Blueberry Boy Bait

I’m seeing more blueberries in markets now (which makes me very happy!).  As much as I love cold weather, I truly appreciate different varieties of fruits and vegetables Spring/Summer offer to enhance our palate and diet 🙂  Today’s recipe comes from America’s Best Lost Recipes cookbook which I bought few years ago.  This is basically blueberry coffee crumb cake, but the origin starts from 1954 where a 15 year old girl won the Pillsbury Grand National Baking Contest with this recipe.  The cake was  apparently named “for the effect it had on teenage boys – one bite and they were hooked”.

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Serves 12:

Cake :

  • 2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost first as it tends to muddle in the batter)

Topping :

  • 1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (do not defrost)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
  • For the cake : Whisk two cups flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on medium-high speed until fluffy, about two minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of milk. Beat in half of remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss blueberries with remaining one teaspoon flour. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in blueberries. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  • For the topping : Scatter blueberries over top of batter. Stir sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl and sprinkle over batter.
  • Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter (topping side up). Serve warm or at room temperature. (Cake can be stored in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)

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My opinion:  I do have to say this is a pretty darn good coffee cake.  It’s not overly sweet, and it’s moist and fluffy at the same time.  I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I don’t feel guilty eating this, but I’m sure I’ve already paid the price for my delusion…  This is a simply cake and as long as you have blueberries you can whip it up (it tastes good when it’s still warm, but tastes even better the day after!).

Brunsviger

I have a very dear childhood friend living in Denmark.  In 2009 my family went to visit my friend and her family in Odense, Denmark;  Odense is on an island of Fyn (pronounced “foon”- also known as Funen for us English speakers) and is well known as a birthplace for Hans Christian Andersen (in fact they have a really nice Hans Christian Andersen museum in the city center of Odense).   Another famous Odense specialty is a pastry called “Brunsviger” – roughly pronounced “brons-we-ahr” but you have to say it a bit fast.  Danish is a language I don’t think I can master at all – a grave mistake if you try to pronounce words based on English pronounciation because they sound very VERY different!!  Anyhow, I learned how to make this even before I went to visit my friend in Denmark.  A year before my visit my friend and I were exchanging recipes and she gave this recipe to me, so basically I have been making this since 2008.  It is something like a flat version of sticky buns, but much better; it has caramelized brown sugar and butter topping (and many times custard cream blended into it).  You can literally find brunsviger at every bakery (and believe me there are tons of wonderful bakeries in Odense!!) and you eat this for breakfast and/or afternoon tea time.  Instead of typical birthday cakes many children will have brunsviger (shaped into gingerbread girl/boy, etc) with toothpicks with Danish flags all over brunsviger.  Unfortunately, outside of Fyn it is difficult to find brunsviger so I took full advantage and ate my share of authentic brunsviger!!

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I have no idea how many times I made this since 2008; it’s one of our family’s favorites and we don’t get tired of eating this at all!  It’s a special recipe because it was given to me by my friend and we have  very fond memories of Denmark (seriously awesome food there!!).   I took quite a few photos to explain various steps so I arranged the photos differently for this post, and I hope they make sense to you.

I usually put custard cream into the brown sugar/butter topping – I like to make the topping beforehand and keep it aside.  I like to make custard cream, but you can always use the instant vanilla pudding, but I do have to say the homemade one is very delicious and it’s not difficult to make at all:

Custard Cream:

2 Tablespoons flour

1/2 cups sugar

1 cup warm milk

2 egg yolks

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Mix egg yolks and sugar in a saucepan; all sifted flour and mix well.  Gradually add warm milk as you mix; place the saucepan on a low heat and add butter,  and stir until the mixture thickens (once it comes to a bubbling boil it’ll thicken soon after).  Let it cool completely.

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Brown Sugar/Butter Topping:

4 Tablespoons brown sugar

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

Add all the ingredients in saucepan on a low heat and bring to a slow simmer.  Take off the heat once everything has melted.  Slightly cool and combine with the custard cream.

