12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 2: Orange Zest Pancakes

You know that box of pancake mix you reach for at the grocery store? The one you sometimes pick up for a rainy day, much like packaged Betty Crocker brownie mix?

image via | grababuggy.com

image via | grababuggy.com

Don’t do it. Because it’s so easy to make a batch from scratch. If you’ve got flour, some sugar, eggs and a little butter, you can make pancakes at home.

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Once you have the basic pancake recipe down, you can make whip up a batch anytime. And top them with whatever you like. You could go Nigella style, and add some bacon and maple syrup, for that irresistible sweet+salty kick.

Or you could take the popular muffin & cookie flavour combination of lemon and poppy seeds and whisk it into your pancake batter à la Melissa Clark. (I love every little flavour twist she has up her apron!)

And of course, you could add ricotta, because, why not?

You could also opt for eggless, gluten-free, dairy-free, (and ultimately taste-free!) buckwheat banana pancakes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good. I made these and they were rather…well, for lack of a more subtle word, bleh. Maybe it was the quality of the soy milk I used? Either way, there was an overpower of soy milkiness and baking soda, and I had to slather my very short stack with peanut butter and cinnamon honey to get through. However, a quick internet search will reveal that many people luuurve GP’s vegan pancakes, so perhaps it’s just me.

Anyway, this is a pancake recipe for those who dare to consume AP flour and melted butter. Think of it as a holiday indulgence, and you won’t feel all that guilty about eating some. Like 1-2-3 cookies and buckwheat muffins, I followed Michael Ruhlman’s ratio for pancakes, from his book Ratio. If you have the ratio stuck to your fridge, you can make however many pancakes you want…whenever you want.

The Pancake Ratio: 2 PARTS LIQUID : 1 PART EGG : 1/2 PART BUTTER : 2 PARTS FLOUR

In my case, I took 1/2 cup as the unit. I added 2 parts or 1 cup of liquid (milk+orange juice,)  1 part or 1/2 cup eggs (works out to 2 medium eggs) half a portion of butter (1/4 cup butter,) and 2 parts or 1 cup of flour, along with a teaspoon of baking powder.  My ‘extras’ were castor sugar for sweetness, vanilla, orange zest and a pinch of nutmeg. In the end, I got a pretty, speckled, gorgeous-smelling batter.

 

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ORANGE ZEST PANCAKES (Adapted from Ratio

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4  cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract OR seeds scraped from a quarter of a vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder

METHOD

  • Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder) in a large bowl/jug and set aside.
  • In a another bowl, lightly whisk together the milk, orange juice, eggs, melted and cooled butter, orange zest, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a light hand till no lumps remain. These measurements will give you thick pancakes, but if you like your pancakes thinner, add some more milk.
  • Pour spoonfuls of batter onto a lightly greased griddle or pan, and cook over medium heat till done.

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 2: Baked Snickerdoodle Donuts

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I remember the first time I encountered a snickerdoodle. It was devastating. I was in 2nd grade at the time, and we were at a Christmas dinner, and the hosts were talking at length about a batch of  snickerdoodles, and how the recipe came from one of their grandmothers.

I was convinced that snickerdoodles were made from, what else, Snickers bars. I didn’t know what exactly these snickerdoodles would look like- cake, cookie, pie- but I just knew they had to have Snickers in them.

And then when the coffee was served I saw brown sugary cookies and I almost cried. How could snickerdoodles NOT have Snickers in them? I felt cheated, like when I got an oatmeal raisin cookie instead of chocolate chip. But that was then. I was 7 and didn’t know my way around the world of baking, and I assumed if it said snicker in the name, it had to have Snickers in the body. Continue reading

12 Weeks Of Christmas | Week 1: Orange Almond Olive-Oil Cake

Have you ever come across a recipe that is so simple, yet seems to wow and impress the people around you each time you bake it? This is mine. It’s quick to prepare, travels well, (trust me- it’s travelled 3 hours on an expressway and from one end of Bombay to the other and hasn’t let me down!) and is a one-bowl affair that comes together in under fifteen minutes.

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My son’s hand got in the way

I found this recipe on Food52 when I was searching, very specifically, for an “almond and olive oil cake.” You see, after I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Olive Oil cake, I kinda went bonkers over oil-based cakes with ground almonds. Oil-based nut-flour cakes are lovely and dense; rich and nibbly.  I love the unpretentiousness of a loaf cake and the quirk of a cupcake, but olive-oil cakes have a more grown-up air about them. Plus, they have this amazing ability to come out nice, flat and even- which makes icing and slicing them a breeze. Continue reading