Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Sometimes I fall in love with an ingredient or a recipe and I just can’t help but blog about it twice in rapid succession.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Exhibit A: that time I posted two layer cakes in a week.
Exhibit B: when I made cinnamon rolls and monkey bread in the same week with the same dough.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This time (Exhibit C?), I’ve gone a little nuts about old-fashioned oats. I’ve waxed on and on (and on and on and on and on) about how much I love making and eating granola, but even I need a little variety in my repertoire. I mean, who eats their regular everyday breakfast on the weekend?!

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I have lots of weekend breakfasts (or brunches or company breakfasts or holiday breakfasts or whatever you want to call them) in the archives. The one I make most often is a Puff Pancake, but I think that’s about to change because I can’t get enough of these Oatmeal Blender Pancakes.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I’ve made these easy-peasy pancakes four times since I got back from Christmas vacation and I don’t see any end in sight. I mean, what’s not to love about a stack of pancakes that’s completely whole grain, comes together in the blender, uses ingredients you probably already have, is vegan and gluten-free, and is still soft and fluffy?!

Seriously, y’all. I’m in love.Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}
makes 12-14 small pancakes

5 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
~1 2/3 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free pancakes)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I like canola), plus more for cooking

For Serving:
pure maple syrup
butter or vegan margarine
fresh fruit

Place apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup. Pour in milk of choice until it reaches the 1 2/3 cups mark. Let sit 5 minutes or until curdled.

Combine remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender. Add milk mixture. Blend until smooth, about 40-60 seconds. Scrape down the inside of the blender as necessary. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes; it will thicken slightly.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add batter to the pan in 1/4 cup increments, leaving space between pancakes. Let cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Repeat process with all remaining batter, adding oil to the pan as necessary.

Divide pancakes among serving plates. Top with butter, maple syrup, and/or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Oatmeal Blender Pancakes {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}I don’t think I’ll ever grow bored of puff pancakes. When I rediscovered my childhood favorite breakfast a few years ago, I was shocked to learn how easy they are to make, and so I have made many. (Many many many.)

I already have the classic recipe and a Caramel Apple version in the archives. Two variations over two years may not sound like much, but just know that this could easily be an all-puff-pancake-all-the-time blog 😉

Today, I’m giving you a version of my favorite weekend breakfast worthy of any Christmas morning spread. Feast your eyes on this rumpled beauty: the Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Like all puff pancakes, this holiday version is ridiculously easy and far more than the sum of its parts. It comes together quickly and bakes in the oven (no pancake flipping!), culminating in a soft-centered, shareable pancake flavored with everyone’s favorite seasonal beverage.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Making an Eggnog Puff Pancake is as easy as putting eggnog, a few eggs, a touch of sugar, a bit of spice, and some flour in a food processor and blitzing it into a thin batter. The hardest part is waiting five minutes for some air bubbles to dissipate.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pour the batter into a searing hot pan and bake it for fifteen minutes, until puffed and golden. Within 90 seconds of its removal from the oven, your Eggnog Puff Pancake will collapse on itself, leaving behind a rustic, fragrant holiday breakfast masterpiece.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Let your pancake cool for a minute or two before slicing it up.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}As far as toppings go, I recommend maple syrup…

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}…and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar that you’ve spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg…

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}…and a dollop of whipped cream.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It may seem like overkill, but the combination of toppings and the custard-like, nutmeg-scented center of the pancake will have everyone at the table asking you to make this again before the New Year. And you will because it’s just that easy, and just that delicious.Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Looking for more eggnog treats? Try these sandwich cookies and this cake!

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings

1 cup eggnog
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar 
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving:
maple syrup
confectioners sugar (with pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg)
whipped cream

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

In the bowl of a food processor* or high-powered blender, combine eggnog, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Process 15-30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest five minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Bake 15 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately with maple syrup, confectioners sugar, and whipped cream, if desired.

Note:

If you don’t have a food processor or blender, you may mix the batter and then push it through a fine mesh sieve to remove lumps and bubbles.

Eggnog Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Coffee CakeIt’s no secret that I don’t like Halloween. I’m ambivalent about wearing costumes and if I’m going to eat candy, I’d like for it to be full-sized.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeThat’s not to say I haven’t participated in the festivities as an adult. Just last year, my friend, VJ, showed up at my apartment with a panda costume. She was dressed as a unicorn. On our way to a party, we somehow got on the one car of the R train where literally nobody else was in costume. “So a panda and a unicorn get on the subway…”

Halloween
We went outside like this.
Long story short, I’m skipping the Halloween treats this year. If you aren’t, I recommend these, these, and these (please forgive the terrible photos on that last link).

