{ON OUR PLATE} BANANA PANCAKES

 

banana pancakes

last week ale was away on a business trip and naturally my kiddo and i started 4 out of the 5 days with a stack of warm buttery pancakes.  i don’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones or the fact that i missed him like crazy but a stack of these on my plate made me feel so much better.

gracie loved them too! there were a couple of times where i caught her tilting her plate and drinking what was left of the maple syrup… ha!

this recipe makes a fairly small batch… you can double or triple the recipe depending on how many pancakes your heart desires.  this made enough for grace and i to have a few (about 3) each (not counting the first one that was burnt and tossed).

ingredients

 1.5 cups of flour

3 tablespoons of sugar

1.5 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups of milk

3 tablespoons of melted butter

1 mashed banana

 

super easy directions

1. in a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients

2. in a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients

3. mix well and let rest for about 2 minutes (add more milk if you want it a bit thinner)

4. set the griddle on medium heat and add a pat of butter

5. pour the batter with a big serving spoon and flip when you see the top of the pancake full of bubbles

6.  serve warm with maple syrup and a pat of butter

 

enjoy!!!

 

 

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{ON OUR PLATE} CLASSIC COCONUT CAKE

classic coconut cake

i saw this recipe last week in a magazine after an incredibly long day of school and an afternoon of errands. i was flipping through the pages, trying to keep my eyes open and then i saw this recipe for a classic coconut cake…ahhhh! it was simple looking (you’d miss it if you were looking for a picture) but i was smitten, and left with the desire to bark up a coconut cake tree. it was perfect timing too. you see… that day marked my last day of nursing school and i wanted nothing more than to sit on the couch free of the impeding doom of an upcoming test. all i could think of was curling up on the couch with a warm slice of this heavenly coconut cake and fuzzy socks on my feet. (i’m convinced that everything tastes better when you’re curled up on your couch rocking fuzzy socks)

it was 8pm and i got to baking.

i have to say that it was one of the best decisions i’ve ever made… other than getting married and having a child (joking).  come 10 pm… i was in my happy place with this little lady and i never looked back.

so… this recipe is for my cozy-socks-wearing, couch sitting, nursing school grad friends… and for everyone else who can appreciate sitting on the couch with a slice of cake!

classic coconut cake

nonstick oil spray

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/3 cups (loosely packed) sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

2 cups sugar

1 cup room temperature unsalted butter

5 large egg yolks (from room temperature eggs)

4 large egg whites (from room temperature eggs)

frosting

3 ½ cups powder sugar

1 8oz room temperature cream cheese

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

 

directions

  1. preheat oven to 350°F
  2. coat two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray and line bottom of pans with parchment paper rounds.
  3. mix flour and coconut in medium bowl
  4. whisk buttermilk and baking soda in small bowl
  5. using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes)
  6. add egg yolks to sugar and butter mixture and beat to blend
  7. alternate flour and buttermilk mixture (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of buttermilk) beating just to blend after each addition.
  8. using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites and ¼ teaspoon salt in another large bowl until peaks form
  9. add 1/3 of egg white mixture to batter and fold into batter just to blend (this is what makes is fluffy)
  10. fold in remaining egg white mixture in 2 additions
  11. divide batter between pans and bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean (about 35 minutes)
  12. cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes
  13. run small sharp knife around sides of cake pans, invert cakes onto racks and carefully peel off parchment
  14. cool cakes completely.

frosting

  1. using electric mixer, beat sugar, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in large bowl until blended
  2. place1 cake layer, flat side up, on plate and spread with 1 cup of frosting
  3. place second layer, flat side up on the frosted cake and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake
  4. sprinkle some of coconut over top of cake and pat more coconut on sides of cake.
  5. enjoy!!!

(recipe adapted from bon appetite magazine)

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WEEKEND COOKING: CHOCOLATE CROISSANTS

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i have cooked many things in my 27 years of life, most of which have never given me as much satisfaction and have taken as much work as these amazing buttery flaky chocolaty croissants.  you see… I’ve always been enamored with the idea of one day owning my own bakery…where i would bake all sorts of french pastries and serve breakfast and lunch to all the locals, who i would of course know by name.  we would have fresh flowers delivered every week, serve foamy lattes and grace would pick fresh lavender from the garden behind the bakery for our lavender infused lemonade and lavender muffins…. ahh…

although i dream of owning a bakery, i don’t really bake much (mainly because it takes more time and focus than a dash of this and a pinch of that) but after recently watching a movie with meryl streep and steve martin (I seriously watched it 4 times and rewound all the cooking scenes- see the bottom of the post) i flirted with the idea of making chocolate croissants from scratch… and my dear friends…. i did!

this was not an easy task. i didn’t have an electric mixer or the fancy shmancy laminating machine that streep has in the movie.  it took ALL day but it was well worth all of the effort and calories!

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croissants

for the croissant dough (by hand):

  • 2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 3 tbs. warm water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup cold whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

for the butter package:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 16 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbs. whole milk

in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and a pinch of the sugar in the warm water. let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

to mix the dough: in a large bowl, combine the remaining sugar, the salt, melted butter, milk, the yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until blended. gradually add the remaining 2 cups flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix just until the dough comes together in a sticky mass (first three pictures)

PicMonkey Collage croissant

on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick… i didn’t have a measuring stick so i grabbed my husband’s handy-dandy leveler (whatever works right?). transfer the dough to a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 40 minutes.

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30 minutes into the chilling process make the butter package.  using the heel of your hand, knead the butter on a floured work surface to flatten it and warm it to about 60 degrees F. sprinkle the top of the butter with the flour and gently beat the butter with the rolling pin to press the flour into the butter. shape the butter into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle. if the butter has become too warm, wrap and refrigerate just until firm but still pliable (60 degrees F)

to laminate the dough (this just means to fold and roll the dough over and over to create the wonderful flaky layers) roll out the dough into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle on to a floured work surface. with a short side facing you, place the butter on the lower half, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. fold over the upper half to cover the butter and press the edges together to seal. then, with a folded side to your left, roll out the dough into a 10-by-24–inch rectangle. with a short side facing you, fold the bottom third up, then fold the top third down, as if folding a letter. this completes the first turn. return to the pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

return the chilled dough to the lightly floured work surface with a folded side to your left and repeat the process to make 3 more turns, rolling, folding and chill the dough eat time, for a total of 4 turns. after the final turn, refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or for up to overnight. (i waited 4 hours…this was when i rededicated my love to this incredible project and pushed through… 9pm i pulled these puppies out of the fridge)

to form the croissants, roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 9-by-18-inch rectangle. cut in half lengthwise, and then cut each half crosswise into 4 squares, for a total of 8 squares. cut each square in half on the diagonal.

croissant 3

lightly butter 2 sheet pans. working with 1 triangle at a time, gently stretch each triangle to about twice its original length (this is when streep pretends to wear the dough as a bra… she can do no wrong in my book!) then, gently stretch the wide end of the triangle. lay the triangle on the work surface with the point away from you. add about 1 tbsp of chocolate chips along the wide part of the triangle. place your hands at the top of the wide end and gently roll the pastry with the chocolate away from you. Just before you get to the end, smear the tip against the work surface with your thumb. continue to roll until the tip is on the underside. place, tip side down, on a prepared pan. repeat with the remaining triangles, spacing them about 3 inches apart. place in a warm, draft-free spot, cover loosely with a kitchen towel, and let the pastries rise until they double in size, about 1 1/2 hours (and then you wait some more…)

position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F

lightly brush the tops of the pastries with the egg mixture. bake the pastries, 1 sheet at a time, until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. transfer to a wire rack and let cool on the pan. serve warm or at room temperature. store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day. makes 16 croissants.

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voilà!

do you guys have a recipe that you’ve been wanting to try that’s incredibly time consuming but so worth the wait???

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CHOCOLATE PECAN BISCOTTI

20131221-202854.jpgone of my favorite things to do during the holidays (or any day) is to bake scrumptious treats that don’t require a lot of time and effort to make.  i found this recipe for biscotti’s in an old cook book i have and tweaked it to add pecans and chocolate!!! 

to be completely honest… i am soooo behind on my Christmas shopping.  we have ONE gift under our tree and that’s for ale’s secret santa.  we still have grandparents to shop for and cards to give out… and we’re at T-3 days!!!  (insert crazy Christmas lady screaming here)

my point… i was thinking about baking another batch of these lovely little treats and giving them as gifts. super old school but i don’t think you can go wrong with baked good for Christmas. right?

so to my procrastinating friends and to those who enjoy a good biscotti with their coffee or tea…. here’s your “get out of christmas jail” free card.  enjoy!!!

chocolate pecan biscotti

ingredients

1 3/4 cups whole pecans

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour; plus extra for dusting

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

6 0z semi sweet chocolate chips

directions

preheat the oven to 350 degrees. line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

very roughly chop the pecans leaving some whole

mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl.  stir in the pecans.

beat the eggs with vanilla extract in a small bowl, then add to the flour mixture and mix together to form a firm dough

turn the dough into a lightly floured surface and knead lightly

shape the dough into a log and transfer to the prepared baking sheet and into the oven for 25-30 minutes until firm

remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch slices. meanwhile reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees

arrange the slices cut side down, on the baking sheet

bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until dry and crusty. transfer to a wire rack

once cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave (carefully) and spoon over one side of the biscotti.

let cool and enjoy!

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^^seriously… how cute is my little helper?!^

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