Category Archives: breads/cakes

Baked French Toast — all time best

DSCN4275

DSCN4288

DSCN4283

DSCN4274

DSCN4270

DSCN4302

DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back, your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Look at my original recipe post on October 5 2011. More Break Fast: the all-time best Baked French Toast, I swear.

Break Fast Food – Blintz Souffle

Here we go again…another holiday to cook for. Most of breaking the fast is taking in bagels, fish, etc. Easy to do. But I still try to make a few dishes and this recipe is an oldie but a goodie. I have been making this recipe since 1975 and it never gets old.  This dish can be assembled ahead of time, kept in the refrigerator and baked right before eating. This is a keeper and a tradition in my house. Always delicious. You can buy almost any of the frozen blintzes. Some stores have homemade ones, but it doesn’t really make that big of a difference with this recipe. Enjoy! This is super easy, with excellent results.

INGREDIENTS:

6 blintzes (you can use cheese or fruit-filled, whichever you like. Depending on how many people I’m feeding, I usually make 1 fruit and 1 cheese tray)

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine

3/4 cup sour cream (lite is fine but I wouldn’t use fat-free)

1 tsp. vanilla

Dash of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Spray baking dish with Pam spray (Original). Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl together. Place frozen blintzes in baking dish. I usually use a 9×13 size dish but anything close to that will work. You can double the recipe, in which case you’d obviously need a larger baking dish (you need room for the blintzes to expand a little and for the egg mixture to rise around it. Don’t spread it too thin.) Pour the melted butter on top of the frozen blintzes, followed by the sour cream mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 30-40 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes out of the oven before cutting into it.

Baked French Toast — all time best

DSCN4275

DSCN4288

DSCN4283

DSCN4274

DSCN4270

DSCN4302

DSCN4294I posted this originally back in October 2011 for Yom Kippur break fast. It is truly one of the best French toast recipes I’ve ever made.  I include it every year since my friend Ilene Stern gave it to me. I never have a single piece left. Delicious and decadent, perfect brunch and breakfast food. I almost always include it in my Mother’s Day Brunch as well. Once you’ve made this recipe there is no turning back, your whole family will love it and you’ll have to make it every time.

The only downside is that you must prepare and refrigerate the night before without cooking it, you cannot cook this dish till you’re ready to eat it, the bottom will get hard like a caramel candy would. So cook right before you’re going to serve. Enjoy!

*recipe as is should serve 6- 8 if you have more people make 2 trays!

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tbsp. corn syrup ( I use Karo Original light corn syrup)

5 eggs (room temperature please)

1 1/2 cups milk ( you can use low-fat, I use Skim Plus)

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 package of sliced cinnamon bread. ( Pepperidge Farm is fine) if you can get thick slices it’s great , but the thin kind will work just double stack them it will be fine) You probably will use 12 slices of bread per tray. You will have 6 stacks of 2 slices each, 12 slices total, or 6 thick slices of cinnamon bread. If you can’t find just cinnamon bread use raisin cinnamon bread it’s easier to find .

Directions:

Melt butter, add brown sugar and corn syrup and combine well. Spray a 9×13 baking dish, Pyrex works well here. Pour butter mixture into baking dish and arrange bread slices flat in the mixture ( you will double stack the thin sliced bread) Unless the bread is 1″thick you will be doubling the standard sliced bread. Squeeze the bread to fit–it should hold 12 slices ( 6 double stacks), 3 on each side of a 9×13 baking dish.

In a blender mix the eggs, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread slices, covering them completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all the liquid by the morning, so if you need to travel with it will be fine.

Uncover and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Once it’s out of the oven you can dust with powdered sugar, but not necessary. Serve right from the baking dish.

*if you let this sit out too long before serving, the bottom may get hard like a praline candy. It never ever lasts long enough for this to happen at my table.

Look at my original recipe post on October 5 2011. More Break Fast: the all-time best Baked French Toast, I swear.

