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Clearly I’m in a bit of a sconey state of mind! After last weekend’s vanilla-sage scone success, I wanted to whip up another batch of yummy scones to enjoy during our weekly game night. These scones needed to be decidedly chocolate-laced, given that there’s more than one chocoholic among our game night gang! Then I started wondering what magic could happen if one added chocolate chips to lightly browned butter before whisking into frosting, and just knew I had to find out.
 
But since these scones were supposed to be more of a snack than indulgent holiday breakfast treat, I decided to lighten them up. Starting with one of my favorite “light” recipe resource – Skinny Taste - I searched for scone recipes and stumbled upon this one for chocolate chip buttermilk scones. And while the scones looked delicious and the nutrition facts weren’t bad, deep down I really wanted to make these scones as sugar- and white flour-free as possible!
 
Anyone who attempts this “healthified” strain of baking knows that things can easily go awry. While white flour and sugar may not be great for your health, they do tend to have the alchemic properties necessary to produce light, sweet, fluffy, crumbly confections. Simply replacing white flour with whole wheat or grain flours, and replacing sugar with Stevia will not always yield a good result.
 
There are many tricks out there to replace the sugar in sweets, applesauce being one of the most common routes to go. For this recipe I replaced 1/4 cup of the liquid (buttermilk) in the inspiration recipe with unsweetened apple sauce. Then, I reduced the sugar by more than half, knowing the scones would also be getting some sweetness from the chocolate chips and drizzle.
 
 
In terms of replacing the white flour – this is a bit trickier. If you’re going to completely avoid white flour in baking, you’ll have to come to terms with the fact that the texture of your baked goods is just going to be different. All-purpose flour is very light and airy, and with the help of a little yeast or baking powder, it fluffs up quite nicely in the oven. Whole wheat, oat, buckwheat and other whole grain flours are heavier, so you can expect a denser baked good. I personally love this texture – it’s much more hearty and has more complex flavors than just straight up white flour. That being said, it’s most likely not what you’re used to tasting when you bite into a scone or muffin – so I urge you to have an open mind when baking this way.
 
Being the crazy oatmeal lover that I am, I went with a good deal of oat flour in my scones, and ended up using half oat flour, half whole wheat flour. Because I couldn’t find oat flour at Trader Joe’s, I wound up just grinding up some rolled oats in the food processor – a trick my mom used growing up when making us cookies. This works great, and is probably a lot cheaper than buying oat flour! As for the whole wheat, regular whole wheat flour worked out pretty darn well here, but I’d imagine that whole wheat pastry flour might result in an even more fluffy texture, if you have it on hand.
 
With all these hearty, healthy ingredients, you really can’t skimp on the chocolate. Three-quarters of a cup of chocolate chips goes into the batter, and even more gets drizzled on top, which means each bite of scone is loaded with a big mouthful of gooey chocolate. Drizzling the scones with chocolate glaze is preferred to dipping them in this case; it maximizes the chocolate flavor you get in each bite while keeping the amount of glaze on each scone low.
 
In the end, these turned out delicious! I ate mine warm, right out of the oven, while the chocolate was still melted and oozing. It’s really the only way to go. These are perfect as a healthy scone to bring to brunch, to put out for dessert or tea, or even to keep in the freezer for an on-the-go breakfast (yes, they’re healthy enough for breakfast). So go ahead, give baking with whole grain flours a whirl!
 
 
Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Scones - Makes 12 scones
 
Adapted from Skinny Taste
 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup cold low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of oat flour (or rolled oats that have been ground in a food processor)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp COLD unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
  • 1 tbsp of room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sugar

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
 
2. Combine the buttermilk, apple sauce, sugar, vanilla and egg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.3. Combine oat flour, wheat flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Cut in chilled butter with a pastry blender or using two knives until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Fold in the chocolate chips. Fold in the milk mixture, stirring just until moist.4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface (I used all-purpose flour for dusting) knead lightly four times with floured hands (the dough will be sticky). Form dough into 3/4″ thick circle. Using a knife,cut dough into 12 wedges all the way through.
 
5. Spray baking sheet(s) with cooking spray and transfer wedges to baking sheet. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until scones are lightly golden brown on the top and bottom.
 
6. While scones are baking, make the chocolate glaze. Start by placing 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in a small bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt and continue to cook until butter begins to brown. Once butter is brown, immediately pour over bowl of chocolate chips. Allow butter and chocolate to sit for 2 minutes, then add 1/2 tsp powdered sugar and stir well until smooth.
 
7. Once scones have finished baking, remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Using a spoon or a pastry bag with a fine tip, drizzle the chocolate sauce over the scones. I recommend using all of the sauce for the 12 scones – it gives a great flavor!
 
8. Enjoy warm!
 
Nutrition Facts: 201 calories, 10.5 grams of fat, 27 carbs, 3.2 grams of fiber, 12.8 grams of sugar, 4.6 grams of protein

A few months back, we picked up a couple of scones from the Clinton Street Baking Company for breakfast. Adam has brought some of these scones to a work meeting a few days earlier, and couldn’t stop talking about how fantastic they were. As a fan of any sort of baked good, I was more than happy to be an accomplice to his revisit.

I went with a fairly standard scone that was speckled with some sort of fruit – raspberries, I believe – and it was, sure enough, delicious. But the scone that Adam couldn’t stop talking about was this chive and goat cheese scone. To me, it sounded contrary of what a good scone should be – sweet! – but Clinton Street had never steered me wrong before, so I gave it a nibble.

And boy, was I blown away! The natural crumbly, slightly sweet nature of the scone was amped up by the fragrant earthiness of the chives, and the goat cheese added just a hint of tangy flavor. The overall layers of flavor were off the wall, and I made a mental note to revisit them in the future.

Enter this weekend – Mother’s Day! Since I wasn’t making a homemade brunch for my mom this year (instead, we went out to eat), I wanted to incorporated a bit of that “breakfast in bed” sentiment into my gift to her. Since both of my parents loves scones (you should see them around those Starbucks scones!), I decided that would be my baked good of choice. Then I remembered Clinton Street, and as I mused about herbs, sage popped into my mind. Quickly followed by browned butter. I think you can see where this is going.

A rustic, soft, creamy vanilla scone perfumed with the flavor of fresh sage leaves, topped with a thick, gooey brown butter glaze. Some of my favorite tastes, all wrapped up in one old-fashioned confection. Working with these flavors in a new way as I was, I just needed to set aside one scone as a taste tester – but one bite in, I realized that all the remaining scones were now in danger – these were that good! I’ve said at least three times this weekend that these are the best thing to ever come out of my kitchen – and this may very well be true. Just ask my mom!

Oh yes… and I even got carried away and candied the left over sage leaves as a bit of decoration – a simple step that adds a really lovely, quaint touch to the scones. These scones are perfection with sage and vanilla and lightly browned butter, but the essential recipe can be customized with any of your favorite mix ins. They come together in 10 minutes and take just 10 more to bake, which means they can be on your table for brunch (or dessert) in no time at all.

So really, how can you resist?

Vanilla Sage Scones with Brown Butter Glaze – Makes 8 scones

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Ingredients

For the scones

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced fresh sage
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the candied sage leaves

  • Sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and adjust rack to center.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk for a few seconds to combine.

3. Add in cold, cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, work quickly to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles course cornmeal with some larger bits (note – if using a food processor, pulse 12 times to combine butter and flour). Add minced sage and toss to combine.

4. Using a rubber spatula, fold in heavy cream and vanilla extract until dough is just combined. Turn out onto a surface and knead by hand for a few seconds until the dough comes together into a sticky ball.

5. Shape the ball into a large disk, about 3/4 of an inch thick. Cut the disk into 8 triangular slices (like a pie). Transfer to a greased baking sheet. Bake until the scones are lightly browned, about 10 – 12 minutes. Remove from pan immediately and cool.

6. While scones cool, make the browned butter glaze. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cook until it bubbles and just begins to brown. Remove from heat and swirl in hot pot until a golden brown color is achieved. Remove from pan immediately and place in large bowl. Add vanilla extract and sifted powdered sugar to butter, and stir to combine.

7. Once scones have cooled, gently dip the top of each in the brown butter glaze. Allow thirty minutes for glaze to set.

8. To make candied sage leaves, add sage leaves, sugar, and water to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to boil and large bubbles form. Remove from heat and stir to ensure leaves are fully coated. Transfer leaves to parchment paper and lay flat. Sprinkle with more sugar and allow to harden in the refrigerator. Top each scone with one leaf.

Now I’m left thinking – how good would these be with chocolate chips and a chocolate-brown butter glaze?! Too crazy – or just the right amount of crazy? :-)
What do you think – do you love scones? Or do you have a different breakfast baked good of choice?

There’s something about Mother’s Day that makes the meal of brunch take on a more meaningful, magical quality. I have all of these memories from my childhood of waking up super early, while my mom was still asleep (or pretending to be) on Mother’s Day morning to find my dad silently whisking away in the kitchen, whipping pancake batter into perfection while bacon gently sizzled on the stove top. All ready to go on the kitchen table would be a shining tray with perhaps a bowl of berries or cup of orange juice or steaming mug of coffee, depending on the year. Sometimes there was even a special note or a flower. To my childhood self, it all had a sense of mystical beauty to it.

During our earliest years, my dad always made the actual Mother’s Day meal, and my brother and I would be delegated the task of leading the parade up to the bedroom so we could deliver her breakfast in bed with proper fanfare and flourish. Then we’d all snuggle in while she (and we) ate and helped her opened her cards and gifts.

Clearly, as we got older, the prospect of us all eating breakfast together in a double bed lost some of its appeal. But Mother’s Day Brunch has remained an institution, and over most of the past 25 years, we’ve either cooked or taken my mom out for a splendid mother’s day brunch to celebrate.

This year, there are lots of young moms in my family – most of my cousins have several adorable young children, so we’re all going out to a big Mother’s Day brunch at a restaurant so we can all celebrate together. But still, there’s some wistful sense about me that I can’t shake, knowing it will feel a little strange for one of us to not wake up before  mom and cook her a meal all our own.

From what I’ve heard and seen, the tradition of  a home-cooked with lots-of-love breakfast or brunch is something many families join together to do on Mother’s Day morning. With that, here are some of the best breakfast and brunch recipes from the blog that are fit to serve to the most important woman in your life, to show her how much you love her this Mother’s Day!

Sweet Breakfast Eats:

 
Savory Brunch Munches:

Late Lunch Dishes:
Happy Mother’s Day – and Happy Cooking!

Has it really been a week? Things have been busy around here… For the past week or so, I took a break from coming up with new and delicious recipes to prepare for something that, well, seemed like a good idea at the time! Let’s recap…

I’ve gotten pretty into running since finishing up culinary school earlier this year as a way to fill my newly freed-up weekday evenings (and balance out all the Pistachio-crusted beignets and Cheesy Stuffed Peppers I eat all weekend long). As such, thought it would be a good idea to motivate myself by signing up for an organized race event. After running a 4M in April, a 10K seemed the next logical step, and so I wound up spending most of last week try to run far, and fast, and freaking out that I would trip over my own feet or cramp up and fall over on race day.

Race day was Sunday. Thankfully none of those things happened. The race went relatively well, though I think that’s due in large part to the amazing group of runners that were running 10Ks, half-marathons, and marathons alongside me for the RxR Long Island Marathon. This completely inspirational group of people kept me motivated, excited, and having a blast throughout the entire six-point-two miles – especially the seventy-one year old man who beat me by over a minute! He ran ahead of me for most of the race and every time I looked up to see the back of his tee-shirt, which read, “I’m old and slow – get over it!” I couldn’t help but laugh. It was truly a great experience!

In addition to thousands of other runners and hilarious old men, these cheesy chicken enchiladas are also to thank for fueling Sunday’s success. My parents and I whipped these up, along with a refreshing, limey bowl of guacamole, homemade white flour tortilla chips (these beat out every other chip I’ve ever had!) and a light corn salad. It was a Cinco de Mayo meal to go down in history – so delicious, especially with a cerveza served along side – but then, I learned last summer how amazing these enchiladas are. You’ve gotta try them out!

So, as usual, it takes me a while to get to my point. My point is this – even though I’ve been running instead of recipe developing, I’ve still been doing a heck of a lot of cooking (and not just enchiladas)! Except this time, I’ve been relying on my Google Reader – my link to the food blogosphere – to find the best tasting recipes around. And two of them in particular were just two good NOT to share – so here they are!

First up is this incredibly luscious, slightly spicy, extremely exotic Thai Chicken Curry recipe from Saveur magazine. The recipe comes from the Las Vegas restaurant Lotus of Siam, which many consider to make the very best Thai food in the entire U.S. At home, I make Thai red curry dishes at least once a week (blame it on my coconut milk addiction) because they can be light in fat and calories while still packing huge flavor, and are easy to make with whatever veggies and protein you have on hand.

I was completely surprised, though, that this restaurant-caliber curry recipe was so easy to make! In fact, the simmering-broth method actually proved to be easier than how I have been making curries for weeks now. By simmering the coconut milk and curry paste together, the broth thickens and the flavors meld, giving you a rich, spoon-coating sauce for the chicken and vegetables. Full disclosure: I used Thai Kitchen’s red curry paste instead of Panang curry, as the recipe suggests (I couldn’t find it), and added in some red bell peppers, but the dish still came out beautifully. We served it along with a Spicy Thai Brown Rice Pilaf (recipe to come). Even if the idea of making Thai Curry seems overwhelming to you, I encourage you to give this recipe a shot. It’s straightforward and relatively foolproof – a great way to segue into Thai cooking!

The second fantastic recipe I wanted to share is this Lightened Up Vegan Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto from Angela over at Oh She Glows. Holy freaking yum! This popped up in my GReader yesterday morning, and even though I hadn’t even made it to lunch yet, I immediately started drooling and scribbled down the ingredients on a post-it to pick up after work. Adam and I were planning to have a date-night dinner and this seemed like the perfect dish (the boy loves his pesto)!

Well, this recipe did not disappoint. Not only did the pesto come together in a flash – five minutes! – but the flavors and consistency were dead on. This has all the basil, garlicky goodness of a traditional pesto, but with an excellent added tang and sweetness from the sundried tomatoes. The walnuts are a creative and well-matched spin on pesto’s traditional pine nuts, and with a few sprinkles of nutritional yeast, you definitely won’t miss the parmesan cheese. It also goes quite well with a glass (or two) of Pinot Grigio, I might add.

Pesto is actually one sauce I usually steer clear of since it can often be loaded with extra fat and calories from cheese, nuts and oil – but this pesto was light and super packed with flavor, meaning a little goes a long way! Angela’s recipe made about 3/4 of a cup (as stated on her blog), and I found this to be about six servings – two tablespoons was more than enough per serving of pasta. We tossed the pesto-pasta with some roasted asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and spinach, and pan-roasted chicken breast – what a delicious dinner. Thanks Angela for the awesome recipe!

One more thing I wanted to mention. For those in the NYC area, there’s a great food festival coming up weekend after next (May 19th – 20th) called The Great Googamooga (crazy name, I know)! This food / music / art festival is going to be held in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, and will feature over 70 food vendors, beer, wine, and music, as well as prominent chefs, artists, and food personalities who will be doing demos, giving talks, and meeting fans. I believe Googamooga is still giving out the occasional free tickets and tickets are also available to buy. I’ll be attending and blogging about Googamooga – hope to see you all there!

Well, that’s all for now! Stay tuned for some more great recipes coming up this weekend…

Last night, someone pretty special to me needed a little pick-me-up, and this meal did just the trick.

Packed with all the delicious flavor of Chipotle burrito bowls, but with fresh ingredients made in your very own kitchen, these DIY burrito bowls are a great healthy, filling, well-balanced meal – and let’s face it, who doesn’t love Chipotle?

Burrito bowls are always my meal of choice when I grab Chipotle for lunch because I’d much rather dig into their tangy, addicting cilantro-lime rice than get weighed down by a gigantic tortilla. Just my personal preference – but the ingredients in the burrito bowl below would go just as well in a soft tortilla or stuffed into a crunch corn taco shell.

And the best part? You can make this in the time it would take you to go to Chipotle, pick up your food, and come back – the whole thing comes together in just about thirty minutes.

Homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls - Serves 4

Inspired by Chipotle

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of uncooked white long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice, plus two whole limes
  • 2 cups of chicken broth (or water)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced  (I used one red and one green)
  • 4 – 4 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 avocado, flesh coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 small jalapeno, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablesp0on of chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt and crushed black pepper.

Method

1. In a rice cooker or saucepan, combine white rice, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, chicken broth (or water), and salt. If using a rice cooker, set it and forget it. If using a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove rice from heat and allow to sit, covered, for at least 5 minutes (but up to 30) undisturbed. Fluff before serving.

2. While rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and peppers and cook, tossing every few minutes, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and remove from heat. Reserve.

3. If you have thicker chicken breast, slice them horizontally so they make two thinner chicken breasts. Mix the chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder to make a spice blend. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and sprinkle with spice blend.

4. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When olive oil is hot (shimmering), add chicken breast to pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from pan and allow to rest for five minutes before slicing.

5. Lastly, make the guacamole: combine avocado, jalapeno, garlic, 1 tsp of lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash with a fork or the bottom of a water-glass to desired consistency.

6. To serve, mix rice with cilantro and fluff well. In a bowl, start by layering 3/4 cup of cilantro-lime rice, followed by black beans, the fajita vegetables, and sliced chicken. Top with guacamole and serve with lime wedges. Goes especially well with a cerveza!

For a tropical twist on the traditional burrito bowl, try it with Mango-Cilantro Rice Pilaf

This weekend, I was invited back to Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island for their annual Taste of Spring event. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might remember that  I attended (and blogged about) the Taste of Spring for the first time last year.

This time around, I brought my whole family along with me since it was my mom’s birthday weekend, and we all had an amazing time at the Gardens. We got extremely lucky in that the sun was shining and the weather was pretty mild compared to how cold it’s been, which really allowed us to appreciate to the gardens’ breathtaking views and ambiance.

From six to nine, we visited various tents that were set up behind the Garden’s main house (read: mansion), which were filled with treats from the event’s caterers and purveyors. We wandered around the stunning main mansion, sampled endless bites, sipped local wine and beer, and mingled with friends. All in all, it was a wonderful night.

This year, the highlight for me was the spread put out by Sterling Affair, which has had possibly the best “tastes” for two years in a row now. Both the mushroom risotto and trout salad in purple potato cups were out of this world, and their display was elegant and modern!

Across the patio, there were not one but two tables with taco tastes. First was this amazing pulled pork tacos – so simple, but savory, saucy and satisfying with just the right amount of heat. But my favorite were the ahi tuna and mango salsa mini tacos with micro greens from K Pacho! No party like a taco party :-)

Another favorite back from last year was the thick, juicy, unbelievably tender beef filet served up by Bryant and Cooper steakhouse, which was served with a thick, dreamy mushroom and shallot sauce. It was meltingly tender.

Totally in character for me, I had two top desserts picks. First was a poached pear with Gorgonzola whipped cream and a white wine reduction. This brought me right back to our culinary school poached pears, that I topped just about every pie and pastry with since I couldn’t get enough. The tart bite of the Gorgonzola cream complemented the super sweet pear really well.

The other was the pistachio-crusted beignets. Oh. My. God. These were unreal. I must have ate about twenty of them, as I kept going back to grab more (and when the Sterling booth quickly ran out, I felt kind of guilty). A dense, cakey doughnut filled with a raspberry jam, and rolled in crushed pistachios and a slight bit of sugar – absolutely addicting! I’m already brainstorming all the confections I need to try this crumbed pistachio topping on. I’m thinking pancakes might be first…

Sixpoint and Blind Bat Breweries were also there, doing really enjoyable and informative beer tastings. Though there was delicious wine flowing as well, this year we really couldn’t get enough of the beer! The Golden Ale, also known as Hell Gate, from Blind Bat was my favorite – a slightly maltier version of a traditional Pilsner – crisp and refreshing!

Finally, my friend Ashley who is a reporter for Long Island cable provider Optimum was at the Taste of Spring, covering the event, and interviewed me about the event since this was my second year attending. I’ll be sure to post a link to the video on the blog as soon as that hits the web.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! What do you do to celebrate the start of spring? 

Hola!

It’s so bittersweet to be back in rainy New York after a gloriously sunny, warm, wonderful week-long vacation. We just got back from a much needed vacation to Puerto Plata on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, and let’s just say, one week wasn’t enough.

The week was spent relaxing to the absolute max. Of the seven days we were there, most hours were spent laying on fluffy white beds on the beach (apparently lounge chairs are a thing of the past?), soaking up the sun, catching up on reading, and slurping down refreshing adult beverages.

We took only a couple of breaks, the first to visit a horse ranch and do a horseback tour of the island, which took us through Dominican farms and under hundreds of fruit bearing trees, past everything from avocados and mangos to coconut and papaya. Dominican farms look very similar to the jungle itself – not a whole lot of rhyme or reason that us foreigners could see, though apparently they’re planted this way to protect the soil and the land. The farms were all interspersed throughout the wild fruit trees, leaving the whole countryside laden with edible delights.

Our second break from laying beach-side was to visit the 27 Charcos de Damajagua – or the 27 Waterfalls of the Damajagua River – an absolute MUST do if you ever visit Puerto Plata. Essentially, we hiked through the jungle to the top of the twelfth in a series of connected waterfalls (the full 27-waterfall trek takes several hours), and then proceeded to jump, slide, and swim our way down twelve waterfalls back to the bottom of the mountain! All I can say is, you haven’t lived until you jump feet first down a cascading waterfall rapid! This trek was a total rush, not to mention a beautiful, fun, adventurous way to enjoy Puerto Plata. It was the highlight of the trip!

It was really, really hard to come back to the States after such a restorative getaway, but return we did. And one thing I have to admit that I was looking forward to getting back to was the food. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in the DR, and while the food was overall pretty good (and better than I expected), I couldn’t wait for a hot, home cooked meal. And there was one thing in particular I was craving.

Pancakes.

To me, a pancake breakfast is synonymous with vacation. Sadly, though, the pancakes in the DR just did not cut it. To be frank, they were chewy, rubbery, and I’m pretty sure the same batter was used to make everything from pancakes to waffles to danishes. After a distasteful bite on the first day of our trip, I stuck to the much more delicious french toast at our hotel’s breakfast buffet for the whole week, but when I landed in New York, I was suffering from a fierce pancake craving.

But not just for any pancakes. Adam’s mom’s super special, ultra hearty oatmeal walnut blueberry pancakes. First thing Saturday morning I rushed downstairs to whip up a double batch for a family breakfast. Using the food processor, these pancakes come together in a snap, and are ready in minutes. Which means you can eat them even faster!

For an oatmeal lover like myself, these are pretty much the ultimate pancake. They’re hearty and comforting, fluffy, and full of nutty crunch from the walnuts. Blueberries, my berry of choice, add a tart burst of sweetness that balances the hearty oat flavor nicely – but you could add just about any berry, or bananas to the batter. Just don’t forget the butter and syrup – they might be slightly healthier, but they’re still pancakes, after all!

Oatmeal Walnut Blueberry Pancakes - Serves 4 to 5

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1-1/2 cups of whole rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1-1/2 cups of skim milk
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries

Method

1. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, milk, vanilla, oil and eggs in a food processor and puree until smooth.

2. Transfer the batter to a bowl. Add the chopped walnuts and blueberries and stir to combine.

3. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until golden brown on both sides and set in the middle. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

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