Ihop’s Cupcake Pancakes ūüėć

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If you haven’t tried Ihop’s limited time cupcake pancakes, you’re missing out. Inspired by bakery-themed sweets, this item is part of a trio of treats, including a cinnamon swirl brioche French toast and red velvet crepes. I have yet to try the other two, but the cupcake pancake features a cake-flavored batter, sprinkles and a sprinkled frosting, that is surprisingly appropriately sweet for both children and adults.

I highly recommend the combo featuring eggs, bacon and sausage (in my case, turkey bacon and sausage) with the red potato hash versus the hash browns. These are cubed potatoes with onions and peppers. Translation, a party on a plate.

Cupcake Pancake Yumfactor: 4 tongues. Addicting and fun.

Red Potato Hash Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. A great alternative if you’re not into hash browns like me.

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Where Have I Been? Recipes and New Cooking Ventures

The last blog (aside) that I wrote was nearly two weeks ago. Instead of blogging, I have been using some time to get some things done, but most of all, I have been cooking more!!!! I have made scones from scratch, biscuits, dinners, a peach cobbler with fresh sliced peaches, cakes, and interesting drinks! I have a few pictures of them prepared items and will try my best to share the recipes. (Some are from an app on my phone, so I’m not sure if you all will be able to access the same recipes I have used.) (Actually, the app is powered by allthecooks.com) Although I use recipes, I also get creative and add my own ingredients to it to give the dishes originality. So the way they come out will be a tad different from the ways your may if you do follow the directions very closely. Let me know if you are¬†interested¬†in anything else I have listed. I plan on doing a smoothie blog full of recipes and drink ideas I frequently use. Enjoy the 4 or 5 recipes!!!

  • Fun smoothies (like Green tea, mango, orange juice and lime an original- Heavenly!!!) and classic ones, like mango strawberry yogurt smoothies.
  • As of late, I have made three cakes from scratch (green tea and coconut with a glaze, and a pink grapefruit yogurt cake, which I covered previously, and layered ¬†carrot cake with a cream cheese icing), however I decided to make a box cake. This is a French Vanilla Box cake, (with a homemade buttercream icing), but baked in as a layer cake, adding fresh strawberries (which I soaked in sugar and vanilla¬†extract¬†for 2 days). I then assembled the berried in between the layers, and frosted the cake, adding fresh¬†sliced¬†strawberries atop the cake for a pretty garnish. The cake was great, but the recipe I used for the buttercream icing was too sweet! ¬†I will NOT use that recipe again! There is no other recipe to link, so I will just post a pic, and say that you can make layered cakes from the box, and add whatever flavoring, fruits, or icing you want to make it more creative. So think of this as more if an idea, not a recipe.
  • The lovely inside. See the itty, bitty berries?

French vanilla layered cake with homemade buttercream icing and fresh strawberries.

  • Tropical French Toast with bananas and coconut (with a hint of rum which I incorporated in the french toast egg/milk wash) This recipe calls for flour to be used, which makes the french toast more decadent. I also added approx.1 teaspoon of vanilla pudding mix to made the toast more creamy (which I got from another recipe) I did not have any thick bread on hand, so I used plain old wheat.¬†http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/fluffy-french-toast/Detail.aspx¬†For the fruit, I simply took some banana pieces, added butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cook it until it got soft to my preferred desire. I then took some¬†shredded¬†coconuts, and sprinkled it over the banana.

Tropical French Toast with slightly caramelized bananas. They weren't super ripe, and I probably didn't use enough brown sugar. Still good,though.

  • Peach Cobbler with fresh peaches, and a “special ingredient” not listed. I again made it my own by using 3/4 cup of vanilla soy milk, less than 1/4 cup of half and half (to make it a tad fluffy), water (I do that sometimes) and 1 service which is a teaspoon of french vanilla creamer. I added an ingredient that gave the sweet peaches depth, and also some apple pie spice to round the spicy and sweet flavors out. The crust was a bit more dense that other cobblers I have had, and slightly cakey, but I actually liked its richness.

Goodness this was divine!

Cobbler before I tore into it like an animal.

Copy Cat Gourmet: McDonald’s McGriddle (with Recipe)

I just made a low budget, copy cat McGriddle¬†(for recipe, see below).¬† If you have not heard about the Mc Griddle by now, it’s a breakfast sandwich offered at Mc Donald’s composed of eggs, cheese, sausage (or in my case, just egg and cheese) and last but not least, 2 sweet mushy maple kissed “pancuits” (a¬†word I¬†created combining the words¬†pancake and biscuits). When the item first emerged, many people were skeptical to taste it because of the traditional belief that eggs and meat should not be sweet.¬† Well, to them I say who wrote¬†the rules on how eggs, cheese and meat should be eaten?¬† The product is sweetned with maple crystals which compliment the high sodium¬† in the sausage that so nicely decorates the breakfast sandwich.

I just so happen to love the cute little buggers and often crave them,only coming to a slow halt when I learned that: 1.) I do not want to continuously pay close to¬†or slightly over $3 each time I want this sweet yet greasy delight; 2)¬†the item has a very¬†high sodium content.¬† Fine for you if you want to walk head high into a habit that can later result in high blood pressure if not properly watched.¬†¬†Either way, I won’t judge.

