Home Alone*, Apple Almond Pancakes

three browned pancakes on a plate with fingers taking the one top left

Generally, if anyone makes breakfast for the family, it’s my awesome spouse. I’m, well…  I’m not exactly a morning person and am much better left sipping my coffee alone in a corner when it’s breakfast-making time. This means, among other things, I am not the one who officially knows how to make pancakes. This weekend, however, said awesome spouse is out of town, and I wanted to make something while the kids obsessively used up all their allotted screen time** before breakfast. So I made pancakes, but weird enough pancakes that they didn’t need to compete directly with “real” pancakes.***

Inspired, as so often happens, by Smitten Kitchen, I made apple almond pancakes instead. My kids even ate them!

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or sprouted spelt flour)
  • 1/2 cup almonds or ground almonds or almond flour (or hazelnut flour!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice**** (or cinnamon)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (or 1 cup yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup milk)
  • 2 – 3 apples, coarsely grated
  • butter, for frying

If you’re starting with whole, raw almonds, roast them in a 300ºF oven for about 10 minutes, take them out when they begin to smell delicious. Grind the almonds with 1/2 cup of the flour in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse flour.

Whisk together the flour, almonds, and remaining dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate container, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs, then fold them into the dry ingredients, then fold in the grated apple. You should have a thick batter that seems like it’s about half apple.

Heat a cast iron skillet, or griddle, to medium hot, add a pat of butter, and fry the pancakes in batches. They’ll be thick! Spread them out a bit with the ladle so they’re not too thick. Mine ended up ~1/2 inch and took 3-5 minutes per side to cook through.

Serve with cider syrup, or whatever other deliciousness you have on hand.


* OK, not really “alone” as “temporarily home without my spouse and co-parent, but with two kids and a housemate”

**Which is an hour each on weekend days, which they almost never in parallel

***”Real” pancakes at my house are, for the record, super delicious multi-grain pancakes with hot berries on top. Super delicious.

****Yes, I actually use apple pie spice blend. Penzey’s has a really nice one that tastes great with most things apple and is easier and faster than adding the separate components. I find myself reaching for it fairly often.

 

Cream Scones, the 2nd – My Favorite

As I mentioned, I have a few go-to scone recipes. This one is my favorite. It’s not as easy as Cream Scones, the 1st, because you need to cut in the butter, but I secretly like cutting in butter, and these are delicious, and I learned them from one of my favorite people in culinary school, so…

Cream Scones (II)

  • 2 c flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 oz butter
  • 3/4 cup dried fruit
  • 1 1/4 c cream
  • melted butter & coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 425º

Whisk together the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter. (I do this with my fingers, but a pastry cutter, or two knives, or a food processor will also work well.) Add the dried fruit, then the cream, mixing and flattening with a spatula until just forming a rough dough. Turn the dough out onto the counter, then fold it over itself and flatten, repeating until it comes together somewhat uniformly. Shape the dough into two circles, and cut each into 8 wedges.

Place wedges, evenly spaced, on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, and brush with melted butter, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake until golden, ~12 to 15 minutes.


 

Note: the image used for this post is based on this recipe, but the scones were made mini-sized to serve with a kids’ homemade high tea.

 

The Easy Scones – for Slow, Companionable Mornings

When people ask me what my favorite thing to bake is, I often answer “scones”. This may be simply a way of dodging the pie vs. cake debate*, but it’s also true. I love scones. They’re easy, and delicious, and still manage to feel special. They can be dressed up for tea, or made simple for potluck breakfasts.

I have a few go-to scone recipes. This one is the easiest, and great for if you wake up tomorrow and want to make something for a easy breakfast nibble.**

Cream Scones (I)

  • 7.5 oz (1 1/2 c) flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1.75 oz (1/4 c) sugar
  • 2.5 oz (~1/2 c) dried fruit (chopped to raisin size or so)
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (or some lemon zest)
  • milk or cream and coarse (or regular) sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Whisk (or mix) the dry ingredients together, then add dried fruit. Add cream and vanilla together and stir with a spatula until just mixed. You should have a rough dough. Pat into a round disk, ~1/2 inch thick, and cut into eight (or twelve) wedges.*** Place wedges, evenly spaced on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Brush tops with milk (or cream) and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until golden. ~20 minutes.


* The answer to “pie vs. cake”, of course, is often “tart!”

**If you don’t happen to have any pie, that is. Leftover pie for breakfast is a wonderful tradition.

***I use a bench scraper for this if I have one, but knife or other handy straight edge will work fine.

This Is Not Neil Gaiman’s Porridge (Overnight Oats)

Neil Gaiman allegedly makes the World’s Best Porridge, which I thought I remembered was pretty much the way I make it, until I went back and read the recipe. Turns out I don’t really make it the world’s best way, though both Mr. Gaiman and I use butter.  My porridge may not be the best, but it’s pretty good and makes me happy on cold mornings, particularly on cold mornings when my spouse isn’t home to feed the kids breakfast, like tomorrow will. I am not good at feeding kids breakfast before I’ve had my coffee; it helps to have a plan.

I probably started making porridge this way in one of my spates of reading about Weston A Price. I’m not totally convinced that phytic acid is all that bad for me, but soaking grains, with or without whey, sure does make them cook faster in the morning, so I still do it.

Pretty Good Overnight Oats

  • 1/4 steel cut oats (or blend of steel cut and rolled or maybe even rolled something else like triticale) per person
  • some butter (~1 tsp per 1/4 cup oats)
  • some salt (a good pinch per 1/4 cup oats)
  • some optional whey or yogurt (~1.5 tsp per 1/4 cup oats)
  • 3/4 cup water per 1/4 cup oats
  • chopped fruit, nuts, maple syrup, brown sugar, cream, etc. for serving

The night before: In a saucepan that will happily hold the amount of oats you’re making, melt the butter over medium heat, then toast the oats in the butter until your kitchen smells like delicious oatmeal cookies. Turn off heat and add the salt, optional whey, and water. Cover.

The morning of: Bring to a simmer and cook until done, which shouldn’t take long (5 to 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Serve with your favorite add-ins.