Thursday, May 3, 2007

We Don't Normally Eat This Much Sugar

(Just had to clarify that because, you know, I try to keep our family eating mostly fresh, healthy, good-for-you stuff.)

What happens when your son turns four, your husband is away the three days before the party and you’re coming off the warmest, most glorious April since 1659? Well, I for one have gotten incredibly behind in everything except making birthday treats and gardening.

My inbox is overflowing, my desk is covered in cascading piles and I’ve started several “to do” lists (they’re here somewhere…) Not to mention that the entire house, cozy as it is, needs a serious spring cleaning. With such lovely weather, though, the kids and I have spent a lot of time outside, enjoying our little back garden and each other. In between times outdoors, it has been all about birthday festivities around here.

(Yes, Sunday's party was fantastic! A good mix of people, friends from church and friends from school -- American (us), English and Sri Lankan. All together, we were seven children, ages 1 to 9, and 11 adults, ages 30-ish to 60-ish. The weather was gorgeous, so we could open the patio doors and spread out a bit. Everyone seemed to have a great time, especially Jack -- and Sophie, who was happily passed from lap to lap. After 10 months here, we're finally feeling a bit more broadly established in our relationships. It feels GOOD.)

I’ve been composing a more serious post in my head, but it will have to wait until I’m caught up a bit. For now, though, I wanted to pass on these fab recipes… Jack’s birthday breakfast (pancakes!) on the day of his party, the chocolatiest chocolate birthday cake ever and the chocolate chip cookies we made together on the morning of his actual birthday (which he shared with his classmates that afternoon). Mmm-mmm-mmm!

The reason I’m posting these recipes is that each one was given to me by someone wonderful, and each recipe is totally a-maz-ing. People always rave about this cake and these cookies (I guess the pancakes only make it as far as family). This is not about me, honestly, it’s the recipes that are so good. See? I was telling you that everywhere I’ve lived I’ve gathered great recipes. So until I have the time and energy (yeah, right) to produce a proper cookbook (in which I would feel compelled to tell you how much I adore each of these women, when/where/how I came to know them and how they've impacted my life), I happily pass these on to you:


1-1/2 cups flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbs. cooking oil
1-1/2 cups milk

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.

Beat egg slightly in a small bowl. Mix in oil and milk. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and stir. A few small lumps in the batter are preferable, and using a whisk gets air pockets in the batter, making for fluffier pancakes. Add more or less milk for thicker or thinner pancakes.

Drop batter by 1/4 cup-full onto lightly greased, hot skillet. When bubbles appear and edges begin to dry, turn to brown the other side. (This works most easily in a non-stick pan. If you like the edges crispy, like my guys do, add more oil.)

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup or preserves.

Makes about 10 pancakes.


2-1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp. salt
1-2/3 cups sugar
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup margarine
1-1/4 cups water
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Place all ingredients in a bowl. Mix on low speed for half a minute, then on high speed for 3 minutes.
Pour into greased and floured 9x13-in. pan and bake about 40 minutes on 350F/180C.

Chocolate Icing:
3-4 Tbs. melted chocolate
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/4 margarine
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt the chocolate. Add this to the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth.


1-1/3 cups butter/margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chocolate chips (I just chop up a large milk chocolate bar and a large semi-sweet chocolate bar, but you can use chocolate chips if you live in America)

Mix butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.
Sift together flour, soda and salt.
Stir liquid into dry mixture. Add chocolate chips.
Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350F/180C for 10-12 minutes.

Makes about 40-60 cookies, depending on size.

No comments: