Breaking the Habit

Jeremy and I just took a few days off to celebrate our eighth anniversary. Yesterday we took Freyja for a hike and a splash at Silver Creek Falls, and today we took her on her very first trip to the beach at Lincoln City. Despite these plans, we didn’t have any set schedule, and with the pup being an early riser, I had plenty of time to make some special breakfasts before we headed out.

Crumb Cake

We are nothing if not creatures of habit. Of a typical weekend or holiday morning, Jeremy asks for one of three things: a cinnamon flop, a bowl of oatmeal, or some variation of eggs and toast (about which, more to come soon). But clearly our usuals would not suffice for such a special occasion.

Yesterday morning I broke out the trusty King Arthur cookbook and hit on a crumb cake recipe that was just the ticket. Because there were only two of us, I halved the recipe and baked it in my stoneware pie plate. It ended up taking nearly 45 minutes to finish baking, but I think that is partly because my oven seems to take over an hour to heat up to temperature, despite what the screen claims. I really need an oven thermometer. In spite of the oven issues, the crumb cake came out buttery and lovely, and quite filling.

For this morning, I already had a plan in place. Ever since I first tried making ricotta pancakes, those have been our special occasion breakfast standard (and sometimes a good light dinner too). But I came across a new pancake recipe last week that sounded right up our alley: Banana pancakes with hazelnut mascarpone cream and a Nutella drizzle. So that was our anniversary breakfast today.

Banana pancakes

The pancakes came out nice and fluffy. I didn’t taste them by themselves, though, because they were all made up into lovely little stacks glued together with hazelnut mascarpone cream and slices of ripe banana. The finished stacks were topped with more bananas and a healthy drizzle of a sauce made of Nutella thinned with milk. Now, I’m not a fan of bananas, which I frequently find to be mushy and mealy and rather slimy. But these just happened to be at that sweet spot between green and squishily overripe, and because they were masked with fluffy pancakes and Nutella-flavored mascarpone, they didn’t bother me at all. It was an impressive presentation, and would make a nice breakfast for company.

Jeremy liked them also and had two stacks. But when I asked him whether he preferred these or our usual ricotta pancakes, I bet you can guess his answer. Some habits just aren’t worth breaking. 🙂

Update 2/23/08: I made this crumbcake again, almost exactly the same way and with the same result: a very long bake time that ended with me upping the oven temp out of frustration. Very tasty cake, though, and a nice change every so often, as long as I can remember that it will need extra time to cook. I used half white whole wheat flour to good effect.

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