Tag Archives: BrunchWeek

Chocolate Muffins #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Chocolate Muffins

So, my regulars here know that my parents were quite insistent about healthy eating for my sister and me growing up, and nowhere was this more present than with breakfast. Skipping it was never an option, there was very little sugar present, and never anything that resembled a dessert. No sugary cereals, no Pop-Tarts, no doughnuts or coffee cakes or sweet muffins, and even when we occasionally got pancakes or French toast, it was of the whole grain variety.

Chocolate Muffins

Suffice it to say, I was well into my teens before finding out that chocolate muffins were a thing. Eating chocolate for breakfast just didn’t happen in our house. Once I reached adulthood, I began sampling them at coffee shops and bakeries, and concluded that I hadn’t really missed out on anything. Most chocolate muffins leave a lot to be desired.

They seem to come in two forms: either they are overly sweet and taste like an unfrosted cupcake – and really, what is sadder than an unfrosted cupcake?; or they are so determined not to be a cupcake and actually sort of be healthy, that they become dense and flavorless. I’ve long since given up on store-bought chocolate muffins, but I’ve been trying different recipes at home to see if a perfect one existed.

Chocolate Muffins

It took quite awhile, but turns out, yes, everything we want in a chocolate muffin does exist. Obviously, it’s what I’m sharing today (duh). These are definitely sweet enough, but not as much as a cupcake would be. They have a firmer muffin texture, but remain incredibly moist and tender. The chocolate tastes more like breakfast than dessert, if that even makes sense, but it really does! In short, I’m done looking. This is my go-to chocolate muffin forevermore. It should be yours too. Enjoy!

Chocolate Muffins

Source: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
½ cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
6 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate chips (your preference)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin, or them with paper liners.
Stir together the sugar, oil, eggs, milk and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt until well blended. Add the liquids and stir until a smooth batter forms. Stir in the chocolate chips. Fill the muffin cups about three-quarters full. I use a regular ice cream scoop for this.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned on top and a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature (they’re tasty both ways).

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Cinnamon Pancetta Waffles #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Cinnamon Pancetta Waffles

We are waffle people in my house, and these particular waffles are beyond delicious. At least, they are this time. The first time I made them? Not so much. So, the original recipe calls for using a store-bought waffle mix and just adding water. And I thought, “Water?! Water has no flavor! I’ll use buttermilk instead.” It made the batter so ridiculously thick I could barely work with it, and the waffles were so dense and dry we could hardly choke them down (our water intake was noooo problem that morning!). I knew the flavors were spot on, but that texture. Blech!

Cinnamon Pancetta Waffles

I determined to try again, but this time from scratch. I turned to King Arthur Flour, because why wouldn’t I in this situation, right? And I’m incredibly happy to report that this is the way these waffles should be made. Now they are perfect. You can adjust the amount of pancetta here – four ounces is a good amount to know it’s there, but if you want it chock full, I’d go with six to eight ounces.

Cinnamon Pancetta Waffles

Like I said earlier, the flavor is fantastic. Salty pancetta spikes a slightly sweet batter warmed with a background note of cinnamon, garnished with walnuts for crunch and of course finished off with maple syrup. I hope you enjoy them!

Cinnamon Pancetta Waffles

Sources: adapted from Giada at Home by Giada de Laurentiis and The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:
4-8 oz. pancetta chunks, depending on how much pancetta you want in your waffles
2 large eggs
1 ¾ cups buttermilk
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs granulated sugar
2 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned and crisped and the fat has rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Do not discard the rendered fat!!
Preheat your waffle maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Don’t spray it with cooking spray (we have a plan!)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk just until combined. A few lumps are okay. Use a spatula to fold in the reserved, cooked pancetta.
Pour the now cooled (or at least cooler) rendered pancetta fat into a small bowl. Use a silicone pastry brush to grease your waffle iron with the pancetta fat. Pour the batter into your waffle iron and cook as per manufacturer’s instructions. When waffles are done, remove to a plate and repeat with remaining batter, if necessary, remembering to grease the waffle iron with more pancetta fat between each batch of waffles.
To serve, place a waffle on a dinner plate and garnish with walnuts and drizzle to your heart’s content with maple syrup.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

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One of our great sponsors for the week is Red Star Yeast – they generously sent us all a huge packet of their instant yeast for some baking experimentation. I made three recipes with it in the spirit of oh-I-have-to-test-a-bunch-of-yummy-yeasted-goods-nudge-nudge-wink-wink. I successfully made yeasted doughnuts, coffee flavored cinnamon rolls, and of course, these bagels that won out for a space at Brunch Week.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

A couple months ago, I decided to be one of those nutso home cooks that uses real lye. In my defense, my husband is a professional scientist who has worked with tons of hazardous chemicals in his career, so I felt okay with him supervising. And I suppose it worked, as no one was harmed in the making of these bagels! They may look a bit rustic, but they are incredible and taste just as advertised – like the love-child of a bagel and a soft pretzel.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Now we all know that a good bagel needs a good cream cheese spread, and I wanted something savory, and unique. This is Brunch Week, after all. Roasted jalapenos and cilantro mixed with softened cream cheese did the trick beautifully! The spicy-creamy concoction meshed very well with the saltiness of the pretzel bagels – and yet the cream cheese spread is delicious in and of itself too; I think it would be wonderful with plain bagels.

