Banana Bread French Toast with Peanut Butter Sauce

The weather is getting warmer, the birds are chirping again and I think I even see a little green on the trees starting again. With the sunny spring weather, I get the brunch craving to sit outside with a mimosa and enjoy sun again after a long winter. So, with this DistanceDishes skype date, Amanda and I were feeling brunchy. I was reminded of the last time I had a lovely outside brunch in St. Louis sitting next to a fountain on a quiet sidewalk while people watching. I wanted to recreate the delicious banana bread french toast I inhaled that day, but also use up a few things in my pantry. Hence, the peanut butter sauce was added.

This peanut butter sauce is so easy, keeps forever in the fridge and is a great topping for a lot of options. Though this dish would be too sweet for me with syrup, the peanut butter adds another delightful element to taste and isn’t as overwhelming in the sugar department. It would be great on waffles, cake, anything you like! And it keeps in the fridge for a while as well. Though it’s applications are many, this peanut butter sauce is particularly good on your favorite banana bread recipe.

I can’t say I really have much of a leftover banana bread problem. It’s one of my favorite things to enjoy warm, cold, slathered in butter or without, and a loaf usually (shamefully) doesn’t last more than three days. However, since I am also terrible at estimating how many bananas I will eat before they get too ripe, I always have a few black bananas sitting in my freezer. If you are a banana bread nut like me, your favorite recipe is worth doubling for this yummy treat.

Banana Bread French Toast Ingredients:

  • 4 1 inch thick slices of leftover banana bread (buy it, use a mix, use Chrissy Tiegen’s famous recipe, whatever you want!)
  • 1 cup cornflake crumbs
  • 1/4 milk
  • 3 eggs
  • Butter for cooking

Peanut Butter Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of condensed milk
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth, your choice)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 oz of dark rum
  • 2 tbsp butter

To Make the Peanut Butter Sauce: 

  1. Over low-medium heat in a small pot, add all ingredients and stir together until heated, the butter is melted and everything is combined. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or sealable container. This will last, sealed, for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator so put it on everything sweet!

To Make the French Toast:

  1. Slice the slices of banana bread in half so they are triangle shaped (maximum crunchage). If possible, allow to sit uncovered overnight, but you don’t have to if you don’t trust yourself to have easy access to banana bread all night (I didn’t).
  2. In a shallow bowl or dish, whisk together the eggs and milk until they are fully combined. Pour the cornflakes crumbs into an additional shallow dish. Place your bread slices flat into the egg mixture and allow to sit for 30 seconds, then flip and repeat. Ensure that all sides are covered in the egg mixture.
  3. Dip each egg mixture covered slice into the cornflakes and ensure that the crumbs stick to all sides. Shake of the excess. Repeat these steps with the remaining slices.
  4. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Cook 2-3 slicces at a time, 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and not-crumbly. Transfer to a plate, top with powdered sugar and peanut butter sauce (even fresh banana’s if you’re feeling it). Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: You probably know I’d go for a mimosa by now but if you wanted to have a straight glass of wine with this  you probably want to go white with a Riesling or you could do a Madeira if you wanted to go with red and make it a truly indulgent experience. 

 

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Bread Boat Breakfast Bake

While Amanda and I were in Tampa running our very tiring Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon, we knew we would be exhausted and ready for a nice breakfast to enjoy in our pajamas before crashing for a mid-morning to afternoon nap recovery rest. I tend to get very specific in my food desired after a race, and with all the Gatorade and sugary gummy chews being consumed, I am ready to take a break from sugar by the end of the race, for a little while anyway. We also knew, because of that previously mentioned exhaustion, we didn’t want to work for this breakfast much. Enter: The Bread Boat Breakfast Bake.

This recipe is fairly similar to my Christmas Breakfast Casserole but with a wonderful carb substitution that makes this meal both beautifully presentable if you’re hosting a brunch and uniquely delicious (think: savory french toast). The beauty in this recipe, much like the casserole, is in its ability to be customized to your tastes and the fact that all the ingredients can be prepped ahead of time. You can easily assemble your bread boat, pop in the oven and then just as easily shower those 13.1 miles off while it cooks, or make a pitcher of mimosas for a brunch party and chillax. The first time we made this, we devoured the deliciousness before getting pictures, but I was so happy with the results I came home and made it again for the perfect weekend morning treat.

