As much as I love holiday evening festivities (sparkly dresses, champagne, cheese plates!) I think I love holiday mornings even better. Family gathered around the kitchen, pj pants and fuzzy socks, nibbling on leftover desserts from the night before, filling up coffee cups one by one, planning the day ahead…yes, that’s my favorite.
Our holiday mornings traditionally involve a baked blueberry french toast. My mom or aunt will make it the night before, let it soak overnight, then pop it in the oven as everyone is coming downstairs in the morning. It’s one of the best smells to wake up to. I’m partial to the blueberry (I’m a sucker for traditions), but I also love this sweet pumpkin pecan version I made recently too. It’s a chinch to make so you won’t be spending whole a lot of extra time cooking (better spend that time watching movies with your cousins). I’m thinking this is perfect breakfast for the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas…especially served up with a side of bacon and hot coffee.
Pumpkin Pecan French Toast
- 1 baguette, sliced
- 7 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of cinnamon and nutmeg)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar for topping
- 1 cup chopped pecans for topping
- Slice day-old baguette into 1-inch thick slices. Line a large baking dish with slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, pumpkin puree and spices until well combined. Pour mixture over bread and push down with your hands until it’s all soaked and mostly covered. Cover with saran wrap or lid and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover and top with brown sugar, additional cinnamon and pecans. Bake for about 40 minutes or golden brown and no longer wet. Serve immediately for breakfast or with a scoop of ice cream for dessert.
Guys. I may have made the best cookie ever. I didn’t mean to. It just sort of came together. I’m still surprised…and now I’m ready to brag and share the recipe with you. It started with browning two sticks of butter…I mean, you can’t really go wrong with that. Then I added crunchy peanut butter, baked, took a bite and almost died. Ok, I’m being dramatic…I hardly slept last night…but seriously, make these cookies. Then give them to your friends, tied up with a bow as holiday treat. Give them to boys as a “nice to know ya” parting gift. Sandwich some caramel ice cream between two of them and feel no shame when you eat a few of them during a Gossip Girl marathon. Seriously. The best. Ok, get baking and enjoy!
Brown Butter Peanut Butter Cookies
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 cup flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- In a medium bowl, mix brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Brown butter in a medium saucepan then add the sugars. Set aside and allow mixture to cool for about ten minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Once butter is cooled, transfer butter mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add peanut butter to the mixture and beat on medium speed just until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla.
- Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until dough comes together. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least two hours or up to overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a lined baking sheet. Press a fork into the cookie in a crosshatch pattern.
- Bake until cookies begin to brown around the edges but centers still look somewhat doughy, about 9–10 minutes. Immediately upon removing from the oven, sprinkle sugar on the tops of the cookies and let cool on a wire rack.
PS. I’m over on vmac+cheese today sharing my abridged biography. Check it out!
It’s a new week and I’m ready to dive in and GSD at both work and in life. I pump myself up at the beginning of each week to do this but it’s not easy. There are distractions. I get tired. Things don’t go as planned.
I’m going to keep trying to do things differently until I get them right. Maybe I need to shut off some of the noise. Maybe I need to pay closer attention to my to-do lists. Maybe I should just come up with some better rewards for myself.
I pretty much reward myself every day with dessert, so dessert isn’t so much a reward. But if I am going to treat myself, it better be with something chocolate and fudgy…and these double chocolate raspberry brownies do just the trick. Whip them up Sunday so you can treat yourself all throughout the week. Or late on a weekday after a tough day so you can lick the bowl and share with coworkers the next day. They heal, they cheer, they perk you up, they put a smile on your face. Enough said.
Double Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
- 6 oz dark chocolate (chips or chopped)
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate (chips or chopped)
- 8 oz butter
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 6 oz (raspberries)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Let cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Mix in cooled chocolate. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix to combine.
- Pour into a greased cake pan and top the mixture with the raspberries. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set.
There are many ways I’m pushing myself recently. Trying things that I know can really pay off. Because I have the time and the energy now. Be productive, learn about myself, and do better all at once.
Put my phone down and go to bed early so I can wake up early and GSD before noon. Not only show up for pilates, but hold that pike higher for a few extra seconds. Ask him out. Read for fun and read about business. Take the extra time to try something new in the kitchen.
Ok, not that this banana bread is going to change lives, but pushing my creativity in the kitchen fosters ideas at my desk and in my relationships too. I could have made my go-to banana bread, but those four over-ripened bananas were telling me to do more. You have the time and energy to do more. And that’s really just a beautiful thing. So I changed things up a bit. I did things a little differently and I learned – about consistency, patience, collaboration, selling. After all that, turns out I love this recipe even more and have decided that everything should be coffee-glazed.
Time, energy, coffee glaze. Those are my three favorite things right now. How are you pushing yourself if you have those things at your fingertips?
Coffee-Glazed Peanut Butter Banana Bread
makes one 9 x 5 loaf
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup sugar sugar
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter, melted and cooled
- 4 large bananas, mashed
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons strong coffee
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray or grease with butter, sprinkle some flour to lightly coat sides. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Then add the mashed bananas and milk and mix until combined. Slowly add in dry ingredients mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until batter comes together.
- Pour batter into loaf pan. Set pan on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.
- While baking, prepare glaze. Brew strong coffee and mix a couple of tablespoons with some powdered sugar until it becomes thick. Drizzle on top of cooled bread.
While I’m so excited for fall (mostly boots and slouchy sweaters), I’m all about making the most of summer fruit before it disappears. After I made this peach cake at home a few weeks ago, I brought back to DC with a me a few extra Jersey peaches. I was planning to meet a few friends that weekend for coffee around the city, and I wanted to bring them a little treat to thank them for being awesome during my job transition.
This was my first time making scones and I found this recipe to be so simple. I’d make them again for a weekend brunch and maybe add plums, raspberries, or orange zest this time. Grab one with your morning coffee, read a magazine, and soak in the sunshine before it’s all pumpkin and plaid out there. So what are you cooking/baking this lovely summer weekend?
Makes 8 scones. Adapted from Tyler Florence
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar + extra for dusting
- 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, divided into chunks
- 1 1/2 cups fresh peaches, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Sift together the the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a pastry attachment (I keep mine in the freezer), cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs.
- Fold the peaches carefully into the batter. Make a well in the center of the batter and pour in the heavy cream. Using your hands, fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough. Prepare a lightly floured surface and press the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 6 inches. Cut into 8 rectangles.
- Place the scones on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkle with some extra sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 until the tops have browned a little. Serve warm or at room temperature.