Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Strawberries: Syrup, Muffins, Pancakes



I bought a ton of strawberries two weeks ago. Four pounds. They've been holding up incredibly well. I've been snacking on them, eating them with breakfast cereal and slicing them up for my son any time he wants a snack. This weekend I made some muffins using my regular blueberry muffin recipe with some adaptations. I was able to cut the sugar quite a bit and probably could have cut even more if I'd given these just a tiny sprinkle of powdered sugar afterward. Something about that tiny bit hitting your tongue is really deceptive. Works for brownies, too. I posted the recipe to my work site. I think they'll make a pretty good breakfast or snack for the wee tots.


I knew today that I really needed to use up the last of the strawberries. None of them were bad, but a few were definitely on the soft side and once they're at that point it's a pretty fast descent into moldy slime. I pulled a few aside for another batch of muffins I'm going to send with my son to his math meeting on Friday...



Then I decided to make some pancakes and strawberry syrup. I've never made my own syrup before and it seems pretty silly now that I think about it. I have a kid who is allergic to corn and ever since we discovered that, maple syrup has been wrecking my budget. No more Mrs. Butterworth's around here. Some things are a blessing in disguise, if you want to look at them that way, though. Not that I'd ever wish a corn allergy on anyone, but hey. Those corn syrup concoctions can't compare. At any rate, why on Earth didn't I just make my own syrup?

I looked at a bunch of recipes and found it's pretty much just like making simple syrup + simmering down the fruit. So, I cut up what was left of my berries and put them over medium heat. I added about half a cup of sugar and half a cup of water and just let them go for about 15 minutes or so, until the syrup was almost the consistency I wanted (I figure it will thicken up when it cools). Then I squeezed the juice of about half a lemon into it and ran it through a sieve.



It made about a cup when all was said and done.



I was going to use it on pancakes, but then I got a hankering for waffles. I'd already made the pancake batter when this urge struck me, however, so I ran and Googled how to convert a pancake recipe to a waffle recipe and the consensus seemed to be that I should just add a little bit more liquid and a little bit more oil. Except in a few places where people were just aghast that you would even try such a thing. Don't you know that you can only get the crispy outside / airy inside waffle from incorporating whipped egg whites into the batter? FOOLS!

I'll tell you who the fools are. I went and added just a little more oil and soy milk to that batter and they were the best waffles I've made yet with nary an egg in sight.



I wish I'd taken a picture of the finished product, but my son scarfed his down while I was making mine and then I was scarfing mine down while making the rest of the batch so all you can see is how clean the plates were afterward.

Here's the recipe, by the way:

Vegan Waffles
Makes 12-14 waffles

You'll need:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk (I used half hemp / half soy)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • Extra oil or spray oil for the waffle iron


    What to do:

  • Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Pour in wet ingredients and whisk together. Don't overmix.
  • Allow mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes before using.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions for your waffle maker.

    I say follow the instructions there because everyone has a different machine and some just use the irons that go on the stove... For example, my Toastmaster Belgian Waffle Baker requires that I wait for the ready light, oil the wells lightly, put 1/4 cup of batter in each well and then close and lock the lid and wait till the light goes off to begin checking if the waffles are done. They often aren't ready (there's resistance on the lid when I try to open it or steam is still coming out of the sides) so I wait a couple minutes. It can take 6 minutes or more for mine to cook the waffles completely.

    Oh, and I can share a waffle cooling tip. I like to make waffles and then freeze them or put them in the fridge, but always hate when they get soggy. They get soggy because most people just stack them up flat one on top of the other. Then, they steam each other and ruin that crispy exterior. If you cool them upright (I just stack them around a glass) and then freeze them, no more soggy waffles. They toast up perfectly and even if your lazy kid uses the microwave they don't turn out too bad.



    And for my next strawberry-related trick. For all you vegans out there who have an old hard-boiled egg slicer, you can repurpose it for slicing strawberries. I highly recommend this if you're going to make a cake or a tart decorated with strawberry slices because they come out extremely uniform and gorgeous.



    It's good for slicing mushrooms, too.



    *Pardon the phone pictures. I'm not so good with the SLR and I can't find the memory card anyway (usually it's boyfriend who does all the snapping).
  • 2 comments:

    1. Back in the day before I paid attention to what I ate, I used to love the flavored syrups at IHOP. What a great idea to make your own healthified version! I think I will try that this weekend (with frozen...we won't have deals on fresh for months in the Northwest!)

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    2. Good idea for the winter, too. I imagine you'll have to use less water with frozen, maybe, or let it boil down more.

      Get ready for the smell. My son came out of his room about halfway through ("What's goin' on in here?") because it smelled so good. :)

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