EMOTIONAL EATS

Getting Through Life One Recipe at a Time

Category: Breakfast (page 1 of 2)

Scones Revisited

We still gather once a week.

We are still Social Scones strong.

It’s been over a year and a lot has changed. We’ve lost a few (not naming names) and gained others. We’ve changed jobs, acquired boyfriends, grown yet stayed the same. We are still called every Thursday for tea, talking, and treats. We assemble.

And it is still my favorite weekly tradition.

As our group has expanded, so have our flavors. The humble plain, chocolate chip, and blueberry no longer cut it. Now you’ll find almond paste, cranberry orange, and my two offerings for today – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Cherry.

So, again, this one is for the girls (and guys!) that make Thursday mornings so special.

Oh hey! There we are! And there’s me! And there are guys! My guy! Oh! And Callie, our host! Check out that pile of scones. Not bad!

Moving on…

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Click here to get the recipe for my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

White Chocolate Cherry Scones

Click here for my White Chocolate Cherry Scone Recipe

Want a morning tradition of your own? Need a scone? Let me know! I deliver in the DC metro area. Email me for pricing!

Post-Party Pancakes

“OUUUEEEEAAAA”

I woke with a start, my head pounding, the room familiar but not mine, my contact lenses turned to dust on the floor.

Scribbled doodle hearts all over my knee, lipstick smeared across my face, someone else’s shirt and shorts.

What happened?

I heard a low groan somewhere nearby but I couldn’t see her. I couldn’t help her. I forgot my glasses.

“Panncakkes?”

Thank God. It was just Callie. Who else would ask for pancakes that early in the morning? And she was exactly right. We had a rough night, we needed them.

As I measured and whisked, whipped and folded, I tried to remember what led me to this state of extreme frazzlement, of tousled hair, bruised legs, sticky skin and pancake craving.

A super-tight red dress with a feather boa draped around my neck, a few too many vodka sodas, making out with a not-so-strange stranger – he was nice. Callie and I were definitely mistaken for hookers on the streets of Southeast in our Cher Horowitz costumes… ah yes.. it was all coming back to me.

Callie roused herself at the smell of melting butter and the sound of sizzling batter and began to make us some tea.

We sat crossed legged on her living room floor, not mentioning the embarrassing moments from the night before, just eating our pancakes and plucking boa feathers from our feet.

The hangover, and a few unfavorable fuzzy recollections from the night before, started to creep up on me. Thankfully, the pancakes were working their magic. The hearty whole wheat, the sticky sweet syrup, that half melted butter sliding around – all part of the remedy I desperately needed.

The light started to sneak through her blinds and create long rays of gold accented with swirling dust. It was groggy bliss.

I was immeasurably happy, probably still a little drunk and glad to split a stack of Post Party Pancakes with Callie on a lovely Sunday morning nearly two years ago.

I love the mix. You know the mix I am talking about. I grew up on it. But there comes a time in every kind-of-adult’s life when you realize making pancakes from scratch is too easy. So then you do.

Mix together whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together milk, eggs, and maple extract. Pour over dry ingredients and mix in. Some lumps in the batter are okay.

Stir in melted butter.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add about 1/2 a cup of batter. When the pancake starts to bubble around the edges, flip it.

Cook for another 1 – 2 minutes on the second side until the pancake is puffed and cooked through.

PJ clad and picking up the pieces from the night before.

Just look at those flapjacks!

Just two girls, trying to remember while hoping to forget, eating pancakes and getting by. Photo credit: Cristina. Leg Credit: Callie.

Recipe/Story Credit: ME!

Post Party Pancakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of maple extract (or vanilla)
1 cup of whole milk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons of melted butter

Directions: 

Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together maple extract, milk, and eggs.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.

Stir in melted butter.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When hot, add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. When the pancake begins to bubble around the edges, flip it.

Cook on the second side for 1 – 2 additional minutes until the pancake is puffed and cooked through.

Eat immediately!!!

 

 

Sweet Life Swedish Pancakes

Where am I? Maybe you don’t know. Sometimes I don’t even know. Sometimes I spring awake in the middle of the night and I’ve forgotten where I am, unable to return to sleep until I can remember.

But then I do remember, ah yes, I am in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps my favorite part of returning to D.C was reuniting with my friend Callie and meeting all her wonderful, funny, intelligent, kind, beautiful, lady friends.

You may even remember them from Social Scones.

They are the group of D.C girls I want to hang out with all the time.

Movie nights, morning teas with scones, Gushi (gym+sushi). Just young ladies, being together, and being ladies.

One night, with a Harry Potter playing of course, our friend Sanjida whipped up these amazingly light little pancake guys just for the hell of it. They were simple but so tasty, dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with maple syrup, topped with berries, or (in my case) all of the above.

They were like edible clouds and I could have eaten 20 but as I was a guest, and (at the time) new to the friend group, I decided to, with great difficulty, restrain myself to one.

What a perfect night with perfect friends, a cup of tea, Swedish pancakes, and a movie marathon.

Maybe they remember it or maybe they don’t but I remember looking around at the scene, the smiles, and thinking to myself, “This really is the sweet life.”

So here’s a little treat for the sweet moments in your life.

Just a few things needed – flour, salt, sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, milk, and water.

Put milk, water, vanilla, and eggs in a blender and mix.

Add flour and salt.

With the motor running, stream in the melted butter until smooth.

Melt a pat of butter in a non-stick pan. Add a little batter and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until the edges start to curl up.

Cook on the other side for 2 minutes.

Serve these warm and share with friends or eat an entire batch by yourself while thinking of your friends. It all evens out.

Sweet Life Swedish Pancakes

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of water
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of butter, melted
additional butter for frying

Directions:

Place eggs, milk, water, sugar, and vanilla in a blender and mix until combined.

Add flour and salt and mix.

With the blender running, stream in the melted butter.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add a pat of butter.

When the butter is melted, pour in a small amount of batter and swirl it around to coat the pan.

Let cook for 2 – 3 minutes until lightly browned.

Flip and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.

Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve immediately!

BFF Blueberry Beignets

Sometimes it’s okay for things to be simple.

Not every blog post has to be love lost, love found, break up, make up, draining.

In spite of my blog’s name, not every moment of my life is an emotional roller coaster.

Every once in a while, I am eating just for the hell of it.

A few months ago, I took a vacation from the delicious drama of my normal eating patterns and had a simple breakfast with two of my best friends.

We were at a grubby little diner in Charlottesville. Formica tables, a rickety booth, checked floor, our server with his graying beard and ponytail. It was perfect.

Foolishly trying to be health conscious, I ordered eggs and fruit salad – yawn – but luckily one of my girls thought to order Blueberry Beignets.

Little puffed pillows of greatness to be dusted with confectioner’s sugar and soaked in vanilla syrup.

We dunked and drizzled and munched and giggled.

And there was nothing else to it. Just a couple of girls filling their faces on a beautiful morning in Virginia.

And what more could you ask for?

Oh, right! The recipe –

Dissolve yeast in warm water, let it foam, 5 – 10 minutes.

Add sugar, salt, egg, evaporated milk, vanilla, and blend until smooth.

Add 1/2 of the flour and mix.

Add shortening, stir until smooth. NO LUMPS!

Add the rest of the flour and mix until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

At first it will look like a shaggy mess. Don’t worry, it will smooth.

Add blueberries and fold in gently!

See? Smooth! Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, roll out to 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut into 1 1/2 inch-ish shapes.

Heat a big ol’ pot of oil to 350°F. Add the dough shapes a few at a time. FRY!!! 3 – 4 minutes on the first side, 2 – 3 minutes on the second side until golden brown.

Drain that oil. And make vanilla syrup. Place water, sugar, and vanilla bean in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Dust with sugar, dunk in syrup, do whatever. But most importantly, enjoy!

BFF Blueberry Beignets

  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients:

Beignets:
1 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast
3/4 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup of evaporated milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla
3 1/2 cups of flour
1/8 cup of shortening
1/2 pint of blueberries

48 oz of vegetable oil for frying

Vanilla Syrup (optional):
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

Directions:

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit, covered with plastic, for 5 – 10 minutes until yeast starts to foam.

When yeast is foamy, add sugar, salt, egg, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix to combine.

Next add 1/2 of the flour.

Add the shortening and stir until it is completely incorporated, no lumps.

Add the rest of the flour and stir until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Add the blueberries and fold in gently.

Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic, and place in the fridge to rest overnight.

The next day, roll the dough out until it is 1/8 of an inch thick.

Cut the dough into 1 1/2 inch squares, rectangles, triangles – it doesn’t have to be perfect.

When you are ready to fry, heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat.

When the oil reaches 350°F, add a few beignets at a time. Don’t overcrowd the pot.

If they sink to the bottom, your oil is too cold. The beignets should rise to the top and sizzle around the edges.

Fry for 3 – 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and fry for another 2 – 3 minutes. Once the beignets are golden brown, remove from oil and transfer to a wire rack. Blot with paper towels.

Repeat with the rest of the dough.

You can toss the warm beignets in powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar.

If you would like to make the vanilla syrup, which can be made days in advance, put all ingredients in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Store in an airtight container and chill.

Dunk warm beignets in vanilla syrup or drizzle generously.

Good Enough For Buddy Buttermilk Pancakes

Whenever my brother comes home, it’s like we’re hosting the royal family.

As he settles on the couch with soccer on TV and newspaper in hand, my mom bustles around the kitchen trying to figure out the coffeemaker, my dad inquires about my brother’s sleep quality, and I am in the kitchen rolling my eyes and sweating over a hot stove of bacon, eggs, and pancakes.

At this point in our lives, Bisquick won’t do. These are from scratch pancakes, lovingly measured, whisked, folded, and flipped – fit for a king called Buddy.

As grease pops dot my skin and my glasses smear with butter, I grumble and complain and say things like, “Anything else your highness?” “Did you want that maple syrup warmed?” As second-child sarcastic as I may sound, the truth is I love doing it.

My favorite kitchen memories weren’t made in culinary school or during my time as a pastry chef; but as a daughter, a friend, a sister feeding loved ones in my home. Cooking is about making people happy and pancakes always do the trick.

So here is my recipe for the fluffiest, homemade, Good Enough For Buddy Buttermilk Pancakes.

Make some for someone you love – your romantic associate, a lifelong friend, your parents, or that older brother you wish would visit more often.

Eat up!

Measure out all your stuff. Mix the dry ingredients together, mix the wet ingredients together.

Mix wet and dry together.

Butter a skillet, let that butter sizzle, pour some batter on it, wait for it to bubble, about 3 -5 minutes.

Flip dat cake. Cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until golden brown and puffed.

An all too familiar scene in my house. My brother enjoying homemade pancakes, reading the paper, watching tv, drinking coffee, and then taking a nap from a busy morning of doing nothin’.

Buddy prefers his syrup warmed… do you?

Good Enough For Buddy Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
a large pinch of salt
2 1/2  cups of buttermilk
1 cup of whole milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup of butter, melted, plus more for frying.
1 tablespoon of vanilla

Directions:

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, whole milk, eggs,  melted butter, and vanilla.

Melt a tablespoon of the additional butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Just before you are ready to cook the pancakes, pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until combined. It is okay if there are some lumps.

Using a ladle, scoop the batter onto the skillet with melted butter.

Let cook on first side until bubbles start to form around the edges, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Flip the pancake and cook for an additional 2 – 3 minutes until the pancake is nicely browned.

Remove from skillet, slather with even more butter, and serve with syrup, confectioner’s sugar, or whatever you want.

You can also add blueberries, chocolate chips, sliced banana, etc. The world is your oyster.

Keep Calm Coffee Cake

It’s probably obvious. You’ve read the stories.

I am not sure why I am this way and to be fair, I am not always this way. It comes and goes. I am inconsistent.

Sometimes bubbly. Cheeks threatening to burst with laughter. Life of my own party. Happy to be alive. Funny.

Other times, messy mind. Unfocused. Heavy heart. Worry. Thinking about how I am thinking about nothing. Prickly. I’m anxiety, Miss Nerves 2017, stressed out about being stressed out.

There is a dark cloud that shadows my footsteps as I shuffle to and from work with my head hung. A relentless nagging, “I’m not enough, I need to be more. I’m a 28 year old, half-assed blogger, part-time baker, full-time joke.”

Thankfully, when I get to the bakery, there is a great and adamant “shuuuush” in my head. Quiet now, you’ve got baking to do.

