Tag Archives: breakfast

Sour Cream French Toast

Sour Cream French Toast

There are pancake people and waffle people, but I am 200% French toast people. Do I like pancakes and waffles? Sure do! But when Sunday morning rolls around and I go to make myself a special breakfast, nine times out of ten, it’s French toast. I’ve made it so many times at this point that I can do it without having coffee first—a miracle. I always have some form of the basic ingredients (bread, eggs, milk, maple syrup) on hand…or at least almost always.

Sour Cream French Toast

You see, if I were a person who prepares, this recipe might not be here right now. One Sunday morning last month, I had run out of dairy milk, almond milk, and heavy cream, leaving me with few options to get my French toast fix. Just when I was preparing to pack it in and go get a bagel, I noticed a half-empty container of sour cream, thought “that might work,” and ten test batches later, here we are. Sour cream is the secret to my go-to waffles and now my current favorite French toast—you know it won’t be long before I’m making sour cream pancakes!

Sour Cream French Toast is super easy to make and incredibly delicious—buttery and eggy with the slightest sour cream tang. The method is the same as classic French toast: mix together a quick vanilla custard, dip day-old bread into it, then fry in butter until golden. Finish with maple syrup and fruit (and a sweetened sour cream topping) and call it breakfast. Like I said, it’s so easy I can make it before I’m caffeinated.

Sour Cream French Toast

I need to give a little disclaimer that the batch pictured is double the written recipe. I wasn’t having a party or anything—I just like cold leftover French toast. It gives me the same vibe as cold leftover macaroni & cheese, but without all the cheese and pasta. Does that make sense? Probably not. But the best things in life (and breakfast) don’t have to.

Sour Cream French Toast

Now, tell me. Are you pancake, waffle, or French toast people? Or do you have another go-to sweet brunch? Inquiring bakers want to know!

Sour Cream French Toast
Sour Cream French Toast
makes 8 slices (3-4 servings)

Sour Cream Topping (optional):
1/3 cup full-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

French toast:
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs
8 thick slices day-old brioche (or challah)
2-3 tablespoons butter, for cooking

For serving (optional):
pure maple syrup
fresh fruit of choice
sour cream topping (recipe above)
confectioner’s sugar

Make the sour cream topping, if using. Combine sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Preheat oven to 200F. Set an ovenproof cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Make the French toast. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together sour cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Add eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.

Heat a large (10-12 inch) heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and swirl to coat.

Working with 3-4 slices of day-old brioche at a time, dip them in the custard, coating on all sides. Let them soak for 20-30 seconds before placing them in the skillet, making sure not to crowd the pan. Let cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 2-3 minutes. Flip slices and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove French toast to the prepared rack/sheet pan and place the entire contraption in the oven to keep warm.

Repeat soaking and cooking processes until all slices of brioche have been used. Add more butter to the pan as necessary.

When ready to serve, remove sour cream topping from the refrigerator and uncover.

Divide French toast over 3-4 plates. Top with sour cream topping, maple syrup, fresh fruit and/or confectioner’s sugar, as desired. Serve immediately.

Leftover French toast may be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerated for a couple of days. Warm before serving (or eat cold if you’re weird like me).

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

I make almost every baked good I consume from scratch with the best ingredients available to me. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes down to it. Even at the height of the pandemic, I was inspecting different brands of flour to see their protein counts because I care that much.* That said, when it comes to store-bought baked goods, I have one glaring weakness: Costco croissants.

*4% or bust. King Arthur, Heckers & Trader Joe’s only.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

I will go out of my way for a Costco croissant. They are shockingly delicious, especially when eaten like a wild animal mid-shopping trip, somewhere between produce and electronics. I was introduced to them by my friend and certified Costco enthusiast, David, and I’ve been ruined ever since. The finest French pastry they are not, but I defy you not to enjoy one while it’s still warm, as they almost always are when I sling them into my cart. For $6 (and a Costco membership) you too can have 12 big, buttery Costco croissants in a giant clamshell package. Twelve seems like a lot, but if you’re anything like me, that means one for now, one for later, two for tomorrow, and eight to sit out on my counter to get stale for Easy Almond Croissants.

You see, Almond Croissants, while a bakery favorite, are frequently just another way to use up leftover bread; think of them as the even more sophisticated cousins of French toast and Bostock. Imbued with almond flavor inside and out, they’re deceptively simple to make and even easier to eat.

Stale croissants are split and soaked in simple syrup, smeared with homemade frangipane, sandwiched together, and topped with sliced almonds before baking. They emerge from the oven fragrant and flaky with the best crisp almond edges and rich, dense centers. You may leave them plain—as if there’s a way for Almond Croissants to seem plain!—or you may dust them with a little confectioner’s sugar for flair. I like flair.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants

While I am a Costco croissant purist, these may be made with any pre-baked or store-bought croissants you may have on hand. Please keep in mind that your croissants may differ in size from mine, so you may end up with a larger or smaller quantity of Almond Croissants than I have. Not that I’ve ever found such a thing to be a problem. It is the summer of frangipane, after all.

