Y’all, I have been converted to the cult of challah french toast! I truly don’t think I can go back to regular sandwich bread french toast after this.
This is the perfect lazy person’s brunch recipe, great on a weekend but even totally doable on a random Tuesday morning if you have leftover challah bread. The end result feels so much more satisfying than the 10 minutes it takes to make. This is what we call return on investment.
While you could technically use store-bought challah, I always find it drier, less eggy, and less flavorful than homemade, so the resulting french toast won’t be as good.
But I have great news—making your own challah is so easy! I have two different recipes, this easy soft challah, and this traditional one (that I did a 4-strand plait round on). Either works great for this, though I used the latter for this french toast recipe and it was AWESOME.
I’m sharing a small-batch recipe below (which makes french toast for one or two people), but it can easily be scaled up. It’s really straightforward, but the regular egg/milk foundation is elevated with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and lemon zest. The zest and cinnamon really make this amazing!
Why is challah bread good for french toast?
Both challah and brioche (and even a Hawaiian roll) are better for french toast versus plain sandwich bread, or something like french bread or sourdough. This is because they are made from a richer, egg-ier dough (usually they have butter or oil, some sugar, and eggs). This brings a LOT more flavor to your french toast, plus a softer and more pleasant texture (and they soak up the egg/milk moisture better).
A couple tips to make your challah bread french toast extra awesome:
- I think that thick-cut slices are better. Like maybe an inch thick or just over that? Don’t make the mistake of cutting too thin!
- You’ll get a better french toast texture from day-old challah, and I recommend even slicing it ahead of time and letting it dry out a bit. This will help it soak up more egg mixture, resulting in a softer, custardier end result.
- Because challah is a little more dense and we’re doing thicker slices, do make sure that you let the bread soak up the liquid. Don’t just do a 2-second dunk…I leave each side in the liquid for like 5 seconds, just to make sure it’s picking up enough liquid.
I’m on a weird kick when it comes to soft twisty breads, but this citrus poppyseed babka is definitely the most unique of the bunch. And it’s a total winner…featuring super soft, pillowy, fragrant dough with a slightly crunchy filling, studded with bits of melty white chocolate.
What’s not to love???
I only made one small tweak to the original poppyseed babka recipe, adding in orange zest to the lemon zest for a more robust and sweet citrus punch.
And that citrus blend goes so well with the gooey pockets of white chocolate…you don’t really taste the white chocolate (which is good, since I’m not a huge fan), but rather it adds some sweetness and moisture to the overall loaf as it melts in.
This dough was really fun to work with as well. You want it really sticky to start with, and that can be a bit terrifying.
But avoid the temptation to add too much flour—both in the initial mix and while rolling it out—and you’ll be rewarded with this super stretchy, soft dough that becomes an amazing fluffy loaf.
It seems fitting that this recipe blends two of my greatest loves—pears and fritter donuts. I’ve been a massive apple fritter obsessive for years, but when I saw this recipe for pear fritters my internal monologue went YUP THAT’S HAPPENING.
The daunting thing that’s always kept me from trying to make them myself has been the deep-frying part. It just terrifies me. These side-step that slightly, frying in a skillet vs. a deep fryer. But it’s still kind of disconcerting for me.
And I also gravitate toward the ones that are dough-based (like a donut) rather than batter. However, the major upside to batter is that it comes together so fast…no time to rise, cut, re-rise. These are ready to devour in less than 30 minutes, which is BOMB.
And then there’s the absolutely crave-worthy glaze. It was originally just a honey glaze, but maple and pear are such good friends that I couldn’t resist. If you’re feeling really EXTRA, you could swap bourbon for the milk, because…why not??
That picture might be true perfection. Golden grilled sourdough bread, creamy whipped ricotta, tart berries, and a drizzle of honey?? Sign me up!
Given that I’ve been almost entirely avoiding bread for the better part of nine months for some health reasons (issues with processing carbs) and the fact that I’m not really a bread person to begin with, I’m honestly not sure why this idea took hold in my brain so much.
But I started seeing different versions of ricotta toast, avocado toast, crostini, and more all over food blogs I follow and I was just like…YESSSSS. So my sister snagged me a loaf of quite good, thinly-sliced sourdough bread from the store and I played around with it.
So what I’m bringing you here today is less true recipe and more technique + toppings. It’s so versatile, and can be customized to your whims…what’s in season, sweet or savory, what happens to be in your fridge at this very moment…you get the picture.
Guyyysssssss. I have all the treats for us today. Several months ago I shared a totally addictive waffle recipe but my conundrum was…it made like 6 waffles which my waistline cannot handle. So today I present to you single-serving dark chocolate waffles!
Now don’t get me wrong, these still pack quite the caloric punch, but they’re one of those amazing dishes that is the perfect answer to sudden cravings.
Ten minutes later you have bittersweet, indulgent chocolate-y carbs without days of leftovers.
One thing to call out is I would recommend using really good quality dark chocolate if you can, like Ghiradelli or above. If you can cut up a bar vs. using chocolate chips that is nice too, because the chocolate chips have stabilizers on them that make them not as melty.
Either olive oil or melted butter can work fine here but I tend toward butter since it makes the waffles a little more crisp.
And this waffle iron has become my true love in the past couple years, just so easy to use, doesn’t need cleaning much, and makes amazingly crisp waffles!
I feel like I can sense about half of the internet’s judgment from here…”Fish in an egg casserole?? Are you insane?!” I know, I know. That’s basically what I was telling myself when I threw together this egg and salmon breakfast casserole with delicious salty goat cheese and tons of veggies.
I feel like the idea of a salmon breakfast casserole is kind of weird, unless you’re using smoked salmon maybe…you know, like a twist on “bagel and lox”. In this case, though, we’re using regular grilled or baked salmon, flaked into chunks and studded throughout.
The texture is better in a baked egg dish, it’s not as salty, and is a perfect way to use up leftover salmon filets from dinner.
We still get the saltiness with the addition of fluffy goat cheese, and brighten it up with fresh herbs…whatever you have on hand works. I had basil, which is perfect, but any combination of chives, dill, a little rosemary, etc. will work.
And finally we pack it with tons of roasted or sautéed vegetables. You can use whatever you have on hand here too. I used sweet potatoes, onions, baby bell peppers, and zucchini.
These mixed-berry pancakes were my on-a-whim “patriotic” meal 4th of July treat this year, and perfectly encapsulate midsummer happiness.
Serendipitous carbs, if you will…
I woke up starving and wanting something special and slightly indulgent, without being fussy, time-consuming, or over the top gluttonous. I also was leaving the next morning for several days, so my fridge was pretty bare.
But I had, like…an insane amount of berries that were going to end up in the garbage otherwise.
So I tried out a small-batch adaptation of the delicious strawberry cornmeal griddle cakes that I made on 4th of July several years ago after hiking like 20+ miles the day before.
I remember being enamored of the buttery flavor, studded with bright strawberries, and the unique texture. This version ups the fruit content even more, with a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, and cherries (or whatever you have on hand), and the addition of cinnamon and a splash of almond extract.
They’re also so easy! They’re perfect if you want a last-second treat, coming together in just 5 minutes.
I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but these gooey, sweet lemon cardamom buns popped into my head as a full-blown “I must make this now” idea.
This flavor combo is super interesting and not terribly common…I’m guessing that in my many MANY hours of watching Great British Bake-Off, I’ve soaked in the idea of using fresh green cardamom with lemon or orange from a few of my favorite bakers (hi, Nadiya!).
As I was spreading on the amazing lemon-cardamom filling in this recipe, I had another brainwave and realized that lemon basil would be absolutely delicious too!
I initially tried this with a different dough, but it didn’t rise and turned out super dense…I’m not sure why since I’ve had success with that dough before (I may have killed the yeast with too-hot liquid).
So I switched to using the dough from Paul Hollywood’s chelsea buns, which is simple but I know is delightfully soft. I added a little sugar and tweaked the flavorings to infuse both fresh and dried cardamom and some lemon zest.
The result is a fascinating, addictive flavor combo and a soft, sticky, sweet, gooey breakfast-maybe-dessert bun.
First off, I’m not going to pretend that these are “real” waffles. Not like my fluffy carb-y buttermilk goodness, or dark chocolate indulgence. But if you’re on a low carb diet for whatever reason, this keto waffle recipe might be your best friend.
I accidentally made this a few months ago on a healthy whim, and kind of forgot about it since it didn’t blow my mind.
But the last month I’ve been on a super low-carb diet for health reasons for (like keto, but more restrictive). And after a couple weeks of egg-mania plus some 90-second keto bread, I was craving something that felt semi-normal.
You might also like: 10 Tips For Surviving a Super Low-Carb Diet (e.g. Keto)
It’s crazy easy and all the ingredients were things I had on-hand. Even if you’re not on a specific diet, going low-carb and gluten-free on occasion isn’t a bad thing.
I often add a bit of cinnamon and vanilla to the mix, and you could even try going a tiny bit savory if you wanted (like some fresh rosemary). It doesn’t need sweetener, but you could definitely add a bit of honey or monkfruit syrup too.
I’ve made it in both my more Belgian-style waffle maker and a more traditional rectangle one and it’s great either way (I’m more partial to the Belgian).
This recipe is…there are no words for how good these scones are.
I’m a noted lover of scones (as seen here, here, and here), and there are very few flavor combinations I love more than cherry and almond. So as I was poring over various cherry recipes to use my plethora of fresh cherries (and awesome new cherry pitter), I came across this one and it immediately jumped to the top of the “must make” list.
I made a few small tweaks to the original recipe, most notably cutting way back on the glaze. I don’t think they need a ton, just enough to get a bit of extra sweet and a punch of almond flavor. I’m well known for adding almond extract to EVERYTHING.
Every time I go to Chicago for work lately, I’ve stayed at The Godfrey for convenience, and had a lovely run along the River Walk in the early morning. Then, as a reward, I’ve stopped at Beatrix and gotten the biggest latte they have a morning bun.
Their morning buns are an inspiration, like a cinnamon roll’s way cooler cousin…dough that’s slightly sweet with some lamination and a hint of orange zest, a cinnamon-sugar filling that’s positively gooey inside, and some sugar on the outside. No frosting, nothing overly sickly. Perfection.
So I’ve been lingering on this particular recipe on Pinterest lately, since it ticks the same flavor boxes as my beloved morning buns. I finally decided to tackle it a couple weeks ago and was SO happy I did!
One of the biggest changes I made was adding orange zest into the dough itself, versus just in the glaze. That slight hint of orange in the dough with a subtle cinnamon-sugar filling is just sublime. Additionally, I adapted the glaze by eliminating the butter and decreasing the amount quite a bit. I think the changes work SUPER well and make it a little less sweet, which is more my style.
I’d also recommend not being daunted by the number of steps in the recipe. It’s not a difficult recipe, and other than braiding the split layered dough ropes (it’s a bit messy!), it’s totally doable as long as you have the time. Don’t rush it and it’ll be a breeze!
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while.
Why, you ask? It’s cinnamon swirl bread, which is a total no-brainer. Gooey, cinnamony goodness spiraling through a tender, crumby loaf. And it is. But for some reason when I made it a few months ago, I wasn’t totally in love with it. The filling was awesome, but the bread was just…fine. The texture was good, but the outside was crustier than I wanted and the bread’s flavor (it tasted like…bread) was a disconnect from the sweet filling.
But I’ve come to see the error of my ways, because you deserve cinnamon swirl bread in YOUR life too. I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe to make the bread and filling feel like they’re part of the same recipe, including adding a teaspoon of cinnamon and a little extra sugar to the dough. The filling was perfect just as it was. READ THE POST
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted last! Things have been nuts with work, and some travel as well. While I haven’t cooked much, I actually have a backlog of recipes that I just haven’t been able to find the time to put together and post.
July has been a whirlwind. My mom came for a visit, which was great. We cooked an awesome dinner one night, but I also talked her into getting burgers, Thai, and Chinese takeout. Which was bomb. Then last week I was up in New York for work, then spent a long weekend in L.A. with a bestie hiking the Hollywood Hills and drinking copious quantities of wine. On top of insane work hours, what few minutes of free time I can squeeze out are taken up by the last stages of planning for our Scotland trip right now (!!).
But I realized last night that I’d never posted this dutch baby recipe, which is practically criminal. These things are awesome. These aren’t something I grew up with, but it was the recipe for apple pie german pancakes that gave me the idea. I had some leftover batter, and so I looked up what to do with it. I effectively made one of these, and have been hooked ever since. They’re easy, fast, incredibly versatile, and delish!READ THE POST
“Life is too short for self-hatred and celery sticks.” ~ Marilyn Wann
That quote basically encapsulates my struggle right now. I love food. I don’t believe in diets, because I think that permanently denying yourself foods will just make you want them more. Plus, why take all the fun out of life?? But I am trying to be good most of the time right now.
And looking at these pictures is pure torture, because I remember how GOOOOOOD these Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls were.
But I have a secret. I’m not really into cinnamon rolls. Except *these* cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are like if you just took the gooey center of the roll (the only good part) and made it ALL of the roll.
THESE CINNAMON ROLLS ARE EVERYTHING.
People had raved about The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll recipe, so when I decided to try my hand at cinnamon rolls I knew I had to try these ones. I was scared, honestly. Cinnamon rolls look like so much work, and I’ve never thought they were worth the effort. Boy, was I wrong.
These are 5-star levels of gooey, they’re sweet, they’re maple-y, the bread is moist and soft. Perfect. They’re perfect.
And they were actually not that hard to make. Yes, there were a few steps, but they weren’t hard or even super time consuming. I just had to plan ahead in terms of starting them the night before, but otherwise they came together pretty easily.
Here are a few kitchen tools I find really helpful for this recipe:
- My multi-purpose scraper tool (keep dough from sticking, divide, cut the rolls…does a little of everything)
- Silicone pastry brush
- Handle-less rolling pin
- Silicone pastry mat for rolling (depending on what your counters are made of)
How decadent are these cinnamon rolls with maple frosting??
Well, I polished off the last four (DON’T JUDGE.) the morning that I gave blood (so I could start eating healthy the next day, naturally), and when my cholesterol results came back they were like 50 points higher than normal. It was insane. Granted, I’d also had like seven of them the day before. Still. Crazy.
You might like: The Kitchen Tools Every Cook or Baker Needs
Simplicity, man. As I mentioned last week, I just wanted the easiest dinner possible. Something healthy, but something that didn’t require a million steps or ingredients.
Also, I’ve been on a weird ricotta kick. Like, eat it straight out of the carton with a spoon, maybe with a drizzle of honey. It’s getting weird. I used to hate ricotta and now look at me.
So I made some delicious marinated grilled (well, sauteed) chicken, and this delightful frittata.
Frittatas are such a great go-to meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They’re full of veggies and protein, easy, and make awesome leftovers. Basically, they’re perfect.READ THE POST
OH MAN, are these cream scones good!!
A while back, I was really excited because I tried a cream biscuits recipe without butter that was amazing. I stand by that, and I loved that it didn’t require cutting the butter into the flour. Let’s face it, I’m super lazy.
These cream scones are in a similar vein, except they have both cream AND butter in them, which makes them double awesome. I think they’re the best scones, texture-wise, that I’ve ever made.
They were also shockingly good as leftovers the next few days, heated up with a little raw organic honey for breakfast at work.
And that is a victory, because it’s hard to justify making a whole batch of scones for myself when usually the leftovers are like trying to eat ceiling insulation. But these, these are magical.
Why did I never think of coffee-flavored pancakes??? I love coffee. I love pancakes. Coffee + pancakes = LURV.
One of the great things about pancakes is that they’re just the easiest things to whip up. It literally takes five minutes to throw the batter together and heat the griddle, another five to cook them, and then you’ve got steaming hot breakfast carbs.
I’ve made these coffee pancakes a couple times. The first time, I couldn’t taste the coffee flavor as much as I wanted, so I upped the amount a little the next time. They’re super easy, comforting, and go great with a big latte.
These cream biscuits are the bomb diggity.
I love biscuits. Basically all biscuits (except Chick Fil-A’s…their food is awesome except their biscuits which are sad). But I tend to get lazy about cutting butter into flour. It’s so annoying!
Sure, maybe it’s not the most difficult thing ever, but for some reason it always makes me feel like a failure. Then I ran across this recipe. The cream provides the fat for the biscuit, so no butter-cutting necessary.
I was skeptical that these could possibly be as good as biscuits made the old-fashioned way, though. But I needed to throw a side bread together really quickly the other night and decided to try the recipe, and was stunned by how good these are.
They’re light and fluffy and buttery on top, took five minutes to throw together, and are even almost just as good leftover.
That’s right—GOOD LEFTOVER BISCUITS. It’s a January miracle.
Paaaaaaancakes! Specifically, buttermilk pancakes. When they’re good (and not that terrible IHOP pre-fab stuff), they are one of my favorite foods. Hot and fluffy, a little gooey center, nutty whole grain taste, and slathered in peanut butter and syrup. It pretty much doesn’t get any better than that.
They’re also one of the easiest things in the world to whip up, and endlessly versatile.
I realized a while back that—while I had posted whole grain pancakes, healthy apple cinnamon pancakes, ricotta pancakes, gingerbread pancakes, cinnamon polenta pancakes, and bourbon banana pancakes—I had never posted the recipe that started it all, my awesome basic buttermilk pancakes.
Does anyone else put peanut butter on their pancakes and waffles? We always did it, and I assumed everyone else did.
But going to summer camp growing up, I found out that this was considered somewhat weird. It’s so good, you have to try it! It’s my goal to convert the entire Southeast to the gospel of peanut butter on pancakes.
In all my focus on trying and posting new recipes, I’ve neglected some of my tried and true favorite recipes, so I’m working on rectifying that. My mom’s lasagna, simple coffee cake, buttermilk Belgian waffles, chocolate chip cookies, and our family buttermilk pancake recipe.
It’s not an exaggeration to say we made these the majority of my sabbath mornings growing up. Occasionally we’d throw in some waffles, french toast, or biscuits, but mostly we made delicious, fluffy pancakes!READ THE POST
I never understood the big deal about breakfast casseroles until recently. My co-workers love them—of course, that’s because they usually have pig products in them, which I don’t get as excited about. But to me, it always seemed like more work and time to do a casserole than to just make eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
But I was intrigued by this one, partly because it contains my vegetable du jour (mese? annno?), kale. Kale for breakfast? Count me in! Also, I had a crowd to feed last weekend with family in town, and we had made turkey bacon the day before so I swiped a few pieces for the next day’s breakfast. Bam, one step down. I’m that efficient…
From there, it was super easy to put together and put in the oven. I included one of my little tricks for getting egg dishes to cook evenly in the instructions, because it’s saved my life a few times. I live in perpetual fear of accidentally giving all my co-workers or family food poisoning by under-cooking eggs or chicken.