Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Most of the time I start my days with a bowl of cinnamon-raisin oatmeal or a plate of veggie scrambled eggs. Particularly when M is out of town, I rarely put in the effort to treat myself to pancakes or similar, although I do occasionally have Belgian waffles for dinner. (Waffles are suitable for every meal, and also dessert.)

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

However, after an incredibly windy 10-mile run last Saturday, I decided to treat myself to something I hadn’t made in a long time: stuffed French toast. French toast is actually one of my favorite breakfasts but I rarely make it for no real reason other than I enjoy having leftover waffle batter for the next few days. Nonetheless, with some delightful potato buttermilk bread sitting on the counter and a dollop of cream cheese in the fridge, it seemed the perfect day for a more decadent confection.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

With melty cream cheese and my favorite jam in every bite, a thin spread of butter and a dusting of powdered sugar is all that’s needed to top this delightful creation. Even better, it’s no more difficult than regular French toast since basically you are just making cream cheese and jam sandwiches for your first step. It’s important to make sure your bread gets good and soaked with the egg mixture to ensure it results in a soft but golden brown bread to wrap those sweet insides.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

Fry on medium-low to make sure the cream cheese and jam gets nice and warm before the outside is overdone. The extra minutes of cooking is well worth the finished experience, I promise. If you’re looking for an extra rich option, top with a drizzle of maple syrup or homemade whipped cream, but just a little butter and powdered sugar is definitely my favorite.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

This is a great option for Sunday brunch (or Tuesday brunch, or any brunch, or dinner, I don’t judge), and sure to please your Valentine. Don’t have a Valentine? Be your own Valentine and please yourself with an amazing breakfast. Your morning cup of coffee is a perfect addition; a side of bacon and/or eggs balances the sweet with some salty protein.

Stuffed French Toast {{Baking Bytes}}

I’ve printed the recipe as a serving for one so you can make it as is or easily scale it up as needed to feed the whole family. It’s best hot off the griddle but if you’re cooking for more people than fits in one batch, you should be able to keep them warm in the oven so you can all eat together.

Whip up a batch of stuffed French toast this weekend for a special treat, then enlist those recipients to clean up your kitchen. It’s really the least they can do.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients per serving

2 slices bread (I like to use buttermilk)
1-2 Tbsp cream cheese, softened1
1-2 Tbsp Raspberry Rhubarb jam1

1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Heat griddle or frying pan over medium heat and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Spread cream cheese on one slice of bread, and jam on the other. Place cream cheese slice (spread sides together) on the jam slice to form a sandwich.
  3. In a shallow bowl large enough to fit your bread, whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended.
  4. Place your bread into the egg mixture for 1-2 minutes each side, until bread looks soaked through. (If you’re just making one serving, it should soak up almost all the liquid.)
  5. Fry until golden brown, 2-4 minutes per side. (I like to put a lid on the frying pan to help keep the heat in, but it’s not strictly necessary.)
  6. Serve immediately topped with butter and powdered sugar, or a drizzle of maple syrup for an extra decadent treat.

Notes

You can use basically any jam or sauce, this one is just my favorite. As for the amounts, I like two tablespoons of each for a decadent filling, but you can certainly use less if you prefer a less rich breakfast. If your cream cheese is hard to spread, soften it in the microwave in ten-second intervals. It’s going to be heated anyway so if you slightly over-melt it that’s no big deal.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

And we’re back on schedule! …for now. No promises but I’ll do my best to maintain the bi-weekly posts. I certainly have enough planned it’s just a matter of having enough daylight to work with; it’s a bit of a struggle when I get home from work and it’s already dark.

Excuses aside, this week I have a fantastic and easy side dish you’re sure to love. With a 2-pound bag of Brussels sprouts all to myself,  I knew I needed to eat them right quick. I remembered Pinning a recipe for a roasted version a few weeks ago and thought I would finally give it a try. My main aversion to roasting vegetables is that they often require upwards of half an hour in the oven and I rarely want to wait that long to eat things, but this recipe called for just twenty minutes which seemed like something I could handle.

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts {{Baking Bytes}}

For making these sprouts, the most time-consuming part was trimming and halving them, mainly because I’d already had them a week and they were starting to brown, and also because produce from Costco tends to be gigantic and this batch was no exception. In any case, I tossed them in the oil concoction and put them in the oven, and 25 minutes later had a delicious, healthy, and easy side dish. As a bonus it made enough to last me several days.

IMG_0552

Roasted veggies are much less likely to be bitter and the added seasonings give these a little something extra. Garlic and salt go with pretty much anything and some red pepper flakes add a slight kick. If you’re bigger into the spicy thing, add some more flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper to suit your preferences.

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I enjoyed this recipe even more than anticipated and I hope you do too. An easy recipe that feeds the whole family and even reheats well if you have extras. These went great with the scalloped potatoes from last week and are definitely something I’ll be adding to the dinner rotation. I look forward to trying it with broccoli also – I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Adapted from South Your Mouth
Makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients

2 lbs Brussels sprouts, washed and dry

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheets with a silicon mat or parchment paper. (Not strictly necessary but easier to clean up later.)
  2. Trim sprouts and cut in half if they are larger than about one inch in diameter.
  3. In a large bowl, combine sprouts, oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir with a rubber spatula until sprouts are well coated with the oil mixture. (This is why the sprouts should be dry.)
  4. Spread in one layer on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 18-25 minutes, until sprouts are tender with some light charring, as desired. The time will vary depending on the size of your sprouts and how you lined your pan, so check every few minutes until you like what you see.
  5. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Hello, hello. Apologies for being a week late; between getting back in to the swing of work life and M leaving town last week, it’s been a busy start to the year. A few weeks in I am finally getting caught up and ready to work on some fun projects this year, both with food and other crafts. I’m also intending to run my first full marathon in June, dependent on how well my training plan meshes with ski season. There are tons of marathons all year so I can always delay a month or so if needed.

In any case, with M leaving on Monday and the snow hitting on Saturday, I felt some comfort food was in order. M’s parents generously gifted me a very nice mandolin food slicer for Christmas so scalloped potatoes seemed the obvious choice.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes {{Baking Bytes}}

As a kid, scalloped potatoes were always one of my most favorite foods and probably one of the most-requested items each time I came home from college. Warm, and creamy, I could eat them for days and not get bored. They always remind me of family and cozy evenings and often made an appearance for Christmas dinner. Hand slicing potatoes was too much of a deterrent for me to make them on my own, but with a mandolin they are easy-peasy.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes {{Baking Bytes}}

With just a few simple ingredients they are not going to open a whole new world of flavors, but they are a delicious side dish (or entrée, if you’re me) and coordinate nicely with almost anything. This recipe is straight from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, one of the few I ever manage to use in lieu of the internet.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes {{Baking Bytes}}

If it isn’t already, this recipe is sure to become a staple in your household; I know it is in mine. If you have several mouths to feed, this recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13″ dish instead – this is the way my mom always made it.

Classic Scalloped Potatoes

Borrowed from The Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes, peeled and rinsed

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp (a dash) of pepper

1 1/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8×8″ baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Thinly slice potatoes using a mandolin or a knife and a lot of patience. Place half the potatoes in the prepared dish.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium-high until melted. Add onion and cook until tender and mostly translucent.
  4. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, then add milk all at once.
  5. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat.
  6. Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes, then repeat with remaining potatoes and sauce. Make sure mixture is evenly spread in the baking dish.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until potatoes are tender and a little browned on top, about 30 minutes.
  8. Let rest on the counter for 5 minutes, then serve hot, topping with a little extra freshly ground pepper, if desired.
  9. If you have leftovers, they keep well in the fridge for several days.