Easy Homemade Almond Croissants
Easy Homemade Almond Croissants 
makes 8-12 (I made 8)

Simple Syrup:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

Frangipane*:
2 cup blanched almond flour or 8 ounces blanched almonds
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract

For Assembly & Garnish:
8-12 store-bought croissants (I used 8), preferably a little stale
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, optional

The simple syrup and frangipane may be made up to a day in advance. Just cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake.

Make the simple syrup. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool until you can comfortably hold your finger in it. Transfer to a bowl or dish (I used a pie plate) that is slightly larger than your croissants.

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in eggs and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste. Set aside.

Arrange oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment.

Assemble the almond croissants. Slice each croissant in half equatorially.

Working with one sliced croissant at a time, dip each half in the simple syrup, making sure to coat all sides. Place the bottom halves cut-sides-up on the prepared pans, and set the top halves on plates or another surface while assembly continues.

Use an offset icing spatula or the back of a spoon to spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of frangipane on the bottom half of each croissant. Top the frangipane with the top halves of the croissants, cut-sides-down. Press down lightly on each to adhere.

Spread about a tablespoon of frangipane on top of each filled croissant and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Bake croissants for 20-22 minutes, or until the frangipane is golden.

Let croissants cool on the pans for 15 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the tops, if desired. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Almond Croissants are best eaten the day they are made.

Note: You will have some leftover frangipane after making these. Refrigerate it and use it for these or this.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​

If you’re on the hunt for impossibly tender scones, look no further. Beneath these nubbly exteriors lie the softest, most buttery interiors. The secret? A hefty spoonful of sour cream.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​

Oh, yes. Where most scones are bound with heavy cream, half & half or just plain ol’ milk, these get their delicate decadence from thick, rich sour cream. Between its texture and natural acidity, its scone game simply cannot be beat.

For those concerned that sour cream’s tanginess might overwhelm the other flavors, rest assured that it does not. The acidity is neutralized with a bit of baking soda, ensuring that the end results have a smooth, buttery flavor to accompany their perfect texture.

You can bake this scone base by its lonesome, of course, but blueberries are at their best right now, so we’re tipping a full cup into the mix today. Blueberry Sour Cream Scones? Sign. me. up.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones start just how any other scone recipe might—cutting butter into dry ingredients—but where the next step is usually to add heavy cream or half & half, these are bound with an egg and 1/2 cup of sour cream. The dough may simultaneously seem both too wet and too dry during mixing (weird and true), but it will come together. Once mixed, it’s filled with blueberries, formed into a disk and sliced into wedges before baking.

These scones bake up craggy and golden with juicy burst blueberries throughout. You may serve them as soon as you can handle them, but you can also wait a few more minutes and give them a drizzle with a quick blueberry glaze. You know, if you’re the kind of person who needs your Blueberry Sour Cream Scones to have a vibrant purple drizzle…which I very much am.

Blueberry Sour Cream Scones​
Blueberry Sour Cream Scones
makes 8 scones

1 large egg, cold
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream, very cold
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons milk of choice, heavy cream, or half & half

Glaze:
1 tablespoon pulverized freeze dried blueberries (about 2 heaping tablespoons whole)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3-4 teaspoons milk of choice

Make the scones. Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together cold egg, sour cream, and vanilla. Refrigerate.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add cold butter. Use a pastry blender or clean fingertips to cut the butter into the flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in sour cream mixture. Add blueberries and fold them in as gently as you can. Some will break; that’s just the nature of this.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it to 1-inch thick circle. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice circle into 8 wedges. Place scones at least 2 inches apart on prepared pan. Brush with milk, cream, or half-and-half. Bake 21-23 minutes, until puffed and golden.

Meanwhile, set a cooling rack over a piece of parchment paper. Let scones cool on the pan on a rack for a few minutes, before removing to the prepared rack.

When scones are cool enough to handle but still a little warm, make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together pulverized freeze dried blueberries, confectioners sugar, salt and 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon until icing is thick, but pourable. Pour or drizzle icing over the scones as desired. Icing will set quickly, and eventually harden completely after a few hours.

Scones are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}​

Let’s make this the summer of frangipane. I mean it! Frangipane in everything. Toast, pies, tarts, turnovers, croissants, pastries, French toast—everything. But let’s start with this Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake, okay? Okay. Glad that’s settled.

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}​

Now, if you’re over there going “WTF is frangipane and why won’t she shut up about it?” here’s a little explanation. Frangipane is almond pastry cream, the easiest pastry cream there is. Just blend together almond flour (or blanched almonds), all-purpose flour, sugar, butter, an egg, salt, and almond extract. Boom! Done! You have thick, creamy sweet almond frangipane at your disposal for any and all of your baking needs.

(I have a lot of baking needs.)

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}​

As detailed above, you can do many things with frangipane, but today we’re dropping spoonfuls haphazardly over the top of some eggy batter, scattering on little lengths of rhubarb and then baking it into a luxurious puff pancake. It’ll be tall and puffy (hence the name) when it comes out of the oven, but will quickly relax into something more rumpled and rustic, dotted with pockets of toasty almond cream and soft rhubarb. Find me a more flavorful sweet summer brunch. I’ll wait.

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}​

While rhubarb season is already waning, don’t fret! You can sub in any cherry, berry, or sliced stone fruit you love into this recipe with great success. Frangipane goes will just about everything. Watch out—I’m only getting started.

Frangipane & Rhubarb Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings

1/2 recipe frangipane (recipe below)
2 thick or 3 thin stalks rhubarb
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (not skim or fat free)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted or salted)

Toppings (optional):
confectioner's sugar
lemon wedges
pure maple syrup
sliced almonds

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

Make frangipane according to recipe below. You will only need half for this recipe—set it in a space near the oven for easy access.

Trim off and discard rhubarb leaves (they are toxic). Wash and dry rhubarb stalks and slice into 1 1/2-2 inch lengths. If your rhubarb is thick, slice it in half for thinner pieces. Set in a space near the oven for easy access.

Make the puff pancake batter. In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt. Process 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest five minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 2 minutes, until butter has melted and begun browning. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter.

Working very quickly, drop spoonfuls of frangipane and rhubarb over the top of the batter—don’t worry about specificity or creating a design, this should be done as quickly as you can without burning yourself. Bake 21-22 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately with toppings of choice.
Frangipane {Almond Pastry Cream}
makes a heaping cup

1 cup blanched almond flour or 4 ounces blanched almonds
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold-ish room temperature, cut into cubes
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Make the frangipane. In a food processor (or very good blender), pulse almond flour, all-purpose flour, salt and sugar together. Pulse in butter. Pour in egg and almond extract, and process until frangipane is a homogenous paste.

Lemon Morning Buns

Lemon Morning Buns

If you’re searching for a way to brighten up your weekend, look no further than these Lemon Morning Buns. They’re glossy, golden, gorgeous and swirled with fresh lemon flavor throughout.

Lemon Morning Buns

This is my third morning buns recipe, and there’s a reason I keep returning to them: I get a lot of bang for my baking buck. Though these twisty little guys look like they take some real skill, the truth is that if you can make cinnamon rolls and tie a knot, you can make morning buns.

I’ve posted detailed shaping tutorials previously and will link to them in the recipe below, but rest assured that these buns really are simple beginning to end. The entire recipe has just 8 ingredients with several being used in multiple places. The dough is enriched with butter, egg and whole milk, and is a pleasure to work with; it’s smooth and sticky and kneads like a dream. Let it rise for 45 minutes or so, then layer it with a lemon-sugar filling and twist it into knots. Let them rise a little more, then bake and brush with a lemon glaze, leaving them shiny and a little sticky. Oh, and bursting with buttery lemon flavor.

Lemon Morning Buns

These Lemon Morning Buns are a great way to put a little sunshine in your weekend. Between their fluffy texture and intense lemon flavor, they’re guaranteed to brighten your day.

Lemon Morning Buns
Lemon Morning Buns
makes 12 buns

Dough:
2 3/4-3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup whole milk
1 large egg, room temperature

Filling:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Glaze:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 medium lemons)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

Make the dough. In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and milk together until just warm to the touch, about 95-110 degrees.

Crack the egg into a small mixing bowl. Whisking constantly, add the butter/milk mixture in a thin stream until completely combined. Add mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. A shaggy dough should form and be pulling away from the bowl. Gradually add flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the it pulls away a bit.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead 5-6 minutes, until smooth. Gather dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, making sure to get a little oil on all sides. Stretch some plastic wrap over the top and allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free environment for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

In the meantime, line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Make the filling. Combine sugar, lemon zest and salt in a small bowl. Rub together with your fingers to release the oils in the zest.

**Shaping photo tutorial here!**

Shape the buns. Return dough to floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Mentally divide the dough into thirds, like an unfolded letter. Place half the sugar mixture in the middle third of the dough—it’ll be a 12x6-inch section surrounded by two buttered sections of the same size.

Carefully grab one short side of the dough and fold it over the center, so that the dimensions are now 12x12-inches. Brush the top of the folded section with more butter and scatter on the remaining sugar mixture. Fold the other short side over the top so that the dimensions are 12x6-inches. Tap edges “closed” with your rolling pin.

Carefully lift and turn dough over so that the seam is against the floured surface. Roll the dough so that the dimensions are 14x8-inches.

Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to trim the short edges of the dough by about 1/2-inch. Slice dough into 12 strips. Working with one strip at a time, twist the ends until you have a loosely-twisted rope of dough. Carefully bring ends toward one another until they cross over one another and create a small hole. Tuck ends into that hole. Place shaped buns on prepared pans, leaving about 6 inches of space between (I put 6 on a half-sheet sized pan).

Cover pans loosely with parchment or a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free environment for another 25-30 minutes. Remove parchment/tea towel. The buns will not seem to have changed drastically, but if you poke one with your finger, the indentation should remain. If any ends have come loose, just nudge them back into the centers.

Place oven racks in the center positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Bake buns for 9 minutes. Rotate pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 8-9 minutes, or until golden brown.

While Buns are baking, make the glaze. Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in butter.

Brush warm buns with glaze. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Baked buns are best the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or so.