  • 1 Loaf french bread
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 mini bell peppers, diced or 1/2 1 bell pepper
  • 1/2 lb ground pork sausage
  • 3 green onions, sliced and greens and whites separated
  • 1/2 cup gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup velveeta cheese, shredded

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Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk together the 10 eggs, yogurt, salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Brown the pork sausage in a skillet over medium heat and allow to cool slightly (can also be made a day ahead).
  4. With a serrated knife, carefully slice two lines vertically down your baguette about 1/4″-1/2″ from each long edge, do not break through the bottom of the bread crust, but get as close to the bottom as you dare.
  5. Using your hands, remove the bread from in between your two cuts so that most of the bread inside the crust is gone but the thick crust is still intact. If you need to use your knife to assist in pulling out the bread middle, do so carefully. Place the baguette onto a baking sheet lined with foil or a silicon baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle in the sausage, onion whites,  bell pepper and the two cheeses into the cavity of the baguette in whichever order you would like, but make sure you at least have some cheese on top.
  7. Slowly drizzle in your egg mixture over the bread cavity. This will require some time since you have so many ingredients so be patient. Make sure the egg soaks into the ingredients before adding more egg to avoid overflow. Once you think the bread can take no more egg, step away for a few minutes to allow it to soak into the bread. Then you should be able to add the rest.
  8. Once the baguette is full to the brim of eggs and other delicious things, sprinkle the onion greens on top and additional cheese if you would like.
  9. Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until the center of the egg mixture has set. If your bread starts getting too brown, you can cover it with foil.
  10. Once fully cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: I mean you know my go-to for breakfast foods is a mimosa by this point, but I just had a sparkling Rose the other day around brunch-time and can’t help but think how nice these two would go together.

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Cheese and Apricot-Habanero Spread Plate

Felt like something ~fancy~ last weekend. This was filling enough to have for lunch! Also, an excellent excuse to open a bottle of wine. Because, you know, its a “tasting.”

Apricot-Habanero Spread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 habanero, sliced
  • 3/4 cup white wine, plus 2tbs
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Heat wine and apricots in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat – do not drain – and let sit until cool, about 45 minutes-1 hour.
  2. Drain apricots and pour into a food processor. Add salt, sliced habanero (with seeds removed to decrease the heat, if desired), and 2tbs of wine. Chop until the mixture is a fine paste.

To complete the plate, I usually choose two soft and two hard cheeses, two crackers or bread options, and a couple of different meats. In this case, we used parmesan (delicious with salami!), brie, champagne cheese (a semi-soft cheese we randomly chose that was a delicious surprise), and goat cheese. The apricot-habanero spread was especially good with the goat and brie cheese, as you can see below!

Other things you might want to include to round out your flavor options:

  • Olives
  • Gherkins or sliced pickles
  • Fig jam
  • Grapes
  • Coarse mustard
  • Honey
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Pork, Apple & Brussels Sprout Hash

While Amanda and I both enjoy going all out for these posts, sometimes we just don’t have the time. We generally cook and skype to discuss our meals on the weekend so we have all day to putter around in the kitchen. Not this time. For this meal, we wanted to make something quick and seasonal that we might actually bother to make on a weeknight when we’re just trying to have a nutritous dinner after a long day. I’ve made this dish a few times on weeknights and it always satisfies. It’s also a great winter dish with apples and brussels sprouts being in season. Plus, if you cook the eggs directly in the pan instead of as topped with it as pictured, it ends up being a one pan meal. I don’t know about you, but on a weeknight I am all about less dishes (well, on all nights really).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded brussels sprouts
  • 2 small red potatoes, shredded or cubed to make about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups pork tenderloin, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 small or 1 large granny smith apple, shredded or diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 6 eggs
  • Dried Italian herbs if desired

Instructions:

  1. Place the cubed pork tenderloin in a medium-sized bowl and add a teaspoon of salt, teaspoon of pepper, the white wine, apple sauce, thyme, rosemary and and a sprinkle of any other italian herbs that strike your fancy. Toss to combine.
  2. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or cover and marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to cook, heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil and add the pork. Cook until all sides are brown and meat is mostly cooked through.
  4. Transfer the pork from the skillet to a plate to await being added later.
  5. Add the shallot and garlic to the skillet and cook until the shallot becomes translucent–about 3-4 minutes and be careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Add the shredded potatoes and a pinch of salt, and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are starting to soften slightly. Then add your brussel sprouts and apple.
  7. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, then reincorporate your pork. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. At this point, you can serve as is or add an egg.
  8. To add eggs, you have two options: you can fry them up separately in another pan to your liking (I do this when I suspect I’ll have leftovers so I can top with a fresh egg later) or you can cook in the same pan. To do the second option, make 4-6 divets in the hash mixture and crack an egg in each hole. Cover with a lid, and turn the heat to low. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the eggs have a white film over them and are no longer too jiggly.
  9. Scoop onto a plate and enjoy!

Wine Pairing: Well, you have some of that white wine leftover right? No? A Chardonnay’s butteriness might be a nice match with the tartness of the apple flavor. 

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Shakshuka Breakfast Pizza

For this week, Amanda and I were in the mood for some brunch. Since with the holiday and the new year, it’s definitely brunch hosting season. We wanted to share some interesting, low maintenance, and somewhat nutritious brunch ideas that would definitely please a crowd, just in case you still had a few people around to share a meal and you were sick of something too heavy. This breakfast pizza, a twist on the classic Shakshuka, might be something that is a little different, has a little bit of a kick to wake everyone up and is easy as can be. In addition, if you have a big day of eating ahead of you, as I often do when family is around, this will both be likely a different flavor profile than your future meals and has at least some nutrition. Overall, it’s a nice meal to add to your breakfast rotation, even if it’s not a special occasion and just a random Saturday, and its convenience is big selling point.

If you’re hosting a New Years Day get-together, sometimes being alone in the kitchen preparing a feast can be a much needed social pause (introverts ftw!). Often, though, at breakfast I just want to enjoy my tea and not dirty too many dishes. Since this pizza’s sauce and crust can be made in advance, it’s fairly low maintenance (which, I mean, I don’t know how you celebrate New Year’s Eve, but it you might not be in the mood to do too much). However, the results are pretty impressive so if you still need to get away, feel free to relax and sip your tea while hiding in the kitchen and pretending you’re slogging away.

Pizza Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Hungarian Half-Sharp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or grapeseed oil
  • Pinch of salt

Sauce Instructions:

Heat a small saucepot over medium heat and add the oil. Add your diced onions and salt to the pot and sweat them for 2-3 minutes until translucent in color. Add the minced garlic and stir in with onions, cooking for an additional minute.

Add your remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before adding to your pizza or make ahead of time and store in the fridge for up to 3 days in a sealed container.

Other Pizza Ingredients:

  • Pizza Crust (I used premade Naan but any flatbread would do, or you can make your own)
  • Feta Cheese crumbles
  • Eggs
  • Spinach Leaves

Pizza Assembly:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (if using a pizza stone or baking steel, preheat the oven for 45 minutes at least).
  2. Spread a nice dollop of sauce onto your pizza crust (up to you how much you want although I went a little thicker than I normally would since Shakshuka is all about the sauce).
  3. Top with a few spinach leaves and feta cheese evenly distributed.
  4. If you’re planning on using a pizza stone, I would recommend transferring your crust and ingredients at this point in time. If using a baking sheet, no worries. Create a divot in the pizza sauce if possible and crack an egg or two into the divots or wherever you think the egg will not run off the sides. Try to make your egg placement so that the pizza will have good egg coverage. 2E77123B-C890-4740-B6FC-B17B999211F6
  5. If using that pizza stone/steel, quickly and carefully crack the egg directly onto the pizza on the stone.
  6. Bake for 12-18 minutes, monitoring how the eggs are set. Ideally you want set whites and fairly runny yolks. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and serve. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing: I mean, I know a Mimosa is my go-to breakfast drink, but that’s what I’d probably have. If you’re going the breakfast for dinner route or if you wanted to just go full on glass of wine (I’m not above it) I think I’d still pick a light wine like Pinot Grigio but a Beaujolais would go well also.

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Breakfast Casserole

When Amanda was kind enough to come and visit me this summer, I knew we’d have a weekend with plenty of kitchen time, and lots of wine. Since I wasn’t sure how energetic we’d be feeling in the mornings, I wanted to have something easily prepped ahead of time and low maintenance for breakfast just in case all we wanted to do was lay on the couch and watch Netflix.

The beauty of this casserole, which is my go-to dish for any brunch hosting occasion, is in both its potential for customization as well as its ability to be assembled the night previous, minus the egg mixture. Then, even on the groggiest of mornings you can whisk up those eggs and pour over everything else, stick it in the oven and take a nap until the timer buzzes. You will be rewarded with a delicious and low maintenance crowd pleaser!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz of shredded cheese (I like to go 4 oz of velveeta and 8 oz of sharp cheddar but you do you)
  • 2 cups frozen homestyle hashbrown potatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 oz ground turkey or pork sausage meat
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the seasoned ground meat. Use your spatula to make sure it cooks into sausage crumbles. When fully cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes (can be done in advance).
  3. In a 9″x9″ pan, add 8oz of the cheese, potatoes, bell pepper, onion, (cooled) sausage meat, and 1 tsp of salt (you can also add extra pepper if you’d like). Mix all these items together so there is an even distribution. If you do this with your hands, this is where the sausage meat being cool is kind of important.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, remaining salt, pepper and garlic powder together until combined.
  5. Pour egg mixture over your other ingredients in the baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45-55 minutes until the eggs are set. For browning, remove the foil in the last 10 minutes of cooking. Enjoy!

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Wine pairing: Well, I mean you’re probably eating this before noon right? I’d stick with a mimosa to be “socially acceptable” but again, you do you. Also, stay tuned for Amanda’s Bellini recipe if you’re not feeling the orange juice!

 

 

 

Go-Back-to-Sleep Baked Oatmeal

Merideth and I are both runners, and that means getting back from early morning races having to prioritize going back to sleep or having a nutritious breakfast. This quick prep oatmeal solves both of these problems (eventually). Also handy for, let’s face it, mornings you just want to go back to bed for just a little bit longer.

Like some of our other recipes, this oatmeal is flexible to your preferred ingredients. In this case, I used the blueberries and almonds I had on hand, but granola, walnuts, and/or strawberries (or chocolate chips…) would be good too!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2-3 bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries or raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbs honey or agave
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut

    Instructions

    1. Arrange sliced bananas on bottom of slow cooker. Top with raisins or other preferred fruit.
    2. In separate bowl, combine oats, nuts (if using), cinnamon, and salt. Add milk, honey and vanilla and stir.
    3. Pour oatmeal mixture over bananas. Top with any remaining ingredients and coconut.
    4. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours, or until oatmeal is cooked through.

    Wine Pairing: Mimosas, of course!

    Vindaloo Spiced Breakfast Tacos

    As you know, Amanda and I recently took a little run-cation to Nashville where we enjoyed the best experiences the city had to offer and of course the best food. I quite enjoy researching a new town and seeing what restaurant I would be sorry to miss while visiting. When I came across the Chauhan Ale & Masala House in my research I knew I was in love. If you’ve seen these posts, you definitely know that we both have a favorite place in our hearts for both Indian cuisine as well as brunch, and this place does….BOTH!? I had to go. Not even realizing this restaurant is co-owned by the James Beard Award winner Maneet Chauhan, we made our reservation as soon as we could for a nice, lazy Sunday brunch to help our legs heal from the beating the previous morning. While choosing just one thing from the menu was difficult, I chose the Breakfast Parantha Taco and it was absolutely wonderful. It was a flaky Malaysian paratha flatbread with vindaloo sausage, scrambled eggs, provel cheese, kachumber and mango-mint chutney. My only regret is that I could not enjoy more dishes from this restaurant but I knew I wanted to take this idea of a dish home with me.

    Paratha/Parantha is an Indian flatbread that does seem some variation across regions. I did make my own for this recipe since I like to go as little store-bought as possible for these posts at least in initial tests. I used a recipe from my favorite cookbook, Hot Bread Kitchen (check them out–they’re pretty cool), and let me tell you–these were unbelievably delicious. However, making them involved a lot of brushing with butter (see previous sentence about deliciousness), folding, rolling, and more brushing, then folding, rolling, then brushing, then cooking–it was a lot. I was pretty exhausted when i finished the batch. So, if you’re a flatbread expert, have at it (I mean, I don’t regret the results)! Otherwise, grab some tortillas.

    You’ll notice I did not make my own mango-mint chutney but I have included recipes below for Kachumber (which is delicious on its own) as well as an Indian spiced sausage, which I found to be the real star. Now, there are scrambled eggs involved with this one but I have not included a recipe. While I prefer my scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style, not everyone does (much to my embarrassment when I tried to make Amanda these style eggs while visiting). It seems as though every chef has a slightly different technique for “perfect scrambled eggs” so you go with the technique most suited to you whether that be creamy, fluffy or any texture in between. Once you have all these elements ready, you can’t go wrong with a delicious taco and an extremely enjoyable brunch. Enjoy!

    Kachumber Salad Topping:

    • 1/2 medium cucumber, seeded
    • 1/2 beefsteak tomato, seeded
    • 1/2 medium red onion
    • 1-2 small green Serrano chiles, seeded
    • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
    • 1 tbsp vinegar
    • salt & pepper to taste

    To Make:

    • Dice the cucumber, tomato, onion and chiles as evenly as possible. Roughly chop the cilantro leaves.
    • Combine all ingredients including everything you just chopped so beautifully into a small bowl and allow to sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
    • Then this is ready to serve on its own as a salad, but also the delicious topping for our breakfast.

    Vindaloo Breakfast Sausage Crumbles

    • 1 lb ground sausage meat of your choice
    • 1 tbsp garam masala
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1sp turmeric
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    To make: 

    • Combine all spices except for salt and pepper in a small bowl so it is easier to add to the meat.
    • Place meat into a small skillet/saucepan and pour in spice mix. Brown the meat and ensure the spices are well combined while cooking (your kitchen will smell amazing).
    • Salt and pepper to your liking and once everything is evenly browned the sausage is ready to top your taco!

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    Other Taco Fixin’s:

    • Scrambled Eggs to your liking (seems like every chef has an opinion these days on the perfect way to cook)
    • Flour tortillas (or paratha if you can get/make it)
    • Crumbled feta or shredded sharp cheddar cheese

    Assembly: 

    • Although I think this part probably self-explanatory and customizable, here’s what I like: I like to add about 2 eggs worth of scrambled eggs on top of my tortilla, top with about 2 tablespoons of sausage, 2 big tablespoons of kachumber and top with cheese.
    • You will have leftover toppings unless you’re cooking for a brunch party (jealous!), so I’d recommend looking into making some freezer burritos for later enjoyment. It’s pretty easy–assemble, roll, wrap well with plastic wrap in a freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, remove plastic wrap and wrap in a paper towel. Then, microwave on high for 2-3 minutes.

    Wine pairing: Well, if we’re doing brunch, have a mimosa! Although any aromatic white wine would also be good–and what I had when I had this for dinner.

    Overnight Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls

    Amanda and I promise the new year will bring fresh and healthy recipes, but late December is when the sweet treat rules the day. With just a short time before Christmas Day, families are gathering to decorate the tree, gorgeous light displays illuminate the neighborhoods and there is a feeling of joy in the air. Like Thanksgiving, every family has its own traditions to make the holiday season extra special and mine is no different. For me, the Christmas season is when “tradition” truly makes an appearance, whether I decorate the house with my nutcracker collection, my mother *ahem* I mean Santa gifting me a new Holiday Barbie ornament to add to my growing collection, or blasting Christmas music throughout the house subjecting all inhabitants to my singing along.No tradition in my family though, is more iconic or more anticipated than the annual Christmas morning cinnamon rolls.

    As we would excitedly rip through our bursting stockings each Christmas morning I remember the smell of those cinnamon rolls cooking and waiting for the timer to signal their completion; they are a once a year treat. Now, in our family, the canned cinnamon rolls are our tradition and certainly do not disappoint. However, that would not make for a very interesting post, for one, and I’m an adult now and ready to make my own way in traditional recipes. So, while I did not want to just copycat the original, I did want to share this gingerbready spin on our classic with the Distance Dishes family and I’m sure they will be appearing on our Christmas morning menu for years to come. They are more work than the canned option, but they can be made in advance and freeze extremely well. We recently celebrated an early Christmas since my family is spread across the county and these were served. They did not disappoint.

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    Gingerbread Rolls:

    • 4 large egg yolks at room temperature
    • 1 large whole egg at room temperature
    • 1/3 cup molasses
    • 6 tbsp melted butter
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (may need up to 1/2 cup more)
    • 1 1/4 tsp salt
    • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
    • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
    • 1/2 tsp star anise, ground
    • Cooking spray or vegetable oil

    Cinnamon filling

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 sp ground cloves
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 4 tbsp melted butter for brushing

    Icing:

    • 1/3 cup cream cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp milk

    Instructions:

    • Whisk together the egg yolks, whole eggs, molasses, sugar and milk.
    • Transfer this mixture to a stand mixer with a dough hook and add flour, yeast, salt, yeast (not over the salt), butter, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise. Mix on low to combine for 1-2 minutes.
    • Turn the mixer speed to medium and allow to knead for about 5-6 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be fairly wet but not sticky; add more flour if necessary and knead until this consistency.
    • Transfer dough to a large buttered or greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to sit and rise for 2.5 hours.
    • While you are waiting for your dough to rise, mix together the cinnamon filling by stirring together the brown sugar, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside until ready to roll out the dough.
    • Once the dough has risen and rested, transfer to a large piece of greased parchment paper on a flat surface. Shape the dough into a general rectangle shape and roll out with a rolling-pin (or you can get creative with a wine bottle-life hack!). to a rectangle about 18″ by 14″.
    • Brush the rectangle with the 4 tbsp of the melted butter leaving about 1″ strip at the top unbuttered. Distribute the sugar mixture over the buttered portion of the dough evenly.
    • Starting opposite the unbuttered end, and using the parchment paper to assist, roll the cinnamon roll into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams closed along the cylinder for a secure roll and turn to seam side down.
    • Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into 12 identical slices, about 1.5″ thickness.
    • Butter either  9″ by 13″ baking dish or two 8″ round baking dishes and place in the cinnamon rolls, cut side down, so that they are each just barely touching.
    • Place in the fridge to rest overnight or about 6-18 hours if you’re timing it.*
    • The next morning, place the rolls into a cool oven with a pan of boiling water to create steam and allow for one last rise for 30 minutes.
    • Then, remove both the water and the rolls while you pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
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    After their steam bath in the oven
    • Bake the cinnamon rolls for 30 minutes, and while they are baking make the icing (can also be made ahead of time).
    • Using a mixer with a whisk attachment or a hand mixer, mix together the cream cheese, milk and powdered sugar until combined. Set aside or refrigerate until rolls are baked.
    • Once the rolls are out of the oven, spread the icing evenly over the rolls and serve warm. Enjoy!

    *If you’re looking to make these ahead of time, this is an excellent time to freeze. Tightly wrap the dish and freeze until ready (will keep for about 6 weeks). Once ready, thaw overnight in a cool oven and then resume the steps above starting with adding the pan with boiling water to the oven for 30 minutes. I would not recommend freezing the icing though, but it is fairly easy to assemble. 

    Wine Pairing: Since we typically have this for breakfast, I’d recommend your mimosa of choice to go with this one! Enjoy!

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    yummy yummy!

    French Toast Casserole

    Breakfast is my favorite meal! Add some mimosas and some good friends, and brunch is the highlight of any day. Merideth and I made this on our beach weekend, and I served it again for a rainy Netflix marathon when Hurricane Hermine pushed us inside on Labor Day Weekend. Both times, this was a hit! Quick prep means that you can get the casserole in the oven and, if you’re like us, push play on your Saturday morning cartoons!

    This recipe uses peanut butter, banana, and chocolate chips, but could allow for other combinations as long as the milk/egg mixture is maintained. Next time, I’m thinking blueberries, or maybe some seasonal pumpkin spice!

    Ingredients

    1 loaf day-old challah bread, cubed

    3 bananas, sliced

    3/4 cups chocolate chips

    Milk/Egg Mixture

    1/4-1/2 cup milk of your choice (I have used almond and traditional milk, both good!).

    1 tsp cinnamon

    3/4 cup peanut butter

    6-7 eggs

    Salt

    Depending on how large the loaf is, you may need additional milk/egg mixture to saturate the bread.

    Instructions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease 9×13 pan.
    2. Combine chocolate chips, bananas, and bread. Don’t worry if the chocolate chips settle on the bottom!
    3. Blend milk, peanut butter, eggs, and cinnamon until smooth. I recommend using a blender, but a whisk can work if one is unavailable.
    4. Pour egg and milk into bread, and fold until well coated.
    5. Bake all ingredients in 9×13 pan for approximately 35 minutes, and serve with powdered sugar or syrup, if desired.