There are some people who make the most ridiculous claim. This is it: "I forget to eat breakfast".
I, personally, have never in my life forgotten to eat breakfast. There have been maybe a handful of times when I didn't eat breakfast for various reasons, but never because I forgot.
I love breakfast--it's one of the best parts of the day for me. So when I got sent a big ol' box of panettone in the mail from Bauli as part of their #BauliBakeOff event, I immediately began to think of ways to breakfast-ize it.
I decided to stay really simple and make panettone French toast. This is fusion at its best: Italian meets French, Christmas meets brunch. The absorbent, fluffy bread soaks up the milk and egg mixture like a pro, and fries up toasty on the edges, and custard-y on the inside. It is so good, I can ignore the vaguely fruitcake-esque characteristics of the panettone which, on lesser days, can irritate me.
This is a simple recipe, but very delicious. I sliced the panettone into huge coins, so it makes for a fun presentation, too, with each serving about the size of a salad plate!
Panettone French toast
Makes 4 very generous servings
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup granulated or brown sugar
- 1 panettone di Milano (you'll use about half of it)
- maple syrup, for serving (optional)
- Combine the first five ingredients (everything but the bread) in a large, flat vessel such as a pie plate or a 9x9-inch baking pan. Whisk together until combined.
- Slice the panettone into nearly inch-thick slices, like coins, starting from the top.
- Place the first slice in the soaking mixture, and let it soak for 20-30 seconds. Flip it and let it soak on the second side.
- Place a frying pan large enough to accomodate the large slices on a burner. Turn the heat on high, and melt a generous knob of butter in the pan. Once it's sizzly, place the soaked slice on the burner. Immediately reduce the heat to medium. Fry on one side until golden and toasty (about 2 minutes on my stovetop) and then flip and repeat on the second side.
- While the first slice fries, soak the second slice. Make yourself a little assembly line so that while one slice fries, you are soaking the slice on deck.
- Serve immediately. This tastes great with maple syrup.
What's your favorite "alternative" carb for French toast?
We love to stuff. We stuff our stockings. We stuff our bras (or at least we did when we were 13). Why not stuff our cookies?
These cookies--and yes, it brings me a shiver of joy to say it--are stuffed with peanut butter. Delicious, creamy, dreamy, peanut butter. This means that when you grab one of these cookies, you're already excited, I mean, cookie! right? But then, when you bite into it, you find that the crumbly exterior gives way to a soft and gooey peanut buttery center. And that is the point which, in some sort of sweet and slightly salty and rich and peanut buttery bliss, you think "it would be OK if I died right now, because I've had this moment".
Am I talking them up too much? Go ahead, find out for yourself. Here's the recipe.
Peanut butter filled cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 jar peanut butter (I used Mighty Maple peanut butter by Peanut Butter and Company) (you won't use quite the whole thing)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed. Once nice and creamy, add the sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes; it will become somewhat fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to ensure everything is mixed in.
- Add the flour mixture in 2-3 increments, mixing at low speed after each addition until combined, and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with each addition. The mixture will come together to form a soft, malleable dough.
- Pull a piece of dough, about 2 tablespoons worth, from the bowl. Form a 2-3 inch flat but fairly thick, circle of dough (you can do this one at a time, or make all of your rounds and then proceed).
- Place a spoonful of peanut butter on top of the circle of dough. Pull the sides of the dough over the filling to form a soft dome, making sure the dough is covering the peanut butter on all sides (it can melt through if not--you might overload the first one but you'll get a handle for the right amount fast). Pinch the top to seal the cookie–it will resemble the shape of a Hershey’s kiss. You can also seal the cookie flat on top, just do make sure it’s sealed.
- Place the cookies on the prepared sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart to accommodate slight spreading. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until with a dull finish on top (a golden touch on top is fine, but don’t let them get completely golden or browned). Let them cool on the pans.If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Once they have set for about 10 minutes, you can serve. Keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Have you ever made stuffed cookies?
It's been proven time and time again in my life: cornmeal in cookies is a Very Good Idea.
By "time and time again" I mean every time I go to a bakery that has cornmeal-containing cookies. Momofuku Milk Bar and Amy's Bread in NYC are two places I can suggest reliably fantastic cornmeal cookies. They're not the only bakeries that sell cornmeal cookies; in fact, I can't think of a time I haven't enjoyed a cornmeal cookie that I purchased.
I have made cornmeal cookie bars before, too. Were they ever good.
In my opinion, the success factors are as follows: the corn-ishness adds a natural sweetness that is a pleasant departure from just sugar-sweetness, and the pleasingly slight gritty texture adds intrigue.
I know I'm not the only cornmeal cookie fan out there, so it's very likely that this recipe will be a welcome addition to many a corn cookie lover's repertoire. These corn cookies have a leg up on most because in addition to sweet cornmeal, they also include pecans, which makes them a touch crunchy. And I don't know why I haven't rhapsodized about the combo of pecan and corn before--united by a buttery front, these are twin quasars of awesome in every bite of these cookies. I want to make cornbread with pecans now! Corn and pecan everything!
I served the cookies with a side of coconut oil chocolate dipping sauce. It was a very good decision.
Oh, and it's also a good cookie recipe to use up egg yolks if you've been making meringues or another recipe that only contains whites!
Cornmeal Pecan Cookies
Makes about 40
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.
- In a large-ish bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Set to the side.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
- Reduce speed to low, and mix the flour in, until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts.
- Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, and form into balls. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and set in the center. Let cool on the racks for about five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar. These cookies will keep for a couple of weeks in a sealed container at room temperature, or up to several months in the freezer.
Do you like cornmeal cookies?
This year, I made my parents a very special early Christmas present: a portrait of them as pastries, in front of their house (yep, the one I grew up in) in New Jersey!
My mom is depicted as a sweet little cupcake with a sewing project, a fancy little handbag, and a box of chocolates from Jean Louise in Spring Lake.
My dad is depicted as a frosted brownie, with shades and a surfboard even in winter. Because yes, that is how he rolls.
Here's the reference picture I used:
and here is the picture and the finished piece side by side.
I think it came out pretty darned cute, and I thought by posting it here, it might just make you smile. Well, did it? Hey, maybe you should hire me to make a portrait of your family next year or for an upcoming birthday. Just sayin'. Find my online store here.
News flash: you can make ganache with cocoa powder.
I'll level with you: sometimes I am lazy. Like, when I want to whip up some ganache right this instant and I already have cream warming and I realize that I don't have any baking chocolate. This is not the moment that I really feel like up and going to the grocery store. This is the moment I wonder: "Can I do this thing with cocoa powder instead of chopped chocolate?". And inside, I am praying. Please, let this work.
Many times, this type of experimentation only ends in frustration and possibly tears. But this time, it worked. The first time I did it, it came out slightly lumpy; the second time, I sifted the cocoa powder first, and it came out fine. Overall: a success. And even better: it tastes great.
Photo via Flickr member cart_wheels
- It is very important that you sift your cocoa powder before mixing it with the cream. Otherwise you may have lumps in the finished ganache. It will still taste good, though.
- You can use unsweetened or Dutch processed cocoa for this recipe.
- I like this ganache better with a little coffee, sugar, salt, and vanilla. You can omit or adjust these if you like.
- Let this mixture sit for a good spell if you're using it to top a cake. It will thicken as it cools.
Ganache made with cocoa powder
Makes enough to fully coat a 9-inch cake, 1 1/2 cups or so
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon strong brewed coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- In a saucepan, heat the cream, stirring frequently to discourage scorching, until it begins to simmer and seems like it might start boiling any moment (but don't let it boil).
- Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth. Let the mixture cool to your desired thickness. It will never become hard, per se, but it will set to a smooth, spreadable consistency.
What's your favorite quick fix substitution?
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Cocktail weenies. Let me tell you how to make the best-ever ones, with an optional pig in a blanket upgrade.
These might just be the most dignified cookies I've ever made: lemon pistachio tuiles with olive oil.
Before the cookies, though, let me explain a bit about my experience baking with olive oil.
I made these cookies for what is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies to work for: Colavita. I've long purchased their olive oil, because I think you get a pretty good bang for your buck--they have a very good flavor but won't break the bank. I am a big fan of olive oil on bread or salads. When olive oil is drizzled over a pizza before serving...well, let me just tell you, that is my happy place.
I'm a little newer to baking with olive oil, but the more I do it, the more I love it. It gives cakes an intriguing texture, and a flavor that is something different entirely than a butter cake. I'm not saying I'm abandoning butter--that is never going to happen. But I am saying that if you want a totally new taste experience, try pound cake made with olive oil. Seriously.
So, back to the cookies.
First things first: how do you say the name of this cookie? Tuile rhymes with “wheel”, and ideally should be uttered in your Frenchiest accent. “Tuile” comes from the French word for “tile”; allegedly, the cookies’ resemblance to a particular type of roof tile are said to have inspired the name. While that particular connection may be a bit tenuous, the cookies are a sophisticated delight, lightly crunchy and bursting with flavor.