But Sugar is Sweeter

Breakfast

Apple Cider Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

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So, you know my previous obsession with California?  Well, because we’ve had the most amazing weather for the last month,  I’m starting to realize that Ohio is pretty awesome!   The leaves are starting to change, there is fog over the valleys when I drive to work, and the sun has that autumn  glow.   It’s wonderful!  Although you will surely need to remind me of this come February, when I cannot wait for winter to be over! To keep my California dream alive, my best friend from like the fourth grade just landed a coveted fellowship spot at UCLA, so  I’m quite sure my love will be rekindled when I go to visit.  But for now, I’m loving Ohio.

Now about these muffins.  Obviously, they totally go with October, but they would be equally perfect for Thanksgiving breakfast. They are actually pretty healthy – chunks of apple and apple sauce keep them very moist without much fat.  Then of course you add this browned butter glaze, which sort of ruins the healthy aspect, but  you absolutely cannot leave it off.  It is amazing. Together, these were best apple muffins I’ve ever had.

A few technical points….  First, you precook the apple with a bit of sugar and spice.  This step gives the apples a pie-like texture, instead of the dehydrated apple you find in some baked goods.  Additionally, I found out the hard way that there are so many liquid components to these, that they will seep if allowed to sit in an air tight container.  I’m quite sure this didn’t make the best presentation when John brought them into class, but apparently they were still well loved. To avoid this, go a little lighter on the amount of apple in the batter, and store with a rack underneath. These muffins are just hearty enough that you can call them breakfast without too much guilt.IMG_5512

Apple Cider Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 -2 ½ honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider

For the Glaze: 

  • 4 tablespoons browned butter, melted and cooled*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Begin by melting the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally until the butter turns a deep golden brown.  Be careful not to burn. *Repeat this step for the browned butter in the glaze.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and add diced apples with 3 tablespoons apple cider, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft and caramely, about 8-10 minutes. In a bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside. Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar together until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in vanilla extract, butter, apple sauce and apple cider, whisking again until smooth. Gradually add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in diced apples. Do not overmix. Fill each muffin liner 3/4 full to scantly full.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until tops slightly golden. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Brown Butter Apple Cider Glaze
In a medium bowl,  combine browned butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. Whisk until the mixture comes together then add in 1 tablespoon of apple cider, continuing to mix.  If it still doesn’t appear glaze-like, add in cider 1/2 tablespoon at a time and mix again. Don’t worry if it becomes too liquidy – just add a tiny bit of powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. Spoon glaze on warm muffins or dip each top in the glaze, then serve.

Slightly Adapted from How Sweet It Is


Pumpkin Doughnuts

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Let me just profess how incredibly happy I am that it is October!  Not only for the amazing weather, the change of leaves, and a special someone’s birthday, but also because my work schedule is much more manageable, and  I actually have a few minutes to breathe.  Of course at the top of my weekend to do list was celebrating the season by making baked goods!  My friend Val also happens to be very found of October, seasonal festiveness and baking,  so I knew pumpkin spice doughnuts would be right up her alley.  I actually felt like a normal person, chit chatting on a Saturday afternoon, experimenting in the kitchen, and enjoying fall.  It was so much fun!

Truth be told, I had bought a doughnut cutter specifically for these doughnuts more than a year ago, and had yet to use it.  Fall passed me by, and making pumpkin doughnuts in December just seemed wrong.  We found that the doughnuts “holes” made with the cutter were much larger than expected, so we ended up cutting them into fourths and making more snack size bites.

Now, I know people “bake” doughnuts, and that is much healthier, but let’s be honest, by definition doughnuts are fried.   I’m not about to go redefining the very essentials of a doughnut by baking them, so yes, I fried these.  Healthy? No.  Guilty pleasure? Yes.  I have only fried things one other time in my life, and it was pretty much the worst disaster I’ve had yet in the kitchen.  (Picture an apartment so smoke filled you couldn’t reenter it for hours….).  Happy to say this time went much more smoothly.  The only difficult part is getting the oil to stay at the right temperature. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat to high – stick with medium – and use a heavy duty pan, like cast iron, that will keep consistent heat.  Overall, these were considerably easier than I was expecting, but just as fun and festive as I was hoping.

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Pumpkin Doughnuts

Makes 14-16 doughnuts and doughnut holes

Ingredients:
For the doughnuts:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin
  • Canola or Peanut Oil (for deep-frying)

For the cinnamon-sugar:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the spiced glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • Dash of ground ginger
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Directions:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter until well blended. Add egg, then yolks and vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture and stir.  Alternating buttermilk and flour mixture, continue to mix until all ingredients added and well blended.  Cover the mixture and freeze for 1 hour, or refrigerate for 3.

Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and lightly flour your work surface. Gently roll dough to about 1 – 1.5 cm thickness. Using a floured  doughnut cutter or 3-inch round cutter, cut out dough rounds. If needed, use a floured 1-inch cutter to remove the centers (or the bottom of a 1 m piping tip). Arrange the doughnuts and holes on the prepared baking sheets, and if possible chill until ready to fry.  Gather dough scraps and continue cutting until all the dough is used.

Line a cooling rack with several paper towels. Add enough oil to a skillet or Dutch oven to reach a depth of 1 – 1½  inches. Heat oil until the temperature reaches 365º to 370º. Fry doughnuts a few at a time, adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Fry doughnut holes in a couple batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Use a strainer to transfer doughnuts to paper towels.

To make the cinnamon-sugar, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar in a small, shallow bowl until combined. When doughnuts are cool enough to touch, dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat completely.

Make the spiced glaze by combining powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed. Add more milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Dip the remaining doughnuts in the glaze and allow to set before serving.

Source: Cook like a Champion 


Cinnamon Chip Scones

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The end of last week marked the end of my 14th week of AHECs (also known as rural health rotations).  We are required to do 8 weeks in a rural health setting as part of our medical school curriculum, but I have had such good experiences in these small towns that I chose to do another 6!  This last one was definitely no exception.  I got to work one-on-one with probably the second nicest radiologist I’ve ever met (father-in-law will always be first!),  who taught me something new everyday, and really helped me to feel prepared for residency by letting me go through films on my own when we had free time.   The staff was all so welcoming and made me feel like part of the team,  and the patients are just so sweet and so in need of good healthcare in these rural areas.

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I had seen this recipe for cinnamon scones almost a year ago and hunted down some cinnamon chips shortly after; but then never actually made these.  Then randomly, I saw 2 of my favorite bloggers post scone recipes within days of each other, and I took it as a sign.  Scones were clearly the answer of what to bring for my last day of my last rural health rotation!  I ended up going with the original  recipe I found,  because I already had a lot of the ingredients on hand, and I liked that I didn’t have to buy a lot of heavy whipping cream or buttermilk.   You can certainly use the method I used in the lemon blueberry scones, and freeze these unbaked, and then bake from a frozen state whenever a morning treat is calling.  I am confident they would turn out wonderfully, as cold butter is one of the key ingredients to good scones.   I’m certainly glad I had some wonderful staff members to share these with because free time + baked goods is not a good combination around here :-).

Cinnamon Chip Scones

– Makes 16-24 scones

  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Cinnamon Chips
  • Topping
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Heavy Cream

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  (Unless you chose to freeze and bake later*)

2) In a large bowl, mix together flour, granulated and brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and baking powder. Cut butter into pieces, then cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or 2 knifes until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cinnamon chips.

3) Mix together cream, egg, and vanilla extract. Pour into flour/butter mixture, stirring gently with a fork to combine.

4) Turn onto work surface (mixture will be very crumbly and falling apart.) Divide the dough into 2-3 equal portions.  Gently press together  the sides as you roll the top of each.  Form either into either 2 large circles  (to make 16 scones) or 3 medium circles (to make 24 smaller scones).

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5) Mix together topping ingredients, stirring with a fork. Sprinkle over the top of the dough, lightly pressing.

6) Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Serve with coffee.

*If freezing, flash freeze for 20 minutes, then wrap individually and store in freezer.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375º and bake for 25-30 minutes or until just beginning to brown.

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman 


Baked French Toast

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After 5 straights days of early wake-ups to cold, dreary rain, sleeping in on a Saturday and enjoying breakfast sounded like a much better idea then running.   Back in Toledo, when the weather gets bad I tend to hit up the treadmill at our apartment complex, but on my last away rotation,  it just seemed like a waste to brace the weather to drive to the gym, just so I can run in place.  I’ve actually been pleasantly surprised that my runs in the cold rain have been pretty enjoyable, it’s just much harder to take that first step out the door on a Saturday morning.  In fact, I’ve now made it my goal to run outside all winter this year.     So in comes this amazing french toast, that can be made the night before and ready within 30 minutes of waking up on a sleepy Saturday.

This is really the perfect meal for company because to make a double batch would be no extra trouble.  It certainly beats sitting over the stove and flipping pancake after pancake while the finished ones sit in the oven getting soggy.  Besides, I have always preferred French toast to pancakes, which likely stems from my childhood (okay..and high school..and college) obsession with all things French.  This dish is really wonderful enough to eat on its own, with out added syrup or butter, which is something I would rarely say about pancakes.  We served it with some turkey sausage, and it made for such a cozy warm Saturday morning.  And thanks to some help from lululemon (my unfortunate new obsession), I still had a good run in the rain later that day.
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Baked French Toast 

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 loaf (about 1  pound) brioche or challah, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk (at least 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sprinkling of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Maple syrup, confectioners’ sugar or fresh fruit for serving, optional

Directions:
Combine the butter and brown sugar in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange the bread slices in the dish. (It’s fine if they overlap.) In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and allow it to soak in. Top with pecans and nutmeg and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 and up to 12 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350º. Set the dish out while the oven is preheating. Bake until browned and set, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.

Adapted from: Cook Like a Champion, Originally from Bon Appetit, Y’all


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filled Muffins

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I cannot believe it is already fall.  Seriously…Where did summer go?    It was especially shocking this year because I was in South Carolina, and when I came back – BAM – cold, rainy weather.  I have never been one of those people who looks forward to fall.   Being someone who loves to be outside,  I just find it much more enjoyable when the weather is warm.  Sure it’s sometimes nice to curl up with a blanket on a cold night, but there are more than enough months for that here in Ohio.  The one redeeming factor of fall is the promise of fall foods  (well that and having an excuse to buy new boots).   Actually these pumpkin muffins alone might actually be reason enough to look forward to the season.

I made these several times last year but they always went  so fast I never had a chance to snap a picture.  When I needed something to take into clinic for a “luncheon” we had planned, I was thrilled  to make these again;  both because I love them and because  I knew I’d finally be able to share them with you all.  Someone described them as a pumpkin roll in muffin form, and I’d have to say this is spot on, but these muffins might even be better because they have a streusel topping.   Since I tend to be a late night baker, on more then one occasion I have started mixing only to remember that the cream cheese needs to freeze for a full 2 hours before you can bake with it.  I tried it once without letting the cream cheese harden, and as soon at the cream cheese gets hot, it bubbles up right through the top of the muffin and spills onto the pan.   Wasting cream cheese filling is pretty much an immortal sin, so plan ahead and mix up some cream cheese to put in the freezer right now.  Then bring these muffins anywhere and you will become popular (but unfortunately  they will not help you remember the bones in the hand.)

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Makes 20-24 muffins

Ingredients 

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

For the muffins:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats


Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

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I can hardly believe it but Friday marks the end of my third year of medical school!  I can remember at the beginning of this year wondering how I was ever going to make it- “working” at the hospital everyday on top of studying for standardized exams every five weeks, and trying to live a somewhat normal life on top of it.  Then before I even had time to get really stressed out about it – it’s over!  Not complaining one bit :-).   I am finishing up the year with pediatrics, which quite to my surprise turned out to be one of my favorite rotations of the year.  I have never been one of those people who thinks, “Awwwwwwwwww, little kids are sooooooooo cute.”  In fact, I kind of grouped those people into the “lovers of unicorn and all things rainbow” that I just didn’t fit in with.   However, in retrospect I realize that I had never really spent enough time with the  little ones in order to make such a judgement.   Little kids are pretty amazing little people, and they definitely do say the darndest things.  And also, children’s hospitals = 1000x cooler than adult hospitals.

