Friday, June 26, 2015

Pecan Baked French Toast

So I am getting ready to go on a week long vacation down 'da shore. (For those of you not familiar with 'da shore - it is Philly slang for the Jersey shore)  More specifically, I'll be headed down to a beautiful house a block away from the beach in Ocean City.  I am so excited to relax.

That last sentence is wishful thinking though.  I gotta feed all the people in the house just as if I was at home.  The difference is, is that at home, I will have all my equipment, my tools and pans.  Down the shore, I will only bring a few staples to work with and try to simplify my meals.

One thing I do is a big Sunday breakfast no matter what.  But honestly, I'll be on vacation.  I'm not trying to slave over the hot stove all day.  I want to eat, clean up and lay on the beach all day.

This recipe is not only absolutely delicious, but it's a crowd pleaser.  A little prep the night before, and in the morning you just turn on the oven and the smell will wake everyone up and BOOM!  You have pulled off the most amazing breakfast with little to no effort.

Trust me, you'll thank me for this one!!

Pecan Baked French Toast

Prep Time:  20 minutes and then sit overnight
Bake TIme:  45 - 60 minutes
Serves: 6-8 

Ingredients:

PART ONE - THE SOAK:
1 loaf crusty italian bread (day old), torn into large bite sized pieces
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup of white sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 TBSP vanilla extract
Pam or Butter to grease pan

PART TWO - TOPPING:
2/3 cups flour
1 1/4 stick COLD butter cubed
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
good pinch of salt
2/3 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Method:

Grease a 8x11 pyrex dish with either Pam or butter.  (I use butter)

In a medium sized bowl whisk together, eggs, milk, cream, white and brown sugar and vanilla extract.  Combine until the sugar has dissolved.

Cut/tear the bread into large bite sized pieces.

Place the bread pieces into the greased pyrex and slowly pour the liquid over all of the bread, making sure each piece has a little.

Cover with foil and sit in the refrigerator overnight.

THE NEXT DAY:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove refrigerated dish and uncover.

In a medium sized bowl combine the butter cubes, flour, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and pecans.  Work with either a pasty cutter or your hands until you get a nice coarse, crumbly mixture.

Place the mixture on top of the soaked bread evenly, spreading out to make sure every square inch is covered with the sweet goodness.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes for a bread pudding like consistency or up to 60 minutes for a firmer, crispier french toast.

Top with butter and maple syrup and ENJOY!!!!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Yummy Buttermilk Biscuits

Okay, I know it is hot as HELL out.  I realize this.  And trust me.  NO ONE hates the heat and hot weather more than me.  Ask anyone that knows me well, and they will tell you I am COMPLETELY miserable during the summer unless I'm air conditioned or by a pool.

But, I absolutely LOVE summer flavors.  Down home, old timey and gut busting summer meals make me soooo happy.  And one thing I absolutely adore in the summer is fried chicken, (you can get my amazing recipe here:  Krissi's Fried Chicken) some sweet corn on the cob, macaroni salad and some amazing buttermilk biscuits.

Don't get all "Oh my god I can't make biscuits" and "It's too much work" on me.  It's totally not.  Hating the summer heat as much as I do, do you honestly think I'd be thumbing around with ANYTHING that would make me even hotter?  No.  I literally have the oven on for all of 20 minutes and man, is it worth it.

You will absolutely adore these flaky and delicious biscuits.  They are really versatile too.  You can use them sweet or savory.  For example, individual strawberry shortcakes or throw them under some creamy sausage gravy for a belly busting breakfast of champs.

So don't be scared.....just whip these out and bask in the glory of your efforts!

Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Bake Time:  8-10 minutes
Total Time:  18-20 minutes
Makes 8 biscuits


Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tsps baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
6 Tablespoons VERY COLD butter, cut into cubes
3/4 to 1 cup of VERY COLD buttermilk
4 Tablespoons melted butter

Method:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

BY HAND:

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a chilled metal bowl.

Using a pastry cutter, work the cold butter into the flour mixture until it is a coarse pebbly mixture.

Gradually add the buttermilk until the dough is formed but not sticky, being careful not to overwork the dough.  (The warmth from your hands will bring down the temperature of the mixture, and we sure don't want that, since colder ingredients means flakier biscuits!).

FOOD PROCESSOR:

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the processor.  Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a coarse pebbly consistency.  Gradually add the buttermilk until a slightly sticky, workable dough forms.

** Remaining directions for both methods**

When the dough is slightly sticky, but workable, put out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out to 1 inch thickness.  Fold the dough in half.  Do this 2 more times, and then roll back out to a 1 inch thickness.

Using a biscuit cutter or a wide mouth mason jar rimmed with butter, cut circles out and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

NOTE:  You can use the leftover dough to turn out a few more biscuits.  Just use the fold and roll method, but bear in mind these biscuits may not be as perfect as the first ones.  :-)

Before placing in the oven, brush with melted butter.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and serve warm.

Enjoy!