Top 3 Biscuit Solutions to your #BakingFail

We’ve asked our culinary team to weigh in on the reasons biscuits don’t turn out right.

Biscuit Fail Pinterest#BakingFail 1: I could build a house with my biscuits! They’re just too hard.

This is a common problem, with several simple solutions:

  • Do not over knead dough
  • Use less flour on your work surface when kneading
  • Test your oven calibration with an oven thermometer
  • Reduce oven heat or bake time
  • Line baking trays with parchment paper

#BiakingFail 2: My entire baking tray morphed into one giant, shallow biscuit. How do I keep my biscuits from spreading?

When biscuits spread too much, it can lead to one giant mess! Our expert advice will help get your #bakingfail sorted out:

  • Cut butter into flour mixture until it forms pea sized pieces of dough
  • Preheat the oven
  • Use butter instead of margarine
  • Measure milk or buttermilk precisely
  • Chill dough in the refrigerator before baking

 

#BakingFail 3: My biscuits have the perfect shimmer of light brown on top, but the bottoms are burnt to a crisp.

Burned bottoms can ruin the flavor of a biscuit! Try these #bakingfail solutions:

  • Position oven rack in the middle
  • Line baking trays with parchment paper
  • Rotate tray halfway through baking
  • Test oven temperature with an oven thermometer

Kids Activity: Rainbow Rocks

This activity requires prep time and overnight setting.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • ¼ c. + 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 gal Vinegar
  • Watercolor Magic liquid watercolor (we chose Sargent Art®)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels (for cleanup)
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic gold coins
  • 2 large mixing bowls (we chose clear to show color)
  • Baking sheet or dry surface for drying

This recipe yields 5-6 rocks. These Rainbow Rocks are easy and enjoyable for children of all ages.

  1. Gather all ingredients.
    Rainbow Rocks Ingredients
  2. In one of the large mixing bowls, add baking soda. Slowly add water. Mixture should be moldable but not too wet.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 1
  3. Cover hands with rubber gloves. Add watercolor drops to soda water mixture. Massage soda mixture with your hands, adding color as you go until desired color is achieved.
    Making Rainbow Rocks 3
  4. While mixture is still moist, put a small amount of mixture into your hand. Take one plastic gold coin and place in the middle of the mixture. Continue to pat mixture in hands until a medium rock shape forms and the gold coin is hidden.
  5. Cover a cookie sheet or flat surface with parchment paper. Please rocks on top of parchment paper to dry overnight.
  6. After rocks have completely dried, do with them what you wish! We thought it would be fun to hide these in the yard and have children search for them. You could also simply use these as a quick kitchen table experiment.
  7. Using another clean large bowl, fill with vinegar until bowl is 2-quarters full. One at a time, drop Rainbow Rocks in and wait for the surprise.
    Fizzing Rainbow Rocks Activity


Kids Activity: Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

Being a mother of two young (active) boys, I’m always looking for activities to do with them during the cold months. As a family, we don’t usually do anything special for Saint Patrick’s Day, but we love to cook and bake together. This Irish Soda Bread Biscuit recipe is really simple and not too complicated for children between the ages of 4 – 10, with minor assistance. I found that this activity was rewarding to them! This baking experience gave them a boost of confidence that they were able to make something for the family, “all by themselves” to eat. Along with this confidence, they also learned “why”, “how” and “when” to do certain steps:

Examples –

  • “How” to identifying measurements – 1 cup, 1 ½ cup, Tbsp. and tsp.
  • “Why” and “When” to add dry and liquid ingredients
  • “How” and “Why” you infuse dried berries before mixing
  • “How”, “When” and “Why” to set the oven temp
  • “Why” and “How” do you grease or line the baking sheet
  • “How” and “Why” do you knead the dough
  • “When” to take biscuits out of the oven

Kid friendly items to have on hand before starting:

  • Step stool (for reaching)
  • Paper towels (for spills)
  • Oven mitts or kitchen towels (oven transfer use)
  • 2” biscuit cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Electric mixer
  • 1 – large spoon for scraping sides of bowl

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. raisins, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 c. dried cranberries, rinsed in hot water and dried
  • 1 Tbsp. caraway seeds, optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c. buttermilk

Steps –

  1. Make sure all ingredients and utensils are out and ready for easy access. (Wash those hands!)

  2. Fully submerge raisins and cranberries in a bowl of warm water. Leave them set for about 2 minutes to infuse.


  3. Drain water from the infused raisins and cranberries. Transfer to folded paper towels to remove any remaining water.
  4. Let your child locate, measure, add and mix all dry ingredients.

(We chose not to add caraway seeds)

  1. Add prepared raisins and cranberries to dry mixture. Mix raisins and cranberries until fully coated in dry mixture.

  1. Add eggs and buttermilk until thoroughly combined.


  2. Spread 2-3 Tbsp. flour on to a prepared surface. Remove dough mixture from mixing bowl and knead for about 3 minutes on prepared surface.


  1. This recipe states to roll dough to a ½ inch thickness. We wanted a higher biscuit, so we decided to roll out to a 2-inch thickness instead.

  1. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, show your child how to place the cutter each time in order to use most dough the first time around (you’ll need to repeat this step with the additional dough from the first set of cut outs).

  1. Transfer cutouts to your prepared baking sheet. Place biscuits in a 400° F. pre-heated oven. Bake biscuits for 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown.

  1. Using oven mitts or kitchen towel, help your child safely remove biscuits from the oven. Let cool for about 5 minutes. We recommend eating them warm with butter!

Yield: (10) 2-inch round biscuits.

 

This Secret Ingredient Will Make Your Life Easier

We’ve all used baking soda for years as an ingredient in recipes to make baked goods rise. But you might be amazed at all the ways a baking soda can simplify and brighten your life! Clabber Girl’s new Fresh Shaker Multi-Purpose Baking Soda, with its “Shake or Pour” top makes it even easier to use everyday baking soda to clean, deodorize and freshen!

  1. Clean Produce

If you simply don’t trust the produce you bring home from the store to be really clean enough to eat, a washing with baking soda can remove wax, chemicals and bacteria and put your mind at ease. Rinse your fruits and veggies, coat them with baking soda, give them a scrub, then rinse them again for the freshest produce you can serve!

  1. Remove Coffee Stains

Wherever those nasty coffee stains build up–on your counter, under the coffee maker or in your sink–you can quickly and easily remove them with baking soda. Sprinkle liberally on the surface, scrub with a sponge or paper towel and rinse. The job is done, and you can take the time you saved to enjoy a cup of your favorite Rex Coffee!

  1. Freshen the Litter Box

If you have cats, you know how hard it is to eliminate those litter box odors. No matter what you do, it seems there’s always a hint of kitty smell hanging around the house. The solution is already there in your kitchen cabinet. Baking soda absorbs odors naturally, so sprinkle some on top of the litter to neutralize those smells.

  1. Scour Pans

Love your baking pans, but hate that nasty brown coating that they’ve developed? Don’t waste your dough on new ones! Simply pour a liberal amount of baking soda onto the pan, add water to form a paste, scrub and rinse. Your pans will look brand new, and you can get back to baking!

  1. Deodorize

“Whew! What’s that smell?” If you’ve uttered those words when your teenager takes off his tennis shoes or your husband opens his gym bag, there’s an easy, safe and natural way to deodorize all things stinky. Just shake some baking soda inside the smelly bag or shoes and let its odor-absorbing power do the work!

  1. Freshen Laundry

This tip for fresher laundry is so easy, you’ll be surprised you hadn’t thought of it! Simply sprinkle baking soda into the washing machine full of dirty clothes and wash as usual. Baking soda as a laundry additive is a great money saver. It makes your whites whiter and your colors brighter, plus it softens the water, so you can use less detergent and less bleach!

  1. Deodorize the Refrigerator

Probably the best-known use for baking soda, besides baking, is as a deodorizer for the fridge. No matter how well you package food for storage, there will be smells in the refrigerator. Clabber Girl’s “Shake or Pour” canister is a convenient way to absorb fridge odors naturally.

  1. Make Toothpaste

For years folks in the know have been using the special properties of baking soda to remove stains on their teeth and fight the germs that cause periodontal disease. A paste made with two tablespoons of baking soda, a teaspoon of water, one-eighth teaspoon of salt and a couple of drops of mint extract can clean and brighten your teeth, and at considerably less cost than commercial toothpastes. Give it a try!

  1. Clean Sink and Faucets

Shake some Clabber Girl Baking Soda into your sink and on and around your faucets to get rid of dried-on gunk and water spots as a part of your regular kitchen clean-up. Wiping down counter tops and sinks, then rinsing well with water, is an easy and frugal way to remove all sorts of food stains and brighten your kitchen, too.

  1. Make Dog Toothpaste

If baking soda is a great way to freshen and brighten your teeth, it makes sense that it’s a great way to clean Fido’s teeth as well. To make a palatable paste for your pets, mix two tablespoons of baking soda, a teaspoon of beef bouillon, one-quarter teaspoon of water, a pinch of salt, and one of parsley. Use it regularly to brush your doggie’s teeth, and his breath will be fresher, too!

Give these tips a try and let us know how they work out for you. And we’d love to hear from you about the new Clabber Girl Fresh Shaker Multi-Purpose Baking Soda, with the “Shake or Pour” top, and about your favorite ways to use baking soda for cleaning, deodorizing and freshening your home, car, gym locker or wherever!

Lemon Meringue Pie-Tips for Perfectly Homemade Meringue

Lemon Meringue Pie is a classic pie! If you love the lemon flavor it is definitely a pie for you! The lemon filling is so refreshing and delicious and I love it with the the fluffy, sweet meringue.

Lemon Meringue Pie Hero 1

I learned how to make the lemon meringue pie from my mom, using a recipe that was her great grandma’s. She shared with me that she always remembers her great grandma having a lemon meringue pie baked every time they visited. It is one of her memories of her great grandma.

Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

Crust:
1 baked pie crust. Either a homemade pie crust or a premade crust. (Tip: use a fork and the bottom and sides of the crust in the dish to prevent the crust from bubbling while baking). Lightly beat 1 egg white and brush the crust during the last five minutes of baking to seal it for the lemon filling. Be sure to do this step to prevent crust from getting soggy from the filling.

Filling:
1 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Clabber Girl Corn Starch
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
4 large egg yolks
1 pinch of kosher salt

1 1/4 cups boiling water (that will be added in).

Meringue:
4 large egg white at room temperature
1 Tbsp Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Directions for the filling:
In a medium sauce pan, combine the corn starch, sugar and salt together and whisk to get rid of all the chunks. Then add the remaining filling ingredients except the boiling water and mix until it is combined thoroughly.
Add the boiling water and whisk the mixture together. Bring it to a boil and continue stirring. Reduce heat and cook and continue to stir for about a minute more. The filling mixture will turn a glossy yellow.

Immediately pour the filling mixture into the prepared pie crust. Allow the filling to cool completely then put in the refrigerator so it is nice and cool for the meringue.

Directions for the meringue:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the corn starch and water together in a pan on medium heat. Stir constantly until it thickens into a gel. This happens fast, about 2 minutes. Set the gel aside. In a mixing bowl, gently beat the egg whites and the cream of tarter to dissolve. Using a hand mixer, begin beating until foamy, then slowly sprinkle in the sugar while beating. Continue to beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Then add the gel that was set aside and continue to beat a little longer.
Immediately spread the meringue on the cooled pie and spread out using a spatula. Smooth it out or add peaks with the meringue. Place in the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown for your liking. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Slice of Lemon Meringue Pie

Tips for the meringue:

Making the meringue for the pie can be a bit tricky! Here are some tips to help make a great meringue.

