The Hole Truth About Crumpets

Back in my youth, before I hit my terminal oatmeal phase, crumpets were my daily breakfast staple. Run through the toaster just long enough to warm through, but not crisp, nothing could beat that speed and versatility. These were the dark ages before good vegan butter existed, so I would usually opt for a light smear of creamy peanut butter instead. If I was feeling particularly decadent, it would get a sprinkle of cinnamon and sliced banana on top, too. In the spare few minutes I had before running off to catch the train to school, that was the height of luxury.

I don’t know why I stopped eating crumpets. There were no supply chain issues to blame, no big falling out I can recall. I just seemed to suddenly forget about them for two decades.

And then, just as suddenly, that familiar craving came rushing back in a tsunami wave of nostalgia.

The texture is reminiscent of many similar bread products, yet stands alone as its own unique entity. Soft, spongy, and chewy, most people compare them to English muffins or pancakes, but I’d say they’re more like really thick injera made from wheat flour.

They’re very simple, yet surprisingly difficult to perfect. This was not my first attempt at making crumpets; shamefully, I’ve churned out more smooth flapjacks than I’d like to admit. It turns out that the secret is… Cheating.

It’s not anything as terrible as copying your classmate during the final exam. It just feels a bit like trickery when the key to creating that signature network of lacy holes is- Now don’t judge me here- To poke them open with a toothpick.

It’s not all forced, artificially manipulated texture, since they do bubble up naturally. A tiny touch of extra vital wheat gluten ensures that chewy texture, but it also makes the protein network just slightly too strong to burst open without a bit of help. You don’t need to go crazy and jab at the little skillet cakes relentlessly, but give them a little poke while you’re standing over the stove already, and they’ll be better than store-bought.

The holes are really what make crumpets so special. Providing a lacy network of pockets for clotted cream or melting butter to pool, it’s almost like a super soft waffle. They were made to be topped, lavishly or simply, to reach their full potential.

Crumpets are made of humble ingredients, with a downright silly preparation, but that’s all part of the fun. If you’ve ever wanted to relive your childish days of popping bubbles for fun, here’s a more productive way to indulge.

Continue reading “The Hole Truth About Crumpets”

One and Done

One bowl. Six ingredients. No oil. No gluten.

Ready? Set? Bake!

It’s a lot to ask of one little loaf, but this pumpkin bread can truly do it all. Pared down to the bare essentials, it’s the ace up my sleeve for last-minute fall festivities or sudden sweet cravings. Everything comes straight out of the pantry and into the oven faster than you can say “good gourd!

Versatile, flexible, and endlessly adaptable, this basic foundation is just the beginning. Dress it up with nuts or seeds, get spicy with chai or apple pie blends, or go whole grain with buckwheat flour instead. Add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and marshmallows, oh my!

This isn’t exclusively a bit of autumnal magic, either. Swap 3 – 4 large, ripe, mashed bananas for the pumpkin puree and you’ve suddenly got a crowd-pleasing perennial banana bread sensation to serve.

Continue reading “One and Done”

Biscuit Eater

Biscuit-making and -eating is not in my heritage; I can’t recall having these savory, flaky quick breads on my dinner table even once throughout my childhood. It’s a shame, really, because they’re such a tasty and effortless side that perfectly compliments almost any meal. Traditional or “authentic” southern biscuits may be beyond the scope of my abilities, but I do know that I like mine tall, tender, and fluffy, with more flavor than just plain flour can bring to the table. Fresh herbs and a healthy handful of vegetables liven up this simple staple, making it ideal for serving with soups, smothered in gravy, or just eaten solo.

Yield: Makes 6 – 8 Tall Biscuits

Garden Herb Biscuits

Garden Herb Biscuits

Fresh herbs and a healthy handful of vegetables liven up this simple staple, making it ideal for serving with soups, smothered in gravy, or just eaten solo

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Chives
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Fresh Thyme
  • 1/4 Cup Vegan Butter
  • 4 Ounces (1/2 Package) Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1 Cup Finely Grated Carrot or Zucchini (or a Mix of Both)
  • 3/4 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Additional Melted Vegan Butter (Optional)

Instructions

    1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Make sure the greenery is well distributed throughout the dry mixture.
    3. Cut the butter and cream cheese into tablespoon-sized pieces before adding them in next, and use a fork or pastry cutter to further incorporate the two. Once you achieve a coarse consistency where there are no chunks of fat remaining that are any larger than peas, toss in the carrot and/or zucchini shreds.
    4. Finally stir in both the non-dairy milk and vinegar at once, and mix with a wide spatula just until the thick batter comes together. If you’re into the old-fashion way of doing it, you can also mix by hand, of course.
    5. On a very lightly floured surface, pat out the dough to about 1 – 1 1/2 inches tall. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits, and space them out equally across your prepared baking sheet. Gather up any scrapes, pat back into shape, and cut again, until the dough is all used up. You should get 6 – 8 tall biscuits out of the mix.
    6. If desired, brush a small amount of melted butter across the tops of the biscuits for an extra rich flavor, and then pop them into the oven. Bake for 18 – 22 minutes, until golden brown all over. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before eating, just so that you don’t burn your mouth!

Notes

For savory flavors that would be right at home at any Thanksgiving feast, consider swapping out the chives for a mixture of fresh rosemary, sage, and tarragon. Finely grated sweet potato or parsnips would make great substitutes for the carrot or zucchini, too.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.