Fluffy Mascarpone Pancakes

After those wonderful Guinness cupcakes were topped with the mascarpone whipped cream, I had quite a bit of cheese left (I got a little mascarpone enthusiastic). I am not a big fan of pancakes but these turned out fluffy and tender, not too sweet. I topped them with the leftover mascarpone whipped cream and blueberries. Oh yes, and I also stirred in a handful of the tart blueberries for an additional burst of flavour.

Mascarpone Pancakes

Serves 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup firm, tart blueberries (or whatever berry you love!)
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup of cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together mascarpone, milk, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Add blueberries and stir to just coat.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Slowly whisk dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until smooth and combined.
  4. Heat a large pan over medium heat with a pat of butter. Spread out the batter in large dollops and cook until golden, flip and repeat.
  5. Top with mascarpone whipped cream or syrup.

Pre-whisking.

I made them very thick.

Golden pancakes, cooking through.

Challah (Easter Bread)- Updated with proper photos and recommendations!

Well I am loving bread making, but I’ve only made savoury breads (no complaints about this) and wanted to try my hand at something sweeter. I thought that an Easter Bread would be perfect after seeing them everywhere. I will admit that I am a novice at yeast breads and this one did not come together as attractively as I would’ve liked it to but it was delicious and I made some outrageously delicious french toast from it, so no problems here.

UPDATE: Check out the new process photos. I finally made a pillowy-perfect loaf. I am thrilled. And check out the Kale and Feta Braid I made from this lovely dough!

I am going to try another similar bread soon and see if I can get my kneading technique down. As you can see here and in the finished loaf, the crumb was small and it was not nearly stretchy enough for my tastes. I will figure it out, it is sure fun trying things!

Easter Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 – 4.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, just warmed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar
  • 1/4  tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom (my favourite sweet spice right now)
  • 1 beaten egg, sprinkle of sugar

Directions

1. Lightly stir the yeast with the milk and a large pinch of sugar, leave until it starts to foam. Whisk the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl then stir in the cardamom.
2. Melt the butter and sugar together until the sugar has disolved (or mostly). Let cool.

Getting ready for the full combination.

3. Whisk the eggs in with the yeast mixture.
4. Add the melted butter mixture and the yeast mixture to the flour. Mix to combine, until a dough has formed that pulls away from the bowl.
5. Knead the dough vigorously for 8-10 minutes on a lightly floured surface. The dough is ready when it feels soft, springy, and smooth and leaves a thumbprint when pressed.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
5. Knock back the dough on a clean surface by punching the air out and kneading for 1 minute. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces then roll each piece into sausages. Braid the dough and tuck the ends underneath.
6. Lift the braided loaf onto a parchment covered baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth then leave to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
7. Heat oven to 350 F. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle lightly with white sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Cool on a rack before slicing.

The dough is cleaning the bowl. Huzzah! Success!!!

Smooth and elastic, finally some wonderful success!

Golden loaf.

Mmm delicious and ready for french toast.

Muffin Pudding (hmm, sounds weird) Muffin Bread Pudding (better?)

Well I am not sure how to properly title this. I had a heck of a time googling around to see if it had been done, done successfully, or was being warned against. I found all of the above but little other information. Bread pudding is one of my all time favourite desserts, which is weird, I know. Something about the creamy custard and the rich flavours. It just floats my boat. Anyway, yesterday was Gen’s birthday, so I felt the need to make every meal a fancy feast. My whole plan was to bake some brioche on Friday, slice it up and make french toast casserole on Saturday. Well that’s not how things panned out. I made a mess of the bread, we wont even speak of it. It tastes fine but it is under cooked and very dark… I need to go into a bread baking workshop, I am not doing it right. Anyway, so this morning I was out of luck for that dish, though I did make some delicious omelets with the left-over Jalapeño Popper Dip from the night before. But as I was making pizza (recipe tomorrow), I looked over at the leftover Coffee Cake Muffins and had a brain wave. I kind of winged it, but it turned out delightful. Not too sweet, the sugar in and on the muffins did the trick.

The pictures are not great because I wasn’t entirely sure that this was going to turn out. Also, I switched from the 9 x 13 pan to a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish that was deeper so the custard could reach more of the muffins. It was nice using already so tasty muffins because it meant I had to do little in the line of flavouring to make this tasty. You could certainly use other stale muffins, but the flavours will change substantially depending on the muffins you use. These had a nice hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, and they were studded with the walnuts I had used in the crumb topping. Awesome.

Muffin Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 7 slightly stale muffins, in this case my Coffee Cake Muffins
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp sugar (more if your muffins are less sweet)
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Directions

  1. This pudding needs 15 minutes soaking time, follow the directions, let soak for 15 minutes and then bake.
  2. Break muffins into medium chunks and spread on a baking sheet, place in 350°F oven to toast for 8 minutes.
  3. Put the milk into a small pan with the vanilla. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, add the lemon zest and allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, butter a medium casserole dish and put the muffin chunks into it, dot with the butter.
  5. Beat the eggs together with the sugar until combined. Beat the milk, nutmeg, and the cream into the egg mixture. Pour over the muffins, add any nuts or fruit you might want, and leave for 15 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top.
  7. Place on middle rack and cook for 20-30 minutes. The pudding is done when it is browned on top and set. Serve with half-whipped cream (whip until it just starts to thicken)

Muffins crumbled with butter, then I realized this dish was not going to work.

Perfect!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

This is Kel’s first recipe. I was going to wait until she had a chance to post her commentary on these muffins, but she is a busy lady, and these are the perfect post for a Sunday morning, so here we go! I have had versions of these muffins, and I can assure you that they are delicious, the peanut butter and banana are doing their own delicious thing and then in jumps the chocolate, and well, as you can imagine, it is like a tasty tango. Kel might jump in here at a later point to add her commentary, but I will say that these are yummy.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed, golden brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2-3 large, ripe bananas, mashed-enough for 1-1/4 cups banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. In separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour over dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
  4. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tin, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until tops are firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes; transfer to rack and let cool.

Coconut Hot Grains with Toasted Walnuts

Coconut for breakfast again! This time, its a hardy breakfast of hot grains (Red River Cereal) and quinoa. I topped this breakfast off with toasted walnuts, some skim milk and a drizzle of honey… ok I topped mine with a sprinkle of sugar but only because I have a terrible cough right now and was up at 4am nursing it with some milk and honey and I didn’t want to have another dose, I was honeyed-out. Anyway, this is a rich and extremely filling breakfast. This recipe makes quite a bit, but it refrigerates well, so have some tomorrow too!

Coconut Hot Grains with Toasted Walnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Red River Cereal (or your favourite hot grain cereal)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2 cans coconut milk (recommend one full-fat can and one light)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup shelled walnuts
  • skim milk to drizzle
  • honey, brown sugar, white sugar, etc. to top

Directions

  1. Combine cereal, quinoa, salt, and coconut milk in a medium-sized pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  2. Turn heat to medium-low, let the cereal cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cover and remove from heat, allow to sit while you toast the walnuts.
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add walnuts to the hot, dry pan and toast, watching constantly and stirring frequently, until walnuts start to brown and they smell toasted, about 5 minutes. You can also lay the walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast in an oven at 375°F for 5-10 minutes until they smell toasted.
  4. Scoop some cereal in a bowl, top with walnuts, milk, and honey. Gobble!

Coconut French Toast

My dad has always loved honey buns from Chinatown in Victoria and often, when we came down south we got some. Needless to say, the love for these subtle coconuty buns rubbed off on me. I’ve been thinking a lot about them lately and decided to make my semi-failed (ugly) Easter Bread into a true treat. So Coconut French Toast was born out of sheer hunger and momentary genius. This stuff is tasty, it’s hard to go wrong here.

Coconut French Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 4 slices of Easter Bread
  • 3 tbsp butter

Directions

1. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, milk, coconut, and sugar. Pour mixture into a long (if using a long bread…) and shallow dish. Soak slices of Easter Bread in the mixture for 2 minutes a side, until thoroughly spongy. The bread should have a nice coating of coconut (if not, spread some on once you put it in the pan).

2. Brown the butter in a pan and place slices of soaked bread in the midst of the buttery goodness.

3. Cook french toast for 2-4 minutes per side, until browned. Sprinkle with a little extra powdered sugar if needed, and enjoy.

Quote from Genesis, “Whoa this is amazing, it’s too delicious.” From the man who doesn’t love sweets. Success.

French toasted.

Strawberries and Cream Crepes

This is a super easy recipe with everything you might have on hand. I started making crepes in the first year of my undergrad. I would make the crepes and my friend/roommate Carly would make bacon. We’d sit down with our other roommate and pass the plates of crepes and bacons between us, each taking turns rolling up a crepe and eating it before we passed it on to the next person. Ooooh being 18.

To this day, I am a crepe roller. Anyway, I made up this recipe after trying a quite a few. I figured out the proportions that worked best for texture and flavour. These can also be made savory (Gen is not a sweet fan) but today I needed to use up my extra strawberry puree from my Chocolate-Dipped Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes. So, here we go, simple crepes with a simple sauce!

Delicious crepes to start the day!

Strawberry and Cream Simple Crepes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk (more if needed)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • strawberry puree
  • half-whipped whipping cream
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients for the crepes (flour, milk, sugar, baking powder, egg, salt, vanilla). Add more milk if needed, until you’ve reached a thin but still solid consistency… can coat a spoon but not too thick. * this is a trial and error thing.

Ready for the pan

2. Drop a tbsp or so of coconut oil (or any other mild flavour oil) into a large pan and heat to medium-hot. Ladle a scoop of batter into the pan and swirl to fill. The first crepe is an oil-absorber, it soaks up the extra oil and leaves the pan ready for the rest.

Yum.

3. Continue to pour scoops of batter into the pan. Flip when the crepe just stops looking wet. As the pan get’s hotter this happens quick, I recommend turning down your heat a notch or two once things are going. Slide finished crepes onto a plate in a stack.

4. Mix your leftover strawberry puree (or make strawberry puree: strawberries sliced with a sprinkle of sugar, let them sit and juice for an hour, puree with a handblender) with some shaken whipping cream. I literally just took some leftover whipping cream from the fridge and shook it until it thickened slightly. Stir together but not completely, it is nice to have some nice swirls.

5. Smear your crepes with the strawberries and cream sauce, sprinkle with some powdered sugar, rollup, sprinkle again with some powdered sugar.

6. Eat.

Ready for mouth.