Tuesday Reviews-Day: Breakfast

Tuesday Revews-Day

We’re big fans of breakfast around here, though we seldom eat it at the “traditional” breakfast time. During the week it’s all about the race to get out the door and to the office, and on the weekends I’m more for sleeping in than getting up early to eat.

So super-informal brunch happens a lot, as does brinner (breakfast for dinner). We do that at least once a week, so when I told Todd we’d be having a lot more breakfasts his response was “oh, twist my arm.”

Why the uptick in egg-laden meals? Because I received a copy of Breakfast: the Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day for review. And if you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I feel duty-bound to make several recipes from a cookbook before offering up any sort of review.

I opened the book with a pad of sticky-notes in hand, expecting to flip through the book and pick out the promising menu items and move on quickly to creating my grocery list but found myself, quite a while later, barely having scratched the surface.

Some cookbook fans love to read a new cookbook like a novel. Others wonder how that’s even possible. With Breakfast, it’s more like reading a collection of essays. Created by the editors of Extra Crispy, Breakfast is easily half information and half recipes. There are infographics, history lessons, personal anecdotes, and comparison guides galore. And lots of eye-catching, slightly retro-feeling photography, too.

But the recipes, how are they? We sampled six of them, ranging from the more traditional to the how-does-this-classify-as-breakfast, and the overall feeling is they were all tasty, indeed. I did have some issues (like the recipe that serves 4, shows an egg on top of each serving, but only calls for 1-2 eggs… Oooookay) or lacking salt and pepper in other recipes, but the key pieces are there and you can generally infer the rest.

The luxurious Ham & Cheese Dutch Baby…

I was first introduced to the Dutch Baby shortly after graduating high school. Sense then I’ve made them many times, but never–for whatever reason–did it occur to make them savory, topped with black forest ham and cheese. That was unfortunate because the Ham & Cheese Dutch Baby was amazing. Even without the savory topping, the density of the custard (in part because my pan was a bit smaller than called for) was heavenly, and the leftovers reheated beautifully for lunch.

Next up was the Squash and Spam Hash. I had never had Spam before, but figured this was as good a time as any to rectify that issue. While it won’t be making my regular rotation, combining it with yellow squash, zucchini, and corn was not a bad introduction to the spiced ham in a can.

This next one got a bit of a brow-raise from Todd, but I had to try it! Ramen Carbonara–billed as a hangover cure to end all hangover cures–was quite tasty. It does not call for those sodium-packed seasoning packets, so fear not on that score, and I had some gluten-free ramen noodles in the pantry which worked just fine. I’m a big fan of carbonara in general, so adding a little more egg was not a hard sell for me.

The Mojito Pancakes might have been one of the more involved recipes I made from Breakfast, but only because it included making a flavored butter and doctoring the syrup in addition to make this actual pancakes.

But the effort was worth it! These pancakes were so amazing and the lime and rum-spiked syrup was just a thing of beauty in and of itself. This was probably my favorite of what we’ve sampled so far.

Next up was the Texas Red Chili and Eggs. I’m all for a no-bean chili (which is why this recipe appealed to me to begin with) but–and I never thought I’d hear myself say this–I missed the tomatoes. The meat was great, the chili blend on point (though why we soaked the anchos but not the guajillos I’m still fuzzy on), but I think I would have liked this just as much with the meat shredded and on a bun rather than in a bowl topped with an egg.

Finally we have the Instant Pot Burrito. As with many Instant Pot recipes, it’s more the novelty that you can make it in there than the pressure cooking really adds to the recipe in any way. Sure, it was nice that I could leave it to cook while I went and hung up laundry, but it wasn’t necessary, either. They were good burritos, though!

Thus we close the book on Breakfast… for now. I still have several other recipes marked to try at some point in the future. This book makes a great gift for a brunch-loving foodie that won’t be relegated to the shelf. It’ll be perfectly at home on the coffee table, the breakfast table, or the reading nook and could spark quite a few lively discussions around the table or elsewhere.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Breakfast in exchange for an honest review. All opinions (and errors) are mine and mine alone. Affiliate links have been used in this post, should you choose to support the book and this blog at the same time.

Daring Bakers: Pao de Queijo


This month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge took us on a trip to beautiful Brazil! Renata of “Testado, Provado & Aprovado!” taught us how to make Pao De Queijo, tasty cheese buns that make the perfect snack or treat, and that will make your taste buds samba!

When we were going through the elimination testing for the Low-FODMAP thing, I had come across these Brazilian cheese rolls made with tapioca starch and Parmesan cheese but were otherwise made just like pate a choux. Fast forward almost 18 months and I had a dream about these rolls, specifically about not being able to find the recipe even though I was looking in the book it came from. Two days later I checked the Daring Bakers board and found that this month’s challenge was the exact same Pao de Queijo I’d been dreaming about.

