crunchy strawberry wheatgerm pancakes

I know it’s no longer strawberry season; however, yesterday my dad came home from the store with a big box of strawberries.

Weekend breakfasts are always a highlight of my week, and I tend to plan of them in advance. I was planning on making something autumn-y — apple rings, pumpkin pancakes, gingerbread waffles… But that pint of strawberries kept calling my name. So I mixed it into these pancakes.

These pancakes are light and fluffy. Juicy strawberries are packed into every bite, and the hint of vanilla makes them taste like dessert! Despite their dessert-like appearance, these aren’t overwhelmingly sweet (making them the perfect thing to pour maple syrup on!). Before flipping, I generously sprinkled each pancake with wheat germ. Not only does this up the health factor, but it adds a delicious crunch to each bite.

With love,
Erica

Strawberry Pancakes

Yields 4-6 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup wheat germ (for sprinkling)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and
salt. Make a well in the flour with a spatula and pour in the egg, milk,
vanilla, honey, and butter. Mix until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.

Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto a heated griddle, sprinkle one side generously with wheat germ, and cook each side until
lightly browned. Serve hot with maple syrup and butter.




olive oil french toast

As much as I love smoothies, muesli, cereal and toast, Sunday mornings are the perfect time to really enjoy a hot breakfast.  One of my favorite warm breakfast treats is french toast. For some reason, it always reminds me of vacation (which is a much needed reminder now that school is about to start!). It’s a bit fancy, special, and quicker than pancakes.

As I was reading Orangette’s book A Homemade Life, her dad’s french toast recipe stuck out to me. It’s just regular french toast: eggs, milk, a dash of vanilla. But it’s cooked in a generous glug of oil — not butter. Call me crazy, but this is the one time that I believe that oil works better. It doesn’t burn in the pan like butter does — and lightly fries the bread to a crispy, golden-brown crust. *no soggy french toast here!

soaking in eggy goodness

In addition to the technique, I believe that really good French toast starts with really good bread. I made mine with a day old loaf of my Sweet Hawaiian Bread, which added a subtle, sweet mango flavor to the dish.

getting nice and crispy!

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

P.S. This post was featured on the Huffington Post website as one of the top 20 recipes for French toast!

delicious with some maple syrup, bananas, and berries

Ingredients
1 cup milk
4 large eggs
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
light-tasting olive oil
6 slices bread (I used my Hawaiian loaf — but French, brioche, or challah would work well), about ¾ to 1 inch thick
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Whisk together the first six ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl.

Place
a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over low to medium heat, and add
a few glugs of oil to cover the bottom of the skillet (about 1/8 inch thick).

Two or three
at a time, add the bread slices to the egg mixture in the bowl,
allowing them to rest for a minute or two on each side. They should feel
heavy and thoroughly saturated, but they should not be falling apart.
When the oil is hot, place the slices in the skillet. They should sizzle
a bit, and the oil should bubble lightly around the edges of the bread. Cook until the underside of each slice is golden brown, about 2
minutes. Turn the bread, and cook
another 2 minutes or so. Remove the bread from the skillet to a plate
lined with a paper towel, allow to rest for 30 seconds or so, and serve
immediately.

Adapted from A Homemade Life

blueberry french toast casserole

We have been enjoying the last few days in Point Reyes, CA — soaking up the serene, rural atmosphere away from the bustle of San Francisco. Thankfully, the house where we are staying has a well-stocked kitchen, and I had the opportunity to make this leisurely breakfast to enjoy before heading out and exploring the nature and local flavor of the Bay.

There is something very satisfying about cooking at home on vacation. This is probably due to the fact that we have been eating out for almost every meal — and I can savor every gooey, buttery bite of this french toast casserole while thinking to myself “this would’ve cost me $12.95 at a restaurant.”

This is a very simple recipe that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and can be made the night before. After soaking in the fridge overnight, you simply pop the dish in the oven, sit back, relax with a magazine and a cup of coffee, and watch the magic happen as it bakes into this glorious, custard-y, gourmet casserole! Forty minutes later, the custardy mixture that you prepared the night before has  gently puffed into this custardy, light, toasted casserole — complete with golden, sweet caramalized edges. 

The plump little blueberries add a tart, sweet pop to every bite (and how could I pass up buying a big, juicy pint of California blueberries?!) What a
great way to get some antioxidants in your diet, am I right?! 😉  This would be the perfect recipe for an impressive, low-maintenance holiday breakfast or brunch party (because who wants to stay up light making time consuming pastries and cinnamon rolls the night before a party?). Or even just to treat your family to a lazy weekend brunch. 

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

Ingredients

  • Butter, for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (use whole milk for a richer taste)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, plus extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus 1 tablespoon (I used pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 loaf day-old challah or sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2  cups fresh or frozen, thawed, and drained blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Butter a square baking dish (mine was 9×9). Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the milk, maple
syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Add the bread cubes and mix until
coated. Stir in the blueberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared
baking dish. I suggest leaving it in the fridge overnight so that the bread can really soak up the custard, but you could bake it now if you wanted to.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a small bowl, mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the egg mixture in an even layer. Bake
for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is set. Let sit for 5 minutes after removing from the oven.
Spoon onto serving plates and drizzle with maple syrup.

blueberry buttermilk pancakes (guest post)

Today I’m so excited to be featured on Top With Cinnamon which is run by one of my favorite fellow teen bloggers Izy! Since breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day, and since blueberries are in season now — I decided to share my Blueberry Buttermilk Pancake recipe. A big stack of
these fresh off the griddle is the perfect thing to wake up to on a
Sunday morning. In my opinion, the ultimate weekend luxury is a
big stack of warm, fluffy pancakes covered in a shiny, golden layer of
syrup.

Click here to get the recipe!

crispy cinnamon toast crunch french toast {sunday brunch}

What’s better than cinnamon swirl toast? cinnamon swirl french toast. This recipe was inspired by one of the many wonderful people I have met through this blog, Chloe from Every Craving. She is another teenage food blogger, and she takes beautiful photographs and has tons of unique, fun and delicious recipes on her blog such as Honey Nut Cheerio French Toast — which gave me the crazy idea to coat my french toast in Cinnamon Toast Crunch! 
I used the leftover half of my (already decadent) cinnamon swirl brioche, followed (my idol) Alton Brown’s world famous french toast recipe, and coated each of these thick buttery slices of brioche in crunched up cinnamon toast crunch cereal. 
The result was something out of this world. The toast had a crunchy, sweet, caramelized cinnamon crust, and a custard-y, eggy, soft interior. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Perfection in every bite. Nonetheless, this will definitely be one of my new go-to brunch recipes.
What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? (who knows, maybe it would make some killer french toast.)

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cereal (such as cinnamon toast crunch or cinnamon chex)
  • 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the milk , eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Adapted from Alton Brown’s French Toast