Semi-Homemade Almond Croissants

One of my favorite pastries are Almond Croissants. I also love just a plain old croissant as well. I’ve looked at recipes to make both and while they don’t seem complicated, it’s just so much easier to buy them. Well, plain croissants that is. You can pretty much get them at any supermarket that has a bakery. Granted, some are better than others. Whereas I find that Almond Croissants can only be found at certain bakeries or cafés and unfortunately, they aren’t always that good. I have tried to make pseudo Almond Croissants with crescent rolls and almond paste and it was a total fail. Well, a fail in the taste department. They did look good. Recently though I came across a recipe for Almond Croissants that started off by using store-bought (or homemade if you are so inclined) croissants and were doctored with a delicious almond filling. I had high hopes for them. They were starting off with an actual croissant and filled with an almond filling that included almonds and almond paste – the more almond flavor the better. And I must say, they didn’t disappoint. These would be a great addition to your Easter brunch this weekend and could really impress your guests!

After getting a good batch of croissants…

I started off by making the filling for them. In the bowl of my food processor I pulsed toasted sliced almonds until they were finely ground. I then added in almond paste and sugar and processed the mixture until it resembled fine meal. Finally, I added in an egg, Amaretto, vanilla extract and salt and processed everything until it was smooth and creamy. As it was the mixture is too loose to spread on the croissants, so, I transferred the mixture to an airtight container, covered and refrigerated it overnight. The following day I let it sit at room temperature uncovered so it could get to the right consistency.

Once the almond filling was ready it was time to prep the croissants. I sliced each of them horizontally and spread a few tablespoons of the almond filling on the bottom of each cut half and arranged them on a large baking sheet.

Next, I topped them with the top half of the croissants and spread about a tablespoon of the remaining almond filling on top of each. I then pressed about a tablespoon of sliced almonds on each.

I baked them in a 375F preheated oven for about 8 minutes. After letting them cool for about 15 minutes I sifted confectioners’ sugar on top of them.

These were delicious, just as good and possibly better than any decent Almond Croissant I have gotten at a bakery or café.

Semi-Homemade Almond Croissants

Ingredients:

8 large store-bought croissants

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, divided

7 ounces almond paste*, broken into small pieces

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon Amaretto**

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

*Depending on the brand you purchase, you could also use 8 ounces.

**The original recipe called for brandy

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread 1 cup of the sliced almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Tossing the almonds at the halfway point. Let them cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of a food processor add the toasted almonds and pulse until finely ground, about 12 pulses. Add the almond paste and sugar and process the mixture until it resembles fine meal, about 15 seconds. Add the egg, butter, brandy, vanilla extract and salt and process the mixture until it is smooth and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 days. If you opt to refrigerate the mixture for more than 30 minutes, let it sit at room temperature uncovered for 15 to 30 minutes before using.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Slice each of the croissants in half horizontally. Spread 2 tablespoons of the almond paste mixture on the cut side of each bottom. Top with the top half of the croissant and place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining croissants. Spread about a tablespoon of the remaining almond paste mixture on each croissant top and then gently press the remaining sliced almonds onto it (about a tablespoon per croissant). Bake in the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the almonds turn a light golden brown. Let the croissants cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

The croissants are best eaten the day they are made, but, can be stored in an airtight container for 1-2 days.

Recipe from Food & Wine

One Bowl Baked Oatmeal

My go-to breakfast as of late has been 2 slices of wheat bread with peanut butter along with a bowl of fruits and veggies. On the weekend’s I cheat a little and the peanut butter becomes butter with a schmear of jam on top. I’ve been wanting to cut back on eating so much bread though and was trying to think of something else that would be quick and filling to eat. I used to eat hard-boiled eggs, but sometimes they become a little hard to swallow. And while I love oatmeal, I just don’t feel like making it every day and I haven’t gotten my measurements just right to make a big batch over the weekend to have for the week. I finally found something though that is delicious, healthy, and filling… Baked Oatmeal. I made this on a Sunday afternoon and I had breakfast for the entire week. I just heated in the microwave for about :45 seconds before enjoying. The first time I made it I used frozen mixed berries and the second time, a diced apple. Both versions were equally delicious.

