Saturday, December 19, 2009

Waiting for Snow :: French Toast with Orange Maple Butter

I woke up early today excited about the first snowfall this season, we're supposed to get 8" here in NYC!   I admit that I always enjoy the snow, but I especially love it right before Christmas.  Doesn't it make everything feel like the holidays are here?  A. and I sat by the window, drank way too many cups of coffee and ate delicious french toasts waiting for the flurries to start falling.  I can't imagine anything more Christmas-y than that! :-)

The french toasts were delicious!  Perfectly crispy, but still creamy on the inside... with a slight vanilla sweetness... all topped with an orange zest and maple butter.  Yum!

I had a giant bowl of oranges and grapefruits sitting on the counter, so I thought of making orange flavored butter to top our breakfast!  It was perfect.  I'm actually surprised the spread made it to the french toast because it was so delicious, A. and I kept 'tasting' it with know, to make sure it didn't need anymore salt or anything.  :-)

Most french toast recipes call for a baguette or for Challah bread, but I used a Portuguese loaf.  I find that baguettes are too thin and you get too much crust in each slice with not enough of the center.  Challah is the perfect size, but a bit too 'egg-y' in french toast.  The Portuguese loaf was perfect!  

Top with plenty or warm maple syrup and fresh fruit ... Enjoy!

Serves 2
6 slices Portuguese Bread (about 3/4" thick)
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Orange Zest
1 teaspoon orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed)
dash of Salt
Butter for pan

In a baking dish, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla, sugar, zest, juice, and salt.  Add the slices of bread until they are completely covered in batter.  Pierce the slices with a fork to make sure the batter gets to the middle.  Leave the bread in the mixture for 15 minutes, flipping over once to make sure all sides are completely covered.

In a non-stick pan, over medium heat, add a couple of tablespoons of butter.  When the butter starts to bubble, add the toasts.  Lower heat if the butter starts to burn.  Cook the french toasts until crisp on one side and flip over.  Make sure the inside is cooked thoroughly before removing from heat.  Serve immediately.

1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons maple syrup dash of salt

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and mix.  Taste for salt and sweetness.  You can leave in the fridge until ready to use.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Testing Recipes :: Rustic Berry Galettes

I have to admit I've been a very lazy blogger lately.  :-(  I thought the holidays would have me to the kitchen everyday baking batches and batches of cookies and giant feasts, but it's been just the opposite.  A. and I have been ordering an absurd amount of takeout, I haven't been to the farmer's market in weeks, and I hardly remember where it is that I store all of my kitchen contraptions.  It's actually quite sad now that I think about it.  ...I've just been so busy lately, with work, holiday get- togethers, and holiday shopping that it's sort of just happened; and I've missed it.

But, I'll stop complaining, and get cooking. :-)  

I decided to start testing ideas for a Christmas Eve dessert.  My parents will be making a delicious dinner, and I volunteered to make dessert.  I wanted something different, not too heavy, and individual sized.  So I thought: mini-galettes filled with berries!  Perfect! Don't they look like rustic little presents?  I topped them with a heaping spoonful of creme fraiche and lemon zest.  Who wouldn't be excited to get this on their plate at the end of a meal!

You can use fresh berries if you find them, or use up any frozen ones you have leftover from summer.  The dough  was much easier than i imagined.  It is a basic Pate Brisee french pie crust which I made without a food processor (since I only have a mini-prep) by grating the almost frozen butter.  I used the recipe from Joy of Baking ...and rather that re-explain the process, I'm posting the link since I think their instructions are perfect!


MINI BERRY GALETTES  (inspired by Milk Eggs Chocolate)
1 batch Pate Brisee dough
3 cups of mixed berries
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup cream cheese
4 tablespoons Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Lemon Zest and Creme Fraiche (or whipped cream) for garnish

Make the Pate Brisee dough.  *If you are not using a food processor incorporate the almost frozen butter into the flour by using a cheese grater to cut up the butter into small pieces.  Then quickly mix with your hands or a metal dough whisk if you have one.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces and store in the fridge in plastic wrap for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Season the fruit with the brown sugar and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla. 

For each tart, roll out a piece of dough to be about 6" in diameter.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture in the center, making sure you leave 1" all around with no spread.  Top the center with a small mound of the berries (divide equally into 8 parts).  Crimp the edges of the dough over the fruit to create a crust.  

Continue to assemble the tarts.  Bake on a lightly floured baking sheet for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the fruit is bubbling.

To serve, top with a spoonful of cream and grate a bit of lemon zest over each tart. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009 :: For the Baker

Have you started your holiday shopping?  I'm starting to worry a bit, because in spite of all of my gift daydreaming, I haven't actually 'bought' anything yet.  Oooops!  Well there's still time... and I will say that scouring the web for gift ideas is almost as fun as receiving them. :-)

So the Holiday Gift Guide continues!  I'm in love with all of these goodies perfect for anyone who ♥'s baking!  Wouldn't the vintage red scale look wonderful on a a countertop?  Almost as perfect as having an embosser to stamp everything in sight (yes... that's what I would probably do!).  

  • You can't be a baker without a kitchen scale! Vintage Red Kitchen Scale $39.95 (Pillsbury I also ♥ this one from Salter at Walmart - $15
  • Pretty twine in different colors for wrapping all those homemade goodies.  It comes in large spools perfect for leaving on the counter.  Divine Twine $15.
  • Wouldn't a chocolate souffle look beautiful in these heart molds?  Charlotte Molds for making puddings, jellies, and souffles.  Sur la Table, starting at $18
  • Beautifully simple!  Emille Henry 9" Pie Dish $45 (
  • Milk container perfect for serving with all of those fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!  Half Pint glass creamer from the MOMA store, $14.
  • A collection of delicious Madagascar Nielsen-Masey vanilla.  Beans, extract, paste, and sugar...oh my!  William Sonoma, all for $56
  • Personal embosser to create gift tags or emboss cookbooks, recipes, etc.  Williams-Sonoma, $40
  • 'Birds in the Kitchen' Print $16 (
  • Personalized baker's labels to sticker on all of your cookie boxes, jars of preserves, oven bags of homemade dog treats! :-) $40

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Holiday Gift Guide 2009 :: For the Tea Lover

Ok, here we go!  The start of the holiday gift ideas.  A. and I put up our wreath today so I'm in a very Christmas-y mood! :-)

First up: for the tea lover.  All things I ♥ tea related that make the perfect gift on their own or combined.  Wouldn't a vintage tea set be perfect wrapped with a colorful jar of Kusmi tea, or how about treating your friend to a holiday afternoon at Tea & Sympathy?


  • French macarons of course!  Nothing goes better with tea than beautiful macaroons.  Delivered anywhere by (starting at $18)
  • A beautiful vintage Silver Tea Set! Only $32! ( many more on ebay)
  • My favorite tea: Kusmi.  A.'s favorite is 'Anastasia', mine is 'English Breakfast. ( or stop by McNulty's in the West Village)
  • Tiered Cake stand perfect for afternoon tea sandwiches and cakes $45 (
  • ...or  the new "I ♥ Macarons" cookbook $15 (
  • If you happen to be in Paris...bring back the delicious tins of Fauchon tea cookies (... why can't they deliver to the US???)
  • A relaxing afternoon at Tea & Sympathy, West Village NYC.  Afternoon tea: $35/pp (no reservations)
  • Deliciously aromatic tea sachets from the French Mariage Frere (Dean & Deluca)
  • Honey Spoons that melt in your tea as you stir...yum!  ($15 for 8)
Related Posts with Thumbnails