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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes

23 May

Sometimes working in a restaurant is great. Like the brunch shift this weekend: just busy enough so that the time goes by quickly, but not so crazy that the waiters get mad at me because they don’t want to take any more tables, and customers are angry because I said 30 minutes and it’s been 40… (Side note: maybe other restaurants have some magic formula for this, but mine does not. So, I’m pretty much just making an educated guess about how long your wait is going to be. If I say 30 minutes, but that table that paid an hour ago still hasn’t left, then, well, it might be more than 30 minutes. I can’t control that. So chill out.)

In the end, most of my shifts are fairly uneventful. Friday nights are usually pretty busy, but we’re prepared for that. There was, however, one fateful Wednesday night that did not go well. At all. Some combination of nice weather and an Open Table coupon that was about to expire led to a Friday-night-sized crowd showing up on a Wednesday night. At some point I had to stop seating people even though we had empty tables because the waiters and the kitchen couldn’t handle any more orders. But customers really don’t like being told there’s a wait when they can see empty tables. That night, there were a lot of comped drinks and desserts to make up for the hour-long waits for pide, or the forgotten shishes. Tips were non-existent. No one was happy.

At the end of the night, before I collapsed into bed, I told myself “Dear, you’ve had a rough day. You deserve pancakes for breakfast tomorrow. No, not just pancakes. Chocolate chip pancakes.”

And when I finally managed to drag myself out of bed the next day, feeling somewhat like I’d been hit by a bus, I treated myself to an absurd amount of these delicious pancakes.

I’ve started doing half whole wheat/half all-purpose flour in my pancakes, and I personally can’t really taste that much of a difference. And while it really doesn’t make these at all healthy, I feel slightly better about eating enough pancakes to feed two large men all by myself when there is some whole wheat involved.

And after eating about 12 of these, I spent the rest of the day in a pancake coma. Totally worth it.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Serves 2

Print this recipe!

1 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup chocolate chips

½ cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, beat egg. Add buttermilk, butter, and vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt, mixing until mostly smooth (but there should be some lumps. Let the batter sit for a few minutes.

In the meantime, add vanilla and powdered sugar to whipping cream in a medium bowl and beat using an electric mixer until almost stiff.

Heat large skillet (you’ll know it’s ready when you flick some water droplets on it and they immediately sizzle and disappear).

Pour batter onto skillet, about 2-3 tablespoons per pancake. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top. When bubbles begin to pop, flip pancakes. Cook another minute or two, checking to make sure they don’t get too brown. Transfer to a plate. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

19 Apr

So here’s what happened. I bought some bananas at the store over the weekend. But they were absurdly large bananas. Bananas of unusual size. I ended up only eating one of them (and even then, I ate half of it one day and half the next). I’m talking really big bananas, people. That means I had two very large bananas in my pantry that were quickly getting beyond ripe.

And when you have bananas that are beyond ripe, you make banana bread. It’s one of the principle laws of the universe.

Of course, my two very large bananas weren’t quite enough for my banana bread recipe, so I had to go out and buy some supplementary bananas. And I was amused to find that the ripest bananas they had at the store happened to be exceptionally small. I decided that two very large bananas + two very small bananas = 4 normal bananas. And that, my friends, is banana math.

For me, plain banana bread is nothing special. But if you add chocolate chips? Magic. I also decided to throw in a little whole wheat flour so I could pretend this is an acceptable breakfast food. (If you don’t have whole wheat flour on hand, just go ahead and use 2 cups of all-purpose flour.)

Oh yeah, and you may have noticed my counters are looking quite different. While I was in Illinois, my landlord ripped out the old counters and replaced them with nice granite ones. This would be way more exciting if I weren’t moving out in a month.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Makes 1 9×5 loaf

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 large ripe bananas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together flours, baking powder and salt. Stir in chopped chocolate.

In a large bowl, mash up the bananas. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla and stir until combined.

Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Lemon Ricotta and Mango Muffins

5 Apr

I’m gonna get real with you for a minute. But there are really delicious muffins at the end if you stick with me. It’ll totally be worth it, I promise.

Being let go from your job sucks. It just does. When I called my mom the day I found out I was being let go, she told me she had heard that losing your job is like going through the grieving process. I brushed off the idea as silly. I was upset, but figured it’d pass pretty quickly.

But it’s true. I’ve been in denial, I’ve been angry, I’ve been bitter, I’m not sure I’m to the stage of accepting it yet, either. When I tell people I’m unemployed, they say how jealous they are, because it must be so great to have all this free time, to not have to wake up every day to go into the office. Hearing someone say it must be great to not have to go into the office is like hearing someone say “it must be great your dog died, now you don’t have to deal with feeding it and walking it every day.” Yeah, I have a lot of free time. A lot of free time to feel crappy.

But on that note, it’s been great to have the chance to volunteer more with Martha’s Table and 826DC. I had my first shift as an 826DC Museum of Unnatural History docent yesterday, and it’s a blast. If you are ever in the DC area, you should stop by. I guarantee you’ll get a good laugh out of the exhibits. And I’m really going to miss McKenna’s Wagon when I’m back to working a 9-5.

Being unemployed has also given me the flexibility to take some fun trips. I got to visit my college roommate in Boston twice, and I’m currently on a bus somewhere between Chicago and Normal going home to spend a few days with my parents. So I guess the moral of the story is that in these situations, it’s really important to find ways to fill your time that make you happy.

I woke up early this morning and did an inventory of what I needed to either eat, throw away, or give to my roommates before I left so it wouldn’t spoil. My roommate got my leftover Zucchini Ricotta Galette and half an avocado. I threw away leftover beans and a mostly squishy pear. I had some ricotta leftover from the galette, half a lemon, and a mango I had forgotten about, seemly unrelated, until I remembered the Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Muffins that Two Peas and Their Pod posted a few days ago. No blackberries, but the mango would do just fine in a pinch.

I even had time to run out and pick up my dry cleaning while the muffins were in the oven. A successful morning indeed.

I agree with Maria and Josh over at TPATP, these are the best muffins I’ve ever had. Make them. Share them. The ricotta makes them amazingly moist, and even without the fruit, the lemon flavor would be totally delicious, but the mango added just a little something extra. I can’t wait to try them with blackberries and raspberries.

Lemon Ricotta Mango Muffins
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes 12 Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 fresh mangos, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Pour sugar into a small bowl and zest lemon into it. Use a fork to mash zest into sugar.

In an electric mixer, beat together butter and lemon zest sugar until creamy. Add ricotta and beat until smooth. Beat in egg, lemon juice and vanilla extract.

Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Divide half of the batter into the 12 muffin cups. Top muffins with diced mango, and use the rest of the batter to fill the cups and cover the mango.

Bake for 20 minutes, until tops are slightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

Mom’s Buttermilk Biscuits

12 Jan

Are you ready? It’s my first recipe post here in the Single Girl’s Kitchen. I want it to be special. We have so much to learn about each other still. I’m a little nervous…it’s like a first date.

So…where did you grow up?  What did you study in college?

Okay, let’s skip the awkward line of questioning and get to the biscuits. I think “get to the biscuits” would make an excellent new slang phrase, it can take the place of “cut to the chase.”

“Hey, buddy, how about you stop wasting my time and just get to the biscuits?”

Right. Biscuits. Buttermilk.

These biscuits are one of the first recipes I remember getting to help my mom with when I was growing up, I’d get to mix together the dry ingredients, and my mom would let me use my fingers to mix in the butter. To this day, I still use my hands when mixing in butter in this recipe, in pie crusts, etc. Pastry cutters are overrated. The trick is just to be quick and not overwork it. You don’t want the butter to start melting. It probably helps that my hands are eternally freezing. If you have clammy hands, you might just want to get that pastry cutter out. Luckily, I only get clammy hands on dates and during job interviews. And usually I’m not making biscuits during job interviews. Usually.

And let’s just get this out of the way now: I didn’t use buttermilk when I made these. I was going to buy buttermilk to make buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes for this guy for a fun breakfast for dinner thing…but turns out he wasn’t interested. In pancakes, or in me.

So I didn’t buy buttermilk. But when I think I’m going to buy buttermilk, I plan to make all my buttermilk recipes that week, so even before my pancake rejection, I had already started thinking about these biscuits. And once these biscuits are in your head, they do not want to leave.

Luckily, the lovely Joy the Baker posted a few tips on turning regular milk into a buttermilk substitute. My recipe includes the technique I used, and it turned out fabulously. But if you don’t have fresh lemon juice on hand, check out her other tips.

I should also confess that normally, I don’t even have regular milk around the house. I’m a weirdo and I don’t drink milk. It all stems from my mom being convinced I was lactose intolerant as a kid. I wasn’t, but it was too late for me and milk to get over our differences. I also don’t keep cereal in the apartment, because we had this nasty pantry moth infestation over the summer, and I’ve been terrified of keeping any wheat products around that aren’t in air tight containers. Luckily, I decided to make some chocolate pudding the other day, so I had leftover whole milk that was sitting sad and lonely in the fridge, just waiting to be turned into buttermilk for these biscuits.

Sorry. I think I might be over-sharing for our first date. Pantry moths, and potential lactose intolerance, and my tendency to get handsy with biscuit dough…at least I haven’t started telling you about all my ex’s yet.

Before that happens, let’s get to the recipe. I’ve scaled this one down so that it makes a neat 3 biscuits. Perfect if you want to have two alongside dinner, and wrap the other one up for breakfast tomorrow! I’m also including the recipe that makes a half dozen, in case you have need for that and would rather not do the math.

 

For 3 biscuits

¾ cup plus 2 tbls all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
2 ½ tbls cold butter
1/3 cup buttermilk (to make, add 1/3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to 1/3 cup whole milk, stir and let sit for 2 minutes)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sift together dry ingredients.

Using fingers or pastry cutter, cut in cold butter.

Add the buttermilk gradually and mix gently, just until blended. Do not overmix. You may not need the full 1/3 cup, add until dough comes together, but isn’t overly sticky.

Now you have two options: The simple way is to just drop biscuits onto a greased cookie sheet. You can also pat out dough on a cutting board to about 1 inch thickness and cut with round biscuit/cookie cutters and place on greased cookie sheet. Dropping them makes more rustic looking biscuits, using a cookie cutter will give you more uniform, professional looking biscuits. Both will taste delicious.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they start to turn lightly golden brown.

Add a generous dollop of apple butter and place in mouth.

For 6 biscuits

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
5 tbls cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk