Cranberry-Apple Pancakes

We are big fans of pancakes around here (in fact my gluten-free husband only really starting loving pancakes once he switched to eating gluten-free, so that is a testament to a healing body and a really good recipe). Lazy mornings often find me whipping up a batch for breakfast. I’ve made the recipe so frequently, that I have it memorized. And while we love the simple taste of lightly cinnamon-spiced pancakes with a dollop of plain yogurt and a drizzle of real maple syrup, lately I’ve been experimenting with add-ins to fancy up our pancake fare. One day it was mashed banana and a handful of chocolate chips. Another day frozen blueberries. And most recently, chopped fresh cranberries and apples.

You can of course make this recipe with regular wheat flour, but for those of you that are gluten-free this is a great recipe. Perhaps your Christmas breakfast might include pancakes this year?

CRANBERRY-APPLE PANCAKES
(adapted from The Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking)
Print This Recipe

1 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour (if your favorite does not include xanthan gum, add 1/4 tsp to the dry ingredients)
2 to 4 Tbsp ground flax-seed (opt.)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp salted butter, melted
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/3 c. rough chopped fresh or frozen cranberries

Whisk together all the dry ingredients. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add in the melted butter and mix. Add in the chopped fruit and stir once more to combine.

Heat a skillet over medium-high. Grease with cooking spray. Spoon batter into rounds in the skillet. Cook until bubbles have formed on the surface of each pancake. Flip and cook until the other sides are golden.

Makes about 12 pancakes.

Advertisements

Champagne Cranberry Cocktail

These lovely cocktails will be making an appearance at our Christmas Brunch. They are beautiful and festive. If you like them sweeter (as my husband prefers), I think you could add a sugar cube in the bottom. These are quick and easy and lovely!

Oh and you can easily serve them to all of your guests by substituting sparkling white grape juice!

CRANBERRY CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
adapted slightly from Food Network
Print This Recipe

1-ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
1 wedge lime
Chilled Champagne or sparkling white grape juice
Cranberries (frozen)

In a Champagne flute add cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Top off the glass with Champagne or sparkling white grape juice. Garnish with 3 or 4 cranberries or sparkling white grape juice. Makes 1 cocktail.

Baker’s Delight: Orange Cranberry Poppy Seed Cake

My mom actually shared this recipe and cake with us and it’s delicious! So yummy. My youngest son even wanted bites of it for a potty training reward – if that isn’t high praise, I don’t know what is. It would be great for brunch or dessert. It is baked in a bundt pan – so pretty. Oranges are seasonal right now which makes this recipe even greater!

ORANGE CRANBERRY POPPYSEED CAKE (adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook)
Print This Recipe

1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. milk
2 T. poppy seed
1/2 c. cranberries, chopped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Zest of 2 Oranges

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Mix well after each addition.

Fold in the poppy seeds, cranberries, vanilla, and orange zest. Pour batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Set on the center rack of the oven and bake until the edges shrink away slightly from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inerted comes out clean, 50-60 minutes. Let cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes before turning out. Let cool completely.

When cooled, prick holes every 1 1/2 inches apart with a long toothpick and pour orange glaze (recipe follows) evenly over the top.

ORANGE GLAZE
1/2 c. fresh orange juice
1/2 c. sugar

Combine orange juice and sugar in a small pan and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a light syrup forms. Remove heat from the heat and keep warm until ready to use.

Off the Shelf: Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy is That

We are so delighted to have Sarah Bailey return with a guest post today!
Please join us in welcoming her!
_________________________________________

(Sarah) If you want to make Hors d’oeuvres that would impress some dinner guests without acting like a slave to the stove, you might appreciate How Easy is That? (Barefoot Contessa).
 
Ina Garten’s latest cookbook, which sits at number one on The New York Times bestseller list for hardcover advice, offers a beautiful picture for every recipe and cuts ingredients to the bare essentials. The colorful book with pictures for every recipe helps those who lack the imagination of knowing how to make a sophisticated yet nearly effortless dish.
 
However, the mediocre reviews on Amazon suggest that the Barefoot Contessa has executed better cookbooks in the past. One reviewer, for instance, complains that some of the recipes (think red velvet cupcakes) are pretty easy to find on the Internet.
 
Since my husband prefers less creamy dishes and ingredients he can easily identify, the many of the sections—cocktails, starters, lunch and even desserts—offered little benefit to me. As delicious as they sound, I can’t convince him to take a bite of “savory coeur à la crème,” “rum raisin tiramisù,” or “roasted eggplant companata.”
 
The finest section of the book premieres with the dinner section, where Garten makes divine dishes—provençal lamb, roasted shrimp with feta, and panko-crusted salmon—look like a piece of cake. A cook with an herb garden could especially appreciate the recipes as she blends fresh herbs throughout the dishes.

Sprinkled throughout the book, she includes 68 easy tips to help smooth out the cooking process. However, if you work in a small kitchen space, some of the tips are somewhat impractical. I don’t have room for a second dishwasher, since we don’t even have one dishwasher to begin with. Or, for instance, she suggests you have Le Creuset dutch ovens, All Clad sauté pans, and an extra bowl for a food processor and your Kitchenaid mixer, which might lean on the pricey side or take up too much room for some cooks.
 
She also recommends a Cooks Illustrated subscription, but I prefer to cut down on the paper and get the website subscription (where you get excellent video demonstrations and a rich archive of recipes). On the other hand, I wholeheartedly agree with her recommendation to own or save up for a large stockpot, thermometers, a box grater, and a cooking scale.
 
The book doesn’t just showcase recipes; it also includes tips for entertaining. In describing how she sets the table, she balances elegance with simplicity. “We’ve all seen some pretty over-the-top settings with a million crystal glasses, ceramic dishes filled with candy, lots of flowers, candles napkin rings, place cards, and chargers. Frankly, I’ve never known that kind of party to be more fun; in fact, it’s usually just the opposite—it’s more intimidating!” Instead, she recommends a one-color theme appropriate for the season.
 
I tested the cookbook, serving the “weeknight bolognese,” “garlic-roasted cauliflower,” and the “easy cranberry & apple cake.”

Weeknight Bolognese
Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?  Ina Garten
serves 4-5
 
2 Tb. good olive oil, plus extra to cook pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 Tb. dried oregano
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 ¼ c. dry red wine, divided
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 Tb. tomato paste
Kosher salt & black pepper
¾ pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ c. chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ c. heavy cream
½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
 
Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a large (12 inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tbs salt, and 1 ½ tsp pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.
 
While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
(How Easy is That?)
Serves 6

1 head of garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
4 1/2 Tb. olive oil, divided
kosher salt, ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
3 Tb. pine nuts
2 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add the garlic cloves. Boil for 15 seconds. Drain, pee, and cut off any brown parts. Cut the largest cloves in half lengthwise.
 
On a sheet pan, toss the cauliflower with the garlic, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Spread the mixture out in a single layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing twice, until the cauliflower is tender and the garlic is lightly browned.
 
Scrape the cauliflower into a large bowl with the garlic and pan juices. Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, the parsley pine nuts, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with another ½ teaspoon of salt, toss well, and serve hot or warm.

Easy Cranberry & Apple Cake
(How Easy is That?)
Serves 6-8

12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
½ c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 Tb. grated orange zest (2 oranges)
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
11⁄8 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 c. plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
¼ c. sour cream
1 c. all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.

Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1⁄8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Baker’s Delight: Pie

(Alaina) This past week, my November Martha Stewart Living arrived – it’s a new subscription for me. The cover had delicious looking pies. So when I wanted to try a new pie to suggest for the blog, I turned to this issue. I selected the Pear Streusel which is actually a pear and cranberry pie. It is fabulous. Perfect balance of flavors – sweet and tart.

PEAR STREUSEL PIE
(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2010)
Print This Recipe

1 recipe single pie crust

FOR THE CRANBERRY SAUCE
6 oz. fresh or thawed frozen cranberries (1 1/2 cups )
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. water
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

FOR THE STREUSEL TOPPING
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. packed light-brown sugar (I did a little less)
3/4 c. old-fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Coarse salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 lb. firm, ripe pears, such as Bosc or Bartlett, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 c. granulated sugar
Coarse salt
2 Tb. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Make the crust: Roll out dough to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce: Bring cranberries, granulated sugar, water, and cinnamon to a simmer in a pot. Cook until cranberries are tender and start to burst and sauce is thick, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the streusel: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, oats, ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until combined and mixture resembles coarse meal with some large pieces remaining. Refrigerate.

Make the filling: Mix together pears, granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the flour, and lemon juice. Stir in cooled cranberry sauce.

Transfer filling to crust; top with streusel. Bake until filling is bubbling in the center and top is golden, about 1 hour and 10-20 minutes. Let cool.

(Stephanie) As requested, I’m sharing my pumpkin pie recipe,which is actually my mom’s recipe. When I made this pie, I made a gluten-free pie crust. This was my first venture into gluten-free pies and I was happy with the recipe I found in The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook by Annalise Roberts.

MOM’S PUMPKIN PIE
Print This Recipe

1 9-inch pie crust (unbaked)
16-oz can pumpkin
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2-1 tsp ginger
1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4-1/2 tsp cloves
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 c. evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 425°. Prepare pie crust and set aside.

Thoroughly combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, and spices. Blend the eggs and evaporated milk into the pumpkin mixture.

Pour into pie shell. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes.  Then decrease oven to 350° and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

TRADITIONAL PIE CRUST
(from The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook)
Print This Recipe

1 c. + 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (don’t use margarine)
1 large egg
2 tsp orange juice or lemon juice

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugar, xanthan gum and salt. Add the butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly and resembles a coarse meal.

Add the egg and orange juice. Mix on low speed until the dough holds together; it should not be sticky. Form the dough into a ball using your hands and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten the dough into a 1-inch thickness. Roll out the dough (if it seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes). Remove top wax paper and invert into 9-inch pie pan. Remove second sheet of wax paper and crimp the edges. Fill with desired filling.

Makes 1 9-inch pie crust.

*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 c. Brown rice flour; 2/3 c. Potato starch (not potato flour!); 1/3 c. Tapioca flour.

Here are some previous ideas!
Rustic Apple Tart
Cranberry Blueberry Pie
French Silk Pie
Cranberry Chess Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin White Chocolate Cheesecake

Gluten-free Walnut & Pecan Tart

Holiday Feast: Christmas Breakfast

Who doesn’t love breakfast food?! Especially on Christmas! Here’s what our families do for breakfast on Christmas morning:

HeatherChristmas breakfast is eaten around the tree as the children open their presents. The first year we were married I discovered the recipe for Swedish Tea Rings and have made one for Christmas breakfast ever since. The rest of the menu may vary some, but it always includes fruit. In recent years we’ve enjoyed bacon-wrapped sausages sprinkled with brown sugar and then baked and I often buy some thick, Greek yogurt to serve alongside the fruit. Drinks consist of juice and plenty of hot tea.

CITRUS FRUIT SALAD WITH LIME
(Heather)

1 pineapple, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 small cans mandarin oranges or 3 large navel oranges peeled and sectioned
1 can apricots
zest and juice of 2 limes

Cut pineapple into pieces and place in a serving bowl. Add the mandarin or navel oranges and the can of apricots. Sprinkle over the zest of lime and stir in the lime juice. Best made the same day as eaten.

For variety I sometimes add dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds. For those who like ginger, one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger adds a wonderful zing or try a few tablespoons of finely sliced candied ginger.

Serves 8.

SWEDISH TEA RING
(originally from Fleishmann’s New Treasury of Yeast Baking)

3 ½ — 4 ½ c. flour
½ c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 c. milk
¼ c. water
½ c. butter
1 egg (at room temp.)
½ c. flour
½ c. nuts
½ c. brown sugar
1-2 c. fruit (canned cherries, apricot, etc. well-drained)

Mix 1 ¼ c. flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a bowl.

Combine milk, water and butter in saucepan. Heat to warm liquids and melt butter. Cool until warm. Add to dry ingredients and beat 2 minutes. Add egg and ¾ c. flour, to make a thick batter. Beat 2 more minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a stiff batter (but not as thick as bread dough). Cover and refrigerate dough at least 2 hours. (Can be kept in fridge 3 days.)

Combine nuts, ½ c. flour, and brown sugar. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and divide in half. Roll ½ of the dough into a 14×7-inch rectangle.

Spread with ½ of the fruit. Sprinkle with ½ the brown sugar mixture. Roll up from long side as for jelly roll. Seal edges. Place sealed edge down in a circle on a greased cookie sheet. Seal ends firmly.

Cut slits 2/3 through ring at 1-inch intervals; turn each section outward, on its side.

(Note: This picture shows only one-half of the ring slices turned out — be sure to turn out every ring)

Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled – about 1 hour. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. Frost while warm with confectioners’ sugar glaze.

Often I don’t have the canned filling I want so I make an apple filling by chopping about 3 large, peeled apples and mixing them with 1/4 c. flour, 1/2 c. brown sugar, juice of one lemon and a few dried cranberries. Bring this mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Glaze: mix 3 tablespoons soft butter into about 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar. Add enough milk to make a drizzling consistency. Add more sugar if needed to thicken.

Makes 2 rings.

Alaina – We traditionally enjoy an egg casserole, fruit, some kind of bread or coffee cake, and a few special drinks. The coffee pot is kept going for those of us who were awakened early by eager children. We have breakfast after stockings and gifts are opened or in between the stockings and gifts depending on the time. It’s a leisurely affair and one that I find makes me incredibly content and reflective.

I use the same base recipe for my egg casserole and just switch out the meats and cheese and sometimes add vegetables to make it different. We love it and I’ve been making it year-round for years. One of my favorite combinations is bacon, spinach, and swiss and we also love the traditional classic of sausage and sharp cheddar (onions & peppers add great color and flavor). You could easily make this vegetarian by omitting the meat. This egg casserole also re-heats very well if you have leftovers. I’m sharing one of my favorite versions.

SPINACH-MUSHROOM-BACON-SWISS EGG CASSEROLE

6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 lb. bacon, cooked and finely cut up (I often use less than a pound)
3 c. milk
8 oz. swiss cheese
1 1/3 c. crushed crackers (I use a butter cracker like ritz)

1 tsp. dry mustard
1 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 lb. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed w/liquid thoroughly squeezed out
pepper & salt*

Combine all ingredients. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes – 1 hour until golden brown.

*May not need much salt.
**May be made the night before and refrigerated.

These muffins are delicious! You could make them even more special by drizzling a little glaze over them.

LEMON-CRANBERRY ALMOND MUFFINS
(adapted from Taste of Home)

2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
zest of 1 lemon
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. slivered almonds, toasted

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the eggs, milk, oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zest and cranberries.

Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full; sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Makes 1 1/2 – 3 dozen muffins.

This icy drink always reminds me of my childhood. My mom used to surprise us with it and now I love to share it with my children.


ORANGE JULIUS

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
6 oz. water
1 c. milk
1/8-1/4 c. sugar (opt.)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
12 ice cubes

Chill glasses in freezer.

Combine all ingredients in blender or smoothie machine and blend until ingredients are mixed and ice is pulverized. Makes 4 servings.