Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

Bacon and Leek Quiche

What food comes to mind most often when planning a menu for brunch?  Is it quiche?  I’m not surprised.  Quiche may well be the most versatile brunch dish.  A rich eggy custard encased in a flaky crust, it can be made with an almost endless variety of herbs, meats, cheeses and vegetables.  It can also be served hot or at room temperature, making it an ideal choice it you have other dishes on the menu.

We know that bacon can never go wrong, it seems, in any dish; so that’s beyond question in this quiche.  But leeks?  Probably not high on the list of favored ingredients.   If you are not familiar with leeks, they are a member of the onion family and have a mild oniony taste.  In most dishes where they are used they sort of blend in and their flavor is hard to identify, but not in this dish.  Their mild distinct flavor is noticeable and goes especially well with Gruyère cheese.

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My best description for the filling in this quiche is that it is “silky”.  The leeks are sautéed in a little butter until tender before adding to the crust with the bacon.  Once the egg, milk, cheese mixture is added everything melds together and bakes into a fabulous, silky, smooth custard, with bits of salty bacon throughout.

I made this dish one evening for our dinner and served it with a large mixed vegetable salad.  It seemed like the perfect meal.  The portion that was left over I rewarmed for lunch, and once again we enjoyed it immensely.

If you are someone who really like leeks, bacon and Gruyère cheese, (or even if you don’t) I encourage you to try this quiche.  I think you will be really glad you did.

BACON AND LEEK QUICHE

Yield:   makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • single-crust flaky pastry doughIMG_9505
  • Smoked bacon, 4 slices, coarsely chopped
  • unsalted butter, 1 Tbsp.
  • leeks, 2 small, white and pale green parts, chopped
  • half and half, 1 cup
  • large eggs, 2
  • kosher salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp.
  • freshly grated nutmeg, 1/8 tsp.
  • Gruyère cheese, 1 cup shredded

Directions:

1.  Use your favorite recipe for pie dough, or use refrigerated store-bought pie dough.  Roll the dough out into a round about 12 inches in diameter.  Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish or tart pan.  Trim the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang.  Fold the overhanging dough over and into the pan, pressing it firmly against the dough on the sides of the pan; the dough should be doubly thick at the sides and rise about 1/8 inch above the pan rim.  Line the dough with a piece of parchment paper, and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

Make the pie shell and chill for 30 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375*F.  Place the dough-lined pan on a baking sheet and fill the parchment paper with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake until the dough is set and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set.

Fill pie shell with pie weights and bake till set, about 20 minutes.

3.  While the crust is baking, make the filling.  In a fry pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Fry bacon till crisp, remove and drain on toweling.

Pour out the fat, wipe out the pan with clean paper towels, and add the butter.  Melt over low heat.  Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Saute leeks in butter till tender.

Transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

4.  Remove the baking sheet with the tart pan from the oven.  Remove the parchment and the weights/beans.  In a bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until combined.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Whisk together eggs, half-and-half and seasonings.

Scatter the bacon, leeks, and cheese evenly in the pastry shell.

Layer in bacon.

Layer in bacon.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Cover bacon with leeks, then cheese.

Carefully pour the egg mixture into the shell.

Pour in egg mixture.

Pour in egg mixture.

Return to the oven and bake until the filling is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly, then serve.

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SOURCE:  Comfort Food, warm and homey, rich and hearty,  by Rick Rodgers

Apple Pie Biscuits

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

Apple Pie Biscuits

 

Baking is all about sharing.   Sharing the recipes, sharing techniques, and most definitely, sharing what you’ve made.

Today’s offering is all about the most divine biscuits, perfect for the early fall weather we are having here in the Northeast.  I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

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Apple picking time is upon us, or you may be getting yours at the farmer’s market or grocery store.  Apples and pumpkin are probably the two favorites to include when baking in the fall.  So in the coming weeks expect to see a variety of offerings featuring these two ingredients.  Today  it’s apples!  🙂

This recipe uses self-rising flour as an ingredient.  I like to use King Arthur’s Self-Rising Flour.  It’s wonderfully light and includes non-aluminum baking powder and salt.  It’s absolutely perfect for biscuits, pancakes and muffins.  I always have a bag of it in my kitchen because I can guarantee fluffy perfect results whenever I use it.

APPLE PIE BISCUITSIMG_8073

Yield:   12 biscuits

Ingredients:

For the apples:

  • 1 baking apple (such as Fuji, or Gala), peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:IMG_8080

  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3  to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

1.  Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  Prepare the apples:  Place butter in a medium skillet over medium heat to melt.