Applesauce and Raisin Cake – an Homage to the Bundt Queen

I always call my friend Susan the Queen of the Bundt Cake. It certainly seems to be her calling, as she is always coming up with new and delicious Bundt Cakes for all of us to try. I just hope I do her justice in trying to duplicate it. She made this cake for everyone on New Years, and I have been wanting to try it ever since.  I had to change one of the ingredients because I bought chunky applesauce instead of plain applesauce. Of course, if you’re so inclined you can make your own applesauce (I wasn’t so inclined today!).  The original recipe hails from The Silver Palate, and I have to say this is one cookbook you don’t want to be without. There are so very many wonderful recipes in it.  This cake has  a slightly spicy flavoring, and is just so darn good. Am very happy to report that this cake came out awesome! Super Delicious with the chunky applesauce. Very moist and delicious, cooked perfectly at 1 hour and 10 minutes. Thanks Suki and the Silver Palate! Perfect cake for the Jewish Holidays and any time.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus a little extra for greasing the pan (Butter should be at room temperature.  I woke up early and didn’t have time to let it sit so I just put it in microwave to soften for 15 seconds.)

*if baking for the Jewish Holidays and don’t want to use butter you can use margarine

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs (at room temperature)

2 cups applesauce (I used Chunky because probably didn’t have reading glasses in market and grabbed it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or 1 teaspoon freshly grated

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup raisins

Lemon/Orange Icing ingredients:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl (electric mixer), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the applesauce and vanilla.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda together then add to applesauce mixture. Next, sprinkle in the raisins, and blend gently but thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the tube pan and set on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. 1 hour and 10 – 15 minutes. I cooked it 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes (I will leave it all day as I go out hiking, and turn it over when it is completely cool when I return.)  When it is completely cool, I will make the icing and drizzle over the top. A little trick is to poke little holes in the cake (on top, with cake tester or toothpick) and pour icing over the cake and it will go into cake and infuse some of the lemon/orange directly into cake.

Instructions for icing:

Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon into a small bowl.

Dribble in the juices, stirring constantly until the icing is smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled cake.

*should be enough icing for 1 Applesauce Raisin Cake

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar

I’ve tried so many noodle puddings, but keep coming back to the same old , same old. they’ve been passed down in so many different incarnations. i don’t even know what the original one is anymore. this is my most favorite. also a perfect break fast food for Yom Kippur. It can and should be made ahead of time, it will hold together better.  we used to add apricot jam, but it really was overkill. we omitted it, and it is perfect just the way it is.

1 lb. noodles ( i use extra wide egg noodles, you’ll need a bag and 1/4 app. just eyeball it)

1 cup sugar

6 eggs ( I use extra large and at room temp. just make sure they are not right out of fridge) they work much better when they are not right out of fridge in baking.

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 stick unsalted sweet butter(melted)

6 oz. cream cheese (softened at room temp)

1 1/2 cups milk ( I use skim plus) would not use regular skim milk

2 cups apricot nectar (available in most supermarkets)

Topping:

1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter (melted)

Directions:

 cook noodles. mix 6 beaten eggs with the tablespoon of vanilla in one bowl. in another bowl melt 1 stick sweet butter(unsalted)softened cream cheese, and milk. add the apricot nectar . mix all ingredients together and put in large pyrex type baking dish. mix topping ingredients together, put on top of noodle pudding. cook at 350 degrees for one hour.   i usually cook this ahead of time, cook for 1/2 hour and then freeze it till i am ready to use, take out of fridge bring to room temperature and bake it for another hour till brown on top and cooked through. noodle puddings are best if you let it sit a while (at least 15 minutes before serving) they hold together better that way. can be served at room temperature.

*serves about 12 – 15 people doubled

OMG Apricot Bars

OMG Apricot Bars out of oven

OMG Apricot Bars pre cooked

These bars are nothing short of a-mazing! They are the most perfect, delicious treats–great to take on a hike, great for after a ride on your bike…ok, enough Dr. Seuss. Just go ahead and bake them–it is not difficult. I woke up early this morning and decided to bake them and one hour later, they were finished and out of the oven. They remind me of a yummy, soft granola bar. If you don’t like apricots, substitute cherries and cherry preserves, blueberries and blueberry preserves, etc. (I’m not sure if I would use fresh blueberries. Just stick with the dry version of the fruit and the matching preserves.) Thanks to Giada for the inspiration on this one!

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

1 large jar of apricot preserves (I used an 18 oz jar of apricot/pineapple preserves because that’s what I had in the house. You can use a 13 oz jar of apricot preserves. I like it very gooey so I used a large jar of preserves.)

8 dried apricots, chopped up into small pieces

Crust:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oats (not the instant or 1-minute kind)

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 egg (room temperature), beaten

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make sure oven rack is in the center of the oven.

Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper (see picture) on the bottom and the sides and then spray the paper with cooking spray (I use Pam).

In a bowl, mix together the jam and the dried apricots and set aside.

In a large, separate bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats and walnuts. Add the melted butter, egg and vanilla and mix very well. Using a utensil or your clean hands, lightly press half of the crush mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a knife or spatula, spread the apricot filling (use it all) over the first layer of crust. Cover the filling with the remaining crust mixture and gently press the crust mixture to flatten. Bake for about 35 minutes until light golden brown. Cool for at least one hour. Cut into bars. They will lift right out of pan with the paper and cleanup is a snap with parchment paper.

These will stay in an airtight container for at least three days. I will freeze them for the next time we want them, because they are too dangerous to have around.

* Yields about 24 bars

Thanksgiving Corn Bread Pudding

Corn Bread Pudding out of the oven

My friend Audrey gave this to me many years ago, and it has become a staple on our thanksgiving table ever since. It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it. It is a favorite in the Kolen household. Can be doubled easily just will need to cook a little longer. I cooked my double corn bread pudding for at least 45 minutes and sometimes a little longer. You’ll want to press down on the middle and make sure that it’s not too soft. If outside edges start to burn put a piece of aluminum foil over it if it’s not done. Usually another 10 – 15 minutes will work on a doubled recipe and it should look like picture. Outside edges will brown a slight bit.

*I really do think this recipe comes out best not doubled, you’d almost be best off finding a larger baking dish or using 2 9×12 dishes. You will not have the issue of it being too soft if it is in a larger baking dish or 2 9×12 baking dishes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter (unsalted) 1 stick

8 oz. sour cream (lite ok but not fat-free)

8 oz.  can sweet corn (drained)

8 oz. can creamed corn

8 oz. pkg. corn muffin mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, mix in beaten eggs, then add the rest of the ingredients.

Pour into glass baking dish (Pyrex is good and I spray it first.) 9 x 12 works fine, it’s not a very deep pudding.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes for single recipe and double recipe will probably cook for another 10 – 15 minutes. You’ll want middle to spring back to the touch and not be too mushy.

Shelly’s Pumpkin Ginger Muffins – I love Pumpkin

My friend Shelly who is an excellent cook and baker gave this recipe to me back in 2012.  I wanted to try them because I love all things Pumpkin and ’tis the season. I was leaving Colorado for the season and  planned on freezing these delicious beauties so they would be here when we return. Shelly said that she freezes them, then takes them out for breakfast individually by putting the frozen muffin in the microwave  or toaster oven. A little butter and jam don’t hurt either. The list of ingredients may seem daunting. I had to shop for a few of the items, but don’t let this stop you because these are fairly healthy and a perfect brunch/breakfast item, or good for just mid-afternoon tea. They contain fiber and aren’t cloyingly sweet. I love ginger and I love pumpkin. If you don’t like the ginger spice you can cut down or eliminate the crystallized ginger. Wow, pumpkin and ginger. What more can I say? Thanks so much Shelly for your contribution.

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups wheat bran

approx. 1/3 cup of crystallized ginger (very small pieces), available in Whole Foods and most supermarkets

2 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 15 ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling- be careful)

2/3 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup canola oil

1/2 cup molasses

2 tsp. vanilla extract

4 large eggs (room temperature please)

raw sugar to sprinkle on top

Muffin cups (the paper kind are perfect)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees .

Combine flour, whole wheat flour, wheat bran, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, ginger powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir well to combine, then make a well in the center.

