Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blueberry French Toast Bake

My BFF- hee hee- I just had to sneak this in-Lory introduced me to this french toast bake and I LOVE IT!! It is just sweet enough and the addition of blueberries pushes it over the top. I made this french toast bake for Christmas morning and it was a huge hit.

Some of my best memories involve brunch with family and friends. You can be so flexible with brunch time- you can include lite lunch items, the classic breakfast trio- bacon, eggs and potatoes and even include sweet items. This french toast bake is one of those sweeter items. I especially love brunch items where you can make it up and set it aside and throw it in the oven in the morning to bake.

Here are the cast of characters for this breakfast bake. BTW- these blueberries I bought from Wal-mart (yes I know that they are evil....) were so good. They were so plump and were some of the biggest blueberries that I had ever seen. You can find them in the freezer section and they were a lot (cheaper) than some of the other supermarket frozen blueberries.

The night before you want to bake the french toast, you will cut your loaf of bread into small chunks, whip your eggs and sugar till light and fluffy, add in the half and half and then soak the bread cubes overnight in the mix.

The next morning you will add your blueberries to the soaked bread chunks. See how plump those blueberries look. I think I just want to see how many more times I can use the word plump.....

On your stove top you will melt a half cup f butter and half cup of brown sugar. You will cook both until the mix is bubbling gently.
Pour your bread mix in a lightly greased casserole dish and then drizzle this buttery, sugary mix on top.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour or until top if puffed and lightly browned.

Here is what the finished french toast bake looks like. You can serve this french toast with maple syrup, but personally I enjoy it just the way it is. But if you do make this and serve it with maple syrup- let me know how you like it.
Again- check out those blueberries...plump....

Here is the recipe in case you want to bake this bad boy on up for your next brunch. Hey- invite me too!!

Blueberry French Toast

8 cups French bread (one loaf) 1" cubed
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
3 cups milk or half&half
1 1/2 cups Frozen blueberries
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar

Place bread cubes in large bowl
Whip eggs and sugar until light in color and thick. Add half and half.
Pour mixture over bread cubes
Cover and refrigerate overnight

In the morning, preheat oven to 325
Mix 1 cup blueberries into bread and put into greased 9X13 pan
Sprinkle remaining berries on top

On stove in a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar until bubbly
Pour mixture over bread and berries
Bake at 325 for 1 hour or until puffed
Serve with syrup

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My First Official Cookie Order

I was asked to create some baby shower cookies for a friend of a friend whom I knew casually. I was thrilled and nervous. All of my baking has always been for family and close friends- people who would always love my cookies and cake wrecks no matter what. But making cookies for someone I didn't know well was a different story. So with some trepidation- I agreed.

The theme of the shower was "Good things come in twos" because the mom to be was expecting twins. I know a "little" something about twins. Good luck on that one... just kidding!! Twins are double the amount of work and heartaches, but also double the amount of love, kisses, cuddles and joy! I love my twin nephews and although they can run hurdles around me- I can't help but love all of the trouble they get into. Even as I type about them I am picturing cake butt shaking his finger at me going "no no no no"....

From what I understand the guests wold be decorating onesies for the mom to be to take home with her. So I created onesie cookies in the colors of the shower- pale orange, pale green and pale yellow. I actually loved this color combination. Although I do admit my orange is slightly more "peachy" than orange.

I had a lot of fun making these cookies, some minor hand cramps and a slight incident that involved royal icing being squeezed- or more like- popped all over my head and body. That was fun. I was too busy to actually address the scary state of my face and hair so later that night I tried to hose myself down and boy does royal icing dry well in hair and on skin. I had a mini sugar and meringue facial that night and a funny white streak in my hair. At least I have a good memory to help me recall my "first-ever-official-cookie-order"!!!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Theme Party for Two Cuties

I had an eventful New Years Eve as it was the day of my twin nephews birthday party. And what a party it was. Yo Gabba Gabba was the theme and I made cookies for the party.

Here is one snapshot of one of the tables that was decorated for the party.

I started on the cookies a couple of weeks before the big day. I cut out and baked circle cookies a couple of weeks before and froze the cookies so that they would stay fresh. The week of the festivities I broke out the decorating tips and royal icing and got to work. I decided that I wanted to make the main characters into cookies.

As I started decorating the cookies- I realized that the tips that I had were not quite small enough so I had to run and buy some more tips. I have a few Wilton round tips, but only had one-#1 tip and a couple #2 tips. I did end up investing in some PME tips in size 1 and 00. I do think that I prefer the size #1 tip for decorating finer details.

Here is how Muno turned out. He was by far the easiest to pipe and outline and in all honesty- he really was the most fun to make.

Here is Toodee- I did not realize that Toodee was a female until I noted the "eyelashes" on her character. Again the finer tips came in handy for things like eyelashes and I think I could have gone even finer with the detail. So I may need to invest in a few more PME tips in #00 and maybe even a couple in #000.

Brobee was kinda fun as well because I liked doing the "squiggle" piping on him. :)

I thought that Plex would be the easiest to make since he was all squares, but for some reason I could not pipe a straight square to save my life that day. Even though he is not perfect, I still like him.

And here are all four characters. They are not perfect- they have many flaws. They are not perfectly shaped and they do not look exactly like the characters on the show. But, I am happy with my first attempt at making character cookies!

And if you notice- I did leave two characters out. I tried to make Foofa cookies, but she was one of my first attempts without a finer "tip" and she was a mess. She looked like a pink Tammy Faye- so I ended up scrapping that cookie entirely.
I also decided not to do DJ Lance as I was a little nervous about creating a "skin tone" cookie color and frankly time really did not permit me to experiment that much more.

Overall, I am very happy with my cookie attempt and hope to have some more fun baking for my other nephew's birthday in the spring!!