Buttermilk Pancakes

There are certain recipes that everyone needs a go-to recipe for. Pancakes are one of those. I’ve tried plenty of recipes, eventually settling on one that I wasn’t necessarily excited about. It just did the job.

About a month ago, I stumbled upon a pancake recipe in my ATK Family Cookbook (which, by the way, my friend picked up for me after seeing it on sale at Barnes and Noble! That’s what friends do y’all, they look out for each other :D ), and now I can truly and honestly say that I have to look no further. This recipe is IT! The resulting pancakes are soft and fluffy like clouds, and they rise to beautiful heights! I know this all sounds very dramatic, but you can actually see the pancakes rising while they’re cooking (probably has something to do with the leaveners, but still)! It truly is magic before your eyes, and a party in your mouth :)

 

ButtermilkPancakesPic

 

Buttermilk Pancakes

Yield: 10 to 14 (4-inch) Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons oil, for cooking

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, and egg.

Make a well in the center on the dry ingredients, and slowly add the buttermilk mixture. Gently whisk until just incorporated, with a few lumps remaining. Do not overmix the batter.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Brush the pan with oil, just enough to ensure that the pancakes do not stick to the bottom. Using ¼-cup of batter per pancake, add the batter to the skillet and cook until large bubbles appear, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook until browned on the second side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing the pan with oil as needed.

Note: To freeze pancakes, cool completely to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe container. To consume, lightly sprinkle with water, place on a baking sheet, and warm in a 300°F oven until warmed, about 10 minutes.

Chocolate Cake (and a little update)

It is common in the South Asian culture to celebrate good news with something sweet. Today’s post was the first time that I baked something specifically to blog about. I’ve been trying to think of ways to share this news with you, and I finally settled on just baking a good old-fashioned chocolate cake. You see, we are awaiting a second addition to our family, due at the end of May, God willing. My Zuni is about to become a big brother, and has decided that he would like to called Zuni Bhai (Bhai in Urdu, literally means brother, and is used as a respectful means to address an older brother or older male) as opposed to Zuni Bhaiya (Bhaiya is just another way of saying Bhai).

I ask that you, my dear friends, remember our family in your thoughts and prayers, and that you send your positive vibes our way :)

 

Now, with that, I present to you this delicious chocolate cake. The recipe is courtesy of Smitten Kitchen, and has officially made the cut for the go-to chocolate cake. This recipe yields a very friendly 8-inch cake, and can easily be doubled to fit a 9”x13” pan (although the baking time may need to be adjusted). The crumb of the cake is moist yet holds together well, and it isn’t cloyingly sweet. I frosted the cake with my go-to chocolate buttercream, although this cake pairs well with any type of frosting.

 

ChocolateCakePic

 

Chocolate Cake

Yield: One 8-inch Square Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased 8-inch square baking pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined (batter may look uneven), and scrape down bowl. Place a sifter over the bowl and shake in flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking salt. Mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth out, and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 18 to 30 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Biscotti

It’s so funny how similar we are to our parents, be it in beliefs, values, manners, or preferences. Growing up (even now), while snacking on potato chips, I would actively seek out the chips that were folded. My brother would snack on them inconspicuously, while I would look into the bag and deliberately reach for the extra-crunchy folded chips.

Pizza preferences are similar- given a choice between a crunchy crust and a softer crust, I will always choose crunchy. The same goes for toast.

My father was the same way. Whenever I baked cookies, he would ask that I bake them longer so that they would be extra crunchy. Growing up, I never realized that I shared the same affinity for all things crunchy that he had; but now that I look back, I’ve realized that I too was his partner in the crunchy camp. It’s not like my parents purposefully fed me crunchy things, so that I would grow to prefer them; it’s just one of those things that happened naturally.

I see similar shared traits between my son and husband too- they both love snacking on popcorn and nuts (especially pistachios and pine nuts). Don’t even get me started on chocolate. Although we feed our son a vast variety of foods, I see him enjoying certain things that his father enjoys.

 

That’s where these Biscotti come in. I wanted to bake something to keep on hand to snack on, and when I stumbled upon them in my ATK Family Cookbook, I just knew that they would be something I would enjoy. The day after I made them, I remembered that my father too was someone who enjoyed biscotti. A few weeks before he passed, he specifically asked that I pick up a package of them for him to enjoy with his tea. He loved to eat them as is, enjoying the crunch along the way.

Oh my Papa, may Allah bless you with the gardens of Heaven, and may you be blessed with all of those things that you enjoyed and savored!

 

BiscottiPic

 

Biscotti

Yield: 2 to 3 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup desired add-in (chocolate chips, toasted chopped nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a parchment lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla, until completely incorporated. Reduce speed to low and slowly add in flour mixture. Add desired add-in, and mix until combined.

Divide dough in half, and using floured hands, shape each portion into a 2-inch by 13-inch log. Transfer to baking sheet, placed at least 3 inches apart. Bake 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until the loaves are golden and begin to form cracks on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 325°F.

Transfer the loaves to a cutting board, and cut diagonally into ½-inch to 1-inch slices. Lay the slices cut-side up on the baking sheet, leaving a bit of room between each piece. Bake 15 minutes, flipping halfway through baking, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Feature on Ainy Cooks!

Hello my dear friends! I’m off to visit my beloved California, toddler in tow, bright and early tomorrow morning (God willing) for a few weeks. Before I leave, however, I wanted to tell you about my feature on the ever-popular Ainy Cooks. Ainy, the brains behind the blog, reached out to me asking if she could feature me as part of her Pakistani Blogger Spotlight Series. The series is meant as a way to showcase fellow bloggers of Pakistani descent. I thought that her idea was a great way to meet and learn about other bloggers of and from the Subcontinent.

To see my feature, and also get a glimpe of the awesome treats that Ainy shares, check out this link.

See ya on the other side friends!

Hot Cocoa Mix

How is the weather in your parts? We’ve been freezing our tooshies off here in the Midwest. Most days are spent indoors, trying to keep warm by baking up lots of goodies and drinking warm cups of deliciously milky chai and hot cocoa.

I’ve been on the lookout for a recipe for hot cocoa mix that not only keeps well, but also has the perfect amount of chocolate flavor without being overly sweet or thick. When I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to give it a shot. The resulting cup’o cocoa is just the right thing to help combat the winter blues :)

 

HotCocoaMixPic

 

Hot Cocoa Mix

Yield: Enough For 8 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until powdery. If a food processor is not available, finely grate the chocolate and mix with remaining ingredients.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To use: In a saucepan over medium heat, warm one cup of milk until steamy. Add 3 tablespoons of prepared hot cocoa mix and stir or whisk until dissolved. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream or marshmallows.