Tag Archives: breakfast

Crumb Cake at the Shore!

We spend a lot of time at the shore during the summer. I’m fortunate enough to have had grandparents that were incredibly insightful and built a shore house 40 years ago, before the property values soared. So, every year we head down as often as possible. Some friends will harass us that they won’t see us until Labor Day, but I think they’re just jealous! 🙂

When we’re down the shore with my niece and nephews, breakfast often includes crumb cake. My brother will head to Mallon’s in Avalon, NJ, before anyone wakes up. It’s this delicious crumbly cake with tons of cinnamon, brown sugar topping. It’s delicious! This weekend, we’re taking my 3 nephews to the shore, so I thought I’d attempt to make a homemade version for the boys!

In a small bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.floursugarbaking powdersaltmixedIn a medium bowl, whisk 1 large egg, 1/2 cup milk, 2 tablespoons canola oil, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Once it’s mixed thoroughly, add the dry ingredients. Fold to combine.eggsmilkcanola oilvanillawhiskedadding flourbatterGrease and flour a 13×9 inch pan. Spread the batter evenly in the pan, then set aside.grease and flour the panready for the battercake layerIn the small bowl that you used for the flour mixture, add 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup light brown sugar, packed, and 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and whisk to combine. Add 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, and stir with a rubber spatula to create large crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter. Bake at 325 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. more flourbrown sugarcinnamonready for butterbuttermeltedadding buttercrumb toppingready for the ovenWhen the cake is done and cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar. Use a sifter or strainer to sprinkle the sugar all over. Slice and dig in!ready for powdered sugarI found this recipe from 2002 for “New York Crumb Cake.” It came from food.com, and it’s a delicious cake, very similar to Mallon’s. The best part is, there is more topping than cake! Enjoy!

A Delicious Breakfast or Dessert…Bananas Foster Bread Pudding!

20140615_103347I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day on Sunday.  The weather was absolutely perfect here, and it was a great day.  I invited my mom and dad over for brunch, and like I did for Mother’s Day, I tried to incorporate foods that my dad really likes.  Probably close to the top of his favorite list are bananas.  Normally, if we were having dinner together, I would make a banana cream pie, however, it was brunch, so I decided pie would be a little too decadent.  Instead, I experimented with Bananas Foster Bread Pudding.

I’ll admit, this started out as a french toast20140615_091701 recipe, but I really didn’t feel like standing over the stove grilling all of those pieces of french toast.  Instead, I wanted to make it a casserole that I could simply throw in the oven.  So…what started out as a baked french toast quickly became a bread pudding.  I guess we could have just had pie at brunch…oh well!

First and foremost, the bread.  My favorite bread to use for bread pudding, and french toast for that matter, is challah bread.  It’s dense 20140615_092103and eggy and just delicious.  My local Wegman’s carries a great one, which I find to be really good.  For this recipe, I used about 1/2 a 15 oz loaf of challah bread, so about 7 or 8 oz.  Cut the bread into about 1 inch cubes, and set them aside.

Next, make the custard.  Whisk 3 eggs with 1 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup brown sugar until well combined.  Add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Stir in the bread cubes and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.  Let this mixture sit for about a half hour so the 20140615_092854bread can absorb the custard.  After that time, pour the mixture into a greased 8″x8″ baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until nicely browned and set.

Meanwhile, make the topping.  Melt 1/2 cup butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and stir until well combined, then add 1/2 cup dark rum.  Be careful when you add the rum, as the sauce will boil up as the alcohol cooks out.  Once the sauce is smooth, add 3 ripe bananas, sliced, 20140615_104828and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.  Cook for a few minutes to warm the bananas.

Once the bread pudding is cooked, remove from the oven and spoon the bananas all over the top.  Pour about half of the sauce over the bread pudding also.  You can serve the leftover sauce on the side.

This definitely made a rich brunch entry, but it worked well with the crab quiche and arugula salad with peaches and blueberries.  It was almost like a dessert, well, ok, it totally WAS dessert, and would be perfect after dinner too!20140615_110139

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup…Oh My!

IngredientsAh, pancakes!  They are delicious, and I know some people love them every possible way.  I do like a good old pancake, but for me, the beauty is using them as a vessel to hold amazing flavors.  You know, gingerbread pancakes around Christmastime.  Or, whenever I get to cook breakfast for my niece or nephews, chocolate chip pancakes…with whipped cream and maple syrup, of course.  But, recently, I’ve been experimenting with some more “adult” flavors.  Sophisticated one might say! 🙂 And, although the name may seem complicated, they are easy and delicious…lemon ricotta pancakes topped with blueberry syrup.

BlueberriesWhen I was growing up, when it came to good food, we were spoiled.  Whenever my mom made pancakes, and it usually only happened during the rare “breakfast for dinner” nights, she made them from scratch.  I know there are those boxed dry mixes that people often use, but they are so much better made from scratch, and really, so easy!  It’s just a matter of throwing the ingredients together and stirring to combine, very similar to that box mix!  So, when I wanted to try to incorporate lemon and ricotta cheese into the batter, I had a good starting point.

Eggs and SugarWhisk 4 eggs in a large bowl with 1/4 cup sugar until well combined.  Add 6 tablespoons melted butter.  You’ll want to allow it to cool a bit so you don’t cook the eggs, or, do as I do and just pour it in slowly and whisk the whole time.  Then add 1 1/2 cup milk.  I sometimes use 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup 1/2 and 1/2, if it’s all I have, but feel free to be a little flexible here.  Next add 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Finally, mix in the zest of 1 lemon and 15 oz ricotta cheese.  I used the whole milk variety, but if you’re concerned about the fat, feel free to use the part skim or skim.

BatterYou want to use the whisk to incorporate everything.  The batter will be pretty thick, which is actually nice for making the pancakes.  Heat a skillet or frying pan to medium heat and give it time to make sure it’s hot.  I add the batter using a 1/4 cup measure.  Since the batter is so thick, you may need to spread it out a bit.  Let them go just a minute or two, until the bottom is golden.  Because of the cheese, these usually don’t get the nice bubbles that plain pancakes get, so just use your spatula to check.  Turn them over and cook for another Pancakesminute or two until nice and golden.

If you’re making for a crowd, I turn the oven on to 200 degrees and keep a cookie sheet in there.  As I make the pancakes, I throw them in the oven so they all stay warm.  They make probably 15 or so nice size pancakes, and they are filling.

Now, to make these pancakes out of this world, I serve them with a blueberry syrup.  Just put 2 pints blueberries and 1/4 cup maple syrup into a small saucepan with a pinch of Blueberry Syrupsalt.  Heat them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the berries have all burst and the sauce has thickened.  I usually do this the day before and let it cool.  You can always quickly re-heat, but it’s too hot right off the stove.

I made these this past weekend for some friends down the shore, and they gobbled them up.  The pancakes are rich and delicious with a slight lemon taste, and the blueberries are scrumptious!

Oh, and ladies, they would also make a great breakfast for Father’s Day! 🙂 Happy Father’s Day to all the dad’s out there!Eating Pancakes