Category Archives: brunch

Brunch at Mistral

PicMonkey CollageYesterday, Mike and I went to brunch at Mistral with our friends Julie and Paul and OH MY GOSH. IT WAS SO GOOD. We’ve been meaning to go for awhile and I’m really not sure why we waited so long because… holy yum.

Before heading over, Mike and I perused the menu and lost our minds over the deliciousness. Pear beignets. Greek yogurt panna cotta with pistachio granola. Lemon poppyseed pancakes. Rosemary ham and gruyere omelette. HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE THING??? 

You can’t. Which is why I plan to go back 19 times or however many times it takes me to eat my way through the menu. (J/K) (but not really)

image_1When we sat down, the waiter brought over a warm cinnamon crumb muffin which was 80% crumb, 20% muffin. The perfect ratio of crumb to muffin, in my humble expert opinion. (I love crumbs.) Then we read the menu 18 more times and I freaked out about not making the right decision because HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE JUST ONE THING? #foodFOMO

I ended up ordering the milk chocolate chip pancakes with banana brûlée and warm Nutella. Yes, it was everything I hoped for and more (SO FLUFFY AND CHOCOLATE-FILLED). Yes, I made the right decision. And yes, when I wanted to bring the leftovers home and the waiter accidentally threw them in the garbage, they made a brand-new batch of pancakes and presented them to me in a doggy bag. Which Mike and I later demolished in a mere 1 minute and 42 seconds.

image

You should… probably go.

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Scones

THESE. SCONES. ARE. LIKE. BEING. INSIDE. A. COZY. BLANKET. MADE. OF. CINNAMON. AND. SNUGGLES. ON. A. RAINY. DAY.

Was that hard to read? Sorry, let me reiterate:

COZY WARM SOFT SNUGGLY COZY CINNAMON BUTTERY FLAKY MAPLE GLAZE COZY GOODNESS.

Cozy.

Speaking of not being cozy, anyone else seeing the reports for the Nor’easter headed our way tomorrow? Torrential downpours?? High winds? HAAAAAAAALLLLPPPPP. (I realize I should not be complaining about a little rain & wind when there are people without power/heat/houses/clothes/etc., so I also say: No, really; help!)

No thaaank you, Nor’easter. No. Thank. You.

Between the impending doom of more deeesgusting wet weather and the stress of today’s election (I CANNOT handle the stress of it all. Cannot.), you can surely find me huddled inside a blanket fort jamming cinnamon scones into my mouth. See you Friday or whenever the sun comes back out and the president is chosen.

Until then…the warmest, moistest, COZY-est scones of yo LIFE.

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Scones (inspired by Yes, I want cake)

yield: 8 scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, for the glaze
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, for the glaze

Directions

*note: I make these scones in a 9-inch round pan and then cut them into triangles after baking because I’ve found that they stay extra moist that way.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the COLD butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or two knives until pea-sized crumbs of butter remain.
  3. Fold in heavy cream, vanilla, and cinnamon chips (gently!) until barely combined (some chunks of flour should remain). Turn onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times with your hands until dough comes together. Press into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool for an hour in the pan, the turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling fully. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and a few drops water; the glaze should be thick but pourable. Add more maple syrup and/or water to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled scones; cut into triangles. These are best served warm!

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

Guys, it’s been a weekend.

On Saturday I had to take the Early Childhood MTEL (Massachusetts teacher test), which basically tests on every piece of knowledge children are supposed to learn from pre-K through 6th grade. AKA it’s impossible to study for and is just impossible…in general. There were questions like:

What is due process of law?

What did the ancient Egyptians contribute to modern day society?

What is place value?

What is the climate of North Dakota?

WHAT?? Help, please.

If I hadn’t been in a high-stress test setting I *might* have found the questions kind of fun, sort of like trivia. But instead it was more like “IF YOU CHOOSE THE WRONG ANSWER YOUR CAREER IS GOING DOWN IN FLAMES.”

Not really. I’m exaggerating. But it was hard.

Then, immediately after leaving the test, I went to babysit. While I was putting the kids to bed, the family’s dog dug a Ziploc full of popcorn and nuts out of my bag and ate it. All. Just a couple shreds of baggy left behind as evidence.

