Neighbor Trish and I were dragging our bodies up the mile three hell–er–hill of our weekly 5 mile walk when Trish found it in her soul to mention that her mother once owned a bakery. How this piece of information had remained hidden throughout our friendly exersizic jaunts, I know not. But there, trudging up an asphalt Everest she began to describe her mom’s specialty…little butter cookies with cinnamon icing. Say what?! I told her days later (after we’d regained the use of our legs and ventured out for another walk & talk) of the imaginings I’d had over those cookies. I’d dreamed about them. I wanted to make a batch of them. What if, I suggested, I created a melty shorbread cookie and topped it with a mixture of confectioners sugar, a dot of molasses, a sprinkling of cinnamon.
“Oh, No!” Trish cut in, “You don’t use the actual spice. You use cinnamon extract.”*I’d never heard of such a thing as cinnamon extract, but promptly scooted my booty to the nearest grocery mart, located a box of it for purchase and nestled it lovingly home.*In my life, I’ve been lucky enough to experience a few moments that have changed me forever:-Answering the knock at the front door of my college apartment and coming eye-to-eye my ravishing future-husband for the first time.-Watching my fat six-month-old bobble himself into a sit on the floor, then being overcome with a desire to both cheer for his accomplishment and chomp on his delicious little thighs in the self-same moment.-Relishing a one-week stay at the Kindred Spirits Country Inn on Prince Edward Island. -Discovering cinnamon extract.*I know. I’ve very obviously understated the enormity of this discovery.Let me try again…*Where the cinnamon spice itself is marvelously tasty and useful, cinnamon extract is like infusing the essence of cinnamon into the very soul of your baking. The soul. See how magnificently life-changing that could be?*Since bringing it home, I’ve found so many uses for the stuff, fell so head over heels for it, that I plan to devote a whole upcoming post to the wonders one can bake with cinnamon extract.In the meantime, I share yesterday’s spontaneous Sunday breakfast menu which warmed our hearts and cockles against a most dreary weekend of weather.*Cinnamon SteamersDrizzly days notoriously invite a warm book and a hot read.Spice up your regular rainy-day routine with this simple, succulent beverage.4 cups milk1/2 c sugar1/2 tsp. cinnamon extractDash of cinnamonIn a medium saucepan, mix all ingredients and heat just until steaming. Do not allow to boil. Serve in mugs topped with whipped cream or a sprinkling of cinnamon.*Puffed Pancake Cups with Sparkling Apple SyrupAllright, did you notice in the photos? Our pancakes didn’t puff very well this morning but that’s because I didn’t use white flour (Sometimes I do actually conjure healthy food with whole wheat, believe it or not) and I didn’t wait for the oven to heat up our ceramic cups enough. If you are certain to accomplish those two important tasks, I promise you pancakes that puff like little steam clouds from their mugs, creating a cozy cradle for the incoming splendor that is Apple Syrup. Either way, these pancakes are the only way to greet a rainy day. Or an autumn day. Or a summer day, for that matter. They are just so nice.6 Tbsp. butter4 eggs1 cups all purpose-flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 cups milk
Place 6 small ramekins or ceramic mugs on a cookie sheet. Plop 1 Tbsp. of butter in each cup, then put in an oven preheated to 425 degrees until butter is sizzling. While cups are heating up, beat eggs in a medium bowl until light yellow. Add remaning ingredients. Whip until well mixed. Quickly spoon batter into hot ramekins. Return to oven and bake (no opening the oven to peek!) for 15-18 minutes, or until pancakes have puffed and browned at edges. Remove from oven and drench with hot Sparkling Apple Syrup. Serve immediately. *Sparkling Apple SyrupNamed such because it truly sparkles in the pan. And on the pancakes. And, probably in your belly. And very, very likely upon your smiling choppers, too. That’s what we call true bling, baby. Yowza.1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced1 Pink Lady apple, cored and diced1 Golden Delicious apple, cored and diced3 Tbsp. butter1 tsp. cinnamon extract1/2 tsp. vanilla extract1 cup maple pancake syrupMelt butter in a large saucepan, over medium high heat. Add diced apples and allow to saute in hot butter just until one side is slightly browned. Stir with a spatula until softened. Add extracts and syrup. Remove from heat and spoon warm syrup over hot puffed pancakes.*It’s raining, It’s pouringIt’s breakfast we’re adoring.*Has autumn taken hold of your weather, too?