It’s the feeling of creaming butter before the sun is up. The scrape of a pastry cutter on stainless steel. That “floooosh” of hot air that hits my face as the oven door opens, finally preheated, for the first time that morning.

It’s the calm smack in the middle of the sub-cranial storm.

I have hardly two nickels to my name, an ever-changing employment status, serious lack of foresight regarding my future and literally no idea what I want out of life. But, it’s all okay for the moment. Why? I’ve got a crazy moist coffee cake bubbling in the oven and the bakery smells like cinnamon and sugar, home and warmth.

How can anything be that bad?

Maybe you’re stressed too. Maybe this one hits close to home… but probably not. Either way, take a moment for yourself. Indulge. Bake something special and share it or don’t! Cut a slice, kick up your feet, silence the negative nonsense in your head and remember all the good in the world. Be thankful – for new days, dessert, a friend’s smile, a hug from mom or dad, a seat on the metro, yourself and your place in this world.

Keep calm and coffee cake (and subscribe to my blog…..)

Measure out all ingredients: butter with sugar, drys with drys, you get it.

Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Add milk and mix until smooth.

Add dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

The batter will be thick and fluffy. Set the batter aside while you make the crumb topping.

Whisk together, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add cold cubed butter.

With your hands, two knives, a fork, a pastry cutter or whatever, work the butter into the sugar mixture until it resembles a wet sandy substance.

To assemble, butter a 9×13 pan. Place a piece of parchment at the bottom of the pan then butter and flour the parchment-ed bottom and the sides of the pan.

Spread half of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Top with half of the brown sugar crumb. Top the crumb with the second half of batter, spreading evenly, and finally top the batter with the second half of the crumb.

Place in a 350° F oven and bake for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes until an inserted cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool before slicing, serving, following your dreams, forgetting your doubts and doing your best.

Plot Twist: I left the bakery, well not officially, but I’ve given my notice. It’s 2017 and I am tired of my dreary disposition. I have plans – for me, for this blog, for lunch and I (finally) intend to see them through. Hold me accountable, won’t you?

I should say this though. I will miss the wonderful people. I enjoyed working with them everyday and I wish them best of luck for everything always.

Okay – now the recipe.

Keep Calm Coffee Cake

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 1/4 cups of whole milk
2 1/2 cups of cake flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp of salt

For topping:
4 cups of  brown sugar
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon
2 sticks of butter, cold and cubed.

For Glaze:
1 cup of powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons of milk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Butter the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Place a piece of parchment in the bottom of the pan. Next, butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand-mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in eggs and beat to combine.

Add in vanilla.

Add in milk and mix until smooth.

Add in the dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated.

Set aside and make the topping.

In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.

Add the cold butter and using a pastry cutter work the butter into the sugar mix until it resembles damp sand.

To assemble the coffee cake, spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Top with half of the crumb topping. Spread the rest of the batter on top of the brown sugar crumb and spread the second half of the crumb over top.

Place the coffee cake in the preheated oven and bake for an hour to an hour and 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and test doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean you are good to go.

Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar and milk together until a thick but spreadable glaze forms.

Let the coffee cake cool before slicing and glazing.

Eat!!!

New Boy Biscuit

I hate a setup. I worry that my well-intentioned friends will talk me up too much or talk the guy up too much or I’ll do that heavy drawn out nervous laugh with the high pitched finish…too much. Really, it’s all too much.

“You guys would be perfect,” they say. “You have the SAME sense of humor,” they promise. “He’s a great lay,” — wait, what? How would you know?

I am more interested in meeting people organically or frankly not at all. What’s wrong with being 27 and spending your weekends making pizza (re: No-Time Naan Pizzas), slothing around and practicing your British accent in the privacy of your own home?

Love-Grump that I may be, I couldn’t dim the enthusiasm of a girl friend eager to introduce me to a guy she knew. She thought we’d be great. So he and I met, with my lady friend and others in tow.

I didn’t sweat through my sweater, so that’s good. He was nice, weirdly calming. His beard had flecks of gray that kept catching my eye. He seemed thoughtful or maybe just quiet compared to the rest of the crew. He dressed really well, not like intimidatingly well but attractively well. I had to actively stop myself from touching his shoulders when I talked to him. I’m a mess.

When he excused himself and made for the restroom my pals turned on me like lovable vultures.

“Well?”

“What do you think?”

“Are you into it?”

I gave him an accurately positive review, not feeling the need to festoon my feelings with any falsehoods for my friends’ sake. I was genuinely intrigued.

He returned quickly and we all acted naturally.

Weeks passed and I gave this new boy an occasional thought or two…or three…perhaps four but definitely not five. Alright, it was eight. But nothing came of it, so I decided to turn my attention back to my priorities: pizza, pajamas, Potter.

Then out of the blue, he texted me, apologized for the delay (It’s fine… I wasn’t thinking about it, worrying I’d embarrassed myself and googling the steps to assume a new identity) and asked to see me again. Woah. WOAH. woah.

I asked if he’d meet at a coffee shop nearby. It’s a place where I feel comfortable – tea, baked goods, no frills, no fuss. He agreed.

We got our teas and a gigantic buttermilk biscuit to split. Warm. Rich. To be slathered in butter and honey. We talked for five hours and I haven’t the foggiest idea what about. A little of everything, I suppose. It was natural, comfortable. He was funny.

I lost track of time – happy to be in the company of someone who seemed happy to be in the company of me. Our teas turned cold and our biscuit to crumbs as rain sprinkled the street and we judged passersby.

When we parted ways I felt full… full of something. Biscuit for sure, but there was something else too. Contentment. Content to split a buttery biscuit with a handsome-faced man on a rainy day.

And isn’t that just the thing about interesting boys and buttermilk biscuits? They are soothing, warm, a little surprising. Tasty. Straight forward but layered all the same. And this boy… I mean biscuit.. okay boy too, what a looker! Tall, golden, crisp exterior, fluffy inside. Is there anything more satisfying than splitting a hot biscuit, watching the steam rise, slathering it with butter and drizzlin’ with sweet sticky? After review, that sentence seems a bit pornographic…

Here’s to new boys, rich biscuits, and putting yourself out there.

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Get those ingredients going – I weigh everything – but because I’m nice I put cup/teaspoon/etc. measurements for you at the bottom. You’re welcome. Put all the dry in a bowl and whisk!

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Grate ya buttah!

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Put the grated butter in with dry ingredients. Toss to coat then, using your hands, rub the butter into the dry.

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Add the buttermilk.

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Mix until just combined.

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Place on a floured surface and pat together.

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Roll into an 8″x8″ square and mark for cutting.

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Cut your biscuits.

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Place them into a greased and parchment-ed 8″x8″ brownie pan. It will be a snug fit. This is good!

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Brush with egg wash and place into a preheated 400° F oven.

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Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and lovely.

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Let cool slightly before cutting into and eating all in one sitting.

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So flakey and delicious! Great alone, better with butter, best with butter, honey and an attractive dude to look at.

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Update: We went on a second date. I got a little (a lot) tipsy and spoke in a British accent (good thing I practiced) for longer than I care to remember. I am now sitting in my office with my sunglasses on cursing Chardonnay. He hasn’t texted. What’s wrong with me?

New Boy Biscuits

  • Servings: 9 biscuits
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Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups of self-rising flour (I use Washington brand because I <3 DC)
1/8 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 teaspoon of salt
1 and 1/2 sticks of butter, cold
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, cold

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400° F.

Grease an 8″x8″ baking dish. I also put a square of parchment in the bottom to be extra safe and then grease the parchment as well.

Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Add the cold, grated butter. Toss the butter and coat with flour. Once the butter is coated, rub it into the flour with your hands.

Add the cold buttermilk and stir until the mixture just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll into an 8″x8″ square. Cut into 3 rows and then cut each row into 3 equal squares. You will have nine biscuits.

Place the biscuits into the baking dish. There should be virtually no room between the biscuits.

Brush with an egg wash and place into the preheated oven.

Bake for 30 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Let the biscuits cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Beach Week Blueberry Bread

An overly iced bourbon with just the right amount of ice, shirtless men, sandy feet, beer pong, my head feels funny, I’ve been carried to bed – it’s baby’s first beach week.

If I’d been invited years ago, really even just a year ago, my answer would have been unequivocally, “No!” A resounding, “Aw hell naw!” But more realistically, more politely, it would have been, “Thanks, no thanks, sorry! I can’t!” Excuse, excuse, excuse.

