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Baked Croissant Cinnamon French Toast Croissants should never go to waste. Not ever. Not even when they are stale. Turning stale croissants into delicious French toast or bread pudding is the ultimate in food upcycling. In this recipe, chunks of croissants soak in an egg-milk-yogurt mixture and then are covered with a cinnamon streusel. After one bite of this moist French toast and its crunchy topping, you’ll find yourself buying croissants just so they can go stale.

Baked Croissant Cinnamon French Toast
Recipe adapted by Pinch of Yum from The Pioneer Woman

INGREDIENTS
Bread Pudding
3 large or 6 small stale croissants
3 eggs
¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
¼ cup sugar
½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Streusel Topping
3 tablespoons flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

DIRECTIONS
1. Grease a small baking pan with butter. Tear the croissants into small pieces and place in the dish.

2. Whisk the eggs, milk, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight in the fridge (or for a few hours if you are short on time).

3. For the topping, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the cold butter in with a food processor, a pastry cutter, or your fingers until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

4. An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top of the croissant/egg mixture in the pan. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes depending on how soft/crispy you want it to be. Make sure the French toast is fully cooked before you remove it from the oven – usually the top looks done before the inside is really done.

5. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

Serves approximately 6

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used 6 small croissants that I had on hand.

2. I also used lowfat milk and no-fat Greek yogurt with delicious results.

3. For some reason, the consistency of my streusel was a bit off, not as crumbly as I wanted. I added a touch more flour to the mixture to make it more crumbly.

4. French toast and bread pudding are very similar, so this recipe could be served as a dessert too.

Enjoy!

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Baked donuts With Chocolate Glaze “Can I have a doughnut with my sprinkles, please?” To anyone who drools over doughnuts in bakery cases, there is no denying that sprinkles put the happy in these circular wonders. This past Christmas I received a doughnut pan as a gift. The friend who gave it to me explained how easy it is to make doughnuts with the special pan, how cake doughnuts don’t require deep-frying, and how incredibly nice it is to bake fresh doughnuts for breakfast. She was right on all counts.

Baked Cake Doughnuts With Chocolate Glaze
Doughnut recipe from Epicurious
Chocolate Glaze recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

Doughnuts
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup (75 grams) superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening
1/4 cup whole milk, scalded
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten

Chocolate Glaze
1/2 cup (90g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons water

Decorations
Assortment of sprinkles

DIRECTIONS

For the Doughnuts:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a doughnut pan.

2. Sift the flours and baking powder together into a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer.

2. Whisk in the sugar, nutmeg, and salt.

3. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the dry ingredients as you would in making a pastry crust, until evenly distributed.

4. Add the milk, yogurt, vanilla, and egg and stir until just combined. Do not overmix or your doughnuts may be rubbery.

5. Use a piping bag or a spoon to fill each doughnut cup about three-quarters full, making sure the center post is clear. Bake until doughnuts are a light golden brown and spring back when touched, 6 to 10 minutes. Let cool slightly before removing from pan.

6. Glaze as desired.

YIELD: Makes 6 to 12 doughnuts

For the Chocolate Glaze:
1. Put the chocolate chips, butter, corn syrup, and water into a microwave-safe bowl.

2. Place bowl in the microwave oven and cook on high for 20 seconds. Stir the chocolate mixture and microwave for another 20 seconds, if needed. Stir again and microwave in 5 second increments (if necessary), until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

3. Dip the tops of the doughnuts into the chocolate glaze.

4. Holding a doughnut over a bowl, shake sprinkles over the melted chocolate mixture.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used a vegetable oil spray to grease the doughnut pan.

2. Freshly grated nutmeg really adds flavor, but if you don’t have whole nutmeg, use ground nutmeg.

3. I used a pastry cutter in step 3.

4. Step 4 requires milk to be scalded. If you need a refresher course on scalding milk, click on the link to view a brief video lesson on scalding milk. The milk needs time to cool down, so scald the milk after you sift the flours and baking soda together.

5. Instead of using a piping bag to fill the doughnut pan, I put the batter into a plastic zip-type bag. After sealing the bag, I cut off a bottom corner and squeezed the batter into the doughnut molds.

6. I found it easier to shake the sprinkles onto the doughnut, rather than dipping the chocolate side of the doughnut into a bowl of sprinkles. When doing the latter, chocolate gets all over the sprinkles in the bowl, lessening chances of reusing any leftovers.

7. This recipe made exactly 6 doughnuts for my size doughnut pan.
Baking Donuts in a Donut Pan

Enjoy!

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Gingerbread Pancakes Take a good look at these lightly-spiced caramel-colored pancakes. Better yet, click on the photo to enlarge it. They appear deliciously light and fluffy, but something is missing. Butter? No. Syrup? No. Maple Cream? Yes! I should have whipped the cream before I cooked the pancakes, because resisting pancakes hot off the griddle is obviously not one of my strengths!

Gingerbread Pancakes
From the Great Gingerbread Cookbook By Sara Perry

PANCAKE INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup light molasses
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 cups milk
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat an oven to 250° degrees F.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven. Place an ovenproof dish on the rack.

3. In a large bowl, beat the molasses and oil, by hand or with an electric mixer, until well-blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the milk. It is important to stir all the way to the bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are brought together.

4. Sift the all-purpose and whole wheat flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon into the egg mixture, and beat until just blended. The batter will be slightly thick and have a rich, dark caramel color.

5. Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet on medium-high heat until a few drops of water skip along the hot surface. Working in batches, measure out a scant 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. When cooking more than one pancake at a time, pour the batter so that the pancakes do not touch. Cook the first side until the edges begin to dry and bubbles begin to appear on the top surface. Turn and cook 1 minute on the second side.

6. Place in the oven on the preheated dish to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the pancakes hot with Maple Cream.

Makes twenty 4-inch pancakes.

MAPLE CREAM INGREDIENTS
1 cup chilled whipping cream
1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup, at room temperature.

DIRECTIONS
In a chilled bowl, whisk the cream until it just begins to form soft peaks. Drizzle in the maple syrup, continuing to whisk until soft peaks form and begin to hold their shape. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Makes about 2 cups.

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I used dark molasses, because that’s all I had in my pantry. Peggy Trowbridge Filippone of About.com says, “Although light and dark molasses are interchangeable in recipes, be aware that using the dark will intensify flavor and slightly darken the end product and vice versa.” Indeed, my pancakes were slightly darker in color than those in the cookbook photo, but they had a nice molasses flavor to them.

2. It is better to measure out the oil first instead of the molasses. By doing so, the oil will coat your measuring cup, enabling the molasses to pour out more easily.

3. Keep an eye on these pancakes as they are cooking; they have a tendency to brown quickly, due to the sugar content in the molasses. It would be wise to start at a lower temperature than you normally would for pancakes and then adjust the the heat accordingly. My husband liked the darker pancakes, because they had more intense flavor.

4. The gingerbread flavor in these pancakes is very subtle. If you want a spicier gingerbread flavor, add more spice.

5. If you like thinner pancakes, thin the batter with a little bit of milk.

ENJOY!

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Jammers: Biscuits Topped with JamImagine the smell of homemade biscuits wafting throughout your home in the early hours of the morning. You wake up early, before everyone else, because you enjoy the peace and calm of your empty kitchen. The timer rings and you take a tray of jammers, large buttery biscuits topped with jam, out of the oven. You restrain yourself from taking a bite into one, because you know that they will reach perfection in about five minutes. That gives you just enough time to brew a mug of coffee or steep a cup of tea. You eye the clock as five minutes turns into an eternity. Finally, you sit down with your hot brew and stare at the plate of jammers. You carefully select the largest one that has the biggest glob of jam on top. And after only one bite, pure delight spreads across your face as the crunchy exterior yields to the soft flaky interior. Ah, there’s no better way to start the day than with a hot jammer!

Grand Central Bakery Jammers
The Grand Central Baking Cookbook

INGREDIENTS
4 cups (1 pound, 4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8 ounces, or 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1¼ to 1½ cups (10 to 12 fluid ounces) buttermilk
About 3/4 cup good quality preserves or jam

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

2. Measure the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a bowl with high sides or the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk to combine.

3. Dice the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. Use your hands or the paddle attachment of the stand mixer on low speed to blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture of the flour changes from silky to mealy. There should still be dime- to quarter-size pieces of butter remaining. If you’re preparing the dough the night before, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill overnight; otherwise proceed with the recipe.

4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour 1 cup of the buttermilk in one addition. Gently mix the dough just until it comes together; it will look rough. Scrape the dough from the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add another 1/4 cup buttermilk and mix again to incorporate any floury scraps. The majority of the dough will come together, on the paddle if you are using a stand mixer. Stop mixing while there are still visible chunks of butter and floury patches. The dough should come out of the bowl in 2 to 3 large, messy clumps, leaving only some small scraps and flour around the sides of the bowl. If the dough is visibly dry and crumbly, add up to 1/4 cup more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing no more than one rotation after each addition.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use the heels and sides of your palms to gather the dough and gently pat it into an oblong shape 1½ to 2 inches thick. It won’t look smooth or particularly cohesive; that’s okay. Use a biscuit cutter to cut jammers into circles at least 2½ inches in diameter. Layer the leftover scraps on top of one another and gently pat them out to a thickness of 1½ to 2 inches and again cut into circles.

6. Use you thumb to make an indentation the size of a fifty-cent piece in the middle of each biscuit. While gently supporting the outside edge of the biscuit with your fingers, use your thumb to create a bulb-shaped hole that’s a bit wider at the bottom and that goes almost to the bottom of the biscuit (think pinch pot). Try to apply as little pressure as possible to the outside of the biscuit, to avoid smashing the layers, which are the key to flaky jammers.

7. Fill each indentation with 1 tablespoon of jam and put jammers on the prepared baking sheet with 1½ inches between them.

8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through the baking time. The jammers should be a deep golden brown.

Makes 10 to 12 jammers

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. These are very large biscuits! I was only able to make 8 biscuits from the recipe.

2. The key to achieving a flaky biscuit is to keep the butter cold and to avoid overworking the dough.

3. I baked my jammers for 35 minutes in a convection oven and they were done perfectly.

ENJOY!

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Some people sing in the shower. I sing in the kitchen. So if you happened to walk past my house one morning last week, you might have heard a very off-tune version of this Baha Men’s song:

You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up
Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up
You put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up
Put the lime in the coconut; you’re such a silly one
You put the lime in the coconut and drink ’em both together

I couldn’t help but sing and bust a few “unique” moves as I whipped up a loaf of moist coconut banana bread. What a great combination of flavors: coconut, banana, rum, and lime. Don’t forget the rum, because, take it from me, it makes you sing and dance better!

Coconut Banana Bread With Lime Glaze
Recipe from Cooking Light, September 2003

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1½ cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1½ tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk to combine.

3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Add banana, yogurt, rum, and vanilla; beat until blended.

5. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.

6. Stir in 1/2 cup coconut. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

8. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan.

9. Combine powdered sugar and juice, stirring with a whisk; drizzle over warm bread. Cool bread completely on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf, 16 servings

Linnell’s Notes:
This bread was moist and flavorful, but the next time I make it I will be sure to have all the correct ingredients on hand to see how the bread should really taste. I used light rum instead of dark. The dark rum would have probably added a fuller flavor to the bread. I did not have plain yogurt on hand either, so I substituted vanilla-flavored yogurt and omitted the vanilla extract. I’m not sure that this substitution altered the taste very much. I also replaced the 1 cup of sugar with Splenda just to see if I could cut back on the amount of sugar. It turned out fine.

ENJOY!

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“Mom’s going to love these,” I thought to myself as I whipped up a batch of French Breakfast Puffs. Cinnamon-sugar coats tender, buttery mounds of baked perfection. Although their exteriors are golden, one bite gives way to a moist and tender muffin-like texture. I know my mom will really enjoy nibbling on these while sipping her morning coffee. Serve these delicious morsels at any brunch, but why not plan ahead to Mother’s Day?

French Breakfast Puffs
Recipe from The American Country Inn and Bed And Breakfast Cookbook

Ingredients:
1/3 cup shortening, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
*******************************
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin cups.
2. In a large bowl cream together the shortening, sugar, and egg.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
4. Stir flour mixture into the sugar mixture, alternately with the milk.
5. Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
7. In a small bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon. Roll the warm muffins in melted butter, then in the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Serve hot.

Makes 12 muffins.

Linnell’s Notes:
1. If you don’t like the taste of nutmeg, you can leave it out. One time I accidentally left the nutmeg out and the puffs still tasted great. Nutmeg does lend more depth to the overall flavor, though.

2. I melt one cube of butter (8 T) and always barely have enough to coat all the puffs.

Enjoy!

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Tried-and-true recipes that are handed down from mother to child or shared from friend to friend are the jewels in every woman’s recipe collection. A tattered pink index card holds an all-time favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe of mine, and is a good example of a jewel in my collection. Even though I can’t recall the source of the recipe, the delicious ribbons of nuts, sugar and cinnamon swirling through a moist cake are unforgettable. Coffee cakes just don’t get better than that. That is, until now! From the Grand Central Baking Book comes this easy and well-written recipe that has several great things going for it. One – the recipe is from the Grand Central Bakery, a renowned bakery in the Pacific Northwest. Two – the coffee cake bakes in a 9 by 13-inch pan instead of a deep tube or bundt pan, thus decreasing baking time. Three – this coffee cake offers the versatility of adding a layer of fresh seasonal fruit on top of a delicate, moist cake. Four – a crunchy oat streusel covers the fresh fruit. The author likens it to a fruit crisp on top of a cake. You’ll want to add this “jewel” of a recipe to your own collection!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Recipe from the Grand Central Baking Book

Ingredients:

STREUSEL
½ cup (4 ounces, or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter
½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
½ cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
¾ cup (2.75 ounces) rolled oats

COFFEE CAKE
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
¾ cup (6 ounces, or  1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (12.75 ounces) sour cream

2 cups diced fresh fruit or berries

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.

2. Dice the butter into ¼- to ½-inch cubes, then combine it with the granulated and brown sugars, flour, and salt. Use two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingers to mix the ingredients until crumbly, then mix in the oats. If you’re making the streusel ahead of time, cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to proceed with the recipe.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl with high sides. Make a well in the center.

4. In another bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, butter, and vanilla together. Pour the mixture into the well, then add the sour cream by evenly distributing large spoonfuls around the edges of the dry ingredients. Gently mix the batter, using a large spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Use big, slow, circular strokes that scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with each motion. Don’t worry if the batter appears slightly lumpy, or if there are streaks of sour cream. The delicate texture of this batter is achieved through minimal mixing. (Some small patches of flour may still be visible; this is okay, as they’ll be absorbed during the baking process.)

5.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Distribute the fruit in an even layer over the batter, then sprinkle evenly with the streusel. Bake for 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The streusel should be crunchy and brown, and a skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.

Serve the coffee cake straight from the oven with plenty of fresh, piping hot coffee.

Serves 12

Linnell’s Notes:
I used fresh blueberries that I tossed in a little bit of flour first to prevent them from sinking and turning the batter purple.

This cake stays moist for days – not that it would last that long, but there are only two of us at home to eat it!

Enjoy!

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