Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas.  A lovely combination.

Apples, bacon and cheese quesadillas. A lovely combination.

Are you a recipe clipper?  I think that anyone who enjoys cooking is always looking for new recipes, and magazines are  good resources for recipes.  I count myself in that group of cooks who are  always “on the hunt”.  In fact I tear out so many recipes that I have a system for organizing them and deciding which ones are keepers and which ones don’t make the cut.

For anyone who might benefit from my system,  this is what I do:

1.  Read magazine and “dog-ear” pages with a recipe that interests me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

Fold over pages that have recipes that interest me.

2.Before discarding the magazine, look again at those pages and decide if I want to try the recipe.  If yes, then I tear out the page, and it goes into a pile with other torn-out pages.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

The pile of torn-out pages grows large.

3.  When the pile gets precariously high, I designate an afternoon or three?, and go through them all.  If I’m still interested in any of the recipes I trim them more carefully, and then file in folders that are named in broad categories, like bars, cookies, desserts, soups, chicken, etc.

My file of files.

My file of files.

4.  When I want to make something new, or have ingredients on hand to use, I go to a specific folder to see what’s there that I might want to try out.

5.  Then I make the recipe to test it out.  If it meets my requirements such as did we like it,  was it straightforward and easy to prepare, have readily available ingredients, reasonable cost to make,  cooked in a reasonable time frame?  Then it gets mounted into a notebook as a “keeper”, that will enter my cycle of recipes; or become a go-to when I want to make something special.

I have several afternoon's work to do!

I have several afternoons’ work to do!

I have written all the above with tongue-in-cheek, as I can imagine you are thinking to yourself (or saying out loud even) “what, is she crazy?”   Well, yes. a little.  According to the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment Test I am a pointy-head sequential in the grand scheme of things, and detailed organization is one of my traits.   Ha-ha-ha!    🙂

OK, so what does all this have to do with today’s recipe?  The story is this:  on Saturday, my husband went out on an errand, and before he left, he asked me what we would be having for lunch.  I replied that I didn’t know, because my supplies were pretty low, and we had eaten up all the leftovers.  But I reassured him  that “I’ll think of something”.  So while he was out I consulted my folder labeled ” Pizza and Sandwiches”, and in there found a recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas that I had been wanting to try.

The recipe called for a Granny Smith apple, Brie cheese and flour tortillas.  Now, I didn’t have any Brie to work with but I did have some cheddar, and some Monterey Jack.  So I improvised, using those cheeses,  a Rome apple instead of Granny Smith, and added some crumbled bacon to the mix to create my recipe for Apple, Cheese and Bacon Quesadillas.  When my husband came home he said, ” I see it didn’t take you long to think of something”.    They were very good, we liked them very much,  I’ll make them again.  End of Story!

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Makes a satisfying light lunch.

Included here is the original recipe for Apple and Brie Quesadillas, and how I modified it.

APPLE, BRIE  (and BACON)  QUESADILLAS

SERVES   2   Adjust amounts accordingly for more servings.

  • 1  Granny Smith apple  (or other firm apple), thinly sliced
  • 4  teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4   8-inch flour tortillas  (I  used  2  10-inch tortillas)
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, sliced, rind removed  ( I used a combination of grated cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses, about 1 cup )
  • 2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled  (my addition)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1.   Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Toss the apple slices with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook, turning occasionally, until marked and tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Spread apples on grill pan and cook till barely tender.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

Try to get some nice grill marks on the apples.

2.  Lay the tortillas on a cutting board.  Top each with half the apple, half the bacon, and half the cheese, placing the filling on only half of  each tortilla.  Then fold the tortillas in half to cover the filling.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Spread a layer of apples and bacon on half the tortilla.

Top with shredded cheeses.

Top with shredded cheeses.

3.  Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  (I sprayed mine with olive oil spray and cooked them on the grill pan I used for the apples.)  Working in batches, cook the quesadillas until golden brown and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.

4.   Meanwhile, mix the mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl.  Slice each quesadilla into wedges.  Drizzle with the maple-mustard syrup before serving.

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup.

Serve with a drizzle of maple mustard syrup.

SOURCE:   modified from a recipe in Food Network Magazine,  April 2012

Eggs with Asparagus, Potatoes, Pancetta and Bread Crumbs

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Eggs with Asparagus and Potatoes.

Placing an egg with a still-runny yolk on top of any roasted or sautéed vegetable is a perfect recipe.  The soft, yolk flows over the vegetable, making a simple, luscious sauce.  In springtime asparagus is a great choice, but if not available in your area, then try sautéed broccoli, or kale instead.

I made this meal not long ago and included potatoes to give it even greater substance for our supper.  If you portion the ingredients for the number of people who will eat it, you will not be tempted to over eat, because it is filling and you will be satisfied.  I used an egg poacher to cook the eggs, but you could also fry them with equally good results.  To make this into a vegetarian meal, omit the pancetta.

EGGS WITH ASPARAGUS, POTATOES, PANCETTA AND BREAD CRUMBS

SERVINGS:    4IMG_3725

  • 1  pound asparagus, tough ends removed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 – 3 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 4 large eggs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F    Spread the asparagus in a baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Turn the spears several times to coat them evenly with oil.  Roast, turning once or twice, until the spears are tender-crisp, about 15 minutes;  the timing will depend on the thickness of the spears.  Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and set aside.

2.  In a large non-stick skillet put a small amount of water – just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  Lay the potatoes in concentric circles in the bottom of the pan placing as close together as you can.  Add water if necessary, so there is enough for them to start cooking.  Cover the pan and cook potatoes till just barely fork tender, about 5 – 6 minutes.  Drain out any remaining water.  Add 2 Tablespoons butter that has been cut into small pieces.  Let it melt in the hot pan lifting the potato slices so butter gets underneath them. You may need to turn up the heat, so potatoes get a nice browned crust on the bottom.

3. While the potatoes are cooking, in another small skillet,  over medium heat, fry the pancetta until crisp.  Set it aside in a small bowl.  In the same skillet cook the bread crumbs in any drippings from the pancetta, and it there are none add a drizzle of olive oil.  Get the bread crumbs crisp and slightly browned.  Set them aside.

4.  Place the asparagus spears on top of the now browned potatoes, and in another fry pan fry the eggs,  or you may want to poach them instead.  When the eggs are cooked to the point where whites are firm, but yolks still runny, remove them for the heat and place on top of the asparagus.

Place cooked eggs on top of   asparagus and potatoes.

Place cooked eggs on top of asparagus and potatoes.

5. Before bringing to the table, sprinkle pancetta and bread crumbs over the top.  Serve with a light sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

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SOURCE:   Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Blog,  The Blender

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs.

Corned Beef Hash with Eggs.

If I am lucky enough to have some corned beef left from our St. Patrick’s Day meal, I like to make corned beef hash.  I can remember  back to when I was  child visiting my grandmother, and she made this same meal in a black cast-iron frying pan.  She kept the pieces of potato rather large, almost like home-fries, and they got brown and crusty, along with the meat.  She also added any carrot that might be leftover and lots of onion.  As she served it, she topped each serving with a poached egg.   I loved, loved, loved it.  Although I now have and use her cast-iron pan, I can’t seem to quite duplicate  what she created.  Perhaps over time, my memory has enhanced what it was like, but that is what I aim for whenever I make hash.

This year I was fortunate in having a good-sized piece of corned beef left and I cooked extra vegetables so I could make this hash dish.

CORNED BEEF HASH WITH EGGS

SERVINGS:   About 4 servings

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3  cups of cooked potatoes, cut into cubes, about 1/2 to 1 inch.
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil,   Or 1 Tablespoon oil and 1 Tablespoon butter;  I think it helps brown up the potatoes.
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • about 1/2 pound corned beef, cut into pieces about the same size as the potatoes
  • optional:  left over carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

WHAT YOU DO:

1.  Heat oil in a heavy fry-pan,  cast-iron, preferred.  Add potatoes, cook until golden in color, 10 – 12 minutes.

2.  Add onion, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until potatoes and onions are browned,  about 5 minutes

Browning the potatoes and onions.

Browning the potatoes and onions.