Use fresh eggs for the meringue. Make sure they are at room temperature. Fresh eggs will give you more of a fluffy volume of meringue than older eggs. Room temperature eggs will beat faster than colder eggs right out of the refrigerator.

Heat plays a major part in making meringue. The humidity in the air will cause your meringue to loose volume and flatten faster.

Stainless steel or glass bowls work best for making meringues. Plastic bowls can carry traces of oils or grease that will effect the stiffness of your meringue.

Use a hand mixer to whip the egg whites rather than beating them by hand. It can take a while and for the meringue to form constant whipping is needed.

By cooling the lemon filling of the pie before adding the meringue will help the meringue to stay stiff and set during baking and afterwards.

When serving the lemon meringue pie, use a knife dipped in cold water to help prevent your meringue from breaking down at serving.

Lemon meringue pie only lasts generally a day, maybe 2 and then the meringue will start breaking down and weep. It is great to make as a pie that will be enjoyed in the day of baking.

Enjoy this classic lemon meringue pie recipe. The wonderfully delicious tart flavor with the creamy meringue is a family favorite.

Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese Process
A friend recently told me that in an article she read a statics showed that the top consumer of macaroni & cheese in the Unites States was a tie between toddlers ages 3-6 and college students. These two groups also tied in the most amount of time devoted to taking naps (fun fact!). Since I’ve been away at college, I can one hundred percent attest to these stats. The amount of naps I’ve taken and the countless pounds of noodles and cheese sauce I have consumed is too high to count! And I regret none of it.

Macaroni & cheese is a classic in my family. My mother and I have been playing around and trying new recipes for years. In recent years, she discovered a baked mac and cheese recipe that has an insane amount of cheese and cubes of butter melted into it. It is heavenly! Maybe I’ll do a blog post about it one day? But you might be saying “Nate, wait a minute. I don’t even know the first steps to making homemade mac & cheese!” Fear no longer my friend, because you are about to see that mac and cheese is super easy to make and way better than store bought.

Macaroni & cheese is essentially noodles and a Mornay sauce (which is essentially a fancy term for a basic white sauce with cheese). A Mornay sauce is this equation = roux + cream + cheese.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is completely adaptable! Experiment with different types of cheeses, seasonings, and even infused creams to add a deeper depth of flavor. Below I have included a list of some ideas you (and I) could try and experiment with.

Herb infused cream can add a beautiful depth of flavor to any savory or sweet dish. In a small sauce pan, heat up 1 cup of cream (either milk, heavy cream, or half and half) until it begins to steam.

Take the sauce pan off the heat and in 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of any fresh herb or spice (ie. Rosemary, mint, basil, sage, lavender, chamomile, etc.). Cover and let sit for 25 minutes. Strain out the herbs and store in an airtight container.

  • Herb infused butter: Mix together softened butter with any minced herb. Cover and use when needed!
  • Try different cheeses such as Havarti, mozzarella, feta, and maybe even goat cheese!
  • Season your mac and cheese
    • For heat: use red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, and/or cayenne pepper
    • Use fresh or dried herbs! My mother typically uses garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasons.
    • For a curry inspired dish: add a touch of turmeric for a beautiful orange/yellow color
  • Bake it in the oven!
    • Transfer to an oven safe casserole dish and top the mac and cheese with cheese, bread crumbs, bacon crumbles, fresh herbs, or even crunched up Cheetos or Fritos.
  • Chill it, bread it, and fry it! Great as an appetizer.
  • Have a “Build your own” mac and cheese party! Cook up a big pot of sauce with multiple types of pastas and toppings and let your guests build their own mac and cheese.

