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.

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.

Pumpkin Pie Jack-o-lanterns

Fall actually hit Montana while I was gone so I woke up to frost this morning for my bike ride to work. It was glorious. I just returned from my whirlwind half marathon tour yesterday so I am pretty tired, but very glad to be home. Three great races and lots of fun seeing new places and old faces in all four Lower 48 timezones. This week I have a bonus post for you! I actually thought of this idea last year, but never got around to implementing it, so I decided I should definitely get it done this year.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite pies and I will happily eat it all year round. Unfortunately M doesn’t super care for it so mostly I just make it in the fall when I don’t mind having it for breakfast all week (yum). It’s a traditional dessert this time of year, which can be boring (according to some) so I thought I’d try giving it a new package.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

I used my normal pie crust recipe and pie filling recipe, and then used mason jar rings to form little pies. The jack-o-lantern faces make them great for Halloween but with a different decoration (like the leaf cutouts below) they’d be great for any fall potluck. They are way easier to serve and eat which makes them great for when you aren’t having a sit down dinner. They do have a high crust to filling ratio, so make sure you use a crust recipe that you like; I have mine linked below if you don’t already have a favorite.

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

They are a little time consuming, especially if you cut out faces, but not difficult and I’d say pretty beginner friendly. I got 9 out of my recipe but that could vary based on how thin you roll your crust and how many times you are able to reuse the scraps. (I wouldn’t recommend more than once or twice as the dough gets very tough the more you handle it. Tip: you can drip a little extra water to help the scraps stick together again to re-roll.)

Pumpkin Jack-o-lantern Mini Pies {{Baking Bytes}}

Your usual pumpkin filling, yummy pie crust, and a dusting of cinnamon sugar makes a great treat that’s easy to portion control and is a wonderful whipped cream vessel. The cuteness is an added perk. =)

If you need a dessert for your Halloween parties this weekend, give these a try.

Pumpkin Pie Jack-o-lanterns

Makes about 8 double-crust handpies

Ingredients

Pastry for double-crust pie

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch ground cloves

1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

cinnamon & sugar mixture (optional)

Other Supplies

8+ wide-mouth jar rings
1 small-mouth jar ring with lid
1/4 cup of water or one egg white

Directions

  1. Line a cookie sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or wait a bit since some of these steps can be time-consuming.)
  2. Whisk together sugar, spices, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir in egg, pumpkin, and whipping cream until combined. Set aside.
  4. Take half of your crust pastry and roll it out slightly thinner than you normally would. Use a 4″ biscuit cutter to cut out as many rounds as possible. Repeat with remaining pastry.
  5. For jack-o-lanterns, cut faces into half of the unbaked pie crust circles. (Totally optional, of course.)
  6. Place appropriate number of wide-mouth jar rings (not lids!) upside-down on your prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. (Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit if you haven’t already.)
  7. Using the small jar ring with lid inside, gently place one pie crust circle on top of it (yes it will hang over the sides, that’s important.)
  8. Carefully spoon about 3 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture into the center of the pie crust, such that it is contained by the jar lid ring.
  9. Brush the circumference of the circle with water or egg white, and top with one of your jack-o-lantern faces, pressing the edges together to seal completely.
  10. Gently remove the sealed pie from the small ring/lid and transfer to one of the wide-mouth rings such that it is centered and the edges are supported by the ring. Your pumpkin may overflow a little, but with practice you’ll get better.
  11. Repeat steps 7-11 with remaining pastry and pumpkin mixture. If you have a decent amount of pumpkin mixture remaining, pour it into a (sprayed) ramekin or small glass baking dish and bake the same as the pies.
  12. If desired, sprinkle cinnamon & sugar mixture over the pies (I do this with pretty much all my pies), then bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a small knife inserted into the pumpkin mixture comes out clean.
  13. Let cool completely, then serve with whipped cream.

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}Welcome to May, my lovely readers. Apologies for the April hiatus, I got busy and blah blah all the usual excuses. However, I’ve been working on some new recipes for the summer and I’m excited to share them with you over the coming months.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

In the meantime, I’ve been craving scones lately and wanted to get some berry action given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having here in Montana. I hopped over to Pastry Affair since I was pretty sure she’d have a great recipe, and boy was I right. Incredibly moist, bursting with berries, and boasting the added delight of white chocolate chips, these scones were exactly what I was looking for. Perfect for dessert, breakfast, or snack, they’re delicious at any time of day. Serve them solo with coffee as the main event, or in conjunction with eggs and sausage for a fuller breakfast.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As fragile as raspberries are, even my frozen ones became somewhat muddled in the dough, but I think this only adds to the aesthetic as well as resulting in a perfect raspberry flavor in every bite. (The lovely pink color would make them extra adorable for Valentine’s Day, if you’re in to that sort of thing.) The dough was annoyingly sticky, I’ll admit, but an extra hand washing is well worth it in the end. In fact, I enjoyed them so much that the next day I made another batch with blackberries and dark chocolate chips. I think they’d be awesome with many combinations of berries and baking chips, so play around with the flavors and report back with your favorites.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Scones are something I never much enjoyed until I went to Scotland in 2009, and it was shortly after that when I found my go to recipe for cinnamon sugar scones. I love that recipe because it’s simple and super quick, but this one will definitely be added to the repertoire for a “berrylicious” alternative.

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

As you are likely aware, Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. As I eat these scones, and write this post, I think about my mom and how much she has molded me and helped me throughout my life. Even now, she graciously proofreads all my posts and offers her own opinions and tweaks when she tries the recipes. I am so grateful for her being such an amazing person in my life and I wish I could bring her some of these scones to start off a day of celebrating her. But since we’ll be about a thousand miles apart this weekend, I guess a phone call will have to do.

Blackberry Dark Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Thanks Mom. =)

Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Scones {{Baking Bytes}}

Choose Your Own Adventure Scones

Borrowed from Pastry Affair
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

6 Tbsp butter, softened

1 rounded cup frozen berries (do not thaw)1
1/2 cup baking chips (white chocolate, chocolate, etc)2

1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg

raw or granulated sugar for topping

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Use your fingers to mix in butter until well distributed and texture is like fluffy but damp sand.
  4. Gently stir in berries and chips. Set aside.
  5. Whisk together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over dry mixture and gently mix until combined. You will likely need to use your hands and it will be very sticky – this is annoying, but normal and oh so worth it.
  6. On your lightly floured silicon mat, flatten dough into a circle about one inch thick. If you like, sprinkle on some raw sugar.
  7. Cut into eight wedges (I like to use a pizza cutter) and gently spread to at least one inch apart on the baking sheet using a spatula dipped in flour. Wipe up extraneous flour if there’s a lot of extra.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Scones should no longer look wet and the bottoms will be lightly browned. Cool at least a few minutes before serving; they are also delightful at room temperature.
  9. Store covered but unsealed at room temperature. (If you seal them they will get sticky. I promise they will stay moist overnight. If you have pets or bugs you can cover them with a cloth or lid – just not anything airtight.)

Notes

Raspberries and blackberries have both been awesome. I cut some of the larger blackberries in half but that’s not strictly necessary. Blueberries or cranberries would also be great.

The full half cup makes the scones quite sweet, so feel free to use a smaller amount (or leave them out entirely) if you don’t want quite as much sugar.

Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts {and Halloween}

Much like the rest of the 20-something white girl population, pumpkin is my favorite fall flavor. October is a highly anticipated month as I count the days towards what I officially call “Pumpkin Season.” Granted, this date is completely arbitrary, but since Bozeman summer generally extends well into September anyway, October 1st seemed a good choice.

IMG_1968Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts >> Baking Bytes

Since I’ve already posted my favorite pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin milkshake, I sought a new recipe to share this year. A Pinterest post led me to these donuts, which I ever so slightly adapted to fit my preferences. A moist and pleasantly spiced pumpkin donut topped with a cinnamon glaze is the perfect start to a fall morning. As this is a baked donut recipe, it does require a donut pan, but I promise you won’t regret the purchase. My one complaint about my pan is that it only holds six donuts, when all recipes make twelve. (First world problems, haha.)

Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts >> Baking Bytes

These would be a great way to kick off Halloween morning, sharing them with family, friends, or coworkers. Like many of you (I’m guessing), I already attended a Halloween party this past weekend, but maybe there’s a day-of party happening Thursday, or you just want to make something easy this fall. Whatever the occasion, these donuts are an easy way to bring the pumpkin flavor to breakfast.

Did you have a costume this year? I dressed up as Donatello (the Ninja Turtle, not the Renaissance artist), using a costume my mom made my older brother when he was five. That makes this costume almost as old as me, but still amazingly awesome.

I hope you hum the theme song for the rest of the day.

Heroes in a half shell – Turtle Power!

Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Barely adapted from Taste and Tell
Makes 12 donuts

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp milk

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a donut pan and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together brown sugar, butter, and pumpkin until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add eggs, mixing well, and then stir in milk and vanilla until completely incorporated.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  6. Spoon batter into a large Ziploc or pastry bag, cut off the tip, and pipe into the buttered donut wells.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. For the glaze, whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
  9. Dip cooled donuts in the glaze and return to the wire rack to set.
  10. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a mug of coffee, and a few friends to help you eat them.

IMG_2029Cinnamon Glazed Pumpkin Donuts >> Baking Bytes

Notes

1 These taste great made a day in advance, but the glaze tends to soak into the donut. If you can, glaze them on the day you intend to serve them so they’ll stay nice and pretty.