“Black” and White Cookies

"Black" and White Cookies

I must admit, I am a total magazine junkie. I have like 10-12 subscriptions going at a time. Cook’s Illustrated, Cook’s Country, Taste of Home, Taste of the South, All-You, Simple and Delicious, Woman’s Day…..As if I have time to read them all. I usually keep them in a stack on my nightstand and try to read one before bed. I was flipping through Good Housekeeping recently and I saw this recipe for “black and white” cookies. I have made true black and whites before, but the spring colors on these really caught my eye.  Why didn’t I think of this?  There is no chocolate frosting, much to my husband’s delight.  Instead you have half white and half a pretty pastel or whatever color you choose. How cute!

Justin was gone all weekend coaching his high school team in the national scholastic bowl tournament, so I decided to bring the kids to my parents for the day.  When I show up with all 3 kids, I feel like I need to bring some type of baked good as peace offering. 🙂 So, I got up super early and started these cookies. They were all baked and I was just starting to frost them when my 3 year old son and 7 year old daughter woke up. Oh boy. Now, I had to work quickly and so sorry, the frosting job isn’t the best. I let my daughter frost the last few cookies while I took pictures and left those home for Justin, taking the rest to my parents. When I got home, I just walked in the door and Justin was asking “Where are the rest of those cookies?!  They are like bakery quality!”  I was glad to hear that because when I first made them, I was disappointed when I tried them..too powder sugary. Ugh, the wasted time and ingredients. But, after they set for about 6 hours or so, the flavors combine nicely and they were just delicious. They are super soft, cake-like actually. And the frosting is thick and sweet, with a pretty sheen. These cookies are quite a PITA kind of project, but given Justin says they are the best thing I have made all year, I believe I will be making them again soon.  Father’s Day perhaps??

“Black” and White Cookies
Yield: 36 cookies   I only got 24 cookies, but I think I made them too big

For the cookies:

2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk, well shaken

Preheat oven to 350F.
Line a cookie sheet(s) with parchment. I prefer to bake cookies 1 sheet at a time.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.
In the bowl of your KitchAid, on medium with the paddle, beat butter and granulated sugar ~3 minutes or until fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
With the mixer on low, add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk. Begin and end with the flour mixture.  I did 3 additions of flour, separated by 2 buttermilk. 
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheet(s).
Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden, rotating the sheet(s) halfway through.
Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack- bottoms up.

For the glaze:    (or this one)

1 pound powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons of milk   (not nearly enough, I added 6 tablespoons total)
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
Assorted food colorings   Americolor is best

In a bowl, with your hand mixer or KitchAid on low, beat the powdered sugar, corn syrup, milk, and salt until smooth.
Start with the 2 tablespoons milk called for in the recipe and add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. You want it spreadable, but not thin.  I added 6 tablespoons total.
Keep 1/2 of the icing white in the mixing bowl.
The other half of the icing can be divided into bowls and dyed with food coloring as desired.
Spread the icing on the cookie’s flat sides. I did the white first, then the colored side.
Let set 30 minutes.

Source:  Good Housekeeping, Note: the online recipe left the milk out of the glaze.

 

 

 

 

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry streusel muffins

Ever since I saw these delicious looking blueberry muffins, I have been wanting to make them. But, blueberries have been expensive, so I haven’t.  When I went to the grocery store the other day though, they were $4 for a pint. Not too bad, so I bought them. I was excited to finally make these muffins. But, then I did what I usually do and didn’t read the whole recipe.  Damn. I realized I didn’t have any Sugar in the Raw and I wanted to follow the recipe as written. So, alas, I had to wait another day to go to the store AGAIN. But, actually it is okay because I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with marshmallow fluff frosting that I want to make…so I grabbed some Fluff too. I haven’t made the cookies yet, but I cannot imagine them to be anything short of amazing. Of course, I will share. Anyways, back to the muffins. They were easy to put together and baked up beautifully with perfect rounded tops.  The cake part is fluffy and not too sweet, the blueberries are juicy, and the raw sugar gives the buttery streusel a wonderful crunch.  Oh, the muffins were just as I hoped they would be.

