Chicago Chow Down

    Photos by John Meguerian / North by Northwestern.

    Chicago: city of broad shoulders and, perhaps all too often, tightening waistbands. There are famous and delicious eats both in the city and Chicagoland, like of deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and any Indian dish found on Devon. But why wait until parents’ weekend for a culinary tour? Here are three homemade takes on some regional favorites.

    Apple Pancake

    WWilmette’s Walker Bros. Original Pancake House has been around for 50 years, and its menu is home to one of Chica-goland’s finest breakfast traditions. Its apple pancake is something of a legend — caramelized, gooey and enormous. Just a warning: Tongues were burned in the immediate, greedy consumption of our version

    2 apples
    1 tablespoon butter
    ¼ cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoon cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon flour
    2 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
    3 eggs
    ½ cup milk
    2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
    ½ cup flour
    1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
    ¼ teaspoon salt

    1. Preheat oven to 500°.
    2. Peel and slice apples into about 1/4-inch slices.
    3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan on medium heat. When hot, add apples and saute? for four minutes, turning once or twice. Apples should be softened, but not browned or cooked through. Remove apples from heat.
    4. Combine brown sugar, sugar, cin- namon and 1/4 teaspoon of flour in a bowl, using a fork to break up lumps. Add melted butter and mix well.
    5. Spread cinnamon sugar mixture over bottom of pan (either a casserole dish or a cast iron skillet will work) and layer apples over top.
    6. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add milk, cream, flour, nutmeg and salt and combine well.
    7. Pour batter over apples. Bake until batter rises and starts to brown, 12-15 minutes.
    8. When pancake is done, remove and let cool. Then loosen sides with a knife and invert onto a serving plate, apple-side up.

    Cinnamon Rolls

    Ann Sather is a Swedish restaurant with four Chicago locations that all serve life-changing cinnamon rolls. Our cinnamon rolls require a little prep time but prove themselves worth it in the end — the perfect brunch on a lazy Sunday.

    1 envelope active dry yeast
    1 teaspoon sugar
    ¼ cup warm water
    1 cup milk
    ¼ cup butter, melted
    1/3 cup sugar
    1 ½ teaspoons salt
    2 ½ + cups all-purpose flour

    Cinnamon Filling
    4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
    ½ cup brown sugar
    1 tablespoon cinnamon

    1 cup sifted powdered sugar
    ¼ teaspoon vanilla
    1 tablespoon milk, plus additional as needed

    1. In a large bowl, stir yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar into warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
    2. Add milk, melted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. Stir with a spoon until smooth.
    3. Gradually stir in remaining flour. If the mixture is still moist, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time until it makes a soft dough.
    4. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in bulk.
    5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide into two halves. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out and stretch half of the dough to make a rectangle.
    6. Spread half of the softened butter over the top of the dough and sprinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly on top; roll dough tightly, sushi-style. Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients.
    7. Cut dough into 2-inch slices and place in a greased baking pan. Then let dough rise again for about 40 minutes.
    8. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
    9. While the rolls are in the oven, combine sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl; stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is liquid enough to drizzle.
    10. When the rolls are done, drizzle them with icing immediately. Then, let sit until they’re just cool enough to stuff your face.


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