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Add the apple slices, cinnamon, and brown sugar.

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Toss with a wooden spoon until all of the apples are coated and the sugar is melted over the apples, about 2 to 4 minutes.  The mixture will be warm and glossy, but the apples won’t be cooked through.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

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3.  Make the biscuit dough:  Place flour in a medium bowl and add the cold butter pieces.  Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, quickly break down the butter into the flour.  Some of the butter bits will be the size of oats, some the size of small peas.  Stir in the granulated sugar.

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4.  Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add 2/3 cup buttermilk.  Stir the mixture together until it is well moistened and holds together well.  Biscuit dough should be soft and moist.  Add the remaining buttermilk as needed.

A shaggy dough that doesn't quite come together.

A shaggy dough that doesn’t quite come together.

5.  Use regular all-purpose flour to generously dust a work surface.Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and use your hands to gather it into a ball and gently pat it into a small rectangle.   Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1/2 inch thick, and about 7 x 10-inches.

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6.  Arrange cooled apples in a single layer over half of the rolled out biscuit dough.

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Fold the bare side of the dough over the apples and gently press the edges to seal in the apples.  Use your hands to nudge/ encourage the dough into a 6 x 8-inch rectangle if the edges are looking a bit rounded.

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7.  Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into a total of 12 biscuits.  Flour the knife a bit if it gets too sticky.  Use a spatula to place each biscuit onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2-inches apart.

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8.  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar for topping, cinnamon, and salt.  Brush each biscuit top with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

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9.  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the biscuits are risen and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve warm, or cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

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  Biscuits are best served the day they are made or the day after.  They may be rewarmed in the microwave.

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Tender and  light….you won’t be able to stop at just one!

 

SOURCE:   Joy the Baker

Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

Southwestern Egg Casserole

With Mother’s Day this weekend you may be thinking about having a mid-day brunch.  Egg-based casseroles are often what anchor a brunch menu, but sometimes they can be time consuming to prepare or you don’t get the timing right so they’re hot and ready to serve when everyone is ready to eat.   It gets a little tricky there.  I’ve had that experience, so when I want to serve a large egg casserole, I like to have it prepared in advance so I can pop it in the oven at just the right time and it will be cooked and served hot when everyone is ready.

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This casserole will meet that requirement.  It can be made in parts, and the parts put together quickly just before putting it in the oven.  What you do is cook up the sausage with onion and pepper,  mix up the eggs and cream, combine the two parts and add cheese. Now, all that can be done ahead and refrigerated.  The last part involves cutting up refrigerated  biscuits, laying them in a skillet or casserole, and pouring the egg-sausage mixture over them.  Top with more grated cheese and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.  Really easy and so so good.  This is a dish that can be spicy if you like it that way, or go easy on the spicy stuff to tame it down to your liking.

Mom will love this dish, especially if someone else is making it for her.   Hint, hint.  🙂

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

An egg casserole that Mom will love.

SOUTHWESTERN EGG CASSEROLE

Yield:  Servings,  8 – 10IMG_7230

Ingredients:

  • 1 package  (12-oz.) bulk chorizo or spicy pork breakfast sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped bell pepper, any color
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 2 cups shredded pepper Jack or Mexican cheese blend ( 8-oz)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (16.3-oz.)  Grands Flaky Layers refrigerated original biscuits (Pillsbury or store brand)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 375*F.  In a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, cook sausage, onion and bell pepper over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink; drain.  Remove mixture from skillet; set aside.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

Cooking up the sausage, onion and pepper.

2.  In a large bowl, beat eggs and cream.  Stir in 1 cup of cheese, the pepper flakes and sausage mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Mix sausage mixture into egg and cream mixture.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits.  Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

Cut each biscuit into 6 pieces.

3.  Spread oil in bottom of skillet.  Place biscuits in skillet in an even layer.  Pour egg-sausage mixture over biscuits.  Top with remaining 1 cup cheese.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

4.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until egg mixture is set and crust is deep golden brown.  Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Using the same skillet you cooked the sausage in is easy, and a black iron skillet conveys that “southwestern look”, but if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet, you can bake it in a greased or sprayed 13 x 9-inch baking dish.  Baking time should be the same, but start checking for doneness at around 20 minutes.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

Puffed and golden, smelling wonderful.

If you’re like me, and you like to have breakfast for supper sometimes,  this is a great dish to serve.  Just add a side salad.

Breakfast for supper.

Breakfast for supper.

 

SOURCE:    Pillsbury

 

(Lighter) Spinach-Bacon Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Spinach Bacon Quiche

If brunch is in your plans in the near future, one favorite menu item is quiche.   Quiche, however, can contain lots of hidden calories and fat.  One wedge can contain in the neighborhood of 600 (or more) calories.  Yet we love it, so the dilemma is how to lighten it up, and still get all the creamy goodness that we love.

One way would be to eliminate the crust, but really, who likes a quiche with no flaky crust to support all that eggy, cheesy filling.  This recipe uses a crust made with olive oil instead of the traditional butter or shortening.  The heart healthy olive oil lends a “green”, flavor to the crust.  The filling is bulked up with mushrooms and spinach, adding few calories, but great nutritional value.  A nutty flavored cheese like Gruyère, or Swiss is the perfect compliment to the vegetables, and only 2 ounces go into this quiche.  The egg custard is made using mostly low fat milk (I used skim milk) plus a splash of half-and-half that adds richness but fewer calories and fat than heavy cream.  The quiche is finished off with a sprinkle of crisp bacon on the top, which you taste first, so you get a savory crunch in every bite.  One sixth of this quiche is a 317-calorie slice of heaven.  Vegetarians would find this quiche very satisfying even without the bacon, or could use a substitute.

I tested out this recipe earlier this week, served it for dinner with a side salad, and Mr. D.  loved it,  never suspecting it was a “lighter” version. I thought it was luscious.

This quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

The quiche with salad and bread makes a complete meal.

(LIGHTER) SPINACH-BACON QUICHE

Yield:  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 5.6 ounces all-purpose flour, about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

    Ingredients ready to start cooking.

  • 3/4 kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • cooking spray
  • 3 slices bacon, lean center cut, if possible (vegetarians can omit bacon)
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup 1 % low-fat milk (I used fat-free)
  • 1/3 cup half and half, or light cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (swiss cheese, or any good melting cheese may be used instead)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.

2.  ** Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup.  Combine flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and baking powder in a food processor; pulse 2 times to combine.  Combine oil with 3 tablespoons water.  With processor running, slowly add oil mixture through food chute; process until dough comes together.  Turn dough out onto slightly floured surface.  Knead 1 minute.  Press dough into a 5-inch disk; wrap in plastic wrap, and chill 20 minutes.

3.  Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.  Fit into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate coated with cooking spray.  Line dough with foil;  arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil.  Bake at 425*F. for 12 minutes until edges are golden.  Remove weights and foil; bake an additional 2 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

4.  Reduce oven temperature to 350*F.

5.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings;  crumble and set aside.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes.

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Bacon crisped, shallots being sautéed

Add mushrooms and thyme; cook until tender, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until it wilts.  Remove from heat.  Drain any excess liquid.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

Mushrooms and spinach added to skillet.

6.  Place milk, half-and-half, eggs, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender; process until smooth.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

Prepare egg custard in a blender.

7.  Arrange half of cheese over bottom of crust; top with spinach mixture and remaining half of cheese.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Cheese goes into the crust first.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Next goes the spinach mustard mixture.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Cover with remaining cheese.

Carefully pour milk mixture over cheese.  Sprinkle with bacon.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Sprinkle crumbled bacon over all, and pour in milk mixture.

Bake at 350*F for 45 minutes or until filling is set and top begins to brown.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Bacon Spinach Quiche

Bacon Spinach Quiche

**As a time saving step, and if calories in the crust are not a concern, you could use a frozen pie crust.  Bake as directed in step #3, according to package directions.

Serve with salad.

Serve with salad.

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SOURCE:     Cooking Light Magazine

 

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

Banana Chip Muffins

It’s hard to know when would be the best time to eat these wonderful muffins.  Certainly, for breakfast, but they make a mighty fine dessert or snack as well.  I tested out this recipe last weekend because I plan to make them for an Easter Bake sale.  Muffins are always great with coffee on Easter morning, when you know there will be a big meal sometime later in the day.

When I was a teenager our youth group always got up really early to attend an Easter sunrise service.   At that hour of the morning, it was quite chilly outside, so when the service was over we always went to someone’s house or back to church for hot chocolate and whatever other goodies were provided.  Moving and beautiful as the service was, I always looked forward to the refreshments that followed.  These muffins are the essential accessory  to a hot beverage, and would be perfect served at an early morning function, or maybe an early meeting at the office.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

Muffin and a hot beverage.