Macaroni & Cheese Beauty

Macaroni & Cheese Ingredients

12 oz. box elbow macaroni pasta
4 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Corn Starch
1 c. milk
1 c. heavy cream
1 c. Gouda cheese
1 c. cheddar cheese
½ c. Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions for Macaroni & Cheese

Fill a large Dutch oven halfway with lukewarm water. Add a pinch of salt and heat over medium heat until the water begins to boil. Once the water begins boiling, add the pasta and cook via the instructions on the book. Strain pasta through a colander and return to the Dutch oven.

Elbow Macaroni

In a medium sauce melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the corn starch. This mixture of corn starch and fat is called a roux. Allow the roux to cook for a few moments. Then slowly pour in the cream and whisk to combine.

Note. In order to have the sauce thicken up more quickly, heat the cream in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, just to warm it up. Having the cream roughly the same temperature as the roux will help it thicken up faster.

Whisk the cream occasionally until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Once the cream begins to thicken, lower the heat slightly and add the cheeses, whisking to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, add more cream. Stir continuously until the cheeses have melted into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add the cheese sauce to the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Serve immediately.

Combining Macaroni & Cheese

Optional step: If you want to bake the mac and cheese, make sure to under cook the pasta slightly. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the mac and cheese mixture to a greased baking dish. Top with bread crumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and a light sprinkle of cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling.

Cinco de Mayo Party: Margarita Bar

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and while everyone else may be thinking tacos and churros, I’m over here thinking about the salty, sour, and tart perfection of the Classic Margarita. As many of us gear up to celebrate, we often find ourselves focusing on the food and not the drinks. And it’s hard to fault that game plan, as the food is the star. This year however, I wanted to change things up and focus on the drinks for once. Because let’s face it, what’s a good party without a good cocktail? But then again, why settle for just one. While I love a classic lime margarita, I also love the versatility of it. There are so many variations on that drink it can make your head spin. But how to pull off multiple different flavors and combinations and still stay on theme?

Easy…enter the Margarita Bar.

Margarita Bar Cinco de Mayo

Behind every tasty and delicious margarita is good tequila and fresh ingredients. Like I said before, there are a TON of different flavor combinations that you can make, some of the ones that I came up with are featured in the pictures throughout this post. I went with 5, but you if you go with just 3 flavors you’re still headed in the directions of an amazing Cinco de Mayo party!

Here’s the low-down on how to make a margarita bar for Cinco de Mayo:

Simple Syrup:

This is where you’re getting the sweetness in the drink from, especially in drinks that are highly acidic (like a classical margarita), and the simple syrup helps balance the sweet and tart/sour flavors. To make simple syrup you just need equal parts water and granulated sugar. Place in a pot on medium heat and simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita
Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita

Fruits/Juices/Herbs:

Whatever flavor combinations you decide on, this part is key to making a tasty margarita. If you’re just using juices and herbs you’re all set to throw everything in your shaker, shake, strain into a glass over ice and enjoy. If you’re using fruit, like the Strawberry Jalapeno Margarita then you can muddle the strawberries, jalapeno and mint together or blend everything into a puree like I did. This will give you a slightly thicker margarita, but nevertheless delicious.

Tequila:

This to me, is what makes a margarita a margarita. I prefer to use silver tequila in my drinks, especially for a classic margarita or the Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita so I get the drink color I’m looking for.

Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita

Grand Marnier:

Is your drink still really tart from all the lime juice? Grand Marnier will help cut that too with some add sweetness. Triple sec or any other orange liquor will work, so go with your preference. Not all margaritas call for it, so it’s really up to you if you want to include it in your drink, but I’d really suggest making the trip to the liquor store if you don’t have it on hand as it can make a world of difference in the outcome of your cocktail.
Once all your ingredients are a go, it’s time to figure what you are going to serve. You can premix a large batch or have all the ingredients ready to guest can make their own drinks. Whichever direction you decide to go in, here’s a list of some of the essentials you’ll need on your Margarita Bar.

Pitches/Wine Carafes/Drink Dispensers:

Whether you’re going with large batches or single serve, you’re going to need a few of these for the beverage table. Premix large batches with all the liquid ingredients (the Lemon Basil Margarita is perfect for this) and serve in a large drink dispenser for guests to pour their own. If you want your bar a little more interactive, use full or half carafes to fill with different juice flavors for guest to choice from.

