Monday, November 22, 2010

Tropical Fench Toast

This weekend I decided to change up our traditional French Toast recipe, in order to get ready for the holiday's. What does Tropical French Toast have to do with the holiday's, you will see.
The recipe that I typically use is a very good recipe out of a cook book called Fast Food Fix, and it's based on Burger King French Toast Sticks. Tried-and-true as it is, I scrolled through my recipe box on and found two recipes that looked promising, Fluffy French Toast and Haitian French Toast. I also tried to incorporate a French Toast my friend introduced me to at The Duck Club Restaurant in Bodega Bay, which has a Corn Flake crust. Using a little of each recipe I turned our typical French Toast into Island French Toast.
Tropical French Toast Recipe
Makes 1 loaf of Texas Toast

* Note - if you are not a fan of coconut just leave it out and the recipe is still yummy

1 package Texas Toast

3/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs (I usually use Egg Beaters)
1 Tsp Coconut Extract

3/4 Cup Flour
3/4 Cup Powder Sugar
1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Dash Of Nutmeg
3/4 Cup Shredded Coconut

In a shallow dish mix together 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 3 eggs, 1 tsp coconut extract. Set aside.
In another shallow dish mix together 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup powder sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, and 3/4 cup shredded coconut. Set aside.

Lightly butter a skillet over medium heat.
While skillet is heating lightly toast the bread in a toaster making sure not to brown
Dip the bread in the wet mixture quickly coating both sides
Dip the wet bread in the dry mixture pressing drown gently to assure even coating
Cook bread on each side until golden brown.

* Leftovers - Stack toast with a layer of waxed paper in between each layer and put in a freezer bag, storing in freezer until ready to use. When reheating, warm french toast in a toaster like you would with a frozen grocery store waffle.

Happy Holiday's

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Trick Or Treat Brownies

There is always an abundance of candy after Halloween, whether it's the leftovers that weren't handed out or the pillow cases the kids filled up. So what do you do with all that candy in the house? Do you eat the leftovers yourself or maybe share it with your coworkers. Do you let you kids eat their candy until they are sick or let them constantly ask you "can I have candy...can I have candy?" This is what I do.
When my kids were little, we watched the classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown where I realized how the story of the Great Pumpkin could make Halloween better for me as a parent.  After a night of trick-or-treating, the kids sort through their candy for the pieces they want to keep and the pieces they are going to give to the Great Pumpkin keeping in mind the more they give the better the gift the Great Pumpkin leaves. It's a great idea for limiting the amount of candy the kids eat,  but now what does the Great Pumpkin do with the kids candy plus the leftovers? She make brownies. Trick or Treat Brownies. Using your favorite brownie recipe, (a mix will work too) you put a little more than 1/2 the batter in the pan, then a layer of assorted chocolate candies, and then cover with the remaining batter. Bake as directed in your recipe. DELICIOUS. Each brownie square hides yummy candy goodness. The Butterfingers and Kit Kats don't work as good, while Twix is one of the best. (Year round I make Candy Bar Brownies using only 1 type of candy.)

The brownie recipe I use comes from one of my favorite radio programs, Melinda Lee KNX 1070 in Los Angeles. , of coarse I do tweak it a little bit.


2 sticks of butter
8oz semi-sweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
  • Butter a 13 X 9 baking pan (I use a 7 1/2 X 12)
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Melt together 2 sticks of butter and 8oz semi-sweet chocolates, set aside
  • In a large bowl whisk 4 eggs. Whisk in 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. Whisk in melted chocolate mixture.
  • Gently fold in 1 cup of flour until combine
  • Pour into prepared pan bake for 35-40 minutes

    I have another variation I use for Christmas, I will post it next month :)

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Dia de los Muertos Cupcakes And Bread

    I have always been drawn to the holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This year I made cupcakes inspired by the holiday, along with the traditional bread Pan de Muertos.

    I searched everywhere for chocolate skull molds to use to replicate sugar skulls, but I couldn't find them anywhere. Luckily, while in Napa with a friend we stopped by my favorite chocolate shop, Woodhouse, and found the perfect chocolate skulls.(Well, almost perfect...they were around $8 each and tasted like horrible waxy grocery store chocolate.) I decorated the skulls with royal icing which turned out to be more difficult to do than I first thought. Once the skulls were decorated I made Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes by slightly adjusting my regular chocolate cupcake recipe. The cupcakes were delicious, with the perfect amount of spices not too subtle or too over powering. I did run into one problem though, there was a weird reaction with the cupcake liners. Every single liner peeled away from the cake which caused major issues with my presentation. I will be working on the issue of the cupcake liners the next time I make these, because there will definitely be a next time.

    Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

    1 cup prepared Abuelita refrigerated (Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix)
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/3 cup of oil
    2 tsp vanilla
    1 cup flour
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    dash cayenne pepper

    • Preheat oven to 350 and prepare cupcake tin.
    • Stir together 1 cup of hot chocolate and 1 tsp vinegar in bowl of stand mixer, and let stand.
    • In a separate bowl whisk 1 cup flour,  1/3 cup cocoa powder, 3/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and dash of cayenne pepper. Set aside.
    • Add to the bowl of hot chocolate 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup oil, and 2 tsp vanilla beat until foamy.
    • Add dry ingredients to the wet in two batches until no longer lumpy.
    • Pour into prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes.

    Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting:

    1 cup shortening
    1 cup butter softened
    8 cups/1 bag powdered sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tsp vanilla
    3/4 cup heavy cream or milk
    • In a bowl of a stand mixer cream shortening and butter
    • Add powdered sugar and beat until well blended.
    • On low speed add salt vanilla and cream.
    • Turn to high and beat until fluffy.

    Never having traditional Pan de Muertos, I don't know if this is an authentic recipe, but it was the best sounding recipe I found I only slightly modified the recipe and it turned out pretty delicious, and gave my daughter an extra 50 points in Spanish :)

    Pan de Muertos

    1/4 cup butter
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoons anise seed
    1/4 cup white sugar
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 teaspoons orange zest

    1/4 cup white sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    1 tablespoon orange zest
    2 tablespoons white sugar 

    • Heat the 1/4 cup milk and the 1/4 cup butter together in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/4 warm water, the mixture should be around 110 degrees. 
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 1 cup of the flour, 1 1/4 tsp yeast, 1/2 salt, 1/2 tsp anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the 2 eggs and 2 tsp orange zest and beat until well combined. Continue adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time until the dough is soft. 
    • Using the dough hook,  knead dough for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. 
    • Lightly grease the mixing bowl and dough, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About 2 hours. Punch the dough down, cut off enough dough to make a few ropes and small ball to decorate the top of the bread. Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size. 
    • Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. 
    • During the last 10 minutes in the oven, start preparing the glaze.
    • I a small sauce pan combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, and 1 tbs orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes.
    • Brush over warm bread and sprinkle with sugar.


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