Bananas. I’m not sure I could do with out them. So you’ll understand my feelings when, right after returning home from the grocery store, I dropped my precious four bananas on the ground. The horror! Dropping any fruit is bad, but I feel like bananas take it the worst. The insides turn to banana pulp! Crazy! And the way I dropped them was such that more than half of each banana was horribly bruised by the impact. I tried opening one to eat but couldn’t do it without a spoon, and I was a little put off by the bruising. Feeling sad and defeated, I put them in the fruit basket and tried to forget about the whole incident.

About four days later, the bananas started to get spotty. I was worried; I didn’t want to throw them out but didn’t want to eat them as is. What was I to do? A little voice sounded inside my ear and said things like, “You bake things! Bake banana things! You paid for those bananas! Use them!” I usually eat bananas too quickly to allow them to ripen, which means I don’t get the chance to bake with them. Not this time! So all is not lost, in fact, my love for banana baked goods is found again, especially with these waffles. The banana flavor isn’t pronounced, but you know it’s there, and you’ll love how the banana is complimented by oatmeal, cinnamon, and raisins. I’m going to count the banana dropping as a blessing this morning (but I promise to be more careful next time). Happy bananas for breakfast! Happy Breakfast Tuesday!

Oatmeal Banana Raisin Waffles

(Recipe only slightly adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance)

Yields exactly 4 Belgian waffles or up to 12 regular waffles

Notes: Instead of using both all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, you can use one cup and two tablespoons all-purpose flour. If you decide to use quick cooking oats, you don’t need to soak the oats in liquid mixture before adding to dry ingredients. If you don’t have nondairy milk on hand and/or don’t require waffles to be vegan, substitute whatever milk you have on hand.

Ingredients:

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup rolled, or old-fashioned, oats

1 very ripe banana, mashed well

1 ½ cups nondairy milk

3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

¾ raisins

Method:

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, mix together oats, banana, milk, syrup, and vegetable oil. Let mixture soak for 10 minutes while you preheat the waffle iron.

3. After ten minutes, pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until combined. A few lumps will remain. Fold in raisins, taking care not to over mix.

4. Waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions, greasing waffle iron between waffles.

If you would like to keep the waffles warm between taking them off the iron and serving, preheat the oven to 200 degrees while the oatmeal is soaking and keep waffles in the oven, on a baking sheet lined with foil, up to 30 minutes before serving. Waffles will keep, refrigerated, up to a week, and frozen up to a month.

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For a few months, I was making waffles left and right. If I had an ingredient, I put it in a waffle (which sounds a lot like both my chocolate chip cookie and oat bran philosophy – creature of habit and hedonism, I guess). Chocolate waffles! Bran waffles! Malt waffles! Pumpkin waffles! All of the waffles! One fateful morning, however, I attempted to make waffles and the result could only be described as waffle genocide. So many good waffles split in half, burnt, and crumbled in my hands. I thought it was the recipe, and then I thought it was me, and then, having rejected the first two options as improbable, I decided to blame the waffle maker. And then I was stuck. I didn’t want to look into buying another waffle maker because I wasn’t a hundred percent sure it was malfunctioning, but I didn’t want to try another waffle recipe because I couldn’t deal with the sadness and guilt that comes from massacring one of the breakfast treats I consider most sacred.

This dilemma kept me from making waffles for far too long. In every bizarre-o kitchen appliance grudge (those who use a lot of kitchen appliances hopefully know what I mean), there comes a time where someone has to give in, and that someone is usually the person. Because it would be hard for the appliance to give in. And it would be a little scary, too, if it actually had the capability to give in. Anyway, the waffle maker and I had a long talk (which, if you’re wondering, looks a lot like me glaring at a waffle iron until tying up my apron and getting on with it), and I decided to give it another go. Turns out my waffle iron responds really well to aerosol oil and not well at all to any other method of greasing. Huh. Looks like Colleen the Waffle Machine is back in business.

These waffles are amazing, though on the hearty side of the breakfast good spectrum. My roommate, K, really enjoys them, and she prefers her breakfasts to be more healthy than sweet, whereas I’m the opposite. We both agree that these waffles make a great breakfast, though! Something about the quinoa-banana-cornmeal combination and the fluffiness on account of whipped egg whites makes these waffles suitable for any kind of breakfast eater.

Happy Breakfast Tuesday, because it’s a happy one indeed!

Banana Quinoa Waffles

(Recipe adapted from The Family Kitchen)

Yields 7 Belgian style waffles

Notes: The original recipe is for spiced waffles – add one teaspoon ground ginger to dry ingredients. For my particular waffle iron, I got the best results with the heat set at six (out of eight) and leaving the waffle in iron for 5 minutes, then flipping the waffle and letting it heat for one more minute before taking it out.

Ingredients:

½ cup, or one stick, unsalted butter

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup fine cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 ripe bananas, mashed

3 eggs, separated

3 tablespoons honey

¾ cup cooked and cooled quinoa

1 ¼ cup milk

Method:

1. Preheat waffle iron.

2. In a small saucepan or microwave, melt butter. Set aside.

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk mashed bananas, honey, egg yolks, melted butter, quinoa, and milk together until combined. Set aside.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and spices together.

5. In yet another mixing bowl, or bowl of stand mixer, whip egg whites to stiff peaks.

6. Fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined, and then gently fold in egg whites.

7. Waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions, using 2/3 cup batter per waffle and greasing waffle iron between each waffle.

There are those mornings where everything is awesome, then continues to be awesome throughout the day. Example: I woke up early! I went for a long run! I sat down and studied! I made/wrote/published my awesome Breakfast Tuesday post! Yeah! Ready for the day! (Cue variation of the ready-for-the-day dance.)

Then there are those mornings where everything seems awesome, then something goes horribly wrong, points out all the other failings of the morning, and then you have to stifle tears of frustration all throughout the day. Example: I woke up early! I went for a run! I took out my books to study! I made my breakfast and… burnt it to crisp! I didn’t even wake up that early! I whined inside my head the entire time I was running! The thought of studying made me so nervous I almost had a minor panic attack! I can’t do this! (Cue laying on the carpet and staring at the ceiling.)

Wanh wanh.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this morning was more the second than the first. I thought everything was good, and if not good than pretty standard, and then I destroyed my breakfast and couldn’t help but look back on the morning and begrudge myself for everything. Seems dramatic because it totally is. I realized how very dramatic it all was just before I resorted to spending my day off curled up, most likely in the fetal position, on my carpet. I took a breath and sat down, looked out the window and watched the sun bounce on and off the leaves. Enter perspective. I’m only human, and if burning my breakfast is the worst thing to happen all day then it’s a darn good one. Still hungry, I got up and went to work on a second pancake. The only thing I had to do differently was lower the heat. That’s it. Problem solved and breakfast on the table. Can I apply this reasoning to everything else today? Who knows. For now, enjoy a skillet apple pancake and say “Hello” to fall!

Skillet Apple Pancake

(Recipe adapted from delish.com, originally “Puffy Apple Pancake”)

Yields one 8 to 9 inch pancake, perfect either for yourself, if you’re also a breakfast monster, or two people

Notes: I substituted oat flour for all-purpose and brown sugar for granulated, so I imagine this recipe is ripe for any number of flour-sugar combinations. My only concern is that I didn’t add any baking soda to balance the acidity of the brown sugar, though I’m not sure it’s important when the quantities are this low. I could be wrong! I used a Cortland apple instead of Granny Smith, so it seems like you could use any apple that you would use in an apple pie or crisp – one that will retain its shape and texture when baked. As for the slicing, you can dice the apple as well. I made some slices thicker for varied texture, but none of the slices were over half an inch thick.

Ingredients:

1 medium to large apple (see note), cored, peeled and sliced

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup oat flour (see note)

2 tablespoons brown sugar (see note)

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg, beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

Optional (but delicious): Powdered sugar for serving

Method:

1. In medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together. Whisk in egg, vanilla, and milk until just combined. The batter will probably be lumpy, which is totally fine.

2. In an 8 or 9-inch skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. When butter is melted, add apple slices. You don’t have to do any meticulous apple slice arranging, just make sure the apples are distributed as evenly as possible over the bottom of the skillet. Pour batter evenly over apple slices. Cover skillet with lid or aluminum foil.