My picky family won’t eat these muffins as they don’t like cooked fruit. But, they sure tear the heck out of any kind of raw fruit, so I can’t complain.  As much as I love blueberry muffins, I can’t shouldn’t eat all 12 muffins myself. So, I will be bringing them to work tomorrow. Too bad there are only 12 though. Actually, make that 11 because I ate one for quality control. I mean, how else could I tell you about them? But, 11 muffins and about 30 coworkers?  Those are bad odds.  I know it will be Monday morning, but they better move fast 🙂

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Yield: 12 standard size muffins

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar     I used vanilla bean sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced into small cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw

In the bowl of your food processor: Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and the cold butter cubes.

Pulse for a few seconds, just until the butter is evenly distributed throughout and the crumbs just come together in tiny crumbles. Note: The crumb mixture should still be fluffy. If you pulse too much, the crumbs become heavy and sink.

Pour the crumb mixture into a small bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar lightly with your fingers. Set crumb mixture aside.

Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
7 Tbsp vegetable oil     (you can measure 1/2 cup, then remove 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup buttermilk   shake well
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large egg eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries    Washed, dried, and all stems removed

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a wire whisk, mix for ~30 seconds or so. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and eggs. With a wire whisk, mix until well blended, ~30 seconds. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Note: the batter should still be a bit lumpy. If you over mix, you will not have fluffy, tender muffins. Who wants that?

Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

With a large ice cream scoop, divide muffin batter evenly into 12 paper lined muffin cups. Take the the crumb topping, fluff it a bit with your fingers and sprinkle the entire top of each muffin (about 1 tbsp per muffin).

Bake muffins about 18 – 22 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through the baking time, until they are lightly golden and pass the toothpick test.

Cool the muffins several minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool.

Source: Cooking Classy

Really Good Pumpkin Bread

Fall is here, so that means the wait is finally over.  It is now time to break out the pumpkin!  And just in time, I got the new Cook’s Illustrated magazine and saw a recipe for “really good pumpkin bread”.  Well, that sounds like a challenge to me.  Is it really good pumpkin bread?  I need to find out.  The weird thing about this recipe is that you actually cook the canned pumpkin.  This sort of takes the quick out of quick bread, but according to CI, it is supposed to remove the raw, tinny taste of canned pumpkin.  I never noticed that before, but whatever, I went with it.  I’m sure it also concentrates the pumpkin flavor, which can only be a good thing.  You add the usual fall spices of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, which together make the house smell absolutely amazing as the bread bakes.  You then sprinkle the batter with a delicious cinnamon streusel which gives a nice crunch and spicy sweetness to the top of the bread.

Jack and Sammie wouldn’t even try it.  Oh well, their loss.  My husband, Justin, a pumpkin bread connoisseur, loved it.  He said it wasn’t as dense as other pumpkin breads, but in a good way.  The baby also loved it.  I gave Alex a small piece at a time, so as not to make a big mess.  He kept coming back and enthusiastically using his hands to sign for more.  So is this really good pumpkin bread?  Yes, of course.  I mean, at least in my experience, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated are never wrong.

Really Good Pumpkin Bread

Yield: two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaves (or you can use two 9×5 inch pans, but check for doneness 5 minutes early)

For the Topping: 

5 tablespoons packed (2 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Using your fingers, mix all five ingredients together in small bowl until well combined.  The topping should look like wet sand.  Set aside.

For the bread:

2 cups (10 ounces) all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar

1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces

4 large eggs

1/4 cup buttermilk

1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped fine   I omitted

Adjust oven rack to the middle and preheat to 350F. Spray two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with nonstick spray (Pam).  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine the pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, ~ 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture sit for 5 minutes so the cream cheese can melt. Whisk until you can’t see pieces of cream cheese and mixture is homogeneous.

Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add the egg mixture to pumpkin mixture. Whisk to combine. Gently fold the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until just combined (some small lumps of flour are okay). Fold walnuts into batter, if using. Scrape the batter, half into each of the two sprayed pans. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center comes out clean, ~ 45 to 50 minutes. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove the breads from the pans. Let cool for at least 1½ hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated September/October 2012

Funfetti mini pancake muffins

My kids love those little Hostess chocolate chip muffins that come 5 packs to a box for over $4.00.  My son will eat 2 packs each morning for breakfast and that gets expensive.  So, I only buy them when they are buy 1 get 1 free and then I buy like 8 boxes.  But, when I run out, these pancake muffins are the perfect replacement.  I think they taste very similar to the Hostess muffins, but better of course because they are homemade.  Usually I make them with mini chocolate chips because they are Jack’s favorite.  But, I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit and replace the chips with sprinkles to make Funfetti mini muffins.

