Sunday, December 29, 2013

Carrot cake pancakes

The best part about making carrot cake is having a piece of it for breakfast the next morning. Hence the absolute genius of this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Joy, from It is a carrot cake in healthy breakfast form. It is perfectly divine and my absolute favorite things to make for my family in the morning. The only annoying thing about this recipe is that you have to hand grate the carrots finely. If you use a food processor or the bigger holes on the grater (both of which speed up the process of grating significantly) the resulting larger shreds of carrot will not cook fast enough in the pan. So, it will take you several minutes of tedium to get 2 cups of finely shredded carrot but it is worth it. I usually try to shred the carrots the night before, that way the batter only takes 2 minutes to whip up.

The other great thing about making these for breakfast is the frosting. Out of maple syrup? No worries, you don't need it! The thought of this frosting sustained me through a 5:30am shouting wake-up of "mommy play! Mommy play! Play mommy come play!!"

Carrot Cake Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 large egg
2 tablespoons sugar, white or brown
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)

For the frosting (optional but highly recommended)
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until jut combined. Gently fold in carrots. Now preheat a skillet (or two or three), and cook pancakes by the 1/4 cupful with a smidge of butter over medium heat. Flip the pancakes when bubbles appear on surface then cook until golden brown. You might need to adjust the heat to get it just right.

While the pancakes are cooking make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese in a small bowl until smooth. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla and cinnamon and beat till smooth and creamy. Add the extra tablespoon of milk if needed. 

Serve pancakes topped with frosting.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Spelt Pumpkin Muffins for a crowd

It's been a while! An international move with a toddler right before holiday/ preschool-applying season does not make for ample time to blog. But what better way to mark my re-entry into my blogbakeworld than an amazingly good, amazingly easy, and moderately good for you pumpkin muffin? Make these on a snowy weekend morning and your family will love you. Make these on a random weekday with your toddler and freeze most of them and you have an instant healthy snack any afternoon of the week!

I used spelt flour because, as I think I may have explained earlier, I am anti-wheat whenever possible. The best part of spelt is that it bakes completely like wheat and is 100% interchangeable with it, so feel free to use whatever flour you like. Half white and half whole wheat would work nicely here too. Substituting in a 1/2 cup of rye might also be nice.

I made this recipe so that it would use exactly 1 29-oz can of pumpkin purée (because I hate having extra) - but I'm sure using homecooked purée would be even more scrumptious. (And environmentally friendly.)

Spelt Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 24 muffins

These muffins are not too sweet. If your family is accustomed to the cloying taste of commercial muffins I might consider adding a 1/2 cup of sugar and/or topping each muffin before baking with a teaspoon or two of white sugar.

These would also be delicious with some chopped walnuts or whole pumpkin seeds, or even chocolate chips. Fold in gently when the flour mixture is almost all folded in but not quite.

3 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 29-ounce can pumpkin (3 1/2 cups)
5 large eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cups unrefined sugar (looks like brown sugar but is granulated, not soft - although traditional soft brown sugar would work well too)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease 24 muffin tins with butter or oil, or line with paper muffin liners.

In a very large mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients (except the sugar) and whisk until well incorporated.

In a large bowl whisk together all the wet ingredients (including the sugar) until well combined.

Make a well in the flour mixture and dump in the pumpkin mixture. Fold together until no pockets of flour remain. Do not over mix; stir just until combined. (Over-stirring causes the gluten in the flour to develop which makes the muffins texturally tough.)

Fill the muffin tins with a 1/3 cup of batter each. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops of the muffins spring back lightly when you touch them gently with your finger. As always, do not overbake! (Although if you do, a smothering of cream cheese mixed with lots of powdered sugar will make all well with the world.)