Yesterday was a Baking Day

Since there were no biscuits left in the cupboards for school snack this week, and a slight banking crisis means that we won’t be spending much money this week, I needed to bake yesterday.

Pancakes are a no-brainer, we eat them for breakfast and then they have them with jam (or maybe with chocolate syrup if I’m being honest) during the week for school snack. Yesterday’s batch was a particularly good one, so I thought I might share my recipe. It’s the addition of the yogurt that makes all the difference I think. Extra light and fluffy. This recipe makes a lot, but it usually is breakfast for all 4 of us, and then 4 pancakes per boy per day for snack!

I use US cup measures for this recipe.



2 cups flour – yesterday was 1/3 plain white, 1/3 cornmeal and 1/3 multigrain.
1 tbs baking powder (in Chile you need this much, US & UK baking powder is more potent)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
1 cup natural yogurt
1 cup milk (up to 1 1/4 cups depending on the moisture content of the flour)
2 eggs
4 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla


Mix all the dry ingredients together and make a well in the centre. Dump in all the wet ingredients, all at once, and then whisk until relatively smooth. I don’t think it’s possible to get it totally smooth, so don’t sweat it.

This is the fun bit, when the bicarb starts to react with the yogurt and you get all the bubbles. Hah! Science and the kids don't even realise it!

Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray (I didn’t used to understand why people bought this stuff, now I get it, my old tired non-stick skillet is non-stick again!) and preheat it until droplets of water sizzle on it.

Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter in the pan, repeating until there’s no space left. At this point you might realise that your batter is too thick, and unless you want interesting shaped pancakes, you probably want to add more milk.

Funny shapes. We could call it a breakfast Rorschach test, I suppose.

Add enough extra milk so that you can pour the batter in a stream, as opposed to it glopping off the spoon in well, glops.

Well, it's almost round! I don't usually make them this big, in the fear that the boys might still eat 10 each!

Here's the whole pile. The ones on the top are bigger, I expected them to get eaten at breakfast. I make lots of smaller ones that will fit in the school snack boxes as well.

Let me know if you try this, or if you have a good recipe for pancakes too!

Next up was some Membrillo Bars. Membrillo is Quince in English. I have a few kilos of cooked membrillo pulp in the freezer needing to be used up before the other fruit starts to come off the trees. My parents bring “Raspberry Squares” from The Cakery in Bowie, Maryland everytime they visit. They don’t visit often enough, so I have been trying to come up with a similar recipes for years. I’m getting there. Here’s what I did yesterday. It has elements of recipes from Mrs Beeton, my ancient Betty Crocker Cooky Book, and the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.

Writing it down as I go, so I don't forget the details!

I try as often as I can to create recipes for cakes and biscuits that can be made dairy free or vegan. Usually for this recipe I would use butter or margarine, but yesterday I used “Manteca Vegetal” to test the vegan version. I can’t always find it here in Chile, and this stuff is made from palm oil which I know isn’t the healthiest, but it’s better than one with animal fat. (In fact I know of only one margarine here that doesn’t have animal fat: Unilever’s Banda Azul.) In the UK you would use Trex, in North America, Crisco, right? The packet does say it has no trans-fats which has got to be good.

Vegan Shortening, hard to find in Chile

Membrillo (or any jam or fruit) Bars (Vegan version)

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F

For me the oven thermometer is essential, I have to set my Chilean oven for 210C to get about 180C!

Grease the bottom of a 13×9″ cake pan.


200gm plain flour
150gm quick cook oats (the quick cook part is important)
150gm brown sugar
150gm fat, either butter, marge or vegetable shortening if you want it to be vegan or dairy free
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Filling: large jar of jam, or rehydrated dried fruit, applesauce, etc. I used a 500ml jar of membrillo jam.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, making sure that any large lumps of sugar are broken up, then cut in the fat until you are at the large breadcrumb stage. It should look like crumble topping.

You could use one of these. I didn't, I don't like to work that hard in the kitchen! I did use it to chop the fat though, as it comes out of the fridge very hard and it needs to be in quite small pieces or it won't mix well with the dry ingredients.

But I admit it was the Kitchenaid that did the real hard work!

When it looks like this, you can stop, it seemed to take ages to get to the crumble stage yesterday, I think because of the extra hard solid palm oil. Luckily with a Kitchenaid, you can wander off and do something else for 5 minutes!

Press about three quarters of the mixture into the bottom of the tin, trying to get as even a layer as possible. Spread your jam or fruit filling over the top, also as evenly as possible, then sprinkle the last quarter of your crumble over the top. Yesterday I used a two thirds/one third ratio and I think my topping was too thick.

Then put it in the middle of your oven, unless you have a decent one in which case put it wherever you want, and set your timer for 35-40 minutes. When it looks golden brown, take it out and leave it to cool in the pan.

Cut into bars, and don’t eat them until they’re cool enough to not burn your mouth. Ask Thomas and me how we know…

In actual fact, they tasted much better today than yesterday. See if you can hang onto them that long!

What do you mean there's only 4 left?! Who ate them all?!

6 responses to “Yesterday was a Baking Day

  1. I made almost those exact bars yesterday, except with gooseberry preserves. Kind of funny because it was my first time making them and here I see you were over at your house making the same thing. Almost like the twilight zone, right? 😉 I used butter, though. They were delicious.

  2. I’m going to make another batch tonight for a neighbourhood coffee in the morning, and this time I’m using butter too!
    Where did you get the gooseberry preserves?

    We should keep tabs on each other’s baking in case we do this kind of thing again!

  3. Amaya and Ellen

    Hi! Amaya woke up saying, “I want pancakes” so, having just read your recipe the night before, I said, “Yeah! We can make Al’s cakes!” we both agreed they were yummy. Used half quinoa flour and half white. This will now be our standard recipe. Thax, Al!

    • I’m glad you like the recipe! And you can pretty much use any combination of flours you like. Someday I will try a dairy free version, too.

  4. Amaya and Ellen

    Couldn’t find the to die for rosemary Lemon muffin recipe, can you send?? 🙂

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