A Baking Miniseries, Day Seven: Essential Breakfast Recipes
If Benedict Cumberbatch is a classy seven-course dinner, breakfast is Chris Pratt. From cereal to scones, it's the best all the ways.
These are my essential baked breakfast recipes and the ways you can vary them morning to morning. These foods are such a staple in our house that I'm pretty sure my boys think we live in a bakery.
I make a mammoth batch every couple of weekends, and we freeze the majority for quick weekday pancake breakfasts.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I sometimes do half all-purpose and half whole wheat pastry flour for a nutritional boost.)
- 1/4 cup sugar (Coconut sugar shows up occasional for another nutritional boost.)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk (Try almond milk if you're dairy free.)
- 4 tbsp melted butter (Dairy-free folks go with coconut oil; vegetable oil doesn't add enough flavor.)
- 2 eggs
One morning, I made pancake batter and cooked a couple for me and my husband. I had to leave for something, so he cooked another pancake for himself. He found me later and said, "The pancake I made tasted like old shoes." The way you cook a pancake makes a big difference, guys. Don't eat old shoes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.
- Add the remaining ingredients to a liquid measuring cup, measuring your milk first and then adding everything else. Add the melted butter (or coconut oil) slowly as you whisk so it gets reasonably incorporated before chilling into tiny solids. Whisk the mixture until well combined.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and gently whisk it together. Everything you'd heard is right; if you over-mix pancake batter, it gets tough. Once the flour is almost gone, switch to a spatula and get it fully incorporated, and be cool about teeny pockets of flour; they're fine.
- If you have a really powerful griddle, use it. I have a Cuisinart griddle/panini press situation, and it does the job for my boys who don't care about crisp edges and deep flavor. But for me and my husband, we cook our pancakes in a skillet, cast iron if you want to be epic. The keys to a great pancake are fat and heat, so don't be afraid of either. Heat your pan to medium-high, add a generous dollop of coconut oil, butter, or a combination (my personal favorite), and let it melt to a sizzle. Using a large scoop or a really big serving spoon, add some batter to the hot pan. The edges will sizzle, the oil will pop, and you'll think you're doing something wrong. You are NOT. Count to 20, and then turn the heat to medium-low. That initial burst of heat creates an amazing crust on the pancake, but let the batter gently cook the rest of the way. Once you see bubbles forming on the top, flip. If you feel like the bottom is getting too browned before you get any bubbles, simply turn your heat down a little. No worries. Ride it out. The second side will take far less time than the first, so once it's barely browned, you can remove it.
- Eat the pancakes right away as you make them, or keep them warm in a low oven. But right away is bonkers good.
Do you plan on adding anything fun? Things that don't need to be caramelized (chocolate chips, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) should be added a couple of minutes into cooking the first side. Things that could benefit from a little direct heat (bananas and peaches) get a different treatment; add them directly to the hot pan first and then pour the batter over top. Magic.
Also feel free to add 1/2-1 tsp of any flavoring or extract that strikes your fancy. I love the flavors of butter and buttermilk unencumbered, but add a little vanilla or almond extract for a fun variation.
This is easy. We've been making the Waffles of Insane Greatness for a couple of years, and nothing has ever come close to beating them. Make them now, please.
Essential Muffins: Mocha Oatmeal Muffins (Dairy-Free)
These aren't mix-and-match; these are my personal essential muffin. Not too sweet, borderline good for you, super easy to make, and just as good fresh as frozen. I stash them in the freezer for breakfast, dessert, and everything in between. They are my heart amen.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (my favorite way to add fiber without adding bulk)
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup coconut sugar (regular white sugar is fine but not as healthy or flavorful)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup instant oats (not old-fashioned)
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup melted coconut oil (butter is fine)
- 1 cup almond milk (whole milk and buttermilk would also work)
- 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee (just save your morning leftovers for a couple of days)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks (make sure it's dark and doesn't have milk if you're dairy-free)
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries broken in half (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, and spray or line two muffin/cupcake tins.
- Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour thru salt).
- Whisk in the instant oats.
- In a large liquid measuring cup, measure the almond milk and coffee, and then add the eggs, melted oil, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
- Add liquid mixture to the dry, and whisk until there are still a few streaks of flour, switching to a spatula midway.
- Gently fold in the chocolate and the raspberries if you're using them. (A note on raspberries: I prefer them alongside the muffin, not inside it. The flavor combination is killer, but I like the texture of the muffin without the raspberries inside. Either way is great though; your call.)
- Pour the batter into the tins about 1/4-inch from the top. You want them almost full. Add the muffins to the hot oven, and bake for six minutes to get an initial strong rise. Then lower the temperature to 350 and bake another 10-12 minutes.
- The muffins are done when they've pulled away from the sides a bit and a toothpick comes out of the center clean or with a few moist crumbs. If it looks wet, check to make sure you didn't just poke a chocolate chip; it might not be actual batter.
- Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, and then let them cool on a wire rack. Store at room temperature for a few days. If you're going to freeze them, freeze them on a sheet pan first and then add them to a freezer bag. That way they won't crush each other.
Tomorrow is the last day of our baking miniseries where I'll share with you my essential baking cookbooks. There are some gems out there.
Previous posts in the baking miniseries: