Banana Sourdough Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

I can’t hide my love of breakfast food. I cant remember a time in my life where it hasn’t been true. When I think of a Saturday morning it is always entangled with thoughts of pancakes, sausage, eggs, French toast, hash browns….I could go on and on. I would like a show of hands for everyone who shares my love.

When I woke up this morning, it was no different. I knew I had a few black bananas to use up and sourdough starter that needs to be discarded so that’s where the idea for this formed. I love using sourdough starter for pancakes! It adds such a great flavor and makes them so tender. I am glad every time I get to use it in a new recipe.

I have always had a dream of having a home where people come over for a big breakfast on Saturday mornings. I remember every once in a while as a kid when the whole family would meet for breakfast. There would be piles of pancakes, sausage, biscuits and gravy and maybe even some bohemian Jaternice and fried potato dumplings thrown in there. I hope that someday I have a circle of friends close that I can share this with. For now its just my husband and I enjoying wonderful breakfast foods like this.

Banana Sourdough Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup

  • Servings: 12-15 medium sized pancakes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Pancakes:

  • 1/2 cup Sour Dough Starter
  • 2 cups Almond Milk
  • 4 TB Vegetable Oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe Bananas, Mashed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 TB Sugar
  • 1 TB Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt

Peanut Butter Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Butter

Directions

  1. Mix together the starter, almond milk, oil, eggs and bananas. In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Mix the wet into the dry and mix just until moistened but not smooth.
  3. Turn griddle to a medium high heat (325-350) and spray with a non stick spray or lightly grease with butter.
  4. While griddle is warming add syrup and peanut butter to a saucepan and turn to a low heat. Just let them warm up stirring every few minutes.
  5. Pour about 1/3 cup batter onto the hot griddle. Watch for bubbles to form on the pancake and begin to burst. When this happens the pancake is ready to flip.
  6. Serve with the warm Peanut butter Syrup or any desired topping.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie with baking science

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter in Wisconsin. Yesterday was no exception and what’s better to do on a snowy day then bake cookies!? And the only thing better then baking cookies is handing them out to people who need an afternoon pick-me-up which is exactly what I did after making these. I was a little sad last night because I realized I only had one but maybe that’s a good thing. 🙂

I also had something I’ve been wanting to try with cookies. As many of you know, I read a lot of cookbooks. Too many some would say. I kept running across recipes that called for dissolving baking soda in hot water before adding it to the cookie dough. I did a little looking and here is what I found. I may have done more then a little reading on this and I will keep it simple.

The number one reason I found that this process is used is because baking soda can be really clumpy. When you dissolve the baking soda in hot water it will distribute evenly through the dough. For this reason alone I think it is something I will do again in the future. You need to be careful how much water you add because that is just extra moisture in your recipe.

The number two reason is since baking soda is heat sensitive, the hot water gives the baking soda a head start of sorts. This creates a better texture in the cookie. What I found with this recipe….but I don’t have the science for it, is that it made the outside edge crispy but because of the warmed baking soda it gave a really nice rise to the middle which kept it very chewy and delicious in the middle.

Number three is that it will stop the cookie from spreading. I can say that this was true for the recipe I made.

I think this recipe, with a little tweaking for next time, will become a staple for me and I will for sure try the baking soda in hot water again and report back. Just another tool in our bakers tool belt.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen depending on size
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 cup packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda dissolved in 2 tsp Hot Water
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 8 oz Chopped Chocolate
  • Flake Salt or Corse Sea Salt for tops of cookies

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prep pans with parchment paper. Set aside
  2. Cream the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes
  3. Add hot water to baking soda and allow to dissolve
  4. Add the eggs, Vanilla, baking soda and baking powder and allow to mix until completely incorporated.
  5. Add the flour and salt and mix until dough just comes together. Add the chocolate and mix just until incorporated.
  6. Portion dough onto pans and sprinkle with desired salt. Bake for 12-14 minutes depending on oven.
  7. When cookies are done remove from oven and allow to set for 1 minute before taking them off the pan. Don’t allow them to cool on the pan. This will overcook them.


Happy Valentines Day Chocolate Lovers!

Who loves chocolate? I know I do! Chocolate and I have had a love affair as long as I can remember. My mom always has a bowl or container of M&Ms that she calls her “vitamins” and that pretty much sums up how important chocolate is to me.

I started making a Dark Chocolate Tart for work and I just love it. It has every flavor and texture that you want if you are a chocolate lover. The original recipe I used has a chocolate crust but I thought I would switch things up this Valentines Day and I made it with a shortbread crust. The filling is like a brownie and truffle mixed, the topping is a ganache and add that crispy shortbread and its close to heaven. I really hope you try this out.

Glazed Dark Chocolate Tarts

  • Servings: 10-12 depending on size
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • vanilla to taste

Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups Heavy Cream
  • 9 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (no more then 65% Cacao)
  • 2 large eggs
  • Coffee Liquor
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Glaze:

  • 2 Tb Heavy Cream
  • 2 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Corn Syrup
  • 1 TB Warm Water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a stand mixer, add the crust ingredients and allow to ix until it forms a smooth ball. Do not over mix. Give the shortbread time to come together. They butter needs to reach the right temp to incorporate well.
  3. Roll shortbread out and cut to the size of your tart pan. You can use 10-12 small or 1 large pan for this. Press lightly into pan and prick the bottom with a fork. Put pan in freezer and allow to harden for a few minutes.
  4. When the dough is hard, bake in the oven until lightly browned. This will be going back in with the filling so it doesn’t need to be all the way browned, just baked through and lightly browned. Set crust aside to cool while you are making the filing.
  5. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate and allow to set for a few minutes so the chocolate melts. Beat your eggs and temper them with small amounts of the chocolate until the eggs are warm. Add the eggs into the chocolate mixture, add the coffee liquor or vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth and pour into the crusts.
  6. Bake for until filling is set and there are tiny cracks forming. This will normally take 10 minutes for a small tart and 20 minutes or a large.
  7. Set the tart aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  8. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. add in the other ingredients and stir until smooth. Add a little extra warm water if it is too thick. It should flatten out smooth on top of the tart when you pour it.
  9. Pour glaze over top of tart and allow to set until needed.

Sugar Cookies

It is very cold here today in Wisconsin and that always makes me think of warm days in the bakery making loads of cookies. I am sure I’ve said it before but making cookies was my favorite thing to do there. Making up new recipes felt a little like magic. I thought I would share one of those recipes with you today.

This is for a cutout sugar cookie that was a staple for us. We would decorate them, fill them with fruit filling or just sprinkle them with a bit of sugar for an old fashioned sugar cookie. My mouth still waters for these. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 3-5 dozen cookies depending on size
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1# 4oz. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 oz. Butter, Softened
  • 11 oz. Shortening
  • 1/2 oz. Vanilla
  • 1/4 oz. Butter Vanilla Powder*
  • 1/4 oz. Salt
  • 8 oz. Eggs
  • 1# 15 oz. Cake Flour
  • 1/2 oz. Baking Powder
  • [/recipe-ingredients]

*You may need to do some hunting for this item but it is well worth it. It will give an undefinable richness to your doughs and cookies. I used to be able to get it by the bucketful but here in the real world, I have had to buy vanilla powder and butter powder and mix them to the right taste. There is also an emulation I found on amazon but I haven’t tried it. I love this company so I am sure it would be delicious.

Directions

  1. Cream your sugar, butter and shortening together until very light and fluffy. 3-5 minutes
  2. Add the vanilla, butter vanilla powder, salt and eggs. Mix those together another 3 minutes until pale yellow and fluffy.
  3. Lightly sift together the cake flour and baking powder and add into the bowl in 3 sections so you don’t get it all over your kitchen. The dough should be very soft but not stick to your finger if you press it lightly.
  4. Press the dough into a jelly roll pan or a cookie sheet pan. Put into fridge for 1 hour or until the dough is chilled through. You can leave this dough in the fridge overnight or longer but I would recommend taking it out, cutting it into sections and wrapping it in plastic if your not going to use it right away.
  5. When you take the dough out of the fridge to roll out, preheat your oven to 365.
  6. Roll dough to desired thickness and set on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookie is lightly browned on bottom and edges.
  • Some variations on this dough: sprinkle with sugar on your last pass of the rolling out to give it an old fashioned sparkle, cut dough into circles, fill with desired fruit filling and fold over or even, like the photo, use a fun cookie stamp! You may want to chill the stamped cookie before you bake it just to make sure the lines stay crisp.


Peanut Butter Lava Brownie for One *recipe included*

Somedays all you need is a brownie. A brownie filled with chocolate and peanut butter. The thing is, what I don’t want is a whole pan of brownies to temps me around the house. I started making these and they were super delicious. I made a few modifications to some of the recipes that I found. I like a brownie that is more chocolate then sweet. Mmmm….I am thinking about these wonderful brownies now. Good thing my microwave is broken and I cant make them. 🙂

Peanut Butter Lave Brownie for One

  • Servings: 1 large
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 TB Butter, melted
  • 2 Tb All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 TB Granulated Sugar
  • 2 TB Cocoa Powder *I used Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder*
  • 2 TB Almond Milk, Coffee, Milk, Creamer or water
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 TB Chocolate Chips
  • 1 TB Peanut Butter
  • 1 scoop Ice Cream or Whipped Cream

Directions

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. In the same bowl, add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, liquid of choice and salt.
  2. Mix together until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. In a small microwave safe bowl, add half of the brownie mix. Add 1 TB peanut butter and cover with the remaining batter. Try to not leave any peanut butter showing.
  3. Cook in the microwave for 90 seconds and then check. The edges should be firm to the touch and the middle should be soft without looking wet. There are no eggs in this so there is no harm if its a little underdone. Add 30 seconds if needed
  4. Top with whatever you would like and enjoy!

Fortune cookies *recipe included*

Last week I got to make something I haven’t made in quite some time. Fortune cookies! I have always loved those little cookies and I was so glad when I was able to make them for work. They can be a little tedious and your fingers will get singed, but they are so worth it! I just made plain ones this time but there are so many fun things you can do to them. I really hope to make them again soon, maybe for one of my classes, and really explore some variations.

As I made all of these cookies (I ended up making 150+) I came away with a few tips and tricks to making them as good as you possibly can.

  1. Don’t over mix the egg whites. You don’t want to make a meringue, you just want to make them foamy and fully incorporated. On my first attempt I really gave them a good whisking and I was left with cookies that broke very easily and had a more lacey look to them. But they tasted delicious
  2. Let your dough sit for some time if possible. 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature is what I did. This will let the flour become completely incorporated and will make it much easier to work with.
  3. If your dough is not flattening on the sheet, add small amounts of water until it smooths out again.
  4. Use silpat! In a pinch you can use parchment paper but what I found with that is the paper will start to wrinkle because of the moisture in the dough. Because of those wrinkles your dough will be uneven. If you use silpat, your cookies will be even every time.
  5. Only make a few cookies at a time. 4 worked best for me.
  6. When folding the cookies, I would take the sheet pan out of the oven, flip the cookies over and have them all in a row on the edge closest to me. Then I would put the pan back in the oven for about 30 seconds, just enough time to get the fortunes ready. Then with the pan still in the oven I would place the fortune on the cookie and use the edge of the pan to fold the middle in. The cookies will go soft again when they get warmed up and the hot edge of the pan makes it easier to fold. This will be hot but your cookies will be BEAUTIFUL!
  7. When folding to cookies, first fold in half but only hold at the tips, then press then middle on the sheet pan or a cup to fold down. Immediately put cookie into a muffin pan so it will hold its shape.
  8. Preparation is everything with these cookies. Make sure all of your fortunes at cut and readily available and make sure you have a muffin pan and a secondary place for the cooled cookies.

Fortune Cookies

  • Servings: About 32 cookies, depending on size
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon Extract
  • 3 TB Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 TB Water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Cut a piece of parchment paper and trace out the size of cookie you would like . Try to only trace 3 or 4, and more and you will have a hard time getting them folded before they harden. Place this template under a silpat or flip the sheet over and use the unmarked side. I like to have 2 trays prepped like this so I can always have 1 tray of cookies baking.
  2. Lightly beat the egg whites, just until foamy and set aside.
  3. Add all dry indigents to a bowl and lightly whisk to incorporate. Add the extracts, oil and water. Mix until smooth. Add egg whites in 2 batches. A smooth batter should form. Set this aside until you are ready to make the cookies. Batter can be made ahead and left to rest.
  4. Spoon out about 1 TB batter onto the sheet and using the back of a spoon or an offset spatula, fill in the circle on the template. You shouldn’t have any open spots and the dough should flatten as it sets. If it does not, add small amounts of water until it does.
  5. Place sheet in over and bake until edges are brown. Flip cookie over, place fortune, fold in half and then fold across the middle. This will take a little practice but I know you can do it!
  6. Place cookie immediately into a muffin pan until it hardens.
  7. Repeat with all dough and enjoy

Raspberry Zinger Cake

I was asked to make a cake for a work party at my husbands work. I have been working on this recipe off and on for about a year. I don’t think I am totally ready to share it yet though. It was a good cake but it didn’t blow my mind yet. I am going to get it there though! 

A few years back my husband shared a Raspberry Zinger with me. He couldn’t believe I had never had one! Ever since then I have kept it on the back burner of my mind to make an amped up, more delicious version of this little snack cake. For those of you like me that have never had one, it is in the shape of a Twinkie made out of a yellow sponge cake, filled with a fluffy cream and then rolled in raspberry and coconut.  A delicious combo.

Here are a few photos of my attempt this time. I made a yellow pound cake, filled it with raspberry cream and frosted it with a fluffy buttercream and a raspberry toasted coconut.  When I feel happy with a recipe, I will be sure to share it with all of you.