Apple Cider Coffee CakeInstead, I’m putting my energy toward dreaming up and making excellent “company” breakfasts, i.e. the sort of dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast that is socially accepted when you have a house full of guests in November and December. Cinnamon rolls are a common choice for such occasions, but I recommend you save those for another day and make this Apple Cider Coffee Cake instead. It’s faster, doesn’t involve fiddling with yeast, and has two layers of that crunchy crumb that everyone loves.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeThe base of this coffee cake is basically a souped up muffin batter. I started with my Orange Pecan Muffin recipe and then made a few changes. I swapped the oil for butter, the yogurt for sour cream, and the milk for an apple cider reduction. Oh, and I threw in some pie spices and chunks of tart apple. Flavor all over the place, y’all.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLet’s talk about that apple cider reduction. It’s an easy way to get big flavor! This is the base of flavor in this recipe, so make sure to use quality apple cider–the refrigerated stuff, not the shelf-stable variety. Pour two cups of it into a saucepan, bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, and let it go. This will take 20-30 minutes; I recommend checking the amount every ten minutes. Once it’s at 2/3 cup, let it cool to room temperature so it doesn’t melt your butter or scramble the egg. This is a very hands-off task, but if it seems like a little too much, you can do this step a day in advance and then refrigerate the reduction until you’re ready to use it.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeApple Cider Coffee CakeEnough about batter though. Coffee cake crumb topping is where it’s at! It’s crispy, crunchy cinnamon-brown sugar magic–the perfect foil for that rich, appley cake. The crumb recipe I use here is the same one from my Cranberry Crumb Pie. It comes together super quickly and easily and…well, I’m totally crazy about it.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeTo assemble the cake, butter a springform pan and line it with parchment. If you don’t have a springform, you may bake this cake in a deep (!) 9-inch cake pan. Dividing it into two loaf pans may work too, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if you do!

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLayer the ingredients into the pan, starting with half the batter. Top it with half of the crumb. Then more batter, then more crumb. Bake it for nearly an hour, until the top is nice and golden.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeLet the cake cool completely in the pan before releasing the springform and dusting it with confectioner’s sugar.

Apple Cider Coffee CakeInvite a friend or two over, put on a pot of coffee, and slice up the cake!

Apple Cider Coffee CakeYou are going to love the combination of rich, buttery apple cider cake and the almost meltingly-soft chunks of apple, not to mention the craggy crumb 😍 I’ve made two of these this week and I know there will be many more before 2017 is over.

Can’t. Get. Enough.Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Apple Cider Coffee Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Batter:
2 cups apple cider
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large tart baking apple, peeled &1/2-inch diced (I used Granny Smith)

Crumb:
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

Garnish:
1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Pour apple cider into a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, until reduced to 2/3 cup. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Make the crumb. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour in vanilla. Add butter. Use your hands (or a pastry blender) to work butter into dry ingredients until a clumpy but homogenous mixture forms. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Line with parchment. Grease parchment with butter. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until fluffy. Mix in egg and sour cream; mixture may be a bit lumpy. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in apple pieces.

Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Top with half the crumb. Pour in the remaining batter and sprinkle with the last of the crumb. Place full pan on a baking sheet and bake 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a thin, flexible knife around the edge of the pan before releasing the springform. If you’d like, invert the cake and remove the parchment before placing on a serving platter. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Serve.

Leftover cake will keep well at room temperature for up to two days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Apple Cider Coffee Cake

Baguette French Toast

Baguette French ToastThe great thing about classic dishes is that there are a million ways to make them. Take Chocolate Chip Cookies for instance: whether you like them soft and chewy, thin and crispy, with chocolate chips, with chocolate chunks, more brown sugar, more granulated sugar, etc., there’s a recipe out there to suit your preferences. The same rings true for just about any dish you can think of, really–no matter what you like, I guarantee there is someone else out there who feels the same way. While I like to think this blog is full of the “best” ways to make 200+ recipes, it’s really just a bunch of things made exactly the way I like them.

