Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

This year for Mike’s Birthday he requested a recipe I found on Pinterest (surprise, surprise lol), Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes.  As soon as I showed him the picture, back in April, he said “Can I have those for my birthday breakfast?” So, that is what we had.

I like pancakes, but I don’t have them very often.  Normally I prefer plain old fashioned ones, nothing fancy.  Occasionally I will have my absolute favourite, Chocolate Chip pancakes – between the chips and the syrup they are so sweet you can almost feel your teeth rotting, and ooooh my is it tasty!

As I mentioned, I don’t have them very often, but when I do I must have REAL Maple Syrup, none of the Aunt Jemima ‘stuff’.  It’s the real thing or nothing.  It is more expensive, but it is worth it!

Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

Addapted from Recipe Girl

First make the Cinnamon filling as it needs to rest and set up a bit

CINNAMON FILLING:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.

2. Melt the butter and add to sugar mixture

3. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool and set.  This is too runny!

This is what you are looking for

Tip: You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it’s best when it’s similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes (Mine was ready by the time I needed it.  If it is warm and the butter is not setting, just pop it in the fridge for a few minute, not too long though or it will harden too much).  Don’t try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted.

2. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth.

It will start to look like it is curdling, but trust me it is not, just keep going

3. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract.

4. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

NOTE: before you start cooking your pancakes, transfer your cinnamon filling to a piping bag or plastic freezer bag and snip off a corner to pipe it into the pancakes.

PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

**at this point, it was getting late, we were starving, and I was flustered and forgot to take pictures! Guess that means I will have to make them again  :)**

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt

2. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

3.Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter).

4. Reduce the heat to medium low.

5. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll).

6. Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom.

7. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over.

8. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well.

***NOTE – be very careful!  As you can see the cinnamon sugar starts to bubble, it is extremely HOT!!  Be very cautious of it splashing while cooking and dripping when you flip them back over.  The sugar will stick to your skin and burn***

9. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon.

10. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling.

11. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.

These pancakes were amazing!  They were even beyond a pancake, the cinnamon and cream cheese glaze took it to a whole new level.  The texture of the pancake itself was like none other I have had.  They fluffed up like a cloud, big air pockets to catch the wonderful sweet cream cheese glaze.  There was just enough cinnamon and it did not overpower.  I had many complements “These are the best pancakes ever!” “WOW”, “Can we have these every weekend?” “These are different” (I had to ask, but it was different in a good way) and “Those pancakes were the bomb”

I must admit, these pancakes were fantastic.  There isn’t anything I would change.  They were a lot of work, but well worth it.  I will be making these many more times.

Daring Bakers Make Biscuits

It is a new year and I am ready to take on what ever baking challenges are thrown my way!  The first challenge of the year is Biscuits (or scones) depending on what part of the world you are from.  Here, in my area of Canada, we refer to these as biscuits.  When I first saw the challenge, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed, more breads?!?!?! We had just made sour dough bread (I have not made it yet).  Where are the cakes, the cookies the elaborate desserts?   Even thought it was not quite what I was expecting, I dove right in.

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!

We were given a basic biscuit recipe, which we were required to make and after that we had free range to make what ever flavours we wanted.  I knew right off the bat I wanted to try to make a “sweet biscuit”.  My first memory of a “biscuit” is at my Great Gramma Carlow’s.  She lived in a big old farm house.  Thinking back, I have not been there in 20 years, it was the kitchen of my dreams.  The eating area was huge, within that area there was an old fashioned stove, the thing was beautiful!  There was a very large table, many chairs and even a couch and chairs.  This is where everyone always gathered.  Just off the main eating room was a small room “the pantry” where everything was kept.  I can still remember sitting at the table, about 5 years old, smelling the biscuits cooking in the old oven.  They had the same texture and appearance of a tea biscuit, but they were sweet!  We always topped them with her homemade strawberry jam, just heavenly!  I have yet to have anything remotely similar.  I only wish I had the recipe, but I am sure it was not written down.  So I made it my mission to try to come up with something similar.

The following is the basic recipe we were given which was the requirement:

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)
Servings: about eight 2-inch (5 cm) scones or five 3-inch (7½ cm) scones
Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm/5 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (10 gm) (⅓ oz) fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) salt
2 tablespoons (30 gm/1 oz) frozen grated butter (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup (120 ml) cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Variations on the Basic recipe
Buttermilk – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with buttermilk, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, increase the fat to 4 tablespoons, in Step 3 aim of pea-sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 fold and turn the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with buttermilk.

Cream – follow the Basic recipe above but replace the milk with cream, add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, in Step 3 aim of beach sand sized pieces of fat coated in flour, in Step 5 knead the dough, rounds are just touching in the baking dish, glaze with cream.

Sweet Fruit – follow the Basic recipe above but after Step 3 add ¼ cup (45 gm) dried fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currents, cranberries, cherries etc) and 1 tablespoon (15 gm) sugar.

Batch #1 Buttermilk Biscuits

I decided to start with the buttermilk variation because I already had an open buttermilk in the fridge.

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.


3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones.

My butter was in the freezer, so I grated it frozen


4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!

**this is what mine looked like after adding the 1/2 cup milk as recipe stated

It was dry and very crumbly nothing like shown in the recipe.  Not really knowing what to do I added more buttermilk, another 1/2 cup.

It looked much more like it should, maybe a little wet.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)
6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.


7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.


8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.


9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

The Verdict: They were ok. I would not make that kind again.  The texture was off, kind of chewy and tough.  I think the addition of the extra milk to get the consistency right may have done something as well.  A learning experience!

Batch #2 Basic Biscuits

For my second batch I made the basic recipe Audax provided us with.

Basic Scones (a.k.a. Basic Biscuits)

Ingredients:
1 cup  flour
2 teaspoons fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (or a combination of lard and butter)
approximately ½ cup cold milk
optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F
2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  (I only sifted ingredients once)


3. Rub the frozen grated butter (or combination of fats) into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones. (I did not freeze butter, it was just out of the fridge)


4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!


5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.)

6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick (15¼ cm by 10 cm by 2 cm thick). Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch (5 cm) rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch (2 cm) layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough). Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden colour on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.


8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly coloured on the tops. The scones are ready when the sides are set.


9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm.

The verdict – These biscuits were lovely.  They had a wonderful texture and chew.  I think they turned  out almost perfect.  I am told I am crazy as I like mine plain, no butter, no jam just the old fashioned biscuit flavour.  They were also enjoyed with butter and honey.  This recipe will be a keeper.

Batch #3 Sweet Biscuits

These biscuits were the same as the basic recipe, but I added 2 tablespoons of sugar after I mixed the butter in Step 3

These biscuits were ok.  Not quite what I was looking for.  Don’t get me wrong they were good, just not like the ones my Great Gramma used to make….that is my goal! I will keep trying

Batch #4 biscuits with Cream

These ones were the original Basic Biscuits with the substitution of Cream for the milk and the addition of  1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.

These biscuits were amazing! This will be my go to biscuit from now on.  It was everything I think a biscuit should be. This one went right into the recipe book!

I had a request to make it into a breakfast sandwich…

Batch # 5 More sweet biscuits

These Sweet biscuits were almost perfect.  I think I am 95% in getting them to tastes like my Great Gramma Carlow’s homemade biscuits.

She always just had free formed ones.  I just stirred and scooped them onto the tray.  Sprinkled with sugar

Look beautiful, the sugar gave them a crunchy texture

The texture was bang on.  It was a little different from the other tea biscuits, I assume from the amounts of sugar and addition of baking soda.

The perfect bite! Not quite like Gramma’s homemade jam, but it did the job.  Just out of the oven, cooled enough to eat with a big dollop of jam.  I was very happy how these turned out.  Mom said they were amazing! She said 99% to getting them like Great Gramma.  I look forward to getting 100%

Thank you Audax for this wonderful challenge! It has turned out to be one of my favourites as it brought back many wonderful memories for me.  It also pushed me to do something I have wanted to do for a long time, perfect Great Gramma’s biscuits!

French Toast Cassarole

I saw this recipe in our local newspaper and thought it looked tasty.  I love french toast, but I normally dip it in Ketchup, yes ketchup!  When you eat eggs and toast or have a toasted western do you dip it in syrup? no! you dip it in ketchup! So far me and my Dad are the only ones who think this way.  Anyways…..no ketchup in this one but thought I would give it a try.

Ingredients

1 loaf bread

8 eggs

2 cups half & half

2 cups milk

1/4 cup maple or pancake syrup

2 tsp 1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup golden corn syrup

1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

1. Cube loaf and spread over the bottom of a greased 13 x 9” (3.5 L) baking dish.

2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl.

3. Add half & half, milk, syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; whisk until combined.

4. Pour mixture over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Just before baking, combine brown sugar, corn syrup and butter; whisk until blended. Drizzle over bread mixture.

6. Bake in a preheated 350F (190C) oven until puffed and golden brown, about an hour.

7. Cut into pieces and serve drizzled with syrup.

This recipe didn’t turn out great but I think it was my fault.  I cut the recipe in half because it was going to make way to much, but I think I may have not halved one of the liquids.  It was very wet and gooey.  The top was burning and the middle seemed still raw…

The top crunchy part was quite tasty.  I think I will give it another try being very careful with my measurements.

Lemon Cranberry Scones

After having weeks of really hot humid (41 C) weather the temperature plummeted to a wonderfully cool (and rainy) 15 C, perfect weather to get back into the kitchen and do some baking!

I know I wanted to make something but didn’t know what? Mom put in a request for scones.  It did not matter what flavour, just wanted scones.  I searched to see that I had and I had all the ingredients for these wonderful Ina Garten Cranberry Orange Scones, I did not have oranges so I substituted lemon.

Cranberry Lemon Scones

(adapted from Ina Graten Cranberry Orange Scones)

  • 4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest.

Add the cold butter (at this point I knew they were going to be really good.  I mean how could anything with 3/4 pound of butter not be good?)

mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy!

Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch.

Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

You really can’t go wrong with an Ina Garten recipe.  These scones were moist, flavourful and the perfect texture. Adding the lemon glaze gave it just the right amount of lemony tartness.  The lemon was an excellent substitution.  Definitely will be making another batch of these in the near future

Creamy Strawberry Crepes

I made some more crepes this morning for breakfast.  Instead of just with fruit filling I thought I would be a little more daring and make them with the sweet cheese that most crepes have.  They were very easy and a huge success.

Sweet Cheese Filling

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese,
softened
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
Directions

1. Blend the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth.

Gently fold in the whipped cream.

3.  I then piped the sweet cheese onto the crepes (see recipe in previous post)

4. Roll and top with your favourite fruit topping, I made strawberry, and dust with icing sugar

Raisin Scones

raisin scone

After my first attempt at scones was so successful Mom requested some more.  I did remake the Orange Cranberry ones that she liked so much, but I also decided to try something new.   I found this recipe for a Raisin Scone.

Raisin Scones

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa, Episode: Big Breakfast, from Food Network

Ingredients

nocoupons

  • 4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 extra-large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk or water, for egg wash

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder, and salt in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add to the flour/butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Combine the raisins and 1 tablespoon flour and then add to the dough and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough out to 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick. You will see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch cutter and then cut in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the scones with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the outsides are crisp and the insides are done.

They were amazing!! but how could they not be, 3/4 of a pound of butter?!?  I have always been a fan of Ina and this is the first time I have tried one of her recipes.  Still have not delivered the goods, hope mom likes them as much as we did.

raison scone2

Cranberry Orange Scones

Picture 010

As the rainy, cold and miserable day continued I thought I would whip up something else.  Mom picked out a recipe she thought she would enjoy, Cranberry Orange Scones from Taste of Home’s Complete guide to Baking.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

10 tsp sugar, divided

1 Tbsp grated orange peel

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup cold butter

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup orange juice (I juiced the orange I had for zesting)

1/4 cup half and half

1 egg

1 Tbsp milk

Directions

1.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, 7 tsp sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.  In a small bowl, combine cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Stir into crumb mixture until soft dough forms.

Picture 001

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2. Turn into a floured surface; kneed gently 6-8 times.  Pat into an 8 inch circle.  Cut into 10 wedges.  Separate wedges and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.

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Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Removed to a wire rack.

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