January 03, 2013

Pancakes - baked , and they are square!

 I've been really sick. But I'm still trying to cook some things, I have to. I cant eat everything right now so I cook what I'm able to get in me. I love pancakes and can have them but Ive been too weak to stand by the stove to make them one by one. I suck at flipping pancakes anyway lol.

And so one day recently I wanted them and thought , hmmmm maybe there's a way to bake them all at once. I did find one or two sites that showed them baked in a pan like I was thinking about. But they were too pale and just didn't look right. But like always I took the info and tweaked it my way.

When I make pancakes and bacon I usually bake the bacon in a 425 degree oven. We use thick bacon so this way I don't have to watch it and it bakes out lots of the fat and stays flat. So I decided to do that and while I was I made the pancake batter.

Now I use a recipe for copycat IHOP Country pancakes. http://mermaidstreasures.blogspot.com/2007/07/pancakes.html  I fell in love with them and a few months later they took them off the menu. I was heartbroken but I did find a good replacement. But you could use any recipe, just watch the baking time because some might cook faster or slower depending if you use whole grains or just pancake mix.

                                 butter melted in the pan 
So you make your batter. When the bacon is half done, I turn the strips over. This is a good time to begin your pancakes. I take a lg. jelly roll type sheet pan, the kind with the lip around it. I put about a 1/2 c. butter in it and toss it in the oven a min or so to melt the butter. Don't let it brown cuz it will continue to cook more later on.

                                   batter in the pan
Then pour the pancake batter in the pan and spread it all over the whole thing. The butter will well up in some corners and make it hard to do that but tilt the pan so the butter moves and spread it in the corners. My pans are old so the batter wont stay even but it really doesn't matter.

Put in oven while bacon is finishing and bake for about 10min.  Check to see if its browning evenly , take out bacon anytime it has to come out. Turn the pan around so it will brown all over and put back in for 3-5min more.

                        finished baked big pancake ready for cutting and eating
When it looks done, stick a fork in the middle to see if it comes out clean....if it does , its done. Cut into as many pancakes as you want. I just cut squares the first time. I asked my bf if they were good and he said yes .......but they are square! Takes a little bit to get over that since we are all so used to round ones but they taste exactly the same . Saves time and if you have many to feed at once like for a brunch or party, its a fast way to get many done.

Also you could cut them to size to wrap around cooked sausages to make Pigs in the blanket or spread with jams and roll up too. Lots of things you could do. ...individual servings with the bacon rolled in the middle  and more. And I freeze leftovers and love these. They stack nicely since they are squares.

December 18, 2012

My Version of Chocolate Bark

 (This was a picture of me making last years batch. I posted it to tease everyone who was getting some, they fought over the picture! lol)

Ive been sick awhile with some gall bladder issues so I haven't been cooking much....haven't been eating much either. But my daughter asked me for my recipe for the Chocolate Bark that I usually make each yr and send out. I searched all the places that I post my recipes and realized I never posted this one here ever. The original comes from here http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/three-chocolate-bark-with-spiced-pecans-and-dried-cherries-recipe2/index.html  But I make a few changes to it based on what I like. So Ill post the recipe here but with my changes. Feel free to do it however you want. I just know I cannot make enough of it at Christmas, everyone wants to be on my list for this! 

Three Chocolate Bark with Spiced pecans and Drunken Cherries

  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups pecan pieces
  • Salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1 pound dark chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 1 pound white chocolate, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups dried cherries
  • Brandy
     I soak the dried cherries in brandy earlier in the day. I heat the brandy up just a bit and pour enough over to cover. The cherries will plump up and absorb some of the brandy. I like to leave them whole but you could chop them first if you want smaller pieces. When ready to use drain and let sit on a paper towel till needed.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
    In a large saute pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and is bubbly. Add the pecans. Season the pecans with salt, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar starts to caramelize  and coat the pecans evenly. Cook for about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and spread the pecans over a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the pan in the oven and roast the pecans for about 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely. Break the pecans into small pieces.

    Sprinkle the pecans and soaked cherries in a lg. baking pan....like a jellyroll pan with edges.  In three separate mixing bowls, add each type of chocolate into the individual bowls. Place the bowls over a saucepan half filled with water that has come to a boil. After about 2 minutes over the heat, the chocolate will start to melt. I do these in the order of what layer I want on the bottom, working my way up to white chocolate. This way I only need one pot. Stir each chocolate until totally melted. Remove the chocolate from the heat and stir 1 tablespoon of butter into each bowl of chocolate.  Using a spatula, spread the mixture out evenly back and forth to about 1/4-inch thick. When you add the next layer of chocolate, swirl it thru the bottom layer if its still soft. In this way, with each chocolate type, you can see them all.  Either place the sheet pan in the refrigerator or allow to sit out until set, about a couple of hours. Break the bark into medium pieces and serve.

    I buy my chocolate from Traders Joes. Their one lb. bars are reasonably priced and its a very good chocolate. The better the chocolate you use, the better this is. 

November 24, 2012

Tday and Buttermilk Pie Crust

My kids were coming to visit this holiday. So mom got to cook the Tday dinner first time in a couple yrs. Sadly I haven't  been feeling well lately so I fell way behind. I usually bake the day before and prep as much as I can so I can start right in on my stuffing Tday morning and get the bird in the oven early. That just didn't happen this time.

But I did manage to bake my pies. I made two pumpkin (my guys request) and one apple. I tried a whole wheat pastry flour recipe for the pumpkin. It was ok, better than the usual. But I'm not sure Ill make it again.

You see I really hate pie crust. Its a necessary evil to encase the filling to me. I may eat the top and sometimes the bottom but never the crimped parts. To me its just tasteless........until now. This recipe I believe will be my new heirloom family pie crust recipe. EVERYONE loved it. Heck I loved just smelling it after it baked. But eating it was even better. So here it is.

Buttermilk Pie Crust (double crust)

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour (I use unbleached, organic)
1 tb. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1c. butter, frozen (yes I said frozen)
1/2c. cold buttermilk
1-2 tb. cold water
1 lg. egg, beaten

Grate the frozen butter. Grating keeps it very cold and so makes a flakier pie crust. Once grated put in freezer till ready to use. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Mix buttermilk and egg together.

Remove frozen butter from freezer and toss with flour mixture. Use a pastry blender to mix it in thoroughly but make sure its still cold. Add buttermilk/egg mixture and mix well. Add a tb. or so of water to moisten the dough enough to stick together. You may need more or less depending on the moisture in the air. You dont want it wet, just holding together.

Pat into a ball and cut in half. Roll one half out carefully and line pie pan with it. Roll out remaining half, fill pie plate with filling and top with second crust. Crimp and bake according to your filling recipe directions.