Tag Archives: brunch

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}

Gone are the days of cinnamon rolls being a prep-ahead/only for a holiday/enough to feed a crowd/“what am I going to to with all these leftovers?” treat. Or they are in my house anyway, now that I can make just two cinnamon rolls at the drop of a hat.

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}​

To that end, if I can whip up two muffin-sized cinnamon rolls in forty minutes, what’s stopping me from taking over the world?! Well, aside from a general distaste for telling people what to do, lack of ambition to do so, and keeping up with Oscar season…not a whole lot. It’s a feeling of power that is unmatched.

Truly, the fact that I can slap together a dough from the most basic kitchen ingredients in tiny amounts, roll it up with sweet cinnamon filling and have two fully-formed rolls to show for it in less than an hour is…well, it should be a special skill on my résumé. And maybe soon, yours.

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}​

Now, with a forty minute turn-around time, you’ve probably guessed that these breakfast buns don’t have yeast in them, but that doesn’t mean we’re sacrificing flavor or texture. Ohhh no, we will not be doing that. This dough is leavened with a combination of baking powder and baking soda, and made tender and flavorful thanks to a little DIY buttermilk and a pat of butter. Oh, and it’s egg-free, which seems like a perk at the moment.

Everything is mixed up in just a couple of minutes before getting rolled out, filled with a paste of cinnamon-sugar and butter, sliced lengthwise, and rolled back up into two portions. Since these cinnamon rolls don’t have a rise time or other rolls in the pan to help them maintain their shape, I like to bake them in a buttered muffin tin. This works for shaping and aesthetics, and frankly, muffin-shaped foods are just cuter than other foods. Period, end of story.

Add the cut rolls to the muffin tin cut-side-up for the best swirl, and give them a gentle smush to adhere to the bottom—this will encourage them to rise up instead of trying to tip over. I always have one that is a little wonky, but a tilted cinnamon roll is still a cinnamon roll.

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}​

These buns bake up in about 16 minutes, which is just enough time to wash the dishes and the counter top and stir together a cream cheese icing. It takes me all weekend to convince myself to pick up a pile of clothes off my floor, but when there are cinnamon rolls at stake, it’s all “executive dysfunction who?” As with all cinnamon rolls, you may eat these at whatever temperature you like, but I think they’re always best warm with two layers of icing—one to melt into the swirl, one to sit on top. Rarely have my weekend mornings known such luxury.

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}​

This recipe makes enough to share if you’d like, but I personally like to have one roll now and another later. Somewhere in between, I might figure out what’s stopping me from taking over the world. It’s probably all the time I spend thinking about, making, and eating cinnamon rolls. That’s fine by me.

Just Two Cinnamon Rolls {No Yeast!}​
Just Two Cinnamon Rolls
makes just 2 cinnamon rolls

Dough:
1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons milk of choice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into cubes
7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
small pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Icing:
2 ounces (1/4 brick) full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon milk of choice
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional, but recommended)

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease 2 cups in a standard muffin tin well with butter. Fill the remaining unused cups halfway with water to keep the pan from warping.

Make the dough. Combine vinegar, milk and butter a small microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until butter has melted. Stir and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add milk mixture and stir until a dough forms. Let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Turn dough onto the surface and roll into an 8x4-inch rectangle. Use the back of a spoon to spread filling over the top.

Use a bench scraper or large, sharp chef’s knife to slice rectangle in half lengthwise so that you have 2 8x2-inch rectangles. Starting at a narrow end, roll each up tightly into a cinnamon roll shape.

Place both rolls cut-sides-up in the prepared muffin cups. Press down on the tops to help the bottoms adhere to the pans. Don’t worry if they look a little smushed, as they will rise up while baking. Bake rolls 15-16 minutes.

While the rolls are baking, make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, use a spoon to help loosen up cream cheese. Mix in confectioner’s sugar, followed by milk and vanilla.

Once baked, let rolls cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before removing to a plate. Top each with 1/4 of the frosting. Let sit for 3-5 minutes so that the icing melts into the spiral. Top with remaining frosting as desired.

Serve rolls warm or at room temperature. Leftovers will keep covered for a day or so.

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.

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​

Welcome back to the summer of frangipane, where we find any and all excuses to put sweet almond pastry cream in things. A few weeks ago, I dropped spoonfuls of frangipane onto a puff pancake. This week, I’m keeping things a little more traditional with Double Raspberry Bostock.

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​

If you’ve never heard of Bostock, think of it as French toast’s glamorous pastry cousin—stale slices of rich brioche painted with simple syrup, topped with frangipane, and baked until brown. What a way to use up leftover bread! You can leave it plain or top it with fruit if that’s your jam. It’s definitely my jam, as evidenced by today’s recipe.

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​
Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​

You see, where traditional Bostock is painted with simple syrup, Double Raspberry Bostock is painted with thinned raspberry preserves before being topped with frangipane and fresh raspberries. The tart nature of the berries cuts through the sweetness of the brioche and the frangipane and, well, it just works. It’s balanced, it’s berry, it’s delicious.

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​

Oh, and it’s easy. Bostock is technically considered a pastry, even though it’s mostly just an excuse to use up old bread. Who doesn’t love a treat that helps prevent food waste?!

As you’ve likely realized, you can make Double Raspberry Bostock your own by using the fruit and preserves of your choice. Keep it all one flavor profile or mix and match. That’s the great luxury of making your own Bostock at home—you can my recipe and make it yours.

Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}​
Double Raspberry Bostock {Brioche with Almonds}
makes 8 servings

Frangipane:
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

Raspberry Preserves:
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
2 tablespoons water

For Assembly:
8 thick slices brioche, preferably a bit stale 1/2-1 6 oz package fresh raspberries
2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

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.

Thin the raspberry preserves. Use a fork to whisk jam and water together in a small microwave safe bowl. Warm in the microwave for 15 seconds, just so that it thins out even more. This step may also be done over a low flame on the stove.

Place brioche slices in a single layer on the prepared pan. Brush each slice with the thinned preserves, making sure to use up all of it. Spread about 2 heaping tablespoons of frangipane over each slice of brioche, covering the entire top. Press in raspberries, then sprinkle on sliced almonds, if using (I skipped these).

Bake Bostock for 25-30 minutes, until the frangipane as begun to brown in places. Let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before dusting with confectioner’s sugar and serving slightly warm or at room temperature.

Double Raspberry Bostock is best the day it’s made, but may be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days.