Monday, September 7, 2009

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

Sometimes it's the simplest recipes that are the best! I made mine with blueberries and they were so good, I didn't even need any syrup!

Best Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or slightly less table salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon extra for brushing griddle (I’ve made these pancakes with and without the butter mixed in, and can say with confidence they work either way. They’re just richer with it, of course.)

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen and thawed (optional)

1. Preheat an electric griddle to 375°F, or place a griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons melted butter, and whisk to combine. The batter should have small to medium lumps.

2. Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush the remaining 1/2 teaspoon butter onto the griddle. Wipe off the excess with a folded paper towel.

3. Using a 4-oz. ladle, about 1/2 cup (for a 6-inch pancake), pour the batter in pools 2 inches apart. If you wish to make blueberry pancakes, arrange a handful over the cooking pancake, pressing them in slightly. When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. If any batter oozes or blueberries roll out, push them back under with your spatula. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

4. Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven at 175°F. Serve warm.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cherry Crumble Bars

This is my favorite recipe of Laura's. The chocolate chip cookies are my favorite cookie but this is my favorite recipe of far. I have a lot left to try. The buttery cherry-almond combo here is very good. I'm being very reserved because if I unleashed my enthusiasm for this recipe, I'd probably be put in a straight jacket in a padded cell.

Cherry Crumble Bars

Cookie base and topping
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup almond paste (not marzipan)
1/4th teaspoon almond extract
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup sliced almonds (Reserve for topping)

2 cups frozen cherries
3/4th cups sugar
3 Tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Pinch of salt

1/3 cup powdered sugar or more if needed, whisked or sifted
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4th teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil and grease lightly with vegetable or olive oil.

In a food processor add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder and process to fluff and combine. Add almond paste and almond extract and pulse to combine. Add cold butter pieces and pulse until crumbly. Remove 1 cup of the mixture and set aside for topping.

Put the rest of the mixture into the pan, spread out evenly, and press with the bottom of a measuring cup to make a crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes until crust starts to brown slightly around the edges. Remove and leave the oven on.

Meanwhile dump all the filling ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium high heat until thickened some and translucent. About 8 to 10 minutes. Spread the filling over the crust.

Sprinkle the top with the reserved crumb mixture and top with the sliced almonds. Bake for about 28 to 30 minutes or until the filling bubbles and the top is golden. Let cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack.

Whisk or beat the icing ingredients together, drizzle over bars.

Hint: To easily remove bars from the pan freeze for 30 minutes and lift out by the foil edges. Peel off foil and cut into squares or diamonds.

Veronica's Notes: I've also made this successfully with a can of tart cherries. To do this, put a (14.5 oz) can red tart cherries packed in water in the saucepan, water and all, along with the other filling ingredients but omit the water & lemon juice. It won't have the same deep red color as the frozen cherries give, so you can add some red food coloring if you wish.