Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes and hearty sausage biscuits

A nice homemade breakfast is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do on a weekend. Probably helps that I now have a partner in the kitchen, but there's just something about jump starting my (sometimes lazy) weekends with a hearty and filling meal. Typically when I make breakfast for myself it involves some kind of egg dish, as its easy to whip up for a single person. But recently I've taken to tackling muffins (like these or these), biscuits, and pancakes.

Cheese and sausage biscuits are almost a complete meal on their own

I'll be honest, I'm not the worlds biggest pancake fan. I mean I like them well enough, but why the hell would I order them from a restaurant when I can have skillet eggs, or a pork belly egg sandwich, or eggs benedict, or something a million times more interesting? (Can you tell I like eggs??) But making them at home is another beast entirely. They're quick, filling, and work well as an accompaniment to other breakfast staples. And if you make this recipe, you can add "freaking delicious" to this list of adjectives too.

Fluffiest pancakes of life!

I'm by no means a pancake master, but from the few recipes I've tried this one is HANDS-DOWN the best. Actually, it's better than any other pancake I've ever had in recent memory. Yes, they're literally that good. This recipe yields the lightest, fluffiest, most tender pancakes you've ever had.

Imagine, if you will, a cake and a flat/dense pancake fell in love and had a baby. This recipe is that baby. It's definitely a pancake in flavor, but with the airiness of a sponge cake. I mean just look at how thick this pancake is with all those gorgeous air pockets. Just melts in your mouth.


Biscuits are another thing that are relatively new to me in the breakfast genre. Thing is, I really didn't eat American food on a daily basis growing up, especially not for our weekend breakfast. Other than omelets or eggs cooked with onions and tomato, breakfast for us consisted of various cheeses (both fresh and processed-- like my favorite puck cream cheese spread), olives, pita bread, geymar (a clotted-cream type dish), yogurt, jajik (a thick cream cheese/sour cream spread filled with dill), basterma (a delicious Iraqi sausage), chada (a pastry filled with a butter paste) and/or foul mudammas.

But after making these insanely buttery and tender drop biscuits a while back, I've been interested in trying out new recipes. So when I saw this recipe for cheesey, sausage filled biscuits I had to give them a whirl. I'll be honest, this biscuit recipe was a little bit more dense than my drop biscuits, and I'm not sure if it was due to my overmixing (the dough was was too dry so I had to add more buttermilk to keep it together) or if its inherent in the recipe. BUT they were still really tender, flavorful and hearty, and poofed up nicely, so I'd still highly recommend this recipe.

Burstin' with flavor

I'm thoroughly enjoying my new-found love of experimenting with all these traditional American breakfasts. But I'm thinking I should throw a random Assyrian/Middle Eastern one in the mix once in a while. The boy literally enjoys everything I've made him (to varying degrees), so it might be time to introduce him to the more unique breakfast foods of my childhood!

Until then, I'll enjoy drenching my pancakes in the best damn maple syrup from upstate New York!

Seriously, can you please just make these pancakes?!?

Buen Provecho,
Jacqueline


Buttermilk Pancakes, from Crepes of Wrath
Serves: 15 pancakes (+/- a handful) 
Note: I cut this recipe in half and it was perfect for 2 with a few leftovers we popped in the freezer

Ingredients

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons baking powder (aluminum free if you can find it)
3 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks
2½ cups buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1½ to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract (I have to say that I liked the flavor of the full amount, but it definitely adds to the "cakey" taste of these pancakes; use the lower amount if you want a hint of vanilla that isn't too strong)
maple syrup, for serving

Directions
  1. Combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Separate your egg yolks into a large bowl and egg whites into a smaller bowl. 
  3. Add your buttermilk, oil, and vanilla to the egg yolks and beat until combined. 
  4. Beat the egg whites until foamy, then set aside. 
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisk until combined. Then fold the foamy egg whites into the batter. 
  6. Pour ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter at a time onto a hot, greased griddle (usually over medium-high heat at first, then reduce to medium). Cook the pancakes until bubbling on one side, then flip and cook until fluffy and firm, about 2 minutes. 
  7. Coat with a healthy pour of maple syrup. 
Cheese and Sausage Biscuits, from Brown Eyed Baker
Serves: 12 biscuits

Note: I cut the sausage and cheese amounts in half for a bit less "filling". Feel free to use the full amounts as suggested below! Brown Eyed Baker says that sour cream or plain yogurt can be substituted for the buttermilk. She also suggests playing around different types of meats and cheeses, i.e. bacon, ham, swiss, Gruyere, etc. in place of the sausage and cheddar. I used raclette and mozzarella as that's what we had on hand from the week before.

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, diced
1 cup buttermilk, or a bit more if the mixture is too dry
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles small crumbs the size of peas. Stir in the sausage and cheese. 
  3. Add the buttermilk and use a fork to gently stir the mixture until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Use your hands to knead the mixture a few times in the bowl to bring the dough together. (I found the dough was too dry, and had to add a few TBSP of additional buttermilk for it to come together.)
  4. Turn the dough out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and pat into an 8x10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 12 squares and separate them on the sheet so they are at least 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of each biscuit with the melted butter. 
  5. Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. While these are best the day they are made, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, or wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I popped a few of my leftovers into the freezer and they reheat to a perfectly soft biscuit in the microwave- yum! Feel free to use a toaster oven as well.

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