Saturday, July 27, 2013

Coconut Flour Pancakes (low-carb, gluten free)

This past week, I posted about cream cheese pancakes that I had made in the unending quest for low-carb pancakes that aren't awful.  One of the (happy few) who seems to read this blog consistently posted another recipe to try, and I went running to the All Day I Dream About Food blog for the recipe.  It seemed logical - a scant 1/2 coconut flour to 6 eggs and 1 cup of milk (coconut flour is greedy), so I marked it to try for the weekend.

I made them this morning and I'm already blogging about them, so that should tell you something.  The batter gets thick instantly and even though you have to spread it in the pan, they still manage to have a pancake texture.  You can taste the coconut flour, and it has a bit of a density crunch, but these might be my favorite low-carb attempt yet.  The only change I made was using a few Splenda packets instead of the listed sweetener; I often make pancakes completely unsweet so I'm not sure they needed either.  The syrup you see is sugar free.

I'm copying the recipe here since recipes can't be copyright protected, but the original blogger had more to say about cooking with coconut flour, and I recommend a trip to her blog!  I would also say that this recipe is intended to feed 6, and I only used half the batter.  Next time I'll cut it in half.

Coconut Flour Pancakes


1/2 cup coconut flour
3 tbsp granulated erythritol or 3 Splenda packets
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Additional butter or oil for the pan

Preheat oven to 200F. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut flour, erythritol, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add the egg mixture to the coconut flour mixture and stir well to combine. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and brush with vegetable oil or melted butter. Scoop two heaping tablespoons of batter onto skillet and spread into a 3 to 4 inch circle. Repeat until you can't fit any more pancakes into the skillet (you should be able to get 3 or 4 in). Cook until bottom is golden brown and top is set around the edges. Flip carefully and continue to cook until second side is golden brown. Remove from pan and keep warm on plate or baking sheet in oven, while repeating with remaining batter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cremita de Maiz

I haven't yet read a book set in Puerto Rico, but I have made something for breakfast from Puerto Rico that I will never forget.  Why won't I forget it? Because we love it and will keep eating it!

Cremita de Maiz, when I first saw it on the Always Order Dessert blog, looked like comfort food through and through.  She remembered having it as a child when she got sick, and it looked kind of like the cream of wheat my Dad used to make, painstakingly making it lump-free. I followed the recipe exactly except because of the pan I was using, I really didn't need 10-12 minutes to cook my porridge.  I think mine cooked for 5.  I also used Splenda instead of sugar since it was just for us.  But since 1/3 cup corn meal goes for two people, this recipe isn't that bad carb-wise, and is very satisfying and soul-soothing.  Highly highly recommended!

Cremita de Maiz (Puerto Rican Cornmeal Breakfast Porridge)
Serves 2


2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/3 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, for serving

Combine the milk, salt, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir gently just until the milk starts to bubble. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the cornmeal, stirring continuously with a whisk until the porridge thickens--about 10 - 12 minutes. (Note that it will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla and divide into two dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately topped with additional butter.  (If you'd like it thinner, stir in an additional half cup of warm milk.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cream Cheese Pancakes (low-carb, gluten-free)

Yes, low-carb.  Yes, low-sugar.  Yes, gluten-free.  And they did pancake-like things in the pan, like sticking together and browning (after trying a large number of so-called pancake recipes, you would want to qualify it too).  As the pan got hotter, they started looking more like flowers and less like rounds, but still were tasty.

I doubled the recipe I found on the "I Breathe... I'm Hungry..." blog, and thought that nicely fed two hungry people.  Are they as good as floury, fluffy pancakes?  Well, no.  But when you eat lower-carb, you learn to find satisfaction with other things that seem kind of like other things.  And these are a pretty good version of almost pancakes!

  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 packet stevia (or any) sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Put all ingredients in a blender or magic bullet. Blend until smooth. Let rest for 2 minutes so the bubbles can settle. Pour 1/4 of the batter into a hot pan greased with butter or pam spray. Cook for 2 minutes until golden, flip and cook 1 minute on the other side. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Serve with sugar free syrup (or any syrup of your choice) and fresh berries.
Approx nutrition info per batch: 344 calories, 29g fat, 2.5g net carbs, 17g protein

Monday, July 22, 2013

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake

A lot of recipes end up on my "Recipes to Try - JennyBakes" Pinterest board.  A lot.  But some I can't get out of my head until I try making them, like this toasted coconut cake.  No occasion, no reason, just to smell and taste it for myself. (For what it's worth, I've recently obsessed over until I baked Salted Carmelitas as well, but I don't have any good pictures to show for them.)

Toasted Coconut Pound Cake
(Recipe credit: "Little Bits Of..." Blog)

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, divided
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions buttermilk, and beat until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups coconut.
Transfer batter to pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 minutes. Let cool in pan the remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack.
Whisk together confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Defeating the Garden Creatures

This year in the garden, we got smart.  We decided that if we were ever going to get to enjoy our blueberries, we were going to have to hide them from the squirrels, chipmunks, and birds (and beagle) that enjoy them every year.  Nathaniel added a net to the bigger bush, and we waited.

It worked!  Saturday I went out to the garden between thunderstorms and rain showers, lifted the netting, and picked an entire cup and a half of ripe berries from one bush.  (I had to send the beagle back inside because he was also enjoying being able to pick the berries more easily.)

Blueberries like this demand to belong to something more than just being snacked on.  I dug out my favorite go-to breakfast baking cookbook (A Passion for Baking ) and made her Blueberries and Cream Mall Muffins.  I didn't have the giant muffin tins, but for once I had sour cream on hand.  I soured some almond milk to replace the buttermilk and otherwise made them as the recipe described, besides dividing it in half.  They were delicious and perfect with the cold-brewed iced coffee on these humid summer days.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Baked Goods in Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Bakewell Tart
Everyone knows that I love to find ways to combine two of my favorite hobbies - baking and reading! Every once in a while, I'm surprised by an opportunity I wasn't expecting.  Life After Life">Life After Life by Kate Atkinson has been on my radar for quite a while, nominated for awards, very positive reviews, everyone seemed to be reading it, etc.  Still, I wasn't expecting it to also include a lot of content about baked goods and pastries of England and Germany from 1910-1949.  When Ursula Todd, the main character who lives many versions of her life, is in Germany, the baked goods are in German, so I had to do a bit of research.

I recently connected to a baking friend in Germany through a reading group we are both in, where we are reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  We've started exchanging recipes, because as she noted, I don't bake a lot of German desserts!  That's a shame as my heritage is half German.  I think this book and her influence will give me some opportunities to bake dishes I hadn't yet tried.

I love how far a baked good can do to set the scene, and I appreciate Kate Atkinson's obvious research into this level of detail.   How much can you learn about two people sitting down to "glasses of elderflower cordial and slices of milk fadge spread with blackberry jelly?"

Some of the baked goods that are mentioned, I have baked before:
Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, p. 3
Mrs. Glover's seed cake, p. 47
Dobostorte, p. 136
Bakewell tart, p. 258

Some seem like German names for baked goods I have baked before (please correct me if there are differences):
Gugelhupf, p. 3 (I made a kugelhopf)
Käsekuchen, p.3 (cheesecake)

Some are baked goods I haven't ever made so I tracked down recipes to try at some point:
Bienenstich, p. 3 ("bee sting cake")
Pflaumen Streusel, p. 3 ("plum streusel cake")
Bloater-paste sandwiches, p. 46 (bloater-paste is smoked herring pate from what I can find)
Lemon curd sandwiches, p. 46-7
Jam roly-poly, p. 69
Cremeschnitte, p. 136
Riz impératrice, p. 153 (This is like a set rice pudding with geleed fruit, I don't think I'd like it!)
Milk fadge, p. 164 (similar to soda bread)
Apple charlotte, p. 168
Poppy-seed streusel, p. 362
Cinnamon and plum Torte, p. 362
Brandy-soaked pudding, p. 171

This is when I need your help! Which of these recipes should I try first?  Bloater-paste is probably the least likely, just due to lack of ingredients.  I had pinned Bienenstich for another reason, and have always wanted to make apple charlotte, but I am completely open to suggestions!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Never Fail Devil's Food Cake

Book: The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty
State: Mississippi
Baked Good: "Never Fail" Devil's Food Cake

I'm in this online book group called On the Southern Literary Trail, which hosts two group reads every month.  I can't always spare the time to participate, but when The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty came up, I jumped at the chance.  I'm always trying to read more southern authors, and hadn't yet read anything by her.

In the story, Daniel Ponder is on trial for the murder of his wife, and just like traditional southerners do, everyone in town brings food by.  Here's an excerpt:

There are mentions elsewhere of banana pie and "the kind of fudge that anyone can make," but I was interested in the Never Fail Devil's Food.  I did a little hunting around the internet and found this was one of those recipes intended for people who had to stretch their ingredients or make something with what was around the house.  I found a few versions and went with the one I found most often.

As you'll see, it just lists "fat" as an ingredient, but I imagine the texture would vary depending on what kind was used.  I used vegetable oil.  I interpreted "moderate oven" as 350 and checked it at 20.  I think it ended up baking for 30-35 minutes, since I didn't know what size to pan in.  I poured everything into a 9x9 pan, but probably should have done two rounds.


"Never Fail" Devil's Food Cake

Mix and sift:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon soda

1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fat
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup hot water

Add sifted dry ingredients to liquid, beat well.  Bake in moderate oven.