Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Big Midwestern Breakfast

Saturday morning I got up, relieved to have made it through a treacherous workweek, and decided to skip the raisin bran and putter around making the kind of breakfast that would have made our hearty, farming Indiana forebears proud.

First came the bacon, purchased from local Royer Farm. I'd been warned when I first bought four pounds of this thick-cut bacon that it cooks much quicker than the store-bought, shrink-wrapped variety. Which it does. Apparently the added preservatives, fillers, and unmentionables in pork from major chains slows down the cooking. This was on the table in time for M to eat his usual five pieces.
Next I tried a pecan coffee cake recipe from a great out-of-print book called Sourdough Baking. Because I couldn't see us eating a whole coffee cake before the it all went green, I baked these in three mini-loaf pans so that I could freeze one or two. I also played around with the recipe a bit, adding whole grains and using a natural sweetener. The recipe made a nutty, sweet, dense (but not overbearing) loaf that was incredibly moist. (Could the moistness be due to the stick and a half of butter? You be the judge...)

I made a mistake in reading the recipe and put allof the sweet pecan mixture inside the loafs, and it was pretty good that way. If you want, though, you can layer batter-pecans-batter-pecans.
Note to self: When using mini-loaf pans, the tiny pans have a tendency to tip over and spill batter and pecans all over the bottom of the oven. Check.

Pecan Sourdough Mini Loaves

2/3 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 to 1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar, white sugar, or a mixture)
2 eggs
1 cup sourdough starter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix together the 2/3 cup sucanat, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and remaining cup sucanat. Add the eggs, then the sourdough starter, then the milk, and then the vanilla. Now add the baking soda, then the baking powder, then the salt, and finally the flour. (This step mixes everything up well without requiring you to dirty a third bowl to mix together the dry ingredients.) Mix this for about three minutes until

In three greased or nonstick mini-loaf pans, use about half the batter and distribute it between the three pans, spreading it out evenly. Now sprinkle the sucanat/pecan/cinnamon mixture over the batter in all three pans. Then top with the rest of the batter.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

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