100th post & bagels!!!!!

Happy New Year!! I know it’s already almost the end of January, but I haven’t come up with my New Year’s resolutions yet which means the year hasn’t reallllly started. Because everything revolves around me. *hair toss*)

Real, Good Bagels | memo2munch

While we’re on the subject of me, (Yes I’m aware that I began that subject) I have some super exciting news and it is in fact soooooooo exciting that even bagels will have to wait and that is no small matter.

Today is my 100th blog post on memo2munch!!!!

Talk about starting the new year off right! Yup, I’ve yakked away on memo2munch 100 times, which is pretty c r a z y.

So in celebration, I’m sharing a recipe for one of my favorite foods and one that I think we can all agree is deliciously worthy of the 100th recipe spotlight.

Real, Good Bagels | memo2munch

I have a very strong love for bagels. I think it must be in every Jew’s DNA somewhere. Like we hear any of the bagel trigger words (“schmear,” “lox”) and then wheels of dough start rolling through our brains down to our mouths & out pops the phrase, “Bagels?! I love bagels!”

Which, of course, is quickly followed by, “But, you know, only Good, Real Bagels™.”

What’s a real bagel? Well, everyone has an opinion, but many say they’ve got to be boiled before they’re baked. I’m all for a good boiled bagel, so today’s recipe includes an easy boiling step! Hey, it’s the 100th post. We gotta go all out.

Real, Good Bagels | memo2munch

During the winter holidays a lot of my family gets together. We plan the whole week around food (not even kidding), and one of the days always includes a FISH FEAST! It really feels like a feast. My cousin has a bunch of cured and smoked fish flown in from this famous place in New York called Russ & Daughter’s. We’re talking lox, kippered salmon, sturgeon, even a whole smoked white fish! Then one of my other cousins snags a variety of chewy bagels from downtown Chicago. We all gather at my grandparents’ house one afternoon and eat so much yummy food, with bagels at the foundation. (My grandpa makes a lox too, which holds its own against anything from Russ & Daughters.)

Real, Good Bagels | memo2munch

I couldn’t have made it to my 100th post without the support I’ve received from all of you who take the time to read my blog & encourage me. Thank you so much! You are a very important part of this blog, so I’ve collected some of your bagel memories to share today too. <3

“When I was little I use to call them ‘not-donuts’ and for a while I use to feel cheated by them cuz they weren’t donuts but now I love them way more than their sugary counterparts.” – Kriss

“My grandma used to make “birdies in the nest” for my brothers when my brothers slept over at my grandparents house. By the time I was old enough to sleep over, my grandpa had ripped off my grandma’s idea and made “birdies in the bagel”. It’s a piece of bread (nest) with a hole cut in the middle for the egg, or in the hole of a bagel if making the bagel version. All my cousins and I went more bananas over birdies in the bagel than birdies in the nest, so grandpa always got a lot of credit and grandma was kind of resentful of that. I have a lot of memories of watching my grandpa make both birdies in the bagel and soldiers (cinnamon sugar toast cut into long strips) for me when I slept over at their house. I never made them myself at home until he passed away in November. The first birdies in the bagel I made, I cracked the egg and it was a double yolk. Grandpa always loved yolk, and double ones especially so. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is because of birdies in the bagel, I will always associate bagels with my grandpa.” – Hannah

“My dad owned a bagel shop for awhile! We grew up running around eating fresh bagel bites (mini bagels with a dollop of cream cheese icing)!” – Alyssa

“While in NY over break I visited a friend in New Jersey for a day and told her I needed the “NJ experience” incorporated into my visit. When we were considering breakfast options, she mentioned bagels. I said sure, but I wondered if that would fill us up (we were both really hungry). She said bagels in NJ are different than ones I’d find in Carmel, so just one bagel would do the trick. I had a whole wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese and lo and behold, it kept me full through the 4 different trains/subways it took to get me back to where I was staying with my dad in NY!” – Jacob

“SWEET BAGEL! We have it in israel its the best thing ever! Its basically bagel brushed with sugar syrup” – Miriam

“I was around 17 (thinking back it seems like that can’t be right–so old for such an epiphany?) when my brother moved to New York and I had my first everyseed with lox. There are a few holy trinities in food: one is basil/tomato/mozzarella, another lox/caper/onion. And enormous amounts of schmear. There is no delicate way to eat this sandwich.” – Steven

“Tommy [my fiance] and I go almost every Sunday to Einstein’s Bagels and pick some up for breakfast. It’s become a ritual!” – Cindy

“I heard once that if you eat a Montreal bagel and a New York City bagel on the same day, the bagels will know you’re a traitor and work together to kill you from the inside. I was pretty skeptical until I saw it with my own two eyes.” – Throsby (details, we need details, Throsby!)

“When I was a kid, there was this bagel place near my mom’s work and she would pick up chocolate chip bagels with chocolate chip cream cheese. One day, she got some for me and they were gone overnight. My dad came right out and admitted to eating them, complaining about how sickly sweet they were and he said they made him sick, but apparently that didn’t stop him from eating every last one and all of the chocolate chip cream cheese. Those things were so good.” – Sara

“[Your aunt’s] Bat Mitzvah was held the weekend of March 17. Because we had several relatives coming in from out of town, Grandma and Poppy hosted a brunch on that Sunday and served bagels, lox, and other brunch-type foods. A week or so before then, Grandma went to the little bakery in Whiting and ordered bagels for the weekend. When she went to the bakery that Saturday to pick up the bagels, she noticed that they had green bagels in the case. She thought it would be fun to also get a few green bagels for the brunch on Sunday, so she asked the woman behind the counter for a couple of green bagels. The woman looked at her and said, “It’s St. Patrick’s Day. All the bagels are green!” It was quite the sight — the bright orange lox and white cream cheese on the green bagels.” -My momma!

“I had a bagel today. There was a high amount of cream cheese.” – Tyler (a bagel success story)

“Living in a predominantly jewish community in the suburbs of New York City has greatly elevated my standards for bagels! For one thing, a truly fresh bagel NEVER needs should be toasted. If you’re buying it fresh, it will already be warm and ready to be eaten immediately with a massive glob of cream cheese shmear. Also, its an unspoken rule that you never buy your bagels from multiple bagel joints- you obviously must commit to one family-run bagel place.” – Piper

“As you know I eat like 200 bagels a year at Einsteins. It’s like our second home. Although bagels should be boiled. And one of the reasons NYC bagels are so good is the water.” – Ken

“The first time I ever had a REAL bagel was in Seattle. Amazing. I didn’t know then that a real bagel is boiled before it’s baked. I made them myself a few times after that but, even though they tasted good, they were very ugly. Not smooth like a store bought one. Tell me how to fix that problem.” -Susan (I’ll do some more experimenting & let ya know! 😉 )

“When we go on overnight at camp (it’s the teen portion of camp walking out to a spot in the woods and camping out), the counselors make all of the food. In the mornings, I would always look forward to a blueberry bagel grilled so it had just started to brown and some cream cheese! It was always really welcome, especially because you had to stay close to the warm charcoal fire to make it perfect (so it didn’t burn) and then it was always so yummy! It was a really fun way to toast bagels and the campsite itself is quite pretty, in the middle of the woods.”Colleen

“We would get all kindds of assorted bagels quite often growing up because the Bagels Forever factory is in Madison and my dad would always get himself everything bagels with all the onion and garlic and seeds, so my mom would make him keep them in a separate bag. He’d eat them with lox and cream cheese—-I eat them with butter. My favorite bagel! And the pool I went to was across the street from the factory/shop and bagels were 25 cents each so when I was a kid on swim team we would hunt for quarters by the vending machines cuz if you found one you got a bagel!”Mari

Good, Real Bagels™ (aka boiled bagels)
Makes 8 bagels
Adapted from sophisticatedgourmet.com

Ingredients
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1.5 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups (300mL) warm water
3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour, plus more for kneading
1.5 tsp. salt

For optional toppings:
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds
Poppy seeds

Method
1. Warm ½ cup of the water so that it is the temperature of bath water, meaning it is quite warm but you can keep your finger comfortably submerged. Stir in the sugar and then sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit 5-10 minutes until foamy.

2. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt together. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture as well as about half of the remaining water.

3. Mix the dough together, adding the rest of the water bit by bit if needed. Then turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until you have a stiff, smooth dough that is no longer sticky to the touch.

4. Wipe out the bowl from before, it doesn’t have to be spotless, just so all the loose crumbs are gone. Lightly brush bowl with oil and place the dough ball inside. Cover with plastic wrap also coated with some oil or a damp dish towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place until it has doubled in size. Gently punch dough down and let it rest for another 10 minutes.

5. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, as uniform as possible. Shape each piece into a tight ball. Coat a finger in flour and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to create the ring shape. Stretch the ring so the hole is about 1/3 the width of the bagel. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.

6. After shaping the rings, cover the cookie sheet with plastic wrap coated in oil or a damp kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F/220 degrees C.

7. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon to lower the bagels gently into the water, being careful not to deflate them. Boil as many as can fit in one layer in the pot. Let the bagels float on one side for 1-2 minutes, then flip using the spoon and let float for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from water and return to cookie sheet, letting as much water drip off as possible.

8. At this point, add any toppings by brushing the bagels with egg wash and sprinkling the toppings on top.

9. Ready to bake! Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

Do you have a food memory you would like to see appear on memo2munch? Fill out the form here or send me an email at memo2molly@gmail.com and tell me your story! You just might inspire next week’s recipe. 🙂
**Please note that memo2munch caters toward a vegetarian/vegan diet and while food memories of all kinds are welcomed, recipes shared on the site may be adjusted.**

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

I like to call the above photo, “The Evolution of Banana Bread.”

This is a natural progression, right? Once bananas get ripe enough they just morph into banana bread? And the chocolate chips just appear at some point, and we’re just like “Oh, youuuu,” all exasperated but really we don’t mind one bit.

Hey, stranger things have happened. (Like sweet potato cupcakes?!)

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Growing up, my momma would make banana bread for us fairly often. Whenever I saw a few forgotten bananas resting on the counter, speckled with brown, I would internally fist-pump because I knew banana bread was in my near future. (Still happens, honestly. Except now when I’m at school I have to make it.)

The days leading up to the “Momma Cake,” as we called it, bake day seemed to drag on. We like to let the bananas get reallllly ripe and black. That’s when they’re the sweetest and add the most flavor to baked goods. So every day after school I would peer over the counter and check on the ripeness of the bananas to see if they were ready yet, like a very small, very hungry serious scientist tracking the progress of an experiment.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Then, when the bananas were FINALLY LIKE UGH COME ON ready, my mom would let my sister or me mash them with a fork while she measured out the other ingredients.

Ok quick note: banana mashing is so fun. Can I say cathartic? It’s cathartic. None of that blender or food processor stuff, plz. Use a fork.

There’s another “Evolution of Banana Bread” in this story, and that’s the shape the finished product would take. In my earliest memories of my mom’s banana bread, she always made it in a square pan. And I was the brat that would only eat middle pieces because children hate edges on anything??! Pizza crust—->no. Corner brownies—->not a chance. I would like to say, though, that I never took the edges off my Smucker’s Uncrustables. Never.

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Anyway, the original recipe my mom used called for the bread to be baked in a loaf pan. She switched to the square pan after having issues getting the bread to bake through. But then there was the problem of the sunken middle…

As in, the bread would be a baked all the way, but the middle would sink into a kind of banana bread dome once it cooled. But Mom persevered and found a solution! *clapclapclap*

Now she makes the recipe in a Bundt pan. The sunken middle issue is taken entirely out of the equation, and the cake cooks through fine because the batter is more spread out. Innovation!

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

Banana bread will always make me think of “Momma Cake,” but for the recipe today I made a few tweaks. We’ve got cute banana muffins that are vegan and very forgiving. You can’t mess them up. They’re also sprinkled with coconut, which Momma never did because she hates coconut. But I like it, soooo.

The recipe is based on one my friend and I found the other day when it was raining and we wanted dessert and she happened to have three very ripe bananas so what choice did we have? She is also responsible for the coconut topping idea. Thank you, Esther <3

EASIEST Vegan Banana Bread Muffins | memo2munch

We made our version with a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips, which was i-n-c-r-e-d-i-b-l-e. So if you aren’t vegan, I would highly suggest that.

Hope you enjoy the muffins! Don’t forget to tell me about your food memories!!! memo2molly@gmail.com

Vegan Banana Bread Muffins
(makes about 12 muffins)

Ingredients

3 very ripe, medium bananas
1/3 cup Earth Balance or any margarine, melted (can sub butter if not vegan)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ – 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Coconut flakes for sprinkling (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/175 degrees C and grease a muffin pan or line with muffin papers.

Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl with a fork until smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the melted Earth Balance.

Add the sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt and mix completely. Gently stir in the flour until no large lumps remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan, filling each well ¾ full. Sprinkle with coconut flakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the muffins comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack briefly before enjoying. Muffins are great days after, especially heated for 12 seconds in the microwave.

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes & Alchemy

Cooking is alchemy, don’t you think?

Take pancakes, for example (don’t mind if I do).

You start with a mixture of things that you would never eat as is (read: flour, baking powder, oil, eggs), and things that are “eh” as is (sugar, milk), which you then turn into something that I would argue is better than gold. Chocolate chips, of course, are an exception to the whole “eh” rule, but they’re an add-in, so you get what I’m saying.

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

Sometimes when I cook I feel like a mad scientist. And like any good mad scientist would, I start wondering if this way is the only way to do things. If I could get just as good a result using other ingredients or tweaking things here and there.

I got reaaaaal mad scientist-y when I found out about my dairy allergy. I grabbed a lab coat, some goggles, and experimented with baking using non-dairy milk and butter. I had some major successes, like dairy-free cinnamon rolls and vegan buttermilk biscuits. And they STILL made me take chemistry in college. Can you believe it?

The thing about this type of baking, though, is that you’re substituting an ingredient with something similar, something intended to be a substitute for that specific ingredient. Almond milk is made to replace cow’s milk.

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

So the question becomes: can you substitute an ingredient with something completely different and unique?

YEAH YOU CAN, YOU ALCHEMIST, YOU.

I made these delish—and I do mean delish—pancakes vegan by using one mashed banana in place of an egg. It works because the properties of each result in the same function.

Why are there eggs in pancakes anyway? To bind things together. Eggs keep your pancakes from crumbling apart. But if you don’t want to use eggs to hold your pancakes together, you have to use something else that acts as a binder in its place. Mashed banana has the same binding effect as eggs, not to mention is vegan, and adds sweetness and a light banana flavor. And the fluffiness factor we all love about pancakes is entirely unaffected. Alchemy.

It’s like your favorite banana bread… in a pancake. With chocolate. *Bows*

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

If you’re vegan or just curious about other egg replacements, each of the following will replace 1 egg:
– 1 tbsp. ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp. water, let sit for 30 min. to thicken
– 1 tbsp. chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp. water, let sit for 30 min. to thicken
– ¼ c. pureed silken tofu
– ¼ c. dairy-free yogurt

On Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Alchemy | memo2munch

Easy Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(makes 10-12 5in. pancakes)

Ingredients
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (or any flour, such as gf)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
2 cups (470 mL) dairy-free milk or mix with 2 tbsp. lemon juice (for vegan buttermilk)
3 tbsp. oil, plus more to grease pan
vegan chocolate chips (I like using mini)
Maple syrup, sliced banana, or melted white chocolate, for serving (optional)

Method
1. In a large bowl, mix the dairy-free milk with the lemon juice and let stand until thickened. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.

2. Mash the bananas with a fork until smooth and add to the bowl with the milk mixture. Add the oil as well and mix until evenly combined. Pour the flour mixture into the liquids and gently mix with a spatula just until no large lumps remain. (Small lumps are fine).

3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Grease lightly with oil and ladle the pancakes into the pan in disks 4-5 inches in diameter. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the pancakes in the pan. At this point you can lower the heat to medium-low. Cook until bubbles appear in the center of the pancakes and the edges begin to look dry, then flip. Cook for 1 minute on the other side. Serve as is or with any of the topping choices listed in the ingredients. (If you want melted white chocolate—–it’s good!—–you can melt the chocolate in a glass bowl set atop a pot of boiling water, or by microwaving in 30 seconds increments and stirring after each.)

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze

I once saw a Tumblr post that said something like, “I feel like Michael Cera never intended to act but was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and was too awkward to tell them he wasn’t an actor so filmed stuff anyway, and now he’s let it go too far and can’t back out,” and I lol’d for a good several minutes. (I don’t really think that, of course…)

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze | memo2munch

Turns out, however, that karma remembered that I laughed about Michael Cera’s supposed acting backstory. And now I find that Tumblr post a lot more relatable. Let me explain.

~story time yaaaaaaay~

Once upon a time (If I begin it like a fairytale then maybe it will all just be a dream?) two days ago, I had an appointment at an elementary school in Bologna to interview a teacher about how school lunches work there.

I got to the school at 8am and walked in with a swarm of 7-year-old Italians, so that was adventure #1. When I got to [teacher]’s classroom, there was a substitute there who told me [teacher] wouldn’t arrive until 8:30. I figured I’d just hang out in the classroom and listen to adorable children speak Italian better than me.

Well. Was I ever wrong. (About the hanging out part, not the kids being better than me at Italian part)

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze | memo2munch

The sub had me introduce myself to the class, which I thought was somewhat weird, but I went along with it anyway. I should tell you that it’s common for college students here in Bologna to volunteer at elementary schools as English teachers.

Can you see where this is going?

After the sub took attendance, she gestured toward me and said to the class, “This is going to be your teacher for the day! She’s going to help you learn the days of the week in English! Michele, start naming them and Molly will correct you.”

Um.
Wait.
Did I just get roped into teaching English?
I just got roped into teaching English.

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze | memo2munch

“I’m not here to teach English!” -is what I should have said right away. But I just couldn’t. I became Tumblr Michael Cera.

Finally, at about the third kid naming the days of the week, I found my voice and explained to the sub that I was just there to interview [teacher]. As soon as I got the words out, the real English teacher showed up. She was from Georgia–—the country. She spoke no Italian, and only kind of spoke English. With a veeery thick accent.

I almost wish I had been supposed to teach them because now that Georgia was there I had to sit through her not realizing that some of the kids were saying that Saturday came after Wednesday. I mean, I know we all wish it did, but I also want those kids to actually learn English.

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze | memo2munch

Anyway, that’s the story of how karma is on Michael Cera’s side. What a morning.

I like to think that I just wasn’t completely awake yet and would have spoken up earlier if I had had time for coffee… But who even knows.

I BLAME YOU, MICHAEL CERA. At least in the end I got some good lunch info. And a good story.

And here’s a recipe for the dangerously delicious scones that I should have been telling you about, but you’re happy you got a story instead, right? (Srsly though, lemon and basil is a winning combo. Please make these scones. And please don’t laugh at Michael Cera.)

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze | memo2munch

Lemon Basil Scones with 2 Ingredient Lemon Glaze

For the scones:
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¼ c. granulated sugar
½ c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter or earth balance, cut into small cubes
¾ c. nondairy milk mixed with ¾ tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice*
1 large egg
Zest from one lemon
2 tbsp. to ¼ c. chopped fresh basil
1 beaten egg, for brushing scone tops before baking

Lemon Glaze:
1.5 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice (use the lemon you zested for the scones)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter until the mixture feels like sand.

3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the milk and vinegar mixture. Add to flour mixture ¼ cup at a time and stir until the mixture comes together in a soft dough. You might not need all of the liquid. Fold in the zest and basil.

4. Turn dough onto a floured cutting board and gently flip it over itself about 10 times. Pat into a wide rectangle one inch thick and about 4-5 inches tall. Cut the dough vertically into 4 smaller rectangles, then cut each rectangle in half diagonally to create 8 triangles. Arrange triangles a few inches apart on lined baking sheet. Brush each scone with beaten egg. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until scones are lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Make the glaze: Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. If glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If glaze is too thick, add a little milk or water. Spoon glaze over scones and enjoy!

*If not dairy-free you can substitute buttermilk for the entire mixture, or make the mixture with dairy milk

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I have a confession to make.

Coffee has been a recently acquired taste for me.

I know, as a college student it is shameful, isn’t it? Think of all the 8AM’s I could have been more awake for! And all the late nights studying! Think of all the trips to hipster coffee shops where I could have blended in!

~cue flashback~

Hipster barista: Can I help you?
Molly: Hi, yes, is there coffee in a macchiato?
Hipster barista: …Yes.
Molly: Ok, I’ll have a 12 ounce cider, please. To go. (BUSTED)

~end flashback~

Ooh, it hurts like a profile picture from 2008, doesn’t it? I know. BUT the good news is the wrongs have been righted, and I’m now very capable of appreciating the taste of coffee and not just the smell.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

I finally learned to enjoy coffee when I had espresso in Italy, and if that bouche-y statement doesn’t help me fit in at hipster coffee shops then I don’t know what will. I never had much interest in learning to like coffee because I didn’t want to become one of those people who has to have their coffee before you can talk to them in the morning. Dependency on anything to that degree fah-reaks me out. But the little espresso cups were so cute I had to order one, and one thing led to another, and…

Now I like coffee! Huzzah! I shoulda seen it coming when I started liking really bitter chocolate. Surely that was step one.

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Now that you know entirely too much about my coffee history, I’m gonna give you a recipe for rum-soaked pumpkin bread WITH COFFEE SWIRLS STRAIGHT OUTTA YOUR DREEEAMS.

It’s all worth it now, right?!

Rum-soaked pumpkin bread I have had—-shout out to Bluboy—-and it is gooooood. Turns out, when you swirl espresso and brown sugar into rum-soaked pumpkin bread it. is. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.

This bread would make a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving dessert spread. And then for breakfast the next morning. (If there’s any left, that is.) Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl

Rum-Soaked Pumpkin Bread with Espresso Swirl
(Adapted from Pastry Affair)

Pumpkin Bread
3/4 c. (185 grams) pumpkin puree
2 large eggs
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 c. (100 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 c. (67 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. (130 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger*
1/4 tsp. ground allspice*
1/2 tsp. salt

Espresso Swirl**
1/4 c. (55 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 – 1 tbsp. espresso powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Rum Simple Syrup
1/4 c. (60 mL) water
1/4 c. (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tbsp. rum

Method
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside
2. Make the pumpkin cake: beat together the pumpkin, eggs, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until completely combined. Gently stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
3. Make the espresso swirl: whisk together the brown sugar, espresso powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. In the loaf pan, spoon half of the pumpkin batter evenly in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle generously with espresso filling. You might not need all of it. Top with remaining pumpkin batter and smooth with a spatula.
5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. While the bread is baking, make the rum simple syrup.
6. Make the simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in rum.
7. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush generously with the rum simple syrup. The syrup will trickle down the sides of the bread and along the bottom on its own to coat the loaf on all sides. Once bread is completely cooled, remove from pan and serve in slices.

*Can be replaced with 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
**Save any extra! It makes a great topping for oatmeal

5 Tips for Making Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

HI I’M MOLLY & I FEEL VERY STRONGLY ABOUT FRENCH TOAST.

For me, not much beats French toast done right, especially served fresh off the griddle with a cup of tea on a brisk, autumn morning. The crisp, buttery outside of each slice giving way to a filling like rich custard. Subtly sweet. Warm and comforting. Drizzled in syrup or sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, perhaps a pat of butter and some chopped nuts to boot.

(Perhaps all of the above.)

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

I could keep going, but I want to get to the meat n’ potatoes (lol) of this post, which is… *drumroll please*

5 Tips for Making Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

French toast is one of the simplest dishes as far as ingredients and technique, requiring just a few basic items probably already in your kitchen and only about 10 minutes start to finish. Anyone can do it. But every now and then I come across French toast that is limp and soggy, or dry like toast in the middle. Sad face.

Don’t let that French toast be yours! Here are some things you can do to get consistently incredible results.

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

1. Use the right bread: slightly stale and dense/heavy

Seriously. The bread you use can make or break your French toast experience. Supposedly, French toast was invented as a way to avoid wasting bread that had gone stale. The bread acts as a sponge and soaks up the egg and milk mixture, so the drier (aka more stale) your bread, the more liquid it will absorb and the more custardy the inside will become.

Sturdier breads–like challah, brioche, and sourdough–are also better at absorbing liquid. Basically, the magic combo is a stale, heavy bread.

Bonus: If you get hit by a French toast craving, but your bread isn’t stale at all, stick slices on a wire rack in the oven at 300ºF for about 5 minutes on each side. Alternatively, if you’re thinking ahead, you can leave the slices out overnight.

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

2. Slice it thick

You want a good ratio of creamy inside to crispy outside. Also, there is less of a chance of your French toast going limp or falling apart if the slices are a little thicker. I usually aim for around an inch in width, maybe a little less.

3. REALLY soak that bread

This might be THE MOST crucial step for slam-bang French toast. Good French toast comes from the bread absorbing the egg mixture. Just quickly coating your bread and tossing it in the pan will leave you with fried egg on the outside and dry bread on the inside. Non, merci.

You’ve got a couple options here. One is to let the slices soak in the egg mixture for 5 minutes on each side. However, if you’re impatient like me, you can use a fork to gently but thoroughly press the slices into the egg mixture. Think about how a sponge absorbs water more quickly if you squeeze it underwater.

Remember: we don’t dredge French toast like we’re making fried chicken. We soak French toast. Because we’re awesome.

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

4. Preheat the pan

So usually I’m one for instant gratification (see: tip #5), but in this case you really have to let the pan heat fully. If the pan isn’t hot enough when the first slice goes in, the egg mixture will start to spread. You want that stuff on your bread, not making egg tails in the pan.

Bonus: A good rule of thumb for knowing your pan is hot enough is that butter will start to bubble and sizzle when it hits the pan.

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

5 Tips for Slam-Bang French Toast Every Time

5. Get the heat right

In addition to letting the pan preheat all the way, you want to cook your French toast at the right temperature. Medium to medium-low heat is best. If the heat is too high, the outside will cook too quickly and the inside will end up an undercooked, eggy mess. If the heat is too low, then your toast will be dry inside and less crispy on the outside. Medium heat is the Goldilocks cooking temperature.

These 5 tips should have you cranking out incredible French toast in no time. Ready to start now? Here’s a great recipe to practice with:

Honey & Sauteed Apple French Toast

Honey Sauteed Apple French Toast | memo2munch

Back to School Popeye Crepes

Do you get it?! Do you? Cuz, like, Popeye liked spinach, and it made him extra strong and ready to face his challenges, so I just thought it would be a good ‘beginning of the school year’ post and…

Well, you know.

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

I can’t guarantee instant, bulging muscles after eating these, but I CAN guarantee the best-tasting serving of vegetables you will ever have the pleasure of feeding yourself. So tasty, in fact, that you won’t even taste the vegetables. That’s a good trade-off, right?

And I mean, how cool are GREEN CREPES?

popeye crepes | memo2munch

Now I really want to try sneaking other veggies or fruits into these crepes to make different colors. I bet beets would make just gorgeous magenta crepes. Or maybe you could make purple by using blackberries. Oh man, I would literally eat my body weight in crepes if they were purple and slightly blackberry flavored.

Time to put that at the top of my to-do list. (Sorry, anatomy homework.) Besides, I need practice crepe-flipping anyway. I broke about half of this batch before I got the hang of it. Turns out I didn’t have the heat high enough…

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Naturally, the filling could be anything you want. I followed the recipe from Green Kitchen Stories (and watched the video approximately 87 times because it was so beautiful) and liked the apple and tahini filling a lot more than I expected, especially with the addition of strawberries.

Here are some other fillings I might try:
-cheese and more spinach (spinach melt, holla)
-egg and tomato
-strawberry and/or banana (nutella optional, but who are we kidding?)

Let me know what other ideas you come up with!

Popeye Crepes | memo2munch

Also, I apologize for the lack of pictures. Photographing these babies was a struggle. Just to give you an idea of how sorry a scene it was, the wooden panels you see in the background are actually my kitchen floor. Don’t worry, I sanitized first!!

Popeye Crepes
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Crepe batter
  1. 1.5 cups flour of your choice
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 2 cups (500 ml) non-dairy milk
  4. 1 cup (250 ml) water
  5. 1 tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil, plus more for frying
  6. pinch of sea salt
  7. 2 generous handfuls fresh spinach, rinsed (or thawed frozen)
Chickpea, Apple & Tahini Filling
  1. 3 tbsp. tahini
  2. 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  3. juice of one lemon
  4. 2 small apples, grated
  5. around 2 cups (600g) cooked chickpeas
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  7. honey to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place all the crepe ingredients in a blender and put the lid securely on. Alternatively, if you have an immersion blender you can place the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend with your immersion blender. I want one of those things. Either way, blend until smooth and green. Refrigerate the batter for 30 minutes.*
  2. Heat an 8 inch frying pan on medium heat. Add a bit of oil or butter. Then pour about 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the batter into the pan. Tilt the pan in circles until the batter has evenly coated the bottom of the pan. Fry about 1 minute on each side, until crepes are golden and can be turned easily. Fry all of the crepes and put on a baking sheet to cool off.
  3. Make the filling: Whisk tahini, oil and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Add grated apple, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add the chickpeas and mix until chickpeas are coated. If you want a sweeter filling, you can add some honey.
  4. Add a generous scoop of the filling in the center of each crepe and fold in half to serve.
Notes
  1. *This is important!!! The batter will be too runny otherwise
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes

Lemme clue you in to a little secret. Sometimes I can’t choose between chocolate and carbs.

IT’S TRUE.

I knew I wanted to do a Valentine’s Day post, but I wasn’t sure which to focus on. After all, how does one pick between carbs and chocolate?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Well, the normal focus for V-Day seems to be chocolate, but I would be just as happy to get a steamin’ hot plate of pancakes as a present as I would getting a box of chocolates.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

After much deliberation I decided to go with pancakes because it was the perfect opportunity to use one of my Chanukah presents, THIS SQUEEZE BOTTLE! (Thanks Mom & Dad!)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

There’s a connection, I promise. A guy on YouTube has become famous for making super intricate pancake pictures using just a squeeze bottle and his immense talent. You might have seen his stuff shared on Facebook. He did the Beatles. It was awesome. Click here to watch the video.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Pancake art sounds like the yummiest art form I can imagine, so I’m giving it a go. So far I can do hearts and backwards letters (since you flip the pancakes you have to do words backwards). Not quite the Beatles, but a girl’s got to practice right?

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Once I’d settled on pancakes for this post, I had to weigh some more options. Should I do strawberry pancakes because the color is Valentine’s-y, or should I do chocolate chip pancakes (because chocolate)?

And then I was like, “Molly.

Molly, Molly, Molly. Silly girl. Why not do both?”

*In falsetto* Jackpot!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Chocolate and strawberry are meant to be together anyway. And then you add pancakes to the mix (ha ha), and HUZZAH!

These pancakes are like a strawberry coated in rich, semi-sweet chocolate and then surrounded by the fluffiest pancakes known to the world ever.

Uh, you better know I ain’t eating these just on Valentine’s Day.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

They’re just as delicious in not heart form, but I really recommend splurging on the squeeze bottle! It will cost you like a full 34 cents and you will have SOOOOO much fun. I’d love to see your pancake designs so pleaaaaase share them with me ok?!?

Ok. Pancake time. (Also, syrup pouring creds to Tori)

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes | memo2munch

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pancakes
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c. dark rye flour (or other whole grain of your choice)
  2. 3/4 c. white spelt flour or unbleached all-purpose
  3. 3.5 tsp. baking powder
  4. 1 tsp. salt
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
  7. 3 tbsp. melted coconut oil, vegan butter, or ghee, plus more for pan
  8. 1 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
  9. 3-4 strawberries, washed and sliced
  10. 1/4 c. chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the remaining ingredients except for the strawberries and chocolate chips. Whisk until fully incorporated and frothy.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Lumps are ok!
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat. If making heart-shaped pancakes, fill your squeeze bottle with batter while the skillet heats. Add some butter to the pan. Draw a heart outline with your squeeze bottle, then use a ladle to fill in inside with batter. Press some chocolate chips and strawberries directly into the pancake in the skillet. When you see bubbles forming, flip and cook on the other side for another minute or two. Repeat with remaining batter.
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins

You guys, I’m having a banana moment.

Or is obsession a better word?

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Cuz “moment” makes it sounds like a temporary thing. (It’s probably not.) But “obsession” makes it sound like a bad thing. (It’s definitely not.)

Whatever, bananas are awesome and fun to spell in a duet with Gwen Stefani. Also, this kinda makes me a Despicable Me minion, correct? Correct. Dave and I are best friends.

bananaminions

See? Best friends.

I’ve always loved bananas, but now I’m becoming a banana fiend! I have half a banana on my oatmeal at breakfast and then for lunch I’ll have the other half on some toast with almond butter and honey (TRY THAT) or just by itself as a snack later on in the day. I’ve got a whole system, you understand. Other times I’ll toss it into pancakes or caramelize it and use it in baking.

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Can we talk about how versatile bananas are for a sec? They’re a dream when you mash ’em up and bake with them. They have binding properties like an egg, they’re naturally sweet and can replace some of the sugar in recipes, AND they can replace some of the fat as well while still maintaining a soft and fluffy product.

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Baking aside, bananas themselves are very nutritious! They are very rich in the electrolyte potassium. Potassium helps our bodies control blood pressure and aids in muscle function. If you have high blood pressure, eating foods with potassium can be just as beneficial as cutting down sodium! (Doing both is even better!) Have muscle cramps? Digestive issues? Cramps? Bananas can help with each. You go, bananas!

Need more reasons to eat bananas? Here are 25 more!

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

As it turns out, though, most Americans aren’t eating enough bananas. Of the 4,700 milligrams recommended, we only eat an average of 2,500 to 3,000 milligrams. Get on that banana eating, people!! (Other good sources of potassium: avocados, citrus fruits, blackberries, prunes, raisins, carrots, spinach)

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

For today’s muffins, I did what any sane person would do and combined banana and CHOCOLATE!!!

The two go together wonderfully, but then again chocolate is incredibly easy to get along with. 😉 I’m beginning to think there are very few things that don’t pair well with chocolate. I tried an ancho chili and cinnamon dark chocolate the other day, and it was soooooo yuuuuummmmmyyyyy. Wasn’t expecting to like it too much, but boy was I wrong. Gobbled that thing right up, mmmmmm mm. (Side note–have you tried something you expected not to like and ended up loving it? Leave me a comment!)