It goes without saying that I had a mental breakdown and convinced myself that the dog was going to need to be rushed to the ER to get its stomach pumped and have emergency surgery, all because of me and my silly inability to leave the house without snacks.*

THEN I woke up this morning to do my laundry (obviously having waited till the last possible day/pair of underwear/clean outfit combo) only to discover that TWO out of ONLY FOUR washers in our building were broken. Of course this happened AFTER I put my clothes in a broken one that had a fun little giant puddle of water sitting inside.  Soooo I lost it, kicked the washing machine fifteen times, threatened to sue our apartment building, and scared away at least three friendly neighbors. I’ve reaaaallllyyy got to learn to stop sweating the small stuff.

It’s been a weekend. So I made banana pancakes.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes (adapted from Martha Stewart’s Basic Pancakes)

yield: about 6-8 medium-sized pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup wheat + 1/2 cup white flour)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • optional: chocolate chips

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the milk, egg, oil, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Gently pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and use a rubber spatula to mix. Be careful not to overmix – some small lumps will remain.
  2. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Allow the skillet to warm up over medium heat. Once it is warm, use a measuring cup to pour 1/4-cup of batter onto the skillet. Drop 4-6 banana slices onto the batter, depending on size. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if desired. Repeat for as many pancakes will fit on the skillet (I did two at a time). Allow the pancakes to cook for about 3 minutes, or until most of the bubbles on top have popped and the sides look done. Flip the pancakes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown. Repeat until all of the batter has been used. Serve warm (and with maple syrup!)

*I’m happy to report that the dog is doing juuuuust fine. Lesson learned? Do a better job of hiding snacks.

Brown Sugar Blueberry Scones

Remember last week how I mentioned that I’m allergic to my contacts and therefore not allowed to wear them?

BOY, did it get so much worse from there.

**PSA*** This story is totally whiney. Much like this rant, it’s my blog and I’ll whine when I want to!

It all started when I went back to the eye doctor last Wednesday – in the midst of those cuh-razy Boston thunderstorms – to see if my allergic reaction had cleared up. Long story short, my doctor was all, Sorry! Not sorry! Another week of glasses for you.

SO…I start to head home just as the thunderstorms hit and by the time I get off of the T it’s EPICALLY DOWNPOURING. Since I still haven’t (nor will I ever) learned to check the weather and remember to bring an umbrella, I get caught in the downpour and am soaked within three seconds. I know that I have to go to CVS to pick up my new steroid eyedrops (aptly named “FML”), so I run as fast as my flip flops will take me, glasses falling off of my face the entire time. (At one point I take them off and realize THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE BLIIIIIIIND.) Somehow I make it to CVS – albeit 100% drenched – without tripping or slipping or losing my glasses. As I’m standing in line WRINGING THE WATER OUT OF MY HAIR the sweet, sweet lady standing in front of me asks, “Oh, is it still raining outside?”

NO, I JUST TOOK A SHOWER IN ALL OF MY CLOTHES AND COULDN’T BE BOTHERED TO TOWEL OFF BEFORE VISITING MY LOCAL PHARMACY, I yell [inside my head].

Peeeeeeved, soaking, and generally just hating the world, I post a really pretty photo of myself on Instagram.

(***PSA #2*** I realize that people wear glasses and survive in life just fine but it’s just. not. for me.)

Then I put the dang steroids in my eyeballs (is this going to make them grow??), call Mike, and have a full-on mental breakdown, à la Halloween 2011. As I’m bawling my eyes out, I notice that the steroid drops have somehow travelled through my tear ducts into MY MOUTH. So I start losing it [even more than I already was].

Me (freaking the eff out): MIKE, WHY DO I TASTE THE STEROIDS?????

Mike (calmly): Tear ducts are like a two-way street. Blah blah science blah.

Me (gagging): IT TASTES LIKE BUTT. I’M GOING TO DIE.

Mike (so calmly): Take a drink of water. Eat a cracker!

Me (face in the sink, mouth under the faucet): I’M PUUUUUKING. THIS IS AWFULLLLLLLL. I’M GOING TO DIIIIIIEEE.

Mike (increasingly…calm): Eat. Something.

Then I gagged 85 times, ate an Oreo, swallowed the steroid taste, and somehow lived to tell about it.

The bad news? I have to put those awwwww-ful eyedrops in my eyes (and by default, THROAT) four times a day. The good news? Four more excuses to eat Oreos.

I’m going back to the eye doctor this coming Wednesday and I certainly hope she reads this post so she will fully understand the hell she is putting me through and LET ME WEAR MY DAMN CONTACTS.

Sorry for all the swears. Brown sugar blueberry scones. The end.

Brown Sugar Blueberry Scones (adapted from Skye’s scone recipe at the Martin House Inn)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, very cold
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions

*note: I make these scones in a 9-inch round pan and then cut them into triangles after baking because I’ve found that they stay moister that way.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives until pea-sized pieces of butter remain.
  3. Fold in heavy cream, vanilla, and blueberries (gently!) until barely combined (some chunks of flour should remain). Turn onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 times with your hands until dough comes together. Smooth into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for an hour in the pan, the turn onto a wire rack to finish cooling fully. Cut into triangles and serve!

S’mores French Toast @ Sugar Mags (and other amazing things)

This is the story of how two bloggers lost their minds over a little breakfast concoction known as s’mores french toast at Sugar Magnolias in Gloucester, MA.

Lost. Their. Minds.

Anna and I decided to head to Sugar Mags after hearing multiple recommendations about their brunch menu. We knew that we couldn’t survive even one more weekend without trying “Georgia’s French Toast” or carrot cake pancakes and high-tailed it up to Gloucester just as fast as Anna’s Pandora-90s-jams-fueled car would take us.

We spent thirty minutes waiting for a table (me on the edge of a nervous breakdown, Anna taking slanted reflection selfies) before finally sitting down and ordering our brunch dream come true. And let me tell you, when our waitress arrived with two plates containing the most delicious-looking breakfast treats on the face of this earth the only thought running through my mind was

NUH. UH.

Since s’mores are my favorite dessert ever and french toast is my #1 go-to brunch item, I basically felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory. I hit the brunch lotto! I’ve got a golden tiiiicket! 

Oozing marshmallow fluff. Melty chocolate chips. Crumbly graham cracker bits. Thick, fluffy bread.

Cinnamon carrot cake pancakes the size of the moon. Maple-infused cream cheese BUTTAH.

Toasty cornbread GRILLED IN BUTTAH.

CRISPY BACON.

LOSING MY MIND. MY MIND IS LOST.

Now I’m going to let the photos do the rest of the yelling talking.

Behold…

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream

Someone needs to invent taste-o-vision.  Like, now.  Because whenever I make a new BEST THING I’VE EVER MADE  all I want to do is mail a sample to each and every one of you to taste… but then I would be spending tens of dollars on postage and I’d be super poor.  Taste-o-vision would solve this problem.

It would be like scratch’n’sniff but…see’n…eat.  Delicious cupcake on your screen?  Willy Wonka style it travels in the airwaves from your computer into your life.  Imagine how full you would get after just a few short minutes on Pinterest.

…so maybe not the best idea.  But seriously, I NEED you to taste these cupcakes.  They taste like weekends and sleeping in and sunshine.  They taste like fluffy buttermilk cake studded with chocolate chips and topped with maple syrup buttercream.  They taste like the best pancake you’ve ever met.  If you decide to attempt ANY of the recipes I’ve posted in the past few months…attempt this one.  Just. Do it.

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Cupcakes (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart)

yield: 16 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon cornstarch)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin tins with 16 paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the whole eggs one a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides again, then add the yolks one at time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk.  Beat in vanilla, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the batter equally among the muffin liners, filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Place on a wire rack; cool completely before frosting.

Maple Buttercream

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening on high until smooth.  Reduce speed to medium and beat in maple syrup.  Reduce speed to low and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Beat in vanilla and milk; beat on medium for 1 minute or until frosting is fluffy and smooth.

Chocolate Chip Baked Buttermilk Doughnuts with Maple Glaze

New obsession heeeere we go.

It all started with the doughnut pan that has LITERALLY been calling my name from inside Crate and Barrel for 15 years…or at least since March 2011.

After almost a year of doughnut-pan-lusting (is that weird?) I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy the darn thing.  And now I am head over heels, truly, madly, deeply in love.  Baked doughnuts are where it’s at and I want to quit my job and open a doughnut shop and live happily ever after, amen.

Speaking of amen, I TOTALLY gave up Facebook for Lent.  Now accepting bets for how long that will last.  Hopefully longer than my sugar cleanse.

But seriously, Boston?  For such a coffee-loving city, WHERE ARE ALL YOUR DOUGHNUTS???  Love ya Dunks, but you’re just not cutting it.  Unless there are some hidden gems that have not yet been brought to my attention, there is no place to get some good old-fashioned just-made cake doughnuts, and that is so not okay with me.  I’m about to start a doughnut revolution with my 6-doughnut pan.  Who’s with me??!

These doughnuts were inspired by an unbelievable Chocolate Chip Pancake cupcake I recently tried at Cakeology.  I also happened to stumble upon a Baked Buttermilk doughnut recipe on Health.com, and a star was born.  Made with whole wheat flour and minimal sugar and butter, you can have these doughnuts for breakfast and still feel good about yourself :)

A chocolate chip-studded buttermilk-pancake-esque doughnut topped with maple syrup glaze?  Come to mama.

Chocolate Chip Baked Buttermilk Doughnuts (slightly adapted from Health.com)

yield: 12 doughnuts

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey (next time I’m going to try & replace the honey with maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Coat a doughnut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In a separate bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat buttermilk, eggs, honey, butter, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Spoon the batter into a large ziploc bag and cut the corner off; this is a much easier way to control how much batter goes into the doughnut pan.  Fill each well 2/3 full (if you have a 6-doughnut pan like me, you’ll have to bake in two batches) and bake for 8 minutes.  Doughnuts are done when the top springs back when pressed.
  4. Allow the doughnuts to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Top with maple glaze (recipe below).

Maple Glaze

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, 1 teaspoon milk, and 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, depending on the consistency you want.  Whisk until smooth.  Dip cooled doughnuts into glaze (top with sprinkles if you want!) and allow to set for 15-20 minutes.

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

Anyone have a favorite mall snack?  Maybe it was Auntie Anne’s…or Villa Pizza…or Mrs. Field’s?

Mine was Cinnabon. During my middle school mall rat days me and my BFFs would hit the the mall armed with $42 of allowance money, denim purses, and LipSmackers pink lemonade lip balm.  We would beeline it to Limited Too, buy an overpriced & oversparkled t-shirt, and then prance around the mall giggling like the annoying preteen girls we were.  Somehow I always made sure we made our way to Cinnabon.

I remember one of my friends would ask if I wanted to split a Cinnabon with her.  Ummm…hi. Hello.  Have you met me?  Do I seem like the type of gal who would willingly share her Cinnabon?  DO YOU REMEMBER HOW GOOD THEY SMELLED?

A few weeks ago when I was home I went to the mall…and Cinnabon was CLOSED.  Saddest news of my life.  So I created these cinnamon bun pancakes to commemorate the life (and smell) of my fave mall snack.  RIP.

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes

serves two

Pancakes (adapted from Recipe Girl)

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Cinnamon Filling

  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Icing

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk milk, vanilla, egg, and oil. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined- batter will be slightly lumpy.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine nuts, melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon to make the filling. Set aside 2 tablespoons of filling to drizzle over pancakes after they’re done cooking.
  3. Coat a large nonstick pan and heat over medium.  Pour half the pancake batter onto heated pan; pour half the cinnamon filling onto the batter.  Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the sides start to look cooked.  Flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.  Don’t allow the pan to get too hot or the nuts in the filling will burn!  Repeat.
  4. Drizzle cooked pancakes with reserved filling.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk melted butter, confectioner’s sugar, milk, and vanilla.  Pour over warm pancakes, and serve.

Cornflake-Crusted French Toast + Maple Cranberry Sauce

We had a situation at our house today.

An ANT situation.  Deeeeesgusting.

Likely due to a combination of today’s tropical temperatures and the Thanksgiving crumb-laden tablecloth sitting on the floor, my sister discovered roughly ONE ZILLION tiny ants swarming our laundry room.

She screamed, I ran…my mom sent this panicked response:

To say we overreacted would be an understatement.

Luckily we sprayed Raid all over those little buggers, threw the tablecloth in the washer, and handled the sitch like the adults we (apparently) are.

All because I left the back door open so I could get a good picture of french toast.

Sowwwwyyyy. #notsowwy

(I realize I said that one more cranberry recipe would make me puke.  I’m a hypocrite.)

Cornflake-Crusted French Toast (adapted from Simply Recipes)

serves two

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of thin bread (we used Pepperidge Farm) OR two slices of thick bread (like challah)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup cornflakes, crushed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9×13 pan or lined baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and flour.  Pour into a baking dish or pie pan.  Allow bread to soak for one minute on each side.
  3. Put crushed cornflakes on a large plate.  Dip the bread in the cornflakes, coating each side.  Put the coated bread into prepared pan.  Bake for 7-9 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
  4. Serve warm, with maple syrup or maple-cranberry sauce (recipe below).

Maple Cranberry Sauce

Combine 1/2 cup cranberry sauce with 2 tablespoons maple syrup.  Heat on the stove or in the microwave until warm through.  Spoon onto french toast.