Tag - brunch

French Toast with Nutella and Fruit

Sometimes you just want to go all out for breakfast — an “I’m not going to eat lunch” kind of breakfast. This was one of those times. French toast with Nutella and fruit topping. I would make this every morning if I could just forget about how bad it is for you. I really couldn’t fill this with more gluten, sugar, dairy, and fat if I tried. Okay, maybe if I tried.

If you can forget about a healthy egg white omelette for one day; indulge in this!

French Toast with Nutella and Fruit Topping
8 slices country potato bread
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons butter
2 bananas
Strawberries
Nutella
Powdered sugar
Whipped cream

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1. Combine cinnamon and sugar and whisk together in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and whisk until combined.

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2. Dip bread in the mixture and fry slices in butter until golden brown.

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3. Cut up strawberries and place in a bowl with 2 Tablespoons of sugar to macerate.

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4. Get all of your toppings ready!

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5. Spread french toast with a generous portion of Nutella.

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6. Place bananas on top of the Nutella.

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7. Place strawberries on top of the bananas.

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8. Sprinkle it all with powdered sugar.

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9. Top it all off with homemade whipped cream.

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Chocolate and Hazelnut Scones

Four years have passed since my last attempt at making scones. Needless to say, they didn’t turn out very well that time around. From that point on they’ve always seemed so daunting in my mind. It’s the pressure of the perfect sandy texture when mixing the dry ingredients and butter before you dare add the wet ingredients. I’m never confident in this stage to know whether or not they’re going to turn out well.

I used a recipe from Baked Explorations, a cookbook that I’ve had since 2011. It’s a gorgeous book and full of great tips, wonderful photography, and is also home to a trusty coffee cake recipe. I’ve been blessed with wonderful desserts because of that book that I decided to be faithful in their scone instructions.

The scones came out beautifully! Jason said they were light and airy and complemented coffee and tea perfectly. Great job Baked Explorations, you did it once again.

Chocolate and Hazelnut Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark sweetened cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Nutella

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1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and place the rack in the center.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until combined.
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3. Add the butter. Use your fingertips to rub it into the flour until the butter is pea size and the mixture is coarse.
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4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and cream.

5. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the dough just comes together.  Gently and briefly knead the dough with your hands.

6. Flatten the dough into a rectangle approximately 6 by 12 inches. Evenly spread the Nutella over the dough.

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7. Roll the dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long, turn it on its end, and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 3/4 inches high. Do not overwork the dough.

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8. Cut the dough into 6 or 8 wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Top with toasted hazelnuts and slightly press in so they don’t fall out.

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9. Bake the scones for 18-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.  Do not over bake.

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10. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely.  Place the baking sheet with the parchment still on it underneath the rack.

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* * * * * *

Jason got me a new lens for my birthday and then I purchased a tripod a couple weeks ago. These have been picture-taking saviors! I tested them both out on this recipe and realized what a difference they make.

The tripod allows me to lower the shutter speed to let more light into the photo. Without it, I’m not able to do bring the shutter speed lower than 1/80 because the pictures will come out blurry. Humans can’t really hold a camera without interfering with the quality of the picture at a shutter speed slower than that. Here are two set ups with and without using the tripod.

With tripod:

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Without tripod:

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With tripod:

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Without tripod:

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Before the tripod/new lens I had to search around the house for the perfect lighting. This is not conducive to quick cooking and not always ideal when you have a hungry husband. The tripod and lens are great time savers and also take some pretty neat pictures!

His and Hers Pancakes + Homemade Whipped Cream

Jason and I were both craving pancakes this morning. He loves bananas and Nutella, I prefer strawberries and chocolate chips, so I made his with whole wheat batter and mine with gluten free batter. You can add any toppings to these batter recipes. I’ve used candied walnuts, pecans, blueberries, blackberries, and probably other things I’m not remembering now. Use whatever you prefer!  Each recipe below will make approximately 8 pancakes. I make the full recipe and save half for the next day.

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Whole Wheat Pancake Batter

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Mix dry ingredients together.
2. Mix wet ingredients into the dry.
3. Heat nonstick frying pan and when hot, pour on portions of the pancake mix.
4. Before they start too cook too much, place the toppings onto the batter placed on the pan. Do not overcrowd each pancake with toppings. It’s important that when you flip them, there’s some space for the batter to coat the edges of the toppings.

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Gluten Free Pancake Batter
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tablespoon flax seed meal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup applesauce
3/4 cup skim milk

Same instructions as the whole wheat pancakes.
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Homemade Whipped Cream 
1/2 cup heaving whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put all ingredients in the bowl of a stand up mixer.
2. Using whisk attachment, turn on high until cream begins to stiffen.
3. Pause the mixer, and use a spatula to mix the ingredients and make sure there isn’t sugar sticking to the bottom of the bowl.
4. Turn machine back on high and mix until peaks form.

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Here we go…

I like taking pictures. Ever since middle school I can remember having a digital camera with me everywhere I went. I enjoy cataloguing my life. It is nice to be transported through pictures back to the moments they were taken. Sometimes my memories blur between events I actually remember and the images I’ve looked at over the years. I constantly find myself going through old pictures and recalling when and where certain things took place. It gives me the ability to piece together a timeline, and refresh my memory.
IMG_4763 Facebook ends up being the home to many of the pictures I take. It’s comforting to offer them to the people I’ve shared experiences with, so we can all reminisce together. Especially now that my husband and I live across the country from our family, they’re able to keep tabs on us. Since 2010, I have posted over 120 albums on Facebook. That’s an average of 24 per year with the number of pictures per album ranging from 20-200. That’s a lot. What can I say? I like taking pictures.
IMG_4770 (1) I also like baking and cooking. For some, they only like baking OR cooking. That’s probably because they’re very distinct disciplines. Baking is a true science. Too much baking powder, salt, or butter will give you a completely different outcome than you had anticipated. Cooking offers more give and take. You can add more garlic here or cayenne there. Different parts of my brain have a great appreciation for both art forms. I find the kitchen cathartic. Not everything comes out perfectly, but I enjoy the process and sometimes, the frustration.
IMG_4771 Those are my “Stills and Spills”. The still images that represent my life’s ups and downs. The spills in the kitchen that have been successes and failures.

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