Baguette French ToastToday, let’s talk about French Toast, that classic dish made by dipping day-old bread in custard, frying it up, and serving it with maple syrup. The concept is simple, but there are endless ways to make it. Whether you like your French toast thin, thick, with just a whisper of custard, soaked with custard, fried, baked, stuffed, baked and stuffed, on the sweet side, with more of a savory note, or any other way, know that a recipe exists that suits your needs.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastWhile I don’t think I’ve ever turned up my nose at any variety of French Toast, right now I’m into Baguette French Toast. My particular recipe was born of necessity on the last morning of my trip to Maine–we had two kinds of bread leftover, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make this custard-dipped syrup-smothered dish with whole wheat sandwich bread. Thick-cut white bread or bust, am I right?!

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastMy Baguette French Toast (or Pain Perdu, if you’re feeling kicky) is made with thick slices of day-old baguette. You want each piece to be somewhere between 1- and 1 1/2-inches thick; I can get about 20 slices out of a baguette. The advantage to using thick slices of slightly-stale crusty bread is that they can soak up a lot of custard without getting mushy and weird. This French toast has all the fluffy texture your (or uh, my) little heart desires, but also stays fully intact.

Baguette French ToastLet’s talk about the custard. While the (very good) French toast of my childhood was soaked in just eggs and milk, as an adult, I like mine to have a little more panache. I add cinnamon, a bit of sugar, salt, and vanilla to my custard, and while none of the flavors are particularly strong, they all work to make this breakfast treat taste balanced and delicious.

Baguette French ToastA word on mixing. There is nothing I dislike more than finding unadulterated bits of egg yolk or white on my French toast. To keep this from happening, I like to mix the cinnamon, sugar, salt, and vanilla into the eggs before adding the milk. This ensures a smooth, homogeneous custard.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastI soak the baguette slices in the custard for about two minutes per side before frying them in a combination of butter and oil. Yes, butter and oil. Why? Because I want the flavor of butter and the smoke point of canola oil. If I used only butter, I’d run the very real risk that it would burn, and if I used only oil, I’d miss out on flavor. By using a combination, I get plenty of flavor and crispy edges.

Baguette French ToastBaguette French ToastBaguette French ToastAs far as service goes, it’s up to you. I like the usual maple syrup, but I also heartily endorse sifting confectioners sugar over the top. Dot it all with fresh fruit, if you feel so inclined. However you choose to serve Baguette French Toast, know that you and your guests are in for a treat.Baguette French Toast

Baguette French Toast
makes 4-5 servings

1 day-old baguette* (about 11-13 ounces)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
1-2 tablespoons butter, for cooking
1-2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, for cooking (I like canola)

For Serving:
seasonal fruit
pure maple syrup
confectioner’s sugar

Use a serrated knife to remove the very ends of the baguette. Slice into 1-1.5 inch slices (about 20 slices). Set aside.

Make the custard. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and cinnamon until smooth. Whisk in sugar, salt, and vanilla, followed by whole milk. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.

Soak about 8-10 baguette slices in the custard for 2 minutes per side.

Heat 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Place baguette slices in the skillet. Let cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes. Flip baguette slices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove French toast to a plate.

Repeat soaking and cooking processes until all slices of baguette have been used. Add more butter and oil to the pan, as necessary.

Divide French toast over 4-5 plates. Top with seasonal fruit, maple syrup, and confectioner’s sugar, as desired. Serve immediately.

Note:

Don’t have a baguette? Use 8 slices of thick-cut challah, brioche, or soft Italian bread instead.

Baguette French Toast

Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake

 There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love leftovers, and those who hate them.

I am the former, though I haven’t always been. I was raised by someone who will eat cold anything out of a Tupperware while checking phone messages, and that grosses me out completely. I am wary of leftover spaghetti to this day. But I love leftovers that can be repurposed: roast chicken or vegetables, a spare slice of cooked bacon, some extra marinara. I can use those to make soup or quiche or lasagna! It’s like hitting the kitchen lottery. 

Imagine my surprise when I was gifted two artisan loaves of bread last week, one challah, one a rustic country bread. They were given to me at a ritual Friday night dinner by my friend, Phil, who, ironically, doesn’t eat gluten. He had stopped at a nearby bakery and coffee shop to get a little pick-me-up on the way to dinner. They were about to close for the night and were trying to get rid of any loaves they hadn’t sold that day. Being the great friend he is, he grabbed two and gave them to me 😊 

By the time I got home from dinner Friday night, I had already decided to make some baked french toast. It’s a simple, sweet brunch dish that’s absolutely perfect for a crowd. Instead of flipping individual pieces, all the bread is placed in a baking dish and soaked with custard for several hours. All that’s left to do is bake it up, slice, and serve with maple syrup. And while that is great by itself, why not turn up the flavor a little by stuffing it all with a cheesecake filling and raspberries?!

If you’ve ever made baked french toast, you know that day-old bread is the way to go. Since it’s all dried out, it soaks up a ton of custard, and after a good half-day or so, bakes up to be absolutely divine. 

This recipe requires one whole loaf of day-old challah. Italian or French bread would work, too; use something that has a tight structure and isn’t too crusty. Don’t go for regular sliced bread though–it will get too soft and goopy from soaking. Slice the bread in 3/4″ slices, and lay half of them in a buttered baking dish. Fill in any gaps by cutting other slices into smaller pieces and squishing them into the empty spaces. The bottom of the dish doesn’t have to be completely covered, but you shouldn’t have any large gaps. Cover that layer of bread with a simple custard mixture of eggs, whole milk, vanilla, granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, and salt. 

 Then comes the best part: the cheesecake filling and raspberries! To make the cheesecake mixture, cream an 8-ounce brick of softened cream cheese with an egg yolk. Mix in a little confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, and you’re ready to spread! Spoon the filling over the top of the soaking bread, and use a silicone spatula or offset knife to spread it all the way to the edges of the dish. Top that with a cup of raspberries–fresh or frozen work just fine. Then top the filling with another layer of bread slices and the rest of the custard. Wrap the pan tightly with plastic wrap and foil, pressing down to encourage the bread to soak up the custard.

Then just stick the pan in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours. The longer it sits, the better it gets. The french toast pictured was refrigerated for 20 hours, and was super smooth and rich 😊 Assemble it the night before you want to serve it, and it’ll be ready to go by morning! 

 
  When it’s time to bake, take the pan out of the fridge to warm up a bit. While the oven is preheating, make a quick streusel. Mix together some flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and then use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in four tablespoons of cold butter. Sprinkle the streusel over the top of the bread, and put it all in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until it starts to puff and is golden brown. Let it sit ten minutes before serving with maple syrup, a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, and more raspberries! 

This Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake is a divine sweet brunch. The streusel gets golden and crunchy, the french toast itself is super rich and soft, and the center is bursting with raspberries and cheesecake! The tang of the cream cheese and the tartness of the berries contrasts beautifully with the creamy, cinnamon-scented layers of french toast. And best of all, it’s easy! Make this baked french toast for your next big weekend brunch! 

 Overnight Raspberry Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast Bake
makes one 9×9″ pan, 9-12 servings

Cheesecake Filling:
8-ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

French Toast:
butter, for greasing the pan
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 loaf day-old challah, French, or Italian bread, sliced in 3/4″-1″ slices
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold

For Serving:
maple syrup
confectioner’s sugar
raspberries

Make the cheesecake filling. In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese until fluffy, about one minute. Beat in egg yolk, followed by confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Set aside.

Grease a 9×9″ inch pan with butter. Set aside.

Make the custard. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until combined and a bit frothy. Whisk in milk, followed by vanilla. Stir in sugars until well-distributed. Whisk in cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Place slices of bread in the bottom of the prepared pan. Fill in any gaps by using small pieces. Pour half the custard mixture over the slices, coaxing it with a spoon so there aren’t any large dry spots. Drop spoonfuls of the cheesecake filling over the soaking bread. Spread it to the edges of the pan, covering the bread completely. Scatter raspberries over the cheesecake layer. Top with the rest of the sliced bread, and fill in the gaps accordingly. Pour the remainder of the custard mixture over the top layer of bread, using a spoon to make sure everything is saturated. Press plastic wrap onto the top layer of bread, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Set an empty pan of the same size (or slightly smaller) on top of the foil. Press down lightly. Place filled, covered pan (with the second pan on top), in the refrigerator for 8-24 hours to chill.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator, and uncover it.

Make the streusel. Stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a pastry blender, two forks, or clean, cool fingertips to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture, until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Scatter the streusel over the top of the French toast. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and starting to puff up.

Let cool for ten minutes before slicing and serving with maple syrup, confectioner’s sugar, and additional raspberries, if desired.