Apple Butter French Toast

Did you make any apple butter at all this Fall? I did. I made a lot of it. I came across this recipe in the December issue of Martha Stewart’s magazine and thought it was a brilliant idea to put some apple butter in between two slices of bread and make some french toast out of it. It was even a healthy recipe too, and the nutrition info was posted on it. That’s always a bonus for me, because that’s one less step I have to figure out.

I was pretty proud of myself for not using any butter or oil to cook this recipe. See, recipes can taste good even with out butter. Usually, I’m all for the butter but have recently come to realize that I need to start watching what I eat again. :(

Ingredients from Martha Stewart

259 calories, 5 g of fat, 14 g protein, 38 g carbs, 4 g fiber

Points Plus: 6

1 cup low-fat milk
2 large eggs  2 large egg whites, slighlty beaten
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 slices of whole wheat bread
non stick cooking spray
1/4 cup of apple butter
2 teaspoons confectioners sugar

1. Preheat oven to 250. In a large shallow dish, whisk together milk, eggs and egg white, granulated sugar, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice.

2. Place 4 bread slices in milk mixture and let soak 1 minute per side. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium. Add soaked bread to skillet and cook until golden brown about 8 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven. Wipe out skillet. Repeat with remaining bread.

3. Spread each of 4 slices with 1 tablespoon apple butter. Top with remaining slices and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediatly. Serves 4.

Kit Kat Cake

My Mom’s birthday is tomorrow and I decided to make her a cake. This cake is so cool looking, I think it can be used for any occasion. Since her birthday falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she’s getting red and green M & M’s on the top of hers. I don’t think there’s any way to mess up a cake like this. You can use a store bought cake mix and store bought frosting. I used a recipe that I found on Recipe Girl’s website and I didn’t care to much for the frosting. The taste of the frosting was really good. When I was going to attempt to frost the cake, the frosting got kind of stiff, and was hard to work with. That’s why it looks like there’s two different colors of frosting on the cake because I switched to a store bought frosting half way through. :) There’s no shame in that.

I did take a class in cake decorating once and maybe I need to re-take the class? It was fun overall and because of that class I have plenty of cake decorating supplies. It would be nice to learn how to decorate with fondant which we never learned. We just learned how to frost and make flowers out of frosting. If you’re pretty clueless when it comes to decorating a cake, like I am, try decorating a cake this way. You could even use different candies other than kit kats to decorate the edges.

CAKE: from RecipeGirl.com
One 18.25-ounce box of chocolate cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated white sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
4 large eggs

CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

DECOR:
Three 4.5-ounce Giant Kit Kat Bars (you’ll need 36 Kit Kat sticks total)
One 12.6-ounce bag M&M’s
Ribbon

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line a cupcake pan with 6 liners (you’re going to have 6 cupcakes to munch on along with your cake!)

2. In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, flour, sugar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and beat with hand mixer for 2 minutes, or until well blended.

3. Scoop the batter into 6 cupcake liners 3/4-full. Divide the remaining batter into the prepared round pans. Bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes, and bake the cake rounds about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove the cake layers to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. When the cake is cool, you’re ready to assemble. Place one layer on a serving plate, and tuck strips of waxed paper underneath the sides of the cake.

5. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Increase speed to medium, and slowly add milk and vanilla, beating until smooth. Microwave chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals. Gradually add melted chocolate to mixture; beat until blended and smooth.

6. Frost the 1st cake layer. Set the 2nd layer on top of the first. Frost the 2nd layer and along the sides of the cake too. Stick Kit Kat’s to the sides of the cake, leaving a very small space in between each Kit Kat (1/4-inch). Wrap a bow around the cake, securing the Kit Kat’s. Fill the top of the cake with M&M’s. Pull out the strips of waxed paper and discard. Use any extra frosting to frost your 6 extra cupcakes.

7. If you refrigerate the cake for a couple of hours or so, it will be much easier to cut and serve. Of course, you’ll need to remove the bow just before serving.

Tips:

*You can certainly use your favorite layer cake recipe for this cake. The doctored-up cake mix recipe that is included here is actually quite good!

*You can also use a yellow cake or your favorite flavor… following the same instructions here for jazzing it up.
*Technically, you can use all of the batter in two 9-inch round pans, but it might make the cake too high to work for this recipe. You don’t want the cake to stand higher than the height of the Kit Kat’s- or they will not be able to act as a “fence” to hold in the M&M’s.

Candy Cane Blossoms

It’s that time of year again. Time to hang up all the Christmas lights, and put up the Christmas tree, buy presents for loved ones and friends.  We were thankful for nice weather here and was able to do that when it was 45 degrees outside. My family is kind of boring about the Christmas gifts and all they ever want are gift cards. There’s nothing really wrong with that because you end up getting what you want. I’ve told my family this before but that’s all they want still. Oh well. Why can’t they ever want something fun like a new set of pots and pans, bake ware, spoons and spatulas, a diamond ring… etc.??

My favorite part about Christmas is baking cookies. Last year, I purchased a tiny catalog and it had probably 50 different cookie recipes in it to try. I think I baked about 10 of the recipes in that book. Since pinterest came around, I’ve been finding lots of cookie recipes to try on that website. This was one of them. I love those little peppermint Hershey kisses and when I saw this recipe, I wanted to make them right away. I didn’t have a bag of the kisses lying around at the time, until this weekend. The recipe says to wait 2 – 3 minutes before the cookies have cooled to place the peppermint kisses on them, but if you put them on right away and eat them they become all melted and gooey. I kind of like that. That’s why some of the peppermint kisses in the picture look like they’ve collapsed.

Candy Cane Blossoms Ingredients from Baked Perfection

recipe from Hershey’s
1 bag Hershey;s Kisses brand Candy Cane Kisses
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
Red and Green colored sugar
Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove wrappers from candies (approx. 35)
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternatively with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in red and/or green colored sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 – 1o minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookies is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Yields approximately 35 cookies.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

I was watching the Best Thing I Ever Made on Food Network this morning and saw Sunny Anderson make her mac and cheese. It looked so good, and I knew I had all the ingredients to make it besides the pepper jack cheese. Even without the pepper jack cheese it was awesome. The cayenne pepper gave it just the right amount of heat. The thing I liked most about this recipe, was the fact that it didn’t require making a roux. A roux is a mixture of equal parts butter and flour. Then you would whisk in the milk, but this recipe just required mixing a bunch of ingredients together into a bowl. The mac and cheese was rich and creamy, and it’s easy to half the recipe for just one person.

Speaking of Food Network… I don’t mind all those competition shows like Chopped, Cake Wars, and Restaurant Impossible, but do they honestly need to show the same episodes over and over again? I would rather see more cooking shows and they seem to be cutting those off at 11am CST on the weekends. Please Food Network, add more cooking shows to your line up because I get sick of watching the re-runs. Because of that, I am now a fan of Big Bang Theory. :)

I cut this recipe in half and if using 1% milk and low fat cheddar cheese and low fat colby cheese the nutrition info is as follows. It came out to 3 servings. (without croutons)

Calories 208 | Fat 5.74g | Carbohydrate 22.34g | Fiber 0.9g | Protein 15.97g

Ingredients from Sunny Anderson

  • 2 cups elbow pasta, cooked until almost al dente
  • 8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded
  • 8 ounces Colby cheese, cubed
  • 8 ounces Monterey pepper jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup finely grated onions
  • 4 slices bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Special equipment: 2-quart baking dish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the pasta with the cheese cubes and pour into the baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg. Add the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, half-and-half and onions. Pour over the pasta and cover with the shredded Cheddar. Bake uncovered until the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size squares. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the bread cubes and toast until golden. Sprinkle the bread cubes on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.