Tag Archives: Comfort food

Chocolate Chip Pancakes

It’s always a treat to have pancakes for breakfast. Soft, fluffy, lightly sweetened and adorned with a smear of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup.

It’s even more of a treat to sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Especially for the kids. Be prepared for a round of “YAY!” Who knows, the little bit of chocolate in these pancakes might just perk up your mood for a bright and cheerful day. πŸ™‚

Chocolate Chip Pancakes
makes 12 4-in pancakes

1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. whole milk with 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. oil, plus more for the pan
Chocolate Chips

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, eggs, oil and vanilla until well combined.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chocolate chips and stir lightly until blended. Do not overmix.
  3. Heat up a large frying pan or griddle on medium heat, drizzle with a bit of oil, and ladle the batter on top. Sprinkle 7-8 chocolate chips on each pancake.
  4. Cook for about a minute on each side until both sides are lightly browned.

Pancakes on FoodistaPancakes


Filed under Breakfast, Chocolate, Comfort Food

Mini Banana Muffins

Finally. We stop devouring bananas long enough to have three bananas go brown. Seriously, my family consumes a fantastic amount of bananas, at least a good couple bunches a week. Rarely do we have brown bananas. For eating, I prefer the beautifully rich yellow ones that still have green ends. Then when I peel it open, there is no sign of bruising on the pale creamy flesh, which still resists a little before yielding. Just a hint of tartness before the sweetness settles in. Yes, I can be picky like that, but I would take a sub-par banana anyway. πŸ˜‰

So I’ve got these three large squishy, sorry looking fruits sitting on the dinner table. Time to make muffins.

Mini ones are just so darn cute. It’s impossible to eat just one. I stopped looking up banana bread recipes a long time ago. These days I just use what I have and make it up along the way. They always come out differently, just like my chocolate chip cookies.

This particular batch packs a powerful banana punch and is super moist. For banana bread lovers!

Super Banana Muffins, Mini-ed
makes 24 mini muffins plus 6 regular ones

3 large bananas, mashed to make about 1 1/2 cups
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4. tsp. salt

  1. Mash the bananas in a large bowl and mix thoroughly with the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar.
  2. Mix in the rest of the ingredients until smooth, take care not to over mix.
  3. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray and fill with batter. Spoon the rest of the batter into sprayed regular muffin tins.
  4. Bake in a preheat oven at 350 degrees. 20 minutes for mini muffins, 25-30 for regular muffins.

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Filed under Banana, Comfort Food, Muffins, Snacks

“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns – End of July NaBloPoMo

First of all, thank you Ms. Kanis! You were always a wonderful, attentive, fair teacher who knew what she was doing!

This recipe came from a cooking class I took back in high school. No other cinnamon bun recipe, prior to, or post, this one, has impressed me as much. To me, these are truly the BEST. Not just from the year 2000 either.

Very few foods offer me the pleasure of wiping my brain clean, then flooding with the very taste and texture of it. I don’t often go, “WOW, this is GOOD.” Once was a pizza I ate in junior high, it tasted vaguely of butter. Don’t ask. Another time was during eighth period Culinary Arts, a single bite of cinnamon sugar encrusted brioche-tasting dough.

After I lost the recipe last year, I have searched up and down, in and out, for it. Finally, when I went back to Jersey earlier this summer I visited Ms. Kanis at my high school to get a copy. So so happy I have it again. It’s gem.

I think I can justify eating one for breakfast if it wasn’t glazed. Save the glazed ones for dessert, although the glazed ones are definitely better than the non-glazed. The taste of butter dominates in the glaze and adds an extra “oomph” to the bun. These are sticky, chewy, gooey. Everything you need in a cinnamon bun.

This remains one of the only recipes that I do not alter.

“Best of 2000” Cinnamon Buns
adapted from Ms. Kanis, WWPHSS, with much love and gratitude
makes 12 large buns

1 package active dry yeast, or 2 1/4 tsp.
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. plus 1/2 tsp. sugar, divided
1/2 c. warm milk
1/3 c. butter, unsalted, softened
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 1/2 c. to 4 c. all-purpose flour or bread flour

1/2 c. melted butter, unsalted, divided
3/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. chopped walnuts, I toasted mine first
3/4 c. raisins, optional, we didn’t use it in class, and I’ve never used it

1/3 c. melted butter, unsalted
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-4 Tbsp. hot water

To make the dough:

  1. Combine yeast, warm water, and 1/2 tsp. sugar in a measuring cup and stir, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix warmed milk, remaining 1/3 c. sugar, butter, salt, and egg; stir well and add yeast mixture.
  3. Add half the flour and beat until smooth. Work in enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly stiff dough, it will be sticky.
  4. Turn out onto a well-floured counter. Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour to the work surface as needed to keep it from sticking. As Ms. Kanis used to say, “As smooth as a baby’s bottom, or as smooth as my grandmother’s cheek.”
  5. Place in a well-buttered bowl, cover and let ruse until doubled in bulk. You can place it in the fridge overnight.

To make the filling:

  1. Punch down the dough and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out on floured counter into a 15 by 20 inch rectangle.
  2. Spread dough with 1/4 c. melted butter.
  3. Mix together 3/4 c. sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over buttered dough. Sprinkle walnuts and raisins, if using.
  4. Roll up jelly-roll fashion, starting from the short side, so you end up with a 15 inch. log. Pinch edges to seal and cut into 12 slices
  5. Coat the bottom of a 9 by 13 baking pan (I used two 9 inch round pans) with remaining 1/4 c. melted butter. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Place slices close together in pans. Cover and let rise until doubled. Once again, you can refridgerate overnight. For a treat in the morning!
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 23-30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Let cool slightly, then spread with glaze.

To make the glaze:

  1. Mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add hot water 1 Tbsp. at a time until glaze is of desired consistency.
  2. Stir again before using.

If there is anything that makes me happy, even when I’m down, it’s these cinnamon buns. It fills your house with the comforting scent of cinnamon and sugar and your heart with happiness. Enjoy. πŸ™‚


Filed under Breads, Breakfast, Comfort Food, Pastries

Not My Usual Biscuits

Before, if you mentioned the word biscuits to me, my mind immediately goes to the cut-in-butter, mix-in-milk, roll-out-three-quarters-inch-thick, cut-with-round-cutter-or-sharp-knife, kind. In other words, a rather cohesive, stiff dough, that produces layers, are good to eat, but dries out quickly. What is going on with my run-on sentences today? I thought my junior year teacher has done her best to stamp that out of me.

But back to the biscuits.

Today I tried something a little different. Having read Bakewise, by Shirley O. Corriher. Fantastic read, by the way. I love baking. I love science. I love her book.

She offers a recipe for Touch of Grace Biscuits that are feather light and tender. She claims that it is the steam produced during baking of the biscuits that makes them rise so well and become beautifully fluffy. Where does the steam come from? The excess moisture in the dough, of course. Except in this case it is almost more of a stiff batter than a dough. She says the dough has to be the consistency of cottage cheese and rolled in flour for easier handling.

I didn’t exactly use her recipe. I took her principle and made my own. Not quite cottage cheese consistency, because I was afraid to have a goopy mess on my hands, but it is a very loose dough. And the results are light and tender, just as she promised. With a touch of grace.

Cat’s Not Usual Biscuits
makes about 10-12 medium sized biscuits

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cold
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. milk, with 1 Tbsp. vinegar added
1/2 c. flour, for shaping

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray an 8 inch round cake pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together well. Rub the butter in with your finger tips until it resembles crumbs and rolled oats. Add the soured milk gradually while tossing with a spoon, until the dough comes loosely together. It will be more like a very viscous batter than a dough.

Place a small pile of flour on your work surface. Scoop up a mound of dough the size of an apricot and drop it onto the pile of flour. Sprinkle the top with flour and pick up carefully with your hands. Shape it into a rough round and place in the pan. Repeat with all the dough, placing the rounds right next to each other so that the biscuits won’t spread but rise up instead.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Eat as hot as you can, with generous pats of butter.


Filed under Comfort Food, Scones and Biscuits

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies

First and foremost, let it be known that I am mourning. There has been a death in the family, and it is a sad day indeed. Rest in peace, HP Pavillion dv6000. You have served me, er, reasonably well over the last two years. You could’ve told me that you were going though, instead of just up and leaving like that. I know you had been temperamental, but your temperament was probably learned from me. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you or your feelings over the past couple of years. Particularly sorry for all the coffee spilled and all the times you were dropped or sat on. Please don’t take your secrets with you to the grave, I need them for my blogs. So I can keep posting delicious recipes like brownies.

Enough said about death. Let’s live some by eating. Cheesecake and brownies. Two of the most sinful desserts there are. Combined. With some strawberry preserves thrown in for good measure.

These are dense, chewy, creamy, and sweet with a hint of tartness from the preserves and the cheesecake batter. Need I say more? No better way to mourn. Live and love with these brownies.

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies
makes an 8 by 8 square pan, cut into as many bars as you’d like

Brownie batter:
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped, or use 1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 eggs, beaten and divided
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cheesecake batter:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 c. strawberry preserves, stirred

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 by 8 square pan with cooking spray, or grease and flour.

In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate. Stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. Place the cheesecake batter ingredients in a separate small bowl, pour in about 1/2 an egg from your beaten eggs for the brownie batter. Blend well.

When the chocolate mixture has cooled sufficiently, add sugar, vanilla, and remaining beaten egg. Mix well. Add flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Mix until uniform.

Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the cheesecake batter in dollops on top. Drop the strawberry preserves on top of the cheesecake batter. Don’t drop on top of the brownie batter because the color of the preserves will blend in with the chocolate and the result will not be as attractive. Use a knife and swirl together slightly.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the side of the pan comes out clean. My rule with brownies is that it is always better to underbake than overbake.

Cool completely before slicing, if you can wait that long. Keep in the fridge.

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Filed under Bars and Brownies, Chocolate, Comfort Food, Desserts

Butterscotch Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is my idea of comfort food. I don’t like rice. I don’t like heated milk. But I do love the concoction that comes out of mixing the two.

Isn’t that odd?

Rice pudding will be the only rice dish that I eat without constantly thinking to myself that it’s rice, and how much I don’t like rice. I like it hot. I like it cold. I like it in the pot. I like it nine days old.

Just kidding. Although I have eaten leftovers up to a couple days, where it had formed ice crystals from being stored in the back of the fridge. And I still ate it.

There’s this little diner-like place in Dorval, Quebec, near Montreal, and near where I live during the school year. It’s conveniently called Dorval Deli. It serves almost everything you would ever want to eat, except Chinese. Everything from pancakes to pizza to pasta to lamb chops to steak to gyros to…everything you’d possibly want. Cheap. Not fussy. Perfect for college students. With their dishes they include soup, bread, and dessert. Soup of the day, white roll with prepackaged butter pats. Like I said, not fussy. Dessert is the choice between jello and rice pudding, most of the time. Rice pudding, which is what we order, most of the time. There was this one time when the waitress happily told us that they had apple cake. So of course we all jumped at the chance to order it. When the dessert arrives we all dig in. After two minutes of munching in silence we individually realized something, but no one would speak up. Finally, one girl in the group said, “this doesn’t taste like apples.” Of course not. It was a slice of banana cake.

Next time at the Deli, it was back to the good old rice pudding.

Before eating there, I’d never really tried rice pudding. Since I thought it was rice plus hot milk. Yuck. Then the Deli changed my mind. Their pudding is okay, what had attracted me at first was the dusting of cinnamon on the top. The cinnamon was good. Lightly spicy and sweet, it broke my fear of rice pudding.

So I started to make my own pudding at home, and became semi-addicted. There is nothing better when you’re bogged down by all the specific demands of life. This is a butterscotch version, made with brown sugar and a touch more vanilla extract. Feel free to have your pudding snow white by replacing the brown sugar with white. Another note, this recipe contains egg, which I find gives the creamiest texture for rice puddings. I’ve tried itΒ  both ways, eggless recipes just can’t top the creamy pudding consistency of this recipe.

Creamy Butterscotch Rice Pudding
adapted from Allrecipes
makes enough for 4, or 1, in my case

3/4 cups uncooked white rice (I’ve used jasmine and arborio; jasmine is fragrant, arborio is woodsy)
2 cups milk, divided
1/3 cup brown sugar, or less if you prefer
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. butter

In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil and add the rice. Stir, lower the heat (medium low), and let simmer for 20 minutes. Check the tenderness of the rice. This is important, because once you add the sugar, the rice grains stop getting softer. So make sure you like the texture of the rice before proceeding with the recipe.

Add the brown sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 15 minutes, until the milk is absorbed and the pudding is creamy. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup milk with the beaten egg. Add to pot and quickly stir in. Cook another few minutes until the mixture becomes thick. Add butter and vanilla. Serve warm or chilled. Press plastic wrap on top of the pudding if you plan to chill it. This will prevent a skin from forming on top.

Forgo the fancy serving dishes and just grab your farvourite spoon and a friend (to watch you eat). Here’s mine.

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Filed under Comfort Food, Desserts