2015 Recap and Announcement

Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and is excited for the new year. Honestly I’m not 100% sure where 2015 even went, but it was a great year overall. Lots of adventures in baking, running, and crafting. In addition to all the things you’ve seen on this blog, I also cut 7:37 off my half marathon time and ran 8 half marathons total…

Running

…traveled to several new cities…

NashvilleVictoriaChattanooga …went on a canoe camping trip in Yellowstone National Park…

YNP Canoeing

…completed another year of Skirtember…

Skirtember 1 Skirtember 2Skirtember 3 Skirtember 4
…and tried my hand at some new crafting projects.

Photo-transfer albumWood burned boxEarrings and necklace

With the holidays in Alaska I didn’t have enough time to figure out a baking post for today (sorry), but I do have an announcement: you can now follow me on facebook! All of my posts will be linked up here (as well as my twitter, which already exists) so you can follow me in the best way for you. I promise not to spam your news feed with irrelevant posts.

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you all in the new year! And if you need an awesome New Year’s Eve party dessert recipe, Champagne Cake (or cupcakes) are fantastic.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Wreath

Hello and Happy Holidays friends! Hope you’re having an appropriately white or warm season depending on your location. I am visiting my family in Alaska for the holidays and it’s been pleasantly snowy here – quite the change from last year’s raining nonsense. Apologies for the late post, time at home always seems to go by much more quickly than real life.

In any case, this morning I have another easy pastry recipe to share. The overwhelming popularity of my Cream Cheese Danishes led me to try another style. A few months ago I saw a braided Nutella bread that looked beautiful. As you may now be aware, I am not a fan of Nutella but I really loved the idea of a twisted bread with a contrasting filling. Filing it away for future reference, several months passed before I took up the project.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Wreath {{Baking Bytes}}

I love cinnamon rolls any time of year but for some reason I always crave them even more around Christmas. The homemade version is quite a bit of work which makes them extra special (and extra tasty) so we don’t make them very often, except sometimes for Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast. Pillsbury makes actual cinnamon rolls, of course, which are surprisingly good, but feel somewhat commonplace as far as excitement goes.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Wreath {{Baking Bytes}}

The idea for twisted bread returned to me and twisted cinnamon rolls were born. Using an easy cinnamon sugar filling and the pre-made dough makes for a super quick breakfast or pretty dessert without the hassle and tediousness of dealing with yeast and rising times. Small enough for the family or simple enough to make several for the office, these are a pretty way to switch up the traditional and delicious flavors of a cinnamon roll.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Wreath {{Baking Bytes}}

Sure to please both the kids and the coworkers, this is a great holiday option for all the busy people out there.

Easy Cinnamon Roll Wreath

Makes 8 small servings

Ingredients

1 package Pillsbury Crescent Rolls1

2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1-3 Tbsp milk (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. On an extra sheet of parchment paper, unroll the dough and pinch the seams together. Put face down on the prepared baking sheet and then gently peel off the parchment paper. Pinch the seams together from this side also.
  3. Spread 2 Tbsp butter over the dough.
  4. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon until well mixed, then sprinkle evenly over the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch clear on one long end.
  5. From the other long end, gently roll up the dough and then pinch closed.
  6. Carefully cut down longwise down the center of the rolled dough (a plastic pizza cutter works great, and won’t damage your silicon mats or your baking sheet). Gently turn the cut side facing up.
  7. Carefully lift one side and place it over the other dough strip, repeating on the same side to form a twist. Gently move into a circle and pinch the ends together.
  8. Bake for about 18 minutes. It should be browned on the top and not doughy in the middle.
  9. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting: beat together cream cheese and 2 Tbsp butter until fluffy, then beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired consistency – less milk for spreading, more milk for drizzling.
  10. Let the cinnamon roll cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to your serving plate and spread/drizzle with the frosting. (You will likely have frosting left over, so feel free to halve the recipe if you don’t like lots of it.)
  11. Serve immediately with coffee for a lovely snack, or eggs and fruit for a more well-rounded breakfast.

Notes

Any of the styles should work, although they may all bake up slightly differently, so watch carefully and adjust the baking time accordingly. For example, the “big and flaky” version would probably need a couple more minutes in the oven.