Baked Pumpkin French Toast


Hello there– I have to tell you that this is one of those dishes that tastes way better than it looks!!  It’s sort of a homely little mess sitting on the plate. Looking at the photos, I thought I should just scrap this post, but then it was so yummy, I just wanted to give you to be able to give it a try!!  Please trust me on this one.

The toasty bread coated with custardy pumpkin is pretty delicious, especially hot from the oven.  With maple syrup, perfect!

BAKED PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST
1 pound loaf French bread
6 eggs
2 cups cream or half & half
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cu brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup pecans (or more if you love pecans as much as I do!)

Garnish:  lots of maple syrup!

Cut the loaf of bread into bit sized chunks.  Put it into a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they are blended.  Then stir in the cream, sugar, pumpkin, salt, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Pour the mixture over the bread.

Cover the whole thing with foil and set it into the fridge overnight.  The next morning, take it out of the fridge an hour before you want to put it into the oven, to warm a bit.

While that is sitting, make the Crumb topping by mixing together the brown sugar, flour, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Then cut in the butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until the mixture is crumbly.  Stir in the pecans and sprinkle it over the pumpkin French toast just before you pop it into the oven.

Bake the French toast for the first 30 minutes still covered with the foil at 350 degrees.  Then remove the foil and bake for 20 or 30 minutes more until the top is golden and the pumpkin filling is all set.

Serve it up hot from the oven with along with a jug of maple syrup!  I think you’ll love it!

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Peach Pecan Bread


Hey all– I just can’t resist picking over the piles of peaches and nectarines every time I hit the market.  It’s one of the best parts of August (compensation for the heat??!).  We’ve been eating them every day.

Here’s a little loaf I baked, for friends who came to brunch this week.  And I found it it’s even yummier toasted in the toaster oven the next day–sweet and peachy ad crunchy around the edges!

PEACH PECAN BREAD
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 large peaches, peeled, pitted, cut to chunks
2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 tab. whole milk or half & half

Peel and cut up the peaches.  Set aside.  Chop the pecans.  Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, milk, oil and eggs.  Then mix in the flour, salt and baking powder.  The batter will be a bit dry.  Then fold in the peaches and pecans until it is thoroughly blended.

Spoon the batter into a standard 9″x5″ loaf pan (or I used two smaller half size pans).  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until a sharp knife inserted comes out clean.

Let the bread cool 20 minutes (or more) and the whisk together the powdered sugar and milk for the glaze, and drizzle it over the bread.  Slice & eat!!

Maple Pecan Banana Muffins


Good Morning– Isn’t it nice to have help in the kitchen??  Had one of my favorite kitchen helpers with me yesterday morning to mix together these happy muffins.  They are sweet and tender– just like little Lois!  And we all sat around the coffee table for breakfast to munch muffins and drink coffee, while we watched the World Cup this morning!

MAPLE PECAN BANANA MUFFINS
2 bananas, thoroughly smashed
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1  3/4 cups four
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Plus more chopped pecans, to top the muffins

Smash the banana with a fork in a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the milk, oil, vanilla and maple syrup.  Then mix in the flour, baking power, salt and cinnamon.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins that have been lined with muffin papers. Sprinkle the extra pecans on top on top of the muffins.  Drop them into a 350 degree for 18 to 20 minutes.  What a smell when you lift them from the oven!

Actually, Lois likes tasting the batter as much as mixing it!

Hummingbird Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

Hello all– How’s your weekend going??  I’m excited to say today is the first day in over a month that there is not a thing on our calendar!!  Larry headed over to Cal State for their tomato plant sale this morning and I’m going to dig into some heavy duty trip planning for our travels to Vancouver & Seattle in a couple weeks.  I may spend the whole day here on our couch!  So happy for the lazy quiet.

And I wanted to send out this recipe too for you all–  a southern specialty– a quick bread version of Hummingbird Cake.  Dense moist and flavorful from bananas, crushed pineapple, coconut and pecans!!  So many goodies tucked inside this sweet bread!

