Double Chocolate Pecan Bread Pudding

This recipe is fantastic! It makes enough for a 9×13 pan, but when I made it I used an 8×8 square pan and a loaf pan. It’s delicious. Chocolate in the custard and chocolate chips in the actual bread pudding – heck yes a double load of chocolate.I found the original recipe here, and the only thing I changed was I ran out of Kahlua (the travesty!), and substituted milk for the heavy cream and the remainder of the Kahlua I didn’t have.The more I write on the blog, as in number of posts, I realize how much I just want to get to the recipe. So, I hope that my readers don’t mind when I have a short post, because I just want to share the food. Enjoy this!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 9×13 pan

5 c. cubed bread (day old, or stale)
½ c. chocolate chips
½ c. chopped pecans
1 c. brown sugar, packed
¼ c. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cardamom
Pinch of salt
5 eggs, lightly beaten
2 c. milk
½ c. Kahlua
1 tsp. vanilla

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick stray. Put the cubed bread in a baking dish. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and pecans over the bread. Set aside.In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. Add the eggs, and whisk until combined.Add the milk, Kahlua and vanilla. Whisk until thoroughly incorporated.Pour the mixture over the bread cubes, and let sit 45 minutes to an hour, or until soaked through.Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the bread pudding for 60-75 minutes, or until the custard is set. Check halfway. If the bread is getting dark, cover with aluminum foil. Let cool before serving.Best if served warm with ice cream or whipped cream on top!

Carrot Cake Loaf

I love carrot cake, but I’ve never really made it because it isn’t one of Paul’s favourite types of cake. I went to go make this the other day, and the original recipe, found here, made 2 loaf cakes.

As I went rooting through my fridge, I realized I only had enough ingredients for half that, one loaf, and was perfectly happy. I’m putting the original measurements down, for 2 loaf cakes, but it was really not hard to halve.

I love the warm spiciness of a carrot cake, and the fact that carrots themselves are a bit sweet, so that you don’t need to add tons and tons of sugar. The cream cheese icing on top is decadent, and absolutely delicious. Mine is a little different, in that I didn’t colour the icing to make an icing carrot on top, but instead I used sprinkles – orange and green dino feet sprinkles to be exact – to indicate that it is supposed to be a carrot cake. I think the sprinkles add a touch of whimsy (and texture) to a really delicious cake. If you like carrot cake, you’ll definitely like this.

As a bonus, even though Paul explicitly told me he really doesn’t like carrot cake, he clammed up when I asked him what he thought, then, with the most sheepish grin on his face told me that it was a good cake. Guys, I made a carrot cake hater turn into a carrot cake liker. (Not lover – not yet at least!) Obviously, this still means that the carrot cake is a WIN.

Ingredients

Yield: 2 loaf cakes

For the cake:

2½ c. flour
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1¼ tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cloves
½ tsp. salt

1 lb. whole carrots, peeled
1½ c. sugar

½ c. dark brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1½ c. vegetable (I used canola) oil

For the cream cheese frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp. butter, softened
3½ c. icing sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Green and orange food colouring (or sprinkles)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.

In a food processor with the grater attachment, shred the carrots, and set aside. Wipe out the food processor.

With the standard food processor blade, add white sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Process until thoroughly combined. With the food processor running, drizzle the oil into the egg mixture until mixture is thick and emulsified, about 30 seconds.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and whisk until combined into a thick mixture. Fold in shredded carrots using a spatula.

Pour batter evenly into the loaf pans, and bake in the preheated oven for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs.

Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting. I also removed the cakes from the pans to help them cool faster.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in a large bowl of a mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add the icing sugar, a half cup at a time, until smooth. Add in vanilla, then mix again.

Pipe or spread onto cooled loaves.

If you want to decorate with tiny carrots then separate two ¼ cup portions of frosting into separate bowls. Add a few drops of orange and green food coloring into each bowl and mix, adjusting colors to your preference.

Spoon dyed frosting into small ziplock bags, and cut a tiny opening in the corner of each bag.

Gently pipe carrot designs all over the top of the cake, as desired. Carrots are made by squeezing a blob of orange frosting then quickly drawing the frosting in a downward motion. Add “leaves” by making 1-2 small dots on the top of the orange “carrot.”

    Fluffy Pancakes

    Happy New Year, and hello again friends! As you can see, I’m back from my unplanned hiatus. I was sick pretty much the entire month of December. Like, sick enough to take 3 sick days in 1 week sick. (Which for me is an anomaly… I never take sick days.) I don’t really know what was wrong with me, but I kept to myself and just tried to get better over the past month. I figured all of my regular readers would understand that being sick = no blog posts.

    Either way, to start off a new year, you have to start with the first meal of the day. The first meal means breakfast, and pancakes are the perfect breakfast vehicle, so I decided to come back with a nice, simple recipe that everyone should have up their sleeve.

    I found this recipe last May, when I was planning a staff lunch with some coworkers. We decided to host a breakfast-for-lunch (instead of dinner) staff lunch, and these pancakes were a HIT. I especially liked them because they were easy to make, and didn’t need any special ingredients – not even buttermilk, and they were SUPER fluffy and satisfying. I made a 12x recipe of these pancakes (because you never know how many pancakes you will need!), and they all turned out beautifully, and filled an entire roaster and then some. I’ve also made these a time or two in smaller quanities, and every time I make them, I am so happy with how easy they are and how flawlessly they turn out.

    If you are a pancake fan, go make these! Breakfast, anyone?

    Ingredients

    Yield: 6-8 pancakes, depending on size

    1 c. flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    2 tbsp. sugar
    ¾ c. plus 2 tbsp. milk
    1 egg, beaten
    2 tbsp. butter, melted
    1 tsp. vanilla
    Oil or non-stick spray, for cooking

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and melted butter. Make sure the butter isn’t too hot when you add it or you could cook the eggs.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until mostly combined. The batter should be thick and a little lumpy, but with no visible streaks of flour. Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes.

    Heat a skillet or griddle over medium-low heat and spray with oil or cooking spray. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop and drop the batter into the pan. Cook until small bubbles form on the top surface of the pancake and the bottom is golden brown. Flip and repeat. Serve while still hot with your favourite toppings!

    Pumpkin Spice Muffins

    It’s pumpkin spice season! Fall is my personal favourite season. It helps that my birthday is in Fall. It’s winding into Winter, but we have had a mild November and I am pretty thankful for it. These muffins help me to remember that there are good things in abundance even when the weather is freezing cold.

    These muffins are really easy and taste great. If you want something a little less sweet, you can skip the cinnamon sugar garnish at the end, but I like it as it adds a little more texture. I got the recipe here, and it was great: simple, straightforward, and high reward.

    I used two bowls and ten minutes to get these muffins going, and they are incredible. I’m going to stop writing, because you need to go make these!

    Ingredients

    Yield: 12 muffins

    For the muffins:

    1½ c. flour
    2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. baking soda
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ½ c. vegetable oil
    ½ c. white sugar
    ½ c. brown sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1 c. pumpkin puree

    For the garnish:

    ¼ c. white sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    ¼ c. butter, melted

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tray with paper liners.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, white and brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin puree.

    Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and combine until no lumps remain. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 17-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the thickest muffins comes out clean.

    While the muffins bake, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon and prepare the butter.

    Remove muffins from the oven, let cool for five minutes. Dip the muffin tops in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

    French Toast Cookies

    If you have ever wanted cookies for breakfast, well these are the perfect excuse. These are a cross between french toast and warm, chewy cookies.

    I don’t have much to say about these, except that they are really easy to make, and only took me about 10 minutes or so. All in all, I had cookies all ready in less than an hour.

    There were a few changes I made to the original recipe because of things that I had on hand. For instance, I used maple syrup instead of maple extract, and I used a full egg instead of just an egg yolk. If/when I make these again, I would definitely use maple extract instead. I wanted a bit more of a punch of maple flavour. I also decided to change up the sugar rolling. Instead of just using plain sugar, I divided the dough into thirds, and rolled a third of them in regular granulated sugar, a third in brown sugar, and the last third in cinnamon sugar.

    I was partial to the cinnamon sugar, and Paul liked the brown sugar, but really, they were all good. The last change I made was to the corn syrup. Instead of using just light corn syrup as the recipe called for, I actually used half light corn syrup, and half golden corn syrup. When I was little, I used to have corn syrup on my breakfasts, not maple syrup, because my parents didn’t buy maple syrup. Adding a little bit of golden syrup brought me back to those childhood breakfasts.

    Try your cookies all three ways, and let me know which one you prefer!

    Ingredients

    Yield: Approximately 30 cookies

    ½ c. butter
    1/3 c. sugar
    ½ c. brown sugar
    1 egg
    ½ c. light corn syrup (or ¼ c. light corn syrup and ¼ c. golden corn syrup)
    2 tsp. vanilla
    2 tsp. maple extract
    2 1/3 c. flour
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. nutmeg
    1 tsp. baking soda
    ¼ tsp. salt
    ¼ c. white sugar, cinnamon sugar, and brown sugar for rolling

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie trays with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in the egg, corn syrup, vanilla and maple extract. Mix well, scraping down the bowl as needed.

    Add in the flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

    Roll into balls, and roll into the various sugars. Place on prepared cookie sheets, and bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, rotating pans halfway through.

    Remove from oven, and let sit on pan for 2 minutes (DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!). Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!