Easy French Toast

So I’ve tried fancy.  I’ve made overnight french toast, french toast that has 47 steps and then bakes in the oven, sandwich bread french toast… and you know what I’ve learned?  Simple is better.  French toast is my favourite thing for breakfast – mostly because I get to drown it in butter and syrup.  It is not as heavy as a pancake and it makes a good use of leftover bread.  The most important thing to know about classic french toast, (or eggy bread if you’re British) is to never, ever, under ANY circumstances, use fresh bread.  It makes for soggy-mushiness that could not be characterized as toast on a bad day.  It is a culinary crime.  If you only have fresh and you MUST have french toast or die, toast it in the oven until it’s dried out but not hard.  10 min at 200F should do it.  I have done this before and it is an acceptable substitute.  For best results use day old (or a couple day old) French or Italian bread.  It’s also quite wonderful with Brioche but who has leftover Brioche?

This recipe is easily doubled and is a no-brainer for brunch.  It’s super forgiving, and is actually LESS work and LESS time than all those fancy bakes and make the night before dishes.

20180929_075841.jpg

You Will Need:

  • Half a loaf of day-old bread (about 8 slices – 1 inch thick)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp of nutmeg – I really like nutmeg but you may want to cut back.  Fresh ground is best.
  • 2 rounded tbsp sugar
  • butter for the griddle
  • maple syrup to serve

In a small bowl combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Put aside.  In a 8×8 baking dish or other shallow container big enough to accommodate your bread (don’t use a bowl, you want an even coating and you want to get the bread out of the custard quickly before it absorbs too much liquid.  Splashing it around in a bowl makes it hard to get an even coat) whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Add 1/2 of the cinnamon mix and whisk again.  You will add the remainder after the first 4 slices are cooking.  I find if you add it all at once the first few slices get all the spicy goodness while the others are lacking in flavour.

20180929_080728

Heat a griddle to 375F, or if you don’t have one you can use a heavy bottomed skillet heated on medium to medium high.  You want the egg to begin to cook as soon as the bread hits the pan but not burn before the custard has a chance to cook through.  Melt a small tab of butter where you will place each slice.  Lay your bread in the custard and flip it to get an even coating on both sides, this should be a quick dip, then lay the bread on the hot griddle where you’ve melted the butter.  Repeat with 3 more slices.  These take about 3 min per side so be ready to flip.  When both sides are nicely browned, remove from griddle.  Add the remainder of the cinnamon mixture to the custard and repeat with the remaining 4 slices.  It’s ready to serve!  Smear with additional butter if you wish (I mean, you’re already breaking the bank on calories with the bread and the syrup so why not?) and pour on some maple syrup and voila!  I like to pair these with some yummy breakfast sausages and some fruit for brunch.  It’s a crowd pleaser!

20180929_081320

 

Advertisements

Raisin Bran Muffins with Greek Yogurt and Applesauce.

By Julie

Makes 12 muffins

Time:  30 min including baking

Wheat Bran is amazing stuff.  Just 1/3 of a cup has 26% of your daily fiber and 10% of your iron.  It also tastes like cardboard.  Really dry cardboard.  In order to get the cardboard to taste like something, I opted for easy muffins.  These bake in just 15 min and are on the table start to finish in about 30 min.  If you’re one of those morning people, you could even manage these on a weekday (I think it’s insanity to wake up an extra half an hour early to bake so I just make ahead and freeze them).  They will also keep well for a couple of days in an air-tight container.

I was in search of a raisin bran muffin recipe that was moist, flavorful, but also not packed full of fat.  I didn’t find one, so I made one.

20180910_120714

One of the first things you will find is that most raisin bran muffin recipes contain buttermilk.  For the same reason that most chocolate cakes do… it provides richness but also lift because it works with soda to make bubbles and a light and fluffy crumb.  Buttermilk is not something I have in my fridge.  That being said, it’s easy to make but I find it never quite tastes the same.  One thing I DO always have in my fridge is greek yogurt.  It’s high in protein, but not fat.  It’s thick, and rich, and possess the acidic quality you need to wake up the soda in the cake and start that reaction before you even begin the baking process.  Also it’s delicious with a tang that is hard to beat.  I used vanilla greek yogurt here but any flavor will work and by using a flavoured yogurt you can change up this recipe easy-peasy so that it becomes a staple in your household.  I also removed the oil and substituted applesauce, and skipped the sugar and replaced it with natural maple syrup.  The batter for these muffins came out super light and airy, almost mousse-like, which resulted in beautiful, fluffy, moist muffins.  And the raisins?  Well you know how I feel about raisins, but if you absolutely must leave them out these muffins will stand up well on their own.  Or you could replace them with any dried fruit, such as dates or cranberries.  These are an easy way to add a ton of fiber to your breakfast routine or snack.

20180910_113909

You Will Need

  • 1.5 Cups of Wheat Bran
  • 1 cup of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup of apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup of greek yogurt ( or buttermilk if you have it)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup of raisin (any variety)

Preheat Oven to 375F

Grease your muffin tin well, I use cooking spray because it’s just easier.  As I’ve explained in my previous muffin posts, I don’t like to use the muffin wrappers.  I hate it when the muffins stick to them and they are unnecessary.  If you grease your muffin tin the muffins will slide out easily, and they will have a lovely crispy exterior that will make you glad you listened to me.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.  In a separate, medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients.  Add wet to dry and fold the dry into the wet until just combined, do not over mix or your will squash all of the fluffiness out of your muffins.  Fold in the raisins.  Place in center of the oven for 15 min.  Test with a skewer, if it comes out clean or with only a few crumbs they are done.  Rest for 5 min and if you remove them while they are still hot you will get the previously mentioned crispy exterior.  Enjoy.

20180910_120518[1].jpg

Vegan Breakfast Cookies

By Corinne

I like my cookies soft and not too sweet. I like to think of these as ‘breakfast cookies’ as there is some goodness packed in there. These cookies stay soft even after baking, but the sunflower seeds and almonds give them a bit of a crunch.   I prefer them without chocolate chips, but my husband has more of a sweet tooth and prefers them with.  They are vegan as long as you use chocolate chips with no milk solids.

Time: prep 10 min, bake 20-22 min per batch

Makes: about 48 medium sized cookies

Oven: preheat 350F

You will need:

  • 3 cups quick oats*
  • 1/2-1cup lightly packed brown sugar (I tend to use the smaller amount as I find with the other sweet ingredients(cranberries, chocolate chips) they are sweet enough.
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds (roasted, salted)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds(need nut free? Substitute pepitas-shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom (If you love cardamom and would like it to be more ‘present’, go 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 tsp cardamom instead)
  • 1 can (398 ml) 1 3/4 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup semi sweet or dark chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together all dry ingredients. Melt virgin coconut oil in microwave, about 1 minute. Add coconut oil, canned pumpkin to dry mixture and thoroughly mix together. This can be done pretty easily by hand, or if you have a mixer, that works too.

Roll a scoopful of cookie dough into a ball between your palms, then squish flat.  They cook into whatever shape you make them now and they don’t spread or ‘puff up’  so you can snuggle them up close together.

Bake for 20-22 minutes. Cookies will be slightly browned around the edges, bottoms and tops. Cool completely and store in an air tight container, or freeze and take out just a few at a time as desired.

*oats are one of those ‘maybe’ items for many celiac people. While oats themselves are gluten free, crops may be contaminated with wheat. Some brands of oats will say ‘gluten free’ and others don’t.

20180711_144730.jpg

Fast and Easy Vegan Mini Batch Cinnamon Rolls

20180304_115319.jpg

By Corinne

These are an adaptation of a recipe I’ve used for my hospitality class. They make a perfectly acceptable cinnamon roll, even if you aren’t vegan. While they don’t have the richness of a yeast based recipe, the fact you can make them on a whim makes them totally worth it.

I personally prefer mine without icing, as I find them sweet enough. But the icing is good, especially if you make it with a liquor instead of non-dairy milk.

20180222_201120.jpg

Makes: 6 rolls

Time: prep 10 minutes or less, bake 15 min, total 25 minutes

You will need

  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt (pinch of salt)
  • 5 tablespoons non-dairy milk (75 mL)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp salt (pinch of salt)
  • 2 tbsp chopped, toasted pecans (if desired)

ICING

  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of non dairy milk (OR a liquor of your choice you think will go well with cinnamon- I like grand marnier!)

Preheat oven to 375 . Spray muffin tins (6) if you are worried about sticking. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Stir until combined. Keep separate until later!

In a separate bowl, combine flour, 1 tablespoon white sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir. 

In a separate bowl, combine milk, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until a sticky dough forms.

Lightly flour the counter. Knead the dough until no longer sticky.

Roll out into a rectangle about 6 inches (15 cm) long and about 4 inches wide. Brush 2 tablespoons of coconut oil onto the dough and spread it out. Now you get to use the sugars! Sprinkle sugars and cinnamon on top of dough. Sprinkle toasted nuts on if using. 

Roll up dough lengthwise, pinch the seam together and cut into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin pan, brush with the last of the melted coconut oil.

Bake for 14 – 15 minutes in muffin pan.

Mix powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon of milk(or liquor!) and stir until combined. Frost the rolls.

Small Batch Blueberry Lavender Jam

By Corinne

Several years ago I traveled to South Africa. While there, one of the wineries I visited had chocolates paired with their wine tastings. One was a rose milk chocolate, another lavender, and the third was a salted dark chocolate. It was the flavours of rose and lavender, flavours that I was much more accustomed to as scents rather than tastes, that I found memorably intriguing. I love to experiment with these floral notes in my cooking, and while it might not be a traditional flavour of jam, I find lavender pairs beautifully with blueberries.

I always make jam in small batches, for three main reasons. Firstly, I would rather have a few jars of several different things rather than 20 jars of the same thing. Additionally, canning in a small batch means you can use less sugar and often skip the packaged pectin. Finally, when you do a small batch its a relatively small investment in time and resources. If you try something new and don’t love it, at least you only have 4 jars rather than 20 and produce, even in season, can be expensive.

I 100% recommend Marisa McClellan and her books on making small batches of jam – Preserving by the Pint and Food in Jars. If you are new to jam making, I can’t possibly do better than to point you towards her instructions for those new to canning.

Culinary lavender can be a bit hard to track down depending on where you live, if you live in Thunder Bay you can find it at the Mystic Garden on Algoma- they have a surprising selection of herbs and spices upstairs.

Time: about 45 minutes

Makes: 5-6 125mL (4fl oz, 1/4 pint) jars – yield will depend a little on the water content of your berries

You will need:

  • 2 lbs of blueberries, rinsed and picked over (remove little stems and unripe berries)
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp culinary lavender (it will be the little flower parts – ensure the lavender you source is ok for use in cooking, many times the stuff used for potpourri has been treated with non food safe pesticides or added fragrance)
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

Prepare jars and hot water bath for canning. I always prepare one more jar than I think I will need. When you are making small batches of jam you are relying on the natural pectin present in the fruit as well as the large surface area of your cooking pan and the small amount of fruit in order to cook off enough liquid for it to set. This means the yield can sometimes be a bit more or less than you expect. See here if you are new to canning for more detailed instructions for this part.

Put the lavender in either cheese cloth (doubled so the little flower bits don’t escape!) or if you have one of those ‘tea balls’ that will work as well. Mix the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in the pan you are going to cook your jam in. You want a shallow sauce pan rather than a deep pot in order to help with quick evaporation. Allow the blueberries, sugar and lemon juice to sit for about 20 minutes until the sugar has become syrupy. If you prefer a smoother jam, you can use a potato masher to mash up some of the fruit at this point(but don’t mash it all).

When your jars and hot water bath are ready, place the lavender in with your blueberries and start cooking your jam. Over medium high heat, bring the berry/sugar/lavender mixture to a boil. Stir constantly once your jam is boiling. It will foam up a bit at first, but then will settle down.

As it thickens, it might splat and get a little bit messy. Cook for 18-22 minutes. You will know your jam is ready when you draw the spoon through the jam it doesn’t immediately fill in the space and it ‘hisses’. Excuse the oven timer in the following video 🙂

Here  is a description of the plate test, another way to check for set. I usually remove my lavender at about the 15 minute mark to ease stirring and pouring, and my jam is usually done between 18 and 22 minutes.

Remove your jars from the boiling water and quickly fill jars to about half an inch to the top (you can go a little fuller, to 1/4 inch from the top, but don’t do less than half an inch). Place tops and fasten rings fingertip tight. Process for 10 minutes in boiling water. Remove from water and let cool, testing seal after about 12 hours. Store in a cool dry place. Any jars that do not seal (I’ve only rarely had that happen) should be refrigerated and used first.

20170729_181009

Cherry Clafoutis

 

20170704_121119By Corinne

What is clafoutis? It’s traditionally a French dessert (but I love it for breakfast!). I don’t even know how to properly describe it- it’s somewhat like a custardy dense cake that’s full of delicious fruit. In any case, it whips together so quickly that you can have it ready to go by the time your oven is preheated.

Clafoutis is one of those magical dishes that can work for either breakfast or dessert. If you want to finish it with some powdered sugar, or even some whipped cream, or ice cream to make it dessert then go for it! I tend to make it for breakfast, and because I am impatient and hungry I’ve almost always eaten it hot right out of the oven, though traditionally it’s served room temperature or chilled.

Speaking of tradish, if you want to not pit your cherries, that’s actually the traditional way to make a cherry clafoutis. I’ve done it both ways, apparently leaving the pits in is supposed to impart a subtle almond flavour, but I’ve never noticed a difference and prefer to pit my cherries even though it’s a little more prep. Totally up to you!

Serves: 4 for breakfast, 8 for dessert

Time: prep/preheat 10 min(400F), bake 25-35 min depending on baking dish used.

You will need:

  • generous 2 cups of cherries, pitted or not as you wish 🙂
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly, plus more to butter dish
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum or amaretto

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 9-10 inch glass pie plate, or stoneware pie plate (what I used in the pictures) or a cast iron skillet. Baking time will depend on what dish you use- and whether it’s nine or ten inches. I find using a glass pie plate only takes 25 min, while using my stoneware pie plate takes 35 min.

Pit your cherries if you wish, and put them in the buttered dish.

Melt butter in microwave and set aside. For the rest of the instructions you can either whisk by hand or use a mixer, I do either depending on how I’m feeling that day :). Whisk 3 eggs and 1/2 cup sugar until thoroughly combined. Then gradually add the butter, whisking until it’s incorporated. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Finally, add the tbsp of spiced rum. The batter should be very smooth.

Pour the batter over the cherries and pop into the oven. Check at 25 min. Give the pan a little jiggle, if your clafoutis wobbles give it some more time. When it’s finished it should be slightly browned and almost set in the middle. By almost set, I mean when you give the pan a shake there should only be a little wobble in the very middle. If you find it’s browning too much on top, throw a piece of tinfoil lightly over the top until it’s finished.

Serve room temperature or chilled, or hot out of the oven if you just can’t wait 🙂

Rum and Eggnog Bread

img_4782

By Corinne

Rum and eggnog is perhaps the quintessential Christmas holiday drink. I felt like they would make a good match in a quick loaf, but unfortunately all the recipes I looked through either called for vanilla pudding mix or edible oil product flavoured coffee creamer, or only used artificial rum extract. Was it not possible to make a loaf with just… egg nog and… actual rum? It turns out that it is 🙂

And since you have the rum and eggnog and nutmeg out already, you know, you may as well make yourself a drink while you’re waiting for this to come out of the oven.

Makes: 1 loaf

Oven: 350F

Time: prep 10 minutes, bake 40-55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean – baking time will depend a bit on the type of pan you use, and your individual oven. Check at 40 minutes – mine took 50 minutes.

You will need:

For the bread:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup spiced rum
  • 3/4 cup egg nog
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 tbsp spiced rum
  • 2 tsp egg nog
  • pinch of ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Using either a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add 2 eggs, 1/4 cup spiced rum, 3/4 cup egg nog and 1 tsp vanilla extract to the butter and sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.

Add dry ingredients to wet, and stir together with a spoon until just combined. Batter should be lumpy. Pour into a lightly greased loaf pan.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 40-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out and allow to cool completely before glazing.

For glaze, sift powdered sugar, and whisk in 2 tsp eggnog, 2 tbsp spiced rum, and a pinch of nutmeg. Drizzle over cooled loaf.