Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

We have a healthy relationship with honey in our household. It seems each time Nathan is working in the hives, the kids love to eat the raw honeycomb right off his tools. While this is their favorite way to indulge in our honey, perhaps a close second is this Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake.

The cast-iron skillet heating in the kitchen, butter sizzling as it melts, and an eggy batter being whisked can only mean a sweet homemade Dutch Baby Pancake is about to please. Its flavors are pure and simple. This recipe is made with a very simple batter poured over honeyed apples. Baked in a very hot oven until puffed up and golden, it serves up like a giant popover with a honey-butter glaze. A light sprinkling of cardamom adds warmth and an undeniable woody aroma. Since this Dutch Baby Pancake can be made in just a matter of minutes and bakes up quickly, you’ll enjoy more time to savor the silky bites and take your time at the table.

We have used seasonal fruits like peaches or pears with delightful renditions of this delicate Dutch Baby Pancake. When it’s done baking, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the honey-glazed apple slices arranged like an upside-down cake. A sifting of powdered sugar adds just the touch of sophistication.

Honey-Apple Dutch Baby Pancake*

  • 4 tablespoons of butter

  • 1 or 2 apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup milk (any kind will do)

  • 1 cup flour (used whole wheat with delicious results)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • powdered sugar for dusting over the top

Heat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter in a 10 or 12 inch oven-safe skillet. When melted, add the apple slices and cook until soft and golden. Turn off the heat and stir in the cardamom and the honey. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, flour and salt. Pour over the hot cooked apples. Bake until puffed up and deep golden about 20 minutes. Slide the pancake onto a large plate or serve it up rustic -we do :). Dusting it with powdered sugar makes it extra special.

*This recipe was inspired by an old Martha Stewart cookbook I found 10 years ago at a garage sale : )

with love. Damaris

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Rice Pudding (Arroz Con Leche): Instant Pot Simplified

Fun news! We were featured in the food blog EatLikeNoOneElse: A Foodie’s State Of Mind last week!! Our Zuppa Toscana recipe has been a big hit. Go check out Eric’s very comprehensive content on every ingredient you could ever think of. When I visit his site, I start by searching for a recipe and end up learning about the history of a Topaz apple! I think you’ll enjoy it too.

My memories of Arroz Con Leche stem from growing up in Spain, where it is one of the core desserts that graces every high-end and home cook’s table alike. My Yaya (mom’s mom) and my mom made it often, and it was my passion. Whenever I helped my Yaya with any cleaning or spent the day with her, she generously asked what could she make for me. I always asked for Arroz Con Leche (literally means rice with milk- or rice pudding). Turning her recipe into an Instant Pot success took many bowl-fulls served as breakfasts, snacks and desserts. All turned out good, except one try when Nathan said it tasted like macaroni and cheese- Hmmm.

This version of rice pudding is very simple with the basic ingredients that make Spanish Arroz Con Leche.

Simple Rice Pudding In the Instant Pot

  • 6 cups of whole milk (your choice of non-dairy works too)

  • 2 cups of water

  • 2 cups white short grain rice (long works fine too)

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 sticks of cinnamon

  • 1 lemon peel (not the peel of a whole lemon, only a 3 or 4 inch piece), optional

Add all the ingredients to the electric pressure cooker and whisk until sugar seems dissolved. Cover and set on Porridge function (or 20 minutes on high pressure if using another brand of electric pressure cooker). The Instant Pot takes a few minutes to reach pressure and automatically cooks for 20 minutes. Allow 20 minutes on low (after pressure cooking is complete), for delicious rice. We like it soft, so I allow it to slow release which takes about 40 minutes. Stir the rice pudding in the cooker before serving for more even texture and sweetness. If it seems dry for your liking, incorporate more milk when serving. This recipe can be cut in half with great results.

with love. Damaris


Maple-Pecan Granola

We’ve experimented with and enjoyed at least ummm….1,058 recipes of homemade granola! THIS one may be the best! It is the simplest granola to put together and absolutely scrumptious. It’s unpretentious, perfect balance of textures and crunch make it a winner in my book. It is just sweet enough to enjoy any time of the day.

We most often eat it like cereal – in a bowl with milk, but yogurt parfaits are delish too! Homemade granola is a staple when we go on vacation or camping because it is a no-prep, wholesome and gratifying breakfast. I love it when my friends inspire me! One friend of mine prefers her granola with milk and warmed in the microwave for a comforting breakfast with her morning coffee.

If you’re on the lookout for one of those recipes that can easily be made ahead and expanded for guests, this is perfect. I always make a double-batch of this granola when we have company overnight and serve a sweet bread loaf with butter on the side. When we go to a friend’s house for a playdate, or a neighbor is feeling under the weather, Eva and I jar up some, as well. It’s such an easy way to show gratefulness or extend practical hospitality. This crispy, golden granola looks beautifully delicious in a pint or quart mason jar with turns of red and white butcher twine and a hand-written tag! Enjoy and bless others!

Maple-Pecan Granola

  • 3 1/2 cups oats

  • 1/2 cup shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut (can be omitted)

  • 1 cup roughly chopped pecans or walnuts (can be omitted or substitute for sunflower seeds)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional- I can’t decide which is my favorite way -with or without)

  • grated zest of 1 orange or 1 tablespoon of orange peel

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup melted butter/coconut oil/ any other oil

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (substitute with dried cherries or dried blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line with parchment a large rimmed cookie sheet (10×15). In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients except the raisins. Stir until everything is well coated. Spread the mixture into a thin, even layer. Bake for 10 minutes and check to ensure even baking. May need to stir and add 5-10 more minutes. It burns quickly! Remove from the oven let cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature.

with love. Damaris


We'll Make Cocoa.

While writing this post, I found out that today is National Hot Chocolate Day. Coincidental?!

Our family loves celebrating these snowy days with mugs of hot cocoa! Making a big pot of homemade hot chocolate is easier than remembering to always be stocked up on those little packets of the powdery mix. I’m sure you’ll agree that homemade hot cocoa is waaaaay better! In just a couple of minutes, you’ll have a rich, comforting cup of hot cocoa goodness waiting for you and everyone else coming in from the cold this winter. This recipe is a sumptuous chocolate treat without the heavy richness that sometimes keeps me finishing other mugs of specialty drinks. Enjoy this classic hot drink that’s the creamiest dreamy hot chocolate with a hint of warmth from a cinnamon stick and splash of real vanilla!

Below is the basic recipe that’s especially kid-friendly, but adding a drop of peppermint extract, a pinch of cayenne, or substituting some of the milk for a flavored coffee creamer makes for a delightful variation. Next time you look out the window, and it’s dreary outside, cheer up! Have yourself a merry little cup of hot cocoa!

Homemade Hot Chocolate

  • 2 quarts of whole milk (you can substitute half and half or even heavy cream for 1 or 2 of the 8 cups)

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

  • 2/3 sugar

  • 2 tablespoons vanilla

  • 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks

In a medium pot, warm all the ingredients while whisking. The cocoa will dissolve completely. No need to bring it to a boil, but keep it on simmer for the cinnamon stick to open up and flavor the hot cocoa. Sometimes, we don’t wait- ha! Ladyfingers, biscotti, or marshmallows make delicious fun additions when serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for days! Just reheat and enjoy ’til it’s gone!

with love. Damaris


Happy National Cookie Day!

Happy National Cookie Day!

I don’t make cookies often really, but these frosted eggnog cookies were the favorite ones I made last Christmas, so they’re making an encore! Everyone in Nathan’s office was very pleased, and the ladies at the gathering I took them to, raved about the eggnog addition. They are so easy and ever so soft! The fresh nutmeg is warming and the eggnog makes these cookies festive. Much lighter than the traditional sugar cookie, these are fluffy and have a very tender crumb. They are perfect for the holidays. You’ll be smitten by these cookies even if you’re not an eggnog lover. The frosting is incredible, and the dough is foolproof – never bakes flat. I’m sharing my favorite recipe which uses yogurt instead of extra butter. Doesn’t that mean we can eat these cookies for breakfast? hah!

Frosted Eggnog Cookies

6 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons yogurt (plain/vanilla/Greek yogurt)

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup eggnog

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg yolks

2 1/4 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground makes a big difference)

Frosting: 1 cup powdered sugar + 2 tablespoons eggnog

Freshly ground nutmeg to sprinkle over the frosted cookies (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, cream the butter, yogurt, and sugar until smooth. Add the eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks. Mix well and add the dry ingredients. Mix only until combined (not overbeating it!). On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or greased), drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer to a cool surface immediately to allow cookies to cool. Mix powdered sugar and eggnog in a small bowl and dip the cookies face down into the frosting. It makes 48 small cookies.

with love. Damaris


Farmhouse Biscuits

Not too long ago, I had 5 babies. The oldest had just turned 7 and the baby was a very unhappy newborn. I felt that my world was upside down as I struggled to find time for the most daily basics. It was during those long weary days, that I dreamed of making a batch of biscuits. There was something so fulfilling about old-fashioned biscuits – If I could make a batch of well-raised biscuits, then all would be well with the world. I still get the same soul-satisfying feeling when I bring these biscuits, tall and tender, to the table. This farmhouse biscuit recipe is unbelievably easy to make and more than worth your time. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll enjoy golden, slightly crunchy tops and bottoms with a soft inside crumb. No kneading, no rising, and only four ingredients! This is the only biscuit recipe that my family requests again and again. When you make them, there will be no crumbs left, and everyone will feel all warm and cozy inside! Last night, as I dusted the rolling pin, I thought with pleasure of the days gone by, when the smells of the kitchen’s goods called everyone in from the fields. Our days aren’t quite like that, but we still think that our farmhouse kitchen sighs a familiar sigh when a piping hot batch of these biscuits comes out of the oven.

This farmhouse biscuit recipe is adapted from this original that I fell in-love with. Aren’t there so many ways to enjoy a biscuit? These are some of our family’s favorite ways:

-paired with soup or stew

-for afternoon tea with a pat of butter and a bit of jam

-makes a hearty breakfast with sausage gravy

-strawberry shortcakes (add 1/4 cup or less of sugar to the dough)

Farmhouse Biscuits

  • 2 cup flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream + a little more for lightly brushing the tops

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add the cream incorporating gently with a fork. No need to knead! With your hand, make a ball of your dough trying to gather all the little bits left on the sides of the bowl. I avoid a countertop mess by rolling them out on the parchment they’ll bake on. Dust your cut parchment and a rolling pin with a little flour (the original recipe has a very quick way to just shape the dough with your hands and cut rectangles into it, which will be the individual biscuits- works great!). Cut out (an upside down drinking glass does the job!) your favorite shape. Don’t be shy about combining the last bits of scrap dough pieces into one more biscuit! Arrange them on the parchment, brush their tops with a little heavy cream, and bake, on the oven’s middle rack, for 15 minutes or until tops are slightly golden.

I can’t wait for you to try them!

with love. Damaris


Family Currents

Sometimes we let the kids “camp out” on a Friday or not-to-busy week night. They beg to sleep in the living room all the time! The children talk and tell stories far into the night, and the boys’ voices are the last noises we hear before they’ve all fallen to sleep. Of course, in the morning, there is no waking them .

My heart bursts to see all my babies asleep together!


Yesterday was National Donut Day, and we made Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts! We doubled the recipe because they are so good! Now you know that donuts are a favorite treat at our house! Over the years, we have made several recipes, but this Williams-Sonoma one is the best-loved. Sometimes we have dipped them in a glaze (powdered sugar and milk) – probably the kids’ preference. It is also delicious to coat them with cinnamon-sugar while they are still very hot. These donuts reheat well the next day, and they can even be frozen to enjoy another time. I think you’ll love making them!


I never realized how much I appreciate color in nature until now that my children are charmed by it. Their fresh eyes are the first to notice a blue birds feather against the green grass or these red poppies “popping” along the fence row. – God’s gift of Spring is so captivating!

with love. Damaris


My Spanish Indulgence

Growing up in Spain meant Nutella was a staple…although we called it ‘nocilla‘. All children can count on this glossy chocolate spread to be in the pantry for merienda (afternoon snack). Nutella made schooldays sweet! My heart swells with national pride to see my children love it as much as I do! lol

In a gaggle of women, you can spot me as the Spaniard right away . But really, my family is all from Spain as many ancestral generations as we can recall.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to make cookies – I avoid it all expense. And before you feel sorry for my deprived children, I disclose that their tummies are full of delicious cookie bars.

Now you understand why this recipe is perfect! My childhood’s favorite chocolate spread in a bar! These come together very quickly and bake in no time. While hazelnuts can sometimes be hard to come by, you can usually find them in the by-the-pound section of your local grocer.

Photo Credit: Eva

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups Flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder

  • 1/2 cup softened butter

  • 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar

  • 1 Egg

  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

  • 3/4 Nutella (or as much as you need to cover the dough)

  • 1/4 cup chopped Hazelnuts (optional)

  • Salt (for sprinkling on top – optional)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8 inch square pan. In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the Nutella and the hazelnuts. Gently press half of the dough onto the bottom of the pan. Spread the Nutella on top of the dough. Then sprinkle the remaining dough over the Nutella. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the crumbles of dough and gently press it all down. Sprinkle a pinch of salt, if you’d like to – yum. Bake @ 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the bottom crust looks golden brown.

Buen Provecho!

with love. Damaris


Mother's Day Maple Muffins

photo credit: Alexander

These blonde beauties are pure maple goodness! Gena, a sweet friend, brought Nathan and me a dozen of these muffins the night when I first became a mom. I was overwhelmed, in love, and ravenous, and these maple muffins were manna to me.

Since this Sunday is Mother’s Day, I made four dozen blonde beauties today. One dozen was for Nathan to take to his office. They rave about them. I was delivering another dozen to a friend, so two dozen would stay on the cooling rack to be enjoyed with our dinner…and hopefully breakfast too. Of course, we had to “try” them before we left for the delivery, then we came back and had to have just a little-snack-muffin…or two… or three. The warm maple scent filled the house (and our tummies).

When Daddy came home, the littles were still holding on to the last of the tender crumbs.

photo credit: Alexander

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (optional)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cups any milk

  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees or 350 degrees for convection setting. Line or grease your muffin pan. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients until well incorporated (no need to over mix). Spoon the batter into the muffin pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day brunch treat or yummy breakfast for the kids (& Mom in bed!), these will satisfy everyone. Do you enjoy delivering little baked blessings to friends, too? Tell me how they turn out for you.

with love. Damaris