**This dough recipe requires you to make fresh yeast dough, it’s quite easy, but if you feel intimidated you can substitute with store bought bread/pizza dough.

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Dough:  enough for 9×13 inch pan

1-1/2 Tablespoons dry yeast (or 2 yeast packets)

1 cup lukewarm water (divided into 1/2 cup each)

9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

2 teaspoons sugar

4 cups all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast and 1/2 cup lukewarm water (dissolve the yeast and let it stand for few minutes until the yeast looks bubbly and spongy).   Mix melted butter and remaining 1/2 cup luke warm water and add to the yeast mixture.

In a standmixer add the yeast/butter mixture (I usually add the yeast mixture and butter mixture in the standmixer first) and add the eggs, sugar and flour.  Let it mix for less than a minute and with a dough hook knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes (scraping the sides).   Transfer the dough into a large glass or stainless bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes (either on top of a radiator, inside an oven (that’s turned off) or in a microwave (just heat about 2 cups water in the microwave and add the bowl inside the microwave along with the hot water).

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer it to a lined & greased 9x13inch baking pan with an aluminum foil.  Let the dough sit for about 15 minutes; then with all your fingers make indentations in the dough all across the pan (except for the edges) so that it looks like the dough has crater-like dents.   Spread the topping mixture evenly and bake in a 350F oven for about 30-35 minutes.  Let it slightly cool and dig in!!

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**Sorry, photo #9 should at #7 (oops)…

My opinion:  I always smile when I take this first bite and taste the brown/butter topping with custard cream… oh my… I am so glad I don’t live in Fyn, I will be frequenting the bakery daily for brunsviger.  If you want a little taste of Fyn, brunsviger is calling your name!

Pancake Squares

I think I can safely say that the weather has turned in Philadelphia!  No more unbearably muggy hot weather, rather we have cool and crisp evenings and mornings, and clear blue sky with comfortable warmth during the day.  I’m really loving it!!  I was feeling so good this morning I decided to try this new pancake recipe from here.  It looked interesting enough, and I was tempted with just baking the whole pancake versus standing in front of the stovetop and flipped about dozen or so pancakes. 

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I was a bit skeptical at first, because wouldn’t baking pancake batter just create something more like a cake??  Well, I was in such a good mood I was willing to try this (thinking in either way we can still eat this).

This will yield 1 – 8×8 inch square pan;  I doubled the recipe and used a 9×13 pan.  

3/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8×8 baking dish. In a large mixing bowl, beat together milk, butter and egg. Add sugar, then gradually beat the flour in. Carefully stir in the baking powder and salt. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

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My opinion:  Oh my word, my family and I were pleasantly surprised by this!  It had the fluffiness of pancakes and ofcourse tasted like pancakes.  These were really delicious!!  When I have to feed lots of people, I think I’ll just “bake” the pancakes and maybe bake 2 – 9×13 pans!  Seriously, a huge hit! 

I think you can also easily substitute regular flour with whole wheat flour and add flaxseed and/or bran.  You can even put agave syrup instead of sugar.  Definitely worth experimenting to make a bit more healthy if you’re concerned about your health. 

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

My children’s are officially done with their school for this term!!  They both did great on their report cards, and they are at this age where they can just get together with their friends and celebrate the end of the school year.  In celebration of this end of school year I baked this breakfast cake.   I didn’t know how it would turn out, because I didn’t want “cakey” cake for breakfast – does that make sense?   Well, you can be the judge.  I also thought this would be another simple dish to make for the Father’s Day breakfast/brunch! 

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Serves: 6-8

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat the oven to 350ÂşF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ÂĽ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness. If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
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My opinion:

Now I know why this is breakfast “cake”;  mine turned out to be the cross between coffeecake and pancake consistency and taste.  Really yummy!!  It’s perfect with coffee (or tea); it’s not too sweet, but soft bursting flavors of blueberries, soft dense cake and crinkly sugar toppings all blend very well together! 