So anyway, you can see why banana and chocolate together was a given. Chocolate drizzles are also a given. Oh, yeah.

Enjoy!!!

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins | memo2munch

Any-Flour Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
Yields 12
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Ingredients
  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/4 c. brown sugar
  3. 1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 medium, very ripe bananas)
  6. 1 cup flour of your choice (oat, almond, coconut, brown rice + corn mix, spelt, all-purpose, whole wheat, etc.)
  7. 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  8. 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp. salt
  10. 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  11. 3/4 c. chocolate chips
  12. More chocolate, for drizzle (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. grease a muffin tin or line with papers.
  2. Whisk together the egg, sugar, apple sauce, vanilla, and mashed banana.
  3. Toss the dry ingredients together in a separate, smaller bowl.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Depending on what flour you use, you might need to add a little water at this point. Aim for a batter that is not as runny as pancake batter, but not as solid as cookie dough.
  5. Scoop into muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and then remove from tins.
  6. Prepare the drizzle: place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Use a spoon to drizzle over the muffins. I used about 1 Baker's bar of semi-sweet chocolate to do this.
Adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Adapted from Yammie's Noshery
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/

GF Buckwheat Waffles

My mom laughed at me when I told her what I was making.

Not because, you know, I was making waffles with buckwheat flour. No, no, no.

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

Evidently topping your waffles with stewed prunes is pretty funny.

I mean, I know that “stewed prunes” isn’t the most attractive phrasing in the universe, but still!

Well, my friends, it turns out that stewed prunes have a bit of a reputation for being an old people food that helps you in the bathroom, if you catch my drift. Yeah, I know.

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

Oops, you didn’t just lose your appetite did you? I guess normal people don’t talk about things like that on their food blogs, do they. Fails all around for me today! (EXCEPT the waffles. Those were NOT a fail I promise!)

I had zero idea about the whole prune thing, but it matters not! I <3 stewed prunes, and I put them on my buckwheat waffles, and it is a super scrumptious combo, and so no hating on my stewed prunes.

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

When I was in Florence last summer, the hotel we stayed at served stewed prunes every morning with the breakfast array. They were warm, delicately sweet, and deliciously juicy. I was sold! The Italians didn’t think stewed prunes were an old people food. Reason why Italians are my kind of people #58499673.

Anyway, if you’re not willing to give stewed prunes a clean slate–or if you want another variation–I would suggest tossing some chocolate chips into the batter. Because a) hullo, chocolate and b) the buckwheat makes it look like there’s already some chocolate in there, so might as well make it official, am I right? It’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s not our fault the chocolate ended up in there. It was fate!

Added bonus: you won’t be a liar if you tell kids the waffles are chocolate in order to get them to eat whole grain. Not that you would ever lie about that to children!

😉

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

Right now I’m at COUSINFEST aka my grandparents’ house, and it has been so much fun! Our latest obsession is Words with Friends. I know you just checked the date to see if I posted this in 2010. I didn’t. It is currently almost 2015, but the Words with Friends party is poppin’ in this household.

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

It’s turned in to more of a “let’s try random letter combos until we find a word that is accepted but we don’t think is actually a real word” party, though, which has some of our Scrabble purists pretty upset. There’s a dictionary feature in the latest version of the app (ooh, so fancy), so we’ve looked up some of the definitions just to see.

And SOMETIMES… Ww/F (see what I did there?) doesn’t even HAVE a definition!!!

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

Example Time.

“‘HOLKING’ is a valid Words With Friends word. Sorry, no definition is available at this time!”

Then under word rarity it says: “Very Common”

Right.

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

You know, I think we ought to come up with our own definition and then incorporate it into our daily lives. Any ideas? Adjective, maybe?

These waffles are holking. You decide what that means.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday filled with lots of my three favorite things: family, friends, and FOOD.

And as usual, mini version! 🙂

GF Buckwheat Waffles | memo2munch

GF Buckwheat Waffle with Stewed Prunes
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 c. buckwheat flour, plus more as needed
  2. 3/4 c. brown or white rice flour, plus more as needed
  3. 1 tbsp. baking powder
  4. pinch salt
  5. 1 egg
  6. 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  7. 3/4 to 1 c. unsweetened almond milk
  8. 3 tbsp. coconut oil
For the prunes and topping*
  1. 1/2 lb. prunes
  2. 1/2 lemon, sliced into rounds
  3. cinnamon to taste
  4. water
  5. coconut milk yogurt
  6. honey
  7. chopped pecans
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add the prunes, lemon slices, and cinnamon. Pour in enough water so that the prunes are covered. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20 minutes while you make the waffles.
  2. Start heating the waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, combine the buckwheat flour, rice flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, honey, milk, and coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. If the batter is too thin, add more buckwheat and rice flour. If it is too thick, add more almond milk.
  4. Follow the instructions of your waffle iron from this point to cook the waffles. Once the waffles are done, top them with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of honey, some stewed prunes, and a handful of chopped pecans.
Notes
  1. *VARIATION: Instead of prunes and yogurt and the like, try mixing some chocolate chips into the batter. Mmm!
Memo2munch http://memo2munch.com/