Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

When our family first started going gluten free, one of things I was most bummed to give up were pancakes. Sure, I’d come across gluten free pancakes at the store, but what I longed for were my homemade pancakes. At the time I hadn’t cracked the code to turn my normal recipes into gluten free ones without compromising the taste or consistency. Well my friends, thanks to King Arthur’s gluten free multi-purpose flour and some tips on their website, I did crack the code! Add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and an extra egg and voila! Behold, I give you really delicious gluten free pancakes. You’re welcome. 😉

Pancakes on griddle

Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups gluten-free multi-purpose flour (King Arthur’s works great)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted (plus more for the griddle)

1.) Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together GF flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps. (The lumps are important – they will be very flat if you beat out all the lumps!)

2.) Grease the griddle with about 1/2 tbsp butter before each batch. Using 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour pancake batter, in pools about 1 inch away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

3.) Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in a 175 degree oven. Serve warm.

Xanthan Gum

Gluten free multi-purpose flour

Buttermilk French Toast with Strawberry Syrup

An upside to being in the midst of yet another winter storm… I’m home with my babies… and get to make them a big ole homemade breakfast. Breakfast just may be my favorite meal of the day. During the weekdays it’s a boring Greek yogurt and banana, but when I’m home, I love to do it up big!  This morning, Brogan requested some strawberry syrup (just like Ihop, mommy). Okay. What to go with syrup… French Toast! Sounded good to Brogan so it was decided! As I started pulling out the ingredients, I was a little hesitant to use a lot of my milk (because we’ll likely be iced in for a while), but then I saw the buttermilk. Hmmm. I use it in my pancakes (and most other baked goods these days). Why not? The more I thought about, the better it sounded. I love the sour flavor it adds, especially paired with something really sweet.

So the verdict on this – incredible. It is the best French Toast I’ve ever made (go ahead, laugh, I know I say this a lot), but seriously it is. I served it with butter, the homemade strawberry syrup, a little bit of maple syrup, dusting of powdered sugar, and of course, some bacon on the side. All of these flavors were just magical together – so, so good.

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Buttermilk French Toast

12 pieces of bread (I used whole wheat because I had it on hand, but any would do)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Butter (for griddle and for serving)
Strawberry syrup (see below)
Maple syrup
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

1.) Heat a griddle to 350 degrees.
2.) In a pie plate, beat together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and cinnamon.
3.) Add about a tablespoon of butter to griddle and spread it around. Dip both sides of each slice of bread in the buttermilk mixture. Place on griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes (or until nicely browned). Flip over and cook another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining pieces of bread.
4.) Serve with butter, strawberry syrup, a little bit of maple and a dusting of powdered sugar.

Strawberry Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups strawberries, quartered

In a saucepan, heat water and sugar to boil. Add strawberries, return to boil and then reduce heat to medium high heat. Cook for 10 minutes, uncovered. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Strawberry syrup

Strawberry Syrup1

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Buttermilk French Toast1

Buttermilk French Toast2
The cool thing about using buttermilk is the cinnamon stays equally distributed throughout the mixture, unlike milk where it floats to the top! 

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Buttermilk French Toast5

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It used up the all the buttermilk mixture perfectly – I love efficiency! 

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Buttermilk French Toast

Mini Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I felt like baking today and the two brown bananas sitting on my counter prompted me to create these little gems. These cupcakes were another ode to the good ole peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich of my childhood. I opted for mini cupcakes, mainly because I saw some cute little mini cupcake cups at Publix (and bought them, of course). To be honest, I’ve never made mini cupcakes, and thought it would be fun to do something different. Turns out, these cupcakes work perfectly in the mini variety. I know this because I had extra batter (after making 48 little guys) and made 6 standard sized cupcakes. I tried them both, and I think it’s because the little ones provide the perfect ratio of cake to frosting (and you can eat them in one or two bites), that they actually tasted better. The frosting is reminiscent of Reese’s peanut butter cup filling (can you say amazing!) and the light banana flavored cake provides a nice contrast to that richness.  Brogan scarfed down 6 of these things, which I’m certain contributed to his extra-crazy demeanor all day. You’d think I’d know better, but nope, I just keep on baking.

