Beyond Pancakes

My family adores pancakes of all types, whether fried or baked. Get pancake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Say “pancake,” and Americans usually visualize tall stacks of round, freshly fried batter, dripping with butter and maple syrup and often made from a prepackaged mix. But every culture seems to have its equivalent, and many require so few, and such common, ingredients that they can be made straight from the pantry.

My family adores pancakes. My mom put together a cookbook of family recipes in 1990, printed on her dot-matrix machine and bound with plastic combs. It includes Linda’s Pancake Mix, a recipe from a family friend that features oats, corn, wheat, and powdered milk and was my mom’s go-to blend throughout my childhood. But it also includes Æbleskivers, Danish pancakes that remind me of holeless yeast donuts but are cooked in a special pan. They were my grandfather’s specialty; my sister inherited his pan, and my niece and nephew dip them in copious amounts of Nutella. My mom’s cookbook also holds recipes for Southern Spoonbread, a cornmeal-based baked “pancake” that’s closer to a soufflé and that we considered a dinner dish, and Dutch Babies, its flour-based breakfast counterpart that puffs beautifully, causing us all to claim a corner as it emerges from the oven. If I were to put out a new edition of Mom’s cookbook today, I would add crepes and their Russian variation, blini.
Learn to make Dutch Babies and Mushroom-Stuffed Blini

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Cake

It’s Twice as Tasty’s birthday month, and that means cake. Get birthday cake and frosting recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
It’s Twice as Tasty’s birthday month, and no birthday is complete without a celebratory dessert. I’m a fan of nontraditional birthday desserts, such as last year’s Strawberry Shortcake with Lilac Cream, Apple Crumble Pie, homemade sorbet, and even fruit crisps. But sometimes you just need cake. Rich, multilayered, chocolaty cake.

Unfortunately, party cakes tend toward a dry, crumbly texture held together by an overly sweet frosting. And unless you bake and decorate cakes regularly, you’re likely gambling when you try to layer and frost a creation worthy of the special occasion. But homemade cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other celebrations can be both delicious and beautiful. You simply need a recipe that ensures a moist cake and a few tips and tricks that make it easier to layer and decorate your baked creation.
Learn to make Layered Chocolate Pudding Cake and Chocolate Ganache

Sour Cream

You easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home. Get homemade sour cream and cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.Sour cream is one of my guilty food pleasures. I eat it regularly, sometimes daily. I eat it at breakfast with crepes and baked into Sour Cream Scones with Tart Cherries. It goes in creamy dressings for potato and other salads. It’s the base for dips and midday snacks. I put sour cream on baked potatoes, tacos, and empanadas. And I use it in desserts, including cookies.

I call sour cream a “guilty pleasure” because it can be high in calories and fat. Most commercial reduced-fat and nonfat versions are primarily whey, modified food/corn starch, salts, stabilizers, and artificial gums—not a good alternative. So if I’m buying sour cream, I read the labels closely and buy full-fat versions that only list “cultured cream” or something similar as the ingredient. But you can easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home.
Learn to make Homemade Sour Cream and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Buttermilk

Cultured dairy is an easy, no-fuss first step to cheesemaking. Get buttermilk recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
When I started sharing cheese and homemade dairy recipes and teaching workshops on making cheese last year, you learned how to use a simple starter to make yogurt and an acidic kitchen staple to make cheese. But to expand the range of dairy products and cheeses you make in your kitchen, you’ll need to become familiar with powdered starter.

These magical little packets of bacterial cultures do the same thing as yogurt and lemon juice: they acidify, or ripen, warm milk, letting the good bacteria grow. But the beauty of them is in their specificity. Each starter culture has particular strains of bacteria that create different flavors and textures from the same milk. The range of available cultures is impressive, and I recommend reading about them in Mary Karlin’s and Gianaclis Caldwell’s books to really understand how they work. Here, I’ll give a quick intro that will let you make and use cultured buttermilk.
Learn to make Cultured Buttermilk and Honey–Chili Buttermilk Biscuits