I decided to surprise my daughter with breakfast for lunch with these muffins.  But, of course Sammie didn’t want muffins.  She wanted turkey.  No bread, just turkey.  Okay then.  So the baby and I ate the muffins, dusted with powdered sugar and dipped in maple syrup.  Alex tore them up.  After Sammie finished her turkey, she decided she would try a muffin…then another and another and another.  She had to make sure they were okay, quality control you know. 😀   I love these muffins too.  They are fluffy, a bit sweet from the maple syrup and sugar, and they really taste like pancakes without all the work.  And now, not only do they taste great, but they are super fun, Funfetti.  Sprinkles makes everything better.  Don’t you think?

Funfetti mini pancake muffins

Yield: 24 mini muffins

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup of sprinkles- jimmies (you can adjust depending on how many you like)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a mini muffin pan really well with nonstick spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  Whisk together the dry ingredients.

In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg, maple syrup and melted butter just until combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula just until combined.

Stir in the sprinkles.  Bake for 8 to 9 minutes.

Let cool slightly in the pan.  You may need to use a spoon around the edges to separate the pancake muffins from the pan.

Serve immediately dusted with powder sugar or with just maple syrup.

Source:  Bakerella

Cookies and Cream Donut Muffins

I wanted to make donut muffins for breakfast this morning, but I didn’t really feel like cinnamon.  Crazy, I know.  I’ve done chocolate frosted, vanilla frosted and powdered sugar donut muffins.   They were all delicious.  But, what could I do to make these different?  Ooo, how about cookies and cream?  Don’t Oreos make just about everything better?  I decided to use the recipe for donut muffins from Back in the Day Bakery as the starting point, omit the spices, and fold in crushed Oreos.  Then I added a thick vanilla frosting and some crushed Oreos on top for garnish.  Okay, so maybe these look like cupcakes.  But, they really do have the texture of cake donuts and those are considered breakfast.  So, I am going to go ahead, take it upon myself and declare these perfectly acceptable for breakfast.  I mean, definitely not for everyday, but as a special treat when you want to see your kids eyes light up like it was Christmas.  If you ever wondered why I bake, this is it. ♥

Cookies and Cream Donut Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins (I would have gotten 13, but I wasn’t going to bake 1 extra muffin)

For the muffins:

3 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free

¾ teaspoon fine sea salt

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

2 tablespoons buttermilk

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar

2 large eggs

8 Oreos, coarsely chopped

To make the muffins:

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350◦F. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, combine the milk and buttermilk.

In a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, cream the butter for 2 to 3 minutes. I used my Kitchen Aid.  Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sugar. Continue to mix until the mixture lightens in color. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until combined. Add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture, mixing just until smooth. Fold in the chopped Oreos.  Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.

With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately two-thirds full. I had a bit of leftover batter.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are firm to the touch and lightly golden.  Let the donuts cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

For the frosting or glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp whole milk   I used heavy cream, but I had to add almost 3 tbsp to get it to the consistency I wanted.  If you want more of a glaze, add more cream or milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 crushed Oreos to sprinkle on top

In small bowl, stir together sugar, milk (or heavy cream- start with 1Tbsp) and vanilla extract.  Add more cream or milk, a bit at a time, and whisk until incorporated.  Continue to add more milk or cream until you get the consistency you want. Use immediately to frost/glaze the doughnuts.  Sprinkle the Oreos on top of the frosting before it sets.

Source: the donut muffin is adapted from Back in the Day Bakery.  The frosting is adapted from Sprinkle Bakes.

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

When I was looking for a recipe to use up my very brown bananas, I came across this recipe for blueberry muffins with doughnut topping.  Now, with a name like that, you have to agree that these muffins had to be made.   And soon. But, as was the problem with the last batch of blueberry muffins I made, no one here will eat them.  Ugh.  Luckily, I was going to my parents in the morning to help them with their garage sale.  So, I got to unload both my muffins and a bunch of the old clothes Sammie and Alex outgrew.  When I got there, my sister and her two kids attacked me for muffins before I even got in the door.  At least her kids loved them.  But, I have to admit, they mostly ate off the cinnamon sugar top, giving the half eaten bottoms to papa. 😀 My poor dad.  He didn’t even get the best part.

Like most muffins, these were simple to prepare.  You just need to make sure to mix with a gentle hand and not overdo it or you will have tough muffins.  And, no one wants that!  I love the lemon flavor in combination with the sweet blueberries.  I didn’t think just the lemon zest was enough, so I added a bit of lemon extract to make the lemon flavor a bit more pronounced.   When the muffins are warm, you dip their tops in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar crust is a perfect texture contrast to the fluffy, lemon scented cake.  If you have some blueberries on hand, these are a must make.  If you don’t, buy some….

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

Yield: 12 muffins

Muffins:
2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) cold buttermilk, well shaken
3 oz. (3/4 stick/85 gram) unsalted butter, melted and tepid
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (8 oz/225g) fresh blueberries, pick over for stems

I added a few drops of lemon extract   optional

Doughnut topping:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 oz (3/4 stick)  unsalted butter, melted-  I used 1/2 stick and it was plenty

Center rack in oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out excess.  Or butter and flour the cups.  Or, line with fluted paper or foil liners.  Have all ingredients at room temperature except the buttermilk.

To make the muffins:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened.  Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture. Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporate them into the batter.  The batter will be very thick,

Using an ice cream scoop ( 2 1/4 inches in diameter/#16), fill the prepared pans with the batter ¾ full. Bake the muffins until golden, spring back when gently pressed in the center, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes.  Cool in the pan just until they can be handled, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time, dip the tops in the melted butter, and roll into the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on a wire rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store at room temperature up to 2 days in an airtight container.  They may be frozen up to 10 days, then thaw at room temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

Blueberry Swirl Streusel Muffins

When I was at the grocery store Monday night, I bought a bunch of blueberries because they were buy one pint get one free.  The kids love them and ate a bunch, but I wanted to bake something with them too.  The problem is, my kids won’t eat anything with cooked blueberries in it.  But, I saw these blueberry swirl muffins in Cook’s Illustrated and I really wanted to make them.  The recipe makes 12 muffins, too many for just me to eat (though I would give it a valiant effort :D) and too few for Justin to bring to school.  Shoot.  But, then I remembered that on Wednesday, my parents were coming over to have a picnic in the park with the kids and me.  Perfect.  I could unload some of my muffins on them.  A peace offering of sorts.

These blueberry muffins bake up to look the way I always hoped they would.  Just perfect.  Honestly, they look and taste straight from the bakery.  But, they do require a few steps.  First you make a quick blueberry jam.  That may sound hard, but I promise, it isn’t at all.  You just simmer and reduce down some blueberries and sugar until it is thick.  Then you make an easy muffin batter, mixed by hand, that serves as a base for the fresh blueberries and jam.  Next, you make a 5 ingredient streusel, mixed together in a bowl with a fork.  Finally, you scoop the batter in the cupcake wells, swirl some jam on top with a skewer, top generously with streusel, and bake.   In the end, you get this delicious muffin that you are going to look at, eat and then say, “Wow, I can’t believe I made this”.  I love when that happens.

Blueberry Swirl Muffins with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Streusel

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (7 3/4 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar   divided
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup vegetable oil    I used canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the muffins: 

Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425F.   Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with your spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.  Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined.  Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour.  Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).  Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter.  Using a chopstick or skewer, even a toothpick, gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion.  Make streusel topping, recipe below, and pile evenly onto muffins.  Or, prepare the alternative topping, lemon sugar, recipe below, and sprinkle onto muffins.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

For the streusel topping:

Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea sized pieces throughout.  Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking.

Alternative topping, Lemon sugar:

1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar

1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Stir together the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined.  Set aside.  The sugar is sprinkled on top of the muffins just before baking (on top of the swirled jam).