Combine brown sugar, canned pumpkin, buttermilk, canola oil, molasses, vanilla and eggs, and whisk it all together until well combined. Add this mixture into the flour mixture and stir well until moist. Mix in the crystallized ginger.

Coat muffin tins with baking spray. I use a 12 muffin tin. Spoon mixture into cups. I used a large tablespoon and just dropped in. (See picture.) Sprinkle raw sugar on  top of muffins before baking (use as much or as little as you like).

Bake for about 16 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Mine baked for 17 minutes. Let cool down and remove from pan onto wire rack. If you have no wire rack just a baking sheet will do.

Enjoy! These are delicious and pretty nutritious. Serving size should make about 24 muffins.

Pumpkin Walnut Bread (no butter)

I just love pumpkin and I can’t stop posting about it. Pumpkin Season is here.  I love baking this bread because the smell in the house is beyond. I usually serve pumpkin bread and a banana bread in my bread basket on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to believe that there is no butter in this moist, delicious bread. I make both of these way ahead of time, because they freeze so well. You can even double the recipe if you have two loaf pans, and eat one now and tuck one away for another day like Thanksgiving. It’s a nice thing to bring to someone’s house as a gift as well if you’re so inspired. Also, this bread is loaded with spices, speaking of Spices and Penzey’s Spice Market (see post.)  This recipe will make one perfect loaf.

*this bread freezes beautifully for up to 8 weeks. Double wrap it in plastic and put in a resealable plastic freezer bag, and put the date on it. Defrost, still wrapped in the plastic to avoid condensation on the bread, at least 2 hours before serving. I take out of freezer the night before I’ll be using it.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (I sift)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup chopped walnuts (obviously this is optional)

You will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, parchment paper, large bowl, medium bowl, whisk, silicone or rubber spatula.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of oven.

Lightly coat the loaf pan with melted butter and dust with flour, or spray with Pam. I line my loaf with a piece of parchment paper that extends one inch beyond the edge of the pan (this makes it easy to life the bread out. It is optional , just make sure you grease pan in one way or another first. If you’re not comfortable working with parchment paper, skip it. I like it but it can be tricky in a loaf pan. Just grease well, or give it a good spray.)

In a large bowl, sift the flour. Then, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and the water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and blend well. Add the pumpkin moisture to the dry ingredients and whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the walnuts and stir until they are well distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean from the center of loaf.  I let it cool for about 10 minutes, then I turn it out onto a rack to cool completely. I don’t freeze it until it is completely cool.

Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake – I love Pumpkin

It’s pumpkin time again! and I am clearly obsessed  with pumpkins. This is a pretty easy  to make bundt cake. Perfect for Thanksgiving or any time. You can make it ahead of time and freeze for another, or make two. While you’re making the mess anyway, you might as well bake two, and freeze one. Got this one from Gourmet Magazine. Just saying while I’m not a big raw cookie dough person I am a very big batter person and this batter was pretty delicious right out of the bowl!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing bundt pan (or spray with Pam) I buttered this time

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting the pan

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can; not pie filling)

3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs (room temp. is always best for baking)

Icing:

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons well shaken buttermilk

1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

You will need a 10-inch nonstick bundt pan (3 quart)

Directions:

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter/spray bundt pan generously then dust with flour and knockout excess flour.

Whisk together flour ( 2 1/4 cups) , baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a bowl. Whisk together pumpkin, 3/4 cup buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl.

Beat butter ( 1 1/2 sticks) and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 – 5 minutes, then add eggs and beat another minute. Reduce speed to low and add flour and pumpkin mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until batter is just smooth.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, then bake until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 45 – 50 minutes. Cool cake on a rack for about 30 minutes, then invert cake , mine slid right out onto rack. I completely cooled cake for a few hours before I iced it. You can ice while cake is still warm however. I would let it sit for at least 1 hour before I iced though. It came out perfectly. Icing will get hard on the cake and be very white, it’s a beautiful presentation.

Icing:

While the cake is cooling, whisk together buttermilk and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Drizzle icing over warm cake, then cool cake completely. Icing will harden slightly.

Cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container, I would ice it when I planned on serving it.