Posts Tagged ‘Buttermilk’

When people tell you they like cornbread, they typically have something specific and nostalgic in mind.  There are infinite ways to prepare the bread and how you prefer yours not only depends on tradition but also what you’re serving alongside it.  In our house, cornbread is nearly synonymous with dessert – even at breakfast or dinner.  That’s because we prefer a cakier, sweeter version with just enough grit to support some fresh corn, a drizzle of honey and, on a decadent day, a pat of salted butter. 

These flat muffins fit the bill.  They have an old-fashioned texture – grainy with small holes running through the light crumb – and a wholesome flavor – nutty from the addition of whole wheat, tangy from the buttermilk, and sweet from both the cornmeal and corn kernels.  The addition of chives, jalapenos, and cheddar cheese would be an excellent savory twist.  Best of all, preparation is simple – even for the most novice of bakers – and there’s no cast iron pan or deep fryer required.

Whole Wheat Corn Muffins, adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours



1 cup whole wheat flour (I used half white whole wheat and half regular)
1 cup cornmeal (stone ground)
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
3 tbsp (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter or Earth Balance, melted and cooled
3 tbsp oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 cup corn kernels (add up to 1/3 cup more if you’d like), fresh, frozen or canned


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line or spray a regular-sized 12 muffin tin pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. 
  3. In a large glass measuring cup with a spout or in another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, oil, agave, egg and yolk. 
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy and that’s just the way it should be.
  5. Stir in the corn kernels.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin molds.
  6. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  7. Carefully lift each muffin out of its mold and onto a rack to cool.

Serving: The muffins are great warm or at room temperature and particularly great split, toasted and spread with butter, jam, honey or agave.

Storing: It’s best to wrap these airtight and pop them into the freezer, where they’ll keep for about a month.  Re-warm in a 300 degree F oven.

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I need to start a “Buttermilk Love” club.  Buttermilk adds incredible moistness and flavor with minimal fat.  It is integral in our savory and sweet recipes.  This is yet another recipe that benefits from this all-star ingredient.

Feel free to substitute whatever fruit is in season.  This is a wholesome breakfast, snack, or dessert cake.

Nectarine Buttermilk Cake, adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought and Epicurious’ Raspberry Buttermilk Cake


1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose, white whole wheat or whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup Earth Balance spread or butter 
2/3 cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, nectarines, plum, cherries)
1 tbsp sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and flour and grease (or line with parchment) a 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter and agave with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla extract and egg and mix until well combined.  Alternate adding buttermilk and flour (two to three batches), ending with the flour mixture.  Stir until just combined. 
  4. Pour the batter into the cake tin, leveling the top. 
  5. If you don’t mind the fruit sinking a bit into the cake, scatter fruit evenly over the top and sprinkle with sugar before placing it in the oven.  Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean of the center of the cake. 
  6. If you prefer the fruit sticking out (similar to the picture), place the cake batter in the oven for 5 minutes, then scatter fruit and sugar and continue baking 15-20 minutes more.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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On a lazy Sunday afternoon I joined Rice Kernel for a nap.  I wasn’t fond of sleeping with him when he was younger – I feared rolling onto him or pushing him off the bed.  And he moved around and kicked.  He still moves 180 degrees and kicks, but he’s also prone to giving hugs and cuddling these days.  So I take advantage when I can.   

When we woke, I was yearning for a sweet snack.  I had baked a half dozen lowfat lemon ginger cupcakes the day before and could taste the light treat dressed with sweetened cream.  So we headed to the kitchen but, alas, the remaining cupcakes were no longer on the kitchen counter.  Odd, I thought.  I checked the fridge.  Nothing.  FHE.

I wanted a snack.  I wanted a sweet snack.  I wanted my low-fat sweet snack.  Lemon ginger wasn’t going to cut it at this point.  I needed intense chocolate to overcome my post-nap daze and letdown from the empty countertop. 

My mind raced to this recipe.  A simple one-bowl preparation, this cupcake is moist and favorful with a scant amount of oil.  Quick to prepare, they are a last-minute solution for any occasion – and delicious with a bevy of frostings (see below) or none at all.

Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcakes, adapted from Martha Stewart


3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry + 1/4 cup AP)
3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 agave nectar)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
7 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer Scharffen Berger cocoa)
3 tbsp oil or unsalted butter, melted
7 tbsp buttermilk (low-fat is fine)
1 large egg
1 large egg white


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, combine cocoa and 5 tablespoons hot water until a thick paste forms (this process intensifies the chocolate flavor.  If you have leftover brewed coffee, that’s even better).  Add butter, buttermilk, egg, and egg white; beat until combined.  Whisk in flour mixture until smooth.
  3. Scoop batter into prepared tin.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.  Top with desired frosting.

Greek Yogurt Frosting (my guilt-free preference)
See here

Cream Cheese Frosting
See here

Mint-Infused Whipped Cream, from Honey and Jam

2 cups heavy whipping cream
3-4 sprigs, fresh mint (i used sweet mint, you could use spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint, etc)
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (more if you like it sweeter)


  1. Crush mint leaves a bit, then place in a medium sized bowl, pour heavy cream over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours to overnight.  (I’d recommend keeping it in the fridge overnight.)
  2. Remove mint from heavy cream, add powdered sugar and by hand or using an electric mixer, whip until soft peaks form.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment on medium low speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.  Turn the mixer speed to low.  Combine the milk and the vanilla extract and slowly stream it into the butter and sugar mixture.  Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.  The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.  
  2. If you find that your frosting is getting to warm in the summer months, stop beating and set in the fridge for a few minutes.  Once chilled, hook the frosting back up the the mixer and beat once more until you reach the desired consistency

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Rain or shine, warm or cold outside, I enjoy starting my day with a cup of green tea.  It used to be coffee (particularly during law school and while I was working), but I managed to kick the habit while pregnant with Rice Kernel.  At this point, I’m too lazy to brew coffee at home.  With quite a bit of matcha powder left over from my tiramisu experiment, I decided matcha pancakes would be a unique way to incorporate my morning beverage onto the boys’ breakfast plates. 

The matcha powder imparted a beautiful light green hue to these pancakes and an earthy, slightly grassy flavor.  While the green tea flavor is present, it is not overwhelming.  Frankly, it was hard to get a prominent matcha flavor but the suggestive aroma was refreshing and beautiful.  If you can’t find matcha powder, steep a tea bag (green tea or otherwise) into the water called for in the recipe.  I imgine it will impart a subtle, delicate tea flavor into this morning favorite.

Matcha Pancakes, adapted slightly from Une deuxsenses

2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (you can use all regular flour)
2 tbsp agave nectar (or 3 tbsp sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp matcha powder (more, for more matcha flavor)
1 1/2 cups reduced fat buttermilk
1/2 cup water or milk
4 tbsp oil or butter, melted and cooled
1/2 tsp vanilla
oil or cooking spray, for cooking


  1. In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the matcha powder with the water until well combined. 
  3. Add the buttermilk, matcha mixture, butter and vanilla to the eggs and mix well. 
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix until smooth, let sit for a few minutes.
  5. Heat pan over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon of oil or spray with cooking spray. Once pan is hot, pour two tablespoons of batter onto the pan and cook until bubbles start to form on the top, about 1 – 2 minutes.  (These brown fairly quickly.)  Flip over and cook another 1 – 2 minutes or until golden brown.

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Killer B’s.  I’m neither referring to Rice Kernel’s fear of bumble bees nor the former members of the Houston Astros.  I’m trying to teach Rice Kernel that the former are our friends in the garden.  With respect to the latter, I grew up in a baseball-loving family so three “B’s” naturally connote one thing in my mind.  But I’m rambling about pointless things.  And there are important matters to discuss, like this sinlessly moist bread.  This is the recipe for which I patiently wait for bananas to turn brown.  Fluffy with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb (even with whole wheat and teff flours), it is hard to stop at one slice.  And you don’t have to with its nutritional stats.  Chances are high that if you came to visit me, I’d have a pre-sliced loaf in the freezer waiting to be warmed up.  Deserving of some cream cheese frosting or, my preference, crunchy peanut butter, it is guiltlessly delightful paired with a glass of milk or a cup of tea any time of day. 

Buttermilk Banana Bread, adapted from Anja’s Food 4 Thought


1/4 cup + 1 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used low-fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp canola oil
2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg (or 1 tbsp flax seed meal + 3 tbsp water; sit for 2 minutes)
1 cup whole wheat flour (I like to use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 teff flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup walnuts, pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, banana chips (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

5 tbsp cream cheese 
4 tbsp agave nectar
Nuts or banana chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat the egg.  Add agave, buttermilk, vanilla extract and canola oil and mix well.  Stir in mashed bananas.
  3. In a big bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. 
  4. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in optional nuts or other mix-in.
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean.
  6. When cool, combine cream cheese and agave nectar in a small bowl.  Frost with a thin layer and top with optional nuts or banana chips.

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Moist, hearty, and flavorful, these are the kind of muffins that make you feel good about yourself and your morning.  Made with wholesome ingredients, the addition of pear puree adds a sensual honeyed flavor and a beckoning perfume.  Topped with thick, creamy, protein-packed yogurt, this is breakfast’s healthiest cupcake!

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pear Muffins with Greek Yogurt “Frosting,” cupcakes inspired by Joy the Baker’s oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffins


1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened pear sauce (or pureed canned or fresh, ripened pears)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 large egg whites (or one egg), lightly beaten
Mix-ins of your choosing: 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), chocolate chips, candied ginger, nuts, etc.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray.  (This recipe will yield 12 to 15 muffins, depending on mix-ins.)
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until just moist.  Fold in any mix-ins.  Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  3. Bake for 15-18 minutes

Greek Yogurt “Frosting, from Rice Kernel’s kitchen
I admit there is nothing “frosting” (in the traditional sense) about this, but we routinely slater it atop muffins and cupcakes.  Sweet and creamy, it is a healthy way to glaze the top of any breakfast muffin.


1 cup Greek yogurt (flavored Greek yogurt also works, although I use plain typically, which has no/less sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powered sugar, sifted


  1. Whisk all ingredients until they become a bit thick.
  2. Place in the fridge to thicken even more (at least 30 minutes).
  3. Spread on cake, cupcakes or a sweet quick bread

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In my quest to merge my breakfast sweet tooth with my husband’s more savory inclinations and Rice Kernel’s fruity obsession, I decided to hit all the tastebuds with these hearty, flavor-packed pancrepes.  (So named because the texture is a cross between a crepe and a pancake.)  Light and fluffy, the cakes have a subtle tang and richness that is offset by specks of salty meat.  Topped with hearty, chunky apples cooked lightly with maple syrup, this breakfast will get you out of your morning rut and provide a satisfying and livening start to the day. 

That is, if you eat them for breakfast.  I made a batch late in the afternoon with the intention of minimizing the morning chaos and reheating them the next day.  But my two little thieves interrupting this glorious train of thought and decided the pancakes were perfect with dinner (some simply-prepared greens and fish) and the apples ideal for topping frozen yogurt.  Why should I be disappointed though?  My oatmeal awaits.

Prosciutto Buttermilk Pancrepes with Maple Syrup Apples, adapted from Epicurious
Maple Syrup Apples
1 tbsp Earth Balance or unsalted butter
3 large Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tbsp plus 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add apples and 1 tablespoon maple syrup; sauté until apples are tender, about 5 minutes.  Mix in remaining 1/2 cup maple syrup and cinnamon.

Prosciutto Buttermilk Pancrepes

Prosciutto confetti: barely visible to the eye, but plenty obvious to your tastebuds.


1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp yellow cornmeal
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (I use low-fat)
1 cup plain yogurt (low-fat again)
1 large egg
1 tbsp canola oil or melted butter
3-5 slices pancetta or bacon, sliced


  1. In a skillet, brown prosciutto.  Cool on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Reserve.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl; whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, yogurt, and egg in medium bowl to blend; add to dry ingredients and stir until just blended but still lumpy. Gently mix in oil or melted butter and pancetta.
  3. Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Spray skillet with cooking spray or place a few tablespoons of butter and let melt.  Working in batches, drop batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle, spacing apart.  Cook pancakes until brown on bottom and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes.  Turn pancakes over and cook until bottoms are brown and pancakes are barely firm to touch.  Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining batter.
  4. Spoon apples over pancakes.  Serve with additional maple syrup, if desired. 

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