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Mini Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Cupcakes
2 really ripe bananas
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

Peanut Butter Frosting
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used all natural, unsweetened)
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 box powdered sugar
3 tbsp half and half (or more to reach desired consistency)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2.) In an electric mixer, combine bananas and butter. Add sugar, vanilla, eggs and sour cream and beat until well combined.
3.) Set mixer to lowest setting and slowly add flour mixture and buttermilk. Do not over beat.
4.) Using a large table spoon, spoon the batter into the cupcake cups until they are about 2/3 – 3/4 full.
5.) Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Yields 60 mini cupcakes.

For the frosting…
1.) In an electric mixer, beat butter, peanut butter, honey and vanilla until well combined.
2.) Slowly add powdered sugar. Frosting will be very thick. Add the half and half to thin it out, using more if needed.
3.) Add to a pastry bag (or ziploc gallon size bag with the corner cut out) to pipe frosting on cooled cupcakes. Start by piping the frosting around the outer perimeter of the cupcake, working your way toward the middle.

Banana cupcakes1

Banana cupcakes2

Banana cupcakes3

Peanut butter frosting

Banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting1

Banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting2

Chocolate Espresso Cake

Baking sweets is starting to be an every weekend occurrence.  Whereas I used to be immune to the smell of something sweet and chocolaty baking in the oven, the sweet tooth I gained with my last pregnancy is still with me. Bummer. I asked Brogan what he wanted to bake today and he said birthday cake. Well, it’s no one’s birthday, so we just made cake.

I modified a German Chocolate cake recipe I found in one of Blake’s chefy cookbooks by adding some instant coffee. I once watched an episode of Barefoot Contessa and Ina Garten swore by adding a little instant coffee to chocolate desserts because it would enhance the chocolate flavor. She was right. I took it a step further and added some coffee to the chocolate frosting too. I attempted to make just a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, but perhaps I added a little more instant coffee that Ina… and what I ended up with was definitely a chocolate espresso cake. I’m not complaining.

This cake is very light and moist. The coffee is more prominent in the frosting, but the whole thing is just perfect together. We topped it with shaved Hershey bar… just because.  I’ve not made many cakes from scratch, and this one was very easy to do well. This cake also allowed me to hone my icing skills – I finally got it! See below for what I did to properly ice this cake. Hope you enjoy!

Chocolate cake4

Chocolate Espresso Cake

1 cup sifted flour (or a tad less for “lazy” flour – that’s what I do)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Chocolate Espresso Buttercream Frosting (recipe below)
Hershey’s milk chocolate bar (for garnish on top of cake)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two cake pans.
2.) In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and instant coffee. Set aside.
3.) Using an electric mixer, cream butter, sugars, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Slowly add eggs with mixer on slowest setting.
4.) Alternate adding flour/cocoa mixture and buttermilk. Beat just until all ingredients are fully incorporated, but do not over-beat.
5.) Divide batter equally between the two cake pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Chocolate Espresso Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee
1 box powdered sugar (16 oz)
1 tbsp half and half

1.) Cream butter and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add cocoa powder and instant coffee. Slowly add powdered sugar and then add half and half. Beat until smooth.

To frost the cake…

1.) Place first layer of cake on a cake plate. Place a scoop of frosting on the cake and spread evenly. This one doesn’t have to be pretty.
2.) Place the second layer on top of the first. Make sure the side that was in the bottom of the cake plate is face up (it frosts easier). Start with icing the sides of the cake. Put a decent amount of icing on an offset spatula and rotate cake spreading frosting in a straight line around the cake. Apply more frosting about every 4 to 5 inches.
3.) Using the remaining frosting, place large spoonfuls around the top of the cake. Starting in the center of the cake, spread the in a circular motion toward the outside edges. Make sure the frosting stays thick, or else it will pull up the top of the cake.
4.) Using a large knife, shave Hershey’s bar by chopping it very thin. Then chop perpendicular to the first cut to achieve fine shavings. Sprinkle chocolate shaving on top of cake.

Chocolate cake in oven

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Chocolate frosting

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Frosting a cake2

Frosting a cake3

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Frosting a cake4

Chocolate frosting1

Frosting a cake6

Chocolate cake2

Chopped chocolate1

Chopped chocolate2

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Chocolate Cake

Blueberry Muffins!

This morning I decided on a little impromptu muffin making because I was seriously craving some blueberry muffins. I wanted a little tartness to go along with the blueberry, so I added sour cream, buttermilk and lemon zest (a little trick I learned from Ina Garten). Aside from the fact that I couldn’t manage to get equal amounts of batter in my muffin liners (despite using a scoop!), they turned out really, really good. Beckett and I ate 4 of them right out of the oven in about 10 minutes. And I’d like to blame it all on Becks, but this girl ate some muffins. They turned out light and tangy and were exactly what I was craving.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry Muffins

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries

1.) Preheat oven to 375 and line muffin tins with 18 liners.
2.) Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth, continue beating and add vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Next add salt, baking soda and baking powder, and then pour flour in very slowly while mixing on the lowest setting. Add sour cream, and buttermilk and beat until batter has a silky consistency. Stir in blueberries.
3.) Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full and bake for about 20 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned.

Yields 18 muffins

*I topped each muffin with sugar and lemon zest, but next time I make them I will leave off the zest. It got too brown while baking and didn’t add much flavor. 

Blueberry muffin batter

Blueberry muffin batter in liner

Blueberry muffins1

Blueberry muffins2

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

I decided to take my new mini-loaf pan for a spin this morning with a new recipe. The three browning bananas on my counter have been calling my name but I thought I’d go for something other than your standard banana bread. And as I was thinking about bananas, old memories of peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches came to me, and so that was my inspiration for this bread. I added chocolate chips, because well, I like chocolate, so why not?

The bread turned out really good. It’s moist, it’s heavy, and rich, and the peanut butter makes it stick to the roof of your mouth. My little taste-testers (Brogan and Beckett) also approved.

Peanut butter banana bread2

Peanut Butter Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips

3 (really) ripe bananas
1 stick of butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.) In an electric stand mixer on the lowest setting, add bananas, butter, brown sugar and peanut butter and beat until smooth. Then add egg, vanilla, honey and buttermilk.
2.) In a medium size bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix together and then slowly pour into the liquid mixture. Beat until fully incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
3.) Pour into 8 buttered mini loaf pans or 1 standard loaf pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven; about 30 minutes for the mini loaf pans and about 1 hour for the standard. Insert a toothpick in the center of the bread to test if it’s done.

Peanut butter banana batter

Buttered mini loaf pans
To butter the pans, I placed a little bit of softened butter in each loaf pan and then rubbed it around with a paper towel. The loaves slid out very easily.

Peanut butter banana bread

Peanut butter banana bread baked

Peanut butter banana bread1

My little photo shoot helpers… can you tell they were ready to eat?

Photoshoot helper Brogan

Photoshoot helper Beckett

The Best Pancakes Ever!

We like pancakes around my house. They have always been one of Brogan’s favorites, and even my husband, who typically does not like sweets, loves these things!  The pancake craze began shortly after I stumbled across this Martha Stewart recipe. The first thing that caught my eye was the buttermilk to flour ratio – 3:2. Most recipes I had tried before were equal parts milk to flour. Since what I love most about pancakes is the salty/sour flavor that comes from the buttermilk, these seemed like a winner to me.

Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted (plus more for the griddle)

1.) Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps. (The lumps are important – they will be very flat if you beat out all the lumps!)

2.) Grease the griddle with about 1/2 tbsp butter before each batch. Using 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour pancake batter, in pools about 1 inch away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

3.) Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in a 175 degree oven. Serve warm.

Pancakes on griddle

Pancake

I enjoyed mine with some butter and pure maple syrup.

Brogan pancake

Brogan ate his like a sandwich with no syrup.

Beckett pancake

Recipe from Martha Stewart