Croissant Bake

IMG_2559

One of Will’s favorite desserts is bread pudding.  I never had much of it growing up so it never made a big impact with me.  I also have a huge dislike of soggy bread so it wasn’t something I would reach for if given the choice.

Silly me, I should have realized that bread pudding is so much more than soggy bread!  Now, I am a huge fan of it and love to play around with the makeup of the recipe – a base of bread that absorbs a sweetened milk mixture and maybe the addition of fruit, nuts or chocolate.  This recipe is one example of a play on bread pudding.  The light and airy croissants easily and quickly take on the cream cheese and milk mixture but are hearty enough to support the fruit. It’s a delicious take on one of my now favorite desserts.


Croissant Bake

  • 3 large croissants, or 6-8 small, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk

Let’s start with those croissants.  Normally, when making something like a bread pudding I would say skip the knife and just tear the bread up into chunks.  For croissants though, my preference is to use a serrated knife to cut them into chunks.  Don’t stress about keeping the pieces the same size by any means, but using a serrated knife keeps the delicate bread nice and airy rather than crushing it.  This allows the croissant pieces to take in the liquid nicely but stay on the lighter side rather than being too dense.  By all means though, if that knife is just too far away… start shredding!

IMG_2521

Side note:  sometimes I feel like someone is watching me in the kitchen just hoping that something hits the floor…

IMG_2518

Grease a 9-inch square pan* and fill the pan with the croissant pieces. Spread the fruit along the top of the croissant pieces.  You can easily use fresh or frozen fruit here, whatever is easiest to work with at the time.  I’ve gone both routes and the end result is always delicious!  You can also switch out the flavors to whatever you prefer – add in other fruits such a banana or stick with one classic, add pecans or walnuts for a little texture, or toss in some chocolate chips for added decadence.

*As a variation, you can also bake these in individual ramekins for a different presentation.  See the end of the full recipe below for those baking instructions.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg until smooth.  I’m a slightly impatient baker so I tend to leave a few little lumps in the mix… we’ll just call those “lumps of love” 🙂

Slowly add the milk, mixing as you go.  Once that is combined, pour the milk mixture evenly over the fruit.

IMG_2535

Here’s the hardest part – cover and let it sit for at least 20 minutes.  While you are letting it sit, preheat the oven to 350. You can also make this the night before, cover it up, then let it sit in the fridge overnight.

Waiting is hard for all of us.

IMG_2541

When ready, bake the dish, covered, for 20-25 minutes.  Then take the cover off and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown and the center is set – no jiggles.

Serve the Croissant Bake warm with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and/or a little whipped cream.  (I’ve also let the dish cool and frozen individual portions of the Croissant Bake.  It reheats quickly and nicely for a breakfast on-the-go!)

IMG_2555.JPG


Full Recipe

Croissant Bake

  • 3 large croissants, or 6-8 small, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9-inch square pan.

Place croissant pieces in the pan.

Sprinkle with fruit.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla and nutmeg in a bowl with electric mixer until smooth.

Gradually add the milk, blending well.

Pour evenly over croissant pieces.

Cover and let stand 20 minutes or soak overnight.

Bake, covered, at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 20-25 minutes, until the center is set and the top is browned.

Serve warm sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Variation:

Place croissant pieces evenly in 10 (1/2-cup) ramekins.

Sprinkle with fruit and pour cream cheese mixture evenly over croissant pieces.

Let stand 20 minutes.

Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until set in center and golden brown.

Easy Sticky Buns

sticky buns

It’s fall, y’all!

Regardless of the fact that we have yet to feel any brisk fall temperatures for more than half a day I feel that it is time to brush off those fall recipes. Why not start with a little morning treat?!

The hardest part of this recipe is having puff pastry on hand and remembering to thaw it out. The thawing out part… that tends to get me sometimes.  If you master those two hurdles, you are well on your way to an easy caramel treat.

Fair warning, these are full of butter and brown sugar.  But I’m pretty sure that’s what the start of fall calls for!  Try these out and let me know if you agree.


Easy Sticky Buns

Yield: 12 sticky buns

  • 12 T (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 T ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray and place it on the cookie sheet.

Whisk together the 12 tablespoons of room temperature butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. I typically just work it all together with a fork until it is a smooth consistency. Drop a tablespoon or so into each of the 12 muffin cups. Scatter the pecans evenly over the butter mixture.