HUMMINGBIRD BREAD SITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Bread:
4 bananas, smashed
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2  1/2 flour
1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz. crushed pineapple, with the juice
1 cup coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 tab. milk
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas with a fork.  Then stir in the oil, white sugar, brown sugar and eggs.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally stir in the vanilla, cinnamon pineapple, coconut and pecans.

Spoon the thick batter into two standard loaf pans (8″ x 4″) that have been sprayed with cooking spray.  Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes until they are cooked through (test with a sharp knife to see if it comes out dry).  Let the bread cool before you add the frosting.

To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Then add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the consistency that you like.

Drizzle the frosting over the cooled bread and sprinkle on the pecans.  Done. And delicious!

Orange Pecan Muffins

Hello there–  “Wish I could say, “Come on over for a hot muffin and a mug of tea.”  There are so many of you blog-friends that write back and forth.  I love reading our blogs and would love to sit and talk over breakfast and fill in all the little details of your lives. (I mean you Lacey & Mollie, Kat, Marcia, Cate, Simona, Brigid, Mary, Vero …).

But I’ll have to make do by sending off this muffin recipe to you all.  It’s bright and nutty and has that light touch of citrus.  Hot from the oven with a swath of sweet butter– perfect!

ORANGE PECAN MUFFINS
1 large orange
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Grate the rind off of the orange.  Then juice the orange.  Set both aside.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the egg, oil and milk.  Finally fold in the orange juice, orange peel and chopped pecans.

Scoop the batter into a muffin tin lined with muffin papers.  Makes 10 to 12 muffins.

Pop them into a 350 degree oven for 20 to 22 minutes.  Eat ’em while they’re hot!!

Pumpkin French Toast

Hello everyone– When the kids are home for a visit, my favorite part of the day is breakfast.  Larry starts the coffee and I buzz around the kitchen while people with pj’s and bed hair wander in one at a time.  They squeeze around the small kitchen table and I flip pancakes or pour juice.  It’s the best– talking over the day ahead, easy times together.

So while kids were here last weekend, we sat down to this pumpkin French toast.  Custardy and pumpkin spiced with candied pecans to top it off.  I think you’d love it too!

PUMPKIN FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf soft French bread*
4 eggs
1 cup mik
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
garnish:  1 cup pecans, 1/2 cup sugar

Slice the loaf into thick slices.

In a 9″ baking dish, beat the eggs and then beat in the milk, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Keep mixing til it’s all blended.

Dip both sides of the bread into the pumpkin mixture and set it on a medium hot griddle that has been sprayed with cooking spray, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Keep warm in a low oven until all the toast is cooked.

Garnish– to make the candied pecans put the 1 cup of pecans (whole or chopped and 1/3 cup sugar in a nonstick skillet.  Set it on a medium high burning and stir continuously until the sugar has melted and the pecans are coated with golden brown sugar syrup.  Turn the pecans out onto a piece of foil to cool, separating them with your wooden spoon on the foil.

*Use those spongy French bread loaves from the grocery bakery (not my favorite bread, but great for soaking up eggy French toast mixture).

Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Topping

Hello there– It’s Larry’s birthday today!!  I’m 3 months older than him so now he can stop teasing me about my advanced age.  Our parents are coming for dinner– chicken & rice– and we’ll top it off with this hearty cake.  Happy Birthday dear Larry!!

CARROT CAKE WITH COCONUT PECAN TOPPING

Cake:
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 cups grated carrot (about 3 carrots)
2 eggs

Topping:
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter (2/3 of a stick)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups pecan, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Then mix in the oil, grated carrot and eggs.

Spoon the stiff batter into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  And pop it into a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.  Let the cake cool.

To make the topping, stir together the milk, 2/3 cup sugar, egg yolks, butter and vanilla in a sauce pan.

Then put the pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture thickens (2 or 3 minutes).  the stir in the coconut and pecans.  Let it set a few minutes to cool and then heap it onto the cake.