A couple things to note about the recipe below, for the applesauce, instead of buying a large jar I opted to buy a 6-pack of individual servings and just used 1 to make the oatmeal. Instead of maple syrup you could use an equal amount of brown sugar. If you want a little crunch to your oatmeal squares you could top the oatmeal with a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choosing before baking. The possibilities are endless so you don’t have to worry about getting bored quickly eating the same thing every day.

One Bowl Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups milk (of your choice)

2 large eggs

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce*

3 cups old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups fruit of your choice (e.g.: mixed berries (fresh or frozen – do not thaw), diced apple, bananas, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×9 – inch backing dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk together until well incorporated. Pour into the prepared dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the center appears just set. The oatmeal will be soft. If you want your oatmeal to be drier and more solid, bake it until the center is set.

Cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Cover leftovers and refrigerate for 1 week.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Café Mocha Bombs

Today I am bringing you a twist on the Hot Cocoa Bombs that were popular last year (and continue to be), Café Mocha Bombs. While these treats are pretty much made the same way that I made my Hot Cocoa Bombs, the two big differences are that instead of having hot cocoa mix inside of them they have powdered coffee creamer and they are melted in hot coffee instead of hot milk.

While you could stick with the traditional café mocha flavor when making these, chocolate and coffee, you can get creative with the flavors and be your own barista right at home. For the one’s I made I went with the seasonal flavors of peppermint and gingerbread as well as a pumpkin spice and salted caramel.

After making the chocolate shells for these I placed half of them in cupcake liners. The cupcake liners make it easier to work and they also offer a nice presentation for the café mocha bombs. In the shells in the liners I added in a tablespoon of powdered coffee creamer in each. I then added in my flavors. For the peppermint ones, I added in crushed peppermint candy, for the pumpkin spice I added in pumpkin spice seasoning, for the salted caramel a soft caramel candy and a few grinds of sea salt and finally for the gingerbread flavor I added in homemade gingerbread spice (recipe below).

I dipped the remaining chocolate shells in melted chocolate and placed them on top of the filled halves. First though I made sure to make note of what each one was filled with. I then decorated the top of them to reflect the flavor inside. I found gingerbread and pumpkin spice flavor candy melts at my local craft store. And I also had mini gingerbread men silicone molds at home. I melted about a 1/4 cup of the gingerbread melts in the microwave and filled two of the molds halfway and then placed it in the freezer. In a few minutes, I had to gingerbread flavored gingerbread men to place on top of my Gingerbread Café Mocha Bombs. I drizzled the top of each with the remaining melted melts and then placed the gingerbread man on top of each. For the pumpkin spice one I simply melted some of the flavored melts and drizzled it on top. For the peppermint and salted caramel one’s I drizzled the top of those with some of the remaining melted chocolate and topped those with crushed peppermint candy and a piece of caramel and a few grinds of seal salt, respectively.

Another flavor you could do is cinnamon or you can even fill the café mocha bomb with your favorite mini candy bar. And while I used traditional powdered coffee creamer, you could also amp up the flavor of yours by adding in flavored powdered creamer. I wouldn’t say the possibilities are endless, but, you can really treat yourself to a one of a kind treat with these.

Café Mocha Bombs

Ingredients:

12oz. chocolate melts

6 tablespoons powdered coffee creamer

For the flavors add the following to each bomb:

Pumpkin Spice:

1/2 heaping teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Gingerbread Spice:

1/2 heaping teaspoon gingerbread spice*

*To make your own gingerbread spice combine 2 tablespoons each ground ginger and cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ground allspice, 1/2 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Salted Caramel:

1 to 2 soft caramel cut in half

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Peppermint:

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed peppermint candy

Specialty Item:

2- 6 Hole Silicone Mold

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Add a tablespoon of the melted chocolate to each crevice and using a pastry brush spread the chocolate evenly around each crevice. Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 5 minutes.

Once the chocolate has set, add more melted chocolate and spread it evenly again and freeze for an additional 5 minutes.

Once the chocolate shells are set unmold them and place half of them in cupcake liners.

Fill the shells in the liners with a tablespoon each of the powdered coffee creamer and then add desired flavorings to each.

You should have some melted chocolate leftover. If it’s beginning to set pop it in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds to re-melt. Stir. Dip the other half of the shells in the melted chocolate and place on top of the filled shells.

Transfer the remaining melted chocolate to a piping bag and snip off the end. Drizzle the chocolate on top of the Café Mocha bombs.

Some ideas to decorate the top of the Café Mocha bombs to know which is which. For the peppermint add some additional crushed peppermint candy to the top. For the salted caramel add an additional caramel cut in half with some additional salt. For the gingerbread, a small gingerbread cookie that can be removed before melting in coffee. And for the pumpkin, melted orange candy melts or a piece of candy shaped like a pumpkin.

Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

To make, place the Café Mocha Bomb in a mug and top with hot coffee. Stir to melt the chocolate and enjoy!

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is one of those desserts that looks like it’s difficult to make, but in fact is quite easy. It doesn’t require many ingredients and you can customize the flavor easily. While I used passion fruit for this recipe you could easily swap it out for a different fruit.

To start, I added a 1/2 cup of passion fruit juice to a measuring cup and sprinkled unflavored gelatin on top. I let it sit for 15 minutes and then whisked it together.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat I whisked milk, heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until the sugar dissolved and the mixture began to simmer. I them removed it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. Letting the mixture cool is key. If it’s too hot when you add the passion fruit/gelatin mixture in the next step the gelatin will lose its ability to thicken and your panna cotta will not firm up.

Next, I whisked the passion fruit mixture into the milk mixture until it dissolved.

Once the panna cotta mixture was ready it was time to divide it among four ramekins. To make it easy to divide the mixture among the ramekins I transferred it to a measuring cup…

And then poured 1/2 cup of the mixture into each of the ramekins.

After letting it cool to room temperature, I covered the ramekins and refrigerated the panna cotta for at least three hours so it could firm up.

Now, this is the nerve wrecking part… Will it firm up? I ended up checking it after an hour and was happy to see that it was already firming up. And after letting it sit in the refrigerator a bit longer it was the perfect consistency. You could top the panna cotta with a raspberry sauce or some whipped cream, but I was fine eating it as is.

Looking for some more passion fruit recipes, try making a passion fruit pie, ice cream or a curd that could be used as a filling for cookies.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta

Ingredients:

1/2 cup passion fruit juice*

1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

*I used frozen passion fruit pulp that I defrosted in the refrigerator overnight.

Directions:

Add passion fruit juice to a small bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Let sit for 15 minutes.

In a medium saucepan combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla extract and sugar. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a bare simmer. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Whisk together the passion fruit juice and the gelatin and then whisk into the milk mixture to dissolve.

Divide the mixture among 4 ramekins and let cool to room temperature. Cover each and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours until the panna cotta has set.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Feliz Cinco De Mayo! I was planning on making a different version of these crumble bars last year for Cinco De Mayo, but I ended up making a Key Lime Bundt Cake instead. And truth be told, these crumble bars are not the exact recipe from the ones I saw. I decided to tweak the recipe to use ingredients I had on hand and I thought the filling from the original recipe sounded too sweet since it listed two cans of condensed milk (and one is sweet enough) so I used the filling recipe for my Key Lime Pie. What I ended up with was a delicious crumble bar with hints of coconut in the crust and topping and a filling that was perfectly sweet and tangy.

I began by making the crust. In the bowl of my food processor I combined all of the ingredients – flour, shredded coconut, oats, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, Kosher salt and coconut extract (which is completely optional, but, will up the coconut flavor) – and pulsed it until it started to clump together but was still crumbly. I reserved a cup of the mixture and pressed the remaining amount into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan I lined with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

I then baked the crust in a 350 F preheated oven for about 20 minutes until it was beginning to brown. I actually took it out of the oven at the 15-minute mark but since it still looked a bit undercooked, I decided to leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. You don’t want to leave it in too long though as you will be baking it again with the filling and you don’t want the crust to get hard during the second bake.

While the crust was cooling, I made the filling. In a large bowl I beat egg yolks until they were pale and fluffy and then added in condensed milk, key lime juice and lime zest. Now, I used key lime juice, but you could easily just use freshly squeezed lime juice. I prefer the flavor of key limes over regular limes and while I would love to use freshly squeezed key lime juice, key limes are a rarity at my local supermarket.

Once the crust had cooled, I poured the filling on top.

And then sprinkled the reserved flour mixture over it.

I then baked it in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the filling had set and the crumble topping was beginning to brown.

After letting it cool completely on a wire rack, I refrigerated it for a few hours before slicing and enjoying.

Coconut Lime Crumble Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1 cup old-fashioned oats*

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons coconut extract (optional)

For the filling:

1 14oz. can condensed milk

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup lime juice**

Zest of 1 lime

*can substitute quick oats

**I used key lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Pulse until the mixture begins to clump together but is still crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the mixture and press the remaining amount into the prepared baking pan, just on the bottom. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes.

Make the filling: While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a hand mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the condensed milk and then the lime juice and lime zest.

Pour the filling over the cooled crust and sprinkle the top with the reserved crust mixture.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the filling is just set and the crumble topping is golden.

Let cool completely on wire rack and then refrigerate for at least hour before slicing into 12 bars.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Quick & Easy Cheese Danish

After finishing the Blackberry Lemon Cake I made for Easter last month I had about 2 cups of cream cheese frosting left. I didn’t want to toss it or put it in the refrigerator, since that meant I would have to use it within a few days and I had no clue what I would use it for, so I decided to freeze it. I know a lot of people freeze anything and everything, but I always have reservations when it comes to freezing baked goods and frosting. Slowly but surely though those reservations are going away.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to use the frosting for at first. It crossed my mind that I could make a mini carrot cake. But then I remembered that I had puff pastry in my freezer as well so I decided that I would try to make Cheese Danishes with it.

To defrost the frosting I put it in the refrigerator overnight. Since it only consisted of cream cheese, butter and sugar I decided to stir in an egg yolk to help thicken the mixture.

After defrosting a sheet of puff pastry I sliced it into 4 squares and brushed the outer edges of each with an egg wash.

I then folded the corners of each square and then folded the sides to form an octagon.

Next I placed two tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each square. I brushed the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkled sugar on each.

I baked them in a 400 F preheated oven for 14 minutes. Right out of the oven the cream cheese mixture was quite puffy…

But, within 30 seconds the pastries had deflated. Considering that the cream cheese mixture browned considerably in the oven I could have probably taken them out a minute or so sooner, or, lowered the oven temperature. Regardless though, they were quite good and a good way to use the leftover frosting. I had enough frosting that I could have made 8 of these, but I decided to stick with 4 since I was testing the recipe out. The recipe below is for 8 Danishes, but, if you only have a cup of frosting left you can make 4 like I did.  

Quick & Easy Cheese Danishes

Ingredients:

2 sheets frozen puff pastry

2 cups cream cheese frosting

1 egg yolk

1 egg whisked with a teaspoon of water, for egg wash

Sugar, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Defrost the puff pastry per the instructions on the package. Slice each sheet into 4 squares and place on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the outer edges with the egg wash. Fold the corners of each square and then the sides to form an octagon.

When the puff pastry is just about defrosted stir together the frosting and egg yolk.

Place 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture into the center of the formed puff pastry.

Brush the puff pastry with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, or until the cream cheese is set and the puff pastry is a golden brown.

Let rest for a few minutes before enjoying.

Small Batch Bread Pudding

This week I am bringing you two different types of bread puddings. A traditional sweet small batch today and a savory one later this week. Both of these came about due to leftover bread after ordering Italian food.

Truthfully, I made this small batch bread pudding twice. The first batch with half of a rustic loaf and then to tweak the recipe I used regular sliced white bread.

First, I sliced the bread into cubes. Now, bread pudding is best made with thick crusty bread to absorb the custard, when I used the rustic bread that was the perfect consistency. With the sliced white bread, it was a few days past its expiration date, and I had it in the refrigerator, so it was kind of stale already. It wouldn’t have hurt to toast it in the oven for a few minutes before using it though.

Next I divided the bread among three ramekins that I lightly greased with butter and placed on a baking sheet.

In a medium bowl I whisked together the contents for the custard – eggs, milk, heavy whipping cream, sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract – and then transferred it to a large measuring cup to make it easy to pour and divide among the ramekins. I let them sit for about 10 minutes so the bread could soak in the custard.

I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 45 minutes. I knew they were ready when they had puffed up, were golden brown on top and most importantly a cake tester inserted in the middle came out clean. And while the custard did overflow a bit and they were a bit humongous on top they did “deflate” as they cooled. Most importantly though they were delicious.

Here’s a pic of the one’s I made with the rustic bread deflated and cooled.

Later this week, a savory bread pudding made with focaccia. YUM!

 

Small Batch Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

3 cups cubed bread

2 eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon group nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter three 8oz. ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

Divide the bread among the buttered ramekins.

Whisk the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Transfer to a measuring cup and divide the mixture among the ramekins. Let sit for 10-15 minutes so the bread can soak in the liquid.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the bread pudding cool on the baking sheet. While cooling the bread pudding will deflate after rising considerably during baking.

Enjoy once cool or refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Hot Cocoa Bombs

Hot Cocoa Bombs became all the rage this winter. They were the perfect homemade gift to give anyone on your Christmas list. And while the holidays may be long over that doesn’t mean that drinking a nice mug of hot chocolate is. And truthfully since the rage has died down a bit it might be easier to get the molds needed to make these. I tried ordering them in early December and it was as if the internet was laughing at me because they weren’t in stock anywhere I checked. I was finally able to order them in early January. These are the ones I ended up getting.

 

Using one 12oz bag of Sweet Tooth Fairy Meltables  I was able to make 6 cocoa bombs.  I melted the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between each until the chocolate was melted and smooth.

Once the chocolate was melted, I scooped some of it into each crevice of the molds and using the back of a small spoon I spread the chocolate around as evenly as possible. This probably would have been easier with a brush, but I made it work. Once the crevices were coated well I placed the molds in the freezer for about 5 minutes so the chocolate could set. I then added more melted chocolate and spread it around again to ensure that the shells would be strong. After freezing them for an additional 5 minutes it was time to unmold and start filling them.

To make filling them easy I placed half of the shells into cupcake liners. This helped to keep the shells from rocking and also was an easier way to handle the cocoa bombs once assembled. Now, you could make your own hot chocolate mix, but I decided to go the easy route and used Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate mix. I filled each half shell with a tablespoon of the mix and a tablespoon of mini marshmallows. For two of them I also added in crushed peppermint candy and for two other ones I added in a soft caramel I cut in half along with salt. I used Werther’s Original Soft Carmel. I placed it in the refrigerator for a few minutes before cutting in half. As for the salt, I used a salt grinder and added in a few grinds of it. I would say it was about 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

When it came time to top the bottom shell with the top shell, I tried two different ways to adhere them. The first way, I heated a frying pan over low heat and placed the empty shell on the pan for a second or two to melt the chocolate and then placed it on the filled bottom shell. This method did not work for me at all. The two shells did not stick together. Instead, using some of the leftover melted chocolate I had I dipped the empty shell in it and then placed it on the filled bottom shell and it stuck together perfectly.

Once the cocoa bombs were assembled it was time to decorate the outside. I transferred the leftover melted chocolate to a piping bag and snipped off a small piece of the end. I drizzled the chocolate over the assembled cocoa bombs and for the hot chocolate ones I placed marshmallows on top, for the peppermint hot chocolate ones I arranged marshmallows and crushed peppermint candies and finally for the salted caramel hot chocolate ones I placed a few pieces of caramel and marshmallows along with salt. I topped each of them with a little more chocolate drizzle after placing the toppings to hold it all in place.

And then it was time to try one. I placed one in a mug…

Heated milk until it was steaming and then poured it over the cocoa bomb.

In no time the chocolate shell melted, and the mini marshmallows rose to the top. I gave it a few good stirs to make sure the chocolate and caramel candy had melted. And it was delish! While you may be tempted to add more hot chocolate mix to each of the cocoa bombs a tablespoon is more than enough. Remember, that chocolate shell will melt and will add to the chocolatey flavor of your drink.

 

Hot Cocoa Bombs

Ingredients:

12oz. Chocolate Melts

6 Tablespoons Hot Chocolate Mix

3/4 cup mini marshmallows

 

For Peppermint Hot Chocolate:

Crushed peppermint starlight mints

 

For Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Soft Caramels

Sea Salt

 

Directions:

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Using a brush or small spoon spread a few tablespoons of the melted chocolate in the crevices of the silicone mold. Freeze the molds for 5 minutes so the chocolate can set. Once set, add more melted chocolate and spread evenly again and freeze again for an additional 5 minutes.

Once the chocolate shells are set unmold them and place half of them in cupcake liners.

Fill the shells in the liners with a tablespoon each of the hot chocolate mix and mini marshmallows.

If making flavored ones: For the peppermint hot chocolate, add in a crushed peppermint starlight mint along with the hot chocolate mix and marshmallows. For the salted caramel, add in a soft caramel cut in half and a 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt along with the hot chocolate mix and marshmallows.

Dip the other half of the shells in the leftover melted chocolate and place on top of the filled shells.

Transfer the leftover melted chocolate to a piping bag and cut a small piece of the end off and drizzle the top of the cocoa bombs with the chocolate and place a few marshmallows on top. For the peppermint hot chocolate also add some crushed peppermint candy and for the salted caramel, a caramel candy cut in half and salt. And top it all with more drizzled chocolate.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

To make, place the cocoa bomb in a mug and top with hot milk. Stir a few times and enjoy!

Baked Challah French Toast

This year for Christmas and New Year’s Eve I decided to play it safe and stay home. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t treat myself to the same goodies I would have had had I followed my usual plans. I made cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning and I made myself a Molten Lava Cake and a mini charcuterie plate for New Year’s Eve. And for my first meal of the new year, since I always eat breakfast, I enjoyed Challah French Toast.

I prepped it the night before by cutting up a loaf of challah bread and arranging it in a 9×13 baking dish that I lightly greased. I then poured a mixture of eggs, milk, heavy cream, sugar and spices over it and covered and refrigerated it overnight. The following morning, I removed it from the refrigerator and while I preheated the oven drizzled it with melted butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture. I baked it for about 40 minutes, until it was puffy and golden brown.

Once done, I let it sit for about 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying a piece along with some fresh strawberries and a few slices of bacon. Not a bad first meal for the new year.

Baked Challah French Toast

Ingredients:

1 1-pound challah loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces

6 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

syrup, confectioners’ sugar and/or fresh berries, for serving

 

Directions:

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish wish either softened butter or cooking spray and layer the challah pieces into the dish in a single layer.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, heavy cream, light brown sugar, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg & salt. Pour over the bread and cover the dish with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day.

Once ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 F. Remove dish from the refrigerator and uncover. In a small bowl combine the sugar and the remaining teaspoon of cinnamon. Drizzle the melted butter over the bread and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until puffed and a deep golden brown.

Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Recipe from Food52

%d bloggers like this: