Apple Cider Syrup

Apple Cider Syrup from Brittany's PantryIf they serve french toast in heaven, it is covered in this syrup.

If you only try one recipe from this blog, make it this one.  This is sooo easy, lasts long in the fridge, is impressive to guests, and packs all the goodness of the season into one, tiny pitcher of sweet and tart wonderfulness.  I am talking about apple cider syrup people.  A recipe I have been tweaking for several years now and usually make a few times a season.  We eat alot of pancakes in our house so having something a bit different than the norm is a welcome change.  The difference between this stuff and anything you will find in the grocery store?  I eat this syrup with a spoon.  Literally.  It is so fantastic you will be looking for new ways to add it to lunch and dinner, as well as snack time.

On a recent apple picking trip with my family, I was again reminded how much I love all things apple.  Rows and rows of fresh apple cider, stacks of pies, and of course, a few apple cider doughnuts for the road.  (I have a new recipe to try for apple cider doughnuts-I’ll let you know how they turn out!) I love it all!  And this syrup is one of those unexpected things that make fall so fantastic.  A few days ago I mixed equal parts apple cider syrup and real maple syrup and then glazed some roasted cornish hens with it-and I drizzled a bit of that on some baked acorn squash!  Outrageously good.  So if you make this, let me know.  I want to know what you think and if you have any new ideas for using it!  And once you make it, don’t be surprised if after a quick taste, you want to grab a spoon.  I’m right there with ya.Apple Cider Syrup from Brittany's PantryApple Cider Syrup from Brittany's Pantry Apple Cider Syrup
Inspired by Gourmet

2 c apple cider
1/2 c brown sugar
2 T butter
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring to a boil over med high heat.  Let bubble (not TOO vigorously) for about 20 minutes or until reduced and thick.  Remember, syrup will thicken as it cools.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.
Tip: If syrup is too thick when it cools, thin it with a splash of apple cider and stir it in.

Banana Bran Muffins

Banana Bran Muffins are whole grain and Oh so tasty! Be sure to freeze any leftovers! {Brittany's Pantry}In the short time I have been writing this blog, the majority of recipes included have been baked goods.  While this won’t always be the norm (not everyone likes to bake and I like to cook just as much) I have been whipping up a lot of muffins and breads lately based on ingredients I have in my house.

For example, I had three sorry looking bananas that were way past their prime for snacking, but perfect for baking.  I made a batch of banana bran muffins and I MUST share the recipe with you.  They are so good, it boggles the mind a bit.  They don’t taste like your run-of-the-mill traditional bran muffin, so those of you who are wrinkling your nose at this-HALT!  These are sweet and moist and do not taste like what they are; an extremely easy, fast, and healthy option of breakfast or snacking.  This recipe comes from my good friend Michelle, and I think she got it from a Bed and Breakfast cookbook.  Ultimately, who cares?!   They are a favorite muffin in our house and I hope they become one you can count on too!

Banana Bran Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen

In a large bowl, mix together with a wooden spoon or spatula:
1 egg
3/4 c brown sugar
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
1/2 c bran
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Mix all dry ingredients into the wet ingredients carefully, JUST UNTIL COMBINED.  Bake in greased or papered muffin cups at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until browned on top and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Baked muffins freeze beautifully.

Earth Bread

Earth Bread by Brittany's Pantry - A quick bread full of healthy ingredients!Yes, its that time of year again.  The time when you realize that you should have planted only one zucchini plant instead of four.  And while this year I am without any veggies due to the deer who keep eating the blossoms off the plants (the little jerks), I have been stocking up at my local farmers market.  No shortage of summer squash here.  And with this in mind, I would like to post my FAVORITE zucchini bread recipe.
Earth Bread by Brittany's Pantry - A quick bread full of healthy ingredients!There are so many of them out there and all seem to be about the same (I do have a chocolate zucchini bread recipe that is amazing) but this one has a few twists.  By all means stick to what works for you, but if you are in the mood for something a little different give this one a try.  This bread is OH so good for you and freezes beautifully for several months.  It also makes a great sandwich with cream cheese for a child-or adult-lunch!  It took at least a dozen tries (and more zucchini than you can imagine) but I finally nailed the recipe.  I have been making it year round and now that its zucchini season again-bring it on!  I’m ready.  And who knows?  You may find yourself at the farmers market too.  In need of more zucchini perhaps?
Earth Bread by Brittany's Pantry - A quick bread full of healthy ingredients!Earth Bread
Makes 2 large loaves or 4 small ones or ALOT of muffins
Recipe Modified 6/21/11

In a large bowl combine:
3 eggs
1/2 c oil
1 c sugar
1 med. banana, mashed
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 large zucchini, washed and grated (about 1 1/2-2 c)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce

Add and mix just until blended:
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/4 c wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 c chopped walnuts (opt)
1/2 c raisins (opt)

Pour evenly into two large, sprayed, loaf pans.  Bake at 350 for about an hour or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  If making four mini-loaves, bake for 35-40 minutes and 20-25 minutes for muffins.

Matt’s Pancakes

Classic, Fluffy, Buttermilk Pancakes via Brittany's Pantry - I use this recipe for breakfast and brunch, but also use it as my base mix to add all kinds of fun things to!Ah, pancakes.  Now you may not be too excited about this, but we eat a lot of pancakes in our house.  The other day we had breakfast for dinner; pancakes, sausage, eggs over easy, and sweet potato hash.  I make big batches and then freeze them for quick breakfasts for my kids.  They probably have these pancakes 2 or 3 times a week.  I went through a faze about a year ago and tried at least a dozen different recipes for pancakes.  Oatmeal pancakes, blueberry corn cakes, gingerbread pancakes, banana sour cream pancakes…phew!  You name it I tried it.  I threw away the ones that weren’t great, kept the ones that were good, and tweaked those that needed it.  This recipe is the basic one I use for everyday.  Easy to vary, its the perfect jumping off point if you want to add blueberries, chopped nuts, chunks of banana, raisins, etc.  I call them Matt’s Pancakes because the original recipe came from my brother-in-law.  He says the recipe is the same as the one on the back of the powdered buttermilk container-a recipe his family has been using for years-just with real buttermilk added.   I have changed it quite a bit to make it healthier and a little faster.  I’ll include both versions here so you can try them both.  Either way, it is one of my basic, everyday, go-to recipes.  And who doesn’t like pancakes?

Matt’s Pancakes (and mine)
Everythng in italics are my adjustments.  Make them either way you like!

2 c flour (1 c white flour 1 c white whole wheat flour)
2 T sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Combine all dry ingredients.  Mix separately and add:
4 T melted butter (1/4 c canola oil)
2 c low fat buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Carefully mix wet ing. into dry just until combined.  DO NOT OVER MIX!  There should be a few lumps in the batter.
Note:  Add 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1/2 c raisins for variation.  Use your imagination or whatever your family likes.