Breakfast

Pomegranate Molasses Coffee Cake Loaf

Coffee cake is one of the many foods that reminds me of my grandma. I love the soft cake, sweet ribbons of cinnamon sugar and the icing coated top of my grandma’s coffee cake. When she lived with me she would make them regularly, even storing big slices in the freezer so I could pull them out and microwave them for 30 seconds for an after school snack. Although I’m reminded of my grandma because she was the one to bake the coffee cakes, I’m more reminded of the morning ritual that would occur.

As the first two people awake every morning my grandma and I would get to share some alone time. It was different than the alone time we would spend in the car on the way home from field hockey practice and different than the alone time we would spend during our weekly mall trips. The business of the day had not yet begun; the house was quiet and the mood in the kitchen was serene. Now when I go down to visit my grandma we usually get a little alone time, but it’s not that the same as those early kitchen mornings we used to have. The minute I tasted this pomegranate molasses coffee cake loaf I knew my grandma would approve.

Baking this coffee cake loaf could not be easier, but even if it required expert skill and extreme brain power I would still implore you to bake it because it is just that amazing. The cake is moist and perfectly spiced. And the crumble, yes please. I love my grandma’s icing, but I must confess that this crumble takes the cake. Literally. I could eat a plate of just the crumble topping.

I will have to bring my grandma a loaf the next time I visit, but in the meantime I will enjoy it myself and squirrel away big slices in the freezer for midmorning snacks.

Pomegranate Molasses Coffee Cake Loaf
 
Yield: 1 loaf
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
for the crumble
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5” loaf pan with parchment paper, lightly coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs, buttermilk, oil, molasses and vanilla extract in a small bowl.
  4. Carefully stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Mix in the melted butter until just combined.
  5. In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Using a fork of pastry blender cut in the butter until well combined.
  6. Pour half the batter into the prepared loaf pan then top with half the crumble mixture. Pour in the rest of the batter then top with the rest of the crumble mixture. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is golden.
  7. Remove the loaf from the oven then let cool in the pan for half an hour. Remove the loaf from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack for another hour.
Notes
*If you don't have buttermilk put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup then fill the rest of the way with milk. Let sit for 5 minutes before using in the recipe. Any milk from skim to whole will work.
*Although the cake won't cut as well while it's still warm it's worth to cut a messy slice just to taste this baby while it's warm!

Recipe from How Sweet It Is.

Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Pecan Butter

I have a confession to make. I have never made french toast. Well, before today’s post of course. It had been sitting on my kitchen bucket list of fifty things I want to conquer in the kitchen for quite some time now so when Matt suggested making it I decided to rise to the challenge. Except it wasn’t a challenge at all! French toast is so simple that I cannot believe I put it off for so long.

Today’s creation is Nutella stuffed french toast with vanilla pecan butter. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. I had a jar of chocolate hazelnut spread sitting in the cabinet after making some other sweet treat I will be sharing with you in a few weeks. I was wondering how we should use it up so I wouldn’t succumb to eating the whole jar with a spoon and asked Matt what he thought we should do with it. Without hesitation he suggested making Nutella french toast and using up the leftover vanilla pecan butter from the pomegranate brussels sprouts. Genius! See why I love this guy? Well also for other reasons besides his knack for all things delicious and resourcefulness in the kitchen, but that’s not important right now.

What is important is that you grab some Nutella, crack a couple eggs and start making this french toast right now. Unless of course you’re at work or it’s the middle of the night and you are fresh out of chocolate hazelnut spread. Otherwise you have no excuse! At a friend’s house? They won’t mind if you borrow their kitchen for this dish. Dinnertime? Hello, ever heard of breakfast for dinner? In a canoe in the middle of a lake? Well what the heck are you doing reading my blog right now?

I used challah for my french toast, but you can really use any type of bread as long as it doesn’t have a lot of holes. Brioche is a popular choice because it has a high butter and egg content so it adds a nice richness to the dish. The thick slices of french toast slathered with creamy chocolate hazelnut spread and then griddled until crispy on the outside while still soft on the inside was enough to make me swoon. But then I added the butter speckled with real vanilla bean seeds and crunchy toasted pecans and I was in heaven. Complete breakfast or snack-time-dinner-time-just-not-canoe-time heaven. Enjoy!

