Day 26: Baking – A Lost Art?

List of U.S. state foods

Image via Wikipedia

Today is National Pancake Day and Johnny Appleseed’s birthday!

This one’s easy – celebrate with apple pancakes! Here’s a recipe to start you off, courtesy of the Food Network:

APPLE PANCAKES
*  4 medium apples
* 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 6 tablespoons sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon melted butter
* 2 tablespoons icing sugar, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Quarter apples; core, peel, and slice lengthwise. Melt butter or margarine in a frying pan. Add apple slices. Cook over medium heat for five minutes. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle over apples. Cover and continue cooking over low heat for ten minutes turning once or twice. Set aside. Combine beaten eggs, milk, and salt. Beat well. Add flour and beat until batter is smooth. Pour into a buttered 10-inch round oven-proof frying pan or deep pie plate. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes, pricking batter with fork when it puffs in center. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake ten minutes longer, pricking if necessary. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of the icing sugar. Remove apples with slotted spoon. Place on half of a pancake. Fold over. Sprinkle with remaining icing sugar. Cut in wedges and serve immediately.

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I guess I’ve forgotten my history lessons, but I honestly didn’t remember that Johnny Appleseed was a real person. He was born 9/26/1774 in Leominster MA.
John Chapman was an itinerant agriculturalist and missionary who became known as “Johnny Appleseed,” a folk hero of the 19th century American frontier. He showed up in the Ohio River Valley sometime around 1800 and spent the next half-century planting and tending apple orchards as far west as Indiana, usually ahead of the oncoming settlers.

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Seems the theme is set for this post. BAKING!

When the days get cooler, flour, sugar, and eggs are almost written into our gene sequence. Time to dig out the recipes for apple pie, bread pudding, oatmeal raisin cookies, brownies, gingerbread. All the stuff you don’t want to cook or eat in the summer!

Can you feature anything that excites your taste buds more than bread baking in the oven? Nothing better than a slice of fresh, hot, fragrant bread with decadent real butter on a gray Autumn day. Yummmmmm! Homemade bread also (IMO) makes the absolutely best toast! Granted, making your own bread is rather labor-intensive, but the final product can’t be beat. Don’t you feel a huge sense of pride and accomplishment when that perfectly browned loaf comes out of the oven? YOU made it! The same with a gorgeous pie – any flavor. It’s so pretty, you just want to look at it. Take a picture quick, because all you’ll soon have left are crumbs! 🙂

I’m sure there are still a few moms out there who bake cookies for their kids’ after-school snack. My mom did, and it is one of my fondest memories. Home after a hard day in elementary school, walking in the front door to the aroma of sugar cookies. Wow. Even though she may not have actively thought about it, my mom was “baking” memories.

For the sake of convenience we now have – cut and bake chocolate chip cookies. Boxed lemon bar mix. Pre-made pie crusts. I wonder if anybody even owns a rolling pin anymore . . .  I hope baking doesn’t become a lost art.

Do yourself a favor. The next rainy day, BAKE something from scratch. Anything. The chocolate chip cookie recipe on the Tollhouse Chocolate Chip bag. The oatmeal cookie recipe on the Quaker Oats box. You will be pleasantly surprised at how your spirits lift with each measurement, each spoonful of dough. And when you sample the finished product hot out of the oven with a cold glass of milk or a cup of cocoa, delight in the fact that you took a break from the mundane to create a delectable treat in your very own kitchen.

Celebrate the comforts of home! C

This entry was posted in September 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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