Have you noticed? Chicken Pot Pie. Chicken Noodle Soup. Apple Pie. I’ve been on a comfort food frenzy. And biscuits have been tugging at my pant leg for weeks now. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I was pregnant. Or homesick. I’m craving biscuits about as much as I’m craving some good ole family time. Living far away from home has its disadvantages—like living far away from home. The miles apart are long. And the days till Christmas vacation seem endless. I’m counting on these tender in the middle but crunchy on the outside comfort-filled biscuits to tide me over in the meantime. And maybe a Christmas cookie or two. Read more
“And you’ve totally redeemed yourself,” I said after taking one bite. Before making these banana muffins, I made zucchini/carrot bread. I couldn’t wait to share how something so healthy could taste so divine. Instead it ended up tasting like cardboard with a hint zucchini. Sadly, it even looked like cardboard. I threw away the bread after trying to salvage it by dressing it up as french toast. Nope, nothing can mask the taste of cardboard. Read more
Do you ever have those light bulb moments—the ones that seem too idiotic to share out loud. Yeah, I had one of those this weekend. While making pop tarts. Remember the a-ha moment when you realized that U-Haul just wasn’t a company name? It literally means “you haul it”. And remember the a-ha moment when you realized that Pop Tarts are really just tarts. Tarts?! Yeah, that happened this weekend. And I don’t even care where the word “pop” came from. Popular? That’s not even cool. Read more
One man’s dessert is another man’s breakfast. At least that’s what happened with my leftover mascarpone filling from these tarts. Can I tell you—nothing goes to waste at this casa. Nothing. You would think we lived through the Great Depression. Oh, wait. But on a happier note, this leftover treasure made for one, no two, very delicious breakfasts. I’m talking, so good, you don’t need to leave your house breakfasts. True story—we went out to breakfast one morning, stood in line to be seated, and decided to head back home and make this—Mascarpone French Toast. Read more
Remember when I redid my post on Spinach Quiche a couple weeks ago? Well, I’m at it again. But I promise this is the last re-do for awhile. Brand spanking new content is on the way.
By the way, sorry I’ve been MIA this week. I’ve been working on a couple freelance design projects. Not only have I neglected the blog, but I’ve neglected dinner. We’ve been ordering pizza or scrambling eggs every night. Don’t judge. This week will probably be no better. I’ll be spending the week at the HOW Design Conference.
Enough about work. Let’s talk about Baked French Toast. It’s a classy breakfast casserole in my book, if you can even call it a casserole. It’s wonderfully versatile. The best part about baked french toast—you prepare it the night before and bake it in the morning. I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a morning person. The less work I have to do in the AM, the better. How do all you mom’s do it? I can barely get myself out of the door in the morning. Needless to say, baked french toast makes my mornings easier. And on the weekends, it lets me sleep in longer. Baked French Toast, I love you.
This recipe has a simple nutty orange flavor. I am a little obsessed with orange right now. I think it may be the new lemon. May I suggest that you serve it with 100% pure maple syrup? I made the switch a couple years ago. Once you go pure, you’ll never go back. And yes, that is a Coke bottle I’m serving the syrup in. It’s time invest in a syrup dispenser.
If I tell you a secret, will you promise to keep reading?
I don’t really like cinnamon rolls.
I can hear the gasps and the cars outside screeching to a halt. I know it’s a sin not to like these. But if I eat anything too sweet first thing in the morning, my blood sugar is off the rest of the day. And then I’m grumpy. With a headache. Please forgive me? Luckily, my husband and his co-workers love cinnamon rolls. They devoured these little muffins.
I use the term muffin loosely literally. Graduate school husband had to transport these guys to work—problem #1. And, with no plates or forks around at work, they needed to be edible by hand—problem #2. So I came up with the parchment paper muffin idea. I’m sure it’s been done before, but it’s new to me. Not to mention, they’re kinda cute served individually.
Please forgive me, but I hope you enjoy these more than I did. Dang blood sugar.
SWEET DOUGH 3/4 c. whole milk, warmed to 110° 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) rapid rise yeast* 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled 3 large eggs 4 c. AP unbleached flour 1/4 c. sugar 1 1/4 tsp. salt
1. Add a pinch of sugar to the warmed milk. Add yeast and allow to proof for 5 minutes until foamy. 2. Whisk together melted butter and eggs. 3. Combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture, and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. 4. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If after 5 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining a little bit at a time until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom (The more flour you add, the tougher the dough. Try to add as little as possible). 5. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Place dough in a bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm draft free place until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (For the procrastinator method, click here.)
*If using instant yeast, there’s no need to activate the yeast with warmed milk. Use chilled milk instead.
SWEET CINNAMON MIXTURE 3/4 c. packed brown sugar 2 tsp. cinnamon 1/4 tsp. cloves Pinch of salt 2 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
1. After dough has doubled in size, mix dry ingredients together in a small bowl. 2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it out to a 16″ x 12″ rectangle (about the size of a Silpat). 3. Leaving a 3/4″ border along the top edge, brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle with sweet cinnamon mixture, and press to adhere it to the dough. 4. Loosen the dough from the counter using a bench scraper, and roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and roll log seam side down. 5. Slice the cylinder into 12 evenly sized rolls using a serrated knife. Arrange the rolls cut side down in a 13″ x 9″ baking pan. OR, cut 12 squares of parchment paper and press into muffin tin. 6. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (If making ahead of time, forgo the second rise and place the rolls in the fridge. Allow for second rise in the morning before baking.) 7. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°. Bake 25-30 if baking normal style or 15-20 minutes if baking muffin style.
GLAZE 1 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar 3 tbsp. cream cheese, softened 3 tbsp. of heavy cream, half and half, or milk 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Allow rolls to cool for at least 5 minutes. (I made my rolls the night before, warmed them up for about 5 minutes in a 350° oven the morning of, and then iced them.) 2. Using an electric mixer, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, softened cream cheese, cream, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. To thicken, add more powdered sugar. To thin add more cream. 3. Drizzle with the glaze and serve.