Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bacon Fun, part six

Oh, the fun you can have with bacon.

Here is a post discussing the techniques for adding bacon to rice crispy bars. The bacon brittle discussed at the beginning sounds promising.

Apartment therapy has a post about making your own bacon.

Bacon Tiara! at The Anticraft.

Contrasting iconic healthy food with iconic unhealthy food with bacon wrapped bean sprouts at Chop Chop A to Z.

Bacon Today presents the bacon cinnamon roll.

Eli Cooks brings us the bacon apple pie, complete with bacon lattice top.

Apartment therapy showcases the vegan and kosher baconnaise. The bacon salt has potential too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

German Apple Pancake (Pannakuken)

If you are from the Fargo area, you probably remember the Pannakuken Restaurant. When they brought out a pannakuken, the waitresses would run from the kitchen shouting PANNAKUKEN!!! I never made it to the restaurant, but I've seen it imitated enough to feel as if I had been there. College was divided into two camps: People who would consider being a waitress and yelling PANNAKUKEN!!! and people who would NEVER consider working there. The debate was ongoing. I was part of the "would consider it" camp, and my roommate belongs to the "would never consider it" camp.

A few notes on the recipe:

The first time I made this recipe I liked it more then the second time I made it. I'd suggest making apple crisp instead. It's a better apple recipe. Pannakuken is very sweet. The recipe says it serves four, but I'd suggest serving 6-8 people. I'd also suggest serving it as the dessert part of your breakfast or as actual dessert. The pannakuken took longer to cook in my oven then the recipe states. That may just be my oven however. I didn't peel the apples. I have an apple tree and was over the idea of peeling by the time I made this recipe. Oops, my camera ran out of batteries before I took a picture with the powdered sugar sprinkled on the top. This recipe came from "Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe".


A 10-inch ovenproof skillet is necessary for this recipe; we highly recommend using a nonstick skillet for the sake of easy cleanup, but a regular skillet will work as well. You can also use a cast-iron pan; if you do, set the oven temperature to 425 degrees in step 1, and when cooking the apples in step 3, cook them only until just barely golden, about 6 minutes. Cast iron retains heat better than stainless steel, making the higher oven temperature unnecessary. If you prefer tart apples, use Granny Smiths; if you prefer sweet ones, use Braeburns. For serving, dust the apple pancake with confectioners' sugar and pass warm maple syrup or caramel sauce separately, if desired.


1/2 c flour

1 T sugar

1/2 tsp table salt

2 eggs

2/3 c half and half

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 T Butter

1 1/4 lb granny smith or baeburn apples (3 to 4 large apples), peeled, quartered, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices

1/4 c brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp lemon juice

confectioners sugar for dusting

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Whisk to combine flour, granulated sugar, and salt in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk eggs half-and-half, and vanilla until combined. Add liquid ingredients to dry and whisk until no lumps remains, about 20 seconds; set batter aside.

3. Heat butter in 10-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon; cook, stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula, until apples are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in lemon juice.

4. Working quickly, pour batter around the outside edge of the pan

and then over the apples. Place skillet in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees; bake until pancake edges are brown and puffy and have risen above edges of skillet, about 18 minutes. Mine took much longer, but I think my oven temperature is a bit off.

5. Shout Pannakuken at the top of your lungs while running through the house.

6. Using oven mitts to protect hands, remove hot skillet from oven and loosen pancake edges with a heatproof spatula; invert pancake onto serving platter. Dust with confectioners' sugar, cut into wedges and serve.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cream Cheese Mints

When I was growing up wedding menus were all the same. The church ladies (women who attended the church) made all the food. You could choose between a ham or a turkey sandwich on a white bun with cheese and mayo. At the end of the buffet line were these wonderful cream cheese mints. They were always green leaf shapes and pink and white flower shapes. At every wedding I would wait until all the people had gone through the food line. When it was polite (loosely speaking) I would gorge myself on whatever cream cheese mints were still sitting out.

I helped make the mints for a friend of the family's wedding about ten years ago. Man they were a lot of work. My sister (the cake maker) is visiting now and made the mints with her three year old daughter. Turns out they are only a lot of work if you make a thousand mints. A small batch is quick and easy. Sadly, if I was making these I'd just sit down with the batter and a big spoon. But if you're less of a piggy then me (snort), this is a good recipe to make with kids. The dough is play-doughish and fun for kids to make into shapes. The mints can be colored with food coloring if you like.

Cream Cheese Mints
2 oz cream cheese
2 tsp butter
2 c powdered sugar
1/3 tsp peppermint extract
food coloring (optional)

Combine the ingredients. You can do it by hand with a recipe this size or you can use a mixer. Knead the "dough" a bit to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape. We did this by hand in our house like you would with play dough. You can also use molds of leaves and flowers. Dry 2 hrs at room temperature. This is the hardest step for a preschooler. Refrigerate.