overnight raised waffles

I just wrote about waffles, and I thought I found the one.
But then yeast came in the picture, and things got complicated.

Last night, Emilia, Veda and I had our annual end-of-season girl’s night out to celebrate the end of the winter track season.  I don’t know about you all, but I love traditions. 
Last year, we saw a chick-flick (The Vow) and ate at our favorite Mexican restaurant (I look forward to their fried plantains all track season!).

This year, we did the exact same thing — except this year, we were not carrying all of our track bags and book bags with us.  We learned our lesson last year when we had to check 7 bags into the coat check at the restaurant.

After dinner, we headed over to CVS to buy candy.  We got 5 packs of candy for the same price as one pack at the theater.  Emilia thought ahead and brought a huge bag to carry our stash into the theater.  It’s great to have friends who think ahead when you’re as forgetful as me.

We saw Safe Haven.  Was it cheesy? Yes.  Was there not a single male in the theater? Yes.  Did I cry my eyes out? Yes.

Emilia and I always start crying around the opening credits, when the soft music starts to play and they show snapshots of cattails blowing in the breeze.  This only intensifies as the movie progresses.  Veda is the rock that sits between us and comforts us.

Even though the movie got bad reviews from the critics, I really liked it.  I’m always a sucker for Nicholas Sparks, and as a dancer, I have the biggest girl-crush on Julianne Hough. She was always my favorite on Dancing With the Stars.

After the movie, we all slept over at my house.  I have learned from experience that we always have boundless energy for midnight baking (Nutella and pretzel stuffed chocolate chip cookies anyone), but when breakfast rolls around, we end up eating Frosted Mini Wheats from the box.  Since my friends are always thinking ahead for me (shout out to Emilia and her giant tote bag), I decided to think ahead for them for once — and I prepared the batter for these raised waffles the night before. 

In the morning, when I was foggy-eyed and sugar deprived, I just heated up the waffle iron and shazam. Breakfast = done.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

½ cup warm water
1 package (2 ¼ tsp.) dry yeast
2 cups whole milk, warmed
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ tsp. baking soda

Pour
the water into a large mixing bowl. (The batter will rise to double
its volume, so keep that in mind when you choose the bowl.) Sprinkle
the yeast over the water, and let stand to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add
the milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour, and beat until well blended
and smooth. (Electric beaters do a nice job of this.) Cover the bowl
with plastic wrap, and let it stand overnight at room temperature.

Before
cooking the waffles, preheat a waffle maker. Follow your waffle
maker’s instruction manual for this, but my guess is that you’ll want to
heat it on whatever setting is approximately medium-high. My waffle
maker has a heat dial that runs from 1 to 7, and I turned it to 5. My
waffle maker is nonstick, so I didn’t grease it, and Marion Cunningham
doesn’t call for greasing it, either.

Just before cooking the
waffles, add the eggs and baking soda, and stir to mix well. The batter
will be very thin. Pour an appropriate amount of batter into your hot
waffle maker: this amount will vary from machine to machine, and you
should plan to use your first waffle as a test specimen. Cook until
golden and crisp.

From The Breakfast Book

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recipe showdown: belgian waffles

It's humiliating.  It's tragic.  It's the decay of Western civilization.
... and I can't stop watching it.

Ever since I heard that little, blond, 4-foot-tall toddler's famous catchphrase"a dollar makes me holler honey boo boo," I've been in love.
She's hyperactive, uninhibited, and foul-mouthed... and I'm kind of obsessed.

But since this is technically a food blog, I should be talking about food, not the "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."  I did a little research and the Honey Boo Boo clan has some *pretty* interesting dishes.
Have you ever heard of "Sketti"?
Spaghetti, doused with a sauce that is one part margarine, one part ketchup.
However, the most infamous Honey Boo Boo specialty is her "go go juice" -- a secret mix of Mountain Dew and Red Bull that gets her "go go"-ing for her pageants.  If you aren't familiar with "go go juice," click here.  Thank me later.

Anyways, I have my own version of "go go juice."  It's not quite Mountain Dew mixed with Red Bull, but it sure gets me going.  It's my secret weapon that gets me through 6-hour indoor track meets.

Truth is, nothing gets me going like Belgian waffles. 
I could run my little heart out for hours after one of those babies.
This morning was the last meet of the winter season, so obviously Belgian waffles were on the menu.  Since they're my secret weapon, they had to be perfect this time.

What am I looking for in a Belgian waffle?  Something so crispy that you can hear the fork break the crust, yet so tender that the inside is pillowy like cotton candy.  Something that can soak up maple syrup and melty butter while still holding its waffle-y shape.

After comparing a series of very popular and wildly different recipes, I think I found the one.  Aretha Frankensteins' (what a name!) Waffle's of Insane Greatness were spot on. What's your "go go juice"? With love,
Erica
Description
These waffles have a very thick and rich batter that is scooped not poured into the iron.  It has a dense, buttery crumb and the consistency of a light, buttery shortbread cookie.
These waffles are famous in the food blogging community, known simply as “WIG.”  The light batter uses vegetable oil and cornstarch.
Simple, pancake-like batter, with the addition of a whipped egg white.  I used sour cream thinned with ¼ cup milk instead of the buttermilk (which was one of the suggested substitutions). As the title suggests, these are very rich waffles.
A way to modify Bisquick waffle mix in a way that comes “very close to mom’s homemade waffles”
Tasters’ Notes
Very cookie-like
Sugary
Not “fluffy” waffles
Dense
Doesn’t even need syrup
Shortbread
Dessert
Light and airy
Mind-bogglingly crisp exterior
Unique
Toasty
Caramelized
Eggy
Rich
A bit chewy
Soft
soggy?
Traditional
Expected
Not special
Conclusion
More of a cookie than a waffle. Nevertheless, these were delicious. These are perfect for dessert, with syrup and maybe some ice cream
They are curiously light and fluffy on the inside, and have a shatteringly crisp crust. They are also the easiest (come together in one bowl, and no nonsense with egg whites)
These were very soft. They were rich, but had no crunch. Still, they were tasty and tangy, just not, the waffle.
These are tasty if you’re in a rush. But nothing beats homemade, and these aren’t anything special.

Aretha Frankenstein's Waffles of Insane Greatness From Aretha Frankenstein's restaurant in Chattanooga, TN. Ingredients 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk or buttermilk (or a combination)
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter and pure maple syrup, for serving In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes. Heat a waffle iron. Follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with butter and pure maple syrup or hold in a 200 degree oven, directly on the rack (don't stack them or they'll get soggy). These also reheat very well in the toaster.

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oatmeal dark chocolate chip pancakes

Last Friday was the Sadie Hawkins dance at school.
Scratch that.
Last Friday was the “Girls Ask Boys Winter Formal.” Apparently “Sadie Hawkins” isn’t politically correct enough for my school.  I’m technically on Spirit Committee… I should know these things.

My friend Veda and I had a track meet before during the dance. 
When my coach told me I had to sprint 400 meters, I though he was kidding.
He wasn’t kidding.
I gagged a bit just thinking about it.  Then after it was over, I gagged all over the place.  Yeah, I’m a real superstar on the track team. 😉
But at least I bring brownies.

When I finally got back home, it was already nine, and the last thing I wanted to do was get dressed. But I did.
I put on my dress, slopped on some red lipstick, hoop earrings, and heels.  Then I smooped my hair into a bun because I couldn’t even think of touching a flat iron (smooped isn’t a word, but “twirled” is way too elegant of a word to describe what I did to my poor hair).  In the end, it was half decent. Sort of like iCarly meets flamenco dancer. 

By the time we got to the dance, there were only 30 minutes left.  Everyone was already talking about who should have the after party.  Suddenly, I got a second wind.  Kind of like how I have a second stomach for dessert (no matter how stuffed I am), I have a reserve of energy for a good party (no matter how insanely tired I am).

But, as last minute plans usually go, no one ended up having one.

And you know what?  I was secretly happy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party as much as the next person (I’m a high school girl, I’m normal I swear…), but by then all I wanted to do was put on my Pink sweatpants (the ones with strawberries on the butt), lie on my bed with a huge bottle of Blue Powerade Zero, and play “never have I ever” with my friend Veda (even though we know everything that we’ve “never” done, it’s fun anyways).

I dropped off to bed around 1:30.  It was a long day.

In the morning, I woke up refreshed and with a serious chocolate craving. 
And these pancakes happened.

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1
egg
a hand full dark chocolate chips

 
Place flour,
oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, vanilla, oil
and egg in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.

Heat a
lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop
the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each
pancake. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

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vanilla bean ricotta donuts

This is the ideal brunch recipe.  When you’re lazy, sleepy, and expected to whip up a storm, these come together in one bowl, and are done and dusted within 20 minutes.  Unlike Aunt Jemima’s, these emerge from the kitchen to ohhs and ahhhs.  Plus they look oh-so-elegant when served with chocolate sauce and lemon wedges.





I imagine whipping these up on a hazy Sunday morning, wearing an adorable, little striped robe and sheepskin slippers.  There would be sunflowers on my windowsill in a little glass vase.
There would be frothy lattes in Antropologie teacups and music would be playing from a creaky record player.  I’d sprinkle these with powdered sugar, and the air would smell like lemons and vanilla. 



I know these kinds of things exist somewhere, I’ve seen them on Pinterest. 



But in reality, I don’t own an adorable striped robe, nor a creaky record player. In reality, I don’t have jars of sunflowers on my kitchen window sill, rather, I have half a batch of buttercream leftover from my attempt at making a s’mores flavored cupcake. 
 
In reality, I eat these on Tuesday afternoons standing up at the kitchen counter. With a jar on honey in one hand, and my iPhone in the other. 
In reality, I am wearing my dad’s “Old Guys Rule” shirt. 

It’s OK. No problem-o.  Life’s not supposed to happen like it does on Pinterest. 
No one in their right mind has the energy to go pick sunflowers before their first mug of coffee.  Life’s not supposed to be that sensible. I burned my mouth four times eating donut balls that were too fresh from the pot.  Did I learn my lesson? No. I’d totally do it all over again.  See? Nonsensical.
  
I guess life’s kind of nonsensical like that.  It’s messy, fun, and sweet… kind of like these sinfully quick, deep-fried balls of dough dunked in honey. 


With love, 
Erica  





P.S.
If you do happen to have an adorable, little striped robe and a creaky record player, I respect you.

http://blog.nuji.com/


Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
8 oz (1/2 lb) ricotta, whole or skim
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
Canola oil, for frying (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Deep-fry thermometer

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add sugar, eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot. Leave at least two inches of space at the top for safety. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium until it reaches 325-375 degrees F.

Fry a test doughnut: Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop a scoop of batter in and turn it occasionally. It should take 3-4 minutes to turn golden brown. Carefully remove and cut in half to check if it’s cooked all the way through. Test another if needed.

Fry the remaining doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the pot; fry in batches. Place doughnuts on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.  Depending on how big you scoop them, this should make around 12 donuts. 

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm with honey, jam, or melted chocolate.


Adapted from A Cup of Jo


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recipe showdown: blueberry muffins

It’s been way too long since I’ve done a Recipe Showdown.  My last showdown was “Sweet Potato Casserole.”  That was before Thanksgiving.  Santa has come, we have rung in the new year, I’ve finished exams… heck, it’s almost Valentine’s day.  
 
For the past four months, the most prominent thing on my blogging to-do list has been “DO A RECIPE SHOWDOWN” (the second most prominent thing is my attempt at drawing a croquembouche… but that’s beside the point).  
What’s been getting in the way?

To tell you the truth, Recipe Showdowns are hard. 

First, I have to scour the Internet for the best recipes out there, making sure they’re each a bit different to make the tests interesting.  
Second, I have to halve each recipe so I don’t end up with 10,000 muffins in my house (being the OCD little math geek that I am, this takes a while…)
Third, I have to buy all the ingredients, battling my way through the supermarket in search of “Cream of Tartar,” and other funky ingredients.
Fourth, I have to bake them all. (coordinating oven times, oven temps, my stand mixer, and my sanity is quite an ordeal). 
By this time all I want to do is drown my sorrows for a few hours on Pinterest.  But the Showdown is not even halfway done.
I still have to conduct tests.
Do I seriously want to conduct tests?  Ain’t nobody got time for that! By this time, I JUST WANT A DAMN MUFFIN. 
But alas, I conducted tests. On my parents, on my friends, even on a few random freshman… and I found the supreme blueberry muffin recipe. Oh, the sacrifices I make for you guys.
Once I sunk my teeth into the soft, pillowy, sugar-crusted, blueberry-studded muffin of my dreams, I  realized why the painstaking process that is Recipe Showdown is so worth it.  I also realized that the big, blueberry juice stain on my Lululemon yoga pants was so worth it.  It’s like a battle scar. A mark of honor. 
Lastly, I realized I should really drag my butt off Pinterest more often and do more Recipe Showdowns. 
With love, 
Erica


The Facts:
Almost biscuit-like,  these muffins have a super thick, almost cookie dough-like batter, which keeps the blueberries afloat and evenly distributed. 
These are light and fluffy, moistened with vegetable oil and a touch of sour cream.  They are topped off with a light crumb topping and a sprinkling of sparkly raw sugar.
These have the magical addition of brown butter in them (you all know how much I love brown butter!).  There is no sour cream in the batter. These muffins are topped off with a chunky streusel.
Tasters’ notes:
A bit dry and biscuit like...
Very crumbly
For all of the butter and sour cream, you would think that these would be lighter and less dense.
LOVE the raw sugar crust
Light and fluffy
Pretty
Very moist
Don't miss the butter at all!
Sweet
Love the brown butter taste!
A bit cake-like
Dense
Crumbly
Verdict:
My dad liked these the best (he said the others were too sweet, and he loves biscuits).  However, this was definitely not the conventional favorite.
THE SUPREME BLUEBERRY MUFFIN!
Brown butter is delicious, and it is definitely a close second, but the dense, crumbly consistency wasn't up to par with Cooking Classy.

The Supreme Blueberry Muffin
From Cooking Classy
Yield: 14 muffins
Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
7 Tbsp vegetable oil* (the easiest way to measure: measure 1/2 cup remove 1 Tbsp)
1 large egg
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced
1 1/2 Tbsp Raw Sugar
Prepare crumb topping by combining 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and 2 1/2 Tbsp butter in a food processor. Pulse just a few seconds until combine, it should be very fluffy (if you pulse it too much it will become dense). Pour crumb mixture into a small bowl and whisk in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar (please do not leave this ingredient out, it's the crowning jewel of these muffins, it's a MUST), set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside. In a seperate mixing bowl, using a wire hand whisk (no electric mixer allowed here =), mix together 1 cup granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and sour cream for 1 minute. Gently whisk in dry mixture just until combine, batter should be slightly lumpy (do not over-mix, key to fluffy muffins). Fold in blueberries with a spatula. Divide mixture evenly among 12 - 14 paper lined muffin tins. Allow muffins to rest at room temperature 10 minutes, meanwhile preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After muffins have rested, fluff crumb topping with a fork and sprinkle each muffin evenly with 1 Tbsp crumb topping mixture (if doing 14 muffins you will want to do a scant tbsp). Bake muffins 19 - 23 minutes until lightly golden and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool several minutes in muffin pan before removing to wire rack to cool. © Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

whole wheat apple blender pancakes

This past week has been pretty tough with exams and all.  I really wanted to treat myself to a big, luxurious, Sunday breakfast this morning, but I couldn’t muster the energy to beat any egg whites, slice any bread, or even preheat the oven. Polynomials can really wipe a girl out.

This is a recipe was made for the extremely lazy morning — the I-can’t-even-stoop-over-to-grab-a-bowl-and-wooden-spoon kind of morning.  Dump the apple (peel and everything), some flour, and some milk in the blender, and voila, super cinnamon-y apple pancake batter with the push of a button!

These pancakes are not only embarassingly easy to make, they’re also mindbogglingly healthy and delicious too!  They have lots of fiber from the whole wheat flour and apples, and are low in sugar.  So go nuts with the maple syrup!

What’s your favorite lazy breakfast?
With love,
Erica

Vegan Apple Blender Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 apple cored and quartered (peel on!)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup AP flour

Instructions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together in the blender. Blend on "batter" setting. 

  2. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat and cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.

  3. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.