So in order to commemorate the end of another very good rotation, I decided to make coffee cake for the office to enjoy.    I wanted something summery yet decadent and something that would work equally well for both breakfast and dessert.  I think this cake hit the nail on the head.   The lemon in the batter gives it a fresh appeal, and the streusel topping makes it a crumbly delight.  I really thought this cake was over the top good – and based on the number of people at the office that asked for the recipe, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.        The only thing I might change for the future is to make individual serving sizes.  I think it would work well in a muffin tin – just make sure you equally distribute the amazing streusel, otherwise you might cause some fights (at least when there are little kiddos involved).
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Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Makes a 9-inch round cake

For the Streusel:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Cake:

  •  6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (3/4 stick)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round baking pan.

For the Streusel: Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Stir in melted butter, then flour and mix well.

For the Cake:  In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar on high speed for 4-5 minutes, until light.  Reduce speed to low to add the eggs, then add the vanilla, lemon zest, and sour cream.   In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Fold in the blueberries and stir with a spatula to evenly mix in berries.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread with a knife to level the top. With your fingers, crumble all the topping evenly over the batter.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and serve. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Barely Adapated from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) 


Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

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While I don’t really consider myself a breakfast person, getting up before 5 AM has a way of turning anyone into a breakfast person.  I’ve found that after 10 weeks of surgery, my ability to sleep in past 10 am on the weekends has seriously diminished.  When you’re used to waking up at 4:45, suddenly 8 am becomes a reasonable sleep in and when you find yourself with a whole morning to fill with weekend fun,  it doesn’t get much better than a morning run followed by breakfast.

One of my biggest qualms with normal brunch food is that I feel like it sets me up for a day of feeling stuffed, tired and overall unhealthy.  Breakfast is the one meal of the day where I always try to have some protein, fiber and fruit – and pancakes with syrup doesn’t really fit the bill.  But these pancakes. These pancakes are an entirely different story.  Multigrain = fiber.  Blueberries = fruit .  Yogurt = protein (and calcium!).  And to make it even better, I think my favorite part about these pancakes is that they are divine with a dollop of yogurt and a slight drizzle of honey  – no butter or syrup needed.   I had actually gotten the butter dish out, just in case, and had to laugh out loud when John goes “Why did you even get the butter out for these pancakes?”  If you understand John’s obsession with butter, you will understand how shocking this statement was.

These are also quite simple to make, and I’ve made them several weekends in a row.  I tried them with some chopped frozen rasberries, and the combination of raspberries + lemon is also really out of this world.  If you are looking for something fun, easy and festive to make for Mother’s Day, look no further.  I’m pretty sure all Mom’s will appreciate something that is both delicious and healthy for breakfast.

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Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes

Makes about 6-8 large pancakes (Feeds 3-4)

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt, (fat free, low fat or greek yogurt are fine)
  • 2 -3  tablespoons milk, plus more depending on preference
  • 3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for buttering skillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup  whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup  barley or rye flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen, or rinsed and dried
  • Yogurt and Honey for serving

Melt half of butter. Remove from heat and stir in second tablespoon of butter until melted. This helps to cool the butter to room temperature before adding it to the other ingredients.

Whisk egg and yogurt together in the bottom of a medium/large bowl.  Add in 2-3 Tablespoons milk.. If you’re using a thick yogurt, 1-2 more Tablespoons of milk. Whisk in melted butter, zest and vanilla extract. In a separate, small bowl, combine flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet only until dry ingredients are moistened. A few remaining lumps is fine.  Batter will be thick.

Preheat your oven to 200°F and have a baking sheet ready (to keep pancakes warm). Heat your skillet or saute pan to medium.  Melt a pat of butter in the bottom and ladle 1/3 – 1/2 cup of batter at a time. Press a few berries into the top of each pancake. The batter is on the thick side, so you will want to use your spoon or spatula to gently nudge it flat, or you may find that pressing down on the berries does enough to spread the batter.   When a few bubbles on the pancakes rise to the surface and pop, (about 3-4 minutes),  flip them and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden underneath. . Transfer pancakes to warm oven as they are done cooking, where you can leave them there until you’re ready to serve them.

Serve in a big stack, with yogurt and honey.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen