cranberry

cinnamon waffles + cranberry pear compote

cinnamon waffles

Coming to you live from an expansive Texan kitchen with beguilingly shiny black countertops, it’s me! I have returned! And I’ve got a recipe for you – something I made for lunch today. It come into existence a couple weeks ago, though. One 20-hour road trip with my best friend through the hills of Georgia and the endless swamps of Louisiana and five days of sailing, kayaking, movie-watching, and eating later, there I was, sitting at the kitchen table while a thunderstorm whipped angrily at the forest that is our yard. It was gloomy. So I cooked.

Now I bring good tidings of great waffles that shall be unto all people. For unto us some pears were given, and unto me some cranberries were brought. So what’s a person to do but to shout, “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” and make some waffles as a vehicle for thick, sweet compote? There is no other option, so that’s what I did. Never mind the fact that I’d already planned to can, bake, and otherwise cook my way through the entire day. Ah well, sometimes you just have to follow your heart – er – stomach.cranberries

My stomach informs me that cranberries beautiful, flavorful, and excellent all year round. The rulers of the grocery store realm, however, seem to believe that cranberries should only be accessible during the holiday season. As if that’s the only time of the year one would want to eat tart, brilliantly red berries! How absurd. We like to buy up bags of cranberries in December and January and freeze them for use anytime, grocery store or no grocery store. They freeze splendidly, and I highly recommend it.

That way, you can make this cranberry pear compote any time. Because, it’s pretty tasty. The mild sweetness of the pears and a bit of sugar balances the tart bite of the cranberries without masking it entirely. And there’s just a hint of nutmeg and vanilla to warm everything up and bring it all together. And, bonus, it’s pink! While I personally detest wearing the color pink – it is, in my mind, nothing more than a sickly, sad excuse for its pure, vibrant cousin red – I quite enjoy eating it. “Eat the rainbow,” they said. And I took them seriously. Even though pink isn’t in the rainbow colors song.green anjou pear

The waffles would be just your average, hearty whole wheat waffles, except that they’re bursting with cinnamon. This can be achieved two ways: drizzling cinnamon sugar atop the waffle batter in the waffle maker or folding the cinnamon sugar into the batter beforehand*. While the former method is more dramatic, as it produces a swirling trench of crystalized cinnamony goodness in the top of the waffle, it does tend to make the waffle iron messy. However, that is easily remedied by pouring water on the surface of the griddle (with it off, mind you) and letting it soak for a while, before scrubbing the sugar bits off with a vegetable brush. Should you wish to avoid sugar trenches and waffle iron cleaning, you can just fold the cinnamon into the batter, for a more subdued, cinnamon-speckled waffle.

But let’s be clear. The real star of the show here is the cranberry pear compote. Of course, the cinnamon waffles compliment it quite perfectly, I’d say. In fact, I think they taste a bit like that cinnamon toast cereal. But if you make nothing else, make the compote.cranberry pear compote

Now a word on the photos accompanying this post. Firstly, it should be noted that I clearly have no idea how to take a flattering picture of compote. Secondly, this new kitchen has even worse light than our previous kitchen. Thirdly, despite performing admirably the first time I attempted this recipe, our waffle iron decided to rebel today – the day I took pictures. Hence the pile ‘o waffles. How annoying. It must have just been cantankerous, because the waffles stuck less and less as I doggedly (foolhardily?) continued to make them. I tested out a flour-and-water-only waffle in the iron, and it stuck a bit, too. That and my previous success, assure me that the fault was the waffle iron’s and not the recipe’s – which I shall now present to you.

cinnamon waffles and cranberry pear compote

Cinnamon Waffles

Waffle ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 + 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil (canola or coconut or even melted butter – whatever!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg (optional)

Cinnamon sugar ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons butter (or oil)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • *2 tablespoons sugar (if folding in) OR 1/4 cup sugar (if drizzling on top)

Combine all the waffle ingredients in a large bowl and mix until just combined. If you chose to use the egg to add some extra fluffiness to the waffle, separate the yolk from the white. Mix the yolk in when you mix everything else together, and whip the white until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg white into the batter. Combine the cinnamon sugar ingredients. *If mixing the cinnamon sugar into the batter, use only 2 tablespoons sugar, and fold it in at the same time as the egg whites. Pour about 3/4 cup waffle batter into your hot waffle iron. *Drizzle about a tablespoon of cinnamon sugar mix on top of waffle batter. Cook according to waffle iron’s directions and/or your preference. Enjoy with cranberry pear compote.

Cranberry Pear Compote

  • 1 + 1/4 cups cranberries (either fresh or frozen, but most certainly not dried)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large, ripe pear, ~2 cups chopped
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water (optional)

Combine cranberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce to a simmer until most of the cranberries’ skins have popped open. In the mean time, cut the pear into 1/2- to 1/4- inch pieces. Mash the cranberries a bit with a potato masher. Add the pear, nutmeg, and vanilla when the cranberries have popped. Continue simmering for 5 to 10 minutes, until pears are soft. Smash with potato masher until desired texture is reached. Remove from heat. If you prefer your compote to be thicker, mix cornstarch and water, and then pour mixture into compote. Stir. Enjoy compote warm with waffles or pancakes or toast or by the spoonful.

And here’s an idea of what may be coming up next: Mocha Meringues or Cranapple Pie with a Ritz Cracker Crust. Or something else entirely. No telling.

cranberry walnut pancakes [gf]

I found some cranberries in the freezer. They must be at least two years old. A few years ago Dad made cranberry muffins for his weekly staff meetings at work. After a few months of cranberry he switched to banana chocolate chip walnut muffins. For at least a year he faithfully baked three or four dozen every Tuesday night – multiple dozens for the staff and about a dozen for us for breakfast on Wednesday mornings. Eventually things got too crazy at work and we got too fat at home – kidding, kidding – for the muffins to continue, but the Muffin Era was glorious, buttery, and delicious while it lasted.

Anyways, these cranberries I found were ancient. Are ancient. I haven’t finished them off yet. Once discovered, immediate use seemed in order. First, I cooked down some with sugar for a simple cranberry sauce for sweet potato oven fries that we ate with ginger tofu. Then, I baked cookies. Now, I’ve made pancakes. Next? Cranberry juice, perhaps. Anyone else cook and bake according to what needs to be used up in the freezer?

I must say that I am rather pleased with these pancakes. I can’t help it. The last time I made pancakes, I resolved to concoct a gluten free version. Instead of altering my previous recipe I chose to construct an entirely new one: this one. And it worked!

I ground three types of flour: millet, brown rice, and oat. And for those few, brief minutes I loved our Vitamix. Then I returned to reality. The stupid thing is incapable of pulsing food, people. And it sounds like a jet engine or one of those Xelerator hand dryers – you know, the ones that look so sleek and round and modern but blast both your ears and your hands with a stream of air so violent that the skin on the backs of your hands folds into crisscrossing tidal waves blown before a storm of desert wind. Those hand dryers. That sound. Vitamix.

After I finished mentally blessing and berating the Vitamix, I tossed the rest of the ingredients in with the flour. Mixed it.

And poured a single pancake’s worth of it into a small pan. We trashed our electric pancake griddle the other day. Bits of nonstick surface were flaking off and appearing in our food.

So, I cooked my pancakes one at a time.

Until they were gloriously golden brown. Hurray!

Cranberry Walnut Pancakes [gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 3/4 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 + 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup frozen or fresh cranberries

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and buttermilk. Fold walnuts and cranberries into batter. Scoop batter onto a pan or pancake griddle preheated to medium heat. Cook a couple minutes per side, until golden-brown.

Serve with more walnuts and cranberries, if you so desire.

Makes about 6 large pancakes.

[A note on oat flour: According to my brief research into the matter, oats themselves are gluten free, but often they are processed and packaged around gluten-full flours. Therefore, it is advisable to purchase certifiably gluten free oats if you can’t tolerate gluten. But if you’re like me, and just want to eat some gluten free pancakes, just use any old oats.]

Submitted to the Gluten Free Fridays link roundup.

cranberry oatmeal cookies

These cookies have a boring name, I think. It doesn’t do justice to their true essence. Who wants to eat cranberry oatmeal cookies? Sounds rather dull.

But, the name really is necessary for the sake of simplicity.

This is the eye-full you’d have to read otherwise: Cranberry Macadamia Nut White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

So, Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies it is. I sacrifice accuracy for the sake of convenience. I wonder if that is a clue that I am part of the millennial generation?

The light sweetness of these perfectly chewy cookies contrasts wonderfully with the tartness of the cranberries within. Buttery macadamia nut bits and creamy white chocolate chips only improve them. All around, I think they’re pretty great.

They’re pretty, too!

Look at that radiant, golden glow. They know they’re pure deliciousness.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 + 1/2 cups frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix well. In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Fold the chocolate chips, nuts, and cranberries into the dough; use your hands if necessary as the dough may be a bit stiff.

Roll the dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes about 35 cookies.

[Per the recipe as it is these cookies are heavy on the cranberries and lighter on the nuts and chocolate chips. Switch up the ratio of nuts to cranberries to chocolate chips if you like, but I wouldn’t use much more than 2 + 1/2 cups total of the various mix-ins.]

our spartan kitchen: tuesday scones

Tuesdays are homeschool co-op days. Tuesdays are pizza for supper days. Tuesdays are running at the beach days.

Tuesdays are scones for breakfast days.

Not too long ago on a Tuesday in mid-March as something of a challenge, I arose around 6am and, working by the the faint light of  late winter dawn, mixed together some yogurt scones. Despite my best attempts at complete silence and stealth, my early-rising father emerged from his room, wondering who was, as he thought, eating breakfast at the unusual hour. In a stroke of daybreak brilliance he turned on the faint light of the microwave over the stovetop for me. Having baked the scones, I left them for my mother and youngest brother, who had just begun to stir, and for Dad, for breakfast, hopped in the nearest car, and rattled down our gravel driveway, heading out to the beach. The loop, which is not actually located on the beach itself, is a popular 3ish-mile elipse that crosses over the intracoastal waterway twice and is extremely popular with everyone in general: walkers, baby stroller-pushers, runners, dog exercisers, joggers, miscreant cyclists, et cetera. Running this wonderful oval of breezy, partially live oak-shaded sidewalk is most enjoyable before it become congested with other enthusiasts; therefore, my arrival with the sun allowed me to take full advantage of both the cool temperatures and temporarily sparse population of the cement. I love it.

Since then, it has become a Tuesday routine for me: get up, bake scones, go run, and return to eat the last scone. Alas, extenuating circumstances – namely, catering lunch for 18 and 28 people on two separate occasions! – forced me to temporarily abandon my scone making on two Tuesdays. Also, now that Mom and the boys’ co-op is finished for the year, I am uncertain as to whether I shall continue to make scones on Tuesday. I should. But I probably won’t.

All that to say, I tried to concoct a different scone every Tuesday, and, excepting one tragic lapse of photographical awareness, I snapped a quick picture or two of all of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yogurt Banana Scones with Walnuts and Dates

Ingredients:

  • 2-⅓ cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cups + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 2 whole very ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons brown sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!

I snarfed down the last of the strawberry scones before it ever occurred to me to take a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Strawberry Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cups + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialty Dark Double Chocolate Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2-½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup specialty dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup specialty dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1-3/4 cups plain yogurt
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!
Perhaps you are starting to get the idea that the baking instructions for these scones are nearly identical. It’s not just you. They are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried Cranberry Orange Scones

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the 2 tablespoons sugar, to make a moist but minimally sticky dough. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. On a floured surface form dough into a disk 8 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until the scones have browned and test done. Enjoy!
There you have it: scones ad nauseum.