Pretzel Bagels with Roasted Jalapeno Cream Cheese

Give these a try, and yes, you can use baking soda if you’d rather. 🙂 Enjoy!

Sources: Bagels adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion; Cream Cheese Spread from Brunch @ Bobby’s by Bobby Flay

Ingredients:

BAGELS:
1 tbs Red Star instant yeast
4 cups bread flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbs granulated sugar
1 ½ cups lukewarm water
2 quarts water
2 tsp kitchen-grade lye or baking soda
Coarse pretzel salt
CREAM CHEESE:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tbs milk
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
2 jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
For the BAGELS: combine the yeast, bread flour, kosher salt, sugar, and 1 ½ cups lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine, then knead by hand for 10-15 minutes. Place the bowl in a lightly greased bowl and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
Transfer the dough to a work surface the divide into 8 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up some.
While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath. Pour 2 quarts water into a large stainless steel stockpot. Bring to a boil, THEN add the lye while wearing disposable latex gloves (if you’re using baking soda it doesn’t matter as much when you add it, nor is it important to use stainless steel. Or gloves). The lye will bubble up and look rather menacing for a minute, but it is okay.
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Working one at a time, use your index finger to poke a nice hole through the center of each ball of dough, then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole to about 2 inches in diameter. Transfer the bagels to the boiling water bath. You’ll likely have to do this in batches – I fit two at a time in there. Cook the bagels 2 minutes, flip, and cook 1 minute more. Using a stainless steel skimmer or strainer, carefully lift the bagels out and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels. Liberally sprinkle the tops of each bagel with the coarse salt.
Now bake the bagels in the oven 20 to 25 minutes. You can flip them after 15 minutes of baking to help keep their shape better, but since I used the lye, I was a little afraid to do so.
Remove the bagels from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the CREAM CHEESE SPREAD: combine the cream cheese, milk, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth and fluffy. Scrape into a bowl and fold in the jalapenos and cilantro. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour for best results, then let sit at room temperature 30 minutes before serving (though I can attest that serving it right away still tastes awesome).
Split the bagels, toast if desired, then spread with the cream cheese and eat!

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Nori Granola #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Nori Granola

Granola has long enjoyed a sturdy yet largely undeserved reputation for being a health food. Kind of like a burrito from Chipotle! Ha! Seriously though, have you read the labels on most store-bought granolas? Yikes, the sugar content! Homemade is far superior and gives you much more control, but I still always think it has more sugar than I usually want for breakfast. I tend to save it for sweet snacks or even a small (unglamorous) dessert.

Nori Granola

This granola changed my mind. It’s mostly savory! Call me sheltered but I’d never before tasted savory granola, and I was a little skeptical. The sugar content is… eh, fairly low, and there’s actual real nutrition from the nori sheets, plus sesame seeds and nuts. A touch of spice, and a really interesting, complex flavor that keeps you doing the whole “hmm, what is that?” routine with each bite.

Nori Granola

Nori Granola

Except… my PSA for the day – this is not cereal. Don’t pour milk over it. OMG, so gross!!

Nori sheets are pretty easy to find these days, but I had to order shichimi togarashi online. If you want to make it yourself, Chowhound has a good recipe. Give this a try, it’s such a unique twist on granola! Enjoy!

Nori Granola

Nori Granola

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, September 2015, recipe submitted by Heidi Swanson

Ingredients:
¼ cup honey
¼ cup raw sugar
2 tbs water
3 ½ cups rolled oats, not instant
1 ½ cups coarsely chopped nuts of your choice: walnuts, cashews, pecans, etc.
¼ cup sesame seeds
2 tbs fennel seeds
1 tbs shichimi togarashi
½ tsp black pepper
5 (8-inch) nori sheets (or the equivalent, depending on what size nori sheets you find), torn and crumbled into 1-inch-or-so pieces
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup olive oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
In a small saucepan, combine the honey, sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and bubbles appear at the edge, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
In a large bowl, toss the oats with the nuts, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, shichimi togarashi, black pepper, and nori. Add the honey mixture and salt. Stir to coat the oats, then stir in the olive oil.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Spread the granola in an even layer, getting as close to the edges as possible. Bake about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally (especially at the edges), until the granola is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving – the granola will crisp as it cools.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Lemon-Glazed Banana and Candied Ginger Scones #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

Lemon-Glazed Banana and Candied Ginger Scones

These are some of the best scones I’ve ever tasted, and I hang my head in shame that I’ve been blogging over three years and haven’t ever shared them with you. Brunch Week is the perfect opportunity! (Maybe I should’ve played it off like, oh I didn’t misstep, I was waiting for Brunch Week or something… eh, too late now!).

Lemon-Glazed Banana and Candied Ginger Scones

So these scones. They are probably the flakiest I’ve ever tasted, and this is the rare baked good that calls for yellow bananas, not overripe black ones, so when you grocery shop and buy bananas, there’s no waiting for them to blacken so you can bake with them. You can make these scones the same day you buy the friggin’ bananas! That right there is just very exciting.

Lemon-Glazed Banana and Candied Ginger Scones

The texture is amazing, and the flavor is so perfect. You’ve got sweet banana complemented by spicy ginger, then a tart-sweet lemon glaze is poured over the tops before you dive in. I have to highlight one of our main sponsors, Dixie Crystals here. They sent us all a huge box each of granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar, both of which were used for these beautiful scones. Thank you to Dixie Crystals! Enjoy!

Lemon-Glazed Banana and Candied Ginger Scones

Source: Fine Cooking Magazine, Feb/Mar 2011

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup Dixie Crystals granulated sugar
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp lemon zest
Generous pinch of kosher salt
6 tbs cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 small barely rip, yellow banana, diced
1 tbs minced candied ginger
¾ cup plus 2 tbs heavy cream, plus more for brushing
¾ cup Dixie Crystals confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ tbs fresh lemon juice
Pinch kosher salt

Directions:
To make the scones, preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, and salt. Add the butter and use a pastry blender or 2 knives to work the butter into the flour mixture until a few pea-size lumps remain. Stir in the banana and ginger. Add the cream and gradually stir until the mixture just comes together. Knead for no more than 1 minute with your hands if you have a few scraggly bits.
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and pat gently into a circle about 1 inch high. Using a chef’s knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges. Transfer them to the baking sheet, only spacing them about 1 inch apart (this helps them rise tall and not spread out). Brush the tops with heavy cream, and sprinkle some sugar, preferably raw, on the tops if desired. It’s good but not necessary.
Bake until the tops are golden, 19 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cool the scones slightly, about 3-4 minutes before applying the glaze.
To make the glaze, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and salt together until smooth. Drizzle the warm scones liberally with the glaze. Serve.

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce #BrunchWeek

Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures! Eight amazing sponsors are helping us host a GIVEAWAY of some incredible prizes for multiple winners. CLICK HERE to enter!

This is my first time participating in Brunch Week, so thank you for accepting me into the group! I’m thrilled to be here. We have some lovely sponsors for the week, including the one I’m highlighting today: Cabot Cheese.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

But, and I say this with one hundred percent seriousness, I had already committed to the idea of sharing a version of shrimp and grits even before finding out about Cabot’s participation. I absolutely adore shrimp and grits, in pretty much any form. Except maybe the overcooked shrimp versions. Those we can all do without. Anywho…

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

There are about as many variations on shrimp and grits as there are fiends for the dish, and while I have zero complaints about a well-executed stripped down version, for Brunch Week I decided it had to be a bit more complex and special. This particular recipe features spicy Andouille sausage mingling with the shrimp which forms a bit of a saucy topping for the firmer-yet-luscious grits, and then it’s drizzled with an even spicier yet creamy actual sauce on top.

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

This was so delicious, so special and completely perfect to kick start Brunch Week. Stay tuned, there is much excitement to come! Enjoy!

Shrimp and Andouille Cheddar Grits with Hot Pepper Cream Sauce

Source: slightly adapted from Nathalie Dupree’s Shrimp and Grits by Nathalie Dupree

Ingredients:

CREAM SAUCE:
1/3 cup green vinegar-based hot sauce, such as green Tabasco
¼ cup dry white wine
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs white wine vinegar
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper, to taste

SHRIMP:
Drizzle of olive oil, plus more as needed
8 oz. raw Andouille sausage, casings removed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
½ cup minced onion, such as Vidalia
4 tsp chopped garlic
30 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

GRITS:
5 cups water
3 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
8 tbs unsalted butter
2 cups coarse grits, not instant
8 oz. sharp white Cabot cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Start with the CREAM SAUCE: combine the green hot sauce, wine, shallot, lemon juice, and vinegar in a medium-sized saucepan. Boil over medium heat until liquid is reduced to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream. Set aside.

Now make the SHRIMP: heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and crumble it with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook, stirring frequently, until no traces of pink remain. Add the peppers, onion, and garlic and saute until veggies are tender. Add the shrimp, tomatoes, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay seasoning. Saute, stirring, until shrimp are pink and just cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Be aware of how much salt your Cajun and Old Bay seasonings may already have. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Now make the GRITS: bring the water, milk, cream and butter to a simmer in a medium-to-large stockpot. Gradually whisk in the grits. Stir frequently, until the grits are soft and thickened. This will take at least 15 minutes, and up to 1 hour depending on what brand of grits you are using. When the grits are ready, turn the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese until it melts. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as necessary.

To serve, rewarm the cream sauce and shrimp. Spoon the grits into bowls and top with the shrimp and andouille sauce. Now top with the hot pepper cream sauce and serve immediately.

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Check out my fellow #BrunchWeek bloggers! Some very tasty recipes here!

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Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.