Lemon Basil Margarita
Lemon Basil Margarita

Drink Shakers:

Give everyone a change to be a bartender for a night! If you’re doing a serve yourself bar, litter your beverage bar with drink shakers for guest to use. Have one on hand just in case if you’re premixing, you never know if you might need it and it’s good to have on hand.

Ice Bucket & Scoops:

These are a must have. Even if you decide to go with drink dispensers, don’t risk pre-icing your drinks and watering that flavor down. Have ice available for guest to add to their cup before pouring themselves a drink. If you’re going for a self-serve make your own drink kind of bar than you can’t pull that off without a lot of ice. Not only do party goers need it for their drinks, but for the drink shakers as well. Be sure to have a bag of ice on hand just in case your ice dispenser can’t keep up too, you’ll thank me later.

Coconut Lime Margarita
Coconut Lime Margarita

Glasses:

You are going to need lots and lots of glasses! If you’re anything like me, than I doubt that you have a secret stash for tons of margarita glasses lying around. No worries though, I used all kinds of different glasses. I think it adds to the charm of a Margarita Bar, plus you don’t have to dish out any money to buy all new glasses just for the party. Pilsner and rocks glass, as well as some mason jars worked perfectly for me!

Little Plates/Shallow Rimmed Bowls:

You can not have a margarita without salt. Okay, you actually can. But you definitely can’t ditch the salt when hosting a Margarita Bar so little plates or shallow rimmed bowls are perfect for this. You can use ones that go with your theme colors or just stick with white like I did. Be sure to have one out for each margarita flavor you are going with or just a couple if you’re sticking with just one salt for all the flavors (kosher salt worked for me, but you can buy margarita salt too). The salt that you’re rimming your glass with is just another area where you get to impart different flavorings and put a spin on your margaritas to kick them up a notch (like the cayenne salt for the Mango Orange Margarita), so get creative if you want.

Mango Orange Margarita
Mango Orange Margarita

Bowls:

You’re going to want bowls of various sizes. This is perfect for garnishes if your serving out of drink dispensers and a must have to serve lime wedges needed to rim your glass with before dipping into the salt. If you’re going with a make your own bar, then little bowls are just right for all the herbs and various fruits you might be using.

Festive straws that match your theme are a great thing to have on the bar, as well as plenty of cocktail napkins. Little chalkboard signs are a great way to label the different drinks if your serving out of drink dispensers. If you can nab some larger chalkboard signs, write out the recipe for the single serving drinks that are available so party goers can make their own.

Once you have all the essentials gathered, it’s only a matter of displaying the bar in a way that is uniquely you. Keep it casual in the kitchen or set up a whole beverage bar station that is sure to be a talking point. Whatever you do, when throwing a Margarita Bar, have fun…and enjoy!

Scallion Pancakes: An Asian take on the classic American Pancake

I absolutely love Asian Cuisines! I love the flavors. I love the spice. I love the cooking methods. I love the traditions surrounding the meals and cooking styles. If you asked me what my favorite thing to cook is, as chefs are often asked, I would probably say anything Asian. Asian food is certainly one of my favorites to eat!

Several years ago, while on a mini vacation, my husband and I found a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant. We just had to try! And, it was fabulous! They had everything from fried duck feet to traditional spring rolls. We ordered several items we had never had before. A squid salad, fried shrimp balls, an egg dish, etc. It was all amazing. However, the favorite, by far, for both of us were the scallion pancakes. They were light and flaky. They were crisp and exploding with flavor. I have been on a mission ever since to re-create these at home.

scallion pancakes

I have researched recipes, researched how they are made, and experimented at home. First of all, let me say that there are thousands of scallion pancake recipes out there. And, I have tried many. There are a few things that all of the good recipes have in common: Hot water and the rolling method. That being said, here is a basic overview about scallion pancakes:
Scallion pancakes are a traditional savory Chinese pancake. They are unique (as a lot of Asian foods are) in that they are made with a rolled dough rather than with a batter, as we are typically used to. They are also unique in that they are made with a hot water dough. Most doughs used in any type of American and European cuisines are cold water doughs. Cold water dough allows for an airy, hole-filled, flaky dough. Which is fantastic for pizza. But, with the typical dough applications for Asian cuisine, such as egg roll wrappers and wontons, you do not want airy and hole-filled. This is where the hot water comes in. Hot water relaxes the gluten in the dough which makes for a less “stretchy” dough that has a chewier texture. Part of the flakiness in the scallion pancakes comes from the rolling method, which is similar to the process of making a laminated dough (such as croissants). With the hot water dough and the rolling method, the result is a tender and flaky “flatbread”, speckled with scallions and flavored with a mild tinge of sesame oil. Delicious!

 

The recipe I eventually developed and settled upon includes one ingredient that is not necessarily typical of a scallion pancake recipe: Clabber Girl Baking Powder. I found that the addition of the baking powder adds just a bit more flakiness to the dough. Typically, baking powder reacts a little bit with liquid and the rest of the reaction happens with heat (when you bake or cook the item). The scallion pancake recipe calls for hot water. Therefore, the reaction happens entirely during the dough production, prior to baking or cooking. This creates a dough that doesn’t rise in the traditional sense but, it does add a bit more flakiness to the dough itself and is evident upon cooking.
The majority of the flakiness, however, comes from the rolling method. The dough is rolled flat and sprinkled with the green onions.

scallion pancake 7

It is then rolled up, such as with a jelly roll.

scallion pancake8

After that, sections of the dough are rolled in a coil and then rolled flat again.

 

scallion pancakes 2

This creates multiple layers throughout each pancake, as well as disperses the scallions throughout the dough.

scallion pancakes 3

I have kept my recipe fairly traditional, with just scallions, chili flake, and sesame oil. However, please feel free to use this as a base recipe and make your own additions or omissions. For example, if you love garlic, add garlic! Add ginger or play with different types of oils. Have fun with it! I also provided a recipe for a dipping sauce that I like to serve with it. Again, play with the flavors to suit your likes. When testing my final recipe, I tossed the dipping sauce with noodles and made a whole meal out of it. It’s an easy way to compliment the pancakes without putting in much more work. Happy cooking and, I hope you enjoy!

 

Scallion pancake pinterest

Scallion Pancakes

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 2/3 cups boiling water
1 cup green onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
Red chili flake, to taste (optional)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a medium sized mixing bowl. Slowly pour the boiling water into the flour mixture in a stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Stir until a dough begins to form. If the dough is too dry, add more water, a tablespoon at a time until all of the flour is absorbed into the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured flat surface. Knead the dough until smooth, about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a greased bowl, cover; and let sit at room temperature for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cut in half. Using a rolling pin, roll 1 half of the dough into a large rectangle (about 1/8” thick).
Brush the rolled dough with 1 Tbsp. of the sesame oil. Sprinkle with ½ cup of the thinly sliced green onion. If you like, sprinkle with red chili flake to taste.

Beginning with one long side of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough up. Cut the roll into 4 pieces. Lightly stretch each piece lengthwise, being careful not to rip dough. Beginning with one piece of dough, wrap it into a coil and tuck the end underneath. With your hand, gently flatten the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the coil into a 4” circle. Repeat this process with the remaining dough pieces and with the remaining dough half.  You can layer the pancakes on a sheet tray with parchment paper in between as you complete them.

Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan and oil are hot, add one pancake to the skillet.

 

Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping only once (about 5-7 minutes). Repeat with remaining pancakes. If desired, keep the finished pancakes warm during production by laying them on a sheet tray in a warm oven.scallion pancakes 5

To serve, cut pancakes into wedges. Serve with dipping sauce on the side.

