Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Sheet Pan Pancakes & Homemade Syrup

I haven't made regular pancakes- in a skillet, on the stove- ever since I discovered this recipe for sheet pan pancakes. You get the same fluffy, irresistible pancake, only in a rectangular slice. Not one but sixteen slices, baked all at once. 

This recipe is great not just for brunch gatherings and birthday sleepover breakfasts, but is also a great meal prep idea. The pancake slices can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated to be as good as new for breakfasts during the week. With my kids getting older and with seemingly bottomless appetites, I have a newfound appreciation for easy recipes that make a lot of food that holds well and is ready to heat and eat. 

When I'm making this recipe as meal prep for the kids, I sub half of the all-purpose flour with other flours like wholegrain atta flour, oat flour, almond flour or some combo of these to bump up the nutrition a little. 

Giant pancake with choc chips and sprinkles

Sheet Pan Pancakes

Serves 8-12

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups buttermilk (or combo of yogurt+milk- dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or sub some oat flour, almond flour or wholegrain flour)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Chopped fruit, berries, nuts, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips (optional)
  • Powdered sugar or maple syrup or other syrup or jam, for serving

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet (about 13x18 inches) with parchment paper.
  3. Melt 8 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a small microwave-safe bowl. Brush the parchment paper and sides of the baking sheet about 1 tablespoon of the melted butter using a silicone pastry brush .
  4. Whisk wet ingredients in a large bowl: 2 cups buttermilk, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter.
  5. Add 2 cups flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  6. Fold gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are incorporated; some small lumps are okay.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and smooth into an even layer. 
  8. Optionally, scatter the batter with mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, berries, banana slices or nuts- you can even scatter different sections with different toppings. 
  9. Bake until the pancake is lightly golden, cracked, and springs back when touched, 12 to 15 minutes.
  10. Remove the pancake from the oven and heat the broiler to high.
  11. Brush the remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter onto the pancake. Broil until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. 
  12. Cut into 16 rectangular pieces and serve warm with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
  13. Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated in the microwave.

On the morning of the birthday breakfast, I realized that we were almost out of maple syrup. Rather than drive out to the store, I looked around for a recipe to make syrup with ingredients I had on hand. I tried this recipe and it worked beautifully, only, it was slightly thinner than I would have liked. You can see it in the jar in the photo above. 

Easy caramel syrup for pancakes and waffles: Stir together 1 cup water (or a little less) with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Boil for several minutes until it gets syrupy. Turn off the heat, stir in 1/4 cup light corn syrup and vanilla extract to taste, and a pinch of salt. Cool completely and store in a jar in the fridge.

What are your best recipes for feeding a crowd (or just a couple of always-hungry kids)?

Friday, October 07, 2022

Brownie Pizza, and an 11th Birthday Celebration

Our daughter turned 11 years a few weeks ago, and celebrated with an 18 hour party. It started at 6 PM on Friday evening and ended at noon on Saturday. There were 4 guests, all 10/11 year old girls, and the 5 kids took over our basement for the duration and played music, games, danced, watched movies, painted nails and chattered away. (Little brother and big doggy were not invited downstairs and were entertained upstairs).

An 18 hour party needs lots of fuel and this is what I served, as per the birthday girl's exact specifications-

Hour 0- Dinner- Mac and cheese, vegan chik'n wings, veggie crudités (carrots, peppers, broccoli) with hummus and ranch dressing, with mini cans of sprite

Hour 1- Dessert- Brownie cake with Neapolitan ice cream, candles and singing of the birthday song in three languages

Hour 5- Midnight snack- Popcorn, pocky (biscuit sticks) and apple slices

Hour 13- Breakfast- Toast with jam and butter, fruit, milk

Hour 16- Brunch- Hash brown casserole, sheet pan pancake with sprinkles and choc chips drizzled with caramel syrup (recipe coming up in the next post), berries, orange juice

* * *

Brownie "Pizza"

My go-to recipe for brownies is called "Best cocoa brownies" by none other than Alice Medrich. Her recipes are often sheer genius and this one certainly ranks high for me, being tasty AND low maintenance. I've mentioned it 12 years ago in this post and it has stayed my favorite brownie recipe all this time. So here it is in my words.

Cocoa Brownies

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, cold
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

  • Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
  • Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a glass bowl and microwave in short spurts until melted but not hot. It might look gritty- that's ok.
  • Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
  • When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
  • Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
  • Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Cool and refrigerate to be able to cut with clean lines. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
Our birthday girl prefers ice cream to cake, so we decided to buy a tub of Neapolitan ice cream (three flavors in one- chocolate, vanilla, strawberry) and make brownies instead of cake. And for birthday fun, we decided to bake the brownie in a circular pan and decorate it as a pizza. 

So the batter went into a 9-inch cake pan, and once cooked and turned out, I spread some raspberry jam as tomato sauce, blueberries and slices of strawberries as toppings, and grated white chocolate as cheese. That was our quick and easy brownie pizza, ready to be sliced into wedges. 

Dunkie the hound dog

My friend T brought over flowers from her yard
with parsley and mint as the greenery!

Flower from my neighbor S's yard