oatmeal pancakes

The kids love oatmeal.  They also love pancakes.  I love making food I don’t eat, especially when I can geek out.  I see a win/win/win here.

Pancakes could technically be called panmuffins, since you use the Muffin Method of construction: scale dry ingredients in Bowl 1 and mix thoroughly; scale wet ingredients in Bowl 2 and beat to combine; pour Bowl 2 mix into Bowl 1 (not the reverse!), then stir briefly until the dry mix is mostly absorbed, but lumps remain.  

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this chocolate cake is not a lie

The vast appeal of a boxed cake mix, besides not having to measure dry ingredients, is that it’s a one-bowl operation.  Dry mix goes into the bowl; liquids go into the bowl; presto, cake batter.

I can get that down to a bowl, a bag and a drinking glass, with the advantage of reusing the bag – as soon as one cake’s worth of dry mix is emptied, scale in the next cake’s worth, re-seal the bag and smugly reflect on your water conservation skills and environmental conscientiousness.  Or toss the bag, preferably whilst lighting a contraband legal Cuban cigar with a Ben Franklin and laughing maniacally.

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after action report: maple bacon cronuts

Check-in Weight: 146.8; I had a full-on, carby eat-fest yesterday. On the menu today is hot tea, veggie stir-fry at midday and Beef Wellington and Lawry’s The Prime Rib recipe for creamed spinach for Christmas dinner. (I do this daily check in as one of the recommendations of Dr. Beverly Berkeley’s Refuse to Regain blog.)

I felt compelled to eat one of my maple-bacony creations, because I had zero faith in frying these in oil then offering it to other people to eat without any idea how they would taste. They are a work in progress. When the British Fellows at Sorted Food say leave lots of large lumps of butter, they fucking mean it. I was afraid my batch would be soggy, greasy, tasteless lumps of standard doughnut-shop frosted cake shite.

But, amazingly, they are pretty good. I got separation of layers – not as many as if I’d left more large lumps of butter in the dough. Despite the frying, the interior was light and tasted like a baked croissant. The entire doughnut was light, actually, despite the maple icing (50g powdered sugar, 12g milk, 3g maple syrup since I had no extract – in that case, use 1/4t maple extract) and crumbled bacon on top. I finished the cronut and didn’t feel like I just choked down a lead weight. In fact, I could have easily grabbed another cronut – which is the finest recommendation I could have for a sweet treat of any sort.

cronuts: or, the acceptance of a foodie’s delight

As I left for 12 days of staycation, one of my co-workers requested that I bring in cronuts during my off-time. Having noticed this craze in passing when it first started, I think the hype has died down enough to finally embark on this particular culinary adventure. If you have recently emerged from solitary confinement, a cronut is a doughnut made from croissant dough. In theory, one should prepare a croissant dough the old-fashioned way, with a lean dough, the requisite insertion of a butter sheet and subsequent turns of the dough.

In practice, I found a recipe that gives an acceptable result (for a cronut) with less hassle. This works quite splendid for me, since, if I’m going to go to all the fuss of making a traditional croissant dough, I’m going to bake some God-damned croissants, oui? Oui.

I think what pleases me best about this recipe is the metric measurements. The fellows in the video are British, which I assume means that they were not exposed to the horror that is American dessert making, what with the over-abundance of sugar and the volumetric measurements. No, they have provided a proper set of weight measurements for their dough; I think my only beef is the lack of exactitude in their icing measurement. No worries, though. Tomorrow, once I have made my icing, I will give an exact measure of lemon juice for every 100g of powdered sugar used.

Baking Notes. ‘Strong’ flour, as described in the recipe, is bread flour and ‘plain’ flour is all-purpose flour. When you are ready to fry your cronuts, 170 degrees Celsius is 338 degrees Fahrenheit. More baking notes will be added as I progress through the recipe today and tomorrow.

pumpkin pancakes

#1 Girl, being in charge of Thanksgiving dessert, made a really good pumpkin cheesecake. Since it was both pumpkin pie and cheesecake filling the graham cracker crust, we ran into the inevitable problem of leftover pumpkin purée. Being outright wasteful of food feels like a heinous move this time of year, so I charged her with finding something else to do with less than 200g of purée. Pumpkin bread? Nope. Pumpkin cookies? Bleech. Mini pumpkin tartlets? Too much work.

Pumpkin pancakes? Oh my sweet, buttery Jesus YES.

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tip – basic layer cake: cost

The cost of the basic layer cake, per layer, is tied to the type, quality and quantity of ingredients you put into it. Based on where I do my shopping (Fresh & Easy in Long Beach), one layer of the basic layer cake costs me $1.28:

  • $2.99 for one dozen jumbo eggs
  • $2.99 for one pound of butter
  • $2.99 for five pounds of all-purpose flour
  • $0.98 for one 8oz container of baking powder
  • $0.79 for one container of table salt
  • $1.99 for one half-gallon of whole milk
  • $2.99 for one four-pound bag of hippie, tree-hugging granulated sugar
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    recipe – basic layer cake

    I like cake, but most cake is crap.

    Store-bought cakes are usually too sweet, frosted with diabetic-coma-inducing, weird-tasting fluff. Home-baked cake from scratch tends to lack consistency, usually dense and sitting like a rock in the gut. That cake density may be directly related to using measuring cups as opposed to a scale, because I have yet to meet the baker who can measure two cups of flour and have the first cup scale out at the same weight as the second. Home-baked from a box tends to have an insubstantial texture that can’t hold real flavor. White cake from a box is the worst, since it presents an unholy combination of insubstantial texture combined with a distinct flavor of chemicals.

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