P.S. This is an OLD post– Larry’s birthday is in August!!  But I saved it and the cake was lovely, so I’m passing it along.  Better late than never!!

Nectarine Pecan Crisp

Hello there–  We’re wringing the last bit of summer out of the days here– warm daytimes, sunshine enough for evening walks, and peaches & nectarines still at the market.  I’m trying to to eat our way through all the peach/nectarine recipes I’ve pinned through the year before the peaches give way to pumpkin & apple baking.

So when Mom and Jenon came to dinner this week, it was sweet nectarines coated with crunchy oats and pecans for dessert.  With ice cream– perfect!

NECTARINE PECAN CRISP

Nectarine Layer:
4 or 5 nectarines
1/4 cup flour
3/4 sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 vanilla

Crisp Topping:
3/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cup whole oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted

Cut the nectarines into thin slices (no need to peel them). In a mixing bowl, gently stir together the nectarines, 1/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt and vanilla until the nectarine slices are all well coated. Spoon it all into a deep 9″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In another mixing bowl stir together the brown sugar, 2/3 cup flour, oats, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt and pecans.  Drizzle the melted butter over the top and stir it all together.

Sprinkle the oat crisp topping over the nectarines in the baking dish.  Pop it into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is golden and the nectarines are tender.

The filling is very hot, so let it cool down just a bit and serve warm with ice cream!  Oh yummmm.

Pecan Coconut Banana Bread

Hello baking friends–  I’ve already posted more than my share of banana bread recipes on this blog.  Blame it on too many over ripe bananas collecting in my kitchen.  But honestly, this one must be the best!  All that coconut and those pecans!

Made it with my baking buddy, Jenna, and we downed it with mugs of tea at the kitchen table and agreed it was delicious.  Hope you give it a try…

PECAN COCONUT BANANA BREAD

Topping:
6 tab. flour
6 tab. brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tab.) butter
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Bread:
2 bananas
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
3 tab. canola oil
1 egg
1  1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp, baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Melt the butter in the microwave.  Then in a small mixing bowl stir together the 6 tab. flour, brown sugar, butter, 1/4 cup coconut and 1/4 cup chopped pecans.  Set aside.

In a larger mixing bowl, smash the bananas with a fork. Then stir in the yogurt, oil and egg.  Next mix in the 1 1/3 cup flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup shredded coconut.  Mix just until it is all blended.

Spoon the batter in to a 9″x 5″ loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray (I used two smaller half size pans).  Put it into a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes until it’s gold brown and a knife inserted comes out clean.

Banana Pecan Waffles

Good morning Breakfast Eaters–  We’re still experimenting with our new waffle iron.  There’s been some hits and misses.  But this has been a favorite so far (and I’m pretty sure you may see more waffles float by on these pages in the future!).

The sweetness from the bananas, a little pecan crunchiness and a light texture from beating the egg whites, make it a winner!

BANANA PECAN WAFFLES
2 ripe bananas
3 eggs, divided
1 1/2 stick butter (3/4 cup) melted, cooled for a few minutes
1 1/4 cup milk
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tab. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: maple syrup & fruit

Smash the bananas to a paste with a fork in a mixing bowl.  Separate the eggs.  Put the whites in a new mixing bowl (set it aside) and the yolks in with the bananas. The mix in the milk and butter with the bananas.

Then add in the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt to the banana mixture.  Stir it all together. Fold in the pecans

Next take the egg whites, and beat them with an electric mixer until they are foamy.  Then add in the sugar and continue to beat on high speed until they are glossy and stiff peaks form.  Be patient.  This takes 4 or 5 minutes.  (Best done with the whisk attachment of your mixer).

Then gently fold the egg whites into the banana batter, mixing until there are no white streaks.

Pour about one cup of batter into a hot waffle iron that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook according to the directions on your waffle iron (mine takes 7 or 8 minutes for each waffle and made 6 medium waffles).

