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Cranberry Orange Hot Cross Buns

20 Apr

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Happy Easter to all of you – I hope that yall are having a beautiful day! Hot cross buns are traditional to eat on Good Friday, so I’d made a batch to munch on during Holy Week. I’ve made a similar version before but they were pretty plain without any dried fruit. So naturally I wanted to jazz them up this time with the cranberry and orange flavor combo which is one of my favorites! Especially since I don’t like raisins, which is the usual dried fruit that’s added. Sorry to all you raisin lovers out there, but you can sub any kind of dried fruit that your heart desires.

So whether you make these for the holidays or just because, I hope you enjoy! And because I’m reminiscing about spending last Easter in Rome, “Buona Pasqua” to you all!

Cranberry Orange Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast (also equals 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp granulated white sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Plus 1 egg and 1 Tbsp milk or water for an egg wash before baking

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk
A few drops of orange extract (optional)

Yield: 1 dozen

Directions:
To make the buns: In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat the milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees F). Add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

Meanwhile in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, spices, and salt. Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the melted butter, egg, and orange zest and beat until incorporated. With the mixer on medium low speed, with the dough hook, gradually add the cranberries and continue to knead the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap  and place in a warm spot to rise until it has almost doubled in size (about 1 1/2 – 2 hours).

When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air, and divide into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a lined baking sheet. (lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat) Place three buns to a row, four rows altogether. They should be spaced so they have enough room to double in size.) Cover the buns with a tea towel or lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray and place lightly over the buns. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (about 60 minutes).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the tops of the buns with an egg wash (one beaten egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon milk or water) and brush the tops of the buns with the wash. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about15 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and orange extract if using and mix until smooth. Add a little extra powdered sugar if it’s too runny, till you get the consistency you want. Place the glaze in a paper cone or small plastic bag. Cut the end of the cone or bag and pipe a cross on the top of each bun.

Source: Slightly adapted from Joy of Baking

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches

6 Jan

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Happy New Year to all of you – hope it’s been treating you well so far! We’re off to a great start in our home and can’t believe that in a few months we’ll get to finally meet our little one. Something that my dear husband already accomplished this year was running a full marathon on New Years Eve morning and then a half marathon on New Years Day. What an ambitious guy – I’m proud to say the least!

The two or three weeks leading up to the races, he strove to eat really well to get his body ready for the task at hand. One thing I wanted to make for his quick and healthy breakfasts were sandwiches that you can make ahead, freeze, and reheat. I found a recipe online that ended up being a keeper. You simply bake an egg in a ramekin, cook some turkey bacon, pile them onto an English muffin, freeze, and zap in the microwave for an awesome on-the-go breakfast. The only problem is that I got hooked on them too, so now have to make even more!

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The beautiful thing is that you can personalize these with a variety of things depending on what you like or how healthy you want to make it. You could use a biscuit instead of a muffin, ham, Canadian bacon, or sausage instead of turkey bacon, or even add a slice of your favorite cheese.

These are definitely becoming a staple in our house – they’re delicious, easy to make in bulk, and much cheaper than store bought sandwiches. Hope you enjoy too!

Freezer Friendly Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:
6 large eggs
Salt & pepper, to taste
6 English muffins
6 slices turkey bacon

Yield: 6 sandwiches

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray ramekins with nonstick spray. Crack one egg into each ramekin and use a fork to break the yolk and mix the egg a bit.

Bake the eggs for 15 minutes, until set. Let them cool for about 10 minutes and gently slide the eggs out of the ramekins. Sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, if wanted.

Cook the bacon in the oven or on the stovetop according to package directions. Let it cool completely.

Slice the English muffins and cut each piece of bacon in half. Put one egg on each muffin and top with a slice of bacon. (you could also add cheese at this point)

Wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To reheat, remove the sandwiches from the plastic wrap and wrap in a paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute on 50% power. Flip the sandwich over and microwave for 1 more minute on regular power. Enjoy!

Source: Slightly adapted from Flying on Jess Fuel

Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones

9 Dec

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Being stuck at home during this ice storm has given me plenty of time to get caught up on housework and gave me extra time for baking and cooking! I was in the mood for some scones for breakfast yesterday and had this recipe for coconut scones that are made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream or regular milk. I’d made some similar scones before, but I really like this recipe more. The coconut milk adds some extra flavor and the texture is nice and soft on the inside but still a little crisp on the outside. I added mini chocolate chips for some extra sweetness and it made these taste just like a Mounds bar!

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If you don’t have a scone pan to make fancy triangular scones, you can simply scoop the dough onto a lined baking sheet and make round scones instead. They’ll be just as good! And a heads up – this dough is super sticky! So you might want to grease your hands and utensils. Then make sure to drizzle on some of the coconut glaze and you’re all set for a tasty breakfast!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Scones

Ingredients:
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup or more chocolate chips (I used mini ones)

For the glaze:
2 Tbsp coconut milk
1/4 tsp coconut extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 1 dozen scones

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet OR prepare your scone pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and shredded coconut in a bowl. Beat in the butter with a mixer on low speed, then raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is in coarse crumbles.

Whisk the coconut milk, eggs, and coconut extract in another bowl, then stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips; do not overmix.

Scoop 2-to-3-inch mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets (a large ice cream scoop works well for this) OR divide the dough into the scone pan. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Whisk the coconut milk, coconut and vanilla extracts, and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the scones while still slightly warm.

Source: Slightly adapted from Food Network

Lemon Dutch Baby

23 Oct

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I apologize for falling off the face of the earth lately, but to say I’m sorry, I brought you an awesome Dutch Baby recipe! And honestly, part of the reason that life has been fast and furious lately is because…I have a “Dutch Baby in the oven”. And by that, in case you don’t get my lame humor, I mean that hubby and I are expecting our first child! We are beyond excited and are already totally in love with our little one. I’m 12ish weeks along and this baby has been so worth the wait! Plus my married name is Dutch, so the joke kinda works. 🙂

So back to the food… I’ve had a Dutch Baby (sometimes known as a puff pancake, among other things) a few times before. I know there are different flavors out there, but I’ve always had them made simply with lemon and powdered sugar. This recipe comes from my Aunt Linda who is a pro in the kitchen and has made her fair share of these babies over the years.

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They are really simple to make and the puffy end result is pretty fun and impressive! You can bake them in a cast iron skillet or your favorite pie plate. But beware, when melting the butter in the oven, keep a close eye on it or else you’ll get browned butter. Which is tasty and all, but not great for this recipe. (I speak from experience – oops) Once the batter is cooked, brown, and puffy, you drizzle on a little fresh lemon juice, give it a heavy dusting of powdered sugar, slice, and serve while still warm. Such an easy yet special breakfast treat – I know my Dutch baby and I sure enjoyed it!

Lemon Dutch Baby

Ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 4-6 servings

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Beat the eggs and milk until they are well blended. Add the flour and salt, stirring the batter until it is slightly lumpy.

Put the butter in a 10 inch pie plate and place in the oven to melt. When the butter is very hot, pour in the batter and bake for about twenty minutes, or until the pancake is brown and puffed. Sprinkle with lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar and cut into wedges. Serve immediately as it will deflate quickly.

Source: My Aunt Linda

Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

27 Aug

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So lets be real. Muffins are just an excuse to have cake for breakfast, right?

I had some very ripe bananas to use and didn’t want to make my usual banana nut variety of muffins, so thought a chocolate banana combo would be awesome. And indeed it was! Between the cocoa powder, melted chocolate, and chocolate chips, these are totally dessert for breakfast. But there’s banana involved, so they’re redeemed by at least a little nutritional value. (At least that’s what I tell myself.)

While the chocolate is the star of these muffins, you do still get an obvious banana flavor in each bite. You can add nuts if you want, but I felt like leaving it out this time. Also, you can skip the muffin approach and bake this into a loaf instead. (like the original recipe) Just spoon the batter into a prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Either way, it’s good eats! Enjoy!

Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

Ingredients:
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen muffins

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with papers and set aside. Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until fluffy, then beat in the chocolate, eggs, bananas, and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Do not over mix. Gently stir in the chips.

Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin pan (about 2/3 full) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 20 minutes. Put the pan on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before taking them out of the pan. Let them cool completely on a cooling rack or enjoy while still warm.

Source: Slightly adapted from Mama’s Gotta Bake

Cherry Ricotta Donuts

5 Aug

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Hi everyone! Sorry for my recent absence but it’s good to be back! I was gone for a while to Rio de Janeiro as a chaperone for World Youth Day. It was absolutely amazing – we got to meet people from all over the world, celebrate and grow in our faith, see the Pope a few times, eat some tasty Brazilian food, and of course do some sightseeing.

Before heading out of town, I was trying to clean out my fridge. These donuts were the result! I had some leftover ricotta cheese and fresh cherries that were just asking to be combined into a fresh baked treat. These donuts were super soft with a nice texture from the cherry, plus the glaze added some extra sweetness. You could totally use other fresh fruits, like some blueberries or peaches if you want. Regardless, they’ll be delicious!

Cherry Ricotta Donuts

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped fresh cherries

For the glaze:
1/4 cup fresh cherry juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup powdered sugar

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease your donut pan and set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, ricotta, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined. Gently fold in the cherries.

Spoon the batter into the donut pan until half full. Bake for 8-11 minutes or until lightly brown. Leave in the pan for a minute then put on a cooling rack to completely cool.

To make the glaze, whisk the three ingredients together until smooth. If it seems too runny, add more powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency. Dip the top of the donut into the glaze and put on a rack to set.

Source: Adapted from Mother Thyme

Chocolate Mint Donuts

7 Jun

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Happy National Donut Day!

Aren’t donuts the best? They’ve become a perfectly good excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. And with these beauties, you’ll be having chocolate cake for to start your day! I have tons of fresh mint at home and was looking for tasty ways to use some of my abundance. (besides endless mojitos) Enter these awesome donuts.

The fresh mint flavor is subtle but definitely makes itself known. They aren’t overly sweet, even topped with the chocolate glaze. Ooh but the chocolate glaze… Licking spoons and bowls is a normal side effect of this delicious glaze. Lick the cooling rack though, and you may have gone too far. 😉

Chocolate Mint Donuts

Ingredients:
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced

Chocolate Glaze
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar

Yield: 2 dozen

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and prepare a donut pan with baking spray. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. While the butter is melting, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs in a small bowl. Add the buttermilk/egg combination to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the melted butter and stir in. Finely chop the fresh mint leaves and add the mint to the donut batter and mix well. Spoon the batter into the donut pan.

Bake the donuts for 10 minutes. Let them cool in the pan for a minute before turning out onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining donut batter.

Prepare the chocolate glaze: Heat the cream to a simmer. Combine all of the other ingredients in a medium bowl and pour the hot cream over them. Whisk until shiny and smooth. Dunk each donut half way in the glaze and twist as you remove them from the glaze. Put donuts back on the cooling rack to set up. Enjoy!

Source: Heather Christo Cooks