3.  Add horseradish and Worcestershire sauce.  Stir in corned beef ( and carrots, if using).

Add in corned beef and carrots.

Add in corned beef and carrots.

Add cream, drizzling evenly over all.

Pouring in the cream.

Pouring in the cream.

Make 4 depressions in the mixture and break an egg into each one.  Cover lightly and cook until egg whites are set.

Cook until eggs are set.

Cook until eggs are set.

Serve each portion of hash with an egg.

Serve each portion of hash with an egg.

SOURCE:  Martha Stewart

Mushroom, Leek, and Cheese Frittata

Mushroom, eggs and fontina cheese frittata.

Mushroom, leeks, and fontina cheese go into this frittata

Throughout this Lenten season I’ve been trying to cut back on the amount of meat we consume, incorporating more fish and other seafood, or going completely meatless.  Today’s recipe features a one-pan entree where eggs and cheese provide the main protein, and meaty mushrooms and leeks provide the vegetables.

A frittata is is an egg based dish, somewhat like a quiche without a crust, a little like an omelet only baked.  Hard to describe, but if you like eggs in any form you can’t miss with this dish.   Frittatas are eggs-cellent served hot or at room temperature, which means you can do it ahead.  It would be a great addition to brunch, make a light lunch, or a meatless main meal served with another vegetable and a salad as I did.

In the version you see pictured here I made only half the recipe for two of us, and we had about half of it left for another time.  Also the recipe calls for Baby Bella mushrooms, but I used Shitaki mushrooms.  I would not do that again as they do not have enough natural moisture for this kind of recipe.  Shitakis need to be cooked in a liquid in order to become tender, so I found that in this recipe they were a little tough.  Fontina is the suggested cheese to use here because it has a mild flavor and excellent melting properties.  A good substitute would be muenster or edam cheeses.

MUSHROOM, LEEK, AND CHEESE FRITTATAIMG_3465

SERVINGS      About 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, whites and light green parts only, chopped
  • 8 oz. crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
  • 3/4 cup shredded Fontina cheese, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.    Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a 10 – inch heavy weight oven proof skillet such as cast iron.

2.  Add leeks to the hot oil and cook over medium heat, stirring often until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened and all liquid has evaporated, 8 – 10 minutes.

Sautee the  leeks and mushrooms.

Sautee the leeks and mushrooms.

3.  Meanwhile, whisk eggs, creme fraiche or sour cream, and parsley in a large bowl; mix in 1/2 cup cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.

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4.  Increase heat to medium-high and add remaining 1 Tablespoon oil to the skillet.  Pour the egg mixture over the mushrooms, shaking the pan to evenly distribute the mixture.  Cook the frittata, without stirring, until its edges begin to set, about 5 minutes.

Cook until the edges just begin to set.

Cook until the edges just begin to set.

5.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over eggs and transfer skillet to oven.  Bake frittata until golden brown and center is set,  25 – 30 minutes.

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SOURCE:   BONAPPETIT.COM

Lemon Curd Filled Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with lemon curd filling.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with lemon curd filling.

Some muffins can be boring, especially if you’re used to making them from a boxed mix, and your choices are somewhat limited.   If I’m putting in the time and effort to bake muffins then I want them to be special and worth the effort that went into making them.  I can say that these little gems are way special and way good.  I will even go so far as to say they are elevated to greatness by the addition of lemon curd baked in the middle of each one and fresh lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the icing.

IMG_3308

This is how I used some of the curd that I made and wrote about here.

Is this extra work?   Heck, no!  I like to see the flecks of lemon zest in the dough and taste that deep lemon flavor in every bite.  Most people would probably  agree that muffins are a breakfast ( or brunch) food, but I say eat them anytime you heart desires.  Think afternoon tea and a lemon muffin.  Oh,  yeah,  they’re that good!

LEMON CURD FILLED POPPY SEED MUFFINS

YIELD:    a dozen muffinsIMG_3299

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • lemon curd

For the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Place paper muffin cups in a regular-sized muffin pan.   Place muffin pan on a baking sheet.

2.  In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Thoroughly mix lemon zest with the sugar.

Thoroughly mix lemon zest with the sugar.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and quickly stir to blend.  (Be mindful not to over do it here)  Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.

4.  Fill muffin cups with half of the batter and put a teaspoon full of lemon curd in each one.

Place half the batter in muffins cups and add a teaspoon of lemon curd.

Place half the batter in muffins cups and add a teaspoon of lemon curd.

Fill in with the rest of the batter.

Fill with remaining batter.

Fill with remaining batter.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool muffins on a rack completely before icing them.

5.  When the muffins have cooled, put the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice.  Stir together and keep adding small amounts of the juice until you get a drizzly consistency.  Use a spoon to drizzle icing over the tops of the muffins.

Drizzle lemon icing over cooled muffins.

Drizzle lemon icing over cooled muffins.

Just right with a cup of tea.

Just right with a cup of tea.

SOURCE:  adapted from   Baking:  From my home to yours  by Dorie Greenspan

Citrus Waffles with Marmalade Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Citrus Waffles with Orange Compote

Every once in a while I pull a surprise  meal and we have “breakfast for supper”.  The events last weekend provided me with just such an opportunity.  We had plans for Sunday that would have included a meal but at the last minute they were unexpectedly cancelled .  I was then faced with the need to come up with a meal that I had not planned for.  So, breakfast for supper was the perfect solution.

Running in parallel  was my desire to incorporate more citrus into our diet.  So I came up with this idea for adding grated orange zest to my waffle batter and making an orange compote to spoon over the top.  Brilliant, if I do say so myself  🙂  I like to add some whole wheat flour to waffles as another way to get in some fiber, and I also added some wheat germ.  Buttermilk makes waffles nice and light if you have some, but you can sour milk and get the same results just by adding a little vinegar to the amount of milk called for.  A non-stressful Sunday evening supper that turned out better than I expected.

COMPOTE

Orange Compote

Orange Compote

YIELD:   Serves 6

Make the compote first and keep warm while you make the waffles.

  • 1/4 cup reduced- sugar orange marmalade  (such as Smucker’s)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cups fresh orange sections, or any combination of orange and grapefruit.  I used a Cara Cara orange, a navel orange and a clementine.

To prepare compote:   place first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat;  cook 2 minutes until marmalade melts.  Reduce heat, and gently stir in orange sections;  keep warm.

WAFFLES

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flourIMG_3264
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1  1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1  1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • cooking spray
  • powdered sugar

1.  To prepare the waffles:  lightly spoon both flours into a bowl.  Add brown sugar through nutmeg and stir with a whisk.

2.  Combine buttermilk and next ingredients through egg.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

Wet and dry ingredients ready to be combined.

3.  Coat a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat it.   Spoon batter onto hot waffle iron, spreading out to edges.  Cook 5 minutes or  until steaming stops.  Repeat with remaining batter, keeping waffles warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

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4.   Sift powdered sugar over tops of waffles and serve with warm orange compote.  Maple syrup tastes really good on them as well!

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SOURCE:   a Carolyn Original

Good Morning Breakfast Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Pumpkin Crumb Cake

In the morning there are often “sleepy-heads” who take their time about getting to breakfast.  If it’s your job to marshall the troops in the morning, this cake might just be the magic that gets everybody up and on their feet.  What, cake for breakfast, you’re asking?  Yes!  This one has all good things in it to jump start the day.

IMG_2823

Starting with pumpkin providing carotene and fiber, add eggs for protein, some walnuts with their heart-healthy oil, a topping that’s heavy on the oatmeal (but I won’t tell if you won’t), and milk.  The flavor is outstanding–not sweet, just right– and the crumb will melt in your mouth especially if served warm.

I baked this cake on a Saturday afternoon intending it for Sunday morning, but we could not ignore the wonderful aroma of it baking.  When I asked Mr. D. if he would like a piece with coffee he replied, “I thought you would never ask.”   It was as flavorful and satisfying as the aroma promised and we both wanted another piece.   (But we didn’t).

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PUMPKIN CRUMB CAKE

SERVINGS:   About 12

INGREDIENTS  for the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) unsalted butter (If you use salted butter, cut back on the salt.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  3 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

    Making the crumb topping

    Making the crumb topping

For the TOPPING:

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 350*,   grease or spray a 8″ x 11″ baking dish.

2.  In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients  (flour through salt) and set aside.

3.  In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter till light and fluffy.  Gradually add in the sugar and continue creaming.  Add the eggs one at a time scraping down the sides of the bowl after each.

4.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix in well.

5.  Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk just till incorporated.

6.  With a spoon, stir in the nuts.    Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

Cake batter in the baking dish.

7.  Prepare the crumb topping:  In the medium bowl, measure out the oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon.  Whisk together. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two knives.   Sprinkle over the cake batter in the pan.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

Sprinkle on the crumb topping.

8.  Bake at 350* for 45 – 50 minutes.  Test with a toothpick or cake tester for doneness.

Just out of the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Please have a piece while it is still warm to fully appreciate this wonderful cake!

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

So good warm with a cup of coffee.

Eggnog Baked French Toast

Eggnog baked French Toast

Eggnog baked French Toast

If you are anything like me right about now you have “bits of this” and ” a little bit of that” left over from Holiday cooking and baking, and you’re wondering how to use it all up.  If it’s eggnog you want to use up, wonder no longer.  I have just the recipe for you.  You’re gonna love it, and so will any children you may be feeding.  This might even turn into a post Holiday tradition, or a special breakfast for New Year’s morning.

The cranberries provide a hit of tartness in amongst the sweet.

The cranberries provide a hit of tartness in amongst the sweet.

Besides including eggnog, this French toast will also accommodate any other additions such as fresh or dried cranberries, or raisins that you might want to add.  In my version, pictured here, I used fresh cranberries, and we particularly liked the occasional tartness in amongst the sweetness of the toast.   Since this is prepared the night before and baked in the morning it is an ideal menu item for either breakfast or brunch.

Great for a Holiday breakfast or brunch.

Great for a Holiday breakfast or brunch.

EGGNOG BAKED FRENCH TOAST

YIELD:   4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat eggnog
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 small French baguette, (or half a large one) cut into 1-inch cubes.  (About 5-6 cups )
  • 1 cup additional fruits, i.e. cranberries, raisins, dried cherries

DIRECTIONS

Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl, and whisk briefly.  Add the eggnog, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix in.  Add the cinnamon and nutmeg.  Whisk well till all is evenly combined.

Stir in the bread cubes until evenly coated.  Stir in the fruit.

Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish.  Transfer the bread-egg mixture to the baking dish.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375* F.   Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until puffed and light golden brown.  Let cool a few minutes, then serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and additional maple syrup if desired.

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SOURCE:   Everyday Occasions,  via Annie’s Eats Blog

Rum Raisin Cranberry Muffins

You know something?  I’m not happy  when certain behaviors (on my part) become expectations.  You do something say, twice, and suddenly it becomes your job and other people now expect it from you.  Does this happen to you?  What I do to try to prevent this is to change things up frequently.  For instance just the other morning Mr. D. asked me “got any scones?”  Now, why would he expect me to have scones available—because in the past few weeks I made two or three different kinds of scones, and now he wants them all the time.  See what I mean?   BUT this week, there are no scones!   No, we are taking a break for a while, because I am off in a new direction.  This week it’s muffins.

Rum Raisin Cranberry Muffin

Rum Raisin Cranberry Muffin

Muffins are the replacement for scones.  Not just any muffins.  Ones in which the raisins and cranberries have been soaked in rum for a while before adding to the batter.  And there’s orange peel and spices in there, too.  After one of these with your morning coffee, you’ll be whistling a new tune as you leave for work.   ” Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to work I go.”  or “whistle a happy tune, whenever you’re feelin blue”, or, “whistle while you work, Tra-la-la-la-la-la.”   OH, my,  I think I’m getting into my happy Christmas Spirit a little early here.  But seriously, these muffins are way good, and  healthy too, so its OK to have one and not have feelings of guilt..

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When I decided to make these I did not have a recipe, just an idea of what I wanted to create.  So I turned to my King Arthur Baking Sheet for a basic cranberry  muffin recipe and then did some major modifications to come up with this combination of flavors. Heating the rum mixture causes the alcohol content to evaporate, leaving behind a faint rum flavor, but also plumps up the raisins and cranberries.  However, if you would prefer not to use rum, you may substitute either apple cider or apple juice, or even orange juice.

RUM RAISIN CRANBERRY MUFFINS

YIELD:   1 dozen muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1  1/2 cups regular or white 100% whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk powder or non-fat dry milk powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest (orange peel)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease the wells of a muffin pan, or line with papers.

2.  Combine the rum, raisins and cranberries in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium-low heat.  Remove from heat.  Cover and let cool for 10 minutes or so while you continue with the recipe.

3.  In a large bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.  In another bowl whisk together the  eggs, orange zest, milk, and oil or melted butter.

4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until barely blended, add in the cranberry/raisin mixture with their juice, and continue to blend them into the batter without over mixing.   Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.   Divide all the batter evenly among the cups–they will be almost full.

5.  Bake for 18 – 20 minutes until they’re golden brown, and test done with a toothpick.  Remove from the oven, leave in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

Rum Raisin Muffins after baking

Rum Raisin Muffins after baking

GLAZE     Not necessary, but it really puts the finishing touch on these muffins. (It’s the frosting on the cake! )

  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice, apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

In a small saucepan (or use the microwave), stir together the glaze ingredients.  Bring just to a boil to dissolve the sugar.  Dip the tops of the warm muffins into the glaze.  As it cools is becomes a sweet, crunchy little cap on the muffins.   Cute!

Muffins with Glaze

Muffins with Glaze

So good with coffee!

So good with coffee!

SOURCE:  based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour

Cap’n Crunch Scones

Cap’n Crunch Scones

Cap’n Crunch is haunting me!…  I thought I was done with him years ago, but here he is back again; reinvented in a new form.  Oh, but what a form it is!   Scones, one of the (many) loves of my life, containing “The Cap’n”, plus cream, plus corn.  A rather odd combination, but somehow it works, and the resulting scones are just great.  You must try them and see for yourself.  They’re not just for breakfast, and definitely not just for kids.

In my previous experience with Cap’n Crunch cereal, when eaten for breakfast it seemed to soak up the milk and become very soggy, thus losing its appeal for me.   I prefer to snack on the cereal dry which provides lots of crunch—of course, that’s what the name says it should do, so what’s up with becoming so mushy when wet?   I know, I’m rambling, so back to the point;  in this recipe you want the cereal to become mushy so you puree it to get crumbs, then add cream for the crumbs to soak up.

CAP’N CRUNCH SCONES

YIELD:   Makes 8 large scones

CEREAL PUREE

  • 1 cup Cap’n Crunch Cereal, ground in the food processor
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

SCONES

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 cup Cap’n Crunch Cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup cereal puree, from above
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter flavor (optional)

GARNISH

  • 1/4 cup cereal puree, from above
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • additional Cap’n Crunch cereal for garnish

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or grease a scone pan.

2.  For the cereal puree:  Grind 1 cup of cereal in the food processor; place in a bowl or measuring cup and add the heavy cream.  Stir; set aside to soak while you measure the rest of the ingredients.

Pureed cereal with cream added.

3.  For the scones:  Put the corn and 1/2 cup cereal in the food processor and puree until smooth.**  Place the mixture in a bowl and whisk in the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut in the butter until it’s in lumps the size of peas.

   ** My corn was still a little frozen, so I didn’t get a smooth puree.

Add the 3/4 cup cereal puree, egg, vanilla, and butter flavoring, if using.  Mix until the dough comes together, then pat into an 8-inch circle on the prepared pan, or portion the dough into the wells of the scone pan.  If baking on a sheet pan, cut the dough into 8 wedges, then back up each wedge so there’s 1/2″ of space between each one. ( Leave adequate room between them as they tend to spread a bit.)

4.  Combine the 1/4 cup cereal puree and 1/4 cup heavy cream and use to brush the tops of the scones and then decorate each one with additional pieces of cereal.

Brush tops with more puree and decorate with pieces of cereal.

5.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Warm from the oven. Ummmmh, so good!

SOURCE:   The Baking Sheet,  King Arthur,  Holiday 2012