Pancakes

Pancake stack

Pancake stack

Since I discovered this recipe in my ATK cookbook, I have not bought another box of pancake mix again.  These pancakes are easy to make and taste better than any boxed mix.  There is one change that I insist upon in this recipe.  The original recipe says to use vegetable oil in the skillet when cooking the pancakes but I use butter because it tastes much better and it makes this crisp edges that are so addictive.

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New York-Style Crumb Cake Muffins

DSCN0760_750x563.shklHere’s a recipe that is German in origin but perfected in New York City, one of my favorite cities.   Although these are called Muffins, these are more like miniature crumb cakes.   They are made with cake flour so they are quite tender like a cupcake.

New York-Style Crumb Cake Muffins

Adapted from AmericasTestKitchen.com

If you can’t find buttermilk, you can substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt. When topping the muffins, take care to not push the crumbs into the batter. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

12 muffins

Crumb Topping

– 1/3     cup granulated sugar (2 1/3 ounces)

– 1/3     cup dark brown sugar (2 1/3 ounces)

– 3/4    teaspoon ground cinnamon

– 1/8     teaspoon table salt

– 8        tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm

– 1 3/4    cups cake flour (7 ounces)

Muffins

– 1 1/4   cups cake flour (5 ounces)

– 1/2      cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)

– 1/4      teaspoon baking soda

– 1/4      teaspoon table salt

– 6          tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool

– 1           large egg

– 1           large egg yolk

– 1           teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1/3       cup buttermilk

Powdered sugar for dusting

1.  FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2.  FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard-sized muffin pan (cups have 1/2 cup capacity) with baking-cup liners.

3.   In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

4.   Using 1/4-cup measure or ice cream scoop, divide batter evenly among muffin cups; using small rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter (about 1/4 cup of crumbs per muffin), beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, about 18 to 21 minutes. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack at least 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

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German Apple Pancake

DSCN0751There are occasions that I make certain recipes just for my son and husband.  This was one of them.  I’m not a fan of cooked fruit…never have been.    Fresh fruit I like.  The crispness, juiciness and sweetness of an apple that’s cool from the fridge is what I prefer.  Once it’s cooked, it completely loses its appeal with me.  It can smell great but there’s something about the texture and the warmth of cooked fruit that doesn’t compute with me.  My boys like it though so I found this recipe for a German Apple Pancake in my favorite baking book and used up some apples that weren’t getting any younger in the fridge.  They both loved this pancake.  It’s a fairly quick and easy dessert or great as part of a brunch.  It was fun for me to make because I liked watching it puff up in the oven.

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Chocolate Roll Cake

Delicious chocolate roll cake

Delicious chocolate roll cake

Oh those chocolate cake cravings!  They will not relent until they are satisfied with the real thing.  I’ve tried eating a piece of candy or cocoa-covered almonds but to no avail….a chocolate cake craving must be met with the real thing and quickly too.  No store-bought cake will do and there are no decent bakeries or pastry shops in this city so I needed a recipe that was fairly quick to make but rich in taste.  My favorite baking book came through once again but with a few adjustments.  The roll cake recipe in the book calls for marshmallow creme in the filling but since I didn’t have enough left in the cupboard and I certainly didn’t want to waste time running to the store, I decided on something even better…a whipped ganache filling.   I’ve made ganache in the past but only the type used to pour over a cake or pastry so whipped ganache was new to me.  This baking book did not have a whipped ganache recipe so in my hurry to get this cake made and silence those chocolate demons, I failed to thoroughly research whipped ganache and used a faulty recipe from AllRecipes.com.  Ganache must NOT be overwhipped.  The recipe I used failed to mention this so mine turned out a bit grainy……I tried fixing it by cooling it and re-whipping….Fail.  I tried to warm the ganache and re-whip it…..Fail.  Lessons learned: there is no way to rescue over-whipped ganache and always take the time to do the proper research when it comes to making something new.  So the filling was darker than what it should have been and not so smooth but it tasted so good.

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