What do you prioritize in a significant other?
Physical attraction? Intelligence? A sense of humor?
Those qualities are important, but I ask, what about brunch?
When brunching at a restaurant, will this Sig Fig candidate order strategically so as to maximize menu potential? Will we share and strike my desired balance of sweet and savory? When staying home, will brunch be a main item on our agenda? When it comes time for pancakes, will he take command of a skillet and flip that flapjack confidently? When it comes time for maple syrup, so help me god, if there is a plastic bottle shaped like a woman with racist undertones…NEXT!
However, when you find that guy who goes to bed thinking about bacon from the local butcher, shares wholeheartedly, and flips pancakes like a pro, well, even the brunch plate smiles in approval…
This brunch combination gives lots of reasons to smile! Whole-wheat pancakes are a more wholesome way to enjoy a lazy breakfast, and when you make the Nutella yourself, you eliminate some of those longer, questionable words from the ingredient list. You’ll feel free to lick the spoon, fork, knife, plate, container…all of it…with less guilt and more contentment.
Isn’t contentment what brunch is all about?
Yield: 2 cups
1 cup hazelnuts
12 ounces dark, semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tablespoons hazelnut oil
1-2 Tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt, more or less depending upon your preference
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 12 minutes, until fragrant and the skins are blistered a little.
Wrap the hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove as much loose skin as possible, some will remain. Let cool completely.
Melt the chocolate using a Maria bath. Stir until smooth. Let cool slightly.
In a food processor (or in a Vitamix!), grind the hazelnuts until they form a paste. Add the oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt and continue processing until the mixture is as smooth as possible-or as smooth as you like. Add the melted chocolate, blend well, and then strain the mixture to remove any chunks of hazelnut that remain. The resulting homemade Nutella will be thin and somewhat runny and maybe even a little warm but it will thicken as it cools.
Store in an airtight container, and let it cool to room temperature.
Note: If your city insists on clinging to winter, and your apartment insists on letting all heat escape, your Nutella might solidify. You can put the glass container in a saucepan of gently simmering water (water level should not surpass the container height) or if you’re one of those microwave owning folks, you can nuke it for a bit, but be sure to watch it. Burnt Nutella would be really sad.
Yield: ~ 10-12 thin pancakes
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 Tablespoons raw cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
1 Tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2-2 cups organic whole milk
1 large organic egg
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for skillet
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Whisk flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and the salt in a medium bowl, set aside.
Warm the milk until lukewarm, not hot (you should be able to keep your finger submerged for 10 seconds).
Whisk milk, butter, egg and the vanilla together until blended.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour milk mixture into the well and stir with a fork until mixed and only small clumps of flour remain. Do not over mix batter.
Heat a large skillet (or use griddle) over medium heat, and lightly brush skillet with melted butter.
Spoon a 1/4-cup of the batter onto the skillet and gently spread into a 4-inch circle.
When edges look dry and bubbles start to appear and pop on the top surfaces of the pancakes, turn over, about 2 minutes. Once flipped, cook 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle.
Rum Whipped Cream
1 cup organic whipping cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 Tablespoons spiced rum
Chill the cream in a mixing bowl in the freezer until the cream just starts to freeze. Remove from the freezer. Add the vanilla and maple syrup.
Use a mixer, on medium speed, to beat until peaks begin to form.
Add the rum, and continue to mix until combined. Keep chilled until ready to serve.
May your brunches be filled with smiles!