Pumpkin Bread and Tasty Tufts

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Some of you may already know this, but this semester in addition to posting on Kinsey Cooks I’ll be contributing to the Tufts food blog, Tasty Tufts. It’s a great website full of Boston and Somerville restaurant reviews, recipes, and thoughts on eating in college. My first post (which you can find by clicking here) is the recipe for my favorite pumpkin bread, and more posts will be coming from me this semester. Anytime I have a post on Tasty Tufts, I’ll post the link here on Kinsey Cooks so that you can stay up to date with the Tufts food scene.

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Semolina Orange Tea Cake


I like to think of cakes in two broad categories: special occasion cakes and rectangular cakes. Special occasion cakes are nearly always cut into triangular wedges and involve multiple layers of ganache, cake, and frosting. They’re one of my very favorite things to make and eat, but they’re also a lot of work. Rectangular cakes, however, are a convenient way to bridge the gap between birthday parties. They come in the form of pound cakes, almond or fruit loaf cakes with glazes and dustings of powdered sugar, and tea cakes. You know, the cakes you can eat for breakfast with a cup of coffee or for afternoon snack with some tea.

This most recent recipe for tea cake that I found (from Jerusalem) is the perfect recipe for any occasion where you may need a simple dessert. There’s no butter to soften and cream painstakingly with sugar, just two bowls of wet and dry ingredients that get whisked together and baked in a loaf pan. Once the golden brown cakes emerge from the oven and perfume the air with scents of honey and orange zest, you brush them with simple syrup so that the outside is moist and sweet, even three or four days later. The semolina gives the crumb a little bit of crunch and the honey speeds up the caramelization process so that the crust is a rich golden color. The short slices make for convenient hand-held snacks when reading a book, but the cakes can be cut into longer planks as well to be spread with jam or marmalade.

Just because a cake doesn’t take all day to make doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious and impressive.


Semolina Orange Tea Cake

Adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Makes 2 short loaves or one taller loaf

¾ sunflower or canola oil

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)

Zest of two oranges

½ cup honey

4 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons semolina flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

Soaking Syrup

1 cup sugar

½ cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons water

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and grease your loaf pan or pans (see note below for details on sizing), then line with parchment paper along the base and longest sides. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, zest, honey, and eggs. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, semolina, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan or pans, then place on the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, 45-60 minutes.
  3. About 10 minutes before the cakes are done, place the sugar and the water for the soaking syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Once the cakes come out of the oven, begin brushing them with the syrup. This may take a few minutes and may seem like an inordinate amount of syrup, but if you’re reading this, chances are you’ve survived either the SAT, college, doing laundry, or all of the above so I think you can handle brushing a cup of simply syrup into a cake. Keep at it and make sure to use up all of the syrup. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool completely before serving.

Note: This recipe will make either 2 short cakes or one taller one. For two smaller cakes, prepare two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans as directed in step 1. For a taller cake, only use one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, prepare as directed, and pour all of the batter into the one pan. It will take an additional 20-30 minutes to bake fully.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Chocolate Coconut Shakes

In case you missed it: this week on Kinsey Cooks is all about no-cook, no-bake recipes for meals that don’t heat up the house. Check out the other no-cook recipes below:

Avocado Salad with Nectarines and Walnuts

Strawberries with Burrata and Balsamic


If you’re looking for a cool summer dessert that doesn’t involve a pint of ice cream (not that there’s anything wrong with that), this is the recipe for you. This shake is going to be the best smoothie you’ve ever had: no fruit—specifically, no bananas—and no ingredients with alarming names (chlollera, anyone?), just creamy coconut milk, chocolate, and maple syrup blended up into a milkshake-like smooth with a swirl of whipped coconut cream on top for good measure. Aside from a little bit of advance chilling this comes together in less than five minutes, which is perfect for times when your interest in whipping, measuring, straining, and temperature checking is inversely proportional to your hunger.


With a small amount of added sugar and an abundance of healthy fats, this drink shouldn’t just be thought of as a dessert. You could enjoy it for breakfast or afternoon snack seeing as it’s nowhere near as sweet as some cereals or granola bars. No matter when you drink it you’re sure to enjoy it, because with one sip of this chocolaty shake with a hint of coconut you’ll already be planning your next batch.


Chocolate Coconut Shakes

Makes 2 large or 4 small shakes

1 13.5 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk

2 cups milk (use any variety that has fat: whole, 2%, soy, almond etc. Just don’t use skim.)

¾ cup ice

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate shavings, to garnish.

  1. Place the can of coconut milk, unopened, in the fridge. Divide the milk into two 1-cup portions and place each in a small Tupperware, then place in the freezer. Let the coconut milk chill in the fridge and the milk sit in the freezer for about 1 hour, until the milk in the freezer is just beginning to frost over.
  2. Open the can of chilled coconut milk and scoop out 1/3 cup of the coconut cream—it will be the thick white layer on the top. Place it in a medium bowl, then whip with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside for later use garnishing the shakes.
  3. Place the remainder of the coconut milk with the milk from the freezer in a blender jar. Add the ice, cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla then blend on high speed until smooth, which depending on your blender can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Pour the shakes into serving glasses, top with the whipped coconut cream and a few chocolate shavings, then serve immediately.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough starter is a pretty incredible thing. It’s a very simple mixture of equal parts water and flour that’s fed gradually over a few weeks, while yeast and bacteria grow unprompted in the loose dough, until the mixture is full of bubbles and smells like a loaf of sourdough bread. It’s the oldest type of leavened bread there is, and was used by bakers everywhere before the commercialization of dehydrated yeast. Now, home bakers are more reluctant to bake with sourdough; after all, “wild” yeast from the starter can be unpredictable, and not everyone wants to spend the time to make a starter. However, starter can be bought online from many baking stores, and you can often buy a small container of it from a bakery. I took mine from work, which I suppose is the pizza cook’s equivalent of bringing home lined notebooks and boxes of ballpoint pens.

Once you have a starter, the rest of the loaf is very simple. A short sponge, dough, and an overnight rest later, your house will smell like you’re walking past San Francisco’s famous Boudin Bakery. This sourdough is bubbly, chewy, and nicely tangy. In the summer, it’s great topped with olive oil and fresh tomatoes or eaten with blue cheese and fig jam. In the winter it’s a great accompaniment to soups and stews, and there’s nothing better than a breakfast of sourdough toast, butter, and jam. Sourdough bread is a weekend project for home bakers and bread enthusiasts that’s delicious and satisfying.

Photos courtesy of Arjun Narayen Photography. Thanks, Arjun!

Sourdough Bread

Makes two large loaves

Sponge:

½ cup strong sourdough starter

1/3 or ½ cup water, heated to 80F (see note below)

1 cup all-purpose flour

Dough:

1 ½ cups water, heated to 70F

4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons table salt

  1. Make the sponge: Combine the sourdough starter and water in a medium bowl until full combined. Stir in the flour until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours, until doubled in size.
  2. For the dough: Place the sponge and the water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, ½ cup at a time until all the flour is added. Continue kneading until the dough forms a ball, about 1 minute more then turn the mixer off; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt to the dough, then knead on low speed until the dough is soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead to form a firm ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and flip the dough over to grease the top as well. Cover the bowl, then let rise until the dough doubles in size, 3-5 hours.
  4. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Transfer the risen dough to a clean counter and stretch the dough to redistribute the yeast and fold it into thirds like a letter. Cut the dough in half and let rest for 15 minutes. Then, using your hands to cup the dough, shape it into a smooth, taut ball. Set the dough on the parchment paper, then repeat with the second piece of dough. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  5. Remove the loaves from the fridge, then let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 3-4 hours.
  6. One hour before baking, adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position, then place a baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 500F. Once the dough is ready, slash the tops of the loaves with 3, ½ inch deep cuts across the top, then slide the dough rounds with the parchment onto the preheated baking stone and mist the loaves with water. Turn the oven down to 450, then bake for 3 minutes. Spray with another misting of water, then continue to bake until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature of the loaves is 210F. Transfer the loaves to a wire rack, then discard the parchment and let cool before slicing and serving.

Note: If you are using a 100% hydrated starter (equal weights flour and water) use 1/3 cup of water in the sponge. If you are using a 50% hydrated starter (2 parts flour to 1 part water) use ½ cup of water in the sponge.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Raspberry Buckle


I like to gauge the success of a recipe by something I call the “Standing up Factor.” It is as follows: if a dish is somewhat mediocre or lackluster, it gets put on a plate and will make its way to a table before being eaten, sometimes languishing for a few minutes on its own before the first bite is taken. Whatever the dish is, it can’t hold the undivided attention of the diner and eating it will fall to the wayside as other tasks are being taken care of. Things like cereal, lukewarm toasted, and a pile of carrot sticks are routinely victim to getting forgotten on the dining room table because they just don’t pull in an eater like some dishes do. Some recipes, though, barely make it to the plate before the first bite is being shoveled into the eater’s mouth, sans silverware. This Raspberry Buckle is one of those recipes. The minute you pull a warm slice from the pan, you can’t resist breaking the point of the slice off with your bare hands and putting it straight in your mouth. On top of a moist, brown butter infused cake batter is a thick layer of raspberries that cook down into a decadent, jam-like filling in the oven underneath a crown of brown butter streusel. It’s sticky, crunchy, and delectable all at the same time. It’s the type of dessert that just begs to be eaten on a summer night or for breakfast the following morning. It’s rustic and simple, and invites anyone walking by it to just “even the edges” of the slices in the pan.


This is what you make when you want to impress a dinner guest or celebrate an accomplishment—it’s straightforward and doesn’t need any cake stands, frosting, or decorating. If you want to gild the lily, you could serve it with fresh raspberries and a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream, but you don’t need to—all you really need is a knife to cut a wedge that will be eaten standing up over the stove.


Raspberry Buckle

Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen

Makes one 10 inch buckle, which will serve 8 very generously

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon table salt

Pinch of allspice

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk (whole or low-fat—not skim)

12 oz. raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Streusel:

½ cup sugar

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch table salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line the bottom of a 10 inch round cake pan or 10 inch cast iron skillet with parchment paper, then butter the bottom and sides of the pan generously and set aside.
  2. Place the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat until it is completely melted. Once melted, turn the heat down to medium and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and releases an irresistible nutty aroma into the kitchen. Turn off the heat, and pour the butter into a glass measuring cup and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and allspice, and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and all but ¼ cup of the browned butter. This is where the measuring cup comes in handy: pour the butter into the bowl until you have ¼ cup left in the measuring cup to save for the streusel. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time until well combined. Whisk in the milk. Fold the dry ingredients into the batter until just combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then place the raspberries in an even layer on top of the batter. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until evenly combined to make the streusel. Spread the streusel on top of the raspberries in an even layer.
  5. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. Remove buckle from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving. The buckle is excellent slightly warm or at room temperature when served with some fresh raspberries and a dollop of cream.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Thank you to Arjun Narayen Photography for the amazing photographs you see above. You can find more of his work on Facebook  and Tumblr.

Coconut Berry Smoothie


Temperatures have started to rise over the past few days, which among other things, means that it is smoothie season. Not to say that other months aren’t smoothie-appropriate, it’s just that now it’s possible to slurp down a smoothie in record time without getting a brain freeze.


When it comes to making great smoothies, simplicity is key. I like to stick with one type of frozen fruit to keep the color scheme vibrant as well as cold without diluting the flavors with ice cubes.


I choose to blend my fruit with milk rather than juice to make sure that the smoothie is creamy and thick. I also like to add some chilled coconut milk in two parts: a few spoonfuls for a little natural sweetness and thick texture in the smoothie in addition to a swirl of chilled coconut milk on the top of the smoothie for a fun garnish. It’s like really easy latte art for cold drinks.


Finally, I like to give every smoothie a little textural contrast on top to counteract the otherwise smooth texture. In this smoothie, to complement the coconut milk I add some toasted coconut flakes, but depending on the flavors of the smoothie I may use granola, toasted almonds, or even some shaved chocolate. The beauty of a smoothie recipe is that once you have a smoothie base that you love, you can add in variations to make something that you really love that never takes more than five minutes.


Coconut Berry Smoothie

Makes 2 large smoothies, or 4 small smoothies

1, 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk, well chilled

3 cups frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries etc.)

3 cups milk

1-2 tablespoons honey for sweetness, if desired

¼ cup coconut flakes, for topping

  1. Turn the can of chilled coconut milk upside down, then open the bottom of the can, which is now facing up. Pour off the coconut water, then scrape the coconut cream into the blender. Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until the coconut cream is light and airy. Transfer 1 cup of the coconut cream to another bowl for to use for topping, and leave the remainder of the coconut cream in the blender jar.
  2. Add the frozen berries, milk, and honey (if using) to the blender jar, then blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes until the berries are completely smooth. Pour the smoothie into jars, garnish with the coconut cream and coconut flakes, and serve.

Variations:

  • Feeling extra hungry? Add a spoonful of almond butter or 2 tablespoons of raw oats to help keep you full for a few hours.
  • Feeling daring? Add a handful of spinach and watch your smoothie turn green—try using frozen pineapple or mango to keep the smoothie a bright green color that’s packed with nutrients. Don’t worry; the spinach is very hard to actually taste.
  • Feeling like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Add a spoonful of peanut butter and a tablespoon of cocoa powder, then garnish with a few shavings of dark chocolate.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Whole-Wheat Ricotta Pancakes


Our family has made a lot of pancakes over the years, starting when I was just a toddler and eating silver-dollar sized pancakes, then making our way through numerous mornings of Aunt Jemima on camping trips and lazy weekend mornings. There have been blueberry pancakes with my grandmother and pumpkin pancakes with my aunt and cousin who even at four years old could impressively whip egg whites. Those seventeen-odd years of pancake eating have led me to think that they only way to fluffy, airy pancakes was a bowl of egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks that were carefully folded into the pancake batter.


Then, the other day I had a tub of ricotta that needed to be used, because, like other ingredients such as crème fraiche and tomato paste that come in inappropriately sized containers that fail to match the volume specified for in recipes, its end was drawing near. Anyways, I whipped up a batch of ricotta pancakes, and once I subjected my brother to this ten-pancake monstrosity I realized I had found the answer to fluffy pancakes without the annoyance of whipping egg whites. A half cup of ricotta in a batch of pancakes creates an impressive lift that stays with the pancakes until serving time and as a bonus makes for tender pancakes that yield easily under the light pressure of a fork. There’s no meticulously cleaning your metal bowl, separating your eggs, and spending five minutes fatiguing your triceps. Just a few dollops of ricotta into the wet ingredients and you’ll have fluffy pancakes that would impress any short-order diner cook.


Whole Wheat Ricotta Pancakes

Serves 4

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon table salt

2 eggs

½ cup whole milk ricotta

¾ cup water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Vegetable oil, for cooking

Butter and maple syrup, for serving

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta, water, sugar, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently whisk to combine. Do not over-mix. Add the butter and stir to combine.
  3. Preheat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat, then lightly brush with vegetable oil. Using a ¼ cup scoop, dollop portions of the batter onto the griddle and use the back of the scoop to spread the batter into a pancake-sized circle. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you cook the remainder of the pancakes. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Raspberry Scones

It’s been a long time since I’ve consistently posted new recipes (I guess going on college visits, taking AP tests, having a job that consumes all of my weekend, and graduating high school will leave little time for anything else), but despite the silence here on Kinsey Cooks, I’ve still been cooking and baking. Cookies for class parties, toffee for teachers, graduation puddings, potluck dishes and salads with fresh produce have been made in the past few weeks, and now that my schedule is winding down I have the time to sit down and talk about food, starting with raspberry scones.

Just in the past few weeks, raspberry prices have dropped considerably and the raspberries have grown into sweet, juicy berries that burst in your mouth. In these scones, they create jam-like pockets in the scones, eliminating the need for any accompaniment other than a smear of salted butter. Made in the British style (heavy on the eggs and kneading), these scones are light despite the considerable amount of kneading used on the dough, with scraps that can be re-rolled without creating dry hockey pucks that result from the delicate American-style scones. We had them for Mother’s Day brunch, and they were the perfect breakfast pastry: nice and tender without crumbling at the slightest touch, and indulgent enough without being too sweet or rich. Need further proof that they were delicious? Aidan ate four in quick succession.

Next time you have a lazy morning coming your way, make a batch of these and a cup of tea, then enjoy a leisurely breakfast while reading the paper.

Raspberry Scones

Makes 8-10 large scones

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

1 cup whole milk

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 cup fresh raspberries

  1. Preheat the oven to 500F and line to baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the milk and eggs, then set aside 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a small bowl.
  3. In the bowl of the food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until very finely incorporated and the mixture looks like fine meal—about 20 pulses.
  4. Add the large portion of the milk mixture and pulse until the dough just begins to form around the bland. Transfer the dough to a very well-floured counter and gather it into a ball. Knead the dough until it is smooth and free of cracks, about 25 times. Split the dough into 2 halves and pat each half into a six inch round. Place the raspberries on the top of one dough round, then place the other dough round on top, creating a raspberry sandwich on scone dough. Pat the dough out into a 10 inch round. Cut out scones using a well-floured 3 inch round cutter. Gently gather the scraps of remaining dough and knead them together, then pat out into a round ¾ inch thick, then cut out the remaining scones from the second round. Place the cut out scones on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 3-4 inches between each scone.
  5. Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved milk and egg mixture. Reduce the oven temperature to 425 F and bake the scones until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Rotate the scones halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Transfer the scones to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Orange Ricotta Buckwheat Waffles


I had never had buckwheat waffles until I made these waffles last weekend. I’ve had plenty of buckwheat pancakes, which I find much more interesting than regular pancakes. The buckwheat flour gives a nutty texture to the pancakes but due to its lack of gluten, it doesn’t make for heavy, tough breakfast goods like most whole-grain flours do. There was a little apprehension on my part before making these waffles—I was anticipating a oozing mass of batter coming out the waffle iron—but these are even better than buckwheat pancakes. The edges get crispy but the ricotta in the batter keeps them tender and moist, and a generous amount of orange zest contrasts beautifully with the dark buckwheat flour.


The batter comes together in minutes, and a hot waffle iron takes all the guess-work out of the cooking process. Once these waffles come out of the iron, they get topped with fresh ricotta, supremed orange segments, and a drizzle of hot maple syrup. They’re hearty yet light at the same time, and they make a perfect breakfast treat for lazy weekend mornings. Citrus season is at its peak right now, so pick up a couple oranges and get ready for a restaurant-worthy meal that you can eat in your pajamas.


Orange Ricotta Buckwheat Waffles

Serves 3-4

½ cup buckwheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 orange—I find that Cara Cara pink oranges have the best flavor

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup whole-milk ricotta

¾ cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Maple syrup and additional ricotta, to serve

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  2. Using a micro plane zester, zest the orange until you have 1 tablespoon of orange zest. Place the zest in a large bowl with the granulated sugar and rub the two together with your fingers until the sugar becomes scented with orange flavor. Set aside.
  3. Using a sharp knife cut of the two ends of the orange until the flesh is just barely visible. Place one of the cut sides on a cutting board, and using your knife, carefully trim away the orange peel from the top cup down to the bottom, following the shape of the orange with your knife and taking care not to remove too much of the flesh. Then, hold the orange in one hand over a medium bowl and cut between the membranes to allow individual orange segments to fall into the bowl. This is called supreming. Here is a visual aid to illustrate the technique. Once all of the segments have been cut out, you will be holding an orange membrane. Squeeze any excess juice from the membrane into the large bowl with the sugar—do not skip this step, it is essential to the flavor of the waffles. Set the orange segments aside.
  4. Whisk together the orange juice, sugar, and orange zest, then add the ricotta, water, vanilla, and eggs and whisk until smooth. Fold in the dry ingredients from step 1 until almost combined. Pour in the melted butter and fold until combined. Do not over mix the batter.
  5. Heat a non-stick waffle iron until hot, then scoop ¼ cup dollops of the batter into each segment of the waffle iron, and cook until golden brown and crisp, which is typically 4 minutes for the average waffle iron. Once the waffles are done, top them with a dollop of fresh ricotta, a few of the orange segments, and a drizzle of maple syrup. Serve immediately.

Note: If the thought of supreming oranges on a Sunday morning makes you want to tear your hair out, just zest the orange and squeeze 3 tablespoons of orange juice into the bowl with the sugar, then omit the orange segment topping.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!

Cinnamon Pecan Granola

In elementary school, I read a book called Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath in which a young girl in a whaling town has to adjust living with her uncle after her parents are lost at sea. However, what I remember most distinctly from the novel is one chapter where a woman is in the process of selling her house, and in order to make her home smell more inviting, she bakes large quantities of cinnamon in her oven after reading that toasted spices will make her home smell wonderful. Now, I don’t think that a large pan of thoroughly toasted cinnamon sending an acrid bitterness through an open house would be all that comforting, but a small skillet of hot maple syrup and cinnamon that lightly coats a tray of rolled oats and pecans before being baked into granola? Now that would be a surefire way to get a few offers in just one weekend.

The minute the cinnamon blooms into hot maple syrup, the gentle spices in the mixture perfumes the air with the undeniable smell of comfort. After a quick bake in the oven, the oats crisp up and the pecans are toasted until their slightly bitter edge is tempered by the complex sweetness of maple syrup. Unlike commercial granolas that use evaporated cane juice for moisture and flavor, grade B maple syrup has a robust flavor that can stand up to hearty spices, nuts, and grains and is perfectly primed for healthful breakfasts. This granola couldn’t be easier to put together and is much more enticing than a jar of burnt cinnamon, whether or not you’re trying to sell your home.

Cinnamon Pecan Granola

Makes about 6 cups

4 cups rolled oats

2 cups raw pecans, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup maple syrup

½ cup canola oil

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and preheat the oven to 350F. In a large bowl, combine the oats and the pecans.
  2. In a small skillet over medium heat, bring the maple syrup, canola oil, and salt to a boil, then add the cinnamon and stir until well combined. Pour on the oat mixture and toss until every oat and pecan is coated. Pour the granola onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, stirring the granola at the halfway point. Let cool on the baking sheet before transferring to an airtight container.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!