Yields 8 pancakes (4”)

Scallion Pancake Dipping Sauce

¼ cup Ponzu Sauce
1 Tbsp. Thai Chili Sauce
1/8 cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced
2 tsp. sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook, while stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat and let cool.

An American Tradition: Boston Brown Bread

Though not as well known today, Boston Brown Bread has a pretty interesting history story. Better known in the New England areas, brown bread started making in appearance in the early 1800s. Early settlers where trying to grow wheat, which was their preferred grain for baking. They soon realized that wheat did not grow well in the New England soil and this drove up the prices. Corn on the other hand was a crop that flourished on the east coast, making the price of cornmeal much cheaper and readily available. Another cheap alternative to flour was rye flour.

Mixing Rex Coffee, Buttermilk and Blackstrap Molasses
These two grains made up the main dry ingredients for the bread, occasionally whole wheat flour was added and eventually became a mainstay on the ingredient list. Molasses is added and gives the bread its signature rich color and sweet flavor. Because we are using baking powder and soda as our leavening agents as opposed to yeast, we are able to complete cut out having to factor in a rise time and can go straight from mix to dish to cook.

Making Boston Brown Bread in a Rex Coffee Tin
Another key element that sets it apart from most traditional breads, is the cooking method. Brown bread is typically steamed in a can of some sort until finished cooking. At the time, this was in large part due to the fact that this was a bread for the common people. Using the cheaper grains made this an affordable bread to make at a time when wheat was at an expensive price and not easily affordable to all. Steaming the bread in a can over a fire or stove top made it assessable to most, especially those that didn’t have a wood-burning oven.

Seal Boston Brown Bread Tightly
Somewhere along the way brown bread started being steamed in coffee cans. I’m not sure if this was because at the time canned foods where not as readily available as it is today, and this was just a common things to have on hand. But after doing loads of research on brown bread and reading multiple variations of recipes, almost everything listed a coffee can as the vestal to steam your bread in. So this took my brown bread adventure on an interesting twist.

Secure Boston Brown Bread with Twine
I am fortunate enough working here at Clabber Girl, to work someplace that has its very own coffee roasting company. In fact, all our Rex Coffee is roasted in house just 10 steps away from the kitchen I work in on a regular basis. So I started thinking about ways I could tie in our coffee with a bread that is known for being cooked in coffee cans throughout history.

Cook Boston Brown Bread in Large Dutch Oven
I gathered up old cans we had on hand and started wondering about different ways I could try and incorporate coffee into this historic bread besides just using our old tins. The obvious answer to me was to just try and add coffee to the batter…but would it work? After multiple tests working on the recipe, the ratios, and finally the final taste test…I can honestly say that it did!

Boston Brown Bread Final

Boston Brown Bread

Ingredients:
5 oz. whole wheat flour
5 oz. rye flour
5 oz. cornmeal
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1 tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
2 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz. Blackstrap molasses
8 oz. butter milk
8 oz. Rex French Roast Coffee, room temperature

8-10 cups water
Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Bring 8-10 cups of water to a boil over medium high heat. While the water is coming to a boil, add all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl, add the molasses and Rex Coffee and whisk together.

Create a small well in the middle of your dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk and molasses-coffee mixture and whisk to completely combine the batter.

Spray the insides of two quart-sized cans with cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the two cans. Using aluminum foil, cover the tops of the cans, folding the excess over the outsides of the cans. Use butchers twine to tie around the edges of the can to secure the aluminum foil to the sides. Place cans in Dutch oven or an oven safe pot.

Carefully pour in the boiling water, taking care not to pour the water over the tops of the covered cans, until the water reaches halfway up the side of the can. Bake in a 325 degrees F. oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Remove pot from oven, and using oven mitts carefully removed cans from pot and set on a cookie rack. Let cool 15-20 minutes and then gently slide bread out of can to cool completely. Once cool, slice bread and toast and serve with butter or cream cheese.

Boston Brown Bread