Oven-Baked Coconut Almond Pancake

If everything had gone as planned, this breakfast would have never even come across our plates.

Oven-Baked Coconut Almond Pancake

Rewind to Brian and I walking around downtown San Diego one Saturday morning, when we happened upon a tremendous number of people waiting in a line…for something. As we got closer, I saw that these would-be brunchers were waiting for some prized real estate in a small cafe that I’d never heard of (which really isn’t any feat – after nearly a year of living here in San Diego, I still feel like #1 Tourist when it comes to food). Positive that this place had to be fantastic, we absolutely decided to forgo the potentially amazing brunch and Yelp’ed our way to the nearest bagel chain, where we were able to get our mitts on coffee and bagels in under ten minutes. Seriously, who are these people that can wait forty-five minutes in line before they get their coffee, anyway?

But I didn’t forget the brunch that got away. So when we found ourselves searching out breakfast on a weekday and saw a three-person deep line, we had to. The coffee? Five-refills-amazing. But their true pièce de résistance comes in the form of a decadent puffed pancake, encased in syrupy cinnamon apple slices. SWOON.

I was hungry. I ordered it. Then I was super embarrassed when it arrived at our table because it was humongous and looked like it could have easily fed us both, as well as the couple at the next table over.

I loved it.

So when I promised to recreate it at home recently, I was flummoxed when I discovered we didn’t have apples. I had SWORN we had apples.  Where were the apples? All eaten, apparently. I was pressed for time and pressed to find a plan B that would satisfy my puffed pancake craving. Cue, Iron Chef, breakfast-style.

We didn’t have apples, but we did have orange juice, milk, coconut flakes, and leftover egg whites. Good enough for me! This pancake was so good (and, no doubt, much healthier), that nobody even asked why, after all my raving, it didn’t even have apples (or cinnamon, for that matter).

Oven-Baked Coconut Almond Pancake
1/2 cup flour – I used a mixture of 1/4 c white whole-wheat and 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose, but your choice
dash of salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut*
Confectioners’ sugar, for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
2. Whisk flour(s) and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Combine milk, OJ, egg whites, almond extract, and sugar together in a separate bowl.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and combine, but don’t overmix.
5. Stir in flaked coconut.
6. Pour mixture into oven-safe pan (I used cast iron) and bake for 15 minutes. Pancake will puff, then deflate quickly once it’s out of the oven:

Puffed Pancake

7. Invert pancake onto plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Drizzle with maple syrup if you’d like (oh, you’d like). Cut into slices and serve immediately.

Yields 2 servings

*I realize this may be hard to find, so feel free to sub in the more readily available sweetened coconut flakes. Depending on your taste preference, you may wish to decrease or omit the added sugar.


Pumpkin Pecan Donuts with Maple Vanilla Glaze

Pumpkin DonutsIs there a relationship more alluring than the one between bloggers and pumpkin? As a long-time blog reader, I’d always look forward to the seasonal deluge of pumpkin recipes, judiciously stocking up on Libby’s pumpkin puree long before Thanksgiving rolled around, just in case. No, really, one October my pining for pumpkin spice muffins happened to coincide with a shortage of pumpkin puree at our local stores. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Shop early and shop often, people.

I made this recipe twice. The first time, the donuts themselves were nicely shaped, but I added too much liquid to the glaze for my liking. Delicious, but not quite the “quintessential donut frosting” my boyfriend, Brian, was envisioning. Okay, challenge accepted.

The second time I made them, I pulled a bonehead move and spooned them nice and neat into the donut wells before realizing I had forgotten the baking powder. Whoa! Time, to get it together, girl. So attempt #2 yielded still-delicious-but-slightly-misshaped donuts, that donut shop-esque frosting Brian had wanted,and blogging conundrum #1 – which picture to upload?!

I’ve witnessed some heated donut discussions – should the dozen have more glazed or frosted? Always strong arguments from both sides, so I’m going to go with “both”, final answer. Different strokes! First attempt above, with a thinner glaze. Second attempt below, with a more traditional frosting-like consistency.

Maple Vanilla Glaze

Baked Pumpkin Pecan Donuts with Maple Vanilla Glaze

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Maple Vanilla Glaze/Frosting
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a few tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste
little drizzle of water (start at 1 tsp and increase, slowly, to your liking)
chopped pecans for sprinkling over top

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add sugars, vanilla extract, oil, and pumpkin puree to eggs and mix.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry. Combine, but don’t overmix. Stir in chopped pecans.
5. Spoon mixture into donut pan wells according to directions. My pan says to fill donut wells halfway, but I chanced it with filling them two-thirds full, and it worked out just fine. So scratch that, fill according to your risk aversion.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean.
7. Invert donuts onto wire rack to cool completely.
8. Whisk together all glaze/frosting ingredients until smooth and to your preferred consistency. Dip smoothest side of donuts into glaze.
9. Sprinkle chopped pecans over top and let harden.

Yields about 8 donuts (or 6 + 1 big muffin)

…Oh, and through all this, I learned that Brian is quite partial when it comes to donuts. Pumpkin donuts are great, but chocolate donuts are The. BEST. How could I resist? Sneak peek of what’s to come (below, swirled with pumpkin pecan)!

Half and half

Well, hi.

Or should I say “Hi, Mom”, as I know for certain that she’s the only other visitor this blog has had. “But honey, it says nothing found”. Ahh, yes. About that.

I’m a planner. A big-time planner. I made lists for EVERYTHING – far beyond the requisite shopping or grocery list. Going on a trip? Surely I won’t be able to leave without creating a detailed list of every. single. item. I’m going pack. And lest “white boatneck long-sleeve” cause any confusion, you better believe that baby’s listed as “white high-low Free People boatneck long-sleeve w/ ruffle layers”. And after all that, I’ll probably look at the wide-ruled notebook I was using and rewrite the whole thing on college-ruled paper, because, really, college-ruled just looks so much better than wide-ruled anyway.

So, when I decided to start a blog, all of my planning tendencies came out full force. After thinking of a name and actually establishing the shell of this site, I was paralyzed by FONPE – Fear of Not Planning Enough. What was I thinking?! I only had five or so posts planned. I hadn’t decided on a categorization scheme yet. And what ratio of sweet vs. savory recipes should I post anyway?

Finally, it hit me. If I kept trying to perfect something non-existent, it would never get started in the first place. So what if I don’t know yet if I should blog about that incredible grilled pizza before or after the Iron Chef-esque breakfast I whipped up on the fly? Or where my unexpected new favorite nail polish fits into the mix? I’ll figure it out as I go, and that’s alright.

Thanks for coming along for the ride (even if I can’t tell you our precise ETA, our predetermined pit stops based on the size of our travel coffee mugs, or what carefully curated playlists I’ve compiled for the trip).