Serve them up with syrup and fruit and big mugs of tea.  Delish!

Maple Pecan Baked French Toast

Hi there– Every single Sunday morning while we were growing up, my Dad would take to the kitchen and griddle up piles of French toast while my mom got 4 little kids ready for church. We loved those hot syrupy slices.  I can’t think of French toast without remembering my fun-loving father.

So here’s a new version of that old French toast– with maple in the custard and a maple glaze on top for sweetness, plus pecans for a little crunch.  The nice thing is that you can make it a little ahead in the morning — or put it together the night before and keep it over night in the fridge until your ready to bake it.

MAPLE PECAN BAKED FRENCH TOAST
1 baguette
5 eggs
3 cups milk (or half & half)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pecans

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup

Slice the baguette into thin slices (about 1/2″ thick).  Arrange them in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish (I used a large round tart dish) that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs for a minute.  Then whisk in the milk, 1/2 cup maple syrup and salt.

Pour the egg mixture over the slices of bread in the baking dish.  Cover with foil, tenting it up so it doesn’t touch the bread and let it sit for an hour (or overnight) in the fridge.

Bake the covered bread for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  Remove the foil and then sprinkle the pecans over the bread and bake for 20 minutes more.

While that’s baking, mix together the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Pour it over the hot French Toast as it comes out of the oven– serve it up hot and sweet!!

Blueberry Broccoli Avocado Salad with Poppyseed Ranch Dressing

Hi all– Should I apologize for the extra long title of this salad??– I just wanted you to know the yummy components and plus also the lovely dressing on top!

Took this salad along to my brother’s house for our Easter dinner.  And liked it so much we had it again last night!  It’s bright and fresh and I can say it works well with Easter ham or a slice of mushroom pizza!

BLUEBERRY BROCCOLI AVOCADO  SALAD

Salad:
5 cups of your favorite salad greens
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Poppyseed Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup unflavored yogurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. tarragon vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Layer the salad ingredients in a pretty bowl.

Then stir together the ingredients  for the dressing until they are thoroughly blended.  It makes more dressing than we needed on our salad, so there’s more in the fridge for another day.

Pecan Pie Coffee Cake

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Hello– I love those industrial size bags of pecans from Costco.  A couple years, my mom has given me Costco bags of pecans and walnuts for a birthday gift (she knows what I love!) and it feels luxurious having all those nuts ahead in the cupboard.  Sad to say, making this cake, I poured out at the last dregs of pecans. Time to restock!

And the cake– sweet and rich because you poke holes in the baked cake to let the “pie sauce” seep down inside.  And then there’s all those pecans!!  Perfect for breakfast coffee, or add a scoop of ice cream for a fine dessert.

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PECAN PIE COFFEE CAKE

Cake:
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unflavored yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1  1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup buttermilk*

Topping:
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1 egg
garnish:  powdered sugar

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To make the cake, beat together the 1/4 cup butter, sugar, yogurt, egg and vanilla with an electric mixture until it’s smooth.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder  and salt.  Finally beat in the buttermilk.

Spoon the batter into a 9″ cake pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Put it into a 350 degree  oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it is firm to the touch.

For the topping, mix together the corn syrup, brown sugar, melted butter, pecans and egg until it’s thoroughly blended.

Poke holes into the cake with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  Then drizzle the pecan topping over the cake, letting the syrupy part fill in the holes.

Pop the cake with the topping back into the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes more. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake sifting through a sieve.   Delicious served warm from the oven!

*If you don’t keep buttermilk (who does?), pour 2 tab. cider vinegar in your measuring cup and add milk to make 3/4 cup.  Let it sit a few minutes to thicken.

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Sour Cream Chocolate Pecan Bread

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Hey there friends– Maybe you know what I mean. Sometimes (think 4:00 in the afternoon) I just need a little taste of chocolate and nuts.  In an emergency there is always a handful of dark chocolate chips and a few pecans from the cupboard to see me through.

But this is really a much better solution– moist and rich and the sweet crunch of pecans.  Add a mug of tea. Perfect.

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE PECAN BREAD
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1  1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 sleeve (1 tsp.) instant coffee*
1/2 cup Hershey’s dark cocoa
1/2 cup buttermilk**
3/4 cup sour cream
1  1/2 cup flour
1  1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sal1 cup pecans, chopped
garnish: handful of mini chocolate chips & pecan bits

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In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs and oil.  Then mix in the vanilla, coffee, cocoa, buttermilk and sour cream.  Next stir in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally mix in the pecans (you can keep a few aside to sprinkle on top of the loaves)

Spoon the batter into a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan*** that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and extra pecans on top and then bake it all in a 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until a small knife inserted comes out clean.

Let it sit a few minutes before cutting into slices.

*The coffee doesn’t show up in the flavor, just makes the chocolate taste so much richer.
**Buttermilk substitute– 1 tab. cider vinegar added to milk to make 1/2 cup
***I used two smaller half size loaf pans.

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Caramel Toffee Pecan Cake

 

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Hi all– Thanksgiving gone– was yours a good one?  We had the day with our daughter and all her husband’s dear family up here in San Francisco.  Good times talking around the table, passing babies from lap to lap and sampling Brian’s mom’s incredible pecan pie.  It was a sweet day all around.

And here is another pecan dessert– a little simpler than pie and large enough to feed a crowd.  There’s all those nutty pecans and sweet bits of toffee to give a little texture to this tender cake.  I think it would finish out a Christmas dinner ahead just fine.

CARAMEL TOFFEE PECAN CAKE
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
5 eggs
3 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
8 oz. bag toffee bits
1  1/2 cups pecans, chopped (save out a few to top the cake)
1 cup caramel sauce*

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, and eggs with an electric mixer.  Then beat in the flour, baking powder and salt.  Finally use the mixer to blend in the milk and continue to blend on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in the toffee bits (save out a couple spoonfuls to sprinkle on top the cake) and the chopped pecans (save a few of those for on top too).

Spoon the mixture into a bundt pan or tube pan and bake at 325 degrees for 80 to 90 minutes (long time!)– until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

When you’re ready to serve the cake, drizzle on the caramel sauce and sprinkle toffee bits and pecans on top.

*The recipe I worked from told how to make your own caramel sauce from scratch.  You can mix up your own favorite1 — but I’m happy with store bought caramel- just easier!

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Pumpkin Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze

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Hi all– How many cans of pumpkin puree have you gone through this year already?  I think it’s been a record pumpkin year for us!  Cakes, muffins, pumpkin brownies… Larry made pumpkin apple bread (one of his few, but delicious baking forays) for the Thursday kids who come while I was up in San Francisco!  We are taking full advantage of this fall pumpkin baking season.

So here is our latest.  I think people shy away from making yeast rolls (I’m talking cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, sticky buns!!) because they think it’s difficult.  It’s not.  But it does take some time around the house.  Fifteen minute dough tending with long stretches of dough rising (so you can read a book or fold some laundry).  So if you have a quiet Saturday morning at home, and you want your kitchen to smell scrumptious, I’d recommend a go at these tender, delicious pumpkin pecan rolls.

PUMPKIN PECAN ROLLS WITH MAPLE GLAZE

Dough:
1 pkg. dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
1 cup milk (warmed to 120-130 degrees)*
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
3  1/2 cups flour

Filling:
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted & cooled
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pecans, chopped

Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tab. pure maple syrup

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Put the yeast in a large heat proof mixing bowl (glass is best).  Stir in the warm milk until the yeast is dissolved.  Then add in the sugar, salt, oil and egg.  Mix together.  Next about 1/2 cup at a time, stir in the flour.  When it’s all mixed, knead the dough just 3 or 4 minutes.  If the dough gets sticky, add a bit more flour.

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel and set it in a warm place to rise and hour & 15 minutes. (I heat the oven to 200 degrees for just 3 minutes and then turn it off while I’m mixing up the dough– then set the bowl in the warmed oven to rise)

While the dough is rising. mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, pumpkin pie spice and pecans.  Set them aside.

Take the dough out and punch it down and lift from the bowl to a counter sprinkled with flour.  Roll out the dough with a rolling pin util you have a rectangle about 10″ by 18″.   Then spread the pumpkin mixture over the rolled out dough clear to the edges.

Starting at the long 18″ upper edge, roll the dough toward you until you have a long tube shaped roll.  Then cut the rolls into 1″ slices and put them in a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (or–I used 2 10″ tart pans instead.)  Makes about 18 rolls.

If you have a little handful of extra pecans, sprinkle them on top and pop the rolls into the slightly warm oven to rise for 45 minutes more.

At the end of the 2nd rise of 45 minutes, turn up the heat to 375 degrees and make the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes until they are nicely browned.

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While they are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on how thick you want your glaze to be).  When the rolls come out of the oven, let them cool about 10 minutes and then drizzle the glaze over the rolls.  They taste heavenly, eaten warm from the oven!

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*I put the milk in the microwave for 45 to 60 seconds.  It should feel just warm enough for a baby’s bath.

Pumpkin Spice Bread Pudding

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Hello all-  It’s October– the start of my favorite baking season!  I picked up some cans of pumpkin at the market and so far it’s been pumpkin bread, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cake and this– pumpkin bread pudding.  What’s next?? Pumpkin pizza???!!  just joking– maybe.

So when the weather gets crisper, it’s perfect to serve this cozy warm dessert.  (Though actually we are still waiting for some crispy weather here in So California!!– we’ll just have to imagine a chill in the air!)  In either case, I think you might like a homey dessert about now…

PUMPKIN SPICE BREAD PUDDING

Pecan Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tab. flour
3 tab. butter, room temperature*
1/2 cup pecans, chopped to bits (or a little more if you love pecan like I do!)

French toast:
1 unsliced loaf plain white bread**
8 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. pumpkin pie spice***
2 tab. white sugar
15 oz. can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk

Caramel sauce & ice cream!!

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To make the topping layer, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour.  The cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 forks until it resembles coarse crumbs.  The stir in the chopped pecans. Set this aside for later.

Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes with a serrated knife (so it won’t come out squashed).

Then in another mixing bowl whisk the eggs until they are blended and frothy.  Stir in the vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and white sugar until blended.  Then mix in the pumpkin pie puree and milk until it’s all well combined.

Spray a 9″x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Drop in all the bread cubes.  Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread and gently mix it all in the baking dish until the breads coated with pumpkin.

Sprinkle the pecan topping over the top with your fingers to break it up and coat the whole thing evenly.

Pop it into a 350 oven for 30 to 40 minutes until the bread pudding is set and golden brown on top.  Best to eat it warm with a little maple syrup (for brunch) or with caramel and a plop of whipped cream or ice cream (for dessert after dinner).  Enjoy!

Here it is straight from the oven:
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*When you grab it from the fridge, just microwave it for 10-12 seconds to warm it a bit.
**I like the big spongey unsliced grocery store loaf–or a soft white challah bread…
***If you don’t have P.P.spice– use 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cloves, 1/2 nutmeg.  And if you live near a Trader Joe’s– this is the time of year they sell their $2 bottles of pumpkin pie spice.  It’s great and cheap.  I buy a few to last all year…

Cinnamon Roll Muffins

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Hi friends– It’s September and the oven has been put back to good use around.  I’ve been baking up a storm.  And nothing smells so good coming out of the oven as something laced with cinnamon.  This little muffins are kind of second cousin to cinnamon rolls, lots of the same flavor and the crunchy nuts, but a whole lot less time and effort is involved.

I made them for our lovable group of 20 & 30 something’s who come in on Thursday nights– and the muffins all disappeared!  I love baking for those guys– such an appreciative group of eaters.  And just all around fun to spend an evening with them.

CINNAMON ROLL MUFFINS

Topping:
1 cup brown sugar
1 tab. cinnamon
1  1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 tab. melted butter

Muffins:
2 cups flour
1 tab. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup milk

Frosting:
2 oz. cream cheese (1/4 of a block), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 tab. milk
few drops of vanilla

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First make the topping.  Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Then completely fold in the melted butter.  Set this aside for later.

For the muffins, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Then mix in the oil, egg and milk.  (The batter will be stiff.)  Take 1/2 cup of the brown sugar topping mixture and stir it into the batter.

Use muffin papers or spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray– then scoop the batter into the muffin tin.  Put of spoonful of the brown sugar topping on top of each muffin, patting it down a bit with the spoon to make it stick well to the batter.

Bake them up at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes until firm to the touch.

While they are baking, make the frosting.  I softened the cream cheese in the microwave for a few seconds.  Then with a whisk, beat together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and the vanilla.  If the frosting seems runny enough to drizzle over the muffins from a spoon, that’s great!  If it is too thick, add the second spoon of milk and blend it completely.

Drizzle that luscious frosting over the muffins, hot from the oven and enjoy that cinnamon smell while you do it!  Scrumptious eaten with friends and mugs of tea.

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Kale Salad with Chicken, Peaches and Pecans

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Hello there– We’re enjoying the last hot summer days with salads like this flavorful bowlful.  We liked it so much I made it again when our kids came down this past weekend.  Add a sturdy loaf one whole grain bread and some iced tea.  Set it all out on the backyard table and you’ve got lunch.

KALE SALAD WITH CHICKEN, PEACHES & PECANS

1/2 cup farro, cooked*
4 cups kale, chopped fine**
1 chicken breast, cooked & cubed
1/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 ripe peach, pitted and cut to chunks
1/3 cup goat cheese crumbles

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tab. thick Balsamic vinegar
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Layer all the salad ingredients into an ample bowl.  Shake the dressing ingredients together in a container with a tight fitting lit until it’s well blended.  Pour on the dressing.  Done.

*The package of farro I bought said simmer in water for 10 minutes– then I rinse it with cold water to cool it for the salad.
**I like the packaged kale from Trader Joes– nice and tender

P.S. The good thing about this salad is that it’s sturdy enough to pour on the dressing and set it into the fridge for a a while while you get everything else on the table and it won’t get soggy.  That’s helpful.  Enjoy!

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Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars

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Hello Baking Buddies– This year for my birthday, my father-in-law wrapped up those hugs bags of walnuts and pecans from Costco for much appreciated birthday gift!  I feel rich with all those nuts sitting in the cupboard, just waiting to be baked into something yummy.

So last week it was Chocolate Pecan Bars– and today I’m trying out these Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Bars.  I’m heading over to my in-laws house for a little lunch in a bit, so I’ll take Stu a little plateful to show him how I’m putting his pecans to good use!

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CARAMEL PECAN OATMEAL BARS
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 stick), room temperature*
1  1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2  1/2 cups oatmeal
1  1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup caramel sauce**
1 cup pecans, chopped

With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth.  Then mix in the oatmeal flour, baking powder and salt.

Take 1 cup of the mixture out and set aside for the topping.  With your fingers spread the rest of the oatmeal mixture into a 9″ x 13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray to completely cover the bottom.  Pop this into a 350 degree oven for just 12 minutes.

When the bottom layer comes out of the oven, drizzle on 1 cup of caramel sauce.  Crumble up the one cup of oat mixture that you set aside into coarse crumbs over the top of the caramel.  Sprinkle on the pecans.

Put the whole thing back into the 350 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes until it’s lightly golden on top.  Let the bars cool completely before cutting them into little squares.

*If you’re taking the butter from the fridge (like me), put it into the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it up.
**The recipe I worked from gave instructions for making your own caramel sauce from scratch, but I love Hershey’s caramel sauce and also saving a little time, so that’s what I used.  But if you’re a caramel making whiz, you can stir up your own caramel!

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