3. Bake pancake, covered, over medium-low heat 10 to 12 minutes. Keep an eye on it after 8 minutes though, as it seems like this pancake wants desperately to burn.

4. When top of pancake is dry and puffy, and edges are golden brown, take off the heat. Put a plate, large enough to cover the skillet with room to spare, upside down over top of skillet. Using potholders, flip skillet upside down over plate, so the apple side of the pancake is now the top.

Serve immediately!

I’m a regular customer of a certain bookstore in my area; it’s close to my work, close to my friends, and full of books – what more could a girl want (except maybe a book vending machine, but that’s another rant for another time)? It follows that one of my favorite lazy afternoon activities is going to said bookstore and browsing, page after page, cover after cover, until feeling all browsed out.

For the past few months, ever since this cookbook came out, I’ve been flipping through it every time I go to the bookstore. I love everything about it, the photography, the writing, the recipes, and, I’ll repeat for emphasis, the recipes. And, shortly before the book came out, I saw a lot of the same dish from the cookbook in the interwebs. Everyone was making baked oatmeal and raving wildly about it. Every time I saw it on a blog I had to stop myself from drooling and do everything in my power to wriggle free from the cinnamon spiked, warm, berry-filled baked deliciousness that would take hold of my brain. Every time I flipped through the cookbook, on one of my lazy afternoons, I always thought to myself, “why the heck haven’t I made this yet?”

So why the heck haven’t I made this yet, eh? It’s always something, you know. There’s some other breakfast treat that catches my eye right before I make my Breakfast Tuesday decision and it steals the spotlight. Not today, friends. The spotlight is shining directly on baked oatmeal. I’m letting it fully take hold of my brain and taste buds and I finally understand the perseveration and power of this particular breakfast recipe. It’s easy, you have most of the ingredients on hand, and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like a breakfast blankie on a cold day (it may be August, but in Boston it has been cold and gray this entire week, so a breakfast blankie was definitely in order).

 

Baked Oatmeal

(Recipe adapted from Lottie and Doof, from 101 Cookbooks)

Serves 6 to 8, or more if part of a brunch spread

Note: I did not change the recipe but substituted some ingredients for ones that I had on hand. The original recipe calls for more butter in order to pour it on top when finished, but I left out that step. Below is the recipe exactly as I made it and I strongly suggest you click the link above for the original recipe so you can customize it accordingly!

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled, or traditional, oats (not quick cooking)

½ cup walnut pieces, chopped and toasted, separated into two ¼ cup portions

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 cups almond milk

1 egg

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 peach, medium ripe, sliced on the thin side

1 ½ cups cherries, pitted and quartered

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and generously butter bottom and sides of an 8 inch baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together oats, sugar, ¼ cup walnuts, baking powder, and salt.

3. In another medium bowl or large liquid measuring cup, combine milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract, and whisk until smooth.

4. Arrange peach slices in a single layer on bottom of baking pan. Sprinkle 2/3 of the cherries evenly over peaches. Cover fruit evenly with oat mixture. Pour liquid ingredients evenly over oats. Drop baking pan on counter a few times to make sure liquid permeates oatmeal layer. Sprinkle rest of cherries and rest of walnuts over top.

5. Bake oatmeal in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is golden and oatmeal has set. (I put the baking pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips because my pan was full to brim with oatmeal goodness.)

6. Let oatmeal cool for 5 to 10 minutes once out of oven. Serve warm with extra butter, syrup, or cream!

I’ve had good luck with storing oatmeal in the fridge and reheating as needed.

 

I love to eat candy in the morning. More specifically, I love to eat chocolate. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, to be sure, but my day is significantly better if I’m able to have breakfast that in some way, shape, or form contains chocolate. Today, on Breakfast Tuesday, this means a chocolate scone with chocolate glaze. Overkill? Maybe. But I’m not one to judge.

The only note about these scones is the same warning you get before making any scone: be sure not to over mix the batter before forming scones. Dough should be mixed just until moist, or in this case, just until it holds together enough to form a disc. The scones are pretty good by themselves, almost like breakfast brownies, but I’d highly suggest making the glaze as well. It’s pretty simple and adds a nice, dessert-like touch, for those of us who can’t resist dessert for breakfast.

Cinnamon Chocolate Scones with Chocolate Glaze

(Adapted from Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers)

Yields 3 scones

Ingredients

For scones:

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Small pinch of salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½ inch cubes

1 tablespoon well-beaten egg

2 tablespoons heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

For chocolate glaze:

3 tablespoons chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons hot water

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Method:

For scones:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk or stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

3. Add butter and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut butter into flour mixture until a coarse crumb forms. Make a well in the center of mixture.

4. In a small bowl, beat together egg, cream, and vanilla. Pour into well of flour mixture and stir with a fork just until dough holds together. (My dough was still a bit crumbly, but I went ahead with the recipe, taking extra care when forming scones in the next step.)

5. Divide dough into three equal amounts and form into three discs about 1 inch thick. Place on prepared baking sheets.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes, until scones are dry to the touch and a tester comes out clean.

7. Cool scones on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Scones do not need to be cooled completely before being topped with glaze.

For chocolate glaze:

1. Combine chocolate and butter and melt together, either in a microwave for 30 to 45 seconds or in a small saucepan over very low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, taking mixture off the heat when ingredients are melted completely. Stir mixture until smooth before adding next ingredients.

2. Stir in hot water until blended completely.

3. Stir in powdered sugar until blended.

4. Spoon over scones.

Scones are best the day they are made, so I would suggest serving these as soon as possible. They will keep lightly covered at room temperature for one day.

Make your own graham crackers

December 14, 2010

This is one of my favorite things to make, hands down, which is interesting because I loathe rolling dough. Funny how life works out sometimes. Graham crackers factor into my employee appreciation baking bonanza as a sort of secret ingredient, for a treat coming later in the week.

(Belated) Fall shapes and, in the words of my roommate, "Are those STATES?!"

I brought these to a friend’s house for a weekly dinner, and we made s’mores. Her roommate said that for the first time ever her favorite part of a s’more was the graham cracker! How many people say that after taking a bite of a s’more? People are amazed that they taste like, or better, than “real” graham crackers. The work is pretty minimal for fantastic results, and I promise you’ll eat more than you plan to when you’re finished baking. It might just be me, a girl who can polish off a box of graham crackers like it’s a glass of water, but I have a funny feeling you’ll understand what I mean when you make them.

Unfortunately, I wrote this recipe down early last year, on a random piece of scrap paper, without taking note of the source. If you see this recipe elsewhere, you know to give credit to them, where it’s due. At the Post Punk Kitchen, there’s a recipe for vegan graham crackers that I’ve meaning to try as well.

Graham Crackers

Those crackers were gone about three minutes after my taking this picture. No exaggeration.

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour (or graham flour)

1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ cup margarine, or softened butter

½ packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup milk

(a simple cinnamon sugar mixture for dusting, if desired)

Method:

1. Sift together the two flours and leavening agents.

2. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light colored and fluffy, and in a bowl large enough for all the ingredients.

3. Combine the milk and vanilla.

4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk mixture, making sure to begin and end with the flour mixture, stirring well after each addition.

5. Wrap dough in plastic, or simply cover it, and refrigerate it over night.

(Intermission. Cue Jeopardy music.)

6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line your baking sheets with parchment (if you aren’t using parchment, keep the sheets ungreased).

7. Making sure your surface is well floured, roll out one quarter of the chilled dough at a time. My recipe says to roll it out into a rectangle, but I’m neither that talented nor that patient. So I just rolled it out to about a quarter of an inch thick (don’t bake them much thicker than that, otherwise they won’t be crunchy like the “real deal”), cut out some rectangles and then baked the random pieces.

8. Using a knife, make indentations in the rectangles where you want the graham crackers to break off after baking.

9. Before baking, prick the pieces with a fork, either decoratively or helter skelter. The latter is much more fun.

10. If you choose, you can sprinkle the dough with cinnamon sugar before baking.

11. Bake for 13-15 minutes in a preheated oven. Keep an eye on them, as they burn quickly. When they are browned around the edges and the surfaces look dry, they are probably done.

12. Let cool on the sheet for a few minutes before moving them to wire racks to cool completely.