Baked French Toast

I haven’t posted in a while so I’m feeling some pressure to come back with something pretty amazing so you’ll remember how much you’ve missed me.

I’ve certainly missed you! And I’ve had so many blog worthy treats and thoughts in my head over the last few weeks, but nary a moment to write them down.
frenchtoast1

I think you’ll be pleased with my pick.  It’s probably one of my favourite brunch/potluck dishes. And, so easy to whip together the night before or the morning of.    Best served slightly warm, this is a great week-end dish, bursting with fresh blueberries and nutmeg.   The pecan crumble on top is a must.

Trust me.

frenchtoast

I have served this at many brunches and everyone loves it.  This week-end I decided to try it in my Wilton Shell Pan.  The warm individual French Toasts popped out on to our plates like a dream.

frenchtoast2

We serve it up with some homemade blueberry sauce ~ which let me tell you is not necessary but takes this dish over the top!

Baked French Toast

* adapted from The Pioneer Woman

◾1 loaf French Bread
◾10 Eggs
◾2 1/2 cups Half and Half Cream
◾1/2 cup Sugar
◾1/2 cup Brown Sugar
◾2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
◾ 1/2 tsp Nutmeg

For the Topping:
◾1/2 cup Flour
◾1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
◾1 teaspoon Cinnamon
◾1/4 teaspoon Salt
◾ 1/2 cup Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
◾ 1 cup chopped pecans
◾ 1 cup Blueberries

1.  This can be cooked in 2 deep dish pie plates or a 9 x 13 pan.  Tear the bread into chunks and evenly distribute in the pan. Scatter fresh blueberries throughout the bread.  Whisk together the eggs, cream, sugars, nutmeg and vanilla. Pour over the bread and berries. Cover the pan and refrigerate- you can bake it now or in the morning!

2. In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans.  Add the butter and mix with a fork or pastry blender until the butter is crumbled. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

3.  When you’re ready to bake, remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping evenly on top. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Individual Baklavas with Ice Cream

Our family is so fortunate to live in a community with a thriving Farmers Market.  It’s open all year round and you can’t beat the selection of fresh produce, pastries, meats and dairy.  There’s also a great selection of locally produced honey.

baklavahoneyyyyyy

I’ve been buying it for a few years now.  It’s such a treat in the summer when I use it for macerating strawberries.  Just thinking about it makes me yearn for warmer days.

This week-end, I picked a dessert that was seriously the bee’s knee’s of all this honey business.  Baklava has long since been a favourite of mine but I’ve never attempted it because I don’t usually like working with Phyllo dough.

baklavasd by sd

I can’t believe all of the Baklava time that I’ve wasted….

Slightly warm with just a spoonful of ice cream, it’s absolutely delectable.

bak4

I wanted just enough servings for dinner and no more.  A sweet little treat for my busy bee’s at home.  It’s a little sticky, a little buttery and oh so nutty.  And it has just a whisper of orange flavour.

Is that enough adjectives for you?

baklavaeaten

Although a little prep is needed, it really is so simple to put together.  And the presentation is mouth-watering.

bak2

I simply cut the Phyllo with a round cookie cutter that fit perfectly in each cavity of my mini cheesecake pan.  Then I layered and layered until my heart was content.  Do take the time to butter each layer.  It’s so worth the extra effort!

Individual Baklava’s

  • Pkg of Phyllo sheets- thawed
  • 3/4 c finely chopped nuts- I used pecan and walnut
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • generous pinch of cloves
  • 2/3 c water
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1/4 c melted unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325°

If using a mini cheesecake pan or muffin tin, find a cookie cutter that is the same width as the cavity.

1.  Combine the nuts, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl.  Set aside.

2.    Unroll the Phyllo sheets (keeping them all together) and cover the top half with saran and a damp cloth.  Use the cookie cutter to cut out the circles through the stack of sheets on the bottom half.  These can also be covered with saran and a damp cloth until needed.

2.  Butter the bottom of the pan and then start layering.  I used 6 circles on the bottom layer, brushing each with a smidge of butter before putting in the pan.  Then, a layer of nuts, about a tsp per cavity.  Next 2 more layers of Phyllo circles on each with a layer of nuts.  Continue layering, 2 Pyllo circles, a layer of nuts, 2 Phyllo circles, a layer of nuts.   Finish off with 6 Phyllo circles for the top layer.  Using the tip of a knife poke slits through each Baklava to allow the syrup to soak through (you will pour this on when they are out of the oven).  Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top layer is golden.

3.  While pastry is in the oven, start syrup.  In a small pan combine the water, sugar, orange zest, orange juice and honey.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

4.  Pour the hot syrup over each Baklava once they come out of the oven.  Spoon a generous amount over each Baklava, almost up to the top layer.  This will soak through the holes in the top of your pastry.  Allow Baklava’s to cool slightly.  Serve warm or cool with a spoonful of ice cream.  Store leftovers covered at room temperature.

 

14 Comments

Filed under Extra Special, Uncategorized

Happy New Year! {Kahlua Marshmallows}

Well here we are toe to toe with 2014.   It’s been a crazy year in our house and a busy year in blog world too.  I’m sitting here with a cup of dark hot chocolate munching on these yummy treats thinking about what’s ahead.

kahlua3

It’s been a year full of first experiences for me.  I started exercising and ran my first race.  I was published in the launch issue of a national magazine for the first time.  I hand finished some furniture for our home.  I started a new job that brings me immense joy.  I volunteered in my community.   I learned that putting yourself out there can be exhilarating and heartbreaking all at the same time.

kahlua

I learned to truly appreciate you too, dear readers.  The sheer love of good food connects us all over the world.   Your comments and questions help this become a better place.  Help me become a better baker, blogger, writer.  Your patience with me through some long silences has really been appreciated.

kahlua4

Here’s to you my friends.  To a new year full of firsts. More joy, highlights and surprises.  Be kind to one another.   Step out of your comfort zone.  Forgive someone.

I wish you all the best in 2014.

Happy New Year!

Renee

xo

kahlua1

Kahlua Marshmallows

Note:  The recipe that follows is for the marshmallows only.  I piped the marshmallow kisses on a baking sheet for regular marshmallows as well as on top of shortbread cookies that I dipped in chocolate. A must try!

*adapted from marthastewartweddings.com

  •                                         3 tablespoons cornstarch
  •                                         3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  •                                         Vegetable oil cooking spray for pans
  •                                         1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  •                                         1/3 cup Kahlua for gelatin, plus 1/4 cup for syrup
  •                                         1 cup granulated sugar
  •                                         1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Mix cornstarch with confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Coat two rimless baking sheets with cooking spray.  Dust with cornstarch mixture to cover completely; shake off excess. Sprinkle gelatin over the Kahlua in a mixer bowl. Let stand to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup water and the granulated sugar in a small pan over medium-high heat, stirring, until dissolved. Place a candy thermometer into syrup; wipe sides of pan with a wet pastry brush if crystals have splattered up. Boil, without stirring, until temperature reaches the soft-ball stage (238 degrees). Remove from heat; add to softened gelatin. Hand-stir with the whisk attachment a few seconds to cool; place bowl on mixer stand. Whisk on medium-high until soft peaks form and mixture holds a shape, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the vanilla .  Transfer mixture to a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe kisses on baking sheets.  Let stand at room temperature until set.

15 Comments

Filed under Cookies, Extra Special

Gingerbread Loaf {Starbucks Copycat Recipe}

You’re going to be so glad you stopped by today.  You’re probably right in the throes of the holiday season and I’m going to give you some advice that will make this Christmas insanely magical for you.

Are you ready for it?

gingerbread slices

Make this bread. Period.

Make it once and you’ll make it ten more times this week.  Wrap it up with a sweet little  tag and hand it out as gifts to anyone who didn’t make the naughty list this year.   Heck, give it to the naughty people.  It’s good for their soul.

gingerbread gift loaf

It’s seriously that good.   And completely over the top with some good coffee to go with it.   Or, out of this world with a cup of coffee and a really good friend to share it with.

It’s incredibly moist.  And deliciously spicy.  And needs nothing more than a simple glaze on top.

gingerbread loaf4

What’s your most comforting flavor of the holiday season?

Starbucks Gingerbread Loaf Recipe

*Starbucks Secret Recipes

Loaf:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp orange extract
1 cup applesauce
1 tsp baking soda
Glaze:
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2-3 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350°

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and salt.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in orange extract.  Mix baking soda into applesauce and stir into creamed butter mixture.  Add flour mixture. Mix until smooth, but don’t over mix.

2.  Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan.  Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Glaze while slightly warm.

14 Comments

Filed under Scones and Breads

Spicy Pumpkin Beignets { And Feeling Thankful}

This week-end is our Canada Thanksgiving.  It’s an extra long week-end at home with family and friends to enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for all of our blessings.

beignets2

It’s also when we full on break out all of our best pumpkin recipes.

The combination of pumpkin and spices has to be my all time favourite.  It’s too bad that we only seem to enjoy them during the fall and winter season.

beignets1

This morning we had a lazy morning at the house.  Good coffee, lots of sunshine.

And Spicy Pumpkin Beignets.

Pumpkin, fall spices and warm freshly fried beignets?

We are thankful for that in this house.

beignets5

I’m even more grateful that I was able to make the dough the night before and refrigerate it until breakfast.  It’s a recipe that’s quickly thrown together and fairly quick in the morning.  I also like to include a super fast bowl of spicy glaze for dipping.

It leaves me more time to sit and enjoy the people I’m most thankful for.

beignets3

We are a fortunate family.

We have a beautiful home, amazing families and the most awesome group of friends that support us.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Spicy Pumpkin Beignets

*adapted from the famous Café Du Monde recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water (100°-110°)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 7 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cups shortening, cut into chunks
  • canola oil
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions:

1.  Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.  Let bloom for 5 minutes.  Add the salt, spices, sugar, eggs, cream, and pumpkin. Blend them with the whisk attachment until well combined.

2.  Switch to the dough hook and add 4 cups of flour.  Add the shortening.  Add the next 3 cups of flour and mix until blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

3.    Heat oil in a large pot or fryer until 350.°  Drop small balls of dough into the hot oil and fry for 4-6 minutes.  Beignets should be a nice golden brown colour.

4.  Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy every last warm delicious bite!

Spicy Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 2-3 tbsp. cream

Combine all ingredients and stir until smooth and glaze consistency (add cream as needed).

Free Printable- Thanksgiving Gift Tags at Amanda’s Parties To Go!

22 Comments

Filed under Scones and Breads

Summer Peach and Apricot Pavlova

This is the last day of summer for us before school begins again.  My son came into my room this morning and announced that it’s officially a “school night.”  They’ve had lazy days around the pool, sleeping in and late nights with friends.  I think tomorrow morning is going to be a shocker for everyone!

pavlova 6

Yesterday we took a long relaxing drive around the lake.  It’s usually one of our end of summer trips.  We stop at local orchards, quaint shops and wineries and sit on an outdoor patio with a pitcher of Sangria.

pavlova 2

I brought home more goodies than usual this year.  I packed the car with stone fruit and first of the season apples.  I couldn’t help it, I love the fresh ripe taste of the summer harvest!    Peaches, pears, apples and apricots as far as the eye can see.  I’m so grateful for it and grateful that it is available to me.  We are very lucky.

pavlova 4Putting sweet peaches and apricots on a cloud of whipped cream and brown sugar meringue was the best idea.  Topped off with just a drizzle of butterscotch sauce.  I often keep meringues in the freezer because they freeze so well.  And dessert is ready with very little preparation.  I used a dark brown sugar in my meringue this time and I’m so glad I did.  Just a hint of caramel flavor.  There really is no need to sweeten the whipped cream.  This dessert has enough sweetness on its own.

