Sunday, January 20, 2008

Brunch: Filled French Toast & Mega Scones

OK, the slacker finally got around to posting close to the right day! I promise I have been meaning to post, and I've been taking pictures and everything...but I swear I can't even keep track of the days anymore and the weekends just pass me by. Please forgive me.

Here's a couple of recipes that are tasty for a weekend brunch.

Filled French Toast:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup nonfat milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
8 slices white or whole wheat bread (or French)

4 Tbsp. cream cheese
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp. fruit preserve of your choice
maple syrup & additional confectioner's sugar for serving

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with unsalted butter or cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, and confectioner's sugar. Stir thoroughly by hand or with hand mixer to blend. Stir in the preserves.

Dunk 4 pieces bread into milk mixture to soak. Lay each on a cookie sheet. Spread with an even amount of filling. Dunk remaining bread into milk mixture and place on top, sandwiching filling. Bake until bottom has toasted, about 7 minutes. Turn and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Serve right away, drizzled with maple syrup and dusted with confectioner's sugar. (Can make the filling the night before and store, tightly covered, in refrigerator.)

Note: I think next time I am going to toast both sides of the french toast by themselves for a few minutes and then put the filling in and bake - just to make sure it is nice and crisp.

I got this next recipe from 101 cookbooks and I am in love with it. I love that it uses whole wheat and is hearty and grainy. And you can put whatever you want in the middle for lots of variations. Yum!

Raspberry Mega Scones:
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or I used white wheat flour)
3 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. fine-grain sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4" cubes
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups half & half (or cream or whole milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
2/3 cup raspberry preserves (or anything of your choice)

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Using a food processor, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles in a beach of sandy flour (about 20 quick pulses). You can also cut the batter in using a knife and fork. Pulse in the sugar. Add half & half, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pule or mix until dough just comes together - don't over mix, but if the batter is too dry add more cream a bit at a time.

Turn out onto a floured piece of parchment paper or Silpat mat. Divide dough into two equal sized pieces and set one aside. Take the first piece and roll out into (roughly) a 9x9" square, 1/2" thick. You want to keep the dough from sticking to the mat/paper if possible, so sprinkle more flour if needled. Slather the slab of dough with the jam and fold the left side of the dough in toward the center. To discourage dough from breaking or falling apart, I fold it in by folding the Silpat/parchment in and then peeling it back afterwards. Fold the other side in using same technique. Slide onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with other piece of dough. The two scones will fit on one baking sheet, but give them a few inches between each other so they don't bake into each other. Brush with a bit of cream (optional), and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden where the scones touch the pan. When scones come out of the oven, brush them generously with the glaze and let cool. Slice into pieces as big or small as you like.