Maple Syrup Crystals

Today, I frequented food sites and¬† I had¬†come across many useful recipes that encourage saving time, gas, energy and not to mention money¬†by¬†recreating these products¬†in your own kitchen. ¬†I¬†finally came across the recipe. Basically, the copy cat McGriddle¬†recipe called for: flour, eggs,¬†sugar, butter, cheese and meat for optional choices, with a somewhat¬† complex ingredient “maple syrup crystals”. Nearly sounding like a magical incantation of¬†some sort, the author noted that it was available in a particular store I never heard of, which further lead me to my impulsive improvisation of this recipe. Who wants to drive some place on an empty stomach to find something like this? Not that it isn’t worth it, but will¬†I actually find them?

*Warning!¬†The following contains unorthodox ways of creating the classic dish, French Toast in unique manners.¬† If offended by the idea of eggs NOT being used in the French Toast mixture, I advise you to leave. Viewer¬†discretion is advised. ¬†ūüôā

I had a violently growling tummy,1 egg, wheat bread, maple crystals, an egg ring¬†(an egg ring: a tuna can without a top or bottom, which when eggs are complete, results in a neat and circular fluffy, pretty little egg), sugar, milk and an idea. I was determined¬†to make this McGriddle! I remember¬†getting the idea after I remembered seeing Aunt Jemima’s French Toast in a store and thinking about eggs, cheese and the possibility of a turkey based meat being nestled in between two maple flavored, sticky pieces of wheat bread.

So, first things first, I complied my ingredients (Note: I do NOT actively measure out every ingredient, so please prepare some of the ingredients according to your taste. I have tried to be as approximate as I can).

This serves 1 person:

  • 1/4 c. Soy milk¬† (You can use whatever milk you have available)
  • 2¬†slices of¬† Honey wheat bread (Not Texas Toast)
  • 1/2 tsp or 3/4 tsp Cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ¬†Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Butter (To spread in the pan)
  • 1 Eggs
  • Shredded cheese Enough to cover the finished egg.
  • Pinch of¬†¬†salt
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp.¬†Pancake syrup <–Take that maple crystals! Ha!

1. Preheat¬†oven/ conventional over to 375. The first thing I did was create the meatless French Toast. (Yes, I know, you cannot officially have the F.T. without the eggs, but the purpose was to create bread that was similarly made with similar ingredients to yield a sweet, mapley¬†taste. Plus, I only had 1 egg left. You can indeed make French Toast if you’d like.) I combined the milk, sugar, cinnamon sugar, and vanilla, mixing them together with a fork. I put aside so I would not get my ingredients mixed up.

2. I turned on my stove¬† to medium heat, adding a small enough amount of butter to coat the pan, and as it melted, I took a slice of bread, carefully dipping it in the mixture, coating both sides evenly. (I actually let one slice of¬†bread sit in the mixture a little too long, and it got too soggy. Don’t make the same mistake I did!)

3. I allowed each slice to brown, flipping it so it would not get stuck to the pan.  Sadly, one of my slices were bogged down in mixture, so it became  little hard to do due to excessive moisture and sog.  (I will add that if you have never made French Toast, please consult a recipe now, because having that knowledge will help in the creation of this dish.)

4. When they were both somewhat firm, but  not fully cooked, I decided to bake/toast the slices of maple, cinnamon, vanilly bread in my toaster oven, so the sponginess would become crunchy.  (This is not necessary if your slices are firm, but chances are since there are no eggs in the mixture they will be slightly soggy.) *Also, if you do not have a conventional over, you can bake these slices at 375-400 until they get brown for at least 6 minutes.

5. I cooked the egg, first cracking it, and adding the pinch of salt. I mixed it with a fork, added more butter to the pan, and added the egg. I did not want to scramble it, so I just emptied the bowl and decided to let the egg cook.

6. When the egg cooked half way, I folded it in half, flipping in on the other side. (I figured if I flipped the egg while it was cooked, it may be harder to fold the egg.) Be sure to keep an eye on your toast so it will not burn!

7.  When the eggs finished cooking, I added some shredded cheese on the top, letting it melt. (We only had that available)

8. Add the egg/cheese (and meat if it applies) and place it inside the bread. Enjoy.

Optional:

  • Add¬†turkey/ bacon or turkey/sausage to the sandwich.
  • Use Texas Toast bread for thicker slices.
  • Use an egg in the mixture to make French Toast slices.

Man! This was exceptionally good! My only drawback was that 1 slice was heavy, and still slightly soggy. I was too hungry to wait for it to firm so I took my chance and ate it.  The maple flavor really gave the sandwich the illusion of  the magic maple crystals, adding a nice amount of sweetness; the egg was aptly portioned and folded in between the bread and the cheese was the perfect accessory.  I added a piece of turkey sausage which made the mean taste more filling and added a nice complex taste compliment to the sweet bread.

I will say that this¬† is a deliciously healthy and¬†comforting and low-budget method¬† ¬†not to mention, lower in sodium content because it’s¬†prepared with less grease¬†and fats.¬† While it does not taste 100% dead on to the McGriddle, it is very tasty in its own right and does mimic the original. Adding margarine versus butter also reduce the amount of fats in the sandwich.

You’ll get something like this.

Vegetarian French Toast McGriddle Yumfactor: 4 tongues out of 5 and a taste bud.