Monthly Archives: April 2019

French Toast

Many years ago when I was still living in Florida (Panama City), we took a trip to the Florida Keys.  That was a wonderful trip in which I discovered some amazing food and drink:  Key Lime Pie, deep fried French toast, and gin martinis.  To this day, I still enjoy a good martini and quite often make Key Lime Pie and French toast.

I always serve maple syrup with french toast, waffles, or pancakes.  And recently, I was gifted with some homemade maple syrup from a gardener friend.  The maple syrup was made from maple trees within the Grand Rapids area.  Some of the maple trees tapped were located on my daughter’s property.  That makes this maple syrup even more special.

Below are pictures of one of the tapped maple trees from my daughter’s property, the maple syrup evaporator, and the finished product: maple syrup.

While Vermont leads the nation in the making of maple syrup (1.9 million gallons yearly), Michigan is in the top 10 U.S producers, usually around fifth place (producing around 90,000 gallons per year).  Although according to Michigan State University Extension, Michigan has enough trees to outproduce Vermont.  Only about 3 to 5 percent of the sugar maples are currently being tapped.  Source is mlive

When it comes to maple syrup, we must not forget our friends from the North.  Canada is the world’s leading producer and exporter of maple products ($381 million in 2016).

Typically, French toast is cooked in butter.  I prefer cooking with the vegetable oil.  The French toast fries up with a crisp exterior and a tender center.  All it needs is butter and maple syrup and you have a special occasion breakfast.

French Toast

  • Servings: 4-6
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9 slices of thickly cut Sour Dough bread
5 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

oil for frying (such as vegetable oil)

maple syrup and butter for serving

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees F (or low setting).

In a medium bowl combine the eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Whisk until well combined.

Heat about 1/2 inch oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Dip each side of the bread in the egg mixture.  Carefully add the bread slices to the skillet and cook in the hot oil until light golden brown on each side (about 1-2 minutes per side).  Keep the cooked French toast warm in the oven while preparing the other slices of bread.  Serve warm with pure maple syrup and butter.  

Notes:
1. The recipe comes together quickly, so have the bread sliced and egg mixture made before heating the oil in the skillet.
2.  Other breads such as Italian, Challah or French baguette are good for making French toast.

 

 

 

 

Easter Sandwich Cookies With Lemon Curd

Easter is only a couple weeks away.  A lot of us in the US will celebrate Easter with family gatherings and good food.  We nearly always have a ham dinner with a lot of side dishes and desserts.

Some of the folklore associated with Easter includes colored eggs and the Easter bunny.  This may not be the Easter bunny, but here is a picture of a cute bunny that is occasionally in my yard.

I saw some pretty pastel Easter Linzer cookies with a lemon curd filling on Fancy Flours‘ web site, and I was inspired to bake up some similar cookies.  Except, I used a sugar cookie recipe and homemade lemon curd.

These are pretty cookies with the pastel colored powder sugars and will remind you of Spring.

You can use store bought lemon curd but I really recommend making your own.  I have made the microwave version twice.  It is so easy to make and delicious.  You will want to eat it straight from the jar.

The sandwich cookies are not too sweet with a hint of lemon from the lemon curd,  and the cutout on the top cookie allows the lemon curd filling to peak through.

Microwave Lemon Curd

1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

In a microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice and butter.  Cook in the microwave for one minute intervals, stirring after each minute until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.  Remove from the microwave, and pour into small clean jars.  Store for up to three weeks in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 cups of lemon curd.  

Easter Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
3/4  teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Combine the flour, salt and baking soda and gradually beat into the creamed mixture.  Beat just until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Using an egg shaped cookie cutter, cut the dough into an egg shapes.  On half of the cookies, use a tiny bunny cookie cutter to cut out a bunny in the center of half of the whole cookies.  If desired, gather up the bunny scraps and roll out the dough again to create as many cookies as possible or bake them.  *See note.

Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown.  Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Place the cookies with the cutouts on a separate wire rack and lightly dust the tops with the colored powdered sugars.

On the bottom surface of the full cookie, spread with about 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon curd.  Place the cutout cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, trying not to smudge the powdered sugar.

Makes approximately 22 sandwich cookies.

Store cookies up to a week in the refrigerator.

Notes:
1.  *Bake the mini bunny cutouts for only 3-4 minutes.  Mine got a little too brown.
2.  White powdered sugar can be used in place of the colored sugars.
3. I bought the colored powdered sugars, oval cutters, and mini Easter cutter set from Fancy Flours but I believe the same items are available from Amazon as well.
4.  Lemon curd recipe adapted from allrecipes.