cherry clafoutis

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Cherry season is in full swing and we take advantage of these few short weeks be packing our refrigerator full of cherries – both red and rainier. We generally eat them plain, enjoying the sweet, firm fruit as an after-dinner or mid-day snack. However, I wanted to get a little creative to see what else I could do with these guys.

Clafoutis is something that I have been meaning to make for awhile now, not quite understanding what it was. Is it cake? Custard? What does it taste like? Where does it come from?

Well, the only way to get my answer was to finally buck-up and make the darn thing, so I did, with the help of this article from Serious Eats. And now I have my answers. The flavor is very similar to that of a dutch baby but with a thicker, richer, more custard-y center. The center should be set, so it won’t be pudding-style creamy, but it will still be soft and almost pillowy.

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Cherries are traditional, but if that’s not your style you can substitute stone fruits like apricot or peach, or probably even berries would do (though they may be more prone to bursting). I left my cherries whole but did pit them as our annual cherry consumption warrants owning this helpful little gadget – which makes pitting cherries easy as pie. (Well, probably easier than pie, actually.) You can halve the cherries if you like or leave the pits in, but I find that would make eating the clafoutis much less enjoyable.

While traditionally served for dessert, I think this would fare equally as well as a breakfast or brunch dish in place of a dutch baby, pancakes, or other bready sweet. Plus it has fruit, which means it’s good for you! You can enjoy your clafoutis warm or room temperature, or cold from the fridge for a midnight snack. I recommend a gentle dusting of powdered sugar, though it will still be delicious plain, or with a healthy dollop of whipped cream – the choice is yours!

cherry clafoutis

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 1 9 or 10-inch clafoutis (serves 8 - 10)

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 3/4 pound sweet cherries, pitted
  • Powdered sugar, for serving
  • Whipped cream , for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and butter a 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron or nonstick skillet. (I used this one)
  2. Scatter cherries (or other fruit) into the bottom of the buttered pan.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free.
  5. Pour batter into the pan, over the fruit, and place pan on a baking sheet (in case it overflows) and carefully place into the oven.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool slightly before serving. Serve directly from the pan or carefully transfer onto a serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!
http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/23/cherry-clafoutis/

[ Recipe from Serious Eats ]

liege waffles

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Liege waffles are like not like those waffles you had for breakfast over the weekend. Though they are made on the same iron as those waffles, liege waffles are unique in both flavor and texture.

Unlike your soft and fluffy breakfast waffle batter, liege waffles are made with a brioche dough that is studded with pearl sugar. The brioche dough imparts a denser texture with a buttery richness to it, while an overnight rise gives the waffles a deeper flavor with a slight tang, and the pearl sugar lends pockets of molten sweetness and the liege waffle’s trademark crunchy, caramelized exterior.

These waffles are generally made using a belgian waffle iron, however since I don’t own a belgian-style waffle maker, I had to use my regular waffle iron. The waffles came out beautifully, with the one caveat of being thinner than the traditional liege waffle. Additionally, I had to make sure to flatten the dough before placing it into the waffle iron to ensure that it baked all the way through.

Either way, your waffle iron’s “ready” alert will be useless in this case. These waffles will splatter and steam throughout their baking process as the sugars melt, caramelize, and re-melt, and re-caramelize over and over again. Your waffle iron will be a complete mess, but don’t fret. Just keep going and each waffle will be even better than the last as the melted sugars build up on the iron and impart a deeper, more caramelized flavor onto each subsequent waffle. (See my notes on how to clean up this horrible mess at the bottom of the recipe.)

Because these implore the use of a bread dough and have a crunchy exterior, these waffles yield the best flavor and texture when enjoyed warm…especially when paired with fresh sweet berries, a drizzle of nutella, and sweet whipped cream. That being said, we enjoyed them at all temperatures both with and without toppings, as breakfast, dessert, and a mid-day snack.

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liege waffle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole mlk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc Belgian pearl sugar]

Instructions

    Make the dough:
  1. Warm milk and water together until warm to the touch (between 110 and 116F degrees)
  2. Pour milk mixture into the bottom of a large stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Add sugar and yeast and stir to combine.
  4. Let rest until the yeast activates, about 5 minutes. You will know the yeast is activated when it looks foamy.
  5. Whisk eggs and vanilla into the milk/yeast mixture until combined.
  6. Stir in 2 2/3 cups flour, reserving extra 1 cup of flour for later use.
  7. Turn mixer on low and stir until combined, add the salt and continue mixing until the mixture forms a dough.
  8. With the mixer on low, add the butter to the dough 1 tablespoon at a time, thoroughly kneading after each addition to ensure the butter is incorporated. Repeat this process until all of the butter has been added, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  9. After all the butter has been worked into the dough, add the remaining 1 cup of flour and knead with dough hook on low speed for 5 minutes, or until glossy.
  10. Rest the dough
  11. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  12. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, about 1 hour.
  13. Once the dough has come to temperature, stir the dough to deflate it and re-cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  14. Knead in the pearl sugar
  15. Pour the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and flatten slightly. Pour pearl sugar over the dough and knead the dough until the pearl sugar is incorporated. Try not to get mad when the sugar hops out of the dough and onto the counter. If you lose a few pearls, so be it.
  16. Make the waffles
  17. Heat your waffle iron. I don't ever grease my waffle iron, but if it's normal for you to do so, go for it. **Let me take one second to go on my soap box and ask that you please not spray your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron. Of course, you are always welcome to ignore my advice.** Moving on...
  18. Divide your dough ball into 16 pieces and roll those pieces into balls.
  19. When you're ready to cook the waffle, flatten the ball into a disk about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and place it into your waffle iron. **Note:** If you have a belgian waffle maker, you may not have to flatten it. I flattened mine since my waffle maker inherently makes thinner waffles and learned this technique while making other waffley things.
  20. Press your waffle iron closed tightly on top of the dough, then release the pressure and allow the waffle to cook as per normal waffle protocol. Ignore your waffle iron's sirens (if it is equipped with such things) and allow the waffle to cook fro 4 to 6 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown. As you get further through your waffle-making some may even end up with blackened caramelized sugar bits. I like to refer to these as flavor crystals.
  21. Once your waffle is done cooking, carefully remove the waffle (I find a plastic fork to be ideal for this task, as its plastic tines won't harm your waffle iron. Silicone-tipped tongs would also work well.) and place the waffle on a cooling rack. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying. Remember that the waffles are going to be covered in molten sugar and will likely make you say unkind things when the hot molten sugar comes into contact with your precious fingertips or the roof of your mouth.

Notes

* You can find belgian pearl sugar on [http://amzn.to/1RfuQyc amazon] or in the baking section of your local Sur la Table.

*I always advise against spraying your waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray, as the residue it leaves behind will actually ruin your waffle iron. If you must grease it, please put some oil or butter on a paper towel using silicone-tipped tongs, rub it on your waffle iron.

*To clean my waffle iron, I usually soak a dish towel with water, press it in the iron, and let the steam do its work. I found that in this case, it was actually easier to let the iron cool and use a wooden skewer to gently scrape off the burned-on sugar, which popped off with ease. If yours is giving you a hard time, use a warm, damp rag to gently wash off the hardened on sugar. Don't despair, remember that sugar dissolves in water. So even though it may take some time, it will get clean.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/06/08/liege-waffles/

[ Recipe from Smitten Kitchen ]

wanna be starbucks cherry oat bars

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Apparently our local Starbucks has a new pastry in stock these days. I don’t know if it’s legit new or just “new to us” new, but it is called the Michigan Cherry Oat Bar… and it happens to be Mr. Eats’ new favorite thing these days. So, of course, he requested that I make a from-scratch version. When I told him that would be difficult to do having never tasted the sweet treat, one appeared at our home within days.

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jeni’s north market waffles

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Hello and good morning, everyone! Today I bring to you another gem from the land of Jeni’s, but this time it’s waffles!

Apparently I’ve been on a bit of a waffle kick lately. I got this wonderful waffle maker a couple years ago for Christmas and I really haven’t given it close to the love that it deserves. So I took it out, dusted it off, and have been waffling like crazy these past few weeks. Of course, you all get to reap the benefits of my crazy.

This is yet another winning recipe from my beloved Jeni’s Splendid Desserts and while you may be skeptical of using waffles as a dessert, I assure you that these are just as delicious topped with strawberries, bananas, and syrup as they are when topped with ice cream. And if you are thinking that ice cream on top of waffles is “weird” I’m going to stop you right there with two words: waffle cones. Imagine that waffle cone is warm, soft, and pillowy and – tada – welcome to ice cream waffles. I rest my case.

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chocolate chip almond muffins

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Apparently December is brunch month for me – with pain au chocolateapple pie biscuits and cinnamon-almond scones and now… muffins! Sure everyone else is helping you make Christmas cookies but here at Wee Eats we are committed to ensuring you are covered for your most important meal of the day.

These muffins are adapted from Monica over at Playing with Flour. She’s got tons of gorgeous goodies over on her blog, I highly recommend you stop by and check her out!

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These are not those big, dense muffins from your nightmares. The almond flour in these muffins give them a remarkably light crumb, they have a touch of sweetness, and then sliced almonds on to give them a nice little “crunch” as if to say “Good morning, Sunshine!”

Although her recipe calls for orange zest, I left it out because I’ve never really been into that whole chocolate-orange thing. Instead, I added a dash of almond extract to complement the almond flour and sliced almonds, and took these guys another route.

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chocolate chip almond muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 to 15 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. Grease liners, if desired, to aid in easy removal of muffins.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the mini chocolate chips and toss to coat with the flour mixture.
  3. Place sugar and almond meal into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add vanilla and almond extracts, then add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until combined.
  6. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add the flour mixture. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture, stirring just until combined.
  7. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups (the batter will be very stiff), filling them nearly to the top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
  8. Bake until muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes. Let muffins cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and set onto the rack to finish cooling.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/12/16/chocolate-chip-almond-muffins/

[ Recipe adapted from: Playing with Flour ]