Some weekends, the universe conspires for there to be blueberry banana pancakes.
On Saturday, we woke up to a grey sky, the pitter patter of rain on the skylight, and the earnest meows of a hungry cat. Bleary-eyed, I shuffled to the laundry room and filled her dish with food. Standing at the kitchen sink with her water bowl, I noticed a lone black banana lying forlornly on the counter.
I'd say it was a light bulb moment, but I wasn't nearly awake enough for anything quite so dramatic. It was more of a candle moment, a flicker of an idea.
By this time I'd located my slippers but not my sweater, so I shuffled over to the fireplace next. Hearing the pop of the gas, the cat came running just in time to see the fake wood burst into flame.
Kind of like that idea in my head.
You hardly even notice
When I try to show you
This song is meant to keep ya
From doing what you're supposed to
Waking up too early
Maybe we can sleep
Make you banana pancakes
Pretend like it's the weekend now
We can pretend it all the time
Can't you see that it's just raining
Ain't no need to go outside...
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed
blueberries, fresh or frozen
Drizzle a bit of oil into a frying pan over low-medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, honey, vanilla and buttermilk.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until combined. Those little lumps you see are A-OK. Good even.
In a small bowl mash the banana(s) with a fork. Measure out 1/2 cup and fold it into the batter. (If you add more banana, expect a denser pancake.)
Once you've poured the first round of pancakes into the frying pan, lightly press a few blueberries into each one. Cook the pancakes until golden, flipping once when bubbles begin to appear on the surface. I like to take my time cooking pancakes over a low-ish heat. That way, you're sure to have cooked centres.
Notes: Anyone who has spent any time with me knows that I am completely unwilling to sacrifice taste to save on fat or calories in food. Despite being from a low-fat cookbook, this recipe won't disappoint.
Source: Crazy Plates by Janet & Greta Podleski.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Last night, my uncle G. and his partner A. hosted their 2nd annual Robbie Burns Day dinner complete with haggis, neeps and tatties, and a dram to celebrate the Scottish bard.
R. was in charge of the customary Toast to the Lassies, and I dessert.
Having exhausted my Scottish repertoire with last year's rosemary shortbread, I did what any self-respecting Gen Y baker would do: tweeted for help.
First to respond? Direct from the bonnie land, Jenny C. of Red Mangetout.
"Cranachan. Raspberries, cream and oats all mushed up together."
Good for a crowd? Check.
Well suited to travel by public transit? Well, can't win them all I guess.
After sifting through a dozen or so recipes online, it became clear I was going to have to wing it. Some versions called for enough whisky to souse a sailor, others just a drop of drambuie or raspberry liqueur. The plain toasted oats that some deemed endearing, others found bland. Nearly every recipe* called for fresh raspberries and crowdie cheese (a soft cheese with a mildly sour flavour), neither of which were going to be easy to locate in Vancouver in the dead of winter.
What I ended up with was an exceedingly rich—but not overly sweet—trifle that went down like a dream. Good enough to keep the diners happy and the Scottish grandparents from rolling over in their graves. I hope.
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 cups oats, large flake
2 cups whipping cream
550 grams mascarpone cheese (2 tubs)
1/4 cup honey
1/4-1/3 cup drambuie, to taste
3 cups frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained of most of their juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter and honey. Remove from heat and stir in the oats until evenly coated. Spread the mixture evenly across a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden, stirring once after 10 minutes. Pour the granola into a bowl and set aside.
Using electric beaters, whip the cream on high just until it begins to thicken into soft peaks. Add the mascarpone cheese, honey and drambuie and beat on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
In a medium bowl, preferably glass, spread half of the whipped mixture. Cover with half of the raspberries, followed by half of the granola. Repeat the layers in the same order. Cover and refrigerate until served.
Note: The granola softens a bit over time, which I kind of enjoyed. If you prefer some crunch, prepare all of the components (granola, whipped mixture, raspberries) in advance and layer them just before serving. Individual parfaits would be a good option too, but make sure the glasses are small!
* The exception being a Bon Appétit version posted on Epicurious that skipped the berries altogether for a chocolate concoction that bore little resemblance to anything else I came across.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Why hello there. Happy 2010.
A bit late to be ringing in the new year, I agree, but I wasn't really expecting anyone to still be hanging around here. How about a round of Auld Lang Syne?
No? Not your thing? Oh right, you're not Scottish are you. No need then, really.
I'm sort of like the friend you keep calling who never phones you back. Eventually you stop bothering, she barely notices, and the whole thing fizzles. Glad you persevered though and made it through that rough patch.
Let's turn a new leaf, make a fresh start.
We could call it a new year's resolution, I guess, but I'd rather not. Resolutions, like rules, are made to be broken and I'd hate to start off on the wrong foot.
Right then, peanut butter blondies.
Peanut Butter Blondies with Butterscotch Ganache
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butterscotch chips
3 tablespoons cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9-inch x 13-inch pan with parchment, creasing the corners so that they lie flat. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and whip until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. The batter will be fairly thick.
Pour/spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the centre is set but not firm. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
When the blondie is cool, prepare the butterscotch ganache. In the top of a double boiler over low-medium heat, stir the butterscotch chips just until melted. Remove from heat, stir until smooth and immediately pour over the cooled blondie.
Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares. Or diamonds. Hell, I don't care.
Source: My slight variation on a recipe for Peanut Butter Heath Bar Blondies from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, which was posted on some random website that I can no longer locate.
Notes: This is half of the original recipe, because a jelly roll pan of peanut butter blondies is too many blondies unless you've got takers already lined up. Between the liberties I've taken with the term ganache and my profligate use of butterscotch chips, it's likely someone has fainted by now. Hopefully there were no bumped heads on the way down. Sometimes I wonder if anyone actually reads all the way down here. Let me know, will you?
Labels: Bars and squares