Spooky, right?

But in the tastiest way possible!

Our hostess, Renata, gave us a couple of variations on the Pao de Queijo I had made before, one of which involved making not puffs but waffles with the mixture. Her versions also tended to use cheeses that weren’t so dry, and I had a block of apple-smoked Cheddar in the fridge just waiting for a good use.

Pao de Queijo Waffles

Pao de Queijo Waffles

But what can you do with a cheese-filled waffle? I decided they were perfect for a Brazilian take on Eggs Benedict, in place of the traditional English muffin halves. With a bit of thin-sliced ham, some poached eggs, and some Hollandaise courtesy of Trader Joe’s (I could make it myself, of course, but who feels like making a finicky sauce when you’ve just worked 9 hours and gone grocery shopping–not I!), and a broiled banana on the side, I present to you:

Eggs Benecio!

Eggs Benecio!

This was so incredibly good. I do need to work on my egg poaching–I’m a bit out of practice–but otherwise it went off without a hitch. In fact, we stopped by the outlet mall on our way back home from the most recent convention and I was very tempted to pick up some Poach Pods (affiliate link) from the kitchen store. But where’s the challenge in that?

Wonder what next month’s challenge will be, and if it will be another recipe of my dreams!

Daring Bakers: Easter Breads


The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den . She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

We actually don’t do a whole lot for Easter–in fact, this year we did absolutely nothing as family members had other engagements and we’d just spent the previous day banging around our new house with no running water… More on that tomorrow! But way back when I’ve been known to make fun and flavorful baked goods at Easter time because why not? I’ve even made the somewhat traditional hot cross buns, though I admit that they weren’t the top of my favorites list. (The bunny rolls might just hold that honor.)

Low-FODMAP Spiced Carrot Breakfast Buns

Low-FODMAP Spiced Carrot Breakfast Buns

At any rate, we were free to use any recipe that fit the bill and the other day, in my feed reader, popped up this Low-FODMAP Hot Cross Buns recipe that seemed promising. But not so promising that I didn’t tweak it on several levels to the point that we’ll consider it an adaptation and I’ll share the recipe below. First, we’re not a big fan of buckwheat flour–it’s one of the few flavors that I just can’t get behind, then there was the dried paw paw (which probably means papaya, but it wasn’t something I had on hand). Hot Cross Buns usually include currants or raisins (which aren’t Low-FODMAP) so I substituted dried blueberries–closer in color and texture, and in such a small quantity as not to present any FODMAP issues; we also subbed macadamia nuts for the pine nuts (both Low-FODMAP, but Todd’s not a fan of pine nuts). Finally, I disagreed with the lack of sugar. Sure, the grated carrots and dried fruit add some sweetness, but sugar adds tenderness to baked goods, and that’s not something you want to forgo with gluten-free baking, so I added some back in.

The results were dense but tasty, and will work perfectly for breakfasts this week instead of my usual overnight oats. If I make these again (and there’s a good possibility of that) I’ll add a pan of water to the pre-heating oven to keep the dough from firming up too much in it’s first “baking” (really more of an accelerated proofing), maybe that will allow the buns to rise a bit more.

Low-FODMAP Spiced Carrot Breakfast Buns
adapted from Resist the Sloth

Makes 18

2 cups lactose-free milk, warmed (between 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 packet Active Dry Yeast
3 cups Gluten-Free baking blend
1/2 cup Millet Flour
1/4 cup Potato Flakes
1/2 Tbsp Xanthum Gum
1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts, roughly chopped
1/3 cup dried Blueberries
2 Tbsp ground Cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground Nutmeg
1 tsp ground Ginger
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp ground Allspice
1 egg, gently beaten
2 large carrots, grated (approx. 2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 215 degrees Fahrenheit. (optional: place an oven-proof bowl of water in the oven while it’s pre-heating)

Sprinkle the yeast on top of the warm milk and let sit while the yeast puffs up. If it’s drafty in your kitchen (or the a/c has just kicked on), cover the bowl to keep the milk from getting too cold.

Combine the flours, potato flakes, gun, nuts, blueberries, and spices in a large bowl; stir to combine.

Combine egg, carrots, sugar, and butter in a small bowl; stir until mixed.

Make a well in the flour mixture and add the carrot mixture and milk mixture, stirring just until combined.

Spoon dough into a gall-sized plastic bag, seal, and snip off one corner. Pipe dough into muffin or doughnut pan wells.

Bake at 212 degrees F for 20 minutes, remove the pan of water (if you used one) and increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake another 25 minutes, or until the customary hollow thump of a well-done bread can be heard.

Daring Bakers: Beautiful Breads


Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise, challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as great as they taste?

Fluted Cinnamon Twist

Fluted Cinnamon Twist

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but thank goodness our taste buds are blind as my “beautiful bread” wasn’t quite sure of its designation.

This month we were given the option of a couple different breads to choose from, mainly focusing on the technique of cutting and folding the sheets of dough layered with sweet (or savory) fillings to make pretty platefuls. Of course I substituted a gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose the recipe called for, curious to see how this recipe would fare compared to yeast doughs I’ve tried so far.

The basic assembly went surprisingly well....

The basic assembly went surprisingly well….

I was quite surprised at how malleable the risen dough was, as each quarter easily rolled out on a sheet of wax paper into a circle about an eighth of an inch thick. They also released from their respective sheets fairly well after each was buttered, sugared, and cinnamoned, and I thought I was doing so well, even to neatening up their edges a bit before proceeding.

It was just the twisting technique that didn't go quite as planned. More trials will be needed (aw, shucks!)

It was just the twisting technique that didn’t go quite as planned. More trials will be needed (aw, shucks!)

That’s when things got a little dicey. I’m not sure if I used too much cinnamon-sugar, separating the layers too much, or if the dough was still not malleable enough (even with the help of the xanthum gum), but my layers wanted to break rather than tuck and roll, so I sorta kluged it together the best I could, exposing the folds as was the point and giving them a milk bath before placing it into a very hot oven.

The layers do add quite a bit of visual interest, though.

The layers do add quite a bit of visual interest, though.

After 20 minutes and two different temperatures, the cinnamon bread came out of the oven golden brown, but not so much magically transformed–I suppose it’s not my turn for a miracle this month! A drizzle of a coconut oil-based icing (the suggested sweetened condensed milk is a lactose-bomb) and we were ready for the final test: the taste?

Breakfast or dessert, your choice!

Breakfast or dessert, your choice!

It tasted delicious! I went for the optional cardamom in the dough and it pairs nicely with the cinnamon filling. Even though the more demanding fold didn’t work this time (oh, I will prevail, eventually), I think this dough worked well enough that it might be this year’s King Cake dough for Fat Tuesday. Paired with a steaming mug of Earl Grey tea, this is not a bad way to start (or end!) a day.

Tuesday Reviews-Day | Cruzan Velvet Cinn



***This is a sponsored post. I was provided a sample of Cruzan Velvet Cinn for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own and no additional compensation has been received. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…***

And now for something completely different!

Yes, I’ve got another rum to review but, oh, dear friends, this isn’t just any rum, this is Cruzan’s Velvet Cinn, a rum horchata flavored with cinnamon. Horchata is a Mexican drink often made from rice or other grains, and milky in appearance and texture. This horchata uses dairy milk and their premium rum and evokes memories of rice rice puddings, cinnamon buns, and all manner of delectable treats.

In fact, while Cruzan was kind enough to send some recipes along with their newly-launched rum, I took it upon myself to go in a slightly different direction:

French Velvet Toast

2 large Eggs
1/2 cup Cruzan Velvet Cinn
1/8 tsp ground Cardamom
6-8 slices Bread
Coconut oil for the griddle

Whisk together eggs, horchata, and cardamom. Heat an electric skillet to 350 degrees F and brush with a bit of coconut oil (or butter, if you prefer). Dip the bread into the egg and rum mixture, making sure to coat both sides thoroughly, and place on the griddle. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden and lacey and any eggy bits are firm.

Serve with powdered sugar or maple syrup.

French Velvet Toast

French Velvet Toast

While I’m certainly not against sipping Velvet Cinn neat or using it in cocktails–in fact, I know both of those options are definitely in our future–I though it would be fun to see if it’s amazing flavor would translate on the plate as well as the palate. Because Velvet Cinn contains milk, replacing the milk in the standard French Toast recipe was a no-brainer, and I’m really starting to crave some rice pudding now.

In case you would prefer a cocktail over breakfast foods, try out these recipes courtesy of Jesse Card, Cruzan’s Master Mixologist.

Cruzan® Cinnful Cherry

3/4 parts Cruzan Velvet Cinn Horchata with Rum
1/2 parts Cruzan Black Cherry Rum

Method: Combine all over ice, stir, pour into shot glass.

Cruzan® Cinnful Martini

1 1/2 parts Cruzan Velvet Cinn Horchata with Rum
1 parts Cruzan Aged Dark Rum
1/2 parts DeKuyper® Blood Orange Liqueur
Float DeKuyper® Hot Damn!® Liqueur
Flamed Orange zest

Method: Combine Cruzan Velvet Cinn, Cruzan Aged Dark Rum & Blood Orange Liqueur in a tumbler over ice & stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Float a small amount of DeKuyper® Hot Damn!® Liqueur on top & finish with a flamed orange zest.