Lightly flour a cutting board or other surface and unfold one sheet of the puff pastry so that the folds are running left to right in front of you. This will help you roll the pastry up after it is filled. Brush the entire sheet with half of the melted and cooled butter. Sprinkle the dough with half of the brown sugar and half of the cinnamon.  If you’d like an added treat, sprinkle in some raisins, cranberries, other fruit or chocolate chips.  You can mix these up in many ways!

Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough up like a jelly roll.  End with the seam at the bottom of the roll.  Using a serrated knife, trim the uneven edges off of the roll, about 1/2 an inch.  Discard the scraps. Slice the roll in half, then slice each half into three equal pieces.

Place each piece of the roll, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups.  Repeat this process with the second sheet of puff pastry.

IMG_2092

Bake the full tray for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden brown on top and firm to the touch – but be careful! The caramel will be very hot!

IMG_2095

Set the tray on a potholder or rack and allow them to cool for 5 minutes only.  If the sticky buns cool too long before taking them out of the tray… they will very much stick to the pan. Turn the buns onto the parchment paper, easing any pecans and filling that hang behind onto the buns with a spoon.

Cool the sticky buns completely and enjoy! These are delicious at room temperature and reheat easily the next morning. 

sticky buns2


Full Recipe

Easy Sticky Buns

  • 12 T (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 T ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400.

Place a 12-cup muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Spray the tin with nonstick spray.

Whisk together the 12 T butter and ⅓ cup brown sugar.

Drop about 1 T of the mixture in each of the muffin cups.

Scatter the pecans evenly among the muffin cups on top of the butter mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface.

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right in front of you.

Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter.

Sprinkle the dough with half of the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.

Trim the ends of the roll about ½-inch and discard.

Slice the roll in half, then slice each half in thirds.

Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups.

Repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes only.

Invert the buns onto the parchment paper, easing pecans and filling onto the buns with a spoon.

Cool completely.

Zucchini Nut Muffins

img_0482.jpg

Will and I may disagree a little on this one. He heard “zucchini” and immediately said “NO”.  But for a muffin with some squash in it, these are pretty dang tasty.

Back in Weslaco, Texas my mom made these little gems often.  I believe the recipe came from a friend in town and my sister and I love them.  In fact, when Laura made the seven-and-a-half hour move to Baylor University these muffins became part of care packages sent her way.  I remember packing them up and more than once making sure the precious cargo got in the hands of a loving, die-hard Baylor couple from the church that would be making the trek up north.  When I went to Baylor a few years later you best be sure plans were made to send me some as well.

Zucchini Nut Muffins have everything right about them – they are just a little sweet, always moist, have a crunch from the nuts and they freeze well.  One batch makes 24 muffins so they are great grab-and-go breakfast options or make an easy brunch offering.

Let’s go back to our college days for just a few minutes: What’s in your care package?  You can fill mine with Zucchini Nut Muffins any day.


Zucchini Nut Muffins

-This recipe makes 24 muffins-
  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 400.  Grease two muffin tins or line the cups with baking liners.

*When you shred the zucchini be sure to leave the peel on.  Just wash the produce, chop the stem off and then use a grater to shred it up.  To get 2 cups of shredded zucchini you will need roughly one large or 2-3 small veggies.  Be sure you concentrate just as hard as I am 😉

In a large bowl, combine the shredded zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Why use corn oil?  Corn oil has a slightly higher smoke point than other oils and is essentially flavorless, both which make it nice for baking. If you don’t have corn oil on hand, reach for the vegetable oil for the same end results.

IMG_0460

Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.

Add in the nuts and stir until moistened.

It’s completely up to you which nut you use but the most common choices are pecans and walnuts.  More often than not, I’ll go with pecan.  If you have halves on hand, chop them up a bit.  I like to leave some large pieces for texture throughout the muffins so I don’t worry about keeping the sizes of the pieces too even.

Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Let the muffins sit for a couple minutes in the pan, then move them to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, the muffins freeze and reheat very nicely.

What do you think?  Does the squash-in-a-muffin scare you off or are you intrigued?  Mix up a batch and let me know how you like them!


Full Recipe

Zucchini Nut Muffins

  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 large, 2-3 small veggies)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat oven to 400.

Grease muffin tins or line with baking liners.

Combine zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until moistened.

Fill muffin cups ⅔ full.

Bake 18 minutes.

Let cool on rack.

Yields: 24