Source:  Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook 

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup

On Saturday night, my husband asked what I wanted him to make me for my Mother’s Day breakfast.  While that is so sweet, and I really appreciate it, I absolutely love to make breakfast.  I just couldn’t give it up.  So I said it would make me happiest if I made breakfast for everyone.  Begrudgingly, my husband gave in.  😀

I subscribe to a bunch of recipe sites, so I must get at least 50 emails a day.  When I opened an email a few days ago from Fine Cooking, I was immediately drawn to the photo of light looking muffin, smothered in syrup and topped with fresh strawberries.  When I read the name, Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup, I knew these had to be made and soon.  It would be the perfect Mother’s Day breakfast! I love the idea of making pancakes in muffin tins.  It’s brilliant because everything is done at the same time and can be served piping hot.  No sweating over a hot griddle and flipping pancakes. No preheating the oven to warm finished pancakes while you make more.  No trying to get bacon done in between all the pouring and flipping without burning anything.  Here, you just pour the batter in the wells and bake.  Done.  I loved the texture of these muffins, so different from anything I’ve had before. Since the egg whites are beaten and folded into the batter, you get a light, souffle textured muffin that tastes just like a pancake.  How does that not make you want to make these muffins immediately?  If you don’t, you must have willpower of steel.  I envy you. 😀

Pancake Soufflé Muffins with Strawberry-Maple Syrup

Yield:  24 muffins, 12 servings

Muffins

Nonstick cooking spray
10-1/2 oz. (2-1/3 cups) all-purpose flour
4-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) cake flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
6 T bs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3-1/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Liberally spray two 12-cup muffin pans with the cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, mix the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed to firm (but not dry) peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the mixer on medium-high speed until thick, ribbony, and lemon-yellow, about 6 minutes. Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Add one-third of the buttermilk and mix to combine. Alternate adding the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk, ending with the buttermilk and mixing until just combined.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter, leaving some streaks.

Scoop about 1/2 cup of the batter into each muffin cup—you can fill the cups to the rims. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until browned on top and puffed, and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out dry, 20 to 25 minutes total.

Strawberry Syrup –

1 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup quartered, hulled ripe strawberries

While the muffins are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Put the strawberries in a medium serving bowl. Pour the syrup over the berries and set aside in a warm spot.  I served mine with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar, syrup for dipping and strawberries on the side.

To Serve:

With an offset spatula, pop the muffins out of the cups and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the syrup.

Make Ahead:

You can make the batter up to 2 hours ahead through the step of folding in the beaten egg whites. Refrigerate it, covered, in its bowl. Do not portion it into muffin tins until you’re ready to bake.

Source:  Fine Cooking

Buttermilk Pancakes

Most mornings are crazy busy in my house, getting two kids to school with a baby in tow.  So, breakfast is usually Pop-Tarts, cereal or Hostess muffins…and my kids like it that way! 😀 But, on the weekends, we try to have a big breakfast as a family at least one day, if not both days.  My husband likes to make savory breakfasts of eggs, bacon, and English muffins.  But, of course, I prefer a sweet breakfast.  So, my absolute favorite thing to make and eat is pancakes.  I must have tried at least 20 recipes on my quest for perfection.  It seems that the recipes I like best have buttermilk or sour cream to give a slight tang to the pancake.  I like them fluffy and tender, but with enough structure to stand up to the butter and syrup.  I find a lot of recipes that include vegetable oil, but I always substitute melted butter because it gives much better flavor.  So far, this recipe from Southern Living is my favorite. It is one of a handful of pancake recipes that I have made more than once.  Fluffy? Check.  Tender? Check.  Tangy?  Check. Delicious? Check. Yep, they meet all of my criteria for a great pancake. 😀
As far as the toppings, I like my pancakes smeared with butter and drowned in syrup, or with strawberries and whipped cream, or a simple sprinkling of vanilla sugar.  I always have a few leftover, which I keep in the fridge, for a quick breakfast the following morning.   These pancakes can easily be changed up with lots of different mix-ins like chocolate chips, berries, and bananas.  So, while I think I’ll always be on a quest for the perfect pancake, at least for now, these are as close as I can get.  They were so good, I actually made them two weekends in a row.  Now, when it comes to me and my love for pancakes…twice in a row??  That says something! 😀
Buttermilk Pancakes
Yield: 18 (4-inch) pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil   I used 1/4 cup of melted butter instead
Combine first 5 ingredients; stir well.
Combine eggs, buttermilk, and oil (or melted butter if you prefer) in a bowl; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle. I like to use a large cookie scoop to measure and pour the batter.
Cook pancakes until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked; turn and cook other side.
Store unused batter in a tightly covered container in the fridge for up to a week.  If the batter gets too thick, add milk or water to get it to the right consistency.
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