These are sturdy muffins chock full of flaked coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts if you care to add them.  The tropical taste of the coconut blends beautifully with the banana flavor and develops the batter along the way; the inclusion of  chocolate chips is a necessity for those  individuals who require chocolate in every bite of muffin.

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What makes the texture of these banana muffins somewhat cake-like and soft is the process by which the batter is assembled: the butter and brown sugar are creamed together until fluffy and smooth.  This builds the batter’s creamy quality and prepares the mixture for the addition of the whole eggs.  Once the eggs are added, the flavoring extract and the mashed bananas are incorporated, followed by the final mix-in of the dry ingredients and enough buttermilk to moisten the whole.  The batter is now ready to accept the shredded coconut, mini chips and nuts.

Spooned into lined muffin cups and baked, the batter bakes up into plump muffins that have lovely rounded tops.  When you break open a warm muffin, you’ll find a tender, moist, “crumb” holding chocolate chips and coconut, all wrapped by the taste of banana.  Sigh!!

Can anything make them better?   Yes, butter!!

Can anything make them better? Yes, butter!!

BANANA CHIP MUFFINS

Yield:   12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup white whole wheat and 1 cup regular flour.)IMG_7014
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( I used mini chips.)

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Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Line 12 muffin cups (3-ounce size)  with paper liners, or grease lightly.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the brown sugar for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

3.  Beat in the eggs to incorporate,  add in the banana and vanilla.   The mixture may look curdled.   Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, continuing to mix just to combine.

4.  Reserve 2 tablespoons chocolate chips.  Add the rest of the chips, the coconut, and nuts, (if using) to the batter and stir in to distribute evenly.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.  Sprinkle the tops with the reserved chocolate chips.  Bake 25 – 30 minutes until a toothpick into the center of one muffin comes out clean.

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6.  Remove the muffin tin to a wire rack.  Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes.  Remove muffins from the cups and finish cooling on the rack.  Serve warm or cool completely and store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Happy Easter!  :)

Happy Easter! 🙂

 

SOURCE:   Chocolatier Magazine

 

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

Monte Cristo Sandwich

The Sunday morning after we change our clocks ahead for Daylight Savings Time, I always sleep late.  (We did lose an hour of sleep after all).  As a result breakfast is on the late-side, getting close to lunch. So I combine the two and one meal serves as two, i.e. brunch.

That event took place not long ago, and I ended up making this breakfast sandwich that, served with some fruit, was hearty enough to last us till dinnertime.

I used croissants to make these.

I used croissants to make these.

I don’t know what it is, but we seem to love the convenience of a whole meal in one package!  Or maybe its because these handheld meals are so darn delicious, but I am seeing breakfast sandwiches everywhere.  Whether you choose to use a knife and fork, or just grab them and go, these will certainly make you want to get out of bed and get going!

The Monte Cristo sandwich is an American classic, where you dip ham and swiss cheese sandwiches in egg batter and pan-fry them.  Dust the hot sandwiches with confectioners’ sugar and serve with some jam on the side if you like, or drizzle them with maple syrup for a real treat.

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH

Yield:   Makes 4 servings/sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Dijon mustard
  • 8 slices country bread (I used croissants for mine)
  • swiss cheese slices ( I used Muenster cheese)
  • sliced ham
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • confectioners’ sugar, if desired

Directions:

1.  Spread mustard on bread.  Layer 4 bread slices with Swiss cheese, ham, and cheese again.  Place remaining bread slices on top.

Layer up the ham and cheese, then dip the sandwich in egg.

Layer up the ham and cheese, then dip the sandwich in egg.

2.  In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture, turning to coat well.

3.  In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  When butter is foamy, add the sandwiches, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.

Cooking on the griddle.

Cooking on the griddle.

Second side getting browned.

Second side getting browned.

Serve immediately, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Forgot to dust them with sugar.  :D

Forgot to dust them with sugar. 😀

SOURCE:   Everyday Food

Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones.

Cherry Scones.

When you want a baked treat for brunch or afternoon tea, this scone recipe will fit the bill.  I made these for the first time recently, and we couldn’t wait for them to cool before having one.  They were so flaky and tender, they just fell apart in our hands.  The dried cherries lend just the right amount of sweetness.  These are perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, for breakfast, brunch, snack, afternoon break;  anytime at all is the best time to enjoy one.

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If you want a good basic scone recipe to rely on, this one is it.  You could replace the dried cherries with so many other dried fruits like cranberries (change lemon zest to orange zest),  apricots, golden raisins, snipped dates, etc.

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CHERRY SCONES

Yield:  Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2  1/2 Tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 Tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for brushing scones  (You may substitute buttermilk or light cream, but heavy cream will give you a richer scone)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 425*F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat;  set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Add butter and pulse 3 to 6 times until mixture resembles a course meal.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl; stir in cherries and lemon zest.

Add dried cherries and lemon zest to dry ingredients.

Add dried cherries and lemon zest to dry ingredients.

3.  In a small bowl, beat together egg and cream.  Add to flour mixture; stir gently with a fork until mixture just comes together.  If dough seems too dry, add a splash of cream;  mixture should not be too sticky.

A very "shaggy" dough, but it will come together. Add a drop or two of cream if needed.

A very “shaggy” dough, but it will come together. Add a drop or two of cream if needed.

4.  Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Shape dough into a 6-inch circle, about 1 inch thick.  Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 8 equal wedges.

Cut dough into 8 wedges. Brush with a little cream.

Cut dough into 8 wedges. Brush with a little cream.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet; lightly brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Sprinkle tops with sugar.

Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

5.  Let cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  These scones are best eaten the day they are made.

Enjoy with coffee or tea.

Enjoy with coffee or tea.

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SOURCE:  MARTHA STEWART.COM

The Morning After the Night Before

Are you planning a cozy dinner at home for your sweetie and you this Valentine’s Day?  Skip the crowded restaurant this year and make a romantic dinner for two.   I’m not here today to help you plan your date-night menu, but instead to remind you of the morning after, when you may want to keep that special “glow” going.

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Here’s the plan:  the next morning when you wake up, quietly go down to the kitchen, and prepare that first cup of coffee, and while you’re there surreptitiously slip this Cheesey Egg, Sausage, and Potato casserole into the oven.  While it’s baking you and your honey can enjoy your coffee(s) snuggled under the covers.  In about 30 minutes or so you will notice a wonderful aroma coming from the kitchen.  That’s when you say ” let’s go see what we can find for breakfast”, and surprise!! you find this enticing breakfast casserole already to serve, hot out of the oven.

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He will be amazed at your  talent for coming up with such a wonderful breakfast.  The first slice of it will reveal a bottom layer of potatoes, made from frozen hash browns, then an eggy layer, on top of that a layer of spicy breakfast sausage and onions, all topped off with melted cheese.  How did you accomplish this so fast?  Only you will know that it was all prepared the evening before while you were making dinner, then hidden away in the refrigerator over night, ready to pop into the oven in the morning.  Oh, you clever girl, you!

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CHEESY POTATO AND SAUSAGE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

YIELD:  6 servings

Ingredients:IMG_6404

  • 1  pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cups hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • dash or two of hot sauce, optional
  • 1 cup grated cheese of choice, cheddar, Colby, Jack, swiss

Directions:

1.  Lightly grease a baking dish.  This may be a round deep dish 9″ pie dish, or an 8 or 9-inch square pan.

2.  In a large skillet over medium heat, crumble the sausage, and cook to brown and render the fat.  Add the chopped onion and cook until onion is translucent.  Set aside.

Cooking up the sausage and onion.

Cooking up the sausage and onion.

3.  In the same skillet, leave any drippings in place, and add the hash browns.  Cook just briefly, to remove any iciness and brown then up a little.   Transfer potatoes to the prepared baking dish, spreading them out in an even layer to form a crust.

Spread the potatoes out to form a crust.

Spread the potatoes out to form a crust.

4.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce if using.  Pour over the potatoes in the baking dish.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes.

Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes.

5.  Layer the sausage-onion mixture over the eggs, and sprinkle with grated cheese.  Cover with foil.

Layer on the sausage and onions.

Layer on the sausage and onions.

Top with grated cheese.  Cover with foil.

Top with grated cheese. Cover with foil.

6.  Bake for about 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and leave in the oven another 5-6 minutes to brown up the top and crisp the edges.

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Cut into wedges or squares and serve hot with a side of fruit or fruit salad, and toast or biscuits.

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When I served this to my husband all he could say was “Mmmm-mmmm.  Wow!”

SOURCE:    Allrecipes.com

Fruited Baked French Toast

Fruited Baked French Toast

Fruited Baked French Toast

Even though I already have several recipes  for  baked french toast here on the blog, I just had to include this one too. It is a little out of the ordinary because it includes fruit(s), and I had never encountered a recipe like it before.  Thanks to my daughter, who we visited over the Christmas holidays, we had this for breakfast on Christmas morning.  Everyone agreed it was just delicious.  Some of us liked it with a little (read, a lot of) maple syrup on it, others thought it was just right without any added sweetener on it.  What I particularly liked was the “tang” from the berries that you get in every bite.  And the cinnamon crumb topping on it is an added bonus.  This is definitely a recipe you will want to save and make again and again whether it be for guests or a special weekend breakfast.

As I’ve said before, this type of breakfast casserole is perfect for a late breakfast or brunch when you are entertaining, because you can make as much or as little as you need.  Slice up the bread the evening before and soak it overnight in the egg/milk mixture.  Then in the morning, make up the crumb mixture, sprinkle on the berries and the crumb topping and bake until golden brown.  Pretty simple to make really, and awesomely good.  This one just became my new favorite recipe for baked french toast.

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FRUITED BAKED FRENCH TOAST

Yield:    8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 small loaf day-old French bread (8-9 oz.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries ( We used mixed berries, and cut the larger pieces in half.)

Directions:

1.  Grease 13″ x 9″ baking dish.  Slice the bread diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Pack them tightly into the baking dish.

Cut up bread and fit tightly into the baking dish.

Cut up bread and fit tightly into the baking dish.

2.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Whisk in the milk until well blended.  Pour this mixture over the bread in the baking dish, turning over the slices to saturate well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3.  Heat oven to 375*F.  In a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.

Measure out topping ingredients.

Measure out topping ingredients.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs….

Cutting in the butter.

Cutting in the butter.

4.  Turn bread slices over in the baking dish.  Scatter berries over the bread and sprinkle with the crumb mixture.  Bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Sprinkle fruit, then crumbs over the bread/egg mixture.

Sprinkle fruit, then crumbs over the bread/egg mixture.

Browning up in the oven.

Browning up in the oven.

5.  Before serving, cut into squares and serve with syrup.

This is so delicious.  :D

This is so delicious. 😀

SOURCE:   Unknown.

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

In case you are still frantically searching for something to serve on Christmas morning, or for a holiday brunch,  these breakfast rolls are just the ticket.  Easy to make at the last minute, a beautiful cheery color, and divine flavor.  They are a cinch to put together.  No yeast dough, no kneading, no rolling of dough.   They get baked in muffin tins with all the good cranberry filling on the bottom, and a tender dough that’s a lot like scones on top.  After they are baked, turn them upside down on a serving platter, and there you are.  A gorgeous color for the holidays, not too sweet, just right with coffee or tea.

My food processor was out and I was chopping cranberries for cranberry relish, and also to make a batch of my Cranberry Liqueur.  So while I was on a roll, (pun intended) I continued chopping enough cranberries to quickly make up these cranberry rolls.   Because I was also chopping up orange to put in the cranberry relish,  I put about 1/4  cup chopped orange in the topping of my rolls too.  WOW!  Spur-of-the-moment decisions are often the best.   Deeelish!

CRANBERRY-PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS

Yield:  Makes 12 rolls

This is what makes the topping.

This is what makes the topping.

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • OR,  3/4 cup cranberries and 1/4 cup chopped orange, optional
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

    Ingredients for dough.

    Ingredients for dough.

  • 2 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup cold buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2.  Combine melted butter, brown sugar, brown rice syrup ( or corn syrup), cranberries, pecans and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Divide among the muffin cups, spreading about 1 tablespoon in the bottom of each.

Put in the bottom of muffin cups.

Put in the bottom of muffin cups.

3.  Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add cold butter and, using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas.  Pour in buttermilk and oil, stir just until combined.  Spoon the batter on top of the cranberry mixture, using about 2 Tablespoons for each.

Spoon dough over cranberry topping.

Spoon dough over cranberry topping.

4.  Bake rolls until lightly brown around the edges, 18 to 20 minutes.

Bake till lightly browned around the edges.

Bake till lightly browned around the edges.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of each to loosen. Place a large serving tray over the pan and invert the rolls onto it.  Spoon any topping left in the pan onto the rolls.  Serve warm.

These are so pretty,

These are so pretty,

If all the rolls are not eaten when served, they rewarm very well in the microwave.

SOURCE:   Slightly adapted from Eating Well