family was most pleased. Leftover pancakes should be kept at room temperature or frozen. I froze the remaining pancakes on a tray and then moved them to a ziplock bag so they'll come apart easily.

INGREDIENTS
2 c. (10 oz--I've realized that for most of my standard recipes 125g per cup is not enough. 5 oz or 145g is much better) whole wheat pastry flour or soft wheat berries to grind
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 TBSP sugar
2 eggs
2 c. buttermilk
2 TBSP butter, melted and slightly cooled

DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat a cast iron griddle over medium heat, if using. I found the trick is to preheat on medium and then turn the heat way down
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl and then mix in the buttermilk
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed (there may be some small lumps)
  5. Now stir in the melted butter and mix gently
  6. Turn the griddle down to low heat and coat very lightly with oil
  7. Ladle small spoonfuls of pancake batter onto the griddle making sure to spread out the batter a bit; I get four pancakes per round on my griddle
  8. You may wish to turn up the heat slightly while the pancakes are cooking
  9. Cook on the first side until the edges dry a bit and you see bubbles forming in the center of the pancake
  10. Flip to the other side and cook until the middle of the pancake is springy to the touch of a spatula
  11. Remove to a plate and start another round. Serve while hot plain or with maple syrup, granulated sugar or jam