Orange French Toast Bruleé

adapted slightly from Williams-Sonoma

6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange zest
1/2 tsp. salt
1 loaf French bread, sliced 1 1/2 inches thick
Softened unsalted butter for cooking and serving
granulated sugar
Maple syrup for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, orange juice, brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest, and salt until blended. Soak the bread slices in the egg mixture for 10 seconds per side.

Set an electric fry pan to medium heat and brush with butter. When the pan is hot, cook the bread in batches (do not overcrowd), turning once, until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer the French toast to a baking sheet. Sprinkle 1 tsp. granulated sugar evenly over the surface of each slice. Using a kitchen torch* according to the manufacturer's instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately with maple syrup and butter. Serves 6. (It is easily doubled).

*Fear not if you don't have a kitchen torch. I do have one that has never been out of the box. I got it out late Saturday night (after ingredients were purchased and guests invited), only to find that the butane is not included. We improvised and stuck the toast under a broiler with the oven door ajar. Don't take your eyes off it though, the sugar melts in seconds.

Empire Biscuits

Don't you love my new cake stand? Thanks Bunny!

I finally got around to baking up another entry in the cookie bake-off. I regret that I waited so long. Empire biscuits are a traditional Scottish cookie. They consist of raspberry preserves sandwiched between two buttery shortbread cookies, then frosted with a white glaze.

These are impressive little cookies. The dough comes together quickly and is easy to work with.

And they taste delicious! Thanks Becky!

P.S. Next year we'll need to add a category: "the perfect little cookie to serve at a tea-party!" These would have been a shoo-in!

2 cups butter, softened (not margarine)
1 cup white sugar
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Raspberry preserves

Becky's Glaze (I only needed half)
6 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup water

or use:
8 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Gradually stir in the flour and mix until well blended.
Roll out the dough to <1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out rounds with cookie cutter (I used a small heart...perfect for Valentines).
Bake about 7 minutes. (Cookies should be lightly browned on bottom so cookies will be crisp, but not browned on the top because you don't want the browned flavor to compete with the jam, icing or cookie.)
Cool shortbreads completely before filling and icing. Sandwich about 1 tsp of jam between two of the rounds (put two bottom sides together). Ice tops of sandwiched rounds.
Some bakeries put jelly beans, or gum drops or maraschino cherries on top, but they really aren't necessary.

Raspberry Almond French Toast

If you've been following this blog, you know that it was started as a way to fill our Sunday mornings. It's a new year and our Sunday meetings have moved from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. Instead of rolling out of bed at 9:00 and enjoying a leisurely brunch, my alarm is sounding at 6:30 so I can be up, showered and ready before I wake the girls and the cyclist (remember all the blonde bobs I have to blow-dry?)*
This year, we'll be eating brunch at 1:00. After which we will get back in our jammies, form a puppy pile, and take our Sunday nap.

Raspberry-Almond French Toast

1 loaf French bread, cut into 1/2" slices

1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t almond

4 eggs
4 T cream or milk
1/2 t vanilla

1 pint raspberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t almond

Make the almond filling by combining powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 1/2 t each of vanilla and almond.
Spread filling between two slices of bread.
To make batter, beat eggs until frothy. Add cream and vanilla. Dip bread in batter and grill until golden brown.
Combine sauce ingredients and serve over hot French toast.

*If anyone has any great time-savers in the hair department, let me know. Last night I wrapped all the girls wet hair in sponge rollers (very tiny ones apparently). We awoke to three pint sized Mugatu's.

Jumbo Blueberry Muffins

This is my basic blueberry muffin recipe. They are absolutely irresistible right out of the oven.
They can be made with or without the streusel topping. (Make them with).


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used frozen)

Streusel Topping

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, chilled

Preheat oven to 375. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then add almond and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Stir the flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in blueberries. The batter will be very thick (almost like a cookie dough, especially if you use frozen berries). Use a cookie scoop to divide batter among prepared muffin cups.

For streusel, in a small bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


The holidays are over. The house is regaining some sense of order. It's time to catch up.

These wonderful little pancakes have become a new Christmas morning tradition.

Invest in an aebleskiver pan. You won't regret it.

2 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
melted butter

Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
With a wire whisk, combine flour, sugar, soda, and salt in medium bowl. Blend yolks and buttermilk and add to dry ingredients. Beat until smooth. Fold in egg whites.
Place aebleskiver pan over low heat on stove and add small amount of melted butter to each cup. Pour batter into each cup, filling each about 3/4 full. Cook over low heat and turn quickly when cakes begin to brown around edges.

Lightly brown other side. Serve piping hot with syrups, jams, or powdered sugar.

We served ours with Cranberry-Orange syrup and (since no breakfast is complete without it anymore) Lindsey's infamous Cinnamon Syrup. Props to Lindsey: I overheard one of my brothers wondering if he could bathe in it.

Cranberry-Orange Syrup
2/3 cup sugar 

1/4 cup water 

1/2 cup fresh cranberries 

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 

2 teaspoons grated lime rind 

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

2 teaspoons butter

Combine sugar and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; stir in cranberries, orange juice, rind, and lime juice. Cook 5 minutes or until mixture foams and cranberries pop. Remove from heat; stir in the butter.