My kids love it when I use some left over meringue to make meringue kisses.  I usually pipe it right on top of a chocolate or butterscotch chip.  It’s a quick one bite treat that everyone looks forward to.  Especially me!

pavlova 5

I hope that you and your family are enjoying the last days of summer too!

Brown Sugar Pavlova’s with Peaches and Apricots

from Epicurious.com

This made 10 individual servings plus some meringue kisses.  Freeze half of the meringues for later use.

  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tsp of corn starch
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup super fine sugar
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 peaches and 2 apricots sliced and macerated in a tbsp of sugar and a pinch of nutmeg- for at least an hour.
  • butterscotch sauce for drizzle

1.  Whip egg whites and a pinch of salt until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the sugars and the corn starch.  Whip on high-speed for one minute.  Add the vanilla and vinegar and whip on high-speed again until thick and glossy- about 5 minutes.

2.  Pipe or spoon individual pavlovas onto parchment paper.  You can trace circles on the opposite side of the parchment to use as a guide if need be.  Mine were about 4 inches in diameter.  Bake at 275° for 60 minutes.  Turn the oven off and prop the door open with a spoon.  Leave the meringues in there for another hour.

3.  Whip whipping cream until it just holds peaks.  Spoon on top of pavlovas and top with the fruit.  Drizzle with butterscotch sauce.

14 Comments

Filed under Extra Special

Quick Summer Coconut Pudding

I don’t know about you, but Sunday is my favourite day of the week.  We seem to slow down a little bit, hang about the house and catch up with each other about our busy lives.  We’re flying in all sorts of directions this summer and I relish a quiet day at home – ending with a great meal and a yummy dessert.

coconut1

I often opt for a quick pudding.  Light, creamy and delicious.  This Coconut Pudding took me 24 minutes from start to finish this morning.   A mere 24 minutes and my family loves me.  It’s that easy.

coconut5

For puddings and Panna Cotta (like here), use the best quality dairy you can find.  I use products from a family owned local dairy processing company, which means a superior product with no preservatives.   Good quality cream makes a fantastic pudding with loads of flavor and richness.  The addition of coconut milk and toasted coconut makes this putting just soooo good.

coconut3

No skimping on the cream here okay?  No short cuts.  That’s all.

Sorry for being bossy.

coconut2

Whether you’re working or with family enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Quick Summer Coconut Pudding

*makes 6 250ml servings

1 can coconut milk

1 1/4 cups Cream – I use Hewitts 35% Whipping Cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/3 cup corn starch

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup toasted coconut

 

1.  Whisk coconut milk, cream, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, salt and vanilla in a medium sauce pan.  Continue whisking on medium heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens (about 6 mins).  Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of toasted coconut.  Pour into serving containers and refrigerate until ready to serve- atleast 2 hours.

2.  Garnish with whipped cream and remaining toasted coconut.

 

19 Comments

Filed under Pudding

Easy Strawberry Charlotte Parfait

charlotte5

This week-end we finally had some warm sunny weather to enjoy.  It always puts me in the best of moods and makes me excited for dinners on the patio with friends and family.

charlotte4

I want to spend time soaking up the sun and not in the kitchen so I’m always looking for ways to impress without lots of work.  And by work I mean making a whole Strawberry Charlotte from scratch.   That involves a whole lot of steps that I just don’t have time for right now.

Cause I’m busy soaking up the sun with some very posh and important people…

My family….

charlotte1

Remember these parfaits that I made here and here?  Well geesh, I received a whole bunch of messages about what an easy entertaining idea that was.

I’m here for you!

You’re welcome.

charlotte2

The best part about this dessert is that I didn’t have to do any baking  before hand.  You know what I do that I think is just brilliant?  I mean, sometimes I really do have good idea’s that I swear I should receive some sort of award for.  I save all of my cake scraps.

That’s right, you heard it here.  Right out of the horse’s mouth.

After I layer any cake I put the scrap piece or the extra layer in the freezer for later use.  It works wonders when you need to throw together a quick trifle or something.  For these parfaits I used a layer from my Hot Milk Cake recipe.  I used the parfait cup as my cutting tool and cut two pieces for each cup.  Then I layered it with an easy Bavarian Cream recipe that just uses pudding and cream cheese.  And berries.  Voila.

Now back to that patio.  Enjoy!

23 Comments

Filed under Cake

Mini Lemon Sponge Cheesecakes

It’s hard to believe that in just a week’s time my blog will be celebrating its second birthday. It started out with just a simple love for baking and SweetRevelations has grown into so much more.

minicheesecakes8

It helped to launch my dream of owning a business.

It reminded me of my love of writing and creating.

It opened the door to so many amazing experiences and friendships.

minicheesecakes4

Not to mention the extra twenty pounds I’ve gained since the birth of this sweet idea.

minicheesecakes1

I currently have a love for desserts that are mini size.   Small and decadent.  Little wee bites of sweet goodness.   Simple and elegant lined up on a classic white dessert platter.

These are Mini Lemon Cheesecakes that I baked on a tangy Lemon Sponge base.

I’m so grateful for all of your interest this past year.  I sure do love all of your comments and  e-mails. I wish you were here so I could give you a good ol’ squeeze!

Enjoy!

Lemon Sponge Base

*adapted from GoodFood.com

Makes enough for 24 mini cheesecakes

  • 175 gr unsalted butter
  • 175 gr sugar
  • 175 gr self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°

1.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat just until combined.

2.  Place 1 tbsp in the bottom of each cavity of a mini cheesecake pan.  You will have some batter leftover that will make great cupcakes!  Bake the sponge bases for 10 minutes while you make the cheesecake.

Lower oven temp to 300°

Lemon Cheesecake

  • 450 gr cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

1.   In a medium-sized bowl beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth.  Blend in the sugar until well incorporated.  Mix in the salt, vanilla and lemon juice.  Finally, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Careful not to over mix!

2.   Spoon the cheesecake mixture onto the sponge bases.  I filled mine right to the top.  Bake for 14 minutes.  Turn the oven off and allow cheesecakes to cool in the pan in the oven.

Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream.  I also made some rose petals with melted white chocolate and used those on top.

*these cheesecakes freeze really well.

15 Comments

Filed under Cake

Pomegranate Jelly

I know in the last few years I’ve shared with you some of my favourite things:
1. Chocolate ~ of any kind.
2. Beautiful Cupcakes.
3. Frosting.

Add to that list my undying adoration for the pomegranate. It’s such a gorgeous deep crimson fruit that’s full of vitamin C and antioxidants.

I eat one a day, and soon the season will be over around here and my daily treat will be scarce. I thought I needed to bottle up some of that sweet tart juicy pom love so I made a jelly.

It was just the prettiest darn jelly I have ever seen.

pom3

As a treat after dinner I made some easy butter puff pastry nests with mascarpone whip piped around the top and a dollop of jelly in the middle. So darn good. A light dessert that’s like a little bite of spring.

pom1

No word of a lie, if the world was crumbling around me I would not move an inch until I had licked the mascarpone whip bowl clean. It’s that delicious.  It’s the same whip that I used here only with mascarpone cheese.

Make extra and dip it with some fruit.  Or just selfishly eat it with a spoon like I did.

pom4

I read a few recipes and combined them for my own.   The grated orange peel gives this jelly an amazing flavour that can be used for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Enjoy,

Pomegranate Jelly

*this made eleven 8 oz jars

  • 5 cups fresh pomegranate juice – you can use POM juice too for less mess
  • 7  cups white sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 packages of liquid pectin

1.   Combine pomegranate juice, butter, zest and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat and add liquid pectin. Bring back to a full boil, and boil  exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if any.

2.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars to within about 1/2 inch of the top.   Seal with lids (that have been sitting in some hot water) and rings.   Leave the jars to rest on the counter for 24 hours.

** the puff pastry nests are store bought pastry that I cut with a round cutter.

10 Comments

Filed under Extra Special, Sauces and Syrups, Uncategorized