Crippling social anxiety, wall-to-wall germaphobia, limitless self-consciousness (to name a few) have always prevented me from doing, going, participating, living.

But for whatever reason, perhaps I happened to be listening to Flo Rida at the time or I was inspired by the host’s out-of-this-world six-pack and encouraging personality, this year when invited, I shouted, “Yes,” from a metaphorical rooftop. To hell with caution – beach week here I come!

Okay, slow my roll.

That isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous. Wearing a bathing suit in front of people I went to high school with… is there a fresher hell than that? Socializing for three days straight? Pretending I’m interesting to people who ARE actually interesting. I can’t keep that game up forever. It’s the constant concern – among these wonderful people, what do I bring to the table?

Uh…bread, I guess…baking???

It’s my one comfort. That thing I do and think “I’m not horrible at this.” It’s the anticipation of smiling faces. It meant showing up with something even if it wasn’t a personality or anything to say…

So I baked two loaves of my favorite Blueberry Bread, something impossible to screw up and even harder to resist. I hopped in the Caddy at 10pm, peeled out of my driveway blasting “Thunderstruck,” and I drove my ass through the night to Bethany Beach.

I spent the ride organizing my thoughts. The familiar chant, “You’ll be fine! You’ve brought bread! Everyone loves bread!” the most frequently occurring of them all. My mantra and occasional (okay – never ceasing) belting of any and all U2 songs seemed to soothe my subconscious squalls. That is, until I was nearly there.

I lurked outside, practicing deep breathing, psyching myself up to go in but not at the point of parking my car. That’s when he spotted me through the window. He, him, yes, the man who invited me to my own personal anxiety fest. He came bolting out the door to greet me with a kiss and an encouraging smirk.

As we entered the house, loaves in hand, my throat seemed to dry up. Who are all these people? Say something funny Kaitlin! For Christ’s sake don’t just stand there! 

“Hi – I, uhh, well… I brought this bread…I’m Kaitlin.”

Nailed it.

So my entrance wasn’t red carpet worthy, really any carpet worthy, but my bundle of baked goods seemed to bamboozle my beach buddies long enough for me to catch my breath and relax.

And relax I did. Each morning I cooked breakfast (Blueberry Bread included), I sunbathed on the beach, swam in an actual ocean not just one of fears and abandoned dreams, I conversed comfortably; and yes, I think there was something about Bourbon up there…. but that’s a bit fuzzy.

I beach week-ed and lived to tell the tale and share this recipe for the easiest, most delicious, bursting with blueberries bread you’ll ever make!

So whether you’re headed to a beach with a hot guy and a group of friends (previously my own personal nightmare) or you’re just looking to carbo-load alone in your house with that TLC marathon on in the background (I’m not NOT doing that… right now) this bread is perfect! Make a few loaves and get living!

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Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

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In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.

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Add the wet to the dry and carefully combine. This batter is thhhhiiiiicccck, so you know it’s good.

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Add in the blueberries.

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Pour batter into prepared pans and place in a 350° F oven and bake for 1 hour. Let the bread cool before turning out, slicing and serving.

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Mmmm… the open road, classic rock, the promise of a kiss from your crush… this is adventure people… forget your fears and burn some rubber!

Beach Week Blueberry Bread

  • Servings: 2 loaves
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Ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups of sugar
1 1/4 cups of canola oil
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups of blueberries

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° F and butter and flour two 9 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.

Add the blueberries and fold in carefully.

Split the batter evenly between the loaf pans.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, rotating pans halfway through the baking process.

Once bread has finished baking, remove from oven and let cool before turning out of pan, slicing and serving.

Enjoy!

Like a Good Neighbor Banana Bread

What decade was it? The 50s? The 60s? When was it that women had perfectly curled hair, the milkman was still a thing, and new neighbors were given baked goods as a welcome to town?

Admittedly, the idea of lukewarm porch milk creeps me out; but, part of me feels like I’d thrive in the good old days.

I see myself in a vibrantly patterned dress, aproned, pulling something warm from the oven as I exclaim, “Oh, hi dear!” when my perfectly dapper husband enters the kitchen, sets his briefcase down and kisses me on the cheek. Some little tyke (I guess he is mine???) is riding his training-wheeled bike around the block in our green grass, white fence, middle of America neighborhood. I can hear Adelaide Hawley’s voice in the other room – I’ve left the rabbit ears on. Aw shucks! It’s 1951.

Then I remember, it’s 2016, I’ve just redownloaded Bumble from the iCloud, only to delete it again because dating apps aren’t for me. I log into Seamless to order Thai food because we all know I’m not changing out of these yoga pants to go out. And the dapper husband? He’s nowhere to be found. He’s a string of bad dates (a few superbly lovely ones too), a makeout sesh in a dimly lit bar, a text conversation that’s going nowhere. Isn’t modern living so great? Hang on – my noodles are here and I need to e-tip or I-tip or remember what cash looks like and find some.

The world is different. Times have changed. When was the last time you saw a baseball score make front page news? A reality show tangerine is a presidential candidate (yikes), love letters have been swapped for emojis but thank god baked goods are still king.

One way I desperately cling to a simpler time I never knew is by making banana bread for my neighbors. My dad has this habit of buying bananas every time he goes to the store – even if we’ve got six browning on the counter already. Instead of condemning the inevitably overripe ones to the garbage, I started to make batches of banana bread on the reg and distribute them versus eat them. Okay – well versus eat ALL of them.

It became more than a habit, really an addiction. Baking with love, wrapping in a kitchen towel and walking to Donna’s or Linda’s or Brenda’s or Sue’s (all lovely neighborly names) with a hot loaf. I love the smiles. I love the appreciation. I love how something so simple can be something so meaningful – for both parties.

It’s sitting down and having a cup of tea, a slice of banana bread and an in person conversation. It’s the summer breeze, the sound of cicadas and definitely an open screen door. It’s knowing you’ll get that kitchen towel back; but, if you don’t you are happy for them to have it. It’s what sharing, and liking, and socializing used to be before they became what they are today. It’s old fashioned and I guess I am too.

For your purposes, it’s rich, chocolatey, warm and comforting. Whether you live your life in this decade or are pining for the past, it’s a simple gesture and a delicious treat.

I hope you’ll make some and share it with someone you love. A neighbor, a friend, that tinder match or that dapper husband. Maybe even that weird imaginary kid I mentioned before – where’d he get to? “Timmy get out of the street!!!!”

Here’s my recipe:

Banana_Bread_1

The lineup – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, four super ripe nanners, and a surprise!

Banana_Bread_2

Whisk together the drys!

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Mash the bananas! Hey – where’d those chocolate chips come from? Oh right, the surprise!

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Whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth.

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Add mashed bananas, oil and vanilla to egg and sugar mixture.

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Whisk in dry ingredients a little bit at a time.

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Smooth batters call for spatulas!

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Add all the chocolate.

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Pour into a 9×5 loaf pan OR do what I did and pour batter into an 8.5 x 4.5 pan and then make a few muffins for yourself.

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You can do all loaf, all muffins, some loaf, some muffins – this recipe translates really well for both!

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Place into a 350° F oven and bake for about an hour and ten minutes until the loaf is gorgeously brown and an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean – maybe a few crumbs.  Let cool slightly, run a knife around the edges and turn the bread out of the pan.

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Eat it or gift it – up to you! Either way get ready to see smiles!

Like a Good Neighbor Banana Bread

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup of sugar
4 super ripe bananas
1 generous teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of canola oil
12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl.

Mash bananas.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar.

Add mashed banana, oil and vanilla to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture a little at a time. Whisk until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour into a 9 x 5 loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes until the bread is nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool slightly and serve warm!

Bread will keep for about a week.

Social Scones

I always prided myself (stupidly) on my lone ranger lifestyle. I was an island. If I wasn’t dating someone, I wasn’t hanging out with anyone. Who needs friends? I was perfectly happy to navigate that strange and uncertain time known as “my terrible 20s” alone.

Maybe a product of being bullied in middle school (kleenex down, this isn’t a sob story) made me weary of people, made me enjoy alone time or maybe I am just stubborn.

I’ve always had a girl friend or two – who I cared about deeply but saw infrequently; but, my desire for a group was nonexistent. In fact, if I ever found myself in a group, I was immediately uncomfortable, I would become a different person.

