breakfast

Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

It is pear season. While apples seem to get more attention, pears are a wonderful, versatile fruit.

Pears will ripen off the tree and are often picked unripe and allowed to ripen after harvest. Unlike a lot of other fruits, pears do not suffer from being picked before they are ripe. As they ripen, pears become very sweet.

I like to pick out both ripe and unripe pears at the local market. That way, I’ll have ripe pears over a longer period of time.

I had some ripe pears and wanted to do something with them. Since I had a friend coming for over breakfast, I thought muffins. It’s always nice to have an easy breakfast option on hand.

I started with a basic muffin recipe, and added some diced pears, cinnamon, orange zest, nutmeg  and a cinnamon sugar topping, to make them special. And yes, you could substitute apples for the pears!!!

I was really happy with how they turned out. Not overly sweet, moist and tender.  Here is the recipe.

 

Spiced Pear and Oatmeal Muffins

1 ½ c. flour
1 c. rolled oats
1 T. grated orange peel
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
½ t.  each nutmeg and salt
½ t. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. oil
¼ c. orange juice
1½ cups of peeled, diced pears – 2 or 3 pears should do it
2 T. melted butter, optional
cinnamon sugar, optional

Combine flour with the dry ingredients. Set aside. Combine egg with the honey, oil and juice. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until flour is just moistened. Fold in pears. Batter will be thick. Divide batter among 12 greased muffin cups. Bake in a preheated 375- degree oven for 20-25 minutes. While the muffins are warm, dip tops in melted butter and then dip in the cinnamon sugar, if you like. They are tasty, with or without the cinnamon sugar topping, but I like to add this last step. Makes 12.

Crumpets

Crumpets

I love crumpets when I make them myself. They are a cross between a pancake and an English muffin. Crumpets should be moist, soft and light. The ones I’ve tried from the grocery store are heavy and dry. If the only crumpets you have ever tried were from the store, you probably don’t like them either. I think if you make your own, you will be surprised at just how tasty crumpets can be.

I’d suggest serving them with jam and clotted cream.

You will need crumpet rings to cook them in. Crumpet rings and English muffin rings (they are pretty much the same thing), can be purchased online and in some specialty cooking supply stores.

The rings are greased and set in a skillet to warm. Then, the crumpet batter is spooned into the rings. They cook in the rings, right in the skillet. This helps them to keep their shape and to rise nice and high.

Many years ago my father made rings for me from cans. We saved cans from things like canned tomatoes or corn. He cut off the lids on both sides and then cut the cans to about 1 1/2 inches in height. There is a rough edge, so I am always very careful when handling them. Buying them is probably a better idea.

Crumpets

 2 c. skim milk, scalded

3 c. flour

1 t. salt

1 package active dry yeast

¼ c. warm water

¼ c. butter, melted

Cool milk to lukewarm, then stir in flour and salt, beating until smooth. In small bowl place water and sprinkle over with the yeast. Let stand 5 minutes until bubbly. Stir in butter then add this to the flour mixture, beating well. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Grease 2 ½ inch muffin rings, or use 3 ½ oz. tuna fish cans and place in a hot, lightly greased skillet. Spoon 2 tablespoonfuls of batter into each ring, reduce heat to low and cook crumpets 12 minutes per side. Remove from rings and set aside to cool. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Makes about 32 crumpets. Serve split and topped with jam or preserves and Devonshire clotted cream. You can make a mock version of clotted cream- recipe follows.

 

Mock Clotted Cream

1 c. whipping cream

¼ c. sour cream

Just beat together whipping cream and sour cream until soft peaks form.

Bacon Waffles

Bacon Waffles

If you are looking for a special breakfast for Father’s Day, maybe dad would like some waffles. Even better, make him waffles with bacon inside them!!!

For me, breakfast doesn’t get much better than waffles. Well, unless maybe you add bacon to the waffle batter.

Truth is, I don’t treat myself to waffles all that often, but if I am going to eat waffles, I go all out.

These are truly wonderful waffles. Light, crispy on the outside and studded with bacon. A drizzle of  warm maple syrup and you are good to go.

So, if you are looking for a special treat for dad for breakfast, or lunch, or dinner or a snack… try these bacon waffles. You can thank me later.

 

Bacon Waffles

1 pound sliced bacon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1½ cups milk
¼ cup butter, melted
In a skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Drain; crumble and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat egg yolks, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Add bacon. Before making each waffle, stir batter. Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions until golden brown.

Strawberry Waffles

Strawberry Waffles

These waffles would make a great breakfast. We actually had them for dessert last night. That’s the thing about waffles. They can be eaten any time of the day.

I have been enjoying fresh strawberries in everything!!! The season for local berries is pretty short, so I try to enjoy them as much as possible, while I can.

This waffle recipe came about because I needed a dessert for dinner with a friend. It was a last minute dinner, so I didn’t have a lot of time. Waffles seemed like a great idea. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and  they highlighted the berries. My friend really liked them. I did, too.

I made the waffles with fresh strawberries in the batter. Then, the  waffles are served topped with more fresh berries and a dusting of powdered sugar.

They were a perfect dessert. I could see topping them with ice cream or whipped cream, too. Any leftover waffles can be frozen.

For the fresh strawberry topping, you just combine fresh, sliced berries with some sugar. If you can make it ahead of time, the sugar draws juice out of the strawberries, kind of making its own sauce. I made the topping first, then popped in the fridge.

So here is my recipe. Enjoy!!

 

Strawberry Waffles

 

1 1/3 c. flour

2 T. sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 t. cinnamon

½ t. salt

2 eggs, separated

½ c. butter, melted

1¾ c. milk

2 t. vanilla

1 c. chopped fresh strawberries

 

Powdered sugar for topping waffles

Strawberry topping- recipe follows

 

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Set aside. Separate the eggs. Set aside the yolks. Place the whites in a small mixing bowl. Beat whites until moderately stiff; set aside.  Combine milk, melted butter, egg yolks and vanilla in small bowl. Add to dry ingredient mixture and blend. Stir in berries. Fold stiff egg whites into mixture. Ladle mixture into hot waffle iron and bake. To serve, top with powdered sugar and strawberry topping. Makes 10-12 (4-inch) waffles.

 

Topping

1 qt. strawberries

½ c. sugar- or to taste

 

Wash and stem berries. Slice berries. Place in bowl and sprinkle on the sugar. Stir to combine and place in fridge until ready to use. Try to do this at least 30 minutes before using. That will give the mixture time for juice to be released from the berries.

Rich Blueberry Muffins

Rich Blueberry Muffins

I froze a lot of blueberries when they were in season. This time of year I often enjoy using some of those frozen berries in baked goods.

This muffin recipe is one of my favorites. The secret, I think, is the cup of melted butter that is folded into the batter. I also add a little cinnamon, which goes so well with the berries.

You end up with a rich muffin with a crumbly, tender texture and a great flavor. This recipe makes 36 muffins, so you will have extra to freeze.  They freeze great.

Rich  Blueberry Muffins

4 c. flour

2 T. baking powder

1 ½ t. salt

1 t. cinnamon

1½  c. sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 eggs

1 ½ c. milk

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, melted

4 c. blueberries -fresh or frozen

 

Paper line 36 muffin cups or grease lightly and preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl mix dry ingredients. In smaller bowl mix eggs and milk and beat until smooth. Stir into flour mixture with a fork and mix until just moistened. Fold in melted butter and blueberries divide batter among cups. Sprinkle muffins with a little extra sugar. Bake 25 minutes, or until light golden. Makes 36.

Pumpkin Pancakes

“Pumpkin” Pancakes

I want to be honest with you from the start. I made these pancakes with cooked butternut squash and not pumpkin. They were terrific.

Many winter squash can be used just like pumpkin in cooking. The problem is that when I post a recipe as “squash” instead of pumpkin, people get confused. Perhaps they are thinking summer squash, like zucchini.  Maybe the word pumpkin just conjures up a clearer image.

The pancakes were really good, and isn’t that what matters?

 

I make my own baking mix, and that is what I used as the base for the pancakes. You can just buy a mix, like Jiffy or Bisquick, if you prefer. The pancakes are light and fluffy, with a nice “pumpkin” flavor. We had them with warmed maple syrup, but they would also be nice served with powdered sugar or perhaps a fresh berry syrup. They would make a nice Thanksgiving Day breakfast, too.

 

 

“Pumpkin” Pancakes

2 c. baking mix – like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix – I make my own*
3 T. brown sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
1 1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 c. pureed pumpkin or winter squash
2 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla

Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl and set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients. Lightly grease a skillet and cook over moderate heat. Use about 1/3 c. of batter per pancake. Turn when edges appear dry. Makes 16.

*Chef Pastry Mix/ Biscuit Mix

8 cups sifted, all-purpose flour
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. powdered buttermilk
¼ c. baking powder
1 T. salt
2 c. shortening, butter or coconut oil*
Sift dry ingredients together 3 times. Cut in shortening, butter or coconut oil  to resemble cornmeal. Keep in an airtight container. Store in a cool dry place and use within six months.

* I use coconut oil and store in the fridge. If you use butter or coconut oil- you have to keep in the fridge.

Homemade Granola

Easy Homemade Granola

One of the advantages of making stuff from scratch, is that you get to control what goes in it. This is really true for granola. The stuff in the store is often full of way too much sugar for my taste. The base for granola is toasted oats, but after that you can get creative. I use plenty of nuts and seeds, sometimes coconut, and finish it off with an assortment of dried fruits.

I prefer my granola less sweet than most commercial brands. By making my own, I get to control what, and how much, sweeteners to add. For my granola, I use honey to sweeten it. You can more or less to suit your taste.

I know granola is most often thought of as a breakfast food, but it makes a great snack, and sprinkled on yogurt it can also be a tasty choice for lunch. Great to take along when hiking or road trips. I actually like to sprinkle granola on ice cream, too.

I was teaching a dehydrating class the other night and we made granola in class. I used dried fruits I had dehydrated earlier. For the version I made in class I used a combination of dried  cherries, pineapple and strawberries and raisins. Use the fruits you like.

 

Easy Homemade Granola

3 c. rolled oats

1/4 -1/2 c. each of any of the following to equal 1-2 c. total

Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, wheat germ, peanuts, pecans, almonds, hazel nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, coconut… you get the idea. Don’t forget to chop up any big pieces.

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. orange peel

1/2 t. nutmeg

pinch of salt, optional

1/4 c. oil

1/4 c. honey- or add a little more if you like a sweeter granola

2 t. vanilla

Dried fruit to equal 1 -1 1/2 cups. Some choices could include: raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, pineapple, dates, figs, apricots, bananas, strawberries, blueberries etc. Cut up larger pieces.

 

In large bowl combine oats with seeds and nuts and toss well with seasonings. Heat together oil, honey and vanilla and pour over oat mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Halfway through the baking time stir mixture so the edges won’t burn. Remove from oven and return to large bowl. Toss with the dried fruit and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use in 1 month or store in freezer or fridge to keep longer. Makes 5-7 cups.

Spiced Blackberry Muffins

Spiced Blackberry Muffins

Sometimes, little things can just improve your day. For me, it was starting the day with a mug of raspberry tea and a warm blackberry muffin. I had some beautiful fresh blackberries, and decided to make muffins with some of them. So happy that I did.

 

I used a recipe I had made before, but decided to add cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter. I also dipped the tops of the warm muffins in melted butter and a spiced sugar mixture to finish them off. So good. So very, very good.

 

 

 

Spiced Blackberry Muffins

 1 c. milk

1 egg

¼ c. oil

2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. Baking powder

¾ t. salt

½ t. each cinnamon and nutmeg

1 c. blackberries, I used fresh but frozen would work, too.

Topping:

1/2 c. sugar

1 t. each cinnamon and nutmeg

4 T. butter, melted

Beat together milk, egg and oil. Combine dry ingredients and add to milk mixture, stirring to just moisten flour. Fold in blackberries. Fill 12 paper lined muffin cups to 3/4 full.  Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Combine sugar and spices in a small bowl. Place melted butter in another bowl. When muffins are removed from the oven carefully dip the top of a muffin in the melted butter and then in the spiced sugar. If muffins are too hot to hold wait a few minutes before dipping. Repeat with remaining muffins. Serve warm. Makes 12.

Fresh Blackberry Scones

Fresh Blackberry Scones

I was recently given some beautiful blackberries. I decided to make scones with some of them. Warm from the oven, with a cup of coffee, these are hard to beat.

While scones are traditionally served for breakfast or brunch, I often use them in a dessert. These scones make a great shortcake.

For dinner with a friend, I split the scones and filled them with some sliced peaches. I had tossed the peaches with a little sugar and some vanilla.  We topped them off with a scoop of ice cream. Blackberry and peach shortcakes- bliss. 🙂

For shortcakes, just split scones add fill with some seasonal fruit, sweetened, if you like. Top with ice cream or whipped cream. Easy dessert and very tasty.

Here is the recipe for the scones.

Fresh Blackberry Scones

 2 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ t.  salt

6 T. chilled butter

2 c. blackberries, fresh preferred, but you could use frozen

1 t. orange zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream or half and half

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in berries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Use 1/2 cup ice cream scoop to scoop batter onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with a little extra sugar, if you like. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for 22-24 minutes. Makes 10-12.

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Pancakes

For breakfast I can’t think of a better dish than blueberry pancakes with fresh made blueberry syrup. I treated my self this morning and made both.  The pancakes were light and very fluffy.

The secret is not to over mix. The batter was stirred until just mixed. I used a homemade biscuit mix as the base. The recipe follows.

The baking mix is normally made with shortening, but I use coconut oil. You can use the mix in so many other recipes, too. Any Bisquick recipe will work. When using coconut oil, you might want to store the mix in the fridge in hot weather. Normally I store it at room temperature, but pop it in the fridge during the summer.

The syrup is pretty simple. Just three ingredients; blueberries, sugar and a little water. Sometimes I add some vanilla or a little lemon zest.  I served it warm over the pancakes.

 

Blueberry Pancakes

2 c. biscuit mix*
1 c. milk – I used half and half
2 eggs
1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries

Combine mix, milk and eggs until just blended. Fold in berries. Pour batter by scant 1/4 cups in lightly greased griddle or skillet over moderate heat. Turn when pancakes are dry around the edges. Cook until golden brown. Makes about 13.

* Like Bisquick or Jiffy Mix or home made- recipe follows

Biscuit Mix

8 c. flour
1 c. powdered milk
1 c. powdered buttermilk (or 1 more cup powdered milk)
1/4 c. baking powder
1 T. salt
1 1/2 c. shortening* I use coconut oil

Combine dry ingredients and cut in shortening until well mixed. Store in tightly covered container. Makes 10 cups.

* You can substitute coconut oil or butter for the shortening- but mix will have to be kept cool. Refrigerate if using butter and use withing 3 months.

Blueberry Syrup

4 c. blueberries
1 c. water
1½ c. sugar

In saucepan heat berries and water to a boil and boil 2 minutes. Crush berries with a potato masher as they cook. Add sugar and cook for 10- 15 minutes on medium heat until mixture thickens.  Process syrup with an immersion blender or in a blender until smooth.  Cool, then refrigerate. Keeps a couple of weeks. Makes about 3½ cups.

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup