Tag Archives: bread

Strawberry And White Chocolate Stuffed Eggnog French Toast

(I hereby give myself an award for the blog post with the longest title – oy vey!)

I am not a fan of breakfast.

There – I said it. I don’t know if it’s the fact that 95% of the time I’d rather be sleeping or if I have a legitimate distaste for the traditional breakfast foods, but the idea of steel-cut oats just doesn’t get me out of bed in the morning.  Or cereal, I’ve never been a fan of cereal.  Soggy grains in milk? No thanks, I’ll pass. In the summer I’ll whip up a quick smoothie, but when I look outside and see snow that is just about as appealing as spending 3 continuous hours on the StairMaster, followed by running a marathon.  Besides, I hate feeling rushed in the morning, and if I actually make myself a “real” breakfast I tend to be more rushed than normal.  Not quite the best way to start my day, if you know what I mean.

Now brunch, on the other hand, is a completely different animal.  I can handle brunch.  In fact, I quite enjoy it!  I think brunch is the new coffee date, and I’m embracing it wholeheartedly.  I love lingering over brunch with a good friend (or 5), catching up, and not feeling any time pressure to be anywhere or do anything else.  Brunch feels special, since those types of days don’t happen super often.

As you may have picked up on by now, one of my favourite things to do is to open up the pantry and/or fridge and just start combining.  After all, it’s how I first learned how to cook and it is what comes most naturally to me.  On top of this innate desire to play, I also hate to waste food.  What can I say – I’m Scottish!

(It all makes sense now, doesn’t it?!)

Unfortunately (or is it?), I get bored pretty easily and so leftovers are often abandoned in favour of their newer, more exciting cousins.  So…when I looked out the window and saw 2″ of snow (which, by Vancouver standards, is enough to paralyze the entire city…CRAZY I know), opened up my fridge and saw eggnog that was begging for one last chance to shine before being dumped down the drain, and a hunk of french bread on the counter I knew what had to be done.

Brunch on a snow day? Yes please!

Eggnog, egg, vanilla, salt, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, strawberries, white chocolate, bread.

In a shallow dish, whisk together 3/4 c eggnog, 1 egg, 1/2 t vanilla, 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice, 1/4 t nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.

Bonus points if you can find your nutmeg in the abyss of your pantry and grate it fresh.  If you can’t…while, you’ll just have to make this 3x as penance.

Now, I’d like to provide you with a little MDM-style disclaimer: I am fully aware that it’s January, and that in January most people make resolutions to cut back on their fat and sugar consumptions.  I thought about showing you something healthy and delicious…but when I saw the snow all of my logic went out the window and I started for looking for ways to add more fat and sugar to an already-rich dish.

I’m twisted, I know.  I also know that many of you live vicariously through me, so please don’t send me hate mail.

So I thought to myself, while regular eggnog French Toast is good, why not stuff it with chocolate? So I did.  But I added strawberries too, just for good measure.

Since strawberries that are in the grocery stores taste like cardboard aren’t seasonal, I quickly pureed some frozen ones.

One of the most beautiful aspects of French Toast is that it turns out better when it’s made with stale bread.  Love that!  You could use whatever type of bread you have lying around, but I had the last of a loaf of French bread to play with. I sliced it into thick slices, and then made a pocket in each slice.  Don’t cut all the way or the filling will escape!

Put a spoonful of the strawberry puree into the pocket…

And then stuff some good-quality white chocolate in there too.

And please remember, if you wouldn’t eat the chocolate as-is, DO NOT USE IT FOR COOKING!

I’m sorry for yelling, but I feel very strongly about this.

If you had eaten the same melting wafer that I did, you would understand.

Repeat the bread-stuffing process until you run out of bread, filling, or get bored.

Dip the (stuffed) bread into the eggnog mixture, one side at a time.

And then place each slice into a hot skillet.  Not too hot though – the trick with French Toast is that you want it to brown on the exterior, but also to not taste like raw egg (nog) when you take your first bite.

After a few minutes, gently flip each piece.  Looking good!

When you’re ready to eat, dust each piece with some icing sugar.  This is brunch after all, we might as well get a little bit fancy!

Dip in the leftover strawberry puree, if you feel so inclined.

Or maple syrup.  Up to you.  This is pretty rich, but a nice change of pace from your basic French Toast.  Whatever you do, if only for today, please linger and enjoy.  If there’s one thing that I know for sure, it’s that snow day brunches are a very good thing.

Love and best dishes!

Jaclyn

P.S. Don’t be surprised to see a mango-coconut French Toast in the future…or a blueberry-cream cheese one…or peanut butter and chocolate filled…

P.P.S.  Have more eggnog than you know what to do with? Try these scones – they’re delicious, I promise!

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Irish Soda Bread

Have you ever thought about making your own bread to go along with a steaming bowl of soup, and then quickly dismissed the thought because of the implied time it takes?  Well my friends, fear no more – this bread is going to change how you think about making your own bread.  Its essentially a giant biscuit, doesn’t require yeast, and can be thrown together in less than 5 minutes.  Still scared?

Come join me, we’ll make it together.

Go ahead and round up the following:

3 c AP flour

1 c cake flour

2 TBSP sugar

1/2 TBSP baking soda

1/2 TBSP cream of tartar

1/2 TBSP salt

2 TBSP butter, softened

1 1/2 c buttermilk

Let’s get started.  Whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar.

I heard someone say once that your best tool in the kitchen is your hands, so I used them to blend in the butter.  I also heard someone say once that you should never attempt to take pictures when your hands are covered in flour, and I listened.

Next, add the buttermilk – don’t worry, you can use a fork for this.  Once the dough starts to come together, turn it onto a floured surface (i.e. your counter, if you’re me) and knead it just until the dough is cohesive.  Twelve to fourteen turns should do the trick.  I know what you’re thinking – shouldn’t I keep kneading it until it becomes smooth?  No, you shouldn’t.  Not unless you want your bread to be tough.  Thank you for your co-operation.

Pat the dough into a round ball (a la giant biscuit) and put it on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Slash the dough cross-wise using a serrated knife.

Bake for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees.  Remove it from the oven, inhale deeply, and pat yourself on the back.

You know what would make this bread even better? Butter.  Let’s brush the top with some melted butter, ok?

Much better.

Now, here comes the most difficult part of the entire process – we must allow the bread to cool for 30-40 minutes before slicing it.  We want it to be at room temperature, because if its cut when its too hot it will be dense and doughy.

It’s worth the wait, though.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it looks like I have some cleaning to do…

Cheese Bread

Don’t you just love cheese bread? I do – well, actually, I usually love the IDEA of cheese bread more than the bread itself. How could anything that combines two my favourite ingredients not be a good thing? Well, unfortunately many so-called “cheese breads” are nothing more than a dry bread with barely a smattering of cheese.  Is flavourful cheese bread even possible? Yes, my friends, it is – and here’s how you do it.

Line a loaf pan with some parchment paper, unless you have more faith in your baking pans than I do in mine. Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese in the bottom of the pan.  You will note that this parmesan does not come out of a green and white can – there is good reason for this.  Please, for the love of good cheese bread everywhere, if you absolutely refuse to shell out and buy a wedge of the good stuff, just skip this step.  We’re making CHEESE bread, remember?!?!

In a large bowl, whisk together some flour, baking powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Mix in some cubed extra-sharp cheddar cheese and stir it around until the cheese is coated with the flour. Why not shredded cheese, I hear you ask? Well, shredded cheese will get lost in this bread. We want our cheese bread to actually taste like cheese after all! As an added bonus, cubing cheese is easier than shredding…unless you buy the pre-shredded stuff, but that’s a whole other post.

In a separate bowl, whisk together some milk, melted butter, an egg, and sour cream. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined. I told you this was easy!

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and then sprinkle some more parmesan on top for good measure.

Bake until the bread is golden brown…45-50 mins @ 350. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan and allow to cool on the wire rack for about 45 minutes if you can handle it.  The texture of the bread will improve if you let it cool for a bit, so try to resist the incredible temptation of cutting this bread when its piping hot.

Et voila! Cheese bread with luscious, cheesy pockets of goodness…yummmmmmmmmmm.  AND it only took you a few minutes – if this isn’t a good thing, I don’t know what is.