Nutella Stuffed French Toast with Vanilla Pecan Butter
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
for the french toast
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, divided
  • Cooking spray or 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices thick cut bread, challah or brioche suggested
  • 6 tablespoons nutella, divided
for the vanilla pecan butter
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
Directions
for the french toast
  1. In a shallow bowl large enough to fit the slices of bread beat the eggs with a fork or whisk. An 8” x 8” Pryex pan works well.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg then mix or whisk to combine.
  3. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and coat with cooking spray or the tablespoon of butter.
  4. Make a sandwich with 2 slices of the bread and 3 tablespoons of the nutella. Lay the sandwich flat in the prepared egg mixture and let sit for 1 minute. Flip the sandwich and let sit for another minute. Pick up the sandwich and let all the excess egg mixture drip off. If there is a lot of excess egg mixture that won’t drip off push off with the fork or whisk.
  5. Place on the heated griddle or skillet. Let cook for 4 minutes, or until brown, then flip. Cook the other side for 4 minutes, or until brown. Remove from the heat and top with the vanilla pecan butter.
  6. Repeat for the remaining serving.
for the vanilla pecan butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Evenly spread the pecans on a baking sheet and place in the oven until toasted, about 5 minutes. Once toasted, remove from the oven then chop once cool.
  3. In a small bowl combine the butter and vanilla bean seeds then add the pecans. Stir until combined.
Notes
This makes a lot of extra vanilla pecan butter. Use it for more servings of french toast, to top pumpkin pancakes or to make the pomegranate molasses brussels sprouts posted a couple weeks ago.

French toast slightly adapted from Half Hour Meals.
Butter from Bobby Flay.

Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

When weekdays often consist of grabbing a bagel on the way out the door or eating a yogurt at the office there’s something so satisfying about sitting down for a hearty Saturday breakfast. Growing up, weekend family breakfasts consisted of bacon, eggs and homemade pierogies. If you haven’t had the fortune of tasting a pierogi it is an outrageous potato and cheese dumpling, but that’s a story for another day.

Unfortunately, since living on my own I don’t have my grandma to stock my freezer with homemade pierogies and for the sake of my recently acquired slow adult metabolism I try to only keep bacon in my apartment for special occasions. But sometimes I wake up on a Saturday morning with an urge that can only be satisfied by a grand mid morning meal and pancakes have become my new savior.

Do you have some eggs, milk and a few essential baking ingredients? Boom! Pancakes! I tend to have leftover ingredients from my different kitchen experiments and I always end up having to be creative about using them. A few Saturdays ago I was staring at a half empty container of light sour cream in my fridge when a light bulb went off. I ran to my bookcase (okay, I probably walked), pulled out my Pioneer Woman cookbook and there it was: “Edna Mae’s Sour Cream Pancakes.”

If you’re sitting here reading this thinking, “Yuck! Sour cream pancakes?”, shame on you! These golden discs from the heavens are crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside and have a nice lightness about them that you don’t get from regular pancakes.

More fridge staring inspired the addition of the blueberries. Berries are expensive so I didn’t want to just plop them in the pancake batter. If I was going to use these berries I was going to make them shine. This blueberry syrup is laughably easy, but the tartness of the berries mellowing out the sweetness of the syrup will take your pancakes to the next level. I used a combination of fresh and frozen blueberries so feel free to use whatever is staring at you from your fridge or freezer.


Blueberry Sour Cream Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
for the pancakes
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Butter
for the syrup
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1½ cup blueberries
Directions
  1. Put the sour cream in a medium mixing bowl. Sift in the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
  2. Stir together until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the two eggs with the vanilla.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the sour cream and flour mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Place a frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot melt a tablespoon of butter and wait for it to bubble.
  6. When the butter is bubbling, pour ¼ cup of batter for each pancake. Try not to overcrowd your pan; the amount of pancakes you can fit will depend on your pan's size. Leave some space between the pancakes as they will expand when you add the blueberries.
  7. As soon as the batter is in the pan, place a small handful of blueberries on each pancake.
  8. Cook until the pancake is covered with tiny bubbles on the top, then flip. Cook for another two minutes then remove from the pan.
  9. Add some more butter and repeat with the remaining batter until you have cooked all your pancakes.
  10. While the pancakes are cooking, make the syrup. Put the syrup and the blueberries in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let the syrup boil for 3 minutes then remove from the heat. Slightly mash the blueberries with a wooden spoon or potato masher, keeping some of the blueberries whole. Pour the syrup into a small pitcher and place on the table with the pancakes.
Notes
I add my blueberries to each pancake individually as I have noticed when I add them to the mixing bowl they all sink to the bottom. Adding individually means you get to be more precise, but it also does spread out the pancakes quite a bit so be cautious when determining how many pancakes will fit in your pan.

Pancakes from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.
Blueberry syrup from Nigella Lawson at Food Network.