Tag Archives: Breakfast

Best Damn Muffins

2014-08-12 15.52.12I may never make another muffin again. In my opinion, this is the holy grail of muffin recipes! Keep in mind that these are not your healthy, low-fat variety of muffin but nor are they cupcakes either. The beauty of this recipe is it is versatile: the batter gives a nice base for adding any kind of fruit or nut. I think it’s best with a sour fruit like cranberries or red currants. (The muffins in the photo are red currant and blueberry.) They are good even on day two and freeze well!

If you want to veganize it, replace the butter with canola oil, use egg replacer in place of the eggs (flax eggs would probably work really well too), and make vegan buttermilk by stirring in a teaspoon of white vinegar into a half cup of soy milk. I have yet to try veganizing this recipe but I see no reason why these substitutions wouldn’t work.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in a small bowl. (For a lower-fat option, skip this step and double the canola oil below.)

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp baking powder
zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together:
2 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
And then add the melted butter.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and mix just until incorporated. Add in 11/2 cups of berries such as cranberries (frozen or fresh) and any other fun things you like: pecan pieces, pumpkin seeds, etc. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (either lined or greased) and top with a sprinkling of coarse sugar (optional). Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Try and let them cool for at least 15 minutes before attacking.

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Gwyneth Paltrow’s Dad’s Buttermilk Pancakes

Yes, that’s right, Gwyneth Paltrow’s dad.  Gwyneth’s cookbook is on loan to me on the moment and this is the second recipe I’ve made from it (the first was an unremarkable blueberry muffin, which I didn’t bother to write up).  Before this cookbook I was pretty indifferent towards Gwyneth Paltrow but this her writing and recipes have definitely swayed me to like her.  It doesn’t hurt that she’s a health nut and (mostly) vegetarian (eating fish and chicken occasionally). Her dad’s diagnosis with a rare form of cancer in the late ’90s elicited the move towards a vegan-wheat-free-liquor-free-sugar-free-macrobiotic diet (in an attempt to heal her dad by proxy I guess), which she says has waned  in more recent years.  But still these tendencies are evident throughout the cookbook.  Anyway, on to the pancakes.  Gwyneth claims her dad was a pancake master but doesn’t everyone think their father is a pancake master? I think my dad makes the best pancakes and he uses an Aunt Jemima mix.  As skeptical as I was, I gave “Bruce Paltrow’s World Famous Pancakes” a go.  Sorry dad: you are now officially demoted to second place.  Bruce Paltrow’s pancakes are deee-licious. “Silky smooth” was how my husband described them, which until you’ve tried them, might seem a strange description for pancakes.  So try them!  This was my first time making buttermilk pancakes and they just don’t compare to anything else.  And if you are tempted to cheat and do the make-your-own buttermilk trick (1 tsp of vinegar in 1 cup of milk) I would highly suggest you restrain yourself. Get the real thing: there’s no substitute.

Two notes.  One: the batter needs to sit overnight in the fridge to ‘rest’.  I have no idea if that makes a difference but I love the idea of making the batter the night before and not messing around in the morning.  Two: the recipe I’m giving here is exactly half of the recipe that’s in the book.  It was more than enough for 2 people.  But if you are serving a family of four, double all the ingredients.

1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
A bit more than 3 tablespoons of sugar
20 ml baking powder
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups buttermilk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs

Whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl; the wet ingredients in another.  Add wet to dry.  Stir just enough to combine and don’t worry if the batter is a bit lumpy.  Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.  In the morning have a look at the batter and decide if you want to thin it out a bit with milk.  I chose not to but Gwyneth suggests that you can thin it with up to a 1/2 cup of milk if you like more delicate pancakes.  I love blueberries in my pancakes so I added a few handfuls before cooking.  Add a bit of butter to the griddle and off you go!

March 2, 2013 Recipe Update – Veganize It!

I have been really craving these pancakes as they are hands-down the best pancake recipe I know. However I’ve stopped keeping dairy products in the house and so have never had the ingredients to make it. Last night I decided to try my hand at veganizing it and my husband and I just polished off the whole batch this morning. They were delicious and so easy to make! I am annoyed I didn’t think to do this sooner.  All you need to do is replace the buttermilk with soy milk, adding about 1.5 teaspoons of white vinegar and letting it sit for about 5 minutes or so. Soy milk curdles just like cow’s milk does! Instead of eggs, use egg replacer, equivalent to 3 eggs. Replace the butter with vegan margarine. Works like a charm!

P.S. – the photo above is the same one that accompanies the recipe in the book.  It’s taken by Ellen Silverman.


Slightly Crispy yet Soft & Chewy Waffles

I have been making these waffles for several years and I think the original was from Allrecipes.com.  These are great plain but also delicious with frozen (or fresh) blueberries added to the batter or about 2 bananas cut into thin slices.  The recipe feeds about 4 people @ 2 waffles each.

In a big bowl, mix together:

  • 2 cups flour (all-purpose or half all-purpose and half whole wheat)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
In another bowl mix together:
  • 4 egg yolks (place the egg whites in another bowl)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I like canola)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Mix until moistened.
Beat the egg whites until stiff.  Fold into the batter.  At this point add blueberries or bananas or whatever fruit you like.  Set your waffle iron on a medium setting (3 on my cuisinart).