It had been soooooo long since I had French toast. Anita suggested that I make some and I quickly put the things I needed on my grocery list. I started with homemade brioche bread, but you can use a loaf from the store or substitute another type of bread, such as challah. You’ll get the best results with day-old or slightly stale bread. My homemade brioche is nice and thick, absorbing loads of the egg batter, which is the key to a perfect French toast. You don’t just want a light coating on the outside, you want it all the way through, in each and every bite.
This brioche French toast checked off every box on my list of things that make for great French toast. A slightly crunchy crusty edge: check. Eggy creamy soft insides: check. Able to absorb tons of real Maple syrup: check and check again.
Your favorite toppings (real maple syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream, fruits, etc)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Add half-and-half, eggs, honey and salt to a pie pan. Whisk with a fork.
Working in batches, place bread in the egg mixture and let soak on each side for 30 seconds. Transfer to a wire rack over a sheet pan.
Working in batches, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet. Add 2 bread slices to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove to another wire rack over a sheet pan.
Transfer pan of bread to the oven and bake 5 minutes.
I’ve always wanted to make my own biscuits from scratch. I finally stepped up to the challenge after watching Trisha Yearwood make these black pepper biscuits on her TV show. I figured heck, I can do that. So I did. And I was so happy that I did. These black pepper biscuits are ‘meaty’. They are not your light and fluffy little light clouds of dough. They hold up to anything and they taste absolutely divine. Buttermilk and butter… oh pinch me.
The key to these black pepper biscuits is the butter. Make absolutely sure you cut the butter into small pieces. Big ones will not do. I cut the 6 tablespoon chunk into teaspoon pats first, then I cut each pat into 9 small pieces. That worked perfectly for me. If you leave the butter too big your biscuits might just fall apart. At the least you’ll have a hard time forming them into biscuits to start with. So, smaller is better!
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces, keep in freezer until ready to use
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Finely ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl.
Add the butter cubes. Break up any pieces that stick together. Use your fingers to combine the butter with the flour mixture.
Add the buttermilk and stir until a dough forms.
Lightly pack the dough with your hands and place onto a lightly floured surface. Use the palms of your hands to flatten out into a 1" thick shape.
Use a 2 1/2" biscuit cutter to cut the dough into rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Use any remaining dough scraps by pressing them back together with your hands and cutting more biscuits.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with the heavy cream and sprinkle generously with the black pepper.
Bake until starting to turn golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
Going to the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday is a treat for us. Luckily, there’s a Ruby Tuesday right down the street from our house. They always keep the salad bar super-duper cold and super-duper stocked. Never have I gone up with my plate and said “oh no! there’s only one pea left!” (I love peas on a salad). When I get to the end of the salad bar, I find my two favorite things: Ranch dressing and pumpernickel croutons. Now, there’s an art and an order to putting them on your salad, mind you. You do NOT put the dressing on first. I used to think you had to to keep the croutons from sliding off. No, the croutons go first, and lots of them. Make sure you kinda wedge them in any nooks and crannies so they don’t fall off. Then drizzle with the dressing, getting half of the croutons nice and Ranchy while leaving the rest naked. Trust me on this. Do it next time you hit up the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I used a fresh loaf of pumpernickel bread when I made copycat Ruby Tuesday croutons. Fresh bread takes longer to bake but I think it makes for a better duplicate of the original: a little crunch but mostly soft and tender crouton. You do not want a hard, dry crouton that bursts into a billion pieces when you bite into it. If you do use older or stale bread, keep an eye on them while baking because they won’t take as long.
My oh my. I had no idea how fantastic these would be when I first came across this recipe for crab boil-brined wings. I thought, what if the crab boil is too strong? And what? A mayonnaise-based wing sauce? Isn’t that illegal? Well, color me wrong on both accounts because these wings were incredible. The crab boil flavor (one of my favorite tastes) is there, but it’s sort of just hanging around in the background. Very pleasant. The creamy mayonnaise basting and dipping sauce is truly outrageously great. It reminds me of the dressing for crab salad in a way. If you aren’t a fan of crab boil, you’ll still want to make these wings. You don’t want to deprive yourself of something this fantastic.It’d be ok to cut back on it a bit, but don’t leave out the crab boil. And if you’re like me, don’t be afraid to add more because my original worries about it being too strong were definitely unfounded. These crab boil-brined wings are something special.
I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.
Only 1 in every 5 of my attempts to bake from scratch comes out successful. That’s up from 1 out of 6 a few years ago, but still not anything to brag about. So, the more I can use my bread machine, the better. And it’s even better when what I make comes out fantastic, like these southern biscuits. They have a great buttery flavor, light texture and smell absolutely divine. Now, they aren’t super light and flaky like dough you’d make by hand (if you weren’t me that is) but they are a great substitute for those biscuits you get in a tube, that’s for sure! You can substitute maple syrup for the honey and end up with the perfect biscuit for a sausage breakfast sandwich. And of course, bread machine southern biscuits are perfect for the best thing ever made, deep fried biscuits. Oh yes!
Until 15 minutes ago, our gotta-have-it-garlic bread was our favorite garlic bread. This chipotle garlic cheese bread is similar in that, boy, is it ever packed with flavor, but oh does it ever bring the cheese. It reminds me of the garlic cheese bread Pizza Hut used to have on the menu but with ten times the flavor and cheese. It’s seriously over the top, but really, when you make garlic cheese bread are you thinking ‘healthy’? It’s an indulgence. And then some. You can make this chipotle garlic cheese bread ahead of time. Just wrap it in foil (loosely, so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil) and keep it in the fridge. When you’re ready to reheat it just toss it in a 350 F oven for 10-15 minutes until hot. Let it cool slightly before slicing or the ooey gooey cheese will run all over the place.
I’ve been using my bread machine more and more lately. I’ve had it for years, and probably like a lot of people’s bread makers, mine spends a lot of time in the back of the pantry sitting quietly. That’s kind of sad, because it makes great loaves of bread. Now, they’re not quite the perfect loaves I can get at the locally-owned bakery shop, but they’re mighty darned good and they leave the house smelling delicious.
This Italian herb bread has a tremendous aroma and taste. It made for the perfect sandwich bread. A nice light crust and soft insides, but not so soft that it can’t hold up to a mound of sandwich meat and cheese. Any leftover ends or less-than-perfect pieces of this Italian herb bread get turned into fantastic croutons. Great croutons. So good in fact that I wouldn’t hesitate to make a loaf just for croutons.
I woke up one morning and said “That’s it. I am not ignoring my bread machine any longer”. Like a lot of folks, I keep my bread machine at the back of the pantry. Way in the back. Well, no more. I’ve been using it to make fantastic po boy bread dough and since Anita requested French toast, I also made a great loaf of brioche bread. My first time. And yeah, though it’s not like I worked the dough by hand, it still feels homemade and boy, was the French toast out of this world!This bread machine brioche is so soft and eggy inside. The crust is thin but a little crunchy. It holds up well for making French toast.
The key to this bread is determining when to add the butter. You’ll be adding 8 tablespoons (a stick), one tablespoon at a time at 1 minute intervals, during the last kneading cycle. For our bread maker the second (last) kneed cycle ends 35 minutes after starting the machine. That means I add the first tablespoon of butter after 27 minutes. You’ll want to consult your bread machine manual to know when the kneading cycle ends.
Follow the measurement amounts exactly to get the proper texture.
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly whisked
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pats, softened
Add all ingredients except for the softened butter to the bread machine in the order specified by your bread machine maker. I have listed the ingredients in the order for my older model Regal bread maker.
Set your bread machine to 'sweet' or 'regular' if yours doesn't have a 'sweet' setting and begin processing.
minutes before the second kneed cycle is completed start adding the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, 1 minute between adding each one. NOTE: My bread machine book has a chart showing the various cycle times. For mine, making sweet bread, the 2nd kneed begins after 15 minutes and last 20 minuets. So, I began adding the butter 27 minutes (15 minutes + 20 minutes - 8 minutes) after starting the bread.
Let machine finish and then open the top. Let the bread cool 20 minutes before removing to slice.