I had to be the funniest, the smartest, the most interesting – to be more than I actually am. I had to dominate the conversation. Ugh – what a pain I must have been. Believe me it wasn’t cockiness that drove me, it was self-consciousness. Funny how those two work together.

So when I moved to D.C and found myself in a group of women, eating scones, watching Pride and Prejudice on a Thursday morning – I was surprised, shocked even, by how much I was enjoying it. How laid back I felt, how comfortable in my own skin, how happy I was to get to know these girls and meet more of them, to build friendships.

What happened to me? Maybe in moving to DC I matured, not likely, but somehow I realized wanting friends, heck even needing friends, didn’t make me weak or vulnerable. Actually, it made me a better friend, a better person.

And what a group of women I found. Smart, funny, confident. Good jobs, great stories, common interests, knack for scone making, nice. These girls are so unbelievably nice.

They changed me, brought out a better, more socially comfortable side I wasn’t sure existed. I am an island no more. Transformed. Happy to be with people, part of a group. Happy to eat scones and watch Colin Firth sport about in his pantaloons.

Why wouldn’t I be? What crazy person wouldn’t want to spend a weekday morning chowing down on buttery, rich, homemade scones slathered in devonshire cream? Drinking tea, face swapping on Snapchat, speaking in poorly executed but endearing-for-your-effort English accents. Laughing too much for 8am. You’d have to be nuts to say no to that!

So this one’s for the girls. The group I feel lucky to be a part of. My new friends (and one old friend) who took little old anti-social me in and made me a believer in groups, in girls, in socializing, in scones. You know who you are.

Cheers!

Scones_Recipe_1

You just need a few things to make scones. I bet you’ve already got them!

Whisk together your dry ingredients – full list below.

Scones_Recipe_2

Add the grated butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat it.

Scones_Recipe_3

Rub the butter and dry ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is evenly dispersed throughout the dry.

Scones_Recipe_4

Whisk together the egg and the cream and then add it to the dry ingredients. Stir the wet in with a spatula or your hands until the dough starts to come together.

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The dough will seem a bit dry and shaggy but it will come together. If it is too dry add a bit more cream. Too wet? Add more flour.

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Turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out.

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Roll into a rectangle that’s about 5 x 7 inches. Cut the rectangle in half vertically.

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Take each 1/2, cut it into 1/3s and then cut those 1/3s in 1/2 into triangles. You know?

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You’ll end up with 12 triangles!

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Place the triangles on a cookie tray lined with parchment. I keep most of mine plain but I add berries to a few for a bit of razzle-dazzle. You can add whatever you want. Chocolate, raspberries, blueberries, raisins, anything really.

Place the scones into the freezer and chill for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Scones_Recipe_11

Whisk together 1 egg and about 2 tablespoons of water. I eyeball it. Remove the scone dough from the freezer and brush with a light coating of egg wash.

Scones_Recipe_12

It’s a very thin layer of egg wash – hardly even visible!!!

Place the scones in the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time.

The scones are done when they are puffed and slightly golden.

Scones_Recipe_15

Look at this scene. Isn’t it magical? Grab some of your friends, pop in the Jane Austen film adaptation and slather them scones in devonshire cream for the full experience.

Scones_Recipe_16

Special scones for special ladies!

Social Scones

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of unsalted butter, frozen and grated (I freeze over night)
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1 egg

Blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips (optional)

1 egg + 2 tablespoons of water for egg wash

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

Add the frozen grated butter and toss in the dry ingredients to coat. Once the butter is coated rub the butter into the flour with your fingers.

Whisk together the egg and the cream. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spoon until it just comes together. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a little heavy cream. If the dough seems sticky, add a little flour.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll the dough into a 5 x 7 inch rectangle. Cut the rectangle in half vertically. Then cut each strip into three and then each third into a half on a bias to make a small triangle. You should have 12 triangles when you are finished.

Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet. If you want to add any flourishes like berries, chocolate chips or raisins do so now. Place in the freezer. Freeze for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Remove the scones from the freezer. In a small bowl, whisk together the additional egg and water. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, apply a thin layer of egg wash to the top of each scone.

Place the scones into the oven and bake for 15 – 18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The scones are finished baking when they are puffed and golden.

Let cool slightly and serve! Slather with devonshire cream, butter, whipped cream, no cream. Dunk into tea, coffee, your face. Eat them up!

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