Sticky Bun Breakfast Ring

Do you feel that the time is flying by really fast??  I used to think that time went extra slow when I was a child, however, as I grew older I’m constantly muttering “what? when did the time go??”.   I can’t believe it’s Father’s Day already this coming Sunday.  After the Father’s Day comes my birthday in 2 weeks, then a week after that we’re leaving for a 3 week vacation in Peru!

Ok, before I start to panic let’s go back to the Father’s Day.  I usually don’t buy refrigerated biscuits, but I wanted to make cupcake version of chicken pot pie with the biscuits.  I quickly lost that interest so I had few containers of refrigerated biscuits.  Hmmm, what to do, what to do.  I don’t like just baking them because I don’t like the taste, so I was trying to look for a recipe what will interest my taste bud.  Then I found this recipe here and I felt my problem was solved.  I thought this would be a really good breakfast for Father’s Day.  I wanted to make it first to make sure it tasted good. 

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2 small tubes refrigerator buttermilk biscuits
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 C. pancake syrup (I used maple syrup)
1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 C. chopped pecans, optional
1/4 C. chopped almonds, optional

Spray a fluted pan with non-stick spray. Combine the melted butter and syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts (if desired). Place about half of the syrup mixture in the bottom of the pan. Then sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture on top. Lay the biscuits on the bottom of the pan, overlapping edges (closely together) to form a ring. Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures.
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Top with remaining syrup and sugar mixtures. Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute in the pan, then invert onto a serving platter.
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My opinion:

I had enough refrigerated biscuits to make 2 pans, so I gave one pan to my neighbor friend.  Considering that this is refrigerated biscuit and super simple it tasted pretty darn good.  As I stated above for the ingredients, I used maple syrup instead of pancake syrup.  Not to be snooty, but I haven’t bought pancake syrup in many many years (I just don’t like all the artificial ingredients in the pancake syrup.  If I can use maple syrup why use the artificial variety?? is my motto).   Maybe because I used maple syrup I wasn’t able to invert the pan.  The bottom became slightly caramelized and it became almost like maple candy.  Next time I need to try to keep the pan in the oven for a short time and invert it right away (well, let’s see if that works). 

Overall, this is a great brunch recipe and if you are short of time for the Father’s Day or any special day, you’ll enjoy this recipe!

Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash Brown Crusts

I felt a bit out of it this Easter weekend.  In the past I have spent some time making Danish style roast pork with all the sides, Passover meal for Easter or roast lamb for Easter meal.  The past week has been quite busy and I couldn’t spend too much time in the kitchen.  However, I managed to make this rich pudding like quiche for our Saturday brunch (which made me a little better about at least cooking something for this Easter).  I found this recipe here.   If you like goat cheese I think you will really enjoy this quiche.  It doesn’t have a strong goat cheese flavor, however, you definitely can taste the goat cheese. 

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  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened, plus more for pan
  • 1 package (1 pound) frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 12 large eggs
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 package (4 to 5 ounces) soft goat cheese, room temperature
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush a 9-by-2 1/2-inch springform pan with butter. Line the sides of the pan with strips of waxed paper (the same height as pan); brush paper with butter.

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  1. Squeeze excess moisture from hash browns. Mix in a bowl with butter, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat into bottom and up sides of prepared pan, using a moistened dry measuring cup. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes.

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  1. In a large bowl, whisk sour cream, goat cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until well combined; whisk in 11 remaining eggs. Pour into crust, and sprinkle with scallions. Bake until set, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold quiche, and peel off waxed paper before serving.

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Note: When is it done? Gently tap or shake the pan; if the filling jiggles slightly in the middle but not on the sides, the quiche is set.

Baked Egg in a Boat

I try to make the weekend breakfast/brunch a little special for my family.  With or without children, weekday mornings are just pure hectic (well, ok, it’s more hectic with children).  I believe in good breakfasts, so I at least try to make decent breakfasts for my family (anywhere from multi-grain toasts with various curds, jams and cheeses, eggs, oatmeal and/or quiche type of a dish).  I have to make sure my children eat hearty and healthy breakfasts to keep them focused on their school work!!

Weekends are definitely more relaxed (which I love!).  I can experiment with different recipes and make it more enjoyable : I love trying out different pancake and waffle recipes, hash browns and sausages, quiche type casseroles, etc etc!

This past Saturday’s breakfast was inspired from here!  It just looked too good and for some reason I have been into making “whatever filling you want” in a bread, such as this breakfast in a roll I made last week. 

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Makes 4
4 demi sourdough baguettes
5 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces pancetta (or bacon), finely chopped and fried until crisp
3 ounces gruyere cheese (or any other cheese of your choice), grated
2 green onions, thinly sliced (I also added some chives)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut a deep “V” through the tops of each baguette until about a 1/2 inch to the bottom. Partially unstuff the baguettes. Set aside.
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3. Place the eggs and cream into a mixing bowl and lightly beat together. Whisk in the remaining ingredients and lightly season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide and pour the mixture into each baguette boat and place onto a baking sheet.
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5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, puffed and set in the center. Season with salt and pepper.
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6. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, cut and serve.

My opinion:  I really liked this recipe!  My family enjoyed this too, but my husband and my youngest daughter liked the Breakfast in a Roll better (I guess they liked the egg and the crustiness of the roll).  My oldest daughter and I really liked this recipe, but I guess everyone’s different and entitled to their opinions. 

Breakfast in a Roll

I feel very uninspired lately.  I think it’s largely due to a very mild Winter we had, and Spring that actually feels like the beginning of Summer!  Also, for close to 2 weeks I have been battling this nasty cold that leaves me so weak I just don’t feel like standing in the kitchen and cook.  All I want to do is lie on a couch/bed and just close my eyes the whole day.  Oh well, enough of my moaning… 

I think we’ve had the record number of take out food in the past 2 weeks, so feeling rather guilty and the need to cook something “homemade” I tackled this simple breakfast food I saw on Pinterest for Sunday dinner.  There were many variations of making this Breakfast in a Roll recipe, so I kind of combined it.  Anyway, it’s not perfect, but it was very tasty.  You can read my opinion on this dish at the end of this post. 

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I don’t have exact measurements to the ingredients.  However, I will write down what I used, but seriously, you can put any ingredients you wish and I believe they’ll come out very well. 

I used:

4 rolls (something like Ciabatta rolls, approx. 4 inches in diameter)
Hash Browns – cooked
Sautéed onion, spinach and bell pepper
4 eggs
Feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Take the top off and take out the inside of the bread roll.  Generously spread the inside with butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Layer the rolls by adding some hash browns, onions, feta cheese, eggs and top off with spinach and pepper.
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In a 350F preheated oven, bake for 15 minutes, then put the top of the roll on and bake for another 10 minutes.
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My opinion:

Loved the taste!  I like a bit more seasoning, so maybe I’ll play around with herbs and spices next time. 

Here are things to improve for next time: 

1. Egg cooked fine, however, the outer layer of yolk became a bit too “rubbery”, so maybe I need to cover the bread all the way and just bake without the top the last 5 minutes?  Yolk itself was yummy, still runny enough, but done the right way.

2.  The outer crust of the rolls became a bit too crispy.  You really can’t eat this in a dainty way, I just sliced the roll into half and ate with my hand.  This recipe works the best with the crustier roll, so I don’t know what else to do.  I think I will just have to play around with the oven temp. and the duration it stays in the oven. 

All in all, a very hearty and satisfying meal.  My family really loved and enjoyed this.  All you heard were “mmm, yummm” and bunch of crunching noises.  

Irish Soda Bread & Traditional Irish Breakfast

I have been thinking about good St. Patrick’s Day blog posts.   To be honest, I had no interest in posting about Guiness, whiskey, and/or green related recipes.  Instead, I turned to one of our family’s favorite mealtime – breakfast!!  While searching for Irish inspiration for my blog post I came across different photos of traditional Irish breakfast and I immediately knew I wanted to make it. 

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So, here we have eggs (whatever ways you want to make them), pan fried tomato slices/wedges, rashers (bacon), bangers (sausages), black pudding (blood sausage), white pudding (sausage without blood), homemade Irish soda bread, European butter, and homemade grapefruit curd.

The tricky part was getting the black & white puddings (by the way, you can use any type of sausages and bacons you like, although maybe just one time you can get the Irish variety).  Even though it’s very multi-cultural in Philadelphia, I don’t know of any Irish butcher or stores selling authentic Irish rasher, bangers, and definitely not black & white puddings.  There are enough Irish restaurants and pubs offering these as part of their menu, but not for selling.  So, I especially wanted to get the pudding and realized there are enough Irish purveyors online. I chose Tommy Moloney’s from New York.  They import the ingredients from Ireland and make the puddings and sausages on their premise. 

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Black & white pudding sizzling away!!  these were so very delicious!!  As far as I know, there are many countries with their own version of blood sausages.  Koreans have blood sausages too and they are very delicious.

Irish Soda Bread:  loved this bread!  There are many recipes out there, I personally think you can’t go wrong with any recipes.  The key is not to over mix the dough!!  I found this recipe here.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons caraway seeds – optional. Apparently, the traditional soda bread did not have caraway in it. 
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease, then flour baking sheet. In large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and optional caraway seeds.

Mix in buttermilk to form dough into ball. You may need to add a little more buttermilk. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until dough holds together, about 1 minute.

Shape dough into a 6-inch round. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cut 1-inch deep X across top of bread, reaching almost to edges.
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Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 40 minutes.Transfer bread to rack and cool.
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If not serving right away, wrap loaf in tea towel to prevent it from drying out too much. If not eaten in entirety, wrap well in foil or plastic wrap to keep as moist as possible.

Continuing with our hearty breakfast:
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Can’t eat like this daily, but it sure was GOOD!!!

Chocolate Waffles with Frangelico Brown Butter Syrup

I was literally drooling when I saw this recipe on Fine Cooking page; I mean, it happens quite often where I get mesmerized and obsessed about certain recipes.  I get this urge to make certain recipes immediately and I won’t get peace of mind until I do so.  Whether the recipes disappoint me or not, I have to make them to quench my curiosity.  Well, this waffle definitely piqued my curiosity because it had one of my favorite ingredient in it :  Frangelico!! 

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This will yield about 4-8 inch Waffles and about one cup of syrup:  The original recipe was “Chocolate Hazelnut Waffles” and called for crushed hazelnuts in the batter, but since my daughter has certain nut allergies I omitted the hazelnut, thus the name change.  If you want the original recipe you can just click on the Fine Cooking link above.

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Yes, I’m quite happy with my “booze” cabinet, but I won’t show you exactly what I have in there.  If you haven’t tried Frangelico, you are missing out!  This is one great stuff!

For the waffles:
6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 oz. (2/3 cup) natural cocoa powder
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the syrup:
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 Tbs. hazelnut liqueur, such as Frangelico
Pinch of table salt


Make the waffles:
Heat a waffle maker.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt well.  

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs until thick and the sugar begins to dissolve, about 1 minute. Whisk in the butter, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in 3/4 cup warm water until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. The batter will be a little lumpy.

Cook the batter in the waffle maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For crisper waffles, heat the oven to 200°F and set the waffles in a single layer directly on the oven rack.

Make the syrup:
While you cook the waffles, cook the butter in a heavy-duty 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat until melted and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar, hazelnut liqueur, and salt until smooth. Return the pan to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture begins to foam slightly, about 30 seconds.
Serve the waffles with the syrup.

My opinion:  Initially the batter will look like a thick mousse or cake batter, but don’t worry.  This waffle and syrup was so so sooooo delicious, it was like eating chocolate cake or brownies for breakfast!  The syrup… oh gosh, don’t even get me started…  LOVED the syrup!  I think I can pour this syrup on ice-cream and really liking it!  Frangelico is not obnoxious at all – you know, some liqueur are so overpowering they don’t want to share the stage with any other ingredients.  Frangelico is not like that.  It’s smooth and mild and it’ll blend in with almost anything.  Just love it!!