It has been an age and a half since I’ve had a Dutch baby pancake. And I don’t know why, really, because every time I do actually enjoy one I always say to myself (probably with a mouthful of pancake), “Self, you should really eat Dutch baby pancakes more often.” I never listen.
That especially was the case this weekend, when I decided to break my two year long streak of non-Dutch baby pancake breakfasting by making this buckwheat Dutch baby. I had already eaten breakfast that day, but when this beauty emerged from the oven at mid-morning, all warm and topped with a fresh, fruity compote and cool basil whipped cream, I knew a second breakfast was in order.
Quick note: THANK YOU for the sweetest comments you left on my last post. I read each comment aloud to Avery. Just kidding. But I may do that sometime because you are all so kind. xoxo
I don’t have even a scoch of Southern blood in me, but my love of the region’s biscuits runs deep. It hasn’t always been this way, though — in my childhood, I had one too many run-ins with dry, crumbly, powdery biscuits that left nothing behind but the taste of flour in my mouth. I swore off biscuits for a good long while, that is, until I was old enough (and smart enough?) to try making them in my own kitchen.
That journey, however, is peppered with its own experiences of flat, dense, under-risen biscuits with no flavor. What is such a simple food can sometimes be so finicky and frustrating. And YET. And yet I knew I couldn’t give up, because there had to be a way to redeem all those years of subpar biscuits and it had to be done by me, in my kitchen. Preferably with lots of butter.
I am here to tell you I finally figured it all out, guys and gals. I think I have found the most perfectly flaky, fluffy Southern buttermilk biscuits I will ever be able to make at home. And they’re SO EASY, too. Which means if you follow along with me on this journey to buttery biscuitdom, by the end you, too, will be a biscuit lover (if you weren’t already).
There are so many reasons why I love what I do, this crazy-fun food blogging thing — including the fact that I get to make and eat things like mini Meyer lemon coconut scones, take photos of them, write about them and share the recipe with you (and if I could actually share the scones with you in real life, maybe in my living room with a cup of coffee in hand, too, that would MAKE MY DAY). But I also love it because of the people I’ve met and the wonderful community of food bloggers I get to call my friends.
One such dear friend is getting married in just a few short weeks. And so when this community can’t be there in person to celebrate our friend, we instead rally with an online bridal shower of epic proportions. I might be bringing these scones, but they are only a small portion of the mouthwatering yums that are being brought to the virtual table. And the love we all have for this lady is pretty epic, too.
I have some pretty horrible memories of coffee cake – you probably do, too. Something along the lines of a stale, crumbly pastry filled with some gelatinous mixture reminiscent of cream cheese and a gloopy fruit layer, with a cloyingly sweet glaze on top? Ring a bell? Been there? Yeah, me, too. Let’s not go back there again.
Instead, let’s make new coffee cake memories, starting with this recipe for cream cheese swirled carrot coffee cake = a.k.a., a carrot cake-flavored coffee cake with a decadent cream cheese filling and a delightful streusel topping. And glaze. But not the kind that will make your mouth pucker with the sweetness; rather, it’s the kind that will make you shovel forkful after forkful of this goodness into said mouth again and again.
If there is anything the Irish know best — well, besides a well-brewed pint of beer and how to make cabbage actually taste good — it’s their bread.
I say this not even being a huge fan of soda bread. It’s just too dry and boring for me, and I’ll always associate it with that one time in fourth grade that I tried to make it for a school project (about… the Irish? I don’t even know) and it baked like a solid rock (and tasted like I’d imagine one would, too). I won’t even talk about that other time in eighth grade when I tried making kimchi. Oy.
Now I know (I hope) my skills in the ways of bread baking have come a long way since my preteen days, but it’s just one of those memories I can’t shake. So when I decided to give Irish brown bread a try, I did so with much trepidation.
I refuse to talk about the weather. How winter’s chill has officially cut to the bone, how I can wear a full down jacket with a furry hood, a scarf that wraps around my neck 100 times, extra-thick mittens, fleece-lined leggings, leg warmers and snow boots and STILL shiver me timbers, how all I want to do these days is sit wrapped in a blanket by the fireplace with an oversized mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows on top cupped in my hands and watch the snow fall against the gray sky and reminisce about those dreamy days back in July when I, if I can even believe it, wore flip flops outdoors and my teeth didn’t chatter incessantly. The wonder!
But like I said, I refuse to talk about it. So let’s talk about these tasty caramelized shallot and smoked Gruyere gougeres — a.k.a. perfect little puffy bites of cheesy, caramelized deliciousness — instead.